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

Brandon Edens brandonedens at gmail.com
Thu May 3 13:55:30 PDT 2012

I've heard word about a lack of definition for hacking. Personally, my bible
for these matters has been Levy's "Hackers" and particularly his definition:

The Hacker Ethic

1. Access to computers - and anything which might teach you something
about the way the world works - should be unlimited and total. Always
yield to the Hands-On imperative!

2. All information should be free.

3. Mistrust authority - promote decentralization.

4. Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as
degrees, age, race, or position.

5. You can create art and beauty on a computer.

6. Computers can change your life for the better.

- Brandon - just another 4th generation hacker.

PS Wikipedia apparently has a wonderful page on this too:

On Thu, May 03, 2012 at 01:45:13PM -0700, jim wrote:

>     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 
> anything. 
>     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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Brandon Edens | brandonedens at gmail.com | brandonedens.org | key 0xEC4E9BA5
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