Kicks Condor

#unsavories

I use three main tags on this blog:

  • hypertext: linking, the Web, the future of it all.

  • garage: art and creation, tinkering, zines and books, kind of a junk drawer—sorry!

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

03 Aug 2019

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25 Jul 2019

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04 Jul 2019

#SocialMediaStrike StaleStream

It’s time to riot in the newsfeeds!! I saw one guy who posted #socialmediastrike thirty times in one post—yeah, that’s it!!

I’m sorry that I’m so unchill today. I have a sore throat and giant corporations are destroying my most beloved technologies!! These giant corporations ARE ALSO soothing my throat by way of pharamaceuticals—j/k, takin’ ‘essential’ oils.

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23 May 2019

Reply: Very Real Names

Brad Enslen

When I first joined forums and later social networks I purposely used my name, because I wanted to hold myself accountable with anything I posted online. It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname. It was my way of forcing self discipline that I wouldn’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say to somebody face to face.

To me, using a real name to hold yourself accountable is kind of like using religion to make yourself behave. It gives you a good feeling of being on the right side—but imagine how much more meaningful it could be to act well without that external incentive. You really can behave just as well with a psuedonym if you mean to. (I tend to think of this as bonhomminity.)

Still, you might be right. I’m not going to defend pseudonyms too deeply—I just think they are fun. They do remind us that this is not really us. It’s just a virtual representation and is different somehow. I still think online handles are as relevant as ever in these times.

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21 May 2019

Reply: Arduous Interfaces

L.M. Sacasas

I feel compelled to say that this version of the “global village” was not exactly what Marshall McLuhan had in mind when he coined the phrase. When one interviewer begins to say to McLuhan, “But, I had some idea as we got global and tribal we were going to try to—” McLuhan interjects, “The closer you get together, the more you like each other? There is no evidence of that in any situation that we have ever heard of. When people get close together, they get more and more savage and impatient with each other.” He added a few moments later, “Village people are not that much in love with each other. The global village is a place of a very arduous interfaces and very abrasive situations.”

Might we be converging on hatred?

This is a very good quote, very crystallizing. I’ve mentioned a few times in various writings here that I see a blog as a ‘home’—your design, your thoughts, away from everyone else—and that the current ‘news feed’ or ‘timeline’ trend has everyone living in the street together.

h0p3 recently pointed to this link The Gentrification of The Internet which draws a comparison between housing offline and online—but much of it covers the struggle of trying to live productively outside of the corpypastas (or CorpASAs). Life within is hellish, too, though. Everyone is just so packed in; the feed travels at such a rapid rate.

Finding your people implies, quite strongly, that there are those who are not your people. And, I suspect, the more powerfully (and more narrowly) we identify with our people, the more powerfully we are tempted to distance ourselves from those who are not our people. Differentiation and boundary work, both within and without the group, become the order of the day. If I may extend the territorial analogy, we find ourselves constantly involved in a war of unremitting skirmishes, which is how I would characterize life online in the more recent past.

Yes, but I think there is a difference between a group and a group that has an opposing polarity. Left versus Right is clear. However, if I am in an embroidery group, then—who exactly are we against? The knitters? Is there a cohesive anti-embroidery league?

For an embroidery group, this work of ‘differentiation’ and ‘boundary’ setting just doesn’t consume the same level of effort, does it? I mean if you’re hanging out in our group and you don’t embroider, I’m still somewhat tempted to let you stay, just to avoid a dust up.

I think that, again, a problem with the tightly-packed corpypastas is that you’ve kind of lost your people again, because they’re hidden in the landslide of the feed. Groups are fine—and they work well on Facebook and Reddit—but these groups become so centralized and massive that it becomes difficult to discover newcomers. Who are drowned in the noise. Who don’t have anyone to upvote them.

The thing, of course, is that while we might have gained greater access to groups of affinity, we have not ceased to belong to groups of necessity. Political life remains a matter of membership in groups of necessity, the town, the city, the state, the nation. And the habits and virtues formed in often digitally mediated groups of affinity seem not to serve us well when we inhabit groups of necessity (some of which may also be digitally mediated). We are, in other words, in the midst of a painful recalibration of the delicate balance between self, our people, and those who are not.

I like this point. I don’t have any argument with it—I do have something to add about the difference between physical and virtual groups that we still need to address.

We’ve long had some equivalent of Robert’s Rules of Order—now we see codes of conduct or forum guidelines. When we think of running an online group, we think of ‘moderating’ it. Policing the conversations, cleaning up spam and so on. And this is fine: probably necessary and I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of how to do it.

But I think we also need a librarian ethic somewhere among these groups. Maybe there are moderators out there who have this kind of commission. You are dealing with a community of writers, who are all filling the community up with their verbose output—this is all data that needs to be grappled with.

So, think of a librarian at work: putting books back under the proper heading, referring readers to specific titles, borrowing books from the outside—in fact, I wish communities were better about knowing what other communities are in the topical vicinity—to help everyone find themselves a home. (I do see this, though, in the Indieweb community—a person might be told to check out micro.blog or maybe TiddlyWiki. However, I think we’re lucky to be a meta-community.)

I’m not doing a good job describing this position—I’m only just trying to put it into words right now, though, so forgive me. Perhaps the best way to put it is, again, I feel like I say this all the time: as a human algorithm. This person (or group) acts as the community’s recommendation and relations engine. It’s not inferred by upvotes but is much more active than that. (In the same way that I have absolutely no algorithm doing my work of curating href.cool.)

We so despise this task—we find it so painful, having never had to do it before—that we are pouring money and time into building software that will do it for us. But it actually can be quite enjoyable and can feel purposeful.

  1. @kicks "Familiarity breeds contempt."

    That's the first aspect that comes to mind. It doesn't matter if its a small town, where everybody knows each other and what they are doing or a small group online. The difference is, in a small town or at work, is you can't just leave, so you learn to tolerate the differences and, percieved, faults of others and still remain civil. It takes a mental discipline we have trouble extending online. Maybe in part, because we don't feel accountable.

    When I first joined forums and later social networks I purposely used my name, because I wanted to hold myself accountable with anything I posted online. It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname. It was my way of forcing self discipline that I wouldn't say anything online that I wouldn't say to somebody face to face.

    Moderating forum communities is something I've done a lot of and it's a task I'm glad to be rid of now. A couple of features of some forum scripts that I miss:

    1. The ability for mods to either combine threads (we don't need 20 threads about blue widgets, let's splice them all together.) And the ability to seperate off topic portions of a thread.

    2. The ability to in some way archive particularly good useful threads or posts into a sort of knowledge base for others to use in the future. Both of these hit on the librarian function.

  2. @bradenslen Well said! I’m old enough to have been in the forums as well.

    “It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname.”

    And it was also common to have a sig.

    Slightly off topic: I remember Outlook Express got a lot of heat because they used “—” as a sig separator instead of “— ”…

  3. @odd I used to love that thing, so I'm frankly surpriseed I don't remember it at all.

  4. Funny you should mention knitting as part of your example, because the online knitting community has recently been going through an enormous row about racism and white privilege. See here for a primer from a few months ago (as I understand it is broadly ongoing): https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/2/25/18234950/knitting-racism-instagram-stories
  5. Reply: Very Real Names

    Brad Enslen

    When I first joined forums and later social networks I purposely used my name, because I wanted to hold myself accountable with anything I posted online. It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname. It was my way of forcing self discipline that I wouldn’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say to somebody face to face.

    To me, using a real name to hold yourself accountable is kind of like using religion to make yourself behave. It gives you a good feeling of being on the right side—but imagine how much more meaningful it could be to act well without that external incentive. You really can behave just as well with a psuedonym if you mean to. (I tend to think of this as bonhomminity.)

    Still, you might be right. I’m not going to defend pseudonyms too deeply—I just think they are fun. They do remind us that this is not really us. It’s just a virtual representation and is different somehow. I still think online handles are as relevant as ever in these times.

  6. Reply: Knitting Rows

    furtho

    Funny you should mention knitting as part of your example, because the online knitting community has recently been going through an enormous row about racism and white privilege. See here for a primer from a few months ago (as I understand it is broadly ongoing).

    Ok, wow—I guess there is quite a bit of ‘differentiation’ and ‘boundary work’ going on among crafters. Thank you for the citation! Even still, I can’t help but feel that this is a temporary situation—or, more likely, cyclical—that is afflicting all communities right now. We’re experiencing a global meshing of all kinds of cultures within communities—and there is a struggle to sort out the rules.

    I do think that once everyone has had it out, you’ll either have communities permanently splitting along these lines or finding a way to coexist. (It also depends what global situations arise—we might be in for serious strife before we become nauseous of war again.) And, well, every community has its heyday, followed by its own dissolution.

    I still feel like there is a difference between communities that have no natural enemy (or are built for conflict) and those that do. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all groups are formed to both include and (perhaps more importantly) to exclude. God, I hope not.

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17 Oct 2018

Notes From an Occupation

Journal-like coverage of early Occupy.

I’ve been both reading Mark Greif’s Against Everything and also just feeling nostalgic for Occupy Wall Street. (People claimed it was muddled, because it didn’t have answers—but I don’t know anyone who thought “We Are the 99%” wasn’t catchy.)

It’s been seven years and I found myself revisiting this day-to-day live blog of the first week, passing the mic between Mark Greif and Astra Taylor. (Here’s a subsequent part that goes into October.)

This author Astra is the wife of Jeff Mangum—and it’s interesting to me that his appearance at Liberty Park later led to a couple rounds of touring after a decade in the shadows. Well, if that was the point, then I’m glad for the times I saw him. Can’t help but wish Zuccotti Park was still a self-organizing commune, though, with its own roving troubadour.

Most of all, I love the description of the orderly congresses:

Noam Chomsky had sent a personal message by email. It was predictably long-winded; I wished people would make the “get to your point” sign. I was sitting close to the aisle of waiting speakers and I was surprised to watch participants whom I assumed knew each other well—since they were working together smoothly—whisper to ask each other’s names. They’re the most easygoing bunch I’ve seen at a protest, and the most calmly confident. Very gentle and not rattled by disruptors. Presumably that’s the confidence of nine days.

Up twinkles, hard block, flat hands—probably too cutesy for most. I dig it. Glad to make a new semaphore any day of the week. Or just fall back on ‘point of personal privilege’. There are rules, but there aren’t.

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05 Oct 2018

‘One day my window was darkened by the form of a young hunter. The man was wearing leather and carrying a rifle. After looking at me for a moment, he came to my door and opened it without knocking. He stood in the shadow of the door and stared at me. His eyes were milky blue and his reddish beard hardly concealed his skin. I immediately took him for a half-wit and was terrified. He did nothing: after gazing at what was in the room, he shut the door behind him and went way.’

— from “The House Plans” by Lydia Davis, p53 in The Collected Stories

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18 Aug 2018

Why is anyone upset with Facebook or Twitter? The keepers of the Web are all of us—the individuals. We built it. And still can. Does no one feel a pang of remorse at abandoning their blogs and home pages? And of not showing the newbs where to safely migrate? (Indieweb, for one.)

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15 Aug 2018

Reply: The Open Web is a Tool, Not a Silver Bullet

Josh de Lioncourt

The open web will not solve harassment or abuse—it never has. Those things existed online long before FaceBook or Twitter and will go on after they are footnotes in history books. IRC is/was a non-centralized chat system that was the 90s equivalent to Twitter in many ways. Abuse there happened every bit as often as it does on social networks today. I remember; I was there.

Heh, Usenet, anyone?

See, and now that I think of it—I think the Open Web is now the alt.* hierachy. While Twitter and Facebook are the Backbone Cabal. (See The Great Renaming.)

Maybe all we’re doing is going through centralizing and redecentralizing cycles here.

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12 Aug 2018

Reply: Ripped Sheets of Paper

h0p3

I have asked you some very personal questions, and I will continue to do so, nomad.

The repeated use of the word nomad has conjured up a song I had forgotten: Nomad Tell Us and its repeated admonishment, “You must relate to the earthling mortal!” Haha, it’s so emblematic of reading your wiki!

My wife is a librarian, and it feels like you are doing indieweb-librarian work to me. Do you consider it part of your vocation? It feels like more than just an aesthetic experience to me.

I suppose I will get a little personal then. My aunt died over a decade ago and she was a library director on the West Coast. I still think of her all the time. But she has been gone so long that I can’t find any of her interviews or papers like I once could. I talked to her once about Ranganathan, who I had just discovered, and she talked about edge cases in categorizing books—in fact, I think I’ll start storing books in an “edge case”—and then she died and I live with the regret of never seeing that promising conversation continue.

But I kept talking to librarians after that—it sates my wish to talk to her still. I had a friend for a little while who was a librarian on Microsoft’s campus. A corporate librarian! She was fantastic to talk about books with.

Librarians are not admired in the same way that teachers are, but their work can be very important. Someone has to sift through the vast sea of words and pluck up the ones worth saving. This is becoming even more impossible today. I sometimes feel like there could be an amateur librarian’s movement—this is what I’d hoped the old Internet “surf clubs” would be—but it truly is a gift of generosity to attempt to organize the world out there. I admire your wife and these others.

If I understand correctly, there are diminishing returns in the scaling of triangles for visual modeling.

Well, I guess I thought that more triangles would only improve definition, but this is a great observation.

(Oh, comment about this conversation: we are using a type of embedded reply form here which is quickly growing deep. I wonder how else we might capture this discussion—which might go on for some time—into a large flat structure, simple to read back on, but which might keep related threads together without losing access to the original message. Or maybe these quote-and-reply forms are too restrictive, I wonder if we can sprawl out more.)

I hope that my representation becomes increasingly accurate and useful to me. Even if I fail, I hope to come closer and closer to success on this issue.

Well, here’s one question—how will you endure a drastic change? Like: what if you reverse a core tenant? Or, moreso, could you discover that you aren’t a wiki, but are a different type of information structure? Perhaps you’ve decided you are and that’s the end of it.

You are sort of bumping up against communicating with the outside. I will be interested to see how you sort this out. Your many-meg single page site is so unique and I find the opportunity to download all of it to my computer memory like the visit of an oracle—a single being, sent to deliver the collected wisdom of any query I might have.

So I am happy to communicate however you see fit, because your oracle’s purpose is to organize your thoughts, not to be a telegraph system. My organization here is the opposite: it’s designed to send dispatches to individuals. But I am going to make some small changes to have a tiny oracle as well.

I don’t think any of these things are technological problems, though. I am happy to drive to your house and ring the doorbell or go to the basement doorway and let myself in—or whatever the protocol is for you. I think that’s what’s so marvellous about your site and sites like whimsy.space.

I hope you don’t think I’m a snob. I would argue I deal with many unsavories.

I hope you’re okay being a snob! Why would that be so terrible? We all live on a giant graph paper and, speaking for myself, I really like my coordinates. You might just be snobbish about being your own type of unsavory.

There is an interesting poem I recently read called bulldyke that made me think of this. The poem itself dabbles in unsavory—are these words disgusting? Are these thoughts perverse? Is the afraid little boy lover in the poem—certainly he’s the unsavory one. (And, also, poetry—isn’t poetry just awful?)

I don’t know, but I like deciding these things. Who doesn’t? I’m a snob, too.

Like everyone else, I hate Facebook and what it has done to the Hypertext Kingdom and I will fight it valiantly and with great, upturned nostrils. But I have also used it to obsessively follow the death of Kaylee (and other children that I will write about some time) and I have depended on this awful unsavory to read their obscure stories. It has filled me with profound spiritual mayonnaisse.

I should also say that I enjoyed the recent VICE video with a girl in big Sally Jesse Raphael glasses interviewing an Incel. I felt that I really loved both of them. Not in a Jesus way; like the Double Rainbow guy, crying and marvelling over colorful semicircles. I don’t know if VICE is unsavory—I guess I wonder if all businesses are.

Perhaps the biggest worry I have is that I will think someone to be pure and unscathed and godlike—only to discover that they have touched their whole staff in all the wrong places. 😂

I’ve been thinking about a problem which you’ve probably seen a dozen answers to. I have now been asked twice for a way to push notifications of updates. I am worried that my wiki isn’t well-designed for that. I’m not entirely sure what I would push to others (my New kind of does that). I would like to know your thoughts on where I should go with this.

I am happy with how you have things. I understand how you work now. If anything, I would argue that you should continue innovating in the way you have been. That, like the single-page oracle metaphor from earlier, you will find more ways for the technology to symbolically represent you. This is paramount.

  1. Reading this thread is like reading a cubist rendition of Veils. I love it.

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

philosopher.life, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole. k0sh3k. j3d1h. luxb0x.

nathalie lawhead of so many good things, where does one begin. T, U, I.

surfpals: things by j, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. jacky.wtf, fogknife, tiv.today, j.greg, box vox, whimsy.space, caesar naples.

indieweb: .xyz, eli, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

dwm, julia, tridactyl these are things you'll want on linux.

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

innovation.isotropic.org probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.