[hackerspaces] Largest Hackerspaces in US

charlie x charlie at finitemonkeys.com
Wed Nov 16 06:26:30 CET 2011

>I understand what you are getting at, and to some extent you have a
>point, but I have to disagree with a lot of the particulars.

Sure I accept that,  that’s not my position , my position simply is that 
there are alternatives.

>I think the word you may be looking for isn't 'open' but
>'Laissez-faire' .  'open to people who are already know what they are
>In most cases when I hear/see the term term 'open' , I'm understanding
>it to be more than just 'we don't actively turn people away' . Which
>is from what I am reading, the point you are getting at.

I'm familiar with the Laissez-faire I used to work with a guy from Atari 
who'd overuse the phrase a lot. But not its not what I'm getting at, but 
that’s my fault for a poor explanation.

Person turns up at hackerspace and says, hey kids what projects are you 
doing, I'd like to do that too. So come over here and teach me how, in the 
simplest terms 'entertain me', that’s the point of failure for me.

On the other hand, I teach an eagle class and a dozen+ people go off on 
their own, in groups and make cool stuff with what I taught them, I wouldn’t 
call them self starters, just that they put the effort into getting over 
that initial hump. I know its difficult to approach a new set of people with 
a lack of perceived skills and just get on with it, but it totally will 
work, you just have to relax and work with people. I'm more than happy to 
help someone who's stuck, I'm less happy to help someone who's just either 
given up or hasn't tried.

we've taught all sorts of people, one of the girls who designed our layerone 
speaker badge hadn't done any electronics or computers, and only high 
school, only a few months before hand, she did a little blog and it got on 
make, HAD etc so you may have seen it. I didn't help at all with the routing 
in eagle, it was a four layer board. but I put videos up for people to learn 
from. if she can do it , so can others.

>I think that is pretty clearly 'Laissez-faire' , and not the same as
>'open'.  You are basically saying 'we are accessible to people who
>already know and act like we are accessible'.    But I also think that
>is a far cry from being actively open, which involves doing some work
>and planning to reach out and making greater accessibility.   I think
>this gets into some of the distinction between 'not-racist' and
>'anti-racist' , or 'agnostic' vs 'atheist' , in that it's a tri-state
>view of things (pro/ ignore/ con) vs a bi-state ( pro/ con).

we're actively friendly, we run classes on different things, we did the HHV 
at defcon last year, and we run the layerOne conference in socal, we don't 
get paid.  We did sell some stuff we made in the vendor booth but at a huge 

so again I don't think it’s a valid comparison, again the person who won't 
put the work in and just wants to be taught . I suppose in one way people 
talk about education like that, there are people who like to be taught in a 
classroom, and there are are the dropouts who go off and do stuff, so the 
later I guess would be our demo, again the diversity.

we run social events, have a game night, watch movies, go bowling.

>And I think 'Laissez-faire' is A-OK, but when I hear someone talk
>about how 'open' their space is, it leads me (and I think other
>people, if I can generalize) to assume active work to be more
>accessible, rather than just a 'we take people who already know to
>come to us' style.

I can't really remark to it, as it’s the same conclusion as before. As I 
said, poor explanation on my part

>I think geeks in general tend to think they are more open than they
>truly are.  I hear a lot of groups (Open Source, Hackerspace,
>programming groups) say 'oh, we are open to everyone'  when they
>really mean 'we are open to everyone (that already knows what they
>want)' or ' we are open to everyone(that we don't have to teach new
>things)' or even 'we are open to everyone (that has already has a C.S.
>degree, and 3 years of related experience, and knows how to find our
>developers mailing list).

sorry you've found it to be that way, I've found completely the opposite in 
some places, I don't do really do GPL or CC etc, I give away code, I teach 
people how to reproduce it too, done lots (as have my friends ) of public 
domain software. I know where you're coming from, there are a lot of people 
who claim to be open, but don't want it to be used or reused, and they want 
credit or otherwise. I don't encourage that, we have no talk of licensing on 
our projects page, its yours you take it. For a long time ( as long as I 
could manage it financially ) I funded all the components and pcbs for our 
new to electronics projects and gave them away.

I did come across that open but not open at another space though, so I know 
its out there, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Often its more projection or relative experiences that gives way to this 
sort of thinking, as I said I grew up with a group whom all we did was give 
stuff away, I personally don’t care for all the GPL stuff, not because of 
the higher purpose its meant to do, but all the petty little infighting its 

We are open to everyone, but not everyone is gonna be open to us, or our 
style  of doing things, that in itself is a limiting factor of 'everyone' , 
its basically saying you're more likely to get along if you try to fit in, 
rather than we as a space will try to fit to you. Which I believe a lot of 
people are looking for. I'm an atheist but I help out hackers for charity, 
I'll teach people that are dicks to me. I won't do it all the time, we're 
all human.

Wouldn’t be the first person that’s told me they don't believe it., but 
again I think that’s primarily projection or product of their environment.

The group I hang out with in LA have been together for years, they all know 
each other. I turned up about a year ago, and a lot of them are like family 
to me now. Other people on the other think they're all dicks.

>Which can be pretty small subsets of 'everyone'

>P.S. Charlie X,  also sorry if this thread is a lot of replies
>directed at you. I think you have some good points, and I just want to
>clarify my counter viewpoint.  Hope you aren't feeling ganged up on,
>I don't think that's anyone's intention.

doesn't bother me in the slightest. I can get along just fine with people 
that either don't care for my opinions or me. I do appreciate that you're 
taking the time to chat to me about it though and not making it personal, 
hopefully I can manage the same, text has its limitations, it’s a 
potentially emotional subject. But even if it did, that’s life.


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