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Participants: Derya Akbaba * Ben Allen * Natalia-Rozalia Avlona * Kirill Azernyi * Erin Kathleen Bahl * Natasha Bajc * Lucas Bang * Tully Barnett * Ivette Bayo * Eamonn Bell * John Bell * kiki benzon * Liat Berdugo * Kathi Berens * David Berry * Jeffrey Binder * Philip Borenstein * Gregory Bringman * Sophia Brueckner * Iris Bull * Zara Burton * Evan Buswell * Ashleigh Cassemere-Stanfield * Brooke Cheng* Alm Chung * Jordan Clapper * Lia Coleman * Imani Cooper * David Cuartielles * Edward de Jong * Pierre Depaz * James Dobson * Quinn Dombrowski * Amanda Du Preez * Tristan Espinoza * Emily Esten * Meredith Finkelstein * Caitlin Fisher * Luke Fischbeck * Leonardo Flores * Laura Foster * Federica Frabetti * Jorge Franco * Dargan Frierson * Arianna Gass * Marshall Gillson * Jan Grant * Rosi Grillmair * Ben Grosser * E.L. (Eloisa) Guerrero * Yan Guo * Saksham Gupta * Juan Gutierrez * Gottfried Haider * Nabil Hassein * Chengbo He * Brian Heim * Alexis Herrera * Paul Hertz * shawné michaelain holloway * Stefka Hristova * Simon Hutchinson * Mai Ibrahim * Bryce Jackson * Matt James * Joey Jones * Masood Kamandy * Steve Klabnik * Goda Klumbyte * Rebecca Koeser * achim koh * Julia Kott * James Larkby-Lahet * Milton Laufer * Ryan Leach * Clarissa Lee * Zizi Li * Lilian Liang * Keara Lightning * Chris Lindgren * Xiao Liu * Paloma Lopez * Tina Lumbis * Ana Malagon * Allie Martin * Angelica Martinez * Alex McLean * Chandler McWilliams * Sedaghat Payam Mehdy * Chelsea Miya * Uttamasha Monjoree * Nick Montfort * Stephanie Morillo * Ronald Morrison * Anna Nacher * Maxwell Neely-Cohen * Gutierrez Nicholaus * David Nunez * Jooyoung Oh * Mace Ojala * Alexi Orchard * Steven Oscherwitz * Bomani Oseni McClendon * Kirsten Ostherr * Julia Polyck-O'Neill * Andrew Plotkin * Preeti Raghunath * Nupoor Ranade * Neha Ravella * Amit Ray * David Rieder * Omar Rizwan * Barry Rountree * Jamal Russell * Andy Rutkowski * samara sallam * Mark Sample * Zehra Sayed * Kalila Shapiro * Renee Shelby * Po-Jen Shih * Nick Silcox * Patricia Silva * Lyle Skains * Winnie Soon * Claire Stanford * Samara Hayley Steele * Morillo Stephanie * Brasanac Tea * Denise Thwaites * Yiyu Tian * Lesia Tkacz * Fereshteh Toosi * Alejandra Trejo Rodriguez * Álvaro Triana * Job van der Zwan * Frances Van Scoy * Dan Verständig * Roshan Vid * Yohanna Waliya * Sam Walkow * Kuan Wang * Laurie Waxman * Jacque Wernimont * Jessica Westbrook * Zach Whalen * Shelby Wilson * Avery J. Wiscomb * Grant Wythoff * Cy X * Hamed Yaghoobian * Katherine Ye * Jia Yu * Nikoleta Zampaki * Bret Zawilski * Jared Zeiders * Kevin Zhang * Jessica Zhou * Shuxuan Zhou

Guests: Kayla Adams * Sophia Beall * Daisy Bell * Hope Carpenter * Dimitrios Chavouzis * Esha Chekuri * Tucker Craig * Alec Fisher * Abigail Floyd * Thomas Forman * Emily Fuesler * Luke Greenwood * Jose Guaraco * Angelina Gurrola * Chandler Guzman * Max Li * Dede Louis * Caroline Macaulay * Natasha Mandi * Joseph Masters * Madeleine Page * Mahira Raihan * Emily Redler * Samuel Slattery * Lucy Smith * Tim Smith * Danielle Takahashi * Jarman Taylor * Alto Tutar * Savanna Vest * Ariana Wasret * Kristin Wong * Helen Yang * Katherine Yang * Renee Ye * Kris Yuan * Mei Zhang
Coordinated by Mark Marino (USC), Jeremy Douglass (UCSB), and Zach Mann (USC). Sponsored by the Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab (USC), and the Digital Arts and Humanities Commons (UCSB).

Quora and Other Groups doing CCS in the Wild

In the first CCSWG, @jeremydouglass invited us to find examples of Critical Code Studies that we found "in the wild," beyond this working group and beyond academia itself. I'd like to extend that conversation by looking at places where code studies are being done as the subject or perhaps even a side effect of the general conversation topic. We have already referenced discussion threads on Reddit, for example, in our thread on the Apollo 11 code. @belljo's recent post about cutting and pasting code reminds me of Stack Exchange. And there are also robust communities of code studies, such as Lambda the Ultimate. I have also been a subscriber to Quora, where people often post questions about the nature of programming languages, including their social nature, although often with an eye toward learning what's most popular or that positions one best for getting a job.

It has long been our contention, that we are not the only ones doing Critical Code Studies, that CCS builds on the practices and conversations well underway in the world of programming and computer science. I wonder if there are other communities in the wild where there are regularly posted or even irregularly posted discussions that we can benefit from for our Critical Code Studies.

What are other online forums or communities, where we can turn for insight into readings of code? Have you used any of these (in this way)?


  • This might be a bit tangential, but it also might get into some of the other discussions about forms of critical interpretation that aren't encoded as text.

    For several years now, I've been fascinated by the speedrunning community. These are people who play video games with the goal of getting to the end as fast as they possibly can. However, they play the games as they actually exist in hardware and software rather than the way the developers intended they be played. If there's a bug in your game that helps them get to the end faster then it's just as valid a strategy as anything described in the manual.

    Because they're essentially deconstructing game code and hardware in real time, speedrunners often know games better than the people who wrote them in the first place. They've also been instrumental in taking romhacks from a relatively small audience to mass streaming appeal on Twitch by popularizing things like randomizers (e.g., play a game where all the powerup locations are swapped around) and kaizo games. At the extreme end of things, some people use game controllers to run arbitrary code execution attacks on games and reprogram them on the fly.

    Obviously their audience and concerns are different, but their methods and results often mirror the kind of work that CCS takes on. Instead of writing code or an essay, though, they've made deconstruction of code a spectator sport on twitch.

    (If anyone is curious and in the area, I'll be talking about speedrunners at CAA2018 in a couple of weeks too. Drop in and chat!)

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