robertogreco + fandom   16

Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online | WIRED
"KUDOS TO THE fans. One of the nominees for the Hugo Awards this year is Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction archive containing nearly 5 million fanworks—about the size of the English Wikipedia, and several years younger. It's not just the fanfic, fanart, fanvids, and other fanworks, impressive as they are, that make Archive of Our Own worthy of one of the biggest honors in science fiction and fantasy. It's also the architecture of the site itself.

At a time when we're trying to figure out how to make the internet livable for humans, without exploiting other humans in the process, AO3 (AO3, to its friends) offers something the rest of tech could learn from.

Here's a problem that AO3 users, like the rest of the internet, encounter every day: How do you find a particular thing you're interested in, while filtering out all the other stuff you don't care about? Most websites end up with tags of some sort. I might look through a medical journal database for articles tagged "cataracts," search a stock photo site for pictures tagged "businesspeople," or click on a social media hashtag to see what people are saying about the latest episode of #GameOfThrones.

Tags are useful but they also have problems. Although "cataracts," "businesspeople," and #GameOfThrones might seem like the most obvious tags to me, someone else might have tagged these same topics "cataract surgery," "businessperson," and #GoT. Another person might have gone with "nuclear sclerosis" (a specific type of cataract), "office life," and #Daenerys. And so on.

There are two main ways of dealing with the problem of tagging proliferation. One is to be completely laissez-faire—let posters tag whatever they want and hope searchers can figure out what words they need to look for. It's easy to set up, but it tends to lead to an explosion of tags, as posters stack on more tags just in case and searchers don't know which one is best. Laissez-faire tags are common on social media; if I post an aesthetic photo of a book I'm reading on Instagram, I have over 20 relevant tags to choose from, such as #book #books #readers #reader #reading #reads #goodreads #read #booksofig #readersofig #booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #readstagram #bookstagram #bookshelf #bookshelves #bookshelfie #booknerd #bookworm #bookish #bookphotography #bookcommunity #booklover #booksbooksbooks #bookstagrammer #booktography #readers #readabook #readmorebooks #readingtime #alwaysreading #igreads #instareads #amreading. "Am reading" indeed—reading full paragraphs of tags.

The other solution to the proliferation of competing tags is to implement a controlled, top-down, rigid tagging system. Just as the Dewey Decimal System has a single subcategory for Shakespeare so library browsers can be sure to find Hamlet near Romeo and Juliet, rigid tagging systems define a single list of non-overlapping tags and require that everyone use them. They're more popular in professional and technical databases than in public-facing social media, but they're a nice idea in theory—if you only allow the tag "cataract" then no one will have to duplicate effort by also searching under "cataracts" and "cataract surgery."

The problem is rigid tags take effort to learn; it's hard to convince the general public to memorize a gigantic taxonomy. Also, they become outdated. Tagging systems are a way of imposing order on the real world, and the world doesn't just stop moving and changing once you've got your nice categories set up. Take words related to gender and sexuality: The way we talk about these topics has evolved a lot in recent decades, but library and medical databases have been slower to keep up.

The Archive of Our Own has none of these problems. It uses a third tagging system, one that blends the best elements of both styles.

On AO3, users can put in whatever tags they want. (Autocomplete is there to help, but they don't have to use it.) Then behind the scenes, human volunteers look up any new tags that no one else has used before and match them with any applicable existing tags, a process known as tag wrangling. Wrangling means that you don't need to know whether the most popular tag for your new fanfic featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is Johnlock or Sherwatson or John/Sherlock or Sherlock/John or Holmes/Watson or anything else. And you definitely don't need to tag your fic with all of them just in case. Instead, you pick whichever one you like, the tag wranglers do their work behind the scenes, and readers looking for any of these synonyms will still be able to find you.

AO3's trick is that it involves humans by design—around 350 volunteer tag wranglers in 2019, up from 160 people in 2012—who each spend a few hours a week deciding whether new tags should be treated as synonyms or subsets of existing tags, or simply left alone. AO3's Tag Wrangling Chairs estimate that the group is on track to wrangle over 2 million never-before-used tags in 2019, up from around 1.5 million in 2018.

Laissez-faire and rigid tagging systems both fail because they assume too much—that users can create order from a completely open system, or that a predefined taxonomy can encompass every kind of tag a person might ever want. When these assumptions don't pan out, it always seems to be the user's fault. AO3's beliefs about human nature are more pragmatic, like an architect designing pathways where pedestrians have begun wearing down the grass, recognizing how variation and standardization can fit together. The wrangler system is one where ordinary user behavior can be successful, a system which accepts that users periodically need help from someone with a bird's-eye view of the larger picture.

Users appreciate this help. According to Tag Wrangling Chair briar_pipe, "We sometimes get users who come from Instagram or Tumblr or another unmoderated site. We can tell that they're new to AO3 because they tag with every variation of a concept—abbreviations, different word order, all of it. I love how excited people get when they realize they don't have to do that here."

When I tweeted about AO3's tags a while back, I received many comments from people wishing that their professional tagging systems were as good, including users of news sites, library catalogs, commercial sales websites, customer help-desk websites, and PubMed (the most prominent database of medical research). The other websites that compared favorably to AO3 were also on the fannish side of the spectrum and used a similar system of human-facilitated tag wrangling: librarything (a website where you can list all your books) and Danbooru (an anime imageboard). But, we might ask ourselves, why use humans? Couldn't machine learning or AI or another hot tech buzzword wrangle the tags instead?

One reason for the humans is that AO3 began developing its routines in 2007, when the tech wasn't as advanced and they had a lot of willing volunteers. But even now, tag wranglers are skeptical that a machine could take over their tasks. One wrangler, who goes by the handle spacegandalf, pointed me to the example of a character from an audio drama called The Penumbra Podcast who didn't have an official name in text for several episodes after he was introduced. Yet people were writing fanfic—and trying to tag it by character—before they had any name to tag it with.

Because spacegandalf had listened to this podcast—AO3 deliberately recruits and assigns tag wranglers who are members of the fandoms that they wrangle for—they had the necessary context to know that "Big Guy Jacket Man Or Whatever His Name Is" referred to the same person as his slightly more official moniker "the Man In the Brown Jacket" and his later, official name, Jet Sikuliaq (and that none of these names should be confused with a different mysteriously named character from a different audio drama, the Man in the Tan Jacket from Welcome to Night Vale).

With all these tags properly wrangled, I can not only find "Big Guy Jacket Man" and "the Man in the Brown Jacket" and "Jet Sikuliaq" all in the same search results, but I can also drill down and search for crossover fic containing both the Man in the Brown Jacket and the Man in the Tan Jacket—and, one hopes, an entire world of colored-jacketed friends. Sadly, there is none, but at least I know I have a conclusive answer.

Without tag wranglers, I'd be stuck doing an ordinary search for "jacket" or "jacket man"—the first of which gives me hundreds of results about other irrelevant characters who happen to wear a jacket this one time, and the second of which misses some genuinely relevant results about our jacket men of interest.

Another of the Tag Wrangling Chairs, Qem, also thinks that machine tag wrangling is unlikely, pointing to machine translation as a cautionary tale. “There are terms in fandom which, while commonly understood in context among fans, would not be when you take it out of the fandom context," Qem says. For example, seemingly innocuous words like "slash" and "lemon" do not refer to a punctuation mark or a citrus fruit in fannish contexts, and tag wranglers are already well aware that machine translation can only manage the literal, not the subcultural meanings. Qem's co-chair, briar_pipe, is slightly more sanguine: "I personally think it might be interesting to have AI/human partnerships for this type of data work, but you have to have humans who are aware of AI limitations and willing to call AIs on mistakes, or else that partnership is useless."

AI certainly does have limitations. There always seems to be a new report of products that claim to be AI—Amazon's Mechanical Turk, Facebook's M, Google Duplex, the Expensify receipt scanner—but in fact often involve hordes of poorly paid, undercompensated, invisibilized humans performing "ghost work" that is attributed to AI.

The tag wranglers on AO3 aren't paid at all. The archive's parent organization, the Organization for Transformative Works, is a nonprofit, and everyone involved in the project is a volunteer. But … [more]
tagging  folksonomy  fandom  taxonomy  2019  archives  archiveofourown  gretchenmcculloch  cv  internet  web  online  collaboration  ao3  tagwrangling 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
my friend pokey — futures market
"(ed. note: stephen died while writing this, may his sinful heart now rest in peace)

I think that every work implies an audience, i think that projected audience will be perpetually dreamlike and strange since it’s drawn not from human consciousness but from a form of same which has been distorted through embodiment in alien material. Refracted by some “medium” and then existing as a transferable, reproducible object and living an object life separable from the human circumstances by which it was produced. And I think that when we evaluate a work part of what we evaluate is this audience and the prospect of belonging to it, the possibility of a community with those assumptions and those values. The saying “give people what they want” always confuses me in this context because surely part of what they want is the possibility of wanting something else, of being a person who wants something else. Advertisements famously sell not just a product but also the prospect of being the kind of person who likes that product. Even the most conservative works pull a bait and switch in this regards in that part of what they suggest is the prospect of being a person who already knows what they want, of having character and qualities that persist in time rather than being a shapeless blob of experiences.

Avant-garde work could be said to be that which prioritises the formation of new audiences, or the possibility of forming new audiences, above any actual qualities which those audiences would have. It draws on the utopian aspect of creating new social structures, new communities, where whatever form they ultimately end up taking the fact that they can be made at all is in some way a celebration of agency and the possibility of new futures. But the other side of things is that even as the appeal of these imaginary communities comes partly from their distance from our real ones, they’re also evaluated on the basis of their feasibility - their power comes not just from a list of bloodless alternities but from possessing a transformative quality, the real possibility of enactment which is used to make demands on the contemporary. Not just a future but one already germinating in the present. And though I like and respect a lot of these works it’s also hard, for this reason, not to feel a little uneasy about them - because the imagery of an imminent, transfigurative break from the present has been so co-opted as a way to conceal the fundamental limitations and eerie inertia of capitalism that I think it’s hard for anything drawing on that tradition to escape lending credibility to it, even when its interests are directly opposed. 20+ years of an increasingly threadbare neoliberal consensus in the face of problems which grow more and more obvious mean the notion of an unexpected, miraculous shift in the causal order grows more and more central, from the vague sense that someone will invent, like, a moss or something which will stop global warming in the nick of time to the idea that the same clumsy, stupid videogames we’ve been bonking against invisible walls in for decades now will any minute now transmogrify into the effortless freefloating virtual lucid dreams of legend. And in fact videogames provide a constant running example of just how profitably this perception can be managed - - from a medium which from inception built upon a certain futuristic quality coming both from the historically new level of consumer access to computer technology and from decades of science-fiction representations of same, and which leveraged that into a perennial suggestion that the bright new day was always just around the corner - that by playing videogames now you were securing a kind of early-investor bragging rights to the media singularity to come. If there’s anything historically new about videogames it’s the extent to which the very suggestion of potential developments to be had later on was finally recognised as more profitable than any intrinsic qualities of the form itself.

And I think all this raises some problems when we think about avant-garde and experimental videogames, not just because in replicating some of the assumptions of the industry they risk being assimilated by it - you can’t game-design your way out of late capitalism, there are no final aesthetic solutions to economic problems etc - but because by repeating those assumptions they risk being judged by the standard of contribution to this same monolithic vidcon future, and then discarded accordingly when “the future” changes according to stockholder diktats. I mean that when you see these works as yet more expressions of “the medium” it’s harder for them to survive when that status is taken away again, and that at this point it’s difficult to conceive of a future of videogames that doesn’t in some way just flow back into the orthodox one still being sold.

Why does this matter. I think the videogame market will crash again because that’s what markets do, and when it does I believe it’ll be blamed on small engines, on unity and rpgmaker, on asset-flipping and joke simulators and walking games and political games rather than e.g. the incessant boom-bust cycles of capitalism or the fact that the particular interactive media singularity that videogames have invested so much image, money and energy into identifying themselves with looks more and more dated and less likely to happen. I think there’ll be more gamergate bullshit from people who invested in the stupid, stupid videogame dream and got told by youtube millionaires that it was being undermined from within by sjw fifth columnists making pug dating games. I think that just as places like YouTube have shown a willingness to quietly cut down on who’s able to make money through their service places like Steam will do the same thing, particularly after already raising the prospect of exponentially increasing the cost of using the store for small developers already. I think middlebrow columnists at the Atlantic will cash checks saying well, a lot of those games weren’t pushing the medium forward anyway, and that the whole thing will end up being recast as a morality tale about an overcrowded, overdiverse market, and that a lot of valuable work people are doing now will be just wiped from the record in the same way as a lot of pre-2007 indie games were, or flash games, or interactive CD-ROMs, or whatever the fuck.

I think that when this happens experimental games or avant garde games or alternative games will be seen less as possible alternatives to the mainstream tradition than as offshoots of it which got pruned, and I’m not sure how much help they will really be to anyone trying to figure out ways to make these things without getting pulled into the endless churning blood rotor of existing videogame culture.

I’ve written before that the game scenes which interest and excite me most are things like FNAF fangames, Undertale fangames, Unity horror games, RPG Maker games, hyperspecific utility pieces like the Prosperity Path orbs, less for any particular aesthetic or design qualities than for them being videogames which manage to escape some of the awful binary of Producer/Consumer and the ideas of “importance” which evolve later to help justify that perverse dynamic. Like what does it mean to experience a game if it’s just part of a big stack of almost interchangeable things and anyway you’re only absently going through it when searching for more stuff to steal for your own interchangeable thing. Which is healthier and more interesting than “art”. But I think part of it too is the sense of having a specific audience to bounce against, even if it’s just of people looking to take your Secret Of Mana midis, and the way that the concreteness of that audience helps defuse the kind of creeping tendency towards cultural speculation that comes with the belief in a big medium-wide payout somewhere down the line that’d justify the time and energies of everyone involved. I don’t think it’s enough to say people should make an effort to criticise games for what they are as opposed to what they might be, or whatever, insofar as that’s even possible. I think being able to appreciate what they are is dependent on recognizing that they have an audience which is similarly settled, similarly “just there”. And I think working towards constructing that kind of space would mean, yes, a sort of concession of “the future” to the stockholders of industry, renouncing the right to eventually reap that dread crop. But in the process being able to better engage with the present and all the disparite forces and strands within it who have similarly been lopped off that grand narrative, or were never part of it to begin with, and navigate all the ambiguities and potentials of that space. I think the future of videogames is the same kind of desperate, self-willed dream as those years worth of Twitter shares, for a company which has never actually been profitable, or the horrible locked-down image of infinity that sees new Rocket Racoon movies coming out every year til 2099, I think those dreams are ones that emerge and grow stronger as the actual basis for them either materially or affectively grows ever more decrepit, I think however overwhelming they get they can only really be strangled in the present.

As they say… no futur-what! what are you doing in my house! no-aieee!! (manuscript abruptly cuts off)"
via:tealtan  videogames  capitalism  avantgarde  audience  audiences  potential  invention  utopia  games  gaming  media  neoliberalism  2017  possibility  transcontextualism  alternative  art  future  markets  economics  alternities  transformation  change  fandom  agency  moss  transcontextualization 
october 2017 by robertogreco
McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together | Business | The Guardian
[Tweeted previously:
"“Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy.” When our public institutions no longer serve the public."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821334476951554

and noting
"Same with other chains (like Starbucks, KFC) in my neighborhood. Places for youth to assemble too, when programs come with too many strings."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821897553874944

"When many lower-income Americans are feeling isolated by the deadening uniformity of things, by the emptiness of many jobs, by the media, they still yearn for physical social networks. They are not doing this by going to government-run community service centers. They are not always doing this by utilizing the endless array of well-intentioned not-for-profit outreach programs. They are doing this on their own, organically across the country, in McDonald’s.

Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy."



"In almost every franchise, there are tables with people like Betty escaping from the streets for a short bit. They prefer McDonald’s to shelters and to non-profits, because McDonald’s are safer, provide more freedom, and most importantly, the chance to be social, restoring a small amount of normalcy.

In the Bronx, many of my friends who live on the streets are regulars. Steve, who has been homeless for 20 years, uses the internet to check up on sports, find discarded papers to do the crossword puzzle, and generally escape for a while. He and his wife Takeesha will turn a McDonald’s meal into an evening out. Beauty, who has been homeless for five years, uses the internet to check up on her family back in Oklahoma when she can find a computer to borrow.

Most importantly though, McDonald’s provide many with the chance to make real and valuable connections. When faced with the greatest challenges, with a personal loss, wealthier Americans turn to expensive therapists, others without the resources or the availability, turn to each other.

In Sulfur Springs, Texas, in the late morning, Lew Mannon, 76, and Gerald Pinkham, 78, were sitting alone at a table, the last of the morning regulars to leave. She was needling him about politics. (“I like to tease the men who come, get them all riled up, tell them they just don’t want a female as president.”) Both are retired, Gerald from working for an airfreight company, and Lew after 28 years as a bank teller.

When I asked Lew about her life, she started to tear up, stopped for a second, and composed herself. “Life is hard. Very hard. Seven years ago I lost my husband to leukemia. Then three years ago I lost one of my sons. Health complications from diabetes. When my son died, I had nobody to help me, emotionally, except this community here. Gerald lost his wife three years ago, and we have helped support each other through that.”

She stopped again, unable to speak from tears. After a moment of silence: “I look composed on the outside. Many of us do. But I struggle a lot on the inside. This community here gives me the support to get by.”"

[Update: Kenyatta Cheese blogged this with the following notes:
http://finalbossform.com/post/145925082985/mcdonalds-you-can-sneer-but-its-the-glue-that

I’ve learned through @triciawang that spaces like these are known as third places in sociology. Third places are neutral, accessible spaces where people can meet with old friends and be exposed to possible new ones.

Tricia spent a decade living in, mapping, and understanding third places in Beijing, Wuhan, Brooklyn, Bangalore, and Oaxaca. (She’s badass that way.)

She taught me that Starbucks and Pizza Hut serve a similar role among young folks in China, especially for people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable sleeping in the third places that are internet cafes.

Small note on how this connects to @everybodyatonce: tv networks and creators sometimes ask us if they should create a dedicated app or website for their fandoms to which we almost always say no.

Much like the government-run community center, a dedicated app creates an unnecessary barrier to entry for new fans and requires you to program the space in the same way that you need to program and organize physical space. By meeting fans in neutral spaces (tumblr, twitter, IG, LJ, even reddit), you build bigger community by supporting the culture that already exists. ]
2016  chrisarnade  community  cities  mcdonalds  poverty  society  inequality  elitism  us  bureaucracy  elderly  aging  economics  civics  lowerclass  precarity  classism  thirdspaces  kenyattacheese  triciawang  beijing  starbucks  china  brooklyn  wuhan  bangalore  oaxaca  pizzahut  kfc  everybodyatonce  fandom  socialmedia 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Fandom-Related Collections at the University of Iowa - Special Collections & University Archives - The University of Iowa Libraries
"Individual Collections:

Papers of Gertrude M. Carr (MsC 865)
Morgan Dawn Fanzine and Fanvid Collection (MsC 403)
Morgan Dawn The Professionals Circuit Library and Fanzine Collection (MsC 439)
Papers of Norman Felton (MsC 265)
S. Hereld Collection of Blake’s 7 Fanzines and Fan Fiction (MsC 877)
Susan Hill Fanzine Collection (MsC 401)
Debbie Hoover Fanzine Collection (MsC 430)
M. Horvat Collection of Genre Apazines (MsC 825)
M. Horvat National Fantasy Fan Federation Collection (MsC 886)
M. Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Convention Materials (MsC 884)
M. Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Fanzines (MsC 791)
Celeste Hotaling-Lyons Fanzine Collection (MsC 400)
Deidre Johnson Media Fandom Materials (MsC 960)
Brian Knapp Fanzine Collection (MsC 294)
Laura Leach Collection of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Fanzines and Related Materials (MsC 910)
Marian Mendez Blake’s 7 Fanzines Collection (MsC 969)
Lynda Mendoza Collection of David McCallum Memorabilia (MsC 895)
Papers of Nicholas Meyer (MsC 425)
Organization for Transformative Works Fanzine and Fan Fiction Collection (MsC 320)
Save Farscape Auction Collection (MsC 371)
Vee Stade Star Trek Fanzines (MsC 962)
Watchers of CIS Collection of Highlander Fan Materials (MsC 333)
Mariellen (Ming) Wathne Fanzine Archives Collection (MsC 313)

Science fiction fandom has been a vibrant subculture, with its own particular jargon, rituals, and relationships to mainstream culture, since at least the late 1920s. It emerged as a semi-organized community of like-minded individuals as a response to the rise of professional science fiction magazines. Hugo Gernsback published the first of these, Amazing Stories, in 1926, and fans responded with enthusiasm (sometimes critical enthusiasm) to the new stories by writing letters of comment to the magazine. Eventually, fans used these letters to begin making contact with each other; this led to the creation of both formal and informal fannish organizations, where SF fans – who often felt marginalized by the greater culture for their particular interests – could meet, socialize and talk about science fiction. The first fan-produced magazine, The Comet, was published in May 1930 and represented the start of a long and continuing tradition of science fiction fanzines – amateur publications that fans use as vehicles of personal and cultural expression and interest.

One of the more notable and important features of science fiction fandom has been the periodic gathering of fans at conventions. Conventions are events at which fans meet en masse to hear relevant speakers, speak at panels on different SF-related topics dress in various costumes, watch examples of SF movies or television shows, and participate in numerous other social events. Science fiction conventions began in the United States in the mid-1930s, and achieved a large and international following the institution of the first World Science Fiction Convention, held in New York City in 1939. Conventions continue to be a central feature of fandom, and are not limited to science fiction. Other genre fandoms, such as comic books, mystery novels and films, and animation, also hold conventions, create zines and other publications, and organize into distinct social communities.

SF fandom began with the emergence of popular science fiction literature in the early 20th century, but it quickly expanded beyond an interest in print works only. Broadcast media has always been a vital component of fannish concern, and the world of SF fandom experienced a major upsurge of interest with the television debut of Star Trek in 1966. [The first real media-centered fandom, however, might be said to have begun soon before this event, with the launching of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television program, which quickly developed a group of devoted followers.] Since that time Star Trek and its multiple spinoff shows and movie sequels have become the source of a lively, independent fandom, sometimes associated with general SF fandom and sometimes not. The same sort of fannish phenomenon has occurred with a number of other media properties, including, to name just a few, the Star Wars movie series, the British SF television shows Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, and the TV shows created and written by Joss Whedon (i.e. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse). And, although the explosion of genre-related broadcast media has greatly swelled the ranks of fandom (and oftimes divided it), there still remain large audiences of fans that concern themselves more with literary works than with movies and television shows.

A few collections listed here are not specifically fan-oriented, but contain material relevant to the growth and development of genre fandom. The Norman Felton Papers document the creation of the cult series The Man From U.N.C.L.E.and include fannish material relating to that show. The Papers of Nicholas Meyer contain materials relating to Meyer’s direction of the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, including his negotiations during the making of the former with fans to get them placed in cameos.

Fandom represents an important American (and, indeed, international) cultural phenomenon, one that encompasses the beliefs, concerns, dreams and fantasies of a culturally influential and distinct social community. Archiving the productions of fan culture – zines, convention materials, literary productions such as stories of fan fiction, and so on – means the preservation of the historical record of this subculture and its adherents. Special Collections at the University of Iowa is committed to documenting the history and development of fandom and fannish communities.
The Fan Culture Preservation Project:

Special Collections is currently involved in a major cooperative effort with the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) to preserve zines and other artifacts of fan culture. Through the efforts of OTW, an nonprofit fan-run organization that believes in and promotes the value of fannish works of creativity, Special Collections will be receiving donations of fannish materials from their creators and collators and making them available to future generations of researchers and other interested parties."
fandom  collections  libraries  reference  fanfiction 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Final Boss Form — …elementary school and high school students should...
"
…elementary school and high school students should treat Wikipedia as a dangerous place, exactly as they treat Internet chat rooms. Students should be warned to avoid contributing to the encyclopedia and, if they do contribute, to prepare for harassment that may well spill over into email and even physical encounters. College students may have more latitude, but even then, they should understand that any significant editing about their favorite game, YouTube personality, or historical event might bring the Army of Mordor down upon them. —Mark Bernstein (via azspot)

That’s messed up.

We always said that the guiding principle of knowyourmeme contributions was to Be Not Wikipedia and value experience over expertise and it was because of culture like this. If someone says that they first saw a certain meme was on genmay in 1998, we’d say “great! thanks for the tip!” and hope that the positive feedback would lead to more contributions and leveling up. Meanwhile, the burden was on us to track down proof. While there are still negative elements of the community and folks who want to yell “deadpool!” with every new entry, none of those users had the power to chase a Brand New Member off the site just for trying to contribute.

Now at ea1, we’re using this same principle when thinking about the new user experience in fandoms: how do you make their first interaction a positive one and how do you build paths for leveling up?"
kenyattacheese  wikipedia  knowyourmeme  community  newbs  debate  experience  expertise  popculture  culture  cultureproduction  meta  inclusion  fandom  ea1  everybodyatonce  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Livet sprillar av hopp och pop, roachpatrol: jumpingjacktrash: ...
"so i’ve been thinking about it, and i’ve realized the main objection i have to the daemon thing is really a whole lot of pedantry and failure to suspend disbelief. stuff like: dead certain mine would be a bear, and where the hell would she sleep? you’re not supposed to touch other people’s daemons, and your daemon can’t be very far from you, so… how the hell does a crowded subway work? would there have to be discrimination laws about people’s daemons — and how much traction would those laws get, when you can tell at a glance that someone with a scorpion daemon is gonna be an asshole, and there is no room in the office for a horse?

also, having a part of your soul visible like that just changes character so much. it changes how people develop. i can’t imagine how different i’d be if all the people who were inclined to bully the short ginger faggot took a look at the mama grizzly padding along beside him and went “nope!” — would i have as much of an urge to help and protect other marginalized people if i hadn’t been bullied and threatened myself? and i’m p sure seebs’s daemon would’ve settled early into a large cat, something playful and fearless and a little cruel, and i would’ve known right away that we were a good match, instead of just being friends for so long while i sampled a whole buffet of other guys. and my brother — almost certainly a lion, which would have a hard time play-fighting with smaller daemons, so there goes his hobbies…

heh, after saying i have problems with it, i went and had all this fun thinking about it. and hell, it would be really cool to have a bear hanging out with me all the time. epic snuggles, dang.

edit: hm, do you suppose trans folks would be able to tell early what their real gender was because their daemon’s sex was the same as theirs? and what about nonbinary and agendered people — would they have a nonbinary daemon like a jellyfish, or something that can change sexes like some lizards and insects can do? or would their daemon just refuse to settle on the sex question, changing size/plumage/etc slightly from time to time as their human’s gender fluctuates?

on an almost unrelated note: a goliath beetle daemon would be really cool. do people in the daemonverse canon even have insect daemons?"

[and responses, for example:

"my biggest peeve for daemon fics is when the writer gives everyone really obscure animals, like muntjaks and binturongs and pallas cats and gnus and quolls— animals that are so obscure they have no easily understandable symbolism, and that aren’t native to wherever the person is from. how would you know your soul is best summarized as shoebill or a snowcrab if you’re from inner city new jersey, you know? what would that even mean?

in the books, very few characters had exotic or inconvenient daemons. lord asrael had a leopard, but he was a nobleman, and had spent a lot of his youth traveling—plus leopards are already considered noble and heraldic beasts by english nobility. it says something about him, it’s an animal he would have learned about and considered. the academics at lyra’s oxford were a lot of owls, starlings, ravens, serpents, and tortoises— again, reasonable animals to consider if you’re a studious kid settling into an academic career, and ones with a lot of symbolism attached for that culture.

the gyptians had hawks and cats and river otters, a lot of serving staff had dogs and chickens—but we don’t hear about anyone having horses or sheep. street kids have street-animal daemons, they’re not said to have the imagination or education to think up being lions or tigers or anything, wheras lyra’s daemon sneers at that and changes at one point into a little dragon just to show off. thugs have foxes and weasels and wolves, but no one has a rhino or a gorilla, for all that that would make intimidation tactics pretty easy!

i think who you want to be, the role you want to play in life, decides a lot of what your daemon settles as, as well as the education you get and the cultural meaning loaded on to various forms. so if you want to live in cities you don’t want to be a moose, so you won’t be. if you’ve never heard of a pangolin, you’d never think to describe yourself that way. and the taboo against touching someone’s daemon i think encourages them to settle on forms that could reasonably keep to themselves. like if you’re a wise, strong, family-focused, tough, long-memoried kind of guy, your soul could be an elephant— or it could be a beaver. if you’re a gentle giant until someone really provokes you and then you charge them you could be a bull— or you could be a bull terrier. there are probably plenty of alternatives to huge animals when it comes to settling."]
fanfiction  fandom  daemons  hisdarkmaterials  via:sophia  2014  gender 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Video: Generation Like | Watch FRONTLINE Online | PBS Video
[Somehow forgot to bookmark this back in February.]

"Thanks to social media, teens are able to directly interact with their culture -- celebrities, movies, brands -- in ways never before possible. But is that real empowerment? Or do marketers hold the upper hand? In "Generation Like," Douglas Rushkoff explores how the teen quest for identity has migrated to the web -- and exposes the game of cat-and-mouse that corporations are playing with them."

[See also:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/media/generation-like/transcript-57/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gmgXxB9QiA
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/generation-like-the-kids-sell-out-but-dont-know-what-1524517417 ]
generationlike  2014  media  online  web  youth  teens  likes  liking  labor  advertising  facebook  douglasrushkoff  tyleroakley  alissaquart  oliverluckett  kurtwagner  markandrejevic  allisonarling-giorgi  danahboyd  popculutre  society  consumerism  work  celebrity  microcelebrities  youtube  marketing  identity  sellingout  merchantsofcool  presentationofself  exploitation  digital  onlinemedia  socialmedia  socialnetworking  profiles  socialnetworks  tumblr  twitter  hungergames  empowerment  fandom 
october 2014 by robertogreco
A Friend Visits my Slotin Notes - Just Wrought
"And just like that, Thia Stephan Hyde was making plans to  pay my notes a visit.  All that day she updated me with emails and pictures  from her time with my darlings. At the end of it she sent me the following lovely email, which she has graciously allowed me post. Reading it felt like an injection of light straight into my worn-out artist’s heart."



"There is a sub-genre of theatre people who are absolute full-on theatre geeks. We are the ones who revel not only in the delight and the accolades of the performances themselves, but who glory in the research that leads up to the live show. Theatre geeks don’t think of it as “homework”, theatre geeks actually get off on endless hours of dramaturgy, historical research and literary cross-referencing, and GO off on intellectual tangents that may not have any direct correlation with any actual decision put into the work of rehearsal or performance. . . though I insist that you never, ever know what tiny tidbit of historical backstory or arcane research may lead to a tiny choice that lifts a performance from serviceable to inspired.

Anyway, when playwright Paul Mullin mentioned on Face Book that he wondered if someone in New York might have a chance to go visit some materials he had loaned to the Library for the Performing Arts here in town, I was an instantly enthusiastic volunteer! (and I am already registered as a researcher at said library, because – why? I am a theatre geek. You got it.)"



"About 25 minutes later, the boxes arrived, very officially delivered on a cart, signed out from the page who brought them to the librarian, and then signed out again from him to me. I was told to turn in my pen, as only pencils are allowed at the desks, and was told that yes, I could take photos of the material. But I could only have one box at a time, and could only remove one folder at a time from each box. Where to start, where to start? I guessed that “Box 1” was the earliest of the papers (Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding!!), and I started with the “generative notes” folder, which was fascinating. Truly, from just a few scribbled words on a few pages (the very first said: “The relationship of horror and happiness”) through longer philosophical paragraphs and charts of dramatis personae and timelines through feedback from early draft read-throughs, I got to see the “birth” of a play."



"And SO much more. Honestly, I found almost every scribble compelling.

Moving on to other folders, I found out:

That Paul’s own father had been a physicist. (I never knew this.)

That a fellow named Thomas Keenan who was associated with Los Alamos after the fact thought the play contained a “disturbing amount of non-pertinent philosophy and mental meandering”. (Paul pointed out that of course THAT is of what a play consists. . . Hamlet, for example)

That a CD was being rushed to “Anzide’s”, which tickled me because I adore Jim Anzide, and got to work with him in a Circle X production of a play written by another favorite of mine, Tom Jacobson.

That Louis Slotin was not covered by insurance and that the US Government haggled and dragged its heels over compensating his family and returning his belongings to them. And that though they didn’t want to do so at first, eventually the government decided that it would be good to give sick leave pay to the other scientists for the days they had been hospitalized, as it had “been determined advisable in order to ensure confidence on the part of employees . . . who may perform similar operations or experiments in the future.” Sigh.

That I had forgotten how we all used to live by the FAX machine! The faxes, the faxes, the piles of FAXES!"
via:vruba  libraries  research  names  naming  references  paulmullin  thiastephenhyde  2013  writing  science  theater  metadata  meta  geeks  theatergeeks  intertextuality  howwework  howwelearn  facebook  fandom  losalamos  notes  notetaking  time  memory 
january 2014 by robertogreco
▶ Ideas at the House: Tavi Gevinson - Tavi's Big Big World (At 17) - YouTube
"She's been called the voice of her generation. The future of journalism. A style icon. A muse. Oh, and she's still in high school.

Tavi Gevinson has gone from bedroom blogger to founder and editor-in-chief of website and print series, Rookie, in just a few years. Rookie attracted over one million views within a week of launching, and has featured contributors such as Lena Dunham, Thom Yorke, Joss Whedon, Malcolm Gladwell, and Sarah Silverman.

Watch this inspiring talk as Tavi discusses adversity, the creative process, her outlook on life, what inspires her, and the value of being a 'fangirl.'"
tavigevinson  2013  teens  adolescence  rookie  writing  creativity  life  living  depression  frannyandzooey  books  reading  howwework  patternrecognition  procrastination  howwelive  teenagers  gender  feminism  authenticity  writer'sblock  making  fangirls  fanboys  wonder  relationships  art  originality  internet  web  fangirling  identity  happiness  fanart  theideaofthethingisbetterthanthethingitself  culture  fanfiction  davidattenborough  passion  success  fame  love  fans  disaffection  museumofjurassictechnology  collections  words  shimmer  confusion  davidwilson  davidhildebrandwilson  fanaticism  connection  noticing  angst  adolescents  feelings  emotions  chriskraus  jdsalinger  literature  meaning  meaningmaking  sensemaking  jean-paulsartre  sincerity  earnestness  howtolove  thevirginsuicides  purity  loving  innocence  naïvité  journaling  journals  notetaking  sketching  notebooks  sketchbooks  virginiawoolf  openness  beauty  observation  observing  interestedness  daydreaming  self  uniqueness  belatedness  inspiration  imagination  obsessions  fandom  lawrenceweschler  so 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Archive of Our Own
"The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate. The OTW represents a practice of transformative fanwork historically rooted in a primarily female culture. The OTW will preserve the record of that history as we pursue our mission while encouraging new and non-mainstream expressions of cultural identity within fandom."
fanfiction  fandom  multifandom  archive  writing  otw  tv  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Harry Potter and the Comment of Wonders « Snarkmarket
"This comment from Robinson Meyer…kinda blows my mind…chatting about fandoms and Harry Potter, and Robinson says:

"But the best part of Harry Potter, for me, came in the reading of the first few chapters of each new book. It was like meeting old friends. I’d discover every time that Harry and I had both grown up a little, had emotionally become more sophisticated, and that we also had that same old warm rapport and that same old love for each other…"

“[R]eading the first few chapters of Books 5, 6, and 7 are among my happiest memories.” That kinda blows my mind.

It also makes me realize that I had no comparable experience as a young reader. There was no fantasy epic being released/revealed as I grew up…

Seriously, I can’t even fully articulate why—but I am sorta obsessed with the last few lines of Robinson’s comment. It’s almost a recipe. Engineer that, somehow, and you win."

[Some great comments here too. Also, check out the Google+ plus that served as the source for the conversation: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108770025895417156764/posts/HZEV4owg9qz ]
harrypotter  snarkmarket  robinsloan  sahelidatta  timcarmody  franchises  books  children  formulas  literature  serials  expectation  anticipation  childrenliterature  2011  robinsonmeyer  fandom  compulsoryfandom  sharedexperience  culture  classideas  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Clive Thompson on How T-Shirts Keep Online Content Free
"Burns is not alone. Increasingly, creative types are harnessing what I've begun to call "the T-shirt economy"—paying for bits by selling atoms. Charging for content online is hard, often impossible. Even 10 cents for a download of something like Red vs. Blue might drive away the fans. So instead of fighting this dynamic, today's smart artists are simply adapting to it. Their algorithm is simple: First, don't limit your audience by insisting they pay to see your work. Instead, let your content roam freely online, so it generates as large an audience as possible. Then cash in on your fans' desire to sport merchandise that declares their allegiance to you."
clivethompson  copyright  media  business  culture  longtail  t-shirts  tshirts  fandom  diy  fashion  clothing  cafepress  businessmodels  economics 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Kevin Kelly -- The Technium - The Reality of Depending on True Fans
"He [Robert Rich] tempers my enthusiasm for 1000 True Fans with a cautionary realism borne from actually trying the idea. The summary of his experience is so pertinent and detailed that I felt was worth posting in full."
kevinkelly  longtail  art  artists  money  economics  fandom  fans  marketing  business  music 
april 2008 by robertogreco
kewlchops: Spruiking, Breadcrumbs & Marching: A cultural phenomenon has emerged on Flickr. It is beyond our control.
"Can you see it? Resembling the broadcast spawning of colonial coral, there is a proliferation of "come here!", "do this!", "join!" & "you're the best thing eva!" virtual tchatchkes covering photo comments on Flickr...entirely emergent phenomenon, these "
flickr  fandom  design  trends  amateur  animation  via:foe  coral 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Jemima Owen: Yes, she's a mess - so why do we teenagers still love Amy? | Society | The Observer
"at times teens...relate to some aspect of Winehouse's plight...support from fans...comforting message in world that can often seem unforgiving - no matter how much you screw up, there will still be people who want you to shine."
amywinehouse  teens  psychology  fandom  pressure  society  youth 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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