**“Nobody’s” Having Fun: The Emotional Politics of Empowerment and Hacking in Taiwan’s g0v Community**
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This paper examines the cultural and political functions of “fun” in the g0v community, a large decentralised civic tech/civic hacking community founded in 2012. Although there is an established canon of social movement literature examining emotions as motivating forces (Goodwin, 2001), the focus has remained almost exclusively on negative emotions such as anger (Perry, 2002), disgust, or fear (Barker, 2001). What work exists on fun tends to frame it as satire, irony or performance (Shepard, 2010; Juris, 2014). Thus far, fun has thus not been seen as a motivator of political action in and of itself. This study suggests, rather, that the strategic cultivation of “fun” is used both to motivate political action and to engage in symbolic boundary work. “Fun” is thus not tangential to g0v’s political engagement, rather it is a collective emotion that is consciously cultivated, and it is central to the continued function of the community’s action. This study is based on my participation observation and interviews in the g0v community from 2020-2021.
Whilst making a broader theoretical point about “fun”, this paper also traces the specific emergence of the salience of “fun” within the context of (civic) hacking and civic tech culture in Taiwan and internationally. In doing so, this thesis encourages Taiwan scholars to pay more attention to the g0v community, and what lessons it holds about alternative forms of political engagement and civic participation in contemporary Taiwan.
> I feel there is much remained to be said about "fun" in open source/hacker's culture, and I certainly feel the use of "fun" in g0v lends a lot from that upstream. Making things fun (instead of merely making fun of things) is a generative/productive, and thus political, action. A somewhat far-fetched example: some people (okay, maybe one AFAIK) in g0v when presenting their works would write a song for it and perform it on stage. It is a drive to "create more". This always reminds me of the tradition of OpenBSD project to make a [release song](https://www.openbsd.org/lyrics.html) for each of their releases every six months. Not all of them, in fact I would say very few of them, were made as satire or irony. The main purpose was to celebrate, with the community.
> I also feel there are many "kinds" of fun, and the ones that are central or are more prevalent in the community do change over time. There could also be a "generate gap" on what is fun in the community because people tend to leave when they find that it's not fun, when they don't get the fun that's "trending" here anymore.
> --- pm5