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Topics for 2016


I wrote last week about resolutions for this blog for 2016. This time, I’ll mention some potential topics I’d like to dig into over the course of the year.

I keep a running list of topics that interest me and which I haven’t yet written (much) about. What follows below is not a complete list, but a selection of those I find particularly interesting. At least part of my goal here is to see if there’s any interest in others reading about these topics, so if you have any thoughts about them, please speak up!

With that out of the way, here’s the list:

  * GamerGate -- I've not written about this at any length on this blog, but a lot has happened with it (and the gaming industry in general) since it took the Internet by storm in August of 2014. It might be a good time for an update to see where things stand now, and what it might mean for the future.
  * Social justice as a spectator sport -- Online, there is a tendency in some circles to engage in social justice posturing in order to raise one's own stock in the eyes of others. (Yes, its' something I have been guilty of.) This piece would be about identifying such tendencies in yourself and others, and how best to avoid them.
  * Addiction treatment and harm reduction -- This is a hot topic lately, and will likely become only more important with the recent rise of a new heroin epidemic in the US. It's also a very personal topic for a number of people in my life, and so I think it deserves some detailed attention here.
  * Why IPv4 will never die -- As early as the mid-1990s, it was predicted we'd soon run out of IPv4 Internet addresses, and as a result there was an urgent push for IPv6. But now it's 2016, we've not run out of addresses, and while usage of IPv6 is reasonably widespread, IPv4 is not going away. There are some interesting reasons why.
  * Contrasting living in the Northeast with living in the Midwest. It's fair to say that, in some ways, it's been a culture shock for me.
  * Organizational dysfunction -- There is how organizations function in ideal cases, and then there's how they operate in reality--often quite dysfunctionally. I intend to discuss common dysfunctions.
  * Work: Respect, Trust, and Accountability -- Basically, a summary of both the rights and responsibilities of workers, as an abstract ideal.
  * Avoiding process-oriented politics -- In short, a common flaw in progressive/liberal politics is the assumption that by using a specific, established process, goals will be achieved. In practice, it does not work this way, and multiple angles of attack, both political and not, need to be employed.
  * Confronting bigotry -- I've been asked on a few occasions how best to confront bigoted behavior in different contexts--among friends, family members, strangers, on the Internet, etc. I'd like to describe some general best practices here.
  * Video game critiques -- I'm not entirely sold on this yet, but I've thought about occasionally doing video game reviews that focus on their artistic content in a social and historical context.
  * Remaining progress in sexual and gender rights -- A lot has been accomplished in these areas, but there's also a good bit left to be done. This would be a survey of where things are and what's yet to be accomplished. (I need to come up with a better way to describe it than "remaining," as if there is a quantity that could be achieved after which there is no work left to do. There is, of course, always work left to do!)
  * Disability and social justice -- Disabled people are often left out of social justice movements. This is changing, but needs a light shone on it more often.
  * America's culture of violence -- Gun control, police brutality, Wild West romanticism, fear of government power--ours is a culture steeped in and obsessed with violence. Where does this come from and what does it mean for the future of policy and society?
  * The Internet is real life -- Essentially, dispelling the myth that "it's just the Internet and you shouldn't take it seriously." That may have been true at one time, but it hasn't been for some years now.
  * Problem-solving and task management strategies -- As I've gotten older, I realized I was never taught any particularly good problem-solving strategies. I was taught mathematics, of course, but not things like how to break a non-mathematical problem into logical components. I've noticed a lot of people are lacking these valuable tools, as well. I would like to present some simple, straightforward advice on approaching both everyday and professional problems effectively.
  * ISIS and conflict in Syria/the Middle East -- I'm not sure what to say about this, although I feel like I should say something, because I am unhappy with the bulk of the rhetoric espoused in this country and I dislike remaining silent on it.

So, there you have it! That is not, in fact, my entire list, but it covers the general themes, I think. I’ve considered writing on more personal topics, which I might, I just don’t want this blog to be “about” me, in general. There is certainly no shortage of boring straight white men writing about their everyday lives and I don’t exactly want to be another of them.

Anyway, if you’d like me to prioritize any of the above topics for this year, please comment! And if there’s anything you’d like me to add, ditto!