OI has been inactive for the last few months due in part both to OI’s founder Jen Kotila’s worsening PTSD (a result of the brutal harassment, mobbing and character assassination she’s faced from those inside of Labitat and Biologigaragen (it is normal for those who have suffered harassment/bullying and whistleblowers to develop PTSD)) and also due to her fighting hard starting after landing back in Copenhagen in October to get a fair outcome in Labitat regarding the situation.
Labitat did finally issue a decision in November, which was to expel all of the involved parties– both Jen and the perpetrators Mathe Borch, Søren Borch and Emil Polny.
This is, of course, an unfair decision, but it IS better than what typically happens to harassment targets and whistleblowers. Normally ONLY the complainant/survivor/whistleblower is punished, not the perpetrators. (See here, here and here for more info.) We at OI want to acknowledge that there were some good, ethical people at Labitat who fought tooth and nail for justice but who were defeated by its wretchedly dysfunctional organizational structure and culture and the opposing side’s superior power and politicking skills.
Now that that’s done with and 2014 comes to a close, we at OI look forward to following up on the promising work that was done on the trip to the States in the fall in 2015. We want to prevent this kind of thing from every happening in hacking, citizen science or open knowledge again. This movement has the potential to be much better than the dominant paradigm and we’re committed to helping keep the organizations we intersect with healthy, thriving and, of course, inclusive.
Jen Kotila, who founded and is currently spearheading the project, toured a total of 12 hackerspaces/makerspaces/collaborative spaces starting in late July: NYC Resistor, Genspace, Alpha One Labs, Nordeastmakers, sudoroom, The Omni, Noisebridge, Biocurious, Liberating Ourselves Locally, Make Salt Lake, Montana Ethical Hackers and Bozeman Makers. Every single space was at least very interested in joining the project, which was a pleasant surprise! Several are in talks about formally joining the organization, pending board and/or consensus approval.
A select few were able to join on the spot due in part to them featuring responsive, non-traditional systems of governance. So far sudoroom, The Omni and Montana Ethical Hackers are the first official members! All three organizations already have written codes of conduct. However, all three are currently works in progress and will be evolving as time goes on, particularly that of The Omni’s which is still be constructed by a (very inspiring) working group via consensus decision making process. It is wonderful that we discovered three codes, as it will allow us to help other spaces build their own using these as models.
Speaking of, originally we weren’t quite sure how to sign up spaces that don’t currently have codes of conduct so we didn’t invite them into Phase One. We’ve now decided that a commitment to write a code, with or without our collaboration (which is provided 100% free of charge in accordance with the DIY/hacker ethos and always will be), is good enough for Phase One membership. We will be communicating this decision to spaces who wanted to sign on, but had no code of conduct ready to go shortly.
So stay tuned for more updates! Fall’s here and it’s time to get back to the business of bringing the hacking world closer together in an ethical, sustainable and inclusive manner. If you want to get involved, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , join our mailing list or the Facebook group.
Open Inclusivity’s “build your own organization” was a resounding success! We modeled this un-workhop on HUB Heidelberg’s innovative style of un-seminars after being inspired by them at the Science in the City Festival at ESOF in June. Many people showed up to participate in helping build the structure of this new organization. We mainly focused on clarifying what the nuts and bolts of what should be of such an organization — we talked about what should be in our own code of conduct, what we should encourage other open knowledge organizations to put in their, how to approach open knowledge and traditional organizations to ask if we can use their codes of conduct as examples and how to best spread the word about Open Inclusivity to interested parties.
One of the main things discussed was whether or not we should employ the naming and shaming strategy. There were several opinions on the topic within the group that worked on that question. In an unexpected turn of events, two participants named and shamed another when we reconvended to discuss the outcome of the working groups.
This incident highlighted exactly why the strategy is controversial; some of the people present had previously been in conflict about improper conduct and had been unable to resolve it – and as outsiders to the conflict, a lot of the other people present were unsure how to approach the issue because of the great difficulty in getting all the information about a complicated situation quickly from the involved parties.
This situation was a wake-up call for how hard naming and shaming is to handle for an organization that at the present time does not have the resources to thoroughly investigate a situation from a thorough and just standpoint. This helped us realize that we do not believe that naming and shaming should, for now, be a part of Open Inclusivity beyond the one open case we are already handling.
Going forward Open Inclusivity will be in contact with various hackerspaces to investigate what they think of naming an shaming and other points of its construction. We also have plans to poll the online community and engage them in dialog for feedback on this.
We would like to thank everyone who showed up for displaying interest and support for open knowledge and inclusivity!
Below are some photos of the notes that were taken by the different groups that took part in the workshop:
openinclusivity.org is hosting a “build your own organization” workshop at Kapelvej 44 on Saturday, July 19 at 3pm. Everyone is welcome to stop down and get involved as long as you come with an understanding values of inclusivity. Paradoxically, working towards a future inclusive society means not letting everyone shape inclusivity. Confusing? We’ll explain more at the workshop! See you there!
For more details about the event please check out the Facebook page. You can also sign up there but that’s not necessary and the event is free.
We’ll be facilitating more actions to help form the organization soon. Most will be online as this is a global movement! Keep checking back for updates.
Open knowledge might just be a movement that could help change the world for the better. It won’t be able to do that, however, if the organizations that make up or intersect with the movement allow for and excuse discrimination within them. This new movement is rapidly taking shape and it is up to every individual that operates within it to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, which means that no discrimination based on race, sex, class, age or any other such factor should be tolerated. Everyone who is interested and capable of being involved, should be included.
We are also welcoming those from fields that intersect with and inform open knowledge to post their codes of conduct, especially those who are associated with organizations in industry or academia who intersect with citizen science organizations. Science and technology, where gender and racial imbalances are often downright shocking, have a long way to go as well.
We strongly feel that ALL of human society must become an equal playing field if we as humans are to survive and thrive. One way to do that is to start small within our own sphere and make sure that everyone who wants to participate can, unless they discriminate against or otherwise cause harm to their peers.
This site is intended to function as an interactive movement-wide “staff handbook” that will allow participating organizations and individuals to contribute to creating a code of ethical conduct that can help everyone involved understand how to behave in a respectful, open and tolerant manner that will help the movement grow and thrive. It will also help build bridges between the more traditional fields and the new alternative structures.
It is also intended as a conduit for those who have faced discrimination to speak openly about their experiences with the hope that the spreading of such information will help correct the problem, should they be unable to find justice within their own organization. It will also create a network of concerned activists and citizens who can be mobilized to take action against organizations and individuals who refuse to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
A repository of resources regarding discrimination and harassment will be provided to the community. A few different options for speaking out are included.
Please note that this organization is very new and that this website is very much a work in progress. We welcome your help in shaping and actualizing it.
One of the perks of being based in Denmark is that 47% of the country goes on holiday in July. Although our work is internationally focused, we’ve decided that before we achieve a major international presence we should take advantage of our Danishness and hit the beach for some sorely needed downtime. Jen especially needs a break to rest and recover after suffering months of harassment, bullying and mobbing. Life can’t all be a crusade to make the world a better place. As Audre Lorde said “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Although we are not actively reaching out right now, we still welcome you to contact us at email@example.com if you want to get involved or to start ending the Wikia.
We’ve made a new flyer for distribution! If you have comments on it please sign up for the mailing list to discuss it there.