rynling: (Default)
I saw the movie IT last weekend, and it was a good, solid, well-made piece of Hollywood cinema.

Twitter has also been a lot of fun this past week, with people making all sorts of jokes and comics about how they could easily be lured into the sewers with promises of controlled rent and affordable healthcare (this is a good example). This somehow (it's a long story) morphed into fan art of Pennywise and the Babadook dating and doing things like reading picture books and holding balloons (and so on). Some people have tried to explain this by saying that the young Scandinavian actor who plays Pennywise is actually quite attractive (which is true), but I think Twitter's recent obsession with Pennywise is nothing more than people playing around with something that is inherently silly and ridiculous.

If I had to read more deeply into this, I might say that there is a long history of horror movie monsters being coded as queer, and so people facetiously shipping Pennywise and the Babadook is about the normalization of queer romance, which was often characterized as monstrous in the era of postwar American horror films that IT references. I might also say that, now that many people have been forced to confront real-life political monsters due to the rise of militant xenophobic nationalism on a global scale, something like Pennywise (or the Babadook, whose film is widely understood as a Marxist-feminist critique of contemporary Australian society) doesn't actually seem that scary. In the end, these comics seem to be suggesting, it may be preferable to hang out with one's fellow "monsters" in the sewer than to be forced to deal with the monsters who are currently in charge of creating public policy.

Meanwhile, on Tumblr, there are several posts in circulation that are basically saying, WHY ARE ALL THESE ASSHOLES WHO SHIP PENNYWISE AND THE BABADOOK RUINING EVERYTHING BY DEMONIZING QUEER ROMANCE. These sentiments are so performatively radical and ignorant of actual queer issues that they read almost as parodies of Tumblr culture, yet they've received tens of thousands of notes and have been reblogged by people in my own circles of fandom who, by all rights, are old enough to know better.

Personally, I tend to think that people who care about representation in popular media would be better served by celebrating all the things that the actual movie did right, especially in its adaptation of the source material. Let's be real, the book was borderline homophobic in its villainization of queer sexuality. To give an example, in the original novel, Mike Hanlon (the farm kid who stays in Derry and becomes a librarian) is only allowed to join the central circle of friends because another kid turns out to be gay and thus too weak, mean-spirited, and cowardly to fight evil. In the movie, however, one of the child heroes is not only very clearly coded as gay but also gets a lot of screentime, character development, and fantastic lines. Also, unlike the book, there is no bizarre and intensely heteronormative child orgy at the end of the movie, thank goodness.

I feel like, if you want to talk about social justice as it applies to IT, there are so many more interesting and meaningful ways to go about it than to yell about how gay artists on Twitter are making jokes about the love life of a fictional clown monster, good grief.
rynling: (Gator Strut)
I’m going to be taking a break from Tumblr for a while. The polarization of the politics there has convinced me that it’s not a safe or sane place to be right now.

According to the dictates of what’s become known as “purity discourse” on Tumblr, media that contains elements deemed to be “problematic” is a direct threat to human life and civil liberties, and fans who create work referencing the wrong character or romantic pairing must be violently called out for the good of the community. This is why, between April and October of 2016, I received messages containing murder and rape threats on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. In addition, multiple Tumblr users who didn’t even bother to send messages anonymously bombarded me with detailed instructions on how to commit suicide.

Although these intimidation tactics reflect those of alt-right communities on 4chan and reddit, they are a direct result of global reactionary political movements. In other words, people who justifiably felt as if they were under attack in the real world vented their frustrations on the targets within their reach, many of whom unfortunately happened to be members of other marginalized groups on Tumblr.

In the wake of the American presidential election, this activity intensified, and many people have responded to aggressive radicalism by discounting progressive ideas altogether. Since purity discourse has shut down a number of conversations concerning issues such as race and representation, what has filled the void is content that has become popular because it presents a facade of the diversity privileged by Tumblr culture while actually supporting conservative beliefs.

Within my own particular corner of fandom, almost every progressive voice was driven away by the same sort of harassment I suffered; and now, in the absence of these voices, expressions of white supremacy are tolerated and occasionally even tacitly encouraged. To speak out against these sentiments is tantamount to identifying oneself with purity discourse, thus inviting backlash and ostracization.

I refuse to choose between ideological purity and casual racism, and so I think it’s best if I distance myself from Tumblr until I can clear my head a bit.
rynling: (Gator Strut)
This morning I reblogged a chain of posts on Tumblr (link) about how "somewhere along the way fanart become worth more than fanfic to fandom" and how "Fan Authors have become the strange little hobbyists in the world of fandom, quality doesn't matter, care doesn't matter, research and talent and learning about writing doesn't matter." I added my own commentary, saying, "as the number of notes on this discussion indicates, there are a lot of fic writers (including myself) who are struggling through a very dark and painful space here on Tumblr."

It's probably best if I don't share the details of what I mean by "a very dark and painful space" within the context of my own life, but there are tears involved, not to mention not unoccasional substance abuse. I mean, I think many of us have at some point idealized artists like Van Gogh who suffer for their art, but when it happens to you it's really surprising how much it actually hurts. It's like, I did not plan to feel this bad about my creative endeavors??

What a lot of people say in response to a complaint like this is something along the lines of, "Well, you should create for yourself," or, "You can be happy if you have a few close friends who read your work." Both of these things are absolutely true, but at the same time it's difficult to look at someone's afternoon speedpaint get hundreds (if not thousands) of notes while the chapter you worked on for at least an hour every day for two weeks gets maybe ten notes if you're lucky. It's not that you didn't enjoy writing it, and it's not that you don't love and appreciate the people who responded to your stuff with every fiber of your heart - but also, what the fuck is even going on here? How did it happen that fic became so undervalued in fandom?

Personally, I'm not too terribly surprised that my own fic posts don't get many notes, as I write in a small subfandom, but it's been disheartening to see other people's fic all but vanish from the tags I track. There's still plenty of work being posted on AO3, but that platform isn't built for promotion and publicity, and just about the only way I find fics is if someone reblogs or recommends them on Tumblr (or here on Dreamwidth).

I guess my problem is that I see fandom as a community, and I'm disturbed that Tumblr-based fandom in particular is so dysfunctional in so many ways. This is why the essay I quoted, Social Contract Theory and Fandom Libertarianism, spoke to me so strongly: "Fandom libertarians, then, would be the people who insist that if everyone just did the fannish things they wanted to do and stayed out of everyone else’s business, we would all have a great time in fandom. And just like with political libertarianism, that sounds pretty good on the surface." But, as the author argues, libertarianism sure sucks for most people in practice, and it's not doing fandom any favors.
rynling: (Mog Toast)
I've been attempting to study how Tumblr works for the past two years, and this is what I've got.

Sunday evening from 6:00pm to 8:30pm EST/EDT is the best time to post something on Tumblr. Wednesdays and Thursdays also get a high volume of traffic, with the window between 7:00pm to 10:00pm being particularly active. The trick is to try to catch the sweet spot when both the East Coast and the West Coast/Latin America people will see your work, and hopefully the reblogs will keep the post spreading until the people in Europe are active.

Only the first five tags of any given post "count," meaning that the post will only appear on the searches and feeds for those tags. All additional tags will only function to help organize content within the individual blog itself (or to serve as commentary).

A post will not appear on searches or tags if it contains a link to a website outside of Tumblr that has not been vetted by the admin overlords. AO3, Dreamwidth, Patreon, Instagram, DeviantArt, and Wordpress seem to be fine.

When posting images, the ideal pixel width is 540 or 1080, and 1280 on certain themes. The maximum pixel width is 1920. If you post at another pixel width, Tumblr will resize the image and make it look fuzzy. Always try to post images as "image" posts, because many themes distort the images of "text" and "ask" posts when they are reblogged.

In terms of the attention any given post receives, I'm starting to suspect there's something of a chain effect that happens with likes and reblogs, but not in the obvious way of "more people seeing a thing equals more notes." What follows is nothing more than speculation, but...

Read more... )

When it comes to how many notes any given post on Tumblr will get, then, timing and formatting – not to mention creativity, skill, and consistency – are important, as is having a strong social network. But there are other major contributing factors that are... not random, exactly, but extremely difficult to control or predict.
rynling: (Needs More Zelda)
Lightsintheskye just sent me a comic based on a scene from the sixth chapter of my Zelda/Ganondorf fic The Legend of the Princess, and words cannot describe how fantastic it is. She also sent me a gag version, which I want to share here because it is made of gold.

Read more... )

My post of her last illustration only ended up getting about three dozen notes, so I decided to ask for the artist's advice about posting this one. I understand that the attention any given post gets on Tumblr is random, but there still have to be ways to skew the odds. Is there a day of the week or time of day that gets more traffic? Is there a good set of tags to use? I know there are marketing strategies for things like this (for example, this is an interesting infographic), but I've never sat down and compared notes with another actual human being. And it never hurts to ask for advice, right?

ETA: I'm glad I asked!
rynling: (Ganondorf)
I'm still thinking about why that post I wrote about yesterday didn't get any notes, and I can't help but wonder if maybe gender has something to do with it. Specifically, if I were male and had established a fandom identity as male, would I (and the artist) get more positive feedback for this sort of collaboration?

For various reasons (including the lack of support for that particular post), I feel that, if a woman works with artists to illustrate her fic, she's considered pretentious, while a dude would be "innovative." Female writers working with artists is extra, while male writers working with artists is how actual comics and video games get made. As an ongoing phenomenon created and propagated through Tumblr-based collaboration, Undertale jumps immediately to mind as an example, as does the Zelda fancomic Second Quest. And maybe it's just me, but the majority of professional writers for comics and games still seem to be male, even despite rising numbers of professional female artists. So I wonder, is there a stigma against female writers working with artists that begins in fandom, where many female creators start out?

I put an abbreviated version of this question on Twitter, and I got some interesting responses. A friend of mine who used to be a Harry Potter BNF and now studies fandom as an academic was basically like, "Pretty much." Another friend who writes for a few pop culture magazines jumped in to say that this is exactly how it tends to work with cosplay, where female models and costume designers go by pseudonyms even though male photographers get paid while simultaneously advancing their professional careers. Another friend summed the issue up nicely by saying that "women creatives 'are just playing around' while men 'have projects,'" a statement that is given weight by the fact that she gives panels at anime conventions for free while her boyfriend is always paid by these conventions to do the exact same thing she does.

And then this idiot white male friend of mine from college (the same one I was frustrated with in an earlier post) jumped in to inform me that it's difficult to judge public perception based on gender. I was like, Oh really. I get a dozen notes for my creative work on Tumblr, while you get $50,000 for your creative work on Kickstarter. Is it really so difficult to judge the difference in public perception? The only legitimate response would be "that's a good point," but he tried to argue with me, so I blocked him.

Anyway, if we can run with the hypothesis that the broader culture exhibits a resistance against female writers working with artists on fannish mixed-media creative projects, then perhaps the more specific antipathy toward writers within Tumblr's female-dominated fandom spaces begins to make a bit more sense.
rynling: (Terra Branford)
I'm working with Lightsintheskye on a series of illustrations for my Zelda/Ganondorf fic The Legend of the Princess. She did the cover illustration a while ago, and yesterday afternoon I posted her illustration for the first story arc.

Despite the incredible quality of her art, the post only got 11 notes.

I was really surprised! I know that this piece will get the attention it deserves when the artist reblogs it later during the peak time for her blog, but I still can't help but wonder why so few people who follow me on Tumblr or track the fandom tags were willing to offer their support for a collaboration like this. (The people who did like or reblog the post are lovely and wonderful and have my eternal gratitude, of course.)

I think this is what it what it means to "create for yourself" - you need to have faith that what you're doing has worth and value, even if it's not something that's immediately recognized by the larger community. Despite the doubts I have regarding my own writing, the artist's talent is readily apparent. Like, what she does is really good, and I'm so lucky to be able to work with her on this project. Even if it's difficult for me to have faith in myself, I can believe in the quality of the artist's work. Along with the artist, I'm creating something interesting and unique and meaningful, and I'm gonna keep going, no matter what...

...if only because the actual process is so much fun. I mean listen, as much as it sucks to get so little positive feedback on Tumblr, I'm not going to complain about how cool it is to get to play around with concept and design sketches like this one of Zelda in fancy princess clothing.

Read more... )
rynling: (Default)
This is from Page 127 of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness...

...wherein a depressed young woman finds the validation and acceptance she's been craving from an online community that supports her. I'm immensely happy for the artist, but this also breaks my heart. This is exactly how I thought it would be for me, and this is what I wanted from fandom, but it never happened.

There's another page in the manga where the artist describes feeling "like being at ninety-five percent rejection" just about all of the time, so that when she experiences even a small rejection it's like the end of the world for her. I think, more than anything, this explains why I tend to get so butthurt about Tumblr. I always feel like I'm already at 95% rejection, so then when I turn to fandom, expecting to find validation and acceptance, the extra 5% of rejection destroys me.

Just as the artist describes it, I have a feeling that I'm not working hard enough, and that I will never be able to work hard enough for my work to be accepted. I'm not depressed like the artist, but this sort of ongoing existential crisis creates the exact same sense of emotional precarity. I wish that fandom could function as a way to escape this emotional precarity for me as it did for her, but I'm already expending so much energy just treading water that I really can't see where I need to go to make that happen.

For the time being, I'm laying low while I take a small break to recover a bit of stamina.
rynling: (Teh Bowz)
In a chapter of her new book Kill All Normies titled "From Tumblr to the Campus Wars: Creating Scarcity in an Online Economy of Virtue," Angela Nagle summarizes her theory on how the right was able to take political power even while the left has become more stridently vocal. She writes:

In the early days of Twitter, a platform in which users are supposed to compete for followers and through which lagging careers can be instantly boosted through the correct virtue signaling, minor celebrities realized that one could attract a following greater than through traditional media. At first, self-righteously or snarkily denouncing others for racism, sexism or homophobia was the most instantaneous and certain way to achieve social media fame. Something about social media platforms, it turned out, was conducive to the vanity of morally righteous politics and the irresistible draw of the culture wars. But soon the secret was out and everyone was doing it. The value of the currency of virtue that those who had made their social media cultural capital on was in danger of being suddenly devalued. As a result, I believe, a culture of purging had to take place, largely targeting those in competition for this precious currency. Thus, the attacks increasingly focused on other liberals and leftists often with seemingly pristine progressive credentials, instead of those who engaged in any actual racism, sexism or homophobia.
Although I tend to think that Tumblr functions differently than Twitter in a number of meaningful ways, this hypothesis makes sense. In fact, I've posted multiple times here on Dreamwidth about how confusing and frustrating it's been for me to be attacked for seemingly minor infractions (such as finding nonwhite fictional characters attractive in the "wrong" way) on Tumblr while actual literal white supremacists drove the U.S. presidential election and were then treated seriously in the discursive forums of mainstream media.

That being said, Nagle's ostensible emphasis on rationality and resulting lack of empathy for other human beings calls her conclusions on leftist culture into question in its creation of major critical gaps. To give an example of what I mean, Nagle is deeply steeped in academic ideology (she wrote a dissertation about this, after all), but for some reason she refuses to reference any political theorists who aren't white, male, and European. As a result, the only women who appear in her discussion are either (a) real or hypothetical victims of online harassment, (b) "special snowflakes" on Twitter and/or Tumblr, or (c) herself, whom she repeatedly positions as being above the "fetishization of vulnerability" that she claims characterizes identity politics.

Essentially, Nagle is uncomfortable looking at the current political situation from the intellectual perspective of anyone who is not white, male, and European. This leads her to make numerous statements such as the following, which precedes a brief discussion of Gamergate:

First, let me be clear on my own position on gaming. If you're an adult, I think you should probably be investing your emotional energies elsewhere. And that includes feminist gaming, which has always struck me as being about as appealing as feminist porn; in other words, not at all.

Statements like this demonstrate that, for someone who goes through great pains in order to connect the contemporary alt-right to twentieth-century academic political philosophy, Nagle really... hasn't done all of the required reading, I guess.

Even though what Nagle is saying about the self-cannibalization of identity politics on Tumblr makes sense, I find it difficult to have any faith in her overall argument, which is basically that the trolls on Reddit and 4chan hate Tumblr-based leftist culture because of course they do, any sane person would. I mean, that's a reasonable thing to say, but it's not really a thesis statement that I would expect someone with a PhD to make, you know? What I'd like to see is a more sensitive and nuanced critique of Tumblr-based political culture from the perspective of someone who is more sympathetic to the concerns of the people who have created communities there; but, to be fair, Kill All Normies is very clear regarding the fact that its focus is on white men.
rynling: (Gator Strut)
"I love your Zelda meta post," I say to a friend. "I'd like to draw a comic about it!" So then of course I proceed to not talk to them for a week, and when I finally sit down and put my pencil to paper this is the sort of garbage that comes out, Jesus Christ.

rynling: (Needs More Zelda)
I've spent the past hour drawing thumbnails for some f/f Zelda pairings I'd like to post pictures of for "Femslash February" on Tumblr, but it's hard.

Last year I got so many messages for so many months from so many people in the Zelda femslash community telling me what a bad person I am and encouraging me to commit suicide. If something like this happens once, it's funny. If it happens a few times, it's just life on the internet. If it happens at least twice a week for eight months, it kind of changes you.

People say that the best way to respond to online harassment is to not respond at all, but this tactic has the unfortunate side effect of making the violence less visible. And then, when you finally do say something, it seems like you're the crazy one for reacting so strongly. When I finally broke down and admitted to a handful of online acquaintances that I was being harassed, they said things like...

"You have to admit that they have a point."

"These people just want to be heard and respected."

"That's rude of them, but you have to understand where they're coming from."

In other words, if the extent of the harassment remains invisible, a culture in created in which the harassers are privileged over the harassed. This is insane, because I'm pretty sure the correct response to a statement like "I'm clinically depressed because I've been receiving death and rape threats every day for weeks" is not "You should think about what you did to deserve this."

At the moment I'm sobbing my eyes out, but I'm hoping this process will be cathartic. And I keep telling myself: It's okay to be a gay girl! It's okay to draw gay girls! It's okay to be in a gay mixed-race relationship! It's okay to draw gay mixed-race relationships! There is nothing wrong with me... except that I kind of suck at drawing.
rynling: (Default)
According to The Best of Tumblr Generator, these are my statistics for 2016:

From what I can tell, this tool only counts original posts in its total for "posts," but in its count for "notes" it tallies all of the notes for all posts, including reblogs. For the "top post" of each month, however, it only takes original image posts into consideration. Like the AO3 statistics tool, it counts the continuing activity on the posts made in a given year within its section for that year, so the "2016" section only counts notes received on the posts made in 2016. I'm not entirely sure if this assessment of how the tool works is correct, but I still got a ton of notes, which is nice. In addition, a few of my posts from previous years still continue to receive a sizeable number of notes, with some of my yearly totals having more than doubled over the past year.

I also have more than twice as many followers as I did last year:

I think I learned three things about Tumblr this year.

First, the number of notes any given post will get is completely random.

Second, it can sometimes take a few months for a post to start getting notes.

Third, although activity on the vast majority of posts will stop dead within 24 hours, activity on certain posts can come and go in waves.

Lol j/k I have no idea how Tumblr works.

I experienced a great deal of Tumblr-related emotional pain this year. Some of this distress came from the repeated harassment targeted at me from April to November, and some of it derived from my inability to build strong relationships. I had expected my friendliness and support to create bonds of affinity and perhaps engender reciprocity, but that never happened, unfortunately. It's important for me to be part of a fandom community, but my understanding of my role within that community needs to be more realistic as I move forward.
rynling: (Cecil Palmer)
In Japan there's a concept called taika, which expresses the idea that everything has a suitable price. This isn't quite the golden rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Rather, it conveys the sense that the smooth functioning of human society requires reciprocity. You cannot take too much, but you also cannot give too much. In order for things to balance out, there must be equivalent exchange.

I think this is why I've become so disillusioned regarding fandom. In order for a fandom to function smoothly as a society, people have to give as much as they take. This can be difficult in some cases. A big name fan, for example, can't possibly return all of the notes that they're given. Still, if there isn't a steady flow of mutual promotion and appreciation between the creators of any given fandom, the community won't be able to maintain itself. People who aren't rewarded for their work will drop out, which means that new people won't have anyone to welcome them.

Back in the LiveJournal days of yore, fans tended to support one another because they read each other's personal journals and therefore saw each other as people. On Tumblr, however, you don't have much more to go on regarding a potential mutual's identity other than an infinitely scrolling wall of reblogged memes, and most fandom posts are devoid of the context of their creation to begin with. Why would you care about supporting someone in the community of your fandom on Tumblr? You don't even know who they are. I wish there were a way to work around this somehow...
rynling: (Default)

The commission in question is (here) !!
rynling: (Gator Strut)
I am fully aware of how narcissistic this is, but recently I've been thinking a lot about why people on Tumblr don't seem to like me.

Generally speaking, my goal is to make the people around me feel happy and appreciated. Or rather, "make them feel" is not quite right; "I'd like them to feel" is closer to what I try to do by sending out positive and supportive vibes. It's hard, though, and I feel like I spend most of my time apologizing. I have so many interactions on Tumblr especially in which I try to be friendly but end up rubbing the other person the wrong way.

There's this idea that, if you keep putting out good work, you will build an audience. I've been posting stories and drawings at a steady rate, and I like to think that the quality of my work has improved, but I seem to have done the opposite of building an audience; there are a lot of people I used to be friendly with who haven't left the fandom but no longer interact with me. I want to put more of myself out there, but I'm so, so afraid. The more people see of me, the less they like me, and the less attention my work receives. I feel like an emotional hypochondriac for perceiving my social interactions on Tumblr like this, but I'm not wrong.

Then again, haters gonna hate.
rynling: (Gator Strut)
Hi, my name is Kathryn. I like anime, and I like video games. Welcome to the nerd circus, we're all pals here!! you might say to me, but this is not necessarily true. Friends, I have to tell you that gaming fandom and anime fandom on Tumblr are like day and nightcore.

I've run in video game fandom circles for a while now, and some of the microaggressions I routinely deal with regarding my fellow gamers would make a grown dinosaur cry. To give an example, I have people who like and/or reblog just about everything I post, but they won't follow me because that would be weird I guess?? Meanwhile, I have actual mutuals who won't like or reblog something I post until someone cooler reblogs it from me. And every so often I'll stumble across something interesting from like 2013, and I'll reblog it from the source, and then one of my mutuals will reblog it from the same source not five minutes later instead of reblogging it from me.

Like, who does that? Who mixes beer and Red Bull and dives deep into the dumpster of a Tumblr tag, scraping past the stale garbage at the top of the feed to get to the fermented trash at the bottom? What sort of unhinged person would think that wading through adolescent wank fantasies and the dank memes of yesteryear for an original reblog is a good idea? Who thinks there's any sort of social prestige to be gained by reblogging from the source? I mean, besides me obviously, but listen.

What I'm trying to say is that video game fandom people can be kind of bizarrely competitive sometimes, and they also tend to form oddly exclusive teams. This might be because video games themselves encourage such patterns of behavior, but it might also be because there's something about video games that's a little bit cool maybe. Celebrities play games, musicians play games, and there are even attractive and charismatic people who design games. You can be a game fan and still be "cool." I have never been cool in my life and don't know what that entails exactly, but the point still stands.

Anime, on the other hand, is not and has never been cool. Literally not a single human is going to accept a prestigious entertainment award and thank Megumi Hayashibara for being an inspiration, you know? Us anime fans are all hanging out in the scrub lands of popular culture, crouched around the digital bonfire that is Tumblr and passing around a tin cup of whiskey. "I've seen some shit," one of us will say. "Do you remember the English dub of Gurren Lagann in aught-eight," another will answer. And then we'll all sigh deeply and mutter something that sounds suspiciously like This drill is... my soul!! which we all know in our heart of hearts never made any damn sense. As internationally famed director Hayao Miyazaki so wisely stated, "Anime was a mistake."

Because we're all in the landfill incinerator together, anime fans stick close to one another. If an anime fan follows you on Tumblr, they will follow you forever, through thick and thin, through your changing interests and your social justice warrioring phase and any incomprehensible shitposts you may generate. When an anime fan finds another anime fan, they are Tumblr Waifus for Laifu. Treasure your anime fan mutuals, because they've got your back while the video game people are up to shenanigans.
rynling: (Ganondorf)
As I continue to reblog cute pictures and post fluffy shipfic on Tumblr, I continue to be tagged on reblogs of social justice call-out posts. As far as I can tell, I'm being targeted because of a pseudo-literary reading of Ganondorf's villain monologue at the end of The Wind Waker (link), which is a fairly lazy piece of writing but for some reason got a decent number of notes when I posted it back in March.

I was doing a lot of "volunteer activism" at the time - one of my lawyer friends dragged me along to babysit people's children while she did pro bono legal advocacy for people whose relatives had been imprisoned during the recent riots in Baltimore - and a relatively minor but still important part of my motivation for posting the piece was that my experiences had made me sick and damn tired of seeing Ganondorf being portrayed as "evil angry barbaric Oriental other." Ironically, I'm now being accused of perpetuating neoliberal and neocolonialist ideology, ie, "black people always want white people's shit."

It's complicated, and I'm willing to acknowledge the validity of multiple points of view. What I am not willing to acknowledge is the condescending and counterproductive assumption that I am ignorant and need to be educated, especially not at the rudimentary "Intersectional Feminism 101" level at which Tumblr seems to operate (probably because a majority of its most active users are in fact college students).

As Angela Davis has written, "Whenever you conceptualize social justice struggles, you will always defeat your own purposes if you cannot imagine the people around whom you are struggling as equal partners."

I am going to get that quote tattooed on my palm; and, the next time someone sends me an off-anon message to inform me that I am a bigoted cunt and should commit suicide immediately, I will tell them to talk to my hand. Or to read Women, Race, & Class for a more informed and nuanced (and still gut-wrenchingly relevant, even thirty fucking years later) view of how to handle intersectionality, either way is good.

I would consider closing my ask box entirely, but I get a lot of sweet messages from friendly strangers and adorable anons. Also, I want to continue to document the "anti" "aggro" "discourse" on Tumblr, which I think is an extremely interesting subcultural movement. I've been having almost daily conversations with a professional cultural anthropologist friend of mine about the recent drama in the BBC Sherlock fandom, and the two of us are thinking of putting together an actual academic paper about Tumblr-based fandom wank. We have both seen our fair share of epic wank sagas since the early 2000s, but we both agree that the wank on Tumblr is really... special.
rynling: (Cecil Harvey)
Because some idiot tagged me on a reblog of a troll post, and because I was stupid enough to try to engage with them like a rational person, yesterday evening I ended up being hit with just shy of three dozen hate messages and death threats on Tumblr. I've been on the receiving end of this sort of thing before, but the people telling me that they want a fictional character to rape my corpse have always been reactionary men, not radical feminists.

I'm sort of at a loss here. On one hand, I don't want the trolls to win. On the other hand, I'm really not doing okay.

Oh man. All I want to do is reblog cute Zelda pictures once or twice a day. What even is this mess?
rynling: (Silver)
Yesterday afternoon I got an ask on Tumblr in response to a post I made claiming that it was silly for people to attack my fandom, as most people who post work on the tag don't get that many notes in the first place. The person who sent the ask wanted to know why that is. I now strongly suspect it was a troll ask, so I deleted my response (and the original post that triggered it), but I thought it might be worth putting up here. The caveat, which I had included in the tags, is that my answer reflects my own experiences, and I'm sure that other people have had other experiences. Fandom is huge, after all. Still, I've been on Tumblr since 2011, and this is the theory I've developed on how notes work.

Every blog on Tumblr has what I call a "reblog coefficient," which indicates how many notes someone's reblog of a post will generate. If your blog has a reblog coefficient of ten, this means that at least ten of your followers will like and/or reblog any given post from you.

I call the blogs with the highest reblog coefficients "anchor blogs," as they serve as anchors for a fandom. Even when XKit is used properly, it can be difficult to catch everything that comes along in the rapid flow of the Tumblr feed stream, so people attached to a certain fandom will often visit one or two anchor blogs to check for new content, which they will like or reblog directly from that blog.

Tumblr has a category of communities that we can think of as "legacy fandoms," by which I mean fandoms that have inherited a large number of fans from fic-centric fandom communities on Livejournal. To give a concrete example, Hannibal is a legacy fandom of Sherlock, which is itself a transitional legacy fandom of Harry Potter. In the larger legacy fandoms, it's common for fanfic authors to have anchor blogs. Because the essentially visual nature of Tumblr as a platform can undermine the circulation of text posts even within legacy fandoms, however, sometimes fanfic writers will work together to create and co-moderate anchor blogs that are separate from their main blogs.

In video game fandoms on Tumblr, however, the anchor blogs tend to be the blogs of popular artists. An artist's work will generate its own fandom, which will help to propel the broader fandom forward. Perhaps because they themselves are visually oriented, these artists tend to only reblog art. In addition, there are typically several large anchor blogs within any given video game fandom that will reblog anything posted with a certain tag or set of tags, but they also tend to reblog art exclusively.

What this means is that, within video game fandoms, it's rare for a fic post to get more than thirty to forty notes, even if the author's blog is fairly popular. There are exceptions, of course, but they're generally tied to a collaboration between a writer and an artist. This is true for the Zelda fandom, and it’s been true for other game fandoms I've followed during the past five years as well.

That being said, it's entirely possible for someone who isn't an artist (or any other sort of BNF) to have what I call a "bedrock blog," which is a blog that one or more of the anchor blogs follow. Even if a bedrock blog only has a base reblog coefficient of ten, their practical reblog coefficient can be exponentially larger because of their association with an anchor blog. I've noticed a number of commonalities between bedrock blogs, but the one factor that stands out to me is that the people who run them tend to be extroverted and extremely active.

In the end, though, Tumblr is not organic chemistry, and nobody is on the site to try to cure cancer. I think its most important function is to allow people to express themselves while discovering new things. Everybody uses Tumblr in their own way, and notes don't always necessarily have anything to do with any given person's enjoyment of their experience.
rynling: (Needs More Zelda)
I just posted the last entry of a 30 Day Zelda Meme on Tumblr.

The whole thing ended up being around 12,000 words. I'm not entirely sure I had fun doing it, but it's nice to know that I'm capable of producing that amount of material if I just sit down every day and write.


rynling: (Default)
Rynling R&D

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