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from Karin Wanderer Learns

Hello & Hello Again!

Every so often on this blog, we take a break & share a recipe instead of talking about art. You can find a complete list of the recipes at the end of this article. Would you like to share a recipe in a future blog post? Let me know!

This week, we’re making Gold Bars!

This is my absolute favorite citrus recipe. I make the filling with lemons,oranges or a combination of both! What really makes this recipe special, though, is the olive oil shortbread crust.

Close-up photo of a plate of delicious lemon curd on a pastry crust.

Shortbread Crust


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Heat the oven to 325°F 3 (163°C).
  • Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish & line it with enough parchment paper to hang over two sides. Without parchment paper, lifting the bars out of the pan without breaking them will be difficult.
  • Mix flour, sugar, & salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add the olive oil & mix just until a lumpy dough forms.
  • Put the dough in the pan. pat flat with your hand, & prick all over with a fork.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes, rotating halfway through. You want the crust to be lightly golden brown. Remember that this is going back into the oven, so it shouldn’t get too dark!
  • While that bakes, mix up the filling.

Close-up photo of golden-brown shortbread in a square glass baking dish.

Lemon or Orange Filling

This recipe can be made with lemons or oranges or both. For simplicity’s sake, I am just going to say ‘lemon’ & we’ll all agree you can do whatever you want. Let me know if you try limes!


  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Combine the sugar, lemon juice, eggs, flour, oil, zest, & salt in a large bowl. Whisk until it is smooth.
  • When the crust is puffed & golden brown, pull it out of the oven. Re-whisk the lemon mixture.
  • Pour the mixture onto the hot crust, then return to the oven.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the edges are puffy & the center just barely jiggles when you nudge the pan.
  • Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, then cover & refrigerate until cold.

Finish Them

Gold Bars are very tasty as they are, but there are a variety of toppings you can try! I don’t like my sweets to get too sweet- I usually just sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt on my Gold Bars while they cool on the wire rack. Of course, this is dessert. If you want sugar on top, I won’t stop you. Once the Gold Bars have fully cooled, you can dust the top with a bit of powdered sugar. However, if you really like your sweets sweet, you can make a glaze by whisking ½ cup of powdered sugar & 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour over the fully-cooled bars. Allow the glaze a few minutes to set- if the Gold Bars are fully cooled it won’t take too long! Once your topping has been applied, lift from the pan & cut into squares.

Past Recipes

We’ll get back to talking about art next week. Is there an author or topic you want me to cover? Let me know on Mastodon or Ko-Fi!


from humanissome

Americans do not eat the fruit on their trees.

Most Americans do not walk anywhere daily.

Bakeries in walking distance where every American regularly can grab fresh bread is not a thing.

This post will be updated continually.


from humanissome

Always with the updates!

In classic blog fashion I might begin, “Sorry it's been a while since I posted...” I recently have considered a secondary blog for more fragments and keeping this one to my original vision of posts I put some work into, edit, add photos to, etc. This post is not that. Maybe it's ok to have a mish mash blog. Whether it's ok or not for the long haul, that's what this will be for now.


from Karin Wanderer Learns

I love to draw & paint with #ink! That is not news to regular readers, since this is the fourth article I’ve written on the subject. Lots of different inks are great for lots of different types of art, but my absolute favorite ink is sumi. Again, this is not news to many people, since this is the third article I’ve written about traditional Japanese ink. To find those earlier articles, click #ink. Now, I get to talk about several types of sumi art that I have not had a chance to try (yet!)


Sumizuri-e means ink printed painting. It is a form of woodblock printing using sumi which dates back at least to the 700s. That means it is one of the earliest forms of Japanese printing. The stamp design is painted, then carved from a block of cherry wood. The stamp block is then inked. A sheet of paper is carefully laid atop the inked stamp & pressed with a tool called a baren to transfer the image. Creating this art was a group effort- an artist designed the stamp, a woodcarver created it, & a printer inked the stamp & made the prints. This art style has remained popular for over a millennium, & it is easy to see why. Sumizuri is a minimalist, monochromatic art style that produces strikingly beautiful pieces. Sometimes a stamp is still being used for prints hundreds of years after being carved, as with this piece that was carved in 1698, but printed around 1915.

Woodblock prints with color use a wide range of techniques. Some are relatively simple, such as painting the individual prints with watercolors or colored ink after the sumi dries. Some methods are more complex & are, essentially, early versions of modern color block printing. The Great Wave off Kanagawa, possibly the most famous piece of Japanese art in existence, is an example of this.


Now we get into the meat of the subject! I do not apologize for that pun! Gyotaku is a portmanteau of gyo, or fish & taku, or stone impression. It is fish printing! Making actual fish into ink stamps! Now people will have to believe you caught a fish “this big”, because you can literally unroll a scroll & show them an impression of the fish in question! I’m not joking- these prints are hung in tackle shops for that exact reason. This method is used for other forms of marine life as well, but fish prints were the majority of what I found by far. Fish stamps render beautiful amounts of detail. I had expected just a black fish shape when I first read about them, almost a silhouette, but that is not the case! Look at this print, for example. Aren’t the scales gorgeous? In the most basic form of gyotaku, the print is left black & white, with the eyes painted in after the print dries. This is the form most often used to keep records by people who fish. Other forms get more artsy. Some add colored ink directly to the fish, while others print in sumi & then add color after. Many places online claim you can still eat the fish after printing if you use plain sumi. Some fishing services that offer sumi prints will filet your fish while taking care to keep one side intact. They then lay the intact side over a basket or some other type of frame so that the fish holds its proper shape while printing, but the rest of the meat doesn’t touch ink. My sumi ink does not indicate it is food-safe anywhere on the packaging, & let me just remind you that the main ingredient is soot, so let the buyer beware!

Oh No, I Did It Again

Say it with me now; “Karin got distracted geeking out about art & now she needs at least one more week to finish talking about the subject at hand.” Woah, you all managed to say that in perfect unison. It was impressive, & a bit creepy. Well done! Have you tried any of these kinds of sumi art? Will you? Let me know on Mastodon or Ko-Fi!


from Karin Wanderer Learns

Every so often on this blog, we take a break & share a recipe instead of talking about art. I’ve shared my favorite vegan cake recipe & my best plum tea. Wolfe3D shared his pizza recipe in my first collaboration! Would you like to share a recipe in a future blog post? Let me know!

Close-up photo of a delicious brownie.

We’re Making Brownies!

This is one of the oldest recipes in my collection. It is both simple & easy. According to my exhaustive research, there are infinite brownie recipes on the internet. There are prettier brownies, there are fancier brownies- but I can make these when I’m down to my last spoon. To me, recipes like this are invaluable!

Photo of a bowl with the wet ingredients for brownies & a cup with the dry ingredients. A square glass baking dish & rubber spatula wait next to them.


  • ¾ cup butter, melted & cooled enough that it won’t cook the eggs
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • Spices to taste (I use cardamom, cinnamon, & a touch of cloves.)
  • ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons salt

Photo of brownie batter in a square glass baking dish.


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

  • Grease an 8x8 pan. (If you use sticks of butter to bake this, you can use the paper wrappers to grease your pan. An 8x8 pan is small enough that there is usually enough butter left on one wrapper to grease the whole pan!)

  • In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar and vanilla thoroughly.

  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.

  • Combine the flour, cocoa, spices, baking powder, & salt in a separate container. Gradually blend this dry mixture into the egg mixture.

  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

  • Let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Do not rush this! If you cut them while they are still warm they will dry out fast & you will lose that wonderful brownie-y texture.

Close-up photo of a delicious brownie.

Quick History Lesson

There are many different stories about who invented brownies. The most popular claim is that brownies were created for an event at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. I would have thought such a simple, delicious dish was much older!

The mouth-watering top of a pan of brownies.

We’ll get back to talking about art next week. Is there an author or topic you want me to cover? Let me know on Mastodon or Ko-Fi!


from Curator

This is a joint statement from all of's moderation team.

2.3M people are currently being genocided as the State of Israel withdrew water, food, and electricity from Gaza, while the IDF targets civilian infrastructure, refugee camps, schools, and hospitals with munitions. This is being done with support from big Western countries like the US and UK who have sent military aid to the State of Israel with no conditions on how that aid is used.

If you wish to help, here's who we recommend donating to:

Medical Aid for Palestinians: The Palestinian Children's Relief Fund:

However, since aid into Gaza is being limited by the State of Israel and there's currently no guarantee of if or when any physical or financial aid will reach them, it's equally important to attend rallies and protests, and to pressure your local politicians via letters or phone calls for an immediate ceasefire.

We will moderate as follows:

We won't tolerate any arguments about whether words like genocide, apartheid, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, nation-state, ethno-state are accurate or not. What's happening to the people in Gaza is a genocide and what the State of Israel is inflicting is colonialism.

Regarding Zionism: defending an ideology that is currently justifying killing over 2 million people is not a place to find nuance. We will take into consideration who is posting, what power disparities are at play, and who is being oppressed when people post about Zionism, but will be on the lookout for antisemitism.

'From the river to the sea' is a restorative call for the land and its people to live and thrive together. We are aware that it can be used as an antisemitic dog-whistle and will moderate against antisemitism but won't otherwise moderate against use of the phrase.

We will try our best to fact-check reports of propaganda and fake news. We'll always focus on protecting people's lives over spreading misinformation that encourages hate, violence, and oppression. We will ask people to include sources for any claims made, if none were given.

We will defend people over states/nations/governments/countries. The situation is not black and white, and you can support the people in Palestine without wishing harm on the people in Israel, and vice versa. We will moderate against anyone wishing harm on people, and in a way that protects the vulnerable and oppressed.

We have a diverse moderation team, and where we receive reports regarding the I/P conflict, we will wait until several of us have had a chance to look at the report before discussing action.


from humanissome

Or Why I Settle For Less

This post dabbles briefly in a couple of topics. I continue to feel uninterested in full writing immersion at this time (midway through National Novel Writing Month). One idea for a post is/was a list:

Late fall update
Now ’til December 21Highlights looking back
* Cards – business & note * Resurrecting email * This blog * Write an annual message? * Post more paintings online * Social contact * Cards – business & note * Resurrecting email * This blog * My niece’s wedding in New Orleans * Quitting so many online spaces
I don't like lists because I find their creation to be executive acts that eat into the energy available for total executive function. List making in low energy moments may prevent achievement of the items placed on the list.
The title of this blog post is also instruction on how to enjoy it. By settling for less we may be able to enjoy life more. Ah, but there you see, I had to add in more, as in the adage “Less Is More.” More activates us. I have been spreading my Settle For Less message lately & I can proudly report that it is not liked! I was told that what I mean to say is “adjust expectations.” I can tell you that I have fully adjusted to expect others to tell me what I mean! Any self-talk that includes the word “expectations” is never going to be felt as deeply in me as saying to myself:
Settle For Less
I trust myself to discern what it is that I mean. I do not expect this new mantra to lead me into deprivation, or that I won't “go as far” as I would if I spoke other words to myself. I choose these words with care, specifically because they get my attention and speak to me. Perhaps my settling for less could lead to publishing a book I quite like instead of one that's “world-changing.”

Mantra is a word I have no business using since I have an incomplete understanding of its meaning and derivation. Similarly, I begin this post with a quote that I felt connection with. I felt that its explanation of Renunciation is in keeping with my Settle For Less ideas. Yet. For me to include this quote is to somewhat endorse the speaker, Lama Thubten Yeshe; as well as bodhidave and starry deer crocodile (Ogmin); and even Buddha, buddhism, and the mstdn social Mastodon server. Everything has an association. Much more than I understand.

Here's another:

Is attribution even a good thing? Can creations—including words of wisdom—hold up apart from their creators? Does the association with creator attach to their creations forever?

I tend to make my own things. Knowing that others are using the term humanism for their own meanings, and not being willing to — never being willing to — learn to follow another, I create my own Human Is Some. Not fully vibing with “Adjusting expectations” or “Renunciation” — and, again, not being willing to follow or learn — I prefer to Settle For Less.

I am influenced by others tremendously, of course. I think we all draw from a variety of sources and make our own values. I have grown comfortable in my unique path as my unique path, while not having to impose it on others or be affirmed by others in my ways.

Abstract expressionist painting The Solution To Everything by


from Karin Wanderer Learns

Hello & Hello Again!

This is part of an ongoing series of articles about #ink. If you would like to know more about ink in general, read this. Sumi is my personal favorite ink. If you would like to know more about this traditional Japanese ink, read that. If you would like to know more about many different ways sumi is used in art, read on!

What is Sumi-e?

In Japanese, sumi means black ink & e means painting. It can be confusing to figure out exactly where the line is between “sumi-e” & “art someone made using sumi.” Some people don’t think there is a line at all; they use sumi-e as a collective term for all sumi-based art. Some insist that it is only sumi-e if it is painted using only ink, featuring only a very few traditional subjects (e.g.– mountains, bamboo), AND only painted on rice paper. Many people fall somewhere in the middle. Outside of the rigorous purists, a general description of sumi-e might read as follows: It can be just sumi, but some forms of sumi-e incorporate watercolor paint or colored inks. It is often but not always painted on rice paper.

Sumi ink painting of plum branches with several blossoms & a bud. Sumi on watercolor paper

Ink Wash

Ink wash painting was brought to Japan by Zen Buddist monks. This is the type of sumi-e most people are familiar with: stylized landscapes rendered in greyscale created with diluted black ink. Have you seen Disney’s animated movie Mulan? The opening is an animated example of the ink wash style. (Note: As Mulan takes place in China, it is likely that the opening is not depicting sumi. It is more likely meant to be India ink, which was invented in China.) Some ink wash artists put an emphasis on minimalism, while others do not.

Sometimes the ink wash landscape is paired with writing such as poetry, a riddle, or philosophy. This is called shigajiku. The results can be quite striking! I kept getting distracted while writing this because I wanted to track down translations of practically every one I saw.

Watercolor & Ink painting of a rocky little pocket beach. Sumi & white ink on watercolor paper


Tebori tattoos are inked by hand using sumi. The resulting tattoo is a beautiful greeny- black. Beyond this point tattoos get so complicated so quickly that if you find this topic interesting you should really research it yourself. Have fun!


I meant to wrap up the sumi series with this article, but I have failed! Can I stop geeking out over pretty paintings & finish talking about sumi? Find out next week; same Karin time, same Karin channel!

Do you like this ink? What did you think? Let me know on Mastodon & Ko-Fi!

Ink painting of many, many cats filling a square sheet of rice paper. The cats are sitting, lounging, sleeping, stretching, waiting... Sumi on rice paper


from humanissome

I am taking a short break. To write just to write, to meet a schedule, is antithetical to the principle of doing everything with meaning. Quite frankly, the weather where I live has been too gorgeous for me to sit at a keyboard!

Florida box turtle seen today in Jacksonville, Florida


from Karin Wanderer Learns

… Chibi?

Chibi is an art style of over-exaggeration. Its origins are said to date back to Japan’s Edo period. The contemporary form of chibi arose from Japanese anime & manga developed in the 1970s; original credit is often given to a robotic cat named Doraemon from a manga of the same name. Anime series such as Dragonball & Sailor Moon, Studio Ghibli movies, & popular merchandise lines such as Hello Kitty are often credited with spreading the art style around the world.

Watercolor of 3 very cute & happy cryptids; a basilisk, a cockatrice, & a dragon with a very long tail. Text reads "Bad Breath Buds".

Isn’t That Just Kawaii?

Yes & no. Kawaii essentially means cute. Lots of things are cute without being chibi. Chibi is a subset of kawaii. Something that is chibi is kawaii, but not everything that is kawaii is chibi. The English word comes from the Japanese word chibi (ちび). This word is considered rude if used to describe an adult, but appropriate when used to describe small children, smol objects, or cute art.

Watercolor of a happy plump little yellow-orange dragon. Their tail is longer than the rest of their body, with wings on their back & tail. It would be polite to call this lil friend a chibi-doragon (チビドラゴン)

The Momentous Importance of Epic Proportions

Chibi art follows a small number of extremely important rules. 1. Chibi characters have very large heads- often anywhere from ⅓ to ½ their total height. (A more realistic proportion would be for a person’s head to be ⅙ to ⅛ their height.) 2. Chibi faces are mostly filled with their huge eyes. The mouth is very small & the nose is often left out entirely. 3. Chibi characters follow an extremely minimalist design.There isn’t space for a lot of detail! Most chibi characters have simple outfits & accessories. Since their enormous heads are the focus, extra effort is usually put into their hair or hat. 4. It must be kawaii! I have seen some “gross” chibi characters as the art form develops over time, but even the gross ones are pretty cute!

TL;DR: Chibi characters’ features are pushed out of proportion to an almost obscene degree. That’s why the chibi style is sometimes referred to as the ‘super deformation’ style or ‘S.D.’ for short.

Contemporary Chibi

Chibi art has only grown in popularity over time. From Hello Kitty to Funko's Pop! Vinyl, this is a style people love. You don’t even have to like anime to want chibi action figures of your favorite live-action characters or mythical beasts.

A happy cockatrice flaps his wings as he dances around.

How-To Books for Chibi Art

[Quick review of my review policy: All of them are unpaid & unsolicited!]

Cute Chibi Mythical Beasts & Magical Monsters by Phoebe Im You Can Draw Manga Chibis by Samantha Whitten & Jeannie Lee You Can Draw Manga Chibi Characters, Critters & Scenes by Samantha Whitten & Jeannie Lee Drawing Chibi by Kikai Anime Manga for the Beginner: Chibis by Christopher Hart Chibi Art Class by Yoai

Watercolor of an adorable blue-purple-pink basilisk, smiling contentedly.

Do you have a book recommendation? Let me know on Mastodon or Ko-Fi!


from Curator

I had a chat with some of our community in our Discord server recently, mostly in response to us defederating, why we chose that action, and the general way approaches instance blocks. I've paraphrased some of the questions I was asked, and copied (and edited for clarity in a few places) my responses to them. One of the people I was talking with expressed a greater understanding, and acceptance of, our practices around moderating things like hate speech and bigotry after we'd talked through these things, so I figured I'd share it in a more accessible place if it might help with a paradigm shift around how individual people on fedi respond to instance actions around things like racism.

Q: Can we unsuspend

If the admin's actions renew our faith that they will properly moderate racism and harassment yeah, but that will take time. Our trust in them has been eroded to the point that we feel it's safer not to expose the BIPoC people on our instance to that potential abuse knowing their admin is so reluctant to actually handle racism. It's not on US to excuse that behaviour for the sake of preserving connections – doing that does not help make fedi any safer for BIPoC folk. It's on other instances to do better and take reports of racism seriously – any blame for way these events unfolded is theirs.

Q: Can't we block connections with specific users rather than blocking a whole instance, which feels like punishing both communities?

We can, but if we can't trust the moderation team of another instance to properly handle reports of their users, we defederate, for the safety of our marginalised community. Take this up with and ask why they didn't find it necessary to deal with the racist abuse and harassment coming from their instance for weeks. We're not punishing the BIPoC folk on our instance by shielding them from racism, and no-one's convenience of accessing people on a social media network is more important than protecting marginalised groups from targeted harassment. Being able to exist on social media without being a target for harassment is a privileged position that not everyone enjoys and that most people don't have to think about.

Q: Re. restoring faith in the admin/mod team, are you waiting for them to acknowledge their mistakes and say they'll do better?

This could be one thing yes- acknowledging the harm caused, taking steps so that it doesn't happen again and communicating what those steps are, and rebuilding a reputation for good moderation which will take time. But we have unsuspended instances that have done this and demonstrably improved their moderation. Diversifying their mod team is another thing they could do, taking anti-racism training, etc..

General rambling on .art's moderation/defederation practices: I made this post a little while back that kinda talks about that aspect of it – that we're an instance of working artists who need access to an audience, and balancing that against protecting the most marginalised people in our community that we exist for in the first place to provide a safe community where they're protected from harassment.

We know it's difficult to balance that and we think hard about decisions involving defederating sizeable instances because we know it's cutting people off from income sources, whereas if we don't, that establishes a precedent where racism/transphobia/etc. is tolerated above the rights of people to exist without abuse. is not the best instance for someone who wants unfettered access to the whole of fedi without risk of some of that being taken away. We are very strict. We serve a particular community. We're big, which implies we might be the 'best' art instance to join for a big audience, but that's not necessarily the case and why we try to make it very clear on our /about page that we do defederate more harshly than other instances.

We're also pretty clear on our /about page that we proactively moderate; when an instance gets to a point where we expect harassment to come from there, we will defederate to spare people having to go through any abuse and harassment, rather than wait for that to happen and have to clean up afterwards.

Instance admins/mods represent the kind of content they'll allow unchallenged on their instance. So even though some of the SilverEagle posts were deleted, and the account actually migrated to its own instance, it took weeks for anything to happen at all, and the admin posted about not caring to moderate those reports. So we know that that's the kind of environment the admin is happy to have on their instance, that racism and harassment and abuse will go unchallenged for weeks, and that makes it an unsafe instance for us to federated with.

Yes, technically, we can do other instance's moderation work for them – ban the admin, individually moderate their users – but that shouldn't be our job – managing is enough work in itself and I'm not going to ask unpaid volunteers to start manually moderating all the other instances where the mod team has fucked up and we don't trust them to moderate themselves.

Q: But the problem with has been corrected?

Just checked our reports. There were four accounts reported from, SilverEagle is one of them who has moved, three others are still there. Those do not include the admin, who was giving all of it a free pass. So no, it hasn't been corrected.

The posts on included targeting several Black fedi users over the course of a few weeks, directing racist abuse and harassment at them, creating and pushing racist conspiracy theories about them with no foundation in truth that weren't being challenged by the instance admin at all and were allowed to exist and propagate in the face of the harm they were causing and being reported by several instances, which led to more people joining in with the abuse and lies – it was horrid. It made Black folks on fedi feel unsafe – not just those who were directly targeted, but those who were watching it all unfold without being moderated by the instance admin – and a lot of folk stepped away from fedi for a while because of it.

It was horrible, and that kind of thing has long-term ramifications on fedi as a whole and why Black folk have to continuously fight for themselves here, and continuously stress that fedi has a racism problem. The several BIPoC on our mod team, who are all struggling artists barely managing to scrape through each month, emphatically did not want to federate our community with that instance because of the behaviour from some of that instance's users that the admin didn't moderate. Our BIPoC community on no doubt feel the same – in fact we've had people move to our instance away from their own because we're safer for them than the instances they were on, because we take a hard stance against stuff like this.

We know it's stressful and anxiety-inducing being cut off from a paying audience and your source of income. We have to balance that with the severity of things other instances allow to happen and the impacts they have on the people in our community, and their safety – even before their ability to earn a living, just their ability to exist online without getting harassed off.

It is really tough. The ideal solution is that racism would not be tolerated on the source instances that it's coming from and those users would immediately be suspended.

Failing that, when racism is given a pass on those instances, the ideal solution is that people who oppose that would move off those instance to ones that takes racism (or whatever bigotry is going un-moderated) seriously.

If people did that, the bigoted instances would either cease to exist or would be left only with a tiny group of bigots that would get defederated into their own little voids, and the communities of, and other instances, could just carry on without losing anything of value.

What I would like to see, in an ideal world, is that instead of people on here going ' suspended this instance for racism so now I have to move to another instance' is, rather, ' suspended this instance for racism, so if you want to keep following me, and if you oppose racism, and want to support a fedi that's safe for BIPoC, I expect you'll be moving to an instance that doesn't give a free pass to racism'.

The people on fedi have the power to shape what kind of social media experience this is. If your instance, or the instance your friend is on, is letting its community harass Black folk, move from that instance, tell your friends to move. Tell them to stand by their principles. Don't support it. Don't make your online home in a place that allows racism.

Most people don't bother, and when we do, like when takes a hard stance against federating with instances that allow hate speech, we're the ones that get the flack for it. Which seems the wrong way around.


from Pixie's Pad

Part 1:

Both the UK and US governments are supplying military aid to the State of Israel, and both talk of defending civilians against Hamas' violent attack (and Hamas is a militia, and has killed civilians): “We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack” from Biden, and “humanitarian concerns and protection of civilians are very important” from Sunak.

Meanwhile, the State of Israel continues targeting civilians in Gaza, attacking refugee camps:

Reported casualties and damage of critical infrastructure in Gaza is huge in a humanitarian crisis that is ongoing:

Helping Israel to take care of its citizens is, of course, a good thing. However, the UK and US are a bit one-sided in their support of 'protecting civilians' as they aren't helping Palestinian civilians in the same way. While they are supplying military aid to the State of Israel, and the State of Israel is using that aid to continue attacking civilians in Gaza, the UK and US are complicit in aiding the State of Israel to that end.

Part 2:

Two things that are simultaneously true:

1- Hamas is a militia and their attack on Israel, where civilians were killed, and their continued threats and actions that endanger people's lives, is horrific.

2- The State of Israel inciting genocide of Palestinians, imposing an apartheid state, ethnic cleansing, and their continued attacks on civilian people and infrastructure in Gaza, is horrific.

Take the side of people. Call out colonialism, apartheid, and genocide. Acknowledge that oppressed people have a right to respond with violence against their oppressors, while also acknowledging that that violence should be targeted at their oppressors, not innocent civilians. Recognise that oppressors are states and governments and militaries acting independently of the citizens that live in their states and governments and countries. Call out antisemitism, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, anti-Muslim bigotry, terrorism. Criticise the State of Israel, the Israeli Government, and Hamas, for crimes against humanity. Defend Palestinian civilians, defend Israeli civilians. Acknowledge the right of Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, Arabs, and Muslims, to live free from oppression.


from ReaShouldBeWriting

Well, this is the first post on a blog. I've never had a blog before so I'm unsure what to do. I suppose I will just write some short stories here every now and again. Some passing dreams that aren't quite worth adding to the novel or making their own book can exist here.


from humanissome

Image of Auntie Whispers from the Cartoon Network Studios production Over The Garden Wall (currently available ad-free on Hulu; highly recommended fall vibes). She's a very odd, grotesque looking woman with big bugged eyes spaced far apart on her large round face, a mauve nose, pale peach facial skin with grey shaded bags under eyes, a grey mouth and black teeth (most missing). She's wearing a cream colored bonnet. In her outstretched hand (that's yet another skin tone, orange-pink) she's holding a glowing bell over which I have pasted a white notification bell icon with the number 1 inside a red circle badge that’s positioned at 2 o’clock on the bell. In the story when Auntie Whispers rings the bell and it glows she intones, “The ringing of the bell commands you.” The loveliest lies of all are the ones we tell ourselves, now unceasingly aided and abetted by technology valued into the billions of dollars.

All for little ol' me? Yep. You're worth it. At least in combination with everyone else your value is infinite. Unfathomable resources are right now being devoted to commanding your attention.

Isn't it all a bit pointless? Don't get me wrong, the power wielded by the phone-industrial complex is undeniably immense. And what do they do with it? Besides undermining democracy and eroding the human ability to pay attention and collecting billions of dollars, what do these attention hoarders do with our focus once they've got control of us? I think I bought a shirt once off Instagram. Yeah, that's kinda all there is to it.

I'll beat them at their own game It's natural to want to stand up and offer meaning within a meaningless system. Here are two attempts that caught my eye for different reasons:

Instagram posts side by side, explained below On the left is what happens when someone has shared a text post as a video, most likely to try to get more attention. Instagram promotes its videos (that it calls Reels) more than anything else, probably trying to prevent its users' attentions wandering to TikTok. So this account owner hopes to outsmart the rigged system by sharing an all-text post as a video. Of course it doesn't work so great. The post on the right is one of many that fall under the category, “Meme your way to mindfulness!” This verified account with 756,000 followers offers a “Shoutout to people whose kindness isn't a strategy but a way of life.” A cynic might wonder whether such an account employs no strategy. But I'm not looking to criticize individual users. We are all entitled to (and susceptible to) thinking our words are worth communicating. I'm typing this now for a potential audience that I hope materializes. I'm grateful to be sharing these words in a new place with laudable guiding principles.

No reason to belabor the point that I find Meta media the epitome of unkind and strategic. But even in my new happy home I'll see posts like this:

Mastodon post saying, "I just published on Medium: How to Write Blog Headlines That Will (Hopefully) Make Readers Click"

I know it's an expression, but the word make in that headline is a problem for me. The expressions we use reflect our world view. I am working to become someone who never wishes to make anyone do anything. Accepting others' autonomy is essential to my emotional health. It never sat well with me that my self-employed career of art—a path specifically chosen for psychological healing—depended on making other people do things. That's an icky idea that social media made exponentially worse. What a waste of a brief moment of interaction in this wild world to fill it with:
I've got your attention right now but what I really want you to do is...
bit ☑️ follow this link   ☑️ join me elsewhere   ☑️ buy something!

I'm calling out this behavior because it is (or has been) my own. I blurred the account name up above because (again) I'm really not out to criticize others personally.1 I don't even think of this as anyone's personal behavior as much as trying to make it within existing systems. The post above is simply a great example that I saw at the right time. Other than aspiring to control others, the post has no content. It's a headline and link. Mastodon posts can hold 500 characters, but why bother to utilize them to preview a link's content when all you really want is to 'Make Readers Click'⁉️ Finally the link is to Medium, a privately-held, subscription-based platform—pop-ups and paywalls—that I think is incompatible with the essence of the internet.2

My goal in moving to the Fediverse is to escape manipulation, for myself and others. That means I'm not going to be pushing content that takes people to non-Fediverse social media. I'm in the process of moving all my activities here. I do have a YouTube channel, but I'm not going to ask you to subscribe or anything. Sometimes I will embed or link to YouTube. I'm proud of my videos there, but I do not support the site's business model. (I'm sure I'll join PeerTube eventually.)

So everything's proceeding apace here as I move into my ideal neighborhood, the Fediverse. There's always room for more growth. A post by Tofu Golem ( advises:

The overall design of social media uses Skinner box techniques to addict you. Those likes and shares are randomized reward schedules that suck you in like the pigeon endlessly pushing that button whether it was hungry or not.

Here, those likes and shares are called favorites and boosts, but the effect is the same. Remember to take breaks.

Yes I had badges turned off on my home screen, but I realized that I was looking at the Notifications bell right away every time I opened Mastodon. I felt a sense of dependency as I looked for a red-circled number to be on that bell. I replied to the above toot (Mastodon for tweet):
I find it so refreshing here it “feels healthy” & I’m definitely susceptible to those random rewards. I am trying to pay less attention to numbers & more to people. I thought about silencing notifications but then I feel I’m ignoring potential human connections... It helps to be aware. Your thread helps.
Since then I have disabled all notifications on the website and the app. I am able to open the panel where interactions are still collected. The panel is labeled with a bell even though mine no longer rings.

Image of Auntie Whispers from the Cartoon Network Studios production Over The Garden Wall (currently available ad-free on Hulu; highly recommended fall vibes). She's a very odd, grotesque looking woman with big bugged eyes spaced far apart on her large round face, a mauve nose, pale peach facial skin with grey shaded bags under eyes, a grey mouth and black teeth (most missing). She's wearing a cream colored bonnet. In her outstretched hand (that's yet another skin tone, orange-pink) she's holding a glowing bell over which I have pasted a white notification bell icon with the number 1 inside a red circle badge that’s positioned at 2 o’clock on the bell. In the story when Auntie Whispers rings the bell and it glows she intones, “The ringing of the bell commands you.”

How do you feel when the ringing of the bell commands you?

The image at top and bottom of this post is Auntie Whispers3 from the Cartoon Network Studios production Over The Garden Wall. It is currently available ad-free on Hulu. I highly recommend the series for happy Halloween vibes. In the story when Auntie Whispers rings her bell (in the shape of a woman) it glows and she intones, “The ringing of the bell commands you.”

1: Incidentally this post is not from an account I follow. It came to my attention due to the hashtags. The 'offending toot' comes from an account that seems fine, someone whom I could easily like. It is in no way the worst post I've encountered on Mastodon. I share because I can fully relate to making such a post. 2: I just popped over there to verify before I wrote the above. I got to read a few introductory paragraphs by someone I don't know before being asked to sign up for an account to keep reading. That's not something I'm willing to do for content I know nothing about. If I had money I might pay for access to well-known content like the New Yorker or National Geographic (do they even have a good website?) but not “just folks” on the web. The model I believe in is what I provide here, free content with support me links for those who are into that sort of thing. (Much thanks!) 3: Voiced by Tim Curry! The voice cast and songs for this production are a treat.


from Ovro

White dog, blackened south, Millions dead to reason. Burning but not sign from God, Thinking the new treason.

(poem / prophecy I wrote in 2003)


from Curator

I took over as Curator in Feb 2021. I'm the third Curator. I've been on Fedi since 2016, and on .art since 2017. Because we've been around so long, we're pretty big by fedi standards, and until the first Twitter wave in April 2022, we had open registrations but were still fairly quiet (our active users count is MUCH smaller than our total users count).

Because I've been on fedi so long, and because of the company I kept from my personal account, I've been around for the conflict. Some of that conflict – probably the biggest thing – was when a few PoC span up their own instance as a means of setting their own boundaries and moderating against harassment themselves, without having to rely on the server admins of individual instances to take their word on what was or wasn't racism, etc.

They were around until 2020. December 31st, actually. Are0h's last post is still cached on our instance – (you'll have to load that internally through masto's search bar).

They closed because they were harassed off fedi by a huge, disgusting wave of racism, abuse, and harassment against their admin Ro, some of their mods (one of whom who is now a mod on .art), and their users. The harassment was vicious. All the instances that participated in it are blocked from because of the part they played.

Some of them left fedi for good, some of them (like Ro) came back on single-user instances, some of them moved to smaller safe instances. So again, PoC are back to relying on other instance admins to create spaces for them that are safe, where racism (and any form of bigotry) isn't tolerated, where Black folk can exist – just exist! – online without facing constant micro-aggressions in their mentions.

.art had already been working to that goal when I took over, and already had a team of mods committed to taking a very hard stance against bigotry and racism. Since then we've expanded our mod team to include a great deal of diversity and breadth of marginalized voices. We provide a safe space for all of them; for BIPoC, disabled people, neurodiverse people, queer people, nonbinary people, Jewish people – anyone who faces marginalization.

But we're also big. We're by no means the biggest, but because of our domain name, because we're what comes up when you search for 'mastodon art instance', because of the Twitter exoduses that have happened, because we already exist and joining an existing instance is a much lower barrier to entry than creating your own, people join us, and we grow (not indefinitely – we have a cap of 12k active users, as that's when our local timeline becomes too busy to be useful).

This gives people certain expectations of what we are, and what we can provide for them. Recently we've edited our /about page to be clearer about this – to be clearer that we defederate from instances that break our rules, that are inherently unsafe, and that we aren't an open-federation instance and we DO have strict rules.

We also have to acknowledge that we are big, and until there are more options on fedi for places artists can be among their own and still get widely seen, we have to (to some extent) strike a compromise between safety and still being able to provide working artists access to an audience.

This is why we still federate with, but defederate other instances that one would think, at a glance, are safer than Some of the instances we've defederated from have a history of intentional decisions that resulted in marginalised people being harmed and their safety not considered. Their mods and their admins are complicit, perhaps not deliberately, but complicit by enacting their intent in a way they felt fit, but the consequences of which were harmful., on the other hand, are passively bad. They're not, actually, terrible – their moderation has improved. They do remove racism, they do remove antisemitism, they do block blatantly bigoted accounts (but sometimes they need to be reported a few times before getting actioned). They're still problematic, but they're also hundreds of thousands of potential art buyers. So we weigh that, and for now, the risk for us is manageable and they haven't acted in a way that, with intent, harms marginalized communities.

We know that this won't be acceptable for everyone, particularly for people who signed up expecting an experience closer to Twitter and weren't expecting that their reach would be cut down based on the needs of the community around them and the moral principles of the people who manage that community.

But we won't stop doing it, because that goes against the primary reason our instance exists – dotART, first and foremost, above all else, is a safe space for marginalised people. That is very clear on our /about page, and it's the main reason a LOT of our users join us – because this, the defederating from instances that we don't feel we can trust the moderation of, is exactly what they want.

We, the mod team, don't care if that leaves us with a couple of hundred active users who exist in a little isolated bubble in some small cut-off corner of fedi, if that corner is providing those couple of hundred people a space where they can exist without bigotry and harassment.