Be advised; this thread is not for serious in depth discussion of weighty topics, this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.
We have somehow survived another move.
I feel like a broken record here, but, seriously, good job everyone, and thanks. While the moderators of a community are important, the community simply doesn't exist without its members. Y'all came over here and kept on posting, and that's exactly what we needed.
With luck, this is going to be the last move we ever need to make; we have our own domain and servers, we're no longer really existing with any specific other person's permission.
We are, however, not out of the woods.
I mentioned during some of the original Reddit-exodus posts that I had a serious medium-term worry about userbase. We've cut ourselves off from the Reddit pipeline and that means we're in danger of slowly eroding away; people will always leave the community and right now we don't have a good way of getting new users. We wouldn't be the first community to do so! Every community needs an influx of people, and now we need to figure out the right way to manage that.
So I now have a few requests, ordered roughly by how comfortable I am asking it.
First: Send links to people that you think will be interested. If you know someone looking for political discussion, send them a link to the site as a whole; if there's a specific post you think they'll be interested in, link that. Remember that we have The Vault, which has unfortunately gone a bit neglected while I worked on this changeover. Please don't spam anyone - I don't want anyone just posting links to our front page on a hundred subreddits - but if you have a good opportunity, either regarding friends or communities that you're an established member of, take it.
Second: Propose places that might be willing to do a link trade. I'm planning to reach out to a bunch of subreddits shortly and see if they're willing to crosslink, especially places that are serious-political-discussion-adjacent in the hopes that we can draw off that section of their population and both be better off for it. If you have personal connections you can bring it up to them yourself, otherwise just let me know and I'll see what I can do. I expect a low success rate but even a low success rate might be pretty dang valuable.
(And don't limit this to subreddits! There's a number of good communities out there that aren't on the big social sites.)
Third: If you have time, help out. We have a dev server that you can join if you want to work on a huge number of pending issues, and it's thanks to the people on this server that we've had such a constant flow of updates, fixes, and tweaks. If you're less programmery but more editorial, we do have a lot of Vault-related editing that we'd like to get done; this goes faster than you might think. If there's some other skill you have that you think might be valuable, hop on the dev server and send me a message.
And finally, fourth, which is the one that I really hate to ask, but I'm doin' it anyway.
I've set up a Patreon to take donations. If you have spare cash and think this is a worthy destination for it, please chip in.
I'm not sure what this whole "money" thing is going to end up looking like. At the very least this will pay for server costs; any income above that will go into making the site better, in whatever way seems most valuable. I've been thinking about taking out ads in an attempt to pull more users here, for example, and that isn't cheap.
This is going to be very experimental and will probably involve false starts. I'd love to hear suggestions on good ways to spend money on the site - if you have any, let me know - but note that in order to hire programmers we would need a lot of money.
For those who are more crypto-minded, I'm also taking donations via Ethereum (0xa97e126DCEcC7Ea3AF05d252B49c03ae35547dD9) and Bitcoin (bc1qnj0mvg90dfawjq3kxq4wdvcq0ejksgyf2m0xnq). All of these links are on the new (and very primitive) Support page.
I know there's going to be people who think that we left Reddit just so I could cash out. I frankly suspect that even if I just pile all of the results into a giant sack with a dollar sign on it and walk off while cackling evilly, I still won't be making minimum wage, so this would be a terrible plan :V No, I do actually like this community a ton, and want it to keep going, but I can't fund an indefinite amount of stuff on my own. And part of this push is to figure out just how useful this site is to all of you, in order to see what can be justified and what can't be justified.
So there's the ask! If you have connections, use them; if you have time, contribute it; if you have money and want to put it towards this, please provide financial support so I can figure out how to keep the new-user pipeline going.
If you don't, that's cool! Keep on posting and I hope you enjoy your time here.
Finally, this is the new Bugs/Suggestions/Small Comments thread. If you have feedback, post it here! A lot of the stuff in that Pending Issues link up above was submitted by users, and we're getting through it slowly.
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Posted because I didn't see Zorba post one today. Feel free to delete if that's an issue.
For various reasons, I follow Brian Leiter's blog--if you're not familiar, Leiter is perhaps most famous as the originator of a law school ranking website (not updated in some time), and a philosophy graduate school ranking website (since handed off to others). He is an outspoken, sometimes abrasive Marxist, but also decidedly anti-woke. He occasionally cites mostly-approvingly to Freddie deBoer, but is much older and better educated, so it is helpful to read Leiter if you want a sense of what very old school, very leftist academic thinking looks like today.
Anyway a recent entry on Leiter's blog piqued my interest, because I am a word nerd, but not an academic linguist. In it, Leiter appears to be airing his annoyance at the way the word "reification" gets used in its literal sense (making the abstract concrete)--he's praising NYT for using the word "correctly," in its Marxist sense, while also offering further correction:
"Some social scientists have a term--'reification.'" Actually, the terms [sic] comes from Lukacs, one of the few useful concepts from his History and Class Consciousness...
Now, it is true that contemporary Marxists using the term as a term of art are indeed channeling Lukacs. However, the term itself most assuredly does not originate with Lukacs. Etymonline traces it to 1846 (the relevant Lukacs' text arrived in 1923). Wiktionary provides some further context, suggesting that the word is "a macaronic calque of German Verdinglichung." The only other source I've found suggests that the term "emerged in the English language in the 1860s" but no supporting evidence is provided for the claim, and the rest of that blog sticks to Marxist exposition.
That is where my Google-fu caps out. I know that the term today gets used in programming contexts (e.g. LISP) so certainly the word has been genericized whether Leiter likes it or not. And of course Marx himself was writing in 1846, so I can't dismiss the possibility that Marxists did coin the term (either in German, or by being the ones to calque it from German), in which case it might even be a mistake to credit Lukacs for the concept. But neither can I dismiss the possibility that the term itself had no Marxist implications for several decades before Lukacs came along, in which case the term has been co-opted by Marxists to the extent that they (like Leiter) assert the "correct" use as a Marxist one.
Either way I suspect Leiter's annoyance re: "incorrect" use is not justified by linguistic history, except to the extent he is complaining about people talking about reification in Marxist contexts without using the term in Lukacs' sense (which doesn't appear to be the case, from this blog entry, but I am doing a lot of reading between the lines). Some of you speak German and some of you read Marx and some of you have access to fancy corpus databases... any chance one of you knows, or can find, the first English or German print instance of "reification?"
The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:
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