Freedom City (mailing list)

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Mailing List
Name: Freedom City (FC)
Date(s): 1999–2015
Moderated:
Moderators/List Maintainers: Tiger M (1999–2002), Meg (2002–3) & others; Robert B. (on the technical side)
Founder(s): Tiger M
Type:
Fandom: Blake's 7
URL: FAQ @Hermit.org
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Freedom City is a slash and adult-friendly Blake's 7 discussion & fanfiction mailing list, founded in 1999 as the successor to the Space City list and initially moderated by Tiger M. The two lists are often mentioned interchangeably, even though they were founded and moderated by separate people. Freedom City was most active between its foundation and the early-to-mid 2000s, when discussion started to drift towards livejournal. After several years of limited activity, the list appears to be offline as of September 2015.

Like Space City, it ran in parallel to Lysator (the Lyst) and many people were members of both. Though there were few rules on content, fanfiction was rarely posted to the Lyst, while Freedom City attracted fanfiction of all types. Some of the fiction, especially that posted for the annual birthday parties, was republished in the Tales from Space City zine series, which remained under the original title.

Name

Like Space City, the name of the mailing list came from the episode 'Gambit':

VILA: They say it's wide open.
AVON: What is?
VILA: Freedom City.
AVON: So I've heard. Wide, wide open.
VILA: Got everything a man ever dreams of, they say.
AVON: Space City pales by comparison, they say.

The first piece of fiction posted to Freedom City, 'Some scribbling' by Jenni-Alison, envisages cast members teleporting into Freedom City; Tarrant comments "You know, Avon, this place doesn't look quite as you described it. I think it might be under new ownership." The vignette ends with Avon saying "Well, now. Perhaps there is somewhere we can hide after all."

FAQ & List Culture

Like its predecessor, Freedom City is a forum for the free and open discussion of interpersonal relationships involving characters from Blake's 7. This most certainly includes discussion of sex, both heterosexual and slash. Other topics that branch from these discussions or other topics that might result or have resulted in unwanted friction on the main Blake's 7 list are also welcome. This list is intended as a supplement to the main Blake's 7 list, not a replacement for it.[1]

The FAQ was similar to Space City's except that Freedom City banned archiving and sharing of old messages with new subscribers.[2] In another change from Space City, an annual roll call of members was carried out onlist, and people who failed to respond were unsubscribed. According to the FAQ: In many ways, Freedom City is analogous to a private party. People may come and go freely, but I do think those conversing in the room have the right to know who is here "listening."[3] Unlike Virgule-L, the mailing list's existence was not secret, although members were warned to limit their discussions of the list to one on one recruiting:

"In order to avoid attracting people who are only interested in smut rather than B7, Freedom City is not advertised or promoted to the general public, including on Internet newsgroups. Doing so will result in the offender's removal from the list.

The only published guideposts to it are on Calle's Lysator site and Judith Proctor's website, both specifically B7 sources of information. It is also OK to mention Freedom City in posts to the main list on Lysator or the spin list.

However, the list is not "secret." You are welcome, encouraged even, to recruit B7 fannish friends that you think would fit in, and may freely forward copies of this FAQ to them."[4]

MeeDee commented in 2013 that many of these restrictions seem antiquated and cliquish in today's fandom culture. And, even though the list FAQ was last revised in 2008, there seems to have been little impetus to adapt to the more open fan culture.[5] Espresso Addict responded that one reason for the restrictions was that many people were subbed under their real names, as the list started before pseud e-mail accounts were widespread. Despite, or perhaps because of, these restrictions, Espresso Addict recalls that participants who found their way to Freedom City tended to find it a relaxed and welcoming culture, where everything went and there were few if any flamewars.

Moderators

Tiger M served as the first moderator, and was succeeded by Meg in around 2002. By mid 2003, moderatorship had been formalised; there were two moderators who each served a one-year term, with one starting in June and the other in December.[6] Subsequent moderators include Anna, Harriet, Sally Manton, Hafren, Leia Fee, Hawkeye, Lindy Lou Joyce and others. Robert B. handled the technical side.

Events

  • Labor Day Party, a themed fiction party held annually in September
  • Wake for the 20th anniversary of the massacre on Gauda Prime, held in December 2001; some stories were republished in Tales from Space City 5
  • Offlist room parties for Freedom City members were sometimes held at conventions, including Eclecticon 1999 and several Redemptions.

Reviews & Memories

Feng shui house recalls both SC & FC in 2015:

A lot of the time 'Tales from Space City' was composed of fic from our once a year birthday party (the mailing list began on Labor Day- the US holiday) and we used to make suggestions for themes and vote on them, and then many of us tried to write fic inspired by the theme.

It was never easy to find SC. As I recall, I was directed to it by a fan I corresponded with by snail mail but couldn't join at first because I had no internet capable computer! I think the only place you could find the directions to sign up was at Hermit, and even that wasn't obvious.

It was deliberately made unlikely to be found by anyone other than serious B7 fans because the more experienced ones of us feared an influx of non-fans just looking for porn. Space City (which later was renamed Freedom City, although the zines created from Freedom City days kept the Space City name) was an offshoot of a general B7 mailing list (which I never was a member) created after frequent flareups of intense disagreement on the general B7 mailing list over acceptable content.

FC's main rule was 'play nice' and 'anything goes'. I don't recall there ever being a true flame war. Sometimes there would be a brief scuffle of difference of opinion, but we never had any trolls.

It was a lot of fun. :^)...

The rule on SC/FC was/is that you could save a copy of anything you read while you were an active member, but you couldn't share them with anyone who wasn't on the mailing list at the time without express permission from the author.

Privacy and security was very important to some of our members for all sorts of reasons. Family and Work were probably the most common, but fear of being Flamed was up there, too.

I don't think anyone refused to allow their material to be in the zines, though, so most, if not all, of the Party Pieces got printed. I thought at one time the editor was going to PDF the zines and put them on line, but maybe that was just a rumor I heard.

A lot of the non-published stuff on FC was just chatting and free-wheeling zaniness, though. Great fun, but not really suitable for archiving as fic. [7]

References

  1. Freedom City FAQ
  2. "To protect both the privacy of the members and their individual copyrights, there is no public archive of the Freedom City messages. Authors are free to make their stories available in any manner they choose, such as submitting them to zines or public web sites or putting them on their own web pages. However, some members do keep private archives on their own computers. Many members keep copies of just the stories they particularly liked so they can reread them later, other members have backlogs of messages they haven't yet read and deleted, and at least one member keeps a full archive of every message she receives. Everyone who keeps list material archived is required to make every effort to protect it from being passed to anyone who is not "entitled" to read it, that is, to a person who would not have received it already in the normal course of events. [snipped] On the other hand, membership is not "retroactive". New members are not entitled to read messages/stories that were posted before they joined FC. If a new member learns of a story s/he wants to read -- for example, someone praises the story in a message or a sequel to it is posted -- the new member should write to the author of the story and ask. It is then up to the author either to say no or to make it available. The author can do this by any means s/he chooses, for example: mailing a copy to the new member, providing a pointer to a zine or website URL, or possibly giving on-list permission for someone with an archived copy to send it to the new member." from Freedom City FAQ; WebCite
  3. Freedom City FAQ (Version 2, 2nd June 2000) (accessed 21 September 2015)
  4. Freedom City FAQ
  5. "This FAQ was originally written by Susan Beth for Space City. It was later revised by Tiger M for Freedom City. Still later it was revised by Meg. It was revised again in 2003 by Susan Beth, Anna and Harriet, and again in 2008 by Harriet and Nico. It will no doubt be revised many times in the future as new topics arise and new List Admins take over. It's alive! ;-)"Freedom City FAQ
  6. Freedom City FAQ (Version 3.2, May 27, 2003) (accessed 21 September 2015)
  7. comments by feng shui house July 16/19, 2015 at Aralias' Dreamwidth journal, Archived version