I have a lot of feelings about this Cassandra Clare bullshit, okay? Okay.
Signal boost. Fuck her.
The truth always come back to haunt you.
Remember: “You own everything that happend to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better. — Anne Lamott”
Love your thoughts and perspective on this. I’ve been a content-creator for years, as far as fic goes, but I’ve never helped run communities or gotten deeply involved in meta or anything else, so I love hearing about your experiences.
That is really interesting to me — the break between content creator-involvement and community-involvement. Buffy was the fandom in which I did both in equal measure, but the two didn’t mix. I didn’t post my fic publicly on the Bronze, and I didn’t really get involved in the BtVS writing community aside from my betas and a few friends. I posted on lists and archived my fics on the Willow sites (and later my own), and responded to feedback but I wasn’t aware of the huge writing community after the fact. Roswell was the fandom in which I got heavily involved with the writers, and was slightly less involved on the boards.
But community experiences — oh, let me show you them! I was reading something for the Whedon bio today and saw a person mentioned and was reminded about that whole embezzling scandal. (Which then sent me down the rabbit hole of looking up as much info as I could find.)
It would be an interesting project to compile all the examples of Munchausen by Internet in fandom. Want to fall down a rabbit hole for a few hours? Check out the whole msscribe debacle, which also touches on the Cassie Clare/Cassandra Clare plagiarism rundown. Neither of which were fandoms of mine, but man, it’s like a car crash that you not only drive by slowly, but will feel compelled to pull up a chair and watch the explosions even though it happened years ago.
i *think* i responded to all comments about the l_b concrit drama that were directed to me. if i missed you (and you care what i think ;)), please do let me know. until then, i’ll take a break from being a minor fandom pariah for a bit.
stay tuned for my next treatise on how the common cry that “fanfic is just for fun” is really a lie ;)
in other, lighter news: I met Nick Offerman today. And i didn’t pass out, although I was incredibly shaky for about an hour afterwards.
I disliked the tone the OP took, but the premise of the post was valid…how can we be better writers and readers? The groupthink response was intense. Anyone would pause before giving a disenting opinion. I think you are right to point that out.
Thank you. I definitely appreciate you saying that.
And I think that your posts and initiative to change the direction and the tone of the conversation has been wonderful, and I hope that something positive and productive comes out of it all.
In regard to meaningless positivity — are you referring to the “too nice” comment? I really do think it was a reference to the L_B comm’s self-description of being the happiest, nicest fandom that wasn’t meant to be this intensely disparaging snipe at the comm but I won’t bet the house on it as I have no idea what was in the OP’s head.
I agree with you that the majority aren’t aggressive. The initial response felt incredibly aggressive and I was definitely responding to that but as it went on, there were a lot of incredibly thoughtful, levelheaded and important points being raised. It’s going to take a me a little more time to go through all of them but what I want to say now is that I thought some of the most interesting conversations were about things in which people disagreed.
The one that stood out for me the most was about betas. I said, and will stand by my disagreement with anyone who says that they do not need a beta (short pieces withstanding), and i’m particularly bothered when a writers is adamantly against a beta reader. There were quite a few people in the thread who said they didn’t see a beta as necessary and that truly surprised me. But there was no angry attacking on either side, and some of the comments made me think about my stance (but not change it because all you beta-haters are obviously SO SO WRONG ;)).
I really respect your perspective and opinions on this issue, given your long and involved history in fandom. I appreciate that you’re willing to speak up about seeing the other side of the story. I do think that the OP thought they were being constructive, though they worded many things (especially in followup comments) badly. And I think it’s a good thing for fandom to be able to hear a wide range of opinions.
I think the problem we ran into here was that our community is so small and tight-knit that it almost feels like a family, and when someone is perceived to be “attacking” your family, the instinct is to strike back at them.
But I agree. I don’t think the OP’s intent was malicious. She merely worded some ideas poorly. I too agree that if you see a writer who has potential but needs a little boost to get them there, reaching out with constructive criticism is a good thing, when done tactfully. Unfortunately the OP didn’t use a very nice method (publicly calling someone out) or much tact. But I also think the response was far too extreme, and I appreciated the attempts by you and a few others to try to bring a more moderate tone to the discussion.
Thank you so, so much — I really appreciate it! I truly find fandom fascinating, especially how similar they all are across the board. I’m not nearly as well-read on all the fandom meta studies as others, and I do my best not to come off as “my opinion is the only correct opinion” in my long, ramble posts — but I just love thinking about fandom, the personal interactions within a fandom and how people within a fandom react when a spotlight is shown on them from outside the group (like the mainstream media).
And I truly enjoy discussing fandom with other people. In this case, I feel like I inadvertently put myself in the position of defending the OP’s comments when I was actually trying to explain my frustration with the community’s reactions. I completely understand why the community struck back with such force, and I honestly don’t want to make anyone think that I’m trying to invalidate their feelings or say that they were wrong. To me, the OP’s intent wasn’t malicious just poorly worded — what do we, as a community, owe our fanfic writers? That in and of itself is a touchy question before we even get to the concrit discussion that will ALWAYS blow up into a drama-filed fireball. Add to that the fact that she kept trying to make it meta and logical and didn’t take in/respond to the fact that people had taken it all so personally and the whole discussion was doomed.
(Although not really, as I thought many people had incredibly thoughtful posts about how they see fanfic and fandom. I’d love to discuss that further because there were a lot of great ideas brought up.)
Oddly, I almost saw her as this Sheldon Cooper-like character. With this singleminded view that everyone should always be working to better themselves in their writing, and that we should have a more concrete feedback loop to help each writer reach the pinnacle of success and thus bring “the quality” of all the fanfic up to some level she had determined to be “high.” Sheldon’s arguments are based in this logic that doesn’t have room for emotion and all the other intricacies that make things fun — but they are not meant to be malicious and cruel. The OP kept phrasing her arguments in a similarly cold fashion, and they all had a lot of holes in them (especially her arbitrary description of “mediocre” and good stories) that were easy to disagree with civilly. But they didn’t strike me as a big personal attack on any writer.
Many years ago in a fandom, several people created a private, locked and password-protected board for a few of us to discuss more personal things. This was never publicized or mentioned on the the main fandom outlet, which was one of the rules of being involved in the board. It had gone on for a few months when a few new people joined — all invited — and within a couple of days, one of those people decided to go to the main fandom outlet (which was completely separate — the board was privately hosted, i believe) and post publicly about this “secret board” where the outlet’s posters went to bitch about everyone else and be cruel and hateful.
This was someone that we knew, and had known for years. And the things she said were not only untrue, but a blatant betrayal of the trust that had been placed in her by our small group. It made the larger fandom as a whole quite derisive which was probably her goal, and brought her a lot of attention. But that deliberate, malicious choice reverberated throughout the fandom and among other actions (she really was/is a piece of work), made her a despised persona non grata to this day.
That’s where my personal stance on betrayal and deliberate malicious intent in a community begins. By no means am I saying that this is the only acceptable definition of betrayal — you must be this tall/this offended to ride this ride — I’m just giving my touchpoint. It took me a long time to get past the anger and break down her personal motivations, and while her attacks weren’t’ directed specifically at me, the very thought of this woman irritates me even as I write this. (And as fandoms grow and people connect on a more personal level on other social platforms — first LJ, then Facebook — you often can’t truly cut someone out of your life.)
So, yeah, that was super rambly! I guess what i’m trying to say is that I’ve been trying to strip away the messy rhetoric from the intent and remind people that the OP was just one person with one view and not this all-knowing dictator that will CHANGE OUR FANDOM FOREVER :)
Your second bullet point is unfair. It invalidates the legitimate reasons people were mad, ie hypocrisy of a sock asking for more criticism.
I’ve been thinking about your comment a lot since last night. My intention is not to invalidate why people are upset, or to say that anyone was wrong to be. I won’t rehash my issue with the anonymous complaint but I feel like it was a new reason to be angry tacked on after the initial reason was that someone gave their thoughts on the fandom.
I agree that if someone goes under the cloak of anonymity to be an asshole and attack people/a community that people have every right to be angry. Maybe a big part of my feelings about the entire event is that I didn’t see the original post as an attack (aside from linking to that initial fic). I saw it as a legitimate attempt to pose a question, no matter how sloppily done it was. And once I saw how people reacted, it reinforced the fact that a person who poses a criticism of a group will quite often be attacked by that group. So I’m not surprised that one would pose a criticism/comment as a sockpuppet because they knew that they’d be attacked — I honestly do not buy for one moment that the comm’s reaction would have been open and kindly if they had posted it under their real name.
I’ve actually not interested in defending everything the OP said — I don’t agree with much of it. I guess the reason I keep pondering and publicly discussing it here is because i feel like there is one narrative that’s been bought into — one of US has decided to attack and undermine us and try to change our community into a hateful, horrible place — and I just don’t think that’s true.
…And frankly, I saw the comments on the fic that was linked to, and those anons were not being friendly or helpful. So I did not feel inclined to have a discussion with this person on constructive criticism
(edited because I just wanted to address this point here.)
I wholeheartedly agree with your desire not to engage. In general, I try to do the same when I feel like someone has not come to a discussion in the most open manner and mindset. And if I feel like they’re trolling, I do my best to ignore them. (Which is much, much easier said than done.)
There is someone that has responded quite obnoxiously to several comments I’ve made. I went back and forth on if I should address it directly, but decided in the end that it wasn’t worth my time and have thus chosen never to engage with them. It came down to exactly what you said — that person was not being friendly or helpful and i didn’t feel inclined to have a discussion or any interaction with them whatsoever.
We have no responsibility to indulge anyone, really. We owe people civility and if it’s not given to us, I see no reason in sticking around.
i should leave this alone, i know. and i’m going to be offline for a bit but i sincerely would like to hear the parks fandom’s thoughts.
i missed the initial linkage and i don’t think the initial post addressed the writer’s thoughts in the best way— but i came into it as a very interesting meta discussion on fanfic concrit and if unconditional support was the ideal for a new fanfic writer. i was honestly shocked to see how angry and attacking people were. and to me, most of these responses came from a very defensive place.
the whole thing saddened me and made me very frustrated and upset. i’m rarely around on the l_b community so i don’t expect anyone to take my opinion with any weight but it certainly didn’t make me want to get any more engaged than i actually am. when that “unpopular opinion” meme went around here and i answered a question and talked about my issues with every writer and their sister talking about leslie’s hair as sunshine, people got defensive and annoyed with me. for expressing my opinion.
god forbid i had said anything about the fact that i refuse to read any poorly formatted fic then. (which i do.)
in the end, my greatest takeaway from the l_b drama today was:
- if you criticize us, don’t be anonymous because we can’t take anything you say seriously.
- don’t you dare criticize us or we will crucify you.
so, from that — why is it so bad to express a view that isn’t sunshiny and happy all the time? why would anyone ever talk honestly about their thoughts in this fandom community if they know that expressing even the smallest amount of criticism will result in them being attacked?