merricatk: (FERAL FAN)
[personal profile] merricatk
So, I heard it through the grapevine that all of the yuletide stories are being moved to A3O. I don't move in that circle, so everything I know comes secondhand. I've only ever written one story that's on the yuletide website, a NYR story. It was a whim, and I was still thinking that fandom might work for me.

This was several years ago. There was nothing bad about the experience.

Since then I've come to a few realizations about myself. One of them is, I was born, and will probably die, an outsider. I don't fit. Sometimes, for short periods, with certain groups, I can be part of the in-crowd. But I always ask the wrong questions, the ones nobody else thinks of. I always cause trouble, and I need way too much down time from people, and I'm way, way too needy.

The movers and shakers of fandom don't want to answer my questions, they don't want to be bothered with my moodiness, and they certainly don't want to cater to my needs, which are emotional in nature.

They do want my stories. I've had more than one offer to archive my stories, and I've said yes more than once because of my neediness. I thought the offer to "work with me" on putting my stories online meant they wanted to spend some time with me. What I found out was that except of approving a layout and emailing the stories, I was now extraneous to the whole process. So I've put my stories back in my pocket and am (slowly) posting them on my LJ.

Now the yuletide stories are being moved to what I, in my infinite ignorance, consider to be a potentially more public venue, which I'm not comfortable with. (Why do I see it as being more public? Because it's supposed to be easier to find things there, because it has been so publicized and so has yuletide. Am I wrong about this? Everyone says so.)

It's also being run by movers and shakers--things always are; they're the ones who run things, they have the temperament for it, it's nothing against them. But I'm not comfortable with them. And I'm in a position of either letting them take my story and be quiet while put it wherever they want it--without, so far, them saying a word to me about it; or taking my story back and have people call me names.

Or I can orphan my story by taking my name off of it.

I wish they weren't using the word orphan. It's too poetic, it puts to sharp a point on the abandonment, it makes me feel terrible. I have abandonment issues. Call me a thief for taking my story back and I can deal with it. Say I'm making my story an orphan, I'll cry.

And I wish they weren't telling me again that I can go--just leave the story. Because I already know I'm extraneous, except for the stories.

I'm perfectly aware that I'm completely wrong about all of this, but being told how wrong I am is only going to push me harder into putting this story in my pocket, too. I'm perfectly aware that my feelings--and all this is nothing but my feelings--are indefensible. But I don't like it when the powerful people come and tell me how unreasonable I am not to want to do things their way. Not ask, just tell.

I can live with being disliked, considered a screwball, or an angry, shitty, classless, selfish jerkass, and I can live with people believing the lie that I'm doing this because I hate OTW and/or A3O. I can live with the whole rest of the world considering me irrational.

(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-03 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodyclark.livejournal.com
The reason you're a good writer is that you're very sensitive. It's all part of the package. You have the right to your own emotions, your reactions and your expressions of them. And if anyone gives you grief, lmk. I am in a mood to kick some ass. ;)
Edited Date: 2010-01-03 12:40 am (UTC)

(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-03 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
If you're in the mood to throw yourself into the fray, check out this metafandom post: http://redbrunja.livejournal.com/452199.html

I love what these people consider wank, not to mention the parts where people say, "If you *really* didn't know this." The A3O people's paranoia is showing.
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yuletide

Date: 2010-01-03 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] broomstyx.livejournal.com
I appreciate your "ravings" perhaps more than you can know.

I am only 49, not really all THAT old, but I started out in Star Trek fandom way back in the 70s, the dark ages, I guess. I wrote in that fandom for over 25 years. I wrote in Blake's 7 for about 10 years. I wrote one Wiseguy story published in a multimedia zine in the early 90s. Then I took a 10 year period off from fandom, totally jaded, starting around 1999. Then I made the firm mistake of re-watching not Star Trek, not B7 but...Wiseguy and went looking for communities for the first time in 10 years. I have run into more fandoms in Heaven and Earth than could ever be dreamed of online. I am overwhelmed. I come from a time of fanzines, and newsletters and, yes, email, but smaller communities that were easy to navigate. Now I can't make heads nor tails (tales?) of any of it. I look for WG on a WG community list and find people writing about or asking for Yuletide gift/prompts/whatever in fandoms I have never ever heard of, over 2000 fandoms! That's okay. I don't judge. But I can't organize it or navigate it. I can't begin to join because I can't find the jumping off point. And I can't find much of what I like, so I simply give up. And I can find the prompts and the greetings from fans to each other, but not the stories themselves!

I tell ya, I don't know what the hell OTW or AO3 even are. I don't even know how to offer my own work, or whether or not it will even be acknowledged. Like you, I'm moody. I'm an outsider. I want a community but I can't find one that isn't way overwhelming or even speaks my same language. I like "slash" but not just ANY slash. I'm discerning about that...so sue me.

I might like to write stories as gifts or receive them, but how do I even do that? It's too much. Too huge. I tell ya, I'm a writer. What I do is write. And I feel completely wasted, sitting here writing tons of stuff, sharing none. I could write 10 yuletides in one day. That's how much of a writer I am. But I don't. I won't. I don't even know why I would. Who would care? Stuff I've posted to some communities has gone unacknowledged completely...no one's fault...the community is just that old.

I may do a fanzine. I still have friends in that arena. I can offer it on my partner's fanzine website. I, frankly, feel weird doing it any other way because I cannot wrap my mind around the hugeness of it all, this Yuletide thing...ohmygod I'm having a nervous breakdown here.

I'm with you re: feedback, too. It's kinda important, otherwise why give the stories away?

Right now it's still WG for me, and I am, as I said, discerning, but I have other interests. I do like many things. Okay, so maybe I'm not "in love" with them all, but I might like to read an occasional "24" story or something that just "hits" me. But I don't fit. I'm not a good joiner. I don't even like much TV or hardly watch it. I catch up on shows all at once on DVDs (like watching all 7 seasons of "24" in two months.) So where do I fit. Who knows?

Re: yuletide

Date: 2010-01-03 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I'm really glad my rantings help.

Please let me know if you do a fanzine! I'm really enjoying the stories you sent me--I'm reading slowly, but you will be getting more detailed feedback from me.

I can't remember what OTW stands for, but A3O is an Archive of Our Own, a fanfic archive that's run really well. And I'm not doubting it, but that doesn't mean I want to post my stories there. People with power worry me, even when they're good people. I just don't want to be involved, and nobody involved seems to believe that! The attitude is that I must be one of those anti-A3O people who put wank-filled comments on their LJs. (I read an example of one of these comments, and it seems reasonable to me, so maybe I really *am* one of those people. *g*)

(I'll be 51 in February, so we're right there together, age-wise. *g*)

Re: yuletide

Date: 2010-01-03 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] broomstyx.livejournal.com
Ack, I don't even remember now what I sent you, but I've probably rewritten most of it since then, and new stuff no one's ever seen.

God almighty how I'm on pins and needles waiting for more stuff from you, old or new. I think I've read everything on your site (WG, that is) but who knows? I'm a terrible online navigator. At least I have you tracked for when you post anything new.

Every day I sit down and think I'm going to start to put together a fanzine. It would probably only take a day or two. I have way more material than I can fit in one fanzine, so I may do an LJ for the run-off and tag it as free "samples" of my work and if anyone likes it they can order the zine. Plus I have old material that I might like to put up (B7 esp.) But it feels weird giving it to someone else's archive. And do they require a form, and require you to rate your story and talk about spoilers and give your firstborn?

Rest assured, because of all you've "given" me in reading, esp. Roadhouse, I feel like I can't give enough in return. So you are on the list to get a freebie fanzine when I do it (it will be ALL S/V) including some of the stories I've already sent you (rewritten.) I'll let ya know when and if it is ready to mail so I can get your addy.

I already have one S/V story, brand new as of last week, going into Mkashef Enterprises' Dyad multi-media zine. Since the editor is a friend, and reads everything I write, how could I deny her a story about fumbling sex, gambling and then better sex? Since she now "gets" to have that story, it is not available to go online until maybe a year after it's published. And well I'm okay with that.

These clearinghouse archive thingies?...they seem so top heavy. How can you look at something like, say, Supernatural, see 2900 stories posted, and not understand that amidst it all your story will be lost lost lost? And why "must" all fanfic go there? It makes no sense. On the other hand, I have gratefully found WG fic there, but very little.

Wish there were more like you!

Thank you!

From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-01-03 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2010-01-03 01:58 am (UTC)
amalthia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amalthia
I find it interesting that people worry about the more public archives like fanfiction.net and the A30, but I find as a reader the more stories an archive has the harder it is to actually find what I'm looking for so I'm not sure if the stories are really all that public? (which is another problem all together)

I think that's why I'm a bigger fan of the niche archives that cater to pairings, ships, or types of content like threesome archives or something.

I'm on board with what the OTW is trying to accomplish but I can see why not everyone else is comfortable with the idea. You're not the only author that likes to have more control over their work and presentation of their stories.

As for your one question about whether or not Yuletide is more public or the A30 archive? I think the longer a archive has been in place the more public it becomes so I thought everyone knew about the yuletide archive but now that all the yuletide stories are being moved I'm not sure it's going to be easy to find all the older yuletide stories. (I think that's the part that worries me) Plus I'm not sure what they are going to do with all the links.

I think the people running the archives (if they are anything like me) worry more about not losing the stories and sometimes it's hard to see the author's pov in the face of "saving the stories." There are so many stories that were lost when Voyager and X-Files archives went down. I think the only reason some weren't lost for good is that at some point I'd asked permission to archive them and the author said yes.

I also kind of feel like an outsider myself in that my views don't always mesh well with authors because I'm so focused on saving stories that I know I do have a hard time understanding why some authors prefer to have their stories in only one spot.

So I think maybe that's one place as to where the archivist for the A30 are coming from and it's incredibly hard to to have a one on one relationship with every author. I feel lucky if I get to know any of the authors whose works I archive. I find that by going to conventions I manage to make more friends that away than threw online communications.

I did have one question though, you said "The movers and shakers of fandom don't want to answer my questions, they don't want to be bothered with my moodiness, and they certainly don't want to cater to my needs, which are emotional in nature."

I'm confused because I've written to the OTW archive people a few times asking questions and I've gotten answers. I've sent in bug reports and asked about features that don't exist and each time I got a response. I'm not sure why they would not have responded to your questions. This is the first I've heard of a person's questions not being answered. But I never got the impression that they don't care about the authors. Many of their features are in place due to author's input.

For the record I'm not a volunteer for the OTW, nor am I a spokesperson. You brought up some interesting things in your post and I felt compelled to respond.

Date: 2010-01-03 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Thank you for responding--it's good to get another perspective. I can understand being focused on the stories, on not wanting to lose the literature of fandom. (I work for the library, and it upsets me that we've gotten rid of so much, that weeding is now pushed so hard.)

I'm sorry, when I was talking about the movers and shakers in fandom in general--the ones I've interacted with. And it's not that I have anything against them, it's just that my priorities always seem to be different from theirs. I like a lot of them, but I don't want to deal with them in an "official" capacity. The OTW people might be different, but since I'm not planning on participating, I have no experience with them. So it may well be an unfair generalization.

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Date: 2010-01-03 02:12 am (UTC)
amalthia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amalthia
p.s. I hate being told my opinions are wrong, I also hate when people I respect say their own opinions are wrong.

Um basically what I'm trying to say is that it's okay to hate the move to the A30 archive there are plenty of valid reasons to not like it. The change is rather big and the interface is completely different from the other archive and it's potentially more public. (though I don't think it'll ever become as public as fanfiction.net and I hope it never does)

So just because someone says you're wrong doesn't necessarily make it true, no matter who they are. Though I guess if you're in a mood that's hard to see.

Okay getting off my soapboxes.

Date: 2010-01-03 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
You're always welcome on your soapboxes here. *g*

Date: 2010-01-03 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salvidar-as.livejournal.com
I watched the thread with some interest. I don't understand what's going on, or what the real reasons are for AO3 or OTW, but I suspect they're less than benevolent. I'm not even particularly a fan of Yuletide and have never understood why people fly that flag every year. But what pisses me off is the idea that our stories aren't really ours and that they can go anywhere. It's considered poor etiquette to take a story offline, but it's considered even poorer etiquette (and perhaps borderline unethical) to archive without someone's permission.

My story is this: back several years ago I was active in fandom. I got the attention of a certain person who was writing (and publishing) an academic paper fanfiction and wanted to use my work in the process.

That freaked me out. I didn't want to be the subject of someone's study. I work in a very competitive field where everyone is always investigating everyone else, and the last thing I needed was my quirky side coming to light. I didn't want an essay published about my pron in an academic journal that would be around forever and ever. Even if it wasn't really about "me," I was paranoid that my fannish identity would be linked to my real identity. (Hey, that happens all the time.)

So I took my stuff off the internet. I figured that if the person wanted to use it, he or she could use it (it was posted publicly, after all), but that I wasn't going to just relinquish everything, and I certainly wasn't going to leave it up there for future seekers to sift through.

I got so much crap. People in the fandom said it was "unfair" of me not to finish WiPs and to deprive them of my work. And I felt bad until a fandom friend took me aside and said that under no uncertain terms did I owe anybody anything. That's the point of fanfiction: it's a no-strings-attached venture, it's free, nobody paid for it, and therefore you are not owned by anybody. Such are the pleasures of working in a medium that is free of market constraints. We never really get "credit" for our work (payment or real-world recognition), but we have a great deal of control over our stuff. Or, at least in theory.

I think AO3 defenders are bizarre. They are basically getting behind a group of people who want to academicize and homogenize fanfic. To put it plainly: OTW is a bunch of people who couldn't cut it as 18th century literature junior faculty, so they're basically trying to invent this new "transformative works" field on which to hang their academic ambitions. I firmly believe that these people are trying to use fans to get ahead (a la their rival Laura Hale). They might put a nicer spin on it--protecting fandom, preserving works, creating some big monumental archive that will legitimize fanfiction--but what they're doing is just another example of career-jockeying. Sure, they're not profiting off of AO3--not monetarily. But there are other ways of profiting. So I sort of can't believe that anyone would voluntarily hand over their stuff to AO3. I mean, you're basically saying, "Yes, make me your dissertation project."

So my bottom line is: You do what you want with your stuff. Don't let anyone bully you or pressure you into doing whatever with your stuff. It's yours, nobody else can lay claim to it, and it does not matter if you write something as a gift to someone else. You fulfilled your obligation, the gift was given back when it was given, and that doesn't mean that it has to remain on the internet forever.

(frozen) What.

Date: 2010-01-03 04:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tzikeh.livejournal.com
To put it plainly: OTW is a bunch of people who couldn't cut it as 18th century literature junior faculty, so they're basically trying to invent this new "transformative works" field on which to hang their academic ambitions. I firmly believe that these people are trying to use fans to get ahead (a la their rival Laura Hale).

I could understand if you didn't like, or want to participate in OTW, if your own personal philosophy conflicts with the OTW's philosophy, but you are astoundingly uninformed--and willfully ignorant.

Have you bothered read the Who We Are (http://transformativeworks.org/about/people) section of the OTW site? That's a rhetorical question, since the answer is clear. The board is made up of WILDLY successful people--a Professor of Law at Georgetown who clerked for the Supreme Court; a Director of Film Studies and Professor of English at Muhlenberg; an MBA and CPA who worked for the U.S. Senate; and the woman who wrote the open-source code that has been the base for nearly every fannish archive that was created after she wrote it--oh, and a little something called the New York Times best-selling Temeraire series.

Yeah, they're all clearly people who couldn't cut it as 18th-century literature junior faculty.
Edited Date: 2010-01-03 04:53 am (UTC)

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Date: 2010-01-03 06:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lydiabell.livejournal.com
I don't understand what's going on, or what the real reasons are for AO3 or OTW,

True.

but I suspect they're less than benevolent.

Who cares? You just said you don't understand what's going on.
Edited Date: 2010-01-03 06:10 am (UTC)

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Date: 2010-01-03 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I can understand your reason for wanting to remain private, to not get into discussions like this under your "real" name (as though any of us were using our real names. Well, Melody is, but she has Frank McPike on her side *g*).

As far as I know, I have nothing against the people behind OTW or AOOO--I don't know who they are.

I just know that I need to limit who reads what I write.

I do find it fascinating that the defenders OTW/AOOO seem to demonize anyone who just doesn't want to play in their sandbox right along with people who dislike or detest what they're doing. And then they call us teabaggers.

*sigh.* It's a brave new world.

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Date: 2010-01-03 06:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enkiduts.livejournal.com
Don't post anywhere you don't want to. I don't like archive sites much either---I did have my XFiles fanfic up at several of the XF sites in the past, but that's over ten years ago now.

Screw etiquette in regard to taking stories off the web. I've done it, and put them back up. People don't like it, too bad. Ya give em warning the stuff is coming down and if they want a copy, then they can go get one for their personal files before the page disappears. Your work, your decision---your comfort level.

Me--outsider too, though I can't keep it in my head that I am, so I keep getting whacked upside of the head by various fannish groups and cliques. Nothing wrong with being an outsider, I've come to recognize. I've always been happier in my own company anyway, why should fandom be any different?

Moody and sensitive, those are good things, and part of the creative personality if you ask me. People don't want to be bothered, screw them too, you shouldn't change yourself to be more appealing to some amorphous group of people who probably are far more dysfunctional than you could ever hope to be, elsewise they wouldn't have to be the Napoleons of their fannish interests.

I can't tell you the number of lists/LJs and groups I've joined in my current fandom, only to be ignored when I entered into discussions (in fact, my saying anything generally killed most I tried to enter). I know other people who've tried to enter and participate who get totally ignored as well--very gifted writers and artists too. Of course, my most recent fandom is one of the most nastiest, you mention it to some people --atheists will make the sign of the cross over you...

I don't know from OTW or A30--but it comes down to the author's wishes must be respected above all else. If you don't want to post to an archive, your decision, and if they can't respect that, then maybe you don't want them having your stuff anyway. You don't even owe anyone an explanation as far as that goes.

Hang in there, hon---I've been in one fandom or another for over 30 years, idiot that I am. Comes a point you need to carve your own niche and operate in your own comfort zone.

((hugs)))

Edited Date: 2010-01-03 06:30 am (UTC)

(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-03 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodyclark.livejournal.com
On internet fandom, being ignored by the "cool kids" is a source of pride for me. lol The reality is unique people are always outsiders. We define ourselves by our singularity.

This is all just high school. The adults have their own more intimate, email-to-email level of communication (like this).

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Date: 2010-01-03 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
God, I thought I was the only one who could kill a discussion just by entering it!

Thank you so much for your support. It means a lot to me.

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(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-04 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I suddenly realized last night that in the middle of all this hubbub about authors' rights to have their stories where they want them, we also had people using the phrase "you have to own your words," as in take responsibility for them. Somehow it seemed hilarious. I'm trying to own my words! Give them back to me! *g*

I'm so glad to have you here.

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Date: 2010-01-03 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yuletidebachman.livejournal.com
And I'm in a position of either letting them take my story and be quiet while put it wherever they want it--without, so far, them saying a word to me about it; or taking my story back and have people call me names.

I decided not to participate in Yuletide this year (my story got posted on a purpose-made blog (http://yuletideoverdrive.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/authors-note-on-writing-this-and-otw/)) precisely because I was unhappy about being forced to participate in AO3 (and was made still more unhappy at the reaction from Astolat that I was "acting entitled" when I quoted her own Yuletide rules at her).

I haven't yet decided what to do about the past stories I wrote for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2008, but they're my stories and if I decide to take them down, well, dammit, they're mine and I get to decide where they're published. They're certainly not going to be "orphaned".

My support to you whatever you decide. You are not "in the wrong" - you get to decide where your stories are published.

Date: 2010-01-03 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Thank you! It helps to know I'm the only one who feels this way.

You're always welcome here. *g*
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(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-03 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Perhaps you should have read the last line: I don't expect anything anymore. I do my own thing, in my own space.

That's all I'm doing. And you're here because? Oh, yes, you're one of those nice OTW/AOOO people.

(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-04 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oulangi.livejournal.com
OK that does it, I'm friending you. This is the second piece of your meta I've read where you've posted an opinion contrary to the fannish quo and defended it thoughtfully without the whole thing going south to flamewarville. I may not agree with everything you write, but I appreciate how you stand up and say it.

(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-04 10:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Thank you! And welcome!

(frozen)

Date: 2010-01-04 05:54 am (UTC)
franzeska: (Default)
From: [personal profile] franzeska
You know, for what it's worth, I don't think that deleting a NYR story is classless or much of anything else. The main yuletide exchange is about agreeing to give a particular person a present and agreeing that it can't be deleted later. (I have no strong opinion on people deleting their fic in general or keeping it private or whatever else. This is a common topic of flamewars, but it is not why some of us are annoyed about people deleting yuletide fics in particular.) I think it's tacky and disrespectful to take advantage of a technicality* in the rules to delete those stories, but NYR stories aren't written in the same context and don't have that same understanding attached to them. I certainly hope people will choose to leave theirs up (with their original names, with sanitized pseudonyms that can't be traced back to their normal ones, anonymously, etc.), but I don't view it as a faux pas to take those down.

I'm sorry about the 'orphaning' term. I don't think it occurred to any of us that it would upset people, and it never came up in the public discussions of the ToS. (Which is not to say that it never bothered anyone else, just that they never mentioned it if it did.) It's used instead of 'anonymous'/'anonymity'/etc. because those are reserved on the AO3 for situations where a creator's name is temporarily obscured (like it would be for yuletide).

(Uh, and I hope it goes without saying that I speak for myself, not for the OTW/AO3 unless I'm saying something like "Here's the link to the ToS" or stating what official policy is. The official policy on yuletide stories is that you'll be allowed to delete once the move happens. My views on ettiquette really don't enter into it.)

* If the yuletide mods had decided to somehow fix the archive infrastructure and not move the exchange, no one would be allowed to delete at all, but their fics would still be quite public and would be getting moreso year by year. It's only because of the move that the option for deletion has come up at all. Hence my view that it's a technicality.
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