You know, for a group so obsessed with namespace issues, we’ve done a pretty poor job of choosing a name for ourselves.

Hackers. Hacking. Hackathons. Hack.

To most technical people, the meaning of hack is clear. “To write code quickly, sometimes at the cost of quality.”

But when non-technical peers ask me if I ever hack, I have to catch myself. Because I know they’re imagining this:

Why have we done this to ourselves?

The world is changing, and “traditional” media groups are feeling increasingly threatened by technical people and their companies. SOPA and PIPA told us as much. By choosing a word like “hacker,” we’ve given them a way to attack and vilify us.

Maybe it’s time to choose another word. This naming collision might be costly.

Update: Based on a bunch of responses over Twitter, I wrote another post clarifying some of this.



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