for sale etiquette?

From: der Mouse <mouse_at_Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
Date: Wed May 26 02:48:56 2004

> You can talk about hackers vs. crackers till you are blue in the
> face, but the fact is that whatever 'hacker' is supposed to mean, it
> doesn't anymore. The media has changed it.

The media are (not "is") _wrong_.

> To 98% of the population a hacker is someone, who maliciously breaks
> into computers. And there are several million newspaper/magazine/etc
> articles that document that.

Then 98% of the population is _wrong_. Several million articles are
_wrong_. You can call a dog a cat till you're blue in the face, but it
will still bark rather than meow.

> Why do people insist on the whole "being a hacker is good" thing.

I don't know why "people" do - and it's not really "being a hacker is
good"; there are, unfortunately, evil hackers. (Pleasantly few, but
still, a very poisonous few; the mindsets that seem essential to
hacking appear to be strongly correlated, for reasons I find mysterious
but pleasing, with a reasonably functional ethical/moral sense.)

I can perhaps explain a bit of why _I_ take such umbrage.

Because it leaves us with nothing to call ourselves.

Because we were there first and, like anyone who is having something
important taken away, are hanging onto it.

Because it is an insult to hackers to equate them with crackers - for
the vast majority of the hackers, it is an insult on an ethical level,
and for the vast majority of the crackers, it is an insult (to the
hackers) on a technical level.

The best analogy I have found so far for getting across the hacker
attitude towards the journalistic mislabeling is to suggest imagining
what would happen if an organized-crime boss who insists on calling
himself a "businessman" resulted in the media everywhere starting to
use the term "businessman" to mean an organized-crime type.
Businessmen everywhere of the non-criminal sort would resent it, and
rightly so.

That is the position we find ourselves in when faced with this
mislabeling of lamers with nothing better to do than break into other
people's computers as "hackers". Yes, a few of them are hackers -
though a cracker's being a hacker correlates strongly negatively with
the cracker's making the news, making the journalistic labeling even
more a *mis*labeling.

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Received on Wed May 26 2004 - 02:48:56 BST

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