[Noisebridge-discuss] Who do we want to exclude? [Drama]

Tom Lowenthal me at tomlowenthal.com
Tue Apr 9 18:44:20 UTC 2013

It is a myth that leaving our doors open to any makes us welcome for all.

When we admit those who think of women as anything less than
autonomous people, we make Noisebridge unwelcome for women. When there
are those among us who take what is not theirs, those who would
construct projects with valuable components cannot do so here. When
our library is used as a bedroom, it us unavailable and unpleasant for
those who seek knowledge. When our tools are broken or lost, it is not
possible to build. When people won't come to classes because they do
not feel safe at Noisebridge, we need to address this.

When some people walk though our gate, Noisebridge becomes unpleasant
and unusable for others. When we are open to all, we exclude many of
those we love most.

Too many times have I heard "Let's meet at the Sycamore instead,
people always hit on me when I'm at Noisebridge."  or "I know it costs
more, but let's build it at Tech shop, 'cause it'd suck if this went
missing.". If you are a cisgendered man who works mostly at your
computer, you may not notice these things. These issues may not affect
you directly, but they affect those around you: your community. This
weakens our social fabric, and excludes many of the most valued,
thoughtful folks who should be the mainstay of our hackerspace.
Without these people, we are so much less.

We need to take a look in the mirror and decide what we want to be,
because we cannot be everything to everyone. If we want to be the
place that people go to build their next giant robot, livestreaming
quadcoptor, community project, or enlightening class, we must be a
place which invites, nurtures, and encourages this. We should strive
to be the place that provides for that which we value most, and that
means removing those things which are barriers to these goals.

We have excluded so many who have come before and tried to make great
things. Let us not exclude any more.

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