Geek Feminism Interview with Francesca Coppa

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Geek Feminism Interview with Francesca Coppa
Interviewer: Geek Feminism
Interviewee: Francesca Coppa
Date(s): posted September 23, 2009
Medium: online
External Links: Geek Feminism interviews the OTW’s Francesca Coppa, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.


A 2009 interview with Francesca Coppa was conducted by and posted to the website "Geek Feminism."

Some topics covered: the mission of Organization for Transformative Works, the Geocities Rescue Project, Gift Culture and women, vidding, Fanlore, Archive of Our Own, and her four favorite vids.

Some Excerpts

I do think that one thing we’re seeing is the strengthening of the “Old Girl Network” of female fandom, where skills learned or demonstrated in fandom are recognized as valid in the marketplace, and female fans are helping other female fans capitalize on them. There’s always been some of this, particularly in creative areas–fan writers going pro, for instance–but now I think we’re seeing fans bringing their fannish expertise into video editing, graphic design and photoshop work, software coding, webdesign and webmastering, systems administration, etc. I’ve been particularly proud of this in OTW: we’ve seen women use the skills they’ve learned or strengthened in OTW to get a better job, apply to school, or seek a promotion. For some, fandom’s moving from “dirty little secret” to “a set of marketable skills”–and perhaps even more interesting is that there’s much less of a sense that you have to choose one over the other. Increasingly, female fans have no problem being in both worlds: writing novels for profit and fan fiction for fun, or being a professional sysadmin and designing and maintaining fan sites at home.
Now, Fanlore is a different story altogether, because it’s a wiki. Wikis have a particular culture and frankly tend to attract a particular type: those willing to take a stand and say, “I think this is important!” You also have to be willing to be challenged and rewritten by other users, and that’s hard–I mean, in fandom, some people don’t even want to get their stories betaed, or prefer posting to LJ because its “their space” and they can’t be challenged. In point of fact, Fanlore is much much friendlier and more accepting and less confrontational than most wikis, which can be notoriously hostile places. We have a specific Plural Point of View philosophy and not just accept–but actively seek out–multiple viewpoints in all things. That being said, it’s no surprise that many of the people who have been most active on Fanlore thus far are older, more established fans interested in documenting fannish history... Fandoms that have been around for a while (say, The Professionals) have much longer pages than currently active fandoms like American Idol or Final Fantasy or Death Note. And then there’s the Harry Potter problem, where a fandom’s so ginormous that people don’t even know where to start! Anyway, it’s hard, no question, to get people to overcome these challenges, and even harder in today’s decentralized fannish world to know how best to encourage them to so: you don’t want to seem to be spamming lists or communities with “Come to Fanlore! Tell us about your fandom!” The best way for things to spread is through real and genuine enthusiasm: individuals can take their commitment to Fanlore where the OTW can’t go. What we’ve tried to do is create a stable, useful, not-for-profit site where the documentation of fans and fanac is actively valued, and where fans wiki-work will be preserved and made available to all as a resource.