[Hpr] The "Hacker Label"

Dude-man from Dudmanovi.cz hpr at dudmanovi.cz
Wed Mar 20 22:36:04 PDT 2013

I've done a podcast already about hackers at dudmanovic.cz, but I think 
the geeks won't/don't like the breadth of it and rather like to stay 
mostly interested in computer type tech.

On 03/20/13 20:14, epicanis+hpr at dogphilosophy.net wrote:
>> pokey wrote:
>>> I'd like to see epicanus and lostnbronx collaborate and do a podcast
>>> episode on the topic of "what is a hacker?"
> Okay, NOW you're just doing it on PURPOSE, aren't you Pokey? :-) ( Eh-pee-CAY-niss, NOT "Eh-pic-AY-nuss"!)
> At this rate, I'm either going to have to blow the dust off my previous pseudonym from two decades ago
> (still active on Slashdot!) or start using the infamous goatse.cx image as my avatar...
> Either that or start using my Ingress codename as my pseudonym.
> But to get back on topic...
>> Personally, I don't care how a person self-identifies.  I have no idea
>> what a "real" hacker is, and I don't care to define it.  The act of
>> labeling is, by its very nature, destructive, because it MUST exclude
>> all those things not perceived as being part of the group.  Amazing
>> stuff gets lost this way, no matter how inclusive a group wishes to
>> be.
>> There are almost certainly listeners of HPR (likely a lot of them) who
>> never contribute because they do not think they have anything
>> interesting to say.  Certainly, the people on this list will
>> understand how tragic that is, but some listeners simply don't see
>> themselves as "hackers", and therefore think their own experiences and
>> interests don't count as potential HPR content.  Never mind the fact
>> that they are fans of the show, which means THEY have an interest in
>> this stuff -- somehow they're still on the outside, looking in.  Is
>> this a function of the labels we use?  Is it the nature of content
>> consumption?  Is it simply human nature?
> This is actually a major part of the reason that I'm proposing the definition that I am - without
> some sort of definition, people tend to self-categorize and I think will frequently end up
> declaring themselves "not-hacker" because, for example, they don't know much about
> computer programming. Having a single, simple definition (even being made of very "flexible"
> terms) that describes the fundamental characterics of a hacker should help potential contributors
> see where their own knowledge and interests actually do fit at Hacker Public Radio.
> I also think it would be good to see the words "hacking" and "hacker" showing up much
> more frequently in general discourse (in proper, appropriate contexts beyond the media's
> use of it to usually mean "criminal computer programmer") - I think that would be much
> better advocacy than the attempts to make people say "cracker" instead. Of course for
> this to happen we need a definition of "hacking" to be able to determine when the
> word should be used.
>> Qualifying what a "hacker" is...well, that's a VERY "hacky" thing to
>> do, actually, and, on the one hand, I really applaud the effort.  On
>> the other, all labels come at a cost.  The cost of exclusion --
>> unintentional and undesired though it is -- will always be IMPOSSIBLE
>> to assess, since we will never know who we lost, and who we could have
>> heard from, save for their fear of rejection or the self-censoring
>> aspect of labeled expression.
> I think we're getting that NOW, though, because we're leaving it up to random
> passers-by to decide what a "hacker" is, and all too often those people will
> assume either "expert computer programmer" or "criminal" and walk away not
> knowing any better. I think the "popular definition" is too exclusive already.
> I'd also suggest that there ARE probably some categories of people we'd WANT to
> exclude, though as a community that so highly values creativity I'm having trouble
> thinking of any that I can't imagine at least one or two of us wouldn't say "ah, let 'em in,
> we can probably come up with something fun to do with the nonsense they're
> promoting" to just about any of them...
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