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Anthropologist Spends Three Years Living With Hackers

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the going-native dept.

Idle 252

concealment writes "Coleman, an anthropologist who teaches at McGill University, spent three years studying the community that builds the Debian GNU/Linux open source operating system and hackers in the Bay Area. More recently, she's been peeling away the onion that is the Anonymous movement, a group that hacks as a means of protest — and mischief. When she moved to San Francisco, she volunteered with the Electronic Frontier Foundation — she believed, correctly, that having an eff.org address would make people more willing to talk to her — and started making the scene. She talked free software over Chinese food at the Bay Area Linux User Group's monthly meetings upstairs at San Francisco's Four Seas Restaurant. She marched with geeks demanding the release of Adobe eBooks hacker Dmitry Sklyarov. She learned the culture inside-out."

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252 comments

Great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125723)

That's awesome. Welcome to the internet. Guess Coleman will talk about how he discovered Reddit in his next article!

Re:Great (2)

Simpson,Homer_Jay (2666667) | about a year ago | (#42125737)

>he discovered Reddit in his next article!

she

ftfy

Re:Great (4, Funny)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#42125825)

this is the internet

there are no girls

you need to give up your ovarys when you login

Re:Great (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125907)

stop with this misogynistic bullshit

smash the patriarchy

Only 3 years? Are you kidding? (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#42126103)

Season veterans who have spent literally * DECADES completely immersed in the hacker scene still dare not make any sweeping declaration about the nature of the hacker world.
 
And here we have, a person who only spent 3 fricking years (as she put it "researching") comes out with her "immense knowledge" of the hacker subculture.
 
My own experience told me that, while hackers in general do share "common traits", hackers from one community differ from hackers from another community, in term of way of thought, habits, etc.
 
The term "community" means a lot as well - as the word not only define geographic difference, but also the different fields (shared interests) the hackers are working on.
 
I still remember when the movie scene started to take interest in hackerism they had actors playing stereotypical thick-glassed, talkative, soprano-toned hackers, and they all come with lousy hairdo - As if we are like that.
 
I've known some of the greatest hackers and from the outside they look normal - just fucking absolutely normal.

Re:Only 3 years? Are you kidding? (5, Interesting)

sarysa (1089739) | about a year ago | (#42126155)

And that's what humans who make their profession studying other humans do. (And what I've just done with all anthropologists, sociologists, etc. Groovy) Sadly, though, stereotypes often reign true...but they will always be stereotypes and people who are hackers in Alabama, for instance, will probably laugh at the new wave of box office hacker stereotypes to emerge from this study.

p.s. plugging my tag "labrats", seems appropriate here...

Re:Only 3 years? Are you kidding? (5, Insightful)

Iskender (1040286) | about a year ago | (#42126201)

And here we have, a person who only spent 3 fricking years (as she put it "researching") comes out with her "immense knowledge" of the hacker subculture.

Where did you get that "immense knowledge" part? It wasn't in the article, and it wasn't expressed using other words either.

Also at no point in the article did she say that all hacker culture everywhere is like that. In fact the article explicitly mentions that she wanted to study and studied differences between different hacker groups.

Re:Only 3 years? Are you kidding? (4, Funny)

anegg (1390659) | about a year ago | (#42126569)

Aye, but those normal looking hackers - they probably aren't True Hackers, laddie.

Re:Only 3 years? Are you kidding? (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#42126677)

I dunno. I once knew a hacker from a local 2600 club (mid 90s) that looked an awfully like Yanni - with a mullet - in dark blue sweatpants (stained) and a white tee shirt. I will never forget that mustache... The horror!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125925)

is davy a bull-dagger?

Re:Great (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125865)

She must have a respectable beard by now, after living with hackers for three years. Confusing her with a guy is to be expected. Be careful not to confuse free software with open source near her if you want to keep your fingers.

Re:Great (1)

MacDork (560499) | about a year ago | (#42125741)

She

Re:Great (4, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#42126167)

For some reason, that Far Side comic with the female gorilla finding the blonde hair on the male gorilla and commenting on "research" with that "Jane Goodall tramp" seems particularly poignant...

Re:Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125763)

at least she wasnt an archaeologist

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125931)

Sounds a little like Dr Sherry Turkle, a psychiatrist and faculty member at MIT. She spent significant time with (and studying) the hackers at the MIT AI lab...and then wrote a book about it. Not all the hackers were pleased with the idea of being used as guinea pigs.

Re:Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125783)

That's awesome. Welcome to the internet. Guess Coleman will talk about how he discovered Reddit in his next article!

RTFS, dumbass.

Coleman, an anthropologist who teaches at McGill University, spent three years studying the community that builds the Debian GNU/Linux open source operating system and hackers in the Bay Area. More recently, she's been ...

Her next research project (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125753)

will be studying the grooming habits of Orthodox Stallmanites

TLDR version (-1, Troll)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about a year ago | (#42125803)

TL;DR - she's writing a book and wants us all to know, and Wired is cooperating. It's a fluff piece. Apparently we should buy it when it comes out.

Re:TLDR version (5, Informative)

deek (22697) | about a year ago | (#42125895)

According to the general comments with the article, the book has a creative commons license. The author commented that she will release a copy soon, when she fixes the website to go with it.

Re:TLDR version (5, Insightful)

kernelpanicked (882802) | about a year ago | (#42125903)

Maybe you should have actually, ya know, read some things. The book is being released under Creative Commons and she's putting up a site to distribute it. But since you just want mod points for being a smartass...carry on

Re:TLDR version (5, Interesting)

Iskender (1040286) | about a year ago | (#42125987)

TL;DR - she's writing a book and wants us all to know, and Wired is cooperating. It's a fluff piece. Apparently we should buy it when it comes out.

As the sibling posts also say, you wrote a really bad summary. I think you just wanted to be cynical, or troll.

Aside from the fact that she'll apparently release the book copyleft, there's also the fact that it's a scholarly work - a good way to lose money.

A better summary would be something like "Anthropologist studies nerds, finds that they have an interesting culture and a clear interest in civil liberties issues."

But of course that isn't relevant to Slashdot. There are no nerds here, and no one cares about civil liberties here, right? We just discuss computer parts endlessly, right? I hope some smarter moderators show up soon.

Re:TLDR version (2)

infurnus (1897136) | about a year ago | (#42126027)

TL;DR - she's writing a book and wants us all to know, and Wired is cooperating. It's a fluff piece. Apparently we should buy it when it comes out.

As the sibling posts also say, you wrote a really bad summary. I think you just wanted to be cynical, or troll.

Aside from the fact that she'll apparently release the book copyleft, there's also the fact that it's a scholarly work - a good way to lose money.

A better summary would be something like "Anthropologist studies nerds, finds that they have an interesting culture and a clear interest in civil liberties issues."

But of course that isn't relevant to Slashdot. There are no nerds here, and no one cares about civil liberties here, right? We just discuss computer parts endlessly, right? I hope some smarter moderators show up soon.

I just want to thank you for your post, sadly have no mod points to give

Re:TLDR version (0)

Omnifarious (11933) | about a year ago | (#42126207)

Yeah, you deserve a ton of mod points. I despise how people on Slashdot look down at anybody who's not in 'the club', whatever they might imagine the club to be. Jon Katz was fuzzy headed, but didn't deserve the reception he got here at all. And neither does this anthropologist.

I really wonder why people are so xenophobic.

Re:TLDR version (3, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about a year ago | (#42126475)

Yeah, you deserve a ton of mod points. I despise how people on Slashdot look down at anybody who's not in 'the club', whatever they might imagine the club to be. Jon Katz was fuzzy headed, but didn't deserve the reception he got here at all. And neither does this anthropologist.

I really wonder why people are so xenophobic.

I think in this case, people are resistant to the notion that they can be so neatly studied and classified.

Re:TLDR version (4, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#42126765)

I really wonder why people are so xenophobic.

It is not everyone on slashdot. It is just the fourteen year olds among us.

Some of them have been practicing at being fourteen for a decade or more. They are particularly obnoxious.

I look forward to Coleman's book. She may offer some insight into this failure to mature syndrome. I have a suspicion that it has something to do with over exposure to FPS games, but I'm just guessing.

Re:TLDR version (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#42126267)

A better summary would be something like "Anthropologist studies nerds, finds that they have "an interesting culture" and a clear interest in civil liberties issues."

That summary would be wrong, for a very simple reason:
 
Not all the hackers live within the same "culture.
 

Re:TLDR version (1)

Iskender (1040286) | about a year ago | (#42126441)

That summary would be wrong, for a very simple reason:

Not all the hackers live within the same "culture.

Well, since I happen to study a related field I can say that depends a lot on which specific definition of culture is being used.

But that doesn't really matter here since I wrote "studies nerds", not "studies all nerds" like you appear to have assumed. Basically everyday language requires a degree of co-operation, unlike scientific language.

Re:TLDR version (0)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about a year ago | (#42126451)

As the sibling posts also say, you wrote a really bad summary. I think you just wanted to be cynical, or troll.

Well of COURSE I wrote a bad summary. I said it right there - it was too long, and I didn't read it!

Re:TLDR version (4, Insightful)

epine (68316) | about a year ago | (#42126539)

We just discuss computer parts endlessly, right? I hope some smarter moderators show up soon.

I don't mind so much about the decline in the participation standards, if there has in fact been a decline (not counting the glory days when the lamers had five digit ids).

What I tremendously resents is the decline in the wording of the story summaries, which become ever more useless and trollish by the minute. It's not the people here that will drive me away. It's the decline in story summaries and the attitude of the editorial oversight which permits this to happen.

If we had a moderation system to assign "vague-assed trollery" to the story submissions, I would instantly tweak my filter such that I never see these stories again (and the 300 comments out of 500 adjusting the crookered picture frame).

The only reason I haven't jumped ship already is that most of the alternatives have been violently Twitterized. I'm determined to think in full paragraphs. I just can't wait for the headline "Generation Z rediscovers the paragraph." Maybe if I'm lucky--and live long enough to see it--the paragraph will become retro cool.

Ask Slashdot (4, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#42125813)

Did I just get old? Or did slashdot really gone down the toilet? Both?

Re:Ask Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125885)

Did I just get old? Or did slashdot really gone down the toilet? Both?

Guess again :

You are dead and you are now in hell.

This is what you get to do for eternity.

There is a reason they call it hell, you know.

Re:Ask Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125977)

Did I just get old? Or did slashdot really gone down the toilet? Both?

In my best nerdcore answer, Slashdot has effectively become Slashzarro, a bizarre reversed portal full of advertisements, not articles.

Don't be so sad. Playboy has gone this route too, I actually find myself reading it for the articles in a desperate attempt to find a picture or two.

I'm left with that same feeling here. Looking for mental stimulation, and finding ads.

Shit, at least Playboy has a picture or two.

Re:Ask Slashdot (2)

drkim (1559875) | about a year ago | (#42126717)

...Slashdot has effectively become Slashzarro, a bizarre reversed portal full of advertisements, not articles.

Slashdot has effectively become "Wired", a bizarre reversed portal full of advertisements, not articles.

FTFY

Re:Ask Slashdot (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125993)

If you hadn't come accross it yet, check out http://news.ycombinator.com/ It has similar content to slashdot but the quality of discussion is generally much better these days.

Re:Ask Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126685)

I've seen this comment echoed on Slashdot several times so I went to check out the site you referenced a while back. The discussions are more polite, but completely underwhelming. It is easy to see the people posting there trend younger and the experience and quality of discussions resemble that.

Re:Ask Slashdot (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#42126075)

"Did I just get old? Or did slashdot really gone down the toilet? Both?"

Generational turn-over. New teens/young adults replace older people with more knowldge = slashdot turns to shit. Welcome to getting older. As you get older you get more knowledge and young people have less life experience/knowledge and hence you have cycles and peaks of greatness and mediocrity. It doesn't help that the net has become so mainstream and children of the next generation know how to use the web so you get morons of all intelligence levels everywhere now. Where as the nerds used to congregate around their favorite sites and not have to worry too much about the IQ level of the readers this is no longer true. The internet is essentially TV now.

Re:Ask Slashdot (5, Insightful)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#42126399)

Or maybe, as we all get older and wisdomful, the relative quality of Slashdot seems to go down. We have a chance here to educate the next generation of nerds, let's do it!

Re:Ask Slashdot (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42126463)

New teens/young adults replace older people with more knowldge = slashdot turns to shit. Welcome to getting older.

Slashdot has always been full of shit, getting older just means you can recognise it a lot faster.

Re:Ask Slashdot (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#42126629)

"Slashdot has always been full of shit, getting older just means you can recognise it a lot faster."

Not quite, I can look at trends in the younger generation that worship Steam and DRM where-as most of the olderschool PC gamers during the 90's detest DRM. Earlier this decade if you made pro-steam worshiping DRM statements you'd be downvoted to oblivion. Now with younger mods/steam fans you see many mods give +5 insightful to more and more glowing comments on Steam DRM. This is a generational transformation and you see it in the modding trends of what gets modded up/down or just left alone/ignored.

Now this doesn't mean all young adults/teens/kids like DRM it just means kids tend to accept what they grow up with and don't question what has always been there. Think about the differences of growing up on command line operating systems like DOS vs say windows xp or windows 7 with fully functional web browsers plus easy-mode steamstore. Huge difference. Night and day kind of difference.

Kids/teens don't know what has been lost/don't care. People who grew up during the earlier gaming (pre online only games) era are hugely disappointed by the downright criminal changes in the industry because they WATCHED the industry grow from when it was tiny so they have superior understanding and perspective. They were there during game-modding golden years of Quake/duke/doom/etc that has been smothered (Supcom 2 was locked down and made difficult to mod at publisher request). Games like diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 have been increasingly fucked with because of publishers greed.

Not only that, kids are ripe for corporate PR manipulation. Just see this article here where the talk about 'engineering' psychological changes via PR campaigns for the acceptance of F2P / online DRM.

Quote:"But the most important aspect is there is a psychological transformation of the customers and the publishers that has to happen before everything is F2P on every platform. We are promoting these steps with other titles we're doing right now in our company."

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-11-12-ditching-far-cry-piracy-gameplay-and-just-about-breaking-even-crytek-on-the-ups-and-downs-of-the-crysis-series [eurogamer.net]

Re:Ask Slashdot (1)

SEE (7681) | about a year ago | (#42126359)

Hmm? This is not nearly as bad as Jon Katz's shit was.

Re:Ask Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126565)

Jon Katz, was a journalist with admittedly limited technical knowledge who fell victim to a regrettable social engineering prank. This was ripe for abuse amongst Slashdot's critical, detail oriented, meticulous, and vocal nature ++ trolling. I really see the man as some sort of patron saint of online journalists (I'm an atheist btw). After learning his story I bounced over to Slate for a while when Slashdot had bored me and it's not a bad site, I don't go there specifically for the technology section, Katz's story taught me to put these things in perspective.

Re:Ask Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126727)

Actually the toilet bought slashdot years ago. And was just recently swallowed up by another toilet.

Huh... that sounds like some german porn.

MUSIC ANYONE ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125815)

Multi-User System for Interactive Computing !! That's when even the women behind the keyboard had long beards !!

Debian (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125817)

3 years working with Debian dev's. Whats that like 1 release?

Re:Debian (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125929)

Ugh. Not with this shit again. The only time it took 3 years for a release was with Sarge. The average is more like 2 years per release. It's called STABLE for a reason, you know? You can use the unstable version (Sid) if you want frequent updates.

first (3, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#42125837)

she had to singe and destroy her olfactory nerves

thus rendered dead to the sense of smell, she was able to continue to function while embedded in the community

Re:first (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#42126323)

she had to singe and destroy her olfactory nerves

thus rendered dead to the sense of smell, she was able to continue to function while embedded in the community

All good and dandy, but... is she married?

(grin)

I'm not sure why all the cynicism... (4, Interesting)

Drakonblayde (871676) | about a year ago | (#42125889)

Sure, it's a fluff piece.

The author is trying to sell some books.

There's nothing wrong with that. If you're part of the culture, I'm sure it seems like a waste of time.

I don't see a problem with trying to raise awareness of the community, and maybe correct some flawed stereotypes. I don't see why the community wouldn't want their story told.

Re:I'm not sure why all the cynicism... (4, Funny)

berashith (222128) | about a year ago | (#42125901)

because up until this book, the stereotype of fat, smelly, and living in mom's basement has only been rumor.

Re:I'm not sure why all the cynicism... (3, Funny)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#42126099)

Having it told right would be good. The community and the world do not need another book talking about hackers's enthusiasm for a text editor called 'Emax" [sic].

Re:I'm not sure why all the cynicism... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#42126257)

You just gave me an incredible idea. I am naming my first male child "Emax". He probably won't get along that well with his sister "Violet" though.

Re:I'm not sure why all the cynicism... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126465)

Notepad Jones.

She??? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125961)

You introduced a female into a development group? No wonder Debian didn't get anything done for the past couple of years.

Sounds like a commercial for her book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126033)

Am I the only one who read all that drivel and thought it sounded like just a commercial for her book coming out? And not only that but the book sounded just like its going to be a piece of pretentious, uninformed, mediocre bullshit written to try and cash in on buzz words and hot topics?

It sounds like a book that people in the culture will laugh at as being fluff while the others who arent that read it will suddenly start running around spouting key phrases and quotes from her book but bill them as their own in order to impress their as equally un-tech savvy friends in a poor attempt at feeling important.

timeline (4, Funny)

bobstreo (1320787) | about a year ago | (#42126085)

Day 1. OMFG, the smell.
Day 2. I don't know how long I can live on Doritos and Mountain Dew.
Day 3. I think I've made contact, they keep saying Boobs or GTFO.
Year 3. I'm done, going to the spa.

First name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126111)

Are the editors too lazy to bother with a first name?

which is better ms hacker follower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126113)

perl script or pearl necklace?
no not that necklace silly boy

The drill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126135)

Well lady, then you know the drill: Tits or GTFO

the point? (1)

arekin (2605525) | about a year ago | (#42126157)

Not to offend, but was there any insight to this article? So and so did this is more of a twitter comment than an article on slashdot. What did this anthropologist learn from their experience? Anything would really help here.

Re:the point? (3, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42126525)

The term "anthropologist" and its modern context and funding in the USA can be very interesting.
Terms like "Human Terrain program" should offer some counterinsurgency warfare insight vs the projected "global humanitarians".
http://thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/hugh-gusterson/the-us-militarys-quest-to-weaponize-culture [thebulletin.org]
The "deep hanging out" "earning their trust" "getting them to tell us about their worlds" are the classic opening moves.
David Price has a good book on this called Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in the Service of the Militarized State that might help.
What was once seen as college hacking, computer games, a better door lock, old movie quotes, 6 years of French and an interest in Lua, a better wheelchair interface, faster servers, community wifi, crypto is now seen by many in the US military as a new front on an internal political battlefield, - great for funding, contractors and advancement.
First you get the funding for understanding. After understanding comes influtration.
Another aspect to understanding is for internal testing. You do not want your next young crypto expert back home or in the field to ever have doubts no matter the material they are exposed to.
You want to keep your geeks happy and enjoying a living wage. Cash or an understanding of humanity from foreign embassies might fill the void in their lives wrt contractors pay or one too many night raids.
It took some time for the UK and US to understand their staff and just how and why they got turned.

Funding? (4)

wrencherd (865833) | about a year ago | (#42126185)

Why didn't Wired ask her how she paid to live for 3 years in one of the most expensive cities in the world?

Seriously, I'd like to know.

None of the guidebooks I've ever read say anything about how getting an eff.org email address is a substitute for avg. $2K@month in rent. (Highest in the USA.) [huffingtonpost.com]

Geek Groupie (3, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#42126199)

So a groupie is now called an anthropologist.

Re:Geek Groupie (3, Interesting)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#42126431)

So a groupie is now called an anthropologist.

She learned their language. Learned how to dress like them and ate the same foods they ate. She also studied their history and daily lives. So what's the difference, they don't live in grass huts and they tattoo themselves with Linux Penguins? If it's properly documented it's a legitimate study. Anthropologists have studied subcultures for decades. It's generally referred to as Cultural Anthropology.

Re:Geek Groupie (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126457)

Anthropologists have always been groupies.

Re:Geek Groupie (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126701)

Anthropologists have always been groupies.

Exactly! When I was in college 20 years ago, there was a groupie who liked to hang out with the basketball players. In fact, she changed her major to Anthopology and claimed her interest in the basketball team was purely professional: she was just studying "Black English Vernacular".

Typical (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#42126229)

Pretty typical for the insulated academic type. Let's see:
  • moved to San Francisco - because, you know, it's fashionable, darling
    • joined EFF - EFF are the good guys and I won't bash them. But honestly, this just shows her "straight ahead through the front door" orientation.
      • started making the scene - as if there was some sort of central control for hacker culture. went to the Bay Area Linux User Group - because linux is everything, no real "hacker" would use those ugly commercial systems, eww not free marched with geeks demanding the release of Adobe eBooks hacker Dmitry Sklyarov - solidarity, comrades! Forward!

        Well, I suppose that comes naturally when you're an academic. Her unspoken assumptions are, to her, entirely correct and there could be no other way of looking at the situation. I mean, hackers, right? San Francisco. Obviously! Wouldn't want to hang out in dingy apartments in Omsk or Urumuqi and eat instant noodles with a bunch of people who don't speak English and who don't bathe regularly. Learned the culture inside-out. She has a Ph.D...I just don't see how she could possibly be mistaken in any way. And then the write-up to receive the ultimate in "geek" credibility - Wired magazine! Ooh, shivers of excitement.

Hackers? (1, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#42126243)

I just want to say I'm deeply disturbed by the article using the same word (hackers) to refer to Linux developers and Anonymous.

Re:Hackers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126683)

Just goes to show how well she learned the culture "inside and out" -- No, she's still on the outside, and I don't want folks like her in.

she's hot (4, Funny)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#42126287)

I could easily be tricked into having her stay with me for weeks. I just don't know if she'd get along with my mom.

Shows one thing (5, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#42126333)

I think the comments here show something clearly:
While some antropologists may be interested in understanding hacker culture, the interest is not reciprocal.

Re:Shows one thing (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#42126513)

I think the "non-hacking" culture may be interested, but for me personally, why do I want to read about something that I experience every day at work with my colleagues and in online message boards, chatrooms, etc.? However, if there is some interesting technical commentary, I may read it. It could be interesting to read the methods used by other coders to solve problems -- think Dr. House and whiteboards here. It could also be useful to read the solution to a particular problem and what alternatives they conjured up, but this could still be rather dry unless it deals with something like genetic algorithms, artificial neural networks, infix notation, etc., and I am betting that none of this will be in the book...

This motivates me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126357)

This motivates me! Next, me will be doing some research too: Jobless bum spends three years living with hookers, studying the community which carries out the tradition of an ancient profession.

How patronizing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126471)

Sounds like work that does more to legitimize anthropological methods than provide a meaningful interpretation of a culture.

It would be interesting to know whether anthropological studies have ever been used for anything other than the co-option of the subjects into support for some broader political framework that the people then become subject to. Sure, it's always to "help", but for some reason it's always an institution doing the "helping."

For whatever reason, we don't have people living undercover in academia. Maybe we should.

If she was cool, she was cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126533)

If they misjudged her, they made a mistake.

"Scholarly" my ass. (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year ago | (#42126719)

The last I checked, which admittedly was when I graduated half a decade ago, anthropology was about observation. A certain amount of contact and interaction is of course necessary, but immersion (and marching as a sociopolitical gesture is certainly a sign of cultural immersion) is an obvious indication that the anthropologist has become a participant and not an observer and can no longer be considered unbiased.

But the question that is on everybody's mind - (0)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | about a year ago | (#42126731)

Yes! Finally an anthropologist has come to find out:

  • Do they use tools?
  • Do they use language?
  • How do they have sex?

Oh, man! I can't bear the wait any longer. I've got to know.

And .. and .. and .. What do they eat?!

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