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

Eric Stein toba at des.truct.org
Sun Nov 27 17:42:50 CET 2011

Have fun with it. I see your point, but some of us hold onto the word as a bit of a (maybe pointless and counterproductive at times) stand against corporate media dictating who and what people are and see and believe.


----- Original message -----
> 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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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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