weekly reel March 3, 2019

Bonjour bonsoir, folks! Music, with a good'ol'Clues.

Clues - Ledmonton (youtube-nocookie.com)

And on the news,

  • SSC / Scott Alexander - Rule thinkers in, not out, 👍👍👍.
  • Kottke: Cheap TVs and exorbitant education, modern America in one chart, wooooow amazing chart.
  • About face, on rising fascism in 'merica. Via jwz.
  • SSC / Scott Alexander - Wage stagnation: more than you wanted to know.
  • Kottke: The life-changing magic of the $15 minimum wage.
  • SMBC: Douchey Robot Bosses, on human guilt. And ULTRA-LASERS.
  • Tech:
    • Canadians! It's tax season; use SimpleTax, which Isa says is refreshingly simple, pay-what-you-want, and built by a small local team. ❤ Isa.
    • Cooler Screens: Creeping on you in the cold drinks aisle.
    • The Verge - The trauma floor: the secret lives of Facebook moderators in America, to which SSC / Scott Alexander - In mod we trust offers good counterpoints. Also, Guardian - Revealed: Facebook’s global lobbying against data privacy laws.
    • DF reports on Turnaround Time on Facebook’s Spying: 12 Hours and I'm not even surprised.
    • Cooool lessons & sounds: DOOM: Behind the music. Merci Heinz.
    • Finally, a fascinating piece of politics-around-video-games: "Devotion" game is being review-bombed on Steam by Chinese players (pcgamer article), then removed from Steam rps article on removal. Removal is unlinkable from outside Steam, but reads beautifully Orwellian:
      Due to technical issues that cause unexpected crashes and among other reasons, we are pulling Devotion off from steam store to have another complete QA check. At the same time we'd like to take this opportunity to ease the heightened pressure in our community resulted from our previous Art Material Incident, our team would also review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in. Hopefully this would help all audience to focus on the game itself again upon its return.
      Developer statements: 1, 2 (and 3: removal above, but un-linkable). So, if a couple of game textures vaguely ridiculing a president and taking a stance in a social debate equals "the internets on fire, your publishers dumping you, an explosion of negative reviews, hate messages littering your game page, talks of Steam being potentially banned from the country", I say 👏 pretty amazing yield, Red Candle, you touched a nerve. There's lots to unpack here and most of it is in Chinese, which I cannot read. Hoping for more coverage soon, in the meantime here's a summary from a forum user, edited by me for grammar:

      This incident may give the Chinese government a perfect excuse to block Steam in China, or to force Steam to pull off all Red Candles Game from the store. Summary:

      • At first, the game becomes extremely popular in the gaming channels in Chinese community. Streamers stream the game, millions of viewers watch the game playthrough. Game also receives universal praise from the media, it even becomes a trending topic in Chinese social media. The public gives extremely positive feedback.
      • Then, users from Taiwan PTT and gaming forums post inflammatory screenshots and mock that the game successfully fooled Chinese mainlanders into supporting a game to "mock PRC people and KMT supporters" (who tend to unify with China). It attracts more attention and people dig deeper into the game. Anger transfers to outrage when people discover on the founder / lead designer's social media that he supports Taiwan independence and writes political posts.
      • Except for the photos of Xi, the developers also placed other elements condemning the RPC and mainlander Chinese. Text and images from the game imply that cult in the game is 陆心会 (mainland heart association), which means the association of people are in favor of PRC. The cult leader's name is 陆恭铭/陆公民 ,which means "PRC citizens" in Chinese. The Cult Festival in the game is October 1st to 7th, which is the Nation Festival of PRC. The list goes on. As more hidden messages are discovered, mainlanders start feeling irritated and cheated on.
Comments and feedback welcome @ronjouch or by email.