Alt.startrek.creative.all-ages

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Newsgroup
Name: alt.startrek.creative.all-ages, ASCA
Date(s): May 1997 to present
Moderator: 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: ASCA / Trekiverse
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Alt.Startrek.Creative.All-Ages is a usenet group created for the purpose of posting fiction suitable for children and young teens set in the Star Trek universe. The group does not accept slash, R, or NC-17 fiction.

History

This group was announced in May 1997 Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version

Also see Alt.startrek.creative Slash Wars.

Current Staff

Former Staff

Former and past members of ASCA.

Moderators

FAQ Maintainer

Some Fan Comments During the Planning Stage: The Topic -- "What is Canon, and Should Non-Explicit Same-Sex Stories Be Included?"

  • "I think it would be useful to clarify the *purpose* of this proposed new group. Is it strictly so that the squeamish don't have to even see headers for R & NC-17 stories? Or is it an attempt to promote writing of fanfiction that would be suitable for children to read or have read to them? If the former, then I don't really see the point - I've never had any trouble using the headers to identify stuff I didn't want to retrieve or read. If the latter, then the question is whether there are writers who would like to write and post more family-oriented fare, but who have been put off by the proliferation of adult stories. Is that the case? I'm curious because, while I like having the full spectrum available to me, I would love to have a source of Star Trek stories that would suitable for sharing with my children. As has been pointed out by others previously, even a G rating is no guarantee that the material will be suitable for, or of any interest to, children. While I bet I'm not the only one who would be grateful for some children's stories, I would question whether there's enough interest to keep an entirely separate ng viable. Are there possible alternatives to consider? - such as a separate website (or a corner of the current archive) where "family-friendly" stories could be archived (whether they were first posted here or not)?" [1]
  • "The problem is some people object to having to sort through the slash and NC-17 posts. This would give them an alternative. Sort of like a.s.c.e was intended as a branch alternative for folks looking for nothing but slash and NC-17. a.s.c.e was certainly not intended to be the only place slash was posted, but, as I understand it, a place where slash and NC-17 was concentrated. It would be a similar idea with the new group, and, by the way, I am definitely open to suggestions about the name. PG-13 is U.S. specific I guess. I suppose "family" would be okay, although we do intend to allow sexy stories, just not graphic stuff (which I personally enjoy, but I'm trying to address two groups of people here -- those that just don't like slash, and those that don't want to see any NC-17 type stories at all in their group. a.s.c. is operating beautifully as it is, no need to change. We just need to make a branch group where people can look for a concentration of non-slash and non-adult stories. Sort of like a genzine as opposed to a slash zine." [2]
  • "Why 'no slash?' You see, contrary to popular belief, not all slash stories are NC-17 or even R. There are a couple beautiful Chakotay/Paris stories that are rated PG. (And before anyone asks, I don't think the author wanted to post here. Gee, I wonder why. Everyone around here is so sweet and accepting of -- oops! Slipped into sarcasm mode again. Sorry 'bout that.) These are very good, non-explicit stories about two men in love. In my opinion as a teacher and as a gay woman, such stories are very appropriate reading for young adults." [3]
  • "The one thing to remember is that the moderator(s) will have to have a very careful set of guidelines. How much "mushy stuff" is too much? How much violence is too much? There are romantic moments in PG-13 movies and in young adult novels and there is a fair amount of violence and scary stuff in both as well (has any one looked at a Goosebumps book--ewwww!). My gratuitous advice (after all, I've only written *1* story that would qualify for such a group) would be that the first order of business on the new ng would be a long discussion of the standards by the people who would be reading and writing for the new group. Another thing that I should mention here. Will stories on the new group be crossposted to ASC? Will stories on the new group be archived in the ASC/ASCE archive? If so, whoever writes the FAQ might want to bing the posting suggestions in line with the ASC posting suggestions. Ruth offering to help the FAQ writer and Maintainer if they'd like someone to beta-read." [4]
  • "if a group is to be created for the express purpose of avoiding slash stories ... well, I'd just like for people to admit to what they're doing. Hiding behind children is not only unfair, it's cowardly. If people really are trying to create a group appropriate for children, well that's fine. But that means that *all* G, PG, and PG-13 stories should be welcome there. Shannara made a very good point earlier about the appeal of non-explicit slash stories to gay youth. I'd like to extend that to *all* children. Exposure as a child to positive gay role-models is one of the best ways to combat homophobia. But, if the purpose of this new group is to create a slash free atmosphere ... that's very different. For a group of people to say that they cannot tolerate the sight of slash stories on a newsgroup that they frequent is beyond offensive, it's absolutely homophobic. I realize that there are people who want a slash-free group. That does not mean that we need to cater to that.... Now, obviously I can't stop anyone from establishing alt.startrek.creative.no-slash-here. But I don't have to approve of it, and I'm not going to just sit here and allow people to hide their homophobia behind our children. If you want to establish a non-explicit stories group, great. If you want to establish a slash-free group at least have the courage to admit to what you're doing." [5]
  • "There will be no NC-17 stories of any kind on the new group. Neither hetero nor homosexual. Non-explicit stories about homosexual characters will be fine, but the sexuality of established characters will be as in canon." [6]
  • "As for the argument that there would then be nowhere to go to escape slash, and slashers have two groups so why shouldn't non-slashers-- you're conflating two separate scales. *Erotica* can be het or slash. Erotica contains sexually explicit material and is not for kids. All forms of erotica, het and slash both, are permissible on both asc and asce. *Slash* can be erotic or non-erotic. Slash contains two same-sex characters in a relationship, usually characters that are canonically portrayed as straight. *Erotic* slash can be posted to asce, but *non*-erotic slash does not belong on asce. When you say slashers have two groups, why not non-slashers, you're confusing slash with erotica. *erotica* writers have two groups-- why not non-erotica writers? That's the whole idea behind asc.ya, to make a group that has no erotica in it. But when you talk about *non-erotic* slash-- that is, Bashir and Garak are lovers, and the story is about them having tea, and there's absolutely no sex in it-- it seems to me that the story should not be excluded from asc.ya. I am fully behind the notion of a group dedicated solely to non-erotic works, but let me abuse my power for a moment here. If you exclude *non-erotic* slash from your group, the only possible reason can be homophobia-- just because you don't agree with it and think it's way out of character is no reason why it is not appropriate for teenagers, some of whom are gay and need positive role models. The quantity of such slash is incredibly small-- your group will *not* be overrun with non-erotic slash-- but it does belong on a group whose charter is "a safe group for young people." if your charter really is "a safe group for young people", I am all for you. If your charter is "a group that conforms to our personal prejudices and censors stories we don't like even if they contain no erotica or violence", then find your own damn archivist, because I will not archive any story posted solely to a group that exists to promote censorship. Sorry-- I really don't like saying something like this, but I won't support a group I don't believe in. Exclude erotica and violence-- fine, great, we do need more stories that aren't erotic or violent. Exclude slash, and you will be saying you don't feel homosexuality is appropriate for teens to read about-- and that offends *me*." [7]
  • "Shannara has said that she wants the sexuality of the characters to be as established in canon. I ask that trickiest of questions: Who decides what's canon? Are you going to somehow get Berman, Piller and Taylor to moderate your group? Are you going to ask the actors?... If you don't want anything queer, fine. If you don't want to extend Trek's famous message of tolerance (which helped a confused American teenager living in Iran in dealing with the fact that all people don't think the same way she did) to gay and bi people, fine (well, it's *not* fine, really, but it's your prerogative). But don't you see that you're laying yourself open to charges of hypocrisy if you hide behind canon? Trek canon, like the Christian canon, can be interpreted in many ways. When you say, "my way is right, yours is wrong," you're acting like bigots have through the centuries. If you exclude queer fiction from ASCYA, have the guts to stand up and say so. ("Hi! I'm ________ and I don’t think fags and dykes have a place in the 23rd/24th centuries because I don't like or approve of their lifestyle." "Hi ______!") I've supported the idea of ASCYA, because I have an 8 year old step-daughter who reads Trek YA novels. She also likes to write stories and may (like so many of us in our teenaged years) want to write or read fanfic. The fanfic writing teenaged daughter of dykes may choose (like so many writers) to write about what she knows and make up a Mary Sue whose mother suddenly fell in love with another woman after being married to a man. It'd be a pity if you wouldn't let her post it in your sandbox. [8]
  • "Before anyone can decide what they feel about your 'slash-is-explicit' you need to clear up what you mean. If Number One, btw, I agree with Taffy, Alara et al, and suggest you call the proposed group alt.startrek.creative.no-queers and be done with it." [9]
  • "Think of the new group as an online fanzine. Stories are submitted to fanzines, which can essentially be divided into slash zines and genzines. The new group will be a genzine. Stories must be submitted. Unlike a regular fanzine, we'll pretty much take anything (that isn't explicit sex or graphic violence). We have three moderators, and all agreed that characters established as straight on the shows should not be portrayed as gay in the new group. As was stated in the beginning, the new group is being created to satisfy TWO groups of people, those that don't want slash on the group and those that don't want ANY NC-17 at all. a.s.c and a.s.c.e exist for those who want to post slash stories, whether explicit or not, about the established characters. There have been many calls, and even fights on a.s.c between those who, wrongly, insisted that a.s.c not allow slash stories. a.s.c was established to allow everything. That's cool. The new group will be a more limited group however and answers the calls for no slash and no explicit stories. Gay stories about author-created characters are welcome on the new group, provided they are not sexually explicit. If this discussion has now degenerated into a flame war on the part of the slash-lovers, then it's time to call the discussion to an end and go about the business of creating the new group, alt.startrek.creative.all-ages." [10]
  • "I was under the impression that there are no canonically homosexual characters in Star Trek. I have heard rumors that Paramount is homophobic and deliberately gives a heterosexual love interest to any character that the fans perceive as potentially gay. I don't understand the logical argument that PG-13 stories must maintain canon sexuality. Are there any other areas of canon that must be maintained in order for a story to be considered PG-13? If the sexual preference of the characters is being singled out as the only element of canon which must be maintained in order for a story to be considered PG-13 then I must conclude that this rule is using Paramount's anti-gay attitude to justify discrimination against gay young adults." [11]
  • "Sigh...its amazing. In the course of a month we've now combined two arguments into one post - against NC-17 and against Slash. Okay, personally I'm very happy that we've all come to a decision that makes (most) everyone happy. Everyone gets to post at ASC, I will post to ASCE as well and those who cannot stand to wade through my NC-17 drivel can go to ASCpg (Or ASCF or ASCA or whatever it's called now.) However, I think you should reconsider the slash part of the newsgroup. There are a lot of good arguments for having PG rated slash on the newsgroup, actually there are a lot of good reasons as to why we shouldn't pair up characters for the sake of pairing up characters. But I'm not sure why you don't want slash on your newsgroup. The Paris/Kim playboy series by Torch, minus the few sex scenes in the middle, talks about a wholesome relationship between two guys. [12] Personally, I think if someone CAN write this stuff without turning it into sex-fiction, they should be able to post in an all-ages newsgroup. Again, something that was supposed to try and alleviate some of the tensions here between the two encampments just got a little more nasty. I'm not sure if I caught all the messages posted (There's been quite a few of them lately) but from the gist of what I got, this was a friendly debate over whether to include slash or not. How we deteriorated once again into the debate about homophobias, (Both Paramount's and this newsgroups) and also into poisonous barbs like get a life, is beyond me. Sometimes I wonder if we're going to be split down the middle forever, in an eternal ASC civil war..." [13]
  • "I am writing the first draft of the FAQ today and I will be FAQ maintainer for the new group. So the first draft will have MY version of what is and is not acceptable. For the record, if the group excludes gay and lesbian relationships simply because they are gay or lesbian then this will be the shortest FAQ maintainer's office in the history of internet. I have every confidence in both George and Shannara that this will not be the case however. Once we have thrashed out a draft that all three of us agree on we will post it. It can be discussed again then. Also we have agreed that we should have a way of dealing with appeals that address either: 1) How could you call THAT appropriate for children! 2) How could you call THAT inappropriate for children! I am now asking for volunteers interested in being part of our appeal board of moderators to offer us opinions in the case of dispute. We don't yet have all the details worked out about how this will go but if you are concerned about homophobia, censorship, and the like, then please volunteer for the appeal board. I would especially like to invite Taffy and Alara to be part of such an appeal board because they both have excellent perspectives and would help us be certain that undue unfair censorship and/or homophobia DO NOT become part of the alt.startrek.all-ages mandate. Being a moderator means you will occasionally make mistakes and occasionally your point of view won't reflect the best point of view. We are human after all. We would appreciate support in this, not accusations, thank you." [14]
  • "I still support the creation of the group -- but I vehemently disagree as to what canon is. Therefore I have a conflict of interest with the founders. I do hope that stories posted in the new group, if it gets made, *will* also be posted to a.s.c., as I would love to read them. But I cannot support the concept that suddenly, in the 24th century, there are no gay or bi characters. IDIC must prevail, I suppose -- but on this, we will never agree. So it goes. Yes, I have changed my mind somewhat -- I had to, once this portion of the wording was pointed out to me. The idea that a completely non-seuxally explicit story is somehow bad or offensive simply because the characters are gay -- bothers me. The founders of this group have the same freedom of speech that I do, and I support said right -- it does not mean I have to either agree with or approve of them -- merely that I tolerate their existence. And I do. May it go well for them, if this is really what they seek. -- Greywolf the Wanderer, sadder and a wee bit wiser" [15]
  • "Interesting isn't it? Here we are, writers and/or readers of fan fiction about a universe that preaches the doctrine of equality (whether Trek lives up to that doctrine is another tangled web, and I ain't going there today) but the mere thought that some of the established characters might be even bi let alone gay, sends people into a tizzy. Do people think that homosexuality is a disease that will be "cured" by the 24th century? Do they really think that none of the people in Starfleet will be gay? What about being bi? I don't remember the percentage of people who claim to be bi, or who have had the occasional gay encounter, but it's higher than the 10% that we usually get as the percentage of gays in the population. Do we really believe that *none* of our established characters ever walked on the other side of the street, even if it was only to discover that they liked the opposite sex better after all? Apparently those thoughts are too dangerous and too much to bear for some people. Why?? I get sad every time I read this thread, and a lot of people probably think I should just shut up now. They're probably right, but does anyone understand just how hypocritical the whole arguement is? To hide behind the Almighty Canon in only *one* area, over only *one* issue is mindboggling and indicates either massive self-delusion or rampant hypocrisy. Shannara made a point of assuring the underage poster that her P/C story would be welcome on ascaa. Why? It ain't canon unless it ends with one of them backing off from the relationship and the other one staring soulfully into the camera as the music heads toward the credits. So if you really want the stories posted to ascaa to not go where Paramount won't go, then there can't be *any* P/C (never happened), J/C (admitted attraction but they both backed off), R/T (it happened, but it's over), J/J (sorry she's with Worf now), P/T (they haven't gone there yet), K/T (that never happened either, mores the pity) and so on, unless there stories that acknowledged the attraction and then deny the relationship. *PERIOD* The minute you argue that the attraction is implied, then you must either allow every attraction that others can infer from the show, or explain why the idea that some of these characters might be gay or bi offends you so much. But if you simply single out same sex relationships, how can you avoid charges of homophobia? I really *don't* see homophobes everywhere. The fact that I'm gay may make me more aware than most that homophobia is alive and well in this world, but I don't automatically assume that everyone I meet is a homophope. When I do see it however, I'll point it out, the same way I object to racism, sexism and so on." [16]
  • "I have no objection to a newsgroup dedicated to bigotry as long as it is clearly as such. I strongly object to a newsgroup identified as young adult which uses a round-about way of censoring stories based on same sex relationships since young adults who are attracted to members of their own gender are in no way inferior to young adults who are attracted to members of the opposite gender. My previous post has not been answered. Is canon going to be rigorously enforced in this new group or is canon only going to be used to reject same sex stories." [17]
  • "If this is what you believe, then you don't understand Usenet and you don't understand the responsibilities of a moderator. It doesn't matter if you *like* the story. It matters if it is on topic. If you create a group intended for children and family viewing, and then exclude *any* stories that don't have sex or violence, your group is no longer about children and family viewing. It's about your personal tastes. Well, if you want a forum that caters to your personal tastes, create a Web site, don't waste bandwidth with a newsgroup.... I don't care what your personal opinion of slash is. I have archived things that were so terrible they made me want to barf. I have archived things that were so offensive they made me want to castrate the poster. I am the archivist for this newsgroup, and therefore, if the material fits the purpose of the archive-- to record all stories posted to this group-- I have to archive it, whether I believe in it or not. A moderated group should work the same way. Regardless of whether you *like* slash or not, if the material is PG-13 rated, it belongs on an all-ages newsgroup. Otherwise the group is *not* a forum for all ages and you may as well change the name to alt.startrek.creative.stories.shannara.george.and.natalie.all.like" [18]
  • "So what you're saying is that you, too, would like to go on a power trip and exclude stories that are acceptable for young people simply because they don't fit your view of how the characters would act? If this is what you believe, then you don't understand Usenet and you don't understand the responsibilities of a moderator. It doesn't matter if you *like* the story. It matters if it is on topic. If you create a group intended for children and family viewing, and then exclude *any* stories that don't have sex or violence, your group is no longer about children and family viewing. It's about your personal tastes. Well, if you want a forum that caters to your personal tastes, create a Web site, don't waste bandwidth with a newsgroup." [19]
  • "Here's another monkey-wrench in the works: I am one of the moderators....I don't think I'm on a power trip here. I've been asked, I think it's a good idea, and I'm doing it. Call it your influence and Keikimo's too. On the other hand, CameronB has mortally offended me, while Ruth Gifford and Atara Stein have gotten under my skin. I have the feeling I've gotten into something my box can't handle, but I am literate and, theoretically, intelligent. As far as I know, all I have to do is read and vote, and I am only one of three. There is an appeal process being set up. My opinion about the appeal process is that if an author needs to appeal, he or she should be posting on ASC anyway....Nothing is automatic here. I am one of three moderators who votes on what gets into ASCA. If I don't like a story, I'm going to vote against it. If Shannara and Natalie like it, then I am SOL. [20]
  • "I have not read the FAQs for the new site and so will reserve some judgement. That Alara is on the board is a saving grace, even though she is but one voice. In principle, I have no problem with the creation of a PG-13 fiction site. What I am at a loss to understand, is the exclusion of same-sex romance stories. I think that the only valid reason for excluding non-graphic slash would be because it can be a confusing proposition, even for adults. However, this does not mean that readers below the age of 13 should not be helped toward an understanding of differing lifestyles at a time when they are still open to new views. The portrayal of loving relationships between two adults of the same gender is something that should be encouraged and applauded. Excluding the stories presumes there is something inherently wrong in the behavior. I feel this sends the wrong message, offering a judgment that young readers might carry with them into the "real" world and into adulthood. As fanfic writers, we influence opinions, views --- and prejudices. The appropriate message is that loving relationships should be treasured -, no matter the gender - for the precious and rare gifts that they are." [21]
  • "....let me tell you something. I may have gotten under your skin by reacting negatively when you insulted my genre and by extension my writing, but consider this. I *will* jump down the throat of the first person that tells you or anyone else not to post your G and PG-13 stories to ASC because there's ASCAA for that. Do you think I like every bit of TrekSmut or even slash that comes down the pike? Hell no, there are stories I cross the street to avoid having to read. I don't even like all the bdsm that gets written. But it belongs on a group dedicated to Star Trek fanfiction and I'll fight like hell for all of it. I happen to believe very strongly in fan writing; as I've said before anything that turns us from being passive viewers and into active participants in a creative process is a good thing. If nothing else, it found me my future wife, made me a lot of friends, and gave me the confidence that it takes to stand up for myself." [22]
  • "Regardless of the point of departure from canon, *departure from canon itself* is one of the prime motivations behind most fanfiction. If TPTB always gave us what we wanted to see, who would be writing?  ;-) I write very little, and I have had no sex scenes in any of my small vignettes (so far, anyway). I'm not a big fan of the erotic (as someone unfortunately flying solo these days, it can get a bit frustrating to read such stuff) and I don't care for slash (because for the most part it does seem out of character). *HOWEVER*, I think that anyone who invests the time and the effort into putting their story into words for the rest of us to read (OR NOT, AS WE SO CHOOSE) should be allowed and applauded for doing so! And if those with children aren't willing to invest time in reviewing what they read, or those whose beliefs and sensibilities are offended by such things can't be relied upon to use their own discretion in their reading, it does not automatically follow that that responsibility should fall upon the rest of the posters and readers in this group. As a person who posts here on an extremely limited basis, I have been a lurker throughout this debate. Now that the issues have been more clearly defined, I feel a strong need to register my opinion: Creating a newsgroup in which sexual content is not welcome makes sense, I suppose. However, regulating who is attracted to whom in fan fiction set in the Star Trek universe is an unwelcome intrusion into the freedom of the fanfic writer to explore that which TPTB have not." [23]
  • "Since... you have clearly not seen the latest FAQ, and since ASCA has not, never did, and never will exclude any story solely because it has same sex romance stories, I have forwarded to you both your very own copy of the FAQ to read at your leisure." [24]

References

  1. comment by Marlissa Campbell, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  2. comment by Shannara, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  3. comment by Taffy, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  4. comment by Ruth Gifford, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  5. comment by Taffy, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  6. comment by Shannara, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  7. comment by Alara Rogers, Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  8. comment by Ruth Gifford Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  9. comment by Jane Harmon Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  10. comment by Shannara Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  11. comment by Paul Carver Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  12. "Not that I'm not grateful for the endorsement, Keikimo, but I think you're thinking about another series; the playboy series is built around sex scenes, and only one of the eight stories is *not* rated NC-17. I still think that, as you said, it's a series that deals with a wholesome relationship between two guys, but the love affair is tracked largely by the development of their physical relationship and its impact on their emotions." -- correction by torch
  13. comment by Keikimo Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  14. comment by Natalie Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  15. comment by Greywolf the Wanderer Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  16. comment by Ruth Gifford Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  17. comment by Paul Carver Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  18. comment by Alara Rogers Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  19. comment by Alara Rogers Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  20. comment by George D. Morgan Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  21. comment by swlove Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  22. comment by Ruth Gifford Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  23. comment by GreenWoman Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version
  24. comment by Natalie Call for discussion re: alt.startrek.creative.pg-13, Archived version

Related Links

External Links


Related Links
People Alara R, George Morgan, Jemima Pereira, Natalie K. Bjorklund, Stephen Ratliff,
Places ASC, ASCEM, Star Trek, Trekiverse
Things The Mannerly Art of Critique - Peg Robinson, The Mannerly Art of Disagreement - Macedon