In my part of the physical and digital world, discourse has gotten a lot more polarized in recent years. People are less likely to presume good intent and are more likely to take the worst possible view of another’s words. People are less likely to consider nuanced positions and instead take binary views: either you’re fully on my side or you’re a bad person. People are more likely to take things out of context or ignore the time and place in which something now objectionable was said.

People aren’t doing this for jollies; it happens because people are hurt, have…

ArtOfCode, the team lead for Codidact, recently wrote Building Codidact: Not Just Tech. It begins:

I’ve been working on Codidact for the last 18 months or so. We’ve built up from nothing, planned what we wanted to do, put systems up, started work, changed course, re-started work, switched systems, and welcomed and lost a whole load of team members along the way. We’ve served just under 5 million requests and 50GB of data in the last month — which is not vast scale, but it’s certainly much bigger scale than anything else anyone on our team has worked with. …

We’ve had a rough few days. I get that you’re tired of hearing about it, but the damage is still there, so we can’t just ignore it, hide behind the weekend, and hope it’ll blow over. It won’t. You need to act.

Your silence in the face of bad behavior is harming your relationship with the volunteers and community members who make your sites work.

On Wednesday a Twitter user complained about the titles of two questions in your “Hot Network Questions” list. Within 40 minutes, an employee responded to say that an entire site had just been kicked off…

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Recently on Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, somebody asked: what would be the least traumatic way to introduce resurrected historical humans to 21st-century life? The question postulates that, somehow, it has become possible to resurrect everybody who ever lived, and we somehow have places to put all 100 billion or so of them. Some religions have end-times beliefs about this, but here we’re talking about a technological, human-driven act. Ok, so how would one actually go about it so that bronze-age man doesn’t get squished in traffic? Or, for that matter, so enlightenment-era man doesn’t get squished in traffic? Acclimation is hard.

a short story in three acts

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Matt sat in the back row of his freshman anthropology class, browsing Twitter on his phone. Kevin, sitting next to him, whispered, “careful, he’s looking this way.”

Professor Ramirez paused, then nodded toward the student sitting two rows in front of them. “Yes, Leonard?”

“Are you saying these primitive people actually believed that the sun was being swallowed by a dragon? I mean, haven’t we known about eclipses for thousands of years? It’s not rocket science.”

“Be careful what you dismiss,” the professor responded. “There are people alive even today in remote places who…

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“A new goddess for Dal!” The warlord of Mel whistled in appreciation. “That’s bold.”

“It will do the job,” the warlord of Sav answered. He watched a wave splash onto the shore. “Mel will need to confirm it. Do you think you can arrange that?”

The other man looked confused. “What do you mean, ‘confirm’?”

Another wave splashed in front of them. “The priestesses of Sav have just announced their ‘discovery’. If the priestesses of Mel do the same, then Dal has to either go along with the story or stand against two other goddesses.”

“And we can exploit either…

S’ilu stood motionless at the shore in the center of the ring of priestesses. She gazed upward at Sav, full and shining in the clear midnight sky, ignoring plump Mel in the western sky and the ever-present newcomer in the east. An ecstatic smile spread across the high priestess’s face. Sav’s light shone on her outstretched arms.

The priestesses saw S’ilu turn her gaze to the newcomer. After a time, she returned to Sav and said one word: “yes”.

From the cover of the nearby trees, Usaygo watched the group, a satisfied smile on her face. …

The warlord of Sav set a pot of hot-drink before his mother. Usaygo filled her cup, sipped, and nodded. He sat facing her across the table in his small front room.

“How are your guests settling in? Have they shared anything useful yet?”

Usaygo looked the warlord in the eye. “Patience,” she answered. “It has been only three days. Ala is reluctant, and we need her to be comfortable. Then, I hope, she will open up more. We know that she protected the high priestess’s daughter that night, and that she hid her for a time. That’s why D’ara sent…

1400 was the target we set.
My story in place, I flew through the net.
Dragging my germs with me, back to the plague I flee —
I’m not supposed to be here!
Fevered, delirious, Lord are you getting this?
I never asked what’s the year? What’s the year?!
(“In a Gown Too Blue”, Three Weird Sisters)

Time travel isn’t perfect. Things can go wrong. And we might only be able to approximate our target to begin with. So, how can you get your bearings where — and when — you’ve jumped?

You might say “ask somebody”, but — even…

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Dr. Benjamin Richardson heard the cry as he strode down the hall. He opened the door and crossed the small room in three steps. “Hello, I’m Doctor Richardson,” he said while setting the clipboard he carried down on the bank of equipment by the bed.

The girl stared up at him and her whole body shook. He’d seen that look once before, in a dog he’d once found caught in a trap in the woods. He’d never seen it in a person before.

“It’s ok,” he said gently. “You’re safe now. I won’t hurt you.” …

Monica Cellio

Community lead on Codidact, building a better platform for online communities: By the community, for the community. Opinions mine.

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