I know I've been posting my response a little bit late, but I seriously took two hours thinking and writing about this, and I want to point out that there will be problems. I'm critical, but I'm also trying to be as constructive as possible here, without passing judgments to anyone in the space, as I will mention later in this post.
So I want to list pieces of equipment that are currently not functioning on First Floor in the space:
3D Printing Area:
All MakerBots, old or new
Laser Cutting Area:
Blue Laser Cutter
White Full Spectrum Laser Cutter
Fiber Art Area:
The old Singer Sewing Machine
I also want to point out four places that are consistently disorganized at its current stage:
Printing Area, and its immediately adjacent workbench and innovation space
Laser Cutting Area (not as severe), and the storage space behind
Work tables that are against the wall on the right side of the space
Note the difference? Places that are the most chaotic are not necessarily those with malfunctioned/dysfunctional equipment. In fact, they seldom overlap. These areas catch attention from people as much as the others that are with things that can be thrown into dumpsters.
Also note that projects that have been consistently worked on are all not against any of the walls at all - Sam is working on his own knitting machine; when I'm in Troy this Winter Break, I have been here almost every single day working on my LED project, and when I'm not, being very self-aware that I was a disorganized person in the space before, I try to leave as minimal of a footprint as possible; I also have seen Willie stopping by once in a while trying to bang out his hover bike.
As for the broken equipment, are they broken? Yes. Are they necessary? Mostly yes. Is there anyone actively working on it? It depends, but mostly no. Are they going to be worked on? Yes. So why are they not being worked on right now?
Z-Corp can't be worked on because the person who's working on it has been out of town for the Winter Break; Matt and I just found out that the motherboard for the old MakerBot has been taken by someone else; no one has even touched the small laser cutters since December; a part of that Old Singer is missing and can't be found in the space and, finally, BFB has been deserted for no one can possibly know how long.
As a volunteer I have to give tours all the time. When I introduced the machines in the space to visitors, I presented almost no bias (except for the MakerBot Replicator, the opinion of which is sort of consensual). I observed that, regardless of backgrounds, people are equally interested in the machines that are working, and those that are not. Yes, maybe it is because they literally don't know anything. But the presence of these pieces of equipment, regardless of their current status, means history - history of the COG, and the history of the type of machines itself. Some of these absolutely need to be gone and replaced by newbies; some need to be worked on more actively and not being craps. But before all the replacements and maintenance happen, they are at least still something. Without them on the tables, not only more people who are members and are planning on working on them get discouraged, the space on its own will somehow lose attraction to the outsiders.
Now I want to point out what I mean by "toxic." The keep-and-toss idea of the system proposed at the first post CAN do the job of getting unnecessary facilities out of the space; but to start with, it cannot guarantee the "neatness" of the space, if that is wanted for the Hackathon. Places that are constantly used will still be messy; places that are neglected will still be unused. This will never change if the focus here is still on deciding whether or not one should throw something away and expecting something new, if not in the foreseeable future.
And what is worse, and what I personally am REALLY concerned, is that if not properly managed, this idea, and the ideology behind, can be very easily applied to interaction between people. Be well in mind that 1) choices from only two alternatives can sometimes pass biases (I hereby avoid using the term "binary" here, because it is so overly abused that people automatically consider it as negative way of thinking nowadays); and 2) even though certain ideas and judgments can fall all over the places, there have been, are, and will be, coincidences that they correlate because of objects and people behind them, and therefore has a good potential of triggering conflicts. The system here is a good example. On its own, it is not a welcoming gesture to indicate the spirit of "being excellent to each other;" and on the other hand, taking disciplinary actions that are based upon sample votes and personal judgments can only do more harm to the already constrained working atmosphere in situ than good.
I understand that I may have much less of a power than any one of you in this dialogue, and I know I will be largely criticized by a lack of experience than anyone of you in the corporate world. But I think it's really time to look for a sense of harmony now. We need a better, MUCH better, buddy system, both for safety, and for projects that aim at providing more opportunities for the space. Instead of "pitching the sucker," can we ask, "Do you need any project help? Here, let's set it aside for a little while and really look at what's going on." Simply saying that is motivating. If there are not enough people to fix a specific piece of equipment, bring more. If there are resources that people can use, say it, write it down at the resource books which have been on the bookshelf downstairs and unused for decades. If there are obstacles, help overcoming them. This is much better for everyone who wants to fix, learn and innovate than simply making a take-me-baby-or-leave-me kind of decision. This is also much more beneficial in terms of transmitting certain types of work ethics or moralities that I have learned and valued from the space for the past years. And much more people would be brought in because of this, and in a long run, the space will look much cleaner as well.
There are still things that are better to set aside than to throw away.