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Re: Re: •Re: Fighting the denigration of hacking

by logan (Curate)
on Feb 08, 2004 at 06:20 UTC ( #327429=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: •Re: Fighting the denigration of hacking
in thread Fighting the denigration of hacking

You seem to be the only one who sees this change developing. Sure, on tech channels there's an understanding of the difference between "hacking away at some code" and "hacking a system", but the illiterati who are still replying to spam and downloading email attachments, hackers are just evil geeks. During the tech boom, there was a brief shining moment when this started to change, when the general populus saw that maybe techies could actually help make their lives better, a moment where intelligence was an asset, not a liability, but that moment has passed.

Say "hacker", and people think of Matthew Broderick. If you try to explain the misconception, their eyes just glaze over. The one victory I've ever had when trying to get the point across was by using an automotive metaphor. I was talking to a technophobe who loved working on his car. I compared his desire to explore the limits of what his car could do with a desire to max out your PC. Then, I asked about gearheads being a bunch of reckless drag racers. He went off on a rant about car clubs just being about enjoying cars, restoring them, tweaking them, customizing them, and seeing what you could do with them. Sure, there are people who are reckless drivers, but they're a small minority who give the rest a bad name, and besides, the media blows it all out of proportion. Then I smiled. And finally, he saw the light.

"What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."

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Re: Re: Re: •Re: Fighting the denigration of hacking
by knexus (Hermit) on Feb 08, 2004 at 14:32 UTC
    Excellent metaphor, one that I think I will borrow sometime.

    So, it seems that the manner in which the message is delivered is extremely important. Most people I know get the "deer in the headlights" look if I try to explain it in the usual computer gargon. However, a well thought out metaphor like yours can work like a charm. Now there's one convert of sorts; Maybe he will explain it to someone else someday... and no I don't mean "he will tell 10 friends and they will tell 10 friends..." It is a "VERY SLOW" process and one that may never develop sufficient momentum.

    Lastly, I admit that my view is probably slightly askew as most of the people I am around day to day are not technophobes but they are not techies either. Just intelligent people who know the world is not black and white.

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