Reposted & slightly expanded from a comment in a thread at LJ, because I'd like to see a broader range of discussion on the topic.
There's a new round of metafandom discussions about the OTW, sparked by the NPR interview with Rebecca Tushnet. My husband heard it; he said it made fanfic sound very normal--a hobby with some exotic fringes, which sounded like "suburban ladies hire a stripper for a bachelorette party," not like "weird lesbian sluts corrupting cultural icons." Anyway. OTW went public, which stirred up some controversy. (I haven't heard the interview; I missed it on NPR, and I can't listen to their stuff--it's streaming sound only, which is incompatible with dialup.)
The discussions about the interview have hit several journals. Some pro-OTW, some anti-OTW, some WTF-is-OTW. And a lot of the anti-OTW post have screened or blocked comments that are either pro-OTW or argumentative about terminology (which is not always the same.)
I would love to see more discussion on all sides of the OTW issues. (Even though I'm a fanatic OTW supporter. Maybe I just like wank debate.) However, the people who actively dislike OTW, seem to not want to discuss it--or at least, not with people who disagree. I understand it can be daunting to have the Hordes Of Metafandom show up at your virtual doorstep. But Metafandom will avoid linking on request; making that request can allow a slow trickle of a variety of opinions as the post bounces around one's f'list.
Most of the pro/con OTW stuff seems to devolve to two opposing viewpoints: 1) Yay OTW; it's high time fandom had an archive that wouldn't cave to a poorly-worded & not-legal C&D order. Of course they need to be up-front about that. And anyone has the right to give interviews on behalf of fandom, because there's no central committee of SMOFs to draw from.
2) Boo OTW; fandom is doing just fine without their attention-grabbing interference that's going the bring the wrath of lawyers down on us all. And how dare they make sweeping statements about "fandom," which means they're making statements about me, and those statements are WRONG.
Side 1: We will have an archive, and speak to the public, and announce lawywerese support. Side 2: I don't want your archive or your public declarations or your lawyers. [insert back-and-forth wank explanations and concerns.] Side 1: Well, then it sucks to be you, doesn't it? Side 2: Go to hell, rabid fanbitches.
Which, umm. Is entertaining (or was the first six rounds), but doesn't seem to work towards any kind of compromise or understanding. And the respect is getting frayed around the edges, what with the "rabid fanbitch" and suchlike commments.1
I'd love to find out if the OTW could either shift focus, or find a way to include the concerns of the two types of detractors (which have a lot of overlap): the "OMG you will bring lawyers on us all and ruin fandom" and "Shut up and stop speaking for me" crowds.
But I don't think any kind of agreement will be reached if only the pro-OTW posts are allowing unlimited discussions. And that's disappointing--because I don't want those who want privacy, or who fear legal reprisals, to be entirely sidelined. While I think their concerns may be misplaced or exaggerated, I don't want them ignored. They are real concerns, valid ones, based on a history of social and legal smackdowns that we'd all like to avoid in the future, and the OTW (and the rest of us) need to accept that and... and... I don't know what else. Which is why I'd like to see more discussions.