australian sheds as mental health support - our hackspace as a support system

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amx109

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Sep 3, 2011, 5:20:44 PM9/3/11
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ive been wailing on about the australian system of sheds to a few people. ive finally found some info on them

http://www.mensshed.org/page8548/What-is-a-Mens-Shed.aspx

heres a bbc story on them http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2010/03/100317_shed_men.shtml

i think this aspect of our space is vastly underestimated. Morris's confessional highlighted that to a point.

then theres also the opposite of this. the passive aggressiveness [1], general frustrations aired that end up indirectly focusing on one or two members - you're sorely mistaken if you think they dont notice.

i feel more members should be more confrontational, to ask questions, gain understanding of intent and motive rather than for 'guard dog' or 'rule enforcement'.

Amran.

[1] alecjw - if you have a problem with someone sleeping in the space, behind you (as you type), confront them.

Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale

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Sep 3, 2011, 5:38:23 PM9/3/11
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3 sep 2011 kl. 22:20 skrev amx109:

> [1] alecjw - if you have a problem with someone sleeping in the space, behind you (as you type), confront them.

This is a bad suggestion IMO.

If there is some aspect of the space which people find annoying, it's important to work out whether the thing that bugs you is part of the space's culture or not: maybe it's something that nobody likes, but on the other hand maybe it's something that you should just put up with. The whole sleeping discussion was an important (if kind of tedious) demonstration of this, because it helped solidify the shared consensus of the space about an issue.

That is *much* more valuable, and much more useful, than having isolated members of the space duke it out privately.

Nicholas

Sam Kelly

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Sep 3, 2011, 6:25:14 PM9/3/11
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On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 10:20 PM, amx109 <amx...@gmail.com> wrote:
ive been wailing on about the australian system of sheds to a few people. ive finally found some info on them

http://www.mensshed.org/page8548/What-is-a-Mens-Shed.aspx

heres a bbc story on them http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2010/03/100317_shed_men.shtml

I know this isn't the point of your suggestion, but I'd hate to see the hackspace become a "men's" anything, either explicitly, implicitly, or de facto.

-- 
Sam Kelly, http://www.eithin.co.uk/

That's it.  We're not messing around anymore, we're buying a bigger dictionary.  -  Tibor Fischer, The Thought Gang.

phil jones

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Sep 3, 2011, 6:29:43 PM9/3/11
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> I know this isn't the point of your suggestion, but I'd hate to see the
> hackspace become a "men's" anything, either explicitly, implicitly, or de
> facto.

+1

amx109

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Sep 3, 2011, 7:35:20 PM9/3/11
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I know this isn't the point of your suggestion,

correct.

which makes this next bit, well, pointless
 
but I'd hate to see the hackspace become a "men's" anything, either explicitly, implicitly, or de facto.


thanks for your thoughts Sam. I'm sure someone will be along to argue with you shortly.

 

amx109

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Sep 3, 2011, 7:36:18 PM9/3/11
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phil, thanks for agreeing with Sam's (as previously mentioned) pointless addition to this thread.

amx109

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Sep 3, 2011, 8:16:20 PM9/3/11
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Nicholas.


If there is some aspect of the space which people find annoying, it's important to work out whether the thing that bugs you is part of the space's culture or not: maybe it's something that nobody likes, but on the other hand maybe it's something that you should just put up with.

I think that self reflection, which is what i think you are implying, is a great way of figuring out whether you have a problem with the law of the 'space or with your own boundries.

however, i think discourse and dialogue is a quicker, better, faster way of getting there. not only that but others might learn by your actions too.

The whole sleeping discussion was an important (if kind of tedious) demonstration of this, because it helped solidify the shared consensus of the space about an issue.

As far as i can tell, there was no discussion. Russ clarified an unwritten rule (largely by writing it), fleshed out its intention and then others 'discussed' it.

i've been coming to the space for over a year - as far as im aware, in all that time its been an unwritten rule.
 

That is *much* more valuable, and much more useful, than having isolated members of the space duke it out privately.

I beg to differ. the sleeping rule wasnt clearly stated anywhere. it was a bit of a grey area, which is why alot of the things that did happen, happened.

our shared consensus is captured within our rules quite well. if they werent, we'd be having big problems. talking to people about their actions (if you suspect theyre bad) is a good way of making sure the intentions of the rules are followed.
 

Nicholas


Amran



Robert Leverington

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Sep 4, 2011, 4:28:51 AM9/4/11
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On 2011-09-04, amx109 wrote:
> phil, thanks for agreeing with Sam's (as previously mentioned) pointless
> addition to this thread.

+1

Anish Mohammed

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Sep 4, 2011, 6:49:28 AM9/4/11
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Interesting, curious to know have there been any  studies published around health care benefits of hackerspace. Btw are there any "practising" health care folks among us ;).
Regards
Anish

PS :- from what I gather from my friends who are psychiatrists, passive aggressive behaviour is marked in some parts of the world , in those instances asking folks to be active, would be asking them to break their mould. Some cultures are open to it, some are not. A trip to nearest parking lot should give us some  insight :)

Anish Mohammed
Twitter: anishmohammed
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/anishmohammed

Sam Cook

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Sep 4, 2011, 7:29:05 AM9/4/11
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amx109, what exactly is your point? are you trying to argue that we need to be more confrontational or that we need to acknowledge that there is something of a support structure within the space or what?

Assuming you want people to be more confrontational (has good points and bad points) the $1,000,000 question is "how?"

I also disagree that areas of contention should be raised solely face to face; if these continue to be areas of contention they should be discussed on list so that a consensus can be reached and then everyone knows about it and it is recorded.

All that being said I agree that greater inquisitiveness and understanding about each other is no bad thing and should be encouraged.

amx109

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Sep 4, 2011, 9:03:45 AM9/4/11
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amx109,

Sam, you may call me Amran. if you're at the space next Tuesday please come and say hi.
 
what exactly is your point? are you trying to argue that we need to be more confrontational or that we need to acknowledge that there is something of a support structure within the space or what?


both.

perhaps the use of the word 'confrontational' was, to borrow an oft-used term from a trustee, 'sub optimal'. the google search engine defines 'confront' as

1. Meet (someone) face to face with hostile or argumentative intent.
2. Face up to and deal with (a problem or difficult situation).

im going for option number 2 here.

pointing out the obvious, the space is a support structure at many levels. academically, through learning, to such things as building confidence in peoples ability to do things (soldering is a great example).  all the way right through to having like minded people to socialise and discuss ideas with.

more often than not, we all tend to help each other. what im saying with the 'to confront' thing is you can still be helpful by making sure people use the space in the spirit intended.

making a mistake should not be seen as a negative thing. it helps you learn. likewise, helping someone realise they are making a mistake can be a good thing too.

Assuming you want people to be more confrontational (has good points and bad points) the $1,000,000 question is "how?"

politely, civilly and if possible, with grace. remember the age old hackspace mantra. be excellent to each other.
 

I also disagree that areas of contention should be raised solely face to face; if these continue to be areas of contention they should be discussed on list so that a consensus can be reached and then everyone knows about it and it is recorded.


i think that will happen naturally - the escalation from a single occurrence of a problem to a communal problem. defining a 'catch all' for tackling and acknowledging problems isnt the intention, but i do think this part (the point ive been making) of our culture is missing.
 
All that being said I agree that greater inquisitiveness and understanding about each other is no bad thing and should be encouraged.


me too Sam, me too.

Thank you for your reply. i hope i've answered any questions you had. i'd be happy to elaborate more if you wish, but perhaps in person more than via email.

Amran

Sam Cook

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Sep 4, 2011, 9:31:44 AM9/4/11
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Amran, 

On 4 September 2011 14:03, amx109 <amx...@gmail.com> wrote:
If you're at the space next Tuesday please come and say hi.

When I'm next about I will; I've just suddenly looked up some dates and apparently I have a paper due in 4 weeks... 
 
2. Face up to and deal with (a problem or difficult situation).

im going for option number 2 here.

Seems fair enough to me and to this I would agree.
 
[snip, I agree]
  
Assuming you want people to be more confrontational (has good points and bad points) the $1,000,000 question is "how?"

politely, civilly and if possible, with grace. remember the age old hackspace mantra. be excellent to each other.

That's not what I meant (sorry for substituting style for clarity) I meant "how do you encourage people to be more confrontational and deal with problems when they see them"? 

Certainly if the 'confrontational' nature of engagement is aimed at developing understanding and interest as much as maintaining space norms then it should be encouraged. My problem is that it's unclear how this sort of attitude can be encouraged. If this could be achieved then I would agree that your next point about escalation of problems would naturally occur but I don't see that this attitude can be easily developed. 
 
I also disagree that areas of contention should be raised solely face to face; if these continue to be areas of contention they should be discussed on list so that a consensus can be reached and then everyone knows about it and it is recorded.

i think that will happen naturally - the escalation from a single occurrence of a problem to a communal problem. defining a 'catch all' for tackling and acknowledging problems isnt the intention, but i do think this part (the point ive been making) of our culture is missing.

I agree that we can't make rules to cover all situations (thanks Godel!) and a "catch all" is rarely a good solution as it just institutionalises ignoring alternative solutions. What I wonder is how, having now established an area in which our culture is, apparently, lacking (I think I agree, a lot of problems would be reduced if people were more willing to call each other eg on cleaning) how to we change that? 

Fundamentally I think we're running up against a couple of problems: firstly our culture actively discourages confrontational actions (as they're more likely to cause friction etc). I would also say (certainly for myself and also I believe for many geeks) that many actively dislikes face to face confrontation (see how much easier this conversation is via email....) 

so I guess as tl;dr: how do you develop a culture in which people are more willing to confront one another, respectfully and peacefully?

S

Paul Dart

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Sep 4, 2011, 9:47:54 AM9/4/11
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On 3 September 2011 22:20, amx109 <amx...@gmail.com> wrote:
> ive been wailing on about the australian system of sheds to a few people.
> ive finally found some info on them
>
> (snip)

For more information, you should watch Neighbours (five, 5:30pm).

Dr Karl et al. have a man's shed. I didn't realise it was a thing
until this email though.
Awesome.

For the record people don't seem to sleep there unless they have
become homeless, or just broken up with their girlfriend, or if you
are a Robinson and want to make some money on the side. But then it
turns out it's probably better to pimp out your own house for that...

Anyway. Enjoy.

We should take more lessons from neighbours. Upset at something? Don't
worry. Wait until tomorrow and everyone will have forgotten about it.

Paul

Richard Fine

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Sep 4, 2011, 10:11:01 AM9/4/11
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On 9/4/2011 2:31 PM, Sam Cook wrote:
> how do you develop a culture in which people are more
> willing to confront one another, respectfully and peacefully?

This consists of two main problems, I think. You need people to learn:

1) Why confronting people is good
2) Why their objections to confronting people are false

Using the word 'confronting' is a bad idea, because people think it
means something a lot more aggressive/unpleasant than what we're
actually talking about here. I don't really have a good alternative
("proactively solving interpersonal problems" ?) but maybe somebody else
will.

On why confronting people is good: Solves problems a lot more
effectively than just sitting and hoping they'll go away. Stops people
accumulating resentment, which ultimately erupts in much worse ways.
Reduces misunderstandings - maybe you've got the wrong end of the stick
as to what's going on, and confrontation will help you discover that.
Makes interpersonal problems within the space more explicit, which makes
it easier for The Management to see when policy changes are needed.

On why common objections to confronting people are false:

"If I confront them, they might get angry with me:" You don't have a
duty to keep people calm, so this isn't a problem for their sake. For
your sake, what are they going to do? Shout at you? I'm sure you can
handle that. Something worse? They'll get ejected from the space (or
even arrested, if they do something really bad like assaulting you).

"I've got no more right to be comfortable than they do:" It's not a
zero-sum game. Confronting someone doesn't have to consist of them
becoming uncomfortable in order to make you comfortable; find solutions
that work for both of you.

"I don't want to cause trouble:" If confrontation is being considered,
then trouble's already been caused.

"It's easier to just put up with it:" You'd think that, but most of the
time people think they can and end up getting resentful or being
passive-aggressive. Either figure out why it's not actually a problem,
or do something about it - don't deliberately accept suffering. Also,
while it might be easier to put up with one instance of it, beware the
slippery slope.

"I'm not good at confronting people:" That's fair enough - it's a skill
to be learned - but you've got to start somewhere.

- Richard

amx109

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Sep 4, 2011, 12:05:51 PM9/4/11
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thanks for that reply Richard. it was lovely.

Sam - i cant really add to what Richard has said. I will say though, you have to start somewhere and that you have to try.

Amran

Mark Jessop

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Sep 4, 2011, 1:52:19 PM9/4/11
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On 4/09/11 11:17 PM, Paul Dart wrote:
> For more information, you should watch Neighbours (five, 5:30pm).
>
>
No, no you shouldn't. Really.

- Mark

Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale

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Sep 5, 2011, 5:41:27 AM9/5/11
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4 sep 2011 kl. 01:16 skrev amx109:
> I think that self reflection, which is what i think you are implying, is a great way of figuring out whether you have a problem with the law of the 'space or with your own boundries.

No, that's not what I meant. I meant that the best way to solve these problems is by having a discussion, not just with a single person, but with the community, in order to get to a consensus. That means posting about it on the list, not talking to the individual -- ESPECIALLY in cases like these, where there was no real understanding of what sort of sleeping behaviour was acceptable and what wasn't.

Summary: establish guideline first on-list (if it's not already understood), *then* confront.

Sorry if I was a bit confusing.

N

amx109

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Sep 5, 2011, 6:52:21 AM9/5/11
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as ive said earlier, i believe that if a solution isnt present or a guideline doesnt exist, a conversation between two people will quite naturally, and quickly, escalate into a community wide discussion. no need for tip-toeing around. whether or not action is taken, or indeed what action is taken, will be up to the community.
 

Sorry if I was a bit confusing.

thats ok, no real need for an apology - its a discussion. and thank you for clarifying your remarks.
 

N


Amran

Richard Fine

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Sep 5, 2011, 8:39:32 AM9/5/11
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On 9/5/2011 10:41 AM, Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale wrote:
> I meant that the best way to solve these problems is by having a discussion, not just with a single person, but with the community, in order to get to a consensus. That means posting about it on the list, not talking to the individual -- ESPECIALLY in cases like these, where there was no real understanding of what sort of sleeping behaviour was acceptable and what wasn't.

I don't think that's a good idea. Consulting the list when two people
aren't sure how to resolve things is one thing, but the list definitely
shouldn't be the first step in all conflict resolution, and really
shouldn't happen before talking to the person you're in conflict with.

Most conflicts are the result of honest mistakes; for example, people
generally agree on principles like "be quiet in the quiet room" but it's
easy for a brief sotto-voce exchange to lapse into a full-volume
discussion without really noticing, at which point all that's required
is someone saying "guys, if you want to talk, could you take it out of
the quiet room please?" There need be no ill-feeling involved; the
people having the discussion should be grateful that the observer helped
them notice that they were violating principles that they themselves
agree with.

Taking a conflict to the list before the people involved have checked
that there actually *is* a conflict of principles is at best a waste of
time and at worst leads to redundant and uninformed policy-making, as
well as people getting offended when others make mistakes about their
intentions.

Waking up somebody who's sleeping to ask them why they're doing it is a
little inconvenient for the sleeper, but they can always go back to
sleep, and doing things like leaving a note explaining why they're
sleeping there would help avoid it.

- Richard

Adrian Godwin

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Sep 5, 2011, 12:46:48 PM9/5/11
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We worry a lot about avoiding conflict, probably because, being a bit
geeky, we a) prefer to rely on reasoning rather than force and b)
because we're sometimes unsure what the rights and wrongs are so we
don't want to assert a position that has no backing.

But in fact, the only conflicts I've come across are on the mailing
list, or IRC, or via criticism of what's visible on the webcams.

Has anyone yet been in the position of having a significant
disagreement face-to-face in the space ?

If so, what can be learnt ? Was the disagreement resolved ? Could it
have been done better ?

-adrian

Richard Fine

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Sep 5, 2011, 4:23:19 PM9/5/11
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On 9/5/2011 5:46 PM, Adrian Godwin wrote:
> We worry a lot about avoiding conflict, probably because, being a bit geeky, we a) prefer to rely on reasoning rather than force

To be clear, I wholeheartedly support that - I include "calm, reasonable
disagreement on the way things should be" as a form of conflict.
Certainly, not supporting fisticuffs here.

> and b) because we're sometimes unsure what the rights and wrongs are so we don't want to assert a position that has no backing.

I imagine that probably *is* one thing that stops a lot of people from
actively bringing up conflicts, but I think it's a mistaken line of
reasoning. If we can figure out the rights and the wrongs by hashing
stuff out on the mailing list, why can't we do it in person? We tend to
make more mistakes when we're reasoning in-the-moment like that,
compared to carefully composing an email and researching references, but
that's OK; it just means we need to approach such conflicts in a way
that makes it possible to correct those mistakes when we identify them.
Not burning bridges, etc.

> But in fact, the only conflicts I've come across are on the mailing
> list, or IRC, or via criticism of what's visible on the webcams.
>
> Has anyone yet been in the position of having a significant
> disagreement face-to-face in the space ?
>
> If so, what can be learnt ? Was the disagreement resolved ? Could it
> have been done better ?

I've only ever visited the space once, and there was only one conflict I
remember (the example I gave of being booted out of the quiet room). My
guess is that conflict between people inside the space is broadly in
line with conflict between people outside of the space, but it might be
different when hackers are involved. I'd be interested to hear answers
to your questions.

- Richard

Paul Dart

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Sep 15, 2011, 8:00:25 AM9/15/11
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Sorry to drag this up again,
but can we please rename London Hackspace to London Man Cave please?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14923750

Paul

Sam Kelly

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Sep 15, 2011, 8:20:48 AM9/15/11
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...so this guy is looking at the development of separate craft/hobby/obsession retreats entirely through men's history? That's a bit crap, isn't it?

Obviously he never had female relatives like mine. Or geek girl partners, at that. Or been to a sewing/knitting circle. Or a WI coffee morning.

Sam

Tweaker

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Sep 16, 2011, 3:34:38 AM9/16/11
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+1


On Sep 15, 1:20 pm, Sam Kelly <s...@eithin.co.uk> wrote:
> ...so this guy is looking at the development of separate
> craft/hobby/obsession retreats entirely through men's history? That's a bit
> crap, isn't it?
>
> Obviously he never had female relatives like mine. Or geek girl partners, at
> that. Or been to a sewing/knitting circle. Or a WI coffee morning.
>
> Sam
>
> On Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM, Paul Dart <pauld...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Sorry to drag this up again,
> > but can we please rename London Hackspace to London Man Cave please?
>
> >http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14923750
>
> > Paul
>
> --
> Sam Kelly,http://www.eithin.co.uk/
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