Public and Private Identities

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom in development

    By Claudia Rebaza on Maanantai, 9 December 2013 - 10:46i.p.
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    • While it's generally known that fandom is a major part of life on Tumblr, several researchers from Canada's Simon Fraser University will be presenting the results of their fandom study at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing conference in February 2014. Their paper is already available. "We investigated Tumblr fandom users’ motivations behind participating in fandoms, and how they interacted within the Tumblr community. Our results show that fandom users feel their Tumblr experience is ‘always-on’ where they participate at nearly any point in the day. They have also adopted a unique set of jargon and use of animated GIFs to match their desired fandom activities."
    • RocketNews24 discussed how Vocaloid fandom has become a milepost for distinguishing otaku generations. "The real rise in Vocaloid’s popularity began in 2007 with the introduction of Hatsune Miku, though the software existed years before. Songs like Melt and The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku led to the character, Miku, becoming the axis of Vocaloid fandom, and people first falling into the series for more than just its capabilities as music-making software adopted the perspective that Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid are synonymous. According to Febri’s article, these people belong to the first generation of Vocaloid fans."
    • On Grantland, Molly Lambert uses the Brony fandom revealed in its documentary to discuss adopted personas. "Defining yourself by the media you consume has always been commonplace, but it took social media to really demonstrate how inadequate it feels to reduce your personality into a series of lists. The ownership we feel over our favorite things is false, and Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook really served to drive this home. You like The Big Lebowski? Cool, so does everyone. The things you thought made you unique when you were the only person you knew interested in some genre of music, independent film, or corner of history turn out to be laughably banal. Even personality traits are memes, picked up and transmitted or willed into place."

    What stories of fandoms developing do you have to share? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Troubling tech issues

    By Claudia Rebaza on Lauantai, 7 December 2013 - 9:12i.p.
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    Banner by Diane of the post title and OTW logo in striated colors as if they were going through interference.

    • Attack of the Fanboy wrote about various troubling issues affecting gaming fandom. One of the most recent involves the data Sony is gathering from users. "Sony’s updated Terms of Service reserved their right to prohibit the sale of used software, but tucked away in the updated version, the company also reserves the right to monitor users voice and text communication on the PlayStation Network."
    • Attack of the Fanboy also ran an article on forced labor used to build PS4 consoles. "Students in the programme have fainted from fatigue. The Yantai factory has already come under fire for a 300+ worker brawl at the factory in September, and denied previous speculation that people were left dead after the event, and rumours of rape around the factory are also being heard across news outlets...Despite such a bad reputation, Sony are using this facility to build PS4′s, and it certainly casts a small shadow over the companies brand identity as the PS4 launch draws closer."
    • Google's decision to force people commenting at YouTube to create or use their Google+ accounts is meeting resistance due to Google+'s insistence on real name usage. X-box players are off the hook for now. "Microsoft has made some talk about the ability for someone to use their real name for their gamertag. This, according to Microsoft, may prevent actions that some deal as unsavory or trollish...and to help identify yourself to your friends." However "[u]nlike Blizzard’s short foray with Blizzard Real ID that forced users to use their real names and subsequently backfired, Microsft will only offer it as a choice."
    • TeleRead posted about problems in reading content away from Fanfiction.net. "It’s worth mentioning that Fanfiction.net has also removed the ability to select text from its stories for copying and pasting. It is no longer possible to highlight or mark text with the mouse on its stories. And some users have complained that Fanfiction.net has upped the amount of advertising on its pages as well." Demand for downloads is high. "The author of the Fanfiction Downloader app noted that he had to disable the email-based interface of his app, except for emailing directly to Kindles, because after FLAG was blocked its load went from about 100 requests per day to more than 5,000 per hour. It seems there are a lot of people out there who would rather read fanfiction on their e-readers or mobile e-reader apps than from a web browser."

    What tech-related fandom issues have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Technology and Legal Matters

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunnuntai, 3 February 2013 - 6:59i.p.
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    • While 2012 is now behind us, some of its legal developments may catch up to us in 2013. TechDirt warned that a proposed copyright small claims court "may have a bigger impact than the DMCA." Because prosecuting users is generally so expensive for rights holders, they're looking for other ways to target those they consider guilty of infringement. "We see a lot of the bullying and trolling that takes place in the informal copyright system, where overreaching DMCA takedown notices and cease and desist letters are common. As many people reading this may know, bogus copyright claims are regularly misused to takedown otherwise legal content. So we have to balance the need of independent creative people to get 'justice' for their works being wholly misappropriated by bad actors, while keeping life sane for average internet users."
    • It's not like we need more examples of bogus copyright takedowns to prove a point, but we still give a nod to Tech Crunch for making the story entertaining with its headline Amazon Pulls Self-Published Memoir About Star Wars Because it References Star Wars. " [I]f Amazon wants to be the central repository for all paid and unpaid unpublished work, they need more than a Mechanical Turk to kick books into the 'potentially infringes' pile...Amazon cannot go the route of YouTube and other media sharing systems that are reliant on the good graces of big media and tend to ban first and ask no questions later. Instead, problems like these need a dedicated person with some authority to make the ultimate and intelligent choice."
    • An article on frictionless entertainment explained the term as the "world of streamed music and videos where the producers, broadcasters, advertisers and various others (mostly stealthy tracking parties) watch what you watch and listen to what you listen to." Discussing how services such as Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Kinect, Apple and Amazon gather data, they note "In almost every other setting, all these practices would qualify as cyberstalking."

    What legal developments are you concerned about in 2013? If you're interested in fair use and how it relates to fanfiction and other fanworks, write about them in Fanlore. Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Legal and Technology Stories

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tiistai, 22 January 2013 - 7:29i.p.
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    • News about a Google TV that interprets its viewers' behavior to recommend shows to them raises questions about how useful such a technology would be, and to whom, not to mention the privacy matters involved. "James McQuivey at Forrester Research said consumers will accept these privacy tradeoffs if they see an advantage to the new style of television. 'If you ask people, of course they will say no,' McQuivey told AFP, while noting that millions have accepted this type of tracing by connecting their TVs to Xbox consoles with Kinect motion detection where 'the camera is tracking you all the time'...But he said companies should be prepared to develop privacy policies to avoid government intervention."
    • Nielsen is also planning to gather consumer data, in this case by following Twitter activity that occurs using the hashtags displayed during TV show broadcasts. "Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group said, 'Twitter is a powerful messenger and a lot of fun for fans of our shows, providing them with the opportunity to engage, connect and voice their opinions directly to each other and us. Combining the instant feedback of Twitter with Nielsen ratings will benefit us, program producers, and our advertising partners.'"
    • Germany may be taking Facebook to court over its policy of banning pseudonyms. "Facebook began cracking down on pseudonym accounts in early 2011, and made a renewed effort to purge such accounts in August 2012. In September, Facebook started encouraging users to report friends who don’t use their real names." Germany was successful in its earlier effort last year when its "state data protection authority sued Facebook over its facial recognition software that automatically recognized and tagged people in photos uploaded to a user’s profile."

    Know about other fandom stories involving Twitter, pseudonyms or television viewing? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Links roundup for 11 September 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tiistai, 11 September 2012 - 4:41i.p.
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    Here's a roundup of stories about the new face of fandom that might be of interest to fans:

    • Haddayr Copley-Woods summarizes the classic experiences of fandom with "Many people called me a nerd back in seventh grade, when I played Dungeons and Dragons and got picked last in gym. Now the word feels like an embrace." She encourages others to discover their tribe at a fan convention. "Sometimes, during a deeply intellectual panel on the work of Lloyd Alexander, you might have to raise your voice to compete with the sounds of a boisterous Klingon ritual going on in the courtyard below. But if you're a misfit, it will be worth it. You'll finally be home." The longstanding tradition of face-to-face meets is being seen today as a way to connect with a new generation, as in the case of Amarillo, Texas's comic book con organized by their local library.
    • Some fans have found themselves excluded from in-person gatherings in the past, though this too is changing. The L.A. Times noticed that Comic-Con "is seeing more gay-themed panels, parties, signings and off-site events than ever before," with one writer connecting canon acceptance to fandom presence. “Queer fandom is absolutely galvanized by seeing more accurate representations of ourselves." Another con-goer added that this new energy is present "[e]ven among non-queer fans. My super-straight guy friend is totally into this comic about queer bears.” Comments to the article however, showed we still have a long road to walk.
    • The road may be a lot shorter among fanfic writers who were called out in a video by Teen Wolf's most popular slash couple. They gave the writers and readers something to think about while encouraging them to vote for an award. Such fans were probably also on the minds of app developers at Movellas who created "an iPhone app just for fan fiction about boy-band One Direction." The reporting journalist's "sheer disbelief" is the only quaint thing about the story, which otherwise proves that fans will take their fandom connections with them wherever they go.

    Do you have a "future of fandom" story to tell? Why not contribute it to Fanlore? Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Links roundup for 4 August 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Lauantai, 4 August 2012 - 5:41i.p.
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    Here's a roundup of legal and technology stories that may be of interest to fans.

    • While bills such as SOPA and PIPA disappeared from the U.S. legislative landscape earlier this year, they were only the first of many volleys targeting Internet users and companies. There is S.2151 sponsored by Senator John McCain, and the Lieberman-Collins Cyber Security Act or S.3414 which will likely be coming up for a vote soon. A recently proposed amendment to S.3414 would strike all of its section 701 "which provides companies with the explicit right to monitor private user communications and engage in countermeasures." Organizations such as the EFF and the Center for Democracy & Technology oppose these bills as they feel the language is overly broad and that current laws already enable online service providers to protect their networks.
    • Speaking of SOPA and PIPA, the coalition of online companies, websites, users and activist organizations who fought those bills realized after that fight that they should enable quick mobilization of their group when future threats arise. As such, they formed the Internet Defense League, which will help spread information around the web through participants hosting a form of bat signal. Anyone with a website can sign up to take part. Online users can take various steps to defend their Internet rights from signing documents to donating to PACs.
    • One thing central to Internet freedoms is keeping the means of production in the hands of as many people as possible. To that end, things like Google's video production workshops are a plus for fans and general online users alike as is the availability of the Creative Commons content on YouTube. Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons (CC) urged those with content on the site to "select 'Creative Commons Attribution license' from the 'License and rights ownership. menu." You can now also choose to "license your future videos under CC BY as a default."
    • One example of the extent of transmedia, or stories created across multiple formats, is discussed by Jan Bozarth, whose Fairy Godmother Academy began as an eight book series for Random House, but quickly expanded into live events, music, and even its own dance movement. Her projects seek to enable girls to utilize technology for their own storytelling. "We all agree that we are not our iPods, iPads, Dr. Drea’s, or Thom’s. They are US. We live in the real world, but it’s got to be a world of our making and those tools help." Her project goal was "to deliver a multi dimensional story, in multiple forms, to a multi-tasking audience, who really just wants to write their own movie and star in it." She also realizes the story is only hers to start, not finish. "I can’t really own [the stories] once they are assimilated into a culture that consumes ideas only to transform, transmute and re-create. My biggest audience may or may not be born yet but my hope is that they will someday dance, sing and write some version of my story and send it back to me in another form that hasn’t even been invented yet. What lives on is the re-creation."

    If you have things to discuss about fandom and the internet or transformational fandom, why not write about it in Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup at transformativeworks.org. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Links roundup for 6 June 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Keskiviikko, 6 June 2012 - 4:34i.p.
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    Here's a roundup of fan identity stories that might be of interest to fans:

    • The Daily Dot featured an interview with Flourish Klink about fangirl culture. "Klink said she thinks the way women tend to interact with media is not broadcasted as widely. 'I think that male fans maybe more frequently create spectacle—original fan films, for instance—but things that require less monetary investment are usually made by women,' she said. She went on to talk about how sites like LiveJournal offer more privacy for posting, a greater concern for women. She also felt the word fangirl needs to move away from its negative connotations. 'I feel like usually when people use the word ‘fangirl’ in a dismissive way, it's usually a really gendered insult—it's about how ladies are inappropriately overemotional, yeah?' she asked. 'So I kind of want to reclaim it. Personally.'"
    • Of course, the word "fans" has not yet escaped negative connotations as this piece in The Brisbane Times makes evident. Focusing on a tattoo contest for Game of Thrones fans, it asks when fandom goes too far, interviewing music and comic store owners and con organizer Daniel Zachariou. "'If you have passions and you have hobbies what on earth is wrong with that?' he asked. 'We are all acting out different roles in daily life, in our work we might put on a persona that is very different to our home persona. If there are cosplayers that already have psychological conditions, well that is a different story.'" Dr Larry Neale, an expert in consumer and sports fanaticism, adds “'Now that these fanatics have pledged their allegiance to Game of Thrones through tattoos, they will be more loyal in terms of watching the show and there is the chance for advertisers to get the spill on effects of that...as these fans remain loyal to HBO.'"
    • As part of a fandom issue Parabasis contributor Anne Moore writes about "fandom, queerness, shame and the fan-creator relationship." Examining the feelings involved in performing fandom, she writes "Although writers and fans both express a great deal of affection for one another, that affection is always counterbalanced by hostility and resentment. Unsurprisingly, then, figures of fandom are rarely presented as characters with whom a reader might identify...It’s this dynamic of identification and disavowal that creates perhaps the greatest parallel between fans and queers—for every fan, there’s some final limit at which things transition from 'cool' to 'pathetic': trading cards, costumes, live-action-role-playing. Like the crush on a straight friend that marks so many people’s initial knowledge of their own queer leanings, the fan’s imaginary relationship with the star, text, or author is structurally impossible to fulfill, and humiliating when it’s exposed."
    • Media scholar Henry Jenkins hosted a multipart look at otaku culture "that is, the culture of a technologically literate segment of the population which is characterized by their impassioned engagement, skilled reworking, and intellectual mastery over elements borrowed from many aspects of popular culture, including not only anime and manga, but also games, popular music, digital culture, even history or trains. So far, relatively little of this work has been translated into English, which means that Fan Studies as practiced in the United States and Otaku Studies as it has developed in Japan have largely been autonomous fields. In practice, they have much to learn from each other, including forcing scholars to be more attentive to the cultural specificity of various fan practices, identities, aesthetics, and ideologies."

    If you're part of otaku culture, or Game of Thrones fandom, why not contribute to Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Links roundup for 21 May 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Maanantai, 21 May 2012 - 9:57i.p.
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    Here's a roundup of stories about fandom under pressure that might be of interest to fans:

    • In some of the latest takedown actions from the past month a fan offering free high-resolution downloads of his artwork for video game Fallout was contacted by a law firm representing the game owner Bethesda, issuing a cease and desist for his website. The artist replied in detail to the charges and has so far refused to turn his domain name over to the company, although he did remove links to the posters.
    • Popular website TV Tropes removed fanfiction recommendations on their site after encountering problems with Google's Ad Sense which required them to remove "mature and adult content" from the site. Aside from the issue of advertiser control of content, however, others were upset about what it meant for their use of the site. As one poster commented "The problem, as I see it, is that the admins have destroyed countless hours of our work. I don't demand that pages be restored onto this particular server, but I do demand that the source material (pages as they existed pre-cut) be made available in some fashion, so that those who want can host it elsewhere."
    • In many places, online access to content isn't affected by advertisers or corporate owners, but by governments. For example, Vietnamese authorities have recently mandated that Internet companies assist in online censorship. Among the provisions of a proposed decree, "Internet users 'are strictly prohibited' from providing fictitious personal data" which will prohibit all forms of anonymous blogging and discussion. Personal blogs will have to publicize the name and contact information of the individual responsible and will be held personally liable for all the published content on their blogs.
    • On the other hand at least one sports blogger is alarmed at the possibility that team owners might put important decisions in fans' hands. "As counter-intuitive as it sounds, as much as the Sixers should care about making the fans happy, they shouldn't care about what those fans want on a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of a devastating losing streak. When they ask what the fans think about their roster, it isn't hip, catchy, or new-media savvy. It's insulting." Instead the blogger suggests, "continue to ask us what we think of a new lighting scheme, insist on our thoughts about a moose for a mascot, and call our home phones to ask how to make better use of '1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Sixers.' Those are the some of the best elements of a new fan-owner partnership."

    If you have news of legal actions against fans or content takedowns, why not write about it on Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Links roundup for 2 May 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Keskiviikko, 2 May 2012 - 3:30i.p.
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    Here's a roundup of fan wish-fulfillment and memorial stories that might be of interest to fans:

    • A post at Kotaku told the story of six-year old John Hoover, and his mother Carrie's plea to Everquest II players to help expand and decorate her cancer-stricken son's playing space. "Players working around the clock joined and power-leveled a new guild (reaching guild level 70 in, reportedly, approximately 65 hours) in order to have access to goods, housing, and amenities ready for the big day. And when it came, they turned out in force. When they were done, young John had a virtual wonderland to call his own, complete with carousel, playground, treehouse, hopscotch field, giant aquarium, menageries, gardens, pirate bed, winter wonderland, and even a rollercoaster — all donated and built, painstakingly, by a small army of decorators." In a note thanking everyone who helped in the effort, Carrie emphasized the major role that the Everquest II fan community has played in her family's life since her son's birth, and also shared YouTube videos of her son's reactions to his new playing space.
    • The U.S. baseball season opened this year with the unveiling of a statue dedicated to fans in front of the Texas Rangers' stadium. More specifically, the statue honors a father who died in 2011 while trying to catch a foul ball for his son. Thousands of fans contributed to a fund for his family through various fundraisers and direct donations.
    • Scottish football fans organized a memorial game on behalf of two young fans who died in the past few years. "Paul Daly is organising a four-team tournament at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell...The tournament will feature teams from Cadzow Accies, Cadzow Accies Legends, an Accies fans' team and an Accies Legends select." The games will honor "John Paterson (18), son of well-known Hamilton Accies Football Supporters' Welfare Organisation (HAFSWO) bus convener John Paterson, [who] passed away in November 2009 while battling leukaemia [and] Stuart Whitelaw [who] died in May 2010 following a period of illness which involved the 21-year-old going through a series of strokes." Said the organizer, "I just thought this year we could maybe get ex-players involved to show the boys' families that we're very interested in keeping their spirits up and remembering their boys."

    Fanlore doesn’t just preserve memories of fandoms and fan activities, but also the fans who took part in them. If someone important to you doesn’t yet have a remembrance page there, why not start one? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Links roundup for 5 March 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Maanantai, 5 March 2012 - 8:36i.p.
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    Here's a roundup of fandom technology stories that might be of interest to fans:

    • Technology has always had a circular relationship with fan practices, with the format and medium shaping what fans could do, and with fans modifying the technology to accommodate their needs. This post about music fans discusses "an extraordinary 20th century of people developing behaviors, values, and communities centered on listening to records" which may now be slipping away due to changes in music distribution. However, fannishness as social glue is a continuing thread: "There was nothing else necessarily in common amongst them at all; they were all different ages and occupations. It was funny to walk into a room where nothing else mattered except he's playing the new Slim Harpo and that was enough to bond you all together."
    • One problem that sometimes springs up is that people, whether outsiders or users, confuse the platform with the practice. In this post about how Twitter changed his sports fandom, the writer notes changes in his life that have more to do with communal fandom and his own willingness to interact. "I realized I wasn't alone", "I understood I was not, in fact, bat s*** crazy", "Gameday will never be the same" and "Twitter has provided me great interaction with terrific people" could have been said in previous decades about platforms which are still in use by some. In fact, fandom today may have more problems due to platform diversity, and corporate or government control, than the inability to connect with other fans.
    • A lengthy Village Voice piece titled Rise of the Facebook Killers cited how "the architecture of communication was distorting the conversation." The artice details some of the problems users face that new projects such as Diaspora* are trying to overcome. "[Y]our posts can easily be imported into Tumblr, Twitter, and even Facebook...Diaspora* can function as a social aggregator, bringing together feeds from various other platforms...you can communicate directly, securely, and without running exchanges past the prying eyes of Zuckerberg." Additionally, "for those worried about malicious government or corporate interference, the distributed network is much less vulnerable to denial of service attacks, which makes the network much harder to take down."

    If the history of fandom technology use interests you, why not contribute to Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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