noracharles: (Default)
When you organize an event, you try to formulate the rules so they're general, clear, cover the issues you think are most likely to come up, and not so specific that participants feel overwhelmed.

Inevitably, someone will ask for clarification on specific points, or someone will misinterpret the rules in a way you hadn't anticipated, and then you'll have to tell that person that they can or can not do that specific thing according to general rule number whatever, or you may even have to add an entirely new rule to your policy.

Adding the new rule is adding the new rule, all participants can go read the rules when they want to, and you can even make a statement that the rules have been updated.

But policy clarifications are more tricky - how should you handle those?

You might not want to make anyone feel singled out or shamed by talking about their specific issue or misbehavior publicly. On the other hand, if one person didn't know what to do, there might be 10 others feeling confused and doubtful, or just getting ready to do the same thing.

This is my suggestion: when possible, clarify publicly in a way which anonymizes the participant requiring the clarification.

Have an official channel of communication which you and all your co-mods know to use. It doesn't have to be the primary channel of communication, as long as you copy the anonymized clarification there. It could for example be a livejournal or a mailing list, something easy and quick to update.

If you use that same journal or list for all communication regarding your event, then tagging or bookmarking or adding to memories would be a good idea, just so they don't get lost in the crowd.

Remember, there is no such thing as common sense. There is no such thing as shared cultural norms - even participants from the same country may come from very different subcultures. Many people are not good at picking up on vibes from others, so they can't tell when they're upsetting them.

You don't know how many of the participants in your event are feeling insecure about having picked up the unwritten rules correctly, because people who are anxious about participating in organized group events tend to avoid drawing attention to themselves or try to pretend to fit in.

Make it clear that the actual general rules are the rules. The policy clarifications are there as a further datapoints for participants who are in doubt, but are not an exhaustive list of every possible interpretation of the rules.

I'm not suggesting you rush out and make a huge database going back years of every PM, email, and verbal answer you've ever given to any participant in one of your events. I'm suggesting that starting now, you tag or otherwise make findable your public policy clarifications.
noracharles: (Default)
If you're like me, you find the above question baffling and its implications disquieting. I love talking about art. I prefer to go to the movies with friends, to share meals in restaurants with friends, to go to exhibits and concerts with friends, and to talk about literature with friends.

Talking about art allows me to relive my favorite parts of the experience, it brings me closer to other people and gives me insight in them to learn what they noticed and appreciated about the art, and it challenges my understanding and teaches me about how art can be created and performed.

I like talking about the elements I liked, the elements I didn't like, and the elements I didn't understand. I like it when my friends tell me about elements I didn't notice. I like talking about art so much that I even read reviews of art I've not experienced and don't plan to experience, just for the human insight and the pleasure of vicarious experience.

I also like the talking in itself, exchanging ideas, struggling to put abstract concepts into words and constructing arguments, and stretching my brain to understand what others are saying.

Unfortunately there is status in talking about certain art forms. I can enjoy beautiful fashion or masterfully strategized and executed sports matches, but I don't have much to say about that, don't typically seek out fashion or sports or discussion about them, and don't really understand most of what's going on. No, what I love is story telling, and sadly literary appreciation is a status symbol.

Many people feel transported back to school, where they were judged and assigned a status by teachers and class mates based on their ability to appreciate literature in the privileged way. Or they feel the shameful sting of not being a member of the creative class/cultural elite if they can't talk about story telling in the privileged dialect - because make no mistake, when social status is assigned it is on the basis of displaying mastery of the dialect, not on the actual content of what people are saying.

And this fear of being weighed and found too light stops many people from participating in discussions about literature.

Then there is the problem of consensus. Many people feel socially safe and able to hold themselves in some esteem if they're snugly in the center of popular opinions and norms. Being disagreed with by either a person they respect or by a certain number of members of their group will cause them to doubt themselves and their place in that group. Can we still be friends if you like The Beatles and I like The Stones?

It's not an unfounded fear, since so many relationships are based on shared experiences and attitudes. And mostly it works out, when people are allowed to seek out their own friends, for example on the internet. I'm not forced to sit next to you in class, so I don't have to fight so hard to find any sort of common ground with you. What a relief!

But then what happens when we're fans of the same thing, but the way we engage with that thing differs radically? Is a shared appreciation of the thing enough common ground, or do we need to share fannish activities to get along?

And this fear of a lack of consensus and resultant loss of group membership also keeps many people from discussing art, or if they do discuss art, it keeps them from deeper critical examinations that reach a level where we can no longer all agree.

And finally there is a special fear which comes with fannish art: The fear of being Mean. Mean people are socially excluded. Maybe a fan artist would be absolutely thrilled and flattered to have their work discussed with the same fannish attention to detail we bestow on our favorite canons, or maybe they would feel that a critique of their art was a critique of them as a person. We just don't know.

Making others cry is something most of us want to avoid. Those of us who do want to make others cry like to see the reaction of their victims, so they mostly engage in direct bullying.

Professional artists are often hurt and upset by critique of their work, of course, but they at least chose their profession knowing that their work would be reviewed. Fan artists may want the popularity boost that reviews give them, or they may be shy and sensitive creatures who write for their own pleasure and generously share their art in case it pleases others, but would be horrified and withdraw their art if they ever learned of any reader not enjoying every single aspect of it. We just don't know.

Here's my proposal: Let's take the conversations about fan art out of private chat and friends locked posts, out in the open! Let's not contact the fan artists in any way to tell them that a conversation about their art is taking place. Artists who want to know can self-google or check delicious if they so choose.

Fan art is awesome! Fan art is high quality. Fan art binds fans together, and lets us get to know each other as unique individuals with each our own perspective on canon and on life. Fan art is worth talking about for the same reasons all art is worth talking about, and on top of that it's worth talking about because it is ours.

There are many reasons not to want to talk about fan art, and I respect that. I don't want to guilt anyone into taking part if they don't want to, but I do wish that those who don't want to will let those of us who do sink or swim on our own, rather than immediately start the process of social exclusion so the other members of the group can see that they know how to follow and enforce group norms.

For me, discussing art with others is such an integral part of appreciating the art that I would feel cut off from enjoying the art itself if I had to censor myself in how I responded to it.

And hey, whaddaya know, coincidentally today is the debut of a new comm for appreciating fanfic: [community profile] the_comfy_chair

[community profile] the_comfy_chair is for talking seriously and honestly about fic we are interested in because it's just that good, or because there are some fascinating technical aspects in how it's written, or because it's an awesome example of this or that trope, or because for whatever reason we just really want to talk about it.

It is not a comm for snarking on fic. It is not a comm for seeking out or ridiculing badfic or whatever maligned genre of fic. It is certainly not in any way a comm for talking about writers or other fans.

[community profile] the_comfy_chair is a comm where your enthusiasm for fic and fandom can be taken as read, so you are free to discuss all the elements of a fic, both the ones you liked, the ones you didn't like, the ones you didn't understand, and the ones you didn't notice.

It is a comm where discussion is encouraged and enjoyed for its own sake.

Taking part in the discussion in the comm requires no formal training. Users may use technical words or jargon when they find those words useful, but you absolutely do not need to know words like that. You do not need practice in constructing clever arguments. You do not need to be part of any inner circle or secret cabal.

All you need is an appreciation for fanfic and a willingness to discuss it.

To start out, the comm is limited to Stargate fic (SG-1, SGA and SGU), but fandoms will be added according to member interest.
noracharles: (Default)
Sam sure is generous and kind! )

That really is so wonderful and thoughtful of Sam. It's good to know that even when Supernatural makes gentle fun of geek boys, it's always with love! Because geek boys deserve all the sex in the world.
noracharles: (Default)
[personal profile] facetofcathy taught me how to do pie charts.
See her posts about the distribution of slash/gen/het/other in various fandoms, and about what she, a slasher, has written. Very interesting.

Here are pie charts of my slash/het/gen distribution, and character gender distribution. I've done one for all the fics I've written, and one for the "real" fics (that is, not counting drabbles which were mainly writing exercises) that I've written on my own.

I identify as a slasher. I've shown you mine, now show me yours! :-D

Read more... )
noracharles: (Default)
An emotion is not an opinion. We can not agree or disagree with an emotion, but we can sympathize (feel the same) or empathize (understand or care about the person's emotions).

An experience is not an opinion. We can not agree or disagree with it, but we can believe or disbelieve, or understand the experience being relayed.

An opinion is an opinion, and we can agree or disagree with it, or argue for or against it.

Someone who has a mental health issue and reacts in an unusual way emotionally may have emotions we can't sympathize with. But that doesn't mean we have to disbelieve their experiences, or disagree with their opinions.

Irrational is a not a synonym for wrong, or "thing I disbelieve" or "thing I disagree with."

Sane is not a synonym for right, or "thing I believe" or "thing I agree with."

And a pertinent example:

"Because of my social anxiety, I don't like having my fic archived on public archives, including the AO3" is not the same as "I have political or philosophical objections to the AO3".

When you use mental health to judge who are right and who are wrong in a disagreement, you are not just arguing for your opinion, you are also contributing to the oppression of all people with mental health issues (including those who agree with you about the matter at hand).
noracharles: (Default)
This is a post about the accessibility of fandom fests for people with social anxieties.

Supporters of yuletide have taken it upon themselves to wage a campaign of social pressure on members not to remove any fics from the archive. Merricatk talks about the anxiety this causes her. )

Dear reader, should [ profile] merricatk's opinions on anything influence your opinion on whether supporters of a fest can create an atmosphere which excludes people with social anxieties from taking part in fests?

And, dear reader, if accessibility is only for the good people with disabilities, and [ profile] merricatk is a bad person with a disability, does the fact that she used herself as an example of a fan with social anxiety crying over a fest mean that you should not care about the other fans with social anxiety
  • possibly being triggered by the atmosphere of social pressure surrounding the yuletide move
  • possibly being scared away from seeking information from the actual official representatives of the fest
  • and possibly being scared away from ever participating in a fandom fest in the future?

How can we do better? )

You must log in to comment. )

I will not be able to moderate any discussion that takes place here continuously. Try to stay on topic, and don't allow the discussion to be derailed.
noracharles: (Default)
Good, short fanfic is like the TARDIS, bigger on the inside.

I'm enjoying reading fic for some beloved small fandoms in the Yuletide archive. I was particularly thrilled to see fic for Connie Willis' time travel series. I love Willis' world building, plots and high concepts, but she has a problem with the human element, so I need and want fic to bridge that gap.

Anyway, compare these two fics:

The Season of Grace, 7527 words
The Toll of History, 575 words long.

The first fic is 13 times longer than the second fic, and yet, they're about the same topic.

Both fics are about a character named Kivrin, who is a time traveling historian. In The Doomsday Book, Kivrin is accidentally sent to the wrong time when she goes on a research trip, and ends up in a small village where she experiences the tragedy and horror of the plague. She grows close to the people who live there, and doesn't have the comfort of sharing her grief for them, because to everyone else in her home time they've been dead for 700 years.

The first fic is long, very rich in detail, a fic you can climb into and experience. Kivrin's experience of the village is vivid and visceral. There's suspense and humor, and it's impossible not to feel Kivrin's physical sensations and her emotions with her as they are described. It's the emotional argument of The Doomsday Book brilliantly condensed, and a fic I wish all readers of the book could read as an epilogue.

The second fic is short. It has only three scenes, but they're stark and vivid, and they say everything. You can't climb inside this fic. The first fic you could read, knowing only what I wrote in my summary of the book, and while you wouldn't get the full benefit, you would think, yes, I want to read more in this fandom, and you would understand why it was both sad and cathartic.

The second fic, you can't read on its own. It is perfectly condensed and pared down, and it calls on canon in all the right ways that bring both the emotion and the plot of canon back to mind as you read; where the first fic could have been an extension of the book, this fic is a pinhole image of it. It is the perfect example of the art of derivative, transformative work, supporting itself on the original work and unable to function on its own, but at the same time adding a completely fresh, new perspective on it.

I wouldn't want to do without fics of the first kind, that expand and build upon original works, and take on life of their own. They're the foundation of fic fandom, and so rich that you can subsist on them alone, allowing canon to take shadowy shape in your mind, a far off ideal you need to know for reference purposes, but don't care to experience directly. The second kind of fic is insubstantial, a luxury fandoms can survive without. They're not very accessible, and they don't pass the time and entertain you for more than a few minutes, but the elegance goes through me like the sun breaking through the clouds and illuminating everything for a few seconds and stuns me with its beauty and clarity.
noracharles: (Default)
ETA Dec25: Re a complementary newsletter: I made a suggestion in dw_suggestions about a meta feed. Bad timing, but I was worried about forgetting to do it if I put it off for too long. So far people seem worried that it will give dw a poor image (too fannish) and will catch too many false positives with the tag I suggested. If you have time and feel up to it, maybe you can join the discussion or signal boost. /ETA

metafandom )

- I did not know you wanted people to pimp their own stuff
- I do not know what your criteria for posting links are
- - What type of content is welcome?
- - What style of writing is welcome?
- - How is relevance determined?

I am not going to suggest my own content for a comm where I suspect it might be off topic. I am not going to suggest my own content to an editor who is going to hold it to a "secret" standard.
But if I knew what you're looking for, I'd be likely to suggest both my own content and whatever interesting meta I come across, so please consider writing some general guidelines for contributors.

More meta posted on dreamwidth )

This poll is to see which options there is any interest in. Please check all that apply :-)

This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 54

How would you as a reader like to be made aware of interesting meta posted to dreamwidth, including the sort not accepted by [community profile] metafandom?

View Answers

An official dw feed for the tag "meta"
40 (74.1%)

A notice board, where meta writers can post links to their own content
18 (33.3%)

An edited newsletter which would be a digest of all the meta the editors had come across
25 (46.3%)

An edited newsletter which would be a digest of the best meta the editors had come across
19 (35.2%)

How would you as a writer like to have your meta reported?

View Answers

An official dw feed for the tag "meta"
31 (73.8%)

A notice board, where meta writers can post links to their own content
18 (42.9%)

An edited newsletter which would be a digest of all the meta the editors had come across
25 (59.5%)

An edited newsletter which would be a digest of the best meta the editors had come across
9 (21.4%)

I think answer no. 4 is superfluous, since we already have [community profile] metafandom. Answer no. 3 is unlikely to happen, but it's possible someone thinks they have the time and energy to edit a newsletter like that. Answer no. 2 might be feasible. I would probably not put a comm like that on my regular reading filter, and it might get annoying if people didn't tag their posts consistently or well, but it could work. Answer no. 1 is my favorite, and if enough people want that, dw might grant the wish :-)
noracharles: (Default)
Some background ) People discuss the problem of Russophobia and general former Eastern Bloc phobia, and how they have personally been exposed to this ignorance, Othering, contempt and aggression.

Then a person whom I generally like and respect, and who has already apologized, quoted this: "Sometimes it seems that all those debates about cultural appropriation only take into account skincolor differences," and answered: "Well, you have to take into account that skin is such a visible marker; my Russian and Ukrainian friends can often benefit from white privilege right up until they open their mouths or sign their names."

I was repulsed and horrified. I am not out to attack the person who said it, I'm sure it was not a deliberate offense, and she's already apologized, but her comment has inspired me to discuss this.

A disclaimer )

When you are in a discussion about tensions between cultures and prejudices against certain nationalities, and how Westerners (hint: especially Canadians and U.S. Americans) are generally ignorant, dismissive and fearful of people from certain countries, don't reframe the discussion to be about your own nation and culture, erasing and dismissing the actual people from actual different countries than your own whom you are currently talking to.

I mean, don't ever do that, but especially don't ever do that in those particular circumstances. It makes you look like a dumbass. An incredibly culturally arrogant, nationalistically solipsistic dumbass.

International fandom, and the start of a personal anecdote )

He was sorry to have offended me, and tried to make nice by telling me how flattered and pleased he was that foreigners like me were interested in and fannish about his culture's TV show. Oh hell no. OH HELL NO!

You do not get to declare moral ownership of a product/artistic expression based on sharing the nationality of its creator )

ETA: Marina, on russophobia
noracharles: (Default)
I don't know why some commenters would say my first entry was "overwhelmingly negative", or that it seemed like I didn't enjoy episode 101 - chicks are hot, and WC totally delivers the eye candy. In 102, it was wall to wall foxes, we only had to look at that one old hag for like 2 seconds :-D
Am I not allowed to feel good about that?

I was kind of worried the lesbian was going to be all intrusive in this episode. I realize that the pilot has to set up the premise and all that, but episode two should really be dedicated to getting to know the characters better, and it would have sucked if the lesbian and the wife had to be shoehorned in so we got less dialog from Neal, Peter and Mozzie. In the end, I liked the way they used them. Sports bra and bare midriff, hello! She can wrestle me to the ground anytime ;-)

And it was good character development for Neal. It really showed his confidence, and the way he's fitting into the team when he put her in her place by winding her around his finger, when she gave him attitude for not remembering her from the airport. Girls just can't resist compliments on their looks from a real man. It was really funny the way he didn't remember her again at the party, and she was all smirking at him. Ha, the joke's on you, lesbian! Like you matter enough to pay attention to and remember.

And they used the wife okay too. Peter was so nice to pretend to like that stupid watch she gave him. Like he doesn't know for himself which watch he wants to wear! And she was just so in his face about the party planning, being all "I'm a professional and you're not!" Neal rocks for standing up for Peter, so he didn't lose face to his wife because it wasn't him who came up with the venue. And in the end, she admitted she was wrong to impose her taste in watches on him, so that was nice. And it just goes to show, Peter is a good husband, and he's a good agent because he knows how to use the contacts he has, even if one of them is his wife.

Anyway, another great episode! I really liked it, and I look forward to next week's. Hopefully we'll see some more of Mozzie and Jones, because I don't like the way they're so back-grounded to Neal and Peter. It's like they're just there to show Neal-the-con who has a friend who is a con, and Peter-the-fed who has an underling who is a fed. But I bet they have some interesting stories of their own, and I'd like to see Mozzie and Jones do their jobs, or during their free time in a storyline of their own.
noracharles: (Default)
What I learned about women from watching WC 101:

Women are there for you to enjoy! One of the good things about getting released from prison is that you get to use women. You can stare at them all you want, and if you put in the effort and flirt a bit with them, they'll try to please you and do stuff for you. Because that's what women are for.

Women's emotions don't matter, except for when they become a problem to you. A good wife will keep her emotions from bothering you, that's what makes her good. Sometimes women are just too emotional though, and that's when you have to solve the problem. If you just apply yourself to the problem, you can make it go away. You don't need to waste time during your marriage on getting to know your wife, because if she's a good wife, most of the time she won't trouble you with her emotions. On the rare occasions when you have to deal with the problem, you can just search through her possessions, and buy her a luxury item she wants.

Women are yours. If you're considering dating a woman, you should stalk her to see if she's good enough. She'll thank you later. If your wife is being problematical and having emotions, you should stalk her to try to solve the problem. She'll thank you for it. If a woman leaves you, you should stalk her and try to take her back. If a woman suspects you wouldn't stalk her if she left you, she'll think you don't value her as a possession, and then she might get emotional.

Women are at your disposition at all times. The only reason a woman has to turn you down is if she's a lesbian. Lesbianism is a waste of a sexy woman. Lesbians are lesbians just to thwart you. Lesbians want to be like you and wear hats and suits, because they know that you are better than women, but they also want to look sexy for you, as is only right. Even though you don't get to have sex with lesbians, they are there for you to stare at as much as you want.

Women come in two types: One type of woman is young, slim, has long, shiny, straight hair, wears a lot of make-up, wears figure-hugging clothing, wears high heels, flirts with you, and is there for you to stare at. The other type of woman is invisible, except when doing you a favor.

Women care about dumb stuff. You wouldn't care about your wedding anniversary, of course. The thought of a wife giving her husband a present on their anniversary, or a couple making plans together is just ludicrous, because why would you want to celebrate your relationship? But women sometimes have emotions for dumb reasons, and you need to solve that before it becomes a bigger problem.

Women, I tell you. They're a nuisance to deal with, but we still want to fuck them. Ammirite?

I also learned a politically correct tip from watching WC:

Don't say the d-word, it's offensive to little people! But it's okay to say "enano", because Hispanics don't watch TV, and if they do, who cares what they think anyway.

Oh yeah, you better believe I'm going to be watching this show for the ho-yay.
noracharles: (Default)
[personal profile] schmevil was saying how remixing and plagiarizing are not at all the same thing, and that "in a fannish context, there can only good flows from being remixed. It's possible to compare unfavourably with the new, transformative work, but it's still going to drive new readers your way."

We got to talking about what a shame it is that people feel this social pressure to keep their fannish influences secret, and how there ought to be a meme. I feel strongly that cross-pollination between writers will produce fic of a higher quality. We're all inspired by what we read, sometimes we lift something but use it in a new context, sometimes we like something enough to expand on it, sometimes we realize we actually have an opinion about something when we come across something we disagree with. And when we get a fanwork out of that inspiration, we're probably grateful to the other fans who inspired us. This meme is your chance to let others know they've been an inspiration to you!

I hope that we can create an atmosphere of shared fun and pleasure in creating, and realize that remixing fanworks is an homage just as remixing canon is.

Meme: Fannish influences on my fic - Pick a fic you've written, and explain how other fanworks inspired you. )

And I think that's it! Those were the fannish inspirations for my fic.
noracharles: (Default)
Dear slash fans who consider yourselves allies:

Queer people are distinguished from straight and cis people by our sexuality and/or gender vs. sex. Queer people are not defined by our sexuality and/or gender vs. sex.

As a shipper, I would not enjoy having a pairing I ship, be it het or slash, made canon, because I feel it takes the fun out of looking for subtext, and makes writing canon-compliant fic more difficult, since fic is written in the holes canon doesn't cover. That doesn't mean I don't very much enjoy canon pairings as well, both heterosexual and gay. I was happy when Willow/Tara and Veronica/Logan became canon, and was very entertained by their love stories as a viewer. I don't begrudge you your Jack/Ianto ship, just because I personally am not interested in reading or writing fic about canon pairings.

As a queer, I am hurt and upset that fellow fans who call themselves allies do not understand that it's not about our sex lives or genitals, and representation of us does not equal storylines about love or sex! I am not saying I prefer de-sexed characters like Will from "Will & Grace", I'm saying I prefer queer characters to be written like actual people with actual people motivations and interests, just like straight and cis characters ideally are!

I am cis gendered myself, and don't tend to look very hard for representation of gender queers. My interest in differently gendered or sexed characters is mostly from the exploitative, porn reading side of the fence, so I don't have any recs for you of shows doing it right.

But I can recommend a show which does butch woman right: Glee. I am butch myself (I am exactly as masculine as the completely average man according to the BBC sex id), and I love how Sue is written and acted. I don't know if she's a cis woman who's had a hysterectomy, a mtf trans woman or if she's intersexed, but I do know that she is an awesome, butch woman who is not vilified or mocked for being butch, and whose butchness is not a plot device.

A movie which does gay/bi man right is Blades of Glory. Coach's sexual orientation is completely irrelevant to the plot, and not exploited in any way. He's just an awesome skating coach. And a minor character >_<

I'm trying to think of a TV show I have a fannish interest in which does gay/bi man or woman right, and I can't think of any which didn't either sexually exploit, mock/vilify or problematize homo/bisexuality (we all get VD, we're all exposed to constant gay bashing, we're all sluts who'll die alone because we don't understand true love/partnership, we'll die young, we struggle with shame and self-loathing, etc.) in a crypto-homophobic way. I'm left looking for coded gay/bi characters, who pass for straight in the eyes of the straight viewers. I'm glad the coded gay/bi characters are there (and I'm fucking tired of straight people telling me they aren't), but I'd really, really like for my people to be openly represented on the fiction shows I watch.

In the future, please continue trying to be our allies. I like having you on our side. Try to separate your interest in slash from your demand for equal civil rights and an end to queerphobia. Don't ever, ever say that you don't want a character to be canonically gay/bi/trans if they aren't sexually appealing to you. Don't pretend like gay/bi women don't exist if you're a straight female fan of M/M slash, or like gay/bi men don't exist if you're a straight male fan of F/F slash. Consider carefully if you're writing/reccing a fic with a bi character, or a fic with a straight character whose true and pure love transcends gender in one very special case, but certainly isn't one of those sinful, dirty, icky homosexuals (we're-not-gay-we-just-love-each-other fic). Don't pretend like gender queer people don't exist, or are evil/wrong if they're not gay/bi, or aren't "real" women or men.

In conclusion: real queer people are not like your fictional fap fantasies. Please stop trying to squeeze us into that mold, or punishing us for not fitting in that mold. Please stop thinking that you are in any way helping queers when you campaign for more fan-service. Stop pretending that slash fic is the same as queer fic; some slash fic is also queer fic (all of my fic is), but most isn't. Scolding a slash fic for having male characters who don't act like real life gay/bi men is a misunderstanding. You wouldn't ask for more realistic racial stereotypes, would you? A better response would be to point out when a fic is only a slashy fantasy for straight people, when it is a queer interest fic, and when it's both: a queer slash fic.

I haven't had the time/energy to read any of the fic posted in [community profile] queerlygen yet, but I recommend the comm to any slash fans reading this who're confused by my saying that slash isn't about queers, and queer representation isn't about sex and genitals.
noracharles: (Default)
FYI: Demanding that a non-native speaker of English either stop posting or accept an anglophone gatekeeper is the moral equivalent of calling out an author for peppering their fic with babelfished non-English phrases as exotic decoration with no respect or regard for the speakers of that language.

I posted about this phenomenon in international fandom represent, but the situation in this discussion on fanficrants is slightly different. Here the commenters are very sensibly complaining only about hard-to-read-because-of-poor-grammar fics in general, you understand. The undercurrent of seething xenophobia and the racist jokes are completely incidental.

Pros of reading the discussion: see Nora flip her shit.
Cons of reading the discussion: may cause elevated blood-pressure.
noracharles: (Default)
I am just heart-broken that that skeevy survey turned out to be a skeevy survey, because I actually am fascinated by slash fandom, and by the breadth of human sexuality, and how slash fandom is a comparatively safe space to explore and express our desires.

So, I'm making my own completely unscientific survey. It's not about the breadth of human sexuality, it's just about fans, fandom and fanworks, with an emphasis on shipping.

Please feel free answer without logging in or signing your name.
I log IP-addresses to deter harassment only. I'm not going to reveal any IP-addresses to anyone, or use them in any way to keep tabs on people unless I feel I am being harassed and stalked. I don't consider flames, insults, critique, opinions I disagree with, and so on harassment; if I feel harassed, I will tell you. No one is getting their IP-address reported to abuse without fair warning to stop their behavior. Feel free to answer while logged in. If you answer the poll without logging in, you can't go back and change or delete your answers.

Please answer all the questions
even if all you have to say is that the question is stupid, irrelevant, intrusive, or badly worded. Feel free to ask the question I should have been asking instead, and answer that.

The poll limits answers to 255 characters, feel free to elaborate in comments.

Answers are viewable to all!
I will attempt to write and post a summary, which will also be viewable to all.

See poll )
noracharles: (Default)
When I first started out in online fandom, it was a bad idea to admit to not having English as your first language. People would ignore your fic, assuming it to be poorly written, or they would interpret what you wrote in very strange ways, thinking you couldn't mean to say what you actually wrote, since you wouldn't understand what it meant.

After some years fandom had become international enough that a lot of people who had been passing as first language English speakers came out, some subtly by using their .de or .se email addys and website URLs, some boldly stating their first language.

But that's only English language fandom. [personal profile] rodo has posted this interesting poll about different language fandoms, and the language background of fans. Please take part, no essay questions, simple check boxes/radio buttons.

I've been passive in non-English language fandoms, such as Danish, French, German, and Japanese movies and TV shows, followed canon for English language media translated or dubbed, and even read fic and meta in Danish (Norwegian, Swedish), German (Dutch, Afrikaans) and Spanish (French, Portuguese, Italian, Latin).

I could imagine writing fic in Danish for a specifically Danish fandom, but most of the stuff I've felt fannish about has been aimed very squarely at kids, and I would feel weird and out of place writing adult fic in for example Freddy og monstrene. Some has been aimed at adults, and has an international presence, such as Riget and Little Soldier, and while I could write in those fandoms in Danish, that would needlessly restrict my already very small audience.

As for Swedish language fandoms like Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn and Mumintrollen which I've read exclusively in Danish translation, I could write fic in Danish, and other Scandinavians could probably struggle their way through it, but honestly I think English is more likely to be understood and appreciated.

I can't imagine writing a fic in German or Spanish. The few German fandoms I'm into have an international presence, and I'm not into any Spanish language fandoms.

Okay, now I've gotten all interested in Lindgren fic - the fantasy worlds she's created in Mio, min Mio, Bröderna Lejonhjärta and Ronja Rövardotter lend themselves excellently to fic, and don't have the drawbacks of unfamiliarity with the setting like Bullerbyn, Emil, Madicken and Kalle Blomkvist would have for non-Swedes (and young Swedes, maybe).
noracharles: (Default)
I keep going back to the TWoP boards for all the witty and interesting entries, and keep leaving in disgust because of all the annoying, offensive and just plain dumb entries, which sadly in the topics that interest me most tend to outweigh the intelligent ones.

Then Estepheia, the wonderful, talented author of "Things Present - Things Past" and other great stories recommended the "no cookie for you: bad Buffy fic!" thread, and if there's one thing I like, it's snarky badfic bashing ^_^

The posters don't always have smart, insightful things to say, but boy are they funny. And even if they weren't, the snippets they quote from the horrible stories they find can make you laugh 'til you cry. I love this thread! I can't get enough of it, and I heartily recommend it to all of you.

That doesn't mean I'm not annoyed by it of course. There is no such thing as a public posting board that does not occasionally irk Nora Charles. The idiots will always find a way in I tell you, always! A text area with a submit button is to idiots what leftovers are to roaches. That's just the way it is.

Most people who post to the "no cookie for you" thread make fun of bad (or completely absent) plot, characterization and grammar, and amusing/confusing malapropisms.

Some just like to showcase their own ignorance, when they accuse authors of using a word incorrectly when it was just a less common usage, or a Briticism, or of writing dialogue out-of-character when the author is in fact quoting an episode word for word, but I can forgive that. Honest mistakes, and while they should check their facts before complaining, sometimes you can be wrong about something and still be so sure you're right it never occurs to you to look it up. That happens to everyone.

No, what really annoys me is when they seem unable to distinguish between "this was such a badly written fic it was all but incoherent, and therefore I dislike it" and "I dislike this fic because the author has kinks that squick me, and therefore it was a bad fic".

Mpreg, genderbender, incest, non-con, death, underage sex, Mary Sues, real persons, there are a lot of some people's kinks or preferences that are not merely uninteresting but actually disgusting and squicksome to other people. Fair enough. I don't like everything, and I don't expect other people to like everything. And if they dislike something which I like, I don't expect them to be quiet about it either, I think they have the right to bitch and moan just as much about it as I do about my dislikes. In fact a good snark amuses me even when I disagree with it.
But I do get tired of having my kinks slammed again and again, by people who never bother to explain why something is so very, very bad, evil and gross that it automatically converts any fic that features it into badfic no matter how tastefully, sensitively and artistically written.

Take mpreg. I enjoy stories about mpreg. I freely admit that most mpreg stories suck ass. I've wondered why that is, and my theory is that it is a relatively rare kink, fewer people write it, and thus fewer talented authors write it. Furthermore, people who crave mpreg in a story enough to want to write about that specifically get so focused on that particular aspect they don't pay enough attention to plot and character development. This is true of all marginal kinks, and once they become more mainstream the quality of the stories improve dramatically. Take RPS, F/F and BDSM.

I understand why most people wouldn't be interested in mpreg. I understand why people might even find it repulsive. But when these people complain about it, they don't say "mpreg grosses me out, so I don't want to read about it". They say "mpreg is unrealistic, and therefore badfic".
Vampires aren't unrealistic? Sentinels aren't unrealistic? Witches and wizards who practice real magic and fly broomsticks aren't unrealistic? I think an author has to make an effort to make the mpreg fit the mythos of the universe she's writing in, but she has absolutely no obligation to make the mechanics of it realistic in relation to RL. Obviously mpreg just won't work in all universes, and if you really, really want Dan and Casey to have a baby together, well, too bad for you. But if Minerva McGonagal can turn herself into a cat, I see no reason why Severus Snape can't turn himself into a woman.

The anti-mpreggers say "mpreg always has bad characterization, and employs every offensive stereotype about pregnant women ever". What, most people who have written mpreg so far have done so badly, so all writers of mpreg past, present and future are bad writers?
You can show a statistical correlation, but you can't prove a negative. You can't prove that noone will ever write a good mpreg fic. It is not logical. You can say that noone can write an mpreg fic that you would like to read, since the very thought of it makes you nauseous.

Only a certain percentage of writers write well, and only a certain number of people are into mpreg. And the portion of mpreggers who are also good writers is depressingly small. Furthermore, the few good writers who enjoy mpreg, being good writers, don't often write fics for the sole purpose of indulging a kink. There has to be more to a story in a good writer's mind. Sure, they may say "oh, this is nothing but a PWP, it's meaningless fluff really, I just wrote it on a whim" but it is not true.
When you read their fic it turns out to have engaging, realistic and subtle characterization, beautiful language, wit, erotic and sensual sex, etc.
And if it doesn't, they are not good writers. Or they are at least inconsistently good.

(Disclaimer: In the above rant, please keep in mind that I am speaking specifically about people whose poor discussion skills get on my nerves, not on anyone and everyone who disagrees with me, or who happens to identify with any of the labels I put on the people I am complaining about, even if my choice of words makes it sound like I am making sweeping statements about all anti-mpreggers. Most of my fannish friends, whose good taste and high intelligence I have the utmost respect for, are anti-mpreggers, and they have never exhibited the behavior or prejudices I complain so much about here.
I hope that was clear from the context, but I would hate to hurt anyone's feelings.)

Mpreg recommendation:
Nine months by Scorpio
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike/Xander. Humor.
Very amusing fic, good characterization. Rather silly, and lots of stereotypes about pregnancy and hormones, of the "men are weaker than women, and so much more prone to hysterical and/or wimpy behavior" school of thought.

Sadly I can't think of any other mpreg stories that are actually good. I know there have been more that I have enjoyed, but mostly in the "I know this is awful, but it's still fun" way. I have a vague memory of reading an okay Sentinel mpreg fic, but I no longer remember the plot, and there was a Harry Potter fic that wasn't too shabby. None of those were good enough that they'd be worth the trouble of looking up the link.

If you know of any enjoyable mpreg fics, please let me know. They don't have to be good, they just have to be entertaining ^_~
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noracharles: (Default)
I've been reading the Buffy board on Television without Pity.
I don't know why I always do that to myself, when I know I'm gonna hate it. Anyway, Ostentatious gave a very well-put, somewhat satisfying rant about the Willow's magic addiction storyline, and I agree with most of what she/he(?) said. I just get so tired thinking about it, the way you do when you're deeply unsatisfied with something, but know there's nothing whatsoever you can do about it. One bad episode you can just sort of ignore or explain away, but when the season arch stinks, it's hard not to get frustrated and disappointed. I only care because I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's the one show I not only hope for, but expect excellent storylines and acting from.

And it's not only that I thought the addiction storyline was a dud, it's that it (almost) totally wrecks everything they had built up about Willow's power issues, identity crisis, and supressed passive-aggressive anger. A character they built up over 6 years! A fascinating, well-rounded, deep character you could identify with, and they suddenly decide to use her very real-life issues as a metaphor for some totally other real-life issue, and "resolve" it in a cheap, unsatisfying way.

I'm not saying that drug addiction/abuse is not a relevant issue, but I agree with the person (I wish I remember who, maybe it was one of the TwoP recappers) who said that Willow's powerabuse was about (used to be about) her controlling herself and her surroundings, not about letting go.

This reminds me of Saber ShadowKitten's story What I Did on my Summer Vacation. (Willow/Angel, Content warning: Deals with the idea of Dominance/Submission, NC-17) --Go read that if you want a good story that deals with Willow's power issues ^_^
Saber ShadowKitten has a wonderful grasp of the characters, and an amusing tendency to pick up on the character development archs and take them to their logical (and highly entertaining) conclusion years before Joss. Her stories are always funny, emotionally intense, and action packed. She writes (wrote) both gen, het and slash.


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Nora Charles

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