Open complaint letter to @4ormat from an @OCAD student

They know I am on OCAD’s beta program and not on a paid account, but that is still not a reason to ignore my suggestions. Their user interface has a steeper learning curve than Behance (and to be blunt a few places are outright non-obvious), and if they keep throwing their strengths away I’m not sure how they plan to stay in business.
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2013 00:23:37 -0400
Subject: Using 4ormat as a writing portfolio (please reply, as promised in the Help page)
From: Ambrose LI <>
To: Hello, in the “Help” section you promised that “a member of the 4ormat team will get back to you with an answer.” After more than a month, I am still waiting for a response to my previous suggestion. Last month I suggested a way to make it easier for those of us who have chosen to use 4ormat as a writing portfolio. Not only have you ignored my suggestion (and without giving me an explanation), you have just made changes that make it even harder for people to use 4ormat as a writing portfolio. I find this utterly incomprehensible. It was very difficult to use Behance as a writing portfolio, but things have improved on their side. When I first signed up with 4ormat I thought you guys had an advantage over them because despite their improvements things were still way easier (and much more flexible) here. But instead of building on that strength, you guys are throwing it into the trash. When a classmate told me two days ago that he had just created a (graphic design) portfolio himself, from scratch, using WordPress, I could not understand why he would do that when a ready-made solution like 4ormat exists. But if sites like 4ormat keep changing for the worse, I suppose his decision was justified. -- cheers, -ambrose <>


I went to the 4ormat presentation on Thursday. So this will be our online portfolio, and not Behance, Cargo Collective, or Coroflot. I’m not saying there’s any problems with the decision. It’s a totally fine decision, and as the presenter said, they’ve explored all the options and settled on (what they think is) the best. And 4ormat—while we’re students here—does seem to be very attractive. For one thing, I certainly am going to test how giving it a separate domain will work out. That said, this still means that OCAD will not have an official presence on Behance. That is, people will see Art Center, MICA, RISD, SCAD, SVA, and even Academy of Art, but not OCAD. If I remember correctly, the presenter mentioned that a lot of students don’t have online portfolios. I wonder if that really is the case. Talia has one. Larry also has one. Three is certainly not a representative sample, but for those of us who are already using Behance (or maybe something else), are we really going to give up Behance for two years (or four), use something else, and then when we graduate and lose our free access switch back? I’m not so sure.

The end of the OCAD network on Facebook

Two days ago, on November 23, I received a mass email from IT Help saying that the forwarder that forwards email to will be turned off at the end of the semester. Since Facebook has not been allowing the creation of new networks (nor the update of existing ones, apparently) for quite a while, this means that new students will no longer be able to join the OCAD network on Facebook. Granted, networks on Facebook have not been doing much lately, but that can be said of virtually everything. Everything on Facebook—including messaging, SMS support, and even fan pages)—is getting less and less useful. So perhaps it will just be a matter of time before all the existing networks will die off. Still, this will be a “milestone event” for OCAD: The end of its official network on Facebook must still mean something.

Exclusivity, or the unreliability of Wikipedia

I have long claimed that Wikipedia is strongly biased against knowledge that comes either from non-English-language sources and from cultures (and subcultures) where most of their practices are undocumented. This is cultural imperialism. And I have also long claimed that its now-standard requirement for references (that are not dictionaries and encyclopaedias) are also hindrances into knowledge dissemination. However, during today’s synchronous seminar a different picture of how exclusive Wikipedia has become emerged. It turns out that last year they also did a class project on Wikipedia. And it turned out that most of the stuff they wrote about were deleted. Not edited. Just deleted. On what amounts to bogus grounds. We are talking about a field that, even though can still be emerging already, already has tons of English-language literature published in English-speaking countries. This is a bias that is not even against non-white, non-English-speaking cultures. It is outright unfathomable. What of attitude, really, is this? This of course is rooted not only in the current focus of references, but also on the “principle” of “notability,” which I have always found to be incomprehensible. You can’t imagine when anything will become important. If there were no “notability” requirement, then the second the thing becomes “notable” (whatever notable means), Wikipedia will be the only encyclopaedia in the world to talk about that thing. That would be an unmatched advantage. Whoever is in control of Wikipedia certainly has no such vision. They only focus on short term measurable success, on duplicating the accomplishments of traditional encyclopaedias. They used to talk about knowledge contribution as their fundamental principle; but that is probably one of the biggest lies that ever came out of an entity that purports to belong to the free culture.
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