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Fall 2021 ︎︎︎ SUNY Purchase ︎︎︎ (DES4100) Community Design

What is Community?


For this one we’ll be talking about online communities. I’m not sure if these overlapped with your time on the internet (a student a couple of semesters ago mentioned Poptropica), but they were all a bit after my time; so all the videos below are super interesting historical explorations made by people doing what I consider the lord’s work (though which “lord” I’ll leave up to you). 

Please feel free to bring your own experiences and related websites/games to the table but let’s make sure to keep the overarching discussion relevant. 

Required Viewings

The Rise and Fall of Petz by You’ve Got Kat︎
(~25 minutes) 

The Untold Truth: The Dark Story Behind Runescape by Not a Bot︎ (~15 minutes, content warning for a story involving an attempted murder) Related to this is a mini-documentary about Venezualan RuneScape Gold farmers. This one is a little dark but short and sweet and highlights some of the darker aspects of this type of thing that are, to my mind important to at least bring up.

Poptropica Was Weird by Billiam︎

(~20 minutes, content warning RAID: Shadow Legends ad). This video is generally good but focuses quite a bit on Poptropica as a video game (ie the platforming).

(just watch the first chapter, or ~7 minutes of this as it gives a bit more context for the creator of Poptropica)

Honorable Mentions

Some not-100% related, and not required content that may help contextualize things

(The history of hacking and people learning to retro-engineer technology which resulted in things like “phone phreaking” with which, people could illicitly talk on long distance chat lines)
(The relationship between large companies, Adobe in this case, and the communities that emerge from their technology)

(Social media and mental health)

Questions to think about

    • How does technology effect these communities? That is to say how do platforms like Flash making programming more accessible make different possibilities real? How much do graphics play a part in this? For example are Poptropica characters still appealing? Is Oldschool Runescape nostalgic? Archaic? 
    • Were or are you a part of any of these communities? Are these videos accurate? Do they reflect the tenor of the community? What does it mean for some of these experiences to be inaccessible? 
    • What can these kinds of websites/communities offer that “reality” can or cannot? How might they differ from a sports team? A LAN party? Your IRL friend group?

Please take notes and upload them.
Our discussion will be on 12/15

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