epershand: "It was becoming an obsession" (Obsession)
And how awesome they are.

In particular, let's talk about how fundamentally what [personal profile] lim did there was RE-WRITE LJ'S S2 ENTIRELY IN CSS. Hands down it is the most technically-impressive and well-designed thing I have ever seen come from the AO3 development team.

It's really fucking sexy, guys. Like. A lot. A whole lot. I've been playing around with it since it launched and I KIND OF WANT TO HAVE ITS BABIES.

Yeah, ok, the initial skins that launched with it aren't the best ever, especially to eyes that are used to the sexy layouts that most web2.0 social networking sites provide in advance. And yeah, there are some bugs in them. But the change this represents? Is probably the single thing I've wanted most from that site forever.

For the first time, the AO3 is offering its users a way to customize part of the site from the ground up and submit that change back to them so they can make it available to everyone. (No, the previous skin system did not do that. The previous skin system provided a way for people to override the look-and-feel of the site if they were willing to fill their code with painful overrides and forcing mechanisms.) And that is a very good sign of things that could come.

I am not an AO3 coder, and am very unlikely to become one any time soon. But now I can do really cool things with the AO3 and bend it to my will (visually, at least) without having to become one! And so can fandom's very many awesome designers--I've seen what people can do with an LJ layout, and I'd love to see what fandom will wind up with if those people are let loose on the AO3 and given encouragement and incentives to play with it. I'm competent, but so many people are BRILLIANT. (And while it's not great for a lot of *other* AO3 users, it's pretty swell for me that the set of available skins right now is really just a set of tutorials/examples for ways you can modify different parts of the site.)

Fundamentally, the revolution in social media in the last five years is "do not try to be everything to everybody. Build a solid foundation and give people the tools to bend you to be what they want." This, IMO, is the primary factor responsible for the success of Twitter (via replacement apps), Facebook (via add-on apps), etc. This skins launch isn't perfect, but it's the AO3's first step down that road, and it makes me more happy than you can imagine.

(Now if only they offered an API for bookmarks and tags. The things I would do with that! The glorious, GLORIOUS things I would do with that. (By which I mean, the fun I would have playing with that...))

EDITED: To remove the passive-aggressive block. This is a positive fucking entry, damnit.
epershand: A dory thinking about a bike. (fish need bicycles)
You know who I'm incredibly impressed with this week? I am incredibly impressed with Ogas and Gaddam. They have outdone themselves. I kind of want to give them the Stephen Colbert Award Of Making Shit Up. (I don't want to link to their article, but there's a good response at Feministe, and [personal profile] firecat's linkspam is not to be missed.)

These guys have some cojones. If I didn't believe in evolution I would have to start now, because these guys have taken bullshit Evolutionary Biology arguments to the extreme. They have mastered it, they are at the top of the heap. And if that isn't a deity-given sign of natural selection I don't know what is.

Like normally, if you were going to make an evolutionary argument, you would at least include some sort of story you made up about something cavemen might have done that is vaguely related to what you're saying about shopping or whatever. And then you also have to come up with a wacky experiment of some kind where you take a non-statistically-significant number of people, show them some photos, and if one or two of them has brain electricity changes of 0.0001% or so, PROOF. [1]

Ogas and Gaddam don't need any of that shit. They don't need to make up stories about cavemen, and they don't need to scan the brains of ten people while they look at pictures of shopping carts. They just went to the grocery store one day and looked at the covers in the romance novel section, found a sexy picture of some rats doing it, put two and two together and wound up in Psychology Today. Not bad, I say, not fucking bad. They didn't even make up the name of a neurochemical to awe us. They just used the sweet, sweet power of metaphor to do its thing.

In fact, at this point I am about ready to declare Ogas and Gaddam's Law: Any metaphor, if described in sufficiently dry terms, is the same thing as science.

Animal metaphors are the best, because you can pick and choose them according to your whim. There is an animal species out there for any specious claim you could ever possibly make about human behavior, as long as you ignore the fact that there is another species that behaves in the oposite way. (Their article just kept making me think of that one Panic! at the Disco werewolf AU where werewolf!Spencer was all werewolf soulbonded to Brendon and Jon was like "Dude! You're like penguins! Penguins mate for life!"[2] I did not know that there would ever be a more blatant misuse of animal metaphors, but I was wrong.)

And people want to believe in animal metaphors, because we have an EVOLUTIONARY NEED to anthropomorphize things and think about them as being like us. Historically, this is because the cavemen needed to not kill babies or something so they evolved to be super into metaphors. This one time I saw a piece of string lying on the porch outside my high school economics class and I swear to you, it looked exactly like a stick figure of a running person. And it ROCKED MY WORLD. In conclusion, SCIENCE.

And when you combine animal metaphors with a statement of what you think romance novels might be about, you have a winning combination. My personal favorite thing about the article is the way they vaguely allude to the existence of "research" that backs up their sweet-ass metaphors without ever saying what it is or what it even says.

Props to you, dudes. Keep the bullshit flowing.

[1] We must always remember the emotions of dead salmon.
[2] Need You Wild, by [livejournal.com profile] fallintosilence and [livejournal.com profile] boweryd (Warning: all the porn. I mean that, like, a lot. Also werewolf soulbonding.)
epershand: Text: "Brendon, look at all of the ponies." (Look at the Ponies!)
If you have no interest in my giddy bouncing re: Panic! at the Disco's new album, feel free to move along.

Notes from "first" listen-through (ha ha ha like I haven't been listen to the FB stream on repeat for the last week. Like I didn't create a sock puppet FB account JUST FOR THAT PURPOSE. Um. But I hadn't downloaded any of the leaks.)

So, notes )
epershand: A speech bubble with "tl;dr" (tl;dr)
After a lot of thought, I've made my peace with Facebook; the same peace I made with Livejournal before the Dreamwidth crossposter encouraged me to revive my LJ account. The decision is, in short, that I will henceforth treat FB in read-only mode. I've cleared out all the information from my profile but am keeping the account active so that I can find information on other people.

The thing I'm saddest to have removed from the FB account turns out to be my list of quotations, carefully pruned and curated over the 6 or 7 (?!?) years I've had the Facebook account. So, for posterity's sake...


"Scholarship doesn't need to wriggle out of it with a joke. It's where we're nearest to our humanness. Useless knowledge for its own sake. Useful knowledge is good, too, but it's for the faint-hearted, an elaboration of the real thing, which is only to shed some light, it doesn't matter where on what, it's the light itself, against the darkness, it's what's left of God's purpose when you take away God. "
- Housman, "The Invention of Love" (by Tom Stoppard)

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool. " - Almost Famous

"hoc opus, hic labor est, primo sine munere iungi; ne dederit gratis quae dedit, usque dabit." - P. Ovidius Naso

"I'm thinking that a lot of my internal conflict and malaise comes from the tension between the life I ACTUALLY want to live, and the stories I'd love to be able to tell." - qwantz.com

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