[hackerspaces] A New Hacker Has Joined Your Party!

Tim Saylor tim.saylor at gmail.com
Thu Jan 13 22:27:44 CET 2011

Far, I hold almost the complete opposite opinion from you on the direction
of hackerspaces, and here's why.

To me, hackerspaces, makerspaces, community workshops, whatever other term
one wants to make for it, is about making things.  Everything else either
supports that goal or is a distraction from it.  That's why I'm starting a
company, so I can start generating income I need to live without having to
spend all my making time making things for my employer.  And in the course
of starting a startup, I'm making products that I'm interested in.  I
network with people when I need to in order to make my startup work better,
so I can get back to making things purely for fun faster.  501c3 status gets
the hackerspace access to easier money to keep the doors open and the tool
shelves stocked, so that reduces the distracting work space organizers have
to do to enable making things.

Reclaiming the word hacker?  It'd be nice, but it doesn't really affect me.
I really think it's almost hopeless.  Teaching people our education system
is failing?  Don't people who want to learn already know that?  I think
creating an environment that fosters learning for them to find is more
important.  Open network / sane copyright / culture laws?  Important, but
outside of the scope of an individual hackerspace in my opinion.  Getting in
to that invites a lot of politics into the space's culture, and I think
that's too much of a distraction from making things.

I guess your point is that hackerspaces are groups that care about your
three items and makerspaces are groups that care about my three items.  In
that sense you may be right, and if so I guess I'm not a part of the
hackerspace movement.

On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 2:39 PM, Far McKon <farmckon at gmail.com> wrote:

> Just to play devils advocate, I worry about some of the themes coming
> out in this thread.
> I worry that the socially aware 'we need to keep our agility and
> ability to do what we think is best' hackerspace movement is shifting
> into a 'we need good PR, and to create more startups' makerspace
> movement.
> Both are legitimate ideas, and both are legitimate movements.  I
> personally have lot more interest in things like
>  * teaching the people our education system is failing, and
>  * reclaiming the term hacker
>  * advocating for an open network, and sane copyright/culture laws
> and a lot less interest in :
>  * creating a startup incubator
>  * watch well educated white males meet and network with more well
> educated white males
>  * make friends with city council, making  501(c)3 status, etc.
> Each of these small changes in direction are not too bad, but each one
> alters the velocity and direction of the community, and (IMHO) is
> steering it away from a direct action, hands on community I originally
> got interested in.
> Fablabs/Makerspaces overlap a lot with hackerspaces, but I think we
> should let them split apart more. I think 'makerspaces (and I include
> my own space in that group) are watering down the original spirit of
> hackerspaces, and undermining what I love(d) about the community. It's
> activism, it's hand-on, and it's distrust (and avoidance) of
> out-of-the loop 'authority' systems.
> Other opinions?
> - Far
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