Community Engaged Learning – Stackoverflow Version

We have two faculty learning communities exploring how technology and the Internet might change how community engaged learning can work. I’ve attended a few meetings and one of the key things I take away from the conversations is that I have a slightly different view of community. It did get me thinking about giving back to the community that’s been helping out so much as I’ve tried to tackle more technical challenges. I’ve learned many things from Stackoverflow so I thought I’d make some effort to contribute some answers. I’ve attempted to comment on things there before but you need 100 reputation points before you can do that. So I needed to actually answer things. Given I’ve been writing on the Internet for a large number of years you’d think I’d have more confidence but the structure of Stackoverflow (and the whole Stack Exchange community) is a bit different. I’m used to just posting what I think or what I managed to get to work. It doesn’t feel quite the same as “this is the answer.” There’s also some angry nerd stuff that goes on at times that I’m not a big fan of. As I’ve gone a little deeper the experience has been pretty positive. While I’ve answered some questions in Stackoverflow, I’ve ended up participating more in a […]


It’s the little things . . . like hanging indents

Towards the end of the day I was asked for an easy way for students and others to do “properly-formatted (hanging indent) citations.” As I use URLs for citation I had never thought of this. A little googling and it seems to be a common issue for people and I eventually hit this old vintage1 video from Clint Lalonde (who I recognized immediately from his Twitter avatar). After seeing one jerk’s comment I felt a great need to make something even sort-of-good come from Clint’s effort to share something good with the world. Behold. The simplest possible WordPress shortcode plugin (SPWPSP – if you’re playing at home). And while it’s no SPLOT, it is very, very simple and it gives you the magical hanging indent. Just write [hangit]”None to Claim Their Bones: Relics of an Old Brooklyn Graveyard.” New York Times 8 Apr. 1888: 3-4. ProQuest Newspapers. Web. 10 June 2006.[/hangit] and you’ll get a nice hanging indent. I did have to change the shortcode to an enclosing shortcode (one that opens and close- like an HTML tag) to deal with quotes and apostrophes that are likely to show up in the citations. This is all it takes. Get it on Github here. 1 YouTube defines vintage as anything over a year old.

Reddit Pic Requests

It is always strange to wander about in Internet communities with a fairly established culture. Reddit is not someplace I’ve ever spent any real time and while I still haven’t done much with it, I have been checking in on Pic Requests. It is really wild to see the diversity of requests and the speed and skill with which most of the requests are answered. These requests (and responses) run the gamut from – [Request] My grandma is turning 94 on Christmas day. Can someone help me restore an old photo of her and her late husband from when they first met? to [Request] Can you make my sister into a t-rex chasing Johnny Depp? People offer money, services in return, Reddit Gold, or just the challenge. It is amazing how fast and how well most of these requests are answered, often by multiple people. Were I teaching a Photoshop class, this would be where I would hangout as every level of project is offered by people who actually need/want the product. They range from fairly easy functional/technical requests to wide open conceptual pieces. I have been attempting to help some people with repair work. I find it interesting and I’ve always wanted to be better at Photoshop but have a hard time doing work for no reason.1 It is […]