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Nov. 7th, 2018 05:55 pm

Content Warnings! -

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Hey, hoodie here. Today, we're gonna talk a bit more vague, theory sort of stuff, in regards to game design. We're gonna be using Dark Souls 2 as our game of reference for the day. The topic is a theory of mine I like to call "numbers get bigger". Sounds pretty tame, at a first glance, huh? Numbers do get bigger, after all.

My problem is when that is the entirety of what they do. Take stat systems, for example. The souls series has a whole swath of character statistics, each meant to reflect something the character is able to do. Strength is how strong you are, how big of a thing you can lift and wield. Makes sense, in the general sense. The problem comes from what those numbers being raised actualy does, in practice. Yes, you can lift heavier weapons, through upgrading your strength modifier. But at a certain point, you have all the strength you will ever need, and you can wield every weapon in the game. The game doesn't stop you from upgrading the stat, though, at that point. So what happens when you keep upgrading it? "Numbers get bigger", in this case, damage numbers.

Well, doesn't enemy damage get bigger? What's wrong with the user putting points into a stat to raise the numbers? That's how your health works, too. It makes sense, if the enemies get stronger over time, for your character to get stronger as well. And I agree, at least in the vague sense. If your enemies grow stronger, and more powerful, as you progress, the player should as well. My problem is that little if right there.

What if they don't? What if we strip out every instance of "Numbers get bigger"? Tell me, and I would like you to really think about this before answering. Was anything meaningful truly lost, to strip that away? My argument is that no, we have not lost anything. If the player loves that little level up animation, the feeling of progression, we can honestly choose add an empty, meaningless number that increments itself automatically. If the numbers are how you compare yourself to an enemy to decide if you are ready for this challenge, you can use the same fake empty levels as markers, and provide a visual feedback, maybe a skull beside the enemy's level, like Borderlands does.

Alright, so we have a decent idea of why I think numbers get bigger aren't really worthwhile, as a game mechanic. What does Dark Souls 2 have to do with this? Well, I find DS2 interesting for a few reasons, but one of them is that there are a few stats on it's character sheet that are more than numbers getting bigger. So, let's list them, first.

First, we have attunement, faith and intelligence. All three of these decrease the time it takes to cast any given spell, as well as attunement giving you more equip slots to put spells into. This all makes a lot of sense, since these are the stats a spellcaster would want to utilize. This is also where I must share that faith and intelligence do in fact, count as instances of numbers get bigger. If they didn't DS2 would be an even cooler game, but, well, it isn't a perfect game. Attunement also increases agility, which I will explain in the next example.

Second, we have adaptability and attunement. Both of these increase your 'agility', which I have put in quotes because it is not a normal stat that you can upgrade directly. Agility essentially determines how many invincibility frames you get during certain actions. Adaptability has a few more uses, though. It also decreases how many hits it takes to proc poison, as well as giving you more poise and some resistances as a nice bonus. In other words, it has tangible, notable instances of numbers getting bigger, in addition to the opposite, meaningful change for how your character can do things, in this case, the character can poise through attacks better.

This trend continues, with vitality as our next example. Vitality increases the amount of equipment our character can carry at any given moment, as well as increasing our physical defense a little bit.

Strength is another, which increases our ability to guard with a shield in addition to damage numbers getting bigger. There aren't many more cool examples like these, but I would like to also note that every stat except for adaptability increases HP, with Vigor being the dedicated stat that gives the most HP per level.

So we have some decent examples from DS2, to avoid falling into the simple trap of 'numbers get bigger' being every stat in your stat sheet... but what if we took it to the extreme? I think I'll leave that as an excercise for the reader to consider on their own time, because if I'm not careful, I'll give away all my game designs to you dedicated readers, instead of hopefully making them, someday.

Thanks for reading,
- hoodie aida kitten.

here are some links to support me if you wanna send me a few bucks or support my work.

become a patron on patreon.

Donate using Liberapay
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
send me some money on paypal.me
Hey, hoodie here. This article might be a bit of a weird one, for many of you. I found my passion in writing, somewhat recently, and realized I would totally do this full time. A little while before that, I asked patrons what they wanted to see from me, and most all said they would accept game design article-type writings, so that's what I'll be trying today. Gonna do two of these, interspersed with the rest of my writing, and hopefully we all will enjoy it.

Today, I want to talk about Celeste, and how accessibility intersects with some really clever game design on it's part. To do that, we'll have to work up some terms to use and agree on, so this first article will be a bit of a reference as well, for those words. In games, you can do things, and for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on that quite a bit. Let's call them verbs.

So, in video games, a Verb is an action the user can make. Actions are verbs, in the english language, after all. In celeste, the game does quite a bit of work with treating things as Verbs, in fact, the game is so simple that it has just a few verbs, and this leads to the game as a whole being very very accessible.

Let's get into it, and lay out some example verbs, using celeste as our example game. We'll start with the Jump which is sorta self-explanatory. you press a button, and your character goes up. But now we can twist that verb, and talk about context. See, I like verbs as a method of describing game design, because it shows one of the most clever ways to design your game. Few verbs, many contexts. A context can be as simple as a wall your character is sliding down, and then it's a wall jump! Makes sense, huh?

Second, you have the grip. If you're against a wall, or otherwise have something near you to grab, you can press a button and 'hold' or 'grip' onto the thing. Pretty self explanatory, really, but now we can use one of the other verbs i kinda slipped past to parse how this interacts with the rest of the game. Let's say I grip a wall, and use the movement stick to tell my character to move up. Now I'm climbing! it makes sense, at least to some extent, it is 'intuitive'. People like that word a lot, but honestly, things can be super 'intuitive', and slip by some people's experience and they will miss it.

Anyway, we are starting to see how Verbs can be used as a system to define games, and design them. How does Celeste keep the game from getting stale? Any other verbs I glossed over?

Well, we have the dash, which is pretty simple, and is a good way to address how we can take a simple idea and lead toward meaningful gameplay. The climb has one of these rules, or modifiers to it. You can't climb forever, in a platforming game, without trivializing some of the puzzles. So instead, you have a stamina meter to worry about. It's invisible, but it doesn't matter too much, honestly. We already have a decent understanding that the climb is limited, and the wonder of the human mind will fill in it's limits. The dash is no exception, but it's easier to understand and describe. When you dash, if you are not on the ground, you cannot dash again. It's even got a visual cue, your hair changes color when you have used a dash, and cannot dash again.

a girl hurtles through the air, less than a pixel away from a crystal that will regenerate her dash

Now it's time for the twist, we can call them nouns, which you can see in the picture above. In celeste, there are these crystals, which have no name, as far as the player is told. That's one of the strengths, really, of designing like this, even if it can be worrying, you can dodge naming things, and explicit tutorials wasting valuable player time. Regardless, these crystals reset your dash as well as give you a complete reset on your climbing stamina. The reason this is fascinating is it means you can put twists on the mechanics of the game, through outside information anyone can understand after their first interaction with it.

the girl's hair changes back to red upon picking up the crystal, allowing her to dash again without touching the ground

Failure is not hammered into your mind, and you reset the level with near-zero delay upon death, so the game cuts the levels into screens that define your safe zones, where you will respawn. Each screen is an approachable gauntlet you can most often even see the entire route through, at least early on. By respecting these verbs, the game allows for accessible, easy to parse rules that are entirely set in stone, and each area adds things that modify the rules, that you can learn step by step. It's really kinda fascinating, when you look at games like this. As a counterexample, now, and to avoid me spoiling all of Celeste for someone who hasn't played, let's talk about a different game, to compare.

In dark souls, you have a different set of verbs, and that's fine, at least in theory. But let's say you swing your sword and-- welp, that seems straightforward enough. Now you hit someone with a shield and they block it, which is fine. The next person with a shield your sword suddenly has a new rule, though, you bounced off, and that left you vulnerable so, well. Now you're dead. This isn't inherently flawed, except the tutorial doesn't teach you this mechanic, and there are many, many like it. To compound this problem, death is much more of a punishment, in dark souls, in fact, if you're not careful, the game can heartlessly throw away all your accumulated souls, based on it's own flaws.

I don't mean to harp on dark souls, heck, it's a game i enjoy greatly. But it's got a lot of problems, and those problems are only exacerbated by the way it's designed. Does the tutorial need to be longer? have optional areas? What if you get a player lost due to the optional areas? You could be asking these questions, and to be fair to dark souls, it does teach you that some shields will knock your weapon away-- if you chose the right weapon, and chose to go into an optional room you will likely only see once, which also gives you a hint that means you are likely to miss this mechanic if you are unlucky and don't try experimenting with your weapon and the shield.

You see how it grows into a pervasive, systemic problem, doesn't it? I hope I've made my case for why I think Celeste is one of the better games out there, in terms of accessibility, but, at the very least, I can tell you I enjoyed it more than dark souls, and still am enjoying it, even after beating the story. It's under twenty bucks, depending on when you get it, and I would happily suggest it to nearly anyone looking to try it, including macOS or Linux users, Switch players and probably the other big consoles too. Here's a link to the itch.io page for computer players.

Thanks for listening,

- hoodie aida kitten.

here are some links to support me if you wanna send me a few bucks or support my work.

become a patron on patreon.

Donate using Liberapay
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
send me some money on paypal.me

Hey, hoodie here. A few days ago, someone on the fediverse noted in conversation that the content warning feature of mastodon is a bit of a narrow feature, speaking in terms of the possible use-cases. While I am not the entire reason the content warning feature came into existence, I was definitely a part of the fight for it to become part of the featureset.

You might think that would mean I would disagree with them, but actually I don't. My personal image of what content warnings should look like in terms of supporting features is very different from what the current implementation is... So let's talk about that. What would I change? Why?

Firstly, I want to state that I will not be arguing that content warnings should or should not exist. Content warnings needing features to support them will be treated as inarguable fact for the purposes of this article.

So, it's worth noting that when I saw the need for content warning tech, the first thing I thought of was Tumblr. Not because of whatever memetic stereotype you might be imagining, about how Tumblr has more sensitive people on it, but because of the featureset that that software puts forward for the user. Specifically, the ability to set a 'read more' tag partway through a post. This is a much more versatile version of what mastodon has, and I would argue it fits the needs of the content warning use-case a lot better than what we have right now, in mastodon.

Alright, now why the heck might I think that? First off, the content warning feature in it's current implementation acts a bit differently than what Tumblr does, in two major ways. I will now acknowledge that what follows is my personal opinion, because I imagine it will not necessarily sit well with everyone. I will also clarify that the current implementation (for the most part) should remain entirely usable in mastodon, via configurable options in the user's personal settings.

When we compare Tumblr's Keep reading or Read More function to mastodon's C.W. feature, a few things are immediately clear. Tumblr's automatically sets the readmore to have a newline for it to sit on, instead of getting meshed in with the rest of the text in the previous line. Secondly, if we click Tumblr's readmore feature, or just click on the post to bring it up in a detailed view, the read more or keep reading link doesn't appear at all, after all, you already chose to look at the post, you already consented.

This is a bit of a different action in comparison to mastodon's implementation, where you must opt in regardless of whether you view the post in a detailed view or not. Personally, I prefer this, but I can easily see users not preferring this. As such, it should be configurable. Another comparison to make is that you cannot link to things, in mastodon's content warning field, and it feels a little more clunky as a result of it, in addition to it having to jump through some proverbial hoops to ensure that it can show that the post in question is in fact a reply to another post. The read more function of tumblr does not have this issue, and is better off for it. I would argue that mastodon should learn a little, from tumblr, and implement at the very least, configurability to act more like this read-more function.

Thanks for listening,

- hoodie aida kitten.

here are some links to support me if you wanna send me a few bucks or support my work.

become a patron on patreon.

Donate using Liberapay
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
send me some money on paypal.me

Hey, hoodie here. Today i want to talk to you about a topic very very important to me, and also quite difficult to address, through the lens of social media technology. so first, we have to start with a definition.

a Community is a group of people, whether they be small or large, diverse or near-identical individuals, any group of people is a community, in the literal sense of the word.

This is a weird topic to address, because there are two features that deal with community, in the literal sense, as well as dealing with the complex social rules that lie under that. Those two features are the topic of today's article. For those of you in the audience not particularly excited by my methodical method of teaching, i'll throw out there that we're dealing with what many call 'groups', or 'bangtags', in GNUSocial tech.

So, let's talk about community, in the general sense, real quick, to get a few things out of the way. Community, literally speaking, can never be accurately judged or valued in any meaningful manner. As such, the tech we create must allow the user to make decisions about every individual aspect of this. A good example is the concept of a follow count. Does the user want people to know this information? this is a community issue, in terms of what subject of development we are talking about.

I mention this because, I, personally, as a user, wish I could keep that information private. There are reasons to have it public, but I personally do not appreciate that information being told to anyone who chooses to glance at me.

As such, I should be allowed to hide this information. There is a counterargument, in that users need to know that information, in the case of whether or not they should be allowed to boost your posts, should they ask. I personally believe the software should be extended via the feature I designed, namely, General Requests (link to full medium article on that matter).

Related to this, a wonderful feature already exists, which makes the lack of a feature I just described personally acceptable for me, that exists within the GlitchSoc fork of mastodon (link to github). This feature allows us to "hide your network", in it's own words, which means it let's us hide the exact data of who is and is not being followed by a user, from the user.

Alright, so now we've taken some of the more vague examples and explained how that interacts with the concept of community, from a technical perspective. Let's move on to a feature that many want in social media: Groups.

Well, what is a group? In the literal sense it's the same as a community, they are the same definition. A group of people, after all. So for us to make ethical group tech, we have to rephrase the feature's title. What do people really want from groups? The answer is more ways to organize data and posts, and specifically, opt-in groups of users, as a timeline that people can link to each other, in many cases, or otherwise use as a group conversation, or... well, now we're getting off topic.

There are many ways to define a group, in the aspect of a feature to enable this sense of community, or other form of sharing in an organized fashion. When we reframe it like this, there are two use cases that the users want, and they are very different, even though they lie on the same spectrum of software toolset that the social media in question must fulfill to suit these needs. I would personally call this feature "groups" because it is in fact, easier to say than community, as well as being shorter, and snappier.

Organize existing Community

Firstly, at one extreme, people want to be able to post to a place that their friends won't miss it. In this way, it is rather similar to a message board, or a forum. Now we have to think about how this interacts with privacy. Do the users want strangers to see those posts? Probably not all of the users, for sure. So we need to make it so those posts can only be seen by people allowed into the group, or commmunity. The community probably needs a private posting setting as the max setting, or at the very least, the ability to set a max publicity. As such, we can also set a default publicity, so that users can define the general tone of the group. Similarly, they will need to be able to kick users, or at the very least limit who gets in, preferably both. If groups get too large, they might need to be able to limit who gets in, or at the very least, who can let people in. Now we have a decent run down of how moderation will need to work. Users can be 'Trusted' to allow them to invite people to the group, and people can be 'Moderators' to allow them the ability to kick people and accept them in, if we get a general request implementation for offering user invites anonymously. The original owner will be the one who can delete the group. Maybe owners should be able to transfer that right, and if the group is disbanded, the users should be notified in their notifications timeline.

Discover new Community

Alright, so we looked at the users most likely to need privacy, what about those big groups? Many users want groups to be used to make people who participate in a similar hobby and such more accessible and discoverable. They probably want settings to allow anyone to view it, if it's an art-group, or a writing-group, or something on those lines. Now we can start to think about what kind of posts those people will make. If they produce content such as art, and want to use the group in that manner, maybe replies that are not to yourself should be excluded from the group, or at least allowed to be excluded from the group, via a setting. They also probably don't want to leave their friends behind, so maybe we should look at history, next, for how we will make things public. GNUSocial had bangtags, which are just another sort of hashtag, that anyone can publically follow. So, let's use that technology, and allow hashtags to be either '!tag' or '#tag' for the future, with a public feed in RSS or Atom, subscribable via ActivityPub tech. Our group implementation can customize a hashtag of either sort that is the 'group tag'. Maybe, '!tag's can be seen even if they are marked unlisted, as a backwards compatible use-case. Alright, let's say the group gets really, really big, but we don't want trusted users, only moderators, to be able to accept someone into the group. Maybe we can use '&group' as a way to allow users to address admins of the group, or the whole, should they choose to be addressable. Really, the biggest part is making this dialogue all open, for future improvements. The first step is making this all plausible to begin with, and by now, hopefully i've laid out the most basic needs.

Now there's our first feature, and hopefully I got y'all excited for the possibility of a future in which this stuff is much more widespread, as i sure wished I had enough friends in the facebook space, that weren't getting harmed by that software, to interact with. Now let's step back from the well known connotation of community, and look at it again in the literal sense. Let's say I, as a user of the Mastodon software, have a friend. Yep, you guessed it, we're going to reconsider the 'following' paradigm. The ideal is to use lists, which already exist in Mastodon, for this purpose. There's a problem, though. Let's say I want to follow someone, but don't want them on my timeline all the time. Right now you have to mess with muting, and mute the user, but also still follow them, to add them to a list. I'd propose a different feature, and allow the user to make the user go to any list they choose, with the Home timeline being a list you cannot delete, when you click the follow button. After all, if they're in a list, you're still following them, on some level, just not as actively.

Anyway, I am sure you all are tired of hearing me talk at you, so I will take my leave for now. I hope you enjoyed the article, or at the very least, learned something. Thanks for listening,

- hoodie aida kitten.

here are some links to support me if you wanna send me a few bucks or support my work.

become a patron on patreon.

Donate using Liberapay
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
send me some money on paypal.me

i’m sure there’s a person or two in the audience here who will probably know what i’m talking about from the title alone, but this still bears the gravity of enough influence to warrant lots of repetition. so don’t expect this to all be news to you. don’t expect most of it to be news to you. but please, read through till the end.

i might surprise you. first, we’ll have to get some dirt out from under my proverbial fingernails. gargron doesn’t like me much, nowadays. that's fine. i don’t like him much either.

for those of you who don't know me, i would like you to know i attempted throughout the entirety of my relationship with him to remain cordial, respectful, and approachable.

he’s blocked me anyway, for a reason i can only determine to be that i asked him the hard questions, and said a few words that rubbed him the wrong way amidst my best attempts at kindly, carefully sharing what i thought was necessary. but i said this was about queer activism on mastodon, right? what does this have to do with that?

well, i’m queer and i know software, coding and design. i make my best attempt at being an activist, and that has been relevant to all of my interactions with gargron. regardless of the fact that he has blocked me, i feel required to share at least one reference to a post of his. i do not believe this is a malicious attempt at subverting the block because i took the screenshot in question before i was blocked, to post it to myself, privately, out of frustration, in something short, pretty sure it mentioned the character count of masto and that's why i came. heck, it is probably the thing that GOT me blocked.

it’s also one of the main reasons i feel compelled to write this article. here it is below, in all its arrogant glory.
post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."

you might be connecting the dots, by now, but this post is not something i personally feel like i can agree with, on any level, really. you see, it’s telling me the opposite of my personal experience, as one of the forerunners of the exodus from twitter to mastodon. as i said before the only reason i was here was 500 characters over 140. so why did i stay? why haven’t i left? character count is a relatively minor reason to stay, isn’t it? long and short of it is that i stayed for the activism, the same activism this post seems hell-bent on erasing. i was here before there was an unlisted toggle, after all, and my issue on github probably was a part of why it became a reality.

since i joined mastodon over two years ago, i participated in approximately two years of activism, publically attempting to help sway the man towards changes that would benefit me, and the people around me. i tried to make my time positive, make good things come of me having been there, and, for the most part, i succeeded. the unlisted toggle happened. mutes happened for the most part to my spec, including keyword mutes now!

i am also the sole reason that content warnings were recognized as a possibility by gargron, through my attempts at github issue management. relevant link here. a lovely contributor named blackle coded the first implementation. link here.
someone who wanted to talk up my influence might even go as far to say that my additions were probably the sole reason so many people gave mastodon a shot. content warnings are a Big Deal for many people, including myself, and approximately four or five of my friends from that time period alone. if i was to ask my followers (which i just did, upon this rewrite) there were another 7 separate people who took the time to let me know that, on a non-public post, and are all different people than the ones in question. if it was public, and i asked for a boost, i imagine i would garner many, many More.

one of the biggest difficulties i have in writing this is how to properly convey the extent of activism on mastodon, the amount of people who participated, then and now. for instance, let me share something someone else wrote, on here, for you to read first. this is only one, of many, many people's contributions: link

so many, i cannot give you a solid number, because any number i give would be wrong. even in only the early days, there was bordering on a thousand active users who contributed to the discourse about how to improve and change the social media for the better, or the worse. i was only an intermediary. i was only a voice for those who couldn’t themself, for whatever reason, post a github issue, start a discussion, properly describe what they needed. so yes, i may have been the only reason that content warnings, one of the most society shaping features of the software, came into being.

but i am nothing, nobody special.

i am one of thousands who cared enough to contribute time and effort to how to better the software for all who use it, for free. that’s free labor, free time, free effort, all contributed to a software we created, together. now, if you’re clever, you probably already see where i’m going with this. gargron should be happy, shouldn’t he? all that free labor, all that free work, such an interactive, caring audience.

that’s all a man could wish for, in this sort of field, in creating tech for others, on patreon, as a job. because he is, you know, making money doing this. quite a lot, actually, not that it’s my business. here, see for yourself what his patreon is earning.
right now as i write this it’s well over three thousand dollars a month. and you see, that’s my problem with him. with the narrative he has attempted, as of recently, to create, for his project. his job. his work.

that it’s all his.

now let’s go back to that post of his. so if you’ve read the whole thing the first time around you’ll notice he mentions being open to something ‘the community wanted’ and calls it ‘unacceptable’ that he has recieved negative responses. there are a few logical flaws, in this post, and we’ll get to them in order. firstly, we are not here because of how he built mastodon.

post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."

i hope that much is clear, by now. i made the post that sparked the biggest feature you can shake a fist at in mastodon. i’m here because it got implemented. i’m here because people LISTENED. because activism WORKED. because we, as a community, could, for a time, make important, powerful changes to the software, through community favor, through community activism for change. but all that is past tense, now.

you see, things changed. the codebase grew. more exoduses from twitter happened, in swaths, droves, huge waves of people, and with that, came a change in voice of this ‘community’ he describes. and this is where the third fallacy comes in, from that post. we’ll get back to the second in a moment.

remember, the title notes QUEER activism. because way back, at the beginning of mastodon’s rise to what it is now, queer activists, be they just a stranger with a keyboard, new to the social media site, weighing in on a topic on the public timeline, or me, someone actively attempting to be the middle between the most vocal voices, and tangible, meaningful change through gargron’s code, and github focused writing and activity, people were queer. they were marginalized, to some extent. people who weren’t comfortable with the status quo, so we changed it.

we begged, and screamed, and kicked at the ground until there was enough dust in the air for gargron to cough and wheeze and change things, and in the end, those changes were enough for things to change for the better. things changed, because more and more people comfortable with the status quo followed. we queer activists rapidly became the subset that originally came, the marginalized. the minority.

we no longer had such a strong voice. our proverbial feet got smaller, the dust we kicked up much less powerful. and to some extent, gargron knows this. he has to. he pointed it out, in his post, actually, i’m sure someone is thinking, and maybe even posting, before they finish reading. it was a part of the community that wanted the topic that sparked that post, which was trending hashtags.

many of you were here for this. the actual feature in question doesn’t matter, it’s the facts behind this feature that show what matter here, the fallacy he refuses to acknowledge that is so rooted in his method that he will not change. the minority weren’t loud enough, you see, until we knew about it. and the fact of the matter is that we didn’t know about it until too late.

let me dial it back, we need to explain some more first. mastodon.social is the largest instance on the fediverse, or at least, for a time, it was. i don’t think it’s outmatched, or will be any time soon. because it’s the instance gargron hosts, the one his code gets on fastest, and the one that many many of the people i mention inhabited, before there even was any other instances. mastodon.social got the trending hashtag code before many of these activists i mention, like myself, knew it was a plausibility. so what this issue is, at its core, is a lack of transparency, a lack of public speaking, and a lack of awareness of what is actually going on, behind the scenes.

you see, it’s just too big to keep track of it all, anymore. the github for mastodon has over 800 issues on it, nearly 900, and that’s only what’s still open. so many issues have come and gone that it is nearly triple the number of currently open issues. not to mention, github isnt exactly user friendly as a reader, as an activist wishing to enact change, wanting to contribute. you practically have to be a coder to know what half of it means. so now let’s try to loop it all back together.

gargron made a change, people didn’t know about it until it was already live on the server, and a big fuss happened. the proverbial dust was big enough to make him notice us, the people who supposedly came to his software because of how he made itand our outcry of frustration, of being ignored, of the very real threat of abuse of that feature, was insulted. let’s look at that picture again.

post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."

i really am harping on him over one single post, aren’t i? you might be saying. but that doesn’t really matter. this is one post, yes. but it’s one post that shows the entire problem, so well that it needs to be used as a focus, or i’d be kneecapping myself trying to explain all this. “don’t give me shit”, which quite literally means he doesn’t care that he isn’t communicating well with us. kinda worrying, but let’s get back to the meat of it. “your failed expectations”, so, he quite literally places the blame, the failure, on us. “there’s the door” I think you probably get it by now.

I probably don’t need to reiterate, but here we are, at the second fallacy. this was never our fault. we tried, so hard, so loudly that he still must acknowledge us, despite thousands of dollars into his pocket making him richer than our marginalized, minority voices are. he gets all the benefits, for our work, and places the blame on us. so he acknowledges that there is a community in question, knows he is failing us, and doesn’t care, because it’s our fault for not trying hard enough. that’s a grim look at it, but it’s the facts of how he has chosen to respond to criticism.

now where do i get off telling you all about how he’s wrong? what if i hadn’t tried hard enough? what if he’s right? you might be asking, because you’re the devil’s advocate here, proverbial reader. well, i did try to help him.
i offered to do this intermediary work, this job i knew i would hate, because interacting with him is tiresome and difficult for me. i chatted with him and maloki, a public figure who worked with him to try to smooth over his rampant, unceasing issues with transparency on what is being done to the code, about working for him. doing my work on github full time.

i posed to him a solution to the issues with his workflow, how to use github to be more transparent, publically accessible, and more actionable for the activist community i knew to be the heart of mastodon. when i could no longer contribute do to how difficult it was, i gave him the option to pay me for my work. and he deemed it unecessary. in his own words, i find this ‘inacceptable’.

i stopped contributing, because it wasn’t worth fighting with someone who deems me disposable, unnecessary, and to be at fault. but i’m not at fault. he is.

post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."

here’s the post again. read it thoroughly, and ask yourself if you want to support him. yes, this is a call to action. it’s a relatively simple one, too. stop paying him for being an entitled manchild, too petty and dismissive of the very people who made him what he is now to acknowledge them as an influence on his project, your hard earned money. pay somebody else. preferably, pay the people who set up the fork maloki has been working on. check out #forkofftogether or even just #forkoff on mastodon and you’ll find the right people. participate in some activism yourself.

share this. get someone else to read about it.

ask around about the early days of mastodon. 2 years ago, i helped make mastodon what i wanted. gargron seems to have forgotten. here’s another excellent read by cassolotl and here’s a discord link, and a wiki link on maloki's fork.

and if you want a TLDR, here goes. queer activism has been the catalyst of change for mastodon from the beginning, and many of it’s most defining features would never have come into existence without it. but gargron refuses to acknowledge that, or change for transparency to allow for this to be a stronger influence, to allow for positive change. instead he whines about it publically, pettily, and places the blame on the people who made mastodon what it is now.

stop supporting him.

- hoodie aida kitten.

here are some links to support me if you wanna send me a few bucks or support my work.

become a patron on patreon.

Donate using Liberapay
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
send me some money on paypal.me



November 2018

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