Hatfield Response

I thought that it was both interesting and productive that this reading not only presented a problem that I had not previously considered – the marginality and lack of representation in information sciences – as well as attempting to provide a potential solution to that problem. By starting the article with showing how the marginalization of information caused difficulty in representing the lgbtq experience and created a distrust of the system by the community was, to me, a very apt way for illustrating a real problem I and others have seen within other instances. Furthermore, I was worried with the way some of the proposed solutions seemed to be going that this article would place the whole burden of obtaining representation on the marginalized people. I was pleased, however, to read the author argue for proactivity on the part of information sciences, and to do so by looking at the spaces lgbtq people have already worked on creating for themselves. If the goal of the information sciences is to further community involvement and participation in their work, what better way to get to that point that looking at communities where active participation in story creation and preservation is already taking place. 

In terms of this setting being webcomics, I was very intrigued. While I do read comics, webcomics are not really a form I am particularly familiar with. Reading about how “Jocelyn Samara, creator of Rain, has clearly inserted her own experiences into the comic, as well as reached out to fans and asked them to share their experiences in order to shape the direction of the series” to me harked a little back to some of the fiction-ish autobiographies we read in class. However, I think that the community involvement is a truly unique development. The article did mention that this type of participatory community art thing did exist in part before the internet, and is stronger in many different types of media now because of the internet. However, I have yet to see something like what seems to be happening in Rain. To include the personal experiences of readers within the story, as well as personal stories of the writer, may not be striving for authenticity in the same way as the autobiography stories we read — they strove to achieve an authentic self-story — but rather seems to be trying to achieve an authentic story of a people. In taking the different experiences of these people and putting them into one story seems to me to almost reference the idea of an oral history more than traditional comics, in the way that it becomes a preservation of ideas and events in the way fiction and simple autobiography cannot do. I guess this is why the participatory story telling of the webcomic is of such value to information sciences — it has become, to a degree, and information science in itself. 

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