Alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated

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Newsgroup
Name: alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated, ASCEM
Date(s): 1997 to present
Moderator: Dina Lerret, Stephen Ratliff
Type: usenet
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise
URL: ASCEM / ASCEML / Trekiverse
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Alt.Startrek.Creative.Erotica.Moderated (ASCEM) is a usenet group created for the purpose of posting erotic fiction set in the Star Trek universe[1]. This newsgroup is moderated.

message history, click to enlarge

ASCEM had a strong slash leaning, due to the flamewars associated with Alt Startrek Creative that caused many slash authors to leave the newsgroup.

An associated mailing list, ASCEM(L), acts as a mirror for ASCEM usenet posts. ASCEML, unlike ASCEM, allows real-time posting with no moderation after the subscribed account is determined not to be a spam account.

All ASCEM submissions are archived at Trekiverse.

February 2000 was the month with the most posts: 3848.

History

ASCEM began as a USENET group. It was orginally alt.sex.fetish.startrek in 1994[2] but spam cased a migration to the alt.startrek.creative heirarchy as alt.startrek.creative.erotica in December of 1995. The spam unfortunately followed, and by July of 1997, discussion had developed on the group about becoming a moderated group to the point that the proposal was brought to alt.config. The proposal was originally called alt.startrek.creative.treksmit [3] Some sources have suggested that ASCE was the result of the slash debate on ASC [4], however ASCE predates the cited debate.

ASCEM began in August 1997, as did the associated mailing list, ASCEM(L).[5].

The amount of slash/sex discussion stirred up on the newsgroup upset a number of members and a separate group alt.startrek.creative.erotica (ASCE) was created for those specifically wishing to write read such things. But advertising is everything, and within a few months, ASCE (as well as alt.sex.fetish.startrek) was drowned by spambots pushing adult services. ASC endured, and those wishing to see a viable list for K/S pushed on and petitioned for alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated (ASCEM) to be formed—moderated only for the purposes of filtering spam.

Thusly was The Big List born.

In 1998 the numbers involved increased dramatically, possibly due to a change in the group mechanics: messages from the Usenet news server were relayed to a Onelist mailing list, making posting and receiving much more user friendly and accessible. Describes Hafital: “It didn’t take long for me to read my way through the archive to feed my new obsession. But, I had no idea where the actual activity was going on. I saw the stories in the archive, which I could reach through the World Wide Web, but I had no clue about email lists or newsgroups or anything, really. The Frequently Asked Questions section on the main ASCEM Web site was helpful for those wanting to submit stories but it made no mention on how to actually join ASCEM—presumably because the moderators thought if you where there already, you would know! I felt very much like I was stranded outside the party and could only look in the window.

“Eventually, some of the stories posted to the archive had a footer at the end that mentioned that ASCEM was mirrored on Onelist and that proved to be my salvation. I was able to find Onelist and able to subscribe and then I blindly walked into a world I really had no idea had ever existed. [6]

You can read more about the Alt.startrek.creative Slash Wars.

ASCEM was founded and initially moderated by Alexis and Ruth Gifford. Ruth also served as the FAQ Maintainer.

ASCEM(L) was initially moderated by Anneinchicago.

Memes and Themes

A subgroup of ASCEM, TSU, developed in 1998 as a response to the students (now known as aca-fans) who were part of fandom to study it for their college theses, etc., as well as for pure fun. The Star Trek fandom came down hard on both sides of the issue, with many fans annoyed by the academics' "intrusion" into the safe space of fan community, and others excited about the prospect of academizing -- and to a degree legitimizing -- fannish practice.

Also in 1998, Varoneeka posted a parody of recent troll incursions, Hi. I'm a Rude Person, which included the story "Ricker and Troy Fuck". This started a wave of Rude Person badfic stories.

Soon after, UKJess posted a parody of classic Kirk/Spock stories, Ah'm Norra Rude Person, written in broad Yorkshire. A second wave of Rude Person stories followed, where the basic Kirk/Spock plot was re-written in various ways - in Minnesotan dialect, in Silicon Valley speak, in the style of Joseph Conrad, etcetera.

No Sex, Please... It Sounds Unfriendly

From a fan in 2001: "The fact that a *moderated* group exists for Trek erotica, in addition to the original, says disturbing things about the volume being posted. *Shudder* (I don't like to even *think* about my friendly neighboarhood SF characters, regardless of series, having sex. I'm probably in a minority.)" [7]

A 1998 Discussion About Cliques, Newbies, and Fitting In

In April 1998, a fan named Emily Salzfass wrote:
In the process of trying to figure out the nature of this online fan community, I've noticed that a lot of people are taking issue with the "cliquey" nature of ASCEM. Note:

One person who responded to my query said:

>ASCEML is very cliquey. If you're not in the 'inner circle', you basically get ignored. [...] Anyway, the point is, unless you post a really, really, really great story, or ask for help with something, OR start an argument (which is a bit childish, but then what's the point of being grown-up if you can't be childish sometimes?) then nobody really gives a toss.

And another person said:

>Some of these people seem to have known each other for years, and for newcomers, well, it's a little of the old 'new kid on the playground' feeling. That said, I *do* get good feedback on my stories... but I don't often get into the threads that are started up. Observing them, I notice that the same people keep writing in them, and outsiders tend to be ignored a little. It's like any group, anywhere - there is always an inner clique. [See the ASCEM community for much more]. [8]

A 1999 Comment About Changing Platforms and Fan Communication

In 1999, there was much discussion regarding the group's organization, structure, and function, something that was an ongoing topic. One fan commented at length about fan communication, spontaneity, fandom silos and splintering, different platforms for fan discussion, and her fear that ASCEM was going the way of the doomed printzine:

Compared to non-moderated groups, ASCEM lacks spontaneity. I am NOT advocating a return to ASCE and death-by-spam, but I think we need to consider the fact that the wonderful, dynamic, entertaining chat that used to go on here rarely happens anymore. I think part of that may be due to the popularity of the non-moderated ONELists. They are delivering what ASCEM can't--immediate, spontaneous Treksmut.

In the past, we had discussions here on ASCEM that were outrageously smutty and fun. B/c ASC isn't dedicated to Treksmut, those discussions didn't happen there, even though ASC was more immediate due to non-moderation. So ASCEM prospered partially b/c there wasn't much of a choice if you wanted to talk Treksmut. Now there's a lot of choice (ONEList) and it's much more spontaneous than ASCEM and we are losing people b/c of it. When there have been problems that kept the posts from going out, some people have left the newsgroup rather than struggle to participate in something that bore little resemblance to conversation. On non-moderated newsgroups and ONELists, people can get their Trekchat in something that approaches real time. In the past six months, the liveliest, most productive, and most entertaining Trek discussions I've been in have all taken place off the newsgroup. I've noticed that lately, ASC is having livelier discussions that ASCEM. So behind "can't wait to see their replies" is a genuine, serious concern that this group is simply going to die out as a hotbed of Trek creativity.

Some of us have stated a belief that the days of the printzines are numbered due to their inability to compete with something (the Net) that delivers the product better, faster, and cheaper. I am afraid that if something isn't done to enable ASCEM to deliver faster, we're going to suffer the same fate. Given the choice, which Treksmut forum appeals the most--the one where something is almost always going on or the one where most of the time is a lull? And do you want to double-post, trying to keep separate convos straight? Esp. when by the time round 2 of the ASCEM convo rolls around, the ONEList version has moved onto something else?

I don't mean to sound harsh or like I'm ranting against ONELists or private chat groups. These are my observations and worries about ASCEM. I still love ASCEM, but I'm afraid that eventually everyone is going to join a ONEList b/c ASCEM is getting so slow and worn or just hang out on ASC even though it's less smutty. They do have the advantage when it comes to immediacy and that seems to be what people want. What ASCEM has is availability. A person searching the Net for Treksmut will probably find ASCEM. ONELists and other chat groups are private. I'm not saying they blackball or act like "clickish creeps," but you do have to subscribe, which means you have to be able to find them. The private lists seems to get their new members from the newsgroups. If ASCEM dies, they're pretty much stuck with the same people forever. We used to see a lot more newbies coming into ASCEM and that seems to be going away, too.

The other thing ASCEM has is diversity. If it weren't for ASCEM, I wouldn't even know who the VOY people are, much less anything about their sexual proclivities. Most of the ONELists are much more topic-specific: slash only, K/S only, what-have-you. I'm not interested in limiting my options that way.

In short, folks, I think we're unwittingly mimicking the history of the print community. At one time, all Trekfic co-existed. There were zines that printed slash, het, and gen, all together. Then the fandom broke up into its little subgroups and only a few special interests survived. We're heading down the same path. I, for one, would like to see the all-embracing Treksmut online community continue and I'm afraid it won't if we don't make an effort to regain the spark that we once had. I think ASCEM was at its best when the discussion was roaring along. Many of my stories have been inspired by ideas that were tossed into the mix. Now that sort of chat is happening elsewhere. I want to see it happen here again. I'm not going to ask people to give their time and creativity to ASCEM if they prefer the action on ASC or private lists, but I would like ASCEM to give them some reason to consider it. [9]

Fans' Memories: History (2008)

See ASCEM History ... before we loose it....

Slash Wars

See Alt.startrek.creative Slash Wars.

Moderators

Staff

Note: Golden Orgasms Awards Staff and Trekiverse staff are considered to be part of the newsgroup staff, but are listed with those articles

Previous Staff

Former staff and members.

Moderators

FAQ Maintainer

Status of Stories

  • Juls - Status of Stories FAQ (-2004)

Fan Discussion/Meta Regarding Leadership/Archiving/Backlog

References

  1. ASCEM: A Guide to Infinite Combinations (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  2. PROPOSAL: alt.sex.fetish.startrek (RESEND), May 11 1994
  3. PROPOSAL: alt.startrek.creative.treksmut
  4. The Legacy of K/S on the Internet: Online K/S Fiction, an article in Legacy #1 (2007)
  5. ASCEM--the List, part 2. August 7, 1997 (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  6. from The Legacy of K/S on the Internet: Online K/S Fiction, an article in Legacy #1 (2007)
  7. comment by Phillip at Gen Fic Crit
  8. alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated
  9. comments by Jungle Kitty: Modding, October 21, 1999
  10. Posted the first FAQ (Proposed) January 7, 1995 to a.s.f.s. Prior to this date there was no FAQ. The last time she posted the FAQ was May 5, 1996 to a.s.c.e. (Accessed October 11, 2008)


Related Links
People Alexis, Anninchicago, Christine Faltz, Dina Lerret, Greywolf the Wanderer, Ned Fox, Ruth Gifford, Stephen Ratliff
Places ASC, ASCA, Star Trek
Things BLTS, Golden Os, TrekSmut University