L am an example of someone excluded from your facilities.
l am an occasional user of ur facilities. In the past, l have considered membership, participating more and contributing to your space, but repeated negative experiences, and the refusal of the members of the facilities to take action have made me stop using your facilities all together. l am writing a page as a gesture of good faith because l can see that said problems can be addressed, however, l will not be in the facilities physically, as l experience emotional and physical threat repeatedly from people who frequent the facilities whenever l am there.
l began using your facilities about a year ago, c May 2010 until about September of the same year. l used mainly your kitchen facilities and wifi. l hold certain views about how to improve the overall health and well-being of the general populace, which l express through direct action. Explaining what these views are gives background to the conflict that ensued. l encourage people to take food that is fit for consumption when they do not have the monetary means to purchase such items. This includes becoming informed about food safety, quality of food products and how it affects its safety in consumption. it's not so much learning about different chemical additives, etc. and becoming a scholar of such things. l promote practices that maintain health for the individual such as avoiding additive-laden goods, eating food that has not been tainted; on the other side of the coin, learning about food variety, and about what may not seem appetizing but are safe to consume and nutritious, such as certain insects. A war of words is not what l am looking for in the situation, it is making sure people are not only fed, but properly fed and nourished. l feel that the proper nourishment of the populace is more important than the value of camaraderie formed through dumpster diving with others, and certainly more important than the economic barriers, which is set up in many cases by vendors to support rigid business practices: warehouses of food are destroyed in storage in order to fix prices in stores everyday. As well, problems plague existing distribution infractructure for those who do not have the economic means to purchase adequate food (as exemplified by what this article describes http://boingboing.net/2007/03/23/food-bank-dump-in-th.html ,) not to mention the humiliation the general social environment imposes upon those receiving such aid, corruption within the infrastructure which takes from the disenfranchised exactly because they are without support. l will not explain this in further detail as this is only meant to give background to the conflict. The actions l take to express these views include taking food from shelves in stores, preparing it, and distributing it. It is doing this in your facilities that prompted a member to make it difficult for me to be in the space. This presents a paradox because it is the availability of your infrastructure that made me try the space out in the first place.
This member made frequent use of the kitchen facilities around this time. He also lived in the space. A lot of activities which are frowned upon by the Law take place in Noisebridge, for which the facilities are not responsible. However, this member felt the need to tell me that l should not use the kitchen facilities because my activities were illegal; he also brought the matter to a member meeting, which l did attend even though l was never a member. Debates ensued over the matter, but that all meant very little to me because the whole time it became harder and harder for me to use the facilities, and l was also stigmatized for taking actions based on my views, not to meant ion being told what to do by someone in the space.
The members did nothing about the above, which l thought was integral to the vision of the space. If someone told any other member what to do, l believe that actions would have been taken. l think Kurt Vonnegut put it quite well in Slaughter House Five, that the bible illustrated the aggressors upon Jesus experienced the wrath of God because Jesus is the son of God, which taught people that it is the well-connected whom they should fear. Instead, if the bible illustrated Jesus as a complete and total loser right up to the moment when he was about to die from the mistreatment visited upon him, suddenly the skies opened up and 'God' tells everyone that he is adopting this loser on the spot, and everyone who has ever attacked him shall suffer the wrath of this being, then a lot of conflict in the Western world could have been prevented. l was not stupid enough to stick around for attacks in 2010, (nor it is a good use of time to participate in lengthy discussion when l was not even a member,) but essentially, to the people present at this member meeting as well as ensuing IRC discussions, l am a poorly-connected loser. But that's not true either, it's just that people who thought what was happening to me was wrong weighed peace within their community over fighting over ideology, and hence, l don't cook in your facilities. This actually occurred. What the other person did after that is outside of the scope of my argument because l did not and do not give a shit what he does. It boiled down to me not being able to use your facilities and no one did anything about it. Word mincing does not obliterate this fact, attack upon my integrity and my work does not obliterate this fact; rather, it compromises the integrity of your organization.
In 2010, aside from the aforementioned experience, l also encountered other people in the Noisebridge facilities who disrupted me from working. l want to point out that during my visits in August of 2011, these men were still around the facilities and often slept there. That's a full year of 'residence'. One experience is while making a video pitch for venture funding, a man repeatedly entered the frame, and eventually stopped me from my work. This is a person whom l saw on the premises on multiple occasions and to whom l was polite and humored with conversation. Even before this incident, this man displayed a demanding attitude toward my attention. Another man who was demanding of my attention after l humored him with conversation in 2010 was also still present at Noisebridge during my visits in August 2011. l stayed clear of these men for the most part, except on the morning of 08/14/2011, the man who kept me from working on my video made it impossible for me to be at the facility by picking a verbal fight with me. l avoided the conflict by extricating out of the conversation and leaving the facilities. They have taken it upon themselves to wake people up from sleeping or telling others they 'must hack or leave'. There's no greater attractor for hate than falling asleep in public in San Francisco, and at your facilities it is no exception. There's not better way to stay away from scrutiny than initiating scrutiny themselves. Again, l want to point out that these 2 men have been spending nights at your facilities for about 1 year at this point.
lt would be nice if the place was full of cool people late into the night who are provided with a space to connect with each other, but with this type of weirdness it will never happen. Having a 24 hour facility available is valuable to the community in general. l'm no stranger to polyphasic sleep and working around the clock. The type of witch-hunting mob manipulation being generated at your facility makes my blood boil, not to mention how it promotes and protects the act of pretending to work while simultaneously prevents real work from being done. It is a reflection of the plague that grinds this country's economy to a halt, and the 'innovators' do nothing!
l imagine that the reason people do not call abusive use of the facilities out because it's perceived to be a can of worms: if one person's behavior can be construed as abuse, then everyone can be accused for whatever reason. l don't think this is true, you can point out blatant abuse and stop it in its tracks. But these men that made the environment a hazard for me, and who have lived at your facilities for a year are still there. This tells me l am not imagining that people defend the exclusive rights of those who have personally reached them (whom they've spoken to,) justifying their actions, or they are simply too weak to stand up to bullshit, pretend it's not there and give up.
All it takes is for me to come in and the illusion is gone, or let me guess, it's still easier to just pretend you don't get what l'm talking about and let them hang out rather than to tell them they are the problem or get them some help. Shutting the place down to everyone in the face of abuse means that the abuse has compromised the very purpose of the institution: so it could be used. If the place is a social experiment, the first proposed solution has proven itself to be ineffective: so change to another one, duh.
And then you might say: Who is this person to say anything. I don't know her; her experience isn't anyone else's experience. You might even expand that and venture to guess that other people are probably not excluded from the facilities, and even if they are, it isn't you yet so who gives a shit.
Everyone chooses from whom s/he draws sustenance. Every time l come in, l see that people's slummer/ garbage-can-inspired imagination point them toward subsistent penny-pinching, pushing out other influences. You have to get rid of what your don't want to get what you do want. Whenever l've made contributions in the past, l didn't say a word, not so with people who are doing it for brownie points so they can abuse the place. This facility used to be a sweat shop, at least back then the people in the facilities were getting ripped off and not making peons running on intellectual pride out of themselves.
l don't have a problem with anyone, l choose to stay away. l do this not because l'm scared, it's that l respect even that mentality and decisions that were made along those lines of thought. Reader, if you were a target, would you have that kind of courtesy? The last thing l'd like to point out is that l decided not to be a member because l am pushed out by behavior that l thought was antithetical to the spirit of your establishment, yet, the behaviour is allowed. l've met great people at your spot as well, but they don't live at the place, and l really didn't see them around in the 2 weeks l've used the facilities in 2011. l have no attachment your facilities, l am just talking about my experience as feedback to the facility. l see the problems and l would really be peeved if the place gets pwned/ shuts down and people simply pretend (in hindsight) that they didn't see the problems as they arose and tell others that 'no one knew what the problems were nor could they have known what those problems were.' The integrity of your facility is compromised physically and spiritually, l don't understand why all the people who say they love the place do nothing. The first step to solving problems is to acknowledge them.
(aka Bullitt Bourbon)