Gift hackers

As most of you know, the internet is populated with people who provide an amazing variety of generosity in the form of on line FAQs, tips, hacks, scripts and related stuff totally free of charge. Characteristically, hackers (they’re the good guys -it’s “crackers” who do the not-nice stuff) provide free help as their way of giving back to the community -which is fabulous, don’t get me wrong. The thing is, so many of these people have gotten me out of a serious bend or two when I most needed it but there’s no way to thank them because they don’t take donations. For example, one of my favorite sites Learning Movable Type, doesn’t take donations but I think they should. Even Slashdot doesn’t take donations! I think these for-the-good-of-the-public sites should accept donations for their private charities. Maybe they don’t want donations but I think they should accept them on behalf of their favorite designated charity. Another site that’s been phenomenal for me over the past two days is DNSstuff since I’ve been weathering a nearly non-stop onslaught of trackback spam and they don’t take donations either. Likewise, there’s a whole cadre of people who develop hacks for Firefox, Movable Type, Php -you name it- to say nothing of humor sites and bulletin boards pertaining to diverse interests. All of these people should be accepting donations to be directly deposited into their designated charities coffers. I wish somebody would set something up to facilitate this and call it gift-hackers or charity-hackers or at least put up a button so people could give to that site’s designated favorite charity. Then maybe they could compete on another level; hackers with the highest donations.

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  1. Jess says:

    Hacker still seems like an ugly word to me. The dictionary says: “One who uses programming skills to gain illegal access to a computer network or file.” Developer sounds better to me.

  2. Eric H says:

    Hi Jess,

    It’s a matter of community; your dictionary was apparently not written by hackers. In this , Eric Raymond (a confirmed hacker) says:

    It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way.

    How to become a hacker from the same source.

    The wikipedia entry includes a brief discussion of hacking and Asperger’s Syndrome.

    I blame Hollywood for the misuse of the term.

  3. Elise says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    I’m happy that you’ve found Learning Movable Type so useful. I will consider your suggestion for a donation button to a favorite charity. Up until now I have shied away from the donation button because I really don’t want to give anyone the impression that if they donate money to LMT I’ll personally answer their support questions. (I spend enough of my spare time working on my own websites and writing tutorials for MT to use up anymore time with providing free support.) Right now on the top of each tutorial there are links for people to access Amazon for their holiday shopping, so that’s a nice indirect way to say thank you to the LMT authors.



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