Anita Sarkeesian's TED talk

Anita Sarkeesian, the vlogger behind Feminist Frequency and the Women vs Tropes Kickstarter, has a TED talk, at TEDxWomen 2012, now up on YouTube.  The talk is about the backlash to her Kickstarter -- a huge, organized hate campaign against her and her project. Trigger warning: misogyny.

Unfortunately I didn't have any money at the time all this harassment was going on, so I wasn't able to donate.  As a result, I don't have access to the news updates -- but I do have access to the headlines, which inform me that production started in late July of this year, since which point there have been two further updates.  I can't wait until this series comes out.

StickNFind: the greatest invention I've ever seen (today)

(via Boing Boing) There are 42 more days in StickNFind's IndieGoGo campaign.  Here:  Go contribute.

Not convinced?  Alright.  StickNFinds are bluetooth coin-like things that you can stick to anything you want.  Using a cellphone app, you can locate those stickers, make them beep, use a radar screen to point you towards them, and more. Here:  Go contribute.

Here's a video explaining it all:

Awesome, right?  Here's the Indiegogo link again.

My biggest question is whether you can sync multiple phones to the same sticker -- so that, for example, we could put one on my mother's phone, and make both my dad's and my phones detectors to find it.  I asked in a comment, and will report back if I find out.

The Hunting of the Snark

I really like Lewis Carroll, primarily his poetry.  I've memorized the Walrus and the Carpenter, and I've tried to memorize the Hunting of the Snark.  The Hunting of the Snark, though, is much longer than the Walrus and the Carpenter, so I (predictably) failed. That said, it's a really excellent story -- the kind that would make a really cool independent short film.

BTW:  Here is a kickstarter video.

There are 19 days left to go in the project, and they're not very close to their goal but they just got linked by Boing Boing, so I'm hopeful. For a $5 pledge, if the project gets funded, you can get a DRM-free digital copy of the film.

Here's the poem, and an excerpt below of one of the many good bits:

 There was one who was famed for the number of things

He forgot when he entered the ship:

His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,

And the clothes he had bought for the trip.


He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,

With his name painted clearly on each:

But, since he omitted to mention the fact,

They were all left behind on the beach.


The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because

He had seven coats on when he came,

With three pairs of boots--but the worst of it was,

He had wholly forgotten his name.

Penny Arcade Sells Out

I had thought I blogged about this when it first came out, but it appears I didn't.  Anyone who follows comics on the internet has by now probably heard of Penny Arcade's Kickstarter campaign, "Penny Arcade sells out," in which they're trying to raise $1 million so that they can take down advertising on their site, entirely. The campaign's basic goal was $250 thousand, and they made that very quickly.  For that, the leaderboard ad on the home page will be removed.  I checked back today, and it's currently at $364,461, which is enough to unlock the first stretch goal at $325 thousand, a 6 page comic strip.  I don't know why that one's in there, but it's nice that they put a bunch of other cool stuff around all the goals for ad removal.

I checked back today honestly expecting for them to be at or close to the $1 million goal.  I figured if anyone was going to raise that much on Kickstarter in the first week or so, it would be Penny Arcade.  They're not even close yet, but there are still 22 days to go.

Lacking money, I won't be contributing, but I do think this is a good idea.  For a long time now, the model for financing online content has been "We can't think of anything better than ads," and I'm happy to see people who have the power to overcome that issue reaching out to try and change things.

If this works, I can honestly imagine an artistic future in which the culture of art is that people voluntarily contribute to the art they love.  Eventually we might even be able to finance the kind of blockbusters that Hollywood pumps out -- though I expect we'd only get the Nolan style films, and lose out on the Transformers franchise.  But I'm not complaining.

Tropes vs. Women in video games: FeministFrequency Kickstarter update

I wrote last week about Anita Sarkeesian's kickstarter, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. This update consists of good news and (depressingly predictable) bad news. As of writing, there's 63 hours left in the Kickstarter, if you still want to get some money in.

It's at almost $100,000, nearly 4,000 backers, and has passed all the reach goals.  That means not only are there going to be twice as many trope videos as originally planned, and a video on positive female characters in video games, and a step up in production quality, there will also be a classroom curriculum version of the series and a 12th video deconstructing common defenses of sexism in the video game industry.

On the really awful, totally reprehensible side, the online gaming community has gone out of their way to explain by example why we need this sort of series.  From Kickstarter update #4:

The intimidation and harassment effort has included a torrent of misogyny and hate speech on my YouTube video, repeated vandalizing of the Wikipedia page about me, organized efforts to flag my YouTube videos as "terrorism", as well as many threatening messages sent through Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, email and my own website.  These messages and comments have included everything from the typical sandwich and kitchen "jokes" to threats of violence, death, sexual assault and rape.  All that plus an organized attempt to report this project to Kickstarter and get it banned or defunded.

She linked to a screencap she took of the YouTube comments.  I got about halfway through.  Trigger warning:  here's the link.

EDIT:  Because I spaced on putting these in when I wrote this post.  Here are links to other news sources that have covered this story -- Game Politics, The Mary Sue, The New Statesman

Kickstarter on Growth

(Via Neil Gaiman's Tumblr) You know what's awesome?  Statistical analysis.  You know what else is awesome?  Kickstarter.  And, apparently, when those two things come together, a beautiful thing happens:  We find out that Kickstarter is even more awesome than people think.

A lot of people believe that the more Kickstarters there are, the harder it will be to get one off the ground.  Hell, there was an xkcd strip about it.  But according to Kickstarter's blog, that's not the case.

As we've grown, we've heard people worry that it will be harder and harder to fund projects as the total number of projects grows. They wonder: Do more projects mean greater competition for the same dollars? 

And when there's a blockbuster project, they ask: Are these projects stealing backers from other worthy projects?

For both questions, the opposite actually appears to be true. Projects aren't fighting over a finite pool of Kickstarter dollars or backers. One project's backer isn't another project's loss. The backers that one project brings often end up backing other projects as well. Each project is not only promoting itself, but the Kickstarter ecosystem as a whole.

The very cool charts in their blog post detail the way that big projects result in huge overflows of backers into other cool projects in the same area.  The video game example of Double Fine, especially, showed a huge positive-sum impact on the community with a successful, large project.