Meeting Notes 2011 03 01
Moderator: Dr. Jesus
Note-taker: Danny O'Brien
Introduction and Names
- Rachel M
- Rachel H
- New Noisebridge stickers have arrived! 2000 of the regular Red & Black ones, 1000 of the same thing but 1.5", and 1000 B&W ones. They are on the propaganda shelves to the left as you walk in. Extras in the bottom drawer of the wood "reception" desk. Grab some and pass them out to anyone and everyone you know or meet who you think might be at all interested in checking out Noisebridge -- it's a fun reminder that we exist, and it has our online and physical address, so people know how to find us. And be sure to point them out to new people who come to visit. -- Mitch.
They also cost like $500, so please put a few quarters in the donation box if you use them.
Funds in bank: $15,744.29 --Hurtstotouchfire 02:23, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Rent has been paid. Our average member donation is $65, our average associate donates $35. The treasurer still not getting about a $1000 of dues from current members. The nagging has commenced.
Names were read.
What's Going On at Noisebridge
One short sentence about each of the following:
For locations at Noisebridge, see a map of the 2169 location of Noisebridge.
- Circuit Hacking Mondays (Monday, 7PM, E Lab)
- iPhone OS developer weekly meetup -- (Monday, 6PM, A. Church) Meetups are becoming increasingly well attended, interested Noisebridge folks are encouraged to sign up at http://meetup.com/iphonedevsf , as that is where any important announcements and discussions take place. Contact Nickthedude with any questions.
- Pyclass - Mondays (Monday, 6:30PM, A. Turing) Working On Django now.
- Tastebridge cooking class - (Tuesday, ~5PM, NoiseKitchen)
- Ruby_class (Tuesdays, 7.00pm, A. Church) - Covering databases for the next few weeks.
- Probability (Tuesdays, 7.30pm, A. Turing)
- Show & Tell (Tuesdays, 7.30pm, electronics lab)
- Tastebridge culturing - (Wednesday, ~6PM, NoiseKitchen)
- Linux_Discussion_Group - (Wednesday, 6PM, A. Turing)
- GameDevelopment - (Wednesday, 7PM, E Lab/Main Hall]]
- SCoW craft group - (Wednesday, 7PM, SCoW area)
- Machine_Learning - (Wednesday, 7:30PM, A. Church)
- Spacebridge - (Sundays, Main Hall)
- Knots, Go, and Locks! - (Sunday afternoon, Main Hall)
- Second Saturdays are Noisebridge buildout days.
- Five Minutes of Fame
- Bay Area Hackers Association - (Second Sunday, 2PM)
- Lightroom Class - Thursday - take nude photos of yourself, post them to your Facebook, get fired from your job
Freeschool on Mondays is super exciting!
There is yeast brewing tomorrow!
Miloh is running show and tell!
Spacebridge has a launch coming, check out their mailing list.
Rubin is having Lightroom class, and is also re-building his a cellphone charging table so if you have any chargers you want that aren't NORMAL chargers, hand them to Rubin.
It is the one week anniversary of the laser cutter. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs etchings were shown off, and they were awesome.
There is a new mailing list called fabulous for laser cutting, vinyl cutting, and our other fab facilities.
Our laser cutter is called "Elvis Woo".
Will is still taking junk down from the junk room by the elevator. He gets a round of applause.
- To bar Patrick from entering the space and participating in the community.
A note from the note-taker. This was obviously a long conversation, and my note-taking is imperfect. I'd encourage everyone present to edit their own entries (and spelling of their names) if they feel they are inaccurate or add comments that I missed, and anyone who feels curious to contact the contributors to clarify before taking this as the perfect description of their opinions or statements.
DrJesus first asks if anyone is acting as a proxy for Patrick at Patrick's request. No-one is.
There is a recap of last week's events, including how the police got involved in the incident after the last meeting, and a clarification that it was Patrick who called the police. See https://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/2011-February/021415.html
Danny clarifies that unlike last week, all comments, unless specifically requested and agreed to as confidential, will be added to the record.
Shannon says he is less comfortable the less open we are.
Rubin would like it to be first added to the record that Patrick can "die in a fire".
That said, Rubin would also add that this is an unprecedented big deal for Noisebridge. It may be the first time we've banned someone from the space. Patrick has got a pretty good idea that he's not welcome here. Whether or not he uses common sense is another matter. But by banning somebody we open a lot of doors to the future. This sets a baseline for how much a dick you have to be for future bannings.
(Printed copies of the evidence collected from last week and available in the space since then are passed around.)
Claudia: He seems depressed and innocuous in the space. Online, though, I find him a major annoyance and actually the reason why I signed off the list. I am feeling the reason for banning him is because he's a pain in the neck, not because of this evidence.
Al S.: Being a dick is not going to get you kicked out of Noisebridge. Yes, I do believe that Patrick was dangerous. Not just because of the evidence, but because of the way he handles it. He denies he's doing anything wrong, he makes up lies to cover up what he's doing. He makes accusations against the people he's harassing.
Shannon: That's annoying, not dangerous.
Al S.: Well, much of this stuff is social blunders. But note when the person who feels they are being harassed responds and tells him to stop, he denies that the person really wants him to stop, that they would benefit from physical intimacy with him. Harmless is not how I would characterize that.
Rikke: I've been reading the evidence. I've been reading about stalkers and their victims, and typical patterns of harassment. Particular aspects of the wording, certain undertones and discriptions to interactions and his responses to what's been going on online, in my opinion, point to a delusional, even borderline sociopathic behavior. I know these are big words to throw around, and I don't want to do it lightly. I agree with Al: he is displaying a series of behavioral patterns that because he absolutely refuses to confront the issues people have with him, are appearing to slowly spin out of control into full-scale delusionality. That's not uncommon, and if he keeps coming up against these situations and these confrontations, I genuinely feel it could spur a serious incident. I think it is best not just for this community, and best for this space and best for Patrick in a more long-term sense that he's no longer here.
Danny: Jim raised the good point on the mailing list which is: Why are we doing this through consensus, given that people do-acratically signed a statement using saying that Patrick was unwelcome and that they would escort him from the building? Last meeting came collectively to the conclusion that consensus was appropriate. We discovered that some members were not at that meeting because they no longer felt safe at NB because of Patrick's behavior. Given this, we felt that if we did run it through consensus, we would make it clear that this behavior is unacceptable by Noisebridge as a whole. Secondly: given that Patrick's view of reality was often so much at variance with everyone elses', we were unsure whether he would react correctly to people simply saying he wasn't welcome; that he might come back, or convince himself that it was small minority. Consensus was intended to send a stronger signal to him. Finally, the consensus would provide Noisebridge as a legal entity the ability to take further actions, such as apply for a restraining order if that became necessary. I put forward a worry that if it failed, then we would return back to people feeling unsafe because it would be interpreted as condoning Patricks' behavior. Whatever happens in this meeting, we should make clear what our decision actually means beyond this case: we can say whether we're not setting a precedent, or we can say we're not banning this person but we still strongly disapprove of the behavior.
(At this point, and conveniently after his own long speech, the note-taker's magic surveillance pen ran out of battery, so the notes are paraphrasing much more from this point. Sorry -- particularly to DrJesus whose function as moderator has apparently meant that his many useful contributions got largely subsumed into the general "discussion" asides. Damnit.)
Shannon: I've read through the evidence folder. I don't think this reaches to even the minimum requirements for harassment in the workplace. I think it points to him being bad at picking up women. I feel that what we're really doing here is banning this person for his consistent inability to work within our group.
Ryce: I've dealt with Patrick on some important occasions. I was there when he was pulled up by police officers while driving and gave his residence as 2169. I was there at 3AM when I saw him removing change from the donation bin. I agree with Shannon, the conflict is with his social ability in general.
Rachel M: If Patrick had said to me the stuff he'd said, I would not have felt harassed but that's not the point. The people who it happened to felt unsafe, and they are grown-up sensible people with better things to deal than deal with this. They felt unsafe, and that's what we need to concentrate on. But we are meeting today about two things: one is what to do about Patrick. And the other is to discuss how we are handling it. We should keep those two processes separate.
Heph: I agree with Shannon's point: he doesn't know how to behave. But I believe strongly if you can't behave, and you mentally can't change your behavior in this space, then we should still be able to exclude such people.
Shannon: Oh don't misunderstand me. I want to ban the rat, I just disagree with the stated reasons why. His behavior failings in general are sufficient.
Rachel H: I have heard a lot of people say they think we're banning Patrick because we don't like him. But I think the reason is that he consistently fails to "get it", to get how to integrate or how to work within the group. Even that is only bad enough once he started being creepy.
Rubin: Let me try and define that. There's lots of people in the space whose behavior I disagree with. Heph for one. [Heph and Rubin spar]. But this is really different. I've tried several times to reach out to him, and trouble-shoot why his behavior isn't working in the space. He has totally ignored me, and refused to enter into fixing these disagreements in a spirit of problem-solving. He doesn't respond, and has actively avoided me.
Question: How many people have reached out to him? (Lot of hands) How many people have got no response? (A few hands) How many people have got the response "fuck off"? (More hands)
Snail: All of these people contacted him, and yet he says publicly that no-one has approached him.
Leif: I feel he is a habitual liar. He keeps saying he has a degree, but privately told me that he "almost" has a degree.
Jason Dusek: I'll second Shannon that this isn't just about this particular incident of harassment, but a combination. His continuing patterns of harassment, intransigence, more harassment, and then continuing intransigence.
If I've had similar behavior from say Rubin, I would be able to say WTF, and have a talk, and work to fix it. This is about Patrick's failure to be reasonable.
(???): I think many people who are socially anxious or awkward may worry if NB may turn against them like this. I want to emphasize that this is extraordinary, and that Patrick's behavior has been building up to this for a very long time.
Rubin: Yes, this behavior started long before this particular incident.
Heph: The point of this consensus to ban a behavior. Someone is not welcome here if they can't be reasoned with.
Crutcher: Against Heph's point: Nothing we can do here is actually actionable. We can't refer to this decision as a precedent in the future without having an equally long drawn-out discussion about any future behavior.
(Some agreement that this is a good thing)
Carol: I'm new here, and I'd like to ask how long did it take before it got to this point.
Rubin: Let's say 2-3 months.
(General discussion of dates. Andi notes that Patrick first mailed the NB lists on Nov. 29th, had been around before that. Clarification that while his behavior had been building up to this, things happened quickly after the key incident of harassment on Feb 18. Rachel M notes that many felt that things happened too quickly.)
Carol: I would just like to understand whether this is a place that takes the safety of its members seriously.
Rubin: You should not feel safe in this space! Have you seen that laser cutter?
Rubin: Consensus seems to be that people are unhappy with Patrick, for general unexcellent behavior. But we have not defined what "banning" means. We had a membership sub-committee at 83C which deliberated on what it meant to be a member, and also considered how we could ban someone (specifically a member). The decision it came to, which was never consensed upon, was that we should never ban someone permanently, but attach a time period, after which we would renew the ban if it was felt necessary. This was all highly theoretical however.
Patrick, as much as he is a dick, is a human being. I feel that he should have an avenue to return. Perhaps we should have a time-limit on the ban, say six months or a year.
Kelly: One idea to put out there: We should have a discussion next week on what we would do differently next time this issue comes up.
(General agreement that this is a fine idea.)
Shannon: I don't agree we need to add a statement defining banning or any other clarifications. We don't have a tradition of written rules: we should just ban the man.
Ryce(?): We do need, however, to move forward to consider similiar scenarios. For instance, should we have an official contact email address for people to report such incidents, anonymously if necessary?
Shannon: <SARCASM>Well, that would never be abused.</>
Rubin: We have a method for that already: people can nominate a proxy to speak for them at the meeting.
(???): We don't solve problems until they happen. We should not be setting precedents.
Crutcher: I agree with Shannon.
No-one has a right to NB. A desire for openness should not mean we expose people to their harassers. We are not some perfect judicial system. However, we will go through all of this upheaval again next time, and this is an artifact of our lack of good jurisprudence.
Danny: Aesthetix and others in other fora also said they were uncomfortable with banning Patrick "indefinitely". I'm uncomfortable with having a fixed time period. How about we say "until further notice"?
Kelly: Here's my proposal. Let's say we ban him from the space for 6 months minimum, and then until he can come to us and discuss with us how he proposes to change his behavior.
(Some discussion led by Kelly on how he might best be able to do that, including presenting himself for membership, or having a do-acratically constructed list of people who volunteer to mediate for him, in a mirror of the do-acratically signed mail from last week)
Shannon: The term is always going to be open-ended: we can't at this meeting absolutely ban someone forever. But I don't think we need to be specific about how he might return. I'd say our major issue is his inability to navigate a complex social minefield. If he can navigate this one, he's probably doing a lot better, and we should have him back.
(Discussion: how can he contact us?)
Rubin: We can't actually stop him from emailing us all. He should ask a member to act as his proxy and propose a new consensus item.
The group wishes to make it clear that everyone considers this consensus item, and all consensus items are capable of being undone by a future consensus item.
(Discussion lead by DrJesus on whether we should have a time limit. Consensus is that there should be no named time limit, but "indefinitely" should be dropped from the consensus motion to make clear that we do not consider this an irrevocable ban.)
John: I disagree with Shannon. I think he's seriously delusional. It's all in his head.
Adny: Well I think you are all in my head too.
Rubin: I would like a definition of "banning". We are creating an avenue for future bans from the space, and I believe this will make me totally trigger-happy to start banning like crazy so I want some specifics.
Rachel H: Not entering the space, not mailing the mailing list.
(Everyone: What about the wiki? IRC? etc)
Kelly: What I'd like clearly entered into the notes is that he is unwelcome in the space.
Rubin: I think the minimum banning means is 2169, the mailing list, the wiki and IRC channel.
(Swift discussion and rejection of "and Noisebridge events outside the space". Discussion of technical measures to enforce banning.)
Praveen: I really hope people can work this out. To that end, is it possible to minimize the googleability of this whole thing, so this is not linked to Patrick forever? Could we redact the mailing list?
(Agreement that NB has very strong cultural reticence against removing information)
Andi: There's only one incident of redaction, which was one someone's payment details were accidentally revealed, indicating clearly their physical location, which in turn placed their job at risk. In that case only we agreed to remove the item.
Shannon: Andi you should consider unsubbing him.
Andi: I will certainly consider that. I think technical measures to block him from the list would be counterproductive. I would further propose, however, a bot that would automatically respond to him if he posts to the mailing list, reminding him of the decision.
Shannon: I'd like to make it clear that Rubin's list of what the ban means is not official.
Rubin: Agreed. I personally think that Patrick gave up the right to privacy when he called the police to the space. I also want to add that a lot of other Hackerspaces are watching this incident very closely. We should be as open as possible so that they can understand what happened here. Also, if Patrick does want to return, and approaches a new member who might not have all the background, that member should be able to view the full discussion in the past and be able to come to a full conclusion, and know who to speak with to find out more.
Praveen: Wait, is nb-discuss googleable?
Danny: Just to be clear, Patrick gets the same (very thin) level of protection in these notes as afforded any other Noisebridger, which is that it is first name only. We also went to some effort to make the evidence non-googleable to protect the privacy of Patrick and the other people involved. The full name discussions on noisebridge-discuss are to a very great extent voluntarily entered into by Patrick himself.
Rachel M: Okay, what is the consensus item now?
DrJesus: To bar Patrick from entering the space and participating in the community. [Note-taker: note the full consensus item includes Patrick's full name, and is recorded elsewhere in the consensus items history.]
(Discussion about whether and to what extent the consensus item can be altered on the fly. Consensus is that we can change it within reason to reflect the actual consensus without resetting the whole process, and that a one word change falls under this traditional flexibility)
Glen(?): Just wish to add to the notes my sense that this is for major non-excellence without willingness to reform.
Claudia: I was harassed, but it's good for us to work together to ensure that he can reform, improve, get a job and the support he needs.
Glen(?): I think it's appropriate that we all aim to be helpful to Patrick.
Rubin: I would like to note that if you notice anyone shit-talking about Patrick, on IRC or wherever, to tell them to stop. We've made our statement now, there's no need to take it further.
Kelly: I agree to head the discussion next week on what we would do differently in all of this at the next meeting, and also head the do-acratic group to ensure that Patrick has a way back to our community.
Consensus is reached. Patrick is barred.
Rachel M: I would like to note that I think we are doing much better at consensus.
- More T-shirts for Maker Faire. Great for fund-raising at the Maker Faire, and great for fund-raising at the space during and immediately after the Faire, since zillions of people from out of town will be at NB to visit, and many will want a spiffy Noisebridge T-shirt in their size. Should we get 50 more (the ones we got about a month ago are going fast). -- Mitch.
End of Meeting
- PGP Key Signing could happen now, check the list to see who wants in on the action.
- Put back the membership binder by the Shrine.
- Save the meeting notes to the wiki.
- Send a copy of the meeting notes to the discussion list.
- Copy the Meeting Notes Template for next week's agenda and update the main wiki page's link to it.
- Enjoy a cocktail with your fellow hacker or robot.