[hackerspaces] A New Hacker Has Joined Your Party!

Joe Bowser bowserj at gmail.com
Thu Jan 13 23:02:40 CET 2011

I only partly agree with you on this one.  However, I think that expecting
all Hackerspaces to be the same is ridiculous, and I think that this was a
cause of an epic flame war where I ended up saying "GO CASCADIA" many months

The fact is that Hackerspaces are different because the people who started
them are different and the communities are different.  For example,
Vancouver Hack Space is different than hacklab.to in Toronto and FOULAB in
Montreal, and we're all in the same country.  (In fact, we're different than
the space in Victoria, and it's only a quick ferry ride away.)  Expecting
Hackerspaces to stick to principles across the planet, whatever that may be,
is naive at best.  However, we all have to keep our lights on and our spaces
open for people to make cool things or publish cool things they found.

We have a principle at VHS, which is that "We're all hackers here".  That is
our anti-assholeism (no racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc) rule,
as well as our principle that nobody will try to profit off someone else's
work.  If you want to come in and work on your business, that's cool, but
that's not our primary goal.  If you want to run for office, VHS will not
endorse you.  If you are working with an activist group, VHS does not
endorse that group without explicit permission.  VHS does NOT support any
political parties.  We do support the free exchange of information and being
independent, since we have seen the results in Vancouver of what happens
when you are not.

In short, we stand for providing a place for people to hack on stuff and
make cool shit!  I think that commonality tends to run across the board.  If
we're radical or extreme or whatever, we're that way based on what we do,
not by what polices we profess.


On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 12:39 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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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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