Wiki Notes

Notes from links about Wikis

  • Widely disputed definition of Wikis, important characteristics include the ability to edit content as well as consume it, a simplified version of hypertext, and near constant revision ad infinitum.
  • Rejects the traditional concepts of author and reader
  • Because of the open and simple nature of wikis, they are endlessly versatile and adaptive. Applications are everything from an anarchic community run database to a project management platform.
  • Though open, wikis operate on a principle of “Soft Security” which is community enforced and constantly constantly monitored by the collective.
  • Challenge capitalist thinking by challenging the concept of intellectual property, and how it functions within our society.
  • Organized as a list of links to different topics and subtopics, usually including a page on where to start, and a page on recent changes made to the wiki.

Weekly Reflection

Between Valentine’s Day and the impending anniversary of…that awful shit that happened last year, I’m afraid I wasn’t very productive this week. I managed to get parts 1 and 2 of my Blogging as Narratives series done towards the latter half of the deadline; Part 3 limped it’s way into publication hours afterwards.

I was disappointed that my Blogs as Narratives series didn’t reach it’s potential, as I had planned on covering the subject extensively. That being said, I’ll continue to try to improve both the quantity and quality of my posts in the future. Also, due to the aforementioned grim anniversary, you might be exposed to some late night drunken poetry. Bukowski did it, are you going to argue with Bukowski?

Blogs as Narratives Part 3

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This week I’ve been exploring the Tumblr blog of one Francene Higman. I apologize for the late posting on this last, but, as a writer, should wine, rare steak, rough sex, and chocolate covered strawberries ever fail to divert me from work, I won’t have any passions left to write about. Moving on.

Underneath the “about” on the front page of Francene’s blog, right next to the “Read Before Following” button, is a series of other links. These links function much the same as categories on WordPress; when you click on one, it brings you to a page that compiles all posts tagged in that category. This is interesting because Tumblr posts generally include comments in list form, a sort of shorthand conversation.

If you click on the “Blood Magick” button (Did I mention that’s her area of expertise? Talk about burying the lead..) it takes you to the compilation page for all posts that Francene tagged in that category. The first post links to a thesis paper entitled “Blood beliefs in early modern Europe”, which is full of titillating information for the uninitiated. Under this first post though, are conversations that Francene has had with her subscribers, and chunks of text that others have posted on the subject, that she later reblogged. This gives the reader a more cohesive story about her beliefs systems based not only on the information she reblogs, but the way she interacts and responds to her readers questions and comments.

Conversely, if you scroll through her blog, you’ll find the sort of content that she laid out in her “Read Before Following” post. The difference is that this content also bears a running conversation in the comments at the bottom of the image, video, ect. This information compounds with that found in the overview, and suddenly, a far more cohesive narrative emerges. Because of the conversational nature of Tumblr comments, details about Francene emerge naturally, as they would in a face-to-face interaction.

Through the use of tags, a “Read Before Following” page, and interaction with readers, the story that started with a 21 year old illustration student, has blossomed into the nuanced sort of narrative you would expect from a living breathing character.

Blogs as Narratives Part 2, Read Before Following

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Francene Higman’s blog is an odd fusion of eclectic interests, as one might expect from a Tumblr blog. However, there is a narrative behind it– if you’re willing to sift through the content and piece things together.

She’s actually made it rather simple to understand what themes lie within her narrative; there’s a link on her front page titled “Read Before Following” that outlines the content that one might expect to see.

The first theme she introduces is Paganism. She states that she’s a practicing Pagan, and as such, she can be expected to be honest and up-front about her religion within the pages of her blog. She also mentions that she primarily studies death through the lens of her ideology.

She goes on to say that she supports social justice and the advancement of human rights, whether it be feminism, LGBTQA+ rights, or Mental Health awareness. This is compounded by her promise to tag any posts that may offend or trigger someone’s demons with a trigger warning (tw). This gives a sense of compassion towards her viewers and on Tumblr, this sort of respect for other is expected and community enforced.

After that she briefly mentions art and kindly includes that “This sometimes involves me reblogging naked people I find aesthetically pleasing”. Also included is a short list of fandoms that she may reblog.

Francene concludes by asserting that her Tumblr page is to be used as her “scrapbook/diary/grimoire/notebook/ect.”, and that her professional site can be found here.

Merely within the confines of her introductory page, the groundwork for a narrative emerges. The reader already knows her faith, passion, hobbies and views on several prevalent social issues. These themes are further enriched by the content and social interactions that happen as a result of that content, which is what I’ll be exploring in part 3. Stay tuned!

Blogs as Narratives Part 1

Our assignment for this week is to find a blog with some sort of narrative behind it. I reject the term narrative blog, as such a definition is so broad as to be completely useless. After some consideration, I decided to use Tumblr, as I thought it would be interesting to see how a narrative plays out in a landscape that’s much different than WordPress.

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The blog I’ve picked belongs to my friend Francene. As her “about” will tell you (located right under her display picture), She is a 21 year old currently attending school for illustration. On top of her studies, she’s a practicing Pagan of 7 years. These two aspects alone are interesting, but as I’ll discuss in Part 2, there’s many more stories and details embedded in her blog that contribute to the overall narrative.

en3177 Weekly Summary

This week I managed to use my time more efficiently and be remain aware of impending deadlines. On top of that, I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 3 of Rettberg’s Blogging.

I was worried initially that my post on chapter 3 was too rambling and unfocused, or that it didn’t relate enough to the prompts we were given. However, I reasoned that it would be better to write what came to mind than to wrack my brain and waste more precious time. In the end, Morgan seemed to enjoy it, as did Krissi, so I’m satisfied.

In the next week I intend to further my efforts to post daily and work on publishing posts further away from the deadline. I’ve been having trouble getting content for the Rebel Art section of my blog as well so I intend to hassle my friends and hopefully shake them down for a few scraps of poetry. Speaking of, if anyone has anything at all they’d like published let me know and I’ll throw it up!

Aaaaand here’s a link to the one semi-artistic thing I managed to post this week. Enjoy or critique at your leisure.

en3177 Chapter 3

While reading chapter 3 of Rettberg’s Blogging, the line that stuck out the most to me was the Clay Shirky quote:

“A new social system starts, and seems delightfully free of the elitism and cliquishness of the existing system. Then, as the new system grows, problems of scale set in. Not everyone can participate in every conversation. Not everyone gets to be heard. Some core group seems more connected than the rest of us, and so on” (Shirky, 2003).

It reminded me of what Rousseau wrote in the The Social Contract, which was that man inevitably moved from a state of nature into a social contract.  Rousseau claimed that the rich and powerful got that way by convincing the underclass to yield to their authority. The solution to this system, Rousseau offers, is for the people to give up their rights, not to a king or elected official, but to the community. The community then makes decisions as a group to protect the welfare of all.

While it may seem wildly idealistic this shift may have already began on a small scale when it comes to the organization of the internet. However, as people connected and shared on a previously unimaginable scale, the gatekeepers of the old ideology, the elected officials, scrambled to maintain control over the flow of information in this new system.

It became abundantly clear that the US government sought this control in 2011 and 2012 with the introduction of SOPA and PIPA into Congress.  Speaking of SOPA and PIPA, here is video of Clay Shirky explaining why they’re awful pieces of legislation. I’m starting to dig this guy.

More recently the government’s quest for data control was exposed by the revelation that the NSA (through the GCHQ) has tapped into fiber optic cables  that circle the globe and carry profound amounts of data every day.

In April of 2010, Kevin Kelly, a writer for Wired turned a Clay Shirky quote into a principle. The Shirky Principle, as it’s now known, states that: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution”. I can’t think of a better way to put it than that.