philippos42: (manga)
Two more things about Tumblr; one that doesn't make sense, and one that sadly, kind of does:

1: The way posting works now, with a darkened dashboard behind a post dialog, seems more awkward than the post screen we used to have--and it's a pain having to scroll up and down to italicize anything, or even just scrolling up to set options that are found at the top of the dialog.

2: I talked a lot about how much I liked posting on Tumblr. They do make it easy. And yet, when you put up a post you're proud of, it can be lost in a sea of very easy reblogs and the like. Unnoticed, buried, so much scrap in the pile.
philippos42: "Dark Vengeance!" (misfit)
misterandersen suggested, "Things about Tumblr that do make sense."

Wow. That's harder to pin down for me. Do I want to just mention innovations of Tumblr, or also things it did right like other sites did right? A bit of both, I guess. Let's just dive in:

One: Drafts. I love being able to start a post, save a draft, and come back to it later, then post it however I want. This is probably rooted in Tumblr not being a dated diary format, unlike LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Tumblr builds webpages that don't need to be timestamped. They're very mediated webpages, but they are webpages.

Two: The queue. Instead of posting everything when you see it, you can stick it in queue and let it post sometime in the future! There are two ways: You can have a rough queue, with posts so many times a day, and shuffle it around. You can also schedule a post for a given time, down to the minute, and have it not even published until then. You can have a big sloppy queue that works around scheduled posts! This is great!

Three: Timestamps on the dashboard. If you hover over the upper right corner of an item on your dashboard, you can see the time it was posted, according to your clock, not the poster's. This is nice to have.

Four: Being able to turn off endless scrolling on your dashboard, and go to pages by number. Because endless scrolling is naff, really.

Five: Being able to change your name (and thus URL) for free. That's--OK, that can be confusing for your followers, but it's nice to have the freedom. Maybe you misspelled it the first time, or it was too much about that time off your life. I've cluttered up other sites with usernames I decided I didn't quite want.

Six: Understanding that followers and those-you-follow are two different sets. And not calling them "friends."

Seven: What Tumblr is, as I see it: A way to put lots of images up, in a customizable "webpage" format (relatively) smoothly accessible to others as well as yourself; without lots of creepy ads nor the look of the old image hosts; that's pretty user-friendly--and no expectations about where the images came from, nor removal for copyright infringement, nor removal for nudity and sex. Tumblr is a very flexible image host wrapped in an online community.

Eight: Being able to not only put up pictures, but video and audio, without having to host it elsewhere, on a journal-type site.

Nine: The name. Yes, the name "Tumblr." It makes sense because it's not trying to be descriptive. It's a name born of connotation. It's evocative of drinking, and of gymnastics, and of images tumbling out of a box. It doesn't try to tell you exactly what it is; it can be a journal, a public relations site, or an online party.

Ten: Not only having customizable themes, but treating it as a way for web designers to make money. This was Tumblr's main source of income in the beginning, actually, since it's free to use, and didn't really do ads at first. (And yes, Tumblr's business model was a thing that didn't make a lot of sense for a long time. I keep worrying it'll just bleed red ink until it disappears.)

Honorable mention: Allowing Javascript in the theme. OK, it's mainly for the page description. Too bad you can't put it in posts so well; the dashboard won't show it. So that's a mixed bag.
(Topic, and title phrasing, suggested by odditycollector)

I saw it said once that Tumblr is a party. I think that's a fair characterization. I can see it as a sort of image host, and a friendlier one than the old image hosts with their grey interfaces and irritating ads. Taken as these things, Tumblr is fine.

But for a social community site, it is (as is Twitter, as is Facebook) a step backwards from the journal site model of LiveJournal/Dreamwidth.

Now, I think there are parts of Tumblr that "don't make sense" to an old journal-site user, but do make sense on their own terms. I want to, for the most part, leave aside things that are annoying about Tumblr but make some kind of sense, which should leave only a few things:

One: If I “<3”/like/heart a response to something, that is counted the same as hearting the original post as far as the original poster knows (or, for that matter, anyone outside the specific chain of respondents in the response I hearted). That’s confusing.

Further, it at least used to be the case that one could not “<3” something if the original post was no longer there—as I recall. I’ve not tested that lately.

Two: In theory, I could rewrite this entire post into a rabid denunciation of the Irish race after y’all “like” it, and it would still count as you “liking” it. Oy.

Three: You can have 153,546 notes on a post, most of which are noise, and not be able to find many of the actual comments, if any. You can fold a Disqus thread in if you are inclined, and some people do, but Tumblr itself is, well, shaped like itself. I’ve grown to like its strange forking threads, but they’re not organizedly archived to be tracked down, they’re wild moments of a long party that still leaves scrambled tracks on the servers. So once a thread gets big enough, fuggeddaboudit.

Related: I have known a few users to try to use Tumblr as a blog for general readership or as a webcomic host. It mostly worked, too—for other Tumblr users. Unless they added Disqus, outsiders found the inability to comment annoying.

Four: The biggest problem I have may be this: On Dreamwidth or LiveJournal, I can organize the blogs I follow into filtered categories. So if I want to just look at my real-life friends, or just communities, or just fans of Wonder Woman, I can (with a little work) set up filters to do that. Of the new models of social media, I think only Google+ lets me do that with a single account.

Tumblr lets me run multiple blogs, thus splitting my output for other’s consumption, and organize my own posts with tags, but doesn’t let me organize my friends’ feeds. So I end up doing a lot of unfriending just to be able to keep up. And don’t you have that one friend who overspams but you can’t quite bring yourself to get rid of, so you end up reading a lot of their reblogs and reblogging them yourself until you feel like an echo? That’s a thing here.

Five: I almost hate to add this, because I like the flexibility of design in Tumblr themes. But it’s a journalish site, not a GeoCities page, so here goes:

A lot of Tumblr skins themes don’t have date stamps. I once had reason to try to explain that a depressed friend’s suicide note on Tumblr was actually posted in the previous few hours, and I remembered seeing it new in that timeframe on my dashboard, and if I logged into my dashboard and found the post there, I could read the date that way. But no way on the blog itself to confirm. And I was in any case talking to a someone in another state over the phone, so they couldn’t really have without making an account, which was too much trouble. “It was in the last two hours, I remember, just trust me.”

Six: No screens! Really? I can “hide” a post (even from myself), put down the URL somewhere and then send you the URL so you (and anyone with the URL) can see it. If I do, it will not show up in anyone’s dashboard; not mine, not my best friend's. So keeping track of those is hard. But Tumblr can’t have something screened so only certain people can see it, and yet they will see it automatically—a core function of LJ, which LJ does easily.

Anyway, lately, I am realizing that LJ had a really good basic design, and more recent stuff has been inferior in the interest of being different. An old acquaintance has lately returned to LJ after deciding that Facebook required too much personal vagueness.

Wow. I thought I’d have two or three things. I came up with six!

But I do like Tumblr as its own kind of thing, and it does come up with fun threads in its own way.
philippos42: "Dark Vengeance!" (flip)
So, two months ago, I put this meme on my tumblr:

Leave me a character I know in my ask box and I will reply with:

  • Favorite thing about them
  • Least favorite thing about them
  • My OTP for them
  • My favorite friendship for them
  • Favorite quote or line they have said

I did the third Doctor, Wondy, and I thought another one, but apparently not.

Sitting in my ask box for 61 days has been this twofer:
evillordzog asked:
Cassie Sandsmark. Cassandra Cain


Cassie Sandsmark:
  • Favorite thing about her: As originally designed, Cassie is a repudiation of the "perfect little princess" type exemplified by Diana and Donna. She started as bratty-only-child-next-door, she got to be a superhero, & she was still a kid. A plain kid, in more senses than one. As far as I'm concerned, the, "Zeus is her real father," retcon is a mistake.
    But really, I like that she's a version of Wondy that isn't tied into trying-too-hard self-conscious attempts at "feminine mystique"/"feminism." Cassie as designed is a girl with a classic "boy" origin (like Brian Braddock or Billy Batson) not the "exotic woman" type that litters superhero comics.

  • Least favorite thing about her: The attempt by various writers to just utterly wreck her life, the most extreme bit so far being in 52, when she joined a cult that anticipated Superboy's resurrection. Just NO.

  • My OTP for her: I don't think an appropriate partner for Cassie has been written yet. I could go abstract and say, "super-heroing"--that's mostly true, really.

  • My favorite friendship for her: Byrne meant her to be a Wondy sidekick & have her own associated characters, rather than hanging out with other superheroes. So I should say her techie pal (Georgia?) from the Byrne issues. But I really like Cassie's friendship with Cissie in Young Justice. Sorry, JB.

  • Favorite quote or line she has said: In my head, she sings bits of "Lucky Jones" by Z. Especially the, "I can make a lion swallow soup," line and the, "Lucky, Lucky," refrain, which fits her.

    In canon? Maybe where she calls herself "a kid given superstrength by Zeus." Note, not "girl," "kid." Cassie doesn't need constant self-conscious gender labeling.

Cassandra Cain:
  • Favorite thing about her: Full. Face. Mask.

  • Least favorite thing about her: That her name, while very cool, is partly a phonetic variation on "Kathy Kane." (This just beats out my qualms that she's part of the Batman franchise at all, instead of a separate science-fiction concept. Being in the Batfamily means getting written out or rewritten by Bat-editors that aren't invested in her concept.)

  • My OTP for her: If I had to pick, maybe that guy she was into, I forget his name, not Kon, the other one. Or I could go abstract and say, "badassery."

  • My favorite friendship for her: Oh, I don't know. Babs, I guess, though I don't entirely approve of trying to stick Oracle into new Batgirl series for trademark continuity's sake. It works because it makes sense for Babs as a character to look after new Batgirls, not because I think we need the old Batgirl in a Batgirl book.

  • Favorite quote or line she has said: On an early cover, we see Batgirl holding a sign reading, "Please help me not to die." It felt like meta begging for the survival of the series. It got to me, I picked up the issue.



May 2017



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