Hackaday’s Editorial Vision

I had the honor of speaking at the 2015 Hackaday SuperConference in November on the topic of Hackaday’s Editorial Vision. We are bringing to a close an amazing year in which our writing team has grown in every respect. We have more editors, writers, and community members than ever before (Hackaday.io passed 100,000 members). With this we have been able to produce a huge amount of high-quality original content that matters to anyone interested in engineering — the best of which is embodied in the expansive Omnibus Volume 2 print edition. 2015 also marked an unparalleled ground-game for us; we took the Hackaday Prize all over the world and were warmly greeted by you at every turn. And of course, the Hackaday SuperConference (where I presented the talk) is a major milestone: Hackaday’s first ever full-blown conference.

So this begs the question, what next? What is guiding Hackaday and where do we plan to go in the future? Enjoy this video which is a really a ‘State of the Union’ for Hackaday, then join me after the break for a few more details on why we do what we do.

The important thing to keep in mind is that Hackaday is community driven. The value in Hackaday is the people, who contribute productive discussions to the comments section, who find great hacks and send them in to the tip line, who post their work and share their skills on Hackaday.io, and who take the opportunities to participate whenever possible. Our skilled audience is also where our writing staff came from — we hire from the community. This feedback and collaboration between readers and writers who all share a curiosity for emerging technology and love of clever tricks is what keeps Hackaday fresh.

We are evolving what we cover in our articles. This isn’t a new thing, it’s always been a part of what makes our content work. Of course the traditional coverage of great hacks from the community will continue. And articles that inspire your next hack, or help you develop the skills for it, will continue to have their place. But original content on serious engineering is our current driving force.

Unfortunately we live in the age of click-bait, but Hackaday isn’t falling for it. We may have fun with our titles, but every single time you click through to a post there is amazing content worth reading to back up that headline. We don’t let traffic drive our choices on what to cover. We base those choices on what we think is cool, what is worth discussing as a community, and then work hard to promote that great content so that those who have not yet heard of Hackaday can find their way into the fold. Want to help? When you read something you really love on Hackaday, share it. Post it on social media, submit it to sites like reddit, Hacker News, Slashdot, and others. Getting the word out is a huge help in proving that great content is a noble purpose.

One big piece of this great content that I’m gushing about is telling the story of engineering. Look at the fervor around telling the stories of great sporting legends and their accomplishments. You can bet that stories of pitching a perfect game, and come-from-behind victories will never be lost. We need to do this for our deep thinkers and our scientific accomplishments. One place that we’ve focused is to uncover and discuss the tale of the people, and their journey. The goal is to pass on excitement about where we are as a people, and to guard against losing hard-won knowledge.

We also have a focus on current events. We are just as excited as you are about the newest hardware, and are always trying to get our hands on it as soon as it is released (Hackaday honors press embargoes, tell us about your releases by emailing our tips line). Hackaday will raise the alarm when societal moves affect our community. This was true of the proposed router firmware regulations from the FCC, and more recently the FAA’s drone regulations. And we are constantly looking to police the hype when it comes to snake-oil claims — many of which rear their ugly heads in dubious crowd-funding campaigns.

This is where we are going with our Editorial Voice. Hackaday will continue to publish longer, more in-depth articles at an increasing rate. We want to discuss what matters and we want to do it with those that have the skill and background to speak with authority on the subjects. Hackaday has been, and continues to be the place where this happens.

So here it is. Hackaday is a global community through and through. You are a part of that community, you have a stake in the organization. You are what makes Hackaday great. Thank you for the wonderful year, and I look forward to an even better one to come.

16 thoughts on “Hackaday’s Editorial Vision

    1. Same here. When I first found HAD it was a few like minded geeks working on a bus sniffer and showcasing random custom hardware/firmware. Which was awesome. I take a couple years off from hardware engineering to come back and find them sponsoring $100k+ hack competitions, backed by the biggest in the embedded business world, writing thought provoking editorials, publishing annals, digging into electronics history, publishing educational material, and doing what amounts to light investigative journalism.

      It’s no WSJ or Economist, but remarkably polished for a bunch of computer dorks. Keep it up you guys.

  1. I remember when it was a slow trickle of articles fitting the name of Hack a Day. That has steadily increased and now I find it sometimes hard to see every article. Hackaday firehose edition? Hacktorrent.com?

    1. A good RSS reader helps with this. Though half the draw is that in the good articles you’ll find a lot of really useful comments. So I’ll usually let the articles sit a few hours before reading them. The good content along with the non-obtrusive ads make HaD one of the sites that i’ll turn the adblocker off of. Have seen a few interesting ads that I’ve clicked through too!

    2. It’s all your fault, you commenters! We got so tired of hearing NOT A HACK in the comments, we decided to publish eight blog posts per day. At least one of them is a hack by anyone’s definition, and our obligation is fulfilled.

      But really, with eight posts and a couple of original content pieces, it’s hard even for _us_ to keep up. And it’s our job.

  2. All I can say is: Keep up the good work!

    I’ve been following this site since stumbling across it 5 or 6 years ago, and it has improved steadily over that time and continues to do so. I find myself spending more and more time here, and I’m learning lots of news stuff. Please keep it coming, I love the variety here.

    1. Mike – great talk. You had me in Szczys-es. Seriously, very professional talk you gave. I enjoyed it very much. Like Dainbramage, I’ve been reading for 5-6 years and continue to grow my knowledge and skills as a result. I try to read the blog every day. Thank you for all you do … it means a lot to quite a few of us … even the ones who were teenagers writing their first Basic programs on the Ti99/4a 8 bit computer! :-)

  3. Keep it up guys!

    I’ve been reading HaD for at least five years now, and the steady stream of well-worded original and informative articles is always welcome. The community here is incredible, and with HUGE amounts of comments on every post, the community really is the writer/editor/factchecker/proofreader.

    What started as a blog has grown into a community of young and old alike, sharing ideas and changing the world.

    And for a teenager with a love for electronics, it means a lot.

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