About Alis

Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.

Own it.

To reiterate the point I and others have repeatedly made, if you don’t own your online presence you’re just [one] malprogrammed bot or one bogus DMCA notice away from being shut down. It doesn’t matter if your content is on WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Youtube, etc, if it is someone else’s platform then you’re still at risk.

Nate Hoffelder on platforms.

While I (obviously) do agree with this, I will note “owning your own platform” is not actually a panacea in the sense that, online, we’re always beholden to someone else, whether it’s our website host, datacenter operator, CDN provider, domain registrar, or whatever. These relationships are complex. I won’t host a website in the US any more, for example, after EA slapped my old videogame fan blog with a DMCA over Star Wars: The Old Republic screenshots. I could’ve counter-claimed, but doing so would’ve forced me to renounce any potential protection under Australian law (DMCA notices are deceptively vicious if you’re not American). It was such a trivial fucking thing, and I nearly lost my entire website because of it.

On the other hand, my old host did lose a customer. So… y’know. There’s that.

That being said: hosting all your content with a massive third-party aggregation company that considers you to be a product, not a customer? Yeah, nah. Not a great idea, huh.

2018-12-05T10:19:49+00:005th December, 2018|Tags: internet, law, tech|

Oh no not even Rothko is safe!

Relatedly: to this day, my mother has a framed Rothko exhibition poster she stole from a wall in a random room in the Venice Guggenheim museum when she was a teenager. So I guess I’ve always subconsciously associated Rothko paintings with crime? Which is… kind of inappropriate, I guess? But really, really specific and probably not what The Algorithm is flagging for…

2018-12-06T07:42:10+00:005th December, 2018|Tags: social media, tumblr|

HTTPS is still bullshit, part one million.

In this episode: HTTPS is still bullshit because it does not enforce single origin. That is, a website can appear as “valid HTTPS” while serving up to you malicious third-party JavaScrpit and cookies and iframes and all sorts of attendant garbage.1 Worse, because of the way the Modern Internet™ works (i.e. being monetized by third-party adtech), there is no way of changing this without either, a) breaking every major website, or b) creating a multi-tier internet based around which websites can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars a year for EV certs.

  1. So long as they’re being served from a site that also uses HTTPS. Which pretty much everyone does nowadays, even malware vendors, largely thanks to Google pushing the technology to sell more analytics products. ^
2018-06-15T07:06:03+00:005th December, 2018|Tags: infosec, ssl, tech|

So to any fandom people looking for a new home in the post-Tumblr world, I’ve set up as a fandom-friendly and fan-run Mastodon instance.

I’m still setting up some things like the terms of service (and the all-important custom emoji), but general policies will include:

  • moderation for harassing or abusive content
  • allowed adult content (with content warnings in public timelines)
  • no ads, tracking, or user monetization.

For those unclear on Mastodon, it’s a Twitter-like social network, a primer on which may be found here. Any other questions, feel free to ping me. Otherwise, um… enjoy?

2018-12-04T20:21:18+00:004th December, 2018|Tags: fandom, mastodon, social media, tumblr|


The prominence of the Holocaust in American culture serves a crucial function: we know what evil is, and we know the Germans did it. There is, of course, a large and growing body of work done by historians, cultural critics, and others that examines more specifically American forms of evil. Few of them, however, receive the same widespread public attention or sales figures as the latest book, film or memoir about yet another aspect of the Holocaust, which lets us have our cake and eat it, too. We can spend our time pondering serious matters, give appropriate expression to our horror, and lean back in the confidence that it all happened over there, in another country.

Susan Neiman on cultural sins.

[Content warning for discussions of the Holocaust, Nazism, the US slave trade and, briefly, the genocide of Native Americans.]

The whole essay is about the way in which America uses the Holocaust (and WWII in general) as a form of distraction from the slavery and genocide its own history. And while the text focuses mostly on the US and Germany,1 I couldn’t help reading it thinking of the Australian culture warrior bogeyman—the Black Armband of History—and the ways in which we, also, like to avoid our darker pasts.

  1. And Tarantino films, which I think Neiman… is slightly too lenient on. Because, the thing you have to remember about Inglourious Basterds is that it’s set in a broader “film universe” context in which killing Hitler is demonstrably shown to lead to a more violent, more brutal world. On the one hand, I really doubt Tarantino intended this per se; I think it’s probably just unfortunate fridge logic and a natural product of a dude who really isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. And one the other… yikes. Talk about having one’s cake. ^
2018-06-14T07:46:43+00:004th December, 2018|Tags: culture, cw: holocaust|

Things I care about in RPGs:

  1. What awesome race can I play? (Horns/tails preferred.)
  2. What awesome clothes can my PC wear to look awesome at all times?
  3. Who are my love interests and what tragic story can I console them through?


  1. Combat, I guess.
2018-12-06T07:54:51+00:004th December, 2018|Tags: gaming, rpgs, video games|

Middle-class crime.

Apparently the savings supermarkets thought they would make in wages by installing self-check machines have almost been outpaced by the rise in self-check shoplifting. Go figure.

Confession: Once I accidentally pressed the wrong button on the produce screen and bought my nectarines as an onion. This brings my self-check-to-cashier crime ration to 1:1, on par with the one time some kid gave me my jalapeños free because he couldn’t figure out where to find them in the register.

2018-06-26T13:50:11+00:003rd December, 2018|Tags: culture|

Kingdomless kings.

Because the rage that ruins these white men’s joy and consumes their mediocre beings and turns them violent will turn on me and countless other black people, brown people, disabled people, queer people, trans people, and women of every demographic. Because while I have to fight for my life and the lives of my community members I will also have to fight an angry white man who thinks that somehow I, or someone like me, got that bit of success or talent or visibility that was destined for him. That somehow, while dealing with micro-aggressions, macro-aggressions, a racist school system, education system and entertainment system — while trying to stay healthy with a racist healthcare system and stay employed in a racist employment system — I had time to steal the greatness that he was supposed to be and….I don’t know… smoke it or eat it or something. Because a white man would rather murder strangers who look like me than admit he got conned. And other white men would rather call it justified than ridiculous and pathetic.

Ijeoma Oluo on the con.

2018-06-13T15:46:56+00:002nd December, 2018|Tags: culture|