[Noisebridge-discuss] The image we have to other hackerspaces and society as a whole

Elmar Lecher mc.fly at ramdrive.org
Sat Oct 5 04:48:51 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA1

Heyho noisebridge

I am answering to the discussion from a long distance. Sorry if i am
not aware of all the recent events at nb.

The discussion feels very familiar. We have had similar experiences
and problems too.

Also this answer is rather long. Sorry for that.

On 05.10.2013 03:24, Ronald Cotoni wrote:
> http://uptownalmanac.com/2013/10/claims-sexism-and-sexual-assault-plague-noisebridge-hackerspace

Happened often, but not always hits the media.

i would like to add my 0.02 eurocent there.

Weev. Weev is a troll and everybody knows that i assume. Trolls have
their good sides and their bad sides and you cannot have the one
without the other. In my experience you hardly have trolls that are
just idiots with no clue at all.
In general - me personally - i would like to have such people on a
hackerspace, but i have been mobbed out of my hackerspace by a troll
too - and i even never came back because something broke it for me.
I am unsure how i would have to handle it. Usually trolls become a
problem when people react to them - don't feed the troll is for a
reason the point a lot of ppl bring up then and its imho the only
thing that works there.

If someone slaps your ass hit him. some people do not want to do
that especially if the one that hits the ass is bigger than me.
If a troll insults you insult him back. Some people do not want that
because they cannot use words that good and dont have enough
experience there. (aka: its the same problem)

The bathroom wall woman discussion of the painting reminds me of the
cbase discussion. i'm meh there. anime and comic culture is often
part of the nerd culture and small waists and big tits are part of
that. It usually becomes a problem when other things are a problem
before. Imho its usually a sign of a problem, not a problem itself.
Funnily though the line offensive / not offensive is commonly not
between woman and men but somewhere between both.
The true problem behind it is lack respect and people who think they
deserve respect.

The real problem starts when people do not show up anymore then
because they are annoyed by the discussion. They want to do
technical shit and not be bothered with discussions like this. I am
the same way, i try to manage and solve the problem for a while but
usually both sides keep standing on their standpoint. People react
to the trolls, feed them this way, people claim their personal
safety is at danger - and they really feel it this way.

The problem behind that in my experience is something different. Its
missing social skills and missing self-confidence on both sides.
You have really capable woman, not always blessed with the biggest
self-confidence, not always socially too capable. You have really
capable men, not always blessed with the biggest self-confidence,
not always socially too capable.

I personally like to keep the whole gender issue out, the whole sex
issue out. Assume that different sex do not exist within the
hackerspace. Other things count here like technical skills, like the
ability to do stuff.

And then 2 people in the space like each other - a lot. The whole
idea of gender neutrality falls apart. You have to deal with
feelings. 6 weeks later you have drama. Because a third liked one of
the above, because the 2 do not like each other anymore. because
maybe the two liked each other too much, maybe in front of a third
who is then offended.

Drama is the result. At this situation you need a electrical
generator fueled by drama but as long as thats not invended you have
to deal with it.

You are not special in there. Hackerspaces here are way older than
noisebridge (over 30 years actually) and i have seen that kind of
discussions over and over again. By the ability to handle those the
near future of the space is decided on - its a fine line of actually
adressing the situation but not in a way that people get offended by
the discussion itself because in the end we are here to do awesome
stuff and not talk about that drama shit again.

You are not the first hackerspace here that has pretty much
precisely the problem. Be careful how you deal with it. The really
valueable people are people who do awesome things, who make other
people do awesome things. They will most likely leave quietly, just
not show up anymore because they are annoyed by the drama and or the
situation itself.

No rules there is usually not a option there as much as hardcore
enforcing rules is also not a option.
Start measureing people again more on what they do and what they
help others and motivate themself and others to do awesome things -
not what gender or political opinion they have. Encourage them to do
awesome things.

And do not think that noisebridge is special here. You are not the
first hackerspace with that problem and you would be neither the
first who failed there or solved it. (I repeat that because i know
noisebrige things its special and old. Its not. at all. get over it.)

Good and important point is to keep drama out of the press and out
of the internetz. Talk to each other instead of talking about each
other on your blogs and social networks. Maybe not in the big weekly
meeting - actually that is close to the internetz one of the worst
places for that.

You might need someone who talks to the one and the other in a
rather small discussion rounds of 2-4 ppl, trying to find the real
problem, trying to bring over messages we ourself failed to deliver
because of the social problems, the inability to handle such things
that most of us share (even if we refuse to admit it).

Talking openly about such problems on the internetz creates media
attention and that attracts people you do not want, trust me.
I know that people write blogposts and social media posts to get the
stuff off their heart. to get the situation solved by naming it. It
does not solve it, it makes it worse. Sadly people often do so
within their ragequit.

In my experience it does not work because it does not allow people
to change their behaviour without loosing their face. You will
create more drama and more drama and as long as noone invents the
above mentioneddrama fueled power generator it will harm the space.

Talk to each other in a small round or one2one. Accept that everyone
in here is socially not an professional, not a socially high-skilled
person. The slogan "be excellent to each other" assumes that
everyone can do so but not everyone actually can - especially not
Allow people to excuse in a smaller round, without loosing their face.

Do not let the drama take over the atmosphaere of the space.

This space has just one problem and sadly its the biggest asset also
- - you.


mc.fly ....
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