|URL:||bandflesh at journalfen<|
reflesh at dreamwidth
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According to the Fan History Wiki, the original community was created on GreatestJournal on 5 June 2007 as an offshoot of lol_meme and moved to JournalFen on 10 December 2007. The anonmeme probably moved to band_flesh on February 14, 2009, and the last post in band_flesh was in April 2010. The community went offline with the rest of JournalFen around April? 2015—some posts appear in the Wayback Machine, but the threaded comment discussions were mostly not saved. A version of the comm was also created on Dreamwidth and is still online as of 2022 (though inactive since 2013): reflesh.
Bandflesh included many in-jokes, overuse of capslock, post spelled as poast, commentfics, reviews of Bandom Big Bang fanfics, and many other things that have been lost. The community's name was originally "a typo or autocorrect for 'bandslash' that became an in-joke."
As of 2008, bandflesh was mostly friendslocked, with all RP posts and discussion posts after reaching the comment limit being locked due to "being linked by a celebrity gossip blog early in our lifespan. That definitely made us less eager to be public knowledge." In early days, all community members were effectively mods and had the password; this backfired later when someone used the password to delete all archived discussions.
From the community info page, circa August 2008:
We the fleshers, of these united memes, hold these truths to be self-evident and do solemnly swear to be awesome, to mass friend any outed fleshers, and to badger all our regular role players into playing if no substitution can be found within a proper time. (LOL IMPATIENT!)
The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club.
Amendment 1: PORN.
Amendment 2: LOL OVERINVESTED.
Amendment 3: Write those fics you promised. (Unless you're me.)
Amendment 4: Fleshers shall make no law respecting an establishment of tinhattedness, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of saying, "MOAR, MOAR, MOAR," or of picspams; or the right of the people wankily to assemble, and to petition bandflesh for a redress of grievances (to which bandflesh may reply, "LOL SENSITIVE").
Amendment 5: FAIL!RAY IS FAILING!
Amendment 5b: FAIL!JAMES DEWEES IS FAILING! Luv the Chub? Luv ALL the Chubs.
Amendment 6: RAY TORO IS THE DARK PRINCE OF JERSEY (effectively repealing Amendment 5).
Amendment 7: LOL STEVE
Amendment 8: I'D REPEAL SPENCER SMITH'S MOM... IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN >:D
Amendment 8a: RYAN ROSS IS DEAD TO ME.
- - TOTALLY NOT A SPENCER SMITH'S OPINION
Amendment 8b: *touches nose*
Amendment 9: Those who wish to know the secrets Patrick Stump-with-an-h keeps under his hat will be required to first run the gauntlet.
amendment 10 unless theyre pete
Amendment 11: GO TO BED, PETE.
Amendment 12: There will be no more being mean to Jon Walker, because we made him sad while holding a kitten okay and that is just quite enough for one lifetime. SADFACING JWALK IS TRAGIC AND CANNOT BE BORNE.
Amendment 13: BOB BRYAR IS AN ACTUALFAX SUPERB DRUMMER.Amendment 14: THERE IS NO DYING OF FLESHERS. WE WILL BRING THE FJORDS TO YOU; DO NOT PINE FOR THEM.
In June 2008 a bandflesher described the origin of the community thusly:
It started out with about six or seven fangirls on lol_meme on journalfen, which is a pan-fandom permanent anon meme, who talked about bandflesh all the time and eventually kept getting yelled at by people who didn't care about bandflesh (most memers). So they decided they'd leave for a day and meme somewhere else, and so they created bandflesh. And that was a year ago on June 4th. It was never supposed to last, and the fact that it did is both a bit of an anomaly, and speaks to the fact that people are very definitely getting something out of it. The culture of bandflesh and lol_meme etc. is so different from the culture of livejournal, and some things that are acceptable in one space aren't in the other.
The comm devolved into a grudgewanky disaster that caused its fair share of bad blood. For example, that comm had a rule about not sharing the contents of friendslocked posts which sometimes mysteriously got overlooked if someone reallly wanted deets on something, and in several instances it did not go over so well and things spilled out into namespace.
A commenter in 2009 suggested that bandflesh's wankiness might have resulted from its increased popularity:
the comm did not adapt (IMO, has not adapted) very well to going from eight of us hanging out in a glorified chatroom to, as best I can estimate, 60 or so known fleshers plus whoever's hanging around that we don't know about.
June 2008 Controversy
- Mary's friend is a member of bandflesh.
- Someone says something mean about Mary on bandflesh.
- Mary's friend leaves bandflesh because it bothers Mary.
- Months pass.
- Mary posts her Big Bang fic, with art done by the friend who used to be a bandflesher.
- Mary and all of her other friends suddenly freak out on the friend who used to be a bandflesher, sure that she's the person who was being mean to them, even though there has been a long-standing friendship.
Criticisms of bandflesh
In a popular post, ficbyzee roundly condemned the community as a whole:
But dude, don't try to pass off your oh-so-wonderful tightknit community of beffies and love as harmless. I don't give a flying fuck what other stuff is included, it's still a big anonymous community that's used for talking shit about people and dogpiling. If you're going to participate in that, you'd better accept the fact that, yep, people might not think so highly of you. (Or you could bend over backwards to keep your involvement secret--one of the wonderful pros of anonymity!--and be even more of a piece of slime, but hey, free world.)
And fairestcat made a post about the damage knowing about the community did to her ability to trust her fellow fans.
Right now discussion of Bandflesh is all over my friendslist. I can't not know about it. I can't not know who is and isn't over there. I can't effectively just "forget" about it and push it out of my mind. And it's affecting how I look at fandom and it's affecting how I look at some of you and I don't know how I'm going to deal with it, how it's all going to sort itself out inside my head, what choices I may have to make in order for bandom to stay someplace where I feel happy and safe.
Many other fans left comments on ficbyzee and fairestcat's post talking about their own concerns with Bandflesh.
You know what it makes me do? It makes me look at my flist and wonder who might be talking shit about me. I like to think that I have a low-enough profile in fandom that I'd be overlooked (and if they ARE talking about me, please don't tell me; God, don't tell me), but... if that's suddenly acceptable, if there's a whole COMMUNITY for that, then it makes me really, really glad that I DON'T interact more with people online. I would hate to emotionally invest in an online relationship only to find out something like that.
We're in an era of sanctioned assholery -- South Part and Fandom Wank paved the way to a world where being a giant fuckwit is admirable and hilarious. And it makes me feel so vulnerable and unhappy and lonely, because how can I trust anyone? 
The reason I've seen people giving most often as to why bandflesh makes them uncomfortable (and my own reason as well) is paranoia. And I think that's part of why this all turned out to be so polarizing, because those of us who are paranoid, it's a visceral thing that we feel REALLY VERY STRONGLY about. But then the people from bandflesh who have reasons (reasons I can understand even if I don't share them) for loving it probably feel really very strongly about that, and discussions where each side feels that way about their position can be, well, difficult. 
It's like the grafitti on the bus actually being about people YOU KNOW. It's so disturbing. 
And narceus questioned why any of the posters at bandflesh ever thought it would remain secret.
Shit gets out. If someone is talking about someone's locked posts in a locked post and think that somehow, their friends are less likely to tattle than they were? Then they're really kind of a fucking dumbass. Because the people you're bitching about are going to find out. They are going to find out and they are going to be hurt by it, because they are humans and, since you're taking private information and talking about how much you hate your friend in a public space, you are a motherfucking jackass. They're going to be hurt. Their friends are going to get angry. Shit is going to go down. Posts are going to be made, the Internets are going to explode through the roof, and if any one of the people on Bandflesh say they didn't see this coming sooner or later they're either liars or idiots.
Defenses of bandflesh
Multiple bandfleshers came out of the anonmeme closet to defend the community. From quettaser:
So, bandflesh. I've been a part of that community since before it existed, for well over a year now. And because of that history and the nature of the community (posts are never deleted and the history is well known to the users and is relatively searchable) there is a lot of context that is not obvious to passersby. And I want to stress that it is a community. Bandflesh has no purpose or agenda. It's merely a place to congregate for discussion and it is ultimately the people who use it that shape it's content.
So hey, I'm on bandflesh! There's been a lot of posts today on the subject, because we are nothing if not overinvested in our ridiculous comm, but I'd rather not spend a lot of time describing exactly why we aren't a hate meme, because really, I think you can all judge that one for yourselves. Instead, I'd like to talk about why I find anonymity so interesting!
I love the drippy stuff about bf, obviously. Like, fuck, half of my friendslist that I actually interact with comes from bandflesh and without BF I'd have been a) too intimidated to talk to them or b) our paths might never have crossed and I can't imagine what I'd be doing in fandom without these losers. ♥ ♥ ♥
Dude, this is the most awesome post ever. I spent way too much time yesterday browsing bandflesh, and was totally intrigued by the freedom that the anonymity provided. While I can understand how upsetting it could be to find out people are talking about you, and I'm not belittling anyone's opinion on that side, it definitely seems to me that the pros of the comm outweigh the cons. 
November 2008 Deletion
In the early days of Bandflesh, the password to the community was freely given out to all community members, a choice that many bandflesh members came to regret.
On the night of November 18, 2008 in North America, and into the next morning, someone with the password methodically deleted every post and comment in the bandflesh community.
Waking up to the news on November 19, Bandflesh founder drunktuesdays posted in shock:
Um. I don't really know what i'm supposed to say. I fell asleep watching the West Wing with Ash last night, and I woke up and everything's gone. Okay. I keep trying to think that when I started bandflesh, I didn't mean for it to be everything it was, so it's not so bad, right? I mean, it's not like my friends are actually gone, it just feels like that? I think I should be angry, and size sevening, but I'm just sort of...sick. IDK.
Some Bandflesh members, such as m0rganjames and just_katarin, were reading the community at the time and watched the deletions happen live:
I was in the middle of reading something when it started and got nauseous watching it happen. I just don't get how someone can be so vicious and petty. :( 
I'm not sure if I would have proffered to just wake up to it. Watching it go, month by month was kind of epically painful.I can't believe it's gone and I'm so sorry you have to see this.
Bandom fans who didn't frequent Bandflesh, as well as prominent fans from outside Bandom also expressed their shock and horror at the action.
I know bandflesh meant a lot to you guys. It meant something to me too, mostly because many of you have formed very tight bonds of friendship, and I've gotten to enjoy your company and your jokes.
Bandflesh was an anon community of ridiculousness, which got bashed at one point because sometimes the anon comments were negative, or whatever. Fairly mild so far as what you see in fandom, you know? But people got up in arms about it, which I can understand. What I can't understand is someone getting the passwords and going through and deleting EVERYTHING. 18 months, 600,000 comments, an entire community destroyed while the members watched and couldn't get in to fix it. It's pretty disgusting, so far as I'm concerned. *shakes head* You've just got to be sad for any community that had 100% of its history deleted because 1% of its comments hurt someone's feelings
In a post titled "and the crappy week award goes to bandflesh," seperis commented:
To clarify what was lost here (yes, my anger's escalating the more I think and read on this), from an email I just received: Eighteen months, over 600,000 comments, deleted piece by piece while the members watched in real time unable to stop it. That's horrific.
However, the comm itself was not deleted and was up and running the next day.
The Bandom Trigger Warnings Debate
In mid 2009, there were complaints in namespace about the community allowing "anonymous attacks on explicitly-named people, on their stories, on their ideas, on them." Some of these attacks may have been spillover from the Bandom Trigger Warning Debate (2009), started by a Bandom Big Bang fic by arsenicjade in June 2009; when the warnings wank started, arsenicjade had already been a regular target on bandflesh. See On bandom as a fannish community, or: what the hell, people? and On Being A Village Elder: An Essay On Community Responsibility.
- untitled livejournal post by ficbyzee (June 8, 2008)
- The place with the thing by quettaser (June 9, 2008)
- TRUE CONFESSIONS by kalpurna (June 10, 2008)
- That wank thing by narceus (June 9, 2008)
- Because I keep leaving basically the same comment everywhere. by giddygeek on livejournal (November 19, 2008)
- and the crappy week award goes to bandflesh (archived) by seperis on livejournal (November 19, 2008)
- bandflesh stuff, you can scroll by drunktuesdays (dreamwidth mirror of a livejournal post) (November 19, 2008)
- on bandom as a fannish community, or: what the hell, people? by kudra2324 on livejournal (July 6, 2009)
- 2013-09-25 comment on fail_fandomanon, Archived version.
- Bandflesh - Fan History Wiki: The Fandom History Resource, Archived version
- The last post in bandflesh was on February 14, 2009; the first post on band_flesh was on the same day: NEW COMM OFFERS A FRESH START FOR BANDFLESH! BUT HOW LONG WILL THE HONEYMOON PERIOD LAST? A HARD-HITTING INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
- wayback machine link, archived May 18, 2011. The last post visible is dated Apr. 11th, 2010, and has only 932 comments, far short of the 5000-comment limit that was reached in all previous posts. It looks like the comm started slowing down in late 2009: posts were filling up every few days in October, but November had only two posts fill up, and December's post didn't fill up for two months.
- FFA comment, 2014-11-29.
- comment by quettaser, Archived version, June 11, 2008
- wayback machine, 26 August 2008.
- Pete Wentz's dog
- comment by riadsala in a livejournal post by narceus, Archived version, 10 June 2008.
- 2015-04-30 comment thread on fail_fandomanon, Archived version
- 2015-09-10 comment, Archived version
- comment by cheshireempress, Archived version in a post by arsenicjade, January 2009
- Awake & unafraid (archived link), posted to livejournal 12 June 2008
- untitled livejournal post, archived, posted to livejournal June 8, 2008.
- on bandflesh, posted to livejournal, June 10, 2008
- comment from stele3, at ficbyzee's livejournal, June 9, 2008
- comment from sharpest_Rose, at ficbyzee's livejournal, June 9, 2008
- comment from jezrana, Archived version, at fairestcat's livejournal, June 8, 2008
- comment from lim, Archived version, at fairestcat's livejournal, June 10, 2008
- That wank thing, Archived version, posted to livejournal by narceus, June 9, 2008,
- The place with the thing, archived, posted to livejournal June 9, 2008
- TRUE CONFESSIONS, archived, posted to livejournal June 10, 2008.
- comment on TRUE CONFESSIONS, posted to livejournal, June 10, 2008.
- comment on The place with the thing, posted to livejournal, June 10, 2008
- bandflesh stuff, you can scroll, posted to livejournal, November 19, 2008
- comment from m0rganjames on bandflesh stuff, you can scroll, posted to livejournal, November 19, 2008
- comment from just_katarin on bandflesh stuff, you can scroll, posted November 19, 2008
- Because I keep leaving basically the same comment everywhere, posted to livejournal November 19, 2008.
- comment on Because I keep leaving basically the same comment everywhere, posted to livejournal November 19, 2008.
- and the crappy week award goes to bandflesh, posted to livejournal, November 19, 2008
- wayback copy of bandflesh post dated 2008-11-20 21:39:00
- on bandom as a fannish community, or: what the hell, people? by kudra2324 on livejournal, posted 2009-07-06. archived