Farset Labs 2016 Member Survey Results

Further to our survey, undertaken in January 2016, we can now reveal the results, and our planned actions to improve!

Note: All worded responses are included, except where such a response identified the respondent.



This question was intended to gather basic data regarding how frequently members use the space. It’s heartening to see that 75%+ of respondents use the space more than once per week. Hopefully as we work to improve the space further, we’ll see this number increase.


This question was again to gather basic data on space usage. The response is largely as expected, and should help us ensure that we’re providing services and planning events at the right times.


Another basic usage question, and again no big surprises. There’s an interesting correlation between usage and investment, though it’s hard to say if this is cause or effect.

We plan to invest further in improving the lounge, with our intention being to make it more suitable as a meeting room (Without sacrificing the lounge aspect!)






The results here are interesting; when compared to our own accounting data, we can see that students are underrepresented in the survey. Roughly 80% of freelancers have responded, whereas only 50% of students have done so.


The length of membership data is encouraging. It indicates both a good member retention, and a sizeable number of new members joining the community.


On this chart, 1 represents ‘Much too Cheap’, and 5 represents ‘Much too Expensive’. It’s encouraging to see that more members think we’re undercharging than overcharging!

When compared to other spaces across the UK, our rates are very favourable for our size and facilities. We don’t currently intend to revise our membership fees.




  • As I am there during the day, I seem to have only the freelancer option, but for 3-4 days per month, when I am using my own laptop and could work elsewhere, another option would be appreciated :s
  • Farset is awesome.
  • I don’t get in often so feel it is expensive. Some hackerspaces offer pay-what-you-feel-you-use, I think that is appropriate for evening access


It’s evidently important that we clarify the wording of our membership and pricing structure. Our ‘Freelancer’ scheme is intended to be a voluntary donation on top of standard fees, based on a member’s self-assessed usage of the space. ‘Freelancer’ membership is not required for daytime use of the space. Additionally, we implemented fees for daily use several months ago, but evidently this needs publicised more. The Day Pass fees stand, at £5 a day, or £3 for an evening (after 5pm). Our fees are all listed online, but we’ll make these clearer. We will improve the advertising of membership fees within the building itself.



  • Clarify wording of membership fees. [JIRA LINK]
  • Improve in-space advertising of membership fees [JIRA LINK]




Cleanliness of the space has long been an issue, so it’s good to see that the scores are higher than expected. In the last year, we’ve improved the frequency of our bin collections, and organised the collection of glass. The space is now also cleaned weekly by an external cleaner, so cleanliness should continue to improve. Members can do their bit by ensuring they follow the clear desk policy, and by leaving the space a little cleaner than they found it on every visit. Cleaning supplies and bin liners etc are always available under the kitchen sink and we have recently put up new signage to clarify the bin locations.


Keeping the space in a good state of repair is one of our top priorities, so it’s good to see that members think we’re doing well! Some aspects of the building are maintained by ourselves, and others by the landlord. To help us keep things running, please report breakages and faults to us ( ) as soon as you encounter them. If we don’t know something is broken, we can’t get it fixed.


A fairly even spread of responses to this question. It’s worth noting that the Event Space has a large number of tables and chairs, and offers similar connectivity to the co-working space, should it be full.



Item Request Count
Laser Cutter 4
Death Ray 2
Linux Workstations 1
Blinkenlights 1
Communal Raspberry Pi 1
Inputs for Projector 1
Microcontrollers for Experimentation 1
CNC Machine 1
Bicycle Repair Stand 1
Electronic Access Control 1
More Storage 1
Band Saw 1
Dust Extraction 1


The laser cutter is clearly the most requested item on this list. Assuming those who want a death ray will settle for a laser cutter, this gives six individual requests. A laser cutter is something we’re investigating right now, but the equipment isn’t cheap, with reasonable solutions costing in the range of £10-15k. We’re looking into how to afford such a machine, and how we can afford to maintain it.

Equipment such as band saws are where things get rather difficult from a safety perspective. We’ll be looking into the possibility of such equipment, but it’s unlikely at this stage.

Other equipment requested will be placed on our (ever growing) shopping list.




  • Workspace is easy to find, equipment isn’t. It’s often vanished (ie. stolen) or moved, or difficult to find in the first place. (Obvs this isn’t a dig at management!)
  • Conor did an awesome job making the space habitable.
  • Few times I have noticed offers of paid / sponsored use passed up, seemingly for straightforwardness rather than idealogical or practical reasons – while this obviously takes volunteer effort, having a slightly clearer and more efficient fee structure / guidelines could save users time, offset subs, and encourage wider use and community engagement


We do the best we can to locate and replace missing equipment, but often we aren’t informed until months after equipment disappears. Members can do their part to help by letting us know when something goes missing. That way we can search through CCTV, or order a replacement. Please be aware that removing equipment from the space without permission is strictly prohibited. Members found to be removing Farset property, or that belonging to other members, will be asked to leave.

With regard to paid use of the space, we consider all requests equally. We will seek to clarify the space booking fees.



  • Update Event Pricing on Website [JIRA LINK]


Digital Infrastructure


No surprises here, we have a very capable internet connection at present, courtesy of Tibus. We’re currently getting the line upgraded to 200Mb fibre, though. Anyone who doesn’t give 5/5 next time around will be hunted down.


Reliability of the internet connection varies, and we’re currently working on improving this through use of new switchgear. This should be implemented around the same time as the fibre installation.


This question has returned the worst feedback in the survey, and it’s no surprise. One of the main problems we have with our printing system (using Google Cloudprint) is that the host machine (which also hosts the reception display) often updates/is logged out/is turned off. This kills the print.

We’re currently looking into replacing the print server with a Raspberry Pi (also running cloudprint), that should be harder to meddle with. All being well, this will greatly increase the reliability of the printers.

As with other reliability issues, any failures should be reported ( ) so that we know they need to be fixed.


Other Services:

  • More accessible starter guide to Farset, FAQ info for new members. May be on the Wiki, but I couldn’t access that.
  • Dedicated VPS hosting (inc. IPs)
  • 3D scanning
  • Not new services so much as clearer advice on what’s available and how to use it (I know we’re working on this).
  • FPGA stuff might be interesting? Some basic tech intro courses?
  • Sports massage. Cocktail bar.
  • I want to host a Kerbal Space Program multiplayer server, I need to speak to Dan.
  • VPN, VPS, Storage, Jumpbox, Docker

VPN, VPS, and Storage services are currently under development, as is improved documentation of existing services. This was a long term issue as we’ve flipped between several different documentation / FAQ frameworks, but after a long run, we’re back to using as a general knowledgebase and leaving long-term / policy issues on the static website. It’s still being worked on and we’d welcome suggestions or submissions!

3D scanning will be considered, depending on the interest from the membership.

Sports massages may be a longer term goal, and cocktail urges will need to be quenched at our tuck shop for the foreseeable future.




  • Scanned the QR on printers a few weeks ago, “page does not exist” when visited link had to use USB to print. Nothing major, but, if we have the utility offered it should work
  • Documentation for current DI policies and activities is poor.
  • Cloud Print is a great idea however extremely temperamental. Have ended up using up all my print credits without actually being able to print anything.


As above, these issues are all under investigation (see actions below). The ‘Page does not exist’ error was a mistake on our part, caused by leaving up posters with old links. These posters have since been removed.






A strong trend towards positive responses. This can confidently be put down to the consistent hard work of Glenn, our events NEM. Thank you!


More positive responses here, again to Glenn’s credit. It’s worth pointing out that members can organise events of their own. It’s strongly encouraged! If there’s a type of event you think we should run, by all means get in touch and help us do it!




  • Do we have anyone who’s ‘job’ it is to go out and attract more meetup groups? Takes time, I know, but also a potentially good driver of membership
  • Glen rocks
  • Got a million times better since Glenn! Figuring out how to get members to start their own would be a massive victory (but hard :()
  • More group learning or even lightning talk sessions would be very good


We welcome meetup groups who wish to make use of our Wednesday evening slots, but since there are only so many Wednesday evenings in a month, we’re kept pretty busy with such groups. Membership resulting from meetup groups has typically been low. Since the slots are already busy, and such group events are hosted for free, we’re not actively pushing for more right now.


  • There are no specific actions in this section.





Another ‘basic data’ type question. It’s interesting to see that Slack is the most used option, though perhaps this is simply showing that those who use slack were more likely to respond to the survey. Blog posts are generally used for “official”, canonical announcements which are then shared through other channels.


From this question, we can see that our frequency of communications is about right. If anything, we need to publicise what we’re doing a little more! Hopefully this will be improved by the new Weeknotes system.


Again a fairly wide spread, but there’s a trend towards positive responses. We’ll be reviewing how well we’re publicising our contact information, and adding an anonymous feedback form to our website in an effort to improve this further.


A good trend towards positive responses here! Since events are well advertised and kept on our calendar, and since NEM and Director roles are advertised to the community, this is somewhat expected. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing, making sure that members are informed of new events and opportunities to get involved.


A very strong response here! We’ll look into starting such an event. The suggestion made below regarding non-members is a perfectly valid one, we’ll look into how such an event could be opened up to non-members through our standard event ticket fee.


Event Suggestions:

  • Open social night, lightning talks
  • Happy with community led events.
  • Movie nights
  • I find alcohol to be a fine social lubricant.
  • Yes
  • A monthly social event would be great but I’d like to be able to bring, and meet, non-members.
  • Let’s get together an evening a month and work on the space, we can build both physical and virtual stuff.




  • No one seems to take any kind of lead in integrating new members into the community.
  • LinkedIn
  • has some interesting ideas, eg. for a beginning/intermediate software developer wanting to “level up” (
  • Need more project documentation content (hacknotes style)


The point regarding new members’ induction is an issue we’ve been talking about for a long time but has been difficult to nail down in terms of scheduling, and format. Our Community NEM is currently looking at how to resolve these remaining issues so we can get regular induction / social nights up and running as soon as possible.


  • Weeknotes System [JIRA LINK]
  • Review publicising of contact email addresses [JIRA LINK]
  • Add anonymous feedback form to website [JIRA LINK]
  • Monthly members-only social event [JIRA LINK]
  • Improve integration of new members [JIRA LINK]





  • Brilliant place – a real asset for Belfast
  • Crabs