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New Syllabus Draft: Introduction to Digital Writing

I’m posting below part of my new draft for “Introduction to Digital Writing,” a hybrid course that I will be teaching this Fall. Course description: “This hybrid course will introduce you to some of the key elements for writing for the web. We will consider how the Internet functions as a meeting space for different kinds of communities, and the role that digital writing plays in constructing this space. The major assignment for this class will be to build your own specialized blog and to create a social media following for this blog.”

GAH 2180: Introduction to Digital Writing

Instructor: Professor Adeline Koh
Office: K-125
Email: Adeline.Koh@stockton.edu

Course Description:

This hybrid course will introduce you to some of the key elements for writing for the web. We will consider how the Internet functions as a meeting space for different kinds of communities, and the role that digital writing plays in constructing this space. The major assignment for this class will be to build your own specialized blog and to create a social media following for this blog.

Course goals:

1) To gain a broader understanding and appreciation of intellectual/cultural activity (music, science, literature, etc.)
2) To develop skill in expressing oneself orally or in writing

Course Text
Net Smart, Howard Rheingold.
Additional readings will be made available on the course Canvas website.

Course Videos
Wikiality and Truthiness, Stephen Colbert

Grading Breakdown

Participation: 25% Includes active participation in class, daily writing exercises and online daily writing and comments.
Twitter You can IMPROVE your participation grade by tweeting about the class and the ideas you have learnt regularly. We will sign up for twitter accounts the second week of classes together. You have to use the hashtag #GAH2180 and send the tweet to me @adelinekoh adelinekoh so I can record your tweets for your participation grade. Tweeting regularly by engaging with ideas from the class (more than 3x a week) will boost your participation grade. (Tweeting about your breakfast, however, will not.) If you want credit for your tweets, please fill out the twitter form (link provided on the class Canvas site.)

Peer Review Assignments: 15%
A large part of this class will be focused on training you to better edit and review each other’s work. You will be graded for completing your peer reviews and the quality of these reviews. Rubrics for writing good peer reviews will be provided.

Twitter vs. Zombies Game 5%
We will play a game to familiarize the class on using Twitter in September. Game participation and a reflective essay later will be 5% of your total grade. Twitter vs. Zombies is a Twitter version of the “Human vs. Zombies” game. You can find out more about the game here. It’s a lot of fun ☺

Final Blog and Social Media Following Assignments: 55%
In place of a midterm and final paper for this course, you will be tasked with creating your own specialized blog and your own social media following over the semester.
This section of your grade (55%) will be further broken down into the following:
20% Participation in blog assignment
10% Participation in blog discussions in class
25% Peer Reviews and Collaboration with Classmates
45% Reflective Essay and quality of blog

Assignments

Critical Questions Homework: With the exception of the first week of class, you will answer the critical questions as a homework assignment on most Tuesdays. You will have to POST a digital copy to the forum by Tuesday 12.30pm AND bring a copy of these answers with you to class. They will be graded on completion. There are no exceptions for lateness. We will discuss these questions in class, where you will fill out an assessment of your groupmates’ answers.

Peer Review Assignments. You will be graded by your groupmates on how helpful your comments were in revising their homework assignments. Your groupmates (and you) will each submit a review of each other’s peer review work on most Thursdays, along with the revised critical questions.

Revised Critical Questions. After you have participated in course discussion, you will revise your initial answers to critical questions before submitting them once more. You should make your revisions to your original document using a different color font. Using a different color will allow you and me to see how your interpretations of the text have developed based on the discussion. Revised critical questions answers are due on most Thursdays by 2.20pm. These revised questions will be assessed according to a grading rubric which will be provided to you.
Twitter vs. Zombies Assignment. We will play a game to familiarize the class on using Twitter in September. Game participation and a reflective essay later will be 5% of your total grade. Twitter vs. Zombies is a Twitter version of the “Human vs. Zombies” game. You can find out more about the game here. It’s a lot of fun ☺

Final Blog, Social Media following and Reflection Paper: Instructions to come closer to the date.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Introductions

Sept 4. HYBRID.
Due: Self-introductions and commentary on two posts on Canvas website.

Week 2: Social Digital Know-How and Attention

Sept 9: Reading: Introduction, “Why You Need Digital Know-How—Why We all Need
It” and Chapter 1, “Attention!”
Due on Canvas at 12.30pm and in class: Answers to Critical Questions.

Sept 11. HYBRID.
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: (1) Revised Critical Questions. (2) Review of your
reviewers.

Week 3: Crap Detection

Sept 16. Read: Net Smart, Chapter 2: “Crap Detection 101: How to Find What You Need
to Know, and How To Decide If Its True”
Watch: Colbert, Stephen. “The Word—Wikiality.” Colbert Nation. July 31, 2006. Watch: Colbert, Stephen. “The Word—Truthiness.” Colbert Nation. October 17, 2005
Due on Canvas at 12.30pm and in class: Answers to Critical Questions.

Sept 18: HYBRID.
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: (1) Revised Critical Questions. (2) Review of your
reviewers.

Week 4: Twitter vs. Zombies!

Sept 23. Introduction to Twitter. Class meets in COMPUTER LAB.
Sept 25: Twitter vs. Zombies assignment (N.B. Assignment will run September 25-27)

Week 5: Participatory Power.

Sept 30. Read. Net Smart, Chapter 3. “Participatory Power.”
Read: O’Neil, Luke. “The Year We Broke the Internet: An Explanation. An Apology. A Plea.” Esquire.com. December 23, 2013.
Due on Canvas at 12.30pm and in class: Answers to Critical Questions.

Oct 2. HYBRID.
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: (1) Revised Critical Questions. (2) Review of your
reviewers.

Week 6. Social Digital Know-How and Collective Intelligence.

Oct 7. Read: Net Smart, Chapter 4: “Social-Digital Know-How: The Arts and Sciences of
Collective Intelligence.”
Due on Canvas at 12.30pm and in class: Answers to Critical Questions.

Oct 9. HYBRID.
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: (1) Revised Critical Questions. (2) Review of your
reviewers.

Week 7: Social Has a Shape

Oct 14. Read: Net Smart, Chapter 5: “Social Has a Shape: Why Networks Matter.”
Due on Canvas at 12.30pm and in class: Answers to Critical Questions.

Oct 16. HYBRID
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: (1) Revised Critical Questions. (2) Review of your
reviewers.

Week 8: Research on Niche Blogs.

Oct 21. Due in class. Niche blog proposal and market research.
Ideas: food blogs, beer blogs, pet blogs, mommy blogs, gadget blogs, gaming
blogs. Who has the highest readership? How can I tell? What makes them likeable? How do they broadcast their posts?

Oct 23. HYBRID.
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: Revised blog proposal and market research.

Week 9. Peer Review of Niche Blog Proposals

Oct 28. PRECEPTORIAL ADVISING, NO CLASS.

Oct 30. Hybrid.
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: Two peer reviews of your classmates revised blog
proposals and market research.

Week 10. Using the Web Mindfully.

Nov 4. Read: Net Smart, Chapter 6: “How Using the Web (Mindfully) Can Make You
Better.”
Due on Canvas at 12.30pm and in class: Answers to Critical Questions.

Nov 6. HYBRID
Due at 2.20pm on Canvas: (1) Revised Critical Questions. (2) Review of your
reviewers.
Week 11. WordPress and Starting Your Blog.

Nov 18. Introductions to WordPress—buy your own domain, use wordpress.com or
Stockton WordPress server. Class meets in computer lab.

Nov 20. HYBRID.
Due at 2.20pm. Intro page drafts and two introductory blog posts on topic due.

Week 12. Peer Reviews

Nov 25. HYBRID
Due at 2.20pm. Two peer reviews of each others’ websites.

Nov 27. THANKSGIVING, No class

Week 13. Establishing a Twitter Following.
Dec 2. Establishing a Twitter following: following, retweeting, being useful, liking,
distributing .
Due in class: Two blog posts.
Dec 4. HYBRID.
Due by 2.20pm: Report on first steps to establishing Twitter following, peer review of two of your classmates’ blogs.

Week 14. Revisions and Reflections.
Dec 9: Last Day of Class. Due: Revised blog and reflection paper.

New Article: Introducing Digital Humanities Work to Undergraduates

My new essay, Introducing Digital Humanities Work to Undergraduates: An Overview has just been published in the journal Hybrid Pedagogy. Abstract: “This article provides a brief overview of an assortment of digital humanities projects that can be implemented in primarily undergraduate-focused institutions. Readers should be able to decide on what level they would like to start at, and build some possible ideas to “scaffold” the project, or stages of development and release for the project. At the end of the overview I offer an activity that can be easily applied by instructors interested in conducting digital humanities workshops at their institutions and an annotated list of additional resources. My goal is to provide an easy introduction for instructors to think through possibilities for incorporating the digital humanities within an undergraduate curriculum with either free or inexpensive digital tools.”

Available for Web Design/Development Freelance Work

If you’re thinking of getting an academic website–or any website for that matter–made, please think about contacting me. I’m planning to start doing freelance web dev/design work this summer. Email me at adelinekoh[at]gmail[dot]com if you’re interested, or if you’d like to do any work I might not be able to take on. You can see samples of my work here: Digitizing Chinese EnglishmenTrading Races, Postcolonial Digital Humanities. Please email me to discuss rates and availability. Thanks.

Academic Bad Faith

One of the most important concepts I have learned is what Jean-Paul Sartre has called “mauvaise foi”, usually translated into English as bad faith. Bad faith applies to a lot of things around us. It illustrates what happens when we are complicit in structures of dishonesty, structures of oppression, but pretend to be the opposite. It happens when we lie to ourselves that we do not have the choice to speak up or fight against this oppression, because we do not have the freedom to. Bad faith is a form of self-deception. In his introduction to The Wretched of the Earth, Sartre describes the paternalistic French colonialist, who practices bad faith when he believes that his treatment of the colonized is good and deserves gratitude from them, rather than anger, violence and revolution.

I was embroiled in a social media dustup yesterday that to me demonstrated a form of academic bad faith. I won’t go into too much detail, but essentially screenshots of a private discussion on Facebook were shared with someone, who shared them on Twitter publicly. Those screenshots showed me complaining about being “whitewomansplained.” “Whitewomansplaining” is a combination of the terms “mansplaining”–when a man patronizingly assumes that he knows more than a woman about any topic and proceeds to explain to her, sometimes incorrectly, things that she already knows, and “whitesplaining”–when white people define for people of color what should or should not be considered racist, therefore revealing their own racism. I complained about being “whitewomansplained” because I felt I was being patronizingly told how to behave in a public space on social media by a white woman. Immediately, once someone screenshotted my discussion, I was accused of bullying the white woman and things escalated on social media, largely without any of my own participation.

What struck me the most about the dustup is the ways in which it was automatically assumed that there was no validity to the concept of being “whitewomansplained”–because, presumably, all of us are in higher education and have (or are working towards) PhDs, where we are supposed to have learned about issues of structural inequality and identity politics. This assumption, I am finding, is less and less true–not all of us have the same kind of knowledge of these issues, or sympathy for them. We assume that because we are in academia, we must somehow be in a golden realm where no one ever does anything racist, sexist, homophobic or ableist, because we have so much learning we must be above these things.

This is academic bad faith. Bad faith is assuming because we are in academia that these structures of oppression do not exist in our world. Bad faith is assuming that microaggressions never occur in academia. Bad faith is being arrogant enough to assume that we are always conscious and cognizant of our power in relation to others, and that we never abuse it. Bad faith is assuming that we are always aware of our privilege, or that we have none.

We need to realize that even though we are in academia, that structures of oppression do exist, and micro and macroaggressions take place every day, every hour, and that we might be too privileged to notice. We need to admit to ourselves that sometimes we make mistakes and we are complicit in these structures and acts. To do otherwise is to practice bad faith; to think that we are simply doing what we are doing because we do not have freedom to act otherwise; and to lie to ourselves about the consequences and ethics of our positions and actions. My friends in less privileged positions have taken me to task on various occasions for my own blindness to my privilege, and for these interventions I am grateful. We should be better.

Niceness, Building, and Opening the Genealogy of the Digital Humanities: Beyond the Social Contract of Humanities Computing

My new article, “Niceness, Building, and Opening the Genealogy of the Digital Humanities: Beyond the Social Contract of Humanities Computing” has just been published by differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. If you can’t access the paywalled version I’ve also uploaded an earlier version here. Abstract: “This essay explores the ‘social contract’ of the digital humanities community. I argue that the social contract of the digital humanities is composed of two rules: 1) the notion of niceness or civility; and 2) the possession of technical knowledge, defined as knowledge of coding or computer programming. These rules are repeatedly raised within the public sphere of the digital humanities and are simultaneously contested and criticized. I claim that these rules and the social contract come from humanities computing, a field commonly described as the digital humanities’ sole predecessor. Humanities computing has historically differentiated itself from media and cultural studies, defining itself as a field that uses computational methods to address humanities research questions rather than exploring the impact of computation on culture and the humanities. I call for a movement that would go beyond this social contract by creating multiple genealogies for the digital humanities; by arguing that current conceptualizations of the digital humanities have not only developed from humanities computing but also include additional fields such as new media studies, postcolonial science and technology studies, and digital research on race, gender, class, and disability and their impact on cultures around the world.”

The Political Power of Play: Keynote for Re:Humanities 2014

Below are my slides for “The Political Power of Play”, my keynote address for Re:Humanities 2014, an undergraduate digital humanities conference put on by the TriCollege Digital Humanities Initiative (Haverford, Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr Colleges). The full text of the keynote has also been published as a peer reviewed article in the journal Hybrid Pedagogy.

Postcolonial Digital Humanities: Praxis (Proposal For MLA 2015)

can the subaltern tweet

 

Below is our submission for a Postcolonial Digital Humanities roundtable at the Modern Language Association at Vancouver, B.C. in January 2015. The roundtable will be presided over by Adeline Koh.

Postcolonial Digital Humanities: Praxis 

Precis:

This roundtable explores the role of praxis in the academy through the fields of postcolonial studies and the digital humanities. Roundtable participants will discuss how they actively integrate the methodologies of postcolonial analysis into the digital humanities, revealing the implicit presence of race, ethnicity and systems of exclusion.

Description:

This roundtable explores the role of praxis in the academy by bringing together two fields that developed in seemingly unrelated trajectories within the humanities in the 1980s: postcolonial studies and the digital humanities. Postcolonial studies draws on continental theory and philosophy to probe the power dynamics that shape the relationship of colonized people to history and culture while the digital humanities integrates the study of the humanities with digitization and programming. Yet, over the past thirty years, the fields have intersected in surprising ways. Postcolonial scholars such as Deepika Bahri and George Landow used web technologies of the 1990s to advance the field, through early sites like Postcolonial Studies at Emory and the Postcolonial Literature and Culture Web as a form of academic praxis.

Intersections between theory, praxis, and the digital have been further explored by scholars of race and new media, such as Lisa Nakamura, Peter Chow-White, Pramod Nayar, Anna Everett and Alondra Nelson. Their work has begun articulating the relationship between race and technology, topographies of power in digital spaces, and the implications of globalized labor that place the burdens of producing technology in the hands of black and brown female laborers.

Roundtable participants, including senior and junior scholars, activists and librarians, will discuss how they actively integrate the methodologies of postcolonial analysis into the digital humanities, revealing the implicit presence of race, ethnicity and systems of exclusion. Participants further discuss how they drawing on the digital humanities’ commitment to praxis, building and exploration of social media and new publishing platforms to disseminate research.

There is substantial interest at the Modern Language Association annual meeting to further these discussions. Related panels at the last two MLAs (MLA 2012: “Representing Race: Silence and the Digital Humanities” and “Accessing Race in the Digital Humanities’; MLA 2013: “Decolonizing the Digital Humanities”), all resulted in full rooms. This roundtable goes further to crystallize these conversations by elaborating what the “praxis”–the actual political practice of postcolonial digital humanities could look like.

 

Our conversations hinge on a set of questions:

What does a politically inflected digital humanities praxis look like?

What is the role of activism in the postcolonial digital humanities?

How can social media be most effectively leveraged in postcolonial digital humanities praxis and activism, and what are its limits?

Is postcolonial digital humanities an imperialist project because of its beginnings in the United States, and how can this be mitigated?

How can scholars of postcolonial studies and digital humanities better account for the needs, representations, and legiblities of vulnerable populations?

This roundtable presents seven participants limited to five-minute remarks on the praxis of postcolonial digital humanities. The goals for the remarks are to stimulate conversation between the audience and the roundtable. We are reserving 40 minutes for discussion.

Roopika Risam will discuss the relationship between pedagogy and praxis. She will outline a theoretical framework for what she terms “postcolonial digital pedagogy,” a set of teaching practices that engage technology to decolonize the classroom and orient students towards significant learning experiences that extend the scope of learning beyond curricula and institution walls. In doing so, she proposes that the intersections of pedagogy and technology are a fruitful locus for engaged praxis.

Suey Park, originator of the #NotYourAsianSideKick hashtag, will discuss the role of hashtags in new forms of social activism and digital political organization. She will consider the ways in which shifting media ecologies present new opportunities for shaping collective identities and campaigns.

Deepika Bahri will address the past, present, and future of the Emory Postcolonial Studies website, recently reinvented as Postcolonial Studies @ Emory. Bahri will discuss the motivations behind her decision in the 1990s to build the site and use it in her teaching. Bahri also will examine considerations for future developments in the project while addressing how the nature of postcolonial digital humanities praxis has changed over the past 20 years.

Siobhan Senier will give a brief overview of current trends in the digitization of indigenous heritage materials; explain the theoretical underpinnings of projects that seek to enlist tribal communities in co-curation of their source materials; and detail the challenges currently faced by tribal museums, archives and libraries who want to conduct their own independent digitization projects.

Angel David Nieves will discuss current digitization efforts in South Africa as related to the many historical collections being held in local township museums, particularly in Johannesburg.  Including community members in the archive-making process involves re-inscribing traumatic events into the public sphere and negotiating how we collect, document, analyze and provide access to these narratives on the Internet.  An intersectional framework that engages the “postcolonial archive” and critical race theory provides new avenues for interrogating and dealing with a difficult past.

Porter Olsen’s talk explores the relationship between contemporary hacktivism and the anti-imperial movements of the early to mid 20th century. Looking beyond the hackers and hacktivist that dominate western newspapers, he outlines the otherwise obscure history of hacking and hacktivism in the global south, and how that history has led to the figure of what he calls the “postcolonial hacker” in novels such as Hari Kunzru’s Transmission and Lauren Beuke’s Moxyland, showing how hacktivists of the global south—both fictional and real—reframe the work of anti-imperial thinkers such as Frantz Fanon for our era of globalized neocolonialism.

Alex Gil argues that the early career of Aimé Césaire marks a moment in the history of the transatlantic region when existing publishing networks open up to new racial dynamics, particularly within the American Hemisphere. In this presentation he shows how the use of computational approaches can help us generate new understandings of the formation of a new anti-colonial republic of letters, and serve as the base for creating the postcolonial digital edition of the future.

BIOS

Presider:

Adeline Koh is Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature at Richard Stockton College. Her work spans the intersections between postcolonial studies and the digital humanities, 19th/20th Century British and Anglophone Literature and Southeast Asian and African studies, and games in higher education. Koh directs The Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project , an online magazine of postcolonial studies and is the designer of Trading Races, an elaborate historical role playing game designed to teach race consciousness in the undergraduate classroom. With Roopika Risam, she co-directs Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen,’ a digital archival project on 19th century ‘Asian Victorians’ in Southeast Asia, the postcolonial digital humanities website, and is co-writing a forthcoming book on #DHPoco. She is also a core contributor to the Profhacker Column at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She has held a Duke University Humanities Writ Large Fellowship and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore.

Participants:

Roopika Risam is an Assistant Professor of World Literature and English Education. She is the co-founder of Postcolonial Digital Humanities (#dhpoco), a movement that foregrounds global explorations of difference within cultures of technology. Along with #dhpoco collaborator Adeline Koh, Roopika is co-writing a book on postcolonial studies and digital humanities. Roopika is the co-director of The Harlem Shadows Project, an experiment in producing digital critical editions of public domain texts, with Chris Forster, as well as co-director of Digitizing Chinese Englishmen, a digital archival recovery project, with Adeline Koh. Roopika’s research interests span postcolonial, African American, and Black British literary and cultural studies, as well as digital pedagogy and secondary education teacher preparation. Roopika is a member of the Executive Council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the founding editorial board of DHCommons, and MLA Delegate Assembly.

Suey Park is a writer and a political organizer based in Chicago, IL. She writes on race and gender issues and on various forms of digital and in person forms of social justice.

Deepika Bahri is Associate Professor in the English department at Emory University. Her research focuses on postcolonial literature, culture, and theory. She is the author of Native Intelligence: Aesthetics, Politics, and Postcolonial Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) and co-editor of Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality and Realms of Rhetoric. She has written several articles on postcolonial issues in journals and book collections. She is currently working on the representation of Anglo-Indians, Eurasians, and racial hybrids in postcolonial literature. She created the first version of Postcolonial Studies at Emory in the 1990s and is currently working on the Web 2.0. version of the site.

Siobhan Senier is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire.  Her current research and teaching interests include Native American Studies, Digital Humanities, Sustainability Studies, and Disability Studies.  As the present holder of the James H. and Claire Short Hayes Chair in the Humanities, Prof. Senier is working with regional Native communities on the website, Writing of Indigenous New England (https://indnewengland.omeka.net/). Her publications include Voices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance (2001) and the forthcoming Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Writing from Indigenous New England.

Angel David Nieves is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the American Studies Program at Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y.  He is currently Co-Directing Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi), a $1.75 million Mellon Foundation Grant funded project (http://www.dhinitiative.org).  He has raised over $2.4 million in total support of digital humanities research at Hamilton.  His early work in the digital humanities and critical race theory (CRT) began with a prototype for Soweto ’76: A Living Digital Archive while a Faculty Fellow at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, College Park (2006-2008) (http://www.soweto76archive.org).  Nieves’ scholarly work and community-based activism critically engages with issues of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South.  Most recently he worked with a team of undergraduate research assistants from Middlebury College on the Soweto Historical GIS (SHGIS) Project.

Porter Olsen is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the intersections between postcolonial literature and digital cultures, with a particular interest in how both fields deploy virtual spaces as spaces of alterity and resistance. Before returning to graduate school, Porter worked as product manager for a Linux distribution developer where he was a member of the United Linux initiative, an initiative designed to create a single Linux platform shared among distributors from Germany, Brazil, the U.S., and Japan.

Alex Gil currently works as Digital Scholarship Coordinator for the Humanities and History Division of the Columbia University Libraries. Current projects at Columbia include the re-skilling of subject librarians, a large data-mining project of a million-plus syllabi, a project to crowd-source marginalia, and other digital humanities initiatives. He finished his PhD at the University of Virginia’s English Department, where he worked to develop technologies to analyze and visualize intertextuality in medium-sized corpora to elucidate cultures of reprint in the American hemisphere. He is currently also co-editor of the Critical/Genetique Edition of Aimé Césaire’s Complete Works.

Apply to be a DH@Stockton Intern!

A brief powerpoint I prepared to market the DH@Stockton internship. More about DH@Stockton here. 

Rewriting Wikipedia Project: A Workshop

These are the slides for a workshop on the Rewriting Wikipedia Project that I gave at Rutgers in January 2014. RWP is a joint project with Roopika Risam under Postcolonial Digital Humanities.

#DHThis: A Peer Review DH Experiment

This is a presentation on #DHThis that I gave at the Feminist Digital Pedagogies conference in January 2014. #DHThis is a peer review experiment in the digital humanities that attempts to give voice to a larger, more diverse digital humanities public. Read more about #DHThis and how it works here. #DHThis is a collaborative project with Martin Eve (@martineve), Roopika Risam (@roopikarisam), Jesse Stommel (@jessifer) and Alex Gil (@elotroalex).