FanDomination.Net Content Control and Weeding Guidelines
The main administrator at the time these rules were created, as well as the creator of this list, was Laura Hale.
Administrators were in charge of weeding out inferior stories. These stories were given "a hold" and a timer, and if the problems were not solved sufficiently, the stories were deleted.
A similar group of fans is Critics United.
Who Could Be an Administrator?
Applying to be an AdministratorIf you wish to apply as an administrator for a category at fandomination.net, please contact Larua Hale on AIM at h2oequalswater, ICQ at 807639, Y!M at bouncingpurple popple. This is the only way to ensure that you get a response. We're looking for administrators only at certain times and to fill certain holes in our staff's reading. We welcome all applications who are 18 or older. 
fandomination.net maintains quality standards in order to ensure a higher quality of stories for readers. As such, fandomination.net reserves the right to delete stories for not meeting our standards. The process that will occur for a story deletion for a violation of our quality standards is as follows:
- 1. An administrator is alerted to or finds a story in violation of our quality standards.
- 2. The administrator determines if the story is in violation.
- 3. If the story is in violation, the administrator suspends the story and sends a note to the author explaining why the story was deleted. This might be blunt and possibly offensive to sensitive authors. If you’re easily upset, be warned.
- 4. The story is set on a timer. The author must upload a revision which is still hidden that fixes the problems that were identified with the story.
- 5. If the story is not fixed by that date, the story gets deleted from the server. If the story is edited, the story will be rereviewed by an administrator. If the story is no longer in violation of our quality of standards, the administrator will activate the story. If not meeting the quality standards, the story is deleted.
What are the quality standards?
The quality standards state that a story should have: recognizable characterizations, decent grammar, decent plot, few spelling errors, no incorrect spellings of canon characters’s names. The quality standards state that a good story should not: be filled with spelling errors, grammar problems, have characterizations where if you changed the name you wouldn’t recognize them, blatant Mary Sues, song fics where the song is longer than the fic, author notes which state that you’ll stop writing if you don’t get feedback, stories with author notes longer than the story, and bad fic. The quality standards judge that scriptfics, and songfics are 99% of the time not in accordance with the quality standards. As such, those two types of stories may be deleted because of what they are. If you are an author and write in those two formats, make sure that you meet all other quality standards because these stories tend to be junk. Please, just avoid them unless you really can write them well.
Content Management Purpose:Some of the questions that people ask are : Why content management? What is the purpose? Why does FanDomination.Net do this? Isn't this unfair to authors, possibly hurting their feelings, causing them to never write again? FanDomination.Net is not out to hurt people's feelings. We're not out to ruthlessly inflict our standards on other people. Our purpose in Content Management is twofold. The first part is to create a site where people can go and find stories that are generally of a higher quality than other all automated sites. The second part is to educate authors, to create an atmosphere of learning in a community environment. The goal of this is to create a computer/Internet supported collaborative learning process so that all writers who so desire, desire to being shown by their decision to host their fan fiction at FanDomination.Net, to improve will have the chance by going through the Content Management process. 
FanDomination.Net Wanted You to Become a Better Writer
FanDomination.Net has posted the Terms of Service,6 which explain the basic process behind content management, quality control, and integration of learning processes. Administrator Weeding (Content Management) Rules & Guidelines is the page which explains in greater detail the purpose of Content Management, how to apply to be a Content Manager, rules for Content Managers, and Weeding Guidelines. This was published to the Internet so that people could understand our motivation for doing this procedure in the hope that people who are already motivated to become better writers will be encouraged to publish their fan fiction to FanDomination.Net. In the same vein, we have created a message board8 for people who have questions regarding the policy so that FanDomination.Net can broker greater understanding regarding the process, creating less fear that authors' stories will be pulled if they are not really well written. By knowing that the process is not as scary as the initial perception may make it out to be, we hope to further motivate people. We also hope integrate the learning process into a community traditionally free of learning by offering further assistance after the content management process happens, and supplemental information regarding the writing and fan fiction. Hopefully, by concentrating on the full spectrum of the writing process, and offering help at all stages in the writing tasks that people will be motivated. 
Deletion of Fanfiction
In 2002, Hale explained one of the roles of the content control admins:
[Fanfic] also needs to be set on a timer. If the story is not fixed or edited in a pre-set time period, the story will be deleted. If story is edited in this time period, the story needs to be moved back to a Content Managers queue so the story can be reevaluated. The story also needs to be marked in such a way that the Content Manager can identify that the story has failed in the past. The story also needs to have attached to it the previous Content Managers comments to help in the next round of evaluations. While a story is being timed for deletion, authors need to receive via site mail reminders telling them that they have x amount of time to fix their story. Included in these reminders, there needs to be information and writing advice. This information should be targeted, if possible, at where the author had problems in their story. 
Deletion of Material fandomination.net reserves the right to delete stories from the site for the following reasons:
If you are an author and two or more of your stories have been deleted for reasons that you do not understand, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a reader and feel that a story should be deleted because it violated number 1, 2, 4, 5, or 6 please e-mail email@example.com the title, author, link, and type of offense. Please do not contact firstname.lastname@example.org for violations of 3. For 1 and 3, fandomination.net will attempt to contact the author to explain why the story is being deleted. For 2, 4, 5, or 6, the stories will automatically be deleted as we find them. We are not obligated to give the author a warning, or explanation for why your story was deleted as we assume you read this document. If we give you a warning or explanation, it is merely a courtesy and will be done via site mail. 
- 1. The story are libelous, inflammatory, etc.
- 2. The story are not stories; they are lists, author notes, essays, poetry, etc.
- 3. The story violates our quality standards.
- 4. The story is a MST based on a work other than fan fiction.
- 5. The story does not have the proper disclaimers.
- 6. The html for the story modifies the way the site is run.
For Administrators: Weeding Guidelines
When weeding fics there are a couple of basic rules that we ask be follows:
- Be fair and consistent in removing stories. Consistency is important because it clues authors in as to what we tolerate and we do not tolerate. If you let a story chock filled with spelling errors go once and another one stay, it sends conflicting messages to the authors.
- Be timely in weeding stories. We ask that you try to spend at least an hour or two a week weeding through stories.
- Tell the author why you are putting a story in holding status. Be as specific as possible so that they will have a fair shot at being able to fix the problems and having the story put back into rotations.
- Use the Weeding Guidelines below to help you judge criteria for removing a story. Remember that one or two small problems may be okay but full blown problems in some categories should result in holding.
[snipped]When weeding, mentally look for some of the following problems. Stories with severe problems in more than one category or minor problems in a whole slew of categories are good reasons for removal. If in doubt, we ask you to use your discretion and make sure that if you remove a borderline story that you make clear to the author why. This way, if they complain to us, we can come back with a good reason why. Please also remember when weeding that certain rules are subject to the level of writing. Not every script fic, songfic or male pregnancy should be removed. Some should stay if the author can write that no matter how badly some others may suck. Authors shouldn't fear that just because they have something or three on this list that their story will be removed. There are exceptions to every rule. 
Watch Out For!!
- __ Authorfic
- __Author notes longer than the story
- __ Author notes stating author will stop writing if they don't get feedback
- __ Badfic
- __ Bashing of female characters in slash fic in order to justify m/m pairings
- __ Body details like height, eye color, hair color wrong
- __ Censoring words like G_d or G-d or Gawd or Ghod or Gods of F*ck or sh*t
- __ Changing a major plot point of the show, without adequate explanation
- __ Changing the point of view randomly, frequently, often when failing to add anything to the story by doing this
- __ Chat room stories, especially where one character reveals they love another in the story
- __ Chick with a dick
- __ Crossover with two things that don't need to be crossed over and there is no reason why
- __ Excessive Borrowing
- __ Excessive crying by characters that have NEVER cried in canon
- __ Excessive *emphasis* on *certain* WORDS.
- __ Excessive use of other ****&&&///.......!!!!!???? symbols.
- __ Forcing characters to listen to/enjoy whatever music and tv the writer is obsessed with
- __ Homophobic ranting in the middle of a story for no reason relating to the story
- __ HTML abuse
- __ Hymen obsession, annoyingly long focus on loosing virginity, ridiculous situation of losing virginity
- __ Ignores canon with out logical reason
- __ Intentionally inflammatory
- __ Impossible Sexual Situations, I.E. unlubricated anal sex being pleasurable and not in a painful sort of way
- __ Improbable pairings not explained
- __ Lack of Disclaimer
- __ Language Issues
- __ Male semen and female ejaculation being described in terms of buckets
- __ Male Pregnancy
- __ Magic Penises
- __ Mary Sue
- __ Measurements of sexual parts in the middle of sex scenes
- __ Netspeak
- __ Never ending paragraphs
- __ Obsession or over detailed information on what physical attributes offspring inherited from their parents
- __ Plot Holes
- __ Poor Characterization
- __ Poor Grammar
- __ Poor Spelling
- __ Poor time flow
- __ Rabid abuse of Japanese honorific
- __ Randomly changing genders
- __ Rape used as a tool to hook up two people.
- __ Religion in a story in the context of overlaying author's own religious practices on canon characters
- __ Repeatedly describing an event, and then having a character say the exact same thing
- __ Songfic
- __ Song longer than the story
- __ Stories that ignore the laws of physics without logical explanation
- __ Telling, not Showing
- __ Too shitty for words… where do I begin?
- __ VideoFic, IE writing a music video in words as a story
- __ Vulgarity and abuse of it
- __ Withdraw used to avoid conception in stories where there is appropriate birth control in the universe
- __ WIP which hasn't been worked on in over three months
- __ Wrong Category
- __ Wrong Rating
For Administrators: Weeder Notes
The administrators elaborated on the list of things not allowed in fics.
Some of the suggestions are pretty generic because there are different issues with each suggestions. Weeders are encouraged to e-mail aura Hale with comments they have on any of these points to help other weeders identify problem fics, and to e-mail suggestions for new or other weeding criteria for this list. Any comments sent will be added to this list to help better serve all weeders for FanDomination.Net.
- What's the problem with Authorfic? AuthorFic, outside of humor, is often a fantasy of the author's. Fantasies, especially other people's fantasies when it comes to sex, are often boring. These stories also, for the most part, seem to be written by beginning authors who don't generally know how much these stories can suck. They deal very little with the exploration of characters. As such, most of these stories tend to be well, bleh and unless there is a good reason, most seem like good candidates for weeding... not all but most. (lhale)
Author Notes Longer than Story
- Author notes that are longer than the story just peeve me off. I'm not talking about the almost obligatory title, author name, feedback request, disclaimer, pairing warnings... I'm talking about the shit with "Hi! Hello. How are you? I wrote this story at 2 am while drunk on Mike's Hard Lemonade and posted it for you without bothering to run spell check because my mother made me post it. On top of that, this is a song fic featuring "Oops, I did it again" by Britney Spears and I choose this song with all the lyrics because I love Britney and the characters totally don't get that they are repeating past mistakes. bleh bleh bleh. etc. etc. etc." Seriously, there is only so much information that is needed with the story and if the reader has to read ALL that information in order to understand the story, it probably hints that the author didn't write a good story because if they did, the would have written that information INTO the story. If the author includes a lot of information like the fact that they were drunk when writing the story in their long author notes, it is probably another good signal of crap fic ahead. (lhale)
Author notes stating author will stop writing if they don't get feedback
- My assumption has always been that if an author feels a need to hold ransom their story for "reviews" or feedback, they aren't writing for the right reasons. They are writing for pure ego gratification. On top of that, they probably won't be receptive to constructive feedback, a premise that FanDomination.Net is founded on. The author probably isn't writing for themselves as much as they are writing for others in order to garner praise. This means to me at least that if they don't hear wonderful glorious things, they will stop writing. If they don't get a set number of "reviews", they'll stop writing. The author is probably a tad too immature for their writing. It's also nasty. FD.Net isn't about quantity. It's about quality. That attitude doesn't seem to encourage quality. Anyway, it's a peeve and most stories that I have read with this warning have turned out to be bleh. It is to me a sure fire warning of bleh ahead though there are always exceptions. (lhale)
- BadFic is generally bad. BadFic masquerading as good fic with out a label of BadFic/Humor is bad. FanFiction.Net has a saturation of BadFic where people post it as say Drama trying to see if people will think it is serious crapola instead of BadFic. I have no problems, personally, with BadFic when it holds true to normal standards of good story telling... that is, it has plot, plot, good spelling, and decent grammar. If it's labeled humor and it meets those criteria and is funny, keep it. If it is BadFic that is also suckfic, then trash it... BadFic with bad spelling and grammar and atrocious story telling stopped being funny when everyone started doing it. (lhale)
- Bashing isn't cool. Bashing is often unjustified. If you need to bash female characters in order to justify the pairing, the story is probably lacking something... because there are plenty of ways to justify to or explain a pairing with out resorting to bashing. On top of that, it has the tendency to alienate readers who might otherwise like that character. Character bashing can also be a negative when it comes to characterization. If you bash to justify or explain, the author might be doing that because they don't have subtext or other reasons to have the two people together. This also applies to het pairings. (lhale)
Body details like height, eye color, hair color wrong
- Height, eye color, hair color. These things are often VERY OBVIOUS in canon, especially if we're talking movie, anime, cartoon, television show or video games. Getting them WRONG hints to the reader that you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Getting this wrong is a sign of bigger problems ahead and should tip off the careful weeder to be wary. Tom Paris is TALLER than Chakotay and no manner of slashy goodness will make this untrue. (lhale)
Censoring words like G_d or G-d or Gawd or Ghod or Gods of F*ck or sh*t
- Why do people do this? F--king sh*t. I just don't give a f*** just that it shouldn't be done. If you're moralistically opposed to it, you shouldn't be writing it in the first place. If you can't write the full word, don't write it. I'd personally weed a story for this alone. It's not that hard for the author to fix. It's also just a personal taste probably but I think it's probably symptomatic of other problems in a fic. (lhale)
Changing a major plot point of the show, without adequate explanation
- Explanations are important to me. If Tom Paris is suddenly a devout Jew, I want to know why. If Voyager never landed in the Delta Quadrant, I want to know why. If this is said in the author's notes (briefly), that's fine. Starting out with skewed assumptions makes the story skewed and the suspension of disbelief all the much harder. If people want to change major plot points, go for it but make sure the reader knows why. (lhale)
Changing the point of view randomly, frequently, often when failing to add anything to the story by doing this
- *What a Bitch!* Paul thought as he swung the baseball bat. *He's sute cute, I just wanna do him* thought Jenny. Paul smacked the ball with his bat! James grinned and thought to himself what a cute couple Paul and Jenny made. <-- BAD. Very bad. (Bad example too.) Seriously, it is hard to keep track of things if your point of view is forever changing. It's hard to understand. It's confusing. It's just not a good idea. (lhale)
Chat room stories, especially where one character reveals they love another in the story
- I loathe chat room stories. I do. I do. I do. I'm not sure why but I find them stupid, annoying, plotless, written by immature authors who have to stoop to a really stupid plot concept to match two people up. I know that people often let down their guard in chat rooms, but they normally do not say to people they know "I luv u Scully! Marry me!" There are consequences to actions on-line and most authors who have chat room love stories for people who know each other in real life fail to address those issues... As such, it rings as really, incredibly pappy and crappy. It comes off as hard to believe. "I luv u 2 Mulder! I thought u'd never ask!" Arg arg. Beat me now. Most of this type of fan fiction I've read, I've found sucks. There are probably exceptions but they are few and far between. (lhale)
- Guys are guys. Guys are not frilly girly girls. When writing male/male slash, REMEMBER THIS. You are writing about TWO GUYS. Casting a guy into the female role of a heterosexual pairing is not good writing. It does not stay true to the character. It's offensive. If Draco starts carrying a purse and whining about how Harry never listens, ax the story. If males become females, it should be weeded because 99% of the time, this does not work. (lhale)
- Femminisation: Canonically strong, capable characters who suddenly turn into stereotypical teenaged girls. They cry at the drop of a hat, pine away for their lover, and listen to bad country music. Just, no. (layla)
Crossover with two things that don't need to be crossed over and there is no reason why
- Suspension of disbelief. Enough said? It's hard to merge two or more universes while maintaining believable characterizations. It's also hard to maintain what makes one universe that universe. It is harder to believe when the only reason for crossing things over is because sexy male x looks so fine and wouldn't he look finer with sexy male y from this universe? Think of a more credible and believable reason to cross things over. (And because so much crossover fan fiction is utter CRAP, FD.Net doesn't have categories for that shit.) Yeah, some are good but the ones that are have reasons to cross them over. (lhale)
- Plagiarism is bad! PLAGIARISM IS THEFT! PLAGIARISM IS EVIL. On top of that rant, plagiarism isn't cool. It's unoriginal. Authors who have to excessively borrow from others, especially large passages of text from books not clearly citing what those passages are or taking whole scenes out of television shows and changing the names and a few words here and there, are not original. It's uncool. If you are a weeder and you think some one is plagiarizing, e-mail me at lhale and let me know because FD.Net has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to plagiarism. Plagiarism is unoriginal and not very ethical. It makes for piss poor writing. (lhale)
Excessive crying by characters that have NEVER cried in canon
- You know... Crying is something that is usually intensely personal. If it isn't done in canon, it makes believability of crying hard to deal with especially when it is a person who holds themselves in and who is constantly weeping in your story. It begings to feel terribly out of character. Writing out of character is not cool. (lhale)
Forcing characters to listen to/enjoy whatever music and tv the writer is obsessed with
- Each universe has its own time, place, setting. When writing fan fiction, authors should be as true to that universe as possible. By forcing characters to listen to/enjoy music that is not native to that universe, you're taking away the suspension of disbelief, something which I consider really bad. If you're writing a piece of fan fiction for a universe set 300 years in the future of our time line and have the characters listening to *N Sync, well golly, how believable is that? There is music that is enduring and all powerful that will probably transcend the boundaries of time but for the life of me, I don't think (hope to God) that it isn't *N Sync and that it is so well known and proliferated into that universe that characters would have easy access to it. (Or, there is a way to make this work but most authors don't bother.) If you NEED to have a song, choose something that has lasted for over 100 years currently or write your own song and lyrics. Most of the time, current songs the author likes also have limited appeal. I've never heard of half the rubbish that people have as songs their characters listen to. That makes identifying with the story harder. Anyway, that's my peeve with this problem. (lhale)
Homophobic ranting in the middle of a story for no reason relating to the story
- This type of stuff is often pointless and adds nothing to the plot. Further more, it's inflammatory and offensive. It's bad. Ugg... what more can I say? (lhale)
- HTML abuse is the excessive use of html, using html that makes a story hardly readable, or using dangerous html that adversely affects the operations of other people's computers or the site. The latter is grounds for being kicked off FD.Net so if you are a weeder, please e-mail me at lhale and let me know because FD.Net has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this type of abuse. If a story is hard to read because of html, no matter how good the story is, ugg... remove it. Formatting is a big part of what makes a story readable and it the formatting is bad... then the well, the story is bad and unreadable. It's also annoying as hell to say, try to read a story in <h1> or <h6> or with a <blink> tag on... VERY ANNOYING. (lhale)
Hymen obsession, annoyingly long focus on loosing virginity, ridiculous situation of losing virginity
- Did you know that you can loose your "virginity" while riding a horse, IE your hymen breaks? The hymen breaking isn't always as big of a deal as people make it and even if it exists, it's like one second and done in the vast majority of cases. Focusing ungrossly on the hymen, as a result, often makes the story unbelievable, has your story reading like a "How to Have Sex" guide, or really bad p0rn. Ridiculous situations to loose your virginity are just as bad. If it really is that big of a deal, address it but don't obsess over it to the point of having vast chunks of the story about it. Most of the time these ridiculous situations are also out of character. Just pass since most of these stories suck. (lhale)
Ignores canon with out logical reason
- B'Elanna is half Klingon, half human, she should STAY SO unless you have a logical reason for her to be something else and this logic is explained in the story or brief introductory notes. Fred and George Weasley are into having fun, causing trouble and want to open a tricks shop. They shouldn't be quiet and avid studiers who spend their days playing Wizard Chess unless there is a logical reason for them to be so. Ignoring canon makes for poor characterizations. Avoid it unless you can adequately explain why in the story. (lhale)
- There are some subjects which tend to be intentionally inflammatory. Yes, knowingly, FanDomination.Net has some material that some people would consider inflammatory but we're talking about going beyond this into new ranges of inflammatory. Slash isn't inflammatory. Having say Buffy shoot down and kill all the fags and queers would be inflammatory. It's not canon, or anywhere near canon. It's totally out of character and *shudder*. This type of stuff just isn't tolerated. If you have questions about a story that you think might be intentionally inflammatory, contact me on AIM at h2oequalswater or -mail me at lhale and let me know about it so we can together figure it out. (lhale)
- One phrase: Suspension of Disbelief. Impossible sexual situations are hard to impossible to believe. This makes for really horrid reading and feels like some one is grating their finger nails across the chalkboard in a form of masochistic pleasure only where you're not getting pleased. Ug. Ug. Ug. Weed that crap. If though, there is some logical reason for it like Jedi ability to not need lube, hey, that's cool... just you know if possible explain why in a way that doesn't distract from the story. (lhale)
- Sex is fun. Anal sex can be fun when it's done correctly. If it's done without lube, preperation, etc... it's going to hurt. Pleasure there is impossible. Fisting is not possible with a character laying on their back, no matter if it's male or female. The body just isn't shaped that way. Penises that are impossible lenghs (12"!) in general, or a character pumping out gallons of semen/cum, etc. These things come across as just plain icky, not to mention being physically impossible, and ruin an otherwise good story. (kat)
Improbable pairings not explained
- If you think Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy are soul mates and destined to be together, make sure the story hints at WHY you feel this way. Just because you love two characters or think they are hot, doesn't justify a pairing. Look for reasons within canon. If you don't explain, your characterizations will likely be shitty. If you do explain, it's easier to be believe. (lhale)
- Improbable pairings are pairings that have no basis in canon, or in real life if it's RPS. The characters never talk or aren't even in the same universe and are given no reasons why they suddenly talk or why they are suddenly in the same universe. It makes no sense. Crossovers and improbable pairings can be done well but have to be explained with something other than reasons like "They are soul mates." (kat)
Lack of Disclaimer
- FanDomination.Net requires disclaimers. Lack them, weed the story. This covers out butt and covers the author's butt. (lhale)
- Disclaimers are required, no matter what category the fanfic is in. Disclaimers say something along the lines of "Don't own it" for fictional works and "Didn't happen" for RPS. (kat)
- Yo soy muy intelligento pero you hablo englais. Yo hablo espanol un poco. Cuando yo leo los libros, yo necisito a leer los libros en englais. Do you understand any of that? Sentences like that randomly appearing in fics doesn't work really well because with out context (and a lot of stories abusing language absent context). It confuses the reader. On top of that, most writers don't understand fluently enough to use the right word. This tends to upset people who are natives of that language. (lhale)
Male semen and female ejaculation being described in terms of buckets
- "He ejaculated buckets," Laura said to her friend, Allison. "Oh?" "Yes, I measured it out. He ejaculated about two gallons." "Wow," Allison said, sitting back in total awe. Seriously though, writers who use the term bucket probably don't understand what image that is called forth when people say buckets. I personally think of 5 gallon buckets in which I buy joint compound. If some one is ejaculating buckets, I think they probably ejaculated at least two five gallon buckets. This is so ridiculous sounding, it isn't even laughable. It's great to use images to convey ideas and thoughts but describe semen in terms of buckets is just not the right image EVER for that. If this is one of the few small problems, then don't weed it. If this is symptomatic of larger problems, let this one help lead you in your decision to weed. (lhale)
Measurements of sexual parts in the middle of sex scenes
- "His penis was about seven inches long, maybe two thick." And my tolerance for hearing how large someone is in the middle of a sex scene is about zero. I have an imagination, I can use it. "Large" "Medium-sized" and other words are much better than numbers, if you're that inclined to telling me how big he is. (kat)
- "LOL! That's so funny!" Tom yelled. "ROFL! I know!" Susy replied. Oh, wow... I feel a shiver, the IQ in the room just dropped. Weed this. (kat)
Rabid abuse of Japanese honorific
- Language abuse takes many forms. One of the most annoying is honorific abuse found in fics from anime. Reader-sama, aren't you annoyed when author-sama uses honorifics for Ash-chan because author-chan finds this oh so cute when reader-san knows this is annoying and when reader-sama wants to throttle author-chan because reader-san gets lost in the chans, sans, samas and the character-samas don't canoncially use chans, sans, samas that much? I do to. If it gets abused too much, it can seriously detract from the story. Weed it. (lhale)
Rape used as a tool to hook up two people
"Has anyone read Fandomination.net's weeding guidelines for stories? Part of me thinks that it's an interesting concept but I can't see how on earth it's going to work in practice. Basically, Fandomination.net is intending to operate a quality control policy on the fics that are archived there which, as it is an open submission archive, will involve nominated 'weeders' going through posted stories and ensuring that they meet these criteria. Now this is not a rant about Fandomination.net or a go at their policies, just a musing about this type of effort generally.
I looked at the criteria they have and found myself nodding knowledgeably, but then caught myself and wondered whether it was a good idea at all. The problem, as I see it, is that any determination of 'quality' is necessarily subjective, and just because the subjective criteria or measures of quality drawn together by the Fandomination.net staff tallies with my particular fanfiction prejudices does not mean that it's the only valid interpretation out there, or that applying them across the board is a good thing.
It doesn't help, of course, that the terms of service, these very weeding guidelines and much of the administrative information across the site is riddled with typos, confused homonyms and poor grammar. (Okay - so that's a little bit of a dig, but I for one would take their efforts in quality control more seriously if someone had actually beta'd the site never mind the stories.)
The problem, to my mind, is that the weeding guidelines are made even more subjective as the caveat 'unless it's good' has been added to so many of the 'badfic' indicators. For example, mpreg is not allowed to be archived, because so much mpreg is very badly written. Well, I'd agree with that - in fact the only mpreg fic I came across in the Stargate fandom had me running screaming from Area52 three years ago and not coming back for two. I loathe that whole series with a passion, with its travesty of a Weepy!Maternal Daniel and Asshole!Only Wants Baby When It's Gone! Jack, but others love it. Maybe it's just their kink, and if it's your kink does quality come into it at all?
However, it's allowed if it's 'good'. But what constitutes a 'good' mpreg fic? Is there such a beast? I have my doubts, but then I remember there was some Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon mpreg fic which, while I wouldn't seek out or even read again, didn't leave me wanting to put my boot through my monitor and then gouge my eyes out. And if there is, how would a weeder spot it if they're coming to the whole process with the ingrained response of 'all mpreg is badfic'?......
.... I've even written songfic once - Blue Moon in the New Pros fandom and, strangely enough for someone who twitches as badly as I go when those dreaded words are mentioned, I think it's one of the stories I'm happiest with......So, if I decided to archive Blue Moon on Fandomination.net, in my ever ongoing pimpage of New Pros as a fandom ::g::, will it be given the benefit of the doubt, or will it be summarily removed because it is that dreaded beastie? In short, will human nature kick in again?
What I also find interesting, in addition to all of these 'this genre is riddled with badfic so stories will only be accepted if they meet this vague definition of 'good, is the genres that are missing, and again I can see my own prejudices reflected back to me.
.....there are probably as many bad BDSM stories out there as there are bad songfics, so why isn't this included in the list of indicators of badfic with an 'only if it's good' caveat? It's not mentioned at all and yet, to my mind, even if I'm willing to suspend disbelief more because of the kink factor ..... there are an awful lot of BDSM stories that suffer from poor characterisation or explanation of how the parties involved ended up in this type of relationship, or why they feel the need for pain/to cause pain in a sexual sense.
Hurt comfort - bloody brilliant when it's done well (Pough, Poss), painfully bad when it's not (DawnC's Suicidium comes to mind, which started off promisingly enough then descended into 'how many ways can we hurt Danny today?'). Angst... good angst comes from genuine situations and genuine fears and emotions, not manufactured conflict (someone should have told M&M that). Again, not a sausage, unless they're covered by the whole 'badfic' category, with veers into 'poor characterisation' and other sundry assorted no nos.
So, while I look at the weeding policies, and even as I'm nodding, there's part of me that is sitting there wondering if the whole process is going to be inexorably flawed from the start, whether good intentions are going to come to naught while people descend into wrangling about what's 'good' versus what's not. Of course, at the end of the day it's their server, paid for by them and those who've chosen to support them (including me), and they have the right to impose whatever quality controls they like. It's just that another part of me, the one Cole categorises as 'bleeding heart liberal' ::g::, wonders whether there shouldn't be room in the sandbox for everyone, since no one is forced to read anything.And then I remember why I avoided Fanfiction.net like the plague (put off simply because of the sheer amount of dreck on there), and wonder if at least an attempt at quality control isn't a good thing, even if it fails."
"It's the very old debate about what makes a story good, and is everything subjective? I do have myself some pretty strong standards concerning fics, and sometimes I am tempted to talk like *this* and *that* makes a good fic or a bad fic, but with thoughts, it's a very dangerous ground. I think maybe the problem with such an archive is that the standards they want are shown as what *is* good fic. I think this attitude is a bit annoying, and I am not sure I would go to such an archive for that reason. I mean, saying that for you those are good fics and you just want to put that kind of story up would be less twitchy I think.. it's like a rec list. Do you blame someone for writing a rec list based on his/her strict standards? You read the rec if you have the same tastes as the writer and you don't if you don't agree. I think it could be interesting to form a community of people that have written detailed recs, and link them all together. The person could write briefly on their rec page the basic standards of what makes for him/her a good story. This way, people would know the thing right away and it could be an interesting way of finding good fics."
I could understand if they were running a traditional archive, where the archivist handpicked stories from various fandoms which met their definition of 'quality' but to let any Tom, Dick or Harriet upload what they like, and then have 'weeders' come along and remove stuff afterwards seems to me a completely ineffective way of ensuring quality, and because there will have to be a number of weeders (as the archive grows) you will have many different definitions of 'quality'. And, as I said, the guidelines for weeders I think are rather vague and not particularly helpful.I just think the whole exercise is doomed to fail from the start, personally. And it's likely to cause a lot of upset too. It's one thing not to be invited to have your stories included in an archive. It's another thing entirely for someone to come along, decide that what you've already uploaded isn't good enough and remove it. It's akin to public humiliation apart from anything else and I strongly suspect that those people most likely to get caught up in this are going to be largely young." 
"There definitely seems to be a growing trend for internet archives to stamp down on which stories are accepted.
I can understand why archives want more control over what they accept (improves their rep and gives them an excuse not to host crap fic) and I can also understand that the owners of the archives have personal preference (as evidenced by the NC17 debacle on the other large fanfic archive). What annoys me is when they promote themselves as an open archive when obviously they are not. Why not just put a huge disclaimer saying they reserve the right to refuse stories? All this analysing and explaining down to the Nth degree is asking for trouble - at the end of the day it's their archive and they will only post what they agree with. Justifying 'weeding' is daft - one person's weed is another person's Orchid :)It would kind of be nice to know that there are archives out there that have certain standards of writing and storytelling (contradiction moment coming up :)). But that would shut out the 'bad' (according to the archivist) fic. And bad writer doesn't just mean a person with bad taste or a 'I don't care about my writing' attitude. It could also mean a new writer - we are after all enthusiastic amateurs *vbg* And I know I would be gutted if I submitted something and it got chucked out. I must admit I can see why people set up archives for their own stuff..."
"Why not just put a huge disclaimer saying they reserve the right to refuse stories? All this analysing and explaining down to the Nth degree is asking for trouble - at the end of the day it's their archive and they will only post what they agree with. Justifying 'weeding' is daft - one person's weed is another person's Orchid .
I suspect it's because they're an automatic archive. Anyone can come along and upload stories to their server. The only way they can clamp down on what stays there is by removing something once it has been uploaded - something I think is doomed to failure and will lead to acrimony. As I said to [live journal user profile] LEREFUGE above and as you've mentioned, it's one thing not to be asked if you want your fic archived on an archive that cherry picks stories and only hosts 'the best'; it's another thing entirely to have your stories removed from a public archive for not meeting these rather vague 'quality' indicators. And as the archive grows, and there are different weeders, the definition of what is 'quality' is bound to vary.
I think, to be frank, it would have been better for them to have taken a hard line and stuck to it; no mpreg, no songfic, no author insertion (although Mary Sues are more difficult - what one person sees as an obvious Mary Sue another sees as just an OFC). As it is, these vague 'unless it's good' caveats don't help, IMHO.
And those weeding criteria aren't exactly easy to find either. I got the link from their forums. How many people will venture into there unless they are insatiably curious (me ::g::) or simply have a problem with using the system?Like I said - I think the whole thing is doomed to failure, and probably a lot of acrimony too unfortunately. I don't think it is possible to have an open archive like that and have quality criteria. I, personally, think the two are pretty much mutually exclusive. I mean, how many of the 'bad' writers (i.e the ones you and I would run screaming from ::g::) will actually look objectively at their work and think 'this isn't good enough'? If they thought that they probably wouldn't be posting it in the first place... I would hope :)
- from Design and Implementation of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: FanDomination.Net; WebCite
- from Design and Implementation of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: FanDomination.Net; WebCite
- from Design and Implementation of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: FanDomination.Net; WebCite
- alyse, Archived version
- comment in alyse, Archived version
- comment in alyse, Archived version
- comment in alyse, Archived version
- comment in alyse, Archived version