Slashcast Insider Interview with Snacky

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Slashcast Insider Interview with Snacky
Interviewer: emmagrant01
Interviewee: Snacky
Date(s): January 3, 2013
Medium: online
External Links: online here as a transcript, Archived version
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Slashcast Insider Interview with Snacky is a podcast created by and posted to Slashcast as "Issue 38" and includes an transcript.

The interviewer is emmagrant01, the interviewee is Snacky. The topic is primarily the community fandom_wank.

The Interview Series

See Slashcast Insider Interview Series.


I think I was one of those people who, you know, my whole life I was fannish about things, but I wasn’t anywhere near a community or anything that I knew about. So by the time I got on the internet I was a bit older and I was googling something about – it wasn’t even google back then, I think it was yahoo or whatever it was the search engine – and I was googling something about comic books and I found fanfic and then I realised there was fandom. And that was how I sort of got involved from that....Um probably X-Men comic books, was what I was looking for at the time when I had first found [online fandom]. And from there I went on to a whole different – other ones, X-Files was probably the biggest one I was involved in, um, in the beginning, I was in that for a long time until the show ended and we all moved on and went our separate ways kind of thing. And from there it just branched out into other fandoms. I was involved in, like, Buffy fandom for a long time, Buffy, Angel, Joss-verse stuff I guess, Lost, Lord of the Rings, all those different things, Harry Potter I kind of dabbled in that, I was a big fan of the books and the movies although when we talk about wank, it kind of scared me from that fandom sometimes. [laughter]

[When [ fandom_wank ] first started on Livejournal, you know people were talking about it, ‘oh this community where people are making fun of us, making fun of fandom, can you believe it?’. And what was funny for me was, like I said I was in X-Files for a long time and there were some really wanky things that went down in that fandom, and I remember it was – a lot of it took place on usenet mailing lists back in those days – and I remember thinking all the time that I would be watching these big fights and battles and accusations of rigging fandom – fanfic awards and [Emma laughs] things like that and I’d be like ‘this is crazy, am I the only person who finds it really funny?’ and big like BNFs who would be, you know tell- dictating to rest of fandom how you should do this and how you should do that, and sneaky people who set up sock puppets and argued with themselves, and just caused really big flame wars and stuff. So when I saw fandom_wank I was like ‘that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about, [both laugh] people think this is funny, it’s not just me’. So that’s how I started following it on livejournal, and that was- that was over 10 years ago now.

A typical wank. Well what will happen is, like I said, say you were in – we’ve mentioned Harry Potter fandom – you’re in Harry Potter fandom and say you found something where two people are like having sock puppet wars or something like that. Something weird was going on and people were getting very wanky or, you know, they weren’t enjoying themselves let’s say. But it still seemed kind of amusing and odd so they might take it to fandom_wank, and they would have to be a member to post. And then they would create a post writing up the situation and offering links to it is usually what happens. After that it gets submitted to a queue, um fandom_wank is moderated and really only because people used to submit - ‘cause they hated fandom_wank – they used to submit things like Eff you all over and over again in, like, 100 point, just to bring the servers down, which it would. So we started moderating the posts so that wouldn’t happen, any kind of abuse or just Eff you over and over again kind of thing. But for the most part we don’t really moderate anything beyond that, you know, we just let people decide what they want to post and if it doesn’t violate any of our major rules we let it go through. And then once it’s posted people will read it and they’ll probably follow the links and then they make comments on it and often discussion is started in the comments, maybe about fandom topic, whatever they were talking about , or sometimes they’re laughing, and sometimes they go off on tangents. So the community all have their own thing they are there for, it’s a pretty big community, and people are all there for something different. Sometimes people are there just because they want to read what’s going on in fandom and the fandom gossip, although I will say fandom_wank is a lot quieter these days than it used to be, so it’s not quite that hub that it used to be.... This is one of the things I brought to the other moderators, and one of them said ‘it really frightens me to think that we have a purpose.’ [both laugh] But I think, you know, on our info page on JournalFen it says ‘because we think “Fandom is Fucking Funny” is not taking it far enough’. So, um, I think that, and that’s kind of an old joke that really came out of Livejournal when it was still back then, because people would say ‘oh, you think fandom’s fucking funny, but this is taking it too far’, but no, it wasn’t taking it far enough. [laugh] And, um, you know we would, the other thing we used to say was ‘mock, mock, mockity, mock’ because that’s what we were there to do. So, um, I think if we have a philosophy that’s probably it. We’re just here to laugh.

A lot of people have thought what we put up is not funny [chuckles] um, but you know that’s where we let that lie fast and loose I think. It’s only when it’s only when it’s really demonstrated, either it’s very clear to us ahead of time that that’s going to hurt someone – like the murder-suicide thing was not going to go through – or if it’s been demonstrated afterwards that it’s really causing people extreme pain or distress, or you know something that is really tangible that we can tell and that’s hard to make a rule because it’s one of those we know it when we see it, and we’ll get rid of stuff that will, you know people sometimes contact the mods off fandom_wank. We have a very visible email address and there is a lot of stuff that we deal with behind the scenes that people don’t actually ever see. And often people threaten to sue us, [laughs] that has happened over the years more times than I can count. But, um, people will come to us with legitimate complaints and we’ll take of that.

...I don’t think we ever wanted to be the fandom police or function as that, again I can’t speak for everyone as a whole, I mean certainly people have come to fandom_wank and posted wanks and they’ve been called out for grudge wanking. We’re not- and a lot of- and the members would respond en masse: we’re not here to be fandom police, we’re not here to fight your battles for you. But I do think, I don’t know if I want to call it a chilling effect, but, some people looked at some of the things that were happening and they’d say maybe ‘okay maybe I am thinking twice about writing this post’ or ‘maybe I’m thinking twice about doing this or doing that’ and, you know in some ways it was that they were scared that, you know, something bad would happen and they’d end up on fandom_wank and they’d be immortalised forever, but for the most part I think that there are very few people who have that reputation. You know? [Emma makes agreeing noise] I think that you could probably count them on, alright, two hands maybe ten people that you could say of all the people who were wanked over the years: these are the ones that really stand out as, like, super-wankers and they can’t shed that reputation. But that’s probably because they were repeat wankers, ‘cause we had a lot of those [Emma chuckles] and they did things over and over and over again. So for the most part people, even though they were scared and they were cautious, which like I said I’d heard, I don’t know that that was actually anything, a real repercussion that would of come back to them. I mean think of all, I think of all the wanks I’ve read and saw over the years and nine times out of ten I go ‘well who was that person?’, you know- know some people really still hate us to this day. In the early days of fandom_wank when I would run across some people in, outside of fandom_wank , in other communities and stuff like that they would say ‘oh, you’re that person from fandom_wank’ and I’d be like argh and I’d find myself in a position of having to answer for all of fandom_wank’s sins and I kind of gave that one up a long time ago. I can’t really defend fandom_wank like that to people who are upset by it and who have been hurt by it, you know all I can say is I’m sorry, it’s not for everyone, some people have thicker skins than others, some people find things different than other people do. And you know I really, we really are never, it’s never our intention to hurt people but I know that people have been upset by it. And I think a lot of people got over it and moved past it, you know I see people someday- sometimes say ‘you know I was wanked, and you know it was kind of funny, you know I locked things down for a while, but I got over it’, but like I said I’m sure there are some people who bear massive grudges against us.

So do you think that the role of fandom_wank in fandom has changed in the last five years? I mean one of the things that we should probably go ahead and talk about is sort how wank has changed in fandom over the last say, let’s say, decade. We’ve both been in fandom for, you sound like you might have been in fandom a little bit longer than I have, but I’ve been around for about a decade. And so from the mailing list days, to everything being concentrated on LJ, to splintering to journal sites and splintering off in all these other directions do you see wank happening differently than it used to? Or how has that changed over the years?

One of the other mods, phosphate on journalfen and annlarimer on livejournal, she says, er, “wankiness never changes but the way fandom reacts to it does”, so I think, you know, there’s a swing in fandom_wank and I think people prefer to talk about it anonymously these days. I think there’s been a great rise in anon memes and some of them are fandom specific, and there are a few that are fandom in general. And I think that’s where a lot of discussion and wank goes on, or discussion of wank, I think they’ve taken over a lot of the role that fandom_wank used to play.

I think more in a fandom sense anon memes on LJ or Dreamwidth. You know there are fandom specific ones, so like I know the Doctor Who anon meme was very big for a long time. And then there’s one on LJ fail fandom anon that people just feel comfortable interacting anonymously, and that is one drawback to fandom_wank because we don’t have anon commenting on most of the time because when we have it’s always turned really sour really fast. People r- partly because, I think, the people are named in the thing and when, you know, people hide behind anonymity and really can be cruel. So that was one of the things that we kind of cut out early on in fandom_wank, we, when it started to get really bad for people. People making threats, people saying really inappropriate things we shut it off and I think some people really like to have an anonymous outlet. There’s been shifts in fandom in terms of tones of discussion I want to say with, like, social justice discussions, like race fail. You know, that brought a whole different tone to fandom and I think for the most part in a good way but I think a lot of people got really scared about saying something and saying something wrong, and perhaps afraid of being dog-piled. You know I see that a lot, so I think they turned to anon memes where they could discuss things without fear of putting a foot wrong and then getting attacked.

[Picking my favorite wank is] a hard one. I really did, after the fact, with miss scribe [?], that wank, that was something else, you know. That was one of those things when it was revealed all those things she did and how she played everyone in fandom for years and years, including fandom_wank, cause there were always wanks being posted and people were like ‘ohh look at that’, and then to look at it in retrospect it was kind of amazing that one woman pulled all that off. And I liked a lot of the Lord of the Rings ones back in the days, like the Victoria Bitter thing is still such an amazing story, which said eat this now, you now, it goes by than fiction, you know stopped being quite as funny when you saw what was going on, but it was pretty funny in the beginning. That was a really funny one. Some really old school ones make me laugh still.

I don’t know about the future of fandom_wank! We’re still there, we’re not going anywhere. I know people have worried about, you know, if it gets deleted, or, you know, what if we just shut the whole thing down and we’re not going to do that. We like to have that archive of wank. It is kind of a little historical thing of fandom, you know, and I know some people don’t care about that, but there’s fanlore now and the OTW who do, who are concerned about the history of fandom. And I know one of our members at one point had downloaded a big chunk of fandom_wank to save just in case something happened. I would, if possible, someday back it up to somewhere else if we could. I know you can port communities to Dreamwidth now and I would do that for that reason. Just to save it. Just to have a backup archive of it. JournalFen they’re not planning on going anywhere. I know we talk to the owners sometimes and, you know when they’ve had down time or outages people worry because it is kind of, you know fandom_wank their big draw, I think, for a while and things got quiet over there and they worry ‘oh are they going to take that website away?’ but they have no plans to do that. We just hope it’ll stay the test of time. Um, there’s always the wiki, which is not complete, but you know, anybody can sign up for that and add wanks as they feel free. It’s just nice to have, I guess, you know, to look back sometimes at some of those crazy things that happened. It is a part of fandom, I’d hate to see it be lost forever.