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

Dan Wobser ixrwebmaster at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 08:12:29 CET 2011

Bruce, it seems to me that this issue is more imagined than actual.  You
say that by using one word, "hackerspace", that people will be turned away.
 I think this is more of a hypothetical conclusion, versus something based
on actual evidence.

If a person is not interested in learning about what a hackerspace is, and
what a person does at a one, then I think that person really doesn't have
the interest level needed to actually participate in a hackerspace.  It
takes time and some level of dedication, even to just show up.  (For a good
example, look at any Meetup.com group and see how many people are on the
list vs. how many show up to events.)  Anyways my point is, for anyone to
be a maker, hacker, or creator, they require at least some basic level of
inquisitiveness and willingness to learn new things.  That includes going
beyond a simple title (whatever title you use for a hackerspace), and
learning what it is about.

The one example that you gave, about the woman that thought it wouldn't
reflect well on her professionally, possibly falls into one of these
categories - i.e. she doesn't care enough to learn more about what it is;
she's not interested in learning about new things; or maybe she's just not
open-minded.  Either way, I doubt very much that she would have been
totally hooked if you explained that it was a makerspace - she probably
just didn't have the interest level.

Moreso, since it was just one example, it can't be used to to derive a
generalization that "Most people will be turned off or mislead if I use the
H-word".  It's an insufficient dataset.

It's easy for us to hypothesize how people might react to particular terms,
based on conjecture.  But, listening to others on this list relate there
actual experiences (and they have way more experience than I), it sounds
like in practice the H-word has rarely elicited a negative response, and in
many cases the response was either positive, or lead into a positive

I say, let's not pre-judge what other hypothetical people might or might
not think.  I would rather evaluate the experiences of actual interactions
where the H-word was used, and base an opinion on that.

Of course you are free to use any word that you wish to describe this
thing, as are we all.  If the thought of calling it a hackerspace makes
*you* cringe, call it something else!  Because *no one* will be interested
in hearing it if YOU can't get behind it - people respond best when you're
passionate about what you're describing.

Just my humble .02.

-Dan Wobser
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