The Hackerspace Passport
4 min read
At MCH2022 camp I had so much fun collecting stamps on my Hackerspace Passport that I thought I use this opportunity to share this wholesome part of hacker culture and explain what this passport is about. 😊
Hackerspace Passport Explained
Mitch Altman and Matthew Borgatti created the Hackerspace Passport to
- help promote people visiting as many hackerspaces around the world as possible
- increase collaboration
- increase cross-pollination so we can all learn from one another
- encourage all hackerspaces to support each other
- (And it's fun.)
My hope was that all hackerspaces and all hacker conferences would make their own stamps, so that hackers can travel the world and share their stories with one another by showing off the stamps in their passport. It worked!
You can learn more about it at the Noisebridge wiki: noisebridge.net/wiki/Passport
But the main idea is simply to have one, so you can collect a stamp from every hackerspace you've visited.
Why it's cool
It's gamifying your hacker travel experience. It nudges you to socialize, meet new people, and visit new places.
A little motivator like this can be incredibly helpful for anyone who struggles with social interactions.
Besides, you also automatically collect a history log of the places you've been, the people you've met, and the stories behind it. I find that very satisfying.
My Passport's Journey
At MCH, I walked around going to villages (villages are community spaces on camp) and asked them if they had a stamp. The passport provided me with a quest to pursue, and because of it, I got to meet many amazing people! And even if it was brief, every encounter was a new connection to another amazing group of like-minded hackers.
Luckily, I was able to collect a lot of amazing stamps in one night alone! (it was the last night of the event)
Sadly many German spaces forgot their stamp at home (ours included) and offered stickers instead - and while stickers are cool for a bunch of other reasons (maybe a topic for another blog post?), I was hunting for stamps! The hackerspace passport is not a sticker album, after all.
But the Dutch hackers made up for this with their vast collection of stamps! I decided not to add every stamp to the passport they had. Felt like cheating getting six stamps from a single village. So I simply went for the three most cool-looking ones.
I actually haven't visited as many hackerspaces as I hoped to have, but I blame COVID and the lack of events and motivation in that regard. So now that I have finally been to a big hacker event again (mch2022), I took the chance to collect as many stamps as I could. Yes, I know it's not supposed to be like that. Ideally, you want to visit their actual space, not just their village at a camp. But I don't care. The stamps are still a memory, a proof of visit - even if just to a smaller representation of a space, it's still a space I visited.
And because of this, I also got some pretty unique stamps:
Heck, some stamps I got were made for other purposes and not for the passport! But those simply add to the richness of the experience. For example, the c3post office didn't have a passport stamp - but they had a post stamp, of course. I was also able to get a stamp from heaven!
And the single most amazing "stamp" in my passport is a drawing from Nikolett of tilde.industries:
How to get a Passport
If this got you interested, perfect! This was my plan all along. 😈
Adafruit sells them (at the time of writing, they have 42 in stock, coincidence? I think not!): adafruit.com/product/769
I got mine from the good people at /dev/tal (a Hackerspace in Wuppertal, Germany): passports.devtal.de
And I'm sure you can find it elsewhere too. Look up hackerspace passport. They had some at MCH, so you might be able to find them at other hacker events, too.
And for finding hackerspaces to visit, check hackerspaces.org: wiki.hackerspaces.org/List_of_Hacker_Spaces
(PS: Let me know if this kind of content is something you enjoy, I rarely get feedback on here, and if this inspired at least one person, I'd consider doing more posts like this. Thank you!)