[hackerspaces] Children in hackerspaces.

Donald J Ankney dankney at hackerco.de
Thu Jan 28 03:10:02 CET 2010

Wow, there are a lot of assumptions there.

Assuming that insurance reasons are an underlying motivation and not a rationalization is the first one. I voted against kids in the Black Lodge because I don't want to be a babysitter. When you admit minors as an adult, you are taking some level of responsibility for the kids. If we did a case-by-case basis for, say, 17 year-olds, then I have to be an asshole and say that somebody's not cool enough to join the club. This isn't a situation I want to be in either way (babysitter or serving as an admissions councillor), so I voted to keep kids out unless a guardian is present. 

The second assumption is that hackerspaces are necessary for becoming a hacker. I have to call bullshit -- many of us are old enough to have started long before the concept was born. Additionally, if somebody is really on the road to becoming a hacker, being excluded from a club isn't going to discourage them; they're going to do it anyway because that's what hackers do. 

Finally, not all hackerspaces are on a social/cultural crusade; I do it simply for the pure joy of it. Attributing failure to hackerspaces in general because one of your aspirations is not being fulfilled is hubris. Not everyone is out to save the world. Many of us don't think the world needs saving (or at least not in this way).

Part of the beauty of hackerspaces is the forum they provide for discourse from opposing viewpoints. In my mind, groupthink is the ultimate mark of failure for hackerspaces (and yes, I recognize that the pot is calling the kettle black here). 

On Jan 26, 2010, at 12:22 PM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org) wrote:

> Two questions:
> 1) How old were you when you got involved in hacking?
> 2) How many of you actually have kids?
> I'm guessing that most of you were somehow hacking on something well
> before you turned 18.  I'm also guessing most of you don't have kids.
> That we're sacrificing not only the future of Hacking in general, but
> THE FUTURE for *insurance reasons* strikes me as a horrendous FAIL.
> This is the same kind of thinking that led people to believe it was
> far too risky to build a Hackerspace at all.
> Can we perhaps have a discussion of ways we could possibly accommodate
> kids, of perhaps engaging our communities, parents, and others younger
> than we who could benefit from the Hackerspaces?  Could we point at
> some success stories?
> That this conversation ended this way signals to me that Hackerspaces
> have peaked, and that it's all downhill from here.
> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
> Washington, DC, 20013-1208
> P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
> F: +1 (866) 536-2616
> On Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 14:20, webmind <webmind at puscii.nl> wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> Serendipity Seraph wrote:
>>> But what exactly is a minor?  I know some 7 year olds who can hack rings
>>> around me in certain domains and are at least as little accident prone.
>>>   Then I know some dear grown up geeks that I wouldn't want to see
>>> moving around much away from their domain of expertise without
>>> supervision.   :)   At the very least a lot of teenage hackers should
>>> not be a big issue.
>> The idea that I'm getting that it's purely a legal issue. So a minor
>> would be anyone who has his own responsibility. I believe that for most
>> countries to be atleast 18 or up, in the Netherlands it would be 16 or
>> 18 I think.
>> But as you point out, it doesn't say anything about the capabilities of
>> the person at hand.
>> Personally I would care less about legal responsibility issues, atleast
>> in this country, and look more at the practical side if you can think
>> someone can handle the equipment you provide them access to.
>> w.
>> - --
>> URL: http://blog.u2m.nl/
>> GPG-Key: 4096R/FCF154AE 2008-10-19 [expires: 2012-10-18]
>> Key fingerprint: 0506 976E 2346 53B4 A628  EC33 E23D 16EE FCF1 54AE
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