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September 2019



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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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I say YAY! I'm so excited about this! And whatever I have that you need, you have it.
I think the idea of a co-op form is great. And word to everything said about getting legal advice very early on. The whole "if you pre-screen you're in worse shape than if you don't" is a classic example of the wackiness of Internet law.

Not a programmer or project manager, but please add me to the list of people offering to donate sizable sums of money early and often.
The first part of that is pretty much what we were aiming for with The Archive at the End of the Universe. With more people volunteering to work on the code side the dream features might even stand a chance. At the moment the only thing it doesn't allow is RPS, but that's negotiable. I've learned a lot more about it since we made that rule!

Out of interest - is the rule against fics from works of authors that don't accept fanfiction (Anne Rice & co) still there?

I'd definitely remove the RPS ban, having learned to love some of it myself :)
the thing I'd hate to lose most would be the possibility for reader/writer interaction through comments...So a comment system more like LJ's would be great.

Ditto. I prefer LJ to any other format for this reason and often enjoy reading the comment threads more than the story! Archives always strike me as soulless places by comparison.
This sounds like one of the few places I'd consider posting the fan ficiton I've recently started writing. FWIW, I'm also trying to write an original novel which I intend to sell once it's complete, and I'm therefore touchy about exploitation of authors...
I haven't read all the comments so my bad if this is already under discussion, but has anyone talked to the gals who own Slashcity? It's a server that's already set up for fannish undertakings. And very reasonably priced. Also, they purchase your domain name for you so there's no way to connect your real name and your fannish endeavours.

Just a thought.
~ S.
Wow, that would be a massive, MASSIVE undertaking. It would be completely awesome, but ... wow. MASSIVE.
While I can see that requiring registration to view adult content would allow you to get rid of annoying click-through warnings, I also think it would limit the usefulness of the archive in the sense that it would discourage people from linking to the archive copies of stories in recs. I know on my own recs page, I won't link to a copy of a story in an archive that requires a password if there's any other option, because it's such a pain for people.

I wonder if it would be possible to combine the two systems: display "click only if you're over 18, there be sex here" warnings to people who aren't logged in, and go directly to the actual story if you are logged in? That would let registered users have a smoother reading experience while still making it possible for people to browse in from elsewhere without having to register for the site before they can read the single story they were interested in.
Just thought I would say that you've got a good idea there.


*wipes his eyes after riotus laughter*

Thats pretty funny.


Total ROTFLMAO material.

I've already done this, in 2002. See,i'm actually a programmer, program for a living, and have been for over a decade. I've already created a successful site (that i won't bother to name, you can figure it out)that does 90% of what you want and dream about. Some of the dream portion hasn't been rolled out yet but is about to be in the next couple weeks.

My *cough* little *cough* nameless site started with much the same princepals you espouse. However, since i'm firmly grounded in reality, i saw problems immediately. The group of friends that initially wanted to moderate and such, decided they wanted to stake thier fiefdoms on my site and sandbox thier kingdoms. They 'knew how thier particular fandoms should be run and modeled' depsite the fact that this clearly contradicted any relational (in the DB sense) logic and grossly violated navigational consistency across the site. One area would look totally different and navigate differently from another. Then there were the ego trips. Now, these are good friends of mine and continue to be to this day, but i wasn't going to have my site ripped in multiple directions by fanfic zealotry. So, by the end of the (litera) day, after attempting to appeal to thier logic and failing, i was presented with ultimatum of 'our way or the highway'.
Since it was my work that created everything, i pretty much said if thats the way you want it, thanks for your time, have a nice day.

Moral: Too many ego lead to chaos.

Now, the technical side.

Since i'm a Mysidian Genius of programming high availability web based stuff (it's what i'm paid to do), I know all the shortfalls, through both experience and practice, that any large site runs into. I know all the security measures, all the optimizations, all the tricks of the trade. To build something large is going to cost a pretty penny for an experienced programmer that knows what the hell he is doing. Additionally, the larger a site becomes, the more resources it will devour. All the optimization and tweaking in the world will not change that. Server resources are expensive. Bandwidth is expensive. Competent programmers are expensive.

I tried the donation routine for some time. It failed miserably after a couple months. The huge bandwidth and resource charges started coming out of my pocket. I made a crucial decision to either shutdown, or find another way to finance the costs. My choice? Unobtrusive ads. The site pays for itself now and occaisionally gives me a free lunch every couple months.

Welcome to the cold facts of the real world.

Btw, happy new updates to my *cough*little*cough* site coming up soon for a total makeover :D Yes, the site is not dead as many think, I just have real world priorities such as I dunno... a JOB, and um... a FAMILY. You know, things any sane person would put in front trivial matters like a website. But yes, massive new updates have been percolating over time.

P.S. Why does a fic reader/writer need to be on thier board at all? Do they have an investment in the operation? Also, why would there HAVE to be a female on the board? That seems pretty sexist to me to REQUIRE one to be 'legitimate'. Are you saying that males are incapable of truly understanding the nature and intricacies of fandom? Sounds like a bunch of feminazi horseshit to me.

-The Great Me of the Saturn Necklace

Re: ahahahahahahahahaha

Also, do keep in mind, Penny Arcade also tried the donation thing, to horrendous failure. The donation model simply does not work for anything of large size.

-The Great Me of the Saturn Necklace
Another thought on archiving, thinking of the way AMV.org works -- what about allowing a "story" to be a link to an offsite story? Or an archived version and an offsite link? I imagine this would be a great way to encourage writers with huge existing bodies of work to join in immediately and then upload at their leisure if at all; also, people who absolutely must have control of their own stories can keep that control; also, bizarre formatting or multimedia stories can be added to the pile. (Also, if it turns out that a legal chan ban is required, chan stories could still be listed with the rest -- I don't know if that would satisfy whatever legal bugaboos are out there, but maybe.) That way the searching can be comprehensive even if the archive isn't.

(Of course, a "show only locally hosted stories" search option would be needed, and a "mark this link as broken/inaccurate" button on offsite stories....)

wow, astolat, what have you started here? *grin*
One problem with linking-off-site is that it can get fairly frustrating. I can think of one single-fandom archive that I've given up using, even though it's more or less the only site for that fandom, because so many of the entries are ultimately just links back to lj posts on the single comm that feeds the archive. It's a great effort to 'centralise' but ultimately the ability to search for a particular catagory of fic doesn't make up for the hassle of actuall getting to the story.

I don't mean that linking offsite is automatically a bad idea, just that the advantages and disadvantages should be considered carefully, and if it is implemented, should be done in a way that minimises inconvenience - none of these forced-new-tab/window fourteen-click processes just to get to one story :)

(Overall, I'm very much behind this whole discussion.)
*waves* I was at lunch in the Park on Tuesday. :-)

Whoot! Power to the people! Just thinking: Do you think something like Drupal could be adapted for this?

At any rate, I'm so so happy to see this enter the serious brainstorming phase. Add me to the list of people who have moderate technical skills and some disposable income I'd be glad to pitch in.

I also think the idea of setting up some sort of co-op/partnership is fantastic -- both in terms of creating "ownership" failsafes for the project as a whole, and also for the possible legal protections offered by the creation of such an entity.

ily, rich internet stranger. You made me laugh the most, and I've read all the ideas thus far presented in the comments.
This is a wonderful idea. I'd like to help if it comes to life. I haven't got much money, and am no programmer, but I can help with the design side of things, or in some other capacity.
My wallet is all yours.
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