A statement from 13 current and past trustees regarding the EGM to remove Dean Forbes

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Russ Garrett

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Dec 8, 2015, 4:46:05 PM12/8/15
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I am publishing the statement below at the request of a group of 13
former and current trustees. As Chair of the EGM I remain neutral on
this issue, so this group does not include me, and it should not be
taken as representing my personal views:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Members,

The content of this statement has been agreed on by 7 of the 9 current
trustees, and 6 ex-trustees who have served in the last four years. It
is being sent because the EGM situation has progressed to the point
where incidents have been raised by members and we are being
repeatedly asked to confirm, deny, or clarify them.

The EGM was requested and seconded by members on the 24th of November
and was for the motion to remove Dean as a member of the Hackspace,
this of course now would also remove him as a trustee.

This statement offers background to the type of incidents causing
members to call for this EGM.

Over the last three years we have had five occasions where members
raised a complaint against Dean Forbes (the allegations being
generally for aggressive and dictatorial behaviour), yet when
investigated we do not have any witnesses or camera footage to back it
up. In this situation the trustees cannot issue a warning under the
Grievance Procedure as we have no evidence for either side of the
complaint.

We are also aware of at least four occasions where members have
brought Dean's alleged aggressive behaviour to trustees' attention in
person, but have declined to raise formal complaints because they were
fearful of reprisals. The trustees do not act unless a formal
complaint is made.

While not as serious, the trustees have also repeatedly seen Dean
break storage rules and deny it until proven wrong. We have issued him
with one formal warning for this.

More than one member has asked for a list of complaints involving Dean
to be presented at the EGM, however without the permission of every
complainant we cannot do this and feel that anonymising them will be
impossible.

We hope that this statement gives some clarity as to why some members
feel an EGM is necessary.

Sincerely,
13 London Hackspace trustees, current and past

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Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Ian Henderson

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Dec 8, 2015, 5:55:58 PM12/8/15
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I think it also needs to be mentioned that Dean was validly elected as a trustee by a significant number of members.

Heck, no ones perfect, but I don't think Dean is the ogre that he is represented to be....

Message has been deleted

Tim Reynolds

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Dec 8, 2015, 6:12:21 PM12/8/15
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Thanks for posting this clarification. If people can't see the issue
with Dean continuing to be a member of London Hackspace - and now a
trustee - after reading this, I don't think anything will convince them.

Martin (Crypt)

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Dec 8, 2015, 7:11:48 PM12/8/15
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Just to clarify, will the vote be to remove Dean as a member, or to remove as trustee?  Or will there be a vote for each proposal?

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Tim Reynolds

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Dec 8, 2015, 7:13:06 PM12/8/15
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There will be multiple proposals at the EGM.

On 09/12/2015 00:11, 'Martin (Crypt)' via London Hackspace wrote:
> Just to clarify, will the vote be to remove Dean as a member, or to
> remove as trustee? Or will there be a vote for each proposal?
>
> On 8 Dec 2015 23:12, "Tim Reynolds" <t...@christwithfries.net
> <mailto:london-hack-space%2Bunsu...@googlegroups.com>.
> For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
>
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Henry Best

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Dec 8, 2015, 11:29:46 PM12/8/15
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Surely removing him as a member will automatically remove him as a trustee, unless trustees can be non-members. Something which I think would be unconstitutional and certainly not ideal.

deanforbes

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Dec 8, 2015, 11:56:13 PM12/8/15
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Ethics and Manipulation

 

I have a number of question that I would appreciate direct honest answers from the people involved (as I am sure the members do to) and not more spin

 

Jonty – did you state that you would resign before I was elected if I was elected? to anyone

 

Charles - did you state that you would resign before I was elected if I was elected? to anyone

 

Jonty - during this discussion above or any other did you tell a group of trustees or former trustess to ignore another trustee or former trustee


View

This is in my opinion not about me but about the “old guard losing” control of the process and space

It is the escalation of the fact that I stood and my election manifest which was clear before the election started – ie it is an extension of a manipulation of an election

 

Content

I have only ever had two accusations of aggression which I agree is to many, one was a baseless vexation claim Charles Yarnold, the other is by a member, I cannot name him but would add that I immediately apologised to the people around us and the next time we saw each other we exchanged a mutual  heartfelt apology and a handshake (possibly a hug)

 

I have asked the trustees privately for clarification on my disciplinary record as I am at odds with the stated position.

Hopefully there are enough people who actually know me or have the integrity to be honest a lot of what has been said on the list in the last few weeks is by people who have never spoken to me or who have barley exchanges two words with me 

Sarah Simmonds

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Dec 9, 2015, 3:50:28 AM12/9/15
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"This is in my opinion not about me but about the “old guard losing” control of the process and space"

Ah.. nope. I hardly knew any trustee when I was elected. Did I challenge their long-held ideas? Yep. Did I spend countless hours arguing over various issues with them? You betcha. Was I an 'old guard'? Hardly. Having said that, I found the experience worthwhile and the team I worked with were great. Most are still trustees today.

But when I was elected I didn't have numerous informal complaints against my name, and I was able to remain calm and rational always.

Personally, I've never had a problem with Dean; I've always found him pleasant and respectful. However, I heard a few first-hand accounts from members of his aggressive behaviour in my time as trustee, none of which I could action without a formal complaint. Should I have discussed them with Dean anyway? Perhaps, but I'm not in the habit of raising issues without a course of action or, at least, a shred of evidence. "You said something bad to this person one time I can't say who" is not a foundation to start a productive conversation on. While each complaint wasn't particularly warn/ban-worthy on their own, the fact that the number keeps growing is quite compelling. It's been on the trustee's radar for a long time. 

I don't blame Dean for not being aware of these informal complaints, but I do wonder how someone so capable of treating others with patience and respect seems to forget so often, especially with new members.

Tom Hodder

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Dec 9, 2015, 5:07:12 AM12/9/15
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This reads like it started out as an aggressive vilification, but after you realised that the accusations were unsubstantiated and defamatory, it was pared back to something more based in reality. 

The final product reads like 13 people making an extremely stern statement about behaviour that has been investigated in detail, and doesn't appear to break the rules of the hackspace, but you are very disapproving nonetheless.

The corollary of this, of course, (and I am talking about the general case rather than Dean's behaviour), is that it seems to show that it is possible to be perfectly mean and unpleasant at the hackspace, but that as long as no particular incident amounts to "stepping over the line", then they are free to act as you please, because the trustees engaged with the grievance procedure are hamstrung by the requirement to point at a specific incident of abuse with witnesses.




On Tuesday, 8 December 2015 21:46:05 UTC, Russ Garrett wrote:

Mark Steward

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Dec 9, 2015, 6:29:36 AM12/9/15
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On 9 Dec 2015 10:07, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>
> This reads like it started out as an aggressive vilification, but after you realised that the accusations were unsubstantiated and defamatory, it was pared back to something more based in reality. 
>
> The final product reads like 13 people making an extremely stern statement about behaviour that has been investigated in detail, and doesn't appear to break the rules of the hackspace, but you are very disapproving nonetheless.
>

I think you've misread the email. The point is that incidents weren't provable, not that they weren't against the rules. Please remember that we have a code of conduct, which perhaps needs more power to deal with unwitnessed incidents:

  https://wiki.london.hackspace.org.uk/view/Code_of_Conduct

> The corollary of this, of course, (and I am talking about the general case rather than Dean's behaviour), is that it seems to show that it is possible to be perfectly mean and unpleasant at the hackspace, but that as long as no particular incident amounts to "stepping over the line", then they are free to act as you please, because the trustees engaged with the grievance procedure are hamstrung by the requirement to point at a specific incident of abuse with witnesses.
>

This is unfortunately true: we have to be able to allow for people who have disagreements where the space itself isn't involved. With 1250 members, we're not able to make assertions about whether someone will be excellent to you, only how the community and trustees will respond to reported problems. Note that Tgreer was banned for aggressive and territorial behaviour, and Scooby's had a similar warming. Suggestions for improvement are, as always, welcome.

Mark

Tom Hodder

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Dec 9, 2015, 6:43:39 AM12/9/15
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On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 11:29:36 UTC, Mark Steward wrote:

On 9 Dec 2015 10:07, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:

> I think you've misread the email. The point is that incidents weren't provable, not that they weren't against the rules.

 
I think you are making the assumption that the rules were broken. I prefer to work on the basis that one is innocent until proven guilty.

I also have some doubts over the use of the phrase "declined to raise formal complaints because they were 
fearful of reprisals"

I've met Dean, and while he is forthright in his views, and I can see might be considered a massive PITA, but he's not some gangster.

Mark Steward

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Dec 9, 2015, 7:05:54 AM12/9/15
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On 9 Dec 2015 11:43, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>
> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 11:29:36 UTC, Mark Steward wrote:
>>
>> On 9 Dec 2015 10:07, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> > I think you've misread the email. The point is that incidents weren't provable, not that they weren't against the rules.
>
>  
> I think you are making the assumption that the rules were broken. I prefer to work on the basis that one is innocent until proven guilty.
>

I tend to believe that when someone reports that someone was a dick to them they're not making it up. Usually what turns out after speaking to witnesses is that an argument escalated very quickly, frequently due to misunderstanding.

However, when I as trustee was involved in a report about Dean, he categorically denied anything had happened. With no witnesses, we only had a complaint and a denial. At this point, we had no suggestion that it was a pattern, so simply sent an informal warning, outside the grievance process. I stood down that year, so I'm not sure how complaints have played out since.

> I also have some doubts over the use of the phrase "declined to raise formal complaints because they were 
> fearful of reprisals"
>
> I've met Dean, and while he is forthright in his views, and I can see might be considered a massive PITA, but he's not some gangster.
>

As I mentioned in another thread, when I moderated Dean after his torrent back on 6th March 2013, the trustees received 12 emails from him (that I know of - a couple were sent individually and then shared on), complaining about injustice, demanding process, and pointing out other things that he felt were more important than his slight. And this just because we wanted to slow down his rate of posting.

Plenty of people in the space would rather leave than put up with this much shit, and I've seen comments on IRC saying as much after an invitation to email the trustees about something.

Mark

chrisbob12

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Dec 9, 2015, 9:30:44 AM12/9/15
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I find it strange that the election for trustees could go ahead with one person on the list having an EGM discussing his banning already in the pipeline. It may not go against the rules, but the resulting slow-motion car-crash strikes me as predictable, undesirable and avoidable. In the circumstances, would it not have been sensible to let the EGM play out before proceeding with trustee elections? Or were we bound by other rules to do things in this order?

Many voting processes have some form of 'fit and proper' threshold, especially when the votes are for governance roles, maybe we could consider that for future elections.

Nigel Worsley

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Dec 9, 2015, 10:13:49 AM12/9/15
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> would it not have been sensible to let the EGM play out
> before proceeding with trustee elections? Or were we bound by other rules to
> do things in this order?

The EGM procedure started after the elections were underway, and
company law does not permit them to be halted. The timing is less than
ideal, but we are stuck with it.

Nigle

David Murphy

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Dec 9, 2015, 10:58:29 AM12/9/15
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I imagine there's occasionally motions put forward that never reach the 5% threshold fr odd things but the election helped pull enough people out of the woodwork and thus brought it to peoples attention.

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Martin (Crypt)

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Dec 9, 2015, 12:40:29 PM12/9/15
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Can someone explain where the 75% threshold comes from.  I'm no lawyer, but a quick scan of company law seems to suggest that a motion for a removal of a director of a company should not require a special resolution, and therefore should be covered by a 50% threshold.  A motion for removal as a member may be slightly more complected, and I'd need someone more clued up on the law to comment on this, but I'd appreciate if we could clear this up.

Russ Garrett

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Dec 9, 2015, 12:43:55 PM12/9/15
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On 9 December 2015 at 17:40, 'Martin (Crypt)' via London Hackspace
<london-h...@googlegroups.com> wrote:
> Can someone explain where the 75% threshold comes from. I'm no lawyer, but
> a quick scan of company law seems to suggest that a motion for a removal of
> a director of a company should not require a special resolution, and
> therefore should be covered by a 50% threshold. A motion for removal as a
> member may be slightly more complected, and I'd need someone more clued up
> on the law to comment on this, but I'd appreciate if we could clear this up.

A motion to remove a director requires 50% majority. A motion to
remove a member requires 75%.

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Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

deanforbes

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Dec 11, 2015, 8:17:44 AM12/11/15
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On 9 Dec 2015 11:43, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>
> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 11:29:36 UTC, Mark Steward wrote:
>>
>> On 9 Dec 2015 10:07, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> > I think you've misread the email. The point is that incidents weren't provable, not that they weren't against the rules.
>
>  
> I think you are making the assumption that the rules were broken. I prefer to work on the basis that one is innocent until proven guilty.
>

I tend to believe that when someone reports that someone was a dick to them they're not making it up. Usually what turns out after speaking to witnesses is that an argument escalated very quickly, frequently due to misunderstanding.

However, when I as trustee was involved in a report about Dean, he categorically denied anything had happened. With no witnesses, we only had a complaint and a denial. At this point, we had no suggestion that it was a pattern, so simply sent an informal warning, outside the grievance process. I stood down that year, so I'm not sure how complaints have played out since.


@Mark Are you talking about the event on a crowded open night in the main area, in full view of everyone, where no independent witness could be found, which by the way, I view/viewed as a vexatious action by a trustee - I would suggest I am not the one with a pattern here 

> I also have some doubts over the use of the phrase "declined to raise formal complaints because they were 
> fearful of reprisals"
>
> I've met Dean, and while he is forthright in his views, and I can see might be considered a massive PITA, but he's not some gangster.
>

As I mentioned in another thread, when I moderated Dean after his torrent back on 6th March 2013, the trustees received 12 emails from him (that I know of - a couple were sent individually and then shared on), complaining about injustice, demanding process, and pointing out other things that he felt were more important than his slight. And this just because we wanted to slow down his rate of posting.

Plenty of people in the space would rather leave than put up with this much shit, and I've seen comments on IRC saying as much after an invitation to email the trustees about something.

Mark


@Mark Yes if I recollect correctly this is where I stood up for a new member whom I did not know prior to that time, whom I felt was not being treated appropriately - I did get quite agitated at this injustice - how long ago was this? 


On Tuesday, 8 December 2015 21:46:05 UTC, Russ Garrett wrote:

David Sullivan

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Dec 11, 2015, 8:44:25 AM12/11/15
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On Friday, 11 December 2015 13:17:44 UTC, deanforbes wrote:

As I mentioned in another thread, when I moderated Dean after his torrent back on 6th March 2013, the trustees received 12 emails from him (that I know of - a couple were sent individually and then shared on), complaining about injustice, demanding process, and pointing out other things that he felt were more important than his slight. And this just because we wanted to slow down his rate of posting.

Plenty of people in the space would rather leave than put up with this much shit, and I've seen comments on IRC saying as much after an invitation to email the trustees about something.

Mark


@Mark Yes if I recollect correctly this is where I stood up for a new member whom I did not know prior to that time, whom I felt was not being treated appropriately - I did get quite agitated at this injustice - how long ago was this? 




Well, since you asked, July 2013:


Choice highlights include you accusing all trustees of lying and dishonesty. Some of these are the same people who you're expecting to work with you. Ringing any bells?

Sully.


Mark Steward

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Dec 11, 2015, 9:10:08 AM12/11/15
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That's the incident Dean was referring to. However, I was referring to this one from four months previously:


On this occasion, Dean quoted Colin Powell to complain that Charles's request for non-commercial filming on 4th March didn't provoke questions. The problem apparently was that a journalist associated with CNN was linked to our filming policy.

After I moderated him, the trustees received (according to my inbox):

  2013-03-06 14:59 Filming Thread
  2013-03-06 15:31 Modderated Dean Forbes
  2013-03-06 16:02 Re: Modderated Dean Forbes
  2013-03-06 18:16 Re: Filming Thread
  2013-03-07 07:44 Re: Filming Thread
  2013-03-07 08:16 Re: Filming Thread
  2013-03-07 11:11 Re: Filming Thread
  2013-03-07 11:28 Re: Filming Thread
  2013-03-10 16:23 (no subject)
  2013-03-10 16:24 Thanks
  2013-03-10 18:20 Fwd: Dean/moderation
  2013-03-12 07:22 Moderation process

That's 12 emails, totalling 2968 words. Given even the person who sent these can't remember that far back, maybe I should collate similar incidents for the EGM.


Mark

Mark Steward

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Dec 11, 2015, 9:32:57 AM12/11/15
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On Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 1:17 PM, deanforbes <m...@deanforbes.com> wrote:

On 9 Dec 2015 11:43, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>
> On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 11:29:36 UTC, Mark Steward wrote:
>>
>> On 9 Dec 2015 10:07, "Tom Hodder" <t...@limepepper.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> > I think you've misread the email. The point is that incidents weren't provable, not that they weren't against the rules.
>
>  
> I think you are making the assumption that the rules were broken. I prefer to work on the basis that one is innocent until proven guilty.
>

I tend to believe that when someone reports that someone was a dick to them they're not making it up. Usually what turns out after speaking to witnesses is that an argument escalated very quickly, frequently due to misunderstanding.

However, when I as trustee was involved in a report about Dean, he categorically denied anything had happened. With no witnesses, we only had a complaint and a denial. At this point, we had no suggestion that it was a pattern, so simply sent an informal warning, outside the grievance process. I stood down that year, so I'm not sure how complaints have played out since.


@Mark Are you talking about the event on a crowded open night in the main area, in full view of everyone, where no independent witness could be found, which by the way, I view/viewed as a vexatious action by a trustee - I would suggest I am not the one with a pattern here 


I've just noticed that this incident was described by Jonty in the thread Sully linked:


While it was in full view of Charles and Clare (both trustees at the time), it was not in view of any of the people known to have been at the space at the time, or the cameras.

Also, it looks like we explicitly said that it wasn't even an informal warning. I like to think that if we'd had the Code of Conduct then, that would have been different.


Mark

Elliot West

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Dec 11, 2015, 9:33:12 AM12/11/15
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Wordle

--

deanforbes

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Dec 11, 2015, 9:41:40 AM12/11/15
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Mark = Yep I believe that is the event I was referring to, I don't maintain a database of everything I touch and do 

David = I did reflect on a trustees lack of integrity and I stand by that statement based on knowledge in the public domain.
"a trustee who has a track record of dishonesty and embelishing events accuses and issues Michael Trew with what appears to be a warning based on a alleged and uninvestigated incident with out even having the decency to discuss with Michael (excellent social skills) despite claiming to be behind him"


On Tuesday, 8 December 2015 21:46:05 UTC, Russ Garrett wrote:

Mark Steward

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Dec 11, 2015, 9:45:32 AM12/11/15
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*shrug*

Charles Yarnold

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Dec 12, 2015, 1:25:05 PM12/12/15
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On 9 December 2015 at 04:56, deanforbes <m...@deanforbes.com> wrote:

Charles - did you state that you would resign before I was elected if I was elected? to anyone


I'm not sure how I can resign before an election based on the outcome of an election.

Philip Roy

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Dec 12, 2015, 2:37:24 PM12/12/15
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Charles

For clarity, I have re-phrased Dean's question.

Did you state to anyone, at any time before or during the election, that you would (if you were yourself re-elected) resign if Dean were also to be elected.


Phil
-
Seek ye the truth and the truth shall make ye free
-

Charles Yarnold

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Dec 12, 2015, 2:48:06 PM12/12/15
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Hi Phil,

Given how Dean acts, I would rather only answer that question rephrased and asked by him.

Best,

Sol

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Brendan Sleight

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Dec 12, 2015, 3:48:55 PM12/12/15
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All,

Ahead of casting a vote at the EGM, I am interested how each party will react, particularly in terms of setting a precedent, de-escalation and future conduct.


Hi 13 London Hackspace trustees, current and past,

What do you plan to do if the threshold of 75% is not reach ?
What do you plan to do if the threshold of 75% is reached ?


Hi Dean,

What do you plan to do if the threshold of 75% is not reached ?
What do you plan to do if the threshold of 75% is reached ?

Samb1

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Dec 12, 2015, 4:18:50 PM12/12/15
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Hi Brendan,

Is that a question to each of the trustees individually?

Personally, and I'm sure this will annoy all of those that want this EGM, and I probably should try to stay out of it..., but I think Dean should be given a chance to do the job.
This EGM could've been called at any time, but it's been called now, before he's even had a chance to show what he can do (good or bad). The call for the EGM was started before the elections had finished but it was promoted afterwards (and subsequently enough supporters for it found) because a small number of people didn't want to work with him.
I think as trustees we should work with whoever you the membership elect and keep our personal differences out of it. Perhaps that's easier said than done for those with long held grudges.
For those who were or still are 'considering their options' I don't think it will be the end of the world for us if they walk away. It will be a shame because I also think they're great people who've contributed a vast amount to the space. However, there's a majority of us for who it is still business as usual and happy to keep things running.
Whatever happens at the EGM I'm happy to work with whoever the membership want as a trustee and whoever chooses to remain. I think most of us just want to work toward making the place better.

Cheers,

Sam

deanforbes

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Dec 12, 2015, 6:59:44 PM12/12/15
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@Brendan If the members don’t believe it is appropriate for me to be an office bearer, I will be happy to step down, if they want me, I will do all I can to make a positive contribution. I have served on boards of significant size with many member in the pasts… of whom many had different backgrounds and positions, which actually made the boards more powerful as they were able to conduct themselves in a constructive manner. I would like to see the Hackspace operate in a similar manner.

The same approach applies to my membership of the hackspace…. many of the people on the list who are rather unhappy have never or hardly spoken to me, if they want to take the opportunity to talk to me in person, I will happily engage with them.

It is and will be business as usual for me as far as the space is concerned up to to AGM and results of the voting that will come from that.


FYI I am away in Iceland from Monday for a week, I don’t normally take “internet” with me when I travel or am on a break


@Charles I have asked the question Phil has put to you further up this thread, if you want to skirt around it that’s your prerogative.

Paddy Duncan

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Dec 12, 2015, 7:45:18 PM12/12/15
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Hi Brendan,
As a  current trustee:
I will work with whoever the democratic process gives, as anything else is a massive personal failure in my opinion.
Regards
Paddy

Thomas Hodgkins

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Dec 13, 2015, 6:59:39 AM12/13/15
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Hi All,

Having set this most recent iteration in motion, I took a couple of days out to see where it went.

Looking through all of the postings and threads I can only come to the following conclusions:

The disciplinary procedures of the Hackspace are either flawed or open to abuse.
However, to summarily ignore all procedure (without replacing them), is also an abuse. Moving straight to an EGM is an extreme reaction, particularly given that there is no exceptional incident precipitating it. 

It is unethical to remove a member based on hearsay without even being able to provide much in the way of evidence regarding the events in question - even as little as listing what they were in general terms (what took place and a rough timescale).
Almost anything can be justified on the basis of 'many people say or feel...'. Anyone can claim that "many people" say or feel anything, in order to back up a personal opinion; to be a valid reason there needs to be some level of documented evidence.

While the motion to ask for an EGM was started before the election, it could be perceived that there was a level of personal animus involved.

Dean is large, comes from Zimbabwe and can be abrasive. Some people have said that they find him aggressive at times, that he has abused the system at the Hackspace and that he should be removed.
Dean is large, comes from Zimbabwe and can be abrasive. Some people have said that they find him gentle once you get to know him, that he has made a big contribution to the space and that he should be allowed to have a chance to show what he can contribute as a trustee.

This whole chain of events is far too "wooly" and open to interpretation and bias.

It is obvious that a head of steam has been building up between the opposing camps and now their respective positions are entrenched - witness the threat from some of the trustees to resign if Dean is allowed to be a trustee.

The EGM is likely to be a tug-of-war rather than a positive means of resolving a contentious issue and is unlikely to provide a means of avoiding this happening again.

David Sullivan

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Dec 13, 2015, 10:01:35 AM12/13/15
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On Sunday, 13 December 2015 11:59:39 UTC, Thomas Hodgkins wrote:

While the motion to ask for an EGM was started before the election, it could be perceived that there was a level of personal animus involved.

From some of the original petitioners perhaps, you now have to somewhat separate the fact that an EGM is now going to occur from the original petitioners and their petition.
 
Dean is large, comes from Zimbabwe and can be abrasive. Some people have said that they find him aggressive at times, that he has abused the system at the Hackspace and that he should be removed.
Dean is large, comes from Zimbabwe and can be abrasive. Some people have said that they find him gentle once you get to know him, that he has made a big contribution to the space and that he should be allowed to have a chance to show what he can contribute as a trustee.

Dividing this into such a black and white pair of scenarios doesn't do the situation justice frankly. The person who maintains equipment and builds interesting projects can be the very same person who has made slanderous comments on the mailing list and sent harassing emails as he's not got his own way or is trying to defend some injustice that isn't. Maybe those comments or behaviour aren't *quite* enough to justify a formal warning or a ban (they've been mostly directed at Trustees after all). As another member of that space that's something most people are able to live with as it doesn't affect them in the slightest ("He seems fine to me") but does that sound like Trustee material to you?

I think people need to get away from the idea that someone who contributes to the Hackspace is necessarily the best (and the sole criteria) for person to be a Trustee, they do have to meet the standard of being a rational and fair and be able to work with the other trustees as well.
The election process is extremely flawed as it stands. The turnout is very poor, and the only information many had to go on was the candidate statements unless they were particularly nosey or engaged. If electors were aware of all candidates' negative points (in some cases extremely negative) would we have the same result?



The EGM is likely to be a tug-of-war rather than a positive means of resolving a contentious issue and is unlikely to provide a means of avoiding this happening again.

The timing is incredibly poor, I actually replied to someone asking me to be a petitioner for the EGM with the following:

"I (and possibly others) have misgivings about an EGM being called immediately after the election, at the point it becomes absolutely clear that things have become irreconcilable and the resignations of 4 other director were to occur I would probably support it."

I still stand by that, I don't think it would have taken more than a month or two at the most. Maybe I'm wrong and it'll all be sweetness and light but at least if it isn't it might have been successful. At the back of my mind I'm worried this will all bubble up again 6 months down the line.

Sully.

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 10:41:02 AM12/13/15
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This last bit i have to agree with.

The timing was terrible.

If the request for an EGM came after Dean showed that he wasn't able to do the job, then that would have been fine, however he wasn't given the chance to show us what he could do.

Instead we have an example of how to behave unfairly and unprofessionally.

The trustee's who said, they would resign if Dean was elected, should follow through with their threat.

Behaving like a professional sometimes means having to work with people that you don't personally get on with.

If they had really been acting with the best interests of the hackspace as a whole, they should have swallowed their personal dislikes, acted professionally, and got on with running the space effectively.

Since they haven't been behaving impartially in this situation, then how can we trust them to behave impartially in other situations?

------------------------

In this post i am just asking that they follow through with what they said they would do.

I'm not asking them to leave the hackspace. They'll still be welcome as members and maintainers, but they have shown that they cannot be trustee's, as they won't follow through.




David Sullivan

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Dec 13, 2015, 11:08:42 AM12/13/15
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On Sunday, 13 December 2015 15:41:02 UTC, Billy wrote:

Instead we have an example of how to behave unfairly and unprofessionally.

The trustee's who said, they would resign if Dean was elected, should follow through with their threat.

Behaving like a professional sometimes means having to work with people that you don't personally get on with.

If they had really been acting with the best interests of the hackspace as a whole, they should have swallowed their personal dislikes, acted professionally, and got on with running the space effectively.

Since they haven't been behaving impartially in this situation, then how can we trust them to behave impartially in other situations?


Sorry, which "them" and "they" are we talking about? The petitioners calling for an EGM have set the agenda (quite literally). Some trustees don't want to work with Dean because of past behaviour, those trustees may (or may not) have been petitioners but they now have to deal with the fact that an EGM is occurring in the new year even if they had/would have "swallowed their dislikes" for the time being. You're making accusations for circumstances (timing being the most important one) that have been mostly outside the control of the trustees.

I'm very concerned at your willingness for the organisation to lose half of the trustees as if it's of no consequence whatsoever. Along with your willingness to propose bogus motions for the EGM I don't believe you have any of the organisation's best interests at heart at all.

Sully

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 11:37:47 AM12/13/15
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Sorry Sully, i should have said this clearer.

"Since they haven't been behaving impartially in this situation, then how can we trust them to behave impartially in other situations?" was referring to the trustee's that said they would resign if Dean was elected.

------------------------------------------------

Jonty has already admitted to sending the email that was asking people to call for the EGM.

He may not have been the person who first registered a call for the EGM, but he helped drum up support.

I'm not asking him to do anything different from what he is asking Dean to do.

If a trustee wants to resign, then they should resign, and not make threats about it.

I would have been happy for the elected trustee's to be given the chance to prove themselves.

I still feel that there were other candidates who would do the job better than Dean, but i was willing to stand by the results of a free election, and see what happened.

After all, there is nothing to stop the trustee's that said they would resign, resigning and standing for election again, at a future time.

----------------------------------

So, to repeat my questions;

Who were the trustee's that said they would resign if Dean was elected?

Why haven't they followed through with what they said they would do?



Aden

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Dec 13, 2015, 12:01:11 PM12/13/15
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Being impartial is what got us into this mess in the first place, we don't want trustees to be impartial we want them to do what is right for the space. What trustees said in private, or in jest about resigning is really none of our business. Nobody made a public statement saying they would resign. If anyone is going to resign they are obviously going to wait until after results of the EGM.

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 12:20:09 PM12/13/15
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On Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 5:01:11 PM UTC, ad...@aden.org.uk wrote:
Being impartial is what got us into this mess in the first place, we don't want trustees to be impartial we want them to do what is right for the space. What trustees said in private, or in jest about resigning is really none of our business. Nobody made a public statement saying they would resign. If anyone is going to resign they are obviously going to wait until after results of the EGM.


If trustee's aren't gonig to be impartial, then they cannot be trusted to run our greivance procedure.

To the extent that it impacts upon the running of the hackspace, it is our business as members of the hackspace.

Two of the trustee's said in person that they would resign if Dean was elected.

They weren't joking when they said it.

And waiting till the EGM takes place won't work, as this is information that will influence what the members will choose to do during the EGM.

My questions still stand.


 

Aden

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Dec 13, 2015, 12:24:12 PM12/13/15
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You are just stiring up shit for the sake of it now Billy.

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 12:32:45 PM12/13/15
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No, i'm not.

I didn't start this situation.

The people calling for an EGM did.

The trustee's who said that they would resign if Dean was elected did.

I'm just calling them on it.

tgreer

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Dec 13, 2015, 12:46:44 PM12/13/15
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You are literally just posting for the sake of posting. Nothing you've said has helped in any way other than showing how detached from the goings on of the space you are Billy.

Lex Robinson

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Dec 13, 2015, 1:31:34 PM12/13/15
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Why are people acting as if the trustees were professional space managers hired to deal with our bullshit?


On Sun, 13 Dec 2015 at 15:01 David Sullivan <david.c....@gmail.com> wrote:
(they've been mostly directed at Trustees after all)

The trustees are people too, you shouldn't get a free pass at harassing them.

On Sun, 13 Dec 2015 at 15:41 Billy <bi...@billycomputersmith.com> wrote:
Behaving like a professional sometimes means having to work with people that you don't personally get on with.

If they had really been acting with the best interests of the hackspace as a whole, they should have swallowed their personal dislikes, acted professionally, and got on with running the space effectively.

No one here is a professional. This is not a shitty corporate pigpen where you grin and bear it because you're getting paid, this is a vibrant community. There is no reason to allow shitty or toxic people in a community - in fact there are many reasons not to. Look at Mr Meadows.

Now I'm not saying that Dean needs to be shot or anything - my personal experiences with him are watching him post to the list like a psych patent that's skipped their meds (worse than PHM in fact) and him looming at me in the space when I suggested that maybe we don't need three whole BBQs.

BUT. A portion of the community thinks he should be gone. That portion of the community has followed the processes in the goddamn articles of association and called an EGM to do so. People stop saying "oh they should have followed the procedures" when they literally have. This is how you ban someone that cannot be banned via the grievance procedure. That is exactly how it works. You start an EGM, and then you try to convince everyone else that you're right.

I don't really understand how you don't understand that.

Lex Robinson

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Dec 13, 2015, 1:33:23 PM12/13/15
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On Sun, 13 Dec 2015 at 18:31 Lex Robinson <mwa...@gmail.com> wrote:
People stop saying

Sorry that should have been "please stop saying"

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 2:30:59 PM12/13/15
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I understand how the EGM works.

I also know that Jonty said he was going to put in a proposal to the EGM, that would change the way that the complanits procedure would work.

But there's also a portion of the community that feels that this whole thing has been handled badly.

So far, we have heard only innuendo and hearsay. No-one who has been directly involved has said anything about why they didn't follow our procedures first, rather than in public like this.

Yes, this method of calling for an EGM may be legally valid, but it's not right.

They should have followed our internal rules, or have been trying to change them, rather than calling for an EGM, while the election was still taking place!

If the trustee's felt that Dean was going to be this much of a problem, then they should have resigned, like they said they were going to.

So far, no-one has given a direct answer to any of my questions.

Who are the trustee's that said they would resign if Dean was elected?

Why didn't they resign?

The problem that i have found at the hackspace, even when we were in Cremer St., was that regularly someone would get picked as a target, sometimes justifiably, sometimes not. There would be gossiping, bitching-behind-their-back, mailing-list drama, and the nastiness that on the IRC channel, which is the reason that a lot of members of the hackspace choose not to use it.

It's why we came up with the complaints procedure in the first place.

My problem is that if those trustee's were actually interested in the welfare of the hackspace, then they should have taken the moral high ground, and resigned, just like they were trying to get Dean to do.

Instead we're playing monkey-pack power-games.

In trying to protect the hackspace, they're doing the damage to ourselves that they originally sought to prevent.

I'm just trying to get some clear answers.


Lex Robinson

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Dec 13, 2015, 2:45:50 PM12/13/15
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On Sun, 13 Dec 2015 at 19:31 Billy <bi...@billycomputersmith.com> wrote:
If the trustee's felt that Dean was going to be this much of a problem, then they should have resigned, like they said they were going to.

So far, no-one has given a direct answer to any of my questions.

Who are the trustee's that said they would resign if Dean was elected?

Why didn't they resign?

[...]


My problem is that if those trustee's were actually interested in the welfare of the hackspace, then they should have taken the moral high ground, and resigned, just like they were trying to get Dean to do.

Is removing X (where X > 1) long-standing trustees from the hackspace really better than removing one brand new one?

You appear to be saying "Just leave the community if you're unhappy about this one" which is a shitty argument usually used to defend "no gay" bakeries.

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 6:17:11 PM12/13/15
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But that's what the trustee's were trying to do to Dean. I'm arguing against that pattern of behaviour.

If that's the way that they are going to behave, then they shouldn't be surprised when someone calls them out on it.

My questions still haven't been answered.

Brendan Sleight's questions have only been answered by Sam. No other trustee has said anything.

Sarah Simmonds

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Dec 13, 2015, 6:39:13 PM12/13/15
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"My problem is that if those trustee's were actually interested in the welfare of the hackspace, then they should have taken the moral high ground, and resigned, just like they were trying to get Dean to do."

Wow, Billy. No one told Dean to resign. He's under no obligation to do so. An EGM has been called in order for the community to perform an enquiry into the very hearsay that's bothering everyone right now. That's what it's for.

Being a trustee *sucks*. It's a hard, thankless job. It involves many hours over time for people who already work full time. They deal with a business, finance and logistics behind the scenes in addition to member concerns. They *can't* complain about things that bother them because it's their job to keep the community running, not stir up shit. They cop a lot of flack from the community but they have to just grin and bear it. Sometimes they actually *don't* know what the right thing to do is, but oh boy they gotta watch out when they do slip up because someone in the community immediately jump down their necks. And what do they get for all that? A big fat nothing.

Please give them a break, Billy. You've made your point abundantly clear. And no, I don't think the space can operate with half the trustees. It hardly limps along with nine. I hope that *none* of the trustees resign, in the best interest of the space.

Tom Hodder

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Dec 13, 2015, 6:54:31 PM12/13/15
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On 13 December 2015 at 23:39, Sarah Simmonds <sa...@chixor.net> wrote:
"My problem is that if those trustee's were actually interested in the welfare of the hackspace, then they should have taken the moral high ground, and resigned, just like they were trying to get Dean to do."

Wow, Billy. No one told Dean to resign. He's under no obligation to do so. An EGM has been called in order for the community to perform an enquiry into the very hearsay that's bothering everyone right now. That's what it's for.

So that is what is going in in this process right now, an enquiry by members. And one major issue is that several participants appear to have behaved pretty shamefully.

Billy is asking important questions that relate to this "enquiry", and is being castigated for doing so.

It is usually the case when people cannot be forthright about their actions that they themselves are ashamed of what they did, and understand how bad this looks.

Tom Hodder

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Dec 13, 2015, 6:54:31 PM12/13/15
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On 13 December 2015 at 23:17, Billy <bi...@billycomputersmith.com> wrote:

Brendan Sleight's questions have only been answered by Sam. No other trustee has said anything.

Paddy Duncan also replied (my emphasis);

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 7:31:43 PM12/13/15
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Sorry, i missed Paddy's post.

That's two trustee's.

Billy

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Dec 13, 2015, 7:57:43 PM12/13/15
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On Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 11:39:13 PM UTC, Sarah Simmonds wrote:
"My problem is that if those trustee's were actually interested in the welfare of the hackspace, then they should have taken the moral high ground, and resigned, just like they were trying to get Dean to do."

Wow, Billy. No one told Dean to resign. He's under no obligation to do so. An EGM has been called in order for the community to perform an enquiry into the very hearsay that's bothering everyone right now. That's what it's for.


They didn't tell him to resign, they asked him to resign. Just after the election results were posted.

I saw the emails that Jonty sent.

 
Being a trustee *sucks*. It's a hard, thankless job. It involves many hours over time for people who already work full time. They deal with a business, finance and logistics behind the scenes in addition to member concerns. They *can't* complain about things that bother them because it's their job to keep the community running, not stir up shit. They cop a lot of flack from the community but they have to just grin and bear it. Sometimes they actually *don't* know what the right thing to do is, but oh boy they gotta watch out when they do slip up because someone in the community immediately jump down their necks. And what do they get for all that? A big fat nothing.


I know what it is like. I had to do the same when i was living in housing co-ops, and helping run them.

 
Please give them a break, Billy. You've made your point abundantly clear. And no, I don't think the space can operate with half the trustees. It hardly limps along with nine. I hope that *none* of the trustees resign, in the best interest of the space.

I don't think the space can run with only half of the trustee's either.

However i don't think that we'd be short of people who would be willing to help.

Jonty's worried about only having two years to find a new site.

With a lot of member's chipping in to help, we managed to find our current venue, with less time, (18 months IIRC), with less cash-in-the-reserves, with fewer members, and with a much shorter track record than we have now.

And we got to set up the new place how we wanted it. We're still building it. :D

The trouble is that the current strategy that is being followed, is causing the very rifts that they were trying to avoid.

My problem is that i saw these patterns of behaviour cause problems when we were in Cremer St, and i've seen these patterns of behaviour in housing co-ops, and in companies i've worked for.

If Dean stepped down, they would only go looking for another target.

It's the poisonous witch-hunt behaviour that should stop.

And no, if i had any succesful practical suggestions to change this, i would have used them twenty-five years ago.

Samb1

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Dec 13, 2015, 10:57:18 PM12/13/15
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So, just to clear up a detail, there were at most 3 current trustees 'considering their options' so that means *worst case* scenario there's still at least 6 of us remaining. Certainly not just half as was mentioned earlier. (and Jonty was incorrect in his email promoting the EGM about there being 4).

Let's maintain some perspective, no one is indispensable and the space is full of talented people who I'm sure would love to help out if needed.
I think we'll be fine :)

deanforbes

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Dec 14, 2015, 3:20:12 AM12/14/15
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Sarah .... regarding my resignation or pressure to do so, I suggest you ask Jonty to share his emails with me that are not in the public domain regarding this if you havent all ready seen them.

I am about to leave for a flight abroad so any response will be delayed as I dont take the internet on holiday with me.. :-) 

Lex Robinson

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Dec 14, 2015, 4:14:10 AM12/14/15
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On Mon, 14 Dec 2015 at 00:57 Billy <bi...@billycomputersmith.com> wrote:
They didn't tell him to resign, they asked him to resign. Just after the election results were posted.

I saw the emails that Jonty sent.
 
I didn't. The only email I've seen from Jonty on the matter was the one posted on the mailing list asking for an EGM.
You clearly expect everyone else to have seen it, did I miss a memo? 

Billy

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Dec 14, 2015, 5:20:40 AM12/14/15
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No, you didn't miss a memo.

This was an email conversation between Jonty and Dean.

It was a set of emails that were sent privately between the two of them.

Dean forwarded copies of them to me and a few other people.

I'd been waiting for Dean to say 'yes' before publishing them, as they were originally sent as a private conversation.

As Dean has asked that Sarah be copied in, it only requires Jonty's permission, and i'll be happy to post them here.




 

Aden

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Dec 14, 2015, 5:24:56 AM12/14/15
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Seems like a private witch hunt and secret cabal going on there... Pot meet kettle. All the conspiracy theorists conspiring.

--

Martin (Crypt)

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Dec 14, 2015, 5:25:46 AM12/14/15
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I really don't think its cool for Dean or anyone else to be forwarding private emails to anyone without their permission.  If the emails were intended to be private correspondence, why have they ended up spreading so far already?

--

Lex Robinson

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Dec 14, 2015, 5:25:55 AM12/14/15
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Are these emails from Jonty or from the trustees? Jonty is a trustee, but that doesn't mean his opinions are those of the HS as an organisation.

--