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Messages - dubsartur

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A few years ago, I got myself out of a slump by reading a gamer-friendly book on the second millennium BCE Geoffrey Bibby's Four Thousand Years Ago.

(Aside: Ken Hite and Robin D. Laws have one-sentence reviews of gamer-friendly books on )

That was one thing I liked about the first season of HBO's Rome: they tried to portray Late Republican Romans, not rich kids from California or polite Late Imperial Brits.  They did it in a HBO way (lots of violence and skin) not the way an ancient historian would do it, but they at least tried to show Roman characters as best as they understood them.

A problem is the modern fashion that characters should be sympathetic ie. behave in the way that the reader's culture says people should behave (I say modern because I don't think that any of the characters in the Iliad is supposed to be 'good,' except for maybe Hector and Priam and Hecuba and we know what happened to them).  Pretty much anyone more than 50 years ago is going to say, think, and do all kinds of things which are offensive to modern sensibilities.  Genre conventions are another problem: if Brother Cadfael thought like a 12th century person, he would not act like the protagonist in an English detective story.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 28, 2019, 02:03:54 PM »

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 28, 2019, 12:21:12 PM »
How long has Exilian been around?  From my point of view, many communities moved from decentralized sites to darknets like FB in 2012/2013, Violet Blue thinks it was around 2013 because in that year as many people viewed the web on small Android/iOS devices as on conventional devices with a browser. 

I think it depends on the genre of your website though, and that a lot of the people saying "everyone is on smartphones" or "you need a birdsite account" are speaking magic not description though: they are trying to make something true by saying it, like political commentators.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 26, 2019, 10:04:57 PM »
Hi Jubal,

  that is one reason why I still post on forums.  Some of the wisdom of forums, like "segregate current partisan politics to an 'off topic' section or ban it" and "you need moderators" is going to have to be reinvented by communities on centralized social media I think.

  Also, forums are run by fellow geeks.  They can go toxic in many different ways, but they are not going to delete search results containing some key technical term because in another context it is rude, or throw away the archives because they pivoted into a browser game (and communities survive as people enter a new hobby, contribute, then get bored or distracted and stop supporting that part of their web presence).

  It just seems like face-to-face communities reward "the organizer" and "the person who sends the weekly emails" but right now Internet culture is focused on people each pushing their own individual identity and hoping to make money out of it.

Something better for the early/high medieval period would be great, if someone could find a place which left us enough of the right kind of sources.  Regia Anglorum gives a great collection, but I think many of their prices come from law codes and so on, so they are probably not market prices.  If I try to steal your sword while you are swimming and I get caught, the price I and my kin pay may be more about how much I dishonoured you than about how much the swordsmith in the town down the valley charges.

Last time I played around with the Edict of Maximum Prices, I got a suspicion that the prices for staple foods allow for the fact that those vary wildly, whereas prices for durable goods may be more of a 'moderate middle price.'  So trying to use the list to get a price in 'liters of wheat', like some economists do, could be a mistake: the wheat prices might not be 'average' but more like 'a fair price after two bad harvests in a row.'

Matt Easton has another few videos on the demos of sabre vs. spear on foot which he makes his Victorian fencing students do. 

Lindybeige strikes me as one of those eccentric autodidacts who says a lot of things and is happy to drink a pint and argue about which he was wrong about.  He reminds readers and watchers that he is not an expert on anything, just someone with opinions, so I'm not too worried that sometimes he messes up, even though his audience is much bigger than it used to be!

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 20, 2019, 10:00:52 PM »
I also try to share primary sources ("A made a thing!") rather than secondary sources ("X says that Y is good") or tertiary ("A says that B should not say that C is good").  I think a lot of the ways people behave online are modelled on old-school media, just like the Big Five internet companies are looking a lot like the record labels of the 1960s or the 'one paper per town' era of the 1990s.

I have friends in the fiction, roleplaying game, and tabletop game industries, and I am just not sure if what they do really makes sense as a business, or whether they just organize it as a business because that is how people in their culture organize things.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 16, 2019, 03:16:48 PM »
I have been thinking that one of the things with the highest "impact to effort" ratio which fans can do is sharing things on social media so creators can focus on big projects, but the problem is that we are all bombarded with requests to review this podcast and like this page, and it also contributes to this culture of presentism where things which are not new get forgotten.

Aside from the Vi Harts and the Maciej Ceglowskis and the Ad Contrarians and the other usual suspects, Alexiares has a series of posts like What's Right With the Web, Part One and Like a Lumber-Room.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 09, 2019, 11:32:56 AM »
Thanks!  I have a blog post sketched which will explore that idea, and other assumptions I see like "if my website is not constantly pinging and buzzing it is a failure," but I have not made time to finish that particular one.

I am throwing up in my mouth as I say this, but its also part of the atomization of late capitalist society: people are expected to be their own public relations team and customer service, just like they are expected to be their own secretaries, run their career independently of their kinship network, etc.  And as Xenophon tells us, someone who must do many tasks is not as good at any as someone who devotes themself to one.  But late capitalism won't survive forever.  It might be that we go back to an age where storytelling isn't something people do for money but for other rewards within their community (in fact, fanficers are like that right now).  Lots of people can see that the neoliberal ideology that the capitalist business is the best form of social organization (so self-improvement is "investing in yourself," a hobby should be a "side hustle" to "build your personal brand," and universities are corporations which just happen to sell sheets of stamped parchment) just does not work.

When I read Patreon's update emails, the impression I get is that they have no idea why some people get a lot of donations, beyond that if you are already famous, its easy to get more famous, introduction videos help, and accounts on multiple social media help.  Quite a few people seem to use it as a subscription business, but some people earn serious money for things anyone can see.  So I am not so sure that the style of engagement which people are trying to sell creators on is really necessary.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 08, 2019, 05:06:24 PM »
Another useful concept is Vi Hart's Internet Votes, and normal people's discovery that what the chattering class talks about, or people on a centralized social media site talk about, can be ignored with no effect on their offline life, or a model's observation that some people click and comment on every centralized social media post and photo but never buy anything, and some never react on the public Internet but send an email beginning "Hi!  I have been your fan for years and I am looking for someone to fill this $5,000 contract ..." AND ACTUALLY PAY UP PROMPTLY.  What produces the most visible reaction on the Internet is not what produces the reaction you are looking for offline, and most of the people who find value in what you are doing will never tell you.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 08, 2019, 04:48:41 PM »
Also, if you look at scholars in the 16th/17th century, or anyone in the late 19th and early 20th century, you will see people spending serious time on correspondence with a wide hobby, religious, and professional network, most of whom were never famous.  So the basic idea is not new, it is just that the specific form which centralized 2010s social media encourage is not as healthy as some older forms like newsletters.  "The Medium is the Message": if TuusCanullus pays per video-view and rewards people posting at least once a week, then creators learn to post lots of half-thought out rambling things not slower, carefully thought out and edited ones.  If sites don't give the option to turn of the 'messaging' or 'private message' feature and boast about how quickly users reply on average, that changes behaviour too.  The interests of these sites are not the same as the interests of creators or users.

Exilian Articles / Re: The Pararelational Paradox
« on: June 08, 2019, 04:40:38 PM »
I would also mention the collapse of specialty mailing lists, newsletters, and forums.  People moved to reddit, facebook, and twitter, but those jumble different things together, drive away experts in a crowd of demanding ignoramuses, and are searchable at the whim of the centralized owner which can and does alter the deal at their pleasure.

I also see creative people who feel obliged to attend what feels like an excessive number of far-away, expensive conferences and conventions to me.  Maybe they are lonely from working at home in unwalkable country though?

The journalists are in the same trap as all other creative people: chasing a constantly changing sets of rules, chosen by liars, in hope of a pittance of money.  My decision was not to play the game, but instead to start from the assumption that I am never going to make serious money from free online writing and photos, and model an Internet which is healthy for me and for society: decentralized, searchable, slow (a regular weekly post), with links from centralized proprietary sites to the real Internet not vice versa, and presenting a specific persona not everything that is happening in my life.  If you start from the assumption that birdsite is never going to deliver amazing rewards to compensate for the distraction and the serious personal risks, you make different choices (and I don't actually know anyone in person with a birdsite account, except for one ex-professor and a friend's brother who has one for work).

We need both individual action and collective activism towards structural changes, but the 2010s internet is the wrong place for me to be doing the later, and an hour a week of action is worth ten hours a day of talking about what someone somewhere should do.  Most of my face-to-face friends have never heard of patreon, they don't need to be lectured not to be demanding of their creators. 

I have my real friends who I see in person, and what cannot go on forever will not go on forever: eventually the investors will wise up to investor storytime, and the creators will realize that they are being conned like Orwell's lottery players and pterry's mystics ("keep putting in time and effort!  one day you could get rich and all your problems will go away!  the goal you seek is just out of reach if you keep learning today's rules.")

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