Monthly Archives: May 2013

Some first thoughts on Hipsters and Juggalos

So it is the start of spring conference season, which means that “I know I need to write these three papers but omg I just had ANOTHER interesting idea for a new sideproject” is in full effect.  I’m thinking that perhaps writing short blog pieces will be a nice compromise… I hope.

I have a massive reddit database I’ve scraped, which I am currently using as part of an investigation of how anti/feminism plays out online, especially through the use of image macros.  I’ll be presenting two versions of this research in the upcoming weeks, first at Feminist in Games and then at the Canadian Communication Association as part of Congress in Victoria.   What I have found here is that when feminism gets mentioned, it is referencing the straw feminist as the real deal.  Need a quick refresher on straw feminism?  Take a video break, and then roll on over to this awesome Hark! A Vagrant comic!

I’ll post a proper summary of the paper closer to the conference dates.  Or at least a collection of the highlights from my image research.

While I originally scraped all this data for this anti/feminism project, I’m noticing it is super useful for asking other questions too.  Previously I have written about Reddit’s unfortunate habit of shutting down debates, using the term troll to silence a poster who has gone against the hive mind.  On a hunch, I’ve gone through the data set again to look at some other popular labels, to see how they are being used.

One prime example is the use of the term “hipster” on reddit to sometimes stand in for “I don’t like you because I perceive you to have more financial stability/privilege”.  This is a fairly common understanding of the use of the term hipster, no revelations here. But!  Here is where things get interesting.  While hipster is used to label someone who you are jealous of/don’t like/are annoyed with because you perceive they haven’t paid their dues to properly “earn” the cultural/social/economic capital they are enjoying… at the other end of the spectrum we have Juggalos (m) and Juggalettes (f).   While “look at that fucking hipster” is making fun of someone who has (or is perceived to have) privilege, “look at that fucking juggalo” (aka Insane Clown Posse fan) seems to be a stand-in for making fun of someone who is less economically/socially/culturally advantaged than yourself.  Or as I said on twitter the other day, “making fun of Juggalos is really making fun of poor folks”.  Now, I’ve poked fun at ICP in the past, especially for this ode to scientific ignorance:

But I see making fun of the rapper duo is different from making fun of their fans.  And in no way is this an attempt to excuse some of the terrible things that have been done by some of their fans.  But in the next few weeks I plan to take a step back and tease out these code words a little bit more in an attempt to understand how SES is discussed (or not) on reddit.

tl;dr hipster and juggalo are code words for saying insulting things about SES on teh interwebs


WoW subscribers down, haters on the rise?

So World of Warcraft subscription numbers are down, and I’m noticing an interesting trend in the way this is being discussed.  There seems to be this almost gleeful response to this downturn among (some) former avid WoW players.

This reaction has had me thinking all morning — why are you happy that something that I assume you once loved is beginning to crumble?

My personal theory (which is totally informed by a paper that has been on the brink of being finished for far too long now) is that it has a lot to do with how MMOGs are framed in a larger social context.  It still isn’t “cool” to be a MMOG player and so this pile on could very well be about distancing oneself from a “nerdy past”.  All sorts of impression management going on here.  Instead of blogging I really should just finish editing this paper…

Of course there are also those who are REALLY upset with X expansion, and are happy that Blizzard is “getting what they deserve”.  Some folks felt betrayed by the panadas, others were not happy about the entire world redesign that happened with cataclysm…  And that’s fine, it is perfectly valid to be upset at a company that you feel no longer is listening to your likes and preferences.  But there are still millions of players out there who enjoy the product that Blizzard is offering.  Basically… don’t be this kid:

stop liking