Just The Facts, Fans

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Name: Just The Facts, Fans
Owner/Maintainer: Anonymous (although some fans believed it was run by J. Hindman)
Dates: 2002
Fandom: Multiple Fandoms
URL: archived version of the website
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Just The Facts, Fans was an attempt to set up a website and subscription newsletter to identify fans who had failed to pay for fannish merchandise such as fanzines. It was also intended to identify sellers who failed to deliver items after they had been purchased. In the era of print fanzines, the only way fans had to publicly air complaints and seek restitution was to write letters of comment to adzines, letterzines, or newsletters. By 2002, most fans were communicating via email and websites, as these newsletters and letterzines had fallen out of favor. It would be a few more years before media fandom felt comfortable selling fan produced material on commercial sites like eBay with their built in feedback and buyer/seller protections.

J. Hindman, a long time fanzine distributor promoted the idea in 2002 on various mailing lists such as Fanzine-L and Zinelist. The idea was to collect buyer and seller names from complaining parties and then sell a subscription to the list of names. All complaints had to be accompanied by a nominal fee of $1 to reduce frivolous accusations. A slogan floated as part of the initial concept read: "Trying to make fandom safe for the good folks."

However, the site folded after a few months due to a lack of submissions. It is not clear whether this was because fans were reluctant to submit their complaints to an anonymous website, felt uncomfortable with the nominal submission fee, and/or whether fewer fans were buying and selling fanzines to support the business model.

Excerpts from the FAQ:
"Mission Statement: The intent of this service is to assist fannish buyers and fannish dealers in making informed decisions in their transactions, and to provide a central contact point for persons trying to find others for the purpose of resolving unfinished transactions....

Fees: Fees pay expenses for the web site and its maintenance, printed copies of the listings, postage, etc. Additionally, it is hoped, a fee will encourage a ‘need to know' attitude, and discourage frivolous listings, either pro or con. If a listing is proven to be a bogus complaint, no fees will be refunded, and the listing will be pulled.

Privacy: While Just The Facts, Fans believes this service is important, it also recognizes that some measure of control and respect for privacy is needed, as this is an informal listing service, and not a court or jury. Lives can be affected adversely with unforeseen consequences by what may seem to be a very small incident. This concern dictates the polices of Just The Facts, Fans."