Posts Tagged ‘dreamwidth’

sidewinder’s picks: The Top 10 Fannish Events of 2009

December 21st, 2009

In the spirit of the season, I decided to look back on 2009 and reflect on what I saw as the Top 10 fannish news stories, events, and kerfluffles of the past year. These are just my picks–what news stories and events did you think were the biggest? I’d be curious to hear other opinions and reflections from different corners of fandom.

10. The 2009 Warnings Debate. Warning debates seem to rise up every year, but the 2009 one was a real doozy. Taking place after a bandom story was posted without warnings, the debate quickly spread through LiveJournal media fandom as everyone took sides on the issue–and a few BNFs found themselves on the “wrong” side of the debate. Still, the debate brought serious discussion of triggers to the forefront, and I have noticed more people being sensitive to the use of–or warning for their lack of use of–warnings on their fic, as well as on general journal postings since then.

9. Dreamwidth Studios launches. After much discussion and anticipation in some circles for months, Dreamwidth Studios finally opened to the public in May of 2009. Initially there was a huge frenzy of support and excitement, with some members of media fandom abandoning (or having already abandoned after getting beta accounts) their LiveJournals for this new service. There was a fair-sized backlash against DW as well, with others content to stay where they were, annoyed by the fracturing of their reading lists and doubtful that fandom would pack up en masse to move to this new service. Time has proven the doubters, perhaps, to be correct. Recently some DW users have been posting about moving back to LJ as the community on DW had not taken off as they had hoped it would, and their corners of fandom are still largely staying where they were on LJ.

8. SurveyFail. Rarely has a metamob so quickly and so effectively shut a person down than when fandom went after “researcher” (and reality-tv “celebrity”) Ogi Ogas. Fandom doesn’t like to be conned or tricked, especially when it comes to media representations of slash fiction fans and writers. SurveyFail was a prime example of this.

7. The Eli Roth saga of doom. Celebrities are increasingly breaking the fourth wall with their fandoms in this internet age, and services like Twitter make that easier than ever to do. But this isn’t always a good thing, as Eli Roth proved when he started interacting with members of the gossip community ohnotheydidnt. Joking about slash fiction featuring his characters and posting pictures of him eating blueberries morphed one night into women (some potentially underage) sending him topless pictures of themselves and engaging in cybersex via MySpace. The incident sent ONTD into a tailspin of wank and lead many to wonder just how far is too far to go when fandom and celebrities mix on-line.

6. Jon and Kate divorce. The reality series Jon and Kate Plus 8 has been a mainstay of sites such as ONTD and the gossip magazines since the series first aired. Spurring lots of fan sites (as well as anti-fan sites), as the couple’s relationship hit the rocks this year, discussion and interest about them exploded on the internet. Here on FanHistory we saw a peak in traffic to our page about the show in August, as this news was breaking.

5. Russet Noon and LadySybilla. Never before in fandom history–and probably never again–had FanHistory, Fandom_wank, and Lee Goldberg found themselves on the same side of the fence: recording the history of (and mocking) a Twilight fan’s attempt to profit off a fan-written novel based in the Twilight universe. This massive kerfluffle exploded as the author, LadySybilla, targeted her critics in kind.

4. The Philadelphia Eagles sign Michael Vick. Despite having a baseball team make it to the World Series two years in a row, Philadelphia is still a football town, first and foremost. And the announcement that Michael Vick would be added to the team’s roster this season was a news story that rocked the city and outraged many fans. It was an especially difficult pill to swallow after the loss of fan favorite player, Brian Dawkins. The debate ran for months–and still continues today, even as the team heads to the playoffs: Should Vick really have been given a second chance? What are fans to do if they love a team, yet have strong moral objections to a player on it? Some sold their tickets for the season in protest; others came around to accepting Vick later in the year. Others still just wait and hope he will be traded away next season so they can go back to rooting for their team without guilt.

3. Star Trek, Rebooted. The release of the new Star Trek film this year managed to revitalize the fandom in a way that surprised and delighted many. Fans of the original series who were initially skeptical by and large embraced the film. The fandom exploded on LiveJournal, producing a huge array of fanworks in a short span of time. However, there was some wank and shipping wars to develop, largely between Kirk/Spock shippers and Spock/Uhura shippers. How this will continue as the new movie franchise moves on will be interesting to see.

2. Michael Jackson‘s death. It was the news story that nearly took down the internet: Michael Jackson, dead at 50. Many websites and social networking services temporarily crashed or were overloaded as people flocked on-line for news and updates. His passing lead many to reconsider the popstar’s life and works, fueling renewed debates over his behavior and legal troubles. It also lead to the formation of numerous new messageboards, communities, and websites devoted to him, and a blossoming interest in Michael Jackson fan-fiction.

1. Race Fail 2009. Unquestionably, RaceFail was THE fandom story (and debate) of the year. Beginning in January over a book by Elizabeth Bear, the situation exploded and raged heavily through science fiction and media fandom for months. Indeed, it would be easy to say that 2009 was basically a Year of Fail, as I speculated back in July in a previous blog post. Increased awareness of race, gender and ability privilege have been promoted again and again as failings have been pointed out, both in commercial media such as books and films and in our own fannish interactions with each other.

So what does that say for the year ahead? How will 2010 go down in the fannish history books? Guess we’ll have to wait until next December to find out.

Dreamwidth Studios growth

May 13th, 2009

One of our admins has been updating the totals related to Dreamwidth Studios for a couple of days.  The chart below is a copy and paste from the Dreamwidth Studios article.  There really isn’t enough data to draw any conclusions but short term conclusions are still fun to make anyway.

It looks like between May 2 and May 5, a lot of new people joined and then set about importing the comments from their old LiveJournal posts.  It is the three day period recorded with the most new OpenID accounts appearing. Caught in that net, to date, includes over 334,000 different LiveJournal users.  Wow.  Over on my LiveJournal, there has been some speculation that comment importing has largely been a move similar to that of FanLib, where users were allowed to easily move their content over in order to provide the new site with lots of additional content in order to attract new users.  Comment importing is one form of quick content creation.  (Though FanLib didn’t allow you to import your FanFiction.Net reviews.  They just allowed you to import your stories.)

It looks like the number of active accounts peaked on May 5/6.  Since then, the volume of posting by new members has been lower in terms of actives in the past 7 days and past 24 hours.  To me, this suggests that people surged in to join, to name squat and to see where the service will go.  As we’re talking four days in a row below the high with about 1,000 fewer people updating daily, I’m not quite ready to buy the rational that this is a weekend trend and that the numbers will pick up.  The idea that people appear to be name squatting and not utilizing the service is confirmed for me because less than half of the people who have been active in some way have ever posted an entry.

The total accounts that have been active in some way seems pretty close to the number of people who were members of fandom_counts, a community with roughly around 34,000 people.  I’m really curious to know how much crossover there is between the two that their numbers are so close.

Dreamwidth Studios Historical Data

Date Total Accounts That are active in some way That have ever posted an entry That have posted an entry in last 30 days That have posted an entry in the last 7 days That have posted an entry in the last 24 hours
May 2, 2009 228878 27252 10359 10324 8841 4120
May 5, 2009 286805 34106 14117 14080 12592 5034
May 6, 2009 301085 36333 15603 15564 14077 4845
May 7, 2009 314431 38106 16871 16819 15294 3882
May 9, 2009 321405 38879 17564 17493 13172 2824
May 10, 2009 323769 39087 17786 17710 12115 2912
May 11, 2009 328542 39514 18157 18054 11055 3420
May 12, 2009 334359 39948 18576 18450 10352 3561


From the keyword vault… 2

May 7th, 2009

I really loved doing the last post. We got a few more visits with interesting keywords to our blog.  (The wiki is much better optimized.  We get few hits based on these sort of keywords.)

what to do after wank

When I first read these, I thought that these were related to wank, the fannish term.  I had a mental block and didn’t realize that people were visiting the blog looking for masturbation advice.

Given that, on with the question! If we are talking actual masturbation, when you’re done, you clean yourself up.  Then, if you like Fan History, you visit pages like fandom_wank and slash.  If you’re talking about wanking of the fandom sort, when you’re done, you take a fandom break for a couple of days.  wanking is frequently high stress.  When you’re done, you need time to think, to cool down to re-evaluate, to assess what steps you need to take after that to protect yourself in fandom.

neil patrick harris icons livejournal

We’ve got information about a couple of Neil Patrick Harris LiveJournal communities.  We don’t have any icons on the wiki.  You could probably upload a few if you wanted to illustrate information relevant articles.  You’re probably better off searching on LiveJournal for that, rather than using Google.

dreamwidth greatestjournal

Dreamwidth Studios and GreatestJournal have nothing to do with each other, other than both having core fandom audiences, being run by one or two volunteers, being run with the intention of living off the money earned from the sites and using modified versions of LiveJournal’s open source code.    The people who run it are not the same.  They have different cultures.  GreatestJournal was populated early by role players.  Dreamwidth Studios was populated by metafans.

wanking race

Seriously?  Do people actually have races where two or three people get together to see who can get it off first?  I don’t have advice for that.  I haven’t seen any sort of race to wank to make fandom_wank or metafandom.  If people know of any bets to see who could make one or the other in a wankfest, let me know as it would be enlightening and educational.

livejournal stats

If you’re looking for LiveJournal statistics, check out LiveJournal community size.  Sadly, these numbers haven’t been updated in a while because of a problem with our bot but there are three month months worth of data that still make it useful and interesting.

There are a couple more that I really would like to do.  They require a bit more extensive answers like “why twilight is so big?” and “how do you communicate if service users are upset” so I’m putting that off for a bit.

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”.

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