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12:19 AM
@Riker Many I don't stick around with - or, rather, I don't maintain high activity levels on some. I try to do my part to get them started and to a place where I think the community is healthy and will keep going. Some I still continue with actively, and I want Literature to be one. There just needs to be enough content that I can answer well.
ah, okay
1:10 AM
Rand al'Thor, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
1 3
I promise this is not my sock.
That's what you get for naming your Stackvatar for a relatively popular fictional character. [grin]
I, on the other hand, just get confused with an anime RPG.
What does BESW mean, btw? Is it your actual initials, or a reference to something?
It's my initials, yeah.
Though RPG chat enjoys speculation.
(But Every Speculation's Wrong.)
Google tells me you're an ... equine veterinary academy?
in RPG General Chat, Jan 30 '15 at 13:57, by Kit Z. Fox
@BESW I always think of you as compass points.
in RPG General Chat, Mar 20 '14 at 12:50, by lisardggY
Borth East South West.
in RPG General Chat, Mar 20 '14 at 12:50, by lisardggY
Borth East South West.
in RPG General Chat, Jan 1 '16 at 13:59, by nitsua60
I've always assumed BESW is a team of four, working in shifts. One's always typing, one's farming links, one's running games, one's sleeping.
1:21 AM
Bestower of Excellent Stack Wisdom.
1:35 AM
Q: What was "Rip Van Winkle" based on?

Rand al'ThorI was recently surprised to discover that the story of Rip Van Winkle is credited to the US author Washington Irving, who published it in 1819. I'd always vaguely imagined it to be a Brothers Grimm story or an old (probably European) folk tale. It certainly has the feel of such stories. Was it, ...

@Bookworm @Randal'Thor He's also the originator of Sleepy Hollow.
1:51 AM
I'm starting to think we need a meta post about How to deal with questions that just don't understand the scope of the analytical landscape? ...but for meta posts rather than main-site ones.
2:16 AM
"Borth" would be a great name, to be fair.
2:45 AM
@BESW I created a blog post of links to try to introduce people to concepts like close reading (taxicrash.github.io/2017/01/24/literary-analysis-examples), that might help.
@Hamlet Got anything on why entire swathes of analytical theory don't give two clipped toenails about the author?
The authority of the author as critic, and the relationship of the author to the text, are subjects the site will always need a ready response to, and we don't have them yet.
(Also, @Hamlet, have I missed your follow-up email or is it still pending?)
@BESW I'll send it this weekend, super sorry, everything was hectic the last two weeks.
@BESW I'm going to try to write up a decent answer this week
@Hamlet No worries, no rush. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't derping out.
@Hamlet Awesome.
If you want a funny example of why authorial intent is trash, try reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2w6f1a/…
Or watch Bob Dylan's 1965 TV interview. It's an amazing masterclass in trolling the media.
I will never get tired of
"Mister Dylan, what are your songs about?"
"Oh, they're about three to five minutes."
2:59 AM
I'll probably open the answer with those two examples just to break the ice
Also, Frost is supposed to have once said (though I can't find a source anymore) that "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is about stopping by woods on a snowy evening and everybody needs to calm down.
(Which even the most cursory close reading will show is just Frost being snarky; just the fact of repeating the line three times is enough to indicate we're supposed to find something else in there.)
You may also want to mention "Introduction to Poetry," by Billy Collins.
And of course there's always "Philosophy of Composition." And JK "Oh Dear Maths" Rowling.
Heck, Stephanie Meyer has visibly done a 180 on her understanding of her own books within the time of writing them. Read "Twilight" and "Midnight Sun" simultaneously. It's a trip.
have to head to bed, i'll get a stab on this tomorrow
@Hamlet I think a major part of the answer is going to have to not be about why authors are often obviously wrong, but rather about why it's okay for us to not care what they think or mean at all.
Death of the author, reader-response criticism, the ability of a text to outgrow its author's context, Shakespeare in the Bush.
6 hours later…
9:16 AM
@BESW Does the world have a ready response to the authority of the author as critic, and the relationship of the author to the text? I thought those were still open questions, and it seems rather, um, ambitious to suggest that the site could settle them πŸ€“
2 hours later…
11:29 AM
Q: Philosophical trends in contemporary literature

foggyIs there a unifying worldview we can see in the contemporary Western literature? Where can we see emergences of the contemporary pop-philosophy in the contemporary literature the best?

11:52 AM
Hey @Randal'Thor. Your ad for literature got 8 upvotes.
@AJ Which one? I've posted about half a dozen across different sites.
Ah, since it's you, I guess M&TV?
@Randal'Thor Of course.
Why don't you get a better image for that ad?
@AJ Working on it ...
@AJ How about something like that? ^
12:07 PM
Looks good.
Do we have more choices for background?
The quote is nice.
The background was designed by @BESW.
All I did was add the quote (which was also found by him, in this case).
But since I'm a total noob with these things, the font and positioning of the words probably isn't great.
@Randal'Thor The font looks good. Kinda handwriting. Do you think it would look more nice if we use, I forgot the font type, the font that was used in ancient literature?
Take a look at this website
for more fonts.
@AJ You need to be more specific than that :-)
@AJ My toolset is very basic. I'm just using the fonts available in MS Paint.
in Literature Community Ad, 2 days ago, by Rand al'Thor
> "Literature is the question minus the answer." -- Roland Barthes
We could have this tagline on an ad linking to the Unanswered Questions list :-D
Sounds nice
@Randal'Thor No need to. This kinda font is available in MS Paint I suppose. Lemme check.
Just browse through the list of fonts available. There are many.
@AJ I know! :-)
12:22 PM
I was thinking of Old English Text.
I've been using Lucida Handwriting.
Well, it's better than other handwriting fonts.
Keep the text as it is. Just try more backgrounds.
@AJ Nah, too unreadable.
@AJ I don't have the skill to make a decent background myself. I've just been using BESW's.
@Randal'Thor Well, we can ask him.
1:19 PM
@Randal'Thor I think I can reuse part of a Mythology answer of mine for your Rip van Winkle question.
1:56 PM
@foggy, if you want to delete exchange accounts. Upon the leftmost stack exchange tab, click edit next to "your communities" and ex them out. No on will do it for you.
2:30 PM
@HDE226868 Nice answer!
@Randal'Thor Thanks. It helps when I already have some material to work with.
I wonder if the book The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving by Andrew Burstein (cited on the Wikipedia page for the Peter Klaus story) has any more evidence for the connetion than what you've already noted.
Not that your evidence isn't conclusive enough, but overkill never hurts ;-)
Oh, crap, it does.
2:44 PM
This is disturbing
What is?
I'm stuck at 994 rep. Of all numbers, it had to be 994
What's wrong with 994?
if he gets 1 more question upvote it will be 999?
@Randal'Thor can't edit directly and can't review edits/VLQ
2:52 PM
@Riker The number of the tsaeb?
... is somebody serially upvoting me?
not me
I just got four upvotes on unrelated answers within the space of a minute or two.
@Randal'Thor is it your sock Mith? :P
Which put me at 4995, interestingly enough.
Maybe it's @Gallifreyan, wanting me to share his pain :-P
@Randal'Thor at least you don't have to wait for your edits to be approved, like some peasant
On a more practical note, @Riker how is that feed bot going?
2:57 PM
not going good
family friend died, my family is organizing the funeral
sorry but won't be able to do it for a while :(
for whatever reason the woman's family hated her and didn't want to even have a funeral for her
@Riker Sorry for your loss!
Aww. Sorry, @Riker. That sounds like a whole bundle of crap to deal with :-(
Really interested who downvoted this
5k reached!
Let's see if there's actually anything in those analytics by now.
3:06 PM
@Randal'Thor I was wondering: Is there anything more you're looking for in this answer?
@Randal'Thor In one month exactly. Nice job.
For the record, we may start seeing Revival badges, if anyone starts taking a look at old unanswered questions.
@HDE226868 I'd be interested to see a citation both for that list of four names and for the "too Scottish" thing. IMO, those are the most interesting/important pieces of info in that answer.
But I'll probably accept it anyway.
No, wait, let me see if I can figure that out.
@Randal'Thor yeah :(
I can almost surely not give you a better source for those names. They crop up in a letter of his, but I can't get access to that text.
OK, here's what I take away from the site analytics:
- post counts have been declining quite consistently, with a couple of small spikes
- vote counts have been more constant, and possibly even on the rise again now
- traffic is definitely on the rise, with big spikes both last week and this week
3:13 PM
@HDE226868 what's the source?
Oh, got it!
@Randal'Thor The referring stats are always broken.
3:15 PM
@Randal'Thor I kinda get anime, but math? :P
and nothing for SFF?
how come it's always 3^5
@HDE226868 Well, there you go! There's a couple of pages visible there with a lot of interesting info.
Or are you getting a "this page is not viewable" thingy? (I'm not.)
@Randal'Thor I just found one that does.
@HDE Orwell's A Life in Letters is on Archive.org. The letter you need is there too, page 80.
3:36 PM
@Gallifreyan Thank you! That's perfect.
Yay, I'm over 1k
Reviews, beware!
Nice job! That makes . . . 18 users at 1k or higher.
For reference, when Lit.1 was 38 days into beta it had only five users at 1k or higher.
3:49 PM
@Randal'Thor Well that's encouraging!
4:46 PM
@Gallifreyan ...of course not...
What the heck?
Why does my flair say 28k?
I don't have that much rep...
5:02 PM
@Mithrandir Apparently you do
@Mithrandir Good evening, this is the rep police. I'm afraid we'll have to arrest you on suspicion of rep theft and embezzlement.
@Randal'Thor Can you teleport this to M&TV?
@Randal'Thor heh. Posting a bug report.
@Gallifreyan Not until he clarifies whether he's more interested in the novel or the film adaptation.
Heh! I made Oded delete his answer :P
5:15 PM
@Randal'Thor Is there a search function that will allow to see posts I have or have not voted on?
@Gallifreyan Woo, first migration to Lit! :-D
@Skooba Not that I know of.
Heh. 2 upvotes, 1 view.
@Randal'Thor nice!
Migration: the only way you get to upvote the same post twice ;-)
@Randal'Thor I know votes are important to beta, so I wanted to make sure I get to everything. I try to look at all the new questions that come through I know I miss some.
actually about half of them :-(
@Skooba manually scroll through the list :P
5:18 PM
@Mithrandir That's pretty much what I did on meta for a while.
@Mithrandir but it so random I end up on ones I have seen/voted already
Literature meta: 139 questions; I've voted on 118 and posted 16 myself.
Gotta track down those missing 5 :-P
@Randal'Thor your list is much shorter than mine LOL
oh but thats meta
And I'm not seriously going to try to track down those 5. They're probably questions I've actually seen but decided not to vote on for some reason.
Abstaining is an option too!
5:22 PM
NEVER! --- MUST....CLICK....
Q: I don't have 28k rep yet, but my flair says that I do!

MithrandirI took a look at my profile, where I stuck my flair. Here's the flair: However, I don't have 28k rep. According to chat, I have 19.7k. Note:I know about the combined flair - I've had this in my profile for at least a year. It had been showing me the same as in chat, now it isn't. What is ...

And now I have 5 sites with a k in my rep :P
Hey, my main meta rep is 4321. I hadn't even noticed.
Q: Is flair tab working correctly?

PabloIs the flair tab working correctly? It is counting aproximately 3 times more points and over 2 times more bronze badges at the time I'm posting it.

@Randal'Thor yep that was linked
And dupified.
...my God.
There was a stabbing two blocks away from my house.
Q: What do these espionage tradecraft phrases from Tinker Tailor mean?

TomWhen Ricky Tarr is recounting his story to George Smiley, he speculates that Boris -- a Russian spy working undercover as a trade delegate -- was "waiting for a connect, working a letterbox, maybe, or trailing his coat and looking for a pass from a mug like me." This language appears in both the...

One of the houses I moved into was apparently on the same street as a child abduction case. (I don't remember if it occurred shortly before or shortly after I moved in.)
5:39 PM
This happened this morning...
@doppelgreener if you ever want to be freaked out by who you live near (in the US anyway)... familywatchdog.us
in Mos Eisley, Dec 8 '15 at 21:29, by Wad Cheber
There have been two shootings within a mile of my last house this year, and two shootings within ten miles of my current house this year. Part of the reason I moved. In the 6 months before I left, there were something like 7 murders within a half mile of my house.
@Randal'Thor wow.
I think Wad has you all beat.
That is a good reason to move.
5:41 PM
@Skooba I noticed quite a few that were alarmingly close to my house before realizing that those markers indicated school areas. Quite the panic attack.
Oh, crap, there's one less than a quarter mile from my college.
Maybe I'll change a couple running routes.
is very glad to live in Europe
...am I being serial upvoted again?
@Randal'Thor same continent...
@Mithrandir I was wondering the same thing (about myself, not you).
If Asia and Europe are the same.
5:50 PM
Maybe we both have a sock? :-P
Same here. I've gotten a couple votes on old stuff.
I suspect someone really wants a voting badge.
Oh well, if we're all getting the same, then it's probably not serial.
Just someone voting on everything rather than targeting anyone in particular.
I just got votes on my two first questions about 1 minute apart.
Are these 'congratulations on the HNQ' comments helpful?
5:53 PM
its probably me
looking for stuff I havent voted on yet
@Mithrandir Probably not. At best they're obsolete once the question has left the HNQ list again.
up to 249/479
gosh.... still at least a weeks worth of work ahead of me. I was slacking
The migrated question hit the HNQ. Time for some really good answers.
@Mithrandir You meant to link to this.
6:06 PM
@Randal'Thor eh. I linked to the review in the autocomment.
@Mithrandir I know, but if you're asking people in chat to review it, easier to link to the review than make them click twice.
(I voted to delete before it even came up in the queue.)
@HDE226868 I left a comment on the existing answer. Hoping for some improvement ...
Another 750 and I'll be able to do that too :P
@Randal'Thor I thought that you would delete the linked comment when you posted this, but nope.
@Mithrandir Oh, I didn't realise there was a linked comment.
Also, you're just begging for helpful flags.
6:10 PM
...nah.... Only a little bit. I have 78 :P
So yes, you're badge begging.
Yep. A little bit.
Only a bit though.
Ah, that must be why you were linking to that low quality answer too.
Must practice Occlumency...
Do you talk about anything except (possibly indirectly) rep and badges?
6:13 PM
@Randal'Thor of course o_o
I chat about lots of things.
@Randal'Thor rep is only for privs. That's it. The badges are more for fun :P
@Mithrandir I must admit, those privs are useful.
It'll be nice to have more people who can help with deleting answers.
And I thought that it was obvious that I actually do care about the site and not just my own 'glory'.
(And editing, and reviewing, and all the other privs, but at least we have a fair few who can do that already.)
Hmph, the front page is buggy.
6:18 PM
I'll take a bounty if you want help :P
Ordering the questions by "active", nothing is showing up more recently than the questions I edited 2 hours ago.
I see two questions above those
Seems to be working again now.
Caching. It's always caching.
cach me ousside...
6:22 PM
No, there isn't a 2-hour cache on the active questions page.
Your own page could be cached.
No, because I have the front page open in another tab and updating each time a new post or edit comes up.
But when I opened the front page again in a new tab, it showed up wrong.
Anyway, fixed now, so ...
BTW, the ad I posted over at Mi Yodeya still has a score of 0.
Should I switch it to BESW's?
Why did you post the ad tailor-made for SFF on Mi Yodeya?
Because that's the one I had
6:34 PM
We still have the Area 51 one.
That's why I'm thinking of switching it to the other one
If you switch it to BESW's, you need to decide on a tagline.
I was thinking about something along the lines of The People of the Book.
'Have a question about a book not specifically Judaism related? Visit Literature.SE!'
Btw, did you see the suggested ads I posted in the ad room last night?
Nope not yet
6:38 PM
For ELU, M&TV, and RPG.
Going AFP for a couple minutes

 Literature Community Ad

Designing ads for Literature SE. See meta.literature.stackexch...
6:54 PM
@Randal'Thor nice quotes
Ohhhh. Thought that was a bug :P
This guy VTRO my meta post. When I went to see who was the 5th in the post history, because it wasn't showing up on the main page, I saw only blank for the 5th. I clicked, and...
7:47 PM
@Hamlet so by your rational Bradbury is wrong about his own work? literature.stackexchange.com/a/20/56
@Skooba Tut tut, SFF people and their fixation on so-called "Word of God" ...
21 hours ago, by BESW
@Skooba Giving extra weight to answers which deal with authorial intent (except when the question is specifically asking about authorial intent) is a horrible idea. Authorial intent is just one of many critical lenses, and there are a great many ways to analyse a work which don't value authorial statements at all.
17 hours ago, by Hamlet
If you want a funny example of why authorial intent is trash, try https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2w6f1a/i_just_sat_through_a_nig‌​ht_of_indoctrination_and/cooabir/
Feb 14 at 23:54, by Catija
Is it really literary analysis if we ask the author what they actually intend? Isn't the entire point that you're interpreting the meaning based solely on the content (and possibly some historical knowns).
There you go, three separate discussions in here (I've just linked the starting message in each case) about the value of authorial intent in literature.
(There are more, but those three are all I could be bothered to find just now.)
If you can make a case for why the author saying X is believable/reliable (as I've done here, for instance), then that's great. If you just say "the author said X, end of story", then that's not really literary analysis.
8:07 PM
Here's the start of an answer I'm writing about this
> An author just wrote a book. I ask the author what the book is about, and she says, "it's about how anyone, if they work hard enough, can lead a fulfilling life". There's nothing left to talk about; the author explained the meaning and the case is closed.

However, let's ask the author a different question: "in your book, how do you communicate the message that anyone can lead a fulfilling life." And the author responds: "I communicate this message by writing about several characters who, although they all come from different backgrounds, all manage to lead fulfilling lives."
@Skooba Also, where on earth do you get the idea that Hamlet is saying Bradbury is wrong in that answer? Nobody is saying that going by authorial intent is never valid, just that it's not always valid. You're the one being absolutist here, not Hamlet :-)
@Skooba No, I think that Bradbury is correct. I just don't think he's correct solely because he is the author.
9:05 PM
@verbose That's... not what I'm asking for. A lot of folks (especially from an SF&F background) think it IS settled, and lit.se would do well to have a canned response about how it's very much an open question which can't and shouldn't be answered definitively.
9:39 PM
@BESW Your message is ambiguous: β€œ(a lot of folks this it is settled [that the author has/does not have ultimate authority]) and (lit.se should have a canned response that the author does not have/has ultimate authority)”, or β€œa lot of folks think (it is settled [that it's an open question] and lit.se should have a canned response)”?
SF points in both directions. On the one hand, there's word of god. On the other hand, there's fandom.
Context is important; "settle" is continuing the use of the word in the line I'm responding too. And, yanno, the entire rest of the conversation he's responding to as well as the quote to the same person I made earlier which Rand linked again just above.
I'm not going to re-define terms in every new line when talking to people who've already defined the terms I'm using.
@Gilles Closer to the first. "(a lot of folk think it is settled [that the author does have ultimate authority]) and (lit.se should have a canned response about how it's an open question)".
I haven't seen anyone being absolutist the other way and saying authorial intent should always be ignored, despite Skooba's accusation to Hamlet earlier.
Mmm. The only fandom I've ever met that lacked a concept of authoritative canon was Doctor Who, and New Who fans keep trying to add it.
(Which is, I suppose, an interesting case of fans actively ignoring authorial intent, since both modern show-runners have insisted that canon is not something the show should have.)
(But as always Moffat says one thing and does another.)
If we wanted to get perverse, we could say that the show-runners decreeing nobody has authority to define DW canon does include some people deciding the show-runners don't have the authority to reject the canonic nature of their own statements.
9:58 PM
@BESW Discworld? Having different canon for all the different legs of the trousers of time effectively means that there's no single canon
Q: To the Lighthouse -- "Whitening before rain"

David542From Virgina Woolf's To the Lighthouse: It was fringed with joy. The wheelbarrow, the lawnmower, the sound of poplar trees, leaves whitening before rain, rooks cawing brooms knocking, dresses rustling - How do leaves "whiten before rain"? Is this something common to all plants? Additionall...

and even in communities where the idea of canon is strong, shippers keep making up non-canonical relationships
@Gilles I think you're using a definition of canon that's a bit... fuzzier... than I am.
And fan theories, 'ships, and so forth, don't have any impact on the authority of canon; they're acknowledged as speculation without weight of authority.
Canon is a measure of authority, not of singularity or absolutism.
@BESW you mean, canon is what the author says but does not have any presumption of β€œtruth”? Then canon exists everywhere by definition (it may or may not be very precisely known depending on how much the author talks) but it's up to readers to treat it as worthwhile or not. Which gets you back to the fold of authorial intent being optional.
10:15 PM
@BESW @verbose how does this look for a draft of an answer about authorial intent?
> An author just wrote a book. I ask the author what the book is about, and she says, "it's about how anyone, if they work hard enough, can lead a fulfilling life". There's nothing left to talk about; the author explained the meaning and the case is closed.

However, let's ask the author a different question: "in your book, how do you communicate the message that anyone can lead a fulfilling life." And the author responds: "I communicate this message by writing about several characters who, although they all come from different backgrounds, all manage to lead fulfilling lives."
11:10 PM
@Hamlet I like it! Clear and engaging. I can't read beyond "here are some examples of the different ways", etc. Is that just how far you've got[ten], or is my browser being weird?
One nit-pick is that the reddit thread, hilarious as it is, is about film; does one speak of the author of a film? As opposed to an auteur, that is.
I have a very, very specific example of a literary work where our inability to gauge the author's intentions makes the validity of any given interpretation indeterminable. There's an anonymous sonnet sequence called Zepheria that is risibly bad, but since we don't know anything about it (aside from having the published text itself), it is not clear whether the poet is deliberately parodying overdone sonnet sequence tropes, or is merely incompetent.
11:44 PM
Q: How did people understand Shakespeare's new words

darthspongebobI don't pretend to know much about the history of literature but I was always told that Shakespeare invented an awful lot of words, 1700 is usually the number given. How did anyone know what they meant? I know some were two words put together, and some were nouns transformed into verbs, the meani...


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