How to be ‘excellent to each other’

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Robot Garden is a small group and we don’t want to have more documentation than people! Our key guideline is Noisebridge’s adage “Always be excellent to each other”

What does that mean? and How do we implement that?

At Robot Garden ‘always be excellent to each other’ means:

  • Space and equipment are shared resources, leave them the same or better than you found them, don’t leave a mess for others to clean up.
  • Brainstorming is great at our monthly community meetings…. otherwise if you say “RG should…. then you take responsibility for doing it.”
  • If you want to see a project… start it.
  • Don’t bring in ‘donations’ unless you find someone to ‘own’ their maintenance and storage.
  • Do take “no” for an answer and drop the subject. (see brainstorming times and DIY ethos behind makerspaces)
  • We are a ‘do-ocracy’ not a ‘democracy’.
  • We are family friendly and diversity friendly.
  • Be wary of unwittingly imposing your values/standards on others in the group.
  • If someone asks you to leave them alone – respect their wishes immediately – disengage from conversation or space or project – walk away.
  • We aim for ‘resolution’ not ‘being right’.
  • We are all here to be happy, so be kind, and please assume that we all have good (excellent!) intentions to each other.
  • If something doesn’t seem right calmly ask for clarification.

How do we resolve conflict?

  1. encourage person feeling problem to calmly discuss directly with the other party
  2. then if needed – they can ask the other person to ‘leave them alone’ (see our behavior guidelines above)
  3. then if needed – ask for a board member/mediator to discuss problem privately and separately with both parties
  4. then if needed – have private mediation between both parties together looking for resolution, not ‘right’
  5. then if needed – research if other people in Robot Garden are also having this problem
  6. then if needed – convene a board of directors/safe space meeting for resolution which may request one or both parties to take a time out from Robot Garden
  7. if people feel unable to raise issues in person then at any stage requests for conflict resolution (even anonymously) can be sent to directors@robotgarden.org?subject=”conflict resolution request”

 

The goal of these steps are to de-escalate and defuse situations. The majority of all situations can be resolved by calm private discussion. Group meetings about conflict are not recommended.

However, if any person’s actions are making people at Robot Garden feel unsafe/unwelcome then the directors want to know about it and be able to take action to resolve the matter quickly. We are fine with asking people to take time out or to leave the space permanently.

Robot Garden is a community workshop and being a community isn’t always smooth. Many groups (including Noisebridge) have more complex codes and guidelines, however we have done extensive research and believe that these are the key points. We welcome your feedback and involvement. Do you want to improve our practices? Sign up as a mediator? contact directors@robotgarden.org?subject=”conflict resolution suggestions”

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