[hackerspaces] [wiki] Semantic Organization of Spaces (was: TechShop)

hellekin hellekin at hackerspaces.org
Wed Jan 2 21:21:25 CET 2013

Hash: SHA256

Thank you all for your participation in this discussion. I'm replying
to the original message to try and add some of what I see as
consensual aspects, and problematic aspects in how we consider
submissions of spaces to the wiki.

I want to note that the definition of a hackerspace is not something
carved in stone, but rather an evolving process based on mutual
recognition and shared values.

One of the agreed-on aspect so far, as mentioned in the Main_Page of
the wiki, is that "Hackerspaces are community-operated physical
places, where people can meet and work on their projects."

Obviously, the community-operated part is important, but it does say
anything about non-profit or for-profit, nor does it say anything
about horizontality nor hierarchy. A common understanding is that
community-operated means members have a say as to the directions and
functioning of the hackerspace.

Although that alone would exclude TechShop, and CoWorking Spaces, the
consensus for the latter to make it a tolerated category of the wiki
seems to suggest that the wiki needs to make use of the Semantic Wiki
Properties to refine navigation, and understanding of those terms.

In many cases, hackers seek specific features to match their political
views, such as "non-profit", "public", and "community-operated". But
that shouldn't become a way to discriminate spaces. The diversity of
approaches allows for experiments and adaptation to local conditions.
However, such properties should be more visible in the wiki, so that
everyone gets a better service at finding like-minded spaces matching
their expectations.

Another aspect of a better organization of spaces relates to the map,
that should be split more evenly to avoid reaching arbitrary limits of
the program.

As the popularity of hackerspaces, makerspaces, fab labs, hacklabs,
co-working spaces, etc. grow, so is increasing the importance of
maintaining the wiki readable, and understandable. Excluding spaces on
the grounds of their specific features would hurt the (consensual)
authority of the contents of hackerspaces.org.

Using SMW properties would help qualify spaces according to features
that would in turn enrich the vision of how actual hackerspaces
operate, and inspire new spaces in their search of their own organization.

15 years ago, the split between "free software" and "open-source
software" over a matter of labels was detrimental to the free software
movement as a whole, as the new label also came with a shift in the
values. It would be advisable not to take this route for
hackerspaces.org if we want to maintain a coherence that benefits
promoting the hacker ethics, and the mission of sharing knowledge.

Could we envision a solution based on defining broad categories, and
using semantic properties to define features?

On 01/02/2013 12:56 PM, hellekin wrote:
> - Is TechShop a hackerspace, a co-working space, or something 
> else?
> - Is there such a thing as a "commercial hackerspace" (some were 
> mentioned, but as co-working spaces.), and if yes,
*** Although there is no TechShop page, there are some TechShop pages
for various instances of them. These could go under a "Commercial
Hackerspace" category, with TechShop being a sub-category, and
"CoWorking Space" another.

That, of course, would depend on the will of the TechShop community,
but considering there are existing pages, we could advise them to
promote the term "commercial hackerspace", and officialize their
recognition of the hackerspaces community.

> - Is TechShop more notable than another?
*** That is another question entirely, but one that concerns the
Wikipedia article on Hackerspace. My opinion is no, TechShop is not a
notable hackerspace, as it's not anymore notable than some historical
hackerspaces that were not known as hackerspaces in the sense we're
using now, e.g., the l0pht in NYC, or ASCII in Amsterdam.

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