[hackerspaces] Tips and Tricks (Was Women in Makerspaces)

Philipp Tiefenbacher wizards23 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 15:28:48 CET 2013


On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM, Melissa Hall <melissa.hall at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2) Is your space part of the art community and is the art community part of
> your space?  Artists made things before technologists and do enjoy good
> tools.  (The art community being a part of the space from the beginning is
> one of the things I think my space got right)

I totally agree that it's important make artists feel welcome at the
space. Both sides have lots to gain from each other. The artists:
technical expertise and know how,... and the "nerds" might get a whole
new perspective on social interactions, user design, beauty... Also I
dare to say that the "artist spaces" might be close to 50/50 on the
gender scale which I like.

> 4) If someone is being made uncomfortable or unwelcome in your space, what
> can they do about it?  Are the choices to suck it up, confront them directly
> or leave?  Are those really the options you want to offer?

We had a huge discussion after the 29C3. The congress was great and
very inspiring to me and most people there, but some people got made
uncomfortable there (by a few not well behaving people) and we should
take their stories and feelings seriously! We hade a very intense
mailing list flamewar but then we had a gender issues meeting and when
we all talked to each other face to face we found that actually we all
could agree that we wanted to offer more than these options. We are
currently drafting a petition that aims at acknowledging "invisible"
and underrepresented issues in hacker communities

I think it's important to add that this petition is not an "official
metalab petition" since there are no such things because metalab has
no aganda at all except to provide an open space and selforganized
infrastructure for people to make cool stuff.


> If someone has trouble using tools, we train them.  If someone has trouble
> using the community (and abuses it as a result) we shrug and act like
> nothing can be done.  Maybe you should consider the community of your space
> another one of your spaces resources and treat it like you would a CNC
> router.  You get trained on how it works, and if you mess up the tool there
> are consequences.  Maybe we should treat the people in our community as well
> as we treat our tools.

I like the comparison! Not because the value of a human is in any way
comparable to an expensive tool, but because many of us get drilled in
a respect for inannimate obects during their lives. So this is a good
starting point to change the way we think about other people. You
transfer the problem to a well known (learned at school and from
advertisments ;) domain and ask: "how would you solve this problem
with an expensive machine that should not get damaged?"
I like analogies :) this thought made my day (and the fact that I just
got my new reprap in the mail :)

> And let me stress "nice" is a terrible standard of behavior.  Nice is just
> not upsetting anyone.  I prefer people be polite and that means sometimes
> people might get upset, but what matters is that everyone behave in a way
> that allows for comfortable social discourse, even when tempers are high or
> things are distressing.

I like the prase "Be Awesome to Each Other." If you take that
seriously it's the message of jesus without any bible nonsense ;)

> If this is declared off topic I will drop it.  If it is sent to a ghetto I
> will not follow.  However if we are not ready to talk about making a
> community that is designed to include women, I wonder if we will ever be
> ready to talk about making a community that is designed to include other,
> less powerful, groups.

I dont think it's offtopic at all!


:: Philipp Tiefenbacher
:: custom electronics/magic
:: http://magicshifter.net/
:: http://metalab.at/

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
--Arthur C. Clarke

More information about the Discuss mailing list