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

B F bakmthiscl at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 06:37:31 CET 2011

You miss the point entirely.  Makerspaces (aka, "hackerspaces") are
good things with tremendous potential for educating people.

By using the term "hacker" you drive people away without ever getting
a chance at recruiting them.  All over a word.  Is that what you want?

You may assert that you don't want these "mindless dweebs" in your
spaces anyway.  A very adolescent attitude.  You won't get a chance to
find out what these people have to offer because they never get a
chance to get started with you.  All over a word.

Yes, maybe if you are all very persistent you can get the world to
accept "hacker" as a neutral term, expunging its negative reputation.
Good luck.  You'll need it.

In the meantime, some of use will persist in using other terms, like
"maker" or "fixer", so as not to drive people away before they even
get to meet us.

I simply do not see a need for people to overcome their legitimate
revulsion to what they understand "hacking" to be -- what it's defined
to be in all forms of media they're exposed to, day in, day out --
before they can be introduced to what these spaces are really about.

Rather than your expunging the reputation of "hackers", I would not be
at all surprised if, in another few years, the public recognizes two
different populations:  makers/makerspaces as "good" and
hackers/hackerspaces as "evil".  They'll be wrong, perhaps, but the
public is wrong about a lot of its opinions, and has always been so.
That's not going to change.

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 12:05 AM, Volatile Compound
<volatilecompound at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 11/28/11 8:57 PM, B F wrote:
>> First two pages of a Google search on "hacker" (no hyperlinks included
>> -- you can find these yourself on Google).  There may be a  few
>> positive uses of the word in this list, but they're hard to find among
>> the negatives.
> Nothing new here.  It's been happening since at least the '80s.
>> Say what you will, this is what the world conceives
>> hackers to be.  You folks can try to buck this trend, but I have
>> better ways to spend my time than to defend a word that is of no
>> importance to me.
> For a word of little importance to you that you have no interest in
> defending, you certainly seem to be willing to spend a great deal of time
> attempting to eradicate it from the local jargon.
> If the connotations of the word 'hacker' in the term 'hackerspace' make you
> uneasy, then perhaps hackerspaces just aren't your thing.  Which is fine; we
> get that they're not for everyone, and that's why there are other societies
> and associations out there which may be more relevant to your particular
> needs.  But don't expect the word you don't care for (or about) to go away
> any time soon.
> - skroo.
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