CNC Induction Process

Good evening all,

After a lot of discussion, the CNCtechs are considering testing out a new induction process. Here’s what we consider the properties of a good system:

  • Users who have been waiting to be inducted get prioritized
  • Wait-lists should contain those who are willing to attend inductions
  • Newer users know where they stand in the wait-list
  • Users can roughly anticipate when their turn will come up
  • Times when one must check Discourse are discoverable via @metions and planned with plenty of warning
  • Being first to see things on Discourse is not necessarily rewarded

To that end, we hope to end up with a system very similar to what we currently use:

  • There is a central wait-list for an induction, linked from the tools it covers
  • The wait-list is sorted oldest to newest
  • Roughly two weeks ahead of an induction, that wait-list is copied to a particular induction event, a question mark status added in front of each name
  • A cutoff time to reply is given (roughly one week later)
  • Each user is tagged in the post and should be notified. We should make enabling @ mention notifications part of our new members orientation.
  • Each user should change their question mark to either a Y or N for whether or not they can attend the induction
  • After the cutoff, the top n users are asked to confirm by the same time the next day that they are able to attend
  • If any spots remain, they are offered to those who have checked they could attend, in list order. This is done in a single batch.
  • After the induction takes place, all the members who did not reply are removed from the list

The last point is of course worth discussing. The CNCtechs have committed to running two inductions a month and have successfully started in December. What we’ve found is the last person on the list is often offered a spot. This doesn’t mesh well with a couple properties of our ideal system. We believe that an active, equitable list would allow those that take a break from the Makespace to quickly jump back in. We intend to reach out directly to each member affected by these changes to the CNCers wait-list to ease the transition and give them a chance to remain on the list. Running an experiment inherently means we have multiple simultaneous systems but we believe, based on the years of feedback on inductions (including before COVID), that we haven’t yet found the best system for us.

Other discussions have included whether project based inductions would be better. For CNC purposes, asking participants to bring a file of interest to cut to the induction serves that goal but I believe we can address that issue separately.

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Quick comment.from me: I’d love to be inducted, but I don’t have the time right now to do the prep beforehand (and crucially for me, to put in time on the CNC in the days directly after induction to cement the knowledge)