silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
I welcome all of the following types of comments on ANY of my entries:
  • Single or two word comments, e.g. , woo!, yay, yes, no, please, thanks, absolutely, agreed, seconded, so much, no way, etc.
  • "+1" or Facebook style "like".
  • Otherwise brief comments, e.g. single sentences.
  • A comment that is a punctuation mark(s) to let me know you read, e.g. a period, an asterisk.
  • A comment that is a punctuation mark(s) to express your response, e.g. an exclamation mark or question mark.
  • A comment that is an emoticon(s) to express your response, e.g. \o/, <3, :), :(, :-D, :-P, etc.
  • Long, wordy comments. Rambling is totally okay.
  • Comments and links on related topics.
  • Comments on single links, entities, paragraphs, topics, or words in the entry. I throw out a lot of things each entry, and I don't expect anyone to have to come up with a coherent comment on each and every one of them to comment.
  • Sequential commentary. It's totally okay to comment about one thing as you read it, then another thing in a separate comment, then a third thing after you've chewed on it for a while and feel ready to talk about it.
  • Incoherent comments. It’s all good. I would rather have you here and showing interest,, even if it's just a *flail*, than for you to stay silent because you are afraid or unable to get the perfect comment out.
  • Talking amongst yourselves in the comments is fine. I like creating a place where people get to interact!

I also welcome:

  • Comments on older entries, access-locked or public.
  • Comments on VERY OLD entries, access-locked or public. I have many years of archives.
  • Comments from people who are not subscribed to me.
  • Comments from people who I’ve never met.
  • Comments from people who haven’t talked to me in awhile.
  • Comments from people who’ve never talked to me.
  • I like knowing the provenance of new commenters. If you're new, I'd love to know where you came from and what brought you here.


My great anxiety is that there's nobody out there and I'm shouting into the wind. If you’re feeling like you want to comment with something, feel free to comment with what feels good and comfortable to you, whether that’s leaving a !!! or an essay. If you don't have the spoons for any comment, that's okay, too. No pressure, no obligations.

How I reply to comments:
  • I mostly try to reply to comments.
  • I normally try to reply to comments as soon after they arrive as I can.
  • My comments will probably try to elicit more discussion and longer-form commentary. Part of it is my professional training, part of it is because I like discussions.
  • You are never obligated to reply to a reply, nor to write longer-form than you wish.
  • If you would like a response to a comment, I encourage you to let me know. “I would appreciate a response to this if possible,” etc. is totally fine with me.
  • Absentminded. If I have forgotten to reply to something you want a reply to, a poke is totally okay.


Linking to my entries:
  • If it’s public, it’s fair game.
  • It’s access-locked, ask me.
  • Please do not archive my work without asking me first.
  • If you do link to me elsewhere, it warms my heart if you tell me where you linked, but it's not a requirement.
  • If something I linked or wrote inspired you, it warms my heart if you link me to it. Also not a requirement.


Transformative works:

As of the time of the last edit to this post (02019-01-22), the content of my blog is licensed CC-BY-SA (4.0 Unported), which says that if you use my work for something, your work should attribute me (the user name and a link back to my blog is usually sufficient) and your work should also be licensed under a license similar to the Attribution-Sharealike license. The stuff I link to is not governed under this license and may have additional requirements for you to use.

Adding and access:

If you want to add me, go ahead! Please feel encouraged to do so.

I like new subscribers. I also respect access-locks - if something you created is That Awesome, I'll ask for permission before excerpting or posting elsewhere.

I may not add you back - I tend to evaluate based on what's available on your entries page. If you're mostly access only, it may take some comments or a conversation in a third space before I have an idea of whether I want to subscribe. If your journal is a repository for your fiction efforts, I may not add you back, because I do not have near enough time to properly read anyone's fiction as a part of my daily list crawl. I would probably enjoy it, if I had the time.

I don't give access, generally. For one, nearly everything posted is public, so you're not missing out on anything by not having that access. If I do post something under access-lock, it is probably something intensely personal, and so I'd be hand-selecting who I want to see it.

(This idea stolen and modified from [personal profile] trascendenza, who first broached it in their own journal when talking about commenting culture and their own anxieties.)
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
Hello again! Let's start with something that is easy to say and difficult to do: you do not have to be good to enjoy your hobby. The tricky part is that in our connected world, we quickly run into the taste-skill boundary because we have so many examples of our hobby around that are good and better than we are that the comparison game can get entrenched early. For that, I have Tenured Professor Rogers Talks About Impostor Syndrome.

The Doomsday Clock continues to be set at two minutes to midnight, a grim reminder that the current abnormality should not be seen as a good thing.

A significant amount of taxpayer money goes toward maintaining sites that promote the idea that the Confederacy was right, slavery was beneficial to the slaves, and the Civil War was about something other than abolition and the subjugation of black people.

Sentences that could use some extra commentary to clarify their meaning.

There's so much more inside! )

Last for tonight, what qualifies as "unparliamentary language" for any given body varies from time to time and place. The Parliament of New Zealand offers some of the more choice phrases uttered that were questioned, at least to the 1980s or so, and Strong Language takes a look at some choice Canadian varieties. Some of them are fairly familiar curses and ablist terms, but there are especially good turns of phrase mixed in with them as well.

And, because it is always useful to have a record that everything we think of as new was said by someone before, An ebook copy of a collection of articles about fanzines that span the last 70s and 80s. This will be a very entertaining 200 pages or so to go through, because there's not really any talking about the technical aspects, and more about the philosophical and ideological parts.

Angie's List takes a look at the layouts of the captain's quarters from each of the Federation vessels or stations that we've been able to see the inside of.

And one very nice story about a robot finding not just a good show to watch, but a nice bunch of fans to collaborate writing with.
silveradept: The logo for the Dragon Illuminati from Ozy and Millie, modified to add a second horn on the dragon. (Dragon Bomb)
He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
Analysis and transcript links to follow. )

This post and all others of its type can be excluded, if you are a paid user, by excluding the "political links" tag.
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
Federation is definitely a topic trending across many discussions of "Where do we go from here?" in relation to Tumblr blowing up. [personal profile] muccamukk
got the ball rolling with some questions about how it's supposed to work, and some of the common scenarios that fandom-on-federation might run into and how those are supposed to get managed. (I have waded into some of the discussions on that post with my own limited understanding, and I'm not sure if I did it well or clumsily.) There's a lot of really useful discussion of both the questions and federation in general going on there, so if you like wading through deep comment threads, enjoy!

Afterwards, [personal profile] sciatrix zoomed in on one specific possible dealbreaker about federation - trust in the moderators and administrators of your chosen home. Because there's still the very real possibility that, unless you're running your own server/instance with your money and technical know-how behind it (which is a fucking huge barrier to participation in a lot of things), the person who is in charge of your space might make decisions that you find rephrehensiblie, or might up and disappear because they got bored or moved on with their life or they collected an evil ex and needed to disappear.

Going forth into the long-windyness now. )

The more I learn about fandom, though, the more I learn that trust is where a lot of fandom's scars are, both individually and collectively. Same as with marginalized communities interacting with the majority. A lot of people get into fandom because they're not seeing themselves in the stuff the majority puts out, and they want to push back against that erasure in whatever small way they can. They already don't trust that people in power are going to use it responsibly (because by and large, they haven't), and they sometimes can't even trust the people around them not to do something terrible or allow something terrible to happen to them. In that kind of environment, how can anyone flourish?

I guess that's what it comes down to, now that I've spent a lot of words on the topic. Trust mechanisms have to be exposed and made public such that people can get a sense of what they're joining. On the obverse of that, though, there has to be an easy mechanism for noping out and taking your stuff with you in case that trust is betrayed. Any service that can manage to do both of those things well, federated or not, is likely to get popular with fans and fandom and seem like a good place to hang out. (And then can, hopefully, build in the technical tools that fans will need to express themselves that aren't already present.)
silveradept: A librarian wearing a futuristic-looking visor with text squiggles on them. (Librarian Techno-Visor)
An interesting thing to start - an examination of what people actually say as their last words of life.

And also, The history of the previous generation trying to dunk on the new generation for their wild and reckless behavior. (Although there's even older stuff than what's on that list.)

Lindsay Ellis talks about Death of the Author and The Fault In Our Stars, which will set you back about a half-hour to watch, but it's almost worth it for the 1980s instructional video style before it gets into the meat of how The Fault In Our Stars turns out to be a lot more self-referential, even about author intent, than desired.

I'm going to go and make a blanket recommendation for the new community [community profile] thisweekmeta, because it has a lot of what I like about fandom and talking about fandom in regular packages, and if I don't endorse the community, I'm going to end up linking to just about everything they post, like why critical examination might mean you end up liking something more, rather than less, because you find the thing you liked in the first place, and it's still there, even if you are now more aware of the things that aren't so great about it. Or asking for marginalized voices to talk about their experiences with fandom. Or a certain amount of Fandom Olds being grumpy about the new kids coming in and not learning from those who have gone before and experienced what they are experiencing now. And also reminding people that what they think is new is not as new as they think, in this case, that Star Wars, for the Prequel Trilogy, was mostly women doing the bulk of fan-anything, and so people thinking that the sequel trilogy is bringing in all the new fans are...misguided on their history. Also, commentary that the idea of shipping being Problematic is an outcropping of the idea that individuals can successfully solve systematic problems on their own.

A Fanlore article linked about the "Three Laws" of Fandom, which is a set of suggestions that form a bedrock of common courtesy between fen. Basically, Don't Like, Don't Read, Your Kink Is Not My Kink, and Ship and Let Ship. Which are the sort of thing that you can sometimes be dismayed to learn that other people don't think of as so fundamental to fandom that they shouldn't have to be explicitly spelled out. And yet.

[personal profile] greywash talked about how Tumblr's tags stood in for the space that allowed someone to distinguish between what was said with the creator's voice and what was said without that voice.

[personal profile] sylvaine asked about whether meta should have a specific class of permissions for being pointed at, because popular meta has the potential to bring a lot of people to your doorway that you may or may not have wanted there. And [personal profile] muccamukk provided contextualization and an example in thisweekmeta, and made some suggestions about being aware when you want to talk about someone being Wrong On The Internet, because talking about someone being Wrong On The Internet has a high combustability factor, and depending on where you post it, there's a nonzero chance The Hounds will be summoned.

That's BAD, because The Hounds don't care who they hurt, even if some of them don't recognize that's what they're doing.

As you may well realize, there's more to discover underneath the cut )

Last for tonight, the unreality of the coffee shop AU, the ways in which ballet instruction has changed over time, and the idea of having designers create secular rituals for people to do, so as to avoid religious connotations they might not want to experience or don't believe in, without losing the sense of the sacred that ritual brings. (I think it's an idea, and if it's well-designed, why not? We have lots of rituals that are secular that we engage in and accord a certain amount of power to them about it all.)
silveradept: A librarian wearing a futuristic-looking visor with text squiggles on them. (Librarian Techno-Visor)
Right up front, I'm going to admit that I have no formal musical training, and so this is mostly a listening experience rather than someone being able to analyze a piece of music and figure out the same sorts of things that a lot of the Into The Spiderverse people.

Also, by the time I'm done, secret identities will have been spoiled pretty thoroughly, so if you don't already know where all the Miraculous are and who has them, the first part may be safe, but the second part definitely won't be.

Also, the links, being that they are related to material under copyright, may vanish at any time, and that's a thing that happens. I'll try to be descriptive, but this is aural, and it's often damn hard to find anyone who is willing to provide backing tracks without sound effect or dialogue put over them.

Onward to themes )

Anyway, that's my un-music-theoried thoughts about the use of licks and motifs in Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Chat Noir. The reality is probably very different than what I've laid out here. *shrug*
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
I...mostly need to document this, because it's such a rarity in my profession.

One of the regulars came up to me today while I was out at the help desk and said
You probably don't remember this, but 10 or 11 years ago, when you were at the temporary location, my grandson had just finished reading everything he felt he could about World War Two and felt he was ready to progress on to the Cold War. You were the librarian at the desk and you [laughs slightly] treated him like an adult and he got his books.

He just graduated from [local college] with a degree in international relations and has delayed admission into Tufts University to get a Masters in foreign relations. He'll have to serve a year deployed in the National Guard first, but after that, he'll get into the program.
I told this regular that I did remember the encounter, because it really was as described - a child with good knowledge of the Second Great War and who was ready to move to the next part of the history of the United States. I did what librarians do - a reference interview, and I got books in his hands to help him get started, and I wished him well in his pursuits. Nothing there was out of the ordinary, or required anything more than professionalism.

The regular joked that he was serious about it, perhaps having expected he would grow out of his interest and take up something else. I said I was glad to hear the graduate was well and hoped, perhaps, that he would join the diplomatic corps.

"And save the world," the regular quipped.

"We can hope," I replied.

And then I was rather glad to have some time to process this, because it closes the loop. One of the stories of my career actually has an end, and on the timescale that I often suspect it takes for a librarian story to come all the way to an end.

There are several senses of scale in library school, and they'll talk about the differences between big libraries and small in terms of budgets and orientations and what sort of programs they can do, but there isn't necessarily any talk in school about how the small things snowball. For good and for ill.

I learned this year how small a margin can be and still get something done. And hopefully we'll all learn from that scare how to stop it from happening ever again.

This year, though, I finally have proof of how something you did in the very earliest parts of your career validated an interest and helped someone continue on the path they wanted to go.

Congratulations, and well done, self.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
[personal profile] cesperanza talked about the unease that exists between fandom and money, and how much promotion and marketing is too much, or which ways are more likely to step over a line between gifts and tips into guilt-based marketing. The comments are the liveliest part of the discussion and worth reading. In addition to that, [personal profile] fairestcat took issue with the entire premise, pointing out that people support work with money because they find the work valuable, or they want to help a creator not be homeless or bankrupted, not because they're guilted into it or through a bait-and-switch. When another person on my list pointed out in a locked post that there were parallels to open source software and its ethos, the gears got turning. [personal profile] azurelunatic reminded me of Ana Mardoll's thought experiment about how much money would be enough to be comfortable, even if you never made a dime in your life past that point, and how the numbers shifted radically (by at least a factor of ten) depending on how much of those expenses people were thinking about would be covered by a government that could provide for comfortable needs on a universal basis.

Which also brings me back to the prediction I made about fandom on Day 14 of Snowflake. Fandom and money always have an uneasy relationship with each other, because some people in fandom (as in open-source development) can afford to give their labor away for free for the idea of making a richer, better fandom. Some people are doing fandom just for themselves, and they don't particularly care about any monetary compensation about it, because it's something they do to satisfy their own urges and itches. And some people can participate in fandom only by getting compensated for the work they do, because they don't have a social safety net underneath them that will take care of things like housing, food, and medical care. They can't give their labor away to anyone.

As you might expect, this gets long. )

Ultimately, I can participate in fandom as a gift to fans, using spare time and resources that I have to craft narratives and then give them away, without expectation that my fic is going to be my gateway into a publishing contract or that I'm going to need three more subscribers to Patreon from this work. I have the privilege to do so.

I also want other people to be able to participate in this way, but I'm not going to tell someone who has to make their living from fandom that they have to stop and starve for my principles to feel satisfied. I don't get to use my privilege to dictate their lives. And frankly, I think the world of fandom is much poorer because of all the people who don't get to participate as much as they want, because they have to do other things for their survival.

Until things change structurally so that a person isn't forced to choose between what they love and what they need, people gotta do what they gotta do. If fandom requires a certain amount of privilege to participate, then only the privileged will be able to participate in fandom.

Fandom's history says it's not supposed to be a privileged-only space. Let's keep it that way.
silveradept: The emblem of Organization XIII from the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. (Organization XIII)
I finished the first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power today, (yes, I know I'm late) and I think it's abundantly clear to me now that one of my cardinal rules of storytelling is that characters must make sense for their setting. Otherwise, there will be yelling. And possibly blog posts, because what is a blog for if not yelling into the aether about something being good or bad, right or wrong, in our media?

First up, I find that I agree with Ana Mardoll about the problem of portraying Entrapta throughout the series, and the harm that comes from making the character that is closest to autism spectrum into a person who doesn't appear to care about the people cost of her experiments.

I'm not particularly fond of Mermista's characterization as a Valley Girl kind of teenager, mostly because that characterization of being too jaded for everything grates hard on me (even if it mostly turns out to be a front), and I don't like that Princess Frosta, the most East Asian looking one of the lot, turns out to be the one who has the cold powers and is portrayed as having an obsession with rules and protocol over Adora's warnings. I realize that working with a property that already has certain character designs built into it is limiting, but I'll bet there's a fascinating piece out there about the fact that the honor of Grayskull turns a pale-skinned blond-haired character into a taller, longer-haired and more powerful blond-haired, pale-skinned person. While the story leaves the deuterotagonist with darker skin, heterochromia, and no powers ever. And what sort of show it might be if the protagonist got turned into pale skin and blonde hair if she didn't have it beforehand but had to accept it as the price of becoming She-Ra.

(I do like the decision to give She-Ra a skort. Very practical when swinging swords about.)

Where I had a really bad break with the storytelling, though, is with Catra, and here's where the spoiler cut happens.

It's not just a Buffy and Faith thing, not really. )

That said, She-Ra has a lot of things going for it, including a lot of room for the possibility of romantic relationships between princesses, so if it picks up a second season, I'm likely to be watching.

ETA: [personal profile] cimorene talks about the likely traumas inflicted on Adora and Catra both and how those might manifest, in ways the show got convincingly and in ways where the show might have needed better signposting and reinforcement of how those traumas interact with Adora and Catra's lives and relationships. There's a lot of "Yep, this." in that post.
silveradept: A librarian wearing a futuristic-looking visor with text squiggles on them. (Librarian Techno-Visor)
Two things of interest in this post. First up, [personal profile] angelofthenorth is hosting a love meme. If you're new to the space, and haven't encountered one before, the love meme is a thing where you put your name (and preferably your pronouns, if you have them) as a comment, and then other people come along and say nice things about you. You can specify in the comment what sort of things you'd like to hear and what things you don't want to hear about (yes, there are DNWs for love memes). If this sounds terrifying to you, you can also opt out entirely of the process. Other people might also nominate you as a person who gets love. You can opt out of this as well.

If you would like to leave comments on my thread, you can do so at the destination of this handy link.

Okay, here's the other thing, and the fact that I'm writing this really means that I haven't seen someone else doing it, and probably better, so that I can link to them instead.

When I see subscription notifications in my inbox, I do a happy dance of joy (or occasionally a squawk of terror) that there's someone else who has decided to subject themselves to the stuff that I'm writing. I will also go examine the account that added me to see if I would like our subscriptions to be mutual. There are some accounts where it is very easy to make that determination, yea or no, and there are other accounts where it is damn hard to this, and in those cases, I usually default to no, because I don't know you well enough yet to know that you're an awesome person and we'll get along like a house on fire.

In case you are interested about how one entity makes their decisions about subscriptions and such, here's what I'm looking for when I take a look.
  1. Did you fill out your profile? A blank profile is not an immediate disqualification, but if there's nothing there and your account isn't relatively new, I feel like it's a missed opportunity to let me know something about you and what you might like. It's a very nice opportunity to do a mini-bio in the spot that's marked as such. I'll also probably scan and see if we have subscriptions in common and do at least a cursory glance over your interests to see if there are matches there, too. (I probably need to go back and update mine, because I probably last looked at it several years ago, but it's there.)

  2. Your sticky post(s). Free accounts get at least one post that you can decide will stay at the top of your journal, no matter what else happens. Paid accounts get more, of course, if you want to split your stickies into multiple posts. Since a sticky post is always at the top of your journal, it's the best place to stash the most important things for people to know about your Dreamwidth. Do you primarily use it as a place to write fic? Great. Are you using it solely as a way of leaving comments on other people's entries? Go for it. Is it going to mostly be composed of daily entries and the occasional full-capslock rant? Most excellent.

    This also works as a way of telling people about whether or not you want comments, how you'll respond to them, if you give access freely, reservedly, or not at all, and for what reasons, if you want to say, and other things that a person stopping by to see you might want to know right off the top. Since a lot of friending is done on challenges or memes, there's a lot of people having a look at your space, and it's really nice if you've set it up in such a way that they can be relatively certain whether or not you are going to be a person they want to subscribe to or not. After all, you want people in your circle who are going to be interesting, and a lot of people find having to wade through someone's entries to get a sense of who they are somewhat tiring.

    And speaking of...

  3. Some unlocked content. It doesn't have to be much, but when I'm looking at a person, and their profile isn't filled out much and their sticky post is "I'm all friends-only, thanks" and there's nothing else that's visible, it's unlikely that I'm going to subscribe, because I have no feel at all for the kind of person you are. Now, we might get to know each other in comments and comment sections over time and then strike up a subscription from there, but it's going to take time and effort on both of our parts to kindle that friendship. Not bad, not wrong, just time-consuming. If all you want is a small circle of people that you've gotten to know very well in other places before you let them in, that's great. But if you would like more people, and you don't have any example entries for them to work with, then you don't know if they're the kind of person who spams links endlessly and then spends several paragraphs at a time on singular topics as the chaser to those linklists (Hiiiiiiiiiiii!), or whether they'll post a single line at a time about the thing that is making their life suck the most (or squee the most) right at this moment. Or if they're using it as a place to announce and/or archive creative efforts. Or any other sort of thing like that. Hang your shingle out and let people who come across you have a taste of what they're getting into after they've read your profile and your stickies.

Your mileage will vary. If there's anything here that makes you go "Oh, gods no, don't want to do that," then don't do it. If any of this makes you go "oh, shut it, [personal profile] silveradept, you pretentious [REDACTED]," then you don't have to do any of this. It's my opinion and what I'm looking for, and my size definitely does not fit all.

I have a suspicion that others might be looking at the same things, though. Let me know in the comments. Or tell me that I'm wrong. Either's fine.
silveradept: On a background of gold, the words "Cancer Hufflepuff: Anxieties Managed". The two phrases are split by a row of three hearts in blue. (Cancer Hufflepuff)
More material about making yourself at home on Dreamwidth. Things like useful HTML markup for making your entries better. [personal profile] sylvaine also has a great guide for HTML and Dreamwidth. [profile] jessie_the_k reminds us that if you're familiar with Markdownm you can use that to compose posts with. That also alloows for a certain amount of @usernaming, if that's the form you're wanting to work with.

[personal profile] muccamukk offers a custom CSS rule you can implement that will prevent the display of any content in a comment by a person you do not wish to see. It only works when you're logged in, and because it's custom styling, it'll only work everywhere if you insist in your settings that all pages use your style when you load them. It's not a ban. It's just a "nope, whatever that user has to say is unimportant or otherwise not worth seeing" for you.

[personal profile] melannen built on [personal profile] astolat's bookmarklet to capture text and create a new post with that quoted text and proper attribution for you so that it now will tell you if you're trying to quote a locked post. Great if you find a thing, you want to say "THIS, THIS, THIS!" and make a post about it in the proper way of the Dreamwidth. [personal profile] legionseagle has a great wander through, among a discussion about conventions on Dreamwidth, why the One Ring is a terrible thing to use as a forefeit for wrongdoing.

[personal profile] corvidology has the lowest-pressure friending post possible - just say yes in the comments so people know you're interested in making friends.


If you'd like a place to move your text work to from Tumblr or anywhere else that runs the threat of being shut down when the advertisers say "no more monkeys jumping on the bed," the AO3 is there for you. Specifically there to host your works in a place where there won't be those kinds of pressures. OTW Legal also talks about the things that can be linked in to AO3 works, and the sorts of things they are and aren't able to do with regard to the Tumblr purge.

Also, that post might mean I'm sitting on a lot of Archive invitations. I'm sure I can figure out how to find and use them if people do not already have Archive accounts.

You can link specific users, not only on DW, but also sites that are on the approved list for linking, and their appropriate userhead will appear. So if you wanted to do [archiveofourown.org profile] silveradept, for example, you totally can. The current list of approved sites is in one of the FAQs. [personal profile] musyc also mentioned that each account has a certain number of comments-back they can look, if by chance, the notifications were deleted before the comment could be responded to.

[personal profile] musyc also reminds us that there are more than a few options for choosing how DW looks to you and others in your options page, that tags can be searched and combine-searched, there's an inbox for messages and notifications, that you can set keyboard and device shortcuts for faster browsing, and the beta entries page has a lot of really good functionality.

[personal profile] potofsoup has a tag called DW How-To that contains advice on doing things in a Tumblr way if you are new to DW.

A second round of community recs from [personal profile] sylvaine. and more community recs from [personal profile] rydra_wong.

[personal profile] absolutedestiny has a guide to setting up an account with a cloud storage host so that vidfic or podfic or other such things can be served up for inexpensively if your not-text content should take off like a rocket. There's also a second bit about using a Content Delivery Network if you do get that fame and you need to have your content in multiple easy places for your fans to grab stuff from.

And after that, [personal profile] doctorsidrat started a discussion from comments left on a Mastodon instance about fandom's changing demographics, which led into a discussion about what Dreamwidth communities are for and can be used for. In the comments to that second post is advice from those who run and moderate communities about ways of making it more likely you'll succeed. [profile] ovembermond has more on how to successfully find active communities on DW.

Most importantly, though, is that Dreamwidth is not a place where everything has to be all seriousness, even if it appears to be that way ([personal profile] kore says so). Admittedly, we are the kind of place that will spawn a discussion about what defines a shitpost. ([personal profile] rydra_wong would like to know.) And the kind of place that will take such a declaration as [personal profile] kore's and craft a challenge for the month of February to use one's Dreamwidth specifically for shitposting (as well as everything else you use it for). Not to be outdone, then [personal profile] melannen created a randomizer to give you topics to talk about off the top of your keyboard and then made a post with the code so that people to generate their own random shitpost. The pull quote for all of this is in the comments to the code post:
(Despite all the stuff that I agree with about dw posts not having to be elaborate or substantial... it is somehow very dreamwidth that we respond to "dreamwidth is for shitposting" by doing things like creating challenges, teaching javascript, and having a symposium on definitions.)

It really is exactly that, and perfectly Dreamwidth. So there's an idea of what you might be getting into, but it'll be fun, we promise.
silveradept: A cartoon-stylized picture of Gamera, the giant turtle, in a fighting pose, with Japanese characters. (Gamera!)
Hello, everyone! Let's see if we can't get this rolling with this: A memory of Ursula LeGuin, before everyone knew her, and how she handled the earnest and the pretenders.

Constructing a language with feminist principles in mind, and writing stories around them to put them to use. Additionally, the digitization of the papers of pioneers of LGBTQ literature.

It's Hugo Nominations time! So [personal profile] forestofglory has some resources for you.

The hiring of an intimacy coordinator to help keep track of comfort and movement and boundaries during televised sex scenes has made fioming them much better for the actors and the crew involved all around. If for no other reason than to have someone other than the actors thinking about their comforts and advocating for them so the finished product is something they can all agree on as a good thing.

And there's more! )


Last for tonight, mouse potato, a phrase defining a person that sits in front of a computer for extended periods of time. (via [personal profile] doctorsidrat, who also pointed out the Distributed Proofreaders.) Which comes with a handy tutorial on how to use VLC (a great program for playing files of any sort) to automatically generate screenshots of any video file you might be playing in VLC and want to get screenshots of, courtesy of [personal profile] timetobegin

And a tally of what was removed from places where objects generally should not go.
silveradept: The emblem of Organization XIII from the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. (Organization XIII)
Just a couple of stray thoughts that probably deserve nothing more than a stray thought, but they keep coming back to me:

  • Things in RWBY are always named thematically. Sometimes it's easy to spot, sometimes not so easy. I'm a bit annoyed that it took me six seasons to notice this, but here it is. Signal Academy is where Ruby trained before going to the regional academy, Beacon. Signal -> Beacon. Pyrrha is initially from Sanctum Academy, and finally, it's been noted that Sanctum is in the same region as Haven Academy, where Season 5 was mostly spent. So, Signal -> Beacon. Sanctum -> Haven. The schools all have related names, and it looks like the regional school is one power of z more than the feeder academies around it. Atlas is an outlier, but it's also the name as a thing that encompasses the whole world, so it fits. We haven't yet seen any of the feeder schools for Shade, though, so it's to be seen whether it will also follow the pattern. Perhaps one of its feeder schools is Oasis?

  • For as many times as Chat Noir has been temporarily converted to the side of an akuma, why doesn't Hawk Moth/Papillon just grab his Miraculous while he's on their side and then go after Ladybug after it's secured? Seems like it would be something that's really beneficial to him and it would deny Ladybug a critical ally in the next fight. More often than not, though, we seem to be showing Chat Noir joining the rush to try and incapacitate Ladybug, which rarely ends well for him or the akuma. It's just a show, it's just a show, but it's starting to bother me that for as much as Hawk Moth is supposed to be a big villain, he's...forgotten to read the Evil Overlord List more than a few times so far. But I'm not fully caught up to where everyone else is yet, so there's a possibility that he's going to get his act in gear.

  • He's also incredibly terrible with children in general.

  • The pronunciation of Rena Rouge in the U.S. version of Miraculous Ladybug makes me frown slightly, because the close front unrounded vowel sound, ("long-e") doesn't seem like a good fit in either English or French for that spelling. I'd expect "Reena" to be the spelling so as to get the right pronounciation consistently. Also, if "Rena" is supposed to be related to "Renard", the substitute name for a fox (used to avoid invoking bad luck on oneself...I linked some time ago to a thing about that very sort of substitution somewhere, but I'm not digging it up right now), as an page on Rena Rouge's civilian identity suggests, then the U.S. pronunciation is extremely unhelpful at making that connection. (Personally, I read "Rena" more like "Raina", but now that I've done a cursory amount of research, I could train myself to say it more like the "Renard" at the link.)

  • If your game only has Facebook as a way of making sure your data gets saved if you ever have to cross devices or you have a backup fail spectacularly on you, your game is terrible, even if it is part of a mythos that I'm otherwise very interested in.
silveradept: A squidlet (a miniature attempt to clone an Old One), from the comic User Friendly (Squidlet)
Proctor and Gamble Corporation's Gillette division launched a campaign aimed at sparking conversations among men about toxic masculinity and about raising boys, in conjunction with an announcement of at least $1 million USD donated each year for three years to non-profits to aid in raising better boys.

Unsurprisingly, a significant amount of the self-described "manosphere" and their allies reacted to the campaign with vitriol and calls for boycotting the Gillette line. Including some of them dismissing the advertisement entirely because it was directed by a woman.

There's something to be said about an advert campaign talking about toxic masculinity as a way of selling more product, but to call it "virtue-signaling" is, at best, reductive. That implies the campaign is there for corrupt, cynical, or non-heartfelt reasons, solely there to be seen as people who hold particular political and cultural values, and is trading on a person's desire for greater change without making any commitments toward engaging in that change. (There's one of those things where when I say that description seems to fit a lot of the holier-than-thous throwing the term out far better than the people who are supposed to be struck by it.) I think that $3 million USD over three years is not nearly enough money from the Proctor and Gamble corporation to really engage with the question and provide assistance in stomping out toxic masculinity. If there were no money involved, it would be a nice advertisement all the same, but much less likely to be seen as genuine anything. (Even then, I wouldn't use "virtue-signaling" as the phrase involved, because that has all sorts of "stick it to the SJWs" associations with it and who uses it.)

It's a good video, and it wouldn't be out of place as a parody or commentary video made by a nonprofit or an activist group trying to, say, shame P&G for decisions they've made or ridiculing them for pushing the idea that masculinity is inexorably tied to capitalist consumerism. Or to just point out how much toxic masculinity we let go by in our regular days without people who look like men calling it out in other men and in boys. Had it been released that way, or created and then given to such nonprofits to release for their own work, it might be a different conversation that we're having now about this work.

In concentrating on the corporate origins and the sincerity of the Proctor and Gamble corporation in this campaign, we miss something very important, though. It sneaks past us because this is the sort of thing that moves at a very slow pace, where even if we stare at it for a long time, it doesn't seem to move all that much, until we realize that it started over there somewhere.

The last few years have seen a marked uptick in the visibility of discussions about masculinity, consent, feminism, gendered expectations around work and pay, and other issues where the consensus used to be (at least in my provincial upbringing) that those topics were the province of brassiere-burning harridans that nobody wanted to talk to, much less engage in any sort of sexual activity with. And those came on the heels of many conversations about the L, G, and T parts of the acronym, and a small but running conversation about the other letters, being led by A and B at the moment. The window of what's an acceptable topic to discuss in public has widened significantly, and there's plenty of blame for that to go around in the increased visibility and storytelling of the bad behavior of men (almost always men) who would have otherwise been exempted from the baleful eye because it wasn't "news" enough to be run in the mass media outlets. If you record someone saying a terrible thing, it can be in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people very quickly, and then from there, if the investigation substantiates the thing, then the news picks it up and runs with it. They're late instead of being in control. (For good reasons involving libel, slander, defamation, and the like, mind, but still, Mira Grant is entirely correct that social media posts will be the first sign of the zombie apocalypse.)

There's still a significant portion of people who think the opening of the conversation has been terrible and almost always directed in a baleful way at them, being able-bodied cis white men of some form of Protestant Christian. Their intersection of several axes of privilege makes it nearly inevitable that they're going to be spoken of poorly, because if you're going to punch up, that's the direction you're going to be moving in. They see it as a zero-sum idea, where if anyone else is going to win, they're going to have to lose. (For a lot of those things they're right, because they've set it up to be zero-sum so they could take from others to enrich themselves.) I wouldn't be surprised if many of them are the kind of people who yearn for a Past That Never Was, a kingdom of peace and prosperity ruled firmly but benevolently by white men, or dispensationalists, ready to hurry along the end of the existence we have for a new world where they imagine they will be looking on from Heaven on Earth while the rest of us cry and wail in hell because we didn't say the magic words. (There are things that the Christian Foundational Writings say about who gets in and who doesn't, and at least one of them says very little about what you profess for belief and a lot more about what you do and who you do it for.)

As a small-ish, a sign about the fictional "National Organization for Men Against Amazonian Masterhood" was possted in a classroom and went without comment from anyone. I had to ask what the acronym meant, and from whence it came, because that particular television show was not part of my household. (Good.) This was the same sort of place that suggested the more vocally openly feminist persons used improvised dildoes for sexual pleasure because of the underlying assumption that no man would be interested in doing that for her. I don't remember either the out (ish?) gay man or the out (ish?) lesbian getting quite as much flak from anyone, but that's probably me not knowing enough then to be able to tune to the toxic radiation in the background about such things.

I can imagine someone doing the same thing today, but I also imagine that there would be a much louder response about the inappropriateness of the sign and inquiries as to whether it had been endorsed in any way by the teacher of that classroom, depending on where the classroom was. (A sibling teaches high schoolers, and in at least some of the places they've taught, that sort of thing would be right next to the "Team Jesus" sign.) It's not universal progress everywhere about these issues, but the conversation is sufficiently part of us that an ad campaign is incorporating those themes. That's significant. The corporation thinks their reputation (and, presmuably, sales) won't be hurt by making donations and cutting a two minute ad that is both about stoppping toxic behaviors but also suggesting that rampant consumerism is not a sign of success at being a man. (Okay, I might be adding that part in, because the change is from "The Best A Man Can Get" toward "The Best A Man Can Be" for the campaign.)

I suspect there's a lot that's pretty icky and hinky in Proctor And Gamble's history and actions that undercuts the message they're trying to put out. Because P&G is a big corporation and has been around for a while. But they're saying it. And they're cutting the ad and making the donations and inviting everyone to have these kinds of discussions in their space. Even if they did it for cynical or exploitative reasons to start with, they've invited in the conversation and it's not going to go away if they want it to later.

Which means the idea of toxic masculinity and what to do about it has become sufficiently part of the mainstream that there are ads about it. Same sort of thing with Nike's decisions last year to endorse Colin Kapernick. These positions, these ideas are becoming sufficiently mainstream that they're now potentially in danger of being co-opted to sell shoes and razor blades. It's terrible if that happens, but it's also fascinating and, in it's own way, a triumph.

Here's to even more mainstreaming. Preferably with corresponding action to scratch out toxic attitudes and dismantle structural inequalities.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
Talk about why you participated in Snowflake and/or what you got out of it.

Well, I could say that I can't resist the opportunity to pontificate at length about topics and show off my cleverness while I'm at it, but that's not actually true, mostly because if I tried to say I was clever, the brainweasel horde would rise up and start laying siege.

It's not actually that, anyway. Yes, I try to compose things that other people will find interesting, insightful, comforting, or unique in perspective, because that's how I write, with the idea of engaging people in a discussion about a topic that we're all interested in some aspect of. But I also try to go out and see what other people have written and leave comments about their works equally as well. After all, I write one entry, and there are hundreds other perspectives out there to look at.

So the first reason I do Snowflake is because it's a thing that draws the community together to talk to each other, if only for half a month or so. It's kind of like a convention, except we're all panelists and audience at the same time, which makes for some of the best conversations that you can get around. I like the upswing in activity that comes with Snowflake, and the comments waiting for me over time as the challenge progresses through its days.

For people who worry that Dreamwidth is a bunch of individual fiefdoms who don't always talk to each other or know how to find each other to talk, Snowflake brings people together in a community and puts them in front of each other. There's been a lot of talk about how difficult that seems to be on Dreamwidth as compared to other platforms currently on fire, falling over, and sinking into the swamp. It's got the gears in my head turning about discoverability, taxonomy, indexing, and how much of this idea could be achieved by machines doing the lifting and how much of this has to happen by humans instead. While also respecting that some people do not want to be found by the wider community and others don't want to participate, and the likelihood of any approach having to be opt-in, which might limit its efficacy. Tricky problems, and things that might need to involve the very helpful and thoughtful people at [site community profile] dw_suggestions picking apart the ideas and telling me what I'm not thinking of that's important.

The second reason I do Snowflake is because it's a gathering of fans to talk about the things in their lives, good, bad, or indifferent, and to receive support from their community in doing so. Have done a lot of leaving cheerleading comments. Also, more than a few questions or attempts to begin some discussions about what was posted for any particular challenge. Questions about the future of fandom and what are the most useful parts of any given platform came to light this year more than many years because everyone was still lit by the fire of Tumblr imploding and a large amount of fans were decamping for the next great adventure, whether on Dreamwidth or some other platform of their choosing. The question of finding a place that's fan-friendly and also loaded with enough capital to pay for the hosting and the bandwidth of serving images, audio, and video is a big question without a useful answer at this particular point. The existence of AO3 gives someone a template to work from, I suspect, if they want to build a platform similar to that, but there's the sheer money question. If OTW had an endowment arm somewhere whose job was essentially to get donations and accumulate enough capital such that the interest on it could run AO3 and whatever the multimedia AO3 would be, that might solve those problems, but endowments require fiscal management as well. There aren't any answers yet, but Snowflake helps spark the discussions, and perhaps somewhere in these conversations, someone is coming up with an idea that might solve some of these problems, if not all of them, and they will unveil it to all of us at some point in the future.

There's also all the less weighty conversations, too, about things that were excellent in this year's fic haul, in finding a way to create that works with your schedule and your brain, in the serendipity of discovering that there's someone who shares the same interest as you in tokusatsu shows. In discovering that the stargate Atlantis fandom is pretty massive, even though that show's been done for a while, and that older fandoms are still trucking along pretty solidly, even though they'd like more people around to talk to and make fanworks for them. In remembering that people participate in fandom in more ways than fic/art/podfic/vids, and that a lot of fandom relies on the people who write meta and recs to get the stuff that they really will enjoy, because humans are still better at recommending for humans than algorithms are. (So support your local public library.)

The last reason I do Snowflake is because it's a license to talk about things fannish. It's probably just a thing about my brain, but I have a style and a brand, as it were, for what entries look like in my space, and what someone can expect to see when they get here, and what sort of topics are likely to be covered. Because it's what I do, there's a certain amount of subconsious worry about putting something out that might stray from the idea I've created for myself about what goes in this space. Yes, even though it's my space, and therefore I can do whatever I'd like with it, at any point I would like, and the audience can adjust or go elsewhere. This gets a little exacerbated by the part where I'm often not as interested in discussing the romantic possibilities going on in a canon as a primary motivator as I am interested in examining the story and the characterization and the underpinnings of the material. I'm not interested in the will-they-won't-they of Marinette, Adrien, Chat Noir, and Ladybug by itself. In how the characters and their superpowered alternate selves are mirrors and the way in which the anonymity of the mask allows them to behave in different ways, and how that creates these one-sided dynamics, that's interesting. The lament of the meta folk everywhere is that they can't seem to find each other, and Snowflake offers an opportunity for that, assuming you hit it big by finding a friend who is also into the same meta and the same fandoms that you are. (Another problem to be solved, somehow, through the use of human-mediated algorithms, perhaps.)

Snowflake gives the opportunity to say "Yeah, I'm a fan!" and not necessarily have to pen out a manifesto of the whys. (It's not lost on me that this is exactly what I'm doing with this entry. Familiar forms are familiar, after all.)

So, as we draw the curtain on another year of the challenge, there are some new ideas that need thinking about, there are people who are looking for a new home for their fandom, and I've really enjoyed getting to talk with all of you about things that I've written or that you've written as well. I'd like to continue these conversations throughout the year. And, now that I'm not desperately trying to write these entries in the spare time that I have, I might be able to go back through my notifications and examine the new subscribers and access. Mea culpa that I haven't done that yet. I'm looking forward to getting to know you more and to see what you're up to.

See you again next year. Or possibly earlier, depending on whether we want to run Snowflake twice a year, so that people in the other hemisphere have the opportunity to do this in their peak winter season, too.
silveradept: Chief Diagonal Pumpkin Non-Hippopotamus Dragony-Thingy-Dingy-Flingy Llewellyn XIX from Ozy and Millie, with a pipe (Llewelyn with Pipe)
Talk about what you think the future holds for fandom.

I'll start with most of the flavor text, because it seems to be the inspiration for the post itself.
Some of us have been in fandom for a year, ten years, twenty years, but fandom itself has been around longer even than that. I [[personal profile] spikedluv] joined fandom when the internet was relatively new and Yahoo Groups were the thing. I made the move to LJ/DW and have a sparsely used Twitter and tried out Tumblr . . . The people who came before us used ‘zines and newsgroups.

What changes will the future bring? Given the great Tumblr Purge of 2018 and the influx of people to Dreamwidth and other platforms, such as Pillowfort and Discord, I thought this round was a good time to revisit this question.

[Challenge text goes here.]

What are your hopes and dreams for fandom? Do you have any predictions about what the next five years holds for fandom? Where do you think fandom will end up congregating? Feel free to answer this question with a sentence or a couple paragraphs, express your feelings with a good old fashioned meta or through words, music, graphics, dance, recipes, etc. Whatever works for you. *g*
I appreciate that the perspective on the past pointed out here is not one that presumed fandom sprang fully-formed from the forehead of the Internet. It is easy to believe that the universe started with you and that everything that came before is either unimportant or soon to be eclipsed by your own greatness.

There's an established definition in fandom that fanworks really took off as their own separate and distinct category with the advocacy of The Premise. (That's Kirk/Spock, for those of us who have never heard that phrase or its context which I didn't know of until I did a little digging into fannish history.) Before that, we're often willing to admit that Holmes pastiches are definitely in the right vein of fanworks as we understand them now, with multiple authors taking a turn with characters that had been previously established, but it seems like there's a line drawn there making the Holmes pastiches something different. Perhaps because it's all dudes taking their turns at it, and these are published works for which the author got paid, instead of fan works gifted and given freely?

The tradition of riffing on someone else's canon goes back much further than that, though. Allusions and plays and building on things goes back at least as far as the Aeneid, because Aeneas is supposed to also have been at the battle of Troy, where that other hero, Odysseus/Ulysses was before he pissed off a sea god and had to take the long way home. So there's a case to be made that fandom and fanworks are way older than even our commonly accepted definitions are.

Much of this goes in the service of saying the first thing that I want to point out about fandom and its future. Wherever there is canon and fans, there will be fandom. I realize that sounds trite, but it's the bedrock on which everything else works and exists. It's also a little comforting, when you're going through upheavals and platforms are changing and people are fragmenting and disappearing and there are takedown notices and legal battles and holding your breath about whether there will be yet another copyright extension at Disney's insistence or whether some things will actually be allowed into the public domain (as they were this year). There's always the tension present between the creator as supreme authority over all things and the fans who want to make tweaks and changes or who interrogate works from whatever perspective they bring to the table. (Sometimes, a better one than the author themselves.) Fandom may or may not be a very visible part of the world and its history, but it is there. And as we go forward, it will likely be a better-documented part of that history, assuming that our digital preservation efforts are up to snuff and we can carry forward all the things that we've created into the future. I can hope, or dread, either one works nicely, that the archaeologists two thousand years hence are sifting through this entry looking for something to work on their doctorates with, but it's unlikely just because so much of our things degrade over time to the point where they're unusable. (And in digital, that degradation accelerates at the speed of computers.)

There's another thing that I suspect is becoming more true as we go along, although it was probably still true in the pasts of fandoms, given how the history suggests that the entire subterfuge of "The Premise" was needed in the letters pages and discussion spaces of pre-Internet fandom. Fandom and money will always get along uneasily. We're seeing it more clearly now in the Tumblr purge, and in Facebook's newest guidelines, but it was present in Strikethrough, and the payment processor issues with Dreamwidth, and the Moral Guardians, and the way that letters pages are communication, and conventions, and even things like how the Superman radio serial decided to integrate secret information being fed to them from the KKK in order to make the racists a laughingstock of society. (Or, at least, to try.) Social platforms are often driven by advertising dollars. Canon is also often driven by advertising dollars. That fences in what's acceptable material to display to audiences. And when the advertisers get upset and take their money elsewhere, that's usually the end to any given platform, even if the idea of its founding was to be a place where more grown-up, more kinky, more fannish people could be without repercussions. A canon can be cancelled if there's an outrage campaign against it. The "innocence of children" are usually the most convenient shield for outrage campaigns to hide behind, despite our increased knowledge that children are really good at understanding the world around them, even at really young ages. Which is to say that fandom arrives in a place, builds a presence, becomes visible, has a good time, and then is often given the boot because the advertisers noticed the fans were being fans and talking about fannish things.

And that's before we get into the various flux states around copyrighted characters and how they can be expressed without infringing on that copyright, and whether a particular expression is protected under exemptions to copyright or is considered distinct enough to not infringe, and how vigorous and zealous authors, rights holders, and others get about trying to protect themselves from infringement and from other people potentially using their work. Nobody necessarily wants to be the test case to more certainly determine what is and isn't allowed in fanworks, because while there's a lot of good that can come out of a favorable ruling, there's a lot that could be erased by an unfavorable one, and there's not enough of a sense of the world to know which of those results is going to be the one that happens. And when money gets involved, rights holders get involved a lot, as well. Because when money gets involved, then there's potential harm, and that's when the lawyers start making money of their own.

Fans will continue to migrate among platforms until they can find one that understands them and is okay with their presence. In all their myriad ways of expression. I foresee a certain amount of cycle going on as fans head to a platform that looks like it will be big enough to attract a lot of fans and that will scale up nicely to all the images and videos and text they want to put on it, and they will stress-test that system to see if it stands up technologically. Assuming that it passes, then they'll add content to it and share content and be happy there while it grows in user base size and content. And then, at a certain point, if it was bought with venture capital or advertiser funds or anything else, really, than built from the ground with seed money and financed by donations and subscriptions, someone will complain about the content in the space, and the platform will turf out any of the fans it deems unacceptable. Having been told they aren't welcome, some amount of fans decamp for other spaces, and the cycle begins anew, although with a bit more fragmentation involved as some who were not deemed unacceptable stay behind, because it's the place they want to be or because they've invested so much in that space that moving to another location is too much work.

I'm also pretty sure that there's going to be something in the next few years that none of us really thought was going to be the big hit it's going to turn out to be. Whether because we think it's the best thing since Babylon 5, or because we can't understand why everyone else likes it so much when we feel distinctly cold about it. It's going to bring entire new groups of people to fandom that weren't there before, and we're going to have to be patient with them as we show them to ways and mores of our particular platform and community. But if we can always manage to be welcoming to the new fans and resilient enough to shrug off the groups that think of us as something other than normal or acceptable or people who should be allowed to show our faces in public, we'll keep the thing moving and keep spreading joy and enjoyment to each other and ourselves, by being our best selves.

We've already come a long way toward acceptance, inclusion, and demanding diverse perspectives and ideas to be present in our canons and our fanworks. There's a lot more open discussion of things that would have otherwise needed code names and allusions in the letters pages of our publications. The trend seems to be positive, even if we have hiccups and snarls and Strikethroughs and purges and changes to the TOS that benefit the advertisers not wanting themselves to be associated with fandom, rather than deciding the fans are worth keeping around and making the advertisers compromise.

In short, the future is going to be what the past has been and present is now -- constantly in motion, in change, in dialogue with itself toward the ultimate goal of making sure everyone has a space of their own to be a fan in, and to find people who are the same sorts of fans that they are. At least to the extent allowable by law, a good ethical and moral code, and an outlook that is fundamentally about not causing harm to others through your fandom actions.
silveradept: The emblem of the Heartless, a heart with an X of thorns and a fleur-de-lis at the bottom instead of the normal point. (Heartless)
Set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.

I am not a goals and resolutions person. Some of that comes from the fact that I'm not all that far off from a time in my life where all of my energy was devoted to keeping a multitude of plates spinning and hoping that none of them came crashing down and that nothing that was a giant emergency happened that would upset everything. I was doing this basically by myself, and the person who was supposed to be helping with the plate spinning kept adding more plates to spin, instead. The fallout from that part of my life is still ongoing, and so, if I have goals as such, it's essentially "dig myself out from the hole I put myself in."

And note, yes, that I said "that I put myself in," despite the clear description in the previous paragraph that there was another person and their machinations involved in digging this particular hole. I am loath to blame or otherwise indicate that the situation that I am in is something that another person is responsible for, whether primarily, secondarily, or otherwise. This is a terrible habit. It tends to lead to the thought process of "Since I'm responsible for getting into this, I have to be able to get myself out of it. It would be unfair to anyone else to ask for help to fix my problems." It's a little different than the narrative people are used to, but it has the same roots of "If I asked for help, I would be admitting to an unacceptable weakness in my person. My conception of masculinity does not allow for weakness or help." There's a lot entangled in those ideas, but one relies on strength as the determining factor of worth, and the other relies on intelligence.

Things got better for me once I started seeking and accepting help, but it took me a while to get there, because I had to stop believing that I could get it all done by myself. "Getting all that done by myself" has roots in the past, too. The sorts of things that get into your head when you're a much smaller, younger being and part of your formative experiences involve people making fun of you for failure. Well, not all that much for failure and a lot more of "succeeding at a less-than-perfect level." There was a lot of success, but there was also a certain amount of "Oh, look, someone did better than Silver did on this! What a failure Silver is." that came with it from others. So the smaller-me logiced out that being perfect was the only way to avoid being teased. Show no weakness of brain, get no taunts in return. Maladaptive practices set appropriately. It makes it more difficult to start new things or to try stuff out, because being a beginner means not being able to be perfect at something.

Goals, then, just become ways of failing even more if you don't reach them. And that can start a downward spiral that's very hard to get out of. Setting goals and not achieving them, and feeling like the things aren't worth trying or doing because the goals never get met anyway. And eventually giving up on the thing itself because it's just a boulevard of broken dreams. Yes, there's a lot of advice around on the Web about setting yourself realistic achievable goals, and several frameworks that are supposed to help with those ideas. That can help someone who isn't already in a terrible brainscape figure out what looks like a good goal to shoot for. And for some of us, that's what we need. And for others, there's a lot of healing that has to happen first, before we can start getting to the idea of setting reasonable, achievable goals for ourselves that will challenge us and make us feel good for achieving them.

So, in terms of the goals that I'm setting for myself this year, I'm going to follow a useful piece of advice from an aerial silks instructor that one of my friends is taking lessons under. The advice is that successes are more important than perfection. My goals, then, are to succeed at the things that I want to do - keep the household running, write fiction on time for exchanges, collect achievements and trophies, support other people in their endeavours and goals, and be as good a professional as I can be. There aren't any specifics associated with those things because successes are more important than perfection, and I know that if I give myself specifics, I'm going to start thinking about specifics and whether or not I'm meeting them, and it's just going to be a big ball of stress involved. I'm not interested in stressing myself, or anyone else, out, because successes are more important than perfection. Way more important.
silveradept: Blue particles arranged to appear like a rainstorm (Blue Rain)
In your own space, create your own challenge.

Here's some of the flavor text to help inspire the process of creating something for others:
Is there a challenge you've seen in the past that's no longer being run, and you wish it was? Or maybe one you've heard about in some other fandom that would be perfect for yours? Is there a challenge you'd love to see, but can't seem to find? Now's your chance to fill that void. Do you wish there was more (fill in the blank) in fandom? This could be something specific to your favorite fandom, or something more all-encompassing. Have you always wanted to try something, but needed that extra push?

Which inspires people to a lot of possible things. A lot of the challenges will be practical to fanworks, like finishing a work in progress (or adding another chapter to it), or contributing to the greater knowledge of fannish history by creating pages on Fanlore (or, possibly for that matter, TvTropes). Others might repeat the Day 7 challenge and ask people to expand their horizons by writing or reading in new fictions or new fictional universes, because there are a lot of sandboxes around to play in that would happily welcome new friends. Or repeat other days' challenges about making recommendations for works that you found enjoyable and want to share with others.

The flavor text asks about adopting, adapting, or creating challenges for your favorite pieces of canon so that others might participate as well and increase the amount of fanwork available to everyone to enjoy, possibly centering it around a particular medium, pairing, or trope so that everyone has a starting point to work from. Moderating and running challenges, or standing up spaces for people to come together and talk is a lot of hard work, but is also hopefully rewarding when everything happens according to the plan you've put forth and a thriving community happens around the place you've set up or adopted.

Others will talk about the practicalities of having a body and existing in it, with all the ailments and variable emotional and intellectual states that come with it. Challenges to do something nice for yourself, or something that makes you happy, or something that can make you proud, are all about staving off one of the more common things that happens to creatives - the feeling that because there is always someone better, they're not good enough. Which isn't true, but brainweasels are quite adept at convincing us of things that aren't true, because they know how to make us feel like they are. It's difficult to beat them, because they cheat unapologetically. There will be challenges as well to leave comment-feedback on works that you enjoy. Kudos are excellent at counting "Hi, I was here and I liked this," but for many people making creative work, we want to know why you liked it. Details matter, because many of those details were crafted specifically for the story as a way of making it distinct and enjoyable in a sea of other works that take the same basic plot beats and put them together in similar ways. Close reading is a very helpful skill to pulling out good detailed comments.

All of these are wonderful ideas, and if you can, doing any one (or more) of them regularly can be very helpful, to yourselves and to the other people that you'll come in contact with by doing these challenges.

If I wanted to do something unique and unparalleled and un-thought-of before, well, there are a lot of you out there, and so it's unlikely that what I can come up with is going to be truly unique. Some part of me wants to try to do it, though, because one of my brainweasels around creating fanworks is that I'm a nobody, I'm going to stay a nobody, and I will never ascend to the heights of having people who follow me as an author and comment on my works specifically because they like me as a writer, rather than because they were looking at the tags for a particular fandom and I happened to be one of the works that appeared. My metrics certainly seem to suggest this. (Counter-point: Have only really been doing this on AO3 for two years at this point, and doing exchanges all the time doesn't mean you build up a following in a single fandom, not really.)

I think, though, this leads to my challenge for all of you.

If you're someone's fan, let them know.

Anything from a "Hey, you know, I really enjoy your work specifically in this fandom. Thank you for being a creator of good things here." to a long list of the things that you have enjoyed about all their works so far that you've read. (Assuming it's not going to be taken as going overboard with it.) Tell a creator that you like their stuff because it's their stuff, and why, if you can articulate it. I think some creators (which includes myself) can attribute their successes more to the fandom, the characters, the canon, everything else except the skill they bring to the table in the creation of their fanworks. Impostor Syndrome is rampant among creative types (and certain segments of the population in general). Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone is to unapologetically take the stance that they're good at what they do, and refuse to be budged from that stance by whatever brainweasel horde erupts from making that declaration. If you stand firm on your assertion, at some point the person who you believe in might start to believe it, too.
silveradept: A representation of the green 1up mushroom iconic to the Super Mario Brothers video game series. (One-up Mushroom!)
In your own space, talk about your creative process(es) — anything from the initial inspiration to how you feel after something’s done. Do you struggle with motivation or is it a smooth process? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to pull out when a fanwork isn’t cooperating? What is your level of planning to pantsing/winging it?

Well, that's embarrassing. Mostly because I might have spent a significant portion of December talking about just that. And several of the things that go along with it. Heh. Who knew, right?

For me, I enjoy being one of fandom's short-order cooks, turning around exchange works on their deadlines, often because it can be easier to take someone else's idea of what they would like to see and weave in the parts that are uniquely mine. There's less risk of a work being a complete flop if you know at least one person is supposed to like it other than yourself.

It's fairly rare, at least for me, on exchanges, to match with someone on me than one of their potential topics, so a lot of the prep work involved for me is in the signup part - if it's not a fandom, pairing, or combination where I get a glint in my eye about the possibilities, I pass on it and keep looking. Sometimes I might go back and fill things in later so that I can have a wider net cast and make it an easier time for matching, but I'm really trying to set myself up for success right from the beginning by not including things that I'm not feeling an itch to write right now.

At that point, when the exchange assignment goes out, I find the matching fandom and then read up what's present in the prompt suggestions and the Dear Author letters to see whether we're going to be relatively compatible in our characterizations and how to approach the thought. Some ideas get shelved at this point because they're not really going to run compatibly, and others get promoted to the working table.

At that point, I often let the ideas cook until one of them spits out something, whether dialogue or action, that I can envision, and that brings that glint back to my eyes. That idea often becomes a key frame in how I structure the work. Then comes the writing of "how do we get there, and what happens afterward, if anything?" Sometimes extra key frames appear, and those get grafted into the timeline and have their own webs spun out until the work is finished (or the deadline is approaching.)

Usually after the first draft is done, I'll do a quick wordcount to make sure that I'm at least close to the line. Whether it's under or over or comfortably there, the process of adding usually happens next, filling in spots that might have [COOL ACTION SCENE GOES HERE] or spots where, on a reread, I or a beta goes "that doesn't make as much sense" or "that's feels like the wrong character, or the wrong motivation for that character" or other things that help mold the hot take into a more polished and complete work.

There will always be one thing that slips through SPAG and only gets noticed after posting and gifting. It's almost like a signature at this point.

And then it's done, and ready to go out into the world and collect a small number of hits, comments, and kudos. (I just had one piece reach the century mark, two years after posting.)

Then comes the next assignment. And sometimes it helps to be able to oscillate between assignments so that another idea can take over when one work is starting to run dry.

There's very little formality and outlining and all those tools that seem to be helpful in building epics. Which might be why my biggest wordcount is still under 10k.

No matter. I still like being a short-order cook.
silveradept: The emblem of the Heartless, a heart with an X of thorns and a fleur-de-lis at the bottom instead of the normal point. (Heartless)
Create a fanwork.

Okay. That's done, on schedule, no less, as Thursday is posting day for each weekly installment of the giving-of-grief to Pern. I've also got another work or two in the hopper for exchanges and challenges that aren't able to be posted yet, because they're not in reveals time r past their anonymity.

It seems a bit...nothing to leave it there, though, so instead, have an excerpt from an idea that's been rolling in my head, but that may not actually see fruiting for a while, because as it turns out, I tend to want to watch all of the available material for things before I start finding ways they might interact with each other.

---

When he went to open the portal and check on the progress of his latest akuma, there was someone already standing there. In his space. How she had gotten past security would be a question for another time, but for now, he needed to make sure she could be swiftly brought to his control.

Sensing Hawkmoth's entry, the window opened, causing the butterflies to take flight from where they nestled on the floor.

"I see you've been sent here by the Tele-strator," he said. The woman had the look of a creature from an old science fiction show, as if she had been pulled right from the broadcast. White skin, with black veining around her hands and eyes, a black gem on her forehead, white hair with black ribbons running through it, black dress, and...

Very red eyes.

No matter. Red bled through black and white productions, anyway. It had been the reason that war movie was so iconic. The girl in the red coat. Simply a trick.

"I wanted to congratulate Tele-strator on his success. But the Miraculous is still not in my hands. Without the Miraculous, our deal isn't complete, and there's no guarantee that Tele-strator's power will continue to exist."

The woman continued to stare at him, a slight look of contempt on her face.

"Go tell Tele-Strator that I want Ladybug and Cat Noir's Miraculouses! Go! Now!" he said, wondering if this construct was as two-dimensional as the broadcast she had been pulled from.

She fixed him with a glare, and then a black portal opened on the floor next to her, from which several...things emerged.

"No," she said to him, fully giving her attention. "I don't think I will. Take care of him," she said, addressing the creatures that had arrived from the black pool.

Hawkmoth fled, the creatures of Grimm quickly pursuing.

Salem turned to gaze out the window.

"Well, this certainly isn't Remnant," she said, a smile curling at her lips. "But I think, with a few changes, it might suit just fine."

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silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
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