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Some Thoughts on Fandom, Privacy, Money, and Other Stuff - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
July 25th, 2008
09:57 am

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Some Thoughts on Fandom, Privacy, Money, and Other Stuff

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From:talktooloose
Date:July 25th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
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Not that I want to read pages and pages of invective, but a link would be cool since I am completely out of the loop on this and find it interesting. Where do I find the thread?
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From:mofic
Date:July 25th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
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Where do I find the thread?

I suppose "everywhere" is not a useful answer? I would ordinarily link the the original post that started the contretemps, but it has been deleted. http://ithiliana.livejournal.com/922604.html?format=light is probably as good an entree into the issue as anything.
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From:talktooloose
Date:July 25th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Oy. It's very interesting how high the froth on web-based contretemps grows. Is this because of the instantaneous nature of response? You are writing your first and strongest impressions immediately and not leaving time for reflection. I heard a scientist talking about "count to ten" recently and he was saying how immediate reactions are much more rooted in lower level, reactive brain functions. Counting to ten allows the intellect to get more involved.

I believe it's possible to get the intellect involved enough to compose and post but not to consider deeply. This leads to the highest of high speed volleys by our most aggressive inner squash player. If the goal is deeper understanding and growth all concerned, this is not a good strategy.

Frankly, the most embarrassing thing about being a fanfic writer is not that I spend a large portion of my time creating sex scenes for movie characters but that fandom is often in a state of public high dudgeon. Viz, the recent LJ election.
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From:mofic
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Frankly, the most embarrassing thing about being a fanfic writer is not that I spend a large portion of my time creating sex scenes for movie characters but that fandom is often in a state of public high dudgeon.

LOL!

I don't know about your instantaneous response theory. I think that's probably true in some cases (particularly flaming in email lists) but this seems to be an anger that both spread and grew over the course of a few days. I think, in this case, the high level of anger can be attributed to a few things:

- My guess is a lot of people were already angry at Laura, and this gave them a venue to express that anger.

- The revealing-connection-between-online-and-offline-identity thing is a real hot button for some people. They see it happen to a BNF and they think it could happen to them. Now in this case I don't think there was really any harm to the person it happened to - she doesn't want her identities linked online, but she also doesn't seem particularly concerned and a number of people in the discussion did say that they had no idea that she *wasn't* open about the connection since it's generally known. But it's still clear that the rule about not revealing without permission was flagrantly violated - the particular entry was changed repeatedly to take that out and Laura kept changing it back without comment.

- Making money off of fandom is a hot button issue for a lot of people. In that way, the anger here is similar to that at lj for removing the basic accounts and fanlib for whatever they did (I don't know, but I do know it was supposed to make money). This one's a non-issue for me. I think there are ethical and unethical ways to make money but I'm not at all against the idea of making money at this or any other hobby. I think, though, that many try and few succeed.

- Aside from making money as a "pure" issue (with which I don't have much sympathy) there's a whole issue about making money through deceit and manipulation. People feel duped - they feel like a project that was presented as one thing was really something else. And they feel like the contretemps was manufactured to increase hits on Fan History, and that makes them feel even more duped.



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From:sl_walker
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Here via metafandom's bookmarks.

You're right that in a lot of the anger directed at Laura (because I'm one of those thoroughly pissed at her) is old anger. The problem with her is that she never learns from this. This privacy thing is old news -- somehow, a private e-mail I sent her got sent to others, and this was long before this current kerfluffle.

I don't think she's evil. Just crazy and decidedly lacking in anything like empathy for others. Not quite a sociopath, but definitely with some of those traits.

You're welcome to delete this comment, I won't be offended. But thought I would confirm one view, especially since I did try to work for her and with her for FH, and didn't know her before I got involved with the wiki (thereby not being a BNF who hates her just because.)

I'm sorry it took someone's private info being posted before people started talking about this. But she brought it onto herself.
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From:mofic
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
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Why would I delete your comment? Particularly when you're agreeing with me :-) that some people were already angry with Laura? Hell, I even leave comments of people who disagree with me.

Just to satisfy my own curiosity - when you worked for her on FH, were you aware of any plans to make money from advertising or other means? And, if so, did that bother you?

I think Laura has a real passion for fannish history and a lot of good ideas and I'm really sad to see all of that turning to ashes. But I do agree that she brought it on herself, even if I don't agree with some of the other things you say about her.
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From:sl_walker
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
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I was aware, yes. However, I mostly just brushed it off -- I didn't ever see her finding anyone who would buy the wiki, especially since it was so filled wit useless, badly organized stuff. But since I did like the idea of a fandom wiki, I kept working on trying to clean it up.

Yep, I knew. I didn't think anything would come of it, though, so I mostly just let her ramble about it and kept trying to work on the many issues FH has.

I understand: If she's your friend, she's your friend. She was a friendly acquaintance to me, nothing more, and I genuinely feel bad for the people who considered her a real friend and then got burned. There are tales like that. I only say that I hope she always treats you kindly... really, I do. And good on you for sticking by her. I'm just glad the general internet hopefully no longer will, after this.
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From:anarchicq
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
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I think Laura has a real passion for fannish history and a lot of good ideas and I'm really sad to see all of that turning to ashes.

I disagree with this. I've suggested many things for FH entries. Like fleshing out VB (Because of wank or something.) or including the book When the Fan Hits the Shit. She didn't even really cover the Rowling Trial because "It's too big" and she "Wouldn't be able to do it properly" and she basically didn't care.

But these were both very, very important parts of the history of Fandom. Things that matter, but she couldn't be bothered.

Real life lawsuits > list Fanficton.net authors.
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From:anarchicq
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I think that email got sent to me.

Did it involve edits to the Bleach entry?
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From:sl_walker
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
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That's the one!
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From:elfwreck
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)

Fanlib

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(Here from Metafandom)
What Fanlib did:
  • Spammed people to try to get them to join their archive (annoying, only vaguely and mildly unethical);
  • Their original TOS claimed the right to use anything on the site forever, for any reason they liked;
  • Were rude and condescending at people who asked questions, including "whodahell is this 'Naomi' who sent me the spammy ad email?";
  • Serious lack of clue, in assuming that what most fanfic authors want is a chance to "meet the talent!" behind their favorite shows;
  • Various other minor idiocies, including bad code, inconsistent and changing forum rules, and re-rating fic if it clashed with their preferences. (All bible slash was moved to "adult," regardless of how tame it was.)
  • Continually hyping contests and then mentioning that of course they're only open to people in the US.
They were mostly rude and clueless, and attempting to make money off people whose interests and goals they obviously didn't understand.
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From:hitchhiker
Date:July 26th, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)

Re: Fanlib

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And this is my underlying problem with people who try to make money off fandom - not the monetisation per se (a friend back in Houston is a dealer at cons, and he does a great job of it), but the way in which it often encourages people to behave in ways that they themselves have to realise are unwanted and unappreciated. The other problem, of people looking at fandom mostly as a market while not actually participating in that fandom, is annoying but ultimately self-limiting, but when an actual fan takes advantage of their accepted position within the community to run a business, and then chooses to indulge in the same kinds of antagonistic behaviour that one expects from external marketers, that's pretty much peeing in the communal trust pool.
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From:melannen
Date:July 25th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
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>>- My guess is a lot of people were already angry at Laura, and this gave them a venue to express that anger.

I'll back this up too - I don't think Laura's evil, but I do think she's toxic. She's better than anyone else I've ever encountered in fandom at poisoning the well-- She's pretty much single-handedly prevented me (and other people I know of) from being able to indulge *our* love of fannish history, because I know that anything I do publically, I'll have to go through Laura Hale first. Either by acknowledging that she's the authority and she's in charge, or by having to put up with her showing up in *everything* posted publically on the topic talking about how she's the authority and anybody who does anything non-approved by her is bad and wrong.

That's not even speaking as one of the people she specifically targetted - I disengaged with her *fast* as soon as it came clear we were unable to communicate - just as one of the people who effectively gave up on that part of fandom because it's not worth the emotional energy of having to fight past Laura every time.

So no, with this particular post she hasn't done anything more vile than what a lot of fans have done or than other things she's done repeatedly in the past. But I'm willing to jump on board now because I'm hoping that it's got enough momentum to make her toothless at last, and to let the rest of us detoxify enough to have fun again.

I bear her no ill will, though, and if she can figure out how to coexist in fandom without automatically descending to scorched-earth tactics, good on her.
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From:franzeska
Date:July 26th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
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this seems to be an anger that both spread and grew over the course of a few days

Days? Months more like for most of the OTW people, and that's assuming we didn't know her before we joined the OTW. The furious outpouring of hate is more because those of us who aren't afraid of her are seriously pissed about her ability to bully those who are. This isn't the first time she's outed people. I'm not sure it's even the first time she's outed this person. We played nice. We took the high road. She's obviously incapable of abiding by even the most minimal of social norms, and I don't want her hurting any clueless fandom newbies just because the rest of us are too chicken to warn them.
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From:mofic
Date:July 26th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
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I think you are substantiating what I said. I told talktooloose that I didn't think this particular outpouring of anger was due to posting quickly before thinking, but was building over days. So I suggested that one of the reasons it was happening was because some people were already angry at Laura and this became a venue for expressing that anger.
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