Noisebridge had a meeting on 3/19. We talked about feelings

Tonight, Noisebridge met and discussed the events of recent days. Nobody took good notes; I wrote some bullet points down in my notebook before I realized I had a laptop and could type some of them.

We talked about Micah being asked to leave then immediately 86’d, and Matt being asked to leave “for 30+ days”.

In general, our consensus is that 86ing someone is an act of last resort, only after all attempts to reconcile hurt feelings have been exhausted. Or if someone majorly fucks up and is an obvious immediate threat that needs gone.

Further, “asking someone to leave” isn’t a tool to dispose of problem people and behaviors. Asking someone to leave must come from a place of love; the whole point of asking someone to leave is so that they can work through their own shit and come back a better version of themselves. Asking someone to leave “for 30+ days” isn’t that. Hard time limits don’t make sense; instead, people should be welcomed back to the space after something has taken place such that the community can trust them again.

We encourage people to take breaks! Its good to leave Noisebridge and work on your shit. Noisebridge is not the place to work through your shit, and that’s when asking to leave is most appropriate.

We consensed to talk to Nicole about asking Matt to leave. We talked about the situation and something seems a bit off. Jams wants to hear Nicole’s statement before we do much. Tim wants to know whats the fastest way we can work that out so that Matt can come back instead of being stuck in limbo. Marco was involved in this at some point. We’re not really sure on how all this came down. Victoria volunteered to talk with Nicole.

We further consensed that Micah is not actually 86’d, but they’re also not welcome to return for a long while; if they return too soon then an 86 is definitely warranted. Jams will try and talk with them and feel things out to see if restorative justice can happen and what it might look like.

We also talked about how we all overlooked one massive facet of this situation: everyone was working very hard on “fixing” Micah, but nobody was making sure James was okay. We need to do better at this.

@hicksu suggested a group that checks some kind of inbox. If people who have been 86’d or asked to leave or otherwise want to come back, they should be able to write a letter to that inbox and the group can then give it consideration. Some prompts should be provided for potential letter writers, including:

  • What is your description of the events?
  • What have you thought about since then?
  • What do you feel was unfair to you?
  • How were you unfair?
  • Do you feel there are people you’ve hurt?

Then we further discussed Micah’s history at Noisebridge, to get everyone up to speed on the timeline. They’ve been a super awesome hacker and many of us want them to return! But sometime in January, they started to spin out. Chris, who was 86’d around then, seems to have been a major catalyst.

Frank says they’re now associated with Latham Capital Finance in some way. They work with lenders who want to help finance non-profit real estate transactions. Which is basically what Noisebridge is. They’re gonna bug Nicole to see what might happen.

Jarrod raised an issue on another discussion that I didn’t write down at all, because we all agreed it should be off the record. But the point raised was: be very careful about using the words “fascist”, “authoritarian”, and similar. The community is still pretty fucked up and those words hold a lot more power than they should at the space.

We also consensed that @tim should have access to the meetup page so they can help out with 5mof event things.

Alchemist’s scooter that disappeared during a cleanup weekend was replaced by their renter’s insurance. Their renter’s insurance replaced it completely!! Renter’s insurance fucking rocks. Everyone agreed on this point.

Jarrod reiterated that we should not be trying to repair the relationship between Micah and James. We should respect James’ boundaries and hold space for their feelings. The end goal should be “Can you be excellent and treat everyone else in the space, including James?” Tim asked what conditions of return are laid on Micah. We consensed that if they do return and are still unexcellent, they’ll be 86’d.

Victoria suggested we try and implement Jarrod’s restorative justice inbox idea in the next few days. Jarrod refined the idea to say: it should be a physical mailbox. If someone wants to go through reconcilliation, they need to write out and sign and stamp and mail an actual physical letter. The letters should go to our mailbox and not 2169 Mission because the contents could be incredibly private! So the reconciliation group/guild should be the ones managing that, if any such guild or group should materialize.

@lee appeared at the end. We asked if they had any announcements, and they announced No.

Meeting adjourned.

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Clarification. By help with 5MOF @tdfischer means cancel the meetup event if no one has signed up to speak so that newbies don’t show up if nothing is happening.

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I don’t have much to add or offer, but I think the meeting produced great ideas. I wholeheartedly welcome restorative justice to noisebridge whenever possible.

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Sounds like it was a great meeting. I wish I could have participated but I was in class. It seems like people are going back to the drawing board and focusing on our intentions with space guarding. I think that’s what we need so I’m happy to see that.
We have precedent for how we handle it but I’m not very impressed by that precedent. I hope we keep rethinking and talking and focusing on our ideals.

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Last time I witnessed a 5mof (I think in February) only like two people signed up to speak and someone ended up hosting it and lots more people spoke who weren’t signed up. I was pleasantly surprised – I thought the event would just fall flat. So it’s possible for it to happen even if it’s not obvious that it’s going to happen.

I’m happy for you to use your own judgement on that though, Tim, so assuming this is you, you now have event organizer permissions. https://www.meetup.com/noisebridge/members/117635142/profile/ If it turns out you need extra permissions to delete other people’s events, let me know and I can grant that.

Edit: forgot to tag ya @tim

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