Fan History, kerfluffle documenting, linking and informing

September 4th, 2009 by Laura Leave a reply »

Fan History covers a lot of topics. One of our most popular article types, in terms of volume of traffic, involve kerfluffle articles. Unlike other articles on Fan History, these articles tend to have two or three contributors. They are updated frequently as a major kerfluffle goes down. Most of the contributors to these articles tend to be Fan History admins or friends of Fan History admins. Given the last statement, I felt it was important that we outline our notification of linking policy and why we chose our particular policy.

During a major kerfluffle that anyone is covering, there are generally three approaches:

  • Provide links and commentary in a summary of the events. Do not participate in the kerfluffle. Document it. Do not go to people’s blogs and comment to say that Fan History has linked to them. (Don’t troll the wank.) This is the philosophy that fandom wank has adopted.
  • Participate in kerfluffle as you normally would. Do not announce that you are linking to posts on the posts you are linking to, unless you are responding to something where linking to the post is necessary.
  • Inform every person that you linked to in your write up that you linked to them. This is the philosophy of linkspam.

    There are benefits and drawbacks to each philosophy. Fan History’s policy for its admin staff is to follow the first one: Do not go to people’s blogs and comment to say that Fan History has linked to them. We have chosen this policy for our admin staff for a variety of reasons.

    First, we see Fan History’s mission to include documenting the history of fandom as fairly as we can, in as unbiased manner as we can while accurately describing events that took place. We believe that if we actively inserted ourselves into the conversation by commenting to link a person to our post and announcing that we linked to them that we would not be able to work towards Fan History’s mission. It would make us participants in the conversation, and that would hurt our ability to be unbiased, fair and factually accurate. We would be forced to participate and defend our commenting to inform.

    This leads to the second reason: The need to defend if people were upset by our linking could also possibly serve to derail important conversations. We want to document the history. We don’t want to derail conversation in fandom that people think are important. This includes conversations on issues such as gender, race, privilege and more. These are important conversations to have. By changing the focus, making it more about Fan History and that we linked to the person, we may be sending a message that we think we are more worthy of being discussed than the topic in the post.

    The third reason and final reason we don’t link is that Fan History is that people can easily find if they are linked on Fan History. We’re rather search engine friendly and people can find us if they search for us. In many recent kerfluffles, our articles have been well linked so people can find us in the stream of links around a kerfluffle that we are covering. If people really want to know if they are linked, it is pretty easy to do so.

    Before ending this post, I just want to make it clear: This policy is for Fan History’s admin staff only in terms of how we contribute to kerfluffle articles. It is not our intention for links on these posts to be used as starting places for people’s trolling. We also do not hold our contributors to the same policy. If they want to add links to an article and inform people that they linked to them, that is their pejorative.

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