Illiterati

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Illiterati is a group of fans at the Australian-based multi-fandom fanfic archive, skyehawke.

screen cap of the Illiterati page on skyehawke, click twice to see larger version

This group was formed in 2005, when Australia passed stricter child exploitation laws which went beyond film and photography and included written text. [1]

In response to these laws, skyehawke revised their terms of service to allow people to challenge fanfic by requesting that the fiction be removed. They created a review board called the "Illiterati to judge the fanfiction and then decide to delete the offender's account and/or ban them from the archive."[citation needed]

The list of banned fiction that the Illiterati would review went beyond child exploitation and included a wide range of objectionable text, including adult non-con fanfiction written to excite the reader sexually, as well as fiction that was deemed inflammatory, prejudiced, sexually violent, indecent, bigoted, and/or exploitative.

The word illiterati means "people who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity." [2]

An Overview of Fan Reactions

One fan took back their complaint about a story named Apricots:

I want to do two things - thank you for the hard and difficult work that you've done, and absolutely for the links and discussion of Australian law. You've alerted me to changes I had no idea had occured. As an Australian, I'm horrified. Second, I wish to withdraw the submission I made to your complaints email addy for Apricots to be a test case for the new TOS. It no longer exists on the net. I'm sure that other submissions will be made to you." [3]

Some fans angrily left the website.

Others deleted their own fic they thought might be troublesome:

There's a few Australian authors who acted immediately on seeing Calvin's post last night. My chan is gone, Mel's is part-gone, and Stella's taken everything off her hard drive. I'm almost done with that. It's just way too big a risk for us![4]

Some fans were grateful for the heads' up:

There has been much discussion of the new Australian laws in comparison to the laws of other countries and there seems to be an agreement that the Australian legislation appears to be extremely strict in comparison. I think that wasn't quite clear to most of us before. Many people seemed to think you (Skyehawke admins) were being paranoid and overreacting, but after reading up on the legal situation I'm almost of a mind to warn you to do preemptive checks or something, just to be on the safe side... [5]

Some expressed appreciation for the work the archive owners were doing:

You're doing a great job. Skyehawke has never struck me as the kind of place where arbitrary changes would be made without any notice, so I'd always been convinced there was a definite legal reason for the TOS kerfuffle. I'm sorry you've been given such a hard time by the fandom about it; hopefully, clarifying the legal position you're working from will allow people to see why it was done.[6]

Some fans were helpful:

I don't actually read chan, but by God! The founders of my country made it possible for me to post it, so I'll see if there's anything I can do to help my Aussie friends! In the meantime, if anyone needs me to store a copy of anything, e-mail me your documents, and I'll store it on a DVD with a fake name on it. I'll code it so that I remember who they belong to, and return all copies when you want them back. You can e-mail it to aliciamasters AT gmail DOT com. I'll delete the e-mail as soon as it's burned.[7]

The Review Board

Excerpt from the 2005 LJ post about why they created their review Board:

The fact was and is that these complaints will not go away - they will keep coming - eventually skyehawke will get hit by various groups asking for the mass removal of [x type of fiction]. This is why the Illiterati were created. They're there to handle the complaints in a fair, open manner that will allow our authors to stand up and defend themselves....."[8]

Two of initial three members of the review were board were copperbadge and verstehen (Idiotparade).

There were concerns that being a member of "Illiterati" was going to be stressful:

As I'm sure at least half of you would understand, the Illiterati would be the first port of call for trolls, flamers and dissastisfied people - the last thing anybody would want is to have all that trolling, flaming and hate-mail be aimed at their inbox. So bear with us as we double-check and make sure that they've given permission for their names to be listed and give them time to set aside a special inbox so they can go on with the rest of their lives rather than having to dig through the flames, the trolls and anything else.[9]
A few fans worried about the appointment of a fan who they felt was opposed to chan fiction.[10] The moderators responded by declaring that
... if there's ever a situation wherein any of the Illiterati are not fulfilling their roles and reading the stories and explaining in an understandable.... the reasons why they voted the way they did .... they can voluntarily step down to be replaced by somebody else or can be asked to step down with full proof that they are abusing their powers (and not doing a proper job is an abuse of power) by the other members of the Illiterati."[11]
And others pointed out that:
The silver lining in this is the introduction of the Illterati, which works, unlike the incredibly black and white keep or drop it process over in ff.net, has three authors, all widely scoping in their works, read over and judge the fic which is in question. I have hope for this because at least i KNOW the authors, one of whom is copperbadge who not only writes slash, chan and sometime-rape fic, but he's a good author, the others who I can't recall at the moment are equally... fair if that's the right word."[12]

Rationale Behind Their Revised Terms

Banned fiction and nonfiction is defined as text that is:

  • inflammatory
  • prejudiced
  • bigoted
  • exploitative
Especially (though not restricted to) where it is or can be justly and reasonably seen to intentionally sexually titillate (while having no ulterior motive beyond sexual titillation) in situations of sexual violence or indecency as defined by this Terms & Conditions (see below).[13]

The first three items pre-dated the creation of the Illiterati. The "exploitation" section was most likely added in response to the 2005 Australia Child exploitation laws, but this was not made clear until after the rules were challenged.[14] Furthermore, the revised terms also went beyond child exploitation and included non-con between adults written to sexually titillate. There was no mention of dub-con, but presumably that fell under the Illiterati's discretion.

The archive explained why they chose to word their banned items broadly:

....If we used racism and sexism rather than 'bigotry' in the "Terms and Conditions" and somebody posted a story that revolved around how old people were stupid and their religion was "tehbestever!" and everybody should convert or "burnineternaltorment!11!" (as some of you might remember from the infamous "Harry Potter Discovers God" posting at fanfiction.net) we'd be unable to bring up formal complaints against that story because it didn't fall under racism or sexism - yet the intent behind what we were trying to say (i.e. no prejudice or bigotry) would still be there. Rather than handle the vast amounts of arguing, we use a broad term. However, because we wanted to make it very clear we explicitly state that 'exploitative' does include underage ('chan') stories that are 'indecent' and 'sexually violent'. (Now those phrases have been explained to utter death, refer to the clarifications link above for exactly how they apply please for information)."[15]

Exceptions For Literary Merit

The restrictions were lifted if:

"These restrictions are exempted where artistic (or literary) merit and/or educational and/or scientific purpose exists."

This led to this explanation:

"And of course: "What do you mean by literary effort? What's the exact definition? How can we tell? What about the fact that we're being judged - why should we be judged?"

First, literary is an open definition - it changes from story to story, fandom to fandom. Pratchett has been 'accused of literature'. The Bronte sisters' works were not literature until after they died. I read a college literary novel while I was in America called "Push" which revolved around the life of a girl who was raped as a child by her father.

"Literary" means the Illiterati are looking for a storyline, a plot line, character development (check out the later Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake books if you want to know how character development can intersect with smut), themes, metaphors, similes - something - in the questionable circumstances that have placed your story before them.

"Effort" means that you TRYING counts even if somebody (probably the complainer) thinks you failed. It also means that the Illiterati are going to be looking at YOU to tell them you tried.

So YES, saying "But I was saying THIS how can you think I meant THAT" is a valid defence.

The Illiterati does have the power to make a decision that doesn’t involve removing your story - for example, they could ask you to put an author's note explaining what you intended at the end of the story. YES an author's note - that's all, so that the people complaining understand what you're trying to say. That way they stop flaming you - and we stop having to deal with their exclamation marked emails.

The last thing anybody wants is to delete or remove a story - but it might happen, which is why we've built this entire process where you can defend yourself and talk it out and come to an agreement.

"Judging" - somebody has to judge. It was either the administration team OR a group of people unaffiliated with the administration (also, unlikely to be really stressed, tired and likely to take the fastest solution if it meant they could get back to doing something else like getting the archive back up)."[16]

Some fans were unhappy with the idea that others would be scrutinize their fiction for 'literary merit":

[figliaperduta] wrote:

I am, and will probably remain, uncomfortable with the idea of someone else judging whether something of mine that I've written has any 'literary merit,' or attempts thereof. My writing, to me, is not just an intellectual endeavour, but also an emotional one. It's sort of like putting your art on display, and then having people walk by it saying, 'That's not art, what in hell are you thinking,' and not paying any attention to the work the artist put into it. Even the smuttiest, most plotless fic in the world required some work from the author. Hopefully, if it's on Skyehawke, it was more than just the effort required to push the buttons on the computer--hopefully, somewhere along the line, some thought went into that fic. That, alone, should give it some measure of 'literary merit.'

In short, no human being, not me nor you nor the Illiterati nor the judges of the Pulitzer, has the right to decide if a piece of writing has 'literary merit.' Whether it is good or bad, yes. But bad can be improved through work. 'Literary merit,' not so easily."[17]

Another fan, japanpeterpan, reasoned:

I've got 23 fics at Skyehawke, and I think it is safe to say that 3/4 of them are porn. I could not defend their literary merit with an overhead projector and pie charts, and honestly, I don't intend to. If one of them gets called to question (and I doubt any of mine will, because I don't write chan) I'll probably just take my ball and go home.

I'm not pleased about any of it. I don't like that Skyehawke is backpedaling after being pro-porn since the start. And I don't like the idea of a review council (outside of the fact that I think it is better there is one, now that there is that shiny new whinge button). [18]
japanpeterpan also commented:
Since when did fanfics start having to have non-pornographic artistic merits? [19]

A Specific Example of Banned Content: NonCon Between Adults

In this post the archive went into some detail as to what stories could be challenged.

An excerpt:

- if you write non-consenting porn between adults, this will only apply to you if it can be seen as a rape fantasy. What makes up a rape fantasy? This is the job of the Illiterati to figure out. BUT these are the guidelines that they'll follow:

- the entire thing is about rape and how turned on everybody is by the fact that it's rape - it encourages you to go out there and rape somebody because it's so fun and healthy

NOTE: stories that intend to disturb you BECAUSE it's a rape are free and clear. How do we tell the difference between stories intending to disturb you because it's a rape and stories that are out to turn you on because it's a rape? That's the job of the Illiterati.

The exclusion of adult non-con from the archive may have confused some members, since the Australian Child Protection Laws of 2005 were focused on stopping child exploitation, not eliminating all pornography.

What If It Was You Complaining? Everyone Gets A Voice

One writer objected to the revised rules in an April 11, 2005 LJ post:

I think you're just playing into the hands of Concerned Pair-Runts and other officious asshats who think they have the right to define our morality for us and limit our rights, when there's nothing whatsoever stopping them from reading material that they know they won't like. [20]

The moderators explained:

....what if the person complaining is you? And what if there was a legitimate reason why you were complaining?

The Illiterati handle that complaint - they're the ones who see if there's merit, and who try and work things out.

Yes, there's bunches of concerned parents and officious idiots who spend a lot of time complaining and causing havoc but never actually contributing to fandom (I have issues with the GAFF forums I find their pontificating and holier-than-thou approach incredibly irritating and grating =). But there are also those out there who might have legitimate reasons. This way, everybody gets heard. [21]

Laws Against Prejudice

The moderators also pointed out that:

That [there are]....laws against prejudice in fiction, plagarism (and so on, and so forth) and there are reasons why somebody asking you to remove fiction would have a legal (if not ethical) right.[22]

One writer's response:

There are laws against prejudice in fiction? How are people supposed to write about it? Do you really support such laws? Do you think fiction written from a racist point of view should be banned, even if it's accurate for the time and place of the setting? That's like those idiot publishers who won't let you write about pederasty even if your story's set in Ancient Greece. If you really believe there are ethical reasons to censor fiction, it's academic, I can't support your site. [23]

And the moderator’s reply:

The reason why I believe this is due to laws against anti-discrimination, anti-villification and various hate-laws (as well as the list of legislations and rights related to religious tolerance etc). I'm - fairly certain these laws are in place in the US; they definately exist in Australia. I grew up in the shadows of what it was like when racial tolerance wasn't legislated. The fear and uneasiness when you come face to face with prejudiced propoganda and fiction isn't something I'd wish on anybody. Worse is the person next to you reading that same thing and nodding their head and then looking up and seeing you. I wish that the freedom to say what you want didn't need restrictions - it would certainly be the shining ideal we all want it to be. However, society, history and culture is such that it seems the only way to ensure everybody CAN have a say without being scared of retaliation or segregation or discrimination is to make sure that what people say and yes, write, won't infringe on somebody else's rights. [24]

Divining The Author's Intent

Since analyzing whether a story was without literary merit (aka was written solely to sexually titillate) was a crucial element in deciding whether to keep a story written on a banned topic, this required that the Illiterati delve into both the writer's intent.

The problem, said one fan:

I generally like the idea of the Illiterati. If there has to be censorship, I think you've chosen a comparatively transparent and fair approach to it. I like the idea that they will look at each individual fic and try and figure out what exactly the author was trying to achieve with it. However, determining whether a fic containing adult/minor sex and/or rape was written to explore a plot point or a character's development, or merely to get off, requires a certain knowledge of the canon the fic is based on. What if I'm a member of an obscure, small fandom that none of the Illiterati are into? I was just wondering if that question has been given any consideration when the Illiterati system was set up. [25]

A solution:

....yes, lack of knowledge of the fandom has been taken into consideration. The Illiterati would do the common sense thing: research and failing the ability to find anything, they'd ask for information from you the author. (However, if the author won't respond and no information can be found they'd have to work with what they had and base everything on what they can decipher of the text).

If there are other members standing by as back-up to the Illiterati (explained in the info-post, link at top of page) who did have the background, then there is also the option of the Illiterati stepping down to allow those who had the background to step up. However, this is all handled by the Illiterati rather than by the administration.

The wonders of a case-by-case system is that context isn't just a side note, it's a major issue. [26]

For Your Own Good?

One archive member pointed out that for some, the problem was not the new TOS, but how it was presented to the community:

...I don’t know what your motivation for the changes truly was, and you’re under no obligation to tell me, but if the reason was that you (as the site owners and admins) were simply worried that you might get in trouble for hosting morally questionable stuff, I’m sure that (practically) everyone would have understood that if you’d just said it. But the way the changes were being presented came across as so dangerously close to “it’s all for your own good, because we know so much better than you do what’s good for you” that I’m not surprised at all at the many angry reactions. ... Skyehawke.com had come to be known as a sort of refuge for fics that would not have been allowed on many other archives. Quite a few authors featured there have been kicked out of other places before, and have wandered homelessly across cyberspace before they were lucky enough to be made welcome at Skyehawke.com. They’re just really worried that they’re being sent packing again. And asking them, on top of that, to appreciate that it’s all for their own good is asking a bit much. [27]

This was echoed by others who added:

I recognize Skyehawke's right to ban whatever they want but I don't like the way they're going about it. Literary merit is a very subjective thing and I think it's offensive for a writer to have to defend whether their fic has "literary merit" or not. And this thing about titillation - why should I find it wrong or feel guilty if I'm being aroused by a fic? It doesn't harm anyone. Of course, it's their right to ban pure porn but I wish they were more clear about that instead of resorting to the subjectiveness of "literary merit".

And one of the main reasons I signed Fluffyllama's Statement of Concern is that I find offensive the insinuation that chan=pedophilia. It's like accusing the chan writers or chan readers that they're pedophiles. Chan is just fantasy and writing or reading it doesn't make you a pedophile, just like writing or reading a murder story doesn't make you a murderer (as so many other people have already said). If they had just said we don't feel comfortable having chan on our site, or we're doing this to cover our asses, it would have been more sincere and I'm sure most writers would've respected their decision. [28]

Advice to Authors: What If A Complaint Is Brought Against Your Story?

"The author is advised to step up and defend their work (I'd have liked to make it mandatory but that's impossible to enforce) and they have three weeks to do so.

This process with the Illiterati is what is meant by the phrase: "Such items will be removed on detection and is grounds for deletion/removal of account.....

.....If you are unsure about your story, you have several choices: - wait till somebody complains and see what the Illiterati will do - complain about yourself so the Illiterati have to make a decision - talk to one of the Illiterati (though note they might not be happy with several thousand emails asking them to judge their stories when there's no actual need).

- wait till the Illiterati has to judge a complaint and use that as a case study on whether or not your story has the same situation.”[29]

The Big "Whinge" Button

One concern was that the "report" button was too prominent and might lead to a flood of stories being challenged.

It takes as much energy and muscle movement to back-click out of a fic as it does to fire off an abuse email.

I don't like the fact that there is a *whinge button*, and I especially don't like that the whinge button is right there on the top of the fic pages, right next to the red stars and the hit counter. If there must be a whinge button, I think it should be in a place where a potential whinger will have to hunt for it. It would certainly cut down on abuse reports sent off on a whim.....

..... With it being right there on the fics main page, it's inviting trouble. People would be less likely to fire off a whim complaint just because they have a momentary hair up their ass if they had to navigate seven pages away to do it.

And you are totally right-- if must be a whinge button, a mailform would be much safer than a mailto link. People might actually stop and think if they had to explain why a fic upset their artistic sensibilities, rather than just hit the OMG WON'T SOMEONE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN instant email link. [30]

However, the person went on to concede, if there is going to be a "whinge" button, it is far better to have a review board like the Illiterati, than an automatic removal process like Fanfiction.net.

ff.net has a whinge button, and last I checked, ff.net does not read over the fics that are reported. They simply boot them. A fic of mine was booted from ff.net, and the reason given in the warning email was that it violated TOS because it was an MST. The fic in question was the clearly not an MST, and had anyone at ff.net's admin read it to check, they would have seen that.

But they didn't. They received the abuse email, and deleted the fic, no questions asked.

Given that readers no longer have to take responsibility for what they read now have the option to complain, the Illiterati is probably a good idea, because there is an intermediary between readers with a hair-trigger and the authors of the fics they want to shoot down. It will stop Skyehawke from falling into a situation like ff.net, where readers are having slash fics certain kinds of fics booted just because they can. [31]

A Message From One of The Illiterati

On April 9, 2005, one of the Illiteratis posted her own personal interpretation of the new archive rules and answered questions. The comment and complete exchanges can be found at Bear with me, for I am sick and tired. - Failure to communicate, Archived version

[verstehen]:

On the subject of the new Skyehawke TOS, really, there's nothing to worry about. When tienriu approached me about this a few weeks ago after the complaints that started the whole process, I was pleasantly surprised by how fair and reasonable she wanted to make the process given that it was just as easy for them to do what ff.net does and purge anything with even the remotest bit of complaint about it.

Instead -- and this was after much hand-wringing on her part, for which as a Skyehawke user I'm grateful for! -- what she did was set up a vetting system. .....

.....I won't speak for either of the two other members (though copperbadge made a great post here [32] about the Illiterati that I encourage you to read on the off chance you haven't) but I have a very loose definition of what constitutes sexual titilation and that is the main question I'll be asking myself when I read through any complaints that come up.....

....The questions I'll be asking myself as I read is the same ones I ask myself when I write. Does this material serve the story in a greater sense than just getting off? Is there internal logic or realization of consequences (from any scale of small to large, possibility of pregnancy and disease to jail or psychological ramifications, for example)? These are the sorts of issues I'm concerned with. Priorities may vary depending on each member of the Illiterati.

Now, the great thing about these questions is that the vast majority of fanfic with questionable themes, ie, rape, chan, incest, bestiality, etc, falls firmly into the "yes" category. Yes, there's internal logic. Yes, there's something else going here than the writer virtually getting off. Yes, there's a realization of consequences. It's possible I'm not reading the right fanfics.

Though, I've got to say, as someone who has spent time both at The Greyarchive when I want to read really REALLY bad fanfic -- it includes gems such as lesbian zombie rape, Little Mermaid sex slavery fanfic, requests for Freddy Krueger/Jason Vorhees, and other such depravities that come off looking so bad it's fairly obvious the "author" (and I use that term loosely) typed it all out one-handed -- or, when I want to get my bad original fic wang on, I go to BDSM Library and, surprise, much of the same sort of stuff you can find at the GA you can find there. Only with different, original, names and faces!

So, trust me when I say that if you're already on Skyehawke, you're probably okay in terms of TOS violations. No need to get upset or angry or storm off in a huff or get paranoid that Skyehawke is targeting chan and using deliberately confusing terminology to cover it up, okay? You're fine. Take a deep breath and go read some lesbian rape zombie snuff porn for perspective. It helps. In the mind-bogglingly gross violatory way, I mean.

One reader asked:

By definition, PWP exists for the sole purpose of sexual titilation. Even when it's beautifully written, the whole point of the story is the sex. What if a complaint is lodged against, say, kai's 'What She Wants', or 'Idle Hands' by Nimori? Neither of those could be classified as lesbian zombie snuff porn by any stretch of the imagination, but both, 'Idle Hands' especially, violate the new ToS. According to the criteria suggested, neither could really be defended.

How is getting rid of either of those stories, or ANY well-written PWP, in keeping with "keeping the lesbian zombie incest rape snuff porn out and keeping the fanfic equivalent of, well, Lolita in."?

Two more questions:

What's wrong with sex merely for the sake of sex?

and

Chan was specifically mentioned in the ToS, and complaints about chanfic was given as the reason for the changes, which clearly indicates that the primary concern is chan content. How is this not targeting chan?

[verstehen's response]

Not having actually read either one of those fics, nor pretty much anything in HP fandom in the last (at least) year and a half, I honestly couldn't say. Since I don't know the context of the stories, there's no way I could say if they break TOS. Are they chan or adult/minor? Does the sex serve as character exploration? Is it exploitative? Is there really anything in them than anyone is actually going to complain about and report as abuse? Because, really, there's plenty of ways to write down and dirty sex without sexual exploitation and arousal being the only redeeming factor of a story.

I'm sorry I can't give you a better example but, as complaints are on a case by case basis, there's probably PWPs that might garner more hypothetical complaints than others and since I don't know the examples you're using, these could be the kind that do or the kind that don't.

Frankly, I really don't think anyone is going to go trolling through the several hundred stories on Skyehawke looking for TOS violations. If there is a complaint, it's most likely going to be one in which Random Person X stumbles on Fic A in which they believe is nice, safe Plot B and discovers something completely else. Warning labels don't necessarily stop that from happening -- especially if someone is being linked into the story directly from another webpage. Otherwise, most of the time, people who are looking for chan/non-con/bestiality/etc. are looking for it because they want to read it and, thus, are drastically less likely to complain.

And even then, as I understand it, PWP isn't prohibited by the TOS anyway. At this time, I really honestly do think people are overreacting to something that's going to be a complete non-issue anyway. You shouldn't have to worry about PWPs nor any rule that's suddenly going to say that PWPs have no literary merit. There's entire genres of literature devoted on the premise to the contrary.

NOTE: I am not part of the Skyehawke administration in any way, shape or form. While I highly doubt this will EVER happen, given tienriu's views on censorship and keeping the archive as open as possible, me saying this does not preclude the administration from making TOS changes in the future, so please don't take my word as law on the subject. I'm just here to handle actual complaints and even then I believe removal or outright censorship should probably be the LAST resort (ie reserved specifically for gross examples like lesbian zombie incest snuff porn).

What's wrong with sex merely for the sake of sex?

As far as I'm concerned, nothing so long as it's safe, sane and consensual.

But I assume you meant in fiction where those rules don't necessarily apply so I'll just say again that I'm not part of the administration and don't make the TOS in any way so neither of these questions I can answer in terms of the archive."

Why Aren't Tagging and Warnings Enough?

Several fans asked why content notices and warnings were not enough to address the moderator's concerns. Some fans understood that underage fanfic needed to be banned from the archive in light of the 2005 Australian law, but what about the other types of content that was not criminally illegal?

[xylodemon]:

...If they were banning chan to cover their asses, I could respect that. But right now, to me, it sounds like they are just pandering to readers who don't want to be bothered with fic warnings...

....When I posted Seven Days After Remus Died, I received two or three rather hot emails about the necrophilia content. The necro in that fic was minimal. It was also warned for. Loudly. So when I opened an email that started I can't believe you wrote a necrophilia fic you sick fuck all I could do was scream at the insanity of it all. I could not understand the logic behind someone who was squicked by necro reading a fic that had a necro warning.

The same applies here. If a fic upsets a reader to the point they feel the need to file an abuse report, there is a good chance they shouldn't have been reading that fic in the first place. Readers know what their squicks are, and if they click a link to a fic that lists those squicks in the warning, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Writers write for an intended audience, for people who will enjoy and/or appreciate the content. Beyond labeling a fic with the appropriate warnings, it is not the authors responsibility to baby-sit the masses. I also do not think it is Skyehawke's responsibility, nor do I think they should be actively taking on this responsibility. The people reading at Skyehawke are adults[3], and as such, Skyehawke and its authors should not have to hold their hands while they read.

It takes as much energy and muscle movement to back-click out of a fic as it does to fire off an abuse email.[33]

[shaychana]:

i rather suspect that for the complainers, it's not that they can't read a warning label, but that they're offended that such material exists and is archived at all. the 'don't like it don't click it' argument is moot. the argument should really be more about whether people have a right to write and archive such taboo topics. [34]

Reactions

From draconianangel, a fan who recommended fanfic:

"On SkyeHawke...

FUCK.

I just realized the gravity of what happened.

No A Thousand Beautiful Things, no fics by Switchknife, no Quiescent by Ivy Blossom, no 3T by November Snowflake, no Seeker to Seeker... NOTHING.

My links are ALL busted. SHIT.

That means I have to find other archives that hosts ALL those fics. And I have TONS of links directed to SH.

F*cking Hell. I guess I'll not be bored for the next days, eh?

*sulks on a darkened corner*[35]

[amorettea]:

While the people who are leaving have been loud, the people who are staying have been quiet. There are a few of us who understand and who will remain because we love the archive. (I don't write kiddie porn so my stories won't get you in trouble on that front.) It would be nice to live in a world with freedom of thought but some of us recognized that isn't where we live. [36]

[venivincere]

I am happier now that the meaning and intent of the TOS are now clearer, but I am still not sure where I stand with some of my fic. I would like to say that I have always loved Skyehawke as an archive very much and am loathe to remove anything I have posted there. However, I do write chan that I have subsequently posted on Skyehawke. I've initiated a complaint myself on one of my fics because I want it to go through the Illiterati process. That way I will know for certain where I stand. Even if I have to remove my chan from the archive, I would still like to continue archiving my other work there. The mods have always been helpful and the archive is very easy to use, and it has many readers. I certainly don't want to endanger the archive by keeping fic posted there that could cause them legal trouble.[37]

Conclusion

The archive is still operational, although author accounts can no longer be requested as the forums are no longer working.

As of Oct 28, 2014, 16,248 stories written by 1930 authors have been posted. Over 10,000 of the stories are in the Harry Potter fandom with LOTR, Stargate and Angel and Buffy the next largest with 300+ stories.[38]

The site has received 4,8321,674 hits since 17 May 2003.

In a 2014 post (nine years later), the archive's owner reported that there had been only two cases put to the Illiterati.[39] One was a test case titled "Confessions." [40] [41] One fic was later deemed acceptable.

Further Reading/Meta

Some Skyehawke Links

References

  1. Ln: Child Exploitation Material Laws (Australia), Archived version. See also "No. 279: A typology of online child pornography offending".
  2. Oxford Dictionary
  3. major announcement: New Terms and Conditions + Legal Obligations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  4. The Potions Classroom - December 5th, 2005, Archived version
  5. major announcement: New Terms and Conditions + Legal Obligations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  6. major announcement: New Terms and Conditions + Legal Obligations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  7. major announcement: New Terms and Conditions + Legal Obligations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  8. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  9. Terms and Conditions Modification - further explanations, April 10, 2005
  10. [1], Archived version
  11. [2], Archived version
  12. and the Orwellianization of the net continues...: japanpeterpan, Archived version
  13. Terms and Conditions Modification - further explanations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  14. Modifications to the Terms and Conditions (also known as Terms of Usage) at skyehawke :: archives - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  15. Terms and Conditions Modification - further explanations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  16. Terms and Conditions Modification - further explanations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  17. Recs and such.: xylodemon, Archived version
  18. and the Orwellianization of the net continues...: japanpeterpan, Archived version
  19. and the Orwellianization of the net continues...: japanpeterpan, Archived version
  20. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  21. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  22. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  23. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  24. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  25. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  26. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  27. Yet more clarifications on the Terms and Condition modifications with answers to common questions - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  28. Recs and such.: xylodemon, Archived version, livejournal post, 2005-04-15. comment by ariadneelda.
  29. Terms and Conditions Modification - further explanations - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  30. Recs and such.: xylodemon, Archived version
  31. Recs and such.: xylodemon, Archived version
  32. now offline
  33. Recs and such.: xylodemon, Archived version
  34. Recs and such.: xylodemon, Archived version
  35. On SkyeHawke...: draconianangel, Archived version
  36. In response to fluffyllama's Statement of Concern - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  37. In response to fluffyllama's Statement of Concern - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  38. skyehawke :: archives :: :: movie/television, Archived version, skyehawke :: archives :: :: book, Archived version.
  39. Request for comment: complaints process (and the Illiterati) - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version
  40. skyehawke dot com :: forums :: View topic - Complaints #1: "Confessions" (sid 7360), Archived version, the story on the threatened chopping block was skyehawke :: archives :: :: Story :: Confession, Archived version, "Confessions" has the warning: "WARNING. This story is rated X [V,S] . This story contains things that readers may find alarming, disturbing, disgusting, mentally exhausting, intellectually stimulating and/or intriguing. The author has listed the following themes they believe readers should be aware are contained within the story: [Sex - homosexual] [Themes - dark] [Violence - extreme]" -- skyehawke :: archives :: :: Story :: Confession, Archived version
  41. In response to fluffyllama's Statement of Concern - skyehawke dot com :: archives, Archived version