Art by Maciej Kuciara

Art by Maciej Kuciara

010 - An Open Letter to r/Cyberpunk

by Lucius Felimus | December 22, 2020


Dear r/Cyberpunk:

First of all, I want to thank you.

I first started browsing your subreddit to look for artworks, which I collect to use as references for my own. Thank you for all the inspiration.

I also found the comments section rather engaging for the most part, as it's always a good thing to hear from the community at a personal level. Thank you for all the discussion.

However, when the post in question is a photograph of a modern city, I can't really say that I'm comfortable with the gatekeeping attitude of some members of the community, being quick to blurt out "This is not cyberpunk!" in the comments. I can understand the sentiment, but even if the OP wasn't me, I can't help but feel attacked.

But still, I want to thank you for this. Thank you for reminding everyone what the genre we all know and love really is about, which helped to push my art in the right direction. When I finally start creating art that truly fits the criteria of cyberpunk, maybe I can remind everyone of the same - albeit in a positive manner and without putting anyone down.

And one day, I did. There's a certain picture I took that I titled "High Tech, Low Life", which is about... well, actual high tech and low life. I consider it to be my magnum opus (as of late) and there's a reason why it's the first picture you see on my portfolio.  I want to establish my reputation as a photographer who captures the true meaning of cyberpunk; not just Asian cities with neon aesthetics. This is the direction I'm trying to push myself towards, thanks to the criticisms I've seen on other people's photos.

HIGH TECH, LOW LIFE

I uploaded this photo to r/Cyberpunk because I finally felt like I can post something worthy of the title, even just for once. I was surprised that the general community liked it. It even got to 17k upvotes and went viral on r/all for a while. But one of the moderators took it down just because it's a picture of a modern city.

I don't get why this rule is even a thing. This is supposed to be a genre that's heavily grounded in reality. We can already see it manifesting in the real world as we speak, and what I'm trying to do is capture these manifestations as photographs. I only add the signature aesthetic to make a statement that the real world (especially this dystopian metropolis that I live in) is already cyberpunk - that it's no longer a work of fiction. Hell, even William Gibson once said that "modern Japan simply was cyberpunk".

This is when I realized that the moderators are just neckbeard curators who just approve and remove posts based on their own personal whims, without much regard for the community's vote on what content is acceptable for the subreddit. You keep saying "let the downvotes decide" yet you set up stupid rules on restricting certain types of content. How can you call yourself a cyberpunk community, when you at the higher-ups hold all the real power instead of the common redditors who are just there to enjoy content in the ways they see fit?

Congratulations, you've just gone full meta as an example of an oppressive dystopia in the form of an online community.

Honestly, I'm still bummed about this because as a creator who's struggling to find an audience, I know your subreddit would love to see my content. But since I'm now banned there, I have to look elswhere for both discussions and sources of inspiring content. Luckily, I found out about r/CoreCyberpunk and Cyberpunk Forums. Despite supossedly being the more gatekeepy communities, I find it ironic that they welcome my work, as long as I explain my vision and concept for my photography. Which I'm happy about, really, because I consider concept writing to be one of my key strengths and something that I take pride in.

I had high hopes for r/Cyberpunk. I really did. But since your subreddit is in a state of disrepair (and I'm sure many would agree with me for similar or different reasons), I don't think I can recommend your community to any cyberpunk enthusiast looking for a place in the realm of cyberspace. Until the issues with the current moderation team and the quality of the subreddit are resolved, I'll tell everyone to steer clear of you for the time being.

A cyberpunk outcast,
Lucius Felimus

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