Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Azurelunatic

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Azurelunatic
Interviewer: Lisa Cronin
Interviewee: Azurelunatic
Date(s): July 3, 2012
Medium: audio, print transcript
Fandom(s):
External Links: Fiction Oral History Project with Azurelunatic
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Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Azurelunatic was conducted in 2012 by Lisa Cronin and archived at the University of Iowa Libraries.

This interview's medium is audio (length: 1:36:51), and it has a written 31-page transcript.

It was part of the series: Fan Fiction Oral History Project also referred to as "a Fiction and Internet Memory Research Project," "the Fiction and Internet Memory Program," and "Fan Fiction and Internet Memory."

The interviews conducted for this project were used for the book by Abigail De Kosnik called Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom.

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts

At age approximately thirteen, I actually did not differentiate between the original series and Next Generation. I just failed notice that there were two Captains of the Enterprise.
I think my first fandom that I actually sought out fic on my own in the X-Files. I ... I—. I'm not sure exactly how I got into seeking out fic for it, but I discovered Gossamer pretty early, and I was all over that. And having discovered Gossamer, I didn't really need to look anywhere else, because there's all the fic, there.
I learned how to code HTML from looking at the pre-assembled template pages in the raw mode. And then saying, Okay, let's do this, and diddling around like my Dad taught me. He taught me about reusable code. And, ta-dah, HTML. Then, after that, I cross-posted between my Angelfire site and LiveJournal, then LiveJournal only. The Archive of Our Own was coming out around the same time as Dreamwidth was. For a while ... I'm not sure if I actually wrote anything at the time when I cross-posting between LiveJournal and Dreamwidth. And then, these days, almost all on Archive of Our Own. However, because ... Various things have me wondering if, if ... I mean, there definitely needs to be a fiction archive that, like, lasts forever. And recent stuff ... [snipped] I'm not sure if it will be. So, I'm starting to become reluctant to have it there and nowhere else. I need to make sure everything I have is backed up on Dreamwidth.
Very fraught. This isn't the sort of thing where, um ... Non-fannish computer professionals are looking at that and going, "Shit, son; you've got scaling issues." And it's the sort of thing where they probably need some seriously heavily technically experienced people who know from scaling issues to take a look at their shit. And say, "Okay, scaling issues here, here, here." They ... They may well learn the hard way, like LiveJournal did. I know Dreamwidth benefits from Mark and Denise and Andrea having learned as LiveJournal aids, albeit by mistakes. And from ... Assuming LiveJournal is still viable, assuming LiveJournal is still viable you can't have those sorts of issues and ultimately survive. But right now, it's got scaling issues and the ... I actually wrote (laughs) ... When LiveJournal was having serious internal issues, I wrote a poem that appeared on the sidebar of my journal for a while about ... likening watching my manager and all her little twitches that might indicate that LiveJournal was doing something horrible, to a coffee cup canary, watching her like a seismometer. And, the twitches coming out of various Archive of Our Own volunteers and staff are worrying me in the same way that my manager's tic worried me about LiveJournal.

A lot of times I find myself seeing links pass by on Twitter and knowing [unintelligible] Twitter from my phone. It's like, "Oh, I should make time to read that." So I've set up a complicated scenario involving Twitter; a little, fantastic service called If This Then That; Pinboard; the service formerly known as Read it Later, now called Get Pocket; and Archive of Our Own; Calibre; and the Nook. So, somebody tweets a links to a piece of fic. I add it as a favorite on Twitter. If This Then That detects that I'm adding it as a favorite, grabs the link, stuffs it in Pinboard as a "to read" link. And I also have it hooked up to Pocket; that they get a Pocket "read it later" tag. Then I go through my Pocket page searching for Archive of Our Own links—so I've got a whole page full—I open those in tabs. I click the "Download as EPUB" on tab after tab—it goes straight into my downloads folder, I close out the tab. Then I point Calibre at the downloads folder. Calibre side-loads it onto Bitbucket. (laughs) ...

The sticking point is actually, once I'm done with it I don't have a really good flow for going back, checking it off, and leaving feedback, and converting my private Pinboard bookmark into a public rec that will feed into Twitter. And it's important to me to feed stuff into Twitter, because my Twitter is archived to my journal.
I think that the person with maybe one of the longest shadows [on Dreamwidth] besides Rah herself and Mark is Andrea. Dre. Exor764. She does a lot of shit behind the scenes. Doesn't get much public attention for it, but Dreamwidth has a massive amount of code debt, and she is one of the people pulling us out of that. So, yeah. Dre is awesome. Dre does a lot of shit.

Once upon a time, there was a little site called LiveJournal. Then some fuckwits discovered that there was smut on LiveJournal. The smut was the sort that was not, kind of, marked publicly. But these ... I'm pretty sure that they were not actually pearl-clutching, panty-twisted, little old mothers in [unintelligible] or whatever the fuck. I'm pretty sure that it's—. It was a storm of trolls, and I'm pretty sure I know which ones. But, either way, some douche bags were complaining to LiveJournal that, oh, my God, there's sex on LiveJournal....

And the usual first place to complain there is the Abuse Team—and our Denise, in charge of the Abuse Team at that time. And I'm pretty sure they were probably ignoring the shit out of it, having evaluated it seriously and confirming that there was no shady shit going on, and proceeding as normal. Then, I'm pretty sure what happened next was, that unspeakable twitface, someone must have complained in his ear, because then, from what I understand—I was never part of the Abuse Team, but I was in the seismometer range of a lot of them—this ... To call him an idiot? That actually insults real people with cognitive disabilities. There's no excuse for his level of head-up-his-assery. He decides that LiveJournal was going to crack down and make an example. Fandom, that word's on that; fandom, that word. I'm like, What the shit? Because the messages going around were totally against every precedent that the Abuse Prevention Team had set. They were just the plain Abuse Team before that; the "Prevention" came after, in some sort of attempt to protect their image. But word started going around that some shit was going around. Fannish people started purging their interest lists, because there was word that it was based on certain interests on interest lists. Certain fannish, pornographic, and kind of dubious interests like twincest, chan, stuff like that. People started hiding. A lot of people managed to get hidden before the smack went down. He was advised. He was advised more than once. He was advised thoroughly that this was a bad call, and not to do it. The son of a bitch did it anyway. And suspended a fuck ton—well, a relative fuck ton, like 500-odd journals who had no evidence of wrong doing except [unintelligible] in their interest list as reported by whatever panty-wadded ass trolls that were doing this. Fandom went berserk. My friend Az the Elder—I'm Az the Younger, she's Az the Elder, we met in Bujold fandom—My friend Az the Elder says, "What is this shit?" She's a Slytherin. She goes straight to the top, to the fucking CEO, Barak fucking Berkowitz, and says, "What is this shit? You just suspended a bunch of role-playing journals, you complete idiot." Well, she was being more polite than that. She thought that he genuinely had no knowledge of this clusterfuck. So she bearded him in his own off-LiveJournal blog—you don't have an off-LiveJournal blog if you want to be taken seriously by LiveJournal, you idiot. His journal, to this day, is never used...

[much, much snipped on this topic]
I think that the people involved in fandom are in the process of growing up and figuring out exactly what programs and services work for them. And finding stuff that's uniquely suited to them. In some cases, it is still LiveJournal, it's Dreamwidth. But people are saying, "Okay, I need [unintelligible]," instead of, you know, "What is the only game in town?", "What do I prefer of these options?" And they're making a mature and educated choice, and it—. A lot of the communities that formed over fandoms that started out on LiveJournal have moved on from the fandom since, you know, the show is over, the book is ten years in the past, the movie is from '95, whatever. People found different interests and created communities in the places where they happened to be. Like, I started out on LiveJournal, I wander over to Dreamwidth, I post my fic on AO3 or somewhere where people are posting, make friends there. I still have a core of, a lot of my fish are still on LiveJournal. That's where they started out and that's where they have their home, their home base. Even thought they're all over Tumblr and Twitter, when they go to talk out their actual lives, they go back to LiveJournal. And since I'm friends with them, in addition to we share a fandom, our friendship community is still on LiveJournal even though the shared fannish stuff is a lot on Twitter, still. Twitter, AO3 ... Twitter's like the hub out of which all the activity happens. It's like the friends page. People say, "Okay, I'll link to my fic on Twitter and everybody will read it there." It doesn't matter whether I have it on Archive of Our Own or on Dreamwidth, everybody who matters is on Twitter and will see it if I post a link there, no matter where I have that link.

References