Hacker as subculture

Thomas Douglas (2002) wrote in Chapter 5: (Not) Hackers that through collaboration in the early years of computer programming, hackers collaborated in order to increase knowledge of the way a computer functioned and how it could be manipulated. Douglas suggests that the youth are the ones generally hacking due to the wanting ability to control and manipulate the web. Although this is extremely dangerous and in some cases illegal, hackers collaborate in knowledge and understanding of programs exploiting gaps in the internet that the regular user doesn’t understand.

With hackers creating a simple problem solving technique many users who didn’t understand this subculture wanted the end product rather than hacking themselves. These users are called ‘End-users’ who want the end product but do not understand how the programs work.  As these programs become more sophisticated and easily coded end-users become more detached from the machines. It is this bit of knowledge between code and end-users that hackers are able to exploit.

Douglas suggests that the collaboration of computer programmers was an important moment of hacker sub-culture style. This subculture is constantly in flux and has remained resilient to even mainstream culture. One things for sure, with the constant increase in collaborative knowledge, the hacker subculture will remain in flux.




Week 10- Presentation Video: https://prezi.com/mdkwag-5t9gn/allergy-extension-project/#





10 thoughts on “Hacker as subculture

  1. I like how you have taken the aspect of hacking into the subculture something that truthful did confuse my a little. There are many different avenues when it comes to hacking, some say it is a criminal offence to hack when you invade property that isn’t yours, hence the big debate over hactivism especially in the case of Edward Snowden. However, hacking can also lead to good, when used in alliances with government officials to over throw or gain access to important and possibly dangerous information. But it does come to the question on where you can draw the line against doing something for the greater good and help fix simple problems, as yo have said and when it becomes a bigger problem in its own right. This debate site I found with both side of the argument may be of interest for you especially that of hackers to improve a product, http://debatewise.org/debates/3452-hacking-can-be-justified/


  2. Great blog post, I like the way you talk about end-users detaching from the machines and hackers ‘taking over’ this gap. Seeing hacking as a subculture is partly unexpected because it is relatively unknown to most people, however when you see just how much of an effect (positive or negative) hackers can have, it is evident that this is a subculture. This article shows the beginnings of the hacker subculture and how it has progressively changed over the years. http://subcultureslist.com/hacker-culture/


  3. Hi Jade,

    I liked it that you began your post by briefly summarizing how hackers are born from the early stages of computer development. It allows reader to thoroughly understand what has been done to have the hackers that we know today.
    You also mentioned ‘end-users’, which was great as raise the awareness that lack of understanding about technology could be a gap to be exploited.
    I totally agree that this subculture will, as you said, ‘remains in flux’. Technology will improve and develop on a daily basis so this phenomena will always be in the status of a ‘permanent beta’.
    My recommendation is that maybe you should include some examples for each paragraph to justify how hacktivism develops through each stage.
    This source provides 10 hacktivists that made huge shock to the Internet I think you might enjoy.

    Hope to read more from you.


  4. Hey Jade,

    I like the direction you took for this week’s topic recognising Hacker as a subculture, it gave me a taste of the early functions of hacking and how it has evolved to what is and how it functions today. Here’s a reading I have found exploring the binary between hacking and hacktivism which correlates nicely with your post. I came across three core elements of early hacker ethics, used to enhance human agency:

    1) The ingenious use of any technology
    2) The tendency to reverse engineer technology to do the opposite of its intended design
    3) The desire to explore systems

    Check it out and let me know what you found interesting! Thanks for sharing.

    – Sonny


  5. I agree, the “hacker subculture will remain in flux”. Hacking for some is second-nature but to the end-user it is something that is difficult to comprehend. I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people don’t know how to hack and they wouldn’t have a clue where to start. I think hacking plays a significant role in todays society as it points out significant and often fundamental flaws in important operating systems.
    Here is a link that I think will add some context to your blog as well as offer support/depth to your argument of the hacker subculture:

    As for your project, I like the idea. There is more awareness about food allergies these days, so I think your topic is relevant and that whatever you create will be useful to many people.

    PS nice meme 🙂


  6. I like how your post shows the evolution of hacking, what it was and how it has evolved in todays society. Its interesting to see how a once negative term has become useful for everyday people in the sense of exposing information which may have been affecting these people. Edward Snowden and Anonymous are excellent examples of how they are helping everyday citizens through their Hacktivism. However, hacking can still be considered a very controversial topic regarding privacy etc. Do you think its beneficial for everyday people to know information that the government and other organisations are hiding from them? Do you think that exposing this information is best done through hacking or other means?


  7. You’ve done a good job of explaining the hacker subculture and how they differ from the typical end-user. I think it would have been useful to describe the way in which hackers work and how they use their extra knowledge of code to their advantage. For example, some gamers trawl through the code of patches to find what changes are going to occur and find secrets that help them within the game. Others are a bit more malicious and use that knowledge to manipulate code and scam end-users. To further draw on your post, I found an interesting article talking about the misleading stereotypes that we have of hackers: https://www.linux.com/news/real-hackers-dont-wear-hoodies-cybercrime-big-business


  8. This was a very interesting take on this weeks topic. I hadn’t thought about it in terms of hackers in the early days only trying to explore the depths of the computers reach. Too often when we think of hackers we think of them trying to manipulate people but when you think about it from the perspective they were just trying to share and increase knowledge about the way the computer functioned, it seems less menacing. It is very true what you have mentioned in that by only choosing to understand computers at face value we leave our selves open to being manipulated by those who have a deeper understanding. I watched a video that explains this a little further, I was interested after reading your blog.


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