What would you do (Activity 1)

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Description

Below we describe two stories of exclusion and frictions in hack communities. The stories are real examples of events that have happened in a hackerspace and a mailing list of a hackerspace. We invite you to imagine and tell us what would you do in the position of the people involved in the conflicts. We provide you with sample lists of characters, problems, behaviors and responses. Make a collective script with a dialogue of these characters.

10 min:
Introduction to the stories

5 min:
Split in two teams.
Each team chooses one of the stories to work with.
Imagine what characters (or choose from the list) would be the protagonists of your story and divide them within your team.

5 min:
Each person describes their character in a few lines on the relevant pad (In_a_hackerspace or In_a_mailing_list). What issues/problems does your character face in the story?
Consider what would you do, if you were in this particular situation. Decide how you are going to behace/act if you were this character.

20 min:
After you finish creating your character individually, create together with the other people in your team:
a fictional dialogue between the characters of this story and decide who is going to transcribe the conversation on the relevant pad (In_a_hackerspace or In_a_mailing_list). You can exchange the role of the transcriber.
Select the sentences you would like to include in the script and copy paste them in the wiki page. Link the pages of the characters.

10 min:
Present it to us by reading your sentences or performing the dialogue.

Story One: In a hackerspace

The ASCII hacklab in Amsterdam was one of the first hacklabs of Europe that were part of the broader autonomist scene. These hacklabs developed in the mid-'90s, being self-organised technological as well as political spaces, connected with squatting culture and media activism. Most active participants in hacklabs were men, having experience with pirate radios, electronics or coding, often with engineer or computer science backgrounds. Very few women were active in the ASCII hacklab, e.g. 1 member, 1 girlfriend of a hacklab member, and 1 visitor. When they asked the guys to help them with installing Linux (open source operating software) on their machine, they just take over and start telling long stories with jargon that they could not follow.

from interview with Donna , former member of ASCII, member of GenderChangers Academy.
Video from the archive of ASCII hacklab

Characters

  • Tech-obsessed nerd
  • Apolitical hackerspace member
  • Technosolutionist
  • Hactivist (Hacker with a political cause)
  • Feminist
  • Tech amateur
  • Random visitor of the space
  • Partner of the hacker
  • Female hacker
  • Male hacker
  • Western hacker
  • Non-western hacker
  • Non-western visitor
  • +++

Issues/Problems

  • Not understanding the jargon (technical terms) used
  • Not supporting separatist actions
  • Not finding other similar people in the space
  • Excluded from the decisions for the space
  • Intruding to other's territory
  • Not respecting the principles of the space
  • Avoiding the social structural problems that a hackerspace have/insisting on the technical side
  • Not realising different privileges
  • Disagreement on the organisation of the space
  • +++

Behavior/Action

  • Vote for the person that bothers you to leave
  • Gossip about your opponent with others in the space
  • Separate and create your own hackerspace
  • Address your problem and debate about it in the group
  • Confront/Debate with your opponent 1 to 1
  • Create your own women-only workshops in the space
  • Ignore other people's urgencies and continue your work
  • Fight because you don't have arguments
  • Destroy the computers of the space
  • Take revenge with hacking your opponent's computers
  • Create a circle of like-minded people in the space
  • Avoid conflict and stay/leave
  • Mansplaining
  • Connect with other communities to support you
  • Give tutorials to the tech amateurs of the space
  • Support the unheard voices in the space
  • +++

Responses

  • "Hey... I really cannot follow you. You make the assumption that we are interested in the same things, and you start explaining to me all these geeky stuff I don't understand!"
  • "Please, could you pay attention to what I am asking you instead of what you want to discuss?"
  • "Leave the group. You don't belong here!"
  • "Please stand aside and let some room for women to participate in the space."
  • "You are not welcome here."
  • "Why are you in this group?"
  • "You don't know how to do a workshop for Linux. You need to have installed the latest version and have experience for installation. The computers are more complex than what you think."
  • +++

Story two: in a mailing list/forum

An electronic mailing list is a special use of email that allows the widespread distribution of information to many internet users. It is usually composed of email addresses of subscribers to an organisation, and emails collected with manual means. Hackerspaces often maintain a mailing list, to share news, content among the subscribers and discuss several issues.

In 2019, a feminist group sent an email to the mailing list of a hackerspace to inviting for a feminist tech event and ask for hosting future events and a server which would be part of workshops in the space. The feminist group intervened into the technical language by inventing words and phrases to describe differently an imaginative server. The emails that responded to this initiative varied, but a lot of them were patronising, offensive, and sarcastic. Most of them were particularly negative about feminist interventions in the space and the language.


Characters

  • Tech-obsessed nerd
  • Apolitical hackerspace member
  • Technosolutionist
  • Hactivist (Hacker with a political cause)
  • Feminist
  • Tech amateur
  • Random subscriber of the mailing list
  • Female hacker
  • Male hacker
  • Troll
  • MRA (Men's rights activist)

+++

Issues/Problems

  • Not understanding the jargon (technical terms) used
  • Violating the Code of Conduct of the mailing list
  • Not finding support from the members
  • Not respecting newcomers
  • Making fun of a proposal
  • Using violent language

+++

Behavior/Action

  • Flaming
  • Trolling
  • Replying anonymously
  • Lurking
  • Feeding the flames more
  • Mansplaining
  • Unsubscribe yourself or the troll
  • Support newcomers

+++


Responses

"Interesting initiative, the hosting of the feminist server." "You are the last in initiatives, but the first in opinions." "Tell the truth, you hide the fascist inside you." "Please remove me from the list." +++