Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither was this blog. We’ve passed several noteworthy milestones over the past couple of months, so it’s a nice opportunity to take a moment and reflect on the journey this blog and I have gone on over the years, as I highlight them.
First, 1 million page-views was reached late at night on April 29th! It’s taken us a long time to get here, and I thank all of you who’ve read the posts, and took the time to interact with me, and other readers on the blog. I know I haven’t always been the best about responding to comments timely, and have gone on periods of inactivity at times, but thank you for all visitors, past and current. Trolls aside. Nobody likes trolls. Sorry.
An accurate depiction of the blog’s owner by Sephyxer.
Speaking of how long it’s taken to get here, the first post on this blog was made on March 3rd, 2009. That’s just over 7 years ago! It was an early screening review of the Watchmen film. It wasn’t a very good film, let me tell you that. Later that month, I covered the beautifully written Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susannah Clarke, which isn’t perfect, but is quite good. As you can see, the blog’s start in particular was much more wide-ranged than otaku interests alone, and later down the road I even covered a geeky bootleg shirt!
Shitposting, it’s hard to define, and we shrug it off by “You’ll know it when you see it,” a form of communication that is becoming inescapable around message boards, Twitter, and chat-rooms. It’s basically memes responding to memes, which have been fermented in the noxious gases of Twitch chat. But are they a form of communication? Are they a form of humor? What are they there for, and how are they misused? I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of shitposting and memes, and never have been, so I’ve spent quite some time from my perch, looking at everyone running amuck in the communities I frequent, trying to understand why people do it, and what purpose it serves.
Well, as Hajime of Gatchaman Crowds had so aptly put it, people won’t stop doing what they’re doing if they’re having fun, but there must be some specific need this addresses, and that’s what I’m going to think over, and also how it’s being co-opted by outside forces.
(Note, the post’s previous title was “Shitposting Lonely Geeks, and The Corporations That Take Advantage of Them”, but corporations aren’t the focus of this piece, but how shitposting is closely-related to loneliness and in-jokes. So it was changed to reflect that better.)
It’d be easy to say that this is the top moment of the year because this was a relatively weak year for anime, or that I haven’t watched much anime over the past three months. It could also be said that I just like myself a bit too much, but since these moments are all about our personal moments, and that this particular “moment” took up hundreds of hours of my time over half a year, I don’t really see how anything else could’ve taken the #1 spot.
Nothing like some self-deprecating humor to start us off.
I’ve spent many times on various internet communities since roughly 1997. Every community I come into, I become very involved with, and relatively well-known in short order. I’ve started using reddit’s /r/anime’s subreddit more heavily when I revived this blog, back in April 2013, and completely immersed myself in it when Fall 2013’s season began, back in July. And as part of the community, I’d post pointers to people, correct mistakes, call out when people broke the rules, ask for rule clarifications, etc.
As such, it wasn’t all that surprising, as a high profile and very active poster that I’ve been offered a position of moderating the subreddit back in February, which I accepted. Continue reading
After spending many years on traditional BBCode fora, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time over the past several years on Reddit, and it differs from those BBCode fora in several ways, and so I thought it might be interest to observe some of them, and think of how they shape the communities and discourse.
Let’s start with the basics – like most such communities, content is provided by users, but aside from starting submissions in the form of an “opening post”, there can also be link submissions, which are “Look at this neat site/article/image” as Digg used to do. The other thing that people notice about reddit is what powers it – an upvote system, essentially users get to vote “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” for anything they see, from submissions to comments, and that controls what others see.
(This post is a required piece for some of the following pieces, as I intend to write a few pieces on various online communities, modes of discussion, and my experiences with them. It’s not related to “geeky” societies alone, and is more universal. This piece does however hold special significance for “geeky” pursuits, which I will define as a focus on a niche topic, whichever it might be.)
Imagine you pick up a new hobby or interest. It could be anime, surfing, knitting, or even Manchester United. We are excited about our new interest, and this being the internet we find a site, a community, of like-minded individuals. Actually, it doesn’t have to be online either, but the internet makes it easier, and becomes more relevant later on. We find people who share an interest with us, and other than that, they may be nothing like us at all – but it doesn’t matter, we’re here to discuss something.