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December 3, 2012 2:53 PM   Subscribe

For the past few years, Topless Robot has run a column called Fan Fiction Friday (NSFW text, criticising the worst of the worst in fan-fiction (probably NSFW), crack-fiction, vile fan-fic and bad grammar in a style similar to MST3K. Several weeks ago Topless Robot founder Rob Bricken made the leap to Gawker Media's science-fiction-and-science website io9, and announced to the surprise of many that FFF would continue. Two weeks in (NSFW) io9 editor Annalee Newitz announced that FFF would be cancelled claiming "it's not going to work on io9". posted by Mezentian (113 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bricken himself chimed in via a comment under the io9 post featured in "FF would be cancelled" above:

"Greetings, folks! I was trying to stay out of this, because I don't want to make this a bigger deal than it is.

The short version is that FFF didn't work for io9, but I do. It's as simple as that. I'm disappointed I won't be able to continue to run FFF, but it's not the end of the world. On the plus side, I can stop reading hundreds of shitty fan fic each week, and may give my liver a chance to recover.

I'm happy so many of you enjoyed it and will miss it, but I promise you there's no need to rake io9 over the coals. Annalee and io9 have been incredibly supportive of me and FFF, but it just didn't jibe with io9's audience. It happens.

I'm enjoying it here at io9 for a lot of reasons, and FFF notwithstanding, I'm still getting to do a lot more here than I was at TR. I hope that you all will continue you to read me — it'd be nice to think I have something more to offer than making fun of terrible fan fic.

(Haters, that one's a softball for you.)"
posted by sendai sleep master at 3:01 PM on December 3, 2012


I think the "don't pick on the little guy" ethic espoused by Newitz in her post is extremely sensible, and more mega-traffic sites should see the world that way.

I don't know if that means in particular that FFF is a bad feature. Do people featured on it feel bullied and attacked? Etc.

But it's heartening to see a high-traffic blog decline to run a presumably high-traffic feature, just because it's wrong to mock vulnerable and defenseless targets.
posted by grobstein at 3:02 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is this somehow related to the other Fanfiction Friday?
posted by ymgve at 3:04 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


At least we'll always have the Wayback Machine's archive of the old fanfiction MSTing archive on pinky.wtower.com.

CROW!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:06 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Good for them" is not a phrase you see spoken about a Gawker Media site on Metafilter often, but really, good for them.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:06 PM on December 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


I used to run a tiny little blog that picked on people's stuff that I shut down partly because it rapidly resulted in death threats and partly because the people I picked on felt genuinely picked on. And that was a tiny little blog with a tiny little readership.

I can only imagine what it would like to be the target of something io9, and how hard it would be on the same people who didn't like when I mocked their shitty products.

This seems like a good decision made for good reasons.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:07 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Charlie Jane, Annalee, and the rest of the io9 gang generally run a pretty tight ship as far as I can tell. They produce writing and posts that are, on average, head and shoulders above what the rest of the gawker network tends to produce. I always find myself wishing that the commenting on io9 was of the quality found here at Mefi.....Hence the constant need to restrain myself from just posting all io9 stories over here on the blue.
posted by sendai sleep master at 3:18 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, good call on i09's part. The feature seems kinda mean-spirited and tacky.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:18 PM on December 3, 2012


Discussion on Livejournal's fail_fandomanon (membership includes a number of fanfiction writers) of Fanfiction Friday, including some talk of why the writer probably doesn't understand a lot of what he's writing about.

For what it's worth (as a fanfiction writer myself) I fall on the side of 'if you post something on the internet, be prepared for criticism', but I can see the other perspective, and I'm not really surprised the series has been cancelled.

Anons of FFA: sorry if I've just crossed the streams by linking here!
posted by capricorn at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2012


Thank fucking god. I was so disappointed with IO9 when I heard they were doing this.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2012


I should say, as a fanfiction writer and someone whose fanfiction has been linked in non-fandom spaces to the sound of more or less unanimous bewilderment and disgust. If that makes a difference.
posted by capricorn at 3:20 PM on December 3, 2012


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?
posted by Electric Elf at 3:21 PM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm trying to take y'all's word for it that this is a Good Thing, but as someone who never heard of Topless Robot or FFF before this post, it sure seems like the net result of all this is increased levels of corporate sanitized media.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:22 PM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think there's a difference of expectations, though, and a responsibility if you are running a popular blog. If you are running something like IO9, your words have more power. Sure, the fanfic writer should be aware that anything is possible, but that doesn't mean that Rob Bricken isn't being an ass by inviting everyone who reads a gawker site to pick on someone who didn't volunteer for this.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:23 PM on December 3, 2012


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?

Did anyone claim that there's something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism and mocking in general? Newitz seemed crystal clear when she said, "FFF is not appropriate for io9." I can't find where she said, "It is never appropriate for anyone to criticise or mock fanfiction."
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Good for them" is a phrase you're seeing spoken about Gawker Media sites more often these days, one of the few media entities that seems to be actually getting better in this era of Lowest Common Denomination. Because most of the"corporate sanitized media" is really being sanitized of its humanity.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:26 PM on December 3, 2012


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?

There's nothing about Walmart shoppers that makes them above criticism or mocking, but that Creatures of Walmart site is still kind of not great. I'm not going to explain why; if you don't see it, you don't see it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:27 PM on December 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


Ending one column of fanfiction mocking that ran once a week is equivalent to subtracting one from infinity. There will still be plenty of mocking of fanfiction on the Internet.
posted by tommasz at 3:28 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?

I think the explanation makes it pretty clear that the problem is the gross asymmetry between the mocker and the mocked, and not the content itself.
posted by griphus at 3:29 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?

If so my gchat logs are basically war crimes.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:30 PM on December 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?
Of course not.

But first, let's remember that just kind of pointing and going "haw haw this sucks!" is a risk-free activity. Professing your affection for something is always more dangerous than scorning it.

Then once you reach a point where you're making money selling ad impressions so people can gawk* at the spectacle of you kicking some unknown fanfic author in the vulnerables, that's distasteful at best.

*herbity blerbity I AM THE MOST CLEVEREST
posted by kavasa at 3:31 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks Sendai sleep master. Since the io9 redesign does it have a cool name like redesignpocalypse?) the comments don't always load for me.

Personally, I think this is a poor decision. The time to make the decision would have been weeks ago. It's not like they didn't know what FFF was, especially since Rob posted to the Pokemon Story in his last few weeks (no link, trust me), and I felt this was a valuable service in shining a light on the sickness of the human condition and those parts of the fan-fic community.

I was shocked when Annalee and Charlie Jane approved FFF for continuation, so I feel a bit annoyed by that more than the loss of FFF. I've read my share of "babyrape", but some stories like Garfield were too much of a joy not to share.

It was a mixed bag, and now we don't get to root around in it.

Do people featured on it feel bullied and attacked? Etc.

Yes, they do. But there as never any hunting of real names. Only what people post under their usernames, which I think is fair.
posted by Mezentian at 3:34 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't really responding to io9 ending it--it really didn't fit in with the site at all--more responding to the anonymous post that capricorn linked to. I just get the feeling that it's the one level of amateur Internet activity that gets anyone piled on if they dare say that any of it's bad or kind of weird; you can criticize bad knitting or weird crud on Etsy or webcomics but if it's fanfic, it's a no-go zone.
posted by Electric Elf at 3:35 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Electric Elf: "Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?"

Well, one of the main arguments I see is that - with erotic fiction - you're basically putting someone's sexuality on display for an audience it was never intended to be displayed to, and mocking it, and saying that it's dirty and wrong to be turned on by what they're turned on by. So that makes people feel less than positive, I imagine.

I think personally I'm kind of used to the idea that people who aren't in the fanfiction writing community don't understand fanfiction. Thus their criticisms are coming from a place of ignorance. (I've seen things dragged out and mocked that were extremely obviously, to anyone in fandom, written as 'troll fic', i.e. as a joke, to freak people out, to make friends laugh.) But whether that makes it un-offensive, or impersonal, is down to the individual fic writer's reaction.
posted by capricorn at 3:35 PM on December 3, 2012


Is there something about fanfiction that makes it above criticism or mocking?

But also, look, sure, a lot of fan writing is bad. That's because a lot of writing is bad. There's this scene in Sports Night, where Josh Charles' character is talking with his friend's kid, asking the kid why he puffed up his Little League stats when he talked with his dad. And the kid says he was embarrassed in front of his dad because he wasn't very good at baseball. And Josh Charles says, "Most people aren't very good at baseball."

I love that. I think about it all the time, whenever I'm doing something ridiculous and being bad at it. Most people aren't very good at baseball. That's not really what makes baseball fun. So to me I like fan writers because even though a lot of them are not great writers, they have a hobby and they work at it and enjoy it and connect with other people who also enjoy that thing and then they make things together and the world needs more community, not less.

And further, fan fiction is a pretty direct counter to the idea that we should only consume. There is nothing the modern world wants more than to have you just sit and consume things, endlessly, especially your media: just watch the movie, listen to the record, buy the t-shirt and the action figure, and be quiet, unless we are going to be cancelled, in which case a postcard campaign would be nice. Fan writers are done with that bullshit. Fan writers make things. They have an entire economy of presents and challenges and little drawings of the guys from Teen Wolf making out that is completely divorced from money. They are the hipsters of the Internet. And I think that is awesome.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


From that fandom anon:
Yeah it sucks when such posts shame writers who eventually take their fic off the internet. I'm thinking of the Sherlock Holmes enema fic that someone was searching for only to be linked to the Topless Robot post that mocked the story.

If you can't mock a Sherlock Holmes enema fic, what can you mock?
posted by Mezentian at 3:40 PM on December 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


I just get the feeling that it's the one level of amateur Internet activity that gets anyone piled on if they dare say that any of it's bad or kind of weird; you can criticize bad knitting or weird crud on Etsy or webcomics but if it's fanfic, it's a no-go zone.

As jacquilynne noted based on her personal experience, you CAN'T criticise bad knitting or weird crud on Etsy without getting a lot of flak, legitimate or no. Even when the power dynamic goes the other way - a very funny knit blogger I know got a lot of negative feedback for her design criticism of Interweave Knits patterns, of all things.

I think personally I'm kind of used to the idea that people who aren't in the fanfiction writing community don't understand fanfiction.

A lot of the anons seemed to agree that if io9 or TR regularly featured good fanfiction, their opinion might be different. I can totally understand the perspective that general interest geek blogs that predominately mock specific geek pursuits, without ever praising them, are doing a disservice to their readers.
posted by muddgirl at 3:43 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't really responding to io9 ending it
capricorn linked to a discussion that was 100% about the column going up specifically on io9. Not about making fun of fanfic more broadly, which has happened since first kirk gazed deeply into spock's eyeballs (and way before then probly).
posted by kavasa at 3:46 PM on December 3, 2012


which has happened since first kirk gazed deeply into spock's eyeballs (and way before then probly)

21 million strong and growing.

Back in the day I discovered fanfic through a webpage devoted to writing bad fanfic, as an exercise in both general mockery and writing skills improvement.
posted by muddgirl at 3:55 PM on December 3, 2012


it sure seems like the net result of all this is increased levels of corporate sanitized media.

wasn't sanitizating of media the whole point of doing the riffing thing in the first place

you don't mock or shame things you want more of

it's kind of funny, though, that the end result of this whole (to quote friends) "fundamentally extractive/parasitical process [of] riffing, etc." is that the media it's applied to becomes thin and bland or disappears entirely
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2012


Ending one column of fanfiction mocking that ran once a week is equivalent to subtracting one from infinity. There will still be plenty of mocking of fanfiction on the Internet.

Sure, and deleting self-promotional spam from one website is likewise a drop in the bucket, but we're gonna keep nixing that shit on Metafilter anyway. It's worth doing the right thing (and maybe with a little luck educating by example) even if it won't fundamentally change the nature of the game, and dropping FFF seems like a good move on io9's part.
posted by cortex at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The best way to get your fix of hilaribad fanfiction is to follow @Fanfiction_txt : Real fanfiction quotes from stories, summaries and reviews. Aside from length nothing here is edited.
posted by The Whelk at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The point of FFF's was Rob's usually interesting interjections, de-constructing the mind of a person who might sit down and craft (sometimes carefully craft) a story in which a dinosaur from Jurassic Park might stalk Lara Croft for non-consentual sex.
"Sir, I doubt the verisimilitude of your velociraptor rape fic" is a phrase that springs to mind.

@Fanfiction_txt will be a hollow substitute.

I'm going to pour out a 40 of some strange, sticky white liquid now and mourn FFF in my own way.
posted by Mezentian at 4:41 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


To me, intra-fandom mock communities are fine (to certain limits). Journalfen wouldn't exist otherwise. A big media site like io9 though is a much different matter.
posted by kmz at 4:44 PM on December 3, 2012


... let's remember that just kind of pointing and going "haw haw this sucks!" is a risk-free activity. 

Then why will no one be friends with me? :(
posted by ODiV at 5:08 PM on December 3, 2012


I have enjoyed FFF for several months--like joyriding on the edge of the abyss of the human imagination. FFF didn't mock earnest or pedestrian fanfiction, they went after stories constructed from improbable and horrific elements obtained from spinning a random wrongness generator.

Could io9 offer as a replacement for FFF: excellent fanfiction, or very popular/active fanfiction?
posted by ohshenandoah at 5:13 PM on December 3, 2012


Metafilter: Sherlock Holmes enema fic
posted by crossoverman at 5:42 PM on December 3, 2012


Could io9 offer as a replacement for FFF: excellent fanfiction, or very popular/active fanfiction?

They could, but have you met hardcore fanfic fans?

They carry their freak flags high, they defend their ships with a fervour that might make the collective Middle-East turn into Father Ted and call on them to just settle down and have a nice cup of tea.

While they might be all patting each other in the back for their character insight, or attacking FFF because: kink-shaming, heaven forbid you get Sam & Dean to fuck without Castiel, or with Satan (or a female). Because that would be wrong and you don't understand!

And, remember kids, rape-fic is okay with tagged non-con or hurt/comfort.
Or it involves a raptor or pokemon.
posted by Mezentian at 6:09 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow, that's... really kind of a shitty way of describing fanfic. I mean, that's as bad as the fanfic you describe.
posted by mephron at 7:03 PM on December 3, 2012


Mezentian, it's easy to take those kinds of potshots at fandom, but they're not exactly accurate. As is usually the case, the people who are the most vocal -- and visible from the outside -- aren't representative of the group as a whole.

Fandom is full of reasonable people. Reasonable people who discuss things, whether those are about different interpretations of the source, or about more important issues like how to balance allowing women in certain spaces to express their sexual fantasies freely versus not promoting rape culture.

The real problem with i09 creating a general interest recommendation series would be that most fanfic isn't general interest. Sure, there's some -- but it's harder to find, especially from the outside. Most fanfic is written to an incredibly specific audience. The funny thing is, if you were able to regularly update with general interest stories, even the unreasonable fans probably wouldn't give two shits. They generally only get worked up about stuff that actively contradicts their stance.

And there's the problem that, obviously, people like to take undeserved potshots at fandom.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:16 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


RonButNotStupid, when you posted that you got my hopes up, but pinky.wtower.net is still dead; you're liking to the WAYBACK archive.

The thing to remember about MSTing fanfiction is that it, itself, is fanfiction, with all that that implies -- frequently awful, but once in a while great.

Is it okay to make fun of fanfiction? Well, that's a tricky question. Is it okay to make fun of bad movies? MST did just that for ten years and there are few things more beloved of Metafilter's userbase. Probably because, I think, the MST guys don't often get very dark with their mockery, although they admit they've said some things that later they kind of regretted. I used to read some fanfic MSTings from the wtower site, and found that they tended to be more mean-spirited, on the average, than the show. But I haven't read any Fanfic Friday, how meanspirited does it typically end up being?
posted by JHarris at 7:34 PM on December 3, 2012


It's kind of fun to bounce between this and the hawkeye initiative thread: in that one, nobody can seem to explain why in the world the artists draw all these overly sexualized pictures of women for mainstream audiences, and then in this one, we've got people dragging down niche creators for inserting things they find sexy into geek culture.

Jesus Christ, I wish comic book writers would label their noncon with half the fervor of fanfic writers.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:37 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty much getting all my fanficy train wreck needs met these days by FuckNoReligiousFanart which is exactly as bizarre as you think.
posted by emjaybee at 7:55 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The werid thing is that religion fandom produced so much good work in the 1500s, what happened there I ask you.
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I admit: I'm mostly irritable about the 'patting themselves on the back for their character insight' line, because fandom is where I learned how to talk about media in depth. On how to look at character arcs, and motivation, and how to look for cues in the lighting of a scene, and what pacing can do for a story. 90% of fandom interaction isn't the fanfic, it's the discussions around the fanfic, on livejournal or tumblr or twitter or whatever message boards that people are hanging out on these days that lead to fanfiction being created. Even the weird-ass kinky ones.

Fandom in general has also been a lot better about sexuality and discussions therein than any other space I've been in that hasn't specifically been for discussions of sexuality. And I appreciate that, even if I'm a hopelessly vanilla person who will blush at the drop of a hat and never really got into the porn aspect of fanfic.

Yes, you can see a lot of hardcore fans that are unreasonable out there. But that's pretty much true of any type of hardcore fans of anything.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


dinty_moore: "in that one, nobody can seem to explain why in the world the artists draw all these overly sexualized pictures of women for mainstream audiences, and then in this one, we've got people dragging down niche creators for inserting things they find sexy into geek culture."

That doesn't seem too conflicty to me. "Why the hell are you putting these hypersexualized figures in comic books" and "Why the hell are you putting these hypersexualized figures in Dora the Explorer fan fiction?" seem pretty similar.
posted by Bugbread at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


we've got people dragging down niche creators for inserting things they find sexy into geek culture.

Most of the time niche creators are just highlighting/accentuating things they find sexy that are already there. It's actually really really similar to the Hawkeye Initiative in many ways - this concept of drawing men in Strong Female Poses is a pretty old one, but it only takes off in a big way when we do it with Jeremy Renner as a flamboyant, but ultimately human superhero. The Hawkeye Initiative exaggerates something that's already extant.
posted by muddgirl at 8:04 PM on December 3, 2012


Flamboyant definitely isn't the right word.
posted by muddgirl at 8:07 PM on December 3, 2012


The difference is that hypersexualized figures in comics are the norm to the point where they're nearly invisible. Does anyone actually want to claim there are no rape fantasies in comics? And they're marketed as if they're for everyone, not just as masturbation fodder.

But someone creating something specifically for that niche and labeling it (so for those of us who dislike rape fantasies can avoid it!) is wrong!
posted by dinty_moore at 8:08 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cavalier? Sassy?
posted by dinty_moore at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2012


dinty_moore: "Does anyone actually want to claim there are no rape fantasies in comics? And they're marketed as if they're for everyone, not just as masturbation fodder."

Man, I haven't read comics since the 80's, but is that really the case now? Because that's fucked up. I remember back then comics used rape as a trope to make you think of a bad guy as particularly evil, but never in a fanfic-like positive light.
posted by Bugbread at 8:12 PM on December 3, 2012


I remember back then comics used rape as a trope to make you think of a bad guy as particularly evil

Yeah, I'm still calling that a rape fantasy.
posted by muddgirl at 8:18 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


FuckNoReligiousFanart

Pony Jesus.

PONY JESUS.
posted by JHarris at 8:26 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: "Yeah, I'm still calling that a rape fantasy."

We must just be thinking of different comics. I can't remember anything from 80s comics that could even be put in the same ballpark as rape fanfic. My son is still a bit young to read 80s Marvel comics and the like, but when he's a bit older, I'd be fine with him reading them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer rape fanfic, though? The word "never" would be an understatement.
posted by Bugbread at 8:31 PM on December 3, 2012


This is getting to be a derail, but yes, 'Strong female characters' are especially likely to get raped like it's nobody's business, sadly enough. Oftentimes the rape is what makes them strong. Rape is still a quick shorthand for evil, and 'saving a lady from rape' is still a quick shorthand for empathetic and trustworthy and someone who should get the girl. Some depictions fetishize rape more than others, but they're there.

And okay, some fanfic is written for people who have fantasies about being raped. There's a long, long history of 'loving rape' in romance novels and there's a number of reasons behind the idea of it. It's okay for these things to exist, and human sexuality is a weird, muddy thing. But it's weird to object to them being clearly labelled and for a niche audience, but turn a blind eye to when they exist in the mainstream.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:33 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, I should've made it clear that I agree that the whole "rape the female characters" thing is a horrible part of comics. No disagreement at all.
posted by Bugbread at 8:36 PM on December 3, 2012


As much as I dislike fanfic, I must admit people are not wrong, sometimes the "legitimate" media get it so very wrong.
I can't find the exact link I am looking for (at either the aforementioned TR or CBSG, but there was that wacky time Ms Marvel got raped (spoiler: not wacky).

And, for those so inclined, there was the time (circa those horrible swimsuit issues), the Avengers' women rated the hunks of Marvel (spoiler: they 'body shame' Dr Druid).

In summation, people everywhere are horrible.
posted by Mezentian at 8:51 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bugbread: It's funny that you mention your son in this. Most rape fic is written for a female audience (and from what I understand, usually focuses on the idea of being raped, not being a rapist). It often borrows from a format that was popular in romance novels (and still is, up to a point), that exists because women have so often been made to feel that having any sort of sexual desire is wrong, so that the best that they can imagine actually enjoying sex without guilt is if they're held down and given no other choice.

Or maybe it's a way of processing rape and the resulting experiences.

Or maybe they just like it, okay.

It's possible that it's just not for you. Which is okay! It's not for a lot of people, and admittedly, it's not for me, either. Which means that it's pretty cool that rape fanfiction is pretty easy to avoid. Fanfiction is probably the easiest medium (outside of maybe children's media) to avoid rape, now that I think of it.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:56 PM on December 3, 2012


Mezentian: "there was that wacky time Ms Marvel got raped"

Holy shit.

dinty_moore: "Most rape fic is written for a female audience (and from what I understand, usually focuses on the idea of being raped, not being a rapist). It often borrows from a format that was popular in romance novels (and still is, up to a point)"

Ah, ok, didn't know that. The only stuff I've read has been on FFF and similar sites, and has struck me as being very "by creepy men for creepy men", as opposed to the Kirk/Spock style gay fanfic on FFF and similar sites, which has felt far more "by women for women". I wasn't really thinking of the "fanfic equivalent of bodice-rippers" stuff in my comments above.
posted by Bugbread at 9:05 PM on December 3, 2012


Well, part of the reason FFF is kind of terrible is that it pulls fanfiction out of the places it is created, where it is frequently carefully marked and labeled and shared in quiet or protected ways, and introduces it to the wider media fandom world without any context at all. It's not like fanfiction authors are stalking the Dora the Explorer fanboards posting links to their rape fics. Fan fiction communities have many social problems, but lulz-style trolling really isn't one of them.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:10 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


JHarris: "PONY JESUS."

I heard he's a filly fooler.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:30 PM on December 3, 2012


I was going to make another comment, but apparently the snark battalion is out for fanfic writers today, so I'm just going to FIAMO.

I'm kind of disappointed in the idea a number of the people have here that 'fanfic' == 'bad porn fantasies', though.
posted by mephron at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2012


Aurgh metafilter why did I get lost in the deep dark hole of fan fiction fridays. I can never unread the things I have read...
posted by ruhroh at 9:38 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


i used to give a shit about the moral hygiene of disposable culture. then i realized that i was encouraging the people i hated, being trollable and trollish, and sculpting myself into an asshole in the bargain

of course realizing something is not the same as doing anything about it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:20 PM on December 3, 2012


I'm kind of disappointed in the idea a number of the people have here that 'fanfic' == 'bad porn fantasies', though.

Leaving aide the modifier "bad", is there much fanfic that isn't porn (or relationship) fantasy?

Because have never seen it.
My largest sampling are several LJ groups for things I like, which have become almost all fanfic all the time. I check in every now and then, and I'd say all are premised around sexytimes of some nature. Jack/Ianto/TARDIS, for example.

I can never unread the things I have read...

Ah. The Other Story. The Pokemon Story. Alice In Wonderland.... Batman/Robocop.
Treasures all.
And by treasures, I mean ungodly horrors. Or crack.
posted by Mezentian at 10:40 PM on December 3, 2012


Of the small lessons I've learned over the decades, one of the ones I try especially hard to remember as I traipse around the internet is that mockery really should be reserved for deployment against the rich and powerful.

Mocking people who are neither is just being mean. Which can be fun in its way, sure, but too easily becomes a soul-rotting habit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:02 PM on December 3, 2012


Did someone day masturbation fodder?
I think they did.
I was scouting around CSBG tonight and I saw this (NSFW if you skip down to Cavewoman: Oasis.
I'm a curious lad, so I went through the rabbit hole (the black dots do not make it SFW).

But, you know, they know their audience. This is the best under construction page ever.

Yes, I'm mocking.
posted by Mezentian at 1:21 AM on December 4, 2012


porn (or relationship) fantasy

'Relationship fantasy' is a very wide net indeed.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:35 AM on December 4, 2012


I agree with the rationale for dropping it - if pretty much the only attention you're paying to fanfiction is "HA HA HA LOOK AT THE CRAZY/STUPID/BAD-WRITING/ETC", it's sort of, well, mean.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:55 AM on December 4, 2012


Leaving aide the modifier "bad", is there much fanfic that isn't porn (or relationship) fantasy?

Yes? Is this a trick question?

If you really want to find it, it's under 'gen'. Nobody is hiding it from you, I promise. Unsurprisingly, porn is popular on the internet, but that doesn't mean other fanfiction doesn't exist.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:13 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, there are plenty of 'relationship fantasy' fanfic that has as much relation to porn as your average romcom. The couple gets together at the end with a kiss is hardly an unheard of plot point outside of fanfic.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:37 AM on December 4, 2012


FFF was the MST3K of fan fiction, narrated by a drunk with a perpetually exploding head. When it was awful it was very, very good.

Do people featured on it feel bullied and attacked?

It varied. One author famously interjected himself in the comments demanding to know "WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?" On the other hand, there was some suspicion that certain authors were trying to write stories that would be FFF material. If that was indeed the case, it was probably time to pack it up.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:55 AM on December 4, 2012


Leaving aide the modifier "bad", is there much fanfic that isn't porn (or relationship) fantasy?
Quite a lot of it, actually. Some read like missing episodes, or expansions of scenes that were skipped in the source material, or "how it should have ended". Some read like "What If" episodes (e.g. setting the characters from Star Trek in a modern day high school or something.). Some reinterpret events from a difference character perspective (consider that Wicked is basically Wizard of Oz fanfic.) There's also a whole lot of crossing over different universes (e.g. the forensic anthropologists from Bones are given a body that is the result of a hunt by the boys from Supernatural.) That's just off the top of my head.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:44 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A recent FPP was fanfic of My Little Pony creating the singularity.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:10 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It shouldn't really be surprising that fanfiction is primarily 'relationship fantasy', considering that is the basis of a majority of Western media. Even a buddy cop comedy is a relationship fantasy, where the relationship is a close friendship.
posted by muddgirl at 8:58 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


An AskMe from a few months back chock full of fanfic recs. A lot of it is (romantic relation)shippy, some of it is smutty, plenty of it is gen -- as in no romance, not necessarily no exploration of relationships between characers, as muddgirl points out.

I already left a couple of comments in that ask, but since my favorite this-is-why-fanfiction-is-awesome fic of all time is a gen Star-Wars-version-of-Christmas story, I figure it's worth a mention here: The Sith Who Brought Life Day. Half dystopian satire, half heartwarming holiday tale starring Darth Vader. I share this one with "fic skeptics" all the time, and it has yet to fail to impress.

And since you mentioned Doctor Who, Mezentian, I recently stumbled on Time War 3.0, which is a fascinating (and terrifying) exploration of what a "time war" would entail, and probably a better one than whatever we'll end up getting in the series. No threesomes with the TARDIS, I promise! Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by bettafish at 11:11 AM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have a pretty low opinion of fanfiction, but I remember this "MSTing" crap from back in the mid-90s era of the net, and it was invariably the most unfunny, dorky crap ever. See, the thing about MST3K is it was done by funny, literate people, not the dregs of the midnight Magic The Gathering tournament.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2012


DecemberBoy, that's about what I remember it being, although once in a while you'd find someone who did it better.
posted by JHarris at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2012


See, the thing about MST3K is it was done by funny, literate people

nnyeaahhhhh uhh well
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2012


Conor Lastowka's response to this ridiculous thread.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:56 PM on December 4, 2012


this person is not deserving of our scorn
Strawman argument.
posted by muddgirl at 5:02 PM on December 4, 2012


(Also, serious confusion between writer and work, which is sort of sad for someone who is himself a writer.)
posted by muddgirl at 5:09 PM on December 4, 2012


Quoted on Tumblr in an article about Donald Duck fucking Huey, Dewey and Louie in Launchpad’s helicopter while Magica DeSpell fists the Beagle Boys?

Being quoted by someone who writes RiffTrax and made The Room watchable?

My life is more complete.
posted by Mezentian at 5:37 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that response really misses the point. The issue isn't that fanfiction is sacrosanct but that the assymetry of power/reader between a Gawker media writer and some anonymous ficcer blurs the line between affectionate mockery and bullying. Personally I came down on the side of FFF being the former, but I see why other fandom folks felt differently; there's also something to be said for the argument that io9 doesn't write enough about fandom for FFF to be part of a balanced portrait of the community and not, "LOL, look at those weirdoes." I'm glad Bricken and Newitz listened to the complaints instead of battening down the hatches and insisting that it was all "just a joke" and some writing "deserves our scorn." Good for them.
posted by bettafish at 2:22 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


>See, the thing about MST3K is it was done by funny, literate people

nnyeaahhhhh uhh well


It was. It's an extremely smart show.
posted by JHarris at 3:18 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was. It's an extremely smart show.

And they are smart people.
Which is why no less than two people involved with Rifftrax/MST3K quoted me from Metafilter.
I just wanted to mention that. Again. Outside this post it ain't gonna happen.

The issue isn't that fanfiction is sacrosanct but that the assymetry of power/reader between a Gawker media writer and some anonymous ficcer

I think the thing I missed in this, for a long time (and I have friends who write fanfic), is that Gawker is Big Media. My mind boggles.
posted by Mezentian at 3:32 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My mind boggles.

Why? Is it really a surprise to you that the average gawker article gets an exponentially larger number of pageviews than your average piece of fanfiction?
posted by dinty_moore at 5:37 AM on December 5, 2012


dinty_moore: "Why? Is it really a surprise to you that the average gawker article gets an exponentially larger number of pageviews than your average piece of fanfiction?"

I don't think that's what he's surprised at. After all, I'm sure that even on Topless Robot, the number of views was exponentially larger. The surprise, I'm guessing, is how much bigger the exponent is. Let's say the original site got 10 views. At Topless Robot, it may have gotten x2 page views, so 100 views. That's reasonable. Perhaps Mezentian was thinking io9 would be x3, so 1,000 views. A lot, but still not insane. However, it appears it's more like x4 or 5, so more like 10,000 or 100,000 views. I think that's what Mezentian is surprised at.

There are a lot of reasons being given for stopping the feature. Some seem reasonable to some folks, and they're looking at those reasons and supporting the decision. Some others seem unreasonable to some folks, and they're looking at those reasons and poo-pooing the decision. Just off the top of my head:
  1. On Topless Robot, the feature seemed like gentle ribbing, but absent context, on io9, it seems like its insulting the fan fiction
  2. It's kink-shaming, which is bad anywhere
  3. It gives the impression that it's insulting all fan fiction
  4. Gawker is so big that the shaming is out of scale compared to the reach/impact of the original
To me, 1 seems ridiculous. Reading FFF on Topless Robot, it's clear that even there, it's ridiculing the fan fiction. However, looking at the actual stuff being ridiculed, that seems fair to me. Which ties into 2. I understand where the backlash against kink-shaming comes from. It's used to ridicule, for example, homosexuals or people into BDSM. However, it seems like a lot of people take "it's hard to draw the line between OK kink and fucked up kink" to mean "and therefore no kink is fucked up kink." I don't get that. I can't tell the difference between white and off-white paint, but that doesn't mean when I look at a patch of red paint, I have to say, "I dunno, it might be white. It's hard to tell, since I don't know exactly where the line is." FFF, from what I've seen, doesn't ridicule the gray area fanfic. It ridicules the stuff that, by any standard, is in the "totally fucked up" territory. It's not making fun of Kirk/Spock BDSM, it's making fun of fan fiction about Draco Malfoy's dad tying his son up, drilling a hole in his head, and skull-fucking him. Number 3 is a tough one. Some people may perceive it as ridiculing all fan fic, and some as only ridiculing bad fan fic. And, unlike the "red vs. off-white" situation, there is no clear answer to this. But, for me (and, apparently, Rob Bricken), the key is number 4. If my neighbor tells a racist joke, I think it's perfectly fine for me, and my family, and other folks on my block, to ridicule him for it. However, I would be galled if it were picked up by the mass media and made the subject of the national news (or, to put it more on Gawker scale, run as a page 5 article in the local newspaper). FFF on Topless Robot is like people on the block making fun. FFF on io9 is like the local newspaper making fun. So I think (as, apparently, does Rob) that FFF is not in itself a bad thing. Making fun of this on io9:
The sight of Gardevoir laying there, whimping, smeared with mud, blood, cum, and her own feces unlocked something deep within David's soul. His heart soared at the sight....He drove his bleaching fist into her mouth. There was a crunch and black syrup welled up in her mouth and eyes. She gurgled, and he smiled gleefully. Disengaged from her mangled secret, he crawled up to her face. Lifting her broken head he plunged his dick into her wounded mouth.
...is not bad because it's kink-shaming. That's fine. It's bad because the scale of the shaming (Gawker) is just so much more massive than the reach of the fanfic itself.
posted by Bugbread at 11:20 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's making fun of fan fiction about Draco Malfoy's dad tying his son up, drilling a hole in his head, and skull-fucking him

I can guarantee that the author of such a fic is NOT, for example, tying up kids, drilling a hole in their head, and skull-fucking it. They almost certainly don't actually want to do so. It's fantasy. It hurts literally no one. Why do people care that other people have kinks that they find gross? It seems really similar to claims that liking anal penetration is 'fucked up' - "I find it gross, therefore you are gross."

If my neighbor tells a racist joke

I don't think that telling a racist joke is at all the same thing as writing down your harmless but 'gross' fantasies. Is it OK to shame your neighbor if he unintentionally reveals that he's in to scat play?
posted by muddgirl at 11:50 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now, I would consider some sort of personal "real person fic", where the author was fantasizing about drilling a hole in their own kid's head and fucking it, to be scorn-worthy. But I hope the response to that would include fewer bon mots and more calls to the police department or FBI.
posted by muddgirl at 12:01 PM on December 5, 2012


muddgirl: "I can guarantee that the author of such a fic is NOT, for example, tying up kids, drilling a hole in their head, and skull-fucking it. They almost certainly don't actually want to do so. It's fantasy."

True, which is why Rob is just making fun of them on an entertainment site, instead of calling the police.

muddgirl: "Why do people care that other people have kinks that they find gross?"

Because people care about everything, especially if it's gross, and especially if it is really out of the ordinary, which this is. That's why people care about Harry Potter skullfucking incest fiction, but not too much about Kirk/Spock or Buffy fanfic. It's why I still remember reading an article about how the toilets overflowed at the Woodstock revival concert, and people were playing in the "mud" outside the toilets. That doesn't even involve a sexual kink, but because it was gross and out of the ordinary, I remember reading about it, even though it happened over a decade ago.

muddgirl: "Is it OK to shame your neighbor if he unintentionally reveals that he's in to scat play?"

No, but two key issues are 1) "unintentionally", and, 2) much more than that (and with regard to this point, I kinda messed up in my analogy above) in the case of a neighbor, you're talking real names and real identities. If FFF was tying these pieces of writing to their authors in the real world, that would be pretty fucked up, but it isn't, so the situation is a bit different than the neighbor situation.

I still don't really understand the idea, though, that somehow "it makes me aroused" is to be treated as a shield against all criticism. The idea that if someone says "I like to imagine killing black people", we can scorn them (even if they never actually do it), but if they add "...while I masturbate", then all of a sudden they're sacrosanct.
posted by Bugbread at 12:55 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm not impressed by the 'psuedonymity means that I'm not really attacking them' argument. Partially because the pseudonym is a pretty flimsy barrier between them and 'the real world', and partially because the internet is the real world. I've been going by my twitter handle for eleven years. I still talk to people I talk to on the internet that I talked to fourteen years ago, and people from long ago still pop up from time to time. If someone decided to villainize me on the internet, I can change my psudonym pretty easily, sure. But there'd still be ways to trace it back to me, and I'd still be likely to lose some of my old connections through the name change.

And most of all, if I felt like something like this was bullying or an attack, it'd still like they were attacking me if they were calling me by my pseudonym or by my real name. What I create under dinty_moore (or whatever other name) is still by me.

And yes, it's really muddier than you think. Not all sexually explicit material is for masturbation. Not all masturbation is for sexual desire, or responding to sexual desire. Some of it is catharsis. Some of it is designed to disgust people, sure.

The real question is: is this hurting anyone? Is this likely to hurt anyone? How compartmentalized is this? Are they aware of the difference between fantasy and reality?
posted by dinty_moore at 1:16 PM on December 5, 2012


Erm, obviously I haven't been going by my twitter handle for eleven years on twitter, but it's also my email address and I've been using it as my name on message boards and livejournal and most everything else since 2001.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:41 PM on December 5, 2012


I didn't mean that pseudonymity means non-attack. I meant that if a person wants to keep their fic identity separate from their non-fic identity (be it real life or Internet identity), and FFF were tying their fic identity back to their non-fic identity, that would be fucked up. FFF isn't doing that, though. It's looking no deeper than the identity written on the label.

dinty_moore: "And yes, it's really muddier than you think. Not all sexually explicit material is for masturbation. Not all masturbation is for sexual desire, or responding to sexual desire. Some of it is catharsis. Some of it is designed to disgust people, sure."

I'm not sure what it is that you're saying is muddier. I just meant that argument 3, "You can't make fun of that, that's kink-shaming" is ridiculous. Kink is not sacrosanct. You're talking about non-kink, and I've never heard anyone say "you shouldn't kink-shame" as a defense for non-kink, so I'm kinda confused about what you're trying to say.

As for sexually explicit non-kink, the arguments I've seen put forth would then be the remaining three:
1 On Topless Robot, the feature seemed like gentle ribbing, but absent context, on io9, it seems like its insulting the fan fiction
3 It gives the impression that it's insulting all fan fiction
4 Gawker is so big that the shaming is out of scale compared to the reach/impact of the original

Again, 1 seems off the mark, because on Topless Robot it always seemed like ridicule as well. 3, I don't know about, it depends on the person. And 4, I totally agree with. I'm glad io9 stopped running the feature, for exactly that reason.
posted by Bugbread at 1:51 PM on December 5, 2012


And, regarding sexually explicit material written for the express purpose of disgusting people, I have a really, really hard time imagining the authors of trolling fiction getting offended at FFF for finding their meant-to-be-disgusting fiction to be disgusting. That's the one and only camp which I'm pretty sure would actually be happy if their work was selected for FFF.
posted by Bugbread at 1:53 PM on December 5, 2012


Is it really that the feature passed muster on Topless Robot, or that fewer people read Topless Robot so fewer people complained about it? Because I had no idea the FFF feature existed until it showed up on io9 because I ... don't, you know, read Topless Robot.
posted by bettafish at 2:16 PM on December 5, 2012


Well, if anyone who reads a gawker website knows your fic identity as 'that person who writes the messed up porn', there's a higher-than-normal chance that your legal name will somehow be attached to fic identity. Law of averages and all that.

so I'm kinda confused about what you're trying to say.

What I'm saying is that you can't tell why someone is reading or writing something. We had this conversation already in this thread about fanfiction involving rape. Stuff that's written for the express purpose of disgusting people can look like the stuff written for kink. One person reading sexually explicit material can get off on it, another could find it cathartic, a third can find it disturbing but oddly interesting, even if they've had the same experiences. You can't make moral judgement based on what people enjoy, otherwise those of us who like watching horror films would be really, really fucked up.

The horror with sexually explicit material tends to be the idea that someone out there is getting off on this. If the FFF audience thought it was supposed to be horrifying, it'd be like every other horror story out there.

Also: regarding #3. For better or worse, every single conversation I have regarding fandom involves talking about whether or not a) well written fanfiction exists b) non sexually explicit fanfiction exists and c) whether or not people who write fanfiction are more or less reasonable than people who don't write fanfiction. Stories like the stuff that dominate FFF tend to be the public face of the genre, in the way that doesn't happen with other fan works. I don't think that was Rob Bricken's plan, but he was kind of contributing towards it.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:26 PM on December 5, 2012


Is it really that the feature passed muster on Topless Robot, or that fewer people read Topless Robot so fewer people complained about it?

As a Topless Robot reader for a few years (from early enough a time that I could go back and read them all, and having read the comments in all 3 commenting systems): People loved it.
A few ficcers even joined up as members over the years after they were featured.

I think the problem is that io9 got some of Jezebel's Outrage Filter all over it.
posted by Mezentian at 2:31 PM on December 5, 2012


Or maybe io9 has a different audience than topless robot, and they reacted differently to it without the help of jezebel.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:37 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did fanfic fridays even get linked to jezebel, or are you just deciding to imply that people who found FFF distasteful must have come from a different site just for the purpose of being outraged for no real reason?
posted by dinty_moore at 2:43 PM on December 5, 2012


I suspect there's a lot that too. But given the promotion of Gawker sites, and the fact io9 is arguably the jewel in the Gawker crown, there's probably a not insubstantial crossover in readers compared to their sports/car sites which always seen decidedly blokey.

And yes, Jezebel did not only link it but republished it.

I know a few people who Don't Do Gawker who did write in to complain though, on principle, but that is a very, very small sample so as to be interesting but statistically worthless.
posted by Mezentian at 2:49 PM on December 5, 2012


Okay, sorry. I googled 'jezebel fanfic fridays' and nothing came up, so I assumed it hadn't been linked. It seems like a horrible choice for jezebel to repost it there.

I do find the idea that io9 must have a lot of crossover with jezebel just because it is less 'blokey' kind of strange, though. It is more likely that it has to do with the editors of io9 have done a wonderful job creating a website that appeals to women as well as men. They don't really cover similar interests. I, for one, read io9 and not jezebel, despite being female!

Also, I'm pretty sure that the crown in gawker's media empire is, in fact, gawker, but I honestly don't know what the actual traffic stats must be.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2012


dinty_moore: "Well, if anyone who reads a gawker website knows your fic identity as 'that person who writes the messed up porn', there's a higher-than-normal chance that your legal name will somehow be attached to fic identity. Law of averages and all that."

Right, which is, again, why I think it was a good idea to pull FFF from io9, because the different reaches of the sites produces very, very different effects.

dinty_moore: "What I'm saying is that you can't tell why someone is reading or writing something."

Right, and I understand that, but as a person who doesn't hold kink sancrosanct, it doesn't have any effect on my conclusions, any more than whether the writer is left handed or right handed. Maybe they're writing it because they are sexually aroused by it. I think it's ok to ridicule in that case. Or maybe they're writing it, but they aren't sexually aroused by it. In which case, again, I'm fine with ridiculing it.
posted by Bugbread at 3:18 PM on December 5, 2012


It seems like a horrible choice for jezebel to repost it there.

You would have thought so. I would have thought so. As I said up-thread, I was shocked io9 even considered FFF.

. It is more likely that it has to do with the editors of io9 have done a wonderful job creating a website that appeals to women as well as men.

I can't disagree there.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the crown in gawker's media empire is, in fact, gawker, but I honestly don't know what the actual traffic stats must be.

Perhaps in content. I've always written off Gawker as a gossip site, and I can't say I have looked at it much. i09 (and, Jezebel, which gets linked a lot) are really the only two I have familiarity with.

I used to see Deadspin and the car one linked a lot on Fark and similar places, and they seem not quite the cesspits that some web forums are, but like the places that will post nip-slips and celeb sex tapes and sports injuries... like Zoo Weekly if you are unfortunately to know what that is.
posted by Mezentian at 3:18 PM on December 5, 2012


dinty_moore: "Also, I'm pretty sure that the crown in gawker's media empire is, in fact, gawker, but I honestly don't know what the actual traffic stats must be."

Alexa isn't perfect, by any means, but as a rough idea, it works well. So, Gawker sites, in order by Alexa rankings:
lifehacker 679
gizmodo	   714
gawker	   827
jezebel	  1952
Kotaku	  1978
io9	  2018
deadspin  2972
jalopnik  4877

posted by Bugbread at 3:21 PM on December 5, 2012


Right, and I understand that, but as a person who doesn't hold kink sancrosanct, it doesn't have any effect on my conclusions, any more than whether the writer is left handed or right handed. Maybe they're writing it because they are sexually aroused by it. I think it's ok to ridicule in that case. Or maybe they're writing it, but they aren't sexually aroused by it. In which case, again, I'm fine with ridiculing it.

Kink-shaming isn't about whether or not you personally like or dislike that kink. It's whether or not you find the people who enjoy the kink disgusting, or morally repugnant, or whatnot.

If it's not your thing, okay! If it's not your thing and you decide someone is a horrible person for liking it, it's not okay.

So, it depends on the ridicule. Is it ridiculing the idea that someone might find reading this enjoyable, or that someone thought writing this was a good idea? Or is it the content?

Here, it's hard to even talk about whether this kink is okay, because you can't even prove it's sexual. The fic is stripped from the context, and often assumed to be either sexual or 'doing it to be outrageous', but it's hard to prove.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:58 PM on December 5, 2012


dinty_moore: "If it's not your thing and you decide someone is a horrible person for liking it, it's not okay."

I disagree, but it's not really the kind of thing where I'm going to convince you otherwise, or you're going to convince me otherwise. I was just stating that I don't personally understand why sexual arousal makes shaming a bad thing. I understand that you, and many others, believe that it is, and that I'm wrong for disagreeing, I just don't really get why.

dinty_moore: "Here, it's hard to even talk about whether this kink is okay, because you can't even prove it's sexual."

Right. And if you believe kink-shaming is bad, that makes this a very difficult issue to take a position on. If kink-shaming is bad, but non-kink shaming is not necessarily bad, then whether or not this is kink or not is an important question, but difficult or impossible to answer.

dinty_moore: "Is it ridiculing the idea that someone might find reading this enjoyable, or that someone thought writing this was a good idea? Or is it the content?"

From what I've read of FFF, it's very much about the content. I get, for example, a very different vibe from sites making fun of furries (where it seems aimed at the folks involved) than I do from FFF, which seems aimed at the actual stories and what is happening in them.
posted by Bugbread at 4:11 PM on December 5, 2012


No, actually. If it's not sexual, people tend not to find people who enjoy this kind of stuff repugnant. They just call them horror fans. People who love watching stuff where people get slaughtered in front of the camera, raped, eyes gouged out, defecated on, impaled, eaten, sewn onto someone else, ect? Yeah, hung out with them last Sunday. Fully admit how much they like it, too! Will go about their favorite scenes at length, in public!

Hell, if it is sexual, but only mildly sexual, and in the right way, they're still horror fans.

It's the hint of sexuality that makes people judgey.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:18 PM on December 5, 2012


Okay, a lot of FFF also involves remnants of childhood being shockingly adult, in which case I'd change horror fans to meet the feebles and avenue q fans. Still not people that mainstream society considers morally repugnant.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:26 PM on December 5, 2012


dinty_moore: "If it's not sexual, people tend not to find people who enjoy this kind of stuff repugnant. They just call them horror fans."

Really? I know a bunch of folks who find fans of extreme horror (Human Centipede, A Serbian Story, etc.) to be incredibly fucked up. Light horror, on the other hand (Scream, Friday the 13th, etc.) don't really get judged in the same way, just like light porn fanfic (Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy slash, etc.) doesn't get judged in the same way.
posted by Bugbread at 4:27 PM on December 5, 2012


dinty_moore: "Still not people that mainstream society considers morally repugnant."

But, again, FFF is looking at the works, not the writers or the readers. Society accepts Peter Jackson, the person, but I've heard plenty of judgment about Meet the Feebles and Braindead/Dead Alive.
posted by Bugbread at 4:29 PM on December 5, 2012


boy, that lastowka guy is sure mad gawker doesnt want to pay him to read fanfic
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:30 PM on December 5, 2012


Yeah, so like, this thread is now wound down, but I want to add this: While it's true that not all fanfiction is porn or "relationship fantasy," it's also true that the fanfiction that does fit that description isn't necessarily bad. There's nothing wrong with porn or "relationship fantasy." That focus doesn't mean it's less well-written.

There are amazing stories -- both fanfiction and original -- that focus on romantic and/or sexual relationships.

Honestly, I often see parallels between some dismissals of fanfiction and dismissals of professional work that is seen as "for women." Somehow, the subject matter is seen as less "worthy" when lots of women are interested in it. (See: chick lit, a lot of which is awful, but no more awful than other modern lit.)

Of course a lot of fanfiction sucks, since it's largely written by amateurs and there are no barriers to posting other than access to the internet, but that's not because fanfiction sucks, or because romance sucks, or erotica sucks.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:22 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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