Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net!

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Title: Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net
Creator: JoSelle Vanderhooft
Date(s): September 13, 2002
Medium: online
Fandom:
Topic:
External Links: Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net! Petition, Archived version
another source; reposted here
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net is a 2002 essay and petition written by JoSelle Vanderhooft [1].

It was posted September 13, 2002, the day after Fanfiction.net's first fiction purge on September 12, 2002.

On September 13, 2002, it had 8000 signatures. [2]

When the petition ended, it had 27197 signatures. [3]

Similar Petitions in 2002

The Petition

To: www.fanfiction.net

Fanfiction.net has long been one of the Internet's leading fanfiction sites. In order for this site to remain so, we the undersigned strongly disagree with fanfiction.net's recent decision to ban NC-17 fiction from this site and remove the ones currently posted. Although necessary precautions must be taken to protect children on the internet, MOST of the NC-17 stories that would fall under this ruling are in only the most excellent of taste and are clearly markied, which is the most any author or site manager can do. We also strongly feel that this decision flies in the face of everything that the on line fan fiction community is about; freedom to write, explore, and share ideas. Please do not trample on the rights of the innocent in order to protect the rights of the few.

Sincerely, The Undersigned [4]

Laura Hale's Response

Laura Hale (using the pseud "Laurie E. Smith") posted a lengthy response to the petition. Hale had been a staffer at Fanfiction.net and had left on poor terms the year before. Hale was also in the middle of launching her new fiction archive site called FanDomination.Net.

Just FYI... Maybe this will get the message across.

To play the cynic again for a minute, as much as I'd like them to return, if he reinstates the NC-17 stories, doesn't he set a bad precedent showing that he can be bullied? and wouldn't he just be inviting more of the same type of behavior from people in the future?

I don't really like how this was handled but in the long run, I think this is probably one of the best things for fandom. (Or to steal a friend's idea.) Think of FanFiction.Net as Napster. It's the biggest and most popular fan fiction site around. It's got great function, many users, and a giant target sign on it's back. Like Napster, there is a very real threat that FanFiction.Net might face consequences that might lead to the whole of the closing of its doors forever, or in a very limited fashion like Napster is now. (Does any one still USE Napster on list?) This cleans up some of the niggling issues that could have lead to FF.Net's future closure. It removes some stories that might legally get them into hot water and upset a lot of people. Just think would might happen if the "Harry Potter is Satanic" people stumbled across FanFiction.Net. Considering how much media attention they have managed to bring to bare for their cause, do you think FanFiction.Net could stand up to that type of extended negative press? I would hesitate to think so. In person, I think there would be a move for many of us to go under ground or publically disassociate ourselves with the site.

This, this spreading out of fandom, is probably a very good thing for fandom in the long run. We still get to keep the core site and continue posting their if we so desire. Unlike when Napster first closed and there were no good alternatives for about a year, FanFiction.Net is giving people like you (http://www.kilnfiction.org, http://www.fictionalley.org/, http://www.mediaminer.org, http://www.slashcity.net/) and me (http://www.fandomination.net/) a chance to build and reshape fandom in a new way while still maintaining some of the existing infrastructure. It's a wound of sorts that will take time to heal but it will make that process quicker. It wasn't a death like Napster was a death. We've got things being built or already built to patch that wound. Fandom will be better, stronger, more decentralized because of this. It probably wasn't what he, Xing, was thinking when he did this but it's a nice little unexpected bonus in an otherwise sucky moment.

Another thing which people seem to be seem to be missing is that I think for once, FanFiction.Net has implemented QUALITY CONTROLS. Ever not want to be associated with the site because there is so much CRAP? so much DRIVEL? One of the biggest complaints about FanFiction.Net was the acceptance of poor spelling and atricious [5] grammar on the site led to this attitude spilling over into other parts of fandom not associated with FanFiction.Net (some of this can be blamed on the age drop that seems to have occurred in fandom.)... Well, the new rules that are seemingly over looked can help fix that perception. FanFiction.Net I think has finally reached a moment where you will be able to go and say HERE! HERE is the day that FanFiction.Net grew up and matured. Here is the day when people in fandom have to realize that we will not stand this behavior any more! Use spell check people. Look over your sentence structure. Heck, considering how prolific some of us fan fiction writers are, this trend may expand to have a great affect on the Internet as a whole. Okay, I'm reaching but seriously, the ability to spell words in their entirety is something that seems to have dropped in fandom as a whole as FanFiction.Net's influence seems to have grown. (Or, I remember the good old days of b5-creative and unrestb5 which I illegally read from some one who forwarded to me...) [6] Maybe, these new demands and anal retentive people reporting those fics written at 3am will elevate the quality of fan fiction, and cause more rapid improvement of writing for new authors... That can't be a bad thing, can it?

This whole situation puts fan fiction back into the hands of actual fan fiction writers. Xing wasn't and isn't a fan fiction writers. He never was. He's a very nice, very thoughtful guy. He's very dedicate [sic] to his site and doing what is best for it and its users. (Which is why I support his decision to remove NC-17 and RPS as much as I disagree with it because I really don't have an investment in it and from what I know from having met him, I trust him to do this.) The people who have the most vested interest in this are fan fiction readers and writers which Xing really isn't... Fan fiction readers and writers are being an unusual moment that most people never have. They are being given a moment of SELF DETERMINATION! Self determination. This is not the moment to bitch, whine and call Xing names like goblin and fucker which I've seen on some mailing lists. This is a moment to say I AM NUMBER ONE! I AM A FAN FICTION WRITER! (I'm not Canadian.) Don't like FanFiction.Net? Well, hey that's cool. Take control. Empower yourself. Don't like the new rules of FanFiction.Net and think they are trying to censor you? Well, leave. No one said you had to post their. Yank your stuff off their and put it some place else. Stand up and be counted. Don't demand that the non-fan fiction, non-original writing web master start dictating his turf like you want it. You're giving up your "rights" as a fan fiction writer and putting them back into some elses hands. Don't like it this system? You're being given a wonderful chance to chose a new leader or to create your own. You can choose to post your fan fiction at several wonderful sites. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you have http://www.kilnfiction.org/ run by the wonderful Laura Vazquez or http://www.fictionalley.org/ run by Cassandra Claire and company. You have the chance if you're a comic book fan, you haven't lived till you've surfed http://www.subreality.com by a wonderful fan girl named Keille who has put a lot of time and effort into this site making it the PREMIERE site on the internet for comic book stuff. If you're a Star Trek, Buffy or X-Files fan, this is a perfect time to find out all about the usenet groups for those fandoms that are specfically for those fandoms and they HAPPILY take NC-17 rated fiction. Don't miss the Golden Os while you're hanging out on ASCEM Trek fans. Have something else not mentioned, try some of the other multi-fandom archives including mine at http://www.fandomination.net/ or another at http://www.mediaminer.org/ or the soup named fan fiction archive. Mine's run by me and I'm a long time het, gen, slash fen since 1996. If you don't like any of those options, well fear not! You can make your own, knowing that you'll have the potential for a large audience of like wise disenfranchised people.

I'm not a fan of what FanFiction.Net did nor how they did it but it isn't the end of the fandom and complaining and writing petitions isn't going to make it better. Let's be proactive here. Let's do what this has given us the opportunity to do: reinvent fandom in our image. Good will come of this. I assure you that.

*snarky mode on, political preachy mode off* This has all been an attempt to lure people to http://www.fandomination.net *snarky off* [7]

References

  1. "The Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net! Petition to www.fanfiction.net was created by Fanfiction.net users and visitors and written by JoSelle Vanderhooft." --Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net! Petition, Archived version
  2. NC-17 Petition (Was: Re: Join the protest of fanfiction.net), post at alt.tv.er.creative
  3. Signitures
  4. Reverse the NC-17 Ruling on Fanfiction.net! Petition, Archived version
  5. Ha, ha. This whole post has plenty of misspelled words and odd word choices.
  6. Hale is referring to constrictions on underage readers, and she was underage.
  7. defense of FF.Net -- Laura (scroll down)