On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

web-analytics-my-1-if-you-built-it-they-will-come

See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

fuckyoupaymeartprintfromgeekcalligraphycom

 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

Marking a year of…changes.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of getting canned from my day job. At 1 pm this day last year, I was in tears, unsure about everything. I’d not been back one day from GX3, before I got that call to come into a conference room. Where I was given a bullshit reason & let go.  When I say BS, I mean ex-boss tried to reach back 3 years to justify her actions. If I’d been that bad an employee for that long…wouldn’t I have been gone long before that? Even if she thought she had given me so many chances, or whatever lie she told herself to justify what she did.

No one would let someone in my position screw up that long term & still have a job. Also who cans someone 10 days before xmas? But yeah, I was in tears in a cab that I shouldn’t have gotten but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Was too angry & frankly? Hurt.  It also didn’t help that I’d just got back from a trip, didn’t have a lot of extra money & due to timing? My last check was for 6 days. I had to go through a bunch of hoops with unemployment too. It took a month but finally got that going.

No lie, though I was gonna be homeless once unemployment ran out or before. Those two weeks right after we’re pretty bad.Worse than I let on in public that’s for sure. But y’all came through. People who believed in my work helped me out. Always grateful. I looked for work for a while before I realized I could try to do full time. It had become a second job anyway.

So I did the thing, and it’s worked. Somehow, it’s worked. Patreon is covering rent & a couple bills. Been very lucky to have travel paid.It’s been hard and I’ve wanted to quit so many times over the past year. So many. But I’m still here. I’ll stay here too cause I’m ornery and it’s been too much work put in to give up. Long as I can I’ll fight.

Thank you, every single one of you who’ve held me up when I’ve fallen or stumbled. Who’ve been a voice of reason when I was lost. Thanks to those who pushed against me. Can’t grow without a bit of pain or misstepping. Not perfect & I’m doing the best I can. Thanks to anyone who’s invited me to panel with them or accepted an invite from me to join a panel with me. To anyone who’s taken a pitch and published me.

Thanks to all my Patrons, those who’ve sent some much needed funds my way in the clutch. Or bought me a ko-fi. Thanks for a year of support that I would haven’t thought possible before. For tears, laughter & friendships made & lost.

Thank you. Here’s to another year. Thanks y’all, I mean it from my heart 💜💜

On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

spb-not-a-charity

Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

PAX West Panels, oh my

PAX West Panel approvals are in and these are the ones that I’ll be on!

PAXWest

Friday September 2nd, 12:30 pm Sasquatch Theatre

Ask the Game Masters

Tell incredible stories. Host amazing games. Strike fear in the hearts of players. Veteran game professionals Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games), Amanda Hamon-Kunz (Pathfinder RPG), Ryan Macklin (Dresden Files, Fate), Rodney Thompson (Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars Saga Edition), and F. Wesley Schneider (Pathfinder RPG) answer all your tabletop roleplaying game questions and share tips for taking your game to the next level.

Panelists include:

  • F. Wesley Schneider [Editor-in-Chief, Paizo Inc]
  • Amanda Hamon-Kunz [Developer, Paizo Inc]
  • Tanya DePass [Creator, I Need Diverse Games]
  • Rodney Thompson [Senior Designer, Bungie]
  • Ryan Macklin [Indie Creator, The Ryan Macklin]

Friday, September 2nd 4:30 pm Chipmunk Theatre

Challenging Assumptions about Diversity with Data

Gaming has a problem with being inclusive and with diversity. While industry is working on it, discussion can generate an ideological divide. We will start to move beyond this with good, hard data: demographics, how often people have unwelcoming experiences, what impacts that has, and how people have made change. We will involve the audience to check our collective assumptions and see what quantitative empirical evidence says about diversity in gaming and about how to improve inclusivity.

Panelists include:

  • Tanya DePass [Founder, INeedDiverseGames]
  • Trevor Murdock [Founder, Planeswalkers for Diversity]
  • Glenn White [Director of Marketing Infrastructure , EA Games]
  • Matt Baume [Host, Sewers of Paris Podcast]

 

Friday September 2nd 7:30 pm Sphinx Theatre

Get your politics out of our games!

We think of video games as an escape from political campaigns and presidential elections, but games have a long history of reflecting the world around us. Come join Aevee Bee (ZEAL), Austin Walker (Giant Bomb), Katie Williams (PC Gamer) Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games, Fresh Out Of Tokens), and Zach Alexander (Games and Food) as we discuss the history and future of politics in games.

Panelists include:

  • Tanya DePass [Freelance critic and diversity consultant, #INeedDiverseGames]
  • Austin Walker [Editor, Giant Bomb]
  • Aevee Bee [Editor-In-Chief, ZEAL]
  • Katie Williams [N/A, N/A]
  • Zachary Alexander [N/A, N/A]

 

Friday, September 2nd 9:30 pm Chicken Theatre

Sexy or Stupid? The Great Video Game Sex Scene Debate

Sensual, smutty, or silly? Video game sex scenes are often one or the other… or even all three! Come join a group of game industry professionals as they dim the lights, play some smooth jazz, and offer their expert critique on a few of gaming’s more explicit moments. Then cast your vote for what’s hot and what’s not! DISCLAIMER: actual panel may not involve dim lights or smooth jazz. (Want something a bit more innocent? Check out our companion panel on romance scenes in games)
Panelists include:

  • Michelle Clough [Co-Founder, Writer, Editor, IGDA Romance and Sexuality SIG]
  • Chris Avellone [Writer, Designer, Freelance]
  • AJ Glasser [n/a, Facebook]
  • Tanya DePass [Founder, Community Organizer, I Need Diverse Games]
  • Matt Baume [Writer, Filmmaker, Freelance]

 

Saturday, September 2nd 2:00 pm

Making and Promoting Non-Traditional Characters in Games

Games are finally starting to reflect their diverse players with more types of characters, scenarios, and approaches to gameplay. Whether it’s writing a one-eyed pansexual bull and his trans lieutenant; featuring non-white main characters; showcasing the female option in marketing; creating an entire cast caught in a web of gender, sexuality, and ability; acquiring unusual indie titles; or keeping the conversation going; it’s crucial. Hear from those who did it and how they’ll do it again.

Panelists include:

  • Patrick Weekes [Lead Writer, BioWare]
  • Hilary Heskett Shapiro [Sr. Brand Manager, Bethesda Softworks]
  • Miellyn Fitzwater Barrows [Creative Director, Gorgeous Robot]
  • Arden Ripley [Writer/Developer, Date or Die]
  • Steve Gee [Senior Manager, Developer Relations, Adult Swim Games]
  • Tanya DePass [Freelance critic and diversity consultant, #INeedDiverseGames]

Sunday September 4th, Chipmunk Theatre

Git Gud, Ally

Ever wonder how to create and play games your way and still be an awesome ally? Is this even a thing? In this panel, we discuss the awesomeness that is our gaming community and unpack what it means to make it inclusive. What are we doing well and where do we need work? We’ll look at these questions and how it benefits everyone. To follow with a #realtalk Q&A.

Panelists include:

  • Tanya DePass [Freelance critic and diversity consultant, #INeedDiverseGames]
  • Kathryn Storm [Interaction Designer, Xbox]
  • Bryce Johnson [Interaction Designer, Microsoft]
  • John Porter [PhD candidate, Human Centered Design and Engineering, UW, UW]

Celebrating the work of women, Part 1

Women do a whole lot of work that goes unrecognized in geek, tech, gaming, comics, SFF and other areas. So I want to shine a light on some of these women who don’t get a lot of visibility. This part of celebrating women’s work is the Patreon edition.

Caveat , because well people. I took in names and suggests from all over my social networks. I’m sure that means there will be someone listed below that you may not particularly like or feel deserves support. Well too bad, this isn’t high school and I’m not here for infighting, If you see someone you don’t care for, there’s a simple solution… don’t support their work.

I do not, under any circumstances want messages, DM’s, etc with OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT HER! This is a post to boost others work and help others get their work seen via the little bit of social capital I have.

Katherine Cross https://www.patreon.com/KatherineCross

Mattie Brice https://www.patreon.com/mattiebrice

Aevee Bee https://www.patreon.com/mammonmachine

Merritt Kopas https://www.patreon.com/merrittkopas

Elizabeth Simins https://www.patreon.com/elizsimins

Lana Polansky https://www.patreon.com/LanaPolansky

Mint Chipleaf  https://www.patreon.com/mint?ty=h 

Liz Ryerson https://www.patreon.com/ellaguro

Voidburger https://www.patreon.com/Voidburger

Anastasia Valens https://www.patreon.com/SpaceDoctorPhD

Alakotila patreon.com/alakotila 

Black Girl Nerds https://www.patreon.com/blackgirlnerds?ty=h

Gamemoir https://www.patreon.com/gamemoir

Robin Billadeau https://www.patreon.com/Dangerdontstop?ty=c

Alitha Martinez https://www.patreon.com/ariotstorm?ty=h

Ellia Bisker https://www.patreon.com/elliabisker?ty=h

Andrea Hawkins-Kamper https://www.patreon.com/LadyNhytefall?ty=h

Katriel Paige https://www.patreon.com/kachi?ty=h

Kimchi Cuddles https://www.patreon.com/kimchicuddles

Carolly  https://www.patreon.com/carolly

Madelyn Prager  https://www.patreon.com/bmprager

Cami Woodruff  https://www.patreon.com/doomsdaymydear?ty=h 

Mags Visaggs patreon.com/MagsVisaggs

Keezy patreon.com/Keezy

Black Girl Nerds https://www.patreon.com/blackgirlnerds?ty=h

Shirley Jackson https://www.patreon.com/lioninthetrees?ty=h  

Randi Harper 

Kiva Bay patreon.com/kivabay

More streaming to come…

So with all this time on my hands, I’m going to do more streaming.  I’ve made some updates to my Twitch page and will work on some mod bots (Night!Bot/Moo!Bot) as well as try to get some things set up so donations can be acknowledged in stream. I’ll probably even put myself on cam more often too. When I’m streaming from PS4 or PC anyway. I don’t have a Kinect and don’t plan to get one.

I usually stream on Twitch: twitch.tv/cypheroftyr or over at twitch.tv/INeedDivGames which will get it’s own post over at that blog.

Twitch update image

In case the image is too small to fully read; here’s the Panel text for each one:

Where to find me!

Hello! you have stumbled across cypher’s twitch channel. When I broadcast, I’ll tweet out to @cypheroftyr

Want to drop me a line about a stream? You can do so at cypher.of.tyr@gmail.com

Missed a stream and want to see what I played? I upload my sessions to my youtube channel: http://bit.ly/1vqk3u8

Thanks for stopping by!

Rules:

Some simple rules for making everyone’s experience here nice and fun! The channel is moderated, by myself and a few others.

1 – Profanity allowed, within reason

2 – No slurs, or hate of any kind, you get 1 time out, then the banhammer falls hard.

3 – No Backseat gaming! If I need/want help from those watching I’ll ask.

4 – No complaining that I’m not playing X game. If you want to watch a different game being played I’m sure someone is streaming it somewhere.

5 – Don’t spam the channel with promos for your channel. Again 1 timeout, then you’ll be banned

6 – Treat each other well in here. I want everyone to have fun and feel safe while watching me play.

Questions? Comments? Whisper during streaming or message me.

Tip Jar:

So I suddenly lost my job on December 15th, right after a convention and a few days before the holidays. Normally I wouldn’t ask for tips, but right now every little bit helps.

Thank you in advance for keeping me on air. Donations will go towards paying the internet, and game purchases for streaming.

Schedule: 

So schedule, I’m going to try the following to see how it works out:

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 11am CST – 3:00 pm CST

Special streams will be announced on Twitter and my site: cypheroftyr.com before they happen.

Become my Patreon:

For those folks who may want to support my work as a streamer, game critic and maybe soon video blogger, on a monthly basis.

You can support for as little as $1 USD per month, and every single Patreon is deeply appreciated.

Thank you.

A photo post re: Japan trip in 2007

For those that don’t read my LJ or don’t have access to it… I was in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan from 25 November through 12 December to accompany one of our short term travel courses. It was a good, bad and humbling experience in many ways. Kyoto’s leaves were turning and this brought many tourists out to the temples and natural areas of the prefecture.

PICT0008

Continue reading “A photo post re: Japan trip in 2007”

NY Times article on Study Abroad

The Foreign Legions
By LAURA PAPPANO
Published: November 4, 2007

FOR a student at the University of Ghana in Legon, a palm-graced suburb of Accra, a dinner might involve fufu — mashed casava and plantains in a soup of peanut butter and tomatoes — from a local “chop bar.” Electricity is not a given. Nor is running water. Students might have to fetch buckets of water to flush the toilet and wash clothes. Forget sleeping in. They rise at 5 a.m., when the chaos and din begin: loud music and evangelical preaching, through megaphones. The “Challenges of Living in Ghana” handout from the University of California advises bringing earplugs.
Pavel Horejsi for The New York Times

TOURIST CLASS American students, enrolled in a college just for them in the Czech Republic, are shown around Prague Castle by Prof. Jan Bazant.
Enlarge This Image
Olivier Asselin for The New York Times

INTO AFRICA Some 300 Americans from dozens of colleges study abroad at the University of Ghana in Legon. Chrissie Leong, right, is a sophomore from the Irvine campus of the University of California.

The country, and its flagship university, have become a newly popular destination for studying abroad: about 300 American students, representing dozens of campuses, take classes at Legon.

But American students expect a standard of food and housing (and sleep) that is not typical in West Africa. So New York University has imported the creature comforts of home. Its nearby complex has air-conditioning (power guaranteed), 24-hour security, an on-site nurse, wireless Internet. Students who prefer not to take the 10-minute walk can use shuttle buses between the N.Y.U. Center, where they take class with N.Y.U. professors, and the Legon campus, where they are encouraged to enroll in a class. They eat in a dining hall that serves African food interpreted for “the American palate,” says Yaw Nyarko, vice provost for globalization and multicultural affairs at N.Y.U. Some, he says, think the accommodations are better than New York’s.

“We are creating an entire infrastructure,” he says. The ambitious N.Y.U. program can include mounting art exhibitions for American students in Accra and bringing over film professors from New York to accompany them to neighboring countries for film festivals. The semester comes to about $28,000 all told.

Continue reading “NY Times article on Study Abroad”

LJ X posted travel update

… I feel still kind of like recycled poo but at least the pounding headache is gone! And my lovely comp is up and running again. It’s very smooth, quiet and oh so fast… Dual Core AMD 6400 X2 processor (2.5 Ghz clock speed), 4 GB of RAM, 400 & 250 GB SATA drives, card reader, and two DVD-RW drives; one of which doesnt seem to be working but thats a minor thing. If need be I can replace it fairly cheaply at NewEgg. That blasted PCI-E vid card is awesome but such a pain in the arse to get.

Somehow, I’ve got 3 meetings today and budgets are due by midnight. *le sigh* at least I’ve got coffee, Ecuadorian chocolate and a hot shower coming up shortly.

Thanks again to Carrie & Ken for letting me tag along to the store yesterday, that cold medication helped immensely and so did the soup.

Lastly, some of the pics from my trip are up on Flickr. Here’s the pics from Guayaquil, Equador and Our visit to the Embera Drua Indians along the Chagres River

More will likely be posted this week… and then photo illustrated posts!

The rest of my trip fotos are up on Flickr