Crack Van

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Journal Community
Name: Crack Van
Date(s): 20 September 2003 - December 2013
Moderator: shaggirl, stopawhile
Founder: shaggirl
Type: recs community
Fandom: multifandom
URL: crack_van on LJ
CrackVan icon.gif

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Contents

banner in 2013

Overview

Crack Van is a multifandom recs community on LJ with the goal to pimp the featured fandoms to new fans through recs of fanfic and vids.

It recruited members of a given fandom to create primers about a given fandom (typically, these describe the source and characters, popular pairings, and story types, and include recommendations for fanworks and gathering spaces for the fandom) and to post regular recommendations.

Thus, the first time a fandom is featured in the community it was introduced with an overview post intended to raise interest and help fans unfamiliar with canon to follow the recced fanworks. Some fandoms had a regular presence with monthly changing volunteers, other smaller fandoms were only featured for a limited time.

Crack Van is notable among reccing communities for being highly organized, high volume, and wide in scope.

Crack Van as a Curated Gateway

Places like crack_van are where I often start my search when entering a new fandom. When I find an author I like, I check to see what else he or she has written. [1]
I've got some archives and rec pages bookmarked, but I can't believe what fan life would be like for me without crack_van. It is a fantastic community, and I'm so glad I found it and joined. [2]
I really rely on crack_van to help me narrow down my reading choices. Sometimes there's just too much stuff out there (which is good!), so it's nice to have somewhere to start from. [3]

The End of Crack Van

In November 2013, the crack_van mods announced that the community would shut down in January 2014:

After 10 years and nearly 25,000 recs, it is with mixed feelings that I announce crack_van's permanent closure in January 2014.

I know that this community has different meaning and purpose for many of our members, but I have always tried to stay true to its original purpose, of providing an easy introduction to new fandoms. This has become increasingly challenging with the migration of fandom to other platforms: many of the largest and most active new fandoms have limited visibility on LJ, and a good number of even our longest running fandoms have empty or near empty sign up sheets month after month.

This has not been an easy decision; over the past couple of years I've considered revamping the community in various ways, moving to another platform, etc., but ultimately I think any such change would only result in more fragmentation.

I want to thank everyone who has participated in any way over the past decade, especially those who have recced again and again, and pimped this community to others in their fandoms. There are too many of you to try to name individually, but your dedication has not gone unnoticed by anyone who frequents this community.

I would also like to thank my co-mods, past and present, stopawhile and arsenicjade. I could not have asked for better partners and friends. [4]
They add:
The idea that someone would spend 10 years building a resource like this one only to burn it to the ground is pretty unfathomable to me, but let me state for the record that this comm will NEVER be deleted. ♥

Crack Van's End as Another Fandom Transition

Crack Van was a mainstay of fandom for ten years, but the end of 2013, its close signaled not just fans' drift away from online journal culture, but a change in fan culture and interaction.

Many fans no longer needed or wanted the curated information that volunteers on Crack Van provided and moved to forums that included less lengthy collaboration and communication.

Some excerpts from a post by The Daily Dot:

But crack_van’s dwindling audience isn’t just a case of fans moving away from LiveJournal, it’s also because fandom culture in 2013 is very different from the way it was a decade ago. On Tumblr, new fandoms can go viral in a matter of hours, without the aid of organised communities or even fanfic.
Crack Van’s popularity was partly down to its reliability when it came to fanfic recommendations, and partly because it was way more convenient than sifting through multiple LiveJournal accounts for more details and fanfic links. Not only is it now a lot easier to just download the original movie or TV show in the first place, but general fandom information is far more accessible. With the demise of LiveJournal fandom, it’s become a lot easier to locate the fanfic you want to read, but the exchange between writers and readers has become far less social and collaborative. Now, most people just go to Archive of our Own or fanfiction.net for their fanfic, and use Tumblr or Twitter to socialize and post fanart or GIFs.
...10 years was a good run. Older fans will undoubtedly still use crack_van’s archives to look for the most well-reviewed fics in pre-existing fandoms, while younger fans on Tumblr have moved onto a new kind of community. Although the days of collaborative writing on LiveJournal are probably gone for good, fanfic culture is growing all the time. And who knows, maybe a new equivalent to crack_van will show up on one of the other social media sites one day. [5] [6]

Fan Reactions

Crack Van comments:

Special Events

The 15th of every month is Crack Van Collision day, when reccers are encouraged to post a crossover fic from their fandom. The last Friday of every month is Friday Night Drive-In, a.k.a. fanvid day.

Crack Van inspired communities

Crack Van also inspired the creation of fandom specific rec comms modelled after it, that for example may pimp different pairings and genres:

External Links

References

  1. from a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  2. from a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  3. from a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  4. Important Announcement, posted by twigged on 2013-11-29
  5. The Crack Van, a pillar of fandom on LiveJournal, shuts down after 10 years, from The Daily Dot, posted by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, December 2, 2013
  6. WebCite
  7. reference link
  8. reference link
  9. The Crack Broom, founded 18 November 2004. (Accessed 12 November 2008)
  10. The Crack Impala, founded 24 January 2007. (Accessed 12 November 2008)
  11. Sequential Crack, founded 23 July 2009. (Accessed 1 April 2010)
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