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September 30th, 2006

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05:22 pm - Smokin'!
1. Six Apart recently invited questions from members of the LiveJournal community and are posting answers in lj_feedback, which is a pretty damn nifty thing to do. Three of my (ten!) questions have been answered so far, and at least one in someone else's words. One of the questions I asked concerned LJ's considerations about international law; their answer was not entirely convincing and I have some sympathy (to varying extents) for these views, expressed by the LiveJournalist formerly known as daweaver. On the downside, lj_biz has this discussion of forthcoming sponsored communities and features, which has been taken by some to translate to "adverts on some parts of the site for paid users". Not surprisingly, 90% of the reaction to the announcement has varied from "no, thank you" to "no, fuck you". I've tried to be measured about this and you can see my reaction.

Certainly it's interesting to see the evolution in the Social Contract to the Guiding Principles, to the Less Principled Guiding Principles. LJ has become harder to love as a result. I'm here for the community, so I'm not leaving because you lot are the best thing going, but moves like this and the anger they create do flicker disloyal thoughts through my mind. It'll be interesting to note if pillars of the community (some of you lot and some key developers and staff members) leave; some already have, if not necessarily very recently. That could well spell the exodus to the four winds.

2. Some time ago, I recorded some parts of a Harry Potter fan fiction radio play; this has come to fruition and the first half of this forms part of the most recent SpellCast Fiction Alley podcast. I think the play has turned out pretty well; some of the other actors (of both genders!) are excellent. I am less than happy with my part - partly this is inevitable self-criticism and partly this is because I clearly have less advanced recording equipment than the others but partly because some of the others clearly are excellent and I am not. Still well worth a listen, though!

3. Britain's foremost geek comedian, Dave Gorman, and the world's foremost of-his-type comedian, Jon Stewart, together at last! Mathematics + confusion + crudity = hilarity, as ever.

With this in mind, here are some polls. As ever, the truth lies somewhere between the extremes and hopefully you will debate the shades of grey in the comments.

Poll #833846 Poll smoking

These two maxims appear to contradict each other. Which is more important? How do you resolve the apparent contradiciton?

"You should always be conservative in your behaviour and liberal in the behaviour you're prepared to accept from your friends."
"A true friend is one who's prepared to tell you when you're wrong, so you should tell your true friends when they're out of line."

Which of these is correct? How do you resolve the apparent contradiciton?

A good society has such a strong sense of humour that no topics should be sacred.
There are always some topics that are too sacred to be the topic of humour.

I think this is different enough from the last question, because it applies to you personally rather than society at large, that it's worth asking separately. How do you resolve the apparent contradiciton?

I believe that a strong sense of humour is so important that no topics actually are sacred to me.
I believe that some topics are so important, serious and sacred that I would never joke about them.

There can be only on

Xabi Alonso, star midfielder for Liverpool FC and Spain
Fernando Alonso, star Formula One driver for Renault
Alfonso Alonso, bats .389 for the San Francisco Tickyboxes and has an Olympic gold medal at ice dancing

I do like theferrett's guide to avoiding psychodrama, but please accept that these are genuine hypothetical questions rather than ones creating a covert post of type three with a hidden meaning to be unpicked.
Current Mood: hungryhaven't had dinner, work at 6

(15 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
The sacred/humour debate is an interesting one. Of course, in a society everyone should have the right to joke about anything they like, but to be honest, I /generally/ don't find any paedophilia or 'dead baby' jokes funny and I avoid making jokes about those subjects. But I personally have no real problem with jokes about religion, suicide bombers or rape unless they're overtly malicious.

I've also noticed that there is a rather blokey tendency in some of the live comedy circles I've mingled in to outdo each other on sick jokes to the extent that I end up feeling like some bleeding heart, girly prude when I don't laugh.

Of course, the quality of the jokes themselves comes into question and often a comic will get a big laugh with a weak joke about something like rape, purely because of the shock reaction. This leads to the temptation to continue along the same lines, rather than taking a more 'clever' approach to joke-crafting.

The other side of this argument is that joking can be a catharsis and a way of weakening a threat. For example, joking at a funeral can be a way of diffusing grief or simply offering a bit of camaraderie to one another. But if overheard by the wrong people, it could be very hurtful.

So ultimately, there should be no sacred cows - if people want to joke about religion, sex or violence, then fair enough, but whether or not those jokes are funny depend on a number of factors, including who the victim of the joke is (IMO, a Michael Jackson joke might be funny, a joke about an abused child probably isn't), the actual construction of the joke and the intended audience.

Interesting debate though.

[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
They have to be funny, that's the qualifying question. I went to an amateur night in Borough that somehow turned into a Holocaust theme evening. The funny ones didn't offend me, though I wouldn't choose for them to be done, but doing it for the sake of it when there's no possible humour in your joke is odd, and several did that.
[User Picture]
Date:November 15th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
The other side of this argument is that joking can be a catharsis and a way of weakening a threat.

Thank you! I am convinced of this. One person on my Friends list made light of the situation on 7th July last year, on the grounds that (a) they were making light of the situation, not any of its participants or victims, and (b) it's at the time of the crisis that humour is most needed. I have a lot of respect for that point of view, though (a) is a heavy requirement. See also Jon Stewart's monologue on the first The Daily Show after 9/11.
[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
I accept that all topics are funny to someone somewhere, and am glad that I live in a society that pretty much permits all jokes to be told. I reserve the right to be disgusted at some, and to ask people I know not to tell me jokes on certain topics. Not because there are no funny jokes to be made about [foo] but because I personally am not going to find them funny, only hurtful/upsetting. At a comedy night I'd just not laugh; if a friend told me a 'bad' joke I'd be hurt if they knew in advance it would upset me and still told it.

My response to that thread is here.
[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
Regarding the new sponsored communities/features, you may want to see this, from bradfitz.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2006 09:26 am (UTC)
I don't see a contradiction between any of those.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2006 01:52 am (UTC)

Oh, very cool! I had read an article about Fernando Alonso - your Fernando Alonso - in the past. I remember him saying that he only rode a motorbike.

Does he get prickly if you talk to him about the other Fernando Alonso, or are occasional mentions OK so long as that's not the only thing you talk to him about because it's the only thing anyone ever talks to him about until they know him well?
[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Apparent contradictions? Not that apparent, eye of the beholder I guess.

Am also unsol on the sponsored communites. PR mess up, but we've come to expect that. The small point that they were announced a month ago and people are only complaining now is weird, but there y'go.

Reason I came here though; I think I saw you post a suggested icon for them based on the generic currency symbol, but I find them not; was it you, if so, where did you post em? We're collecting suggestions.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
You found it! I quite like what they've implemented in practice. Nice distinct colour and the S is closer to a $ than I thought they would permit.
[User Picture]
Date:November 14th, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
And me; I think they're beginning to realise how little they really understand their userbase. There's also signs they're improving, which is good.

I mean, improvement is relative, they could get worse but that would take real effort...
[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
Dave Gorman = Collaterlie Sisters!
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
See, I had to look up that reference. :-) Worthwhile, though!
Date:October 18th, 2006 09:39 am (UTC)

Ron here

In answer to your question on another place - here is a selection of games that were played:

By far the most commonly-played game of the week was Dalmuti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Dalmuti) (largely instigated by the Dutch), which seemed the sort of game requiring significant amounts of alcohol to be truly fun. Enjoyable enough, and probably with by far the simplest rules of any game being played.

While the UK team played Nomination Whist, the American team were playing a slightly more complicated and interesting Turkish variant involving various rounds with different penalty cards. Alas I have forgotten the name.

"Race for the Galaxy", a card game that Wei-Hwa was play-testing for a friend (improved on last year but still awaiting publication). Not for the faint-hearted.

Colossal Arena (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/105)... a game involving betting on monsters and then arming them up for a fight. What other features could you possibly want in a game?!
Date:October 18th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC)

Re: Ron here

I meant to add that Colossal Arena was my favourite, but I think that was clear anyway.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)

Re: Ron here

Very cool! Thanks, Ron.

I've played The Great Dalmuti, though I never really got into it (or its variants like Tichu). Nomination Whist, *nods*. I own Titan: the Arena, which I understand to be Colossal Arena in a former life; indeed it is a fine game, though somewhat prone to groupthink. We all await Race for the Galaxy with great interest. :-)

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