Text and Hubris |

An stick figure character with a price tag attached to them.

You really are the Product.

The adage used to go, “If you are not paying for a product, you are the product.” That isn’t entirely true today, however. Today we often pay for services that are just as ready to sell or appropriate our data as their free competitors. We just sign it away with the click of an okay button.

Well, we finally have a very clear idea how much that data is worth. At least, how much your reddit data is worth. That price: $60 million. $60 million for content farmed from other people via communities supported and managed by volunteers. To call this piracy or profiteering is almost laughable.

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A New Site for Community and Storytelling

A New Site for Community and Storytelling

One of the challenges of Text and Hubris is that it has a sort of mixed personality that can make it hard to navigate. This site is supposed to act as my personal blog, my creative space, my research space, my tech space, and my everything else space.

That’s a lot for one site to handle, and I often find myself struggling with whether or not I really want something posted here. This was especially true when it came to creative works and reflections that just didn’t feel in line with the tech and research content I post here. To resolve this issue, I created The Scrivener’s Jest. The Scrivener’s Jest will host my creative works and my reflective writing. The site is a self-host Ghost site and the creative works and reflections will also have an option to be sent out as a mailing list.

In addition to those creative works, a lot of my non-tech and research content will be moving from here to The Scrivener’s Jest. Storytelling games, creative writing, internet culture and media posts along with general life updates will all be hosted there. I have mirrored the last two gaming posts from this site to help guide people to the new content.

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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.

© Geoffrey Gimse (2024) - Built using Hugo.

Opinions expressed here are my own and are not neccessarily shared by employers, friends, or colleagues. Except where noted, all photos are my own. Other images used on this site are in the Public Domain or have been purchased for use via The Noun Project."