[hackerspaces] hackerspace demographics

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Tue Jan 15 07:33:12 CET 2013

Steve I think you are entering a very interesting area of discussion.
And that's about how to build a community.  And I think that's at the
core of hackerspaces.  And I think your opinion is enlightening.  I
got a lot out of reading it.  I've had similar thoughts concerning how
hackerspace's communities are built as well.  I've seen quite a few,
and several for prolonged periods.  Each wildly different.  It's very
interesting discussion and I think it's really valuable discussion.


On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 1:23 AM, Steven Sutton <ssutton4455 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Responding to the original question -
> In my opinion, the way that I've seen this conversation approached in the
> past is kind of a double-bind.
> On the one hand, you can say "no, we don't have a strategy that brings in X
> kind of people" and that can seem insensitive.
> On the other hand, you can say "yes, we do want to bring those X folks and
> we intend to do that by making assumptions about what they like and catering
> to those." Then, you're making another mistake and stereotyping a class of
> people that you want to bring into the community.
> There is a different way to have this conversation.
> What you can do is examine the culture of your space. If your space has
> developed a positive, welcoming, humble culture then people that don't quite
> fit into your culture as it is today can still feel comfortable. If you're
> not there yet, then it is worth looking into driving the culture of your
> space in that direction. This gets into soft skills and personal
> development, which is difficult for some to understand but totally necessary
> for growth and diversity.
> Therefore, my strategy is help the culture of the space grow in those
> respects while building bridges with tons of other outside organizations so
> that we can work together on outreach efforts and diversify the cultures of
> our spaces. We've started the conversation with a tech/programming-oriented
> space north of us, two spaces that are getting ready to start up
> specifically geared toward kids (one hosts Brownie Scouts on a regular
> basis), an art-oriented makerspace, an adult basic skills education
> foundation, a non-profit art community, and several more.
> So this is an issue that should be addressed within the culture of the space
> and also with the interface between the space and the community surrounding
> it.
> I feel like if we can develop our culture to be welcoming and humble, than
> everything else will fall into place. If we diversify to address broad
> interests both within and outside of our space, then outreach initiatives
> offer a compelling message and high retention.
> Maybe I'm being naïve.
> Steven
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

More information about the Discuss mailing list