SlashFic Hall of Shame

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Website
Name: SlashFic Hall of Shame
Owner/Maintainer: Sandy Herrold (as JoAnne)
Dates: July 1997-1998
Type: meta
Fandom: multifandom
URL: Slashfic Hall of Shame on the Wayback machine
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The SlashFic Hall of Shame was a website mocking bad slash fanfiction. Its owner was Sandy Herrold.

A similar site was Citizens Against Bad Slash.

History

Slash Fiction Hall of Shame.png

In 1996-97, there were frequent flame wars around the idea of concrit (a word that did not yet exist). Writers complained that there were too few reviews and comments about stories (this was years before Livejournal comments -- many stories were still only being published offline, and even the ones published online usually had no way to leave public comments), but when stories were discussed in public (i.e., on mailing lists), any hint of critique, or less than completely favorable review, led to flames and uproar.

As a comment on this atmosphere, Sandy Herrold pseudonymously started the SlashFic Hall of Shame under the name of JoAnne, mocking bad Internet-published stories, and encouraging people to send her other stories worthy of mocking. Each update[1] included a rant about some common story annoyance (these included rants about men who owned teddy bears, BSO's who were inexplicably drawn as pagan for no good reason, implausible crossovers, and others), that started with the phrase, "well, there's no easy answer," and then a link to an excerpt of the story being shamed.

Each story update[2] gave the reason it was chosen, an excerpt, comments on the excerpt, and then solicited comments on whether the story deserved the pillorying it got. Links were never given to the story (mostly due to the link etiquette of the time), and the author's name was never mentioned anywhere on the page.

From a very early version of the front page: "Hi, I'm fanficcritic. Come see my page! The description of my page is: Bad Fanfic Must Be Punished. ** Avoid ** Avoid ** Avoid **" [3]

Some fans who opposed the website and resorted to legal threats in an effort to silence JoAnne. In September 1997, JoAnne posted the following to the website: "A recent author profiled on this page has threatened to report me to Geocities for harrassment, spreading of hate, and inappropriate materials" if I don't remove all mention of her story." However, given that authors were never named and there were no links to the stories, one might argue that the author did more damage to her reputation by posting her comment than JoAnne's original web posting.

Critics of the website gained little traction and soon other fandom-specific Halls of Shame appeared in the months afterward; none of them lasted long. JoAnne's page only lasted a year or so itself (although guestbook comments continued to appear as late as 2000), as finding appropriately bad stories became a hassle.

The Reveal

At Escapade (1998 or after), Sandy Herrold and Maygra (one of the people with a story posted on the Hall of Shame) were on opposite sides of a panel on "should stories be critiqued publicly." During the panel, Sandy 'came out' about being JoAnne, and Maygra was as gracious as humanly possible, basically saying, "I don't care if you critique me but what about those other people out there without my thick skin."

JoAnne on JoAnne!

Before she came "out" as "JoAnne," Sandy Herrold commented on her own site:

[July 1997]:

(And while I'm being cynical about netfic, I gotta share this website, put up by someone more agitated about bad quality fiction than I'll ever be. It's called the SlashFic Hall of Shame, and has a Rant, and a Story of Shame added every week... http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/5922/) --

Sandy [4]
[October 1997]:

I'm of two minds on it: Sure, I enjoy the Hall of Shame every couple of weeks, but most of what I enjoy is the different feedback she gets. The number of posts that basically say, 'yes, this story sucks (often much more cruelly than JoAnne said it), and then ramble on to say, 'but this page is a bad idea' amuse the heck out of me. And the number of people who basically say "Yes, Fandom *needs* this" amazes me. These fans sound like they were starved for a place where someone said that not all fanfic is of like quality, and some of it is BAD.

Something else about it is how few of the names look familiar to me -- even though some of them say they've been slash fans for *many* years.

Still I say that all writers deserve a hand if they ask for it, and do NOT deserve derision in a public forum.

I agree (at least partially). I *do* wish there was a way of continuing the meta-conversation about reviewing and critiquing and quality (which I think it valuable, and different than any other going on right now; much more like a newsgroup than a mailing list, and with much mixing between fandoms, and between old and new fans), *without* holding up specific stories (which unfortunately means specific *authors*) to ridicule....

When someone has posted their fiction to the *World* *Wide* *Web*, I don't think that they can quibble if someone quotes a couple of paragraphs. Certainly not legally, under fair use, but even morally I don't think they have a leg to stand on; I think they have cast it on the waters. [5]

The "Rules"

From an early version of the site:

Here are the simple rules:

Some Example Topics

Each one was followed by: "Well there's no easy answer," --- and JoAnne's reply.

  • "People ask me, they say, "JoAnne, just what makes a story a Hall of Shamer?""
  • "People ask me, they say, "JoAnne, aren’t we really writing about women?""
  • "People ask me, they say, "JoAnne, you black hag from hell, last week's story wasn't *so* bad; why'd you pick on them when there are so many worse?""

Some of the Fics "Shamed"

Reactions

Although there was a lot of bitching about "JoAnne" and the site on mailing lists at the time, comments actually left on the site were largely approving. [7] As Sandy later explained:
....the number of people who basically say "Yes, Fandom *needs* this" amazes me. These fans sound like they were starved for a place where someone said that not all fanfic is of like quality, and some of it is BAD.Something else about it is how few of the names look familiar to me--even though some of them say they've been slash fans for *many* years. [8]

In 1997, a fan left feedback on the guestbook attempting to argue that the website violated everything from copyright law to the Berne Convention and even ran afoul of the writer's moral rights. This was quickly countered by other fans who correctly pointed out that quoting excerpts of a story as part of a critique or review fell firmly within the definition of fair use and that "moral rights" did not allow authors to ban discussion, or even ridicule, of their work.[9]

1997

Quite possibly, some of you are aware of the tussle that's been going on about the Slash Hall of Shame. For those of you who've never been there, this is a site dedicated to the notion that (1) there are slash stories that are pretty bad, and (2) someone's got to stand up and point that out. A recently-profiled author objected to her inclusion, and posted a message on the SENAD list entitled "Hate on the Web," in which she complained that JoAnne, the keeper of the Hall of Shame, was harassing her and she was going to complain to Geocities. Since then, I've heard several people say that JoAnne's site should be taken down.

This is something that I really hate to see. People, we are slash fans. What's our reaction when someone tells us, "I don't like slash... it offends me, and I don't think it should be allowed to be posted"? Come on, you know what we do. We stand up, join hands in spirit, and recite (in harmony), "We're sorry if you don't like it, but it's a matter of freedom of expression. If you don't like it, don't read it -- but please don't tell us what we can or can't write." Remember what I nattered about last time? And, purely on a selfish level, I don't think we want the fine Geocities people to start scrutinizing sites for "inappropriate content." If that happens, the Adoratrice is going to be looking for a new home.

It's the easiest thing in the world to demand that others tolerate our freedom to express ourselves in whatever way we see fit. It's a lot harder to extend that same courtesy when we're offended, though, isn't it? I'm by no means exempting myself, because I've had my moments of muttering at the screen, "Someone ought to shut that idiot up." But I try to never let that beyond my own four walls. Whatever I do or don't like to see or read has no effect on what I think should be posted.

I agree, JoAnne is tactless. But she has certain standards that she adheres to. She doesn't pick on first-time writers. She never even considers going after someone who isn't a native speaker of English. She looks at issues of grammar, punctuation, and characterization rather than attacking the writer as a person. And (bracing myself for protests) she's absolutely right a lot of the time.

The definition of constructive criticism has nothing to do with saying nice things about a piece of writing. That's not a requirement. Constructive crit means that the review looks at concrete examples of why a story is good or bad... and that's exactly what JoAnne is doing. Granted, it'd be a lot easier to take if she were nicer about it. But you know what? She doesn't have to be nice. There's no law. If bad writing offends her -- and, judging by the comments on her page, she's by no means alone -- she has every right to say so on her own page.

[...]

Now, does someone have the right to protest being included in the Hall of Shame? Absolutely -- and if they can give a good argument for why they shouldn't be included, that's even better. And people have the right to not read it, and even to say that they wish others wouldn't read it. But no one has the right to say that JoAnne shouldn't be allowed to write whatever she pleases. [10]

Super. Another chance to bash some poor schmuck who dares to express their creativity. Jeepers, how dare they waste oxygen, huh? *sigh* It's shit like this that drives me up a wall. God forbid someone put up a website full of cool ideas to try in slashfic, or challenges to spark some creativity, or some other positive glint of an idea. Far better, and much more catty fun, to bash others and make sure they never have the nerve to share anything again. Y'know, it's also shit like this that drives some creative types into depressions and suicides. And it's the smug judgementalism of some folks to say "Good riddance." Karma had better be operating, that's all I pray. What goes around had better come around, please god.

Ok, I can understand that you are stressed out by this ... but where in Sandy's post did you see something and/or where in the www site she shared saying something that would indicate a delight in suicide? Or even a desire that those writers should stop writing? Why do you consider a response about the mechanics of writing a negative act? And, from your post, it is clear that you think creativity is God and execution (of plots, not writers), an annoyance for the petty uncreative types who care about things like sentence structure, characterization and plot. Criticism about grammar and punctuation should not discourage your idealistic writer from ever writing again. If she is that sensitive she needs therapy. Comments from other women and other writers about the mechanics of writing and story-telling is not destructive -- it is how a person gets better at what they want to do. Unless all they want to do is put their un-proofread first-draft stories on public display. Once something is in public the author loses all control of it. Period. And if the author is so sensitive that criticism of the story she put on the web will cause her to behave self-destructively, then she should nothave put it out there. If she did put it out there, she should expect, and desire, a response to it from other readers and writers.
I think that women should write what they want -- please call me a feminist. I think that other women should support women writing what they want. I think that's what women who care about women should do. Feminist praxis. And that means reading OFCs and S&M and curtain stories, but it also means that those women who want to write should get some constructive assistance in writing THE STORY they want to write. Criticism about mechanics and execution is not the same thing as saying a story should never have been written and isn't a good idea. I will even go so far as to say that in fandom I have met some of the most savage critics I have ever seen -- and I'm an academic, so to my mind, that's saying something. But I am far more disturbed by women who think OFCs are a waste of time than I am by women who think that the mechanics of telling a story are as important as the story itself.
I write and think about writing as a career and I feel certain dread about it. And my beta readers are all warned in advance that I get defensive about semi-colons. However, I have never felt that that help, or criticism, was directed at making me stop writing or, worse, never write again. What do you do when you fall off a horse or have a fender-bender or break someone else's favorite vase? You cry and then you do it again, vowing not to make the same kinds of choices you did the first time. Women should support women. Part of that support is painful and part of it is wonderful, but it can make a woman stronger so... she can live, grow stronger and write another page. [11]

There is a site called the Slash Hall of Shame. It's run by one person and in it she puts up a "Hall of Shame Story of the Week" (sometimes she chooses them, some time she takes recommendations) as well as her own rants about bad slash writing Note I say "bad slash writing." This is not a site that condemns slash in general, but a site that condemns what its owner (a slash fan) thinks of as bad slash. The site owner has a guestbook where she asks people to disagree or agree with her choices and/or her rants and she posts all of the contents of that guestbook, including the people who attack her site. Now she doesn't archive the works of fiction, but the stories are all stuff that is available for general 'net consumption and can be found on the fandom archives.

If all you write is TrekSmut and all your friends write is TrekSmut, you may have never heard of this site, because its owner has three fandoms she won't touch: Xena (to paraphrase: because bad Xena is better than no Xena), Babylon 5 and all versions of Star Trek (because she doesn't watch those shows and therefore can't judge things like bad characterizations).

More than once SENAD (the Sentinel mailing list; I'm not on it but a friend is) has erupted into controversy because of this site. People claim it's mean-spirited and get all upset because of its negativity. And maybe the concept *is* mean-spirited (please note I'm not defending this site, merely saying that it exists), but how is it different than a bad review of a published work? Are we amateurs all so delicate that we can't take an opinion? Writers open themselves up to criticism every time they share their writing. Would JoeFan's "Worst Trek Fic on the 'Net" be any meaner than the MiSTing of Stephen's Marissa stories? Would it be any worse than the comments my predecessor as the TrekSmut FAQ Maintainer made about my first story back in the days of alt.sex.fetish.startrek? I dare say that if a story of Alara's was posted to such a site, she'd be hurt and upset, just as I imagine Stephen is when people make fun of his work and I was when a rather famous Trek fan told me my characterization of Picard was off. But I'll bet that Alara would still write, the same way Stephen and I still write. And I bet a large number of people would tell her that JoeFan was wrong and write to him as well and say so.

We either communicate and we make ourselves vulnerable to others, or we don't communicate and never learn that many like what we have to say. Writing is creation and exhibitionism; we hang a piece of ourselves on the wall and then wait to see what happens. Like any form of art, writing can be misinterpreted, misrepresented, plagiarized, or mocked. We can protect ourselves in two ways. We can remain silent, or we can write the very best story we have in us and let our words stand up for us. Negative feedback *hurts,* and one negative bit of feedback can make a writer forget all the positive feedback for the same story (there's story that's been in the Slash Hall of Shame *and* has received a glowing review on the Slash Revolution International site). And maybe if the negative feedback is actually done well, we can learn from it."[12]

You've finally proved your idiocy picking on McCool. Sure some of her characterizations are a little over the top; maybe I don't quite see Blair, Jim *and* Simon getting together not just sexually, but in a sm relationship.

But when she does it, it's so HOT that I just don't care whether she's as close as she could be to the on-air characters.

Get it, JoAnne; some of us just don't care about your bloodless pointless criteria--we just want hot stories. That's what slash is, right? [13]
Who among fan fiction writers can help but quake at the very mention of Joanne's website? And yet here we are, nervously scouting the page every few days, whistling a happy tune while anxiously waiting to see which story has the mixed blessing of being immortalized/branded for life by JoJo's simultaneously electrifying and acidic prose. Ya can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. This is a great place to come and browse. Of course this is only after you've made sure your precious literary baby is not the one currently skewered by Joanne's rapier wit, slow-roasting to a crispy turn over the coals of her keen editorial eye. Hell, I say "brava!" I only wish I'd thought of it myself. Em, whistling merrily past the graveyard[14]
Get ready for some major wishy-washiness. My instinctual reaction upon browsing this site for the first time was, "God, this is so *mean*!" And, well, it is. I can't help it; I've always been a sensitive person, and it's taken me awhile to learn how to handle (and/or deflect) criticism, particu arly where my writing is concerned. It's a vital skill, I know. Still, deep down I've always been of the "If you can't say anything nice..." school of thought, because I know so well how it feels to be timid and get crushed. I worry that someone will b deeply hurt here, and over what? It's only fanfic, after all. Now that I've sufficiently demonstrated what a helluva nice (if goody two-shoesish) gal I am, I also have to say that upon reading excerpts from featured stories, some of which I had already read in whole or in part, as well as upon reading your comments, I found myself thinking *many* o' time, "YES! Thank God someone had the balls to finally SAY it!" Sometinmes I just plain laughed myself silly. And, uh, I bookmarked the site. So you've got your typical traffic accident-type situation here: much as I know I shouldn't, I just *have* to stop and watch. Believe it or not, I have always been a rigid critic of fanfic myself, the difference being that *you* actually say it out loud. Against my better judgement, then, I guess I am essentially flicking the angel off my shoulder and telling you to keep it up. If asked at the Pearly Gates, however, I will deny everything. (Do they have an Internet connection up there?)[15]
JoAnne, thank you. One of the reasons I've scaled back my involvement in fandom is that too many fans take themselves too damn seriously. (Ooh, you're a wiccan. Golly, that's rebellious and iconoclastic of you. Get in line.) The fact is that we like o think that we're more individualistic than "other" people, when we fall easily into some pretty narrow categories. (Yeah, tell con security that it was a pale fat guy with a beard and glasses. I think he was wearing a T-shirt.) You, JoAnne, are part o a small but vital group of people that helps prick the overinflated egos that characterize too many of what might otherwise be a really fun bunch of folks. Fellow fans, a word to the wise: Yes, you have the right to do, write, believe, or say whatever y u like. Yes, all perception is subjective. Yes, one man's meat is another man's poison. Yes, [fill in whiny, defensive cliche here.] And you know what? None of that makes bad writing any less bad. If you disagree, feel free to argue the point with m at a con sometime. I'll be easy to spot - I'm the tall skinny guy in the black trenchcoat. :-)[16]
I love this site! It's true that a lot of fanfic writers take themselves way too seriously, while at the same time posting some incredibly sloppy work that I'd be ashamed to throw away, let alone show to anyone. For crying out loud, eople, get some beta-readers who are at least competent in spelling and grammar, and actually watch the freakin' show you're writing about! I'm tired of stories (slash and other) where you could substitute any names for the characters and it would 't make a damned bit of difference. (If I never read another "Mulder and Scully get married and live happily ever after" story, it will be too soon!) Rant on, JoAnne, fandom needs you.[17]
I've been coming here awhile now and I just wanted to say keep up the good work. People who oppose this site have to realize that no one is just blatantly picking on these authors...it's just that when you present your work to the public, be prepared for he truth. If you're too sensitive to deal with public opinion, keep your stories to yourself and a select group of friends.[18]
Does Fanfiction need a Hall of Shame? Like it needs a hole in the head, but apparently fans want a Hall of Shame. After all, if they can want slash fanfic and get it why shouldn't they get a Hall of Shame. Of course, it's easier to be objective since m name isn't on the list of stories to be shamed. But it doesn't *need* one, all the comments here, could be sent to the author, and then it's not on public display for everyone to see. But it's no different than a movie critic or book critic. I do like the Hall of Shame, even if I do disagree with some of the stories you picked. I just like controversy, it's like reading a good story, but I enjoy the rants more than anything else;-) I think, I read somewhere that you were going to post one of your stories on the net, and let people read (ridicule) it. Best of luck, but if I were you I wouldn't try real hard. I have the image of a thousand men and women standing ready with tomatoes, no matter how good the story is, but it is very fair of you, to do such a thing when you know your going to receive bad feedback before anyone even knows the title of your story, or what it's about:-) When you do post it, I'd like to read it, though. I'd like to see what you can do:-) As for posting my comments, go ahead. It wouldn't be fair to say anything anoymously, so go ahead and use my name as well. I don't think I've said anything to be flamed for, but just in case someone thinks I deserve any, they're more than welcome to:-) Kin, or Kindrid318@aol.com. Oh, as for my real name, I don't give that to anybody over the internet, unless I've talked to them over a long period of time, so it's not like I don't want you to know who I really am, it's just that I've read the horror stories, so if people want my r al name, I'm going to have to know them real well first:-)[19]
This is the worst site I've ever seen put together. There are mile long pages, boring graphics, and uninteresting content. If you insist on inflicting us with your inane rants, at least have the courage to be stylish. As it stands, you come off as a know- othing, envious whiner with little knowledge of homepage building. This page as it stands, and you as well, are both a waste of space. (And no. I don't have a story here, or a friend with a story here. I just thought that since you appointed yourself high queen of quality in fan fiction, I could point out your many faults as well. Take this post like the constructive critism it is, before you find yourself on the site for ugly and useless pages.)[20]

Ultra 12, the last poster, is a friend of mine. He told me this web-site was useless, and I came to see for myself.

When you were putting this place together, did you ask yourself, "Maybe I shouldn't?" It would have been helpful if you did. There are tons of sites on-line that offer instruction on web-page design. Even more sites lead you through the question of is his page useful? (which your's is not.) Not only id your page web space wasting drek, it is visually disgusting. You may care about your 'work' here, but you don't care how it's presented. Ironic since you claim these poor souls do the same.

This leads up to an award we would like to present to you. *drumroll inserted here*:

For being a hypocrite and demanding excellence of others, when you can't attain it yourself; for being too lazy to become a useful member of the net community and inflicting us with drek; for letting people with no web knowledge give you pride in a projec that sucks... you earn the only award you deserve. *trumpets*

We can assume from this site's layout, you'll be delighted with this award.[21]
I'd just like to say how much I agree with the two little boys who posted their comments on this site. How dare you produce something where the content is more important than the presentation? All those acres of print! Good heavens, anyone would think you were trying to make your readers actually er... read! It's absolutely disgusting to expect webusers to use their own brains, don't you know it's your bounden duty to present them with predigested pablum with added bells and whistles, flashing graphics, midi's, avi's (or failing that naked women.) Go away and replace all that thought with something technologically tricksy, orthographically challenged and intellectually vapid at once. Frankie PS do we believe them when they say they have no personal axe to grind? Do we hell![22]
So, let me get this straight, you are critiquing people who steal other people's characters without their permission. So basically your critiquing some one who doesn't have the ability to make up their own characters. I don't know who is more pathetic, he writers who can't write, or the critic that needs to critique the writes who can't write. This sight is sadder than those who think they can write, but instead take the creativity of others and change it to suit themselves. Please get a life![23]
This site has become one of the jokes of the web, I've read about it on a couple of the mailing list I've been on, and one wasn't a fanfic mailing list. As most people who actually admit that they come here say, it's kinda like watching a train wreck, it s awful, but you just can't look away. Most people who I write with say that they don't come here from JoAnne's unimaginative exposes, but for everybody else's rants (one woman said she only read what JoAnne had to say once). I do get a kick out of hear ng how "writers take their work too seriously, fanfiction NEEDS a site like this". Fanfiction doesn't NEED anything, this isn't brain surgery, it's only fanfiction, that's all. It seems some one is taking themselves too seriously, and it's not the writer . It's done for entertainment, if it ceases to be entertaining for you, go do something else. I also love the comment made below that told some one if they didn't like what they read here, just don't come here. Apparently that same line of thinking doe n't pertain to that person, if you don't like the story, just don't read it (it's really not a hard concept). Recently CNN did a story on the decline in critic popularity in the mass media. It seems that people no longer read/watch critics as much as th y use to. One of the interviewers stated that the 'baby boomer generation' has seemed to come to an age where they have begun to decide on their own likes and dislikes instead of allowing a reveiwer to do it for them. I think that statement sums up the eneral feeling about sites like this. They may be fun to read, but most of us do not take them seriously.[24]

1998

I think it's... well, stifling if the only opinions that are expressed are positive opinions. Like I said above, everyone will occasionally dislike a story. But when readers are repeatedly told, "No! This story is wonderful, it's your perceptions that are screwed up!", they start to doubt their own taste and their own opinions. That's why I felt, and still feel, that sites like the Slash Hall of Shame are both useful and needed, even to people who disagree with the views expressed there. We need opposing viewpoints in order to refine our own. It's not enough to just sit back complacently and think, "Ahh, Susie Slashfan is the best (or worst) writer in the world!" Until you're exposed to a different point of view, you can't fully articulate your reasons for liking or disliking something. [25]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: I think I'd appreciate it, actually, for the publicity it might provide. JoAnne's word isn't necessarily law, and simply because she disliked something I wrote doesn't mean hat it's beyond redemptioHow long have you been a slash fan?

Comments: I truly believe that this site is a natural progression of the netfic community, and I think it's a good thing. There should be some place for people to say what they truly feel about a shoddy piece of work, instead of fre ting, "Well, it sucks, but I don't know how to tell the author. So while other people go on for pages about how great this story is, I'll just sit quiet and squirm, and reflect on the contrived plot, the irritating characterizations, and the utter lack of canon (television *or* fanfic canon)."

All of this needs saying, and, unfortunately, most of us are (certainly I am) too scared to say it. We need one person to stand up and declaim, "This is awful!" so that we can fall in line and agree wholeheartedly, and I thank you for allowing us to rally around you. [26]

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Yes, I would

Comments: I'm really writing here to ask where the hell Joanne is?! Did one of you disgruntled talentless writers off her? C'mon, out with it! Or did she get frightened (as I would be) by the vicious comments I've been seeing here today? How about the morons criticising her for the look of the site? Funny stuff. Boys, it's a slash fic hall of shame, not a Web site hall of shame! [27]

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Winter's End, by Ellis Ward

Comments: This is to Lisa McDaniel: I get so sick and tired of hearing, "It's only fanfiction." So presumably that means the author doesn't have to spell the words right or worry about little things like correct grammar or characterization or even making sense. Tha is such crap. Why waste your time doing something if you're not going to at least make the attempt to do it correctly? And furthermore, if "authors" think so little of their readers that they can't be bothered to even run a spell check, why should the re der bother to read that story? And why is a writer writing, except to be read? [28]
Comments: Hey, I really enjoyed the Slash Hall of Shame... but why isn't there more of it? That really great rant about religious oddities has been up there for months and months... when are you going to rant some more? Did Christmas fill you with too much goodwill Have you OD'd on Xena slash and got the incurable warm fuzzies? Or are you just off having Real Life? [29]

Comments:

So, "sensitive people are often the best artist[s]," but Rosalita should "[s]top being so sensitive?" Perh's she is one of those best artists! Don't criticize her--you might drive her underground! Her opinion's on the web, it's free, so you can just hi your delete key, right? As for those wonderful mailing lists for people who can't endure criticism, if they work the way you seem to be implying they certainly do sound like a lovely fantasy--a world in which everything you do, no matter how little thought, effort, or skill you ut into it, is perfect and everyone is your best friend, unable to entertain the slightest critical thought about you. Well, people can have whatever sort of lists they want, and I suppose it's convenient that those people who can't bear the thought of b ing criticized segregate themselves onto a list of their own, so that everyone else can discuss in peace. But please--don't demand that the rest of us who actually exercise our intelligence and taste when reading fanfic swallow any nonsense that comes al ng in order to protect your dream world. Life's too short to eat garbage and pretend it's pate.[30]
Comments: I guess I still don't get this. So I'm not suppose to deny you the right to bitch and moan and make claims to some intelligence, but you have the right to take away my fun when it would be just as easy for you to hit the delete key? Again, forgive me if that strikes me as pure selfishness on your part. Perhaps Rosita and others are talented authors, then I thank them for their wonderful work. But I don't see why they needs to cut others down. Sometimes it seems to me that the people who complain the ost are authors who think they have failed (the only way you fail is to stop writing), and therefore must cut other authors down. Now there are many stories out there I don't like. Some of these are by excellent authors who just didn't quite cut it this time around. But if I turn them off from writing because of my opinions, then I have not only hurt them but myself and others who would have enjoyed their works. Common courtesy is a sign of intellegence, bitching and moaning is a sign of people who hav nothing better to do. If you don't like a story write to the author. If you don't like their response, simply don't read anymore of their stories, that's not that hard to figure out. Show the rest of us how big of a person you are by letting us read w at we like.[31]

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: "Ghosts" by Torch

Comments: Lisa said that sensitive people make the best writers. She could be right about that. However, overly sensitive people don't always make good writers - it's usually the opposite. If someone is criticized, and their reaction to that criticism is to go off in a corner with other people who only want to hear good things a out themselves - well, that's sad, but I don't think I'll be losing any sleep over it.

When someone says they dislike a story, all it means is that they dislike the story. They have their reasons, and those reasons have very little to do with some vast conspiracy to hurt the feelings of poor, frail, flowerlike waifs who need to beli ve that the world loves them. I read fanfic because I like the stories. I'm not here to be in a support group, handing out unconditional love and praise where I don't feel it's deserved.

To some fans, daring to admit that you might dislike a story makes you cruel and heartless. I don't mind when people disagree with one another's positions, but I despise it when people jump right into casting aspersions on the character and motives of the person expressing the opinion. That's why I'm delurking and making these comments. Everybody has a right to post whatever they please. That also means that everybody else has the right to have an opinion on what is posted and, if they want, to express that opinion. If this is too much for someone to deal with, than they're probably better off going to private lists where they'll be praised no matter what they do or say or write. They can go and hide, and leave the grownups alone. [32]
Hi...I already signed the book months ago, but now that I have my own page of fanfic reviews (Vampire Chronicles; see above URL), I feel the need to speak again. I find Lisa's comments very amusing... "Stop being so sensitive," she says, just after suggesting that authors will stop writing altogether if they get one bad review. Consistancy, anyone? And "show the rest of us how big of a person you are by letting us read what we like"? Listen, sister, nobody held a gun to your head and made you visit this site. If you don't like the idea of a critical fanfic site, then maybe you shouldn't have come here in the first place. As if the name "Slash Fiction Hall of Shame" isn't a big enough tip-off that the reviews aren't going to be sweet, fawning bits of praise and adulation. Somehow I doubt that she's accusing the people at, say, Slash Revolution International of "bitching and moaning"...would I go so far as to suggest that it might be because that site's reviews typically *are* sweet, fawning bits of praise and adulation? You know what, I think I would. I expect to get plenty of hate mail for my new reviews page, since I actually (gasp and clutch the pearls!) point out that none of the stories are perfect, and in fact have flaws, but I don't really care. *Somebody* has to point out that the Emperor is butt-naked. Bravo to you, JoAnne, for being one of those people. I hope I manage piss as many people off as you do. (Note: Yes, that's a compliment.) [33]
This place reminds me of an office I use to work at when I was going through college. There were these six old ladies that would hudle around the front window and bitch and moan about everyone who went by. "Oh, there goes so and so, you know he's gay. ook at that earring." "You know SHE'S sleeping with a married man." "That one stays too long in the bathroom. I bet he's doing coke." And god forbid if you should say something to them about their nastiness. They would come back with some comment to ustify themselves. "Yeah, well those are the kind of people who are bad for society, get our kids hooked on drugs, will be the downfall of the human race...ect" People always have a reason to show us all just how stupid they are. You couldn't work ther long without learning to just advoid the biddies in the corner. Which brings me back to this place. I came here out of curiosity, and now that I've satisfied that, I just thought I'd put this down and leave. To you writers, the people who write here, no matter what excuse they may give, are just bitter people who ne d an outlet for their nastiness. I'm sure you'll agree it's better on you here than on their children, spouses, partner, or co-workers (though people like this are probably bitchy in the real world too). The only people who take them seriously is other p ople who need to bitch and moan. These kind of people seem to gather in herds. To you people who are here to change them, and that may include myself, don't bother. They will find some lofty purpose for what they do and will only succeed in making them elves look foolish. Our best bet is to leave them their little corner of the web and ignore them. That is what I intend to do.[34]

It's been a while since I checked in here... why doesn't it surprise me that the guest book is *still* active? And it's still the same old arguments going around and around and around.

I am simply astonished that anyone would seriously suggest that all negative opinions come from bitchiness. I've been using the following quotation by Wendy Kaminer as my most recent .sig: "We tend to forget that criticism sometimes expresses greater res ect than praise. It is surely more of an honor than flattery." I believe this with all my heart and soul.

Does that make me a bitch? If it does, it's a label I'll wear proudly, because I don't care for the alternative. When we allow fandom to become a place in which the only acceptable opinions are gushy pieces of flattery, then the sincerity of all ositive opinions becomes suspect. Let's say that I join a list where there's a rule in effect that only positive comments are allowed. I post a story. I receive a handful of comments saying "Lovely!" I bask in the warm glow that only comes from knowin that people like something I worked hard on. Then I slowly realize that every story that gets posted there receives identical praise, no matter how many problems it has. How could I not doubt the value of the comments I received?

Yes, everyone will disagree on what makes a good story. That doesn't mean that people don't have a basic right to dislike something. And, as much as it pains me to have to point this out, an important part of adulthood is accepting that people will disagree with you, and that they have the right to express this dislike. [35]

I must say that Twilight, Molly, and Sarah have all hit that nail right on the head with several excellent points. This site should be admired for its honesty and openness. The people who've been discussing this point should be applauded. There are a few asic statements which I find very important; some have been mentioned and others not yet. 1. Everyone has their opinions. That is something that certain people may need to hear every couple of days to remember it. 2. Bad slash fanfic is bad and should be labeled as such. For those of us who use critics for movies to weed out the bad from the good, this site (when updated) is a wonderful help. 3. Critiquing and criticism are a fact of life - everyday life. If you prefer to walk through life with "yes" people surrounding you, then by all means, stick to those private mailing lists which are for the sycophants. 4. An author/writer/artist is not afraid nor ignores his critics. It serves two purposes with the same goal. One, he will either listen to the suggestions or critiques with an open eye to see the improvement to his art. Or he will find the critique unwort y or not applicable, and he will be more confident in what he has given to the public as art, solidifying what he believes and does. Either way, he is a better artist having read those critics' opinions. 5. Care about your readers and care about your work. Possibly, my emphasis lies in the later part of that statement, but I am not unaware of my readers. They are important as well. What is the point of putting anything online, but to have someone *else* r ad it? Some people place the emphasis on the readership. I applaude their ability to do that. It does not make either myself nor them better nor worse than the other. Merely different.

So, I must say that Twilight's site will now be bookmarked on my browser. If at some time I realize that she and I have different tastes, it is still useful to read her opinion anyway if only to validate my own unique one. However, this site and others li e it (with openness and true critiquing in mind) can only improve the overall quality of slash and other fanfic. [36]
Hey, keep up your interesting work JoAnne! Although I think your comments can be a bit harsh sometimes, some of the excerpts had me dropping my jaw in a mixture of shock, disbelief, amusement and pain, and I don't even READ any of these fandoms! You have right to express your opinion, and valid crit is valid crit. As long as it's not slander-- and you've never actually attacked a *writer* from what I've seen, so it isn't slander-- you can say whatever you want about the *story*. On the other hand, if peo le flame you, well, they have the right to do that too. Just remember, though, without honest feedback and criticism, a person's writing will never improve. [37]

I hope you keep up the good work with the Hall of Shame.

I have ready many, many fanfic in my time, both gen and slash. I can get through most stories without cringing, but I simply cannot take bad characterization. Bad grammar and poor spelling is irritating, but there have been stories with wonderfu plot and solid characterization for which I have ignored these flaws. This mostly because (a) it I was so pleased otherwise, I could ignore it, or (b) English is obviously not the writer's first language, for which much can be forgiven.

The one thing I cannot forgive, one that has caused me to abandon a story within the first two paragraphs, is the tendency for some writers to bring their characters to the point too early and stupidly. Two supposedly heterosexual men suddenly look at ach other across a crowded room and it's instant "I love you Jim," "I love you too, Blair." (Commencing serious boffing.)All this within the first two paragraphs! No consideration is given to the change in self-image that should occur, not to mention the he fact that they automatically know what goes where! Absurd.

I have more to say, but I think that's enough for today. Keep up the good work. I welcome any and all feedback. [38]
I very much enjoyed your site. Thank you for your part in keeping slash pollution free.[39]
I love your page. I love what you do. Bad writing is a crime, a very very ugly crime... And you are compassionate to the dewy-eyed newborn writers and only go after writers whose sins are informed and premeditated sins... Finally, if people can inflict their bad stories on the public, shouldn't the public have the right to fight back? You go, girl! [40]

GOOOOOo JoAnne! You're saving the world of slash from death by crummy stories. Wake-up call to the slash universe-just because your story has sex in it, dosn't mean it's good.

Oh yeah, and for any of you kindly "The Sentinel" writers out there...more h/c stories! hehehehe...I unashamedly announce to all that are reading this that I'm addicted to those stories. h/c fans unite! Poor Blair. But then again, it's his own darned ault for making such a good victim! Another quick hint to writers from a reader: PWP stories are fine once in a while, but we can not live on mindless sex forever. Check out any textbook about literature. Plot is an integral part of it. Just a gentle hint..let's make the slash world a better place, with longer stories, containing more h/c, some semblance of a story-line, and bad guys. [41]
I find this site unpleasant. Yes, you have the right to critique bad fanfic, but do you have to use sarcasm and ridicule to do it? If you're going to criticize, how about keeping it professional and leave the skewer at home? It's easy enough to tear do n someone else's writing. Would *you* appreciate someone doing the same to a story of yours? I admire the courage of *any* writer who gets out there and posts something, bad or good. At least they're taking the chance, considering that people like you re out there ready to ridicule them. [42]

JoAnne, I think your site is a wonderful addition to the fan community, and I think you are doing a great job. I know that a lot of the comments you have made on individual stories are more than applicable to other writers as well, and I've tried to re ember a lot of the tips I acquired here when writing my own fiction. I don't know if it actually *worked* or not, but no one's perfect--especially not writers, unfortunately.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what a good job you're doing--I check back here often, and live in hope that one day I'll load the page to find a brand-new Story of Shame and Rant waiting for me! Keep up the good work![43]
By the way, Joanne....where are YOUR fanfics, eh? If you got 'em I can't find 'em. Guess the sayings true..those who can't DO put up websites and make fun of people who can.[44]

Well, thank you, Ms. No Name, No Address. You've opened my eyes. I now realize that people who don't have web pages obviously couldn't know how to write. There's not a chance in the world that JoAnne might have been publishing in zines fo many, many years. And there's not the slightest possibility that she might have won awards for her stories.

That's right. Slash was invented on the Net, for the Net. Nothing else exists. And someone who isn't published on the Net couldn't ever be a writer.

Jesus. Here's a quarter - go and buy yourself a clue, dear. Just as someone can write slash but not put it on the Web, it's entirely possible that someone can know how to type but have no idea how to write - or think, for that matter. You're proof posi ive of that, whoever you are.[45]
This is about "Play the Game" Which I am was happy to see on your page. Your right, it stunk, and I wrote it. I did honest. Then I put in in a nice little disk that I thought I had hid. My nineteen year-old sister, who has been killed, put this on axfc for me as a "favor." She also sent it to several mailing lists as another "favor" She thought I was being shy, but if I couldn't even stand the thing, why would I want it seen? It wasn't even beta'd! Told her if she ever touched my computer, or did anything with anything that I had stuck on a disk that says "this is really bad, but had to get it out of my head" to LEAVE it alone. At the time she was babysitting for me, and I later found out that she sent off a BUNCH of my insane stories. These are the types of stories that plague my mind when I am under stress, and I get them out onto disk then I forget about them. I was working hard at the time getting two degrees, and so didn't have time to check newsgroups and such. Don't worry I don't write anymore. Instead I teach Special Education. You are free to archive this comment and burn it if you want.[46]
I'm pretty amazed JoAnne is willing to sit here and take all this crap! It takes a lot of guts to make a specific criticism (I've been in enough writer's workshops to know that!). This is the internet. There are no checks on what a person can write, no hurdles to make you try harder. Fanzines and magazines make you work, but publishing on the internet is a quick ego boost. It's about time we started flushing some of the egos. Maybe this page will make people turn red, realize "you're right, it sucks" and go on to write better stories.[47]

1999

I really think it's funny that so many people who criticize this site believe that criticizing fanfic is wrong. Now that fanfic has made the move from print to the web, there are no editors and no one to tell writers "This is bad. Fix it!". People can pos whatever comes into their head without the benefit of review or rewrite. This is a bad thing. The better 'net writers rely on beta readers they trust to improve their fic before it's posted. Every fanfic writer who doesn't have an editor should get beta eaders to avoid posting bad fic. The reputation you save could be your own! JoAnne does a service by telling bad fic writers to get a clue about their own work. People who tell you your writing is wonderful when it's really utter drek are not protecting your "delicate sensibilities", they are doing you a disservice that can only tunt your development as a writer. Is that what you *really* want for yourself? Writers, all writers, learn their craft constantly. You should never say "I'm as good a writer as I will ever be or ever need to be." If you really are a writer, you will cons antly learn better and more concise ways of writing. This is as it should be. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by refusing to learn or refusing to listen to people who say, "This story could be better and here's how." JoAnne, you deserve some praise yourself. I really admire your cojones for standing up to people with small minds and those who refuse to write the best story possible even if it's (as I have overheard some writers say) "Just Fanfic." My hat's off to you! p> [48]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: I couldn't (of course, I only write Trek fic, so this most likely won't happen). I can't try to force others to live up to standards that I won't try and meet myself. Eve though JoAnne can be rather [missing words]

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Lord, it's hard to choose. They both grate on my nerves to no end, but being the consummate Grammar Nazi, I'll have to say bad grammar. After all, you could argue that poor characterization is something you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Probably not, since I'd most likely lose some of my own. Personally, I like the idea of putting all of the exceptional fanfic in a shrine of its own.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Not slash, but "Osweicim," a DS9 fic by Gabrielle Lawson is incredible (as are all of her stories). If you're a DS9 fan and you haven't read this, go *now.* I'll i clude the URL down in the comments section for anyone interested.

Comments: It's about time someone got around to this. I know it seems harsh to those whose stories end up here (and yes, it can hurt to read stuff like that about your work, especially if it's brutally frank), but take my word for it when I say that it's all for th greater good. If you're really smart and your story winds up here, you'll take a serious look at what JoAnne has to say, calmly remind yourself that it really isn't personal, and see about fixing whatever was wrong with the story (maybe even repost it). I know that to me, nothing is worse than sitting down at your computer, typing in a URL and, rather than getting the well-written, attention-grabbing fic you were hoping for, being confronted by a horrifying mess of misspellings, improper punctuation, poo ly-formatted paragraphs and the like. I'm not saying that I won't read a story if I see one or two things spelled wrong, and hey, there are writers who have a hard time with grammar, and everyone's human. But let's at least master the basics, people. You' e only hurting yourself with this sort of stuff, especially if the first fic someone picks up is a crappy one. Here's the URL that I promised, BTW: http://www.crosswinds.net/~tarlingen/stories/os1.html It's a must-read for Bashir fans (actually, I would say that all of the stories on her page qualify in that category), and highly recommended for any other DS9 fan, as well. [49]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Nope. In fact, I'd probably read it eagerly, agree with practically everything she had to say, and laugh my ass off. Then I'd drop her a note with my reaction in detail

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Oh, god - tough call. They are both pet peeves of mine. Ultimately, though, I guess it's bad grammar. No matter how brilliantly executed a story's plot is, if the grammar sucks, I can't read it.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No way! When I'm in the proper mood, I think it's fun to read a really good bad story. Plus, if the badfic went away, what would all the MiSTies do?

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: I'd have to say "Boy Smell Nice, Man Smell Better." It's a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" story. It's het smut (this is unusual because I generally don't care for he ), but it's really funny, entertaining, and well-written. (Don't ask about the title. It's a long story. Suffice it to say that most Buffy fans will understand.)

Comments: This was a perfect idea! I don't read any of the fandoms here, but I still love the read the samples and reviews. It's a shame you don't take "Buffy" fic sggestions, really; the amount of bad Buffy slash out there is just *frightening*.[50]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Nope. But since you don't rate the Trek stuff, it's unlikely. ;-) Actual answer: 'no.' If I wrote something so bad it deserved to be torn to bits, I'd want to know.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Some people can and do get better. Others churn out dreck continuously. Let's be really decisive here and say 'no.'

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: I can never remember titles, and if I can, I can't remember authors. So, let's see. I liked Mad Dogs. And I'd cheerfully recommend anything by JiM, Kassandra, MJ, Torch, Viridian (as you can see, I discovered X-files this month)

Comments: Writing is both art and craft. If you want to get better, you need to have someone seriously criticize your work. If you want to get better, you need to escape the temptation to become part of a mutual congratulation society where everyone tells each othe how great their stuff is because that's the best way to get praise fed back to you. Or where people are afraid to do serious crits for fear of being labeled 'mean.'

Some hard truths: Some people are better at the craft of writing than others. They have a better mastery of characterization, continuity, pacing, points-of-view, not to mention basic language skills. These are things all writers should strive to improve. Always. And just b cause your skills are not so hot now doesn't mean they can't get better. Having your own work criticized (and seeing the work of others criticized) is a very good way to learn what not to do. And who doesn't learn best from their mistakes?

Some people are more insightful than others. They can see things that others can't; intuit a character motivation that another wouldn't; can shed light on an emotional truth that would escape the rest of us.

Some people can create an incisive, insightful *brilliant* image with just a few words so that an idea, a moment, a character is illuminated in a way that hasn't ever been done before. That doesn't rely on the 70 zillion clichees the rest of us fall back n when we can't quite manage to say what we want to say.

And some people can do all three. They're the ones who really impress me.

So, you're not one of those (who can do all) three. Yet. But you should try to be. Because otherwise, someone might read the first thing you wrote, but will they come back for more?[51]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No, I'd have a good laugh, thank her for pointing out my mistakes, and go rewrite the fic.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No... because a good percentage of mine would disappear with them. ^^ I'd just have the best fanfic of all genres set up in its own little shrine.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: "The Mysterious Affair at Victoria" by Kumiko (Gundam Wing)

Comments: I randomly stumbled across this page while following arbitrarily chosen slash links.... Even though I don't recognise most of the fandoms, it's still a wonderful site. From what I've read this hasn't been updated in a while... too bad, because the slash 've read just keeps getting worse and worse. IMHO this is a useful service for the slash community/ies... if the bad writers have something to fear, hopefully they will be more careful. Kudos to JoAnne for going where most fen fear to tread. [52]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Nope. I might even send her a Ewan gram.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Characterization. Because grammer can be fixed in the Beta stage. There's no help for the characters from hell

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No, I've written some bad stuff. And some sick part of me gets hours of enjoyment out of bad lit.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Interoffice Politics- Jennifer Stoy. It's campy, cheesy, not entirely believeable. But tons of fun.

Comments: I like this site. I wish it was still being updated, as there is a need for some sort of a disccussion and education site. I would like to see it expanded to include both gen and slash. Although Slash's sins for some reason tend to be worse, perhaps because for a new author, the temptaion to bite off far more than they can chew is so prevalent. Gen fic tends to have crimes against grammer. Sins of puncuation, and problems with basic storytelling skills. Slash is suffering from crimes of plausability, from an inability of the authors to make at all plausable the relationship between the men (or women). As an X-Files example, there is nothing wrong with Mulder/Krycek. The level of heat between the two characters is nearly obscene. But to write a story in which the pair are in a happy, loving relationship, that is accepted by friends and family is almost mpossible. The amount of character reconstruction needed on Alex Krycek is extensive, and can't be done in a 7k quickie. But people try. Oh, do they try. I would loveeeeee to see something set up to give a few steps to force writers to think about the dynamics of the relationships, rather than just the potential for hot sex. Otherwise, I'd spend my day doing nothing but writing stories in which the man who looks like Matt Damon gets to have hot sex with the man who lookslike Ben Affleck. While hot, it does nothing for the soul after the 10,000th story. Nora. [53]

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Persons guilty of both should die a horrible death and reside in Hell for the rest of Eternity. Bad grammar makes me want to slash my wrists and idiotic characterisation is just that.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: You betcha I would! Or at least the writers.

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Nah. If one of my stories ended up here I'd be honoured. It's a cool website!

Comments: People who write bad fanfic should be ashamed. If I'd written some of the stuff I've read, I'd have died before I posted it on the Internet. I wrote some myself, but it turned out to be everything I hated in a slash story, so I tore it up and burned the r maining shreds. If everyone could critique their own work so thoroughly, it would save a lot of screaming and cringing for said unfortunate writers (i.e. people who think they're good at it). Shannon BTW: To all people who write Due South fic: You're 'avin' a larf, ain'tcha? DON'T DO IT! IT IS A MISTAKE! You will never be respected as a writer again! Benny and Ray are comedy characters! You can't write serious fic about them - by doing that you parody the actual show. USE YOUR HEADS! [54]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No, I'd just weep and bang my head against the table a few times. Then I'd memorise Strunk and White and take a blood oath to do better in future.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: "Eclipse" by Izzy Izenthe. (X-Files, ScullySlash)

Comments: Oh, dear. This site is just never going to be updated, is it? Is JoAnne even on the net any more? Ah well. I wish I had the guts to create my own equivalent of this site, but I crave affection far too much. There's such a lot of crap out there...although sually if a story is truly awful I delete it after the first few lines (yes, I can tell). The thing is, if the grammer/spelling etc. are bad I tend to delete it automatically and never find out what's hidden underneath the badness. If the grammer/spelling are OK, I'll carry on reading -- and sometimes I'll regret it. But I do know of at least one story which would have been terrific if it wasn't for the author's criminal abuse of commas; I would have stopped after the first page, but I *knew* she'd done go d stuff before, and I felt like taking a chance. On the other hand...characterisation is to a surprisingly large extent subjective, and it's possible to make characters do things that on the face of it seem absurd. But it takes talent. Halrloprillalar can make Mulder do a drag show because she's *good*. Lesser authors take note: stay close to canon lest you find yourself overreaching yourselves. [55]

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: nah, gotta have something for joanne to put up on her page so i can spend my nights being entertained, amused, and secretly grateful that i haven't written a slash yet.... < g >

Comments: i shudder to think what would happen to my stories, should i ever be brave enough to post them in broad daylight. well, i've posted one before but it's too light-n-fluffy to count. (i hope.) no hate mail from me- just wanted to thank you for performing a ublic service, trite as it sounds (now i know what i'll never do in a story < g >), for deriving some entertainment value from the legions of bad fic-ness littering the 'net, and for letting us know what to avoid. (i actually intended to read "bacc rat figurines"... someday... eventually. merp. see what you saved me from? :-) ) so keep up the good work. any hope of us getting a new toy to dissect and play with soon? well, i can dream....[56]

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No. I'd lose a quarter of the stories on my archive.

Comments: Damn, woman. Why can't you judge fandoms I read? I don't read any of the fandoms you judge but I giggled nonetheless. Slash is beleaguered by the same problems in any fandom, I guess. I run a Xena archive and can tell you right now that there is plenty of crap to pull yer hair out over (including stuff I've written). But no question about it, the worst stuff I've ever read has been gen stuff. I wish I had your balls. Then I could actually identify myself. And then instead of just sending letters to authors telling them to do spell checks and fix tense when the story itself is garbage, I would be able to say, "why do you want to inflict this on people?" And is the counter on your site for real? I guess it pays off to be mean. It sure as hell is funny anyway. p> [57]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: no! if i've done something wrong, i'd rather know about it and try to prevent it from happening again. as would most mature adults, i believe.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: A World of Darkness (think that's the name) by Maygra and Lori Goldman.

Comments: Judging from some of the comments you've received, it appears as if there's been some issue on the page coming down a bit too hard on writers who are new and still struggling. After reading a few of those comments, I decided to be a busybody and put in my own two cents. I love fanfics. I can spend twelve hours a day browsing through dozens of sites for just one story worth reading. Because I love them, I write them; and because I want others to like my work as much as I like theirs, I try to make what I write at least marginally acceptable reading. Which means, simply, that I have to read over what I write a few times, straighten ut the grammar as much as I can and try to catch and cross out most logical inconsistencies before deciding that it won't be a source of pollution to some poor reader's eyes. It could be better, of course, but at least this way it doesn't *hurt* anyone. Does that sound too hard? What I know of grammar and spelling comes from elementary school English classes and the novels I read; I am no expert by any means. It still doesn't put too much of a strain on me to flip through the dictionary a few times and change various glaring typos. I take that to be the most basic form of common courtesy, like not scrawling multi-colored 'fuck you's all over the walls. There is NO EXCUSE for bad grammar, not even for newbies. If you feel insecure about your own tenuous rasp on the English language, have someone beta-read for you. It's that easy. What comes after bad grammar is, of course, bad characterization. This can be harder to control, because, well, there are no /rules/ laid out on how a character's supposed talk or act. Some see him this way, some see him that. A good writer knows what t do with him, a bad writer doesn't. The problem is, the majority of those truly gawdawful writers out there can't even *see* the ridiculousness of what they write. It's actually nicer in the end if you break it to them swiftly. Truly, would you rather rem in ignorant and continue embarrassing yourself than know the truth and be able to change? Or, to put it in the simplest terms: Would you rather people talk about you behind your back or to your face? I'm sure that there are people out there who would prefer the former. But the very purpose of posting stories on the web is to let others enjoy them, isn't it? What's the point of posting things that are only good for a laugh and a bunch of nasty commen s? If that's all that people think about your fics, wouldn't you want to *know* and do something about it? It may hurt at first, but it'll also do more good. Perhaps you'll improve. Perhaps someday you'll be able to draw genuine smiles and tears from you audience. Perhaps then *you'll* be the one poking fun while others hail you as a god. If I write something awful, I want to *know* it's awful. I want to know what to avoid next time, and I'm sure any writer who has even a chance of earning the name feels the same way. However, it can be terribly hard to judge the quality of you own work ometimes, so the responsibility has to fall on someone else's shoulders. This page does a wonderful job of that -- a sharp, pointed job, perhaps, that can sometimes draw blood -- but it is, in many ways, a necessary one. Thank you, JoAnne. And thank you, too, for anyone who actually had the patience to read your way through this thing![58]

2000

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No, she's so funny

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: idiotic characterizations

How long have you been a slash fan?: about six months

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No way!

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Sympathy For The Devil

Comments: This is the most hysterical site I've visited in my surfing history. JoAnne, you are so funny. I absolutely adore your meta rants. Excellent job on the site, I love it! [59]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: i don't care enough about her to expend the effort.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: idiotic characterization of stories by substandard critics

How long have you been a slash fan?: 1986 or so

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: there are no bad stories only people who insist upon judging them all

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: what, so you could get your hands on it?

Comments: Those who can, do...those who can't, become nasty ogres hurling insults at people just for daring to be creative. And then she turns out to have a thin skin herself...fancy that! [60]

Have you ever recommended a story?: Nope...haven't found anything deserving of it on my own.

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No, I'd get myself a beta reader.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: About equally, though sometimes I see horrid grammar as a fortuitous warning sign to get the hell out.

How long have you been a slash fan?: About 4 years.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Heck no. Every story serves a purpose. Who knows, if someone did that, mine might dissapear!

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Ooh...yikes...I read so many good stories...

Comments: An inspirational site, verily, a beacon of light in a dark wasteland! ;-) Okay, so I'm in a silly mood. Seriously, this site is full of good warnings and laughs. [61]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Please. If I publicly posted bad fic, I'd take the lumps.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Depends on how bad they are.

How long have you been a slash fan?: 6 years.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Nah. They're a source of endless fun.

Comments: From a previous poster: "these people have the right to write what they want, without being humiliated. If you feel the need to send a flame, do it privately." As you said in your own post, do as i say, not as I do, huh? Fic Writers have the right to write whatever they want, and post it publicly, but JoAnne doesn't have the same right? This is exactly what I was talking about in the Fanfic Symposium's innagural coulm, Winston was Right (http://www.trickster.org/~cereta/symp1.htm). As for asking if she has "permission" to discuss the stories, considering that fanfic borrows other people's creations without permission...to quote Ally McBeal, that's just dumb. [62]

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Both, but idiotic characterizations set my teeth on edge more.

How long have you been a slash fan?: I'm not a slash fan, but I like this site.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Probably.

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No. If my story landed here, it would show that I probably need help.

Comments: I wish this site was updated. If JoAnn can't do it, has anybody thought of picking up where she left off? I've never bought the argument that no one should ever critique or criticize fan fic just because it's fan fic. While there are some writers who do it for fun and catharsis, there are mulitplied hundreds who really want to be published someday. Unfortunat ly, because this latter class of fan fic writers don't want to be shown their errors, they will find it hard to become published. I think if you put your work out on the net for all the world to see, then be open to whatever comes back to you, whether it e praise or critique. If a writer can't be objective about feedback, then maybe he or she should just write their stories but not share them with anyone else. That's the only way to truly avoid feedback. I'm in a circle where criticism is never posted. It's sort of an unofficial rule. This was the first-ever fan fic group I got involved with and I've stayed with the group because of the few very good writers and because of the bond the major participants ave formed outside of the fan fic element. But there are a few fan fic writers who are trying to persue legit careers as writers, and they're having a difficult time getting published. That's hard to do whether you're good or not, but I suspect that these writers' poor writing skills don't help them at much either. Some lurkers have tried to tell one of the writer's about bad form, etc, but it ended up causing the site to go up in flames for several days. Anyway, I'm just glad that there are people who are brave enough to call it like they see it. [63]
You are one hell of an egocentric jerk. If you don't like a fic, don't read it. You don't have to trash it publicly. I won't deny there are bad fics out there, but these people have the right to write what they want, without being humiliated. If you f el the need to send a flame, do it privately. Do you *ask* permision to post these stories. I'm sure you don't. You do realize this is a violation of writer's rights? And all of you who agree with JoAnne (such a pretty name for such a hateful person) are just bad unsensitive jerks as she is. Why don't you find something better to do than to degrade a writer's best efforts. I'd love to see your fics, I'm sure they're trash. Do as I say, not as I do, right? I'm sure you couldn't write a good fic if your life depended on it. [64]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Maybe, but deep down I'd know I deserved it for writing CRRRRRAP!

How long have you been a slash fan?: About 5 years

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Nah, they're entertaining, in a masochistic way.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Hmm... I really grooved on Gemma F.'s "Game Face"...

Comments: Okay, I know this page hasn't been updated in like a zillion years, but damn it, it still kicks ass. And I think the "bad grammar or idiotic characterizations" conundrum ought to have a 3rd choice: authors with attitude. You know, the ones who not only wr te like total crud, but throw a hissy fit if anyone calls them on it. "You're anal if you care about grammar! All that matters is the story! I shouldn't have to beta, because you should just read the fic and not sweat the details (like crappy spell ng and sentences that read like a Mongolian VCR manual)!" To this I say, "BITE ME!" The sheer freaking gall of these people, thinking they can dictate how everyone else is allowed to respond to their work, just makes me want to whack them across th fanny with the Cricket-Bat of Sanity[tm]. Wise up, folks: if you want to write like a third-grader, don't be expecting everybody to think you're Ernest F*cking Hemingway.[65]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: no, if i wrote something that bad, i'd want people to tell me.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: both, but the latter makes me angry enough to write to the author.

How long have you been a slash fan?: 3 years

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: depends on how bad they are, but yes.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Stranded by Sandrid ST:Voy Tu/P

Comments: I always like the idea of the hall of shame. I think it takes guts to stand up and say 'this story sucks and this is why'. There are a lot of good authors out there, many who never get the praise they diserve. And then there are the totally horrific autho s, that no matter what you tell them, think that they are the best this since sliced bread. Then there are the authors that aske for opinions good or bad, but get all ticked off if you actually tell them you think their story sucks. Of the two, I hate to ay it, but I respect the one that gets pissed, more than the other. Because at least they will get the hint and try to improve their writing. The former just doesn't care and refuses to even consider changing anything they write.

Now I don't do this, normally. I'm pretty much a live and let live kinda person. However, there is one type of writing that drives me totally insane. When a writer knowingly creates characterization so out of character with what you see on he show, that they might as well be original characters, and not just with one character, but the entire cast. Calling the fiction 'fan fic' is a misnomer at best, at worst is an act of deception. As the writer wants people to read her work, yet refuses t lable said work for what it is. Having written 5 alternate universes for The Sentinel, I can honestly say I know what I'm talking about. There is a big difference between writing an AU and placing known and recognizable names of characters onto some piece of drivel that pushes the autho s buttons. If an author wants to play around with characters like that, then they should create their own, using original names, and leave the know fandom characters alone. Peace. [66]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No. I'd simply have the attack badgers hunt her down and kill her on the spot

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Equally icky

How long have you been a slash fan?: Waaay before I knew there was a name for the stuff

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Yes. But only for the greater good

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: Anything Sentinel by Bone. Or Alyjudel.

Comments: Is it just my imagination, or does the length of fan fiction stories seem to be increasing? When I started out reading this stuff (two or three years ago), the average length was, maybe, 10-12 pages. Now people are writin' freakin' NOVELS for Christ's s ke!! Not that there aren't some long stories I write, but for those of us who are Internet deprived and have to do our reading at the local library, expecting us to wade through 75 pages in a half-hour is a bit much,okay? Not that I'm complaining or anything[67]

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Both, but I can usually wade throgh bad grammar if the characterizations are dead on and the story is original.

How long have you been a slash fan?: Around 10 years or so.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No. If it was not for the bad stories, we would apprieciate the masterpieces.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: So far this month my favorite would have to be "The Better Angels" , a Due South (BF/RK) story by the lovely and ever talented Bone & Aristide

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: If the criticism was constructive and made me a better writer, JoAnne would survive. A little bruised maybe...

Comments: I wish that this page was still being updated. However, I can understand why JoAnne would quit if she was being harrassed by immature writers who could not take a little honest and constructive criticism. Obviously they had never tried to submit anything rofessionally. Magazine editors can be truly brutal.[68]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: nope, but I'd like a chance to reply to her comments.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: BOTH!

How long have you been a slash fan?: Since waaaaayyyy before I knew there was a name for it and others also enjoyed it.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: Yes.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead"

Comments: I'd like it if you would post the author's name along with the title... it's difficult to find other stories by said author in the archives without knowing who they are.[69]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: No. It's unlikely they will - some of my stories suck like hoovers, but they're in old zines and are in the "wrong" fandoms. Which shouldn't stop someone else pointing ou just how horrible they are.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Difficult to say, they both piss me off

How long have you been a slash fan?: about 10 years

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No. They can be a brilliant source for ideas, and have sometimes pushed me into writing "my take" on that idea. I'd be lost without them.

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: None, really. Well, I re-read one of my own and was quite surprised to find I still think it's OK. Believe me, this is unusual.

Comments: To echo the previous poster, I wish this page was still updated, I think it performs a vital service to slash fandom. Those committing work to the web - or anyplace else - take the risk that someone will hate it. If they publish poor work they should expect that someone will say so.

[70]

Would you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?: Not at all. If one of my stories ever ended up here I'd be grateful for the critique of it. If something I've written is bad, I want to know why so I can improve my writing in the future.

Which annoys you more: bad grammar or idiotic characterizations?: Both annoy me equally. Although, I believe I might be persuaded to wade through a story with bad grammar if the characterizations are dead-on.

How long have you been a slash fan?: Two years.

If you could wave your hand and make all the bad stories disappear, would you do it?: No. We need bad stories to make us appreciate the good ones. Besides, every writer has an off day. Just because someone writes a couple bad stories doesn't me n they'll always write badly. Perhaps theWould you plot JoAnne's demise if one of your stories ended up here?

What is the best fanfiction story you have read this month (any fandom)?: "The Day Breaks Not" by Cara J. Loup, Star Wars fandom. The idea of Han/Luke has always squicked me, but this story is so well written that I was drawn right in. It's completely believable.

Comments: I hope this site will be updated sometime in the future. I appreciate sites like this that take the time to point out bad fic and critique it. It's a learning experience for us all. [71]

2012

There was a site in the mailing list days called Joanne's Slash Fic Hall of Fame—or Hall of Shame, rather—which was one of the first public things that went over what not to do in writing, basically. She would post examples of incredibly bad stories and explain why they were bad. And it upset a lot of people. But on the other hand, it got a lot of people talking about, You know, we ... It's not actually a bad thing to expect decent writing. [72]

Similar Sites

Citizens Against Bad Slash[73], or CABS, had the goal of promoting constructive criticism -- the writers there followed JoAnne's lead and stayed anonymous.

The pseudonymity of CABS members was a wise move, as this type of public critique often resulted in banning and policies against discussing or reviewing fanfiction. In 1997, members of the HLFIC-L mailing list were inspired by the Slash-Fic Hall of Shame and wanted to start a similar website for Highlander gen fiction. They planned to call themselves "The Wham Girls" and put up a website with a review of a story originally posted to HLFIC mailing list. The list erupted in anger and the list owner banned "The Wham Girls." She then made it policy that reviewers needed to get authorial permission to review a story posted to the mailing list. [74]

References

  1. Slashfic Hall of Shame on the Wayback machine
  2. Story of Shame example: Inuit Love (Due South)
  3. TelevisionCity/5922
  4. Sandy Herrold, July 22, 1997, comment at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  5. Sandy Herrold, October 1, 1997, comment at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  6. Welcome to the SlashFic Hall of Shame
  7. Comment page from 1999: Mail Feedback, Wayback machine.
  8. Sandy Herrold's comment posted to Virgule-L October 1997, quoted with permission.
  9. In fact at the time, moral rights were only extended to visual artists in the US. The international span of fandom illustrated one of the many perils of non-lawyers attempting to insert legal arguments into fannish discussions.Guestbook page on the threats, accessed February 18, 2012;Morgan Dawn's personal notes, accessed February 18, 2012.
  10. Mild dislike on the Web., Archived version by The Divine Adoratrice, September 25, 1997
  11. comments on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (July 23, 1997)
  12. comment in the alt.startrek.creative thread What to expect when posting? (was:Re: Archivist and Authors please read and respond) dated December 5, 1997.
  13. Teesha at the site's guestbook (October 12, 1997)
  14. Emily at the site's guestbook (October 17, 1997)
  15. Miriam Heddy at the site's guestbook (October 25, 1997)
  16. Noah Johnson at the site's guestbook (October 26 1997)
  17. Michelle at the site's guestbook (November 10, 1997)
  18. Trina at the site's guestbook (November 19, 1997)
  19. Kin at the site's guestbook (November 29, 1997)
  20. Ultra 12 at the site's guestbook (December 11, 1997)
  21. Mike at the site's guestbook (December 11, 1997)
  22. Frankie Jackson at the site's guestbook (December 13, 1997)
  23. David at the site's guestbook (December 27, 1997)
  24. Lisa McDaniel at the site's guestbook (December 29, 1997)
  25. If you can't say something nice..., The Divine Adoratrice, February 10, 1998
  26. Lee M at the site's guestbook (January 11, 1998)
  27. "Big Bad Lynna Bright" at the site's guestbook (January 22, 1998)
  28. Rosalita at the site's guestbook (January 23, 1998)
  29. Jane Carnall at the site's guestbook (February 7, 1998)
  30. Sarah T at the site's guestbook (February 14, 1998)
  31. Lisa at the site's guestbook (February 14, 1998)
  32. Molly at the site's guestbook (February 14, 1998)
  33. Twilight at the site's guestbook (February 20, 1998)
  34. Sandra Oram at the site's guestbook (March 4, 1998)
  35. Katrina at the site's guestbook (March 7, 1998)
  36. Cookie at the site's guestbook (March 7, 1998)
  37. Jenny at the site's guestbook (March 19, 1998)
  38. AJ at the site's guestbook (April 19, 1998)
  39. Kathleen at the site's guestbook (April 20, 1998)
  40. Jacqueline at the site's guestbook (May 12, 1998)
  41. Blaublumenat the site's guestbook (June 20, 1998)
  42. Cecilia E at the site's guestbook (September 7, 1998)
  43. Owlet at the site's guestbook (October 6, 1998)
  44. anonymous at the site's guestbook (October 22, 1998)
  45. Molly at the site's guestbook (October 23, 1998)
  46. Katrinka at the site's guestbook (November 9, 1998)
  47. Lisa Feld at the site's guestbook (November 24, 1998)
  48. "Lisa (not the other Lisa)" at the site's guestbook (November 25, 1999)
  49. Macca at the site's guestbook (November 23, 1999)
  50. Cathryn at the site's guestbook (November 13, 1999)
  51. Sigrid H. at the site's guestbook (October 26, 1999)
  52. Chibli Une at the site's guestbook (September 16, 1999)
  53. Nora Bombay at the site's guestbook (August 13, 1999)
  54. Shannon at the site's guestbook (August 13, 1999)
  55. Katherine F at the site's guestbook (June 2, 1999)
  56. Maya at the site's guestbook (May 7, 1999)
  57. Xena chicken at the site's guestbook (April 29, 1999)
  58. Chrissie at the site's guestbook (April 16, 1999)
  59. kat at the site's guestbook (September 5, 2000)
  60. Melody C at the site's guestbook (August 24, 2000)
  61. Birdy Jane at the site's guestbook (July 26, 2000)
  62. Lucy at the site's guestbook (June 16, 2000)
  63. Polly at the site's guestbook (June 9, 2000)
  64. anonymous comment at the site's guestbook (June 5, 2000)
  65. Dara at the site's guestbook (May 21, 2000)
  66. Sorka at the site's guestbook (April 15, 2000)
  67. Jessian at the site's guestbook (April 9, 2000)
  68. NancyM at the site's guestbook (March 11, 2000)
  69. Angie at the site's guestbook (January 22, 2000)
  70. Ruth S. at the site's guestbook (January 19, 2000)
  71. Erin at the site's guestbook (January 17, 2000)
  72. Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Arduinna (August 2012)
  73. Citizens Against Bad Slash
  74. Morgan Dawns personal notes, accessed February 18, 2012.
Related Concepts, Fandoms, Terms, Fanworks
See also Citizens Against Bad Slash, Godawful Fan Fiction, Bad Buffy, The Wicked X Witches of Badfic Punishment, The Bad Fanfiction Terror Squad, Fanfic's Critics, Fandom Whore Hates You All, Feel Our Pain, The X-Files Fanfic Hall of Shame, Melvin's Mauve Mansion of Manlove, Down in the Basement, No Cookie for You: Bad Buffy Fics badfic, MSTing, Sporking, Turkey Reading, Netiquette of badfic!, Bad Fanfic! No Biscuit!, Godawful Fan Fiction