CrystalWank

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Related terms: The Cassandra Claire Plagiarism Debacle, The MsScribe Story, Victoria Bitter Wank
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CrystalWank occurred in 2004.

It inspired the term My hed iz pastede on yay.

Summaries

A 2004 summary:
[She] claimed to have received original photos of Dom and Billy from the Berlin premiere, and to have done original sketches, including one that Dom liked and signed for her. Other people believed her art was original, and showered her with praise.

It's funny, she did a photomanip placing Dom in her living room last week and admitted that it wasn't real in comments. People liked that even after they knew it was a manip.

But she kept claiming originality. When someone gushed "So... when is your first gallery show?" she answered "I keep asking myself that same question". She's been selling "prints of her sketches," thus making money off other fans. And basking in the adulation.

But then it all fell apart for her.

For example [[almostnever[1]]] recognized the Dom and Billy picture as a wire photo that she'd detagged, including all the fuzzy bits where the tags used to be, and points this out in a comment. And others recognized that [her] picture of her sketch with Dom's autograph looks strangely unlike any of his signatures anyone has seen. And that all the "sketches" are extraordinarily difficult to do by hand but easy to Photoshop. And that she sure got a lot of sympathy when she claimed her notebook was stolen (and thus her originals can't be seen). And that her original art is much less sophisticated than her LOTR actor "sketches".

The wank gets laughed at in fandom wank, a JournalFen community set up to snark at silliness. So she tries to get them removed from JournalFen (which was set up for weird fan stuff like wankery). The JF admins weren't amused, especially after she claims they removed the whole post (in a post on LJ she later deleted).

The silly hen was also "fighting" back, by accusing de-watermarkers of copyright violations. And posted pictures purporting to show her original sketches in a notebook. And claimed that you can tell her originals because the charcoal comes off (most artists fix the charcoal so they don't ruin the picture). And wrote supportive posts for herself as anon, pretending to be the original photographer, but using the same IP address and the same misspelllings.[1] And tried to explain that in awkward ways, including claiming that her nanny [2] was doing things from home. And deleted opposing comments and even whole posts in Dom and Billy communities. And deleted the manip in her user info of her standing next to Billy.

As wanks go, it has some of almost everything. ETA: Including over 10,000 comments.

If she'd just admitted they were photoshops, everyone would have been impressed. But she was accepting praise for something she didn't do. And to cap it off, she was selling what she claimed were prints of original sketches.[3]

A 2010 summary:

You had to be there for 2004's CrystalWank, the largest wank in FW history and the first one for which the owners of Journalfen, the domain where FW is housed, manually lifted the comment restriction for the community so that the party could continue. It was the largest wank in FW history--and it was comprised almost solely of bad photoshop art.

The wank involved a Lord of the Rings artist named Crystal who was attempting to sell her fanart at conventions. The problem? The "art" was just clumsy Photoshop work of actor Dominic Monaghan, ranging from decent tries to the downright sloppy. In attempts to play around with their own "fanart," FW denizens spawned what is perhaps the community's most beloved phrase, in response to a guest appearance by Crystal herself, who showed up and offered "proof" that the real Dominic Monaghan was a good friend.

Whoever was lying on her bed, it was obviously not Monaghan, whose "hed" had been "pastede" on. (Yay!) [4]

From Fandom Wank Wiki:

Initially, Crystalwank's exploding comment count was fueled by two things: first, Crystal's own efforts to defend herself in the Fandom_Wank thread, which only led to more wank and mockery in the comments; and second, the ancillary wankiness that was uncovered by the commenters after the initial post. Crystal had been a busy girl. In addition to everything mentioned above, wankas found that Crystal had claimed in various forums that she had met LOTR actors, who told her they'd read and loved her fan fiction; she said she continued to be in touch with the actors through email and IM. Letters "signed" by LOTR actors were found in her website's guestbook.

As well as faking photos of the actors in her apartment, Crystal had faked photos of herself at LOTR premieres. Wankas found many self-aggrandizing posts from Crystal about the popularity of her fan fiction and "artwork", including a story from Crystal about meeting someone at a bookstore who, by sheerest chance, had read her fan fiction. Crystal was not to be outdone by HP fandom; there was even some plagiarism!

However, most of Crystalwank is incredibly off topic, and after the tenth page, it's dominated by "OMG HOW LONG IS THIS GOING TO LAST?" comments for the remainder of its 76 pages. People continued to comment just because of the legend of CrystalWank, and were only stopped months later when the JFA upgraded to LJ's newer version of the journal software (that limited posts to 5000 comments). Even though the JFA later increased the limit to 11,827 (as discovered by lol meme), CrystalWank's 13,269 comments can never be matched by any other wank, past or future.[5]

Fan Reaction

[She] broke the social contract of fandom. She lied to friends. She took their money and their admiration under false pretenses. She betrayed a society based on trust and sharing. Then she attacked the people who called her on it.

I thought of this because of a conversation with grevious_angel, who lost a lot of files from a computer problem. When I offered help, she said 'D'you know, sometimes I just love LJ! This is the place where people really do just help each other out. "You want that? I've got it. here y'go". Love it.'

We do that all the time. People pay for LJ time and pictures, do favors for someone they've never seen, send magazines overseas, and stay in hotel rooms together. We trust each other. We even collected enough money to fly Kia back to the states when she was stranded in England.

Every time someone plagiarizes a story, or passes off artwork as their own or blows someone off, it hurts that community trust. So maybe there's a bit more anger than the actions seem to deserve. But that kind of betrayal makes us wonder about what and who we can rely on. It encourages cliques and wariness. And I hate that.[6]
The fact is, it's not just fandom that has the nutcases. It's life. No matter where you go, what you do, there will be 1% that make you scratch your head and say "huh?"

The trick is identifying them, and staying way the hell away from them. This one decloaked herself, inadvertantly, and the rest of us, who are relatively sane, can move on in community.

Of course, it did make for a deliciously yammy wank :D [7]
This is me agreeing with what you say here. Fannish ethics exist because fannish currency isn't cold hard cash, it's creativity and the trust between fen. So yeah while I'm sure people think that too big a deal is being made over this or something like the recent Establishment wank, the fact is that things like that upset the fragile economy of fandom.[8]
Crystal reminds me of an infamous woman in the Monkees fandom named Sammi—same delusional behavior, same lying just to make herself seem important, same avoidance when caught, same continuing on as if nothing had happened even when caught in a direct lie. I can't speak for FW but people who think they can act like that with impunity drive me mad. Moreover, the fact that she still may con newbies with her lies may be (and is, unless I misread) the reason why people are so carefully compiling the wank ... so that others won't be duped.

Lying is one thing. Taking money . . . out here in the real world it's called fraud. Which is still illegal, last I checked.

And now, just on the off-chance that she doesn't cheat on everything, all her work has been thrown into doubt. She may very well be a talented artist, but these lies alone mean that those who know about all this will look at anything she does (artwork, photos, writing) with a skeptical eye. She's not only hurting fandom; she's hurting herself. (And if she's as ding-dong nuts as people have speculated, that latter probably doesn't matter much, as long as she gets her precious attention.) [9]

Further reading

References

  1. ironic typo
  2. Not another nanny! See The MsScribe Story.
  3. Thoughts on Fandom and Trust (re: Crystalwank); [ WebCite], MSilverstar, April 17, 2004
  4. The 10 best tales of online drama from 10 years of Fandom Wank; [ WebCite], by Aja Romano at The Daily Dot, March 11, 2013
  5. CrystalWank at Fandom Wank; [ WebCite]
  6. comments at Thoughts on Fandom and Trust (re: Crystalwank), Archived version, MSilverstar, April 2004
  7. comments at Thoughts on Fandom and Trust (re: Crystalwank), Archived version, MSilverstar, April 2004
  8. comments at Thoughts on Fandom and Trust (re: Crystalwank), Archived version, MSilverstar, April 2004
  9. comments at Thoughts on Fandom and Trust (re: Crystalwank), Archived version, MSilverstar, April 2004