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In gift exchanges, especially in exchange fandom, each participant is due a fanwork from another participant. A pinch hit is a fanwork produced for a request that's in need of fulfilment either because there were no offers that matched to it or because the participant assigned the request defaulted. Moderators will call for pinch-hitters to ensure that every participant receives something. The term derives from baseball: a pinch hitter is a player who replaces another player during the game, comparable to the substitute players in football/soccer.
Some mods call for pinch-hitters to volunteer at the beginning of a challenge so that they have a group to send pinch-hit requests to at the time-crunch end of the challenge, when most dropouts occur, but it's also common for mods to post the pinch hits to the exchange community space (e.g. the Dreamwidth), to try and attract interest. Pinch-hitters are generally not required to be participants in the challenge.
This term may have been most common on Dreamwidth or Livejournal-based exchanges.
Initial Pinch Hit
Also known as IPH; an initial pinch hit is created right at the beginning of an exchange if there are no offers that match a participant's requests/the organiser can't match them with anyone.
Emergency Pinch Hit
Also known as EPH:
Sometimes used interchangeably with pinch hit of the apocalypse.
Pinch Hit of the Apocalypse
Also known as PHOTA:
I think PHOTA is one level up from EPH in my personal lexicon.
EPH is a very last minute pinch hit before collection opens. Someone with an extension or a pinch hitter who picked up a post-deadline pinch hit a few days ago doesn't come through when it's very close to the deadline. When mods start talking about EPHs, the odds of revealing the collection being delayed have increased considerably.PHOTAs happen after reveals when it turns out that someone doesn't have a suitable gift. They received a DNW, or someone deleted the fic they wrote between the last time the mod checked all assignments were in and reveals.
Sometimes used interchangeably with emergency pinch hit.
Advertising Pinch Hits
Aside from being posted to the community for the exchange they're a part of, pinch hits are commonly advertised:
- in Fail_FandomAnon's Bangs, Fests, and Exchanges thread
- on the unofficial Yuletide comm and in the Yuletide Discord server (although Yuletide itself uses a google group/mailing list setup)
- very rarely on the Exchanges After Dark Discord server
- by word of mouth.
There was a livejournal community, fic_pinch_hit, where mods who need an emergency pinch-hitter could post a request. It was founded by fanofall on Nov. 2nd, 2007, and was an extremely low-traffic community.
- Nonnie on Post 1006 what's an EPH? 2019-01-04
- Nonnie on FFA DW Post 1088 - Let rats be whipped by shoelaces if they like it! 2019-05-20