Puzzle 604: Streaming Content 39

On May 26, I will turn 26. To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of my board game Battle of LITS! Got a BoardGameGeek account and some Geekgold? Tip this Games for Geekgold entry, and on May 26, you will have a chance at winning! Oh, and if the tips reach 676 Geekgold, my readers will be treated to the biggest LITS challenge I've ever created!
(Edit: Send me your solution to this puzzle via e-mail or Geekmail; for every correct solution received before May 26, I'll roll a 4-sided die and knock off that many Geekgold from the 676 Geekgold threshold, up to a maximum of 100 Geekgold!)

A brief manifesto.

I am affected by what is known as Asperger's syndrome. I know this not because I have diagnosed myself as having the condition like many on the Internet do, but because multiple professionals independently diagnosed me as having it, long ago when my mother was desperate for answers on how to raise me, years before I was mature enough for the gravity of the diagnosis to hit me the way it does now. Those with Asperger's have a reputation for being extremely skilled in a particular field despite otherwise being very deficient (especially regarding interacting with people), and this has perhaps blessed me in regards to my puzzle-writing abilities. Nonetheless, I sometimes wish I could trade some of the honor that my talent has brought me (including having co-written two tests on Logic Masters India with World Puzzle Champion Palmer Mebane) with a life that more closely resembles that of a normal human being, because Asperger's has made me a magnet for bullying.

Bullying upsets me so much that I could write a very whiny piece about bullying that nobody will ever actually read. Instead, I shall provide this summary: I was bullied in school. I was cyberbullied within the puzzle community. I was cyberbullied within other communities. The result was low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and a hardened misanthropic heart. Having experienced bullying and the awful consequences firsthand, I have decided to write out a few tenets that I deeply believe in, and which I hope that we as the logic puzzle community can embrace. Perhaps these tenets could be borrowed by a bazillion other communities, too, but the puzzle community is the one in particular I care about.

The puzzle community must be welcoming. People on The Grey Labyrinth bullying me over my Christian faith nearly cost me my life and my eventual puzzle-writing career. While I accept that maybe I wasn't a mature person then, and absolutely wasn't a skilled puzzle author, I still wish I could have been welcomed with a more constructive type of criticism. My vision for this community of ours is that newbies can be treated with a great deal of respect. Gentle guidance, not name-calling, is what will bring newbies into the fold. On that note, I must applaud Art of Problem Solving, a community whose focus is on mathematical competitions more than the logic puzzles that are the focus of this blog, for being as PG-rated as it is. My life might have been on better footing sooner had my first online puzzle community been more like AoPS than the GL.

The puzzle community must be united. I envision a haven where numerous individuals who are like-minded regarding puzzles can set aside every other difference they have and talk about puzzles. Anything that might threaten to divide us (like differences in religious or political views) should be kept very separate from the joy we derive from puzzles. Does that mean we have to keep our views bottled up completely? No, not necessarily. While it isn't advertised very much, BoardGameGeek has an entire subforum for Religion, Sex, and Politics (RSP for short), designed to allow rational discussions to occur while not letting the discussions creep into the board game discussion, which everybody expects to be pure fun. With the RSP discussion and board game discussion thus separated, the quality of both kinds of discussion is improved. Nobody who wishes to avoid the drama that politics tends to bring in has to worry so much about it sneaking into their fun. (I suppose that maybe my early stay on The Grey Labyrinth might have improved with such an idea, instead of "Off Topic" encompassing things like time-wasting Flash games and politics alike.) [Edit: I have learned that people in the RSP section of BoardGameGeek aren't any more civil and tolerant than anywhere else on the Internet. But then, having them segregated from everything else, including other off-topic discussions which are less controversial, is still probably a good idea.]

The puzzle community must be philanthropic! Every other freakin' community has some sort of philanthropic thing. Video gamers seem to have a marathon for every franchise and for every occasion. Whovians have a really geeky book. Even bronies have something! While I have met some awesome people within the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom who don't make me feel like a sinner for daring to have different tastes from theirs (shout-outs and bro-not-hooves to Corran Horn and Subido of BoardGameGeek, and to Facebook follower Adam Placencia!), my point remains that I feel the puzzle community has the potential to do better. This was what drove me to do that one thing last year, and I am determined to find a way to do the same thing, but more successfully.

I was recently alerted of the existence of American Red Crosswords, a set of crosswords written by multiple talented cruciverbalists to raise money for the American Red Cross. This is great! But what about the rest of the world? People in India whose English isn't all that fluent won't be into crosswords written by Americans designed to challenge people whose native tongue is English. However, some of those residents of India are more adept at logic puzzles than most Americans. They deserve a chance to participate in something that's both philanthropic and related to their hobbies, too. Let's give them an opportunity they'll never forget.

I close with a snippet from a reader e-mail: One of the things that makes the puzzle community meaningful to me as a *community* is the amount of generosity in it -- how many wonderful authors give away their works for the enjoyment of all, and how many top solvers give their advice to help others learn to solve better.  I think the next step in that generosity is things like your fundraising drive. Whenever I feel like ChipIn for Children's Charities was a failed experiment, words like these embolden me to find the time to experiment again. I promise that when that experiment rolls around, it's going to be awesome.

Puzzle 603: Tetra Firma 41

I failed to raise 603 GeekGold on GeekStarter. Here's a consolation prize for all five of the individuals who supported me: Barliman, n_r_a, Pawndawan, WrongWrongWrong, and zefquaavius.

Back me on GeekStarter, and I'll make a super giant Tetra Firma!

Today, BoardGameGeek unveiled a new service called GeekStarter, wherein you can pledge your virtual GeekGold to fund various projects. Crowd-funding is fun! Right?

Anyway, if I can raise 603 GeekGold, puzzle 603 on my blog will be a 64x50 Tetra Firma behemoth! Remember that time when I made a 64x50 Polyominous behemoth? And when I made that 31x45 Tetra Firma puzzle with a guy's name in it? Your support will let me combine the size of the former with the tetrominoes of the latter!

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