Mailing list FAQ

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This is the mailing list FAQ please read it before posting, if your question is answered here please don't ask again, if you only want to clarify a point it's probably quicker (and easier) to check on IRC. It's also worth checking these pages first:

WARNING: the list, like all mailing lists, does have trolls. If you attract them it's best to stand still and await rescue. If you are not rescued quickly re-read what you've written and figure out how you've managed to stir up them up (checking the archive is a good start, so is a quick search of this website).

The trolls are generally harmless but can be dangerous if overfed.

Please help move this information to a more appropriate place. But make sure it's findable. There's a fair chance a new person might read FAQs. There's zero chance they'll search the wiki for an answer to a question they didn't know they were going to ask yet. Even if it's already been asked many times.

Mailing Lists

What are your mailing lists?

see Mailing_List

We generally host them on Google Groups. At the moment we make use of the following mailing lists, this FAQ applies to all of them:

and numerous subgroups have mailing list - see the list of lists.

How do I unsubscribe

Why do you want to? If the list is too noisy/busy please see this question. If you actually want to unsubscribe then go to this link and you should be able to unsubscribe. If this, for some reason, doesn't work then google "london hackspace mailing list", click on the "google groups" link then "edit my membership" on the right hand side the click the 'unsubscribe' button on the bottom right.

This list is too noisy!

Sorry, the mailing list is very busy (currently at 1,200+ posts per month.) Obviously this can be a lot to keep up with so remember there are alternatives to the 'fire hose' approach: going to 'edit my membership' in google groups you can change to a digest mode, or use the google groups forum view to see the items as more coherent threads.

Subscribe to the announce list instead.

If you use gmail, you can stop receiving emails for threads that you aren't interested in. More Actions->Mute.

Look at what options your email client has for filtering emails out into multiple inboxes,. It's a really useful feature to organise you incoming email, not just for splitting out the hackspace list.

ARGH, I need a Google account to subscribe to the list. You're evil!

To subscribe, just email, or equivalent for other groups. Similarly, you can unsubscribe using

Hey, I've just discovered the most amazing site/want to share my homepage/found something funny

The mailing list is not reddit: please search the archives to see whether it's been posted before. If so, please consider whether you're bringing something new to the discussion before posting. You might be better off posting it in IRC or on the Suppliers or Library page, or perhaps adding to the next News article.

I want to share my politics/religious opinion/philosophy

see Mailing List Clichés and Mailing List#Etiquette

No chance. This is a discussion group for topics immediately relevant to London Hackspace: please take your discussions to another forum. Some questions may be relevant, but please think carefully before posting (ask on IRC if you're not sure).

I want people to sign my petition

see Mailing List Clichés and Mailing List#Etiquette

Please don't ask the list: it's not a free way of lobbying a large number of people. Your post will be treated as spam, and you will find your account put on moderation very quickly.

I want to tell people about an upcoming event/see who's coming

see Mailing List Clichés

Unless it's tomorrow, it's best to add it to the Other Events page, and then link people to it. If it's a big event some time in the future, you might even want to create a dedicated page for it, like CCC Camp 2011. Again, IRC can be a great way to gauge interest.

I've just joined the list, why aren't my posts appearing?

New members will have their first post moderated. Please be patient.

Hey, why don't we use a forum?

see Mailing List Clichés

Forums tend to encourage long and impenetrable threads and "ME TOO"s. A web interface requires deliberate visiting (so forums die out quickly), an email gateway makes things hard to follow (posts can be edited), and a dual interface encourages a disconnect between people using email and visiting on the web. They also require multiple levels of moderation, and an overhead keeping threads and boards organised.

Top posting is the way, why are people so awkward here?

see Mailing List Clichés

Any modern client will hide the quoted text, whether you top-post, bottom-post or reply in-line, so almost nobody cares. Even fewer people care about debating it on the list, so please don't.

About the space

I want to visit other than on a Tuesday, what's the deal?

see Mailing List Clichés and GettingStarted#In_Real_Life

You are welcome to visit when ever you want. That being said we can't guarantee that anyone will be there other than during our weekly Tuesday meeting. These meetings are social in nature (although hacking does occur) and open to all. If you want it there will be someone giving tours and introductions to the space. These meetings kick off around 6pm and finish late.

If you want to come along at another time a good first stop is IRC to find out if anyone is around (there usually is) or you can check on the list, in general though Tuesdays are best.

Just Tuesdays? I'm busy on Tuesdays

The space is run by its members, and it's possible that no one will be there to let you in. There's also a chance anyone present will be too busy to give a tour or show you the ropes. In the past this has lead to people feeling lost and unwelcome, for this reason we highly encourage you come along to our Tuesday social night where there are proper introductions.

I'm a member now, can I get my card added?

Yes, once your standing order is received your name will be added to the list of paying subscribers and we'll add you to doorbot so you have access. You will only be granted access once your name is on the paid list and this can take a few days as standing orders can take a while to process.

To add your card to the doorbot access control systems, come along when someone else is in the space and hopefully they'll be able to show you how to add your card using the membership kiosk, obviously the best time to do this is on a Tuesday but if this is not possible check on IRC or the list.

It is possible to use the membership kiosk to add a card to a membership account that has yet to receive payment, though the card won't actually open any doors or operate any tool until your payment has cleared. This way, you can come to an open evening, register on the night and get a card ready to go when your payment clears.

When will my membership subscription clear?

see Membership

Payments can take up to 3 working days from the date of your standing order, depending on your bank. Our reconciliation script runs at 5am every day to update the database. Assuming you've got the right reference in your payment, there's nothing to worry about until at least 4 working days after the date of your standing order. If you urgently need access to the space, get hold of someone on IRC and we'll see what we can sort out.

I'm a member now, how do I get a storage box?

You pick it up. In the members storage area there is a pile of empty unmarked boxes, claim one, pick a lid, put your name on it and then put it on a shelf. Congratulations! you now have storage. Use the membership kiosk to print a label to go on it. If you can't find any empty boxes or there is no space for you box ask for help, sometimes the boxes end up hidden or some shelf space can be found. If you use the last bit of reasonable space on the shelving or the last box (or if either one or the other have run out) please email the list so we can order more.

Can you help me hack Yahoo/Hotmail accounts? How do I use Backtrack? How do I become hacker?

We're not that kind of hacker group. Some of our members are interested in it and some do it as a living but we do other things as well.

Will people mind if I leave my server/my stuff/torrent/run my office in the space?

We provide infrastructure for people to make stuff and share knowledge. We're not one of these:

  • internet cafe
  • storage provider
  • hosting company
  • coworking space
  • jobs agency

There are companies that do these things as a business, and have advantages of scale (like having paid support staff) and paying customers that we don't have.

That said, it's unlikely that anyone will mind you (for example) downloading a driver, or spending an afternoon working "from home" on your laptop if your internet's broken. Just put an extra donation in the jar to make up for it. If in doubt, ask the list. Never register a company, bank account or domain name using the Hackspace address.

Getting rid of stuff

I have [large item X] can I store it at the space?

OK, this isn't an FAQ but it should be, it even has it's own page and there is no default answer. The reason we request that you ask this is that the space is already very full (both with tools and projects). Large items eat into our already limited space and any large items that you want to bring in MUST be discussed on the mailing list.

Anything that you want to store at the space which wont fit in your box must be OK'd on the list first.

I have X, does the space want it?

maybe, in general ask the space but please remember:

  • To first consult the guide on bringing items to the space.
  • We're not a museum, we don't exist to keep stuff just because it's cool (although we wish we could)
  • We're not a storage company, if you just want somewhere to store things then please either keep it at home or expect others to use it at the space (unless it's in your storage box, obviously.)
  • If you're lending/giving equipment: thank you! Remember though that tools will be used (a lot and not always as carefully as you might) so think carefully and make a page for it so people know how to use it and what should be with it (eg manuals, chucks etc). If necessary run a workshop on it.
  • Raw materials: are useful but only those that are actually useful, chunks of chipboard are not useful.
  • Things you're throwing out that others may want: give a shout out on the list but remember we also have a SwapShop for this so post it on there. Additionally make sure you arrange exchange of the item, as "I'll leave it in the space for you" is very vague and will likely end up with it being thrown out and/or hacked try something more like "I'll put it next to my box with your name on it".
  • Computers/computer bits: we have a lot; feel free to offer it on the list/SwapShop in case someone wants it but for the space itself we're probably ok.

I have X does anyone want it?

Quite possibly but we have a system for this: the SwapShop. Feel free to add yourself to it (click the 'edit' tab at the top of the page). New additions to the swapshop are included in the weekly News. Another option to the swapshop is to use freecycle.


Is the laser cutter working yet?

see Mailing List Clichés

Has someone posted to the list to say that it is? in that case NO. We have a small team that maintains the laser cutter on a volunteer basis. As an unpaid volunteer, we cannot guarantee a service level agreement you'd expect from a more expensive commercial provider. Also note there are lead time delays getting replacement parts (often up to several weeks). When the laser cutter is working the list will be told, until that point be patient or please find an alternate workshop for your urgent needs.

I'm interested in the laser cutter....

see Mailing List Clichés

The Laser cutter is a very delicate and expensive piece of kit, please read the page on it and come to a training session; these are held most Wednesdays or Thursdays, to sign up for training please subscribe to the mailing list and _wait_ for a signup sheet to be posted.

Please feel free to inquire about training but please do not add yourself to the wiki list until a session is scheduled; sessions are run as frequently as possible and are first come first served.

Please note, we will not:

Run private training. Start a waiting list. Allow more than 5 people at a training session. Post sign up sheets earlier. Allow use of the lasercutter even if you have been trained elsewhere without taking our training. How training is run if for the benefit of the machine and the community, not the individual wanting training, as we have a larger duty of care to the membership.

Can I cut X on the laser cutter?

Maybe, check the wiki page. If it's not listed find out if it contains chlorine; some plastics do, if you put them in the laser cutter you will create chlorine gas, which is not good. Materials of an unknown origin should be tested for chlorine.


Can someone run a workshop on X

If you want to see a particular workshop add it to the request list. If you can propose what you would like to learn about the topic (eg biohacking: do you want to know about all of it or just making biofuel?), if there is anyone that you know who can teach it (always good to check with them first), how long you want the workshop to be (5 minute lightening talk or 2 day marathon?) and any other information that you have on the topic. In general the more organisation you do the more likely it is that the workshop will happen (see rule 4).

Are people interested in a workshop on X

see Mailing List Clichés


Look at our workshops page if you don't believe us; we have over 600 members who are interested in pretty much everything under the sun. It will be easier to organise if you can mail the list with a few dates when you can do it; what you plan to cover; how long you'd like to do it for and any equipment that people will need (how much it will cost). See also the guide called Planning an event

I'm working on awesome project X, can you help with...? or help me make Facebook V 2.0...or...I'm a student looking for X for project Y...

see Mailing List Clichés

Short version: probably.

Longer version. This can be a bit of a tricky question, especially if you've just joined us as it can all too often come across as a bid for free labour. Here are some simple tips to make sure you get a helpful response:

  1. Have a good idea of what you want to make. We all want to make Facebook 2.0 but it's a rare person who actually has a good reason to make it (Facebook is already Facebook, you need to make something new).
  2. Please, please, please do at least a little bit of research before asking; present this in your email so we know you're serious. If a member can answer you question or, from 30s on google, ask a question you can't answer (to do with the project) you need to do more research. At least be able to answer the 6 W's: Who, What, Where, Why, When & How (often 'how much').
  3. Finally this sort of question will always be better received if you've made an effort to get to know a few people before hand, either by logging into the IRC channel or coming to an open evening and had a chat with them, you'll probably get better advice and support this way as well (mainly because you'll get pointed at experts).