xurnami: (darash)
The following entry might be quite controversial but I've been doing lots of thinking from a number of articles. If my argument doesn't make complete sense, I will be linking to the sources I am working from too which are even longer and more nuanced than this summary. I do hope that people I know read this and give their thoughts on it. This is going be long. )
xurnami: (darash)
Recently, I've been working on trying to figure out how to expand my social circle. Due to events of the last year, my social circle has collapsed significantly. I reacted to certain badness by becoming more insular and removing myself from a number of spaces that I used to inhabit.

I have a good sized social circle now, even if I am still experiencing some social anxiety about actually getting together with them. I would like to get to know more people but there are a couple of difficulties I'm experiencing about the directions I am trying to head out in.

I spend a large portion of my time and energy working at being a better programmer. A large amount of the news and other things that I consume are in some way related to this particular goal. I get off my job programming to proceed to do additional programming off the clock for my own projects.

I would very much enjoy being able to spend more time talking and working with people with interests along these lines. However, a vast majority of the spaces for discussing these topics are well known cesspools where people are harassed for being out of line of the "normal" cis white male. While I can present as such, it is getting increasingly uncomfortable for me to do so. Furry conventions have had codes of conduct as long as I can remember, there are still tech conferences which are arguing if they should have them or not. This makes me extremely uncomfortable about attending many of these events. There also appears to be an extinction burst going on in the community around these behaviors which is not the best to be involved in either.

If people know if spaces where this is less of a problem, I would be quite interested to learn about them. Virtual or real space would both be great for me.

Beyond that group, the other group I'd like to get more involved in involves content creators of different strokes, especially among transformation content. I am feeling awkward around approaching these people into more social interactions as I've been mostly in the position of commissioner to content creator. The content I create is most often not along the lines of tech which is awkward to even bring up, I feel, among these other content creation groups.

I have some plans over the next week to build a website for storing my commissions along with some microfiction to go along with them to show some other forms of creativity. I have some skill at fiction writing but it is not a skill which I have spent as much time working on. I am very appreciative of these artists who have practiced thier art and understand the amount of time and energy they have to put in to become good at these things. This is why I spend quite a bit of money commissioning these people to create art. However, I have no clue how to move beyond being a large pocketbook either.

If anyone has done such things and has any advice, I'd be very interested to hear about that.
xurnami: (darash)
Some people might be wondering why I haven't said much about some of these issues of the now. Some of my friends are even attending protests as I write this about one iteration of one of these issues. However, I have stayed silent on most of them. There are two big reasons for that. One of them is that I've just had lots of other stuff going in in my life which does not give me nearly as many spoons to handle such things. However, there is a much bigger reason.

I have a big rule on my list of people who I follow on Twitter. That rule is that if you are an asshole, you leave. I write my Twitter messages for those who I am following. Since the people I am writing for are not assholes, they don't need to be reminded by me that there are shitty things going on. Things like black kids getting murdered by white supremacist cops with grand juries not even allowing the cases to go to trial or neoreactionaries using pissed off gamers to push their agendas and harass female developers. I assume that most of them have their own sources showing them that news in the method they want to see it. They don't need it reiterated by me.

On top of that, Twitter is about the WORST medium for discussing these topics. You get 140 characters with maybe an image attached. Quite often that image is an iPhone screenshot of text in an article that I'd rather read using many other things than that Twitter message. I just saw an amazing thing about how 4chan's culture influences GamerGate but because every line in it was a tweet it was much worse to read, reiterated itself, not edited, and I feel a much better piece of work if it was just put in a pastebin. Not to mention using a service like Medium or any of the other free blogging sites (like this one!).

Edit: Twitter, I feel, encourages lots of this behavior for their own reasons. They have built a system that requires extensive amount of "engagement" to stay alive and so they have encouraged methods of discourse that are instant gratification. Making others aware is one thing. However, Twitter makes it so easy to just share your outrage and they love that since it increases "engagement."

While I understand Twitter is quick and easy, the retweets and everything else lead to people arguing with bumper stickers. All I can do is agree or disagree with whatever bumper stickers you are stapling to your timeline. All of these issues going on right now are infinitely more nuanced than the bumper stickers. In the second paragraph, I attempted to describe the issue with as much more nuance than a reference to the latest iteration of the problem. And still I had to use lots of jargon to make it not take a paragraph on its own. I can't even describe what we need to discuss in 140 characters.

Along with that is a rule that I've seen from lots of people in the sexism/racism discussions is that you should let the people who are affected by this issue do most of the talking. The best role that allies can take is shut up, LISTEN, and let others talk. In this reality, I present as a white mostly cis male. The best thing I personally can do is focus on discussing these issues privately when I see someone is being an asshole. I've found that comes across so much better than adding a slow trickle of outrage to other people.

If you are interested in discussing these topics, I'm more than willing to listen. But let's have a discussion, not bumper stickers. Let those who are being directly affected speak. I feel encouraging people to listen to direct sources instead of filtering it again is better. Maybe you missed some context with that specific RT you picked. I feel a message of "Go read [twitter.com profile] ShaunKing right now." or "Go read [twitter.com profile] Spacekatgal right now" is much more direct, gives people context, and allows them something they can decide how to engage in. Remember that not everyone has the spoons to take in the outrage at the moment.

Thank you for listening.

September 2015

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