Drafting a Noisebridge Accessibility Policy

Based on the discussion at the Tuesday 2020-06-30 meeting and in the thread related to the ADA Disability Consensus Items thread, I’m hereby starting a new thread to discuss the drafting of a Noisebridge Disability Accessibility Policy.

Let’s collect input for a Noisebridge accessibility policy in line with our anti-harassment policy, starting with remote access (balanced against privacy) and accessibility information visibility (balanced against bureaucracy).

Please share any suggestions for language that you feel concisely captures mutual inclusivity. I ask that everyone please refrain from language that would address one of either set to the exclusion of the other.

In my view, this should be a document that describes what being excellent to disabled community members means, and what we are committed to doing to make Noisebridge an inclusive, welcoming, accessible community. Personally, this is what I’ll be emphasizing as I work to contribute to this process.


From the Anti-Harassment policy I find this bit pretty interesting: "People violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the space or the event at the discretion of any Noisebridge community participant."

I usually hear this called the "ask to leave" policy. The way it’s usually described is “if you feel harassed you can ask that person to leave” usually followed by “people at Noisebrige will help if you feel uncomfortable”.

I think that we should try to embed a similar sentiment here. "If a disability prevents your access to the space or activities within, it is the responsibility of others at Noisebridge to help"
Issues like: clearing barriers, keeping pathways clear, making top floor activities available on bottom floor, etc.


I like that. It makes it clear that we take collective responsibility for making (and keeping!) the space and activities within the space accessible.

Hi @Zach, @Rikke, @themanmaran-

Good discussion. Been lurking long enough, so to catch up with some thoughts I’ve had…

When introducing visitors to NB, we tend to make them aware of several key principles:

  • The One Rule: Be Excellent To Each Other
  • Do-ocracy: if you see something that needs doing, do it
    • Subtenet: when making changes, do a consensus reality check: does it require small-c or Big-C consensus?
  • Anti-Harassment Policy: the anti-harassment pol posted everywhere (and how to reach out for help, #space-guardians)

Let’s add a fourth principle: Noisebridge must always be accessible.

We’ve all witnessed Zach, Alex and others being blocked from moving about 2169, pre-elevator-kaput, over and over again.

For accessibility to work continuously, we’ve got to elevate awareness of it to the same level as the existing core principles. It’s got to be on everybody’s lips and minds. Let’s give it enough momentum that it continues moving forward in everybody’s minds.

Accessibility won’t work if we delegate it to do-ocracy or being excellent, or a policy posted on a wall someplace, not in my opinion. (Few actually take the time to read the anti-harassment policy, fewer still are conversant about it.)

The end result of this process is for every Noisebridger to become an agent of accessibility. If you see blockage, clear it up. If somebody parks their project, bike or donation in a passageway, ask them to move it, or move it yourself. Remind fellow NBers when their actions block accessibility.

The world is ableist. Let’s change that for good inside NB.

In retrospect, Hackitorium’s layout seemed thoughtless about mobility device users. I remember Zach driving round and round the tables, at various times, to educate people that there needed to be room for chair users. We need to incorporate that awareness when laying out rooms in the new space.

With a ground-floor entrance, we should be expecting (and welcoming) more of our fellow hackers who use devices to get about. Let’s make the space an always-safe place for them, starting on day 0.

I also support making accessibility a consensus item, because every action we can take to improve visibility will help cement it in all our minds.



While we draft language and think about content, here’s a set of guidelines from the University of Washington about designing makerspaces for accessibility, as well as an in-depth article from the same people.