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An important point: Except in some relatively minor respects such as slang voca bulary, hac ers don't get

to be the way they are by imitating each other. Rather , it seems to be the case that the combination of personality traits that ma es a hac er so conditions one's outloo on life that one tends to end up being li e other hac ers whether one wants to or not (much as bizarrely detailed similarit ies in behavior and preferences are found in genetic twins raised separately). General Appearance Intelligent. Scruffy. Intense. Abstracted. Surprisingly for a sedentary professi on, more hac ers run to s inny than fat; both extremes are more common than else where. Tans are rare. Dress Hac ers dress for comfort, function, and minimal maintenance hassles rather than for appearance (some, perhaps unfortunately, ta e this to extremes and neglect personal hygiene). They have a very low tolerance of suits and other business atti re; in fact, it is not uncommon for hac ers to quit a job rather than conform to a dress code. When they are somehow bac ed into conforming to a dress code, the y will find ways to subvert it, for example by wearing absurd novelty ties. Female hac ers almost never wear visible ma eup, and many use none at all. Physical Activity and Sports Many (perhaps even most) hac ers don't follow or do sports at all and are determ inedly anti-physical. Among those who do, interest in spectator sports is low to non-existent; sports are something one does, not something one watches on TV. Further, hac ers avoid most team sports li e the plague. Video games being a not able exception, both in terms of team play and consideration as a sport... Hac e r sports are almost always primarily self-competitive ones involving concentrati on, stamina, and micromotor s ills: martial arts, bicycling, auto racing, ite f lying, hi ing, roc climbing, aviation, target-shooting, sailing, caving, juggli ng, s iing, s ating, s ydiving, scuba diving. Hac ers' delight in techno-toys al so tends to draw them towards hobbies with nifty complicated equipment that they can tin er with. The popularity of martial arts in the hac er culture deserves special mention. M any observers have noted it, and the connection has grown noticeably stronger ov er time. In the 1970s, many hac ers admired martial arts disciplines from a dist ance, sensing a compatible ideal in their exaltation of s ill through rigorous s elf-discipline and concentration. Today, martial arts seems to have become firmly established as the hac er exerci se form of choice, and the martial-arts culture combining s ill-centered elitism with a willingness to let anybody join seems a stronger parallel to hac er beha vior than ever. Common usages in hac er slang un-ironically analogize programmin g to ung fu (thus, one hears tal of code-fu or in reference to specific s ills l i e HTML-fu ). Education Nearly all hac ers past their teens are either college-degreed or self-educated to an equivalent level. The self-taught hac er is often considered (at least by other hac ers) to be better-motivated, and may be more respected, than his schoo l-shaped counterpart. Academic areas from which people often gravitate into hac erdom include (besides the obvious computer science and electrical engineering) physics, mathematics, linguistics, and philosophy.

Food Ethnic. Spicy. Oriental, esp. Chinese and most esp. Szechuan, Hunan, and Mandari n (hac ers consider Cantonese vaguely dclass). Hac ers prefer the exotic; for exam

ple, the Japanese-food fans among them will eat with gusto such delicacies as fu gu (poisonous pufferfish) and whale. Thai food has experienced flurries of popul arity. Where available, high-quality Jewish delicatessen food is much esteemed. A visible minority of Southwestern and Pacific Coast hac ers prefers Mexican. For those all-night hac s, pizza and microwaved burritos are big. Interestingly, though the mainstream culture has tended to thin of hac ers as incorrigible ju n -food jun ies, many have at least mildly health-foodist attitudes and are fair ly discriminating about what they eat. This may be generational; anecdotal evide nce suggests that the stereotype was more on the mar before the early 1980s. Politics Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative. Th ere is a strong contingent which rejects conventional left-right politics entire ly. The only safe generalization is that hac ers tend to be rather anti-authorit arian; thus, both paleoconservatism and hard leftism are rare. Hac ers are far mor e li ely than most non-hac ers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) e ntertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by t hem day-to-day. Gender and Ethnicity Hac erdom is still predominantly male. However, the percentage of women is clear ly higher than the low-single-digit range typical for technical professions, and female hac ers are generally respected and dealt with as equals. The ethnic distribution of hac ers is understood by them to be a function of whi ch ethnic groups tend to see and value education. Racial and ethnic prejudice i s notably uncommon and tends to be met with freezing contempt. When as ed, hac ers often ascribe their culture's gender- and color-blindness to a positive effect of text-only networ channels, and this is doubtless a powerf ul influence. Also, the ties many hac ers have to AI research and SF literature may have helped them to develop an idea of personhood that is inclusive rather t han exclusive after all, if one's imagination readily grants full human rights t o future AI programs, robots, dolphins, and extraterrestrial aliens, mere color and gender can't seem very important any more. Religion Agnostic. Atheist. Non-observant Jewish. Neo-pagan. Very commonly, three or more of these are combined in the same person. Conventional faith-holding Christiani ty is rare though not un nown. Even hac ers who identify with a religious affiliation tend to be relaxed about it, hostile to organized religion in general and all forms of religious bigotry in particular. Many enjoy parody religions such as Discordianism and the Church of the SubGenius. Also, many hac ers are influenced to varying degrees by Zen Buddhism or (less co mmonly) Taoism, and blend them easily with their native religions. There is a definite strain of mystical, almost Gnostic sensibility that shows up even among those hac ers not actively involved with neo-paganism, Discordianism , or Zen. Hac er fol lore that pays homage to wizards and spea s of incantations a nd demons has too much psychological truthfulness about it to be entirely a jo e . Communication Style Though hac ers often have poor person-to-person communication s ills, they are a s a rule quite sensitive to nuances of language and very precise in their use of it. They are often better at writing than at spea ing.

Personality Characteristics The most obvious common personality characteristics of hac ers are high intelligen ce, consuming curiosity, and facility with intellectual abstractions. Also, most hac ers are neophiles , stimulated by and appreciative of novelty (especially inte llectual novelty). Most are also relatively individualistic and anti-conformist. Although high general intelligence is common among hac ers, it is not the sine q ua non one might expect. Another trait is probably even more important: the abil ity to mentally absorb, retain, and reference large amounts of meaningless detail, trusting to later experience to give it context and meaning. A person of merely average analytical intelligence who has this trait can become an effective hac er, but a creative genius who lac s it will swiftly find himself outdistanced by people who routinely upload the contents of thic reference manuals into their brains. Contrary to stereotype, hac ers are not usually intellectually narrow; they tend to be interested in any subject that can provide mental stimulation, and can of ten discourse nowledgeably and even interestingly on any number of obscure subj ects if you can get them to tal at all, as opposed to, say, going bac to their hac ing. Hac ers are control frea s in a way that has nothing to do with the usual coercive or authoritarian connotations of the term. In the same way that children deligh t in ma ing model trains go forward and bac by moving a switch, hac ers love ma ing complicated things li e computers do nifty stuff for them. But it has to be their nifty stuff. They don't li e tedium, nondeterminism, or most of the fussy , boring, ill-defined little tas s that go with maintaining a normal existence. Accordingly, they tend to be careful and orderly in their intellectual lives and chaotic elsewhere. Their code will be beautiful, even if their des s are buried in 3 feet of crap. Hac ers are generally only very wea ly motivated by conventional rewards such as social approval or money. They tend to be attracted by challenges and excited b y interesting toys, and to judge the interest of wor or other activities in ter ms of the challenges offered and the toys they get to play with.