Ephemeral Media

Many things are changing with the new media. I remember a time when I was but a wee child sitting blank-eyed in front of picture box. When I wanted to change the channel, I had to stand up and manually turn a knob. That was about as interactive as it got, but now with the world wide web interactive is the name of the game.

There is a specific change I had in mind. It’s become increasingly apparent that the new media is simultaneously more permanent and more ephemeral. If you’ve ever posted, commented or uploaded anything on the web, you can try to remove it but you can never be sure it’s entirely gone. Someone else could’ve downloaded it or copy/pasted it. The web trawlers capture almost anything that has been up any amount of time.

That said, it’s easy for things to disappear or become inaccessible. I’ve noticed the fickleness of search engines. I’ve known something exists, but couldn’t find it in a search. Or you can know precisely what you’re looking for and yet look through hundreds of results before finding it.  Search engines only show what the web trawler has noticed and it only shows results according to equations of relevance. And if you live in China, much of the world’s internet would be entirely invisible to you. You can’t know about what you can’t see.

My thoughts, however, are focused on another aspect. A famous example is the Kindle book that was simultaneously removed from everyone’s Kindle because Amazon didn’t have the rights. That would be like if a bookseller did a recall and entered everyone’s home while they were sleeping to retrieve the book. Another example was a cellphone company that managed to lose all of its customers data (contact info and whatever else).

More pertinent to my own experience are examples related to online forums and websites. The first forum I was an active member of closed down a while back. The sad part was it just disappeared one day without warning. I had many wonderful discussions that were almost entirely lost… except what the web trawlers managed to save. Could you imagine if real life communities could just disappear instantly like that? In the case of the forum I mentioned, I did still have contact with some of the other members through other sites… but it still sucked.

Even more recently, the only other online community I’ve been active in also shut down. It was where my first blog was. Fortunately, I had a two week warning. I realized, though, that I wouldn’t have had a warning at all if someone hadn’t told me about it because I hadn’t visited the site as much in recent months. If someone hadn’t sought me out on my new blog, I might’ve lost all of my old blogs… and that would’ve really sucked.

The people from that community have mostly moved over to Ning and started new communities. That is fine. I wasn’t too sad about any of it, but I learned something about Ning that gives me pause. The Ning management has an absolute policy about every individual having the rights to their own material. So, any person can delete everything they wrote, but the messed up part is that all responses to the deleted material will also be deleted. That is just not right.

A similar thing has happened to me on the local newspaper website, but on a smaller scale. If a comment gets reported for breaking some rule (such as slander), then that comment is removed and all responses to it automatically disappear as well.

One last example directly related to blogging itself. I have many posts in this blog. I have some of them saved, but not all of them. If someone hacked my account, they could delete my blogs or even cancel the account entirely. I’ve heard of examples on other blogging platforms where blogs get accidentally removed or deleted by a system error. Sometimes they are able to be put back up and sometimes not. I haven’t heard of any problems with WordPress, but it’s always a possibility.

To be fair, all of life is ephemeral. A fire could destroy all my books in a very short amount of time. In the past, I’ve lost a notebook that had personal writings in it. Or a more odd incident involved a pile of printed material I was saving that one of my cats peed on. That is life. Things get lost and destroyed, but there is something about a physical book, newspaper or magazine that feels more real because you can physically hold it and possess it. Writings on paper can last for centuries and millennia. If the internet collapsed or was destroyed, would it be as bad or worse than the burning of the library of Alexandria?

Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

Posted on Sep 16th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

I started this thread with a specific site in mind, but decided to expand upon it.  The aforementioned site is TV Tropes Wiki.  Its a great site that is about tropes of all kinds in all media.  For this thread I wanted to focus on the entries there that pertain to the online world.

  • Blog Tropes
  • Wiki Tropes
  • Friending Network
  • Online Personas
  •  First Post
  • Armchair Psychology
  • Double Post
  • Forum Pecking Order
  • Imageboards
  • Message Board
  • Play By Post Games
  • Sock Puppet
  • Flame War
  • Troll
  • Godwin’s Law
  • Image Macro
  • Internet Backdraft
  • Internet Counterattack
  • Thread Hopping
  • Thread Necromancy
    There are some other sites that I was thinking about:

    Forum Member Types:

    http://www.10e20.com/blog/2008/01/17/7-types-of-forum-members-you-should-get-to-know/

    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/index.htm

    Blogger Types:

    http://www.chrisg.com/what-type-of-blogger-are-you/

    http://blogs.msdn.com/clemensv/archive/2007/03/21/blogger-types-who-are-they-who-are-you.aspx

    http://www.highrankings.com/10-blogger-types/

    http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/10/28/211050/43

    http://sitening.com/blog/what-kind-of-blogger-are-you/

    http://www.web-articles.info/e/a/title/Blogger-types/

    Trolling and Troll Types:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

    http://tantek.pbwiki.com/TrollTaxonomy


  • This is also a thread on the God Pod.


      

    Access_public Access: Public What do you think? Print Post this!views (300)  
      Nicole : wakingdreamer  

    Re: Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

    Nicole said Sep 16, 2008, 3:16 PM:

      I really found the links about trolls and blogger and forum member types helpful.

    I’m still not really clear on the tropes though, which is why I just found myself scratching my head and not knowing what to say when I first saw your blog.

    Can you help me out there?

    Love,

    Nicole

    Spinner
      Marmalade : Gaia Child  

    Re: Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

    Marmalade said Sep 16, 2008, 11:07 PM:

      I understand your head scratching about the tropes.  The TV Tropes site uses the term ‘tropes’ in a more general way than its traditional use in rhetoric.  In this context: tropes aren’t cliches even though they can become cliches; tropes  aren’t archetypes even though they’re often related to archetypes; and also tropes aren’t simply limited to fiction even though that is where they’re most obvious.   “Above all, a trope is a convention.”  And conventions can be found in every medium and in every aspect of life.

    As an example, a personality type wouldn’t be a trope because personality types are closer to archetypes.  However, an exaggeration of a personality type could become a trope.  As tropes can be character types so also tropes can be social roles.  This is the connection to the second half of my post.  So, a troll is a social role that has become a trope.  Likewise, something can start off as a trope in fiction and later on be played out in real life.

    I don’t know if I’m helping to clear things up.  If you really want to understand, you might need to skim through a bunch of different entries from the TV Tropes site in order to get a general sense.

    BTW did you resonate with any particular blogger and forum member types?

    Blessings,
    Marmalade

    Spinner
      Nicole : wakingdreamer  

    Re: Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

    Nicole said Sep 17, 2008, 6:01 AM:

      ah, i’m starting to see, yes! Very helpful thanks.

    Blogger type now that’s easy I nearly always write the personal diary kind of blog.

    Forum member type – that was harder – I could identify with bits and pieces of many types, especially in my role here.

    I had no trouble finding you among the types though 🙂

    Love,

    Nicole

    Spinner
      Marmalade : Gaia Child  

    Re: Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

    Marmalade said Sep 17, 2008, 2:30 PM:

      I’m looking at the site of the second forum members link.  Its amusing.  I must say, though, that there seems to be a bias against certain types.

    I’m a sensitive guy, but hopefully I’m not a Weenie.  I do have a bit of Eagle Scout in me.  I have elements of the Therapist as I’m interested in the psychological dynamics, but I don’t avoid direct engagement.  Even though I’m a bit of an Archivist, I don’t tend to use it against people.  I like the sound of Necromancer although I can’t say I attempt to resurrect old threads too often.  I can be a Philosopher when in the right mood and when a subject interests me.

    At the site of the first link of forum member types, I can sometimes play the role of The Protector of the Community.  But I usually prefer to be on the sidelines.

    As for the blogger types, I’m also a mix.  I have elements for many of the types except for the ones that have to do with a profession, or with making money, or becoming popular.  The type that most fit me was the fan/hobby type: “Hobby bloggers write about their fascinations, get a kick out of sharing with like-minded people and they need no more reward.”  I am similar to you as many of my blogs lean towards the personal diary type.  As you know, I certainly don’t separate out the personal.

    Blessings,

    Marmalade

    Spinner
      Nicole : wakingdreamer  

    Re: Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

    Nicole said Sep 18, 2008, 6:09 AM:

      I agree, it’s not by any means objective! As always your self-assessment is spot-on.Fun eh?

    Hugs,

    Nicole

    Spinner
      Nicole : wakingdreamer  

    Re: Online World: Tropes, Types, and Trolls

    Nicole said Sep 18, 2008, 6:10 AM:

      I agree, it’s not by any means objective! As always your self-assessment is spot-on.Fun eh?

    Hugs,

    Nicole