• Member Since 3rd Jul, 2012
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  • 4 weeks
    Time to Teach

    Clearly I should take a moment to wish you a happy Hearth's Warming Eve before I actually get to the point. May your days be filled with family, friends, and fun, and may they be devoid of frost monsters and the tired political arguments that attract them.

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    1 comments · 18 views
  • 4 weeks
    Thoughts on Feelings

    While I wait for ever-delayed comics, I'd like to talk a bit about something that is at best pretty tangentially related to MLP (and I won't insult you by pretending that the details of such a justification are in any way relevant): it annoys me when people say "That's not love" to dismiss a dysfunctional relationship. It's overly reductive and it obscures the actual problems.

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    0 comments · 24 views
  • 9 weeks
    Time to Help

    And so we begin what one might reasonably call the last bit of G4.

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    1 comments · 42 views
  • 12 weeks
    On the End: Addendum

    I realized there's another notable moral one could draw from everything that happened with the Elements of Patriotism. It's one you likely won't notice without some thought, a fridge moral if you will; normally I'd say that a moral that takes effort to find is no moral at all, but in this case I feel it's significant enough to break that rule.

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    1 comments · 30 views
  • 13 weeks
    On the End

    Though, like what I said a little over two years ago, that's not exactly true. There's still the Generations comics—people who aren't incessantly complaining about slow shipping already have one of those by now—and of course it's a safe bet that when we get more G5 we'll also get more references to ancient Equestria. But endings are still endings, whether or not they're total.

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    1 comments · 26 views

Reflections upon followers · 6:43am Feb 21st, 2014

Yeah, I guess I'm just in a reflective mood this week.

So. Followers. To my knowledge, most people on this site have them. More importantly, a quick check reveals that seven out of the nine people who might read this have at least one follower. That's quite easily a majority. But how often do you think about your followers? And what do you think about your followers? For that matter, how often do you think about your relationships with the people you follow?

What do you think are the duties associated with the relationship, in each direction? I hope you do not think there are none at all; wherever there is a structured relationship within a culture or subculture, it will inevitably accumulate expectations. The obvious duties for the follower are to read the output of the followee. I don't know how many of you actually look at a given story or blog I write, on average, but I do at least know that at a minimum, some of you look at some of them. So we seem to be good on that front. Do you owe me anything else? Nothing comes to mind, but I'm not confident enough to say I'm not forgetting anything.

And what do I owe you? Is it anything at all? I could argue that it would be unjust for me to have any duties, seeing as I did not in any way choose this relationship. I happen to be flattered to have followers, but the point still stands that I know of no way to get rid of a follower other than deleting my account (or posting stupid blog posts until I annoy everybody into going away, I suppose). And it's not like you're paying me or anything, nor do I need your feedback to help towards ambitions of becoming a famous and successful author or anything like that. There doesn't seem to be anything false about the statement "I write solely for fun, with followers and favorites and comments just an added bonus, and so I don't owe anything to anybody to myself." But just because I can argue that, doesn't mean I don't feel like I owe you something. You have implicitly expressed a belief that I would create interesting things that you would like to see, and I don't want to disappoint. One could argue it's my fault you expect that, anyway, since nobody was forcing me to leave the elaborate comments that attracted most of you. My duty, as I see it, is to entertain you.

And yet, I don't know if I know how. I don't know what you want that I could provide. I suppose I could post what I'm reading, so you can read along and see my comments? That seemed to amuse most of you when we first met. Is that something I should do? Would that be enough? I don't know what I could do. These blog posts are a nice place to ramble, but I'm not so sure I can expect anybody to read them. They are rather long and winding, after all. And stories? I know I'm not as bad a writer as I always claim, but I'm still hardly the next Cold in Gardez or Kkat or anybody like that. My most popular story hasn't even hit 500 views yet. I'm almost positive that if my stories were written by somebody else, they wouldn't meet my reading standards, and I've been falling steadily further behind on my reading for years, so apparently I think that reading my stories is a waste of your time. That statement sounds depressing. Point is, I don't want to rely on my stories either to keep you entertained.

In conclusion, as a great archeologist once said, "Anyway, I'm sorry, but that just happens to be how I feel about it. What do you think?"

Tl;dr Following is a social relationship; what is associated with it? Also, would it amuse you all if I were to maintain a list of what I've read recently? People do seem to enjoy seeing my comments.

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Comments ( 8 )

You know, I'm gonna just pop in here to say something, really.

Nothing in this blog isn't something that everyone hasn't thought about at least once themselves. But something really struck me from your side that made me want to bip you in the head.

Point is, I don't want to rely on my stories either to keep you entertained.

Then what are you here for?

You're on FimFic. EVERYONE'S job here is, first and foremost, write a story and go and entertain people with it. This isn't a social site. This isn't the next Skype. This is a place where complete strangers (and some assholes) post stories and others go read them. The site doesn't even REQUIRE any more interaction between writer and reader than a guy bothering to take 2 seconds to click on something with a funny image to market it. It's the basest, most raw form of client-provider interaction ever. And if you don't want to rely on that, you might want to rethink what it is you're doing here.

Now, mind you, you're speaking on the side of a writer. If you're the 'masses', then yes, your duties do change slightly. But you definitely have to draw a distinct line between 'you' as the writer here and 'you' as a reader. Everything else, every other action, even ME commenting on YOUR blog right NOW, is secondary to the main purposes of the two - to write and to read.

Unfortunately, it's a cold, harsh world, and no one's obligated to do anything else.

That's why a comment - any comment - is treasured by the writer. And every new blog posted that's good and you like, is a boon to the reader. These acts come as a sort of outside bonus to the core of what's going on here, and if you prefer those over the actual duties, then maybe that's just what you prefer. There's nothing wrong with it. There's a lot of really good bloggers here on the site, and a lot of really good commentators (you being one of them).

But if you identify yourself as a writer, and say "I don't want to rely just on my writing to entertain", then you might want to reassess your job description.

In the end, no one owes anyone anything on this site. But we have to work for what we want to GET.

1858704 Hmm. Draw a distinction between myself as a writer, and myself as a reader. That's not something I've thought about. I have a feeling this is going to end in me arguing with myself about how I allocate my time between the two sides, but it does sound like good advice. I was probably going to have that argument eventually anyway.

That said, even though I've used the word once or twice when the context calls for it, at no point since I posted my first story have I truly considered myself a writer. I'm just somebody who happens to write stuff and put it on the internet. I know that if I traced my reasons for doing that, I'd find "I'm a writer" at the root of it all, but as long as I don't actually look, I can pretend I don't know. And though I'm drawing a complete blank on why, that is very much preferable.

But I think it is a role ambiguity that's bothering me. So I shall try to pay attention to the divide.

Well, we all identify with different things. I mean, I like... games. A lot. But I'm not a professional gamer. I don't introduce myself as one. I like playing guitar and I'm pretty good musically, but I don't identify myself as a musician even though others do.

It's the idea of self-identity along with what we consider that identity must have. And that's for you to decide, ultimately.

There's many distinct possibilities.

- You could be a writer who doesn't feel like one
- You could be a non-writer who wants to be one but isn't
- You could be a writer who doesn't want to be one
- You could just be afraid or hesitant to know what you are because it might change your identity.

Any of these might be explanations to why you feel this way, and many others beside. The idea in life is to explore each one to find out what you are, and use it to go for what you want. What makes you happy, what makes you comfortable. Writing has never been an easy thing. It's rife with problems. But at the heart of every writer is one purpose - to entertain others, and share ideas, and communicate dreams. Is this a core you can be happy with? Maybe it'll fit one of your 'selves' that you have. It doesn't have to fit Borg Prime Alice Krige. But still, find out where you sit with it.

That's how to discover the path to happiness.

This has been Zen Wisdom with KitsuneRisu. "It's not always about cocks!"

1858939 Okay, how do you write so fast? Do you somehow plan out what to respond before I even post anything? How do you do Zen Wisdom with KitsuneRisu in under seven minutes? Do you summon demons to supply you with the right words?

Anyway . . .
It's probably because all of me have barely seen Writer in the past decade, really. The dynamics have all changed, and then he wakes up from his nap and comes barging into a social circle that is totally alien to him like he still absolutely belongs. But give it time, we'll figure out where he fits. Probably not even very much time, now. He's mostly integrated at this point. (I know I implied otherwise, but anything I say when I feel like brooding should be taken with a liberal dose of salt. I wouldn't want accuracy messing everything up once I've got the mood going, after all.)

It's because I'm 240 years old, sonny. Also the cocks whisper into my ear and leave trace elements.

But I try to help.

In any case, hope you can find a nice place for your potential writer side to sit

After all, we never really stop discovering who we are. And that's life. At least, life according to existentialists. Fuck 'em.

I'd argue that you do 'owe' us one thing: don't be a dick. A gentleman named Horse Voice has a notable blog post/comment thread on this, and another somewhat related one here. Certain things--swearing, general trollishness--would be perfectly acceptable if you made a regular habit of them and your followers would be reasonably expected to know that, and in that case might even be expected. As (from what I've seen) you don't, they wouldn't be. Or to sum that up; keep doing what you're doing, and don't be more of a dick then you (may) have already shown yourself to be. (Which in your case you haven't. Maybe it's just me but I seem to be having a lot of trouble with this thought.) "Entertaining" doesn't need to have anything to do with it, there are folks who get followed for intelligence and rationality and nothing to do with entertainment.

I don't know that I've ever really been happy with the follow system. There are people whos stories I read, but I don't care about their blogs; there are people whos blogs I read, but I don't care about the stories. It seems odd to conflate them. Then again, if they weren't, I don't believe you'd be on the list at all: as I recall, you had no stories and no blog posts when I followed you. (I think that may have been a contributing factor in the decision, actually: It costs me nothing to follow someone who produces no output. (I learnt this from Bad Horse.)) There's also a third group, actually: people I consider friends. These are distinct from people I follow for both their stories and their blog posts, but they are usually in both categories.

Obviously, followers look at output of the followee: else, why would we follow? (nonproduction example notwithstanding.) else, why would the follow system exist? I would claim that followers also have a duty to remark on things--that is, leave comments from time to time.

Reading lists? Reading lists are hard. I've tried a lot of methods to keep up with what I'm reading. None of them really worked for me.
I honestly don't remember if I've seen any of your comments, so I don't know if seeing your reading list would interest me. Also, when I see stuff recommended, I tend to add it to my "to read" pile, which tends to grow uncontrollably as a result.


EVERYONE'S job here is, first and foremost, write a story and go and entertain people with it.

I was going to argue this point, but then you drew the writer-reader distinction. So now yes. If you're here as a writer, then yes.

This isn't a social site.

Wha-at? That's bull. The social features are the best part of the site. Granted, they'd be worse than worthless without the stories and whatnot. But have you seen the Pony Fiction Archive?

Let me clarify.
This isn't a site whose purpose is to promote social networking. It has social features, but by no means is it the primary function, or focus, of the site. For example, youtube isn't a social networking site, but it has features of it. Facebook is a social networking site.

Facebook has games on it too, but you wouldn't call it a game hub, in the same way that you'd call Kongregate one. And Kongregate isn't a social site although it has plenty of social features.

That's all I meant. I didn't mean to say this site doesn't have the function/option of talking to others.

Is it just me, or is this blog very relevant to the part of today's episode where the CMC were being chased by a mob of angry fans?

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