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Idle Science Your Rights Online

Anthropologist Spends Three Years Living With Hackers 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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Anthropologist Spends Three Years Living With Hackers

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  • by Drakonblayde ( 871676 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:27PM (#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:TLDR version (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iskender ( 1040286 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:41PM (#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.

  • by sarysa ( 1089739 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @11:05PM (#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:Geek Groupie (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @11:55PM (#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.

  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:51AM (#42126677) Homepage

    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:Geek Groupie (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:56AM (#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".

  • Re:the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by t4ng* ( 1092951 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @03:42AM (#42127309)

    *THIS* exactly.

    As several anthropology professors told me, there are really only two kinds of jobs left in anthropology, teaching and working for the CIA. When an anthropologist starts studying your community, you know you are in for some deep shit! She's clearly a fuckin' spook!

  • Re:Ask Slashdot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @04:31AM (#42127555)

    "Steam is not DRM "

    This is the kind of double think that is alarming and how successful corporate PR manipulation is on the unsuspecting. I'll change the wording of the other quote to make my point

    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 DRM'd on every platform. We are promoting these steps with other titles we're doing right now in our company."

  • by microTodd ( 240390 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @09:25AM (#42128839) Homepage Journal

    This is why I love Slashdot. This comment right here.

    I learned something new just now. I had no idea that "limnology" meant "the study of lakes". To me, that is actually fascinating and I'm glad I learned that fact.

    But if you look at the GP post, you'll note....the parent comment (while intellectually interesting) missed the entire dang point the GP was trying to make!

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken