It’s hard to resist a good ds106 assignment submitted by a student- such as the ds106 Propaganda Posters by Daniel Zimmerman (who is taking zero prisoners in this class)

Time to let out your inner Big Brother! Create a propaganda poster for ds106. Use your photo editing software of choice and write a message to inspire your fellow ds106ers. For example, I took a WW2 poster about increasing ammunition production, and turned it into a poster promoting tweeting.

I found a bunch by searching Google Images on “vintage posters” and was drawn in by the superhero look of a set of Kick Ass Posters from Affein Heim Theaters

This was some quick Photoshopping; it will take me longer to describe then to do it. I used Popular Std font to put the “1 0 6” on the head- each a separate layer so I could rotate. For the 6, I converted to bitmap, and did a selection on the background of the poster layer to get a selection I could subtract from the 6.

To change the face, I made a new layer, did a multiple polygon selection of the face opening, and did Edit -> Special -> Paste Into to insert a Face of Groom. I fiddle a bunch with transform, rotate, distort- it is stil not optimal, but at some point you move on…

For the bottom text, I just filled the space of the words with clones of the paper background (moving the text wider apart to slip in the “ds106”. For the MAKE ART text, I used the Popular Std font again, and applied the Craquelure Texture filter to give the letters some gritty. I converted it to bitmap, and then selected all (command A) and nudged it up and down with the arrow to select everything, and used a Stroke at outline the letters.

This assignment can be easy or simple, but the appeal is trying to design something in the motif of these old posters.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. I cannot follow your logic- I just sifted our database, in the last week there has been more than 360 participant created responses to the assignments

    of which 3 are referencing ds106.

    This to do a ds106 propaganda assignment was created by a student, and frankly, if a student wishes to celebrate the class, I am not going to call that over-branding.

  2. My logic isn’t that there is a proliferation of assignments branding ds106

    Rather, that some people are over-branding ds106

    I don’t expect you to get it… I’m just reporting on a reaction, rather than making an argument.

  3. By over-branding do mean that ds106 has too much of a specific personality that is becoming negative?

    There’s definitely a lot of tongue in cheek art created with “ds106” and/or Jim Groom art (that’s an actual assignment by the way). But as Alan mentions that’s a small percentage of the assignments proposed and executed.

    But I’m wondering if you’re speaking to over-branding of ds106 other than the self-revelry aspects. Is the expressed passion for the course somehow excessive? And detracting from the values espoused by the course/community?

  4. I don’t particularly get the term “over-branding,” but I do think I get some of Stephen’s meaning. _Without ever intending too_, sometimes the hyperbolic self-references and self-mockery (ds106-this, ds106-that, “for life,” etc) can end up excluding as much as including. (And all of a sudden people’s hackles get up because it sounded like I just accused them of being exclusionary. Which is NOT what I just did!)

    But take it with a grain of salt – you can’t please all of the people, all of the time, nor should Jim, Alan or anyone even try. Each community has its own particular flavour; if this one isn’t too your liking, start your own. And yours doesn’t need to be antagonistic to this one, maybe just a different flavour.

    This also gets to the heart of my whole issue with people arguing “but it won’t scale” – by “scale” they mean “keep getting bigger and bigger,” massifying. But this vision of scale doesn’t respect flavour or difference, it ends up homogenizing at industrial scale. I am not saying it doesn’t “work,” just that its definition of “working” is flawed. Peace.

  5. This whole conversation about “over-branding” leaves me cold. It’s a jargon-y expression dropped by Stephen with no explanation. And if (as Michael brings up) this complaint is about the expressed passion for the course being somehow excessive, well. . .please. Really? Since when is passion for ideas and people ever excessive?

    It reminds me a of a conference I recently attended at which people apparently complained last year that the “A-list bloggers” were neglecting everyone else. Just because you feel that you are being “left out” doesn’t mean that anyone had deliberately done so.

    Hell, I’m a past instructor of ds106, and I sometimes feel like the train is rushing by me. But I don’t take this personally and I don’t assume that it’s because there is something inherently wrong with the community. *I* decide how I participate in this community. If I feel left out, I really have no one to blame but myself. And, as it turns out, whenever I do dip back in and reveal myself, the community welcomes me with open arms. And they do not judge me for not being part of this all the time (Well, Jim gives me a hard time about this in the office, but he’s my boss now, so he’s allowed to.)

    And, as Scott suggests, communities reflect the values of their members. If you don’t like those values or the direction that a particular community is headed, go start one that reflects what matters to you — and find others to commune with you in it.

    I just HATE the idea that, like EDUPUNK, d106 could become something that people feel like they must rail against just because it is big and bold.

    ds106 is people and art and community and heart and difference and change and, aw fuck, it’s just grand.

  6. My take on this is that the Moncton Mauler is just playing the heel (Professional Wrestling) role – with relish. He’s been challenging The Green Droom to return to the ring for one last Steel Cage Death Match, two falls or to a television time limit (loser leave town) for months and keeps getting ignored.

    The whole “over branded” stratagem is unfolding perfectly. Everybody in the crowd is mad enough to spit. Now it’s a matter of honor and stuff.

    So I think The Green Droom has no choice but to get back in to his leotard and mask and meet the Mauler to settle this malarky once and for all. I just hope I can get a ringside seat for the rematch.

  7. Hiya folks,

    Thanks for the hostility.

    I’ve been through this before. Many times.

    The slogan ‘DS104 4Life’ is like yelling ‘Hort Hort Hort’ to create group identity.

    Read about it here:

    The act of ‘overbranding’ is the act of turning a network into a group. It creates a mantra, the chanting of which identifies you as a member.

    People who are ‘in’ are quite willing to surrender to this higher authority. People who are not ‘in’ are ‘out’ and are subject to varius sanctions from the group, including hostility.

    1. Stephen,
      I can’t help but thinking your missing the tongue and cheek nature of this community as well as the broader fun of the whole thing. But either way your criticism is duly noted, we will try and contain our enthusiasm and joy when it comes to working together to create cool stuff. As for the branding, I think that is where the tongue and cheek and critique opens up all kinds of possibilities to break out of some of the hierarchies of teacher and learner. Is it perfect? No. Is it fun? Yes. Is it all that valuable to be arguing over the branding of a class when we should be talking about why so many people are able and willing to do so much creative stuff? That is what I would like to focus on.

      So forgive me if I can’t take the over branding issue to seriously. As Scott Leslie notes above, if you don’t like it it’s easy enough to find other spaces an communities online that work for you.

      1. Jim, I know the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek, and the whole course is a lot of fun. I’ve been a big fan of it from the start, and have spoken about it often in the most glowing of terms.

        It’s just that you have to be careful. People are too easy to form into a mob – just look at the reactions to my 9 words of criticism after years of praise. What you are taking as fun other people are taking very seriously. That’s the power of branding and group identification.

  8. Hey Stephen,

    Maybe if you had come along and initially left a comment that outlined your concerns about ds106 as a group vs a network we could have all had a fruitful and non-hostile conversation.

    But instead you lobbed “over-branded” into the comment stream with no explanation and then followed up with a vague reference to “some people” and the (always very helpful) observation that you didn’t expect Alan to be able to “get it.”

    By my definition, that’s trolling.

  9. Martha, your definition is incorrect (indeed, I would even wonder why *your* definition is what is relevant here – but I digress).

    Had I been a stranger, had I not had a long history of commenting on Alan’s website, had he and I had no previous conversation, had the point I made be based on a hot-button issue, then it would be trolling. None of these apply here.

    The only thing that makes it even remotely like trolling is that it pops the balloon of group identity that has been forming around ds06. But that of course is exactly the point. And I know that Alan is well aware of my views on this, even if many of the ds106-acolytes are not.

    Fanning the flames by calling my comment ‘trolling’ is what is *actually* trolling.

  10. Actually, upon further reflection, I’ve decided that my behavior here is not what is known as trolling but rather as feeding the troll. Out of respect for Alan (and your long-standing relationship with him), I’m going to stop now.

    It’s a beautiful, winter day in Virginia. I think I’ll go look outside and get inspired to make some art, dammit.

    Signing off,
    One ds106 acolyte

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