[Noisebridge-discuss] Lack of due process when Cynthia forced to leave

jim jim at systemateka.com
Thu May 3 13:45:13 PDT 2012

    Excellent! I completely agree. I'm for banning banning. 

    There have been discussions about defining "hacking", 
and best I can tell, no tight definition has appeared, 
certainly not one that can be used as a criterion for 

    As to Cynthia, I've never had a problem with her and 
have had some good, if brief, conversations with her. 
    What, please, is the problem with Cynthia? 

On Thu, 2012-05-03 at 13:22 -0700, Carl wrote:
> You know I don't post here all that much, but I really felt that I had
> to respond to this...
> I've read through all of the comments about what transpired with
> Cynthia, on the discuss list and the meeting notes.  Although I haven't
> been present at Noisebridge during the past week, from what I've read so
> far, I am really not pleased about how people involved in this situation
> treated her.  (This would include Jesse, Will, and apparently a third
> man.)
> First of all, calling the police really should not be done unless:
> 1. Someone is harming or threatening harm to another person, causing
> damage to the space, stealing, or otherwise causing trouble or
> performing an illegal activity.
> 2. A person who has been officially banned from the space refuses to
> leave.  And by "official", I mean a due process has been followed
> whereas a previous discussion and consensus was taken to ban a
> particular person.
> 3. AND ONLY AFTER the Noisebridge community are unable to handle the
> situation on our own should we get the police involved.
> I find it troubling when individuals take it upon themselves to forcibly
> remove people from the space, who by all accounts of what I've read, did
> NOT cause any trouble prior to being asked to leave.  I believe it was
> wrong for Jesse and Will to have done what they did in this case, prior
> to taking it up at a meeting where the members could discuss and make a
> decision as to whether to ban Cynthia from the space, AND ONLY AFTER
> this discussion and consensus would it be appropriate to ask someone to
> not return.  (and as she brought up, informing her of this could have
> been done through email prior to her arrival in order to avoid this
> confrontation.)
> I am also troubled by the flippant and immature responses on this list
> about Cynthia being "crazy".  Her past talk of legal actions against
> Texas corporations has no bearing on what transpired.  As far as I can
> tell, she hasn't forced anyone to listen to her talk about such matters.
> It was your choice to listen to her talk about it or not.
> Lots of people in this space suffer from some sort of mental illness.
> I've not heard of one single incident or accusation that Cynthia has
> harmed, threatened harm, or otherwise caused any trouble to anyone in
> the space.  That's all that matters.  Kicking someone out of a space
> because they may be mentally ill, while not causing trouble or harm to
> anyone else in the space, is discriminatory.  (IANAL, but it may also be
> illegal by the ADA.)  
> Now it IS OK to kick someone out for not working on "hacker"-related
> activities, as that is the purpose of Noisebridge as a hackerspace, but
> we really should clarify what our standards are for this, which I don't
> believe we've done.  There really should be a due process put in place
> to handle situations such as these, so that the individual in question
> be given a chance to defend themselves, and also to try to avoid these
> types of confrontations.  I don't think any one individual (or small
> group) should have the right to arbitrarily force someone to leave
> simply because they don't like them or "approve" of them.
> This whole issue of kicking people out started when people, "Occupiers"
> which some called "Oogles", were sleeping overnight at the space even
> though they were specifically told that Noisebridge wasn't a homeless
> shelter and had to leave.  That was OK and a justified reason for
> kicking people out.  Now that they're gone, it seems like we're
> targeting people who don't stay overnight, who may be occasional
> visitors, but who seem to not be using the space for "hacking", without
> a clear definition of what "hacking" is or is not.  Individuals are
> taking it upon themselves to determine whether certain other people are
> to be allowed inside the space.  
> How far down are we going to go with this?  It seems like we're heading
> towards rejecting more people than prior to when the Oogles started
> arriving at the space.  The first time Noisebridge ever banned anyone,
> it took considerable discussion and a consensus process.  Nowadays it
> seems like any member can just ban anyone they don't like.  How and why
> did we get to this point?  And I'm not just talking about Cynthia here,
> but others as well.  (take Erica for example, who no longer feels
> welcome here.)
> And lastly, I think we need to stop this witch-hunt non-hacker hate
> mentality that we seem to be developing here, which will only drive away
> new people who may not be familiar with hacker culture.  If we try to
> make an effort to become friends with them, then we can encourage
> newcomers to contribute and learn to become hackers by involving them
> with our projects.  Instead of rejecting them, we should be trying to
> encourage them to become productive participants in our community.
> -Carl
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