It’s a crazybusy week for me (Cecilia) because I had a book launch yesterday so I’m in the midst of a flurry of guest blogs appearances, chats, etc. (I’ll be on my uStream channel live tomorrow 8:30-9:30pm talking about the book SLOW SATISFACTION: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cecilia-tan)
But I wanted to update you all on some stuff going on with DGC and some new ways I could use some help.
First, Site Updates!
We upgraded WordPress this week to plug security holes. The reason the site was flaky last week was a security exploit was, well, being exploited. The new version opened up the possibility to upgrade plugins and add some shiny new ones. So I did.
1) I installed a chat room.
So now there’s a text chat room that works again under the Chat Room link. We’ll have a hangout there with Daron in a couple of weeks? It’s VERY bare bones, nothing fancy, but it’s there. There may be others I can try, too, but I found one that at least works as a basic text chat channel.
2) I installed a discussion forum.
I made two main forums, actually. One’s for discussion of DGC and it is an author-free zone. So feel free to talk about anything involving the story without worrying I’ll see it or that I’ll post spoilers. The other forum is for other topics, where I will post sometimes, and where I started a topic for people to post videos or song ideas for me to use as titles. (Added: you have to actually create an account on DGC and log in to post in the forum: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/wp-login/)
I also tested a thing called BuddyPress but I stopped short of activating it before I get some feedback from you guys. It might really be overkill, but it adds a social-media-like functionality to the site where you could friend each other, see an activity feed that would include what your friends are commenting on, etc, and allow for PMs from friend to friend. What think? Should I turn it on? More info about it here: buddypress.org
4) Other bells & whistles may appear
I may try again to give people the option to log in or post using Twitter or Facebook credentials, but each time I’ve tried, I’ve broken the nice threading and intending of comments. So it’s low on the priority list. I also tried to integrate some “share” buttons that should appear on every post at the bottom but that broke something else. But yeah, some other things may gradually upgrade.
5) Spam has gone up.
Recently the spam comments jumped from 1 or 2 a day to about 500 a day. We have software that catches and kills most of it so it’s not a big problem. What it means though is that the few times a legit comment gets flagged as spam, I won’t have a chance to see it and rescue it. With 500 a day I have to just flush them without looking them over. If you try to post a comment and it doesn’t appear right away, try again without links in it (which are usually the problem). Also really short one- or two-word comments sometimes get snagged.
Now it’s time for me to ask for some potential help.
A) If the forum is really going to remain an author-free zone, I’d like to give a couple of you guys admin powers of some kind. Ping me, anyone who’s interested and we’ll figure out how to do that?
B) Wattpad reposting. A while ago I started posting the whole serial again from the beginning, with the idea that I’d bang through it and then keep up on Wattpad as a mirror. Didn’t happen: I got through 30 chapters. So I’d really like a volunteer or team of volunteers who might be able to post it there… which leads me to:
THE IDEA OF A RE-READ FROM THE BEGINNING.
Someone brought up this idea in chat during the Kickstarter. It might have been me, it might have been a reader–I really can’t remember. But I’ve been thinking, if folks wanted to do a fresh re-read, it would be a great chance to drag your friends in for the ride, etc. Wouldn’t it be kind of great if we did the Wattpad re-post at the same time? Or at least logical?
My thought was repost a chapter every day on Wattpad. With 365 days in a year it’ll currently take 18 months to get through it all. (Or 2 posts a day and it would take 9 months) What think? Am I crazy? Far as i can tell Wattpad doesn’t have the ability to pre-load chapters, so it literally means going there and posting every day. But if people could split up the work, do a week at a time or on certain days…? I just know I can’t do it all myself. I’ll never get to it.
(Another idea is to do the same thing at JukePop Serials, but I think Wattpad has a bigger audience.)
Even if we don’t do the Wattpad thing, I wouldn’t mind a group re-read. And if you guys wanted to have spoilery conversations, they could happen in the forum instead of in comments? Just an idea.
Okay, enough of that! Now some fun stuff. Daron, what did you find?
Daron: In honor of Christian being awesome again, I thought I’d share a “drummer is awesome” video. It’s short. But awesome:
ctan: Okay, that is awesome.
Daron: Another thing that’s awesome. Henry Rollins trying to evolve. You heard about Robin Williams, right?
ctan: Yes. Rest in peace.
Daron: A lot of people had a lot of reactions to his suicide. I know a lot of people felt really fucking depressed afterward. Like, fuck, if Robin Williams couldn’t get through depression, who can?
ctan: It later came out he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Daron: Yeah. But even still. A lot of people had pretty… bad reactions. Like Gene Simmons made a complete ass of himself and Nikki Sixx took him to task for it. And Henry Rollins was another one who wrote some insensitive things.
ctan: Rollins and “sensitive” don’t exactly go together.
Daron: Yeah, well, that’s no excuse. The article was entitled “Fuck Suicide.” He wrote, “When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind. I no longer take this person seriously. I may be able to appreciate what he or she did artistically but it’s impossible to feel bad for them. Their life wasn’t cut short — it was purposely abandoned.” What happened next was he got tons and tons of letters from people calling him out about it. And then he wrote this. It’s an apology, but it’s more than just an apology, it’s him admitting he still has a lot of work to do and that he was clearly wrong.
ctan: I think that’s his own fear talking. He labels people who commit suicide weak so that every day he lives with his own depression he can convince himself it’s because he’s strong? Which is also no excuse.
Daron: Kind of like people with complicated attitudes about homosexuality because they fear it in themselves or base their feelings of superiority on not being like that? Yeah. Anyway, Rollins takes his knee jerk reaction back, and takes a hard look at himself: “I cannot defend the views I expressed. I think that would be taking an easy out. I put them out there plainly and must suffer the slings and arrows — fair enough. I won’t attempt to dodge them. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be taught a thing or two. I have no love for a fixed position on most things. I am always eager to learn something. I promise that I will dig in and educate myself on this and do my best to evolve.”
ctan: He also says: “One of the only things that gives me a breather [from crushing depression] is music. I medicate with it.”
Daron: I wanted to bring these issues up here in liner notes because I know they’ve been touched on some in the story, and I know my own thought process around being in love with someone who had suicidal thoughts continually changes.
ctan: Also, Rollins says some stuff that hit home with me about being responsible to your audience.
Daron: Anyway, read the full text of his apology here: http://m.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2014/08/25/henry-rollins-more-thoughts-on-suicide?showFullText=true
ctan: So someone asked me whether it was believable that you and Ziggy are both five-foot-four.
Daron: And Bart isn’t much taller. Maybe an inch, plus some hair.
ctan: So I looked up some stats. The average height of the American male in the 1980s was 5′ 8″. (It’s now 5′ 9″) Also, about one-fifth of American men are your height or shorter. Not only that, I thought I would point out that Michael J. Fox, Seth Green, and Mel Gibson are all 5-foot-4. Emilio Estevez is 5’4 1/2″ and Daniel Radcliffe is listed at 5’5″.
Daron: The Harry Potter film people really lucked out with him, didn’t they?
ctan: No kidding. The other thing I discovered was amusing about looking up heights is that a ton of actors lie about their height in press information. I don’t even know why people care. But you can look at all the candids from film sets where they have the leading man standing on a box so he’s taller than the actress in the shot with him. Mel Gibson supposedly got sensitive about his height and insists the studios list him at 5’10” now, which is totally ridiculous. But then again I guess Mel Gibson has gotten ridiculous anyway.
ctan: And corwin is 5’4″, and so were at least two of my previous ex-boyfriends. And then there’s the one who was 6’4″, and there has been every height in between, but basically, no, you’re not really unusually short.
Daron: I’ve never been one to care. It’s really never made a difference to me, but I’m not in a profession where it matters. I look ten feet tall when I’m on stage and that’s all anyone cares about. Speaking of artists who might be really elfin, though, did you see Lindsey Stirling has a new album out? “Shatter Me.” Came out at the end of April, actually. First video:
ctan: I pretty much missed it except that my Lindsey Stirling Pandora channel started playing a lot of songs I didn’t recognize. Yay Pandora. While we’re sharing music, everyone should have another Jesse Clegg:
Daron: That is the kind of song I write.
ctan: I know.
Daron: OK. I’m going to sign off now. I just got an idea for a song. I’m going to leave you with one last thing, a commercial from Thailand about the power of music.