The Cutting Board

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Journal Community
Name: The Cutting Board
Date(s): Created 2 August 2005 - Last updated 26 April 2010
Moderator: carolyn_claire, thepouncer
Founder: carolyn_claire
Type: fanfic discussion
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
URL: The Cutting Board (the discussions were moved to The Comfy Chair, and "The Cutting Board" was purged and deleted)

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The Cutting Board was a Livejournal community for readers to discuss Stargate Atlantis fanfiction.

The comm was active during the fandom's heyday, but only 24 posts regarding fanworks were made, most in 2005-2006.

A few very popular and/or controversial SGA stories were discussed here, generating further discussion elsewhere on Livejournal and raising the profile of the community.

The discussions at "The Cutting Board" touched upon many aspects of fannish concrit of fanworks, hurt feelings, posting etiquette, the visibility of fic, differing motivations of readers and writers, privileging readers over writers and vice versa, motivation, and the minefields of fannish personal interaction.

Three years after "The Cutting Board" closed, a new community called The Comfy Chair was started. All of the content from "The Cutting Board" was moved there. There were two entries for fic fandom at "The Comfy Chair" before it ceased.


This community was created to encourage public discussion of stories written in the Stargate: Atlantis fandom. The point, here, is to share reactions, views and preferences--what we like in the stories we read and what we don't, and why. Don't let the name worry you; we're here to dissect and examine stories, not authors.[1]

Opening Post and Description

Welcome to The Cutting Board! This community was created to encourage public discussion of stories written in the Stargate: Atlantis fandom. The point, here, is to share reactions, views and preferences--what we like in the stories we read and what we don't, and why. Don't let the name worry you; we're here to dissect and examine stories, not authors. Please read, remember and follow the guidelines below in order to keep your posting status.

- This comm is for and about fic readers and their reactions to stories. Any story posted or archived publicly may be discussed here; stories posted to private lists or flocked ljs, only, may not. The purpose of this community is to promote story discussion, which is interesting in and of itself. It can also be informative, but writers in general and the authors of specific stories discussed are not the focus, here. Story discussion has been happening for as long as stories have been told, and it isn't about being mean, suppressing or censoring writers or offering unsolicited beta. Anyone can have an opinion about what does or doesn't work for them in what they read; it's all welcome, and all up for discussion.

- This is a discussion comm, NOT a recs comm or a snark comm. Don't say that you loved a story and that we should all go read it; tell us why you enjoyed a story, specifically, what made it work for you and if there was anything about it that didn't. Don't choose a story to discuss that doesn't merit discussion--no badfic, please. Choose stories that you or others feel are well written, and tell us about anything that did work for you as well as anything that didn't.

- Story discussion and critique is interesting and informative; flaming is not. Reasoned, critical discussion is welcome; save bitchy wit, snark and MSTing for other venues. Foaming rants aren't allowed; detailed posts/essays on things like pet peeves, fanon/canon, characterization, etc., including any specific examples from posted stories, are encouraged (without any dramatic eye-rolling or teeth-gnashing, please.)

- The discussion in this comm will be centered on the stories, not the authors, posters or commenters. Be prepared, when posting, for others to disagree and argue points with you. They should; that's the point of the comm. Feelings can run high when discussing stories, so keep the discussion focused ON the stories, and not the personalities. Keep in mind that it's all about opinion, and opinions on any one story will vary widely.

- Critical discussion here is all about impressions and preferences and isn't intended as an attack on any story or author, so no 'defense' of any story or author is needed. To keep discussion uninhibited, authors are asked not to join in discussion of their own stories. Friends of authors are also asked not to jump to the author's or story's 'defense' or attempt to speak for the author. Discussion should center on readers' views of the story as presented, not on authorial intent. Let the story speak for itself, here; write the author directly for her viewpoint or to give feedback.

- All posts and comments are the opinions of the posters and commenters, only. An opinion that appears to be stated as an absolute is still an opinion and should be taken as such. "I think," "IMO" (humble or otherwise) and other qualifiers are not needed. Comments reprimanding others for not using 'correct' language in stating their opinions will not be allowed. Tactful, respectful discussion is key, but people do express themselves in different ways. If someone comes across as opinionated, they may well be; that's okay, here. Focus discussion on the ideas expressed and not HOW they're expressed.

- Please don't submit your own stories for discussion or request critique or feedback of your stories from the comm. If you'd like to see your completed, publicly-posted story discussed, ask a friend to post an opening critique/review. Requests for beta help are allowed, but don't post or link to the story you'd like help with on the comm.

- No story posting, announcements, comm ads or off-topic discussion, please. Discussion of the episodes as they relate to writing and particular stories is allowed.

Have fun! It's all about the fun. [2]



The first substantive post on thecuttingboard was a discussion of Hindsight by Rageprufrock on 16 August 2005. A few days later, Rageprufrock wrote a (now locked) post expressing hurt about having her story cut to pieces and misinterpreted. It was excerpted on Metafandom: " Breaking the seal--fandom style. There's absolutely no mature way to put this, so I'm going to table this in terms that appealed to me between the ages of three and forever: Ow! Ow! I'm breaking my silence. // Nothing inspires a childish fit of rage faster than seeing something crafted over the period of weeks get torn to tiny, uninspired pieces, taken out of context, mauled by readers, and picked at--and have to gloss it over with a shiny, mature veneer. Outside, I'm holding my chin up high, smiling, and glowing in the Southern sun, and inside my head is a fucking ACDC concert: I'm busting eardrums and breaking expensive machinery." [3] The August 23 Metafandom roundup contains evidence of the fallout from her post. Most of these meta posts are now locked or deleted, but appear to address concrit, hurt feelings, the difference between feedback and discussion, and whether discussing other people's stories without permission is okay.

The comm's mod wrote a post clarifying the purpose of the community.[4] narcissam posted the Fandom Wank report the next day.

"Take Clothes Off As Directed"

At least one other post from thecuttingboard generated wank that made Fandom Wank: dkwilliams wrote a post called Ruminations on good manners [5] about politeness following a review of Take Clothes Off As Directed. The F_W post was "Why can't fandom *strike*get along*/strike* be polite?" "Oh? What do you mean by polite?", 2006-11-20.

"The Cutting Board's" Admin Discussions

The Cutting Board moderator discussed guidelines and wank in several posts:

See "The Cutting Board's" Admin Discussions for comments.

The Fic Discussed

Similar Sites


  1. ^ Welcome, community overview and guidelines, admin post by carolyn_claire on 2005.08.03.
  2. ^ post by Carolyn Claire, Welcome, community overview and guidelines, April 3, 2005
  3. ^ August 23
  4. ^ Admin: A little clarification, posted by carolyn_claire on 2005.08.23.
  5. ^ Ruminations on good manners: archive link page 1; archive link page 2, Diana Williams (November 17, 2006)