|If exposing someone's identity, you should be able to demonstrate you have authority or permission to do so.
We know and understand that many fans are very careful to keep their pseudonymous fan identity(ies) separate from their real names, for a variety of reasons. We do not intend for Fanlore to become a vehicle for unwanted outings, which might cause personal or professional embarrassment, or even real physical danger.
This is why:
- Our default assumption is that identity exposure is unwanted. If we discover that someone's identity has been exposed, the page will be reverted, and the history removed. However, should you wish to make a connection between your fannish and real-life identities, you may do so by:
- Linking to evidence that the person concerned is not bothered by a connection being made between identities. Good evidence would be a statement made by them, on an account which they control.
- We reserve the right to treat exposure as malicious, and ban users who expose the identity of others.
Identity Protection in General
This policy is intended to protect fans whose need for pseudonymity has changed, in addition to fans who have never publicly associated their fan name with their legal name. If you had previously used your full legal name in fandom or made a public connection between your legal name and fan name, but for whatever reason you need to lower your online profile, the Fanlore committee can help you do so. This policy is also designed to allow fans to separate any fannish pseudonyms that they do not want linked, even if the pseudonyms in question do not contain the fan's legal name.
Sexually Explicit Fanworks and Identity Protection
In some cases, a fan who may be otherwise comfortable with the association between their legal name and their fan activities may feel the need to draw a veil between their legal name and their fanworks — for instance, a fan who created sexually explicit fanworks under their legal name and who is now concerned about the accessibility of those fanworks online. Fans can also separate a fannish pseudonym used for NSFW content from other, non-NSFW pseudonyms; this includes instances where the pseudonyms do not contain the fan's legal name.
If you fit into this category, contact the Fanlore committee; we can help you separate your sexually explicit material from your legal name or non-NSFW pseudonym, either through editing the pages which describe your fanworks so that they reflect either your first name and last initial, your initials, or a different pseudonym/other placeholder, or through “orphaning” the fanworks so that they remain on the wiki anonymously.
See also our Image Policy.
Separating Fannish Pseudonyms
If a fan's two different fannish identities are linked together on Fanlore, and the fan does not want the identities associated with each other, the Fanlore Committee can help to remove these links where they appear together on Fanlore. For example, if a fan has a separate identity that they use to create mature or dark content, and they don't want this associated with their main fannish identity, we can remove the link to the dark content identity from the fan page of the main identity.
Fanlore Policy & Admin may delay in carrying out, or query, a request of this nature if: the fan has publicly linked their fannish identities; or the fan has not made any attempt to remove existing links between their fannish identities in spaces that they control (e.g. social media account, a personal blog).
Pre-2000 Fan Name Use
In the days prior to the Internet, some fans who wrote in zines (or contributed to other fanworks) used their real names as opposed to a fan name. The expectation at that time was that fanworks would remain within the fairly closed community of fandom, and it would have been difficult to imagine that 20 or 30 years later, everything a fan ever did would be searchable on the Internet by anyone, anywhere in the world.
In the interests of protecting fan identity and to prevent unwanted outings, we encourage any fan who was active in fandom prior to the year 2000 to contact the Fanlore committee if they are worried about their full name being used on Fanlore. We can act to replace that name with a pseudonym, with a first name and last initial, with initials or with another substitute if it is present on Fanlore, and if it is not, ensure that it is redacted should it appear at a later date.
Criteria and Procedures for Responding to an Alleged Outing
Minimum criteria for immediate action on grounds of privacy:
- The wiki content in question draws a link, or increases the visibility of a link between their fannish activity, and their personal or professional life. (This link hereafter referred to as "outing".)
- The fan has no recorded history of publicly connecting their real name and fannish activities.
These two criteria should be considered grounds for immediate action.
Criteria which should *not* be used to delay:
- Whether the outing is brought to our attention by the person affected, or a friend.
Rationale: As the wiki expands its historical archives, we will be documenting fans who are deceased. We should take the word of those who knew them and their wishes.
- Whether the link is already on the internet.
Rationale: As the wiki gains fan currency, Google will start giving more and more weight to linkages made on the wiki. A fan whose name was previously only connected on one or two old archived usenet newsgroups or mailing lists might reasonably object to their fanworks suddenly rising in the Google search results.
In cases where there is legitimate doubt that the fan's desires are as represented:
- Remove the outing immediately.
- Attempt to contact the fan through the email address associated with their fanworks, or through other means to confirm that they in fact made the request or that the request is in line with their wishes.
Cases where we may reasonably delay in removing the material:
- If the fan outed themself on the wiki (e.g., edited their name in)
- OR the fan has outed themself in a space they still control, and has not taken steps to remove that outing.
- AND if the request to remove the outing does not come from that fan, or cannot be demonstrated to come from that fan.