[hackerspaces] Out with the "hackers"... In with the "makers" and the "fixers"

Jordan Miller jrdnmlr at gmail.com
Sun Nov 27 17:34:48 CET 2011

we've always had huge debates about this in our local space. I'm definitely 100% FOR changing the name to makerspace. I already do this in public and when i tell people where i'm going: my local makerspace FTW.

the media have made up their minds, and self-defined hacker groups like Anonymous that are infiltrating and attacking others also add to the confusion. no one takes the distinction between hacker and cracker. Thus, in the media's eyes and in the public's, they are synonymous.


On Nov 27, 2011, at 11:05 AM, B F wrote:

> I have no problem with language, but that seems not the case with the
> general public.  "Hacker" has become a bad word.  This was driven home
> to me a couple night ago, over dinner with a group, in which a
> programmer who worked for a major computer company (in the
> communications field) responded to my talk about a "hackerspace" by
> commenting that she might have trouble professionally if associated
> with such a group!
> This movement is shooting itself in the foot by continuing to use the
> terms "hack", "hacking", "hacker", and "hackerspace".  Like it or not,
> the American public "knows" that hackers are evil people who steal
> identities and money, infiltrate corporate, government, and military
> computers and steal their secrets, etc., etc.  The media has told them
> that and they believe it.  Even intelligent people believe it.  That
> "hacker" could mean something benevolent as well, does not occur to
> them.
> As I was repairing the pan in my automatic bread-making machine this
> morning -- mostly involving replacing a broken C-clip -- it occurred
> to me that fixing things is as American as apple pie.  As a movement,
> we need to ally ourselves with that tradition.  Likewise, making
> things is All-American. (I'm being a bit facetious, here, but if we
> have less than 30 seconds to get a message across, we have to use buzz
> words).
> Therefore, we should chuck the term "hacker" in all its forms, and
> switch completely to "makerspaces" or even "fixerspaces".  Or, more
> simply, "shops" or "labs", with relevant adjectives to further
> describe them.
> I'm sure there will be disagreement as to terms to use, but some
> change is needed lest we alienate too many people.
> - Bruce
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