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

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Fri Jan 18 19:00:32 CET 2013

First, I thought this was an interesting post.  I also am glad it
inspired some good conversation.

> 1) Is Ravelry part of your social media strategy?  If not why not?

What is ravelry?

Does your space really have a "social media strategy"?  Like... do
people do that?  Is that a thing?

> 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 agree with that.  I think artists really do have similar core values
to hackers, and they totally mesh well.

> 3) When you do outreach to promote your space, where do you go?  Are there
> other community organizations you might be overlooking?  For example in my
> community I would love to see the maker space do some cross-promotion with
> the local roller derby team (they do a monthly craft night we could host)
> and  the local edge theater group.  And promoting in say, the local LGBT
> center as well as the local game store might make more of a difference than
> you expect.

I think this gets back to my point about core values.  If you are
going to go recruiting you need a clear message regarding what your
space is about.  And a clear idea of what it is you want to expose
folks to.  Once you have that you can go recruiting at senior centers
if you want.

> 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?

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  That is how I have
summed up most conflict resolution tactics I have seen employed.  I am
not sure what the right solution is, but I think it starts with
building a community that can stay close in spite of their
differences.  Where forgiveness and acceptance are the status quo.

To do that, you may need to exclude some very awesome people.  =/

> 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.

You can't fix society's ills.  And for a person to change something
about themselves, they need to want to change.  Same goes with
learning to use tools.  It all comes down to sharing knowledge with an
open mind.  And I think spaces should look for that in members.

Grace Hopper said something along the lines of, you don't manage
people.  You manage things.  You lead people.

> 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.

And if someone is unable to keep their passion under control, I think
that person should not be a member.  It's just that simple.

> 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 don't want to include groups, powerful or less powerful.  I want to
find the hackers that are out there wherever they may be.

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