[hackerspaces] sexual harrasment

matt matt at nycresistor.com
Wed Nov 12 07:53:11 CET 2014

The way I see it your argument is based upon a false premise.

If you have such a 'diverse' community that people don't implicitly trust
each other you don't have a community at all.  And in that case, you have

You have a building that acts as a public utility rather than a
hackerspace, which is cool and all but something entirely different.

And for the record, you cannot overcome natural social trust mechanics with
rules.  Nor should you.  The community is paramount to the individual.

On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 1:38 AM, justin corwin <outlawpoet at gmail.com> wrote:

> That works so long as there's a fairly uniform group. But when you have a
> diverse group that may not all have the same kind of relationship with each
> other, it starts getting more likely that people will disagree on what
> constitutes a breach of trust. Standards allow people to moderate a
> disagreement of that kind without being seen as taking a side. This is
> particularly important if the possible harasser is more popular in the
> community than the harassed, as 'natural' social trust mechanics tend to
> result in closing ranks around the person in a dispute with more social
> capital.
> On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 10:32 PM, matt <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:
>> If you need a harassment policy you have screwed up somewhere fairly
>> spectacularly.  that's an informed opinion.
>> what it comes down to from my perspective is that your hackerspace should
>> be a community of people that trust
>> each other.  if someone has been harassing another person in any fashion
>> to the point that there is even a
>> discussion of policy bandaids you need to reconsider how it is you go
>> about safeguarding your community.
>> If someone in your community has betrayed the trust of your community
>> they should be ejected.
>> Communities are founded on trust.  Without it, you have nothing.  You can
>> pretend all you want that all is well but
>> you are really just sticking your head in the sand.
>> If someone commits an illegal act, that's a betrayal of trust.  And first
>> and foremost that person has forfeit their
>> membership in the hackerspace through their own actions.  If there is
>> necessary legal action as well you address
>> that as a community.
>> If someone has betrayed the trust of another member, that can get dicey.
>> But as with any personal relationship
>> one of the members needs to do the honorable thing and bow out of their
>> own accord.  If someone has
>> acted inappropriately that should again be readily apparent.. if  you
>> find people not seeing that as readily
>> apparent then guess what... you have a personal grievance between two
>> members.
>> In that case, just as if two members were dating and had a rocky break
>> up... someone is honor bound to do
>> the right thing and bow out of the community.  If someone among the two
>> can't be adult / mature enough
>> to do that, eject both members as they are selfish and juvenile and
>> therefore ultimately poor members of
>> the community.
>> I don't see why you guys see this as so difficult?  I mean I see people
>> build volumes of bylaws and repositories
>> of errata and then dive into massive bureaucratic traps to address
>> something that doesn't require any of this.
>> You either trust someone and they are a part of your community or they
>> are not.  There's no middle ground.
>> On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM, Brendan Halliday <wodann at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> After we had a spate of clearly sexist behaviour from some members on
>>> our mailing list (They opposed the female members having a female targeted
>>> event, somehow conflating it with removing their rights to attend the
>>> space) we implemented a very clearly written Safe Space Policy clearly
>>> outlining the behaviours considered inappropriate.
>>> Of course, one of the sexist members at the time was an executive and
>>> tried to block it claiming the terminology was wrong entirely and posted a
>>> 'rewritten' version that removed all references to what harrassment and
>>> sexism is. So be ready for stupid things like that when you try to bring in
>>> rules like this.
>>> You can read it at http://hsbne.org/admin/safespace.html
>>> On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 3:58 AM, Alan Fay <emptyset at freesideatlanta.org>
>>> wrote:
>>>> \On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM, Florencia Edwards <floev22 at gmail.com
>>>> > wrote:
>>>>> How do you deal with sexual harassment at your spaces?
>>>> Freeside based its Anti-Harassment Policy on the guidelines for
>>>> conferences provided by the Ada Initiative: [
>>>> https://wiki.freesideatlanta.org/fs/Policy_AntiHarassment]
>>>> That's just a policy, though - and is powerless without enforcement.
>>>> First and foremost, leadership has to lead by example.  Any person in a
>>>> leadership role in the organization that engages in harassment should be
>>>> removed immediately.  Any tolerance of harassing behavior by leadership
>>>> will quickly spread through the organization, and diversity will suffer as
>>>> a result.
>>>> Secondary, it's important to establish the right culture and attitude.
>>>> What I tell my fellow Directors and Officers is: "Treat every person that
>>>> walks through the door as your equal."  That tends to work really well.
>>>> There's always a few people that don't get it, so it's important to not
>>>> only follow-up with those individuals, but also with the members or
>>>> visitors that they interact with.  I have a serious conversation with the
>>>> individual, where I put all the cards on the table.  For example, to
>>>> explain exactly how their comments or actions impact the organization, how
>>>> the recipients of their words or behaviors interpreted their actions, etc.
>>>> Thankfully, our membership process tends to find any potential problems
>>>> before onboarding.  One really good test that works for us is taking
>>>> potential members out to a restaurant, to break some bread with other
>>>> members.  99% of the time, you learn everything about a person treats
>>>> others by observing their behavior towards a waiter.
>>>> It's kind of a chicken and egg problem, but having diversity promotes
>>>> diversity.  If there's enough women at the space, then women feel more
>>>> welcome and secure/confident to fight back harassment in the absence of
>>>> leadership.  I still don't know how to promote diversity, but respect and
>>>> non-harassing leadership seemed to work for Freeside.
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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> --
> Justin Corwin
> outlawpoet at gmail.com
> http://programmaticconquest.tumblr.com
> http://outlawpoet.tumblr.com
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