‘The Revolution Starts at Home’ (PDF)

Revolution-starts-at-home (click to download PDF)

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I am pleased to post the following PDF booklet from South End Press that deals with domestic abuse within activist communities; any young activist, but indeed people in general, should strongly consider giving these pieces a browse when you have some free time.

For a more in-depth description, please see Incite!’s post.

Obsession Reprise: The Dialectic of Desire

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A few years ago I posted an entry on “overcoming obsession: outgrowing infatuation with straight peers” and it received a warm reception. As some of the commentators noted, this piece was written from the heart from first-hand experience. I enjoyed writing it because it was, in many ways, a soothing experience after the maelstrom of unrequited, non-returned interpersonal affection. However, nothing in this world lasts and lately I have found that this peace and tranquility has been shattered by a new obsession.

 
Much in the same manner previously, what shattered this peace was a boy. An asexual boy (a fun divergence from heterosexual), as I would later discover. First meeting as freshmen during our university’s summer bonding event, it was one of those ‘at first sight’ affairs; one of those moments where you can just tell from their looks, how they conduct their selves, and the information you have on them, that if only given the chance, you could make them happy. Speculation aside, I followed my instinct into the rabbit hole, wishing the best.

 
By now, you are likely guessing that the rabbit hole ended in a snake-pit of some kind; you would be correct: relations between the boy and I… ended poorly. I do not wish to bore you with the intimate details, especially since I find them too personal to share online with you kind strangers, but suffice it to say, I discovered parts of myself which I did not previously know existed and these parts caused some havoc on our friendship. I admit I did wrong, I maintain that he did wrong likewise; now we are suspended in a field in which we have mutually rejected one-another, and yet, tension exists between the two of us, tension which I do not know how will play out, tension which as much as I wished it dispelled, also want it resolved… perhaps a futile desire.

 
And yet, I am still stricken by the idea of this boy and confused on how I want this tension resolved. I feel that on some level that it is irresolvable, that I can do nothing, and that he must be the one to initiate contact (since I feel I squandered my ability to maintain healthy communication; for more on this aspect, and how I self-learned to communicate more effectively, see here); yet I feel he will not do that, though he sometimes glares at me should we notice each other on campus. I am confused. But should he send an email, what would I say, assuming it requires a response? How do I want things to end between us? Is anything possible? It seems like a shame to leave things as they are and let disease fester or scars fade until but a shadow of a remainder is left. Some things are funny that way… some things cannot be resolved while others you cannot force. What needs to happen will happen regardless of hope or desire, wish or ability; it is part of the void which is our existence.

 
But, what did I expect? This is a serious question. What did I expect would happen, that we would become partners and ride away into the sunset? That is what I hoped would happen, but it wasn’t what I was expecting; no, I was expecting friendship, and yet, why? That is ephemeral; even had we become close buddies, what could happen with graduation looming? One must remember that university is not like the propaganda videos… those ‘life-long’ friendships the cronies yap on about exist for but a tiny minority. So the question is—how long would we remain in contact post-graduation, should we have been friends throughout our time attending? A year, two… five? Sooner or later we would drift out of communication, as inevitably happens with people you never physically meet. So, in a sense, would this not have been more painful to lose a genuine friend to time, then overcome the generalized Angst resplendent from missteps? It seems likely. Though still, it never feels like so at the time, with the wounds still fresh. I have to learn, however, learn that this is a facet of my life and it is not going to go away. I need to master my own inadequacies and remember that life is rarely as intense as it appears.

 
In a way I feel burned. Though I do not know if it is connected to the ordeal I struggled through in regards to this boy, there was a point last year that I simply lost the desire to find a partner; this desire (mostly) continues to this day. Something in me simply snapped; I would see the various Breeders holding hands and ruminate on romantic entanglements and find myself musing, “Why would I want that? That which interferes with my studies and complicates my future? Why would I want to risk becoming side-tracked on a possibly futile romance?” Was this me being a realist, an attitude born from my failure to secure what I had hoped to be a viable partner? Maybe. Maybe not. I simply do not know. But I do know that I still feel little, if any, desire to find a partner at my current stage of life.

 
Nonetheless, this is a part of life. It is a part of my life. It comes in waves; I resolved the previous wave only to be confronted by a new one in a different form, one which demands different tactics and more nuanced navigation. The best we can do is learn from each wave. Study the past to learn the future; analyze our mistakes so as to not make the same ones again; compose and conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our station as a human while understanding that language will only ever represent us, our desire as well as our personage, to an uncomfortable degree. For people like us, Queer people and youth especially, bouts of obsession act as a fulcrum to our everyday lives—it latches onto the event horizon of a possible future and sees potential held within; what we see in these special people is our life, that other who shares our otherness and assuages the demons within that feed on the struggle to acclimate to a heteronormative world. The sad truth, though, as you know, is that this other only occasionally responds with gusto, and rarely in the manner had we hoped. So the trick is to learn to overcome, to watch our behavior and modulate our feelings, becoming, in a way, affect scientists, in order to meek out a living in a cold, violent world, occasionally blessed by those walking refrains which catch our eye.

Queer Fascism: Why White Nationalists Are Trying to Drop Homophobia

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Anti-Fascist News

The National Policy Institute’s conference for 2015 just wrapped up, one of the most popular intellectual events for the white nationalist movement in the United States.  NPI is run by youngish nationalist Richard Spencer, who encourages the movement to be hip and young.  Out of the almost 175 attendees, a huge portion of them were millennials as they were given significant discounts off of the expensive ticket price.  One person that was disinvited, according to associate Scott Terry and even Spencer himself, was the Traditionalist Youth Network’s Matthew Heimbach.  Matt, who helped to found the Townson University White Student Union before forming Trad Youth, has made statements publicly about queer people infecting others with AIDs purposefully and that they need to be put in “re-education” camps to cure their “mental illness.”  Because of these statements, Spencer decided that he should be banned from the NPI conference.

Matthew Heimbach Matthew Heimbach

In…

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A Guide to Effective Communication

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There are a lot of online guides to effective communication. Most recycle content which your elementary school guidance consoler could have told you. So right off the bat I am going to say this: the following guide is not for everybody; this communication guide is for the unusual, the different, the Queer.

When I say ‘queer’ I mean individuals who are shy, introverted, intellectually gifted but prosaically stunted, and people who just don’t like spending time with others who don’t ‘tickle their fancy’. Accordingly, however, I am not merely playing word games as I do intend for my audience to be Queer people (Homosexual, Bisexual, Transgender, etc.); non-Queer people will still find it relevant but with the understanding that the content matter addresses people of a non-heteronormative nature.

I decided to write this guide because the last year for me has been, in many ways, a crash-course in effective communication; this is to say that in not applying effective communication techniques, or simply refusing to apply them, I have garnered a hefty amount of psychological bruises. The good news is though that I have learned from my failures and feel the need to preach the good news (of effective communication) from my own observations.

This being said the guide is highly volatile. Some people may find it useless, others indispensable. How effective the advice is will depend on you as a person. As such, do not hesitate to leave a comment explicating how the advice worked for you or what you would change or suggest yourself. This blog is an interactive platform for the exploited and oppressed, so don’t fret about feeling ‘out of it’, because you are very well ‘in it’!

Anyways, on to the guide!

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#1: Email (or letter writing, or poetry, or short stories) is key!

                I have a hard time expressing myself in person. Often times I would not be able to express half of what I would be able to express were it not for email or some other form of impersonal communication. When I came out to my best friend, for instance, I wrote him a letter; if I needed to repair a relationship with someone and express why I made a mistake that I did or ask them why they made the mistake they made, I am able to be far more emotive than were I in person.

A strong suit of such forms of impersonal communication is time. When you are sending an email or writing a letter no one can interrupt you; people can’t cut you off mid-sentence while you bravely attempt and explain why it was you cried like a baby when you get drunk or become violent when someone makes an ill-referenced joke. You have all the time you need plus the courage of being able to write what you want and worry about the consequences later—whether it is coming out to a friend or making a heartfelt apology, you have the ability to pour your heart and soul into your form of writing and carefully craft your communique.

#2: Make it lively!

                Are you often called ‘funny’ or a ‘funny guy/girl’? Don’t think it is too informal to add in some jokes where appropriate. Even with more formal contacts, such as professors, you would be surprised how well a well-intoned joke or remark will travel. Obviously you shouldn’t abuse this talent by adding in too many humorous bits, but more often than not, adding in something personal about yourself (humor, references—puns, and a display of your knowledge—concerning your trade, or just a flowing sense of kindness and respect, who you are in real life) will get you far. With contacts of a non-professional nature, friends and family, add in the personality bits fast and thick since there is a lot to gain from doing so and little to lose.

#3: Don’t be a drama-queen!

There is a difference between conveying emotion and being needlessly dramatic; the former and latter are often divided by necessity. Do you really need to link to a melodramatic alternative-rock ballad to illustrate how you feel? If the answer is ‘no’ then do not link the song in your email or reference in conversation. While there is plenty of situations, even emotional ones, where linking to depressing or sad music is appropriate, it will—more often than not—only off-put people, perhaps pushing them away from you, if you overburden your communique with over-the-top statements, dramatic evaluations of your failures or sorrow, and volcano-like eruptions of anger where you swear like a sailor.

If something has happened recently which has made you very upset, not overburdening your message can be difficult. I know the sensation all too well of dealing with an unfortunate event by sending a hastily written message to someone—it counteracts the isolation and allows (hopefully) another person to feel some of what you are experiencing. But this almost never helps things. It makes you look like a child, immature, as though you do not know how to deal with your problems in a grown-up way.

In my time, I have dealt with overriding anger and bouts of intense depression. Previously, I have handled the anger by sending furious, boiling mad messages ‘chewing out’ the object of my frustrations; likewise, with my dips into the trenches of depression, I had made threats which I never intended to carry out. Each of my actions had a consequence. Each of your actions will have a consequence—remember that ripping into someone could result in an irreversible relationship/friendship tear or that a melodramatic email chronicling your hopelessness could result in hospitalization.

Before sending an emotive message, you have to ask yourself the following: what do you hope to gain from sending such a message? What is your objective?

If your objective is to assert that a friend has not actually been your friend, that they are a fake friend, then instead of slathering your email or letter with a plethora of curses and poetic turns-of-phrases which could make Queer Liberationist manifesto shriek with indignant glee, tone it down: remove every instance of accusation, moderate your language to the point of it seeming absurd to send such a message (because it doesn’t convey your present emotional state), and be sure to de-link any emotional music, videos, or thinly veiled threats. Express yourself in an overly polite, formal manner. The expression “you’ll catch more flies with honey” has poignant new meaning here.

Consider the long-term impact of your message as compared to what it is you really want to achieve. Do you truly want to end a friendship or merely make it known you feel like a pity-party with legs, someone who is not appreciated as much as your appreciation is for them? Do you really want to kill yourself, or is it that you want to express your loneliness and frustration with the object of your desire? Essentially it boils down to this: don’t say things you do not mean; it is counter-productive. Communicate your feelings while taking the other person’s feelings into consideration and the end-result will be far more productive. It will ensure you maintain a calm and collected composure (something naturally reflected by your age and presumed maturity) while actuality having a chance at getting to the heart of the matter and repairing the ills which have so plagued you.

To truly illustrate this view I have provided an example below: the first message is one of a person expressing their fury over another person’s perceived hypocrisy in the realm of friendship, while the message following is the revised draft of how one should conduct one’s self via written communiques. Carefully compare the two and take note of the dysfunctions of the first and the strengths of the second.

Dysfunctional email:

I apologize for being so straightforward but what is your problem? You said that you wanted to spend more time with me, but all that I have seen is the opposite—you prance around with other people while brushing me off like I am a pity party with legs; if you don’t want to spend time with me outside of school/work, then you don’t have to pretend like we are friends when clearly you are scorning me. It makes me feel like shit and I don’t fucking appreciate the pretense. Just say you don’t want to associate with me rather than dragging me along like a goddamn loser. So just cut the shit!”

That email is dysfunctional: it is loaded with melodramatic language (“loser, prance, pity party”), has several swear words over the course of a very concentrated block of text, and is singed with accusatory statements, that this other person is purposely leading along his friend when the reality maybe simply a delusion on the part who sent the email. This email assumes instead of asks. It demands instead of requests. Additionally, the tone is hostile when it should be welcoming. A proper email shouldn’t display any of these negative traits. Below is an example of a proper email.

Proper, constructive email:

Dear friend. Lately, I have had some concerns about our friendship. While I merely may be mistaken, it appears from my vantage point that the goodwill between us may be based in something other than concrete; meaning, I fear that you are forcing yourself to spend what little time we have had together due to a desire to see me placated. I don’t say this to be hostile but rather simply because lately I have not been very emotionally stable concerning my perception of our relation, and so feel as though my concerns ought to be expressed. I would highly value your input on this matter; whether it is to dispel of fears or confirm them, I would duly appreciative of a thoughtful response from you. Thank you for your time.”

This second email is far better. It is more constructive and proactive. It lacks the hostile, incendiary tone of the previous. There is no cursing, as you will notice. The syntax is one of mutual respect: the user sending it has modestly expressed his thoughts and view on where he stands in relation to a friendship while politely inquiring on whether such notions are true. They have given the other party a chance to explain how they see the friendship instead of blatantly lambasting. Nothing is assumed. A position is expressed, but it is not already codified in a presupposition of reality; a viewpoint has been expressed with the express intent on having another give some input.

Such an atmosphere should be a given in any interpersonal communications, especially if you are feeling as though you’ve been slighted, cheated, mislead, or screwed over. One must remember that emails are forever. The transcript, the date, and code, of each and every email you send will be able to be accessed by anyone with a savory enough understanding of electronics. Just because you have “permanently deleted” something doesn’t mean it is gone. The other party still retains a copy in addition to the traces of it which remain on both of your accounts.

You should maintain a high level of decorum in any emotionally or mentally straining situations precisely because of the rebounding consequences. The eternal nature of emails allows the content to be dug up at any time in the future, for a variety of reasons. I do not have to warn you, as a Queer, that whether it is blackmail, threats, or shaming or outing, there are a large number of reasons why consistently maintaining a respectful, non-hostile prose is beneficial to your image both in your private and public life.

#4: Be concise—don’t beat around the bush!

                Often times it is tempting to preface the poignant with the banal; to discuss random details, events, and thoughts before launching into the ‘real deal’ composing the meat of the intended conversation. While it is tempting to do so because of your mind’s tendency to think that easing into the emotionally/mentally/intellectually/existentially heavy content is better than jumping right into it, for fear out of off-putting the person(s) you are communicating with, it is almost always better to get right to the point. Why? Because after the other has read your email they are not going to remember the banal. They are going to remember the poignant. They are going to respond to the poignant and ignore the banal. Additionally, if upon first glance the receiver gleams a block of text laden with seemingly trivial details, they are likely to take a longer time to respond to it due to its apparent non-vital status; if you are in need of an immediate response then obviously it is a counterproductive move to beat around the bush instead of getting right to the heart of the matter.

#5: Show Respect

                If you are communicating with someone of authority or in a higher position than you—a boss, manager, professor or professional—really anyone who holds power or an advanced degree over you, then you should show them a decorum of respect—even if they deserve nothing but your wildest contempt. When opening up an avenue of conversation with someone for the first time you should never begin by using emoji’s, slang, text shorthand, or anything which falls outside of the respectable canon.

This is because you are not talking with one of your friends. The individual whom you’re talking with, especially if they hold an advanced degree, comes from a very different place intellectually and so they are going to expect a certain level of sophistication; this often translates into using proper grammar, having your words be spelled correctly, and not deviating from the Oxford English dictionary when it comes to definitions (this is a bit more important then you will realize). Deviation from this line allows for the possibility of you not being taken seriously or, worse yet, the other not being able to understand you in the first place.

While there is a bit of room for person with whom you share some common ground, such as if you come from a similar alternative culture or political strand, you should remember that for the most part for your conversations, you will be expected to adhere to a code of conduct. Wandering away from this code of conduct could result in dire results.

Additional: The “S” Word

(Legal Disclaimer: This section does not encourage any person(s) to commit suicide; the purpose of this section is to philosophize and consider the implications of suicide as an act in relation to communication. Persons considering suicide are encouraged to seek professional help)

Suicide is something which happens. It is part of human behavior. Without offering my opinion on suicide I can say this: as someone who has struggled—at times—with such thoughts, as well as the thoughts of others, I can say this: don’t drag others into your struggle; by this I mean that if you are preparing to commit suicide, and imminently intend to act upon your decision within minutes or hours, don’t contact people.

By this statement, I do not mean don’t leave a suicide note or don’t call a crisis line, or reach out for help to a qualified personnel. If you want help then reach out and start the process. When I say don’t contact people I mean don’t leave Facebook posts and/or messages, texts, tweets, recordings, and don’t offhandedly mention (in person) your plans to strangers or contacts. Just act upon your decision.

Why do I say this? Because attempts fail, you suddenly change your mind, you sober up. Additionally: someone you leave the message with, or someone who sees it, could call the police; while the moment may pass the repercussions may not. A failed attempt could leave your whole family knowing your personal business, thus negating your privacy. Likewise, an attempt called off—or forgotten—after you have sent messages could result in hospitalization and the altered opinions of friends, classmates, and co-workers.

It is a human need for emotional and existential connections. When we are down in the dumps and on the edge this is especially true. Besides, sometimes there is this part of ourselves who wants to be talked out of our decision, or who wants to earn some pity, or just have a friendly voice by their side near the end. And yet I have found, foregoing those persons who use suicide threats to control people, that the risks of such communication, and the emotional and moral turmoil thrust on the person you contact, rarely have a tangible pay-off. I’m not going to say that it is selfish to contact people, or that it is wrong to do so, but it does have its own socially ambiguous baggage which has the potential to be highly counter-productive.

Even so, if you do intend on contacting people, I have provided a brief list of dos and don’ts, as well as a sort of code of conduct which I hope you will find useful.

DO leave a suicide note; DON’T leave unsolicited messages/threats on social networking sites or with people.

DO (if applicable) leave a Will or intent concerning what to do with your belongings/wealth/assets.

DO inform people of your decision IF they have expressed prior interest in knowing if you plan on killing yourself (and if they have said previously they will not interfere with ways you have deemed inappropriate).

DO express your gratitude and love to your friends and family; DON’T belittle or deride, saying that it is [so and so’s] fault for your decision.

DO find a method and place of suicide which will enable the least amount of suffering for yourself as well as efficient clean-up after the fact. Tailor your attempt to your method: find a suitable place (for instance, any attempt utilizing firearms is perhaps best suited to the outdoors); DON’T spite people in an attempt by purposefully making the clean-up more arduous than it already is likely to be for them (for example, using firearms in an attempt indoors, in a frequently used room of the house or one that holds special meaning to someone).

Russian Pride Propaganda

As many readers should know, the situation in Russia (and Eastern Europe in general) has been bleak lately for our Gay brethern and sisters. Between attacks by Neo-Nazis and even the homophobia of many so-called “Leftists”, Russian Queers are in a dismyal state of occupancy with few allies willing to help in their struggle. After all, when the overwhelming sentiment on the ground is that “gay propaganda” must be “contained”, so as to not affect the children (won’t somebody think of the children?!”– re: young boys– any Queer activist knows that something must be done to counteract the hate and reactionaries.

While it is but a small step, a group of annoymous Russian artists have embarked on a interesting mission. Subverting the “gay propaganda” skit used by reactionaries, this collective of artists have repurposed Soviet era propoganda posters for use in the equality movement. Dubbing their creation “Pride Propaganda”, these re-worked posters take the national-chavunism held by many contemporary Russian nationalists and inverts the core idea to indicate homosexul love and acceptence.

Below are some examples:

Father, mother, the whole family!

Queer workers lead the way!

Shout it to the sky, you love of labor and yourself!

Pride extends even to the skies!

Every school boy and girl should be able to be proud of who they are in the school-place, without fear of attack from reactionaries.

A vibrant reminder that proud Queers are part of the working class as well, and must assert themselves for their right of inclusion!

Help, Advice, and Windows to Me

Obviously I have not been updating this blog frequently or even irregularly at this point. This is not to say that I have not been accurately aware of when people comment or even the general stats of the blog. I have just been very preoccupied with the typical: writing essays, theorizing, waging unending blood war against the religious and political Right, and huffing fairy dust(*) (you know, the typical young adult stuff). However, I have not forgotten about the people who view my posts. I still intend on creating original multi-media content when I am able to buy a new computer but until that magically day I am moribund with my junker. But since I will be making an effort to post a least a little more frequently, and while I whittle away on my newest advice guide for ya’ll, I wanted to just post this hold-over until I am able to post something more substantial. It is just a compendium of useful posts for the wandering teen or young adult to enjoy, posts which I believe in some way of value to anyone willing to click on a site with the word “Queer” in the title. Enjoy!

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Self-Help/Advice

The Gay Guide to High School: A primer (of sorts) concerning some situations which you may encounter at some time in high school. Though the post/short story itself is short, there are many additional comments left by others users and myself which expound upon the core material.

Cyber-Bullying: How to Prevent and Manage Online Harassment: Online can be fun and harmful. Predators are everywhere and though the comments section on a politically charged story often come with more than one politically incorrect surprise, with this guide you will know that you are not alone nor the only one with a bit of hesitation about the internet.

Overcoming Obsession: Outgrowing Infatuation with Straight Peers: Every gay kid knows the feeling– that moment when you realize you have fallen for someone who is totally straight; the sadness, awkward feeling and loneliness. It weighs on you night and day and doesn’t make seeing him around school any easier. Read this post to gain some helpful advice on how to handle these less-than-awesome feelings.

Queer Forward: Resisting Bigotry and Struggling for Social Change: Although this post only applies to people with a hankering for activism, and has some protocol/situational advice which is only useful in large cities, I think the general contents will be of interest to anyone wanting to help alter their community for the better.

Personal Stories: Queers Talk about “Coming Out” and Accepting Themselves

Coming Out: The Inner War: I, the blogmaster (TGU), share my coming out story. Dramatic and lovely, if you enjoy reading tales of people revealing their true selves, then you will want to give this a glance.

Pride Parades: A First Timer’s Account: TGU’s tale of attending his first gay pride parade; riveting!

Love and Support: Why they are Needed: An entry which discusses the virtues of a loving family and the support they can offer to their kids who are still struggling with their own identities.

Defending Queers: The Queering of Life

The Ex-Gay Myth: A polemic concerning the fallacies of the so-called “Ex-Gay” movement and why they are liars, hypocrites, and delusional and self-loathing persons who harm the liberation movement.

In Defense of Gay Pride: In a time when so many supposedly proud gay men and lesbian women feel the need to attack the concept of Gay Pride, due to ignorant and misplaced idealism, this posts argues decisively in favor of pride as both a tool for self-empowerment, as well as a political weapon against the right-wing.

(*) Warning: Tinker Bell is a pain in the butt to catch and much crankier when you do… proceed with caution!

What Do You Want?

So this is a content question for anyone who is a longtime reader of this blog or who just happens to stumble upon it and liked what they have read: what kind of content do you want to see in the future? There are many different approaches and with so much to choose from I thought it prudent to ask you, my loyal readers. I have made a short list below but if you have an idea which is not on the list please comment and make your voice heard.

1. More political posts regarding the Queer movement in the U.S and Internationally (such as the weekly queer project updates and theory regarding liberation).

2. More posts pertaining to youth help and empowerment (such as the gay guide to high school and the anti-cyber bullying guide).

3. More personal stories from the blog master’s childhood and adolescence (ex. “coming out: the inner war“).

4. Shared posts from other blogs accompanied by mini-commentaries on the shared post.

5. Video content (such as both shared and original Youtube videos).

6. Podcasts dealing with the issues above (specify).

7. Investigative journalism of local events (such as the various report backs from activist happenings).

8. Media reviews of a Queer nature (such as the homosexuality in Death Note post).

9. Interviews of other online based Queer oriented outlets (ex. the youth pride project interview).

The above are possibilities which could be done in the future. As I said previously, if there are other options which I have not covered please comment below.

I am planning on branching out on my content, on moving beyond merely posting articles. While this will still be the primary content on the site I am interested in doing more than merely writing. So I will be learning the ins and outs of how to do some technological things I have not done before. Hence why this post exists: to see if there is a preference to what kind of content people would like to see the most of. If I get a handle on what content is the most popular then I can devote more time to learning how to create the content people like to see.

Please vote by commenting below.