The way I perceive the term "lifehack" in the media around me is that they are solutions that are unexpected for regular(?) people in the US. For example the top ten of the 100 lifehacks list:

  1. Most (>90%) people I know have used less then 3 planes in their life (~40 years). Its just far less common in Europe to fly somewhere then to take the train / car. That does not require an optimized solution.
  2. Just scribble it in circles, works like a charm. No hack needed, solution obvious. I asked in my workplace, everybody knows this.
  3. Flip the "don't latch" lever in the lock? Every lock I now that latches has one of those, where do you life that this is not the case? Buy a proper lock man.
  4. Who owns an AC Unit personally? Nobody in my proximity. My workplace has one, this year it has been turned on 1 day, for fun.
  5. Useful, not very often required but that one was good.
  6. Buying a tool that is made for this specific purpose does not count as hack. And at least where I life thats the only reason any regular person would buy bee wax.
  7. I next to never get handed a business card except in business situations. If I'd take an image then "in case I loose it" my business partner would most likely think that if I'm not capable of handling their card, I'm not capable of handling their project.
  8. All people I know that wear such shirts often enough to make this valuable do use the vast amount of cleaning services that are commonplace here. Who irons his own shirts?
  9. Its been years since I last used a plastic bag so bad that this would be relevant. I think they are not longer sold here at all.
  10. Could be useful for people who are in a hurry and need to dry their shoes fast (that is if two times a full tumbler dry run is considered "fast"). All others either let them dry by themselves (takes longer) or use a hot-air fan (thats used for hair normally) (works quicker).

So, as you can see, while I consider myself (and am considered by my peers) as a lifehacker who knows how to improvise anything that might be required in a given situation and can build his own furnishing, I would not consider many of the lifehacks that are popular to be hacks in the first place.

As I already saw this list linked here as reference I assume that what is considered a hack by the person linking it.

So, as lifehacks are perceived to differ widely from culture to culture, which culture is target audience? Statians living in cities?

Or is this a situation where our main problem is our unclear definition of value?

(As a side question: My subculture has the term "hack-value". Is that commonly understood?)

  • @unclear what I'm asking: What is our target culture? Is clear as a question, is it not? If not, how could I improve on this? Dec 11, 2014 at 12:04
  • 2
    I reopened this because the question is interesting and important for this site's scope definition. Does something Americans consider common sense qualify as a hack for Brits who've never heard of it before (for example)?
    – hairboat
    Dec 11, 2014 at 23:07
  • @abbyhairboat americans and brits are still quite close. I'd love to hear the perspective of an far-east member or an african one. Dec 12, 2014 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


I think this is a question that needs asking. While we have all come from cultures, our goals are the same:

As an asker, we seek to obtain an effective/efficient solution to a problem we face in ways we haven't personally thought of.

As an answerer, we hope to provide a solution to the asker's problem in an efficient and effective way.

This means that having multiple, various cultures can actually benefit us because what's conventional for one culture may not even be thought of by another. For some problems, different cultures provide vastly different solutions. As a community we can benefit from these variances by weighing the pros and cons of each approach.

If you think a term or practice that is familiar to you might not be familiar to someone else it doesn't hurt to put an explanation. Even if you don't, someone reading your post will likely comment asking for clarification if they don't understand a term.

As for the community's feel itself, that will happen naturally over time. Hopefully it will be one that wants to help more than anything, enforcing standards for content posted but friendly to newcomers.

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