Hi everybody. He're's the meeting notes from last night. Thanks for taking such great notes Seth!<br><br><h2><span class="mw-headline">Agenda </span></h2>
<p><a href="https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Category:Meeting_Notes" class="external text" title="https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Category:Meeting_Notes" rel="nofollow">The 158th Meeting of Noisebridge</a>
<a name="Introduction_and_Names" id="Introduction_and_Names"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline"> Introduction and Names </span></h3>
<ul><li> <a href="https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Noisebridge_Vision" title="Noisebridge Vision">What Noisebridge is about</a>:
"Noisebridge is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides a space for creation,
collaboration, and learning about technology and creative projects.
Noisebridge provides space, power tools, and infrastructure to help the
public learn new skills and create cool things. Noisebridge continues to
exist through and depends entirely on membership fees and donations.
Our code of conduct is 'Be excellent to each other'."
</li><li> Round of introductions: What's your name, what do you do, and
if you are new, how did you hear about Noisebridge? Start with the
moderator and go left.
</li><li> <a href="https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Consensus_Process" title="Consensus Process">A brief primer on consensus process</a>: We agree and so should you! Only paid-up members can block consensus.
<a name="Announcements" id="Announcements"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Announcements </span></h3>
<ul><li> BAHA - will be hosting Dan Kaminsky for a talk about something or other. Stay tuned for your opportunity to hear this talk.
</li><li> BayCon - Noisebridge is the official charity beneficiary for
BayCon, a 2000-attendee science fiction convention that happens in Santa
Clara every year. We need some things to donate for the charity
auction and could use at least one volunteer and maybe two to help us
staff our Noisebridge booth there. We have less space at BayCon than we
do at our Maker Faire booth. Dr. Jesus is coordinating our
participation in BayCon, so please talk to him.
<p>Q. What items should we donate for the charity auction?
</p><p>A. Hilarious and/or shiny ones.
</p><p>Q. Like items on the hack shelf?
</p><p>A. More hilarious and shiny than those, if possible.
</p><p>A. May 27-30.
</p><p>Q. Maybe Dan Kaminsky could donate something? Like a signed item?
</p><p>A. People at BayCon may not know who Dan Kaminsky is.
</p><p>A. Or they might!
</p><p>OpenAMD is doing RFID tracking of attendees at CCC. Talk to aestetix or visit <a href="http://openamd.org">openamd.org</a>.
<a name="Financial_Report" id="Financial_Report"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span><span class="mw-headline">Financial Report </span></h3>
<p>Funds in bank: $1,000 in corporate donations have come in recently! They will get deposited.
</p><p>We have $13,080.16 in the bank after paying rent and before depositing the corporate donations. Pay your dues.
</p><p>If possible, set up a regular recurring donation.
</p><p>Q. Can we donate Bitcoins to Noisebridge?
<a name="Membership_Binder" id="Membership_Binder"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Membership Binder </span></h3>
<ul><li> Read off any names from the binder for the past month.
</li><li> Anyone up for join this week should introduce themselves then
leave the area in search of gifts (traditionally beer and a lime) for
the rest of the group. The rest of the meeting should consense on
whether they may join.
<a name="What.27s_Going_On_at_Noisebridge" id="What.27s_Going_On_at_Noisebridge"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">What's Going On at Noisebridge </span></h3>
<p>Vegan pierogi and Snickers bars are being made in the kitchen right now!
<a name="Project_Updates" id="Project_Updates"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Project Updates </span></h3>
<p>Moving hack shelves away so that all shelving in the member shelving
corner is member shelving. This requires about $300-$400 for new,
additional shelves. Talk to Miloh. We might get more members if we had
some member shelving space open for new members to enjoy!
</p><p>Q. Have you mailed the list?
</p><p>A. Please write to Miloh about this.
</p><p>Q. We previously proposed using Noisebridge funds to pay for
this. Shouldn't this become a consensus item? Wasn't it supposed to be a
consensus item already?
</p><p>A. The problem was that nobody who was a member attended except
Kelly during the meeting where the consensus item should have been
consensed upon. So it got dropped as a consensus item.
</p><p>- Shannon was reluctant to use Noisebridge money for capital
improvements rather than required expenses. However, people could
realize a tax benefit if they donated money to Noisebridge for this
</p><p>- However, you can realize a tax benefit for in-kind donations.
If you donate something of value to Noisebridge, you can receive a
receipt from Noisebridge for this item, by contacting the treasurer.
Then, if applicable to your situation, you can claim this as a donation
on your tax return.
</p><p>- We will propose a consensus item for next week for appropriating a proportion of the money needed for this.
<a name="Consensus_items" id="Consensus_items"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Consensus items </span></h3>
<p>For next week: Noisebridge to pay Miloh for shelves in an amount to
cover whatever part of the expenditure that Shannon does not raise via
his fundraising efforts (somewhere between $0 and $300).
<a name="Discussion_Items" id="Discussion_Items"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Discussion Items </span></h3>
<a name="Events_list" id="Events_list"></a><h4><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Events list</span></h4>
<p>Isn't it somewhat difficult to determine what's going on here?
</p><p>E.g., some meetups don't actually occur but they are still listed on the web site.
</p><p>When people create meetups and events, they list them, but when they stop doing them, they don't remove them.
</p><p>If you show up to something that doesn't happen, maybe you should remove it from the list on the web site.
</p><p>Someone was trying to make the wiki automatically incorporate the
items from the homepage into the meeting template so the events
discussed in the meeting would actually be current (according to the
website). However, maybe we also need a mechanism for people to
actually try to attend an event to see if it's going on.
</p><p>Maybe events should have contact names associated with them so
that there is a way to contact someone to find out about the status of
</p><p>Cool, the wiki does pull the current item list from the home
page. So one mechanism is that if nobody ever comes to a meeting with
personal knowledge that something is still going on, we can remove it.
</p><p>Instead of a name, we should perhaps have a contact e-mail
address. And every group that meets here should have a wiki page on our
wiki and an e-mail address that's listed on it.
</p><p>However, maybe some people who host groups don't know how to edit
the wiki. But some people think this is very easy and they should
</p><p>A particular change that we can try to make is to have a more
detailed dialogue with people who come to weekly meetings wanting to use
the space for an event. In particular, we can try to start enforcing a
norm that when you come to a meeting wanting to use the space, you
should actually take responsibility for documenting your event via a
wiki page! There is sentiment in favor of this norm. It doesn't seem
very hard and it seems like we could easily institute this norm and get
benefits from it.
</p><p>We can also print the events page out on paper.
</p><p>If people want to use the space to host events, they should try
to be in touch with the community to a sufficient extent that their
events can be documented on our wiki accurately.
</p><p>One idea is that the secretary should actively maintain the event list. People like this idea.
<a name="Is_there_a_joke_here.3F" id="Is_there_a_joke_here.3F"></a><h4><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Is there a joke here?</span></h4>
<p>I'm a frayed knot.
<a name="Banning_discussion" id="Banning_discussion"></a><h4><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">Banning discussion</span></h4>
<p>Some time ago, we banned someone for the first time. We didn't have a
formal process or precedent in place for this. This was a difficult
process to go through. At the meeting where the ban was consensed upon,
it was tense and it would have been difficult for someone to stand up in
defense of the person being banned.
</p><p>Perhaps we should talk about how we should do this in the future
if it should seem necessary, to have a better process available for it.
</p><p>At that time, Kelly had volunteered to lead a meeting or
discussion about this issue. She talked to various people who had
qualms with what happened and some of them were interested in talking
about how to handle it in the future.
</p><p>Q. What were people's qualms about what happened?
</p><p>A. By the end of the process, there was only one person with
major qualms, who refused to read the evidence. The other people who
had major qualms read the evidence and then felt agreement with the
consensus. There were many people who felt that it was poorly managed
but was ultimately the correct decision; however, this could still be
described as having major qualms with the process even though they came
to agree with the decision.
</p><p>- Indeed, many people were concerned with the process even though
they agreed with the eventual decision. Some of these people felt that
it was uncomfortable because they were strongly criticized for raising
process concerns. They would like to be able to raise process concerns
and other concerns without being attacked because they felt that these
concerns were legitimate and should have been able to be aired.
</p><p>- There is a recognized group phenomenon of "mobbing" where a
group turns against a particular person in various ways. This group
dynamic has been studied and Noisebridge's actions can be interpreted as
meeting criteria for this dynamic. That doesn't mean that our decision
was wrong but some people would like to see a means of avoiding relying
on or repeating this social dynamic.
</p><p>- Perhaps we should talk about what we would like to see in a process to use in the future.
</p><p>- In fact, there have been four cases before this one where there
were attempts to ban or exclude people from Noisebridge and in all four
of those prior cases, someone stood up in defense of that person and
the person was not banned.
</p><p>- We make a point of being radically inclusive, so we generally feel quite reluctant to ban or exclude people.
</p><p>- Maybe one concern is that there was nobody speaking on behalf
of the person who was going to be banned. We already have an idea that
if there's someone who wants to remain anonymous, someone can represent
them at a meeting. Should we say that we should seek to have someone
represent the person who might be banned?
</p><p>- We should also have a way that people who may feel threatened
to be able to see what the process is or how to bring something to the
community's attention. Some people who felt threatened in the most
recent incident didn't really know what they were supposed to do or how
they were supposed to bring it to the attention of the community.
</p><p>Q. If a group is already engaged in "mobbing", is there some way to mitigate or defuse that particular dynamic?
</p><p>A. We don't know. In legal systems, that's part of what legal
process is for. One of the reasons that we have process in court
systems is to prevent people from being lynched.
</p><p>Q. Is there a way to break the cycle or break the dynamic?
</p><p>A. We're not experts on this.
</p><p>- In the most recent incident we attempted to have a mediation
led by a neutral moderator. It wasn't possible to have a neutral or
moderate person representing the interests of the person who was going
to be banned because he wasn't interested in participating in that way.
The idea of setting up some of these kinds of process assumes that a
person who is being considered for banning actually wants to
participate, for example for appointing someone to represent them.
</p><p>- It would have been difficult for someone to have stood up to represent him in that case.
</p><p>- No, it would have been possible if he had wanted it.
</p><p>- We shouldn't have to oscillate between "nobody says anything"
and "we have to convene a tribunal". If we choose to adjust the
culture, almost anything that we do makes it slightly more
confrontational by encouraging people to confront people about their
behavior, like encouraging people to say "I think what you're doing is
abusive and you should leave the space now". In the status quo we seem
to accept that a doocracy can eject someone and that we can ratify their
actions on a case-by-case basis, because that's what happened most
</p><p>- The "problem" in this case was specifically that some people
decided to do the doocratic banning thing and nobody said that this was
</p><p>- But maybe what went wrong was that it went on too long before
anyone actually did anything. And then it had escalated too much.
</p><p>- No, we did it as fast as we could. It was a very quick timeline.
</p><p>- There was a general perception that we were incapable of
banning someone because it couldn't be achieved as a consensus-based
organization. So we spent a lot of time talking about what we could do
without consensus, which took a long time. It was assumed that consensus
couldn't work. It was a surprise when consensus was achieved because
people expected that this would not be possible. This is a harmful kind
of group powerlessness.
</p><p>- Maybe doocracy can be interpreted as people's right to define
their personal boundaries in asking people to leave, and then the
political problem is how to interpret these requests and exactly what
their weight is. Clearly people can ask other people to leave already.
</p><p>- There is already disagreement about the nature of the
difference between people defining their personal boundaries and the
actions of the organization of the whole. But we could hypothetically
just assume that kicking someone out of the space or asking them to
leave is potentially considered as an unexcellent action that could get
the ejector banned -- or not -- then we already have something
equivalent to a "process", because kicking someone out is unexcellent
and then the general meeting can later decide on a consensus about
whether it was necessary or whether it was on balance unexcellent, etc.
In that sense people can already take action when necessary or urgent,
realizing that they are taking a risk and that the outcome is not
foregone. This can be interpreted as a process and a mechanism for
banning people: you can act at any time and then you can let the slower
consensus process decide whether it agrees with your judgment and
</p><p>- There seems to be disagreement about whether we did it too
quickly or too slowly, or whether particular parts of the process were
too quick or too slow.
</p><p>- Could we have more discussion about what's going on so that
situations don't develop in secret and then appear to get "sprung" on
the community in a way that appears sudden to people who weren't
</p><p>- Suppose that someone presents evidence that someone is making
the space a hostile environment for other people. If it takes a week or
two to ban that person, this seems glacially slow because it's not OK
for it to take weeks to change the situation so that the space is no
longer a hostile environment. Ejecting someone from the space should not
require consensus ahead of time. The consensus process can evaluate
whether the people who did eject someone have done something wrong by
ejecting that person. It can do this after the fact.
</p><p>- This last process seems to have developed very slowly but then come a head very quickly.
</p><p>- This is not actually the first time that we have thrown someone
out of Noisebridge. In the past it has happened because someone who
appeared authoritative, such as a long-time, early member, responded by
personally asking someone to leave the space. This works because we have
a distinction between people who are members of the community, members
of Noisebridge, etc. People who have been thrown out have been not
members of the community. In the most recent case the difficulty was
that the person who was banned was actually a member of the community.
So it was difficult because we were ejecting someone who was "one of us"
rather than just having a stranger or non-community member acting
</p><p>- We should actually be willing to look in public at what people
did in kicking this person out and discuss whether it was actually OK or
not. These decisions had a huge effect in determining the direction of
</p><p>- There are distinct Noisebridge cultures, e.g. between the IRC
channel or the general meeting. The IRC channel is more caustic and
confrontational and they had previously decided that this person ought
to be banned. This culture seemed to leak over into the general
community over time. In this case things built up over time with
generalized sentiment against him until we felt that we had created
</p><p>- At the doocratic meeting, there was a proxy for someone who
felt very personally threatened. After that, more evidence was brought
to light. So the evidence came to light in that conversation in response
to people choosing to describe or reveal their own experiences which
they had not previously shared with the community.
</p><p>- We don't need to revisit the consensus itself. It was a
consensus according to Noisebridge's norms. The thing that needs to be
discussed, if anything, is what happened before that consensus, in terms
of process and doocracy.
</p><p>Q. Do we think it's viable to ban people from the space without
prior consensus? If we think that we need prior consensus then it's
going to have to be very slow. If we don't think that it requires
consensus, then what does it require and what kind of review can we
expect to happen afterward?
</p><p>A. If there's a consensus item passed that gives the board the
authority to call the police to enforce it... because the police would
want a particular point of contact telling them that the space has
</p><p>- But it's already possible for anyone to call the police!
</p><p>- I worked in a large bureaucratic organization that had many
policies, including equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies. They
designated people in every location as EEO counselors, who were, among
other things, empowered to receive complaints about harassment and then
to process those complaints. If people have complaints about someone
over a long period of time but they don't get processed for that long
period of time, then the complaints apparently aren't being given to the
right people to act on. When an EEO counselor gets a complaint, they're
trained to act as impartially as possible in response to the complaint,
by not taking anyone's side, to the best of their ability. They try to
increase everyone's confidence that any complaint will be handled in a
</p><p>- It should be acceptable for individual members to doocratically
act people to leave at the moment, but they shouldn't be acting as if
they have the authority to permanently ban someone.
</p><p>Q. So they can /kick but they can't /ban?
</p><p>Q. What kind of authority do they need in order to /kickban?
</p><p>- Perhaps anyone can /kick but individuals can't /ban without the consensus process.
</p><p>- There are lots of parts of the process that happened and some
were OK but others might have been out of order. It would be useful to
have an actual process where people know that there's something they can
do, e.g. telling a designated person, like a sexual harassment
counselor or someone who would be in a position to notice that there is a
widespread or serious problem with a particular person. We got to the
point we did and so people felt that it was important for him to leave,
but there was debate about why it was permanent rather than temporary
and whether there could have been a way to de-escalate so that people
can still feel safe. People appreciate that the community is concerned
with harassment complaints and takes them seriously. We should want to
figure out a way to keep this sensibility while having a way to
de-escalate situations when possible.
</p><p>- Some process actually happened and seemed to work. But one
reason that we're talking about this now is the doocracy issue because
we're not sure exactly how appropriate we feel that was in retrospect.
Whether it was a bad idea.
</p><p>- The doocracy thing was actually OK but it was sent in
considerable haste and should have been slept on. And then still
happened, but after being slept on.
</p><p>- People came to a meeting who were supposed to mediate... but then they decided that they wanted to censure instead... ?
</p><p>- In the past Noisebridge successfully had personal
confrontations with a neutral mediator. This has actually happened and
has actually worked. People have been willing and able to be neutral
mediators and this has happened. We were going to use this process in
this case too but then we discovered that there were a group that had
already performed the ban before the mediation happened.
</p><p>- There were apparently three different bans or ban processes
that happened! Some of them foreclosed others, such as the use of a
</p><p>- Concerns: (1) The doocratic e-mail was set in haste. (2) The
ban began immediately with no warning so the police ended up getting
called. Possibly the person who was banned didn't even know about it!
(Debate about whether this is true.) ...
</p><p>- People who were involved have chosen not to come to this
meeting to talk about it. They might only come if there were a consensus
</p><p>- "Kick not ban"?
</p><p>- A list of suggestions to use when people have problems with someone in the space?
</p><p>- Establish a team of volunteer moderators?
</p><p>- Next week we will discuss consensing on some of these ideas?
</p><p>- This is too vague. We should have a specific item about what happened.
</p><p>- Creating a list of guidelines for how to respond to problematic behavior and then consensing on these items?
</p><p>- We could create guidelines for how to hit on people in a socially accepted way? (for discussion)
</p><p>- Discussion proposal: Create guidelines at the next meeting for
how to respond to problematic behavior. For potential consensus on May
</p><p>- Maybe we should tell the people involved in the previous ban that they have used up their ban quota?
<a name="End_of_Meeting" id="End_of_Meeting"></a><h3><span class="editsection"></span> <span class="mw-headline">End of Meeting </span></h3>