Meeting Notes 2016 06 15

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These are the notes from the The 406th Meeting of Noisebridge. Date: 6/14/2016 Note-taker: User:Nthmost; Moderator: Scotty.

  • Consensus discussion (week 1) about banning Jacob Appelbaum permanently from Noisebridge.

Contents

[edit] Meeting Summary

TLDR what happened at the meeting:

  • Announcements: STEAMvault, GlowCon, East Bay Forward rally, Digital archivists meeting on 6/23, CryptoParty at Sudo Room this Sunday, Laser cutter class (anybody down?), Jarrod calling for help w/ SparkleForge, Trent looking for Python lecturer.
  • Finances: ??? we think we're fine.
  • New members: None
  • New philanthropists: Andy
  • Consensus Items: "Jacob Appelbaum is banned permanently from the space."
  • Discussion Items: Host Wonderfest at Noisebridge? Help bring FlaschenTaschen to STEAMvault.

[edit] Introductions

  • Victoria -- I'm a political troll!
  • Naomi -- I'm doing a lot of coping these days.
  • Ryan -- I do a little bit of everything maker- and hacker-culture, tonight here for meeting and Gamebridge later.
  • Juslin -- Here for Gamebridge
  • Michael -- first time here was yesterday for Circuit Hacking Monday
  • Frank -- looking into broadband data comms, interests in programming & archaic languages (like Pascal)
  • Chris -- moved to East Bay recently, bkgd in low-level hardware, kernel development
  • Sue -- first time here, heard about this place from a friend
  • Mitch -- a cofounder of NB (2007), just got back from India! Taught lots of kids of all sizes, going to Japan soon.
  • Nick -- I like to make things, here for the meeting.
  • Roger -- burning a CD in AD 2016. (Victoria: "Are you well?" Roger: "no!")
  • Jeff -- doing web development
  • Miloh -- just got back from Toorcamp, interest in electronics, work part-time, my pronouns are "he, him, they".
  • Jarvis -- Android, 3d graphics
  • Razzi -- Web developer, interested in functional programming
  • Andrey -- have come here a couple of times, teaching a crypto class, been discussing on the mailing list
  • Trent -- HDMI cable troubleshooter, teach python class on Mondays, work as a web dev, doing Javascript
  • Carl -- developer, putting on an event in downtown Hayward THIS THURSDAY called STEAMvault
  • Henner -- i write software and hardware, taking things apart and putting them back together, and LEDs.
  • Scotty -- pursuing a fulltime hobby in coiling cables (responsible for the milk crates)
  • Andy -- been here a bunch, haven't met a lot of people yet. I'm a nerd, I like building things, LEDs, motor controller stuff.
  • Zane Witherspoon -- doing Rails dev, music production website using React.
  • Lee -- showed up late
  • Chris 2 -- showed up late


NB is a hackerspace. It is a public institution in SF for ppl to build whatever the ywantt o build, as long as they follow the One Rule: Be excellent to each other. We operate on consensus, do-ocracy (doing a thing if you want it to be done). The important thing about NB is that you can use it even if you aren't a member -- ESPECIALLY if you're not a member.

what Noisebridge is about:

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'."

[edit] Short announcements and events

  • Carl: this Thursday 5:30 to Hayward for STEAMvault -- exhibits art science tech! Also the FlaschenTaschen! Could use a couple more volunteers to help bring FlaschenTaschen to the event. Talk to Carl after the meeting.
  • Henner: next month, GlowCon.
  • Victoria: Oakland Historic 16th St Station TOUR happening July 10th. Check out http://transportoakland.org
  • Victoria: East Bay Forward, a housing advocacy group, rally on [FILL IN DATE HERE] . Check out http://easybayforward.org
  • Trent: Digital archivists meeting on 6/23 at 7pm, here in Hackatorium. Group works to digitize materials via book-scanning and organizing the physical library at Noisebridge.
  • Frank: CryptoParty happening 1-4:30pm on Sunday, the 19th.
  • Ryan: wanting to run a laser cutter class; come talk to me if you're interested (pick out a good day, time, etc).
  • Mitch: Jarrod mentioned he needs help with SparkleForge. (Scotty: this wknd he's doing a work day...) Always fun to help with our buildouts and infrastructure projects! You learn a lot and
  • Mitch: The Orlando massacre is world news, saw it in India; amazing to see the memorial in Castro, very healing. (Victoria: went to the vigil, marched down Market St... I'm glad to live here.)
  • Trent: Looking for one more "Python special topics" speaker -- July 11th at 7pm -- talk to Trent if interested in speaking.

[edit] Membership Binder

Description by Henner

Members are typically a bit more invested in the space in terms of making things work, they make regular donations (membership fee). Typically make more decisions (do-ocracy) for building out the space, collecting money on behalf of space projects.

On becoming a member: you should already be at NB for a while, know the ppl involved, and be essentially working as though you were already a Member -- showing that you care for the space, do-ocratically improving the space (e.g. Scotty's obsession with cable wrapping). 2 Existing Members need to vouch for your application, which means you should already be acquainted with various Members hers. Fill out form, read for 4 weeks in a row. You should show up to meetings to help make sure other people know you (though it is not required). On 4th week, if no objections, you become a Member.

Mitch: only 2 things you get as a Member -- 24hr access, and ability to be fully involved in consensus process.

Scotty: you can also add ppl to the door system, as a Member.

See also membership, and the application process.

Being a member of Noisebridge is not like being a member of a gym or your local chess club. Anyone can come to Noisebridge to hack and learn: you don't need to be a member for that. At Noisebridge, membership is something different: it means taking responsibility and committing to help to maintain, improve, and govern Noisebridge. As a member of Noisebridge, you don't just come here to hack and learn, you actively work to improve what you see around you, help to deal with problems, and make this community and space better than it is today.

[edit] Philanthropists

Description by Victoria

Membership entails a lot of jumping through hoops, so if you don't like that kind of thing, but you still want to be more involved in the space, you can become a Philanthropist. You get ONE Sponsor who is a Member. It only takes 1 meeting to become a Philanthropist; it only takes 1 objection to your Philanthropist status (from a Member) to revoke it.

Legally speaking, Membership has legal connotations. Philanthropists are not technically Members.

Responsibilities: knowing how to open, close the space... take responsibility for showing people the space, for holding a safe space, for knowing how to mop up blood and find the eyewash station, etc.

Mitch: anyone who hangs out here ("who is not a bozo!") can get an RFID to access the space.

Henner: It's important to proactively welcome people when they come into the space. Important to recognize that your decision to open the door is also your responsibility to "host" that person in the space.

Trent: different Members do access differently; i like to meet people twice, other people might just want to have a conversation. The fact that we want to give everyone RFID cards but those people can then let people in and give tours (and may not yet know how!!!) raises an important future question.

Andy: somebody put it to me really well: Only invite people in if you'd be comfortable kicking them out.

Up for Philanthropist

  • Andy: no objections -- Andy becomes Philanthropist
  • Andrey: no sponsors (yet)

See also Philantropy, and the application process.

[edit] Financial Report

   Scotty: incoming donations do not currently meet our monthly outgoings.
   Naomi: incoming Google grant $15k (yay!)  Incoming laser cutter still requires $3k (let's have a party!)

[edit] Consensus and Discussion

Process by which NB makes decisions. Not necesarily the "best" decision, but the decision everyone can live with.

We have uppercase-C consensus (formal) and lowercase-c consensus. The latter works essentially do-ocratically -- subgroup consensus building by gathering feedback and reactions to a course of action. Quiet, transparent, it works.

Formal Consensus is more procedural. Introduce a proposal at a meeting. We talk about it a lot. We wait a week and it goes out to the mailing list. If the words haven't changed by the next meeting, we see if it can be formally agreed on at the meeting (i.e. no one "blocks").

Blocking is a Principled Objection. Essentially it is a way of saying, "if NB agrees on doing this, I am going to leave NB." It should be taken extremely seriously, and as a symptom of a deeper community divide (communication breakdowns, etc).

Expectations of the community for blocking: explain your Principled Objection. Expected to be able to discuss it, find a compromise. More discussion will occur.

Mitch: Important that people who may have objections are able to be heard! Everyone at the meeting needs to make sure to keep space held for others, so people don't feel that their voices are being silenced.

Scotty: Why are we using Consensus rather than other forms of decisionmaking?

Mitch: At the beginning we engaged in a lot of discussion about that. Many of us had been part of trad. nonprofits (final say by the board of dirs who has majority rule)... control freaks gravitated twds the board. We wanted to make sure control/power freaks wouldn't be able to stick around. Consensus is not perfect (nor is democracy)... if ppl were perfect we'd just have dictatorship and that would work great. We've been using Consensus and it's worked pretty well for us so far.


[edit] Proposals from last week

none

[edit] Proposals for next week

1 proposal

[edit] Proposal to Ban Jacob Appelbaum Permanently from Noisebridge (week 1)

WHEREAS: Jacob Appelbaum is a founder and former member of Noisebridge; and

WHEREAS: Harassment, emotional abuse, unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and other non-consensual behaviors are entirely unacceptable from a member or participant of the Noisebridge community; and

WHEREAS: It is the intent of Noisebridge to create an inclusive and harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, housing status, or language; and

WHEREAS: Jacob Appelbaum has demonstrated a long-term pattern of harassment, unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and non-consensual behavior with members of the greater hacker community; now, therefore be it

CONSENSED: Jacob Appelbaum is banned permanently from the space due to his long-term patterns of harassment, unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and non -consensual behavior entirely unacceptable from a member of the Noisebridge community. He is prohibited from entering the space or participating in the community; and may it be

FURTHER CONSENSED: This ban is considered a safe-space ban for the purposes of outstanding reciprocal ban agreements that Noisebridge has established with other existing hackerspaces

Mitch: I have many strong mixed emotions. Met Jake in 2006; he and I first had the idea of starting NB, quickly others joined. In 2006/7 became really close friends. Jake's not an easy person to get along with. A few people have felt very wronged by Jake and vice versa; some ppl really hate him, and some of those ppl are friends of mine as well. So -- I dunno if some of you have been in the posisiont where someone you consider a friend has done something really awful. I insist that I can call my friends on their shit, and that they can call me on my shit. Been difficult w/ Jake since he's been exiled to Berlin, unable to come back to the US. I'm sensitive to him not feeling like there's a witch hunt for him. At the same time, I want to honor all the feelings of lots of ppl, mostly women, who feel they've been emotionally abused by Jake. Ppl have been kicked out of NB who've done far less than Jake. This is all fairly new for me, although I know of ex-girlfriends who've had trouble with him, but I wasn't aware until it came out publicly. Not everyone has been emotionally abused by him, but there are quite a few people who have. Difficult for me emotionally, but I agree with what's written here -- have issues with "sexual assault" since I think of this as forcible rape. If we take out this phrase I would not stand in the way of this passing as written.

Victoria: in the state of CA, "sexual assault" == "unwanted touching" of sensitive body parts... and there have been incidents of this with Jake. I haven't been affected, but I know there are those who were. The idea of this Consensus proposal is to establish the solidarity of NB in asserting that these things are true.

Miloh: so essentially it's not just emotional abuise, ppl are def giving accounts of sexual assault.

Victoria: many ppl read the statement as being that he's not welcome due to the AHP -- I think that's a good start -- I just want to say as a community with certain principles I think we should stand as a beacon for the hacker community and say we don't accept these behaviors. "We're fucking serious about this... this is not happening anymore. Jake is not welcome here anymore, even if the AHP changes. Even if the Consensus process changes." So others can look to us and say, NB gives a shit, they stood up and did this thing. I know a lot of ppl who won't go to Congress due to stuff like this. It's really hard to come out and say "somebody raped me" especially in the hacker community. It's ridiculous to insist on police involvement

Henner: it's important to recognize these behaviors are more easily legitimized in this mostly-male environment [NB mtg tonight: vast majority male] and that in calling attention to them, some people improve and some people do not. It's important to point out what's happening w/ Jake and say we are fucking serious about it. We're going through this process w/ Jake b/c he's very publicly one of the people who started NB.

Victoria: Mantra usually directed at authority is "Silence is consent" in the context of authority who decides not to speak up against.

Roger: "Not acting is an action"

Victoria: right. There's a conscious decision to do nothing about it. NB ought to act.

Mitch: I agree with everything that's been said. We need to send a very clear message that this is not OK in our community. Not in the NB communtiy and not in the hacker world at large. The way it's come about isn't necessarily the best, but it's an opportunity for the hacker world to become much more positive. Us doing this ban is a way to really push that forward. The worst place for women in particular to feel unwelcome in the hacker world is DefCon (notorious).. happens some in CCC in Germany but at least it's talked about there. It needs to be talked about MUCH MORE. We're not trying to use someone as "an example"... but this is a friend of mine who has done some terrible things. He needs to live and learn and grow, but he can't do that in a place where there can be more nonconsensual sexual/emotional abuse. I'm still not comfortable with the phrase "sexual assault" since it means other things in other parts in the world... we don't want to send a message that we are accusing Jake of doing things he may not have done. But it seems very clear from statements of women I respect that they've experienced "nonconsensual sexual contact" from Jake. Can we change the phrasing to something like this?

Frank: person who never knew Jake, but hearing from this discussion that it's a case where a number of ppl who knew him, from different channels, that the charges are likely... [??? -nthmost]

Ryan: I have basically the same question -- what's the substantiation of this pattern of claims prior to the current accusations?

Mitch: I initially thought ppl were using these accusations just to get revenge on Jake. But after reading first-hand accounts from people I've met & respect, and reading anonymous ones where I know the people, over the last week or so I can't help but come to the conclusion that there's a longterm pattern of bad behavior by Jake. There's also ppl who hate Jake who ARE using it as revenge, which clouds the issue, and that's unfortunate. I put out a public statement a week ago; i wish i lived in a world where sexual and emotional abuse AND false accusations weren't promulgated, but that's not the world we live in.

Chris: I think it's important to keep "sexual assault". If we're trying to send a message, it's important not to dilute it.

Victoria: this statement when through 5 or 6 revisions, where we really focused on the wording of that and other phrases. The words are very particular and I'm more than willing to "die on the hill" for this particular issue. I don't feel like this is the end of the discussion for NB either. If you look at the establishment of the AHP, it was created in a time when people were only starting to actively create Code of Conducts and such, and I feel it could really be improved in a bunch of places [yeah, I agree --nthmost]. Let's turn this into a learning experience for the whole hacker community.

[general meta-discussion]

Trent: NB doesn't always ban ppl who might deserved to be banned, because they (usually) don't come back, so it's not an issue. My understanding was that Jacob was not welcome, already, prior to the announcement.

Nthmost - I'd like to speak to that, since I was heavily involved in writing the announcement. Despite being a woman at noisebridge since late '00s, I've never been directly impacted by jake. It wasn't until the Tor project announcement that explicit stories started coming out. Before this, there was a general feeling of "stay away from jake." "why?" "Oh well I don't really want to talk about it". Relatedly a lot of men here are feminists and have the concept of not violating a woman's autonomy in choosing her relationships. There've been a few men who've talked to me and said that it felt wrong to step in and try to play the white knight and save women from this guy. So a lot didn't come out due to conflicts of virtuousness, on behalf of men now speaking up. It's both true to say that there were things and a feeling of uneasiness, but now a lot of actual facts are surfacing.

Scotty: a bit concerned by saying this wording is "set in stone" before bringing this proposal. I know others were involved in writing it, but this doesn't seem excellent Consensus-wise.

Victoria: thanks for the feedback, i didn't mean to come off as stubborn. I think i'm reasonable and open to malleability.

Scotty: Along those lines, there is one of the pieces of the proposal that I want to provide a change for. Worried that "unbecoming" lacks teeth. It means "unflattering" in the dictionary. I'd like to see stronger wording there, like "completely unacceptable", since this is not about Jake's image, this is about the whole community.

Andrey: Two points, i'm glad it seems you have high standards. Creating "safe space" is a noble goal. Wondering if the disconnect about wording is over the legal definition of "sexual assault" (vs colloquial usage).

Victoria: direct response -- i took the legal def from several states that I'm familiar with. I'm familiar w/ politics and law, so those were my motivations. I have a strong connection to these sources of understanding.

Mitch: what Andrey says is my concern as well (legal def vs. colloquial usage). But ALSO "nonconsensual sexual contact" is too watered down. How about "Sexual assault as defined by the state of California", so as to be explicit, not misconstrued as accusation of rape.

Andrey: It would be a stronger statement to say our standards are higher than simply rejecting the behavior of rape.

Alex Peake: i met Jake, he was the first person who told me about NB. I remember hearing about his relationships that sounded troubled, I've heard women say "I'll never let my friends date Jake", and I heard them as "because he's an asshole or manipulative". I didn't think it was really code for something much worse. I spent a lot of time reading the stories, and there was one statement by Jill saying that one incident was misconstrued by 3 people who don't like Jake. Can understand why we might want to make a blanket statement like "he committed sexual assault" but somewhere on our wiki there's going to be more explanation, an article about this. This might be helpful for those who know things to help create understanding. We will be looked to as a source of truth and what we are a source of truth for.

Trent: I think we will have to come back to examine what we're being considered a source of Truth for.

Roger: I feel like the libel concerns are hinged on the statements not being true. Agree that issue of one person disavowing 3rd-party statement clouds the issue -- this makes it more important for NB to act as a source of truth to say, that was One Person; these are a lot of other people.

Scotty: Aaking Mitch, what is your concern about the wording? I actually think a lot of the accounts of Jake's actions are really textbook examples of sexual assault.

Mitch: I'm not aware of those on jacobappelbaum.net... has a lot of damning stuff on it, also open to anyone on the www to write whatever they want. I didn't read those 2 that you mentioned, so... what we have even if we changed sexual assault to coerced or forced sexual contact, that says what it is. From the vernacular of "sexual asault" it means rape to most people, especially does to me. That can't be condoned and if there are stories that he raped someone from a source i respect, i'd be fine with it, but since i haven't heard such a story, I'd rather not use that phrase... especially since this situation is being used by some as an opportunity to take revenge.

Victoria: I understand where you're coming from Mitch -- I also have a nonmainstream definition of rape. In mainstream culture rape means penis-in-vagina sexual contact; I don't think sex means that and I don't think rape means that either. I think that in this case, spelling it out more specifically and more forcefully would be more effective here, rather than using vague blanket terms no one is quite sure of and could potentially dismiss.

Trent: It seems like there's a general desire to workshop the wording of the proposal; maybe we can invite people to work on this after the meeting or later.

Scotty: I propose we table discussion of specific wording for the moment and move that to a separate meeting. We can keep talking about specific issues about the proposal.

Lee: There are words that mean things in criminal court, and words that mean things in community involvement. Wouldn't want NB to say things that aren't true and then be pointed at by a criminal court.

Andrey: "forceful" versus "unwanted" seems like a distinction we could examine...

Scotty: let's table the semantics for now.

Andy: Julian Assange comes from where I'm from; interesting fellow. A lot of stories about him, got pinned on some sexual charges which is why he's in an Ecuadorian embassy, probably for life. Seen firsthand where allegations were 100% fabricated... so for an organization to step up without legal process is "kind of unfair"; however the statement we're making is not whether he's done something (criminal) or not, but to say that the behavior is unacceptable and we don't want it here.

Chris 2: i think NB needs to be a place where ppl can feel safe and know that we'll do our best to prohibit things like this, and if they happen we'll send a clear message that they won't be tolerated. We should have the offending party removed from the space, community, and any legal bindings that come up as well. It's really serious... and as a strong proponent of justice it

Mitch: we don't need someone to actually break the law to be unwelcome at Noisebridge. Just bad behaviors like being creepy and so on, the community may ask them to leave. There are many firsthand stories from ppl I personally respect that talks about Jake doing things that go way beyond "creepy". I think that's why we have to have this statement. I don't want to use words that get into the territory of accusing him of things that go beyond the language used by people who have madae these reports, which is why i want to closely examine the language we use in the proposal.

Carl: we don't have to accuse him of any specific crimes. I think it's good enough to say he's not wanted here. What he specifically did is for the courts to decide.

Victoria: I appreciate points Andy and Chris made about this being about attacking the behaviors, not the person. (reviewing the language in the proposal)

Lee: I went to Antioch College in the 90s during which time there was written policy created around sexual consent.

Chris 2: serious crimes outside of this space, if anyone is accused with reasonable evidence, i don't think they should be welcome in the space.

Scotty: we do have precedent of that here.

Trent: and that can be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Ryan: as per Lee, i've taken in HS and college on consent and filled out forms, a couple of them were very good at explaining this stuff. almost every college in the US, during orientation you have to do an online short course type thing as part of freshman year.

Victoria: this document from Antioch is pretty good! I will use this for my own personal congress. Link: http://www.antiochcollege.org/sites/default/files/2014-2015-Student-Handbook.pdf

[edit] Discussion Items

[edit] Wonderfest! Noisebridge can haz?!

Naomi: Jarrod and I both reached out to the organizers of Wonderfest because they need a new venue. Would anyone object to holding a "pilot" Wonderfest here at Noisebridge?

(general enthusiasm, no objections, yay)

Naomi: great, then I will help them organize.

[edit] FlaschenTaschen Takedown!

Henner: we need to take down FlaschenTaschen, can someone stick around to help?

[edit] End of Meeting

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