Hackerspaces--are we one at VHS?

:canada: Another post from us up north! :canada:

At VHS we’re at a critical juncture–we are growing into our new, larger space, and with that the original “computer hacker” core has become a tiny part of the rest of the hackers hacking on things like wood, metal, fabric etc. We now have to decide what kind of a space to brand ourselves as to the public–hackerspace, hackspace, makerspace, community workshop?

With this comes the discussion of what it means to be a hacker. I think it’s a loose term like “artist,” but generally coalesces around a set of core values.

Some of the things being considered right now seem particularly against what I’ve observed as the hackerspace ethos. For example recording video footage at the space seems like it would never fly at Noisebridge, but is being seriously considered here. Other aspects of VHS however do seem like Noisebridge, as we consider ourselves a do-ocracy and believe in being excellent to each other.

We may decide we are more of a makerspace or community workshop, but I thought I would reach out here to get your thoughts on what values we should support if we want to become a more prominent player within the self-labeled “hackerspace” ecosystem.

Sir, this is a Wendy’s

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Interesting debate, and congrats on the challenge and success in growing as a space.

In large respects I find Makerspace and Hackerspace inter-changeable. There are definitely some core beliefs that branch them off to some extent, and I have veered away from the Makerspace, as I feel it’s been both highly amplified and co-opted by Make. Unfortunately Make as an organization has struggled, and scuttled the most prolific and impactful events both in the Bay Area and New York, all the while witnessing first hand the community coming together to get past that and Dale essentially ignoring it in favor of rebooting their revenue stream with Make publications.

Another little wrinkle for us in particular is, for regulatory constructs our activities are broadly categorized as “makespace”, encapsulating 3D printing, welding, wood working and the like as well as the learning aspects. Since the city and people in general can wrap their head around that, rather than having to particulary define hacking, and potential connotations of illegal activities. For that matter as well though I think it is critically important that we continue to represent excellence in hacking, and noisebridge as an organization does not participate, facilitate or encourage illegal activity.

So in short for me VHS == Vancouver Hack Space, it’s hackerspace and makerspace and all the things excellent ppl wanna make it.

I do appreciate that this is an opportune time to revisit the conversation and expand interest in the longstanding hackerspace movement and tradition. NYC Resistor and c-base are two particular groups that I think would add well worn perspective to the topic.

Playfully doing something difficult, whether useful or not, that is hacking. –Richard Stallman


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