I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I’m kind of glad that there is some censorship online. I’m glad that censorship exists. Obviously I don’t want people taking it too far, but there are some things that I just don’t want to ever see.
But it’s always about balance. I think that China might have over done it. The Great Firewall is a little frightening a concept for me who can generally just do whatever I can think of when I want to go online. It cuts people off from Facebook, form looking up their own country’s history and both of those are things that are important to me. The Chinese government is using the tools it has to retain it’s power (Zhang, 2006) and to make sure people don’t find things they find offensive.
These guys have taken the complete polar opposite approach to the Australian government which basically say “If you’ve got a problem let us know and we’ll sort it out.” (ACMA, 2013) They rely on complaints made by their populace rather than actively seeking out things that are offensive or outright dangerous.
And I think there’s a healthy balance to be attained here. The Chinese system is quite oppressive (in my opinion). The Australian system means that people can hide the really scary stuff as long as they don’t spread it around too much publicly. There should really be a middle ground, with censors taking a more active role in blocking things deemed universally offensive while keeping their ears open to the complains of people if something went under their radar. I have no idea how the hell to do this. In 2001 CSIRO investigated automated filters and found that they were severely lacking. Maybe that needs to be investigated again, maybe something else could come up. At the moment though, online censorship is about as good as it’s going to get in Australia.
Lena L. Zhang. “Behind the ‘Great Firewall’: Decoding China’s Internet Media Policies from the Inside.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 12.3 (2006): 271-291
Australian Communications and Media Authority: Internet. http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/About/The-ACMA-story/Regulating
Our little game project is slowly coming together. Very slowly. You wouldn’t think it’d be this hard to get a couple of people together to find a quiet place to film. But we’re filming at a university where people have classes and homework and friends and god damn there’s so many permissions we need to take into account.
No one ever mentions these fun parts when they tell you about filming.
I understand having to film with the right light, that needs to happen and be adjusted for, but things like logos in the film need to be removed and background music can’t be recorded if it’s copyrighted.
The biggest problem so far has been recording people in the background. Now luckily we haven’t actually had any individual come and tell us they didn’t want to be in out film, we’ve been pretty good about that. But when we’re filming in a semi-public location, and have the focus set so that no one is even remotely recognisable as anything other than human we were told by the powers that be that we can’t film without getting a signed permission from everyone in the shot (and we were filming in front of a doorway).
In all honesty this has been an eye opening week. Having never filmed anyone but my family in public this has been a good exercise in spacial awareness and made me take note of how filming should actually be done.
Thankfully the filming phase is pretty much complete. Editing is going to happen over the next couple of weeks and then we’ll be good to go and show off how awesome our little project is.
Lucky us, we live in a world with media and self publishing everywhere. There isn’t a second going by in silence online, opinions from everyone about everything fly through the ether. Except work. You’re not allowed to complain about work. It’s 2015, everyone and their mums and unfortunately their workplace is on the internet. Since businesses are slower to adapt to new media in part because of their bureaucracy and in part because they’re businesses trying to make the most of every new platform. In an effort to avoid damage to their reputations in more permanent discourse platforms (anywhere online) businesses create digital media policies: extensions to workplace contracts that cover employees conduct online even while off the clock.
One of the more extreme examples of this, which didn’t go into effect so don’t grab your torches and pitchforks just yet, was the Commonwealth Banks first attempt at a social media policy which basically requested employees report anyone who they saw saying slanderous things online. Failure to do so would result in disciplinary action (Hannan, 2011). This is kind of insane but I understand why the business thought it could get away with this. If you’re on their payroll it’s in your best interest to make sure that the business keeps running optimally and i mean, they’ll call you at home anyway to do work; might as well report people complaining about the bank while you’re at it.
But it didn’t go through because turning your workforce into your own online police force is just a little terrible.
By contrast, Cisco only requests that you distinctly separate yourself from Cisco. They even provide the exact sentence on how to do this on different platforms. For me that seems like a bit much too, telling employees exactly what they can say. But what else are you going to do? The business doesn’t want people to represent them without the proper training or without the proper planning. Again this ties in to them just wanting to have control of their image and every facet they can control is definitely good for them. It’s just a matter of how exactly to do this moving forward with each and every new platform that will inevitably spring forth. Cisco can’t have a sentence for every platform that will arise, they just need to be prepared more than Commonwealth Bank was.
For those of you who weren’t aware, hackers weren’t always the keyboard warriors that you think of today. The first hacker was not Neo. It was a guy who was a fantastic whistler. It started with people experimenting with the first automated telephone switchboards and the way they received data. Gabriella Coleman attributes the birth of this phreaking to Joe Engressia who worked out at a young age whistling at certain frequencies would disconnect the line. He was televised and inspired others to experiment with their own devices (2012).
These people were curious about how their technology worked and the modern hackers started off the same, they were probing the depths of their new toys and enjoy breaking things apart to to piece them together and see how they work.
In class we were discussing this topic and it became apparent from the presentations that hackers have evolved into trolls. Trolls, the unsavory name for those who see themselves as online pranksters, became synonymous with hackers. Hackers use their greater than average access to systems to play pranks and antogonise others. There’s also been people connecting hackers and trolls together with Anonymous, the organisation that fights for the internet and information freedom. But are they really trolls?
Trolls do thing because they are funny. They do things “for the lulz” (Coleman, 2014), just because they are funny and find the results entertaining. Trolls serve their own sense of humour first and as I said above, hackers are more concerned with exploring things and finding how they work and maybe exploiting things for personal benefit.
Now it’s a little blurry who’s doing what. If Anonymous are breaking into government websites and changing them to spread their own political message, which group do they fall under? Are they hackers, looking into the system and fiddling with it or are they trolls, doing it because they think it’s fun and it antagonises their target?
The distinction isn’t clear by an stretch but I think any individual could fall on a spectrum. If we had trolls and one end and hackers at the other, an individual could lean more to one side of the other but it’s nearly impossible to make a clean distinction.
Alright so this week my little project group decided to move forward with our first tangible step and film something! Since our game is a tour around the uni for the scrubs we’ve got this little video to show for ourselves!
Obviously this is a first demo, not the final product, and ultimately a learning experience. That said, it came out pretty good. Like… very close to what I’d hoped.
So what’s the next step?
We really need to work on scripts and maps that need to happen. Since each faculty uses different buildings a different amount we’re trying to send each student to the relevant buildings.
I’m not the most organised person, I’ll freely admit that my desk has an inordinate amount of pens and mouse pads about it so maybe I shouldn’t be involved in the map layouts. Fortunately I’m a much better writer. So I’ll try to write a few… episodes I guess we’ll call them. And I’m not a good actor. For those paying attention to that video I was the sleeping person. I plan to sleep through all the filming sessions. At the very least I can help edit some of the footage. I’m not as good as our current editor but I’m looking to improve so this should be fun.
Pitching something is always a little frightening. It’s a new idea, it’s your baby idea that you’ve been working on and I know personally that I’m always a little shattered inside when someone shoots down my ideas. “Well you didn’t consider…” or “Why not just do it like…” are things that can crush your spirit ant make your hard work feel useless. But that’s not at all what happened in my last Game Cultures class. My group presented our version of the university campus map tutorial thing called the Duck Hunt. It’s kind of a joke name but it still ties in with our universities unnatural fear of ducks.
And we have a document that needs a lot more loving that you can see here that’s kind of like our progress and communal work space.
All in all it’s coming together surprising well.