|See also:||beta, fic, Yes Virginia|
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In practice, machete beta is a term for a harsher and more critical form of beta-reading, originated by the members of the X-Files Yes Virginia private mailing list. In many cases, fans would send their work off to be "beta'd" by their friends and colleagues, only to get back a "this was awesome! Post it right now!" response or a simple grammar beta that listed things like "you forgot a comma here" and "Skinner is spelled with two Ns."
The members of Yes Virginia wanted to establish a mode of critique that was more serious, in an effort to post and publish more polished work. Machete beta-readers were focused on the nuances of the story, character development, plot arcs, creative word choice and language use, and were not expected to be cheerleaders or yes-men.
The term was coined by marasmus and used in its early days by writers like Cofax and Punk and other members of the Yes Virginia list. It expanded from there to X-Files fandom at large and to certain segments of fandom on LiveJournal.