The good old days before google were dark and involved horses

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Title: The good old days before google were dark and involved horses
Creator: seperis
Date(s): March 20, 2010
Medium: online
Fandom: meta
Topic:
External Links: The good old days before google were dark and involved horses (LiveJournal)[1]
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Contents

The good old days before google were dark and involved horses is a slightly tongue in cheek essay about being a fan in the early 2000s and the impact that technology, including Google had on the fannish experience. It was written by seperis on March 20, 2010 and is reposted on Fanlore with permission.

See also: Fandom 1994-2000-ish, an essay by Arduinna.

The Essay

"So I was reading about how the internet now sucks since facebook came in and all these people who aren't, you know, whatever they aren't (I am unclear, but I will admit hilarity that I hate facebook but am also required to instruct people now finding it on what privacy settings mean and what they do and why more is better), but okay, we're going to do a flashback to the year 2000 and go forward, when I discovered google and the world changed.

This is where our journey begins.

Google took six weeks to update with new material. Six weeks. I will not tell you how or why I know that, or why I tested that, or even how I tested that; suffice to say at that period of my life I had a lot of time on my hands and loved spreadsheets--check my fic output for X-Men fandom and you'll see I really did not have more important things to do. By March 2001, they'd shaved it to about a month. It was 2003 before it dropped under a week (I want to say five days, but I don't have those notes and yes, at one time, there were in fact notes). Now it's almost instantaneous.

Finding fic with google was hit or miss in a really horrifying, confusing way. You weren't more likely to find porn. You wish it was more likely to find porn. I have no idea what some of that I found was, but it was not porn. Those were sad days.

You still thought altavista and yahoo were the most awesome search engines ever. Yes, you did.

A lot of fic was still behind password protected walls and good luck getting anyone to answer your emails. (not all fic. Not even most fic. but a lot of fic. especially in certain fandoms you wanted to read in.)

Pre-lolcats. There was a time we did not have cat macros. Think about that one and shiver.

Journaling sites were still new and bizarre. If you had one, there's a fair to good chance you did not yet know about the magic of comments unless you were an early adopter of LJ or waitlisted for sites that offered to install comments on your diaryland account (I was waitlisted for comment function), and fandom was still mailing list based. This was your only source of fic. Moderators were tiny gods with magical hammers. If you pissed off the mod of ClarkLex*, you had the SSA and also, you were fucked. Have fun with that!

(* example mailing list. Not meant to reflect actual ClarkLex mod policy.)

You knew Television Without Pity when it was MightyBigTV and when it was sane and awesome but less likely to be hilariously wanky. So you know, there's a trade there.

Handcoding entire archives was still normal. Handcoding entire archives without CSS was normal. And it was formatted for 800X600 or below.

You were involved with or watched a flamewar that involved or was about thete1 and/or harriet_spy and/or liviapenn. Sometimes weekly.

You know what an intellislasher is and at one time mocked it. If you were one, you were above that sort of thing.

You learned HTML because you were desperate for a page that wasn't a red blackground with black text. Or you fell desperately in love with it. The latter was disturbingly more likely. Those were dark, dark days.

At some point, you owned buttons on your site illustrating your affiliations, your friends, and who you hated.

You hear Godawful Fanfiction and sigh a little at what could have been. And wonder what the fuck happened there.

YIM and AIM let you paste up to 2000 words of fic into chatboxes. God I miss those days.

You used ICQ and IRC both. (I know IRC is still in use.)

You were involved in at least one mailing list deletion, or you were the mod of a list you deleted in a fit of flounce and God willing, that will never end up on Fanlore. It will. Just give it time.

You remember the culture shock of a dozen fandoms hitting each other for the first time in LJ and RPS dropping on top of it all like a goddamn atom bomb. You remember writing about the morality of RPS until your friends started coming out as readers and writers of it. You got over it. You participated in the first Slashing the Slashers without any sense of irony.

You remember the first Fandom Wank in LJ and how that was totally shocking. You meta'ed about it while you watched it. Lotrips was still but a gleam in someone's eye. Everyone hated HP. Or so they said.

Michael Rosenbaum was sent a sex box. You're still not entirely over that.

Mpreg, slavefic, and extreme AUs were edgy. You then probably ended up in SGA reading about John and Rodney as ice cubes, girl scout cookies, and plants, and think in wonder about those days of innocence. Mpreg girl scout cookies who are enslaved by plants, that's what's edgy now, people.

We discovered panfandom stories that scraped across our flists like meteors and smushed all fic beneath them. We learned to hate that shit as we secretly read them, because hey, they were good.

You read the MsScribe saga live with your friends. And dear God did you boggle.

The term "His wife? A horse" was not yet meme. (hint: google if you don't know. And don't stare at me in betrayal, I did not hit Search for you. It's on your head.)

There was no Adam Lambert slash."

Fannish Reactions

Seperis' essay stirred up many memories and generated much interest which is reflected in the multiple comments on her LJ post. A selection of the longer discussion threads have been broken out below into rough thematic categories. Note that there may be overlap in some of these threads/discussions. Click on the links below to read further. Go to the original post to read all comments.

WebCite Links

  1. WebCite for seperis essay post; page 2 of comments; WebCite for page 3 of comments; WebCite for page 4 of comments;WebCite for page 5 of comments.
  2. WebCite for laura's thread.
  3. WebCite for viggorlijah's thread.
  4. WebCite for patk's thread.
  5. WebCite for mischief5's thread.
  6. WebCite for wolfling's thread.
  7. WebCite for harriet_spy irony impaired thread.
  8. WebCite for apetslife's thread.
  9. WebCite for suzvoy's thread.
  10. WebCite for starcrossedgirl's thread.
  11. WebCite for rheanna27's thread.
  12. WebCite for inteligrrl's thread.
  13. WebCite for ratcreature's thread; WebCite for her nostalgia post; WebCite for her nsitalgia poll.
  14. WebCite for destina's thread.
  15. WebCite for emmuzka's thread.
  16. WebCite for rishabree's thread.
  17. WebCite for ladysorka's thread.
  18. WebCite for naughtyoldlady's thread.
  19. WebCite for dine's thread.
  20. WebCite for tassosss's thread.
  21. WebCite for amothea's thread.
  22. webCite for spaggel's thread.
  23. WebCite for amireal's thread.
  24. WebCite for amegoddess' thread.
  25. WebCite for birdsflying's thread.
  26. WebCite for ninamalfoy's thread.
  27. WebCite for ciaan's thread.
  28. webCite for elspethdixon's thread.
  29. WebCite for crazy ass anime thread.
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