[Q] What does VHS stand for?
[A] Vancouver Hack Space. Our full, official, name is Vancouver Hack Space Society (as we’re a not-for-profit society), Please note that it is “hack space”, not one word – this often a source of confusion.

[Q] What does VHS stand for?
[A] VHS strives to be inclusive to all people.  We abide by our Principles of Unity:

  1. Be excellent to each other. No racism, no sexism, no homophobia, no transphobia, no classism, no ableism.
  2. You are free to have your own individual project, or participate in a VHS Group Project.
  3. VHS Group Projects are open to all.
  4. Eager willingness to learn is all you need. Expertise is not required. It’s always ok to ask questions.
  5. VHS is a Member run Do-Ocracy. Help out as you can.

See our house rules for more background.

[Q] What is “Hacking”?
[A] VHS is founded on the concept of Hacking, which is defined as, “The reconfiguring of a system to function in ways not intended by the owner, administrator, or designer.” For example, circuit bending is a way of creating different noise patterns by taking apart children’s toys that make noise or speak, and literally bending the circuits. Their manufactured purpose may be a learning device for children (as in the “Speak and Spell”), but hackers have re-appropriated the toy as a sound-making machine, which has been used as a musical instrument. The applications of “hacks” are endless and still being explored. Hackers generally spend most of their time tinkering and exploring, which often leads to new inventions or innovations.

[Q] Can you help me access someone’s computer, email account, or find my laptop?
[A] No, absolutely not. Do NOT email us your request. VHS is not a service for hacking in to your girlfriend’s computer, or retrieving personal information that may be criminal in nature. We will also not retrieve your stolen laptop for you. We hack on gadgets, crafts, and the world around us – we make and improve, not crack and destroy.

[Q] When can I come check out the space?
[A] Most nights there is someone available that will be able to show you around, but Tuesdays are open house nights. For other times, see http://isvhsopen.com.

Once again: http://isvhsopen.com.


[Q] Do I need to become a member?
[A] Members help us pay our bills, if you show up for more then a few nights we would suggest that you become a VHS member and help support us.

[Q] How can I become a member?
[A] See the Membership page for details. Also come on in when VHS is open and introduce yourself, see what people are working on, and bring your project.

[Q] Is VHS a co-op?
[A] No, VHS is a non-profit society.

[Q] If I don’t have a key, how do I get in?
[A] If a keyholder is in the space, the side door will be unlocked. If no keyholder is present, either call the space number, post a message on Slack, or post a thread on the forums to see if anyone is planning to open the space soon. You can also check http://isvhsopen.com.

[Q] How do I become a keyholder?
[A] After you have been a regular member for at least a month, you can post a thread on Talk requesting approval. Assuming you get vouched (most are), you will receive more information one week later from the membership coordinator. If this seems a bit confusing, the easiest way forward is to simply come down to the space and talk to someone.

[Q] If I pay the $75 fee per month, where do I get a key?
[A] From the Membership Coordinator after the other key members have approved you.

[Q] What benefits do I get as a member?
[A] As a keyholder you get 24/7 access. As a voting member you get to vote at our annual general meetings. Members are allowed in the space at any time there is a keyholding member present, even outside of regular open nights.

[Q] What can I do if I’m not a member?
[A] Come down on an open night and find out.

[Q] Are children allowed in the space?
[A] Yes, supervised by you.

[Q] Can I pay for my membership with equipment? Tools? Bear hugs?
[A] Sure! Sell them and use the money to pay your dues.

[Q] I already have the equipment necessary for what I want to do; what are the advantages of being a member in that case?
[A] The VHS is a great place to collaborate, show off your work, or get help with something you are stuck on. Sometimes a change of perspective is all you need.

[Q] How do I stop being a member?
[A] Send an email to our membership co-ordinator at membership@vanhack.ca and tell them that you are cancelling. You also have to log in to your paypal account and cancel your recurring payment.

Access, Accessibility, and Facilities

[Q] Is there a front entrance?
[A] Yes! It’s actually the side (don’t use the front), but you can call the space if you have issues: +1 (778) 330-1234.

[Q] What is the Vancouver Hackspace’s phone number?
[A] +1 (778) 330-1234. It’ll be answered if somebody is nearby the phone, assuming they realize what the noise is coming from.

[Q] What does the space look like?
[A] Awesome! Check our Instagram!

[Q] Do you have parking for bikes?
[A] Yes, there is lots of room inside.

[Q] Is there vehicle parking at the space?
There is City of Vancouver street parking in the neighbourhood. Please follow parking bylaws.

[Q] What’s the accessibility situation?
[A] We have a loading bay door that enters right from the alley beside Woodland Dr. The washroom hallway is too narrow for wheelchairs, but we’re working on getting permits to punch a hole through a wall to widen it up. If you need the loading bay door opened, please call the space phone number (778-330-1234) and we will open it for you.

[Q] Do you have washrooms?
[A] Yes.

[Q] Do you have a shower?
[A] No.

[Q] Are assistance animals welcome?
[A] Absolutely! The shop sometimes generates loud noises, so be aware if that is a problem.

[Q] Do you have plenty of seating?
[A] Yes, there a lots of rolling desk chairs, and we also have some comfortable couches.

[Q] Is there a dedicated quiet space?
[A] No. It is often pretty quiet, especially if there is a class going on, but if someone doing metalwork or woodwork, we have ear plugs and over-ear ear protection that may help.

[Q] Are there food/drinks available?
[A] There is a coffee shop, Uprising Breads on the same block, and a multitude of other food and beverage venues very nearby.

[Q] Does VHS have a coffee machine?
[A] Yes. We have an espresso machine that is usually stocked – feel free to bring in beans!

[Q] What are the acoustics like, echo, etc.?
[A] Currently pretty echoey.

[Q] Do you have internet at the space?
[A] Yes we have wireless and wired internet access

[Q] The door is locked. How do I get in?
[A] Knock, or call the space number (+1 (778) 330-1234), or become a key-holding member so you can open the door yourself, 24/7!

[Q] What do I do if I hurt myself in the space?
[A] There are several first-aid kits in the space, all of which should have been pointed out to you during your orientation on your first visit. If you need more than a band-aid then you should seek medical help. Report all accidents to directors@vanhack.ca please.

[Q] Where are the first aid kits?
[A] There is a kit in a red backpack near the main entrance, and a large white first aid kit and eyewash station near the machining tools.


[Q] When is the next event?
[A] Check out our calendar or blog for information about the next event. Most events happen on Tuesday and Thursday.

[Q] Who organizes the calendar?
[A] The members; anyone can update the calendar after they become a member.

[Q] How do I host a night?
[A] Suggest it on the forums or to some of the members down at the space. If there is interest it will be added to the calendar for a future date.

[Q] Are there any plans for daytime meetings(for those that work nights/afternoons)?
[A] Yes, we have the ability to have daytime meet-ups if members want it.


[Q] What equipment do you have available for use in the space?
[A] The list is exhaustive and ever-changing. Come down and see for yourself. We’re big on electronics, crafting, machining, and programming. Expect to see plenty of related tools.

[Q] Do I have to pay to use any of the equipment?
[A] Generally, no. We might cough and discretely point to the donatio(n) jar. Tools that require special training or certification are unavailable to the public though (but these are only the larger tools like the CNC milling machine and laser cutter).

[Q] What should I bring with me to the space for the first time?
[A] Enthusiasm.

[Q] What do the regulars bring with them to the space?
[A] Anticipation.

[Q] Do I have to cart my stuff to/from the space every time?
[A] Most likely, yes.

[Q] If equipment is broken, can i try to fix it? Even if its broken after my attempts?
[A] If it’s broken you probably can’t make it worse. Please clean up after yourself when you are done.

[Q] Can you cut something for me on your laser cutter? 
[A] VHS is not a laser cutting service (we will not cut it for you).  VHS has a laser cutter that can be used by our members after they get fully trained on the equipment (then you can cut it yourself).

[Q] Can I pay you do cut things on your laser for me?
[A] No

[Q] Do you want to buy my old equipment from me?
[A] Nope, But you could consider donating the equipment to us.

[Q] Can I borrow some of your equipment and take it home with me? 
[A] Nope, Consider http://vancouvertoollibrary.com/


[Q] Does VHS have employees?
[A] No. VHS has members. There are no employees or volunteers.

[Q] Can I volunteer at VHS?
[A] Yes and no. VHS has members, many of whom volunteer their time to maintain and improve the space. If you see something we should be doing, or doing more of, come down to one of our open nights and see if membership makes sense for you! (Spoiler: yes, yes it does.)


[Q] I want to learn something specific, will someone teach me?
[A] Ask in the forums if someone wants to run a workshop! The skillset of our members are vast.

[Q] I want to teach a subject, can I?
[A] Please do! Ask on the VHS forums to gauge interest.

[Q] I have made X, do you do show-and-tells?
[A] Post on the forums and show off your project. We love hearing about the creation process! Also bring it down on an open evening.


[Q] What is “Talk”?
[A] We often refer to the VHS forums as simply “Talk” since the website is at https://talk.vanhack.ca/. This is where most online discussion and communication takes place.

[Q] What is the members category and how is it different from the general ones?
[A] The members category is for members only and is used to talk about internal issues such as:

  • Promoting a new member to a key member,
  • Financial info about the society,
  • Minutes of member meetings,
  • Discuss society business on the members channel.


[Q] Can I bring food and drink to the space?
[A] Yes, BUT we work with a lot of tools and chemicals that might be harmful if ingested. Watch your food.

[Q] Can I take pictures at the space?
[A] Yes, but please respect the privacy of others and ask before taking pictures of people or people’s projects.

[Q] Can my kid join your group?
[A] Yes, with your supervision. Our space has tools and chemicals that might harm someone if used incorrectly.

[Q] Can I just show up?
[A] People are not always at the space during the week. Please check the calendar or call the space first. Check isvhsopen.com to see if the space is currently open.

[Q] I’m from out of town, can I visit?
[A] Yes please, visit us!

[Q] May I bring music to the space to listen to? What format? Will people get mad at me if the music isn’t to their liking?
[A] Yes. Bring your music. VHS has a TV/media centre with Chromecast for streaming YouTube and internet radio. People here are nice!

[Q] May I try to repair things at VHS?
[A] Yes.


[Q] Can I use an open flame at the space? Torch, Pottery kiln, etc.. 
[A] Maybe. Take it out to the loading bay, be extra cautious, and keep a fire extinguisher at hand.

[Q] Can I store my stuff at the space?
[A] Maybe. “Pack it in, pack it out” is one of our rules, but we have small bins storage that you can purchase a pre-approved bin for.


[Q] Will you help me do this illegal thing that I have always wanted to do but don’t have the technical ability to Google how to do it
[A] No. We are not a group to help you do illegal things.

[Q] Can I talk about blowing up/killing/hurting somebody/doing something illegal at the space?
[A] No. We will not help you, but we may help you leave. Don’t do about that stuff here.

[Q] Did you hack my sisters/friend/mother/father/girlfriend’s facebook/gmail/hotmail/g+ account?
[A] No. Their account got hacked because they used the same password for everything.

[Q] Will you hack my sisters/friend/mother/father/girlfriend’s facebook/gmail/hotmail/g+ account?
[A] No.

[Q] Can I make weapons at the space?
[A] No.

[Q] What should I not bring with me to the space?
[A] CRTs. Also guns, drugs, or any other illegal material.

[Q] Can I crash here?
[A] No. VHS is not zoned for residential use and members may not live in the space. There is a no sleeping policy. People found sleeping at VHS will be given Sharpie facial tattoos.

[Q] I have this idea for a startup, are you interested in working for me?
[Q] I’m looking for people to fund my new startup, can you fund me?
[Q] Are you looking to create a startup?
[Q] Can I buy you out?
[Q] Are you an incubator?
[Q] Can I rent co-working space?
[Q] When is your IPO?
[Q] Can I get a refund for my membership dues?
[A] No. Go away.

[Q] Is VHS a good place to pick up dates?
[A] No. While we are extremely loveable, at VHS we basically want to hack. Be respectful, especially of VHS women. If you are creepy, persistent, or touchy, we will be happy to help you leave.

[Q] Can I borrowing/take stuff for projects?
[A] Please don’t. We’re not a library but  http://vancouvertoollibrary.com/ is.


[Q] How does VHS pay the rent?
[A] VHS pays its rent and utility bills via membership dues only. No grants, donations, sponsorship, etc. We use donated money for extras for the space.

[Q] What is your Privacy Policy?
[A] VHS should be treated as a public space. As such you have little expectation of privacy.

[Q] I talked about my super secret project at your space and someone stole it.
[A] Anything you say at the space should will be treated as though it was spoken in the public. It sucks that they stole your idea and we don’t condone that but if it was a secret it should not have been talked about in a public space.

[Q] How do I donate awesome things to VHS?
[A] Offer the items on the forums. If you are leaving something at the space for someone, please label it so that it doesn’t get thrown out.

[Q] As a non-keyed member how do I know if the space is open.
[A] Call the space phone number, show up to any regular scheduled open night, or check isvhsopen.com.

See Also

[Q] I have a question that has not been answered here, Who do I ask?
[A] I would suggest joining the forums and ask your question there. The forums are open to members and non-members alike. Alternatively, come down to the space during one of our events and asking us directly.

[Q] What is this Do-ocracy thing?
[A]  If you see something that needs doing, why aren’t you doing it? – A do-ocracy (also sometimes do-opoly, which is a more obvious pun on “duopoly”) is an organizational structure in which individuals choose roles and tasks for themselves and execute them. Responsibilities attach to people who do the work, rather than elected or selected officials.

[Q] Where can I find the VHS rules of membership conduct, fines and expulsion?
[A] Read the VHS Bylaws as well as our Code of Conduct, and Grievance Procedure.

[Q] How do I cancel my membership
[A] Send an email to membership@vanhack.ca and log in to Paypal and cancel your recurring payment. You are responsible for this, we have no control over your account.

[Q] I bought supplies for the space and want to be reimbursed.  What is the expense claim procedure?
[A] As long as your purchase was pre-approved by the boards of directors, fill in the expense claim form and submit copies of your receipts to directors@vanhack.ca and finance@vanhack.ca.  The Treasurer will write out a cheque to you and must have another director sign it as well.