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/won'*-bee/ (Or, more plausibly, spelled "wannabe") [Madonna
fans who dress, talk, and act like their idol; probably
originally from biker slang] A would-be hacker. The
connotations of this term differ sharply depending on the age
and exposure of the subject. Used of a person who is in or
might be entering larval stage, it is semi-approving; such
wannabees can be annoying but most hackers remember that they,
too, were once such creatures. When used of any professional
programmer, CS academic, writer, or suit, it is derogatory,
implying that said person is trying to cuddle up to the hacker
mystique but doesn't, fundamentally, have a prayer of
understanding what it is all about. Overuse of hacker terms
is often an indication of the wannabee nature. Compare
Historical note: The wannabee phenomenon has a slightly
different flavour now (1993) than it did ten or fifteen years
ago. When the people who are now hackerdom's tribal elders
were in larval stage, the process of becoming a hacker was
largely unconscious and unaffected by models known in popular
culture - communities formed spontaneously around people who,
*as individuals*, felt irresistibly drawn to do hackerly
things, and what wannabees experienced was a fairly pure,
skill-focussed desire to become similarly wizardly. Those
days of innocence are gone forever; society's adaptation to
the advent of the microcomputer after 1980 included the
elevation of the hacker as a new kind of folk hero, and the
result is that some people semi-consciously set out to *be
hackers* and borrow hackish prestige by fitting the popular
image of hackers. Fortunately, to do this really well, one
has to actually become a wizard. Nevertheless, old-time
hackers tend to share a poorly articulated disquiet about the
change; among other things, it gives them mixed feelings about
the effects of public compendia of lore like this one.