Text and Hubris |

Martian Viewing Drunken Crowd by Henrique Alvim Corrêa

The Mob is not your Friend

In the rage of the modern era I would suggest a simple reminder: a mob has no friends nor allies. It is not a community; it is a breaking. It is a force that can be diverted and directed even manipulated, but it does not have any moral compass nor guide. It is a thing of rage, and if given the chance it will destroy you just as easily as it does others.

A mob’s power comes from its ability to isolate its targets. Shouts and threats followed by acts of violence act to break down the target while warning others to not step in. To step in is to risk the mob turning and coming for you, and that is a terrifying thing.

Resiliency in the face of a mob attack comes from the strength of your community. The stronger and more trustworthy your community is, the more resilient it is. Therein lies the rub, you foster your community. You build it and ultimately you must accept the fact that the community you have constructed (or left to winnow away) is the community you deserve.

Sociotechnical Imaginaries Beyond the State

I am working on a longer write-up of this, but sociotechnical imaginaries are not, nor should they be solely be treated as, aspects of the state. I realize that is how Jasanoff et al appear to have originally conceived them, but there is ample evidence they have broader implications beyond the state apparatus.

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries we have seen vastly different groups imagine technologies in ways that run counter to traditional state imaginaries. As technology has moved to the center of modern life, these imaginaries have only grown more divergent. Modern publics and counterpublics (definite nod to Michael Warner - 2002 here) do not always share the same sociotechnical imaginary. Publics reinforce sociotechnical imaginaries. They do not create an imaginary as such and imaginaries can be shared across publics (even their counterpublics) in fascinating ways. To assume a singular imaginary for the state is to miss the depth of the cultural struggle at play here, and that is before I even get to talking about how transnational publics and their imaginaries enter this debate.

I was glad to see some new articles cross my desk referencing sociotechnical imaginaries (I will post more on those once I have fully considered them), but I have continued to see a real link between the function and operation of publics and the circulation and reinforcement of sociotechnical imaginaries. I think there a lot that can be done to utilize such thinking for active engagement in our current time.

As an scholar outside the academic system, that engagement is something I consider to be critical.

Header reading "Covens of Midnight" with a several stylized swords and faces swirling over a tarot card back.

The Covens of Midnight coming to Alchemy VTT

Find this post and more like it on The Scrivener’s Jest, my more personal site where I post creative works along with a bunch of random talk about storytelling games, my life, media, Internet culture and whatever else strikes my fancy.

I am not a huge fan of solo conversions for RPGs. I role-play for the shared story and the dynamics that come from a mix of different players all playing their roles with that added element of chance that dice offer. If I am the only one playing, I can just write a story. That is what Crossed Paths Press seems to get so well in the new Covens of Midnight Solo RPG now in its last few days on BackerKit. It is a solo RPG that is essentially a journaling exercise featuring prompts from the creators driven via your previous choices and the randomness of a deck of Tarot Cards.

This was enough to get me to back it, and I wasn’t alone. The game definitely found a niche because they blew through every one of their goals by a mile. What’s interesting, though, and has me even more excited for the game, is that they just announced a partnership with the Alchemy RPG Virtual Tabletop.

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Interviews, Research, and Muckraking in “Academic” Clothing

This is as close as I get to a “sub-comment”.

Speaking as an academic whose research does occasionally involve interviewing people: not all people with academic credentials are academic. Academic researchers know that informed consent is a real thing. If they do not provide you with a release and a description of the research they are doing and how your interview will be used, they are not interested in academic research. If they are affiliated (in the US at least), they should provide an institutional review board (IRB) form and/or be approved through that IRB. I am currently unaffiliated, so I don’t have an IRB to go through. That is not a win. I consider that an even greater hurdle that requires more transparency, not less.

A flagrant misuse of interview data diminishes trust, hurts everyone involved and would probably be flagged in any peer-reviewed journal. Credentials are great, but not enough. Trust but verify. I and any researcher should more than happy to sign a document saying that if, in the course of research, we find some new cool thing that we want to use a part of your interview to highlight, we must get your explicit sign-off for that.

It’s interesting how consent seems to be an ongoing issue, here.

Using Vorta for Borg Backups on Rsync.net

Just a quick note for anyone using rsync.net and Vorta for borg backups.

Rsync.net has the borg executable installed. It can be found at /usr/local/bin/borg1.

You will need to set the remote path command line argument in the Advanced section of the new repository (see below).

This can be found online in a roundabout way, but I want it easily accessible the next time I need it!

© Geoffrey Gimse (2024) - Built using Hugo.

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