[hackerspaces] Members v. Non-members, rights and obligations, etc.

Don Ankney dankney at hackerco.de
Wed Aug 19 20:18:42 CEST 2009

You're making a strong distinction between the "classic" hackerpace and the
"design pattern" hackerspace -- this is an artificial distinction, I think,
for several reasons.

First, most of the design patterns are simply conflict resolution techniques
that most of us have learned in our professional lives obvious solutions to
simple problems (hungry? Have a kitchen in your hackerspace; Too much old
hardware lying around? Get rid of it). Are they useful enough to have
written down? Sure. But they are hardly defining characteristics of a

Semantics aside, though, I think the point you're trying to make it this:

"The key distinction between a space like the L0pht and a "Design Patterns"
Hackerspace is that the latter actively engages those outside their direct
membership and the former exists primarily to serve its members and their

But why can't a hackerspace exist primarily to serve its members and still
actively engage those outside the direct membership? CDC is a bit of a red
herring here -- the secrecy is what opposes wider community activities, not
the member-focused mission.

The Black Lodge is primarily for its direct members, but we do actively
engage and interact with a wider community. Since we're open about our
activities, this combination is perfectly natural and works well for us. The
distinction is artificial.

I think trying to define the Hackerspaces phenomenon as a movement or
philosophy is in itself an exercise in futility. You're going to have as
many philosophies and motivations as you have hackerspaces.

In cities like NY where a reasonable workspace is insanely expensive,
resource pooling may be the primary motivator. I'd imagine that in parts of
the country, the public suspicion homebrew project draw (think Boston)
creates a need for community awareness.

Based on your Defcon presentation, in DC you're providing access to
knowledge and resources in an area where they are scarce.

Seattle has none of these problems or motivations. We live in a relatively
affluent city with where hacking technology is widely accepted and
resources, including spaces, are available (Washington State leads the
nation in high-tech and scientific employment -- I think we have as many
code monkeys as baristas).

Since bars and coffee shops generally frown on soldering irons, my personal
motivation is mostly social. The lodge is a place we can hang out, drink
beer, and build stuff -- no manifesto or higher purpose needed.

On the other hand, I fully recognize the motivations and goals of other
hackerspaces. I don't intend to discount or disparage the type of work
they're doing. I'm just not sure that large generalizations (beyond and
interest in technology) or a formal taxonomy are really possible or useful.

-- Don

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces+dankney=hackerco.de at lists.hackerspaces.org
[mailto:discuss-bounces+dankney=hackerco.de at lists.hackerspaces.org] On
Behalf Of Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 6:29 PM
To: Hackerspaces General Discussion List
Subject: [hackerspaces] Members v. Non-members, rights and obligations, etc.

Great to see all of you who made it to HAR and DefCon!

The great discussions I had there made me start a draft of this blog
post I just finished:


I'm curious to hear your thoughts.  I'm trying to think more about
hackerspace theory leading up to a talk I hope to submit to the 26C3.

Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org
Washington, DC, 20013-1208 | +1 (707) 676-FARR | Fax: +1 (866)
536-2616 | 8B13F204
Sent from Dallas, TX, United States
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