… has taken a break this month because I am on vacation in Australia. It will be back when my Internet connection is a bit more reliable and I have time. (Or rather, What’s Hot for August should be posted on September 1.) There is no July post. Sorry about that.
Archive for July, 2009
Metamobs can be hazardous to fandom. Particularly when they don’t get their facts straight before launching into attack mode.
A recent example of this? The attempted lynching of Doctor Beth which nearly turned into an entire anti-fanzine crusade in some circles.
See, Doctor Beth sells used media fanzines. She sells them on ebay. She sells a lot of them, and at rather hefty markup (but hey, have you ever tried to run an ebay store? Those fees are pretty steep. You’ve got to sell things at good prices to make any money at all doing so.) I’ve seen her in action at MediaWest: she’ll look for people unloading large collections of old ‘zines in room sales and in the dealer’s room, try to haggle them down to buy the whole lot at once at a bargain price, only to turn around and sell them on ebay.
Is that proper fannish etiquette? Well, everyone may feel differently about that. But it’s not anything illegal (leaving aside the questionable legality of fanzines as an issue for now. She’s not publishing them. She’s selling them as collectibles for specific fandoms). She’s buying what she believes to be genuine, original copies of fanzines and looking to resell them elsewhere on a market where there may be limited supply, and more demand. Not any different than running a used bookstore, is it?
Problem is, not everyone selling used ‘zines at MediaWest or elsewhere is always on the up-and-up themselves with what they’re selling. Despite rules about not allowing the sale of bootleg zines at the con, some people still do – not in large quantities, perhaps, but here and there. Someone might have borrowed and made a private copy of a hard-to-find/out-of-print ‘zine for themselves in the past. Many people print out and may even nicely bind copies of their favorite stories for their own personal reading and enjoyment. Months or years later, they may no longer want them and feel, “well, I paid for the ink and paper to print this, let me try to get a couple bucks back for it” and throw some of those home printing jobs in among their genuine ‘zines to resell. Or they may give those print-outs along with their ‘zines to a friend going to the con, to try to sell for them, and that friend may have no idea which are “real” ‘zines vs. not.
Stuff happens. However it happens. End result, Doctor Beth ends up with hundreds of genuine fanzines to resell – along with a couple “fake” or “unauthorized” ones in the batch. Not a big deal – until the author of one of those stories who never authorized its publication in a ‘zine stumbles across their story for sale on ebay.
Naturally, said fan has reason to be upset. The problem comes when the news begins to spread through the fandom blogosphere. A statement that “One of the authors on my flist discovered an ebay listing for her work printed, bound and listed as a ‘fanzine’ without her knowledge” soon becomes twisted as it is passed and reprinted, rephrased, and a mob called to action against this great injustice! Soon it becomes a cut-and-paste message stating firmly, “it looks like everything doctor_beth2000 is selling is stolen, printed and put in a cheap binder with fanart without the knowledge or permission of the writer or artist.”
But it doesn’t end at that. The enraged mob decides that they must take action on their own beyond spreading a warning: they must attack the offender directly. Report Doctor Beth to ebay for copyright violation! “And don’t stop there,” argue those who, in this internet age of fandom, have issues with the publication of fan-fiction in ‘zines sold for money, period. “Let’s report other fanzine sellers on ebay! Whether they’re the publishers themselves! It’s wrong to sell fiction for money no matter what! In fact, no one publishes fan-fiction zines anymore, so they must all be bootlegs! Get ‘em all!”
One or two people try to spread a voice of calm. Doctor Beth removes three – three out of 700! – listings, which turned out that yep, they were private copies of stories never meant to be sold or resold. People are asked to revise their statements of outrage and accusations about what Doctor Beth was doing. Many do, some don’t. Some are rather passive-aggressive about it, either only striking through their accusations or adding an “ETA” after them instead of removing them completely or making a new follow-up post to retract what they’d said earlier.
Of course, the damage is done already no matter what. Doctor Beth has been labeled a wrongdoer in fandom; the viral warning spread like rapid fire in a way that retractions of the attacks against her never will (because apologies about misinformation never are as much of a “fun” bandwagon to jump on, are they?) This isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone in fandom targeted like this, and I have no doubts it will be far from the last time, either.
Should Doctor Beth been more careful about what she’s selling? Perhaps. There are plenty of resources out there to verify the origins and authenticity of fanzines, and they should be utilized by anyone who may have reason to doubt the origins of a publication they come across. FanHistory’s Fanzine Category indexes thousands of fanzine titles by genre and fandom. There is also a useful resource list here of fandom-specific ‘zine indexes.
At the same time, though, perhaps fans can be more careful and at least try to think calmly for a moment before joining a mob attack. Make sure you’ve got the facts straight about a situation; make sure the person or persons making the accusations are being honest and are trustworthy, and not working on their own questionable agenda in leading an attack; make sure the accused has had some chance to respond and correct a situation first. Otherwise there is little to be gained except potentially aiding in the spread of misinformation and damaging another’s reputation in fandom – or fandom as a whole.
“Beginning Friday, an AT&T customer was impacted by a denial-of-service attack stemming from IP addresses connected to img.4chan.org. To prevent this attack from disrupting service for the impacted AT&T customer, and to prevent the attack from spreading to impact our other customers, AT&T temporarily blocked access to the IP addresses in question for our customers. This action was in no way related to the content at img.4chan.org; our focus was on protecting our customers from malicious traffic.
Overnight Sunday, after we determined the denial-of-service threat no longer existed, AT&T removed the block on the IP addresses in question. We will continue to monitor for denial-of-service activity and any malicious traffic to protect our customers.”
So, crisis appears averted for now. There’s more information in the 4chan status blog.
Some reports coming out of this year’s Comic-Con International are suggesting that the con may be reaching its breaking point in size. One fan tells the story of waiting in a tremendous line for hours to try to get into one panel, only to find out that most of the people who managed to get in had either camped out in the panel room since early morning, or were members of the press who were given preferential access to the big “media events” at the convention. Other blogs report that convention centers in other cities, including Las Vegas and Los Angeles, have been either approached or expressed interest to the convention organizers to take their business to their bigger venues.
With memberships selling out faster every year, and the con growing from 300 to over 125,000 attendees annually, is it time to move and to embrace even more expansion? Or is it time for the convention organizers to rethink the way things are going, and if bigger really IS going to be better in this case? Tickets could be sold — or even assigned potentially by a free lottery — for panels and events that are of especially high demand and interest. That could perhaps give fans better chances of seeing the events they want to see, and is how many other commercially-produced genre conventions control seating for their premium guests and panels. Of course, enforcing people to leave panel rooms between events and sit in potentially assigned seats, could prove a whole other logistical nightmare, requiring additional security and ushers, more turnover time between panels, and not be something the convention organizers want to deal with.
Another possibility that has been suggested is to reduce the focus of the convention, or break it up into separate events for the many different genres embraced currently at the event (film, television, comics, anime, gaming, etc.) But the overlap between all of these genres is so great, I don’t know where the lines could or should be drawn. If it is to become more strictly a comic-con, what about television shows based on comics universes like Smallville? Films based on comics like Watchmen?
I suppose part of the question is, what do the organizers really see as the future of Comic-Con? Is it going to become just more and more of an event for the entertainment industry and the mainstream press than it is for the fans? Is it already long past that point? Is this just another sign of the changing face of genre conventions, with more and more of the small, fan-run, not-for-profit events shrinking or disappearing completely, leaving fans with only the mega-events like Comic-Con and Dragon*Con left? (And D*C as well is reaching the breaking point of its capacity in recent years, for if its growth continues it will surely be forced to move from its current host hotels into a convention center facility.)
I’m not especially happy if that’s the case. I know I’ve lost a lot of the smaller cons I used to enjoy, or if they’re still going on they are becoming so small that it’s not worth my time and money to travel to them (such as BASCon, which recently announced this year it was becoming just an overnight event instead of a three-day convention. Not something I can justify flying cross-country to attend.) Many fans do not enjoy the massive crowds, huge lines, and big costs of the mega-cons, either. I think it will be sad if those are the only options we will be left with in the future.
The following was originally posted by girlvinyl on her LiveJournal and is reposted here with her permission. She articulates her position for better than I feel I can on this issue…
I’m not normally one to make ‘statements’ on things in regard to internet drama. Even when that NYT article came out last year, I didn’t comment on it. Most things happen and I know that it’s wiser to sit quietly and let people fight things out amongst themselves. For a variety of reasons.
But today something happened that I feel I should comment on because it affects me and will eventually effect you too.
AT&T has started blocking 4chan for it’s customers. Right now there are just internet forums and posts with people chiming in and no real word of exactly what is happening and how widespread it is. It doesn’t appear to be all customers right now, but it does appear to be geographically diverse.
I do not use 4chan. I don’t understand it and I honestly find it sort of boring. I’m an obsessive gawker devotee, to give an idea of my browsing habits. I like faux news and lol news and some light politics. The content at 4chan is too much for me to handle in general. But 4chan and ED have a close and strange relationship. ED was not started to catalog 4chan, it was started to make fun of LJ, but a lot of 4chan users and ED users started to overlap, so the content began to overlap. 4chan’s founder became Time’s person of the year, 4chan has grown and grown and grown. ED has grown too. And a lot of that growth comes at times when 4chan is down. When 4chan experiences downtime, ED experiences significant increases in traffic. ED appears to be the second stop for 4chan users when their main site is unavailable.
It’s not my place to judge the merit of content on ED or 4chan, but I am an avid proponent of free speech. I understand that AT&T is a business and that that business has the right to shape it’s network traffic as it sees fit. And of course it’s customers have the right to choose another ISP [well, unless AT&T has a monopoly in that locality, in which case they have the right to file an anti-trust lolsuit, which is a dismal reality]. However, the FCC affords common carrier status to AT&T. This means that they have a responsibility to provide the service in a way that is conducive to the public good.
4chan is the cesspool of the internet. I think most people will agree on this. That’s why this battle has started with 4chan. It’s easy to justify to the general public that this censorship is “good” censorship and that 4chan shouldn’t be accessible to anyone, for any reason. Other websites will then be blocked by AT&T, ED being one of them. The smaller ISPs will follow suit, citing AT&T as precedent and eventually there will be blacklists of sites that all ISPs implement for the “public safety”. Thus we have internet censorship with no laws necessary. Even if there are laws against it, Obama has made it clear that he and the congress are happy to excuse this kind of behavior by internet companies and will protect them from any kind of law suit.
If you have AT&T, I highly suggest you switch to another ISP as soon as you can. If you switch to another provider, you can probably get a better deal with a 6 month promotion anyway.
And here is the ED article which is being formulated currently. It includes a list of numbers to call to cancel your AT&T service.
Is 2009 going to end up going down in the Fannish History books the Year of Fail? Some days it certainly seems that way. I can’t remember a year with one incidence of or rallying against accused Fail coming one right after another as it has this year.
First there was Race Fail ’09, beginning in January and stretching through into April before morphing into Mammothfail in May. Even at WisCon 2009, at the end of that month, there was controversy over apparent racism and gender fail, despite the convention’s overall feminist-orientation.
After Readercon this month, there was sexism and ability-privilege wank reported and discussed by many. And Readercon also seemed to be the springboard for what could now be called Fishboob Fail, focused on the newly-relaunched Realms of Fantasy magazine. Sexism and race fail combined in this controversy over the magazine’s choice of cover art–and of course, when Harlan Ellison gets involved in any situation, one knows it’s going to get real ugly, real fast.
But wait, there’s more! Reports coming out of Comic-Con this weekend have noted Electronic Arts’ ill-advised marketing strategy, of placing a “sexual bounty” on their “booth babes”. sf_drama is all over the situation already, and no doubt further wank and rage over this will follow before the convention ends.
There have been other skirmishes brewing in the genre publishing world on the edges of fandom lately as well. Justine Larbalestier’s upcoming Young Adult novel “Liar” is causing a huge amount of controversy, at least over the American edition’s cover. The publisher seemed to think it necessary to put a white girl’s face on the cover, despite the book’s narrator and protagonist being of “dark skin and short black hair”, and sometimes mistaken for being a boy. Some also attempted to stir up a round of Trans Fail over Ellora’s Cave Publishing‘s new title, “Heart of a Forest”, which prominently features a transgendered character in a new take on the Robin Hood mythology.
So what is all of this Fail, and talk of Fail, going to lead to in the long run? Is it a sign of the changing, more progressive times, of people in certain groups and communities finally stepping up to say “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”? Is there going to be a positive outcome from raising awareness about so many issues of privilege in our society and fandoms, be they based on race, gender, ability, or otherwise? Or is there some danger that the people who most need to be reached in these discussions will stop listening from overload, from too much meta, too many incidents of metamobbing, from a sense of fatigue and lack of enjoyment in remaining active in certain areas of fandom? Is fandom becoming too much of a mine-field for potential accusations of Fail, or are these all vital issues that need to take precedence over some individuals’ discomfort, or “harshing” of their “squee”?
As always seems to be the case with these matters, truly only time will tell.
So there’s a group calling themselves the Social Equality Effort causing a bit of a kerfluffle in Star Trek fandom right now. It seems they’ve begun a campaign called “SEE Trek Love”, the main focus of which is to promote the idea of making Kirk/Spock a canon couple in the new Trek film series. They’ve got a petition going and have been promoting their efforts on various forums and messageboards throughout the fandom but with pretty mixed results so far.
Mainly, they seem to be causing a great deal of Fail by taking a cause that many do support – seeing more recognition and positive portrayal of queer/non-heterosexual relationships in the official Trek canon – and going about it in all the wrong ways. As multiple individuals have quickly pointed out, their emphasis on Kirk/Spock over the possibility of other characters and pairings (either new or already part of the film canon universe) seems to reek more of fangirl privilege and slash-fen wanting to see their OTP acknowledged officially than an effort truly geared towards promoting visibility and equality. Their posting to the newtrekslash community on LiveJournal caused considerable wank and fail in the comments, where it seemed they managed to aggravate many fans and groups including Spock/Uhura shippers and lesbians who felt they were being dismissed as “not important”. There’s even been a healthy dose of race wank in the discussion as one of the campaign supporters made dubious statements such as “if Star Trek hadn’t broken the race barrier, I might not even exist (I’m mixed, black and white)”.
All in all, this entire situation looks like it’s just going to end very badly. Which is a shame because for decades, many fans have actively tried to promote for recognition of alternative sexualities in Star Trek and done so in ways that managed to garner great support both within the larger fandom and to some extent from the actors and powers that be as well (see the Voyager Visibility Project). The Social Equality Effort instead seems to be angering too many of the fans they should be courting to get behind their cause, by putting their emphasis in the wrong place and not responding constructively to the criticisms being raised about their efforts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they become the victims of a metamob at this rate, as the voices in protest and slamming them are already rising quickly.
The San Diego Comic-Con (wiki) is currently underway. The largest convention of its kind in the United States, this convention plays a vital role annually in promoting and previewing what’s to come in the fields of comics, anime, genre movies and television, science fiction and fantasy artwork and gaming…just about everything under the sun when it comes to media and comics fandom.
FanHistory would be thrilled if any attendees at the convention could help us document the event this year. Please consider helping to improve the main article on the convention, which sadly is little more than a stub currently. Scan in some flyers you’ve collected at the convention and upload them to our Comic-Con International images category. We’d also love some photographs taken at the event, a copy of the souvenir book, and/or any daily news bulletins published at the convention.
Write up any convention reports or blogs while at the convention? Please add links to the Convention reports for 2009 article, too. This helps us provide a spectrum of experiences from the event.
Dealers and artists, add yourselves to the list of those attending–and then consider creating a page about your business and work to help promote yourself with our simple Dealer article template.
There’s much you can do to help us record the history of this great event. Not sure where to start? Just leave a comment here and ask away for more help–all contributions great and small always are welcome.
Well, despite my initial pessimism (as expressed in an earlier blog post here), apparently campaigning to get on the “New Moon” movie soundtrack is a big, big thing right now for numerous band and musician fandoms. With the huge success of Twilight, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and get their favorite artist some extra exposure. And a news article about this in the Examiner names Fiction Plane fans as “the most dedicated” in their pursuit of getting one of the band’s songs on the soundtrack.
So, color me a bit surprised! But I still wonder, will the campaigning really pay off? Now more than ever I’m curious to see what happens…
We’ve had some great success recently adding a large number of fan-fiction story articles, both as part of our Geocities preservation project and through indexing stories at large archives such as the due South Fiction Archive and inuyasha-fanfiction.com.
We at FanHistory see how useful this project can be, and will continue to work on creating more story articles from other large, fandom-specific archives. By creating these articles, we can help readers who may be searching for fiction in certain fandoms or by particular authors. Readers can also leave review comments and add more information on a story. Authors may find this resource helpful should they be faced with a plagiarism case, and need to prove when they first posted a story — or if they simply have lost track of where their stories were posted through the years. Those studying fandom trends, growth, and migration, should now be able to easily see when large fandom archives saw the most posting activity, and what pairings or characters were most popular there, and when.
For those who might question these efforts, it is important to note several things.
1. All information being added on stories is publicly available and easily found through Google, or through links off high-ranking Google search returns for fan fiction, fan fiction archives, and specific fandoms. We are not adding links or information about stories under any kind of membership or privacy lock.
2. If an archive has site-wide warnings, disclaimers, and age restrictions, we are including those warnings on every story article page.
3. Please note that we are *not* archiving the stories themselves. FanHistory is not a fan-fiction archive. FanHistory is only providing links to stories in descriptive articles. This is no different than any other link list provided by another website or search engine, nor any different from the previously-added individual story articles already on FanHistory.
4. Authors may request articles about their stories to be deleted at any time. Please see our article deletion page for details.
We would love to work directly with fan-fiction archivists. Such a collaboration could help build traffic to your archive by featuring it prominently in the FanHistory category for your fandom(s). If you are interested in the opportunity, send us a copy of your current story database, so we can add your site’s information to FanHistory, or please contact one of our Administrators for more information!
The problem with MySpace and FaceBook for fan groups is that people join their fan related communities and that’s it. There isn’t much interaction beyond that. (It is also a problem that plagues bebo and orkut.) One of the best general social networks for fans is LiveJournal, where you’ve got a population of at least 200,000 fans who have a higher than normal activity level when engaging on those communities compared to some of the other networks.
I’d like to see them do well because I like seeing fans succeed. I haven’t joined because I’m not in fandom for the competition. (But I’m not a normal case.) The competition aspect with other fans almost makes it sound memeish like Mafia Wars on FaceBook. Cool, but not for everyone. I prefer the competition aspects and community aspects on BuddyTV.com. I love the community aspects on LiveJournal. I love the informational aspects in the wiki community. I love the promotional chances and finding vids aspect of FanPop.
So we’ll see what happens and what sort of niche they can carve out. I just think the comparison to MySpace and FaceBook is not the best one. Maybe the model would have been better compared to gaiaonline.com?
The second comment was:
The problem with competition is that it can have a limited shelf life. It can bring certain types of people in. For fandom, community can really seal the deal and keep people involved, long after their interest in a particular media product has waned.
(Of course, there is also the aspect where community can intentionally keep people away because they don’t want to deal with certain types of people who they see as impeding on their fun. I can think of a large number of examples where this has happened on a micro and macro level.)
Most of the focus for self expression that I’ve seen that the fan community values highly is fan fiction, fan art (with icons and macros), fan vidding, fan related meta, role playing (cosplaying and LARPing) and costuming. Then there are various forms of community support and ingrained competition surrounding and supporting those. (With a lot of the infrastructure providing that not viewed as creative or important. Fans do an amazing job at adapting things not intended to support their activities to work for their needs.)
I’d love to know more about how SuperFan defines self expression. The tech crunch article doesn’t really doesn’t get in to it.
End comments. If you haven’t, you might want to check out SuperFan.
Some things in our top actually changed. A lot of this is the result of individual linking. I’ve also included our top blog entries in this week’s wrap up. They don’t generally get as many views as articles but do go towards demonstrating that some of our more news related posts get a fair amount of traffic. Most of these news related posts are unrelated to fandom news that is featured on LiveJournal communities like metafandom. Interesting stuff.
Fan History’s Most Popular Articles
11,152 pages were viewed a total of 44,564 times
- Draco/Hermione – 1,013
- AdultFanFiction.Net – 905 views
- Cassandra_Claire – 488 views
- Naruto – 339 views
- FanDomination.Net – 324 views
- Sakura Lemon_Fan-Fiction Archive – 298 views
- Merlin – 249 visits
- Digimon – 234 visits
- FanFiction.Net – 234 visits
- James Nicoll – 223 visits
Fan History’s Most Popular Blog Entries
124 pages were viewed a total of 939 times
- Michael Jackson fanfiction: is it out there? – 477 views. Entry by Sidewinder.
- The high cost of conventions – when will it become TOO high? – 66 views. Entry by Sidewinder.
- Panic at the Disco break up – 48 views. Entry by sidewinder.
- Update: Permabanned users policy change – 48 views. Entry by Laura.
- Does familiarity breed contempt (and breakups?) – 29 views. Entry by Sidewinder.
- Laura’s link building philosophy – 22 views. Entry by Laura.
- Not a parody? Then not fair use. Precedent is bad news for argument that fan fiction is legal! – 16 views. Entry by Laura.
- Torchwood post-Children of Earth – 12 views. Entry by Sidewinder.
- Pictures from Chicago’s Pride Parade – 10 views. Entry by Laura.
- Why Australian fansites – and fans – need to be careful with Shotacon – 10 views. Entry by Sidewinder.
Fan History’s Keyword Traffic
Search sent 13,821 total visits via 9,244 keywords
- adultfanfiction – 333 visits
- adult fanfiction - 176 visits
- fandomination – 105 visits
- michael jackson fanfiction – 90 visits
- naruto wiki - 79 visits
- bandflesh - 77 visits
- michael jackson fan fiction – 75 visits
- restricted section – 71 visits
- adult fan fiction – 63 visits
- draco hermione – 58 visits
Fan History’s Referrer Traffic
Referring sites sent 2,519 visits via 500 sources
- mademan.com – Replaced Chickipedia
- journalfen.net – fandom_wank traffic began to taper off. 47 visits.
- sidewinder.livejournal.com – 47 visits. Links to her blog entries on her LiveJournal.
Torchwood fandom appears to be reeling after the conclusion of “Children of Earth”, the five-part storyline which made up the series’ third-season. Some viewers appear to appreciate the adultness of the storytelling and the writing quality of these episodes, saying it’s been a definite step-up from earlier seasons. However, many are outraged by the (apparently genuine, not-to-return) death of fan-favorite character Ianto Jones, particularly those involved in one of the primary ships of the series, Jack/Ianto (or “Janto” as it is sometimes known.)
Many Janto fans feel betrayed after being promised more development of the relationship, which had already become canon. They feel that Russel T. Davies has placed shock-value higher than fans’ emotional investment in the series’ characters in pursuing this storyline. I personally stopped watching Torchwood regularly during the second season when it became clear that killing off any of the main characters was going to be fair game–and quite likely to continue. Owen Harper and Toshiko Sato were already main character victims, and with their deaths I also found my interest in watching the series gone. Not to say that I don’t value grittiness in my fictional viewing and reading, and can understand how a character death can sometimes be necessary to move a story along or benefit a piece of fiction artistically. But for many of us who are avid in our fandoms, we become very attached to our characters, favorite relationships, and pairings. Killing off a major character can be a huge risk for TPTB to take, as it can alienate viewers–and not just any viewers but the ones most likely to buy related merchandise for a fandom, attend conventions to see related guests, and generate lots of internet buzz for a show. It can cause them to not just stop watching a show any longer, but it can cause them to lose interest in being any part of a fandom, period.
I’m not sure what the motivation behind killing Ianto could have been (other than shocking the viewer, as already mentioned). A fourth season of the show was questionable at best already. Why kill off a beloved character when there is no need to necessarily close off that door? (An actor wanting to leave a continuing series is one thing, but I’ve heard no mention of Gareth David-Lloyd wanting out.) Now I suspect Torchwood fandom will be wanking for months to come over the events of these episodes. Will the production of fan-fiction now increase, with people writing reaction fics, or AU fics negating the death? Or will fic production (as well as other fannish creativity and support) drop off, with fans now disgusted and lacking inspiration to continue with their storylines? Will the fandom suffer and die instead of thrive in the long run, or will it continue along, perhaps increasing if/when there is a new series produced and new characters introduced to fill the void left now? Only time will tell, but it seems a very risky move for the show to have taken.
A few days ago, we blogged about whether or not to continue adding more story articles to the wiki based on recent experiences building a database of stories in Inuyasha fandom. We have gone ahead with continuing this process, today adding over 5,000 articles on Due South stories from the Due South fiction archive. We felt this was a good fandom to continue with, as FanHistory has received some criticism in the past for not having more content related to Due South and its fandom. We hope this will help track trends and posting frequency in the fandom through the years. Also, as one of our admins pointed out in the earlier discussion, our indexing of archives such as dsa could help in the future in cases of plagiarism in fandom.
As always, FanHistory is not indexing any information which is not already easily retrieved on the internet through simple search and link methods. We are not actually archiving these stories, only providing links as to where to find them and summary details. We will also be willing and ready to delete story articles on request and will be refining our policies on this matter as we continue to look into indexing more fan fiction on the internet.
I love reality television. This morning, I was catching up on my The Fashion Show. The end of the episode came up and there were two contestants up for elimination. One of the judges said all these nice things about one of the dresses that was in the bottom two. The designer looked pleased. Then the judges dropped a bomb shell: They accused the designer of plagiarizing another designer. They said a lot of the audience had come to the same conclusion. They offered photographic proof. The judges then went to debate which contestant should be let go. Meanwhile, the other contestants discussed amongst themselves that this particular designer had talked about making knock offs before, had mentioned the designer that they were modeling this dress off and otherwise weren’t sympathetic to the alleged plagiarizing designer.
The judges discussed amongst themselves if a dress that was a creative failure was better or worse than some one who plagiarized other people’s designs. When they reached their decision, they determined that creativity and originality was more important than the ability to make copy some one else’s design. This was a clear case where plagiarism had consequences: The contestant did not advance because he wasn’t original.
This feels important to note because in fandom people justify plagiarism by saying there aren’t any real world consequences and who cares? Here is a case, in the creative world, where there are consequences and people cared. The point the judges made regarding this issue in fashion has just as much meaning in the world of fan fiction: Copying other people’s work is not a fundamentally creative act that should be rewarded. Copying and plagiarism should not be celebrated and should not be tolerated.
As I’ve been working on improving our Michael Jackson category here at FanHistory, one area I’ve been looking into is fanzines focused on the artist. Clearly there have been a great many of them produced through the years, and what’s listed in our Michael Jackson fanzine category so far is, I’m sure, just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve always been personally interested in fanzines, as we are in general at FanHistory, because of the window they provide into a fandom at the time of their publication. What issues were people talking about and debating? How were people reacting to news and events in their fandom? When–or did–a fandom switch to on-line activities instead of ‘zines? Which countries produced more fanzines in a fandom than others, and what does that say about the fan base?
In music fandoms, I’m curious to see what creative activities fans were engaging in, too, as these aspects are often overlooked by mainstream fans, and those in media fandom who seem to presuppose that fan art and fan fiction began with Star Trek or Man from U.N.C.L.E. Sometimes I’ve found interesting cases of what I’d call “proto”-fan fiction in music fanzines, where fans share “dreams” or daydreams they’ve had about meeting their favorite artists, but it’s rare I’ve found out-and-out fan fiction except in dedicated music fanzines such as UMF, a Duran Duran fanzine. For instance, most of the Michael Jackson fanzines I’ve found have been fan club newsletters, and I haven’t seen any that appeared to contain Michael Jackson fanfiction.
All that said, we could really use help from people in music fandom in improving our music fanzine category. Are you a fan with a couple ‘zines sitting around? We have an easy Template you can use to upload individual ‘zine information and cover images. Have a large collection of ‘zines? Contact me, sidewinder, and I’ll let you know how you can put together a simple spreadsheet database and we can see about uploading the information to the wiki quickly and easily.
Fanzines are an important part of music fandom’s story, and I hope you’ll consider helping us preserve that history here at FH.
If you’re on Facebook, we’d really appreciate it if you could become a fan of Fan History. Thanks for your continued support.
This morning I read an interesting blog about the increasing costs of conventions, which posed the question, “How much is too much?” As in, at what price do fans begin to balk and refuse to keep paying? Will they ever do so, or will they keep shelling out whatever amounts of money conventions and big name guests expect them to?
The blog was questioning this matter because it was just announced that Patrick Stewart would be appearing at this year’s Dragon*Con in Atlanta–but that he would be charging $200 per photo-op. This appears to be a record high price at such an event, although not a complete anomaly in the science fiction/media-convention industry where autographs, photo-ops, and just seeing the main-draw celebrity guests have become premium ticket items. Leonard Nimoy has been charging $65-75 an autograph lately, and attending his panel at a recent convention in Florida cost you $125-250 EXTRA, above the regular admission price of the convention. Mark Hamill is reportedly charging $100 per autograph as well, and the upcoming TwiCon for Twilight fans has caused some controversy over their prices and autograph policies. Within conventions there are no set prices, so a guest charigng $20 per autograph could be sitting next to someone charging $60–and many fans won’t know that price until they’re in line and ready to buy.
Is it all just getting to be too much? To the casual fan, I should imagine so. The days of spending $25 to get in to a convention for the weekend, attending all events, and getting at least one “free” autograph from each of the main guests seems long gone, at least on the celebrity/for-profit con circuit. The convention industry is starting to remind me a lot of the concert industry, with prices skyrocketing and the best seats only going to those with the fattest wallets (remember those Torchsong Chicago auctions for front row tickets that sold into the thousands of dollars?) Just like many music fans can only afford to go to small club shows these days and support local bands, maybe saving up to go to one big concert a year (and if they’re lucky, being able to even GET a ticket better than the nosebleeds), con goers are having to be more picky and choosy in what conventions they can get to–if they bother still attending at all. Meanwhile the smaller, independent fan cons can barely afford media guests if they want them–or if they can, those media guests charge high prices per autograph, giving none away for “free” to attendees, still increasing the cost for everyone.
And it’s not just the fans who are suffering. When attendees are nickled and dimed for every aspect of the con experience, paying out what can easily add up to hundreds if not thousands of dollars on photo-ops, autographs, guest banquets and cabarets, they have less left to spend on the independent artists and vendors who used to rely on the convention economy for their livelihood. Is the diehard Patrick Stewart fan who just spent $200 on that photo going to have anything left to go to the artshow and bid on a piece of fanart of Jean-Luc Picard? Or a Star Trek fanzine? Or an original book of science-fiction stories from a small-press publisher? What about the convention charities, which often depended on attendees opening their wallets to give to a good cause?
Con attendance is already suffering as airfares, gas prices, and hotel costs rise with every year. Many fans can no longer attend like they used to, and with things like autographs now costing so much, I can imagine the situation will only get worse. It becomes a downward spiral of rising prices and diminishing returns for all involved, and seems to fortell to me yet another ringing of the death knell for conventions as many fans once knew them. All we may be left with soon are a handful of “mega”-events that come with mega-pricetags for all attendees, and a few remaining small scale conventions which only serve local fan communities, unable to support or reach out to a wider audience in fandom. And that’s a change that makes me sad to contemplate.
Recently, we added a number of articles about specific stories on Fan History. Many of these stories were hosted on Geocities. We wanted a record that these stories existed because they are likely to disappear. It gave an idea as to what was happening in smaller fandoms not hosted on FanFiction.Net, in real person fic communities and elsewhere. Many of the fandoms on Geocities more closely paralelled what was happening on Yahoo!Groups than FanFiction.Net or LiveJournal. It was important to get that out there.
But we’ve opened Pandora’s Box. We’ve got all these story pages that we didn’t have before. After we did that, we added a bunch of stories about Inuyasha. We had the database. It was an interesting experiment to try to add those articles. We were showing some love towards another archive. (We love to do that. If you’re in fandom and are looking for a way to promote yourself on Fan History, let us know.) The articles represented another perspective outside of FanFiction.Net and LiveJournal. It seemed all good.
It would be really easy to add articles about a lot of other stories on other archives. We could e-mail fan fiction archivists and ask them if they would be interested in having articles about the stories they have hosted on Fan History. We could ask individual authors if they could put together an excel file that lists all their stories. If we wanted to work towards our goal of getting to a million articles, this would be one way to get there a lot faster.
Except, you know, over thinking happens. Do those pages have value? (Maybe.) Are most stories able to help people get an idea of possible trends in fandom? (You’d need to look at 10 to 100 articles to really know. Maybe. Hard to tell.) Would this be useful for smaller fandoms where it isn’t as centralized and readers may not be as aware of other places to find stories? (Yes. Definitely.) Would this be useful to larger fandoms in the same way? (Not really, no.) Wouldn’t this duplicate what we already have started with FanworksFinder? (Kind of. But FanworksFinder doesn’t work. And what about stories that no longer exist? Where is the dating?) Could it almost become like Yahoo!Answers or fic finding mailing lists where people can easily hunt for stories? (Yes. If done right. Likely not though until Fan History’s audience reached a critical mass.) Wouldn’t it remove some of the neutrality issues of the wiki if we did this and allowed reviews of stories on the wiki? (Yes. Hugely scary issue.) Would we piss off a lot of people in fandom by linking and discussing their stories with out permission? (Probably. Maybe. Somewhat. Bound to happen. Scary to think about.) Would people find this useful in terms of promoting their own work? (Yes. If person articles are any indication, lots of people would find them useful.)
There are just so many good arguments both ways. We’d love feedback from the community regarding this issue as we go forward.
This is why.
In December 2008, a conviction was upheld in NSW Supreme Court, in which a man was brought to trial for cartoons based on the child characters of The Simpsons, showing them engaged in sexual acts. The fact that “no real children” were depicted or harmed–often the argument used by fans in defense of shota–was irrelevant, according to the judge in the Supreme Court appeal.
“In my view, the magistrate was correct in determining that, in respect of both the Commonwealth and the NSW offences, the word ‘person’ included fictional or imaginary characters … the mere fact that the figure depicted departed from a realistic representation in some respects of a human being did not mean that such a figure was not a ‘person’.”
The LiveJournal community sf_drama may be wanking over the subject currently, but that doesn’t change what the law is for Australian fans. And it’s probably something all fans should keep in mind: make sure you know the laws regarding child pornography and how it is specifically defined in your country, or another country if you are sharing images, stories, etc with fans worldwide. You may be putting yourself or others at legal risk and not realize it.
We’ve been trying to figure out how to preserve some of the history of fandom on Geocities. One way was to try to create an index of some of the stories on Geocities. (Our best guess is that there are over 250,000 stories hosted in various places on Geocities. It is just impossible to get an accurate count.) Fandom ethics pretty much condemn copying and saving stories and archiving them with out an author’s permission. And doing that? It wouldn’t really help develop a better idea of what was happening in fandom. It would just preserve primary source documents, that in many cases would lose the date of authorship.
To address this issue, what we did was created an index file of stories hosted on Geocities. This involved a lot of datamining by hand. This information was then wikified. Sadly, my most awesome bot developer has been busy and this index kept growing. We finally did get the information wikified using an extension. Editing these articles isn’t as simple as editing normal articles as you’re much more locked into the template than you are with most pages. The source wiki code looks like this. If you need help editing, let an admin know.
When we finished adding new articles, we had over 5,000 new articles about pieces of fan fiction found on Geocities. They represented 125 fandoms, and almost 1,200 authors. Stories were written as early as 1998 and as late as 2009. We’re really happy with this because, while not much, it represents a piece of fandom history that won’t be lost now.
So I’ve just returned home from Independence Day celebrations to read that apparently Panic! At the Disco is breaking up? I don’t follow the band closely myself, but I follow bandom enough in general to realize this is a pretty big deal. My main wonder at this point is how this is going to affect the fan community and the production of fanworks centered on the band. Something like this could spark a lot of fan speculation (though writing fiction or otherwise) on why the break-up is happening. Or it could lead to a major fracture within the fandom if there are battles between the fans of various band members, who may be to “blame”, etc.
It would be great if we could have someone within the fandom help document these events on out Panic at the Disco page on FanHistory.
As privacy is such a frequent, troubling issue in fandom, it is important to note that today, Facebook has begun making status messages, photos and videos visible to the public by default instead of being visible only to a user’s approved friends. The New York Times has a good article on what these changes mean, both now and potentially in the future.
Many fans use Facebook, with varying levels of success or effort in keeping their “fannish lives” and identities separate from the “real lives”. All fans who use the service should now take the time to review their privacy settings there, and decide what they are and aren’t comfortable sharing with the world at large. Unfortunately, many users will no doubt not even realize these changes have happened and/or how to adjust their default settings. I won’t be surprised if there may be more incidents of outing seen in the future using information now public on Facebook that users may not have realized was out there for all to see, or how it could put themselves at risk.
For useful information on protecting your privacy on-line in fandom, see FanHistory’s Privacy help page.
There have been endless debates in fandom as to the legality of fan fiction. The general consensus, with some noted exceptions, in the community is that fan fiction is highly derivative and would not be covered under fair use. Some of the most noted proponents of fair use for fan fiction claim that fan fiction is a form of parody. I’ve generally found this type of rationalization rather ridiculous, as most fanfics are easily perceived to not be parodical in nature. (And you’re never going to convince me that your post episode story is, or that your chan story featuring Harry Potter getting butt sex is a form of parody either.) We’ve just been rather fortunate in our community that there is no legal precedent in US courts, which say that fan fiction is a copyright violation. We’ve also been fortunate that copyright holders have largely managed to ignore fan fiction or saw ways that they could fit fan fiction into their business plan. In the past several years, there have been almost no cease and desist letters and DMCA takedown notices for fan fiction.
But it looks like we have finally come close to having that precedent that everyone should be concerned about. By concerned , I mean they need to be concerned about keeping fan fiction out of the courts if this holds up on appeal. Why? This court case shows that we could damned well lose.
There was a court case in the United States. It involved an unauthorized sequel to a work by J.D. Salinger. The court wrote the following:
To the extent Defendants contend that 60 Years and the character of Mr. C direct parodic comment or criticism at Catcher or Holden Caulfield, as opposed to Salinger himself, the Court finds such contentions to be post-hoc rationalizations employed through vague generalizations about the alleged naivety of the original, rather than reasonably perceivable parody.
Or as Ashby Jones at the Wall Street Jones said, “did not fit into the fair use exception in copyright law because the book did not constitute a critical parody that “transformed” the original.” This sort of ruling doesn’t help the case for the legality of fan fiction. The court saw through the same sort of bullshit rationalizations for the legality of of this work that fan fiction writers have made.
Will this change the situation in the fan community at all? No, it won’t. What it hopefully will do is quiet those voices who claim that fan fiction is transformative, not derivative. that rational may end up doing more harm than good.
It has been a long, sad week in fandom in terms of deaths of those who created the fabric of the content for which we are fans of. Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays all passed away. Today, we have news of more losses. They include Karl Malden, Mollie Sugden (Are You Being Served?) and Harve Presnell (The Pretender).
Half the year has passed so it is time to do an update as to the most popular fandoms on Fan History for January to June 2009. Items on this list list tend to appear for three reasons: 1) Interest in the fandom, 2) Quality content, 3) Good SEO. Because of the latter two, I don’t think that you can draw any conclusion about what is going on in fandom as a result. Hopefully, one day, we’ll be there where you can.
- Harry Potter
- Gundam Wing
- The Fast and the Furious
- Mortal Instruments
- Dragon Ball Z
- Prince of Tennis
Top Actor Fandoms
Top Anime Fandoms
- Gundam Wing
- Dragon Ball Z
- Prince of Tennis
- Sailor Moon
- Ouran High School Host Club
Top Book Fandoms
- Harry Potter
- Mortal Instruments
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Death Gate Cycle
- Lord of the Rings
- Sherlock Holmes
- Alex Rider
Top Cartoons Fandoms
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Kim Possible
- Rescue Rangers
- Ben 10
- Sonic: The Hedgehog
- Hey Arnold!
- Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series
Top Comics Fandoms
Top Movies Fandoms
- The Fast and the Furious
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
Top Music Fandoms
- Panic! At the Disco
- American Idol
- Fall Out Boy
- Nine Inch Nails
- My Chemical Romance
- The Beatles
- Savage Garden
Top Television Fandoms
- Jon and Kate Plus 8
- Star Trek
- Gilmore Girls
- Beauty and the Beast
- Doctor Who
Top Video Games Fandoms
June ended. It is time to review the site in terms of what was popular for the month and where our traffic came from.
Most Popular Articles
33,144 pages were viewed a total of 185,876 times
- Draco/Hermione – 3,766 visits
- Cassandra Claire – 1,699 visits : Back near the top after having been knocked off last month
- Race Fail 2009 – 1,415 visits
- Sakura Lemon Fan-Fiction Archive – 1,412 visits
- AdultFanFiction.Net – 1,377 visits
- Naruto – 1,026 visits
- FanFiction.Net – 961 visits
- Digimon – 953 visits
- Russet Noon – 898 visits
- Update: Permabanned users policy change – 839 visits : blog entry. Featured on fandom_wank because of comment by LadySybilla
Most Popular Searches Leading to Fan History
- galbadia hotel
- naruto wiki
- adult fanfiction
- restricted section
- gosselins without pity
- emo porn
- cassandra claire
- draco hermione
Most Popular Referrers to Fan History
Referring sites sent 10,761 visits via 965 sources
- journalfen.net – 1,289 visits
- AnimeNewsNetwork – 1,163 visits
- chickipedia – 820 visits: Midway through the month, the site moved to MadeMen.Com and it looks like their traffic dropped off
- community.livejournal.com – 661 visits
- fanfiction.net – 335 visits
- twitter.com – 306 visits
- fanpop – 297 visits
- tvtropes.org – 255 visits
- deviantart.com – 185 visits
- mademan.com – 173 visits
Most Popular Internal Searches
There were 3,832 unique searches via 3,619 search terms
- sasuke – 8 searches
- keva – 7 searches
- astolat – 6 searches
- maderr – 6 searches
- racefail – 6 searches
- st astryr of the uncool – 5 searches
- Likos64 – 4 searches
- aggybird – 4 searches
- angstgoddess003 – 4 searches
- asylum 2009 – 4 searches
Most Popular Fandoms
- Harry Potter
- Mortal Instruments
- Prince of Tennis
- Jon and Kate Plus 8
- Gundam Wing
Most Popular Fans
- Cassandra Claire
- Peter Chimaera
- Charlie Prince
Most Popular Ships
- Spock/Uhura – Movie and kerfluffle related bump
Most Popular Kerfluffles
- Cassandra Claire
- Race Fail 2009
- Russet Noon
- Update: Permabanned users policy change – blog entry. Featured on fandom_wank because of comment by LadySybilla
- First there was Torchsong Chicago. Now there is TwiCon… – blog entry. Linked on fandom_wank in the comments.
- Mortal Instruments
- Race Fail 2009 by Author
- Cassandra Claire’s Plagiarism
- J&N: A Love Story
Most Popular Fan Fiction Archives