Days of September (daysofseptember) wrote,
Days of September

On fanfic politics (well this feels like 2005 all over)

Once upon a time on the internet, someone was asked to introduce the concept of fanfiction to a presumably ignorant audience. She did so by listing some terminology - linking to Fanlore - and reccing some fic, which was overwhelmingly hosted on AO3. She had maybe one or two fics published on LJ, and one on Tumblr. AO3 was explicitly mentioned as a place to find the good stuff.

Not a word was mentioned about the first place to pop up in every search anyone does on the word "fanfiction". Not a single story from the biggest fic archive in existence was linked.

Well, Fandomsecrets is the place where I keep up with anything fandom these days, and the trending there seems to suggest two things: That demisexuality has replaced asexuality as the redheaded stepchild among the sexual orientations, and that the FFN vs. AO3 war has descended from the ivory towers and is now fought among the commoners. External archives once again became a necessity as LJ is being replaced by Tumblr, and apparently there is disagreements about which archive sucks the more.

I'm on both and will merely say that I find either option to be vastly preferably to LJ and its various clones.

Back when people thought that Livejournal never would end, there was a vocal consensus on here at least that no-one who really was in the club would get closer to FFN than hovering a link on a tasteless reclist. Like anyone who had been in the Digimon fandom for more than a month would be talking about "Taichi" and "Hikari" despite never having seen more than three minutes of Digimon in Japanese, the surefire way to identify yourself as a newbie on LJ would be to refer to FFN as anything else than "the pit". But contrary to popular belief, fandom thrived before LJ. Guess where we posted our fic back then if we couldn't be arsed to make our own websites.

And contrary to the prejudices held by the outspoken LJ lot, not everything on FFN is shit. Most of it, sure, but I developed a keen sense of judging a story by its summary and never had the problem of accidentally reading badfic. Sure, you'll usually have to slog through pages of trash before finding the good stuff, but there are jewels on FFN and I was frequently annoyed by how fic that deserved attention didn't get it because people convinced themselves that only idiots posted to the pit.

I know that there are people who have legitimate issues with FFN and their policies. That's fair enough. I know that there are people who are on AO3 mainly because of the politics behind it - in which case, rock on! But then there is the crowd that won't go near FFN because it's allegedly a simmering pool of fourteen year olds and all the fic is shit, and that - that is patently untrue and incredibly annoying. FFN has a much bigger and much older archive than AO3, it is easier to navigate and - this is an important part - it's got open registration. The only time I can remember FFN being somehow hostile towards its users would be when it moved to ban smut and some other genres of questionably prosaic nature.

To return to the lady introducing the muggles: I wanted very badly to ask the reason why she was so studiously avoiding FFN. Not linking fic there could be coincidence, but talking about AO3 but not even acknowledging where AO3 came from (FFN's smut ban, as an extension of Strikethrough) - that's a boycott, and I'd go as far as to say that it is unfair to the very muggles she sought to invite to the club. Because dear madams: You're missing out if you never go to The Pit.
Tags: fandom, ficwriting, internet, meta, the good old days

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