[hackerspaces] Question regarding member dispute

Silence Dogood matt at nycresistor.com
Tue Jan 5 05:01:37 CET 2016

Frankly, if you are thinking you might need to call the police to deal with
a member... that member needs to be gone.  You have no trust in them, and
that is not a healthy member of a community.


On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 8:01 PM, Sam Ley <sam.ley at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 5:21 PM, Mark Rosenblitt-Janssen <
> dreamingforward at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It's simple, either they behave as the community asks, or they forfeit
>> their membership.  You have to bite the bullet and be willing to do
>> it.
> This is dead on.
> We had a similar set of disputes with one member who wasn't breaking any
> of the big on-paper rules, but was very prone to conflict with other
> members, bad about working things out, always contacting the board with
> complaints instead of speaking with people directly, playing "mommy
> said/daddy said" with multiple board members when they didn't get answers
> the liked, prone to angry outbursts instead of discussion, etc. They
> managed to drive out one member, then another, over the course of a 6 month
> period.
> We direct mediated a TON of conflicts over this time (including with other
> members who are trained mediators), but new issues kept popping up. When
> the third member (a very long-time and respected member) contacted us and
> said they were leaving due to this person, we knew we finally had to take
> action.
> It was tough, but we do have a term in our lease/membership agreement
> where we can kick someone out immediately for breaking any of the rules, or
> with 30-days notice for no reason at all (we have a bit of a delay since
> the members keep large pieces of property and tools at our shop - if it was
> a more traditional hackerspace model we would have both time frames be
> "immediately"). We met with the member, gave them notice, and that was
> that. It was hard to do, and the member said every toxic thing we thought
> they would about us (I'll call my lawyer, its because of so-and-so isn't
> it?, its because of my gender, its because you don't respect REAL
> creatives, etc.).
> But they left, and things have been MUCH better. We cleared the way for
> some great new members, old members are happier, and I realized that
> letting things go that long was the worst decision. We were uncomfortable
> kicking someone out (it was our first one), but after doing it I realize we
> should have done it much sooner. You aren't calling someone a bad person by
> kicking them out, you aren't taking their livelihood or anything major. You
> are just telling them not to show up anymore. Your members trust you to
> make the space a good one, and sometimes you have to be the bad guy for a
> day.
> The other local space here gave us some good insight when we discussed the
> situation with them - they have had to make the same decision a few times,
> and gave the same advice I'm giving now - if you've tried a few times to
> get someone to play nice, and they won't - ask them to leave. Just that
> simple, and once it is done you'll wish you did it sooner.
> Sam Ley
> Phoenix Asylum, Boulder, CO
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