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

Arclight arclight at gmail.com
Sun Nov 27 20:52:03 CET 2011

My opinion is that anyone who is offended by the word "hacker" will
probably be offended by a lot of other things about our space.


On Sun, Nov 27, 2011 at 8:05 AM, B F <bakmthiscl at gmail.com> 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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