Re-write of the Rules - To be voted on at the Members Meeting

Hi All,

As mentioned in the Agenda discussion for the members meeting on 18th April 2023, I would like to propose a new set of rules for the space. I have now finished the draft of them that are open for comment via google docs. The actual rules for voting on are the Rules 1-10, the rest forms an appendix and/or update/rewrite of the members handbook that i’m working on.
Hackspace Rules Page Re-write - Google Docs


There are currently several sets of rules i’ve found at Hackspace, each subtly or completely different. I thought i’d solve this problem by writing another set! :sweat_smile:

Below are the existing sets of rules we have, as well as the citizen commitment.
Rules — Hackspace Manchester
Health & Safety Policy - Hackspace Manchester Documentation
Citizen Hacman Commitment - Hackspace Manchester Documentation

I would be proposing to scrap all of these and replace them with our new set. The old ones would be stripped from where they live so there is no confusion as to which the current and only set are. These would live in one location only, so there would be no duplicates.

My current issue with the existing rules is that they aren’t written very clearly nor concisely. We have a super diverse membership, and for many english will not be their first language. For this reason we have to make sure our rules are written in plain and simple english. The existing rules lead to a lot of reading and still leave a lot of grey areas.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking through all our own rules as well as London, Bristol and Nottingham’s rules and method of delivering them to their members, and from that have produced the new proposed rules.

In essence there isn’t any major change to anything happening in the space, it is more how the rules are listed. It also makes crystal clear some areas that everyone in the space knows is against the rules, but is hard to find it clear cut anywhere, e.g. borrowing equipment from the space being not ok.

Sorry i couldn’t get these out earlier, but let’s say it’s open for comment until the end of the weekend, at which point they will become the final set we are voting to adopt or not at the members meeting. We can always vote to change them in future, nothing is set in stone, but I believe even in their current state, these are a big step forward.

If you’d like to vote at the members meeting but cannot attend, please email stating who your proxy will be. I’m happy to be a proxy for anyone who needs it, please let me know how you’d like to vote. We need 10% of members to vote for this vote to be quorate, so that’s 24 members.




Thanks a lot for doing this. I’ve got a few observations which hopefully are constructive.

I think it’s useful to have an authoritative location for policies and the lack of a clear location to access a list of policies is a genuine issue, however I think it would be helpful, along with this, to say how this list can be expanded or modified. I don’t think it will be possible for 10% of members to vote on every single policy and there are policies around particular areas (e.g. don’t go into a yellow box area in woodwork if someone else is there; don’t wear open toed shoes in a workshop etc. which are very important but aren’t headlines and also which are likely to be added to relatively regularly through the hackspace’s evolution).

What is the purpose of the rules, what situation would they be referred to and what do they supersede? To me it seems this document straddles ‘main space induction’, ‘member code of conduct’ and ‘constitution’. Would this list be useable in the situation a member was considered for banning etc? The de facto full set of hackspace rules includes inductions for every machine and a lot of subgroup specific policies and all of them do need to be respected but aren’t suitable for an intro.

There needs to be clearer information on subgroup teams. ‘Anyone can join’ isn’t quite true because they have responsibilities and there are chains of responsibility within those teams. Most people will be considered for membership of them, but those people do need to go through extra training on the machines they’re supporting. ‘Official subgroups’ with an email for each would be useful.

(Putting this at the bottom because it’s not a direct comment on this document but perhaps something like the purchase proposal system but for official policy would be good, with machine/subgroup/hacman scopes indicating number of supporting members/board members required)

It would be great to discuss the rules on introducing a new tool to the Hackspace. I believe there are rules in some hackspace areas, but they are on unwritten and therefore unclear. So would be great to agree on a set and include them here.

EDIT: rules regarding the specific process for introducing a new tool for use to the Hackspace.

Reminder to all, to get any comments in before this evening on the rules set so i have time to incorporate them before we vote on tuesday. (@Marcus6275 i know you said you had some comments)


Storage: Completely agree we need somewhere good to store all this. Currently there’s lots of discussion over many years of which non have won, which is why i tried to keep this away from this discussion, as having rules is a different conversation to where we store them.

Purpose: This requires a vote as we are scraping old rules, and these are going to be the governing rules so the membership need to confirm they are happy to be governed by them. I think other rules for H&S etc. are a different matter and don’t need voting. I don’t see this set of rules being frequently changed as they are pretty bare bones expectation of how members should operate in the space, before any tools etc. are introduced into the equation. These rules would be the rules which would be referred to in the case of a member being banned.

“The de facto full set of hackspace rules includes inductions …”

Not sure what you mean by the above.

Anyone can join: You’ve interpretted ‘anyone can join’ different to me. I saw it as anyone can join the group, which is pretty much true. Nonetheless, if you have a more robust but still concise wording, i’m happy to change it. The intent was to get across that there’s not a voting system or any barrier to stop people getting involved.

Emails: i’ve messaged you privately about this, as i typed it all out then realised it really has nothing to do with this thread and is off topic.

I think i’ve covered your point about rule proposal system above, i.e. it’s not required.

@SyntheticRabbit I still agree on this. It’s on my to-do list, but i haven’t got around to sorting something yet as i need to liase with the subgroups on this. This will be a supplementory policy anyway so won’t form part of these rules.

Cheers for doing this Joe, its a mammoth task so we all appreciate the effort. I just have a few minor comment.

Rules location & format

I can’t see any information on where you want this to be or in what format, though i’m assuming this is what you meant by “Storage”. I’d probably say having the rules accessible from multiple area would still be beneficial, but we’d have to make sure they’re all identical. Otherwise this one location needs to be clearly communicated as I know many still aren’t aware of the google docs

Splitting up the document

At 12 pages its a big document and tries to cover everything. While it may seem like more work I’d suggest separating out the policy sections as while new members we’d hope would read all of the information, existing members would likely only be looking for reminders and not want to scroll though a 12 page document. Example of the ones in the document currently:

  • Fair use
  • Conduct
  • Complaints
  • Storage

This would also allow us to update/modify the policies ad-hoc like Peter suggests and keep these rules simple and easy to read at a glance.

Referencing other documents

Building off the comment above, through out the document you have “See our …”. Most are found later on in the document though not all (eg To-Do List). It may be worth adding a hyperlink or web url to these documents.

Introduction blurb

I’d suggest this is added back in, even if its modified. Mainly to just explain the need and impact these rules have as some are more strict than others like breaking Rule 8 vs Rule 2

Rule 6 - Pets

Regarding pets it should probably be added that when certain machines are in use (eg. table saw) they aren’t allowed in the room. This is from a H&S perspective, not sure how you’d want to manage this list though.

Additionally it may be wise to highlight that our workshops can be quite dirty and have liquid spills. Metalwork frequently has oil on the floor. Again might not be suitable to add for this document but I thought it worth mentioning

Tool categories

You list six categories (Immediately useable is repeated) but don’t really expand on them much. Ie. what does it mean by no entry for a tool (maybe for this one I’m being pedantic and you mean no entry to a room in use like if we had welding facilities).

I’d also suggest we add the list of banned tools here, though I can’t find it on the system so it may have gotten lost and need re-writing anyway.

Storage Policy

The boxes part is out of date. When storage was being moved over we stopped officially recommending a box due to the potential for changes to storage making old recommendations void which caused some members to complain. In general we just recommend people buy a box to keep things organised.

Completely agree having them accessible in several places is good, but it’s sort of lead to where we’re at, where I wasn’t sure what the actual official set was.
I’m going to update the page with these as that’s linked during the sign up process, and is likely the one and only time most members will ever read them.

Splitting up the document
Completely agree, sorry I didn’t make it clear enough in the above post. The intention is the 10 rules will cover most things. Then there’ll be links where necessary which will take you to the more in depth information as an appendix. So it’s not essential reading unless you want to really read into it. I started writing the document while sat in an airport and got a bit carried away writing all sorts of bits and bobs as I was updating the members handbook simultaneously.

I don’t really want to get much into the discussion about how we display content, as I think, for me, i’d rather spend my time sorting out the content, and letting those more in the know discuss the best ways of accessing/displaying it.

Referency other documents
Will do, thanks :slight_smile:

Introduction Blurb
Updated, thanks.

Rule 6 - Pets
This is a good point. In my head when thinking of pets in the space, I was only thinking of them in the main table area. Maybe in electronics, storage and visual arts as well.

Perhaps a blanket ban of pets in the wood and metal shops would be wise? These areas are both pretty highly used, and animals in these areas could be very dangerous to both members and the animals themselves, i’m not sure there’s much justification for allowing them in these areas.

Tool categories
Sorry this is where i should have thrown the stuff I actually wanted people to see and comment on in a seperate document to the update to the members handbook. That stuff is a draft and nothing to do with the rules, but thank you for your comments. I’ll move them to another document to make it clear what we’re voting on.

Cheers, updated. This is what i mean about us having several sets of rules that are in different states of updates :smiley:

1 Like

Having spent the time to read this i’m in favour.

Couple of comments:

  • We initially had attempted to separate and link the ‘rules’ (0-10) from the ‘policy’ (ie. expanded versions of those rules with how they’ll be implemented). Rule 0 linked the the H&S policy, Rule 1 linked to the Conduct policy etc. Over time these have obviously drifted apart necessitating this re-collation. Having a section break and header for the Policies may make sense - to make it clear these are different but interlinked things.

  • Grammatically, Some of the rules’ ‘titles’ are actionable things and some aren’t. Changing the titles of rules 6 and 9 to something like:

  1. No unaccompanied guests or pets
  2. Limit your stored items in the Space

would make them all match up nicely.



Great, thanks Bob! If you’re not going to be at the meeting, can we take this as a proxy vote in favour?

I’ve made those changes.
Rule 6 is now Supervise Your Guests & Pets
Rule 9 is now Store Your Stuff or Take It Home.

Rule 9 could still have a better title, but this gets across the essence of what we’re trying to say in the easiest way.


Rules have now been updated on the website.