• Another scrumptious episode of Bulbacast has been uploaded to YouTube. Watch it here. I hope you don't feel desserted after watching this one.
  • Hello all! The forum staff have introduced a new rule set. We've reduced the number of rules, made trick language easier to understand, and have hopefully simplified the rules to make understanding them easier. Please have a read over the new forum rules here.
  • Fun & Games is searching for new mods! Did I catch your attention? Head on over here!

POPULAR: What Did You Read Today?

Snuggle Tier List

What I tell you three times is true.
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
340
Reaction score
213
2018 Ig Nobel Prize-winning paper Assessing the calorific significance of episodes of human cannibalism in the Palaeolithic by James Cole, published in Scientific Reports:

"Finally, the values in Tables 1 and 2 are for raw meat only. There has been much recent interest in how cooking can increase the calorie value retrieved from meat. However, given the nature of this study, it was not possible to conduct analyses on cooked human flesh."
—James Cole, "Assessing the calorific significance of episodes of human cannibalism in the Palaeolithic" (excerpt)​

Did you know an average adult human male contains approximately 143,771.33 calories? And less than 25% of that is skeletal muscle? Long story short, cannibalism simply isn't an efficient diet; any cannibalism amongst humans is likely ritual or an act of desperation.

Oh, and I also started 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for Literature winner Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly (link to .pdf) by Daniel M. Oppenheimer, published in Applied Cognitive Psychology. My grammah will be backed by science!
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
The Plantagenets, Dan Jones - up to the Battle of Evesham and Prince Edward's attempts to stabilise England in the wake of royal power being effectively usurped by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester
 

Snuggle Tier List

What I tell you three times is true.
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
340
Reaction score
213
The Prelude to @Beth Pavell's The Long Walk, and I finished Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly (link to .pdf). Working on a review for The Long Walk's Prelude, so in the meantime, I'll share a quote from Needlessly Long Words:

"'As reported in the introduction of this paper, a vast majority of Stanford students use a strategy of complexity when writing papers and this is undoubtedly true at campuses and businesses across the country. However, this research shows that such strategies tend to backfire. This finding could be broadly applied to help people improve their writing, and receive more positive evaluations of their work."
—Daniel M. Oppenheimer, "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly" (published in Applied Cognitive Psychology)​

Normally, I post these quotes because I just want to share funny anecdotes from research papers, but I actually recommend Needlessly Long Words as an entertaining look into how serious academic research can be conducted. For instance, here's an excerpt from Experiment 5 (emphasis mine):

"Participants and procedure
Twenty-seven Stanford University undergraduates participated to fulfill part of a course requirement. The survey was included in a packet of unrelated one-page questionnaires. Packets were distributed in class, and participants were given a week to complete the entire packet.

Stimuli and design
The unedited version of a randomly chosen essay from Experiment 1 was used. Both conditions were prepared using standard 12 point ‘Times New Roman’ font. The ‘non-fluent’ version of the excerpt was created by waiting until the departmental printer was low on toner, and printing the surveys out while the toner was low."​

Imagine getting honework where the teacher deliberately waits until the printer is low on ink, then makes copies. All as part of a science experiment you're forced to take part of for your degree. Daniel M. Oppenheimer is an evil genius.
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
The Plantagenets: The aftermath of the Battle of Bannockburn, and Edward II's continuing bad habit of undermining his own kingship
 

Snuggle Tier List

What I tell you three times is true.
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
340
Reaction score
213
A looooooot of articles about community moderation. Heard whispers there was a recruiting drive coming soon, so I figured I'd school up on the subject.

First up: "Should Forum Moderators Be Paid? Some Don't Even Want To" by Cecilia D'Anastasio. Been a fan of her work ever since got an interview with Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee, the man who stood behind a podium and called EA's Star Wars Battlefront II a "Star Wars themed casino". She also broke the Riot Games sexism accusations, which she has been keeping tabs on. I recommend most of her work, but "Should Forum Moderators Be Paid“ gets high honors for being easily readable, getting opinions from every perspective possible, reserving judgment, and staying on a narrow, socially-relevant topic.

I wanted more academic sources on the subject — beyond-anecdotal effects of "exposure", professional moderator pay, etc. — but it seems hard data specific to community moderation is scarse. The best I could find were anonymous Glassdoor reviews, and even there, Glassdoor splits "Moderators", "Community Moderators", and "Community Managers" into their own categories with no clear distinguishing criteria, all with different interpretations. Lies, damned lies, and statistics seem to be the norm.

That said, I did find ‘Recruitment, Work and Identity in Community Management: Passion, Precarity and Play' (link to .pdf) by Dr Aphra Kerr of Maynooth University of Irelend, published by Palgrave Macmillan. While it's more geared towards professional community managers than forum moderators, it serves as an effective compare-and-contrast to Cecilia D'Anastasio's article:
Should Forum Moderators Be Paid? Some Don't Even Want To said:
If forums are businesses, and moderators are essential to their function, shouldn’t they be viewed more as employees than volunteers, and receive cash compensation? That’s been my thought process over the past few days, and I set out to write a piece declaring that forum moderators should be paid a fair wage for their labor. But as I started talking to moderators and reporting out this story, I ran into an unexpected twist: Not many of them actually want to get paid.
Recruitment Work and Identity in Community Management: Passion Precarity and Play said:
Even if these workers wanted to contest their offline and online workplace cultures, their position in the production chain is, in the main, relatively disempowered and precarious. They are amongst the lowest paid in the games industry and often this work is outsourced to near to market locations and at a remove from the production team. They work long hours, often on shift, to service a 24 hour player community. While they see this work as fun, social and creative they have often moved country to work in these jobs and are thus deprived both of formal and informal support. In the workplace contractual conditions and the project based nature of the industry mean that there is much instability, disruption and uncertainty, and this means that employees tended to be young, mobile and without caring responsibilities.
Long story shory, it seems whether the prestige and non-cash incentives are "worth it" for any particular person or position will vary. Make your own judgments based on your own subjective judgement: "do I have the time?", "do I see myself enjoying the experience?", "am I someone who might feel pressure in the position?", etc. I've cited my sources; feel free to look into them yourself if you wish.

Oh, and just in case any moderators are reading this: extrapolating from Dr Kerr's research, you don't need to be snake oil salesmen to find volunteers. People that want to moderate seem to enjoy it for it's own sake. Giving people the wrong expectations might lead to more recruits, but those "extra" recruits are less effective moderators and more prone to burnout. Though I'm being presumptuous; for all I know, you already know this. And have a truckload of scientific studies I missed that you happen to know about. Humanity really needs a hive mind.
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
The Plantagenets, Dan Jones: England exchanges the tyranny of Edward II for the tyranny of his former queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. Edward III overthrows his mother and takes control as King in his own right.

Owain Glyndŵr: The Last Prince of Wales, Peter Gordon Williams - read since it was available to pass the time. Allegedly a novel, though I can't for the life of me fathom how it managed to get published, because it reads like a semi-fictional historical account
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
1,202
Reaction score
655
Truckloads of fanfic, the last several days, all for a show (and pairing) I'm currently fixated on. It's been a while! It's very much a "junk food binge" type of reading experience, flicking through without much presence of mind. It's been a while since I last did that sort of thing.
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
The Plantagenets, Dan Jones: Edward III finally succumbs to senility, and the ten-year-old Richard II is crowned king

Natural Histories: 25 Extraordinary Species That Have Changed Our World, Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
1,202
Reaction score
655
Spent a couple hours yesterday on Nocturna, by Maya Motayne. It's my second assigned book for the pre-release book club my local bookstore has started. Latinx-inspired YA fantasy. Seems to lift a lot of ideas from other sources and the prose is rife with exposition dumps, but it's pretty cute so far and I like the central characters. Might continue with it, but I've got my third book to pick up tomorrow and a long reading list of stuff I'm more interested in. It's good to read stuff outside your usual niche sometimes.

Also, we started Frankenstein! I've been meaning to read it for years. Half my creative efforts are about a novum you can trace back to Frankenstein.
 
Last edited:

Silverwynde

ルル
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Messages
11,925
Reaction score
916
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I'd heard it was a follow-up to Between Shades of Grey and it is. I warn you; it can be a tough read but it is incredible.
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
Natural Histories: 25 Extraordinary Species That Have Changed Our World, Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss

The Four Day's Battle of 1666: The Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail, Frank L. Fox - this one's somehow found its way back into the library after going missing for several months
 

Snuggle Tier List

What I tell you three times is true.
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
340
Reaction score
213
"On Writing Well" by the late great William Zinsser. It's on writing well.

Nonfiction, specifically. My current "fic" is nonfiction; thought I'd study up. The book's the most quotable I've ever read, yet can't be summed up in one quote. Zinsser writes economically, never wasting a word. Any summary would cut needed words. Though if I had to give a quote:

"In the end it comes down to what is 'correct' usage. We have no king to establish the King’s English; we only have the President’s English, which we don’t want. Webster, long a defender of the faith, muddied the waters in 1961 with its permissive Third Edition, which argued that almost anything goes as long as somebody uses it, noting that 'ain’t' is 'used orally in most parts of the U.S. by many cultivated speakers.'

Just where Webster cultivated those speakers I ain’t sure."
—William Zinsser, "On Writing Well"​

The book's great. Ain't no better.
 

Juliko

The #1 Deerling Fan!
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
2,095
Reaction score
1,158
Re-read The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary, one of my absolute favorite romance novels ever (and that's saying something) and am re-reading Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
The Four Day's Battle of 1666: The Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail, Frank L. Fox

The Brief Life of Flowers, Fiona Stafford

National Geographic, April 2019
 

Snuggle Tier List

What I tell you three times is true.
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
340
Reaction score
213
Quiet forum lately. Guess I'll explain some research I've been reading. Today's topic: nostalgic's effect on music tastes! Do you like that song because it's good, or do you like it because it's nostalgic?

So far, I've read "Music and Emotions in the Brain: Familiarity Matters", "Berlyne Revisited: Evidence for the Multifaceted Nature of Hedonic Tone in the Appreciation of Paintings and Music", "Neurobiology of hedonic tone: the relationship between treatment-resistant depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and substance abuse", and "Subjective Complexity, Familiarity, and Liking for Popular Music" (last one's link to pdf). To cut a long story short, the relevant scientific theory is called hedonic tone. Because scientists can't speak like humans, hedonic tone doesn't necessarily need to be a tone. The theory states that the more familiar any piece of art is, the better it's received. Meanwhile, unfamiliar art makes the brain think "oh, that's too complex" and thus illicit a negative reaction.

Unfortunately, the papers I've found are pretty sloppy. Sample sizes are small, methodology is inconsistent, experiment design excludes those with "wrong" music tastes, etc. While we have brain scans showing what parts of the brain process music, everything else is debatable. This seems to be because (from skimming Google Scholar search results) hard research into music is geared towards music therapy, rather than music's fundamentals. And the music therapy studies are empirical; they're all observing patients rather than proactively testing theory. Real basic stuff, possible correlations but no causations. All we got is a grand ol' pile of conflicting research and a scientific theory that oversimplifies art. Whoop-dee-do.

Still researching. Expect more music research in the near future.
 
Last edited:

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
1,202
Reaction score
655
Snuggle's Kaijumon! It was good. And fairly short, you could get through it pretty quick if you want to try something new. Check it out if you like stories about kids and monsters.
 

kintsugi

ready as i'll ever be
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
1,812
Reaction score
868
oh. okay. yes. I've been doing this.

Distant past - Finished Curiosity, by Rod Pyle, which is a lovely book about the team that created the Mars rover. Normally I'm not a huge fan of non-memoir non-fiction where the author tries to make their own viewpoint visibly part of the story, but this one is really well done, and also, space is cool.
Semi-past - Got into a huge wormhole for some work-related projects, the mathematics behind folding, and single-degree of freedom systems. It's neither thrilling nor remotely related to anything useful for fiction/fanfiction (although it did make for a baller project), but the most interesting paper is here.
Hemi-past - re-read The Handmaid's Tale over the past week. America, you will never cease to impress me with your time travel.
Today - ??? Land of the Roses redux. let's do this
 

Beth Pavell

Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
5,943
Reaction score
1,664
The Four Day's Battle of 1666: The Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail, Frank L. Fox

Endeavour: The Ship and Attitude that Changed the World, Peter Moore - apparently only tangentially about HMS Endeavour
 

Snuggle Tier List

What I tell you three times is true.
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
340
Reaction score
213
Yesterday: @namohysip's "In Beta". Recommended; builds up tension well in a "relevant to real life" sort of way. Scratched my personal itches; if you like the fics I like, you'll probably like "In Beta".

Today: Research papers on gaming taxonomies. So far, I've read primary sources on Bartle's Taximony, MDA (Mechanics, Design, Aesthetics), DPE (Design, Player, Experience), GEM (Gameplay Enjoyment Model), GEM-IC (updated version of GEM created by to-my-knowledge unaffiliated researchers), GGO (Gaming Goal Orientations), the "Five Features" model, and an unnamed taxonomy used by Wood et al in what I believe is the first empirical evidence-based taxonomy. Veeeeeeery long story short, the most popular taxonomy is Bartle's Taxonomy. It sucks, designers and researchers have been trying to come up with a replacement, but it's been two decades now and there's no clear consensus. Which in turn is making CH4 of Battle With Me: Pokémon XD very hard to write. I'm probably going to be reading even more papers; a surprising amount of taxonomies completely omit narrative, which I'm sure the kind of peoole browsing a Pokémon fanfic subforum might consider important. That, or they're theoretical papers that don't test their own taxonomies' usefulness, making them unverified hypotheses at best.

Quick rant: what is it about narrative that flies under videogame researchers? Narrative isn't easily dismissible; narrative drives media, and media is an extremely important part of our daily lives and has been for centuries. You'd think there'd be a deep well of research, and there might be, but no one cites this research when designing video game taxonomies. It's like these taxonomy designers are unwilling to defend games as art, something that very much needs defending amongst the general public. Art is speech; speech is powerful and scary, but it can accomplish so much good. Yet these taxonomies dodge the subject like it's radioactive. Game researchers, show some spine!
 
Last edited:
Top