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astolat

September 2019

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astolat

An Archive Of One's Own

**NEW ETA**: we're going to take a stab at putting this together. For more information and discussion, please join and/or watch otw_news.




ETA: If you are coming to the conversation late, xenacryst has helpfully collected up a bunch of links to a subset of noteworthy discussion threads, over here!




First, why fanfic is not illegal and why YOU should stop saying that it is even if you don't agree, by cesperanza. Please read it.

That said, the people behind fanlib (talked about many places, see astridv here) don't actually care about fanfic, the fanfic community, or anything except making money off content created entirely by other people and getting media attention. They don't have a single fanfic reader or writer on their board; they don't even have a single woman on their board. They're creating a lawsuit-bait site while being bad potential defendants, and they deserve to be chased out being pelted with rocks.

But even if they were, which I doubt is going to happen, because hey, they have people and money, we're still left with this problem: we are sitting quietly by the fireside, creating piles and piles of content around us, and other people are going to look at that and see an opportunity. And they are going to end up creating the front doors that new fanfic writers walk through, unless we stand up and build our OWN front door.

We need a central archive of our own, something like animemusicvideos.org. Something that would NOT hide from google or any public mention, and would clearly state our case for the legality of our hobby up front, while not trying to make a profit off other people's IP and instead only making it easier for us to celebrate it, together, and create a welcoming space for new fans that has a sense of our history and our community behind it.

cutting for details and brainstormingCollapse )

If I had thirty seconds more time I would just try to do it, but I don't right now, and so I am throwing out this plea into the ether. And I'm putting myself out here right now to say that I would help as any/all of an advisor, a fundraiser, a promoter, and I would archive my own stuff there. I would even take on coding parts; I just can't take on project management.

But I know we have project managers in our community -- and coders and designers -- can't we do this? Seriously -- we can come up with a site that would be miles better and more attractive to fanfic writers/readers than anything else out there, guys, because we actually USE the stuff.

I have to go offline to write now, but clearly the conversation is happening right now, thanks to the fanlib guys, and I really wanted to get this out there.

A couple of quick ETAs:
I don't allow anonymous commenting, but if you don't have an lj or OpenID account and would like to comment, you can get one really quick right here. ETA: sorry, OpenID doesn't work with anon commenting disallowed, oops.

Also, please have no hesitation to have conversations among yourselves in the comments; I never mind that anyway, but in this case would like to totally encourage it. You can use the lj thumbtacks to track everything being posted in a single thread even if you don't want to get inundated with everything posted to the entry.
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Comments

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Hola. Just stumbled in here and I have to say it looks like a great project which I'd love to help out with. Have only worked my way through the first page out of eight of comments, but I'll be skimming through...

Anyways, I DO have coding skills if you're still looking for programmers. I've got about a year plus of professional experience with PHP/MySQL, been working on webpages for literally a decade.

Also, after August I may be able to donate money and/or hosting.


...now, to read the comments...

Reposting to fix my broken coding

No time here at work to read through the several extra pages of comments since the last time I was here, so this might have already been suggested. Over here tahariel threw out a random comment about t-shirts. We have a lot of excellent designers in our ranks, and there are numerous places on the web like CafePress where we can get our own merchandise made and sold. It could be an easy and fun way to generate some extra cash for the project. I'd buy!

We might even consider a contest or something to settle on a particular group of designs.

Re: Reposting to fix my broken coding

And tangenting off of this, I've been thinking for a while that part of fannish culture is fannish t-shirts, and I haven't seen anyone mention, in particular, t-shirts based off particular fanworks or centered around various fandoms that were designed by members of fandom. I think linking to those could very easily fall under things this site could do.

But, yes, also t-shirts based on the archive would be fantastic, too!

My commets part 1

I'd definitely be in for something like this. Not much of a coder currently but hoping to get more into php and a few other languages, a challenge would probably drive me harder, though I can do basic html/css.

I could offer graphics help, though I'm not a pro. Likewise, not a project supervisor but willing to do organisational things as required if there was any way I could help there.

I'd also help promote, contribute to fundraising auctions and would pledge money. Could probably best help with testing though, since that's my dayjob. I like breaking software a little too much sometimes... :D

I think the problems with actually doing it are, depending on just how big it gets and how quickly, you are going to need a dedicated server and you'd need a good plan for expanding space etc if it suddenly gets maxed out by more users than you'd expected. Of course now I've read through more of the comments I see there are people giving actual advice on this and legal stuff. Ah the joys of writing my comments as I read through all the others... ;P

Secondly, legally how do you protect people? In some ways I get what Fanlib was attempting to do, trying to take out the problem of users maybe turning round and saying oi that show stole my idea but taking writers rights away isn't a good way to go about it. Except how do you deal with the possibilities of either a rather silly user claiming some TPTB read their story on the site and stole it, or the site/a user getting sued/a cease and desist from an author? I think maybe a pledgebank idea could work, both for costs of setting up the site and for legal funding if it/anyone gets into trouble. If you could work out the start up costs and make a pledge based on that. I really think pledge bank could work well and depending on how much you need for basics maybe you could raise enough to pay some professionals as a dayjob - depends just how many people got onboard the pledge.

One or a few people don't stand much chance but try suing 100's if not 1000's of people and it's a bit more of a challenge. It wouldn't be fair to ask for a pledge towards that, or agreement to share legal responsibility, in order join the site/be a member but having that as an option hopefully a good number of people would and it could help things out. Either way, it'd obviously do good to collect a few (copyright) lawyers to help on the site.

My comments part 2


In regard to filtering out the bad from good, I do wonder if there's any AI's that could be used to judge grammar (and mispellings of major character names ;) ) and maybe rejection could be based on % of adherence to good English grammar. Mind you, it's have to be a darn good algorithm and since there's artistic license there'd need to be very good testing to see what got flagged as too bad grammatically and balance it appropriately to only filter the pretty bad as opposed to people who maybe little a beta or have a different style that doesn't follow standard grammar but still works okay. The % might have to be set really low but it could help, just problematic for language support and I guess reading other posts it might not help with legal issues of screening content.

There some part of me that thinks maybe having a paid account level would be good, I'd pay for one - not restricting posting or reviewing but allowing for advanced features. And perhaps to avoid sueage having NC-17 (but not R) reading restricted to pay accounts would be sensible because being able to pay for it does imply generally that you have access to credit card somehow and it'd stop really young youngsters accessing it, unless they somehow had access to money without parental approval... Only problem is that I'm sure not many people would like that idea since it is restricting... but if was just a random idea that and there's probably a better way to do it. At least logging in to read NC-17 sounds sensible.

Unobtrusive (non noisy, popup/over type) adverts at the bottom of the page might be okay - if I'm reading SG fic I'm not gonna be too bothered at being told about the latest Fandemonium book or a good deal on boxsets but I think you'd have to be careful about what you put in and the system for deciding what to display to who.

I think what might help with awareness of donations would be if there was a small sidebar on the frontpage informing people how much of the monthly/annual donation target had been met - just so people can see if the site is gonna be in trouble financially and needs a boost and if it updated realtime so you can see the difference your contribution to site funds has helped towards target.

I really love the coop and earning shares through effort (balanced by how recently they were accumulated - maybe they are only valid for a year?) ideas because it reflects the nature of our exchange community and would be even better that people could get them not just for fic but for reccing, reviewing in details etc and have it not judge by how much others like your stuff but how much time you put in to the community in various ways.


My comments part 3

Features I'd love to see.

- Definitely the remixable flag but perhaps make it so people set if they don't want, want to be asked, want a link to or go ahead as you like. Having a general stance for that'd be good and say story specific overriding incase there's exceptions either way.

- Be great to have stats for refererrs, to see who recced/linked to your stories that drove readers to you.

- Not just a backup function but export/import of an account settings and data.

But more so, a site not limited to fic. Hosting fan mixes or vids would be opening the site up to more legal issues, probably the RIAA trying to sue you, but having listings linking to them hosted elsewhere would be nice, as would other fan arts as other fannish media stuffs are harder to find compared to fic. I'd love to be able to come to one site and see everything fannish, not just wordy things. Plus those things could always come later on the dev plan but they would be fab to see at some point.

The "Thanks" etc buttons someone suggestion on the first page would be great to encourage feedback and reduce one word reviews whilst still letting people comment in that way (like counting up how many thanks comments you got and could be expanded to see who said it, if the user doing so wants to be recognised) but I reckon being able to optionally give stars out however many on characterisation, dialogue, language (i.e. grammar/spelling) and maybe a few other things (how it fits with canon?) would be a nice way to increase specific feedback without users having to write anything and also provided data for more tailored search mechanisms.
This is an amazing idea and I would dearly love to help very much! If there's anything I can do please let me know!

I live in the U.K, though, so my timezone will be all screwed up with other people :/

I caught onto this late because I've been away, but I'm here now and offering any sort of help you need :D

Awesome idea, astolat and I'm so glad someone thought to do this!
that sounds like a fantastic idea! ever since ff.net started self-censoring i've been starved for a searcheable multi-fandom archive. and the ability to download the entire thing would make me happier than i can articulate. i have little time and few skills, but i would definitely contribute my stories, my vids, and what little money i have.

and thanks for the link to cesperanza on the legality of fanfic. it was a nice read, very well articulated.

About site development and legal issues for fen around the world

My husband and I were just discussing how best to handle legal issues for fen in multiple countries, and he suggested scooping up country codes so that, while there would only be one site, fen could set their default views/versions of the site that filtered out legally objectionable content for them. This way, once an Australian, say, set her default for the Australian-filtered version of the site, she wouldn't encounter any chan.

I have no idea how to make such a thing work, but Shog seems to think this wouldn't be an insurmountable task (and I could probably persuade him to suggest resources detailing how to code for this kind of thing).

I like the filtered view/version fanarchive option for these reasons:

1. I'm opposed to censorship,
2. Pragmatically, the fanarchive can't censor because then it wouldn't be a common carrier and would have to censor content if requested to do so by outside parties,
3. and using a filtering system would mean that a "safe" view could be generated for anyone in any country who didn't want sexual/adult material in their view of the fanarchive.

Of course, this would mean that all genres of fanfic (and fan content, in general if the site is going to allow for fannish content other than fic) would have to be accepted---no quality control (because quality control is a form of censorship and would undermine the fanarchive's common carrier status)---but I think any archive of our own would have to include everything.
I hope I'm in the right place this time. ;-)

I'd like to volunteer space and bandwidth for the project. I can email with specific information if you like.

A place for rec-lists?

I've scanned the list of relevant links and I couldn't see anything about this. I was thinking that one of the biggest problems for new people in a large archive is walking in blind. Is there a place for rec-lists in the archive? Fiction Alley is massive and what they do there is have a forum where people cqan post recommendations. It's a little cluttered, but it's one (democratic) idea.

Icarus
Hey, just thought I'd post to offer a hand wherever I can. I'm not an active writer, so most folks wouldn't know my name, but I'm a moderately skilled webdesigner and information architect, plus I live and breathe policy-writing, process-oriented fiddly administrivia, stuff like that. I'd love to help, if you can use me.
I am all for taking the "face of fandom" away from people like Fanlib. Having read the comments, I do have a concern, though. If anime/manga based fandoms are going to be welcome, which I hope they are, I would request that filtering, rather than banning, chan be strongly considered.

The thing is... see, we usually don't even use a label or name for this because it's so darn prevalent in the source texts. I mean, in Sailor Moon, the central Eternal Romance (with strong intimations of consummation) is between a middle school girl and a college boy, and several of the peripheral romances follow the same pattern. Card Captor Sakura features a committed romance between an elementary school girl and her homeroom teacher--including an engagement ring. I don't recall right off the bat, but I think Evangelion's Shinji is underage in relation to at least one of his crushes/pursuers. Tenchi, of Tenchi Muyo etc., is a high school boy being actively courted and often groped by a handful of older (alien) women.

Those are just the examples off the top of my head. And that doesn't even touch on the "it's suggestive, let's pair them up" material.

In all the above cases, these romances are utterly unreal (psychologically, physically, etc.), but they do fit the age definition for chan. And age seems like the only vaguely reasonable way you could effectively define acceptable versus unacceptable stories. If adult/minor fic is banned, large swaths of anime/manga fic will be excluded by default. *wry* And most would probably be shocked that anyone could object to their fluffy Tsuzuki/Hisoka partnerfic.

It looks like this would affect the ability of some people to participate and donate. I don't have any good ideas how to address the donation aspect, but perhaps there could be a section for "recommended non-participants" or something like that? Given the ethical issues it would have to be something that could also be refused, of course. But it might make at least one acceptable point of connection.

... or a resource page, pointing to special-purpose sites or archives--non-chan, specifically het or yaoi, fandom specific, etc. Again with the right of refusal for those linked.
I have massive amounts of website space available that I have been working on a fanfic website. I have been going through content and it has held up the process in creation. If anyone wants to work together donate time in building pages and such we can get it off the ground and moving. I have alot of content ( granted in Supernatural and StarWars )but am more than happy to venture out into any other fandom out there. Its just a massive undertaking to read and choose the good authors out there but I am willing to work with anyone to make it happen.

No ads no extras just authors and great fiction of all kinds.

I started at amethyst_orchid if any one is interested the information is there.

FanLib Features List

As per the Henry Jenkins interview with Chris Williams (which you should all read, if you haven't already), here is fanlib's proposed and current feature list. I wonder if they've been reading us...

-----

Lastly, no other site - whether they have ads or not - offers all of the features listed below. Our beta site also actively solicits member feature requests and implements them.

Features:
+ Massively scalable, reliable archiving platform (backed up daily)

+ Easy submission creation and editing, including:
o WYSIWYG editing
o Import from another website
o File Upload with support for .doc, .txt, and .rtf formats
o Auto-save (i.e., your work is safe if your connection drops or computer crashes)
o "Make Private" option (your fic will be completely hidden from all but you)
o Add chapters over time
o Easily assign up to three fandoms to each submission

+ Advanced searching and filtering tools: Easy to add multiple criteria and build a filtered query with simple clicks

+ Featured Fanfics and Members: They will appear on the site homepage as well as at the top of searches

+ Syndication and Sharing Tools: Including RSS feeds, invites, and the ability to easily embed customized promotional badges on other sites

+ Customizable Member Profiles: You can build your profile with your fanfics, favorites, descriptions and feedback, deciding which elements will be public

+ Story Views:
o Paginated with bookmarking
o Single-page (printer-friendly) and ad-free

+ QuickLists (save a fic for later viewing)

+ Favorites

+ Subscriptions (see the latest from your favorite fandom or author)

+ Fandom FastFind: The ability to type a few characters from the name of a fandom, hit return and go directly to a page with only stories from that fandom

+ Tagging of fanfics

+ Customized Fanfic themes and images (with the ability to disable themes when browsing and searching)

+ Auto-Recommendations

+ Private messaging

+ Full Featured Message Boards

+ Content blocking based on age ratings (e.g., mature-rated submissions may be completely hidden)

+ Star Readers and Writers

+ Rate submissions (1-5 stars)

+ Leave multiple comments

+ Strong search engine optimizations

And, coming soon:
+ Email notifications
+ Multiple Author submissions
+ Banning individual members from leaving you comments
+ Ability to associate other media (e.g., video, more images)
+ Social networking tools
I've been working on a project to create a search engine and database for Harry Potter fanfiction. If it's popular, I would consider expanding it to be multifandom. I created a list of popular suggestions from this discussion that are included in my site over at accio_fiction.

I chose the search engine route because I did not want to supplant or try to compete with all the existing archives in the huge HP fan community. Many of the archives have their own niches and close-knit communities. I want to work with existing archives to provide a central portal for readers to find the sort of HP fanfic they're looking for. I want to index public fics on LiveJournal so new people who don't know all the right authors and the right communities can find good stories, and so new writers can connect with communities of readers.
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