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Author Topic: Proposal: Badges marking our interests and affiliations  (Read 7874 times)
Caine
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2007, 02:47:26 am »

I'm not quite sure how I feel about these proposed badges. I'm not exactly excited by the idea, but I'm not so greatly opposed as The Grand Duchess.

Pros: Although you don't need such a thing just to be able to find people, it may help you find a fellow steampunk that you may not think of as being one. Sure, you'll find them if you go to the right places, but a badge would allow you to find a self-proclaimed steampunk while walking down the street, or eating lunch. And although I'm beginning to collect appropriate clothing so that I may begin to dress in a steam-ish manor, instead of just partially and occasionally, most of the time a lot of people may only have a few sets of clothing, and they may only wear them on occasion. A badge would allow us to find these "closet steampunks" (take that term merely as a joke, not as an insult, please). Lastly at cons and such where one is likely to find other steampunks, the badge would help, since you may not be dressed up as steampunk directly, or, if it's an Anime con, you may have many people dressed up in somewhat steampunk fashion who are not. The badge would make it clear if you were or weren't.

Cons: It defines the group a bit much for my liking, when you have a clearly defined symbol such as that to define the group that puts a definition on you as well, which suddenly puts limits on the group. I, for one, don't want to post a picture on here only to have someone say: "Looks good, but where's your cog?". It also allows other people to define you. If you're walking about with a top hat and goggles on only steampunks are going to go: "Oh, you're a steampunk!" Because those aren't defined "badges" as it were, but rather just a combination that is unlikely on anyone but a steampunk. However, if the cog badge became the steampunk badge non-steampunks could walk up to you and go: "Oh, you're...a steampunk." Which would then define you within their minds as being one thing or another, but not as just a person anymore, you've been catagorized. Finally, and this is the possibility which scares me most, people who were not dedicatedly steampunk might start wearing cogs on their Hollister shirts and Aeropostle jackets because they know a steampunk that they like/have a crush on/think is cool/is good friends with/whatever. So, suddenly having a lot of false steampunks wearing cogs is a real possibility. Then we'd all be shedding our cogs and replacing it with something else anyways.

Possible Solutions: Only wearing the cogs at times: As I've pointed out, there are times when a cog would be useful. Wearing a cog at a convention would be a good way for us to spot eachother easily. We could also perhaps all work at putting more cogs into our attire, just to make ourselves easier to identify. I, myself, already have plans for several things I'd like to do with cogs/gears concerning my attire and I had these ideas before reading this thread, so it's not such an usual idea to want to do that. Also, perhaps we already have a badge of sorts: The Goggles. Go through the Playing Dress-Up thread and I'm sure you'll notice that most everyone has a set of goggles in at least one of their pictures. Those are a style that is DEFFINATELY already our own, that isn't apt to be copied by just anyone, and that almost everyone already does. Let's face, it a small pin is something anyone might be willing to wear to make a statement, a set of goggles on your head is something else entirely.

I may just make a cog pin for conventions and such, as I said. I like the idea of wearing them at such events because it would be a great place to find other steampunks, but it would be easy to miss them at many of the larger ones, and because generally the kinds of people there are not the kinds of people I would be concerned about taking the symbol for the wrong reasons.

Also: Duchess, although I agreed with your arguement on many levels, you must remember that not everyone is naturally very social, so cut those people that aren't a little slack. As someone who used to be EXTREMELY shy I sympathize with those people who would look for an easy way to connect with others without feeling intimidated.

And finally: I deffinately do not approve of our badges announcing what our interests are. Maybe I'm not building steam-inspired things now, but in a few months? A year? Two? Who knows? I maybe tinkering away like you wouldn't believe. I mean, my badge would probably have some symbol of writing on it, but I don't want to walk into a machine shop with a steampunk writers badge on and have a hardcore steampunk mechanic scoff at my interest as passing because of it.
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rollerboi
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2007, 05:17:48 am »

I remember when I was but a wee lad in the Boy Scouts of America. They had these Webelos things with activity badge/pins on 'em. The one that sticks with me the most is the Engineer pin, as pictured below. Smiley I remember mine as being all silver, though. Hmm. It was a VERY long time ago. *chuckle*.

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Jake of All Trades
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2007, 05:22:18 am »

Oh yeah!!!!  I totally forgot about that--it's perfect!  Anyone can buy 'em so, I guess, wear them if you want to.  I'll be proudly pinning mine on my backpack as soon as I find it!
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MrFats
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2007, 04:43:31 pm »

We have had this discussion, on another thread here. The idea had been left at a DIY type, meaning those who wished to make a pin/badge/other item to notify of one's interest was left at that. Personally, I like the idea, at least, of making one. I do agree, to some extent, with Duchess and those who feel that it may not be the best idea. However, those who wish to, should do so.

Elitism is not (hopefully) what will occur, nor do I have any desire to see such things. Nor do I like having a label. I am me, who is interested in many different things, but finds steampunk fascinating. Again, a little pin or badge is nice, for those who want to have one. -.Q
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2007, 07:43:13 pm »

Yeah, I mean, I guess I don't see what the big deal is.  In my mind, it's just like any other pin/t-shirt/bumpersticker/keychain/whatever that people have.  It has nothing to do with exclusion or elitism--it's about showing what you like and spreading the word.  Does one where a Simpsons shirt because they feel superior to those that don't wear them?  Because they think anyone who doesn't watch The Simpsons is a terrible person?  Heavens no!  One wears a such a piece of clothing for one reason: to tell the world a little bit about themselves.  True, some folks are open and friendly enough that they could accomplish this through nothing more than random conversation.  Most people, however, (myself included) are virtually incapable of this and, thus, rely on visual cues.  As fun as it might be, I'm just not the kind of person that's going to walk up to someone and start talking about steam-powered Zeppelins.  If they were displaying some clue that indicated an interest in such things, however, I surely would! 
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Caine
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2007, 01:51:43 am »

I'm still unsure. I may make one, but right now I don't know. I see this having as many problems as benefits in many ways...maybe I'm just too pesemistic. At the very least I guess I'll just go ahead and make one for the hell of it, and decide later whether or not I actually plan to wear it.
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The Grand Duchess
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« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2007, 05:01:03 am »

What I'm saying seems to be confusing people, so I will clarify by using an illustration.

I happen to belong to a select sorority- women who crochet.  In a world where so many things are ready-made, crocheters are not very visible.  They've been made even less so by the whole knitting movement, which is very big right now. I happen to love crochet so much that I post on a crafters' website about my joy in practicing this craft (which really took off in the Victorian era, by the way).

How do I recognize my fellow crocheters and avoid the knitters who sometimes look down on us?  Do I wear a pin with the website's name? No.  That would be useless. Most people have never even heard of the site, and many of the people on there don't crochet.  Do I go up to strangers and start talking about crochet? No, because that wouldn't make sense. Instead, I carry the universal symbol of my sorority- a crochet hook.  I crochet at the doctor's office, on the bus, while eating lunch- pretty much everywhere.  I've nodded at women hooking away on the train, had conversations with non-English speakers by pointing and gesturing, and I've learned new stitches from helpful strangers.

While I might not be a shy person (not anymore- circumstances have taken away my shyness), I still don't run up to strangers and start chatting.  The crochet hook acts as an icebreaker.  This year I want to join the local branch of the Crochet Guild, in part because they sell t-shirts, and I know that will act as a sure recognition symbol.

Now please understand- I know that if I used a symbol only associated with my favorite website, I'd hardly ever meet crocheters because we are scattered around the world.  I might alienate some people who belong to other websites too- they might think my being on that website and not on others was a snub.  Plus such a symbol would be rather obscure and therefore a waste of time.  But every person who crochets knows what a crochet hook is for.

I doubt that there is a single person interested in Victoriana, steampunk, retro-futurism, or speculative fiction who wouldn't recognize a picture of an airship on a t-shirt.  Or who wouldn't start talking to someone who was wearing a t-shirt from a living museum, historical reenactment festival, steam vehicle festival, etc.   Would they talk to someone wearing a gear? Probably not. 

If the purpose of a 'badge' is to be recognized, wear a symbol that's already out there.  Jazz fans recognize each other when they see people wearing t-shirts glorifying jazz festivals. A person who is wearing a saxophone-shaped tie-tack from a website is not going to be recognizable to many people.  What he or she would be saying though, is that the website is more important than the interest in jazz.

If you can only recognize each other by seeing a BG symbol, you'll be waiting a long time and will be very lonely.  But if you want to meet steampunks and others who share similar interests and might be willing to share information with you, wear something recognizable, like a t-shirt that comes from a group with similar interests.  While I would not suggest painting your t-shirt with messages about Brass Goggles, wearing a Tenement Museum T-shirt or one from any group or museum having to do in anyway with Victoriana, steampunk, or speculative fiction will facilitate conversations quite nicely.  What I don't get is being stuck on the idea of a relatively obscure and possibly cliquish badge that won't mean much to anyone, save to tell the world that you are a very large fish in an exceedingly tiny pond.

On the other hand, a pin could be useful at a convention like Dragon Con.  One of the things that was fun about the fetish community was, as I've mentioned, the pins.  People would sometimes exchange pins in friendship.  How much more meaningful it would be, instead of having one standard pin (and who would do the ordering and sending out to people who live all over the planet, I wonder?), if each small group of friends or acquaintances by area designed their own pins- and gave them to people they met at conventions.  Rather like at the Olympics, where people exchange country pins as a remembrance.

Instead of thinking I'm being Madame Grumpy, it might be a good idea to actually read what I say and not infer things that are not there.  It might also be a good idea if people stop worrying so much about the opinions of people they can't see, and instead be concerned about bringing up the general level of knowledge regarding steampunk, speculative fiction, the 19th century, and other topics of interest to our entire coterie, which will then naturally lead to friendships, private conversations, and an ease in meeting face to face.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2007, 05:09:50 am by The Grand Duchess » Logged

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Lazaras
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« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2007, 05:24:22 am »

I feel partially if not holey responsible for starting this mess for making the suggestion in the first place. I happen to like Duchess's idea as it being a home grown thing that can be exchanged at cons or whatever as that makes things a bit more personal than just a 'standard' thing that gets sold at a company that could care less so long as that thing turns a profit.
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Jake of All Trades
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« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2007, 05:39:56 am »

Instead of thinking I'm being Madame Grumpy, it might be a good idea to actually read what I say and not infer things that are not there.
First off, very sorry if I offended!  I wasn't replying so much to your post, as I was commenting on the conversation as a whole. 

Anyway, you make a very good point and I agree.  Though, I must ask, when did "pointless" come to mean "don't do it"--especially in this community?  Wink  It's very possible that I may never run into someone who recognises this hypothetical pin, but so what?  It seems that it's either neutral or positive. 

I wear a hackaday.com button on my backpack which bears nothing more that the site's logo.  So far, I can honestly say that it has had absolutely no effect on anything!  I haven't met anyone who knew it yet, but it's not like I've gotten any rotten looks or anything either...
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2007, 08:46:57 pm »

What I'm saying seems to be confusing people, so I will clarify by using an illustration.

The simple illumination of perspective that in turn makes a mockery of true folly.

Very well put and if I may be so bold to say that if your avatar is a ture rendition of your 1L self, then you should be heartily complimented on the shapiness of your figure.

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kiskolou
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« Reply #35 on: April 05, 2007, 03:36:53 am »

General steampunk symbol=bad. It kinda resembles everything i want to avoid happening to our beloved genre.
Interesting trinket that someone made because they liked steampunk and someone else who liked steampunk might find novelty in=good.
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