looking for my journal, so that you can see where I’ve moved my fics, don’t bother. I haven’t in fact, moved. I don’t in fact, intend to move. This journal was never intended for my fics in the first place – except as an archive maybe. But I can’t think anyone is reading this journal.
I get that there’s a whole heap of kermitflailing going on about people who report things, and fics being pulled. My total reaction is “Meh”.
1. I’m not a popular author. Pretty much only a core of maybe five people give a shit if I write fics. I can email if it’s that bad. That’s okay with me, because I really have zero total desire to be a creative writer. I am much better at other things, and I have no dreams that if I do this fanfiction thing, I will one day be a real creative writer. If you don’t know that, then, you haven’t read my fics. So if my fics are pulled my reaction will be meh.
2. I understand that some of said flailing is about censorship and first amendment rights. Give me a break. There are a number of problems with this idea:
- I’m an Australian. I don’t in fact have “first amendment” rights. I don’t have the absolute right to free speech under my Constitution. I am not so attached to the idea that I would take a website to the High Court, or to International courts. I don’t throw around my right to speak unless I actually think it’s something important. That’s not fanfiction. I doubt that those bleating on about their own first amendment rights would no doubt be reluctant to take this shit to court. They care that much. Fanfiction isn’t important in the general scheme of things.
- Fanfiction net is a private company. Just like the local restaurants I do not have an absolute right in them to free speech, even if it was an important subject to me. That’s why when political meetings are held, they are not held in a restaurant. At least here, they are held on public land, or in a building hired for a specific purpose. I do not have any specific right to be served in a shop or restaurant for that reason. Just like people can’t come to my house and say what they want and insist that I cannot remove them no matter what crazy shit they say because they have rights. They effectively leave their rights to speech at the door. It exists only in the public domain, not to a specific private site not owned by the government.
- I signed an agreement every single time I posted a new story. I digitally acknowledged the rules. My breaking of said rules doesn’t mean that I don’t have to follow them if caught out. I cannot reason that just because Fanfiction.net didn’t catch me when I broke those rules, or just before I broke them, that therefore they have given me extra rights to keep breaking those rules. That shit doesn’t fly for those who love to post things really against the rules, and it doesn’t fly for me. If some fool posts a fic full of pedophilia, they cannot then reason that they are somehow entitled to keep it there cause no one stopped them. Since I’m a grown adult that can read, it might have been better for me to actually read the damn things before complaining. Where I have broken rules (and I have) I will take my fic being pulled on the chin. Not wailing because I got caught.
- I am extremely happy with things not being ads. I’ve run across only one advertisement, and I’m happy that I don’t have to click on 100 advertisements to find a story. So I’m perfectly fine with the amount of censorship that already exists. It works in my favour.
- I have witnessed the whole sale reporting of fics with plagiarism. So the standards for free speech differ according to if you like a fic and the author. I saw the exhorting of others to report someone’s fics for plagiarism. In my view, without references, most of these fics do in fact plagiarise. As an academic, I wouldn’t put my real name to this shit without some better reference lists.
3. I haven’t been captured by the nature of livejournal. I have a livejournal under another name, so I know this website fairly well – and hence how I knew the moment I got my journal that I could personalise it with my own template. I’m not thrilled on the disjointed nature, and the inclusiveness that goes on. Mainly because one particular person can lead their friends against another. Some readers are not “good enough” for some writers to reply to. I don’t much like that atmosphere at Fanfic.net (because it does exist), but here, with the friending and such, it only encourages nastiness. I am not a huge fan of nastiness, or of making “friends only” posts.
4. Much of the flailing has been about people having fics pulled. Well then. Must be true. This organisation, the Literate Union, has targeted one fic in SVM that broke so many rules it wasn’t funny – and the author pulled that herself. What I do notice is that the fics that are pulled by the authors or by Fanfic.net are from authors who go out of their way to antagonise readers. If a reader leaves a negative review, the author gets their mates to all absolutely hammer said reviewer. They go on Twitter (and I’ve watched them) and hammer the character of said reviewer. They tell their mates and then their mates hammer that previous reviewer in reviews. That’s how valuable critical reviewers are – and why I don’t give them by the way. I don’t tell people what my problems are with their story, unless I can think of a nice way to put it, so that they don’t hammer the shit out of me behind my back. Since I don’t actually care if they succeed at their dream of becoming an actual writer, I’m fine if they trundle down the path of “shit that will never be published” so they can have their positive reviews all they like – they’ll need them for when their writing careers come to nothing.
Here is a vaguery of the fics that have been pulled, by the authors or by Fanfic.net that I know of. Please note that I’m trying to obscure identities because I don’t really want to call those people out:
1. A True Blood fic apparently told it needed to be cleaned up or pulled because of content. It was pulled by the author, and a couple of chapters left up. The fics themselves were graphic rape fics. No one would publish those fics – not in the mainstream publishing arena. They were short on plot, and big on beating the shit out of the female character. It was MA with explicit themes of sex and violence, and surely broke the rules for Fanfic.net. One of the co-writers of that fic was so wary of the community dislike of it, they actually were a shadow writer – they wouldn’t confess that they wrote part of it. Yeah, sure, it’s your conventional fic…whatever you say. What’s important to note is that they had quite a few reviewers who protested their fics openly. Did they deal with this in a mature fashion? NO. They posted on their profile and called for other reviewers to harangue them in their reviews. What a fucking surprise someone started reporting them – it had to be the LU right? Not a reader with a grudge. The LU had no clue about that fic. They didn’t care about it or target it. Readers who really hated the content reported it. I don’t know how many people reported it, but I do know one person who reported it and told me by private message that they did. They were not part of the LU (I don’t know those people) and they reported it with no problems. So there is zero evidence of LU involvement.
2. A SVM fic that was targeted by the LU – Lord Kelvin left a review (which is how you know that they reported it) and the author pulled their fics in totality. It broke numerous rules, and had serious explicit themes of sex and violence. Most hilariously, it also had a protest review from the shadow author of the above fic. So, even though the LU was involved, there is zero evidence that the LU actually had any clout to get it pulled. If it had been pulled, it would have been pulled for breaking the rules. It was reported to the LU by an SVM reader.
3. A SVM fic pulled by the author, and I don’t know much about that. They pulled it claiming that they had been involved in a dialogue with Fanfic.net about problematic themes. They moved somewhere else, and they’re not talking about what the problem content was. There is zero evidence it was on the LU’s hitlist.
4. A SVM fic pulled by Fanfic.net for generally breaking the rules. The reason is unknown, and the author has generalised information. However, they did (like a couple of other fics) cross the line into the absolute resemblance to the real life actor – which was commented on in reviews by readers who said that they were unoriginal and copying paparazzi sites. Prior to this, said author spent their author note telling off readers for being not grateful enough, or too needy. Said rant was generalised, and at least half the size of the chapter, and aimed in a general way at all readers. They harangued their readers on other sites, they chatted to their friends about them, and they generally antagonised those who disagreed with them. It really doesn’t surprise me that someone took that personally, thought the author too big for their britches and then reported them. The other fics that cross the line aren’t reported because those authors don’t make the mistake of haranguing their reviewers. As you can’t give a negative review without this phenomenon, then it doesn’t surprise me that they quietly report your fic and watch you flail. So if you break the rules, people you piss off will report you. There is zero evidence that they were on the LU’s hitlist.
5. Various other fics pulled by authors, and then they flounce off elsewhere. Even those who flounce off inevitably come back or give up writing because the reviewing culture is so positive in this community. People forget to check a couple of hundred journals, and writers make it hard for their readers. Why bother to read fics if they will be pulled and moved on you? Fuck – it’s fanfiction not the Holy Grail or anything that must be preserved. Stop moving it around as sacred. So I won’t be doing that. I will be keeping my stuff at Fanfic.net until they kick me out, and then I’ll probably post in a couple of places just in case someone wants it, if they want it. I will take my kicking with grace and not flail around with talk of censorship. But I’m not moving myself and fucking with things. That smacks of effort.
On the Literate Union generally:
They’re trolls. Pure and simple. They love to upset you, and they do that by enforcing the rules. They are no different to when writers and their little posse of friends get together and decide to “take a fic down” and I’ve seen that too – when the rules only apply to places like the LU and not writers on Twitter. They’re not special because they’re a group. From my initial appraisal of the “dangerous new program” it seems that it searches the blurbs of fics for rule breaking, and then either further targeting that fic, or automatically report it for breaking the rules. The members of the LU are trying to clean up Fanfic.net from rule breakers. They don’t have traction if you’re not breaking the rules.
Contrary to popular opinion, bad spelling is not something that is being reported. But I’ve noticed if you want to find someone breaking the rules, then just look for common bad spelling. As someone who reads bad fic, and fic that is crap, let me tell you, they are the ones with bad spelling. It’s just a way to point out who to target in a quick and dirty search.
All I hear about is panic – and I got a PM last time people were panicking – when only fics that were being pulled for actually breaking rules in a serious way were pulled. I got the full Henny Penny treatment of how I had to leave. I don’t have to do jack. Last time fics I’ve reviewed were reported to the LU – and the LU didn’t bother to target them because they weren’t breaking the rules. They assessed them, and then didn’t fucking bother. They deleted the post reporting them, and nothing happened. The drama died down because the authors in the “fight for their rights” found out that their fics didn’t fit in the same category with the ones above. Their fics weren’t as controversial as they thought. I think a few of those authors were a little embarrassed that they weren’t as out there as they thought. They built up the drama of fighting the man….and nothing happened with the LU. They went on about moles – moles in our community – yeah, they’re called reviewers you’ve pissed off. They could be your best mate who wants to torture you or watch you flail. Back then, none of my friends were reported, but I found all of this out from just surfing the web. If you think that the reviewers you harangue somewhere else haven’t read this shit, you’re sorely mistaken. All of this crap is written in the open and bitched about openly – that’s how I know. I can read it without any special access.
I would actually boot up this program, to see what it does, but I’m unclear if it actually reports fics. Since I don’t report fics, that’s the only thing that stops me. I know that in the last little cycle of this stupidity, I was accused elsewhere of being a reporter, but I’m not. I don’t report for plagiarism, and I don’t report for rule breaking. I’ve reported one ad. I don’t gang up with my mates to get a plagiarising fic removed, and I don’t gang up with my mates to get a rule breaking fic banned. That’s other people. In this “only positive” review state, it is not a surprise that readers disgruntled with their treatment will report fics. It’s also not a surprise that in a community of women, fics with serious explicit sexual violence against women is in fact reported. “Don’t like it don’t read it” applies just as much to the dissenting view of reviewers as much as it does to fics themselves.