Meeting Notes 2012 05 08

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The 215th Meeting of Noisebridge

Note-taker: Leif

Moderator: Tom

Introduction and Names[edit]

  • Tom - loves being on time
  • Heph - never been to Noisebridge, kind of a jackass, so this meeting probably won't happen
  • Will - Also english
  • Nic - installing gpg to be a real hacker. I meant compiling.
  • Ximin - Visiting from London Hack Space
  • Isis - works on anonymity and security stuff
  • Za - still not a hacker
  • Weev - good news about jesus
  • Zephyr - you all love me
  • Michelle
  • Claudia
  • Allen
  • Snail
  • Monad
  • Carlos
  • Cynthia
  • Nick - makes games, is hiring
  • Andy - on the board of this foolish place
  • Kelly - is treasurer. also a scientist
  • Robert - trying to help get the science room online
  • Jesse - been here two weeks, software hardware stuff
  • Martin - from Scotland
  • Carl
  • Kayla
  • Levi

Short Announcements[edit]

  • Zephyr: this Thursday: x86 assembly and exploits for web browsers.
  • Kelly: We are merging the EEG list to a new list recently created called neuro. Covers TDCS and EEG projects etc.
  • Chris: Tomorrow at the 3D printing meetup Susan Freinkel who wrote a book about toxicity of plastic will be here

New or Stale Events[edit]

  • Rayc: Lasercutting workshop moved from Friday to Wednesday night

Membership Binder[edit]

Tom launches into erudite Talmudic midrash on how Noisebridge is not the gym.

Prospective members names are read out:

  • Paul Monad
    • thinks this is an interesting experiment. Zephyr asks if his name is really Monad; it is.
  • Jim S
  • Michael T
  • Aspen M
  • Harold G
  • Blake G
  • Daniel J

Financial Report[edit]

Consensus items[edit]

You may wish to invite a knowledgeable volunteer to repeat a brief primer on the consensus process.

Proposals from last week[edit]

(Add any items which pass or are blocked to the Consensus Items History page.)

Proposals for next week[edit]

(Add any new items for consensus to the Current Consensus Items page.)

Discussion Items[edit]

  • Andy: bathroom is filthy
  • Zephyr: unexcellence at Noisebridge. Robert threatening to burn noisebridge down, also generally not nice dude.
  • Cynthia: Violence, and people calling the police on non-violent people

Bathroom discussion:

    • Anyone cleaning?
    • Yes, we pay cleaners. Will has invoices. Offline conversation will happen.

Tom introduces his moderation plan:

  • unordered stack
  • one sentence direct responses

Cynthia: Has been coming here for over a year. Doing volunteer things. Used to spend a lot of time here, for the last 9 months lived 45 minutes away so has been spending less time. Supports kitchen, before and after cooking. Spent 20 hours here during a hacker conference. Has cleaned the bathrooms, does things that needs to be done. Was confronted by 3 men, throwing arms in front of her face, said if she didn't leave they would call cops and arrest her for trespassing. Understood the protocol was to invite people to general meeting when banning someone. Surprised anarchists would call the police on a non-violent person. Would like to ban this kind of behavior.

Tom: do you have a consensus item?

Andy: I don't think we'll get a consensus on when to call the police, there are many varying views.

Tom: Other accounts of these events?

Kelly: What is the goal of this discussion?

Cynthia: Members of NB committed physically violent behavior. Do you want to allow members to do things like that, and back them up?

Kelly: This is not going to be a consensus item.

Carl: She feels she was wronged.

Jake: Process is confusing, don't say what she can't do.

Heph: Unexcellent behavior is already banned. General consensus from people who were there is it was not unexcellent behavior. I was not there but I trust the judgment of people who were.

Za: I was there, and I didn't like what I saw.

Andy: I wasn't here last week, could you please recount what happened.

Carl: Numerous people were not OK with what happened, on the mailing list.

Heph: Yeah but they don't matter.

Za: Monday I came to NB, jesse was standing with his arm blocking Cynthia from entering. I asked what was going on. Cynthia said they were kicking her out. Jesse was telling her to go, now. Cynthia asked what she did, and appealed to me because we know each other. I didn't know what had happened, but guessed from the urgency that someone horrible thing must have just happened before I got there. Without trying to figure out what that was, I tried to help them reach a compromise by asking if she could leave now and come back to be heard at the meeting. She said that was not fair, as she hadn't done anything. I did not elicit the details because I assumed they had a good reason. Cynthia kept asking them why they were kicking her out. Eventually they listed reasons, including worthlessness, not hacking, smell, and "we don't want you here". I asked them to back off. Cobalt showed up, asserted NB is for hacking and Cynthia is not a hacker so she had to go now. I tried to ask her to leave and come back tomorrow, but she said there was no reason for her to. Then I left.

Weev: Za's presentation makes it seem like jesse and I were kicking her out. I stepped in after Will had already called the cops. My stance on Cynthia is neutral, she has made people uncomfortable but whatever. When your friend is trying to kick someone out it makes sense to stand next to them. That was my involvement.

Will: I was the one who initially asked her to leave. Jesse was there, weev came later. Initial request was leave now, come back to meeting. After about 10 minutes it was clear she wouldn't leave so I decided to call the police. Then I went downstairs to make sure the door was open.

Tom: that isn't a direct response. We have a couple of topics here. We have the conduct of the people who asked her to leave, which we addressed last week, and we have the legitimacy of asking her to leave. I think the second is more pressing.

Andy: what was the summary of last week's discussion?

Tom: could do better

Questions about what happened last week from Carl and others.

Cynthia: I was not here last week, by prior arrangement. Allegations I mde loud noises were not true. I don't trust the record of last week's meeting.

Kelly: Many people defended you last week. Some thought it was reasonable to ask you to leave.

Tom: word loud is not in the notes last week

Rayc: Is cleaning contributing to the space? A lot of people think in Cynthia's case it isn't, I think it totally is.

Tom: I'm going to cut you off.

Heph: I wanted to address when people should call the cops. Anyone can call the cops of someone is making them uncomfortable, or if they feel threatened. People should remove themselves when asked.

Cynthia: I was not belligerent. I thought the protocol was to ask people to come to a meeting.

Tom: Did they not ask you to come to a meeting?

Cynthia: They asked me to leave when there was no reason to.

Heph: Is it up to someone who is being offensive to someone else to decide if they are being offensive?

Eric: There is a lack of objectivity here!

Chris: I agree.

Eric: Treat people with a little more dignity.

Tom: Who thinks last week's discussion was unsatisfactory?

Many people do. Some were here, others who read the notes.

Tom: Why?

Cynthia wasn't here to defend herself. Other people have gotten many chances, mediation, etc. Cynthia has gotten none. Rules should be enforced fairly.

Zephyr: What I have to say will be lengthy.

Kevin: I was shocked last week. First time here. Everybody jumping on Cynthia when she wasn't here. Martin was here, people asked why but he was allowed to stay.

Kelly: I'm mediating for Martin, he is taking a month off.

Zephyr: I have something moderately adult to say. There have been a number of people who have been part of the community who have done violent things, said things flatly derogatory, racist, homophobic, acted violently, people who have done all things. Cynthia may or may not be a hacker, but if Cynthia has been in a queue there are people ahead of her. People threatened to burn down NB, kill themselves here, etc.. Neither of the people I'm talking about are members. There are so many people who have been let go, Cynthia is a statistical blip.

Kelly: I think we've kicked out all the homophobes.

Zephyr: No

Heph: I used to have your opinion Zephyr, and it Took me a long time to figure out NB. I'm kind of a dick. Took me a while to figure out that some people can get away with being dicks

because they're part of the community. If more people think you should leave than should stay,

we'll ask you to leave.

Levi: I came here last year and left because of drama. The idea some people can get away with things == in crowd. Group dynamic is ..., but there should be some sort of protocol. Important for people to have a common goal, priority, and be as inclusive as possible. Having a policy about how to kick people out is paramount.

Rayc: Recent months seen micro and macro unexcellent behavior. Noisebridge has grown. We should think about the universal code of conduct, doocratic social pressure. Maybe its time for universal acceptance of what is acceptable.

Kevin: I need to leave now. Here is a new first aid kit which I promised to bring last week.

Claudia: Part of the problem with her behavior is she's a woman.

Heph: I have ejected my fair share of male people

Cynthia: the tolerance level is higher

Andy: Levi and Rayc's questions tie into the question: what is NB, and growing pains. We started in 2007, 2008? When we hit 20 people we had growing pains. Mike was there. We don't always agree on things, but we're still here. I don't know how NB works, but Keanu is up there somewhere and thats what we come back to.

Zephyr: We've given some people extraordinary amounts of leeway. I'm turning this into my own discussion item, speaking for people in the hacker house which is all noisebridge people. Now I am mostly uninvolved in NB. There are a few people who caused the space to... suck for me and lots of people. I'm not so proud as to suggest what behavior is and is not acceptable, but to define what is and is not is a near term priority. I love people like Rayc and Hipe, their work is extraordinary. Great work in space hacking. But some people are of an ill balanced and violent mind that verges on madness. I'm dragging this on, but people if not tonight hopefully we can clarify what is and is not excellent at Noisebridge.

Kelly: I want to know whether you think it was unacceptable what they did, and if you think Cynthia should be here.

Zephyr: I don't think she belongs here, but I don't think it was excellent to kick her out.

Heph: How long have you been here?

Zephyr: About a year.

Heph: How many interpersonal conflicts have you been through?

Zephyr: Never had one.

Others: How many have you witnessed? How many times have you been through this kind of meetings.

Zephyr: Lots

Tom: I've been here 7 months and it happened 11 times.

  • gasps*

Rayc: 11 times is too many. We should devise a way to force more community.

Carl: I'm not very happy about about the conduct on the list.

Tom: People are wrong on the internet.

Carl: We should ban those people from the list.

lots of talk about why that wouldn't help

Tom: If there is more concern about the behavior of the people who instructed cynthia to leave, we can discuss next week. Now we should discuss the legitimacy of kicking her out, OK?

few more words saying people trying to kick her out were acting in good faith, thought they were improving the space.

Tom: New topic: Is it legit to tell someone to leave when they haven't JUST been disruptive but you think they are GENERALLY disruptive?

Heph sets up a strawman about potentially violent people, gets called on it, says sorry.

Rayc: To some point I agree with heph, but I don't agree with kicking a person out immediately if they have been part of the community for a long time if they are not being disruptive.

Tom: Social pressure, consensus, and whatever the fuck tom wants is what the wiki now says.

Jake: Anyone can walk up to someone and tell them they don't like them or whatever. When it comes time to DO something, everyone agrees laying hands on someone is inappropriate unless you're stopping them from doing something destructive or violent. [..] We've had situations where it has been necessary to call the cops. Should be obvious you can say whatever you want, you can gather a posse, but unless that person is causing an imminent problem if that person says fuck you i'm going to say if you do something to try to force them to leave you'll likely create a bigger problem than the problem you were trying to address.

Jesse: We're not looking at the right issue when talking about disruptiveness. If I came in and a crowd of people asked me to leave, I would leave, not try to force and push my way through. The issue is not disruptiveness, it is mental illness. We don't know how to deal with it, because we're not mental health professionals. Message from aestetix: We need a point of contact with mission mental health and GLIDE.

Levi: Calling someone crazy is dismissive. Issue of fight or flight, you might walk away. If I was in that situation I would defend myself.

Chris: Most amazing thing about NB is inclusive of everyone.

Andy, Kelly: Radically inclusive, but not completely.

Chris: OK, but new people we include, which is awesome. But there is an occasional twinge of two legs good four legs bad. People saying people aren't hacker enough. What happens when an 18 year old freshman from college who isn't a hacker yet comes in? Lots of people aren't qualified to operate an SEM, I was one of those people at one point. We should strive to be as inclusive as possible, mediate off site when there are problems.

Kelly: Tom, me, Danny, Mitch are the only people willing to mediate. Will you?

Chris: With some individuals, yes.

Weev: Re: complaint about Martin: He is interested in learning things, Cynthia is not. Lots of crazies here, I'm one of them. But there is a certain belligerence, if someone is uncooperative.

Cynthia: I've been evaluated by ...

Weev: (shouting) Darling, you go on 30 minute rants about government conspiracies...


don't call people darling


Heph: How many people have to leave for the sake of one crazy person?

Za: No one has ever left left because of Cynthia.

Many people raise their hands and say that they have.

Tom: Any objection to moving from the general discussion to Cynthia's specific case?

Meta-discussion ensues re: are we discussing "Cynthia: do we want her in the space" or "Do we want to kick Cynthia out".

Cynthia: Is this the first time it's been presented this way? It's getting late. You started an hour late.

Praveen: non-violent communication

Andy: interrupts someone about how much interrupting people sucks

Levi: wants to organize non-violent communication workshop

Tom: Topic is Cynthia: Do we want her in the space. New stack.

Cynthia: I'm asking that people who observed behavior they're uncomfortable with would email me a description of it, would be very helpful. Someone can have a psychosis due to toxic exposure. I process written feedback better.

Zephyr: Cynthia your behavior baffles me. You accused me of working for a pharmaceutical agency and spying on you. You said racist things to pearl, i saw it, and you denied it. Either we experienced mass delusion or your lying.

Cynthia: I was accompanied by my asian friend who knows pearl; she was complaining about another incident that had nothing to do with me.

Praveen: Suggests mediation for personal issues

Tom: Helpful to have this conversation in public

Zephyr: Whom it was directed to, I don't know. Maybe the opinion that racial epithets at NB are unacceptable is... This was such a long time ago, I can't say...

Pearl arrives.

Pearl: When I first came here, there was an episode with Cynthia. I made dinner, put a few pieces of rose petals in the trash instead of the compost. Cynthia got in my face and forced me physically to move them to the compost. She wouldn't drop it. I asked her to not talk to me, she followed me around for half an hour. I found it very difficult.

Cynthia: I had just sorted a huge pile of trash. I told her we have a compost now. She started screaming at me. I went to talk to my friends, and said can you believe this?

Zephyr: My factual response to this is Fox News level. I do not believe that is the event that transpired. I was not involved in this, I don't understand. From what I saw pearl was passive and behaving the way a sane human being does. Cynthia, you were pestering pearl and I believe at one point the word chink was uttered.

Cynthia: Absolutely not.

Will: When Cynthia first came to NB she wanted to get a hacker to help her dig some information out of a computer. Following discussion of if it was excellent for people to sleep in the space, whenever I would sit on the couch I would look up and Cynthia would be there. If she was not following me, she was mysteriously in my path. I left NB and did not participate for a couple of months because you never knew what kind of interaction you were going to get.

Rayc: I was prospected about 2 times.

Cynthia: I can't imagine how he can assume I was trying to get people to hack into computers.

Za: this sounds like a bunch of interpersonal conflict stuff. A community is a set of nodes, each person is a node. Kicking someone out means severing connections between many nodes. Very drastic thing to do. What is being said is we need to sever a bunch of this person's social ties that may be important to them. It is a very drastic mechanism. I don't know what people are capable of. When someone is kicked out, we are throwing away mindshare because we can't cope with some little problems.

Chris: I agree.

Levi: I was coming here, working with tastebridge and biobridge. I've had situations where I needed space from Cynthia, but I was able to get my point across. I never had any issues.

Kelly: (to chris) are you saying cynthia is a potentially good member of the community?

Chris: we don't know what we're throwing away when we kick someone out just because you don't like them. Lot of tarring and feathering here.

Andy: sounds like you're responding to the general concept of banning people, rather than Cynthia.

Chris: I am neutral. I would like to keep Jesse in the space, and would like to keep Cynthia in the space. They're both brilliant people. Cynthia and I had a conversation about obstructive sleep apnea, she has a lot of expertise reading medical journals which she spends a lot of time doing. Cynthia is a resource in her own way. We should strive to include everyone, because it is a slippery slope to start kicking people out especially when they've been a member of the community for over a year.

Weev: I witnessed the whole confrontation. Started with utterly reasonable "can you come back at the meeting". She escalated it to where the cops were called. I'm on bail, don't want to see the cops called. She intentionally escalated it. She also exhibited signs of schizophrenia when she accused me of working for ...

Nic: There is a lot we can learn from building diverse community. We can have wildly different opinions and still interact with each other. If we start banning people it is a slippery slope; this kind of community is an evolution in the right direction.

Kelly: Reason I was trying to re-frame discussion to "do we want her in the space" is because I know we're not 100% on banning her, but, do we want her in the space?

Tom: If Cynthia were offered a job in Texas, and took it, leaving NB, would you feel better about the space?

Snail: There are plenty of people I'd feel better about leaving.

Zephyr: Schizophrenia doesn't mean you aren't valuable and should leave, being disruptive does.

Ximin: I haven't heard the evidence against her; argument against banning her is in the long run its a bad idea. Just because you're annoyed doesn't mean you shouldn't learn to [...]

Andy: Generally agree. But there are times when a community finds itself compromised by its interactions with specific individual.

Rayc: ...

Levi: Has anyone come up to her and asked her not to do things, or aired out their frustrations?


Kelly: I think that Cynthia is sometimes positive, a lot of what she does is clean up after us and thats actually kind of problematic because sometimes she goes away and we're swimming in shit and we need to learn to deal with that. Sounds to me like we would not be able to achieve consensus on banning her. I have a list of things: If Cynthia is going to remain, I have a few things I would like to see her address. Two are new things I just found out about in the last week, one is an old thing. First, not new, she tells people how to behave in the kitchen. Since it has caused several conflicts, I think you should take a longish vacation from telling people what to do in the kitchen. Second, you take our recycling, I'm not comfortable with that. Third, I heard you listed NB as your address, and I'm not comfortable with that.

Cynthia: That is not true. I have never once used this as my address.

Kelly: Unfortunately you've denied things people are sure about.

Cynthia: I would like to see it in writing.

Eric: Cynthia never told me what to do, she suggested, I told her to mind her own business. No problem. On recycling, Miloh told her she could take the recycling.

Kelly: I stand by my statement on not being comfortable about the recycling. Non-problematic kitchen encounters don't negate the problematic ones.

Jesse: The way she deals with recycling has been disruptive. Further response on stack.

Claudia: I appreciate not hearing about Texas legal problems.

Cynthia: Even if it follows me here?

ANdy: There is no texas political involvement at NB

Many people: You don't know that.

Jesse: recent incident in ML class in Church classroom, lots of noise, was cynthia doing something noisy with the cans. Everything strewn, I asked her to stop. Complete obliviousness to what was going on, making lots of noise right next to a class going on. I like to interact with people, have been unable to interact with Cynthia. I would like to hear from Cynthia what she has learned from NB.

Rayc: I don't think trying to use space for personal gain, eg collecting cans, is a proper use of the space.

Kayla: Rayc invites ??? from down the street to collect our cans all the time!

Carl: Has anyone told Cynthia she cannot take the recycling?

Tom: It sounds like we have mixed feelings about whether to tell her not to come back, but there are numerous specific grievances. I propose we enumerate these things, and ask Cynthia not to do these things. If she does these things, we will revisit the topic of if she should stay at NB.

Suggestion to make general rules instead.

Kelly: Not taking our recycling, not using this as an address, are things I think nobody should do. The telling people what to do in the kitchen is a specific suggestion for Cynthia.

Jesse: I asked a question of Cynthia: What are you learning here?

Tom: Can we do it after this topic of conversation?

Eric: That is not an appropriate question for anyone, its a personal attack on Cynthia.

Jesse: Have you read the Noisebridge charter?

Praveen: You've said you prefer things in writing. We're trying to mediate here. I'm trying to mediate. Lets send you this in email.

Chris: If we're enumerating the behavior modification of one part, we should do the same of the others, the ejectors.

Tom: Sounds like you've volunteered to mediate.

Chris: I am, but I don't know how.

Tom: Mediators are the points of contact for people to communicate through.

Chris requests Kelly teach him to mediate. Rayc says something about this being unprecedented. There is disagreement about that.

Will is concerned Chris is not going to be an effective mediator because he is biased. He asks Andy to be his mediator instead. It is agreed.

Two separate groups and mediators:

Andy will mediate for the ejectors. Who are they?

Will, Jesse, Cobalt, Weev.

Za nominates Miloh.

Will notes Miloh was not present or involved for ejection (his only action was walking Cynthia out, by her request.)

Miloh added anyway. Everyone can email Andy about their objectionable behavior.

Praveen is going to mediate for Cynthia. Everyone can email Praveen about Cynthia's behavior which they find objectionable. He will interact with Cynthia to codify this list over the next two weeks.

End of Meeting[edit]

  • PGP Key Signing could happen now, check the list to see who wants in on the action.
  • Return the membership binder to it's rightful location.
  • Clean and tidy the meeting notes, then save them to the wiki.
  • Send a summary of the meeting notes to the discussion list.
  • Enjoy the company of your fellow hacker or robot.
  • Discuss any items for which there was not time during the meeting.