The good old days before google were dark and involved horses
|Title:||The good old days before google were dark and involved horses|
|Date(s):||March 20, 2010|
|External Links:||The good old days before google were dark and involved horses page one (LiveJournal)|
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The good old days before google were dark and involved horses is a slightly tongue in cheek essay about being a fan in the early 2000s and the impact that technology, including Google had on the fannish experience. It was written by seperis on March 20, 2010 and is reposted on Fanlore with permission.
The post has 310 comments.
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- A brief history of fandom, for the teenagers on here who somehow think tumblr invented fandom (2014)
- Was Fanfic Any Different in the Olden Days? (2015)
- The three generations of fanfic (2015)
- I feel like fandom generations are both very specific and easily conflated. (2018)
- Historical trends in fanfiction? (2019)
"So I was reading about how the internet now sucks since facebook came in and all these people who aren't, you know, whatever they aren't (I am unclear, but I will admit hilarity that I hate facebook but am also required to instruct people now finding it on what privacy settings mean and what they do and why more is better), but okay, we're going to do a flashback to the year 2000 and go forward, when I discovered google and the world changed.
This is where our journey begins.
Google took six weeks to update with new material. Six weeks. I will not tell you how or why I know that, or why I tested that, or even how I tested that; suffice to say at that period of my life I had a lot of time on my hands and loved spreadsheets--check my fic output for X-Men fandom and you'll see I really did not have more important things to do. By March 2001, they'd shaved it to about a month. It was 2003 before it dropped under a week (I want to say five days, but I don't have those notes and yes, at one time, there were in fact notes). Now it's almost instantaneous.
Finding fic with google was hit or miss in a really horrifying, confusing way. You weren't more likely to find porn. You wish it was more likely to find porn. I have no idea what some of that I found was, but it was not porn. Those were sad days.
A lot of fic was still behind password protected walls and good luck getting anyone to answer your emails. (not all fic. Not even most fic. but a lot of fic. especially in certain fandoms you wanted to read in.)
Pre-lolcats. There was a time we did not have cat macros. Think about that one and shiver.
Journaling sites were still new and bizarre. If you had one, there's a fair to good chance you did not yet know about the magic of comments unless you were an early adopter of LJ or waitlisted for sites that offered to install comments on your diaryland account (I was waitlisted for comment function), and fandom was still mailing list based. This was your only source of fic. Moderators were tiny gods with magical hammers. If you pissed off the mod of ClarkLex*, you had the SSA and also, you were fucked. Have fun with that!
(* example mailing list. Not meant to reflect actual ClarkLex mod policy.)
Handcoding entire archives was still normal. Handcoding entire archives without CSS was normal. And it was formatted for 800X600 or below.
You know what an intellislasher is and at one time mocked it. If you were one, you were above that sort of thing.
You learned HTML because you were desperate for a page that wasn't a red blackground with black text. Or you fell desperately in love with it. The latter was disturbingly more likely. Those were dark, dark days.
At some point, you owned buttons on your site illustrating your affiliations, your friends, and who you hated.
You hear Godawful Fanfiction and sigh a little at what could have been. And wonder what the fuck happened there.
You remember the culture shock of a dozen fandoms hitting each other for the first time in LJ and RPS dropping on top of it all like a goddamn atom bomb. You remember writing about the morality of RPS until your friends started coming out as readers and writers of it. You got over it. You participated in the first Slashing the Slashers without any sense of irony.
You remember the first Fandom Wank in LJ and how that was totally shocking. You meta'ed about it while you watched it. Lotrips was still but a gleam in someone's eye. Everyone hated HP. Or so they said.
Michael Rosenbaum was sent a sex box. You're still not entirely over that.
Mpreg, slavefic, and extreme AUs were edgy. You then probably ended up in SGA reading about John and Rodney as ice cubes, girl scout cookies, and plants, and think in wonder about those days of innocence. Mpreg girl scout cookies who are enslaved by plants, that's what's edgy now, people.
You read the MsScribe saga live with your friends. And dear God did you boggle.
The term "His wife? A horse" was not yet meme. (hint: google if you don't know. And don't stare at me in betrayal, I did not hit Search for you. It's on your head.)There was no Adam Lambert slash."
Seperis' essay stirred up many memories and generated much interest which is reflected in the multiple comments on her LJ post. A selection of the longer discussion threads have been broken out below into rough thematic categories. Note that there may be overlap in some of these threads/discussions. Click on the links below to read further. Go to the original post to read all comments.
- It is funny cause it's true by laura shapiro
- You knew that Bindlestitch was where the wicked Due South fans went by viggorlijah
- One word: Usenet by patk 
- the abandoned WIP by mischief5 
- ...and Torrents was a description of what happened if it rained a lot by wolfling
- "I will gladly use the services you give away while talking shit about you, because God knows I am owed all these things." by harriet_spy
- Fandom has made us all early tech adopters and beta testers by apetslife 
- The huge, huge Stargate wanking. Sam/Jack vs Sam/Daniel by suzvoy 
- You had to print slash in public places by starcrossedgirl 
- Sites which used frames were the height of fashion by rheanna27
- Remember when people were excited about fanfiction.net? by inteligrrl 
- I still miss mailing lists as central places by ratcreature (and her fandom nostalgia post and poll)
- Joining fandom-specific mailing lists on Onelist by destina
- When everyone had a hotmail address and Netscape was the best browser EVER by emmuzka 
- Those halcyon days when I received massive mailing list digests in my mailbox by rishabree 
- Getting at the porn required commitment; Age Statements by ladysorka 
- You discovered slash when someone handed you a Star Trek fanzine by naughtyoldlady
- Back when RPS was Popslash by dineR
- When link lists on personal sites and archives were like roadmaps by tassosss
- Amothea's Angst Archive by amothea
- Writing incest!fic in QAF and OH GOD DID HELL RAIN DOWN by spaggel 
- The erotic adventures of Willow and Spike by amireal 
- Fanfiction was how I got into shows not the other way around by amegoddess
- Floppy Discs by birdsflying 
- nifty.org by ninamalfoy
- Age statements on steroids: sending copies of gov issued IDs to gain access by ciaan
- Warnings on yaoi webpages by elspethdixon
- The crazy ass anime fandom 
- WebCite, archive link, page one; page 2 of comments, archive link page two; WebCite for page 3 of comments, archive link page three; WebCite for page 4 of comments, archive link page four;WebCite for page 5 of comments, archive link page five
- WebCite for laura's thread.
- WebCite for viggorlijah's thread.
- WebCite for patk's thread.
- WebCite for mischief5's thread.
- WebCite for wolfling's thread.
- WebCite for harriet_spy irony impaired thread.
- WebCite for apetslife's thread.
- WebCite for suzvoy's thread.
- WebCite for starcrossedgirl's thread.
- WebCite for rheanna27's thread.
- WebCite for inteligrrl's thread.
- WebCite for ratcreature's thread; WebCite for her nostalgia post; WebCite for her nsitalgia poll.
- WebCite for destina's thread.
- WebCite for emmuzka's thread.
- WebCite for rishabree's thread.
- WebCite for ladysorka's thread.
- WebCite for naughtyoldlady's thread.
- WebCite for dine's thread.
- WebCite for tassosss's thread.
- WebCite for amothea's thread.
- webCite for spaggel's thread.
- WebCite for amireal's thread.
- WebCite for amegoddess' thread.
- WebCite for birdsflying's thread.
- WebCite for ninamalfoy's thread.
- WebCite for ciaan's thread.
- webCite for elspethdixon's thread.
- WebCite for crazy ass anime thread.