[Noisebridge-discuss] [drama] also [actual action] Re: Cynthia and "Asian" Reference

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Fri Feb 3 11:20:13 PST 2012

On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM, Peter Werner <germpore at sonic.net> wrote:

> Probably opening up a can of worms here, but –
> Modifications? Well, for starters, the "geek feminists" have some of the
> most over-the-top policies against display of "sexual imagery" this side of
> Catherine MacKinnon. I happen to be one of those people who find this and
> other aspects of the "geek feminist" anti-harassment policy to amount to
> censorship, and if taken at it's word, it would pretty much preclude NB
> from hosting Arse Electronica among other events, and in my estimation,
> that would not be a good thing.

I paid $5 into the drama funds!1!!111
I'm not sure you actually realise how large of an intersection there is
between the people who organize and speak at Arse Electronica and those who
developed the (templated) suggestions for the anti-harrasment policy.

Obviously, it'd be far easier for the outrage if they were carefully
arranged on two sides of some gaping cultural divide, but actually you can
be simultaneously for developing reasonable anti-harassment policies *and*
sex positivity *and* freedom of speech. It'd be pretty easy to knock out an
anti-harassment variant for Arse or an all-night hummus fucking party;
those square brackets are there for a reason. Probably a slightly better
reason than your use of scare quotes around a group of people you interact
with on a regular basis.

Anyway, this is a distraction. Noisebridge is unlikely to collectively
adopt a codification aimed at gropy tech conferences; what we settled on is
a mediation process, which I know Pearl and others have used in the past.


It's imperfect, because we're imperfect, and much of its imperfection is
that not everybody knows about it yet, and also people don't feel
comfortable asserting themselves against people who break social norms
rather than written rules,. This is a far more pernicious issue, actually,
than the "strong personality asserting their ideas" issue. Strong
personalities wishing to impose their own rules by force of will run
screaming from Noisebridge after approximately 5 weeks. I've seen them.

People had a fairly long talk about assertion with some relatively new
folks yesterday, and there was a do-acratic move to ask people who were
sleeping here to move on out.

The chatter in the space right now is how well it worked out.


> In other words, I don't think it's a policy that should be adopted
> wholesale and uncritically. I'm not even sure if it's a particularly good
> model policy. That said, I do think some sort of policy on harassment and
> violence should be in place, but it should be kept simple and not
> excessively ideological. The descriptions I'm hearing of the behavior that
> started this discussion sound like somebody is clearly violating other
> people's boundaries, and it's the kind of thing that any community that
> wishes to remain functional needs to put its foot down about in whatever
> way achieves the best balance of being effective without being heavy-handed.
> Which, yes, means some agreed-upon set of "rules", which is a concept I
> gather a lot of people in spaces like this don't like. But it certainly
> beats the hell out of having strong personalities impose their own rules by
> sheer force of will. (Social Contract 101 here.) Or veering off into the
> opposite extreme of heavy-handed rules (eg, aspects of the "geek feminist"
> policy) because "no rules" was tried and didn't work.

> For what it's worth,
> Peter Werner
> On Feb 1, 2012, at 4:49 PM, Tao Neuendorffer Flaherty wrote:
> Here is an example of conference anti-harassment policy:
> http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Conference_anti-harassment/Policy
> How could it be modified to work with Noisebridge?
> It's important for people in Noisebridge to feel safe from each other. My
> first day there, watching Hackers, I was attacked from behind by a large
> robot rushing in from the other room. That hurt a lot, and was not
> excellent.
> We need to be excellent to each other, which involves responding to
> destructive attitudes and behavior.
> Peace,
> Tao Flaherty
> _______________________________________________
> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
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