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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.

I think the necessary features would include:
  • run BY fanfic readers FOR fanfic readers

  • with no ads and solely donation-supported

  • with a simple and highly searchable interface and browsable quicksearch pages

  • allowing ANYTHING -- het, slash, RPF, chan, kink, highly adult -- with a registration process for reading adult-rated stories where once you register, you don't have to keep clicking through warnings every time you want to read

  • allowing the poster to control her stories (ie, upload, delete, edit, tagging)

  • allowing users to leave comments with the poster able to delete and ban particular users/IPs but not edit comment content (ie, lj style)

  • code-wise able to support a huge archive of possibly millions of stories

  • giving explicit credit to the original creators while clearly disclaiming any official status

Other dream features of my own, which I throw out in a brainstorming spirit:
  • posting interface that would allow you to post to the archive, to your blog, to your personal lj, and to up to (say) three lj communities you specify

  • making it easy for people to download stories or even the entire archive for offline reading (thus widely preserving the work in case some disaster does take it down)

  • options for people to post podfic or ebook format versions, translations, links to fanart/fanvids, stories inspired by, the original story, all of which would automatically be linked back so you could see the kind of interconnecting 'web' of how our work is interrelated (with the original author able to delete any given link if she wanted to, but not the inspired-by work itself)

  • tagging

  • automatic rec lists (just click on a story to add it to your rec list)

  • charity auctions -- we could do an annual fundraiser and send whatever is left over to charity

  • mentoring: collect up writing advice, fannish history, acafandom, and create a simple FAQ (integrate a wiki?)

  • beta-editing: an interface where you could send your story to selected other readers without worrying if their email addresses had changed (like @livejournal addresses, except everyone would have them, not just paid users)

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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*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
The problem with donation models in fanfiction is that too many of the participants have no income or severly limited income, I.E. Kids, the unemployed, etc.

Sure they might be able to donate once or twice, but thats it if at ALL. Most cannot donate even once. They definately cannot donate over a sustainable period of time.

It's a sad truth that I wish wasn't the case.

With open source, programmers and users of the open source, tend to actually have money. Fun stuff to have. Therefore you can have smaller numbers that are capable of donating more.
Oh, I don't underestimate them at all. I have experienced how far they are willing to support thier fandom, which is sadly, not much after a few months. My site takes in pretty much anything already. Initialy, i had decent donations, but those dried up rather quickly. After a year, it was entirely out of pocket. I floated to my very large base of users options for them to consider to keep the site going. Overwhelmingly, 95% either could not donate, would not donate, and where totally aghast to a subscribtion type of service of any type, regardless how small it was. They also loathed the idea of ads. Faced with this, i chose the least intrusive method of handling the costs since donation don't work. Ads.

The ppl here seem aghast to that as well, sadly, and are putting forth thier best proletariot faces forward with thier communist and socialist ideals in a capitalist environment of resource commodities (bandwidth and server horsepower). The ppl here also appear to sadly think that they can blatantly rip off other ppl's IP or personal identity (with RPF) with abandon and have no fears of legal reprocussion. My site (still nameless so as to not selfpromote and my insights lose percieved credibility) strives to maintain a happy balance. While i realize I could in theory win a legal battle, I know for a fact that i'd never get that far due to legal costs, which most owners of large IP have the resources to financial back thier legal assualts almost indefinately, where as, I do not, and I know the fan community will voice thier support for my cuase and wave the flags and what not, but when it comes to it, the various fandoms would rather hide thier faces as a site is put up on a cross when it comes to actually financing thier legal defense. So, my site realizes this and pretty much says if the IP owners etc don't want thier stuff to have fics, very well, we wont host them in good faith, as we want to be part of the REAL community, not a parasite. Respect the IP owners, don't bite them when they draw a line and say 'look, enough already.'
Everyone wins since the site will stay up, no one will lose thier house or savings to legal battles, and the IP owners can relax thier sphincters a bit when they feel a line has been crossed.

Yes, i know this is flamebait for many theory discussions on fandom, and I don't care. When the 800 lb gorilla says 'Hey, i don't like you doing this on my corner', it's a good idea to listen him and respect his wishes, even if just a little bit.

-The Great Me of the Saturn Necklace

Re: ahahahahahahahahaha

Jim, if you feel the project and those of us discussing it are stupid and doomed to failure, you can leave and let us fail miserably on our own. If you would like to participate in the discussion and share your experience, you're very welcome. However, the use of "feminazi" and the tone of your post, starting with the mocking laughter, seem to be deliberately nasty, and that's a major turnoff in speaking to you.

If you feel offended because we seem to be dismissing your efforts, or defensive because you yourself are a guy involved in this space, please note that I at least had never heard of fandomination before this, so nothing said has been meant negatively towards you or your site. And I (and suspect most of the other people talking here) don't have anything whatsoever against guys participating in fanfic fandom. After even a cursory glance at fandomination and your policies, it's clear that it is NOT a corporate site but a fannish labor of love. That makes it very different from FanLib, which is run by a large board of executives from the dot-com sector who themselves are not interested in fanfic except as a way to make substantial profits off the labor of a community that is almost entirely made up of women. It's the deliberate and gendered exploitation by outsiders that bothers most of us.

This entire post is so far being a really productive and thoughtful brainstorming session. I ask the people responding to you to make the assumption that your post was not meant to be insulting, and to answer only to the content. I am not interested in hosting a tense or unpleasant discussion here, so if the thread does turn nasty, I will moderate (everyone) with a heavy hand.
No worries! I'm all in favor of trying to civilly engage as much as possible. I froze/screened anything that I felt wasn't being productive.