Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality

  • OTW Fannews: How fandom works

    By Claudia Rebaza on Domenica, 13 April 2014 - 5:32pm
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    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of the post title layered over a series of gears.

    • The question of how fandom works has been popping up in the media. Entertainment Weekly used the finale of True Detective to raise the question: 'Does modern TV fandom actually make it harder to understand TV shows?' "I wonder if the conversation around True Detective made the show seem more ambitious than it actually was. I wonder what it would be like if we could have those conversations about shows that do have a deeper point beyond 'Good vs. Evil.'" (Spoiler warning for the series).
    • At The Mary Sue, Rachael Berkey used the return of Veronica Mars to look at changing fandom. "I was seventeen when I joined my first fandom. It was 1999, and Rent was kind of a big deal...Fandom feels like a completely different beast in 2014. There’s a lingo to it you have to translate until you really go native." She believes that "Fandom has hit its stride in the second decade of the new millennium. Thanks to successful fan-funded projects like the Veronica Mars movie, the great things about being a part of a fandom are being pulled right out into the open."
    • Bronies for Good posted a podcast of Feminism and the Fandom. "One of the core aspects of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is how it strives to provide empowerment for young girls through a medium that is typically unfavorable to women. As part of the content blitz for International Women’s Day discussed in more detail in our previous post, and in collaboration with The Round Stable, we have invited fellow fans to discuss femininity, feminism, and women’s issues in the context of MLP:FiM and its fandom." (No transcript available).
    • NPR's Code Switch transcribed their discussion of race in World of Warcraft. Although the interview began by saying "Don't worry, this isn't about racial disparities between black, Latino and Asian players", in fact the discussion does end up there. "DEMBY: So there were no, like, guilds full of young Latino kids? SCHELLDORF: I never met a single person with a 'Hispanic-sounding' accent on the game. But I can say that those who sounded Asian or black were less welcomed...HERNANDEZ: I wish I had found a Latino guild! It would have made things way easier. A friend actually joined an Australian guild one time on accident, so there are definitely some guilds with national or racial identity out there. For us it was about finding a good raiding guild, and eventually a good raiding guild that didn't hate on our accent."

    What factors about how fandom works have you noticed? 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: Fandom challenges

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mercoledì, 5 February 2014 - 7:00pm
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    • NPR's Code Switch asked Who Gets To Be A Superhero?. "But an artist named Orion Martin noted that the X-Men comics have on the receiving end of much real-life discrimination: the main lineup in the X-Men team has been mostly straight, white dudes...So Martin decided to reimagine them, recoloring some famous panels so that the main characters are brown — a gimmick that changes the subtext and stakes for the X-people."
    • A post on Flayrah discussed what makes furries a fandom. "Fandoms revolve around a common interest, not a canon. At times the common interest will also serve as the canon, in such things as the Doctor Who fandom or the Pokémon fandom, but at other times the common interest will be more vague, such as the anime fandom, the sci-fi fandom and the furry fandom. In those cases the fans are fans of a concept that can encompass many different fandoms due to a common element. Furry certainly has what we can term a canon. Fred Patten has compiled a long, but incomplete, list of works that influenced and led to the formation of the furry fandom between 1966-1996."
    • Gamer Zarnyx discussed early prejudices and missing past experiences. "I am aware that had A Link Between Worlds been my first game in the series, I would have been voicing an entirely different opinion. I am aware that it is a little bit selfish to dismiss the game as 'just another Zelda game', just as I am aware it would be ridiculous of me (again) to dismiss Nintendo and tell you my faith is wavering. That's not my intent for a company who has given me more amazing memories than forgettable ones and continues to do so even now...But as I listened to my sister's gleeful squeals sprinkled in with the 'oh no' moments of hearing death approaching...I wanted that excitement too instead of the occasional jaded groan I mustered when encountering some of the same things I encountered on so many adventures before this one."

    What fandom challenges have you experienced? 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: 2013 Recaps

    By Claudia Rebaza on Lunedì, 13 January 2014 - 4:39pm
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    Banner by Erin of  a collage of various TV show characters.

    • The Backlot's Shipping News series was among those providing a look back at 2013. They recounted various important moments for slash fandoms, such as May's Saturday Night Live event. "In a whirlwind skit that included cameos from Ben Affleck to Anderson Cooper; Seth Meyer and Hader’s character, Stefon, tied the knot! In perhaps one of the best OTP-becomes-canon moments ever, Meyers gave his usual Weekend Update sign off as, 'For Weekend Update, we are Seth and Stefon Meyers, good night!'"
    • The Learned Fangirl looked at gaming content in 2013. "By 'women in games,' I mean 'female characters, preferably protagonists, featured in games,' not women in the industry or in journalism or criticism. In short, this is not another review of Anita Sarkeesian or the Ada Initiative (both worthy causes)." She concluded that "The real issue I ran into was the dearth of such games from which to choose; given that there are dozens of major industry games released every year, it seems sad that I can’t come up with a top ten list because there aren’t ten games that fit the basic criteria. But at least none of the top five – even the top seven – feature cooking, sewing, or having babies… because female gamers enjoy shooting things, too."
    • Vulture looked at 2013 TV ratings to see who was watching what. "Some shows you'd expect to have a more youthful audience still have plenty of Gen-Xers and above watching, though. The median age of the Glee viewer is now 41; CW's Arrow is up to 48 (two years older than that of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)." Meanwhile "Among African-American adult viewers under 50, Scandal is the No. 1 non-sports show on broadcast, doubling the numbers of the No. 2 show of 2013 (American Idol) and nearly tripling the ratings of the No. 3 show, lead-in Grey's Anatomy. Among Latinos and Asians under 50, however, comedy rules: The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family finish No. 1 and 2, respectively. (By contrast, those two comedies don't even crack the top twenty with African-Americans.) Among the major networks, Fox does particularly well with minority audiences: It has seven of the top twenty shows with African-Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos."

    What 2013 recaps 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: Slapping on labels

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 3 January 2014 - 12:42am
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    • As fanfiction and other fanworks become an increasingly common mainstream reference, disputes about what it is and isn't are likely to grow. However, one problem emerges when professionally published content is somehow distinguished from fanfic simply because an outlet like NPR doesn't want to call it that. "When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel."
    • In another terminology mishmash, The Daily Dot reported on a new game called slash: romance without boundaries which takes "Cards Against Humanity to the next level, offering fans the chance to create the ultimate OTP (One True Pairing)." The game successfully raised double its original goal on Kickstarter to begin production, but the title is odd given that the purpose of the game is shipping, not necessarily slashing. The idea seems to come more from how "[t]he game’s designer, Glenn Given...used to weave fanfic crossovers into his high school RPG adventures."
    • Foreign Policy reported on a variety of new Chinese terms in circulation because "the Chinese Internet [is] obsessed with writing gay Sherlock Holmes fanfiction" However, "[w]hat makes his Chinese fans special...is that some are risking jail to write him into slash fiction. In early 2011, authorities in China's inland Henan province arrested Wang Chaoju, the webmaster of the slash fiction website Danmei Novels Online, and charged him with 'disseminating obscene content' after finding about 1,200 sexually explicit danmei stories among the tens of thousands on the site. Later that year, Justice Online, a legal news website, labeled slash a 'harmful trend,' quoting a psychologist who said the literature 'could lead to a deviation of sexual orientation, difficulty interacting in social situations, and even criminal activity.' To avoid punishment, writers and readers of explicit slash often exchange content over email, ensuring the work remains invisible to the wider Internet."

    How do you define different fandom terms? 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: Changing the 'mainstream'

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 24 December 2013 - 10:11pm
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    Banner by Bremo of the Power Puff Girls, Spiderman, The Flash and a Young Avengers #1 comics cover along with the post title.

    • A blog post in the L.A. Weekly asked if fandom is doing enough about diversity. "I had attended a panel called 'Beyond Cliches -- Creating Awesome Female Characters for Comics, Film & Video Games.' It was an interesting discussion that touched on the struggles that writers have when trying to sell female-centric animated TV series...But the panel was lacking in some areas. One of the audience members pointed this out...that the panelists, who were male and female, were all Caucasian...[and] made the point that issues of race have to be included in the discussion. He had a point, but, unfortunately, the comment didn't prompt the lengthy discussion that it deserves."
    • At Unleash the Fanboy, Jay Deitcher spoke about the difficulty of finding works to spend money on, even though he wanted to support small businesses. "Even Marvel, the big monster, understands that adding color, religion and diversity to their comics sell. Sadly, it is the mom-and-pop stores that are standing in the way of diversifying the market, and they are going to go broke doing it...Their shelf was filled with the old school Ultimate Peter stories, but the shop only ordered 1 copy of Miles Morales’s origin. When their 1 copy sold, they didn’t order more...you would think they would see that I have Young Avengers, Miles Morales, and others titles on my pull list, but somehow I am still invisible to them."
    • At the New Statesman, Laurie Penny discussed how the literary world needs a reality check for its views about sex. "I can open my laptop and access reams of smutty stories – some of which, like EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, end up as paperback bestsellers." So "[t]he squeamish sensibilities that produce the Bad Sex Awards have, in common with commercially produced pornography, the assumption that there is an objective scale by which the goodness or badness of sex may be judged, and a standard script from which one ought not to deviate." Instead, we ought to say that "[b]ad sex is what happens when we believe that talking about sex is 'redundant' and writing about it is 'crude'. It’s what happens when sexuality becomes a shameful, angry place at the forbidden centre of culture."

    What mainstream changes do you see that need to be made? Write about it 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: Minorities in Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 12 November 2013 - 5:59pm
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    Banner by Diane of different colored hands reaching skyward with the post title woven between them

    • PC Mag ran several articles on minorities in fandom from a panel at New York Comic Con. "Representations of Muslims in media have improved as well. Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, who created the sci-fi compilation A Mosque Among the Stars, said that in the past decade 'Muslims in comics were the quintessential other.' But this has changed with a French Batman who is an Algerian Muslim, a Green Lantern who is a Lebanese Muslim from Detroit, and other re-imagined characters."
    • Such panels at major fan cons are seen as critical for raising awareness of troubling issues in fandom. "Jay Justice said, 'the media doesn’t promote us, so we have to promote ourselves.' Taking onto Tysk’s comments she pointed out that up to a certain age society seems to have no problem with children dressing up in costumes outside of their race. It’s something we often see, for instance, in elementary school Halloween celebrations. Yet at some point we start facing the 'why are you, as a non-white person, trying to portray that white character' questions. Justice asked, 'at what age are we supposed to start telling children that they can’t play certain characters?'"
    • India.com announced the arrival of a new Indian superhero, Chakra on November 30. His move is the result of a partnership between Cartoon Network, Graphic India and POW! Entertainment. "'Chakra: The Invincible' was also selected as part of a handful of third-party content partners soon to be featured on Rovio Entertainment's new ToonsTV platform - one of the largest global digital platforms for kids in the world with over a billion views already since its launch."
    • Disputes in media fandoms tend to lean to verbal harassment rather than physically violent extremes. But the problems generally emerge from a failure to understand the other side's concerns. This can erode formerly good relations between fans and creators, or fans and other fans. "Teen Wolf released a video of actor Dylan O’Brien asking for fans to vote for Teen Wolf in a TV Guide poll... O’Brien joked that if people didn’t vote, they’d kill off the show’s lone surviving gay character, Danny...The joke didn’t seem very funny, particularly when the survival rate for side characters in Teen Wolf is notoriously low for anyone who isn’t a straight, white man."

    What troubling issues have you seen in fandoms? 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: What does fanfic do well?

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sabato, 12 October 2013 - 4:32pm
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    Banner by Lisa of women in the 1920s gathered around 3 women using typewriters

    • Romance site Heroes & Heartbreakers discussed Why Romance Fans Read Fan Fiction. "[E]ven between quality fanfiction and a good romance novel, there are essential differences. The most obvious is the prevalence of 'slash fiction'" whereas "Other differences are structural...Fics aren’t as standardized as novels, which can be refreshing when I want to read a love story but don’t want to commit to a full novel." In addition to being online, free, and plentiful, "there are plots I can only accept in fan fiction, because of their sheer implausibility" and "there are some plots fan fiction just does better."
    • While fanfiction didn't invent erotica, it's certainly done a lot to promote it. In an interview on The Frisky, two of the three authors interviewed got their start in it. "Avital:...Here I was reading a fan story about Eric & Sookie and then all of a sudden — whoa! This was way past anything HBO was showing or Charlaine Harris intimated at in her PG-13 books. Jeanette: That’s quite similar to the fan fiction erotica discovery process, Jess. Just, with fan fiction, you go looking for more of some characters you love, and then BAM! Hardcore graphic sex between those characters you love. What’s not to like there?"
    • ABS-CBNNews pointed out the visibility of Filipino characters and stories on Wattpad. "A number of Filipino users whose stories first appeared on Wattpad have also been picked up by publishers and are now selling well in bookstores, including 'Diary ng Panget' by HaveYouSeenThisGirl (PSICOM) and 'She's Dating the Gangster' by Bianca B. Bernardino (Summit). Recognizing their growing Filipino market, the Wattpad team is in the Philippines to join the book fair at the SMX Convention Center and meet their readers for the first time...The event also features a meet and greet with Wattpad’s hottest young writers...Over 900 Wattpad users have already registered to attend the event."
    • Mahou Tofu explored how everyone can be a fan fiction writer. "I guess the theme here is that everyone can pretty much relate to fan writers. Whether you have thought up a story that is slightly different from the one that was professionally written, read a fanfiction, or written anything ourselves, fan writing in general is something that starts with the word 'fan' for a reason. We are fanatics and there is a demand for more. We may not all be professional writers, but there is good stuff out there."
    • On the flip side, The Soap Box discussed the drawbacks of fanfic including unfinished stories, too much romance, endless stories, unreadable work and "unnecessary filler."

    What do you think fan fiction does well? Write about your favorite works 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: Fanfiction around the world

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 9 August 2013 - 5:42pm
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    Map of the world with pictures of fandom

    • The Hindu featured an article on writer Shreya Prabhu Jindal who discussed her start in fanfic. "Most of the audience members were eager to know how Shreya, in her early twenties, managed to write a book at such a young age. Shreya, an English teacher at Vasant Valley School, began writing when she was 13. As a young girl and a budding writer, she discovered fan fiction, and ever since, has written in that genre, relatively unknown in India. 'A lot of my writing is inspired by fan fiction. I visualise stories as scenes and there are cliff hangers in my stories.'"
    • The National of the United Arab Emirates wrote about Kindle Worlds. "[P]ushed to its logical conclusions, it has potentially major implications for the way the creative industries work, and, indeed, for what we mean by 'fiction'. As fan fiction comes into the mainstream, it’s possible to envision a future in which popular novels become only the first instalment in an ecosystem of further stories. And over time, will the great distinction we maintain now between the original work and the fan fiction simply fade away? Currently, our idea of the creative process, and of 'art', is tightly wound up with the idea of a single author – this is the idea of the creative genius, given to us by the 19th-century romantics – but in this networked age, perhaps that conception of art is finally losing relevance. Instead, we may come to see art as the aggregated efforts of a number of networked people: a creation of the global brain, not a solitary author."
    • Malaysia's The Star Online had two features on fanworks. One focused on online RPGs. "Nurhanani Fazlur Rahman, 19, prefers the unique collaborative effort involved in 'role-play fanfic'. And she doesn’t do her writing on forum boards like most of the others in the genre – she does it on Tumblr, as part of a community of about 30 authors from around the world. In fact, Nurhanani – or Nani, as her friends call her – has five separate Tumblr blogs, each dedicated to a character from the A Song Of Fire And Ice series."
    • The other feature focused on fanfiction's evolution. "Known simply as fanfic, this genre of storytelling has actually been around for quite some time. Some even say Charlotte Brontë and her siblings pioneered it when they started writing fantasy adventures based on Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington – an actual person. In today’s world, that’s known as real-person fanfic – very popular among One Direction and Kpop fans. And in the 70s, of course, we had the Star Trek-based Spockanalia fanzine, which was basically filled with fanfic. But thanks to the Internet, e-books and tablet devices, fanfic has really started to grow like crazy in recent years, including in Malaysia."

    What stories have you seen about fanworks in your country? 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: Jumping to conclusions

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mercoledì, 7 August 2013 - 4:14pm
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    Tardis in space with three actor photos

    • Longtime fans are fairly familiar with the variety of judgments they're subject to for their hobbies, but these don't only come from outside their fandoms. A recent post on Hypable discussed congoing and how it seems a step too far for some. "All this time, I thought the people who went to Harry Potter conventions were weirdos or nerds who didn’t have much else to occupy themselves with. After the trip to the TVD Con in Chicago though, I’m almost in mourning that I missed out on all the early HP conventions. I’ve learned that at these events, you can be a giant nerd if you want to...I’m jealous that I missed the opportunity to go to some of the first conventions, or that I didn’t go to the midnight book release parties, even if I would have been the oldest person there."
    • Unleash the Fanboy hosted a post criticizing anger at casting choices. "Predictably, even the hint of casting against type has lead to the repetition of a depressingly familiar conversation, the conversation that happens any time there is a chance of changing a character’s race or gender or sexual orientation or whatever...The more I hear people make this criticism, the more difficult it becomes for me to pretend as if there is anything to it besides an open sewer of raw bigotry." This is because the "characters we love are not solid objects: they are constellations of ideas."
    • Of course sometimes assumptions do come from outside fandoms. The UK's Daily Mail discussed another study on gamer demographics which came to the unsurprising conclusion that women spend as much time on games as men, and that gamers are generally older, married, have children, and are socially engaged with others when they game. "A spokesman for Pixwoo.com added: 'This snapshot into the lives of ordinary gamers disputes many myths about the pastime, showing how integrated gaming is into our daily routine.'"
    • Writing for Den of Geek Laura Akers examines an episode of Castle to highlight the media's changing approach to geeky pastimes. "Ironically, it is the actors, those who have traditionally profited from but sometimes cruelly patronized geek fans, who are portrayed [in the episode] as dysfunctional (and morally ugly)." She concludes that the Castle writers recognize that "geeks are no longer a marginal group who can be used and then mocked or dismissed. While Fillion is a bonafide geek, he and those like him are simply smart. They recognize that we are now legion—there are enough of us to build a substantial career on."

    What points of dispute have you come across in fandom? 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: Fandom in the world

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 5 March 2013 - 10:06pm
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    • Media studies professor Henry Jenkins posted a three part discussion of Chinese fan culture at his blog. He interviews Xiqing Zheng, a PhD candidate studying the topic, asking such questions as: "You suggest that Chinese fans often see themselves as belonging to an elite group. In some other parts of the world, fans are considered anything but because of the low cultural status of the materials they embrace. In what ways have Chinese Otaku sought to legitimate their interests and activities through appeals to elite cultural status?"
    • NPR suggested that Netflix will change TV viewing because releasing a full season all at once will change "[t]he way we talk about what we watch, the way we share, the way reviewers critique shows, and even the ad model -- everything will have to change." The discussion focused largely on the commercial interests of ad sellers and critics. Left out of the discussion is how many fans around the world have binge watched seasons since the days of sharing shows through videotape, often cross-nationally when shows were not available in their viewing areas, and how this helped create wider communities around the shows.
    • Writing at AfterEllen, Dana Piccoli discussed femslash ships in European shows. "One thing I’ve learned during my travels as a gay lady is that if there is lesbian content somewhere, lesbians will find it. If there were a show with a lesbian character being broadcast solely from the North Pole, there would be an Olivia cruise ship full of lesbians on its way there right now."
    • AlJazeera's show The Stream aired an episode asking "Can online fandom make the world a better place?" Former board member Francesca Coppa was among the guests who discussed fan activism and online mobilization. Although no transcript is available, the episode has a Storify page.

    What stories can you tell about fandom around the world? Post 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.

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