Tag Archives: blogging platforms

How Using Tumblr is Undermining Your Community

Are you a member of a small, marginalized identity-based community of Tumblr bloggers, looking to advocate for yourselves, support each other, have meaningful discussions, build, and grow? Then Tumblr itself is standing in your way.

What I criticize in this post is the structure of Tumblr as a platform and what it does to the groups who settle there. Rest assured, it has nothing to do with particular “types of people” or identifying the “bad people,” although it does get into criticizing some bad types of habits, behaviors, and mindsets. The purpose of this post is simply to discuss how the structure of the website itself can undermine community.

On that note, my goal here is to say something different than the usual complaints. I won’t be covering all the usual glitches, inconveniences, jankiness, or even the myriad problems with the automated NSFW flagging and appeal process. A Tumblr user doesn’t need it pointed out to them that the site can be technically dysfunctional. What warrants an explanation, I figure, is how the site itself — with nothing inherent to the userbase — has also been socially detrimental.

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Tumblr Ask-Advice Blogging: What’s Holding It Back & How Link Culture Could Help

As many of you know, around the Tumblr “ask” messaging system has grown a culture of dedicated ask-advice blogs, typically inviting questions on specific identities and experiences, such as asexuality. Ideally, these blogs should be helpful places for soliciting advice and making contact with new communities. Unfortunately, however, these blogs face certain inherent problems that severely limit how useful they can be.

The biggest limitations lie in three structural elements of the format: 1) the single respondent, 2) the delayed posting of the initial message, and 3) the notifications all going to the person who answers, not the person who asks. In addition, there are also some psychological issues to account for. Popular advice bloggers, facing a deluge of advice-seekers, are especially prone to writing answers that are both 4) overconfident and 5) rushed, resulting in especially shallow, misleading, or even harmful advice. Aside from changing Tumblr’s features directly, one way to mitigate these issues would be by cultivating more of a culture of links.

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PF Promo

I’ve talked some on here about Pillowfort.io and what I see in it, both in this short post and in this Carnival of Aces post, so I just thought I’d let y’all know that their Kickstarter is currently over 80% funded and has a little more than a week left to go.

While I understand having reservations, I’ve really enjoyed my time there so far, and there’s been a lot of discussion about how Pillowfort’s similar and different features encourage a different social dynamic from what a lot of us are used to (for instance: in this comment section and several other places, I’ve seen PF users mention that the site’s features have helped them participate in a lot more interaction and real conversations).

That interactivity, in addition to PF Staff’s responsiveness and PF’s anti-harassment tools, makes Pillowfort.io worth looking at if you are another beleaguered ace tired of the status quo. Aces have talked about the problems with AVEN at length and have talked about how Tumblr has become a hostile environment (in general, and for aces in particular) with the way a post of yours can easily spin out of control and get you flooded with harassment. Suffice to say, there are a lot of elements in play over on Pillowfort that I think can significantly alter those dynamics that by now feel so ingrained. For instance, how would you like it if, upon deciding one of your posts was a bad idea, clicking “delete” on one of your posts also deleted the reblog-copies off the blogs of anyone who had reblogged it? And deleting it literally deleted it from the whole site, not just from your own blog? You could actually make sure that no one ever saw it again. Or, one better, what if you wanted to put the post back up again but keep it away from unfriendly eyes? What if you could keep parts of your blog public while also setting an individual post to “viewable to mutuals only”? Can you imagine how that would change the game?

…And that’s only some of what I value about Pillowfort. I meant for this to just be a short two-sentence “hey check out the kickstarter” post but once I get going talking about this place, it feels like there’s so much to say. But please, check it out and see for yourself.

At the moment, PF is still in closed beta and will remain so even for a time after the Kickstarter, but beta invites can still be obtained via the Kickstarter for the next few days for just $5, and if you want you even can use the demo account right now for free. So you’re invited to take a look around!


Update: Pillowfort Beta

So you may have heard me mention the closed beta for Pillowfort.io, a new blogging platform in the works, and with the third wave of invites gone out, I was able to finally join it last week (here’s my personal blog there). Without an account you can’t see comments or go into tags, but right now you should be able to take a look at specific blogs if you have the url.

As mentioned, the site is still in beta and has a ways to go, bugs are common, some desirable features are missing, it’s still pretty quiet, etc. That said, here are some nice things going for it:

  • COMMENT SECTIONS
    • seriously comment sections are so important y’all
    • you can have a back-and-forth public conversation without also spreading the same post around over and over and repeatedly exposing your followers to it
  • A real, actual message/mail system with an inbox and threading, unlike tumblr’s wonky “ask” system
  • when you make a post, you can set it to “viewable by everyone,” “viewable only by mutuals,” or “viewable only by me”
  • when you make a post, you can turn off comments and reblogs — no more having to put “don’t reblog” in the tags of something you don’t want spread around; you can just outright disable the option
    • also you can mark it as NSFW as well
  • so far it seems like there’s quite a few ace people on there, which helps set the tone for me — the ratio of “people saying they’re ace and/or affirming asexuality” to “people making fun of aces” is definitely weighted toward the former
    • (I actually don’t think I’ve seen any antiace antagonism there yet at all)

So! Stay tuned for further updates, I guess. After Imzy’s rise and collapse, it’s fair to be especially skeptical of this taking off, but I hope to enjoy this while it lasts.


on sexual abuse and the direction of imperatives

Hi, folks. If you don’t mind, let’s sit down and have a talk.  An actual, honest talk, if you will.

This is a post about the target audience of imperative grammar (i.e. command words) in the context of talking about abuse in relationships. It’s also a post about making moral-grounds proclamations about sexual violence. It’s also a post about the internalized obligation to have sex. It’s also a post about that thing that we usually call victim-blaming. It may even be a post about rape culture in the guise of fighting rape culture? And, basically, yelling at abuse victims to stop getting abused.

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On Diagnosing a Suffocation

A post about changes (or not) in the ace blogosphere, or, in other words, about a state of “we aren’t talking enough on” intracommunity problem topics.

Mostly, though, it’s just a response to this tumblr post.

What drew my eye in particular was this part added by user warriorsdebt: “In short, in a twist that should surprise absolutely nobody at this point, the exclusionists who will scream until they’re blue about the problems in aspec communities are also the number one factor stopping us from solving them.”

Hmm.

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Discussion Bubbles in the Ace Community

Even in a community as small as this, it’s not surprising that there would be some fragmentation.  What’s frustrating about it, though, is seeing the same mistakes and flawed wording repeated over and over again, not to mention all the different attempts to reinvent the wheel, simply because we’re not paying enough attention to each other to know what’s already been critiqued and detangled before.  If you’ve been around a while, you probably know what I’m talking about.

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