Archive for April, 2009

Fanzines galore: 1,600+ fanzines added to Fan History

April 29th, 2009

ROFLCOPTER (purpose) flew on in an created roughly 1,600 articles about fanzines on Fan History. These fanzines represent a number of different communities including soccer, rugby, Rat Patrol, Star Wars, science fiction, Bon Jovi and punk.

This brings the total number of articles we have about fanzines on Fan History to over 2,000. This makes Fan History one of the largest sources of information about Fanzines on the Internet. We’re very excited about that because we love fanzines. Heck, a lot of our early information on the wiki was about fanzines. Why do we love fanzines? Because fanzines give us a peek into fandom’s past, before the Internet was around. They were part of a subculture, an underground culture which helped people connect to part of a larger community that might otherwise not be as accessible. Fanzines provide a record of our history that we can touch. And they are a tradition that continues even now…

When we created these articles, we tried to have some basic information. This included title, fandom, the year the fanzine was published, who the publisher was and the source for this information. As a result, our articles aren’t very comprehensive. That’s really where we need your help. If you know these fandoms and fanzines, please help edit to improve that information to improve on our fanzine stubs. What awards did these zines win? What was their impact on the fan community? Was the zine the first one that appeared in that fan community? Where was it published? What was the size and what was the content? What happened to the fans who produced the zine? Do you have a copy of the zine? Any information you can add would be appreciated.

And if you know of a fanzine that isn’t represented but want to put it on the wiki, copy and paste our fanzine template to your new article, add your information and save the page. If you need any help formatting or creating a new article, let me or another admin know as we’ll happily help you with that.

Whose art is it, anyway?

April 28th, 2009

Art theft.

It’s a major problem in the science fiction and fantasy art communities–and not just for the artists. It’s also a problem for those who may be looking for artwork they can use for their fandom projects, be it a website, a self-published book, a fanzine, etc. And the problem lies in how one makes sure that they really have the rights to the image they wish to use, when there are a lot of people out there selling art they claim to be rights-free/copyright-free when that is not in fact the case.

I see it reported almost weekly at SciFiFantasyHorrorSpace_ArtShows (wiki), a major mailing list for artists who work (both professionally and at the hobbyist level) in the Science Fiction & Fantasy illustration and fine arts fields. Constantly, members are finding people listing for sale on ebay cds of “public domain/copyright free” artwork – work which in fact they’ve stolen from various artists’ websites (or scanned from books, calendars, etc) without permission and burned onto disk. These sellers have no rights to these images, yet they figure no one will catch them doing this. And even when people DO catch them – often by recognizing a piece of artwork shown in one of the listings – ebay will do nothing about it unless the specific artist whose work is being featured in the listing submits a claim, and they don’t make it especially easy to do so. (Their “Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program” involves a complicated procedure that puts the burden of proof, and effort, on the artist whose rights are being infringed upon instead of the seller claiming those rights illegally.) And often it seems like an uphill, never-ending battle to these artists fighting this type of copyright infringement, for as one listing gets shut down, ten more just appear in its place.

Many artists try to do what they can to protect their work: watermarking images on their websites, disabling direct downloads, yet crafty thieves still will find their way around these blocks to take what they want to sell. And even beyond people selling artwork they don’t have the rights to, others with less nefarious goals don’t think anything of taking a piece of artwork they see on an artist’s site and using it on their own website, MySpace page, LiveJournal icons, craft projects, etc. This happens with fan art as well as just fantasy and science fiction art and is a huge problem for artists trying to maintain the rights to their work.

A case that shows how this can affect not just an artist but someone unknowingly using an image they (at least claim they) didn’t realize was copyright protected is that involving Russet Noon. The author of this controversial Twilight tribute novel, Lady Sybilla, apparently “purchased a CD collection of allegedly ‘royalty-free’ images” which included “Blood Roses” by Charli Siebert. The artist never gave up rights to this image, and yet, the impression of this exists on-line due to the image’s inclusion on this CD and, as Lady Sybilla commented elsewhere in the Russet Noon debates, “it’s being used and edited by people all over the internet”. Here, just like with the rights-infringing ebay sales, the burden of proof was directed back at Charli Siebert to have to prove ownership of the rights to the image (and eventually Lady Sybilla acquiesed and announced she was looking for new cover art for her book.)

My point in bringing up this issue (both in general and this one specific case) is that when either creating or using artwork, one needs to be very aware of not just protecting your rights as an artist, but also being certain you really have the rights to an image you want to use. Artists, take care to protect the images you share on the web, and be vigilant about cracking down when and if you are alerted to someone violating your rights. To those using other’s artwork, be careful where you obtain it. Be wary of third-parties claiming to sell you “public domain”, “royalty free” and other kinds of “clip art” collections. If you’re looking to publish or create something for profit yourself using someone else’s artwork, consider biting the bullet and purchasing the rights to use an image either directly from the artist, or through a stock image clearinghouse site that will provide evidence and stand behind their rights to sell you that image for use. Don’t assume just because you see an image “everywhere” that everyone–or specifically anyone other than the artist–has the rights to use it.

Geocities is closing!

April 23rd, 2009

Geocities is closing.  Considering how important Geocities was to fan fiction communities circa 1998 to 2004, I really want a list of and history of sites on Geocities.  I have an excel file that you can slot information into.  (This information can then be wikified.)  If you might be interested in helping to create a list of Geocities sites, their names, fandoms and dates related to the site, please comment with contact information so I can send you the file that you can use to add information.  And then send it back to me when you’ve added what you can to it.  Please feel free to pass this information along.  I really, really do NOT want to lose this history.

Additional information can be found here.

Asking celebs to retweet? Please don’t.

April 23rd, 2009

I don’t follow celebrities on Twitter.  (Er.  One or two exceptions and less celeb and more tech celebs.)  I’m not interested particularly.  For me, it feels voyeuristic.  These celebs are busy interacting with their friends and building their brand.  They are unlikely to ever interact back with me because they have so many followers and what value is there in tweeting me?  Especially when they have thousands and thousands of more followers trying to get their attention.

Which kind of gets to my point.  A lot of people have worthy causes where they want celebrity attention.  Twitter makes those folks theoretically accessible like they have never been accessible before.  So in order to get that attention, some folks will @ reply celebs and ask them to retweet them on behalf of a worthy cause.  One or two people?  I can understand.  When you tweet at 10 or more people, that hits the disrespectful line where your other followers are concerned.  Ten tweets on their timeline that have nothing to offer to the audience.

And reiterating?  Celebs are unlikely to respond.  Don’t take my word for.  Take Stephen Fry’s word where he discusses just this from the celebrity perspective.

Fan fiction on a wiki?

April 22nd, 2009

I was hanging out in #wikia on irc.freenode.net when some one came in to talk about their new Wikia wiki: Fan Fic Wikia.  I went to look and… yeah.  This wiki host for fan fiction doesn’t look very well thought out.  I’ve thought about how to tweak MediaWiki to be a fan fiction archive.  (It’s doable.  It just is not very easy to do.)  I don’t think they will ever get may contributors and if they do gain an active contributor base, they are going to run into a few problems quickly.   And if they get anyone posting fan fiction that doesn’t belong to them, then they might be the subject of an angry mob.

These are a few questions I have for them:

  1. Can you license fan fiction under a GFDL license?  Is that a legal copyright for works that might be viewed by the courts as derivative where the works really belong to the intellectual copyright holder and not the person posting them?
  2. If you are an author contributing, how do you delete your stories?  (Blanking doesn’t equal deleting.)  Most fan fiction authors I know have control issues regarding where their stories are allowed.  If you cannot have control over your own work, then why should you participate?
  3. Doesn’t a GFDL license basically give any other site with a GFDL license the right to use your fan fiction?  How do you reassure people that their material won’t be used that way?  Wikia isn’t likely to allow a license change to allow that.
  4. What sort of plagiarism protections are you going to have?  And if an author is found to have been plagarized, how are you going to handle it?
  5. You’re located on Wikia so I assume that means zero adult content?  And no shota of any kind?  How will that be handled?  It could be a real selling point so I’d stick that on the main page.  And then on subpages with a note that you’re going to be banned if you include it because it violates the ToS of your host.

There are probably a bunch of other issues I have with using MediaWiki and Wikia as a host for fan fiction using a non-modified version but those are the immediate ones that come to mind.

CSI: The Movie?

April 21st, 2009

The CSI fangirl in me is all excited by this:

Source

“CSI fans take heart: A feature-length movie is in the cards, and it’s definitely going to involve Gil Grissom, according to William Petersen.

“Yes, there will be a movie,” Petersen told Britain’s Radio Times. Although he is sure fans might be “a little trepidatious,” Petersen promises the move to the big screen will not be done haphazardly.

“Usually people leave it till a series has finished —they did that with The X-Files and Sex and the City,” Petersen said. “But it’s about finding the right story, there has got to be a real reason to do it.”

One of those real reasons? Grissom won’t be around forever. “You don’t just do it because you want to make money — you do it because there’s a story that can’t be told on TV and needs to be told from CSI’s perspective and the audience wants it,” Petersen said. “And we can’t wait for CSI to end or Grissom will be about 90.”

Petersen bowed out of the hit CBS drama after eight years earlier this season, handing over the reins to Laurence Fishburne’s Raymond Langston. He had previously said his character’s open-ended departure preserved the chance of a film.”

If we’re getting it, I want it to be the continuing adventures of Grissom/Sara so I can watch more of Jorja Fox on the screen.  If she’s not involved or it doesn’t continue that arc while including Grissom…  No wait.  I know my fandom.  No matter which way that goes down, people will have massive hate on.  I’m not certain I see this as a good idea as a result because I’m not certain the audience will turn out for a movie if it doesn’t fit their ideal.  Money matters and shelling out with out the reward of your favorite characters or ships?  I can’t see it happening.

The problems of writing personal histories in a wiki…

April 21st, 2009

On Thursday morning, a friend of Fan History’s and one of our admins pointed me at another post about the issues with FanLore.  We were really interested in this post because it dealt with similar yet different issues than the ones brought up by nextian.  Like that post, we’ve gone through and commented in terms of how we’ve handled similar criticism, how we handle situations like the one mentioned in terms of FanLore, what advice we have, etc.  We haven’t addressed the whole post and the comments because of length.  (And because we got a bit distracted by other things going on.)  We hope to get back to it.

A lot of non-fic fandom is languishing at Fanlore. Gamer fandom, in particular, I notice, ‘cos I’ve been part of that for (eeep!) more than thirty years.

This is a similar problem that Fan History has faced.  And it isn’t just non-fic fandoms.  It is fandoms where there is a community outside of and removed from the fan fiction community.  This was an area we were criticized for about two years.  We were too fan fiction-centric.  We weren’t multifannish enough.  We didn’t encourage the telling of fandom history outside of the fan fiction community.  And those criticisms were entirely valid back then. But now?  We’ve got a whole lot of fan fiction content but we’re a lot less fan fiction-centric in terms of our article scope.  Removing that has been a goal of ours and on our to-do list for a long time. It’s there as a reminder that when we see a timeline for a fandom that says “this fan fiction community,” we change it to “this fan community” or “this fandom.”  We’ve made this a priority.

That doesn’t even begin to get into the issue of media fandom vs. anime and manga fandom vs. actor fandom vs. music fandoms vs. video game fandoms.  In this respect, I think Fan History was fortunate because we had anime and video game fandoms represented early thanks to Jae, one of our earliest contributors.  She had a lot of experience in the Digimon and Final Fantasy communities, and created a number of articles about them.  We are also fortunate to a degree as my own interests were pretty pan-fannish.  I had connections to the anime and  music fandoms because of my relationships with the folks at RockFic, the guy who runs FanWorks.Org, and the people who run MediaMiner.Org.

FanLore isn’t as fortunate in that regards.  Their traditions, their interests have always been focused on media fandom and science fiction.  They don’t really have one or two core people who come from fannish experiences outside their own who, organizationally, are equal to other members of that community.  It is easy to have that problem because you tend to go with what you know, hang out with like-minded people, and stay in your comfort zone.

If you want those other fan communities represented, you have give those fans an investment in it.  You bypass the traditional rules.  You find a BNF in one of those fandoms, offer them admin status, and encourage them to promote the project in their own community.  We did this with the Kim Possible fandom.  We made one their own a fandom administrator, talked to the guy on a regular basis and encouraged him to reach out to his community.  And, to a certain degree, it worked.  If we hadn’t done that outeach, we would not have seen the edits to the Kim Possible section that we have had.  None of our core contributors have ever really been in the Harry Potter or Rescue Rangers fandoms to any large degree.  We reached out on mailing lists, LiveJournal groups, fansites, and fan fiction archives.  We asked for their help.  These folks responded.  Why?  We built a framework which made it easy to contribute.  In most cases, we left them alone to make edits as they needed to so long as they didn’t violate the rules.  They responded more when those articles became useful for them in terms of regularly visiting and linking because people couldn’t get that content elsewhere.

But I’m not sure what to do with the wiki. It’s… big. And mostly empty, in the areas of fandom that are most dear to me. And I’m not a historian; I don’t remember the details, the names & dates, of the fannish events & memes that I grew to love; I remember vague overview of concepts, and a few bright points of detail, which make for lousy wiki entries. I would like to start entries and allow others to fix them, but the few I tried that with, haven’t worked. I don’t think there’s anyone active at Fanlore who comes from “my branch(es)” of fandom.

The thing is, you don’t NEED to be a historian to be able to write the history of a fan community.  You don’t need all the dates.   You can write a good history based on general feel.  People can come in later and improve it with citations.  Just describe what you see going on with your gut feeling and explain that as well as you can.  Describe the community and how it operates.  Heck, a lot of this is not citable; how can you cite things like trends in, say, the LiveJournal community?  There is no way to cite, without doing a lot of research and without having access to primary source documents.

What we hope will happen is that by someone putting what they feel in there, what they intrinsically understand as a community history or how the community functions, someone else will be inspired by seeing that to do the additional research.  Or that someone else will disagree with that and edit it to include their own perspective, and the two different perspectives that can’t really be sourced can be merged.  Or that someone will know some good citations to support what is written.

The models for doing this have to be different because you aren’t writing a traditional history.  This is not the same as writing a history of the US Civil War.  Much of this involves writing ethnographic-style history.  The methodologies are different than other forms of documenting history.  The practices are different.  Both types of history are different from writing meta.

This all has an impact on how people contribute.  Administrators need to keep that in mind. The admin team needs to understand the fundamental methodologies involved in writing history.  At Fan History, our admins have spent a lot of time getting a crash course on exactly this.   There have been discussions on our mailing list about the methodologies of writing women’s histories, and how historians use oral histories in their research.  We’ve talked about multiple perspectives and issues of bias in the telling of fandom history.  We’ve discussed research done in fandom by academics like Henry Jenkins and Camille Bacon-Smith, identified areas of bias and how we can learn from that.  We’ve discussed primary sources, secondary sources, historian bias, reporter bias, the role of collaboration in history writing, quantitative versus qualitative approaches and merging the two approaches to get a cohesive history.  The more familiar the admin staff is with these issues, the better they are at analyzing, guiding and teaching others in terms of writing those histories in fandoms where those admins are not involved.

Knowing all this methodology also helps admins because they can learn when to leave alone historical information where someone doesn’t know the exact dates and might be a little off but are well-intentioned, and when they should step in to correct things that are obviously wrong or intentionally inflammatory.  For example, they can learn to correct when some one thinks they recall something about LiveJournal before LiveJournal actually existed or says something like: “There was never a good mpreg story published in the CSI fandom”.  The grounding in methodology helps to identify when you don’t need sources and when you do.

We’ve done an excellent job in  a few sections without many sources.  http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/CSI does that; no citations but tells history with charity work, with fan fiction archives like FanLib, and with how the LiveJournal community works.  We’ve also done a fairly good job with that on the mpreg article.  http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Mpreg talks about how mpreg is received in particular fan communities.  No citations.  Are we going to remove them?  No.  If there are issues, we can use the talk page to discuss that.  If people have problems with that, they can toss in {{fact}} or {{POV}}.

And if you still have issues where you can’t integrate that information, you do outreach.

I’m a sci-fi fan; I love reading, not watching, my sci-fi input. I love conventions, even though I’ve gone to very very few in the last decade. (So all of my con-based fanlore is decades old. Sigh.) And I want to fill in the blanks for the fandoms I love, but I can’t even get a grip on where and how to start.

I can totally understand that.   When I started writing the history of fandom, I had similar problems…  though more so the case of I had a lot of historical information that I could cite but all that information was really absent context. I didn’t know how to integrate it in to a historical context where these bits and pieces made sense.  I had lists of Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Star Trek, and Starsky and Hutch fanzines from the 1980s, but no information about how of those zines were received by the readers, what were common tropes, who was writing them, or who the audience was.  How the heck do you put that information into an article about the fandom those zines come from and have it fit in any sort of meaningful way?  A lot of the culture probably changed when things went online.  There might not have been a continuity in that culture when it went online, so totally different cultural practices were created.   And sometimes, you really are left wondering who will care about that Blake’s 7 femslash zine that was written in 1992 other than someone into trivia.  Also, a lot of this might be duplicate historical research that someone already put out in a fanzine list done in 1995 and if only you had access… It is just a mess.

But at least that information is easy to cite or know.  It might be hard to get a grip on when you’re trying to put it into a big picture and you don’t have a starting place.  The personal, well, I can totally understand that in a different context.   I don’t know when some things happened.  I know I was on staff at FanFiction.Net.  I know I wrote the site’s first Terms of Service.  I know I got into a big fight with Steven Savage over policies.  I don’t know the exact dates.  I don’t have copies of the original text.  I know I founded the b5teens.  I know I got into a giant kerfluffle with some people on another mailing list when I was 16.  Many of the others involved in the group with me back then have left fandom.  I don’t know the dates. I don’t have the texts.  I’m sure as heck hoping that the fan fiction I wrote has disappeared.  Even assuming I knew some of that information, it was still weird to find a starting point.  What seems really big and important to you when you’re in the thick of it is difficult to put into any sort of proper historical context.

How can you make your own history as unbiased as possible?  People do a lot of stupid things -myself included - and really, who wants to deliberately make themselves look bad?   After dealing with that, how do you cite information when the source is yourself?  Or when you’re documenting history that includes your own involvement?  What event do you start with?  Do you start on the stuff you’re most passionate about, or the place where you can most easily slot your history in? Do you write the history where you can most easily put information into context, or the history where you can best cite your sources?

And you know, there are no easy answers to where to start when you’re talking about random bits of fandom historical knowledge or your own history. The best suggestion, in personal terms, is to think of your own goals for involvement for writing a history.  Is there a particular fandom where you have a lot of experience and knowledge but no one has really written up a history yet?  Is there an event that you think matters where you feel like you have a unique perspective?  Has someone written information that can provide a framework for your own history?

Those might be a places to start if you’re stumped. Try to write biographies or histories of the key players that you know.  Timeline specific events in the context of the convention, mailing list, fanzine, IRC chat room, fanclub, social network or kerfluffle.  Create an outline. This information doesn’t need to be ready for “prime time.”  You’re not writing an academic text.  You’re providing information from within the fan community to help members of the fan community and those on the outside better understand it.  Tenure isn’t at risk.  (Though if you’re writing biased material with the intent of making yourself and your friends look better, your reputation in the fan community might be at risk.)   In the early stages, the information that you’re writing or collecting doesn’t even necessarily need to go on the main article about a fandom.  You can keep it on subpages until you understand all the moving pieces and how they fit into the larger fandom picture.  Then, later, you can integrate it into the main article or just create a “see also” in the main article.

If that doesn’t work for you, there are other places to start.  Find the talk page for an article relevant to the history you want to tell.  Introduce yourself on the talk page, talk about your experiences, cite sources where some of that information can be verified and ask the contributors to the article to integrate that information into the article.  Follow up when people ask questions or explanations.   Using talk pages this way can be helpful in terms of learning the feel of a wiki community and how people expect you to contribute.  They can also help you find someone who is more comfortable in terms of finding a starting place, who can help you focus what you want to do.  Starting on talking pages can also be similar to drafting on subpages like I mentioned above: there is less pressure because things aren’t on the main article and you don’t need to make a judgement call on the merits of what you’re contributing.  Others can do that by chosing to integrate your knowledge and experience into the article.

Can LadySybilla and Russet Noon hang on long enough to change fandom?

April 20th, 2009

I’ve been following the Russet Noon situation with a lot of interest; it’s like the Star Wars book situation meets RDR that’s been crossed with a Harry Potter Lexicon with a bit of CounsinJean mixed in.

I’m really curious how this will turn out. The author of Russet Noon, LadySybilla, has done herself no favors in some regards by using Wikipedia for self promotion, engaging in alleged socketpuppeting and alleged  trying to sell the books behind the scenes to bloggers. This falls pretty much into the realms of what happened to CousinJean and the Star Wars writer. Their actions might have fallen into a legal “gray zone”, but fandom pressure came to bear and both were punished so much by fandom that they largely left the fandom field of battle before they could get sued.

So far in this case, it doesn’t look like LadySybilla has been threatened with legal action. Why? I’m not certain. She might have been and we might not have heard about it. Or the intellectual property owners could be hoping that fandom makes the situation go away, like they did with the CousinJean and the Star Wars book. Or, the intellectual property holders could be scared of LadySybilla having lawyers, like Steve Van der Ark and RDR had at the Harry Potter Lexicon. The last one is the big worry potentially because if LadySybilla has lawyers and is willing to go to court, she could win and then things could become really difficult for the entertainment industry.

If LadySybilla isn’t pushed to take her book off the market by fandom and if she isn’t sue, she could open fandom’s pandora box. The conventional wisdom is that the Twilight fandom is feral where people aren’t grounded in media fandom’s historical traditions. If they see that some one can get away with this, they might be willing to try to do similar. The flood gates might swing wide open with this and fandom could very well change in unexpected ways.

So I’m taking the wait and see approach because this is all fascinating to watch play out and think of what might be if LadySybilla can deal with fandom pressure long enough to get her story published.

Fan fiction culture does not encourage wiki contributions

April 19th, 2009

A few days ago, I published a blog entry titled The problems FanLore faces are not unique: Learning from Fan History’s experience. In the course of editing it, we removed some bits that weren’t relevant to what we were responding to.  One bit I thought was still pretty interesting so, lo! The bit reappears here!

Fan History’s admins all been in fandom a long time, and sometimes this whole issue of doing crosstalk in an collaborative way that anyone can contribute can be intimidating.  In fandom, this just is not done.  With a piece of fan fiction, the process is solitary in creation and when the story is finished, there is no real questioning the process, questioning the organization, suggesting ways to improve the story.  It just isn’t something that is fundamental to our cultural practices.  People don’t ask “Why did you have Harry Potter doing that particular spell in that scene?  Could you use this spell instead?”  If they do that, it tends to be viewed as antagonstic, or questioning the author’s writing ability.  And on the off chance the author and their supporters do agree that something could have been done differently, most of the time the author doesn’t go back and change it.  And if they do?  The audience doesn’t generally go back and read it.  Our cultural practices from the fan community just don’t lend themselves to crosstalk as equals.

MSN/WindowsLive = more FAIL.

April 18th, 2009

Yes, we already knew that Microsoft/Windows Live was made of Fail when they deleted the MSN Groups.

What really emphasizes the level of Fail was in my email box this afternoon:

Dear Groups User,

Your MSN Group, TB: Top Secret, has had no activity in the last 90 days. As a convenience to our users, we periodically delete groups that have become dormant. We hope you’ll consider coming back. It’s not too late! 

If your group remains inactive for another 14 days, we’ll go ahead and delete it. If you would like to keep your group, simply click on the link below and follow the instructions on the web page. 

We hope your group is back in action soon,
MSN Groups

You only DELETED it with the rest of the MSN Groups two months ago, nitwits!

FAIL.

(crossposted from my livejournal)

SoulGeek: Comic Creator’s Niece Missing

April 16th, 2009

This was sent to me via e-mail.  I thought it was a message worth passing on if you could help.

Fellow SoulGeeks!

One of our own needs your help.  The Niece of Denver comic creator Frank Frisina is missing.  Her name is Jennifer, she is only 14 and she’s been missing since Saturday.


Whether you are a fellow member of the fandom/comic community or you simply love your family as Frank does, I ask that you please join me in forwarding this to everyone you possibly can.


The following link has the complete story and contact info.


http://www.examiner.com/x-3569-Denver-Internet-Examiner~y2009m4d15-Missing-Denver-Child-Alert


This page will be regularly updated.

Thank you so much,
Dino Andrade
Creator/Founder SoulGeek.Com

Help wikInvest win a Webby!

April 15th, 2009

We at Fan History love wikis. :D And we love seeing wikis do well.  So when wikInvest sent us an e-mail asking people to vote for them to win a Webby, I thought I would pass it along so you can support other great wiki projects. :D

wikinvest request

So go register and vote now!

If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t go where the spoilers might be!

April 14th, 2009

I love E. She is one of my favorite people in the wiki world. I can lean on her when I need support and need advice. I can get her advice when I need a sounding board on wiki policy. I also know that when she and I are in a chatroom together on Sunday night when Celebrity Apprentice is on? I need to ignore the room because I could be spoiled. She loves the show. She chats about it. I don’t like spoilers and I’m not about to rain on E’s right to squee in a room that allows it by telling her to shut it. It just feels like it would be really, really rude and selfish of me.

I also dislike being spoiled for Amazing Race, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars and Hell’s Kitchen. I know that if I want to be spoiled, I need to avoid places like Twitter when the show is airing. I need to not read my BuddyTV e-mails that do recaps. When they are promoing on The Today Show, I need to turn off the television. If The View is live the day after, I need to be really careful or make sure I watch before hand as some hosts talk about what happened the night before. I can’t read things like friendsfriends on LiveJournal. The potential for spoilers are everywhere and I need to make sure I catch my show as quickly as possible and be diligent in my effort to avoid spoilers.

If I fail, if I get spoiled, unless I’m in a place that expressly prohibits spoilers and some ass hole posts them anyway, I’m responsible. I put myself in a situation where I could be spoiled. I went some place where I knew there was a potential for getting spoiled and that happened. I’m to blame. There is no one else to blame but me. Me me me me. That’s me. Who is responsible if I go some place where there might be spoilers and I get spoiled? Me!

If you don’t want to be exposed to spoilers, don’t go where there might be spoilers. If you get exposed to them because you didn’t take proper precautions, blame yourself. Don’t blame others for your negligence. Don’t set a mob after the person who spoiled you because you weren’t responsible.  Don’t wreck some one else’s fandom life because you intentionally exposed yourself to spoilers. Don’t be a total ass hole and not take responsibility for your own actions. How hard of a concept is this to understand that I have to explain it?

Now, I’m off to finish watching The Biggest Loser so I can read my BuddyTV e-mails tomorrow with out getting spoiled.

It’s the next big thing! Or, maybe not.

April 14th, 2009

Last night I remembered to actually check in on my InsaneJournal account, for the first time in quite a few months.

I remember when, in the panic and frenzy of Strikethrough and Boldthrough, it seemed as though everyone was talking about how they’d be “leaving LiveJournal for good!”–yet very few, at least from my personal friends list, actually really followed through on that threat. One or two moved completely to JournalFen, which was cool, as I always check my JF friendslist daily because of certain communities and groups there like Fandom Wank and lol_meme that are highly active and have no equivalent elsewhere. A couple others moved to InsaneJournal, though, where at least in my corner of fandom no communities really took off that “required” my following with any regularity. I found reading repeatedly-mirrored posts from some people annoying, so as long as they were still copying all their posts between InsaneJournal and LiveJournal, why keep both on my friendlist? It was easier to just keep following them on LiveJournal. Though I thought about random different uses for my InsaneJournal, I never found the time or real push/need to use it. The #rss feeds I tried to set up on LiveJournal to read the two or three journals of people who’d moved elsewhere didn’t seem to work all that well and were an awkward solution at best. So in the end, I just lost touch with the people who moved entirely to InsaneJournal (though at least in one or two cases, they ended up coming back to LiveJournal after all…) As a separate website/social network, it had nothing compelling to offer me that I didn’t already get primarily on LiveJournal already, where all my non-fandom and wider-ranging-than-media fandom friends had remained.

So now, here it is some time (almost a year) later, and it seems that everyone is all abuzz about a new journaling site about to start selling accounts, Dreamwidth Studios. At least, everyone in certain corners of media fandom and the metafandom crowd, many of whom are praising the site up to be the best thing since perhaps the beginnings of the internet! And it’s where all the cool kids will be at! No, more than that, it means nothing less than the “parting of ways” of “LJ and fandom”! (Making that assumption, as some often seem to do, that LiveJournal media fandom is the be-all-and-end-all and only part of what constitutes “fandom” that matters.)

Admittedly, Dreamwidth Studios are making a lot of promises and talking about/implementing features that do give it strong appeal–not just to fandom but to most people who use any of the journaling clone sites. Changing the “friends” feature to differentiate between those you wish to follow and those you wish to grant access to reading your own posts, for one. A promise to operate completely without advertising support. The ability to follow, without needing to use rss, friends on other journaling sites. These are all great ideas and features that make getting an account there very tempting, and I no doubt will purchase the cheapest level account I can to give it a try (and reserve my username, of course.) And yet, the issue remains: if they build it, will people really come? Enough people to create real, active communities? Communities not found or still more active elsewhere?

A portion of media fandom may begin–and have already have begun–to migrate. But the apparent assumption by some of those moving that all will follow (or at least, all who matter) seems disingenuous, and quite a bit premature. Some people have already been put off by the overwhelming hype being put forth vocally and repeatedly by the site’s most ardent supporters: just like over-”pimping” a specific fandom to the point that some have grown sick of hearing about it before even seeing it or checking it out for themselves. And there is, albeit apparently mistaken, an assumption by some as well that Dreamwidth is part of or associated with the Organization for Transformative Works–which may not be the case, but the fact that some of the most vocal supporters of both groups are the same people has lead to this misconception and turned off some because of their already established negative-or-cautious feelings about OTW. There are those who have wondered if Dreamwidth will suffer from a smalltown mentality, and who worry because the site is apparently run by former members of the LJ Abuse team.

For me, personally, it just comes down to an issue of where my friends are, and where are the communities I want to participate in. Most of my friends are on LJ, at least my closest friends and the people I share the most interests with currently. I’m not really active in media fandom any longer; my main fandom is music and it took long enough to get some of my music-fandom friends to set up on LJ and find each other there. I can’t see trying to relocate my small communities like xmas_rocks, pinkfloydslash, hungry_4_you–nor having any real urge to do so–when they are just taking root on LiveJournal, and when I’ve seen little indication from members of those communities that they are planning on migrating to DW.

People who are moving are trying to assure everyone that it’ll still be easy as pie to communicate with them, whatever journaling site you remain based on. But like it or not, whenever you add any new step or barrier to communications–whether it’s having to sign-in via OpenID, or getting a new account, and oh yeah gotta remember that new password too and am I signed in or not and–oh, who cares!–people are going to be lazy and a lot are not going to bother. I’M horribly lazy, and I consider myself reasonably tech savy. But I’m LAZY. So any time you add another step in making me follow you to engage in feedback/conversation/etc, I’m less likely to do so. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. This applies especially to those who are turning off commenting on their x-posts except to go to DW. I can understand the reasons for doing that, in wanting to keep a conversation in one place, but…it has a slightly exclusionary feel to it that I don’t care for, and again, it’s that extra step that makes me less likely to engage. I’ve heard from others who find it offensive and a turn-off to engaging in a discussion they otherwise would have taken part in.

So…I suspect, what’ll happen is, just like I stopped regularly keeping up with some folks who moved off LiveJournal to InsaneJournal, I’ll probably lose some more folks if they move off to Dreamwidth. But I see the bulk of my friends-list staying right where they are for now–heck, no one outside of media fandom circles on my LJ friends-list is even mentioning DW, let alone talking about moving there–so I’m gonna stay right where the bulk of my real-life/music/rockfic/Philly/etc people are. If for no other reasons than a) being cheap and b) yeah, that laziness again.

I wish the folks at Dreamwidth well and, certainly, if the site takes off and ends up offering communities that interest me that I can’t find elsewhere, I just might start using the service as a regular part of my on-line time. But there are only so many social networks a person can spend their time on in each day, and each one, for me, has to offer something unique I can’t get elsewhere in actual content. Otherwise it’s nothing but a shiny new toy that may appeal to some, but should be assumed to appeal to all “just because”.

Fandom privacy: Your journal entries are not private

April 12th, 2009

Some parts of fandom treat LiveJournal, InsaneJournal and other public postings on journaling sites as private content. The rational is that this public content is published online for a small select audience, for a group of friends, intended only to stay inside a specific fannish community. When that public information gets shared in public, people can sometimes get really huffy. Witness the most recent case involving coffeeandink during Race Fail 2009.

Sometimes, we need a really good reminder that what you put out there in public, even if it is shared in the context of the fan community, is public. Today’s reminder comes from a court ruling involving MySpace. WebProNews summarizes it as follows:

A California court has ruled that a high school principal who sent a copy of a MySpace journal posting to a local newspaper is not liable for invasion of privacy.

The court ruled that Moreno gave up any claims of privacy when she posted the writing on MySpace. “Cynthia’s affirmative act made her article available to any person with a computer and thus opened it to the public eye,” the court said. “Under these circumstances, no reasonable person would have had an expectation of privacy regarding the published material.”

So when you’re posting online, in fandom or not, always remember that content posted publicly is not a violation of privacy and take appropriate steps to protect yourself.

The problems FanLore faces are not unique: Learning from Fan History’s experience

April 10th, 2009

At Fan History, we are always looking for ways to improve our content, increase contributions, and improve outreach to the greater community. As such, it is often useful to reflect inward on our own practices and to look outward, to look at other wikis, to see how they tackle these issues, as well as how they are perceived by the public.

Related to this continual practice of self-reflection and outward examination, Sidewinder recently brought a portion of this LiveJournal post regarding FanLore to our attention. It was instructive to go through and compare the problems that the two wikis have in common, and to enumerate the ways Fan History has been trying to deal with those problems ourselves. In some cases, the challenges are quite similar indeed, though our approaches to dealing with them differ. In other cases, the issues were ones we had confronted before and have worked hard in the past two years to improve upon.

http://nextian.livejournal.com/263577.html?format=light

To quote:

“On the one hand, Fanlore has a number of excellent, well-researched articles that are resources for discussions, fanworks, and historical projects. It is easy to edit, comes in multiple decent-looking skins, and has gardeners who are fantastically on the ball. On the other hand…

These are some of the things that FanLore has in common with Fan History. Both are excellent resources for the history of fandom, with some fandoms better represented than others on both. Fan History and FanLore have a number of different skins; Fan History has them available to registered members. Both wikis are easy to edit; Fan History’s templates are designed to give new editors a boost on organizing their materials. And both have “gardeners” or administrators who are involved and easy to contact.

My chief issue with Fanlore is that it is not, as it stands, a community project. There’s very little crosstalk,

Crosstalk takes effort and a commitment from those who are editing. It is why Fan History uses talk pages. It is why we ask people if they need help. It is why we create active talk pages to converse on how things are organized. These things need to be done openly, so that users can have input. We’ll admit that we aren’t always excellent at it… but we do try, and this is one area we have worked hard on improving. We know this is important to the success of a wiki.

Sometimes, crosstalk can be hindered on a wiki. We’ve found this to be a problem at times as some members of the fan community have had limited exposure to wikis. They don’t understand how wikis work. They might not understand the purpose – or even the existence – of a talk page. They might be used to a certain wiki or another project which doesn’t have the same idea of constantly sharing, constantly asking questions, constantly editing, constantly revising. There is a learning curve. As wiki administrators, we need remove those barriers to create crosstalk, to make the users aware of crosstalk. On Fan History, we’re still working on that.  Both FanLore and Fan History need to improve by using methods such as welcoming members, following up with one time contributors, and even changing the text on our talk tab – easy, since we’re using MediaWiki.

no central LJ comm,

We don’t have an LiveJournal community, either. We do have one on InsaneJournal that we use mostly for information sharing. The content, though, tends to be mirrored from our blog. Our recent changes are shown on our Twitter and identi.ca accounts. Our admins are also found on Twitter and they sometimes discuss organizational efforts with a wider community there. But neither our microblogging presence, nor our InsaneJournal presence are in any way really comparable to an off-wiki version of wikiHow’s New Article Boost.

We also have this blog on a subdomain of our wiki. You don’t have to be a member to read it. If you want to comment, you can, just by filling out the form with your name and website address. You can carry over your disqus presence when you comment. It’s our way of bringing our work to a greater fandom audience than the one found on LiveJournal.

We feel it is important that major news, discussions and policy matters are discussed on Fan History itself instead of on an off-site community such as LiveJournal. We try to keep those conversations on the wiki, announcing discussions and events on our main page, and then posting about them on the blog to make finding the conversation easier. Wikis need fewer barriers to help fans get involved.

Other wikis have different means of discussing their organizational and content objectives. wikiHow does their organizing with the wikiHow Herald . On it, they talk about projects they are working on. They highlight featured contributors. They encourage the general community through that and through wikiHow’s forums . A few other wikis on Wikia also have forums where they discuss policy issues, plan article and category improvements, and build a community for their wiki. AboutUs doesn’t really have forums, but they have a GetSatisfaction account where you can ask about policy issues, for article help, and find out how you can get involved in an off-wiki manner.

the chat has been empty every time I’ve gone in,


Fan History recently changed its chat server to
chat.freenode.net in #fanhistory. Unfortunately, it seems that the chat at Fan History is nearly empty, too. But chat can really help with community development. AboutUs, Wikia, wikiHow and EncyclopediaDramatica use it extensively. ED has their own server where people occasionally break out of the main room to work on side projects. wikiHow folks use their chatroom on chat.freenode.net to coordinate patrolling Recent Changes, for writing parts of the Herald, and for discussing improving projects like wikiArt. AboutUs has staff members and community members in their chatroom, ready to help people out who have questions or who are looking for information on how to contribute. It just takes a few dedicated regulars to make it workable.

and the Issues page is a masterpiece of passive-aggressive “well you
may be correct but I feel that possibly your face is stupid.”

Fortunately for Fan History, we seem to have fewer of those issues. We have certainly had articles and sections of the site which have been subject to edit wars and bias concerns, but we have tried to work with the parties involved to create as unbiased a history as possible in these cases. And when a administrator feels personally too close to a subject, that administrator will ask that others with a more neutral stance get involved.

Among other things, this means that there’s no clear outline of what needs work;

Well, they are wikis. If you understand wikis, you can’t really outline what needs to be done as this constantly evolves as a wiki grows. You can begin to outline what needs to be done on talk pages, or on how to lists, etc. The trick is less outline, more “How do you communicate with contributors outside the core to understand what their goals and intentions are for contributing to the project? How do you foster them and work them into your existing wiki work?” If someone comes in and makes an edit, you welcome them and ask how you can help them. Or say something like “Hi! Thanks for your edit on Lord of the Rings. We’ve been wanting to see it improved for a while. If you’re planning on sticking around for a while, we’d love for you to help the category structure there. It could benefit from some one who knows the fandom really well making it more fandom specific. [How does your fandom organize ships and what are the standard ship names? We've not touched those articles because we're not sure.]“

there’s no reward system for putting up a good page,

This is hard. Most bigger wikis like Wikipedia and wikiHow do BarnStars. But when there are just a few regular contributors, doing that becomes difficult. Depending on who is doing the editing, BarnStars can end up looking like a lot of self-congratulatory work.

What Fan History tries to do is to thank really great contributors on our main page and on the blog. We’ve also considered doing an extended featured article on the main page as a reward for the editors who do a lot of work on their own People article. There are other ways of giving those who create good articles and make good edits the feedback that keeps them coming back and continuing.

especially since (as yet) no one is using it as a resource;

This is a battle Fan History faces all the time: demonstrating our relevance. Something like wikiHow, AboutUs, Wikipedia, PoliceWiki even wikiFur and EncyclopediaDramatica have built-in audiences. Or the wikis have done a great job of demonstrating their relevance. wikiFur pretty much made themselves into THE furry portal through content selection and organization. They’ve worked with the community and created standards for writing articles about members. This has made it easier for the the wiki to serve their community peacefully. AboutUs has developed relationships with sites that provide domain information – to the point where you almost can’t get whois information without stumbling across them. PoliceWiki has done a lot of outreach to photographers and musicians to get permission to use their images and content on the site. Through the years, they have also worked to get those directly involved with the band to contribute material themselves as a way of presenting the most accurate resource for the fandom possible–and building good professional relationships. Getting a wiki recognized as a good resource takes concentrated effort, time and marketing. People need to know you’re there before anything else!

policy remains unclear in a number of important areas,

Making policy clear, and changing it when it becomes necessary is important in a collaborative effort such as a wiki. Fan History has been willing to do this, and has opened up policy changes for public discussion on talk pages, linking those pages to the main portal. It is vital to have clear policy on many issues in a wiki, such as privacy, deletion of articles, content relevancy guidelines, overall organization, and these things are best resolved then made clear to the public sooner rather than later.

such as cross-platform work with Fancyclopedia and the Fandom Wank wiki

In the past, we’ve cited the Fandom Wank wiki, but that in itself caused a lot of wank, so we’ve discontinued using it as a main source for information on new and existing articles. On a plus side, Fan History is “working” with FanLore by ?]" href="http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Special:WhatLinksHere/FanLore">linking to their articles and citing them as a source in more articles. We have relationships with a few fandom specific wikis such as PoliceWiki and RangersWiki to “mirror” articles relevant to both sites, helping to build cross-community work and traffic to both wikis as a result. We also allow some mirroring of articles with AboutUs. We talk extensively to others in the wiki community, developing positive and beneficial relationships so where we know we can turn for help when needed. This includes having open communications with people who run AboutUs, EncyclopediaDramatica, wikiHow, wikiindex, Richmond Wiki, Wagn, wikiTravel, Kaplak Wiki, Wikimedia Foundation and Wikia. They’ve provided us with assistance on things such as advertising issues, content development, policy creation and letting us use extensions they’ve developed. A lot of this is about becoming a good wiki neighbor, finding areas where projects compliment each other but don’t compete. It fosters the whole idea of the wiki Ohana that is a favorite subject at RecentChangesCamp.

– and, to my deepest dismay, it is not currently a wiki for all of fandom.

This may be an unrealistic goal for any overall wiki on “fandom”–at least if fandom is being defined as covering all aspects and types of fandoms, from sports to television to music to video games. Fan History currently has over 4,000 fandoms represented on our 595,000 plus articles. We don’t even begin touch all of fandom. Truthfully, we don’t think that it’s possible to reach and represent every little corner, every tiny fandom. But we’re trying, oh, we’re trying, and trying to make it easier for people to add those fandoms that aren’t there yet. We’re doing a lot of aggressive outreach, building a lot of stub content and getting people invested. The outreach part is critical but frequently, for many good projects outreach doesn’t get done. It takes a huge amount of time away from content development, and from working on the core goals of the wiki. It can be loads of no fun and requires the kind of commitment that people invested in only a small subcomponent of the wiki might not want to do.

Fanlore is, as it stands, a chronicle of the fannish experience of an extremely small subset of media fans. Have you seen the current incarnation of the Who page? The Harry Potter page? Compare that to the Due South page or the Sentinel page. Though the fandom sizes of Doctor Who and Harry Potter remain enormous, no one is working on them.

Fan History faced much of the same criticism early on, and still does. Some of our fandom pages and categories are great, and have received a tremendous amount of work–often from one or two very dedicated people. But our own Doctor Who and Harry Potter articles could use some work, too. Still, they are a nice representation of what is possible. It is also why we have “Move; don’t remove” as our mantra because as you develop a history, you learn that things must be placed into context, especially when you have large amounts of data.

Some of our administrators and regular contributors spend time building up stub articles and categories in fandoms that we know are popular, to try to make it easier for new users to add their knowledge and experience. But it all takes time and effort and only so much can be done in each day.

And I think that is self-perpetuating. I’ve stubbed out a number
of pages in large fandoms, including the Who version I linked
you to above, but it is not rewarding to do some work on a
collaborative project and receive no … collaboration.

Fan History, wikiHow, RichmondWiki and AboutUs all have a structure that makes it easy for people to come in and figure out how to add content. We try to have a structure on Fan History where people can easily slot things in with out having to worry about writing and editing large tracks of prose. As a result, creating article stubs that can be filled in more fully later isn’t as big of a problem as it could be.

As for collaboration, it’s definitely something that smaller wikis have problems with, but when it happens, it can be fantastic to see. We loved watching this happen with articles such as the Rescue Rangers article, the Shota article, the Draco/Hermione article, the Race Fail article and others. And if one or two people are creating content, they end up learning a lot about fandoms outside their own, which is always a plus. Because in the case of Fan History? A lot of what we are about is sharing knowledge with others.

I am not castigating the other editors for this — that would be somewhat absurd — but I do wonder why I have not seen Fanlore more widely linked to other communities, outside of the one that the founders of the OTW are members of.

This is not hard to figure out. People will link to an article organically if they see a need to or think contributing will benefit themselves. Fan History’s Draco/Hermione gets a lot of views because it has become a resource for finding old and influential fics. People also link to articles about themselves because they’re excited to see themselves mentioned in a wiki. It is another way that they can promote themselves and their work. One of the published authors on our wiki has seen twenty visits a month on the article about herself, which is an incentive to keep it updated and to contribute to our community. Other people contribute in order to control how outsiders view them. That can be seen on Fan History most clearly with the case of AdultFanFiction.Net and Rescue Rangers. Still others contribute to Fan History in order to promote conventions they are involved with, to try to up the standing of those authors and artists they love, or just for the LULZ. That latter one, we think, ends up indicating a certain amount of success if they think that Fan History is worth trying to get LULZ from.

We’ve also developed a large amount of links by linking them ourselves. AboutUs?  bebo? Chickipedia? Delicious? Facebook? FanPop? identi.ca? InsaneJournal? Last.fm? LinkedIn? LiveJournal? MySpace? Orkut? Plurk? Twitter?  Wikia? wikiidex? All of these are linked at Fan History. We also developed content that people would want to link to. Articles about the ordinary fan and fleshed out content on topics or relevant content that can’t be found elsewhere. And it is why our desire to get a few interns (are you interested in interning with us? Contact Laura!) is less for the wiki itself than the community outreach because we know doing that will lead to edits.

Fanlore should have extensive entries on “slan” and “Victoria Bitter,”
not just Laura and Bodie from
The Professionals.

Interesting that FanLore’s most edited article, the last time one of our admins bothered to check, was about Fan History and/or its owner. Here are our top ten most edited articles that didn’t have bot contributions:

  1. Harry Potter

  2. Draco/Hermione

  3. Bandfic

  4. Beauty and the Beast

  5. Supernatural

  6. Digimon

  7. CSI

  8. Rescue Rangers

  9. Doctor Who

  10. X-Files

We’ve been working to make certain our most edited articles are not our personal loves or the people we dislike. Why? It’s not conducive to building a community. We’ve learned this the hard way, admittedly, so it is not surprising to see that another wiki may be encountering the same issues. That said, being seen as a personal “grudge” site with too narrow a focus is not good for building positive public relations. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to rebuild trust after working the bias out of your more problematic articles.

I know the only answer to this is “edit it yourself,” but I feel that a stronger sense of community among Fanlore editors would make new editors more comfortable and allow a broader range of articles to arise.”

That’s a problem every wiki faces. But you have to learn from both your own mistakes and the mistakes of others. Learn what makes other wikis successful and adapt them for your own purpose.

We wish FanLore nothing but the best of luck in their endeavor. It is a long a bumpy road but one that be filled with tremendous personal satisfaction in creating a great tool for the greater fan community.

Follow up: Most human revised articles on Fan History

April 9th, 2009

The last post was heavy in terms of bot revised edits on Fan History. It is that way because our data collection bots update every day and some have been active since September 2008. This is the last of non-bot, human edited entries on Fan History.

The following data is cached, and was last updated 18:45, 9 April 2009.

Showing below up to 500 results starting with #1.

View (previous 500) (next 500) (20 | 50 | 100 | 250 | 500)

  1. Harry Potter ?(291 revisions)
  2. Draco/Hermione ?(242 revisions)
  3. Bandfic ?(228 revisions)
  4. Beauty and the Beast ?(221 revisions)
  5. Digimon ?(219 revisions)
  6. Supernatural ?(219 revisions)
  7. CSI ?(214 revisions)
  8. Rescue Rangers ?(209 revisions)
  9. Doctor Who ?(200 revisions)
  10. X-Files ?(195 revisions)
  11. Main Page ?(190 revisions)
  12. Cassandra Claire ?(186 revisions)
  13. Organization for Transformative Works ?(184 revisions)
  14. Slash ?(157 revisions)
  15. Doctor Who fanzines ?(138 revisions)
  16. Star Trek ?(135 revisions)
  17. Bleach ?(132 revisions)
  18. Russell Crowe ?(122 revisions)
  19. Star Trek fanzines ?(121 revisions)
  20. AdultFanFiction.Net ?(119 revisions)
  21. Star Wars ?(118 revisions)
  22. Sailor Moon ?(118 revisions)
  23. The Police ?(115 revisions)
  24. Susan M. Garrett ?(114 revisions)
  25. Daiken ?(114 revisions)
  26. Lord of the Rings ?(113 revisions)
  27. LiveJournal ?(112 revisions)
  28. Mortal Instruments ?(107 revisions)
  29. Roswell ?(106 revisions)
  30. FanFiction.Net ?(106 revisions)
  31. Zelda ?(105 revisions)
  32. Duran Duran ?(103 revisions)
  33. The Forever Knight Fan Fiction Awards ?(101 revisions)
  34. Naruto ?(100 revisions)
  35. Msscribe ?(99 revisions)
  36. Avatar: The Last Airbender ?(97 revisions)
  37. Mlina ?(95 revisions)
  38. Lucia de’Medici ?(95 revisions)
  39. Warcraft ?(95 revisions)
  40. Draco/Ginny ?(95 revisions)
  41. Final Fantasy VII ?(94 revisions)
  42. Current events ?(91 revisions)
  43. Grissom/Sara ?(89 revisions)
  44. Canadian Idol ?(89 revisions)
  45. Fan fiction archives ?(89 revisions)
  46. Gundam Wing ?(87 revisions)
  47. Plagiarism ?(86 revisions)
  48. Race Fail 2009 ?(86 revisions)
  49. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer ?(86 revisions)
  50. Xena: Warrior Princess ?(85 revisions)
  51. Twilight ?(85 revisions)
  52. My Chemical Romance ?(83 revisions)
  53. X-men ?(82 revisions)
  54. Thunderbirds ?(79 revisions)
  55. Hey Arnold! ?(78 revisions)
  56. Tikatu ?(78 revisions)

Most revised articles on Fan History

April 9th, 2009

We discovered today that Special:MostRevisions won’t load 95% of the time because it just takes too long to load. That’s what happens with over a million and a half edits. Before we cache it and it no longer updates, I thought I would present to you that list of the top 50 most edited articles. A lot of these are bot updated daily so counting them seems a bit iffy… but that’s neither here nor there. now for the list:

Pages with the most revisions

From Fan History Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Showing below up to 50 results starting with #1.

  1. Harry Potter ?(291 revisions)
  2. Draco/Hermione ?(242 revisions)
  3. Zoey101 (LiveJournal) size/table ?(229 revisions)
  4. Bandfic ?(228 revisions)
  5. Beauty and the Beast ?(221 revisions)
  6. Supernatural ?(219 revisions)
  7. Digimon ?(219 revisions)
  8. CSI ?(214 revisions)
  9. Rescue Rangers ?(209 revisions)
  10. Harry Potter fan fiction community size/table ?(205 revisions)
  11. NCIS fan fiction community size/table ?(204 revisions)
  12. Naruto fan fiction community size/table ?(204 revisions)
  13. Avatar: Last Airbender fan fiction community size/table ?(204 revisions)
  14. Bleach fan fiction community size/table ?(204 revisions)
  15. Twilight fan fiction community size/table ?(204 revisions)
  16. Death Note fan fiction community size/table ?(204 revisions)
  17. House MD fan fiction community size/table ?(203 revisions)
  18. Inuyasha fan fiction community size/table ?(203 revisions)
  19. Supernatural fan fiction community size/table ?(203 revisions)
  20. Fandom tracking/table ?(202 revisions)
  21. Bones fan fiction community size/table ?(202 revisions)
  22. CSI fan fiction community size/table ?(202 revisions)
  23. Doctor Who fan fiction community size/table ?(201 revisions)
  24. D.Gray-Man fan fiction community size/table ?(201 revisions)
  25. Wrestling fan fiction community size/table ?(201 revisions)
  26. Pokemon fan fiction community size/table ?(201 revisions)
  27. Heroes fan fiction community size/table ?(201 revisions)
  28. Maximum Ride fan fiction community size/table ?(201 revisions)
  29. CSI: New York fan fiction community size/table ?(200 revisions)
  30. Prince of Tennis fan fiction community size/table ?(200 revisions)
  31. Shugo Chara! fan fiction community size/table ?(200 revisions)
  32. Doctor Who ?(200 revisions)
  33. Stargate: SG-1 fan fiction community size/table ?(199 revisions)
  34. Total Drama Island fan fiction community size/table ?(199 revisions)
  35. Vampire Knights fan fiction community size/table ?(199 revisions)
  36. One Piece fan fiction community size/table ?(199 revisions)
  37. Chronicles of Narnia fan fiction community size/table ?(198 revisions)
  38. Bis(s) fan fiction community size/table ?(198 revisions)
  39. Hannah Montana fan fiction community size/table ?(198 revisions)
  40. Katekyo Hitman Reborn! fan fiction community size/table ?(198 revisions)
  41. South Park fan fiction community size/table ?(198 revisions)
  42. Stargate: Atlantis fan fiction community size/table ?(198 revisions)
  43. Code Geass fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  44. Criminal Minds fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  45. Yu-Gi-Oh fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  46. One Tree Hill fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  47. Ouran High School Host Club fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  48. Sailor Moon fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  49. Fullmetal Alchemist fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)
  50. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fan fiction community size/table ?(197 revisions)

WHY HELLO THAR BASEBALL! I MISSED YOU!

April 9th, 2009

Baseball season started this week.  For me, it started yesterday with the first game of the season that I attended.  I saw the White Sox play the Kansas City Royals at US Cellular Field with a friend.  The game surprisingly didn’t have that many people.  I thought after last year’s performance, they would have sold more seats.   That and my efforts to get tickets to Cubs games have been loads of no fun because so few seats are available.  In order to save some money  ($4 a bottle of water, $4 for a funnel cake, $3.25 for a large hot chocolate that is a small at McDonalds, etc) and resist the urge to eat my way through the game, my friend and I went out to eat in China Town before the game.  This was a very smart decision.  I could appreciate the baseball game food with out spending huge amounts on food and feeling totally icky and disgusting afterward. I was sitting on the lower level so I didn’t have that fear of falling that I have because of how awful the upperdeck is at The Cell. (It seems like it is almost an attempt at deterring the poor people sitting up there from getting truly rowdy by making them scared of exactly that so as to limit their alcohol consumption, lest they lose their balance and fall off. Except White Sox fans in that deck drink possibly more than people on the bottom.)


The above paragraph sounds like I didn’t have fun, but I did! I did! (I’m just more Cubs fan than Sox fan.) I love baseball. I love going to games. Going to a game is unlike any other fan experience I have as part of say media fandom. With sporting events, I feel like I’m part of a community. I’m sitting there with a few thousand other fans. You can yell at the players, scream at the coach, mock the umpire, boo with everyone else. It is very much a communal thing. You’re very passionate in the moment but you can let it go when you leave. Everyone around you can get your angst regarding what is taking place on the field. When the team wins, there is collective joy and ownership. When the game is done, you can come back again and relive it. The cycle can go on and on. I love that after the game, while I’m walking around Union Station, people will randomly talk to me about the White Sox because I’m wearing a White Sox jersey. With television and movies, so much of the experience is so much more internalized. It is a solitary viewing experience or limited to a small group. Yes, you can find communities for it to discuss a show but you aren’t sharing that experience when you watch with several thousand people and after the movie ends, random people aren’t going to ask you about it.

I love baseball. I missed baseball. It just feels like a way of connecting to a larger community that can be hard to find in our society at the moment. I love it. I can’t wait to see more games this season.

FanFiction.Net downtime leads to more traffic for Fan History

April 7th, 2009

Yesterday, FanFiction.Net was down for a while. As a reader, as mentioned here, I was kind of annoyed because I wanted to read fan fiction.

This afternoon, I looked at Google Analytics for the first time in a couple of days. (We had downtime so I hadn’t wanted to see the big traffic drop off as a result. It can be depressing.) Surprisingly, our traffic was pretty high. It probably was our fifth heaviest traffic day. I wondered why. The chart below really explains it. To give this chart some perspective? The previous day we had 22 visits from FanFiction.Net related keyword searches. Other high traffic days include January 5, 2008 (145 visits), February 24, 2009 (131 visits), and February 23, 2009 (110 visits). No other days had more than 100 visits as a result of this keyword. So FanFiction.Net’s downtime led to increased traffic for Fan History.

Keyword Visits Pages/Visit Avg. Time on Site
fanfiction.net 33 2.8 123.9
fanfiction.net down 27 3.3 274.7
fanfiction net 20 1.4 34.8
fanfiction.net down? 12 2.4 307.1
fanfiction.net is down 6 2.7 366.0
fanfiction.net downtime 3 1.3 27.7
fanfiction net down 2 4.0 696.0
fanfiction.net is down! 2 2.0 454.5
fanfiction.net server down 2 2.0 96.0
www.fanfiction.net 2 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net”" 1 7.0 129.0
to love and be loved”" fanfiction.net csi 1 1.0 0.0
adultfanfiction.net harry ¨potter 1 1.0 0.0
down fanfiction.net 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction net down? 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction net draco hermione 1 2.0 28.0
fanfiction net problems 1 4.0 528.0
fanfiction net story 1 7.0 129.0
fanfiction.net 503 server not found 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net blind sight 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net cima1305 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net d.gray-man 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net down ? 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net down april 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net down april 2009 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net down april 6 2009 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net down april 6, 2008 1 6.0 93.0
fanfiction.net down? 2009 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net hisotry 1 2.0 123.0
fanfiction.net house md community cameron house 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net is down april 6, 2009 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net issues 1 7.0 300.0
fanfiction.net not working 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net not working 503 service 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net not working april 6 1 5.0 243.0
fanfiction.net server error 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net server problem 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net servers down? 1 4.0 723.0
fanfiction.net website is down 1 1.0 0.0
fanfiction.net wiki 1 1.0 0.0
high school musical community fanfiction net 1 1.0 0.0
http://www.fanfiction.net/ 1 5.0 404.0
luke skywalker and darth vader community fanfiction net 1 4.0 57.0
most reviewed fanfictions on fanfiction.net 1 2.0 76.0
related:www.fanfiction.net/tv/gilmore_girls/ 1 6.0 1110.0
un pari dangereux – elsar pour fanfiction.net 1 2.0 17.0
when was fanfiction.net founded 1 1.0 0.0
why is fanfiction.net down 1 1.0 0.0
why isn’t fanfiction.net working? 1 1.0 0.0
www fanfiction net charm3power . com 1 1.0 0.0
yu yu hakusho fanfiction net 1 1.0 0.0
Total/Average 150 2.2 124.3

Update: FanFiction.NetBot

April 7th, 2009

About a year ago, Fan History paid for some one to create FanFictionNetBot. The bot created about 490,000 articles when we finished running it. While it was primarily active in March 2008, we occasionally ran it to create articles about FanFiction.Net who had joined after we had created the bot. We last ran it on December 26, 2008 and the last article it created was the one about Ending Howard, a name that now seems fitting.

We’re never going to run the bot again on FanFiction.Net. No new articles will be created. The articles were never intended to be updated. The bot is officially dead. Why? At the time that we created the bot, we were in compliance with FanFiction.Net’s robots.txt policy and their Terms of Service. We only created it and ran it in the first place because we weren’t violating those. FanFiction.Net has since changed their policy to explicitly prohibit this type of activity. Fan History tries to be a good fandom neighbor and violating a site’s Terms of Service would fall into that category.

Another convention gone…and what of the future?

April 7th, 2009

I was very sad to learn recently that Eastern Media Con would be going on hiatus this year. EMC was one of the most enjoyable cons I’d attended the past two years–it had a lot of the fun, friendliness and lack of pretensions that I’d enjoyed about the old Eclecticon, but with some great more “modern” amenities and features.

Of course, their reasons for not running it this year make total sense: the bad economy, past con debt, and more difficulty than ever in finding a hotel willing to offer the features wanted by fans at a price that fans could afford. I remain hopeful they’ll come back in 2010–after all, many small cons seem to do better on a bi-annual schedule where people have more time to plan and save between the cons they want to attend, and they become more of a special “event”. But I really begin to wonder how much of a future there is for any con besides the large corporate ones these days.

I only have three shows scheduled for myself this year at this point: MediaWest, Shore Leave, and DragonCon, and this may be my last time at Shore Leave and even possibly MediaWest depending on how things go (Shore Leave has been on a slow decline for years, and MediaWest, while still “holding on”, I’m curious to see for how much longer. The old host hotel is going through renovations which may make it less fan-friendly and more expensive; the con comm does not seem to be bringing in “new blood”, and various other issues leave me concerned.)

There are other issues plaguing the convention scene also which could have some effect on their ability to keep going, as well as attracting new fen to attend. At this year’s Lunacon, there apparently seemed to be some conflict between “old school” science fiction fans and some younger fans in attendance, who felt very off-put by some of the behavior encouraged and/or tolerated at the event. A LiveJournal rant after the fact lead to over 1,000 comments–many from others with long-standing peeves about convention attendee behavior. Others felt unfairly called out for “being themselves” in what they had always considered a “safe space” for fans, many of whom may or do have social skills issues that give them trouble finding acceptance in mainstream culture and society.

So, what are conventions to do? Should conventions try to become more mainstream, shunning and criticizing those who refuse to give up their old “nerdly ways” because it may be turning away newer fen? Will the old guard of science fiction cons–Lunacon, Philcon, Balticon, etc.–become as extinct as the dinosaurs in the not-so-distant future, because they seem to refuse to change with the times? Do conventions have any real future in a world where the internet has already made fandom more “mainstream” and accessible to all?

These are all the things I keep pondering, as I have no clear answers or ideas myself.

FanFiction.Net is down

April 6th, 2009

FanFiction.Net is down and has been down for the past hour. This is loads of no fun. I was reading The Last Embrace by Kristen Elizabeth last night for a nice piece of angst and I wanted to continue to read it this morning. I’m hoping it is back up soon.

I’m growing tired of Twitter

April 5th, 2009

It took me a while to get Twitter. And then I loved it. I really loved it. I followed so called power users. I watched other people’s Twitter grades and ranks with fascination. Then decided to experiment with Twitter. And through experimentation, I learned a lot about twitter.

I’ve also discovered that I’m tired of Twitter. I’m tired of people talking about the number of followers they have. I’m tired of services like Twitter Grader and Twitterholic. I’m tired of people talking up those numbers, and numbers like how many times you’ve been retweeted, and that your value on Twitter and the interest in following you is dependent upon that. None of this matters. Relationships matter. I’ve yet to see some one explain why having 3000 followers where you engage with 0.01% of your followers, post links and retweets gives value back. I’m tired of being what amounts to a recipient of tweet spam even as I engage in it myself because I want to appear in Twitter’s search engine, get more traffic and have a high rank on Twitter’s services because Social Media people think it gives value and I want to believe they know better than me.

I’m tired of always being on with Twitter. Social media is a performance art. You’re always out there, always selling yourself. If you forget that you don’t have personal relationships with the people that you’re interacting with, you might regret it. If you want to use Twitter to get traffic to your site, attract angel investors, catch the eyes of VC people, try to get a consulting gig, you can’t go off the reservation and babble about how you’re tired, cranky, depressed, broke, dealing with family issues. Your audience doesn’t have the relationship with you to stick with you for that and you look unprofessional. You get more leeway with a personal blog, a LiveJournal account, a FaceBook account. Twitter just is always on and if you’re an introvert, this can be hard to maintain. It is tiring. I’m tired of performing and worrying about my performance being off.

I’m tired of the idea that Twitter improves relationships and develops relationships. I’ve made a few good connections on Twitter. The ones I probably am most glad of are the ones with kaplak and wikihowl. They are ones I probably would not have made otherwise. But most people on Twitter are people I follow in other spaces like LiveJournal, LinkedIn, FaceBook, mailing lists, on their blogs and IRC, who I keep up with via phone calls, at BarCamps, via e-mail and IM services, through private messages on FaceBook. The relationships that I’ve developed on Twitter don’t always feel that deep and when my friends and acquaintances on other services use those services less and use Twitter more, my interest and ability to connect becomes harder because of space constraints and the noise level between their content. I really wish Twitter did what the implication was that it did. I really wish that I could go back to Twitter about 9 months ago. I really wish that as Twitter exists now, that I felt like I was getting more out of my relationships that use Twitter to facilitate them. They don’t. I’m tired of trying to make the effort while feeling like I should be getting something out of it. I’m tired of people following me for no apparent reason who never communicate with me. I’m tired of the idea that I should be getting more connected with people as I feel even less connected.

I’m tired of the hype. Biz Stone said on The Colbert Report that Twitter answered a need you didn’t know you had. That doesn’t necessarily say “Twitter is great and serves a useful need” so much as “Twitter was marketed brilliantly.” CNN talks about Twitter. FaceBook changed to look more like Twitter. News people talk about how Twitter will change how news is reported. Newspapers print Tweets. Twitter will change the world! Celebrities tweet from everywhere. Entertainment Tonight covers people who are tweeting while they are being interviewed. I get it. This is like MySpace about 2 years ago. (And we know where MySpace is going.) I kind of just want to be left alone in a world where I can use it with out everyone and their neighbor going on about how great it is. If we could get back to reporting the news instead of reporting on how people are sharing their news, I might be less tired.

I’m kind of hoping this is a phase and that I will feel better about it later. I really do like Twitter but certain parts of it are just tiring.

March 2009: Most popular fandoms

April 1st, 2009

March has ended and I’m feeling in the mood to blog. So in celebration of March ending and spring coming, a list of the most popular fandom articles on Fan History for the month of March and a break down of the most popular articles on Fan History for the first quarter of the year.

March 2009: Most popular fandoms

  1. Cassandra Claire – her new book came out this month
  2. Naruto – lots of traffic from search
  3. Digimon
  4. Twilight – fandom is really popular
  5. Harry Potter – Fan History has lots of content
  6. Dragon Ball Z – lots of traffic from search, lots of content
  7. Mortal Instruments – last book in trilogy came out
  8. Gundam Wing
  9. Supernatural – fandom has been wanking a lot
  10. Bleach – lots of traffic from search

January to March 2009: Most popular fandoms

  1. Cassandra Claire
  2. Naruto
  3. Digimon
  4. Twilight
  5. Gundam Wing
  6. Harry Potter
  7. Mortal Instruments
  8. Dragon Ball z
  9. Supernatural
  10. Pride and Prejudice

January to March 2009: Most popular ships

  1. Draco/Hermione
  2. Snape/Hermione
  3. Michael/Maria
  4. Taito
  5. Draco/Ginny
  6. Takari
  7. Harry/Draco
  8. Sesshoumaru/Kagome
  9. Max/Liz
  10. Harry/Ginny

January to March 2009: Most popular fans

  1. Msscribe
  2. Cori Falls
  3. Ithilien22
  4. Laura
  5. Heidi8
  6. Minisinoo
  7. Black-Beri
  8. FictionLyn
  9. Capnnerefir
  10. Maygra

January to March 2009: Most popular fansites/fan fiction archives

  1. Sakura Lemon Fan-Fiction Archive
  2. FanFiction.Net
  3. AdultFanFiction.Net
  4. GreatestJournal
  5. LiveJournal
  6. FanWorks.Org
  7. Galbadia Hotel
  8. FanDominaton.Net
  9. FanLib
  10. InsaneJournal

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