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Link Roundup: Breaking, Building, and Imagining

In this edition: the new online puritanism, capitalists continuing to do Bad Shit, building communities, engaging with our media, and rage as a superpower.

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Photo of someone welding, with the NISEI logo superimposed

Restructuring: Recommendations for NISEI’s Future

Over the last three days, I’ve examined the work of Project NISEI, the fan-run program to keep Android: Netrunner alive after its official cancellation. In the first post in this series, I shared a brief history of Netrunner and NISEI and highlighted the strengths NISEI has exhibited in their first seven months. In the second post, I switched to my critic’s glasses and pointed out areas for improvement in NISEI’s handling of their first spoiler season. Yesterday, I went further, criticizing what I believed were NISEI’s substantial weaknesses in their web communications, both on their website and social media. Today, I want to cap off the series with recommendations for ways NISEI could address the challenges I identified.

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Net Analytics: Project NISEI’s Web Challenges

In yesterday’s post about Project NISEI, the fan-run organization to keep Android: Netrunner alive and thriving, I offered criticisms of their messaging during spoiler season. (If you want to return to the start of this series, click here.) In today’s post, I want to turn my focus to the ways in which NISEI is using–or, sadly, often failing to use–their website.

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X-ray of a ciruit board, with the NISEI logo superimposed on top

Vulnerability Audit: NISEI’s Spoiler Season Challenges

As I discussed yesterday in the first post in this series, clearly, Project NISEI, the fan organization dedicated to keeping Android: Netrunner alive, is doing a lot right. From my outsider perspective, it appears they carefully prioritized the achievements necessary to build a solid foundation in their first few months. NISEI seemingly identified where they needed to shine in this early stage of their project, and dedicated their efforts to excelling in exactly those areas.

But now that NISEI is solidly established, I believe their priorities must necessarily shift. Areas that were less critical in their first stage, and thus left with room for improvement, will become more important as NISEI moves to release their second set and beyond. NISEI is no longer trying to earn the trust of the established Netrunner community. They are the face of the game’s future, which means they need to pay increasing attention to a second audience: new players.

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The NISEI logo superimposed on a bright sunrise

Successful Field Test: NISEI’s Strengths

In June 2018, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) announced the end of Android: Netrunner, their cyberpunk card game. Though I had only been playing for a year and a half, and was decidedly a casual “kitchen-table” player, I was devastated. Netrunner was, and remains to this day, my favorite board game, a unique asymmetric game of cat-and-mouse that drips with theme. I wasn’t alone. Netrunner had an active and passionate fan community which was left reeling by the sudden end of the game. On October 22nd, 2018, FFG pulled the plug, and Android: Netrunner was officially no longer supported.

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My 2017 in Board Games

Hoo boy, what a year, huh? It’s been… well, let’s just say that I am literally forcing myself to stop this train of thought because if I don’t, there’s a good chance I’ll get overwhelmed with despair and paralyzed by the anxiety of figuring out what to say and whoops it’ll be another year of unintended blog hibernation.

So instead, let’s talk about board games!

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Behind the Scenes

Sorry for the noise

If you’re subscribed to Brainthoughts via email, you probably received about 10 different emails tonight about new posts that looked very adolescent and angsty.

I am not, in fact, dissolving into a 15-year-old angst monster. I’ve been transferring the last of my old posts from one of my high school blogs today, and I initially forgot to set most of them to “Private”, so they showed up on the subscription feed. They should be properly hidden now, where no one but me can witness their cringeworthiness.

Sorry ’bout that, folks.

In other minor site news:

  • Instagram and Twitter sidebar widgets have been replaced with widgets that actually work
  • Disclaimers added to footer, because I’m a professional now and stuff
  • Category and tag pages now display descriptions for the category or tag, if it exists (see the Inkblots category or the Humanist Year tag)
  • A few new default category headers added
  • Cross-posted Writing for Joy, which I meant to do about 9 months ago but forgot
  • Two new pages are almost ready to launch: About Brainthoughts and Support Me

Link Roundup: Democracy™ and Community

In this edition: the last word on Rachel Dolezal, federated social media, copyright-protected laws, a painful transcript, seeing colors that aren’t there, and a sex coven.

Also, I’m probably a month or two late here. The problem with living in a tumultuous time is that news breaks so frequently. Bear with me.

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Violin

Writing for Joy

This post was originally shared on Medium.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that stress kills a boner.

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Desert and tree

Five Reasons My Writing’s Dried Up

This post was originally shared on Medium.


Drafts (23).

On the rare occasions that I log into my blog, that number greets me from the dashboard. My Drafts folder is littered with nearly two dozen abandoned posts. Some are one round of polish away from publishing; “long multi-part thing about election, prolly too long idk” is a full 3,500 words. Others, like “writing long arguments = not caring,” exist only as note-to-self titles. There’s enough to post twice a month for the next year, if only I could motivate myself to write.

The cogs of my brain, it seems, have locked up. In August 2014, I challenged myself to a “Blogathon” and published 19 posts in 31 days; in the past year, I published two. Drafts (23) makes it clear that it’s not for lack of ideas. Something else must be jamming my motivation.

I’m not alone. Back in November, Alex Gabriel acknowledged his struggles with writer’s block and launched a daily writing challenge to pull himself out. In December, Miri started something similar. This month, it’s Greta. My blogging game is a league or two below these three, but their openness about their challenges with writer’s block nevertheless inspired me.

I have a basket full of lemons right now labeled “inability to publish.” In the interest of making lemonade, here’s what’s holding me back — good excuses and bad.

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