I joined a few months ago and felt like this was one of the coolest places ever. My first class was turning a pen on the wood lathe. That was something I’d never tried. It was fun. I then took classes to learn to use the lasers in the fab lab and have really enjoyed my experiences in there. I was able to make some really nice etched glassware and some other projects. I was also warmly welcomed by many different people in the ceramics area, even though I had not yet starting throwing on the wheels here. Not only the lead but many regulars. I’ve been working on my pottery skills for about a year elsewhere before finding MakeICT. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their time in the space and I often stopped by to say hello. People of various backgrounds and ages all coming together to make such a variety of things. How cool is that? I was so excited. Then, I went out of town for a week and came back to chaos. So, I started digging through the forum to try to make some sense of what was going on. The more I dug, the more hesitant I am now about all of this. The members in the space itself seem very warm and welcoming, but this forum and recent issues show there is a dark side as well. Not only was I concerned by the allegations, but I was shocked to be able to find the actual names of the accused and the listed allegations of their misconduct available for anyone on this forum to read. For the record, I never personally saw any of the negative behaviors listed so the accusations. I always saw others being warmly welcomed. After reading the forum, it is obvious there are many on both sides of this questioning the way this was all handled. This entire situation is really overwhelming to new members and the forum bickering adds intimidation. As a new member who has been involved in other organizations, I assumed any concerns or issues would be taken to the board directly and not to-on the forum. It is a great idea to have a place to share what we are making and to pass along important info about the various spaces. My personal opinion is that is is not a great place to “air the dirty laundry”. I know - I’m new and others will disagree with my opinions and observations of the forum. I think makerspaces like this are an amazing concept and I’m still happy to be able to be a part of MakeICT. I hate this “us” vs “them” attitude that has reared it’s ugly head. As a new member, I had no clue there was an “us” and a “them”. I still don’t understand that. Of course people don’t always agree, but most can at least get along. I assumed that after so many years in operation, kinks had been worked out already to allow the space able to operate rather smoothly. I hope there is a way to get beyond the current tides of doubt and mistrust that are circulating through the membership. I look forward to meeting more members and creating more interesting craft projects at MakeICT.
Sadly, with 500-something members, any decision made by anyone won’t reach 100% approval.
There’s been plenty of lobbying on the forum that the board and committee should release even more information, up to including identifiable information about anyone who makes a report. Which wouldn’t seem to serve anything except to intimidate anyone who dares to speak up.
It appears the level of issues and concerns has got to the point where the board by themselves would just be spending an oversized amount of their time dealing with them instead of doing things that would help run the space day-to-day. Maybe we need to revisit our mission if it’s really getting to the point that there’s more than one or two people at a time being disciplined for things beyond stuff like leaving the AC on (for example). It also appears that things may have been left to stew a bit while this committee was being formed, so they would have acted sooner, but it’s hard to when they didn’t exist.
The whole code of conduct is rather new, so I guess people maybe weren’t expecting to actually be held accountable for following it, or maybe weren’t expecting such severe consequences.
Hi Skeet100, and welcome!
Here’s some background.
MakeICT’s bylaws say:
Section 9: Standing Rules
The Board of Directors shall establish Standing Rules for governing members’ conduct, access to the building, guest policy, use of the equipment and facility. The Board of Directors shall review the Standing Rules from time to time and modify them as they deem necessary.
As such, and because recent certain activities made it necessary, MakeICT created a Discrimination and Harassment policy which was approved last November. This policy’s creation necessitated a committee to implement it, now called the Code of Conduct Reporting Committee, or the Code of Conduct Committee, or CoC, or CoCC, or CORC, or…well, you get the idea.
That committee basically went to effect in late May, and found itself confronting a lengthy backlog of reports. The purpose of the committee is first to compile and review these reports, then investigate them as necessary to gain an understanding of events, then make a recommendation to the Board for what action it might take in response. The Board then votes on what will happen next.
This resulted in some very unpopular decisions, which are a byproduct of having a code of conduct committee. Of necessity, such a committee must often make decisions based on conduct most members have never seen, and may never see. Since the dawn of time, there have been people hearing about a bad thing done by a friend or family member and reacted with “No way, they would never do that!” And yet people do, in fact, do that.
But that’s a rather melodramatic way of putting it. It’s apparently strikingly common how often this kind of scenario plays out in organizations all over the country, so why would a makerspace composed of over 500 members-- as shack mentioned-- coming from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds, working in close proximity, at all hours of the day and night, be an exception?
It’ll work itself out. Stick around and see.
Thanks for illustrating the second paragraph of my post.
Pardon my OCD please.
This is the discussion forum (https://talk.makeict.org) not the Wiki. As far as I can tell All the references to the wiki above are actually about the forum.
Just to clarify what you wrote.
We do have a Wiki (at https://wiki.makeict.org), it’s a wonderful resource.
Or @Megan_Frost was just validating what OP was expressing concern about.
Thank you; I was so confused!
I’m sorry to have mislabeled the forum as the wiki. My mistake. I think I corrected it to forum.
I am a relatively new member who had a very bad experience within my first few hours. Others were kind, tried to help, and advised me to stick around. I did and Im glad I did. At first it was pretty toxic as my exposure was limited to those who were contributing to the negative experience. Now though I have met more members. I dont get involved on the forum much to avoid the drama. As I grew more comfortable I started getting more involved in the department I spend the most time in, textiles. Right now I am looking at everything happening as growing pains. Unfortuntely the side effect of larger numbers of members is an unavoidable need for policies to help keep everything regulated. Can you imagine a high school or major corperation with minimal rules and no enforcement? Chaos would most likely be the result. Hang around through the growing pains and if you need to use the come, make, leave approach until you get to meet more members and the growing pains start turning into real growth.
I’m glad you stuck around. A group of new members were talking about your quilts at Orientation on Tuesday night, so you’re MakeICT famous now!
That thought is terrifying actually. Although I am having a lot of fun making a style I havent done in a couple years for show and tell.
I’m sorry to say, I’m having 2nd (and 3rd) thoughts about MakeICT myself.
I’ve only been a member since early spring of this year. At first I was impressed and excited to see such a great place to explore and share our talents. A place where people are “excellent to each other”, a cooperative community of people with diverse interests getting together for the greater good of all.
What I’m finding instead is a place of interpersonal turmoil where people who were (and still are) nice and welcoming to me have either been forced to leave or have chosen to because of the turmoil. This is very disturbing.
I’ve been part of volunteer organizations for all of my adult life (and even before, if you consider Boy Scouts). I’ve seen “politics” and personal differences in most of those organizations - that’s natural. I’ve never seen it get to a point where people were being physically threatened. I’ve never seen the level of hate and rancor that seems to exist.
As much as I love the concept of MakeICT and the opportunities that exist here, I’m having a hard time accepting the atmosphere that seems to have developed. I hope things will settle down, and I’m going to stick around for a while hoping that they will. So far, this isn’t what I “signed up for”.
Well I’m welcoming and while I don’t know what clique I’m perceived to be in it’s only because I don’t care.
It may seem like I’m pushing my agenda, but if that were the case I’d be vocal about a totally different set of priorities. Your always welcome in the ERP lab no matter what trips your geek.
James, you have been one of the most welcoming, and It’s appreciated!
It’s very easy not to notice a problem until somebody tries to solve it. Then the process of solving it starts to seem like the problem, rather than the remedy.
(This thought brought to you by a family member who was more alarmed to learn that I was in therapy than the reasons for it.)
I believe MOST of us ARE welcoming. It’s just a very vocal minority who seems to be wanting to keep things stirred up and who are trying to cause division in the whole organization. But division can only happen if more people let it happen. I’d say if you’re good to everyone then you should have no problem.
Please know you are more than welcome at MakeICT, so much to do in all the different areas! I hope to see you in ceramics sometime! Come in, create your masterpiece, make some friends, clean-up your stuff, go home, and plan your next masterpiece from another area, rinse snd repeat!!!
MakeICT is an amazing place. Moving from Wichita when my parents needed help was easy - leaving the Makerspace was not. I keep my membership current because I believe in the space and the people that continue to make it happen. I miss the collaboration and creativity and it breaks my heart to see some of the struggles lately. We made the move from Douglas and moved mountains to make repairs and upgrades to get the certificate of occupancy - and open…did I mention during a pandemic? I still believe this group can accomplish anything - when we pull together. Growth can pull us apart, but only if we let it. Please stick around - I bet it will be worth it!
WORDR I’m glad you’re sticking around, most of the 500 members cause zero problems. Unfortunately you showed up during a problem solving crisis. A very minuit percentage caused the drama in comparison to the number of members we have in total. The situation recently was kind of like an iceberg; most of us only saw what was on the surface. The Board and the CoCC dealt with a backlog of trying to investigate what was underwater, the stuff most of us were not aware of. It’s kind of shocking to the rest of us as we try to process all of it. Give the space time, take different classes, start talking to different members, go to events, you’ll see that the majority of us are good people. I’ve been a member for 6 years now. It took me a while to trust the space and the people in it too. Makeict is a good place. Even some of the most vocal about recent events stayed, so we can’t be that bad if they didn’t jump ship.
This topic is temporarily closed for at least 4 hours due to a large number of community flags.
Hey all, MAtherton here. There are multiple flags over just a few hours. Be patient as we catch up and moderate where appropriate.
Let this serve as just a blanket call to be agreeable even if you disagree to all active forum users in this topic.
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