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Skipped Back 20

June 26th, 2008

The purpose of the system

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Spinning off: ( Reflections on the use of ratings in fandom )

June 24th, 2008

Ratings: Worksafe, Standard, Mature, Explicit

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I've ranted about the evils of movie ratings for fic in the past. Aside from the psychosis that invades the MPAA so that eviscerations onscreen are PG, female nipples are R, and a penis is an automatic NC-17 (because of course nobody under 18 has seen one before, right?), I don't like rating the reader rather than the content. I want fics (and arts and vids) rated by what's inside them, not by who's expected to find that most appealing.

The most common non-MPAA ratings suggested are age-based, which has several problems. More rambling about ratings, plus chart. )


June 19th, 2008

Books I Like

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It occurs to me that I almost never post recs, either for fic or canon.

I'm polyfannish; I like lots of stuff. I am disgustingly ecumenical in my tastes... while there's a limited selection of "stuff I seek out" and, these days, "stuff I will spend time reading," the category of "stuff I like" is huge and varied. But "oh, you know me; I like it all" is not really fair. Taking it as a given that I've read lots of scifi (for some values of "lots;" my reading in the last 15 years has been erratic), here's some of the books/stories that stand out in my mind:

Rambling about writing I enjoy )

Enough rambling, I think. What do you like to read? Not, "what books have been the most meaningful to your life"--we have metafandom stuff all over about that--but "what do you enjoy?" What books are your chocolate-chip cookies, your peanut-butter-and-jelly (an americanism, I'm told), your lemonade in the summer: sure, there's taste and maybe nutritional value there, but these are the ones you consume when you're not up for something elaborate. What do you find comfortable, rather than "best" or "most important?"

Which doesn't mean some books aren't both. But not everything is.

June 14th, 2008

Class issues in U.S. television

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The issue of class--lower, middle, working, whatever--went around in several blogs a few weeks back, and I wound up thinking about how "lower class" or "working class" characters are depicted in some shows. (Married With Children, Roseanne, What's Happening.) It was pointed out to me that you can't really expect realism from a sitcom; they're not supposed to be accurate and meaningful--they're supposed to be funny.

Okay, that's a good point. So how about the shows about lower-class main characters that aren't sitcoms?



Yeah, how 'bout those shows?

Quest for the Non-Sitcom Lower Class TV Shows )

May 26th, 2008

Warnings for "chan;" archive content policies

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I'm in the OTW's content policy focus group. (My, that's a mouthful.) What that actually means: We read the TOS and suggest changes & clarifications. The discussion group doesn't get to make any decisions; we just get to heckle. The committee gets to receive heckling, ask for more details, and decide which of the heckles are worth changing the policy for.

I'm not sure how much secrecy is involved with this, so I'll try not to reveal anything too specific.

OTW's content policy is nifty; it's gonna be different from every other TOS I've read. Must be the gamer in me; I've read many Terms of Service. )

For a rating system of "chan/not-chan," where do/would you draw the lines, epecially when normal human biology isn't involved? Do you think it's a simple and obvious decision, or a more complicated issue?

Crossposted at my journal.

May 9th, 2008

Here I am, late again

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Wednesday, someone pointed me at Cory Doctorow's new book, Little Brother. Which, like (AFAIK) all of his books, is available online as a free download, complete with a cluster of formatted versions sent in by readers. I promptly downloaded the eReader version, and started reading it on my lunch break. (And now I'm all twitchy 'cos my computer at home is trying to download something large that's screwing up my bandwidth; I hope it's some program update I forgot to disable.)

Anyway. So, as a result of reading Mr. Doctorow's excellent book about terrorism & security & the lack thereof caused by increasing restrictions on human behavior, two things have occurred:
  1. I have been thinking a lot about computers, technology, security systems in general, and
  2. I am falling-over exhausted, 'cos Wednesday night, we have a meeting I couldn't read through, and I stayed up afterwards until 3 am to finish the book. (I wake up at 6:20. Every day.)
So this weeks prompts are (1) Late, (2) A bit on the whimsical side, 'cos I'm a bit loopy from lack of sleep, and (3) Security-related.

Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy! )

May 2nd, 2008

Friday Meta-Prompts

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Yesterday was Blog Against Disablism Day, and there's a nice roundup of BADD posts. (Yesterday was also Beltane, and the day Cora Anderson--one of the founders of the Feri tradition of religious witchcraft--finally let go of life and went to join Victor, who died six years ago. Forgive me if I was a bit too distracted to create metaprompts.)

Disability-related Prompts:

Canon Prompts: Does your canon have disabilities? Does it treat them as shameful situations, and convenient plot devices, or as part of having a well-rounded set of characters? Are disabilities all shown as two types: the plucky survivor in the wheelchair, or the wise-but-sorrowful "pillow angel*" who can't get out of bed? (Occasionally, there's also the informative asshole who can't get out of bed.) Does canon deal with cognitive or communicative disabilities, or just mobility-related ones? (Did anyone every actually believe Geordie LaForge was "disabled?") If your canon has disabilities, do they show up in stereotypical or minority patterns: is it always an Asian woman in a wheelchair, always a white male who's blind, always a special-needs educator or activist who shows up in the courthouse?

Fandom Prompts: Got a rec list of stories dealing with disabilities? [info]painless_j's lists have a whole subsection of disability lists; there's a lot of "after the war, Harry was disabled" stories. Do you ever consider putting disabilities in your stories, or do you only write about healthy people? Do disabilities in stories squick you? (Or do some of them?) Have you read/written/drawn any where the disability was, itself, a turn-on?

Meta Prompts: Do essays about disablism and disabilities "harsh the squee?" If you deal with real-world disabilities, either in yourself or loved ones, does that affect how you relate to fandom? Away from online fandom, into fannish spaces: Are the conventions you attend (if any) accessible? Is there programming relevant to disabled needs; is there a way for a blind or deaf or person-in-wheelchair to attend the majority of the programming? (I don't say "all," because I assume nobody is interested in "all" the programming at an event--hence multiple tracks in multiple rooms.) Is the vendor room accessible?

April 24th, 2008

Meta Prompts: Occultism/Metaphysics

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Eventually, I'll do a set of "religion" prompts. If I'm not careful, I'll do several of them, plus a few posts of religious-fannish meta. Since I don't have the energy for that at the moment, I thought I'd ease into it kinda obliquely.

Mostly about astrology and tarot, because those are the easiest topics to bring in. Maybe some other time I'll poke at psychic abilities. )

April 20th, 2008

Celebrating Slash, Chan & Other Squicky Topics

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Crossposted from my journal.
So, someone at LJ hates slash. Or maybe that's an overstatement: dislikes slash, and hates chan, incest & RPS. She wishes she had a "safe place," somewhere she could read genfic with maybe a hint of het, without running across Sam-and-Dean in bed banners and the like. (And she's got comments turned off. So presumably, she knows the screed is likely to be widely linked and commented on.)

On the one hand, I can understand a wish to avoid one's squicks, and if one's squicks include incest, then dayamn, SPN is a hard fandom to be in. And I can understand being annoyed at clicking on a no-squick-warnings story--and getting caught by a banner featuring a major squick. (Got a friend squicked by het. When she clicks on a Snape/Harry story, I'm sure she doesn't want to see a manip of nekkid Snape wrapped around nekkid Hermione.) So, umm... be polite to people; when linking, try to add ?style=mine or ?format=light to the end of the URL. (Especially if the layout is image-heavy. Be nice to dialup users even if there's no squicky images. And to the hard-of-seeing who can't read tiny grey text on a black background even if no images are involved.)

On the other, though... GAAAH! I am sick of the implication, sometimes the outright claim, that an interest in a "dark" topic (slash, chan, incest, torture, non-con, bdsm, RP, whatever) in fic is the same as promoting it in real life. That we have a sick, nasty hobby that shouldn't be allowed in the presence of Decent Folk. That Decent Folk only write fic about the worlds they wished they lived in, because by writing or seeking these ugly, painful, disgusting topics, we are somehow making life worse for everyone.

In this, I say 'we' a lot. If I don't speak for you, I'm sorry if it sounds like it. I mean 'me and those who agree with me.' Because I don't think I'm entirely alone in these thoughts. )

Credit: Thanks to [info]perfica for an excellent response to the original post.

April 18th, 2008

Thursday Prompts on Friday: IP Law

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Okay, so I'm a bit late on "Thursday" prompts. Personal life got... interesting, these last two days.

The news sweeping fandom (or at least the fandom I'm most involved with, which of course means all the important fandoms in the universe) is the JKR/RDR trial. I expect a huge pile of wank meta to be inspired by it, and so here's some prompts in case anyone wanted to discuss something other than "Steve is a low-down thief/JKR is a greedy bitch." As always, these are potential prompts for the whole week (or forever; it's not like they wear out).

Copyright & IP Law Meta Prompts )

April 17th, 2008

Lexicon case links & info - Round 'em up

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Just to get a jump on wikipedia or whatnot, and to help [info]elfwreck in her awesomesauce plans to spreadsheet organize the case docs, I thought we might start a list of (a) media coverage. Also helpful, the (b) dramatis personae, as some folks have already gotten some of the names confused. The following are mainly sites and sources I've been reading, but hardly the only ones. In addition, many newspapers around the globe this week have run the AP stories with variations and, often, additions. Some particular versions have more interesting bits than others.

Please link other helpful sources, news and blogs and what have you - and oh yes, more on the people! -in the comments, and we'll get it run into this post. TIA!

Elfwreck's going to take a whack at the big task of compiling a list of what all those legal documents *are* ezzackly, what each covers, and where the sugarplums are tucked in. Some of the topics that this case revolves around that are of interest to fandom:
  1. the concepts and applications of copyright, fair use, etc., in play;
  2. how this case uses, critiques, and/or extends concepts of authorship in literary theory and culture;
  3. logic, illogic, and fallacies in arguments in and around the case;
  4. implications (real and feared) for fandom - which thankfully, has not been the usual butt of jokes from the mainstream this time around (nobody laughs when a billionaire is in the courtroom!);
  5. discourse analysis - who's using language in interesting, powerful, colorful or political ways? and on the fine-grained end, how do we define lexicon, index, dictionary, encyclopedia, guidebook, etc.?
  6. people! cool clothes! bad hair! and all that other stuff that makes the *story*. Becuz, it's always about the story!

Meta starter here. Just add links. )

April 14th, 2008

JKR: Can't write 'cyclopedia, too busy suing online one. Yeah, the Lexicon, the one I've used.

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Q: When is a billion dollars not enough?
A: When someone else might make a couple thousand creating the "patch" for your plotholes.

Maybe it's the fact that Steve Vander Ark, a teacher and librarian, actually had the nerve to locate those plotholes by putting together the HP Lexicon, an index to the objects and characters in HP. Maybe it's just seeing anyone else play in the Harry Potter sandbox.

The New York Times posted this AP story on JKR's testimony in the Lexicon suit. She sounds weepy, indignant, and threatening by turns... like EWE Ginny at her worst. (Or is that canon Ginny? You tell me.)

Story in blue. Running reaction by me, in black. X-posted from my IJ for open discussion here.

And before anyone starts: Yes, I like HP. Yes, I think the books show JKR's enormous creativity and rare, admirable persistence. And yes, I'm all for women making hay off a system set up by and for men. But I can and do enjoy her work and applaud her gutsiness, and also question her understanding of ethical democracy and tolerance as revealed in her books and interviews. And disagree profoundly with her claims about authorial rights, as here. In short, this is meta mainly on the meta level, not about the world inside the text, or the creator's intention, but rather some thoughts on how authors view their work, their role, and the activity of fans, within the broader culture -- in this case a courtroom, which will have reach its own views on them all.

ETA: If you prefer wank, go here.
To simply hurl insults, here's the place.
For gossip, he-said she-said, and other unsubstantiated hyperbole, go here.

Harry Potter Author Testifies in Lawsuit

Published: April 14, 2008

Filed at 12:11 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- J.K. Rowling said Monday that her efforts to halt a publisher's ''Harry Potter'' lexicon have been crushing her creativity.

Rowling said she has stopped work on a new novel because the lawsuit in federal court has ''decimated my creative work over the last month.''

Well, that's a novel excuse. Read more... )

April 4th, 2008

The Best Job in the Federation

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In response to this week's [info]metametameta prompt about jobs in canon (or rather, the prompt was probably inspired by this thought that's been bouncing around in my head for a while).

I want to talk about canon. About what used to be THE canon, back when the word "fandom" meant one thing and all fen knew what that was. (Not to say that there weren't other fandoms--but they weren't called that.) (Please, no wank about what was and wasn't "fandom." I'm using artistic hyperbole. Ignore the facts and try to enjoy the silly meta, mmmkay?)

Trek. Late 60's. Vietnam war, hippies, civil rights movement, the space program. Progressive era, and Star Trek tried to capture the greatest of its progressive ideals: multiracial equality, women as military officers (although Trek claimed to be non-military), tech beyond the dreams of geeks, medical advances that removed most diseases from human consideration, happy drugs growing wild in the fields, telepathy, exotic arts and music, benevolent aliens, space ships blasting each other with laserzap weapons.

So... who were the really powerful people in the Federation? The ones who had the most influence, of course. )

April 3rd, 2008

Thursday prompts: Job related

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Meta prompts with the hope of inspiring nifty meta between now and next Thursday. (Or, y'know, whenever.) Late, 'cos I just finished watching Sweeney Todd. OoOooooh... yah. Like that.

So... job and career-related prompts:

If he weren't busy being a savior, what would he be? )

As always, any of these are available; so is the general concept of "jobs in fandom," or any other meta topic. (Picky, we ain't. Got nothing to say about jobs per se, but want to talk about money in your canon of choice? Bring it on; we're happy to read.)

March 29th, 2008

Where have all the babies gone?

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I'm annoyed at the lack of parents in many canons, expecially exotic ones. Specifically, I'm annoyed at the lack of parents of babies and toddlers--we have occasional parents of as young as preteens, but usually teenagers (Molly & Arthur Weasley, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Captain Benjamin Sisko). The O'Briens on DS9 are the only parents of young children I can think of in RL canon with a fan following, and the children were used as a Marriage Troubles Plot Device. (RL canon, as contrasted with The Simpsons or Family Guy, or any of the zillion of kid-focused cartoon shows.) But the O'Briens were very much "couple on a [quasi-]military base"... one of the arguments was that this was not how either of them thought children should be raised.

It makes for an interesting (and annoying) effect when I try to imagine more details about these shows.

Where do Treklings Come From? )

But there are other canons, right?

Perhaps I live in the UK, and I married a wizard. )

On the one hand, it's annoying that there just aren't enough details to even come up with "this is probably roughly what it's like, plus some individual variants." On the other, it's convenient that it's open enough to allow for all sorts of theories to be explored in fanfic... uterine replicators on Federation planets so women don't have to endure the hassle of pregnancy and labor, contraception spells for witches and house elf nannies for baby wizlets. Or maybe clone vats for having identical triplets that are identical to a parent, or babysleep pods growing on giant beanstalks.

We get to decide. We get to explore those ideas any way that strikes our fancy. Maybe some other time I'll grumble about the lack of baby-related fic, and what that implies about our various fandoms. Right now, I'm grumbling about canon and trying to perceive the gaps as fannish opportunities.

March 28th, 2008

I may well be a few hours early... My apologies.

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For Meta-Fridays, prompt three. 

( I've been in fandom since I was eleven. )

March 27th, 2008

Thursday Prompts for Friday Meta

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Last week's Meta Friday went so well, we've decided to try to keep it going. On Thursday, I (or someone) will try to post a small group of prompts in the hopes of inspiring meta to be posted on Friday.

Da Ruulz (so far, subject to change at whim)
THURSDAY (by my calendar, west coast USA), 3-5 meta-related fannish prompts are posted.
FRIDAY, people post meta that's related to the prompt.
That can be: an essay directly answering the prompt, a reply to someone else's essay, a bit of meta indirectly related to the prompt, or even meta about the episode of Star Trek that one of the words in the prompts reminded you of. We're easy here; we like meta.

Meta can be posted here at [info]metametameta, or in your journal with a link in a comment here, or, if you're feeling selfish, you can post meta in your journal and not tell us about it. And we'll scowl at you. Through our monitors. After we find out where you've been hiding the meta. So there.

So here's the first set of Meta-Prompts For Meta-Fridays:

I've been thinking about parenting, so you get kid related prompts. Okay for childfree people too, I promise. )

FanLib: One Year Later

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FanLib: One Year Later
There are versions of this post: The Long One and the Short One. Why two versions? I started writing the first one, intending it to be an all comprehensive guide to what FanLib's been up to over the past year. I've been watching them and I've been watching what fandom has been saying about FanLib. It's been a fascinating to watch and fascinating to participate in. I really love the topic. The long version says everything that I need to and want to say about FanLib. As I started writing it I realized that important points were being buried in my love of the minutiae. A short version, a greatest hits of FanLib in the past year, was needed. So there are two versions.

FanLib: One Year Later, The Short Version )

FanLib: One Year Later, The Long Version )
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