Protocol writer: multi
Start: 20:15
End: 22:01
Attendance: multi, lynxis, yaya, partikel, qyliss, till, lux, mirar, erincandescent, piks3l

TOP 0: Keys

Note: In the future, we would like proposals for new keys to be announced in advance, instead of on the day at the start of the plenum.

  • Key for mirar
    • vouching: Lynxis & Lux
    • mirar gets a key.

TOP 1: What is AfRA about? No to “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”? (Lux)

This topic was already discussed in depth at the previous plenum.

Schwerpunkt: there are some differing opinions in community about what AfRA is about. We would like some consensus on what AfRA is about, and what AfRA is not about. This is presented as a question of culture.

  • A hackerspace is a social structure. Several years ago there were discussions about alcohol in the space: it's not a problem in and of itself, however it can become a problem in excess. This applies similarly to parties and related activities – they are okay from time to time in moderation.
  • We should have norms and boundaries for what is and isn't okay at AfRA. The norms we have presently are not aligned with everyone's preferences/comfort, and making someone's discomfort known is difficult when these norms are unclear.
  • The party at the end of December was perhaps a bit too long. There were a lot of people in the space for an extended period of time, and it's difficult to tell if this made others feel excluded. We don't want to point fingers and blame people for past events, but rather communicate that some boundaries have been overstepped, and move forwards to better consensus about boundaries in the future.
  • The AfRA is a place with a nice community, which is not something other spaces have always been able to achieve. A core point of this discussion is ensuring that people feel comfortable in the space. Rules are not necessarily a good solution as they're quite rigid, and need to be enforced; there can be a big grey area between what is definitely okay and what is definitely not okay to have or do at AfRA. Within the community there are different groups of people (which is not a bad thing), however we have to be considerate not only towards people from outside the community coming into the space, and also people from other subgroups who might also be in the space concurrently.
  • While we would like to aim to make sure that everyone is comfortable, this can be a bit of a grey area, as different people are comfortable with different things.
  • As a historical note, in previous years the AfRA was known for its parties, before it moved into its current space on Margaretenstraße.
  • There is a difference between some activities which might occur at a party, and those activities being the point of the party. There are some particular activities which even if they only happen very rarely at the AfRA, probably should not be happening at AfRA at all.
  • An experience from another space in Paris: having someone to talk to if people have problems or feel uncomfortable has worked quite well.
  • The parties are not themselves a core problem, however they do make things more intense, which means that they can result in problems becoming visible more quickly. The problems arise when things happening in the space (e.g. a party getting out of hand, or people having sex on the sofa) mean other people stop coming back in the future.
  • It's difficult to tell whether people are more or less comfortable in the space if they come less often due to having a bad time in the past. We might want to avoid putting on any parties for a while yet, while we discuss the topics coming out of the last one, as this might take some time. Then, when we're able to have a party in the future, we'll be better able to tell if things have improved at all.
  • Multiple attendees expressed their confidence that we will return to a point where people feel more comfortable in the AfRA. As a community, we have the trust in each other to discuss and work through these issues, so we can collectively build a nice space. It's important that we give ourselves the chance to do that then, but also requires people to participate in the process to resolve any issues. Keeping the community nice is a very hard task, however we're successfully having productive discussions about difficult topics in this and other recent plena.
  • The plena are one part of the hard work building the community; the open evenings on Fridays are another.
  • We aren't trying to create the impression that parties cause problems and the plena solve them – some people find it easier to solve certain problems at parties – however there are some problems which came up to surface level as a result of the most recent party in December.

The plenum took a break from 21:43 to 21:52.

After the break, the plenum agreed that this topic will be discussed further at the next meeting on 18.03, as many people who want to participate were not able to attend this meeting.