inteligrrl: Reading (Default)
Everyone's upset about the latest fandom drama regarding fic warnings. I've read the arguments, and while personally I fall on the warnings side of the fence, I can't say that either side is blameless for turning this into the huge kerfuffle it has evolved into. That said maybe it's a good thing to have out there. A good portion of the current online fan community is younger and doesn't have the context of fanish faux pas that existed in the earlier days. In this time of livejournal and archive tags a lot of the formality has been discarded, and perhaps it's time to give it a good dusting off. I've been heavily involved in fandom (though mostly as a lurker) since approximately 1997. At the time there was something like a standard opening format for any fic out there. The lists I was a part of required something along these lines in the opening of any fic posted:

Content warning:
Distribution statement: Please ask first.

Yes, it's bulky and looks awkward, but there was something to be said about having that fandom wide standard. It wasn't something that ruined the story, but more something that was an act of common courtesy. I can understand the reasoning behind not wanting to warn people about something that could cause them to not read your fic. Your writing is sharp, the handling is smart, and it could blow people away if only they'll give it a chance. I get it, but in effect you're tricking the reader in a way that is inexcusable. Even people who don't have trigger issues might like to know about the dub-con and abuse content in the fic you just wrote. I love reading things that rip my guts out, but today maybe I just can't deal with it. It doesn't mean your audience will disappear, but it does give people the chance and power to make their own choices. Putting in some of the guidelines listed above, even if it's just paired down to title, author, rating, content warning, and summary isn't compromising your fic, it's common courtesy. Robert A. Heinlein said that manners are lubricant for the social machine, and he has a point. Just because we're invisible to the outside world does not mean that our lack of courtesy doesn't have effect. In this case it is pitting some people who are otherwise lovely against each other. Perhaps a return to a somewhat more structured approach to fandom is in order.

x posted to livejournal


inteligrrl: Reading (Default)

December 2012

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