Meeting 2019-01-10

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Date/Time: 7pm, Thursday, 2019-01-10


  1. Introductions and icebreaker
  2. Purpose of
  3. Mastodon / Wiki Q&A
  4. Policy for new members
  5. Help with admin and moderation



What weird thing have you found on the ground lately.

@elplatt: Giant acorn

@nthmost: Found a penny, heads up

@kep: Found a teapot

Purpose / Community Building

What is your experience building communities? What have you been thinking about?

@nthmost: Didn't understand importance until about 29. Getting people together to share passions. Getting different communities together. Has been involved in noisebridge 11 years. Has seen it through a number of difficult transitions. Occupy movement led to people living in Noisebridge. Had an influx and had to ask them to leave. Physical threats are easier, but community problems are more insidious: narcissistic or sociopathic behavior. Leads to long-time contributors slowly leaving. Good finances, but focusing on improving community health. Other communities: what should happen to people who violate consent and other conduct norms?

@kep: Has lived in co-ops. Mother was minister, did a lot of faith-motivated social justice and/or emotional labor. Saw value in shared institutions with physical space. Curious about cross-generational institutions that provide mutual support to people who don't have family obligated to help them. Runs an IRC server, talks to various FOSS groups on IRC. People working together to coordinate large projects. Works at Akamai. Looks at both technical and social issues in security. Thinking of a company as a society is helpful. Interested in communities and coordiantion both for cooperatives and international corporations. Has been a part of groups that have problems deciding which behaviors are acceptable. Now ombudsperson for nonprofit, responds to conduct complaints. Proud of group standing by code of conduct. How groups react to trauma of accusations and conflicts within.

@elplatt: i3 Detroit as founding member and often mediator of conflict. Saw difficulty of self-hosting online platform when there is an influx of users without clear principles. Different assumptions about acceptable behavior led to lack of trust. Discussion sometimes seen as lack of responsiveness.

@nthmost: Noisebridge replaced mailing list with slack because it was seen as a source of drama. Now slack is seen as source of drama.

@elplatt: Communication is hard.

@nthmost: Similar experiences with groups forming factions. Those with the most time to spend were able to take over. Could break down trust. Took a lot of work from moderators to get things resolved. Issues like evictions need community.

@elplatt: Mastodon's fine grained controls make it possible to form mutliple communities and change how they interact. Allows more organic growth. Might not solve eviction, but good way to solve these problems in an online community.

@nthmost: Microcosms can be very useful for building new types of communities!

@kep: Reminded of "The Art of Gathering." Figuring out who has to be there, who might be there, and who might be disruptive. Runs some contentious meetings. When there's bad accidents or blame, have to establish a base level of trust. Might mean not inviting executives. Also have to be mindful of power imbalance. Have to remind people sometimes that it can be necessary to kick people out.

@nthmost: Noisebridge originally opened with radical inclusion. Over time evolved concept of "for people who belong here." Includes examples of what it looks like to belong. Can make it possible to shift overton window. Shift can be surprisingly drastic.

@kep: In LARP communities, some principles are very specific and others are vague, when decisions are meant to be a community discussion.

@nthmost: Can't afford those with the most time to set default implicit norms.

@kep: Probably informed by past experiences. Would like to talk about onboarding, population change, and continuity.

Mastodon Q/A

@elplatt: Instance is up and running with a few users. Need to think more about how to open up to more.

Two timelines: local is just this instance, federated is this instance plus everyone followed by this instance.

@kep: How do replies work?

@elplatt: Don't know, probably keep the @ mention.

@nthmost: What's visible to who?

@elplatt: Public toots listed on timelines, unlisted toots not on timelines but still visible, protected only visible to followers. Followers can be locked so approval is needed.