Joshua Luke Johnson
the only living boy in new york
head of content @ Vocal
Relient K: Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...But is This Album As Good As I Remember?
Were you even a Christian kid in the 2000s if you didn't know every "word" to Relient K's seminal masterwork "Gibberish"? 2003 was a funny time to be alive, especially for Christian rock bands and their fans.
The Fantasy Prologue Challenge Winners, and a Very Special Announcement
I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. We recently closed The Fantasy Prologue Challenge, which has been our most successful Challenge so far this year. Nearly 4,000 original fantasy fiction stories were submitted, all beginning with the same sentence:
'Denouement Among the Lilies' — Vocal 2021 Year in Review
Last year, I wrote a reflection spotlighting my favorite stories from 2020. Out of 35,000 stories, I chronicled the ones that stood out; the ones I remembered, logged in a Note on my phone, re-read more than twice, and ultimately shared in my personal iteration of "This Year on Vocal" because they were just too good to keep to myself. That reflection was titled "Am I Here," named after a poem that I will never forget.
I've Never Done NaNoWriMo, But I Think This is My Year
I've always wanted to write a novel. I haven't yet, but trust me, it's not for lack of trying. Technically, I have completed a novel. Two, actually. But both are, well, quite dead to me. Harsh? Hey, it's a rough business. Here on the eve of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), my first step is to kick my feelings to the curb. This isn't about feelings. It's not about ego, and the sooner we all accept that, the more productive we'll be. This month is about one thing, and one thing only.
Hey Siri, Should Artificial Intelligence Decide What is Safe Online?
Over the last decade, and especially within the last five years, technology has raced to keep up with an ever-expanding Internet. Believe it or not, the Internet has become more than just a hub for conversation, eCommerce, and pornography.
We've Updated Our Community Guidelines: Here's What You Need to Know
Vocal's Community Guidelines are the policies by which we protect the Vocal network from hate speech and misinformation, as well as set some standards for quality and professionalism of content.
A (Brief) History of Content Moderation
*Author's Note 4/27/2022: Given the events of the last few days, and as Elon Musk prepares to unleash his limitless resources and late-stage capitalist ideals on the grave issues surrounding online discourse, I believe the contents of this story are more relevant than ever.
ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery): How 15,000 Lines of Code Changed RPGs
Life hasn't been the most exciting lately. I love to travel, so naturally, the shutdown that brought 2020 to a halt has forced me to take up, well, less-preferred means of adventuring. One such method is to explore the open worlds of video games, some of which were created before I was born.
'Loop Hero' is the Perfect Game for a Post-Covid World
While the title of this sophomore release from indie studio Four Quarters is appropriate, albeit bromide, I find it unfortunate that "Oblivion" is already a shopworn gaming trademark, because that is the word that keeps coming to mind as I loop my way closer and closer to 100 hours of game time.
Is Fan Fiction Even Legal? Should I Finally Publish My Star Wars Novella?
“Anakin,” she said as she turned to face him again. “What if we pretended that somebody tried to attack me or something. Then you would have to rush me off planet to keep me safe, right? Or what if I was called to a secret meeting somewhere; it would be your duty to take me there, wouldn’t it?” “I couldn’t do that,” Anakin replied firmly. “My Master would know immediately if one of us were lying.” Padme sighed with frustration. “Why did we even get married if we’ll never see each other?” She wished she could jam the words back down her throat as she picked up the hurt expression on Anakin’s face. “I thought,” he said quietly, “because we loved each other.” “I’m sorry, Anakin,” she said as a wave of guilt came over her.
Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation: Where Does Vocal Draw the Line?
Section 10, Paragraph A of Vocal's internal Moderation Protocols begins with the following statement: Vocal takes a cautious approach to the moderation of stories related to conspiracy theories, especially those that contain subject matters linked to real-world violence.