The Places Fandom Dwells: A Cautionary Tale

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Title: The Places Fandom Dwells: A Cautionary Tale
Creator: mizstorge
Date(s): May 30, 2014
Medium: tumblr
Fandom: meta
Topic:
External Links: on tumblr; Wayback machine link
...mad, bad, and dangerous to know, The Places Fandom Dwells: A Cautionary Tale, Archived version
on AO3
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Places Fandom Dwells: A Cautionary Tale is a tumblr essay written by mizstorge. It is an attempt to bring fandom history context to tumblr users, many of whom were new to fandom, about the issues of fandom censorship. The essay compares and contrasts the mass removals of accounts and blogs on the Livejournal platform in 2007 to tumblr's removal of "adult" blogs in 2013. It also briefly touches on Dreamwidth's more fan positive response when faced with similar censorship pressures. And last, it includes an extensive list of sources and links detailing the events.

It concludes:
The only solution I can see is for fans to copy and back up the things that are important. Maintain active accounts at several sites. Keep a list of your friends’ pseudonyms and emails. Because the only thing that’s certain is that it’s going to happen again.

As of 13 June 2015, the post had 3,959 notes.

As of 6 June 2016, the post had 9,843 notes.

Excerpts

"Just about seven years ago, on 29 May 2007, hundreds of fans with accounts at Livejournal made the shocking discovery that their blogs, and those of some of their friends and favorite fandom communities, had been deleted without prior notice.

It’s estimated that Livejournal suspended approximately 500 blog accounts. The only notice of this was was the strike through the names of the suspended blogs, which led to this event being called Strikethrough.

At the time, Livejournal was the primary blogging platform for fandom. Its friends list and threaded conversations enabled fans to find each other and have discussions. Its privacy settings allowed fans to share as much or as little as they chose. It was a place to publish and archive fan fic, art, and meta. These features give some idea why the deletions of so many fandom blogs was devastating."
"Just a few days before Strikethrough, LJ user astolat proposed a new blogging platform and fan fic archive be created by fans, for fans. This was the birth of the Organization for Transformative Works, a non-profit organization dedicated to provide access to fanworks, and to protect and defend fanworks from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. Strikethrough and Boldthrough definitely pushed the project along. OTW opened DreamWidth in beta mode in April 2009, and began open beta testing of Archive of Our Own in November 2009."
"Tumblr was launched in 2007. While not all fans have embraced it, citing reasons like character restrictions in replies and asks and the difficulty of finding others who share one’s fandom, it’s certain that the majority of fandoms are well-represented. However, in July 2013, fans once again expressed outrage when Tumblr - without warning – removed without warning accounts flagged as “NSFW” or “Adult” from public searches, made those blogs inaccessible to Tumblr users not already following them, and deleted a number of tags from its mobile app, including #gay, #lesbian and #bisexual."
"Most blogging and social networking sites are in business to make a profit, and fandoms make them uncomfortable. They inevitably take steps to control the content being posted, to keep outside groups or their new owners happy, disrupting fandoms and deleting material that fans had considered to be safely stored.

The only solution I can see is for fans to copy and back up the things that are important. Maintain active accounts at several sites. Keep a list of your friends’ pseudonyms and emails.

Because the only thing that’s certain is that it’s going to happen again."

References