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frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A green dragon person reading a book.)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

Several months ago, I decided it would be wise for me to stop working on Otherkin News like it was a full-time job. I can't afford to spend several hours a day researching and writing news articles, as I had been doing for love and no money. This project matters to me so much, but I had to re-evaluate my priorities and get practical. I'll resume writing articles here if I someday earn something resembling at least minimum wage for all the work that I do to help the otherkin community. My Patreon (where people can donate) is a very long way off from that goal. That's why I haven't been writing new articles here.

In the meantime, I had set the blog to run scheduled "previously on Otherkin News" posts. I meant these as a courtesy to the readers, instead of letting the blog fall completely into silence. (Granted, something did go haywire with the scheduling for September. It wasn't supposed to be like that.) Still, I may be mistaken about how the "previously on Otherkin News" posts are seen by the readers. I thought most of you enjoyed these, but maybe you are more of the opinion that old news is merely a nuisance. Please vote on this by leaving a comment. Comments are open to anonymous readers as well as registered ones.

If you want to continue seeing scheduled "previously on Otherkin News" posts, say yea.

If you never want to see another one of those, say nay.

I'll count the votes on October 7, so please enter them before then.

[ETA 2014-10-09] I counted the votes and found three nay, five yea. Yea wins, so the "previously on Otherkin News" posts will continue as scheduled.
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A green dragon person reading a book.)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

The mirrors of Otherkin News on Tumblr and Twitter will now return to their activity.
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A green dragon person reading a book.)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

The Otherkin News blog will now go on a partial hiatus for about three weeks. I'm not going to be researching or posting new articles during that time. I'm also not going to update the Otherkin News mirrors on Twitter or Tumblr during this hiatus.

However, there won't be complete silence in this blog. I've set up queued posts that will continue to appear in the meantime. Those are just the "previously on Otherkin News" posts. There also might possibly be some guest posts. If you see some current events that you want to write about, please feel free to post them here.
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A green dragon person reading a book.)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

If you'd like to see Otherkin News articles every weekday, please consider becoming one of my patrons on my Patreon. When my Patreon reaches the donation goal in which I'm making minimum wage, I'll be able to budget my time for research, interviews, and writing.

- Orion Scribner
Editor and main writer of Otherkin News
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (A green dragon person reading a book.)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

If you'd like to see Otherkin News articles every weekday, please consider becoming one of my patrons on my Patreon. When my Patreon reaches the donation goal in which I'm making minimum wage, I'll be able to budget my time for research, interviews, and writing.

- Orion Scribner
Editor and main writer of Otherkin News
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

Do you follow Otherkin News through Tumblr? The Tumblr mirror of Otherkin News used to be located at otherkin-news. As of 2014 June, now it's moving to a new address, otherkinnews. Please start following at the new address. Thank you.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: none.

Summary: My hiatus is over. I revised an article, and I'm working on revising some others. I'm going to bring back my comic Theri There. If my Patreon reaches a goal, I'll resume updating Otherkin News.


For over a decade, I'd been investing the greater part of my energy into helping the otherkin community. For a few months, I had to take a break from working on my creative projects and my projects about otherkin. I had to do that partially due to my concerns about time and money. I decided that either I had to completely abandon all of this stuff so that I could devote most of my energies toward more practical concerns, or I should give a try at making some income from all this work that I'm doing.

Last month, I set up my account on Patreon. Patreon is an art patronage system. When a person decides to support me through it, they'll be billed once a month, at the end of the month. You can donate as little as a dollar a month, but you also have the option to give more, if you want. It's like donating to my tip jar on a regular basis.

In return for the support that I got through Patreon last month, I'm working on my otherkin projects once again. I just finished revising one of my articles, A Simple Introduction to Otherkin and Therianthropes. (By the way, you have my permission to put a copy of that particular article on your own web-site. It will help you address some of the common questions that newcomers might have, and dispel some common misconceptions.) I'm in the middle of doing research so that I can update a couple of other articles. I'm also sorting out my plans for how to move and redesign my web-site so that I can put all the archives of my comic Theri There on it again!

I also set up my public account on Twitter, so that people can more easily hear about my progress and whatever I've produced.

When I was doing my very best at maintaining Otherkin News, it took several hours of my time every day. Researching each article, it took a long time to sift through the high signal-to-noise ratio in thousands of RSS feeds of blogs, alerts, forums, tweets, mailing lists, e-mails, and more. When I wrote the articles themselves, I took care to check the facts, look at the reputations of the sources, contact people for permission, and make sure that I understood the topic enough to write about it respectfully and clearly. I think keeping track of our current events is a worthwhile thing to do for the otherkin community. I hope the community sees the value in it.

If you'd like to see frequent updates on Otherkin News again, please consider donating to my Patreon. Take a look at my donation goals on there. If enough people chip in, I could have my minimum household bills covered that way, and that will make me feel a more confident about spending a big chunk of my time on these projects. When I make enough income through Patreon, I'll resume updating Otherkin News on a regular basis.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Everyone,

I must further extend my previously-announced hiatus from Otherkin News. Additionally, I must stop working on any and all projects about otherkin and therianthropes. Both of these breaks will continue until further notice.

Everyone is welcome to post to Otherkin News about any current events that they deem relevant to otherkin and therianthropes. Hopefully some volunteer will take up the task of spending an hour a day combing hundreds of RSS feeds and custom alerts in order to find that news. Starting today, I will open the community so that posts no longer require approval by a moderator.

If a volunteer offers to take over the responsibility of maintaining the mirrors of Otherkin News on Tumblr.com and Twitter.com, then I'll hand over the login information for those blogs.

- Orion Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

I'm putting all my otherkin-related projects on hiatus during this January in order to focus on other matters. That means I plan not to post to Otherkin News during this month. Hopefully some of you will take care of Otherkin News, and post to this blog if any news of concern comes up, so the community doesn't miss out on its current events. I'll still moderate this blog's posts, and link to them from the Tumblr and Twitter mirrors of this blog. I'm just not going to be researching or posting any fresh material myself.

- Orion Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

Last August, I said I'd try an experiment with how I run Otherkin News. I said that for September, I'd make a post every day about therianthropes or otherkin, and then I'd optionally make a second post about some news of interest to therians and otherkin. The experiment went well! I was able to keep it up for nearly the whole month. Looking at our blog's archive for September, I ran out of news about therians and otherkin on the 21st. I managed a few posts after that.

During that experiment, I improved how I use tags for this blog. I introduced a set of tags for distinguishing between the blog's on-topic focus, and some off-topic additional topics of interest. The tag "topic: on" is for on-topic articles that are strictly about therians and otherkin. "Topic: off a little" is for articles about vampires, starseeds, mermaids, and people who identify as other than human, but who haven't specifically or necessarily labeled themselves as therians or otherkin, or who aren't active in our communities. "Topic: off a lot" is for off-topic articles of interest to therians and otherkin. For example, mythology, animal behavior, trans-humanism, reincarnation, and so on.

I changed another detail of how I put content warnings on my posts. Previously, I tried to put content warnings for absolutely everything that I could think of that might possibly unsettle somebody. I warned about things like publicity and mention of topics that tend to lead to argument. I had a conversation with some people on Tumblr where they pointed out that putting a content warning for something can seem judgmental and offensive, like you're declaring that thing to be scary and bad. I decided to change my strategy with content warnings. I'll only put content warnings for things that definitely need warnings, such as graphic violence, or adult content that is not safe for work. I hope my readers will be comfortable with this solution. If you're uncomfortable with this, or if you have ideas for better solutions, please leave a comment here.

Since I've been facing slow news for a couple of weeks now, I'm going to do something a little different for October than I did for September. I'll try to post an article about therianthropes or otherkin every day (for the "topic: on" tag). However, if I have a day when I can't find news for such an article, that day I'll post an article about people who aren't necessarily therians or otherkin (for the "topic: off a little" tag). If I have a day when I can't find any news for that, either, I'll post an article that is about news of interest to therians and otherkin (for the "topic: off a lot" tag). I think this strategy will help keep this blog active, while still leaning toward on-topic news as much as possible, given the news available to write about.

I expect the on-topic news to speed up again soon, since it's October. There's usually some newspapers that interview some "real werewolves" (therians) for a Halloween-theme article.

As always, Otherkin News is open to posts from anybody who has news to share. This is where you could help out, gentle reader. You're probably familiar with some corners of the therian and otherkin communities that I've hardly seen. If you have an account on LiveJournal, you can submit a post to Otherkin News here. If you don't have an account here, you can e-mail me. Here's a list of some of the kinds of news that Otherkin News loves to get:

- Tell us about articles about therians and otherkin that have been published in magazines, newspapers, academic journals, and other media.
- Announce newly created blogs, web-sites, books, and other resources about therians and otherkin.
- Announce upcoming meet-ups, otherkin gathers, and therian howls.
- Reflect on recent meet-ups, otherkin gathers, and therian howls.
- Show us interviews with therians and otherkin.
- Tell us about casting calls for documentaries about therians and otherkin.
- Tell us about calls for therians and otherkin to participate in surveys; results of those surveys.
- Tell us about any current events in the therian and otherkin communities. They don't have to be really important events. Even small things, if they are new, can be news.

Whenever you can find the news out there, in some corner of the communities, you can bring it to Otherkin News, so this blog can keep updating on a regular basis.

- Orion Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Mention of mental health disorder.

Okay, gentle readers, here's an off-topic question that will help me run this blog.

Is there a blog somewhere that keeps track of news articles about multiplicity, plurality, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), and/or Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID)?

I'm not going to cover those topics in this blog. It's just far enough off topic, and it's not my area of knowledge. Still, I'd like to be able to keep an eye on those news articles, just in case there's some overlap with otherkin and therians, as is significantly the case. For example, I'd like to know if a news article comes out that interviews a multiple system with an elven member, or something.

Anyone know of any such multiplicity news blogs?
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

I've created a Twitter account for Otherkin News, @otherkinnews. (No underscore, no hyphen, so it's one character shorter.) Follow it so it can notify you of new posts on this blog.

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

In the middle of August, I resolved to try to post Otherkin News every day. I was close to successful. This month, Otherkin News had a new article every day, except for three days. Let's see if I can keep it up!

During this, I changed the way that I tag posts in this blog. When I started the blog in 2009, I only used seven tags. When the blog was new, that was all I needed to find a particular post. Now there's too many posts to sift through that way. The tags I've added are more thorough and specific about topics now. I'll write a new guide to the tags soon.

Also during this month, on the mirror of Otherkin News on Tumblr.com, and on my personal Tumblr blog, some readers offered their opinions on Otherkin News. Some readers explained why I should label my posts' "trigger warnings" as "content warnings" instead. Their arguments were good, so I changed to "content warnings."

Some other readers questioned why I have included articles that aren't about people who identify as otherkin, therianthropes, or other than human. For example, articles about mythology, wildlife, spirituality, and technology with relevance to otherkin and therians. Some of these readers felt these were disappointing and too far off topic. Other readers said these were refreshing and interesting. I've thought for a while about what to do about this. I want to see Otherkin News be a blog about otherkin, therians, and other-than-human people. I don't want the blog to wander off topic. On the other hand, I don't want to completely give up the articles that stray from those topics, because I think these can help give insight into exciting new areas for otherkin to explore.

I thought of a way to split the difference between these options. For September, I'm going to try an experiment. I'll try to update every day with news about people who identify as otherkin, therianthropes, and other than human. I get to post about things that are related to otherkin and therians only if I already posted that day about otherkin or therians. That way, the tangental topics can't become filler for days on end. The tangental posts still get to be here, as additional complements residing just outside of the main focus on otherkin and therians.

Gentle readers, what do you think of these changes and plans?

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: None.

Gentle readers, I just noticed that I'd forgotten to include a trigger warning at the beginning of about a dozen of my recent posts to this blog. That was accidental carelessness. I had no intention of being so impolite. Trigger warnings are important, because they make it possible for readers to make an informed choice about whether they want to read about news events that can be about very troubling issues. I've gone back and added trigger warnings to my old posts.

I'm sorry about the lapse in my manners. I'll try not to make that mistake again. If I do, please point it out to me so that I can repair it.

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: None.

Don't keep us in the dark! Do you know about something that's happening in the otherkin and therianthrope communities? Have you read about current events anywhere in the world that you think might impact otherkin and therianthropes? Please go ahead and post about it to the Otherkin News blog, because we accept submissions from everybody. After moderator approval, that is. Just make sure that you cite sources, and if they're good, we'll post it. If you don't have an account with our host, Livejournal.com, then you can e-mail the moderator of Otherkin News. We can post it here for you, acknowledging you as the author.

I'm going to be away from the computer most of the time for the next couple of weeks. That's kind of awkward timing, because I want Otherkin News to stay on top of whatever kind of response people might have to the TV documentary about otherkin this Tuesday. Since I won't be able to do as much here as I'd like, would some of you please help out?

Hiatus

Feb. 11th, 2012 06:04 pm
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (Default)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: none.

After spending every hour of my free time making (though not necessarily finishing) otherkin-related nonfiction resources for over half a year, I think I just now reached a point where I feel burned out on otherkin stuff right now. I think I'll take a vacation from the topic for a month or something. If you feel up to picking up the slack by posting on [livejournal.com profile] otherkin_news, then please go right on ahead.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: mention of vampire-related and werewolf-related crimes. Not graphic.

Summary: I’m deciding under what conditions I should list vampire-related crimes in the Otherkin Timeline. (Or werewolf-related crimes, etc.) In order to make that decision, I’m developing a clearer idea of the purposes of two of my projects, the Otherkin Timeline and the Otherkin News. I conclude that I should report on all current vampire-related crimes in the News, but only include crimes in the Timeline if those crimes eventually demonstrated a relationship with the communities.


In the latest update of the Otherkin Timeline, I chose to include a few vampire-related and werewolf-related crimes that happened during year 2011, even though those crimes haven’t demonstrated any relationship with the communities, so far as I’m aware. In my next phase of work on the Otherkin Timeline, I plan to start including the vampire community, about which I currently know very little. Based on what Belanger wrote in the Codex about how vampire-related crimes influenced the vampire community during the Nineties, I also intended to include the recent history of the vampire-related crimes.

However, in a comment on a previous post here, Merticus pointed out to me how the latter part of my plans would be inappropriate and impractical:

“Including vampire-related crimes/incidents which don’t intersect the otherkin/therian/etc. community is going to be a massive undertaking and may pollute the intended purpose as far as the timeline you’ve compiled is concerned.”


Merticus makes a good point, because including so many semi-related or unrelated events would definitely obscure and overwhelm the focus of the Timeline. I’ve previously tried to preserve the Timeline’s focus by discarding a variety other topics as being insufficiently related to its focus. For example, I didn’t list the release of every fantasy novel with elves in it on the off-chance that it might have been significant for elf-kin in some way unknown to me. (However, I did list a few role-playing games that demonstrated a sufficiently significant relationship with the otherkin community.) I also didn’t list the publication of any articles about clinical lycanthropy, since those are about a very rare and usually temporary psychological syndrome, not about a community, whereas the Timeline is meant to be a history of the communities. The majority of vampire-related crimes probably have a similarly insufficient relation to the Timeline’s focus on communities.

The purpose of Otherkin News is to report on all kinds of semi-related things-- including even fantasy novels, clinical lycanthropy, and all sorts of vampire-related crimes-- whereas the purpose of the Otherkin Timeline is to record only those events that eventually demonstrated a significant relationship with the communities. The News collects everything, on the off-chance it might be significant to us later, whereas the Timeline collects only those things that did prove to be significant to us later.

As such, it would be more efficient if I did this sort of compromise instead: I'll report on all current related crimes in Otherkin News, but only include related crimes in Otherkin Timeline if they really did turn out to have a significant impact on the community or involved community participants. This is my new decision for how to handle this issue.

Then I wouldn’t have to dig through the archives to list every single related crime in the Timeline, but in the News, I would still be able to keep track of current crimes, in case they do end up having influence on the community later.

The problem remains that I’d have to determine whether a related crime did have a significant relationship with or influence upon the communities. That might be sort of subjective in a lot of cases, so I’ll still need a lot of help figuring this one out. I’ve never been active in the vampire communities, so I’m not familiar with what has been significant for them.

Gentle reader, do you have further insights on how I can most efficiently and responsibly handle this issue?

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
With my permission, my winged friend Tsu has generously created and will maintain a mirror of Otherkin News on Tumblr. Gentle reader, if you have an account on Tumblr.com, then the mirror makes it possible for you to easily reblog any of these news articles that interest you.

The main location for Otherkin News is still here, in this Livejournal community. Be aware that the Tumblr mirror may sometimes lack details, such as the particulars of text formatting, or the latest revisions. If you have accounts on neither Livejournal nor Tumblr, then the best choice is still to follow the Otherkin News RSS feed from Livejournal.

Otherwise, though, the mirror should be far more convenient for use by the otherkin community on Tumblr, which I hear is wonderfully wise, accepting, considerate, and creative. Tsu tells me that the most lively part of the otherkin community is active there on Tumblr right now, coming up with ideas undreamed of ever before.

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings for this article: strong language in titles of links, definition of what “trigger” means.

As a necessary part of its role, the news often reports on events that are likely to make the viewers or readers feel very upset. Certain upsetting events described by the news may remind them of a trauma, which can then distress those readers for the rest of the day, causing serious problems such as flashbacks, panic attacks, or relapses. Support groups call that a “triggering” event.

Support groups on the Internet developed a strategy for helping people avoid getting “triggered.” These groups include a “trigger warning” at the beginning of a blog post. The “trigger warning” then lists the keywords of what types of upsetting things are mentioned in the body of the blog post.1 This gives readers the opportunity to decide whether they feel safest with skipping over that blog post, or whether they feel like they can handle reading it.

One can compare trigger warnings to film ratings, which give viewers an opportunity to decide which family members to invite to a movie. Trigger warnings and film ratings both introduce a clearer element of choice, empowering people to make wiser decisions. Trigger warnings and film ratings both help prevent people from stumbling into situations where they feel uncomfortable or distressed. Trigger warnings and film ratings improve accessibility for people who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or similar challenges. Trigger warnings and film ratings are socially responsible gestures of common courtesy.

People who do not have challenges like PTSD can also benefit from trigger warnings. Everybody has certain days where they feel more sensitive, or have work to do, and so they don’t feel like reading a story that would probably make them feel sad, angry, or scared. That would make it more difficult for them to cope with the day. Trigger warnings improve accessibility for everyone.

I have now added a trigger warning statement to the beginning of every post on this blog, all the way back to the first post. I specify what types of triggering characteristics appear in the body of the blog post. In several cases, the blog posts were so tame that I wrote “trigger warnings: none that I can think of.” Then readers know that those posts are most likely safe spaces. This has an advantage over omitting a trigger warning on safe posts: readers don’t have to wonder whether maybe I just forgot to label it that time.

Trigger warnings aren’t perfect. A certain blog that educates about the importance of using trigger warnings admits that a writer can’t anticipate all types of things that could be triggering for all readers. The blog says that “pretty much anything could potentially trigger someone’s PTSD.” One can only make educated guesses about the most likely triggers.2 Blogger Susannah Breslin pointed out that trigger warnings can themselves trigger, can “heighten … the shock factor of the content,” and cannot guarantee protection.3 I concur that a list of specific trigger warnings can make a blog post seem far more intimidating. That is a real problem.

I acknowledge that trigger warnings have flaws. After weighing the matter, I have come to the conclusion that a blog with trigger warnings marked is still more considerate toward its readers than a blog without trigger warnings marked. I hope that I cause no offense. I hope that I only improve my readers' accessibility, safety, and enjoyment.

- O. Scribner

Sources )
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings for this article: description of unusual spirituality and/or psychological experiences. Safe for work.

The otherkin and therianthrope communities have a vocabulary to themselves. Some of these words aren't new, but are uncommon in most people's use, or have been granted an additional meaning. When these words come up in this blog, it's convenient to link to their definitions in a local glossary, so that our writings will be more clearly understood. This is an incomplete glossary, and will be further expanded only as needed.Read more... )

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