Atvelonis's recent activity

  1. Comment on What are you doing this weekend? in ~talk

    Atvelonis Link
    I have a ticket to the Monterey Jazz Festival in Philadelphia for tomorrow! I've listened to jazz casually for a long time, but I think this is the first time since I was a child that I'll have...

    I have a ticket to the Monterey Jazz Festival in Philadelphia for tomorrow! I've listened to jazz casually for a long time, but I think this is the first time since I was a child that I'll have attended a live jazz concert. It's a fascinating genre, and I'm excited to get a feel for the energy that accompanies such a thing.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the Article 50 process, postponing Brexit beyond 29 March. in ~news

    Atvelonis Link
    I think this quote says all that needs to be said about the leniency of the EU in this process made unnecessarily arduous by the UK government. UK leadership could back out of this at any time....

    I think this quote says all that needs to be said about the leniency of the EU in this process made unnecessarily arduous by the UK government.

    In a press conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk said that, until 12 April - by when the UK would have to indicate whether it would stand candidates in the 2019 European Parliament elections - "all options remain on the table ... the UK government will still have a chance of a deal, no deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50".

    UK leadership could back out of this at any time. It's become demonstrably clear that invoking Article 50 was a terrible decision to begin with and will not lead to any positive consequences on the home front. The EU is a major trading partner, and the Irish sure aren't pleased about the prospect of a closed border. Yet the politicking continues! Utterly reprehensible.

    15 votes
  3. Comment on What was a strong opinion you once had, but has changed since by listening to others? in ~talk

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I also struggle with rap/hip-hop, although I would like to get into it more. I grew up listening to classical music, which tends to be pretty melodic, so I tend to focus on the melody and harmony...

    I also struggle with rap/hip-hop, although I would like to get into it more. I grew up listening to classical music, which tends to be pretty melodic, so I tend to focus on the melody and harmony more than the lyrics. The only type of rap/hip-hop I've ever been able to listen to has both a strong rhythm (one that coincides with the lyrics, not just a synthesized snare in the background) and, if it doesn't have much of a melodic focus, a vocalist who doesn't really stop singing.

    I enjoyed most of the piece by Lamar that you linked, although I found the breaks a little jarring. This might be because there is no melodic content during them, as there often is in jazz when the ensemble breaks for the soloist. I can get a lot out of this technique when the lead has something interesting going on in the otherwise "silent" bits (e.g. in this Henderson arrangement, around 1:06). However, because this piece is so focused on the lyrics, not a melody, I felt as though I was searching for content that simply wasn't there. It took me out of the rhythmic groove that I had been feeling (which is the point of a break; to keep it from becoming boring), but didn't fill in that empty spot with something that particularly grabbed my attention, just a motif which I didn't like very much to begin with.

    I suspect that my issue with rap/hip-hop overall, especially the sort of thing that I hear on the radio, is that vocalists will often spend too little time singing for a piece that lacks a melody. The beat can keep me going briefly, but to really be impressive I feel that it has to work with another aspect of the music, not continue on its own. I love poetry, and I appreciate creative song lyrics, so it's not that I inherently dislike music with a lyrical focus, but it just needs to make up for it in other ways.

    Would you happen to have any suggestions for more music either spanning or sitting comfortably within either of these genres that might appeal to my apparently narrow-minded taste? I remember enjoying some Eminem a long time ago, although I haven't listened to very much stuff by him. So perhaps something in that realm, although I don't want to constrict myself too much here.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is … Google Docs in ~tech

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    It's brilliant, right? There's nothing teachers can do about stuff like this; because all the "hip" curricula are integrating technology instead of old-fashioned pen and paper alone, it's not like...

    It's brilliant, right? There's nothing teachers can do about stuff like this; because all the "hip" curricula are integrating technology instead of old-fashioned pen and paper alone, it's not like they can ban computers entirely! And it really goes to show just how unproductive students are in class. I was very briefly in the midst of this phenomenon by the time I was getting out of high school, and it was both the most hilarious thing my teenage brain had ever experienced and an incredible waste of class time. I have absolutely no idea how I got anything done in high school, because the resting mental state of every student who entered that building was one diametrically opposed to productivity, even if that meant making a dedicated effort to avoid it.

    Also, the quotes that the article gives are a perfect encapsulation of Gen Z humor.

    3 votes
  5. Comment on What do you think will be the next big innovation to smart phones? in ~tech

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I don't think I agree. Mobile devices will certainly increase in computing power over time, as they always have, but so will desktop components. So, too, will our workloads—even web surfing takes...

    I don't think I agree. Mobile devices will certainly increase in computing power over time, as they always have, but so will desktop components. So, too, will our workloads—even web surfing takes much more computing power now than it did a decade ago, what with the barrage of JavaScript on every website these days. Since all of these things are scaling up, and mobile devices have the drawback of being limited by their size and power consumption, I suspect that desktops will continue to win out in the workplace.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on The Most Influential Academic Books in the Last 20 Years According to the Chronicle of Higher Education in ~books

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I'm a little concerned that I haven't read a single one of these. Are they all very intellectual books? I can read at a pretty high level, but I also don't have a ton of free time, so I'm...

    I'm a little concerned that I haven't read a single one of these. Are they all very intellectual books? I can read at a pretty high level, but I also don't have a ton of free time, so I'm skeptical about the denser stuff for my own sanity. Would you recommend I start with the ones you mentioned in your other comment?

    1 vote
  7. Comment on What do you do about existential dread? in ~talk

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I only started a real workout routine a few months ago, but being more physically active has made me much more excited about just... existing? Whereas a few months ago I would go about my day in a...

    I only started a real workout routine a few months ago, but being more physically active has made me much more excited about just... existing? Whereas a few months ago I would go about my day in a perpetual state of "meh," my resting emotional state now is much more optimistic. This optimism, I've noticed, is greatly heightened following a period of exercise, especially something intense.

    That isn't to say that I'm completely free from existential fears or insecurities, but they have very much taken a backseat to realistic goals for self-improvement. It feels as though I have some sort of underlying purpose; as though my efforts to improve myself are proof that I'm not just dead weight (so to speak) compared to the rest of humanity. Combine that with a better sleep schedule and a change in activities, like @suspended said, and my life has felt remarkably more fulfilling.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on TikTok will change the way your social media works — even if you’re avoiding it in ~tech

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I'll admit that I also have an extremely negative disposition toward China, one heavily influenced by the stance of the American media on the nation. I honestly have no idea how truthful half of...

    I'm not saying everything you read is false, but a lot of it is and nobody bothers to check because "of course it's true, china is evil, the chinese are evil".

    I'll admit that I also have an extremely negative disposition toward China, one heavily influenced by the stance of the American media on the nation. I honestly have no idea how truthful half of the news reports about China are, and as a rule of thumb I tend to disregard the sensational ones (e.g. Winnie the Pooh), but considering I've barely read a single positive article about the country's government in the past several years, I can't help but think cynically about it.

    My greatest existential paranoia is that aspects of the worlds described in Fahrenheit 451 and other dystopian novels are to become a reality. The most common characterization of the "social credit system" apparently in the works is that it's something straight out of Black Mirror (see: "Nosedive"), although I've seen a couple discussions pointing out how it has been sensationalized by Western media outlets.

    Regardless, I'm very afraid of this and related censorship tactics spreading to the United States. I truly value the freedom that the internet offers humanity, and the interconnectivity that it has brought us as a species. I donate to sites like the Internet Archive and Wikipedia monthly, appreciating the preservation of free knowledge more than I think many of my fellow web users do. Losing resources like that would feel like regressing a hundred years.

    China and its nightmarishly authoritarian crackdown on information are effectively the antithesis of intellectual freedom, as far as I'm concerned. I sympathize with what you're saying, that people need to take a more nuanced approach to news about it, but I could never justify the approach that the government has taken on the internet. The interests of the Chinese government and the corporations beholden to it are therefore never ones that I'd like to become entangled with either.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on The Comment Moderator Is The Most Important Job In The World Right Now in ~misc

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    This is something I've struggled with a certain amount myself, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. For context, I'm more or less the equivalent of the "top mod" on a fairly popular video game...

    This is something I've struggled with a certain amount myself, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. For context, I'm more or less the equivalent of the "top mod" on a fairly popular video game wiki. MediaWiki's user rights system is perhaps slightly more egalitarian than, say, Reddit's strictly top-down approach, and I think that this quality helps to minimize systematic mod abuse on wikis somewhat. However, it does nothing to address the concern you've brought up, which is the social exclusion of moderators and the formation of cliques. I think that this can only really be prevented by maintaining a thoughtful and integrated moderation culture, a tone which is fundamentally set by the leadership but is necessarily upheld by all other staff members.

    About a year and a half ago I had the displeasure of being the fence-sitter in an extremely vitriolic series of personal disagreements between the site's most senior administrator and a clique of irritated moderators who had begun to detest his presence on the team. They had their reasons, some of them very reasonable (others less so), and eventually presented him with an ultimatum: "quietly resign from your position to save face or we will forcibly remove you," in summary. He set aside his tools a few days later, very, very bitterly.

    As a community leader, it was painful for me to watch significant portions of the team that I had carefully recruited over several years collapse in on itself. Look back a year or two previously and there were no hostilities; there were jokes being made and friendships being formed and enjoyment being had. How can a closely-knit team like that devolve so rapidly into a cliquey mess? It's not like there was even a single trigger moment. There was just a tonal shift, and after a while the movement hit critical mass. The strangest part about the whole thing is that in the months after the administrator in question resigned, a number of the folks who had pressured him out also left! Talk about irony, right?

    Prior to this moment, I'd been fortunate enough to have never had a friendship just snap in half. But then, all of a sudden, this guy whom I'd been fairly close to in years past all but refused to speak to me. I have since reached out to him off-site to make amends in the most sincere way that I can, although I think we both recognize that there isn't really any coming back from something like that, at least not for a while. I can hardly even imagine his perspective on the matter, but I can say that the whole situation definitely made me extremely cynical about the future of the community. It sent me into an introspective spiral that I still haven't really got out of; I've questioned my skills as a leader and basically everything I've done on the site for the past few years to no end, very much in a negative light. I would venture a guess that there are more than a few people on your site who feel the same way about you, even if it doesn't seem like it.

    The internet can be an awfully depressing place, and the faceless nature of moderation can make the exclusion of "the people we don't like" a much more acceptable prospect for many. Now more than ever, in this increasingly web-dependent world, we need more positive, collaborative, and intellectual approaches to content moderation. There's been very little scholarly research on internet moderation, so there aren't a lot of useful academic resources off of which to plan an organized staff management strategy. In lieu of such things, I think it's completely worthwhile to share perspectives like yours online, especially in places like Tildes, which attract a somewhat more poweruser-esque set of readers than other sites. People will be influenced by them, and will in turn influence the tones that they set as online leaders. This is a really valuable and powerful way for moderators, current or former, to contribute to the collective discourse in contexts broader than their home websites.

    7 votes
  10. Comment on As Possible Rivals Pass On 2020 Race, Biden May See A Path Clearing in ~news

    Atvelonis Link
    I think this is the key. I suspect that a lot of Democratic candidates are going to harp on how awful the Trump administration has been as cornerstones of their campaigns, but this is low-hanging...

    "It's not that Joe Biden can't reach across the entire Democratic spectrum, because he can. He's liked and respected by all elements within the Democratic Party. I think it is about his agenda and his outlook," Hart said. "If his outlook is the head that's turning behind or back, versus the forward-looking outlook, I think he's going to have a hard time. Because this is about tomorrow — it's not going to be about yesterday."

    I think this is the key. I suspect that a lot of Democratic candidates are going to harp on how awful the Trump administration has been as cornerstones of their campaigns, but this is low-hanging fruit. What it doesn't offer is something to get excited about; what the Democratic Party really needs right now is a candidate to believe in, not just one who can counter the absurdity of the current term. Obama's "Hope" poster is one of the greatest icons I've seen in years. If Biden can give us something like that, I think it would give him enough momentum among Democrats (and perhaps across the aisle) to win not just the primary, but the general election as well.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on Potential issues with catch-all terms for all non-white races? in ~talk

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I don't think @Algernon_Asimov is being aggressive here per se. Perhaps that last remark was a little snarky, but not without reason. He wrote a lengthy and thoughtful reply to your comment to...

    I don't think @Algernon_Asimov is being aggressive here per se. Perhaps that last remark was a little snarky, but not without reason. He wrote a lengthy and thoughtful reply to your comment to clear up what he meant originally, and your response was a one-line refutation of a specific note of his, which was not even the focus of his comment to begin with. This distracts somewhat from the purpose of the discussion; to understand each other's perspectives more fully, even if that means poking them a bit.

    10 votes
  12. Hey folks, I thought I'd bring up something that I've been struggling with for the past few years. As the title suggests, my issue is that it's been really, really difficult for me to watch...

    Hey folks, I thought I'd bring up something that I've been struggling with for the past few years. As the title suggests, my issue is that it's been really, really difficult for me to watch television lately. I rarely find anything that looks appealing to begin with, and even when I do, I almost always end up in a constant state of—for lack of a better word—cringe. This happens with some movies, but almost every single TV show I try to start.

    The moments when I start getting uncomfortable are pretty consistently dialogue scenes. It's not the idea of two characters interacting that bothers me, but rather how they do it. The way that people talk on TV (especially protagonists) is unrealistic to the point where it is distracting enough to make me stop watching, because it makes literally no sense as a part of human society. I understand that no show is going to replicate real-life conversations 1:1, and that makes sense (filler words, useless tangents, etc. would just be distracting), but so many characters are direct to the point where any characterization that their words are supposed to provide seems utterly contrived, and I consequently ignore it.

    I seem hyper-aware of the fact that everything that a character is doing serves a specific purpose to either stretch the plot or artificially deepen their personality, but not in a meaningful way. The somewhat cheesy premise of The 100 (as a random example) kept me watching for a little while, but literally every conflict was forced. I could tell that there was a writer behind every, "Hey, look at Mr. <humorous adjective> here" and, "I'm telling you right now, stop! Don't do this!" and, "Just leave me alone!" trying to provide multiple sides to a character. The fourth wall may as well not even exist. Yes, I understand that your characters are all very complex human beings, but only because you're using every method known to man to imply it. It's just so heavy-handed that I can't pay attention to your broader message and instead focus on how ridiculous every word out of their mouths are.

    Okay, I understand that this character is supposed to be a symbol of feminine empowerment because she just kicked 14 guys and made a witty remark about having been underestimated. Okay, I understand that these scary-looking buff guys are bad because they keep explicitly saying how much they like murdering people. Are audiences really so stupid that they have to have characterization spelled out for them in dialogue? Can actions alone not be enough to convey meaning? Why does every meaningful interaction have to coincide with a ridiculously on-the-nose explanation of why it's relevant?

    It's ruining almost everything I watch. My immediate thought after hearing any TV quote that's supposed to be remotely funny or attention-grabbing is, "Ugh, that is such a 'television' thing to say," and it instantly makes me think negatively of the work. I've noticed that the feeling is somewhat dampened when watching foreign TV (in a different language), although it still feels sort of formulaic. Are my standards unrealistically high? Am I being a massive elitist? If so, how would I even change the way I look at television at this point? Or am I too far down the meta TV tropes rabbit-hole to be able to enjoy the medium fully again?

    23 votes
  13. Comment on Delete Never: The Digital Hoarders Who Collect Tumblrs, Medieval Manuscripts, and Terabytes of Text Files in ~tech

    Atvelonis (edited ) Link Parent
    Definitely. I help run a wiki and this is an issue we have to deal with constantly when using external links. My long-term (and not comprehensive) solution as of a few months ago has been a...

    Definitely. I help run a wiki and this is an issue we have to deal with constantly when using external links. My long-term (and not comprehensive) solution as of a few months ago has been a browser extention that allows me to quickly archive the page that I'm viewing. I do this for pretty much anything off-site I link to from a wiki article. Then, in the event that the link dies in the future, assuming someone notices, we can just plug in the archived version of it.

    The problem is that certain websites are not set up to allow proper web crawling. Most of Bethesda's news blogs, for example, are impossible to archive because the site has an agegate on it. The Wayback Machine also has trouble with interactive elements, which is sometimes important. I've come to accept by this point that, if I want to be as thorough as possible, I need to document on-site everything that the company says. The alternative is to accept that, eventually, some information will simply be lost, which makes me sad.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on Memes Are Our Generation's Protest Art in ~misc

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I mentioned in my other comment that the most interesting memes tend to be the multi-layered ones. Compared to simple jokes, which are funny perhaps once or twice, I think this will always be the...

    Where things go, I'm not sure. We've been at the "post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-irony" point for years now and I think getting more esoteric is losing its shock value and there will need to be a new direction.

    I mentioned in my other comment that the most interesting memes tend to be the multi-layered ones. Compared to simple jokes, which are funny perhaps once or twice, I think this will always be the case. I can look at a tri-layered ironic meme and get a laugh out of it much more than I could with an original Twitter post with a stupid caption. Creative memes, ones that rely on the audience having preexisting knowledge of other memes, are like inside jokes for meme viewers. It is this very "esotericism" that makes them fascinating to me.

    You make a very good point, though, that we seem to have ground to a halt as far as the structure of meme development is concerned. That is, every meme seems to go through a very similar life cycle. First it is a joke, usually non-ironic, and then it is either satirized and shared ironically or its physically changed. Then various levels of irony and connections to other memes appear, until it becomes too top-heavy—the casual viewer can no longer follow all of the meta comments in the meme, so it begins to lose its value for most folks. You can only add two or three layers to it before people lose focus somewhat, so all memes eventually gravitate toward pretty much exactly this level of depth. The exact subject matter of the things being connected to will change from meme to meme, of course, but the problem is that they aren't adding anything more to the meme, just switching up what's already there. It can still be funny, but it loses its creative momentum.

    I have no idea how to address this issue, though. How can you make a meme more interesting without connecting it to other memes/ideas, or by changing its medium? What direction could memes even take in the future?

    3 votes
  15. Comment on Memes Are Our Generation's Protest Art in ~misc

    Atvelonis Link
    I don't think a lot of the memes shown in that article are really the sort of thing that I would describe as being at the intellectual forefront of this generation's artistic endeavors. The thing...

    I don't think a lot of the memes shown in that article are really the sort of thing that I would describe as being at the intellectual forefront of this generation's artistic endeavors. The thing that makes a good meme isn't simply that it's content shared on a social media platform, but fundamentally the way that it builds upon and/or undermines existing content, satirizing it or otherwise using said content to get a point across in a creative way. To take it a step further, the truly good memes have multiple layers of inside jokes and/or irony; you need to be able to be pretty well-entrenched in meme culture to fully appreciate the best-crafted ones.

    The embroidery meme, for example, is a nice example of a solid two-layer meme. On the surface level, there is the Arthur fist meme, which is a very simplified way to represent anger (or a similar emotion) toward something. This meme, in and of itself, is amusing enough to get shared on the internet because it can be applied to a lot of things, but simply being funny doesn't make it a groundbreaking meme. However, by hand-stitching an image of the meme in the real world and adding something of her own to the image, Hanecdote conveys a political statement in a novel way. You can take these things much further (three or four or more layers of creativity/irony), and when done properly it can be absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, with each added layer of creativity comes a roadblock for casual meme-viewers; they become harder to understand, and often require explanation. Thus, it is the more low-effort memes that are typically the most popular.

    For instance, a Biden meme like this one is pretty boring. It doesn't do anything creative: it simply applies a funny caption to an image of Biden and Obama walking together. Like a single-layer version of the Arthur meme, it might be amusing very briefly, but ultimately isn't very interesting. It needs something else to give it that spark; a meta reference to a political event, or, ideally, another meme doing just that. On its own, though, it's unremarkable. This is the thing that I think a lot of people fail to see. They look at the most boring memes out there, often the most popular ones, and assume that all memes are like that; that they cannot ever be truly interesting, because the ones they've seen get old so quickly.

    The best part about memes isn't their intrinsic humor, it's what you can do with them yourself; they are a manifestation of your creative energy in a way that is hard to accomplish in other media. Memes do have a place in the realm of art, especially political art, but they also have to be understood for what they are.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on Researching a book before you read it? in ~books

    Atvelonis Link
    I try not to read up on the background of a book beforehand. If I do, it inevitably clouds my perception of the work somewhat, predisposing me to certain judgments of the author, characters,...

    I try not to read up on the background of a book beforehand. If I do, it inevitably clouds my perception of the work somewhat, predisposing me to certain judgments of the author, characters, story, etc. There are a lot of books whose meanings are enhanced by the reader having an understanding of their origin, but I think it acceptable to learn such things after finishing the book. With this system I have the ability to form a unique opinion on the book while also retaining the ability to seriously reevaluate that opinion afterward.

  17. Comment on What books are best experienced through a physical copy? in ~books

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I just finished S. myself. It's an interesting concept, and pretty well-executed all things considered, although at times the margin notes can be somewhat overwhelming. I really liked the...

    I just finished S. myself. It's an interesting concept, and pretty well-executed all things considered, although at times the margin notes can be somewhat overwhelming. I really liked the dual-story situation going on there, with both the novel itself and the margin notes offering different and compelling narratives. Would recommend!

    1 vote
  18. Comment on What anime, old or new, did you not expect to enjoy, but now highly recommend? in ~anime

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I had a similar experience with FMA, albeit the other way around. I was shown Brotherhood first, and absolutely loved everything about it (I've seen it perhaps five times now). I think it may be...

    I had a similar experience with FMA, albeit the other way around. I was shown Brotherhood first, and absolutely loved everything about it (I've seen it perhaps five times now). I think it may be my favorite show in general, even including non-anime series. I gave FMA a shot sometime afterward but felt that it couldn't really live up to Brotherhood in the way I had been hoping for.

  19. Comment on Bernie Sanders Raises $6 Million After Announcing Presidential Bid in ~news

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    I mostly agree with your point about character assassination—I think that this is actually far more important than anything positive a candidate can say during the run-up to an election—but...

    And this time around he doesn't have the benefit of several decades of character assassination accrued onto his opponent to piggy-back off. He's polling even with Biden, the only other candidate with similar name recognition. I think he still has a strong path to the nomination, enough to consider him the front-runner even.

    I mostly agree with your point about character assassination—I think that this is actually far more important than anything positive a candidate can say during the run-up to an election—but Sanders is definitely not "polling even" with Biden, unless the data here is completely wrong. Biden still has a 10-point lead, which is significant. With this in mind, I don't think it's accurate to call Sanders the front-runner at all.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on I just discovered Steam in ~games

    Atvelonis Link Parent
    Seconding The Talos Principle. It's absolutely incredible, and very peaceful. I think it's probably my favorite puzzle game to date. Hopefully they make a sequel at some point!

    Seconding The Talos Principle. It's absolutely incredible, and very peaceful. I think it's probably my favorite puzzle game to date. Hopefully they make a sequel at some point!

    5 votes