Posts Tagged ‘mammoth!fail’

The Anatomy of Fail

January 27th, 2010

Fan History’s admins make an effort to try to document some of the major fails and wank in LiveJournal media fandom.  When we cover it, we tend to really cover it, making a major effort to build comprehensive list links that cover all perspectives.  Some of the major wank/fails we have covered include Race!Fail, Mammoth!Fail, Privilege wank (also called Warnings!Fail), Russet Noon, Lambda Fail and the Slash Debate.

The Slash Debate is the one that is ongoing at the moment and I was curious as to how this particular fail’s life cycle compared to other fails.  I went to the Fan History pages, which sorted posts by date they appeared, and counted.  I got the following chart:

This chart only looks at the first 30 days of fail.  For The Slash Debate, numbers are only current to January 25, 2010 and may be subject to change as we find more posts.  The Slash Debate “officially”  kicked off on January 29, 2009.  Russet Noon kicked off on March 23, 2009.  Lambda Fail kicked off on September 16, 2009.   Race Fail kicked off on January 8, 2009.  I stopped counting and moved new post totals over to Mammoth!Fail, which started on May 4, 2009. Privilege Wank started on June 18, 2009.

There aren’t any days in the first 30 where all wanks moved up or down together.  For the second day, Slash Debate, Race Fail and Mammoth Fail both had a decrease in posts, whereas Privilege wank, Russet Noon and Lambda Fail saw an increase.  Some of this might be the metafandom effect: Posts that are listed on and play to a metafandom audience have a lag as people use the list to find fandom news.  Posts that play to smaller groups on LiveJournal, get featured on unfunnybusinees or fandomwank, or get a lot of attention and play to a wider audience than metafandom see a major interest in posting about it right away: There is no delay in timeliness because metafandom is slow to focus on those issues.

Between day 10 and day 14, there tends to be a big drop off in posting volume with an increase after that.  (The exception is Privilege/Warnings wank, which ended on Day 8.  Considering the topic, it makes sense.  People complained of being triggered by some of the posts.)

On Day 26, three of the four still active wanks saw bumps in interest: Slash Debate, Mammoth Fail, Race!Fail.  The exception was Russet Noon.  By day 26, if the discussion continues to be ongoing, there is a greater awareness by a wider audience who might not have seen earlier posts and people who were silent, seeing that the discussion is not dying down, may feel compelled to speak up rather than remain silent.

For all the aforementioned fails, minus Russet Noon, we have a list of people who posted.  I was curious how large the population was that participated across those fails as often, it seems like the same people are participating again and again and that people are not learning lessons from one fail to the next.  I compiled those lists and then created the following venn diagrams that show the people in common.

Some of the participants across multiple fails surprised me and there were some names that I thought would be on there that weren’t. For the second, it could be because people who are known to be involved in fail and wank are less about posting and more about commenting on other people’s posts.

Still, interesting bit of data worth keeping in mind when you see the next fail coming. You can begin to get an idea as to how long it will take, what the posting patterns will be and who to look out for as their involvement could signal major fail.

Race!Fail/Mammoth!Fail activity: Peak yet? Peaking again?

May 25th, 2009

Post WisCon and continuing to watch the big list of Race!Fail/Mammoth!Fail links grow, I was curious when the conversation peaked and if there were any signals if this particular iteration of a discussion about race in fandom had reached its peak. So I looked at this version of the list and counted up the number of posts. From what I’ve gathered looking around, it is one of the best lists of its kind and is helpfully broken down by date. It doesn’t include everything but I’m assuming that the links are representative enough across that posting totals give an overall accurate picture. Doing that, we get the following chart:

Explanations:
It looks like it took about a week for people to really start responding to the Elizabeth Bear precipitating event. That discussion lasted from about January 12 to January 28th before it dropped off.

Things got kick started again big time when there was the Will Shetterly, John Scalzi, trying to get published authors to renounce racism events. This started in early March and ended by around March 22.

Things were relatively quiet and stayed quiet until May 8th or so when Mammoth!Fail happened.

This situation looks like it will continue. How it will continue looks largely based on how those responding to anti-racist react and if the anti-racists find new books that they deem racists and how the alleged racist material is responded to by the author or their friends. Those two things seem to be defining catalysts. Each event seems to take two to three weeks to work through.

WisCon: Something Wrong on the Internet

May 24th, 2009

This is the panel on Something Wrong on the Internet. It is hosted by Liz Henry, Piglet, Julia Sparkymonster, Vito Excalibur. Panelists agreed to talk over each other.

(Reporting this as an audience member and reporting on what other says.)

Why harsh on people’s squee? This thing starts off on race!fail references and just kept going. “Really. It is just the Internet.” That it is discarded because we have these conversations in real life, at places like conventions. Internet can be a better place to have some conversations because you can walk away. And you can decide how much time you want to spend on it. Walking away is good because you can think and reflect better.

Some Internet conversations have offline components.

Piglet says she has learned a lot from online conversations. She has learned that she doesn’t hate her body because of these conversations. Don’t be discouraged.

Other people talked. Sometimes, it takes time to learn things. It might take three years before they get the point you made. They might not understand why you freaked them out at the time.

Panel had a hard time with internet conversations that changed their mind. (Then some one came up with that they learned about mock Spanish and changed their mind. )

One did say they learned how ignorant they are on some topics. Sometimes, that can be extremely helpful to learn.

Personal connections can help make learning easier when people are mean to you.

PoC hive mind does not exist. This was something that some one learned.

People learned how to respond when some one accused them of being racist or classist.

Panel discussed Heidipologies. Good example:”I am so sorry people are so hard to trust. I am sorry people are being so mean to me.”

Ruby!Fail is a guy who does porn slides at a tech conference and made people uncomfortable. Pearl Guy did the same thing but he made a good apology. He didn’t repeat. Ruby on rails people said “We need more porn in our slides.” They didn’t get why women were offended at comparisons to porn.

When you fuck up? Online, not comment immediately. Wait a while. Tell people you need to take a moment, stop commenting and formulating a way to response. Locked posts on LiveJournal are key to being an ass hole. Sit with discomfort and try to figure out what you did wrong. Then apologize and mean it, even if you didn’t get it. Don’t say you didn’t get it.

What happens if you do it wrong? Is there a pathway for apologizing? You can give them shit. You don’t need to accept their apology. It is okay. It depends on how people react when you do wrong. You need to shut up. Or you need to explain it and be done with it.

If you never shut up about things, then you will continue to be mobbed.

Can you participate in online drama if you don’t have time to dedicated to it? Answer is yes. You can digest chunks of it. You can toss in comments a few weeks or months after the fact because the Internet is asynchronous. You can also follow by tracking one or two bloggers who follow that subject.

When all your Internet friends are participating, you should participate in the conversation.

Internet Drama is, according to Liz Henry, a form of the news. Twitter is a good place to keep track of some drama online.

Failblog.com is already purchased.

What are the main dramas? (Reference to great blow job wars of 2005 in the feminist blogosphere.) Conversation around that question got derailed.

You have to know the right people in order to know what is going on online. Overlapping but non-identical spheres mean that you can totally miss things like Race!Fail. (And if you don’t know about some of this drama, people would explode.)

JournalFen, Fandom_Wank, Link_Spam on Dreamwidth, metafandom on LiveJournal can help you keep track of fandom drama online.

Asking people before going to a convention what is going is important so you can be prepared for events like WisCon.

Following Coffeeandink is good because you can follow the drama that is going on.

Recent Drama: WisCon picture posting with Rachel Moss was big. Rachel Moss and the_ferret both chances to talk about their experiences with the fail.

A feminist author said don’t talk about some one with out telling them that you’re going to talk about them. Ask them if they want to participate in the conversation. The act of doing that can help change your perspective.

Fail can keep you honest.

Then conversation back to listing recent fail.

Race Fail!

Mammoth!Fail.

Seal Press!Fail.

Seal Press involved publishing feminist bloggers. The publishing house then jumped the shark with their illustrations for the book. They had illustrations like spear chucking African women who were bad. The hero to save them was a white amazonian type female. The press was told all about this and how it was offensive. They didn’t change their behavior or modify their behavior. The press accused people of being jealous of her writing, her awesomeness and her having a book published. It was when she got defensive and whined about it that made the situation and made the whole thing explode a lot worse.

Another time, Seal Press told some black author that the book needed more white people. The publisher trolled comments to explain them.

Another awesome fail was digital colonialism.

Some one asked why white women would read anything about black women?

Seal Press has acted like a jerk face, claimed they were okay because they had a black employee.

Seal Press was weird because she could be an ally in many ways but disappointed people because she wasn’t.

How do you interact with people who fail in some ways? As a feminist, you should probably try to keep those allies, keep those connections even though it is hard. It can take a few months sometimes to get past though hard moments of fail.

How do you handle when say your Guest of Honor does major fail two weeks before the convention? Question from the audience. Conversation then got derailed.

Liz Henry wanted spontaneous panel for mammoth fail.

OSC was invited to a con. Orson Scott Card had done homophobic rants. People were upset. The ConCom realized they could not pull back his invitation. ConCom invited people to discuss it with them. ConCom had some one follow Orson Scott Card around so they could make sure he did not vomit homophobic comments at people. ConCom has to address it in some way. It should be dependent on the ConCom. (The bar is set that anything is better than say “People are over reacting.” It is pretty low.)

In many online conversations, only people who show up are ones that agree with you. This can be a huge thing to overcome. There are ways to do that if you can say find people who can respectfully engage.

Will Shetterly was mentioned. Will Shetterly’s name has an asterick. A panelist do not think that they could have a respectful conversation with him.

One panelist said that if they talk to you in non-macros, it means they think that they can actually engage with the person.

Part of the joy of internet drama is making macros and funny LiveJournal icons. Also great? Bingo cards.

Humor can be really important in defusing some of the major drama.

What do you do when you know and love some one who ends up being a major giant ass hole online? This is the part where one person hates principles and having them. It is really hard to handle that. Sometimes you can call them out. Sometimes you can’t. If doing it, reaffirm that you are still friends, that you respect them and that you are doing that as an act of love because you think they can handle being called out. (and people should be able to take that out. But more often than not, they can’t.)

How does it feel like being the actual target? Total strangers misunderstanding what you did is annoying. Calling out perfect strangers is the spirit of the Internet. How you do that though should be different than people you know.

Hint of a fail is when a person says “There is a mob after me!” Flail is different.

Audrey Lord discusses reuses of anger. People have strong reactions to people being angry.

You catch more flies with honey but who wants flies? Sometimes, there is no way to respond in a way that will make people happy. Even no matter how nice you are. Some people will just respond one way based on their perspective.

Is the goal that some people have zero fail? Are people afraid of fucking up? Do they remain silent for that reason? Do people hope for a fail less universe? If that is true, then it means that no hard discussions are happening. There is less of an opportunity to learn.

You see a gigantic fail happening. You sit on your hands and not post on it. Then you start thinking that yeah. Panelist said that you should ignore guilt. People don’t care. A panelist said that the questioner said that posting about your own ignorance and explain things and linking is just as supportive as many other things.

How not to burn out? This is an issue deepad has had. People are beginning to have conversations in protected spaces as a result.

Burn out happens in all progressive communities. (and with ConComs.) Link dropping can be a way to avoid burn out. You can just find some one else talking about a topic and then point people there. It gets the point across and you don’t have to have the investment.

Shetterly has given his friends an Internet safeword so that people can tell him to back off. That way he won’t be on top of it in an unhealthy way.

You, as an individual, need to be responsible for yourself. Learn when to back off and help your friends by telling them when you are afraid they are going to burn out. Make sure you have people at your back so that it is less stressful and you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Being angry in chat with a safe group is a good way of being safe.

Documenting things can be difficult. How do you document issues that can be contentious. Neutrality is hard. How you document can effect the community that you’re documenting. (No one looks at SF Feminist wiki except Kathryn Kramer.) It can be a challenge. No solution for how to deal with that other than figuring out as you go.

Being the lone voice in the wilderness can be challenging. sometimes, you just need to take a break. But sometimes you can’t take a break because of your job. Then you need a small break, flip out in a corner and then go back. Be aware of the costs. Know stuff that has already happened, talked to survivors. Figure out coping strategies. A good strategy is to bring in a posse but don’t lead them on about why you are inviting them. Warn your posse about the situation, explain that you are swarming and explain to the organizers that you need diversity which is why you are bringing people.

The lurkers will support you.

Understand that you are in it for the long haul when you are the only voice. Don’t think short term.

People get attacked for bringing in people to back them up. Bringing in a posse is different. What you’re just doing is bringing in other people who can provide their own perspectives and to see if the person really had a point or if you are wrong.

One ass hole theory of systems means that you need at least one ass holes so that you can direct shit in the way it needs to go. The point of the ass hole can be to show people what not to do. Deployment of where you put your ass holes can be important. Not at the top as it all reins down.

Suck it and deal with it ARE valid responses. (Course people don’t need to tell you to suck it because the universe will tell you to suck it all on its own.) It is better to have a discussion on why a person needs to suck it.

Having allies who disagree is good because you’re not all minions.

Fear is good.

Lots of articles about this drama in a book sold in the Dealer’s room.

Digital Colonialism. Some guest PoCs and women can be a form of colonialism as they are just co-opted and used. That was an argument in a fail. People were not referred to. They were not informed that this was coming when the blog post was made. They would not stop when told they were being offensive.

Moderate your comments can avoid fail. If Elizbaeth Bear had done that, none of this would have happened.

Race Fail 2009/Mammoth Fail 2009

May 19th, 2009

We’ve largely been watching Race Fail and Mammoth Fail from the sidelines, trying to document what is going on and provide a good resource for people who want information about the topic in as neutrally as possible. We’ve occasionally been checking our search referrer keywords to know where to focus on adding links and out of curiosity as to what people interested in the situation were really interested in. We were intrigued and thought that our blog readers might be too. The chart below includes keyterms related to Race Fail and Mammoth Fail for the period between April 19 and May 18, 2009.

Things that kind of surprised me:

  • People were looking for information on Cassandra Claire‘s involvement in race fail. (I don’t think she’s participated.)
  • Interest is still high regarding Elizabeth Bear’s involvement in race fail, despite the precipitating event being several months old.
  • Interest is not higher in regards to Patricia Wrede and Lois McMaster Bujold.
  • People are still interested in Will Shetterly‘s involvement in race fail.
  • There is interest in finding out more about a boycott of Tor as a result race fail.
  • People don’t seem as interested in what members of the fan community like vee-ecks are saying so much as they are about the professional authors.
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