[Noisebridge-discuss] about policy vis-a-vis true excellence

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Wed Mar 26 19:21:53 UTC 2014

(A new thread to continue the discussion; I don't want it to warrant a
[drama] tag; I am trying to prolong just this one particular strand
out of that horrendous thread.)

to Al:

I'm not sure that Rachel's point is that we will "just have to live
with meth-selling".

I think her point has more to do with an assertion, based on a lot of
real-world observations, that the things you write down will always be
contorted and misused by bad people -- especially /smart/ bad people
-- and that it's "badness" you should be on the lookout for, not
people exhibiting a certain type of behavior that you have written
down as bad.

And further, that the written policy can blind you to the existence of
real non-excellence specifically *because* smart-bad people typically
use policy to their own benefit.

Adherence to a firm written policy ahead of calm, rational, and
empathic discourse is a trojan horse of a meta-policy that ruins
communities from the inside out.

I hope some of you would consider reading Antifragile, by Nassim Taleb.


On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM, Al Sweigart <asweigart at gmail.com> wrote:
> Rachel, we've never made people buy beer when they become members. That is
> not "built-in" to the membership process, and is just a joke. Often times
> members do not buy beer when they come back, and I always speak up and say,
> "Actually, you don't have to and fine if you don't, so don't feel
> obligated."
> Anyway, I'm not even sure what this thread is about anymore. First it was
> discussing the recent procedural change, then Rachel makes claims on
> Noisebridge's "charter" (not to be confused with "bylaws"), then Will brings
> up the problem of people trying to sell meth in the space, then Rachel says
> that to solve the meth-selling problem we should "build a better society"
> (that will be... a bit of work) and that we will just have to live with
> meth-selling at the space, then Rachel talks about how "safe space" can't be
> defined in an un-abusable (if I'm wrong about that, I'd really like a
> practical definition of it from Rachel)...
> We can address all of these issues, but it's going to involve a lot of work
> because as nice as "be excellent" is, people are going to have sincere
> disagreements about what that means. That's why we have to sit down, write
> out whatever small part of excellence we propose, and come to agreement on
> it. Otherwise, this is just a long-winded thread where much is spoken but
> not much is communicated.
> On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 11:43 AM, William Sargent <will.sargent at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I've thrown out many people, including Jake 2.0.  But since you bring it
>> up:
>> Cynthia put down Noisebridge as her place of residence, which is against
>> the terms of the lease.   This was mentioned at both meetings.  Jesse and I
>> asked her to leave and come back at the Tuesday meeting, the very next day.
>> She refused.
>> Then more people asked her to leave.  Then, once there were six or seven
>> people, they started shouting at each other.  At that point, calling the
>> police was the best way to deescalate the situation, believe it or not.  She
>> locked herself in the bathroom once she heard the police were coming.
>> The Tuesday meeting the next day had multiple people, including Kelly say
>> she felt safer in the space for not having Cynthia in it.   When weev, who
>> still had his trial lined up, says that he wanted the Police to come into
>> the space and remove her, I feel pretty confident about having made the
>> right call.
>> I didn't know that Jesse smoked pot outside until after the second
>> meeting.  Likewise, I didn't know about Jesse sexually assaulting someone,
>> because it hadn't happened at that point.
>> Will.
>> On Mar 26, 2014, at 11:29 AM, rachel lyra hospodar <rachelyra at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> This metric unfortunately falls apart when in a situation like I was in
>> with Jesse z, who was emphatic that smoking only certain types of dried
>> plants on the public sidewalk outside of Noisebridge was acceptable & safe ,
>> while being so intoxicated on his own personal blend of drugs as to be a
>> threat to his own safety as well as that of others.
>> This metric, while having noble goals, can be gamed by any perpetrator
>> pointing their own finger, forming a circle of people claiming their safety
>> is endangered.
>> Seeking to provide a safe-as-possible space occasionally means deciding if
>> someone is being an asshole.
>> I'll mention now, since I cannot help but think of it every time I think
>> of Will, that he and Jesse z called the cops INTO the space once to evict
>> cynthia from the bathroom.  She wasn't in there doing drugs, just hiding
>> from the actual people obligingly fulfilling her paranoia. This was during I
>> time when I regularly saw groups of people rally to kick out someone who was
>> say, stealing, or sleeping frequently at the space. Cynthia wasn't doing
>> those things, she was just a harmless nutjob.
>> I am sure, Will, that you have many good qualities but good enough asshole
>> metrics to reference off of might not be one of them, nor a cool head in a
>> stressful situation.
>> One tool I found particularly striking from Sudo room (god help me I am
>> suggesting Sudo room is doing something better than Noisebridge) was this
>> phrase - we value safe space over ideology. This phrase was incredibly
>> valuable because it suggested the hierarchy of relative values of two things
>> we hold dear, and thus was a machete in a thicket of arcane rules that were
>> being endlessly quibbled by 3 dudes who wrote them. People who like to argue
>> with each other should be allowed to do so, but.
>> When the rules are too complicated they are the domain of those who
>> maintain and understand them. A vital part of the Noisebridge screed is
>> built around keeping it simple enough to be understood & debated by
>> everyone. Whatever 'it' is, and whatever you crazy kids are up to with
>> yours, and whatever you are calling it nowadays.
>> R.

Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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