We're Being Bashed on atxf

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Title: We're Being Bashed on atxf
Creator: Lisa Loiselle and commenters
Date(s): September 20, 1996
Medium: online
Fandom: The X-Files
Topic:
External Links: We're Being Bashed on atxf
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We're Being Bashed on atxf is a 1996 post by Lisa Loiselle at alt.tv.x-files.creative.

Topics Discussed

The Post

As I cruised alt.tv.x-files today, once again I noticed something that not only offended me, but hurt as well. I have seen posts there making fun of fanfic writers before, and I've seen funny satires of fanfic on both sites. But today I read a post that makes fun of the efforts of many writers, and it has frankly frightened me quite a bit. I can handle flames. What I can't handle is people who come into the forum, read the stories, then go back and mock them on atxf. I have a new story almost ready to post, but due to this nastiness, I feel hesitant. This post takes direct aim at certain writers, me among them. It mocks all stories that have Mulder killed, or Scully raped (personally I think Walls was one of teh best fanfic pieces I've read in a very long time), it mocks all stories that have M&S children (esp. those named Samantha, Melissa or Will...my work falls into this category). It's referred to as madness. If someone has problems with my writing, I wish they would say so to me, or at least have the guts to post on this list, as opposed to starting a fanfic-bashing thread on atxf.

Lisa ....sorry for ranting

....also very sorry that I'm afraid to post work that I'm proud of for fear of becoming a punching-bag over at atxf.

The Referenced Post

In the comments, the original poster posted her original post:

Does anyone know Pendrell's first name?

...and the gizanswer is......

Fanfictioners seem to have settled on "Alan"...works for me, he looks like an Alan (he could NOT be a Bob or a Dave) It's interesting, too, that MOST of the writers have treated him sympathetically, as the poor, good guy who has the crush that will never be fulfilled. One writer portrayed him as a creepy mama's boy, I did not care for that.

The most popular first name for MaMulder is "Catherine", and the most used names for the never seen Scully boys are "Bill, Jr" (is this an "actual" confirmed in an episode name??) and "Charles" (with "Kevin" running a close second).

More useless fanfic information that you don't really want or need to know, those that marry off Mulder and Scully, and have them procreate, usually have them have a baby girl first,and they name her (three guesses) Samantha or Melissa...boy babies are Will. In one long series, ]]Skinner
marries Ma Scully, and Mulder calls him "dad" (that is the SCARIEST thing I read in fanfic) Sex is ALWAYS good.... In "other" relationships, more people write about Mulder getting laid than Scully. Mulder also gets bumped off more, but Scully gets raped about once a week.

I'm gonna go now, I'm getting silly.... }}

Excerpted Comments

[Corinne]: I think i know what posting you are talking about and i can assure you that this person didn't mean to make fun of any fanfic, much less *bash* it !!!! I know for a fact that this person is a fanatical fanfic reader and loves practically every story she gets from alt.tv.x-files.creative. I sincerely think you misunderstood her. She was merely stating the facts. I'm sorry you feel this way because i *know* she'd never ever make fun of any of the writers in this newsgroup, she hooked on the stories way too much :) I hope you believe me !
[Katie]: Personally, I wouldn't take much that's over on atxf very seriously. I gave up reading that newsgroup nearly two years ago because the signal-to-noise ratio had become completely unacceptable. Not to say that there's nothing worthwhile over there, but there are some real yahoos over there who aren't worth paying attention to. Consider the source, I say. If someone has a gripe about fanfic being posted here, if they don't have the wherewithal to come *here* to air that gripe, or to email the author directly, then is that criticism worth considering? I think not!

[Portia]: But today I read a post [on atxf] that makes fun of the efforts of many writers, and it has frankly frightened me quite a bit. I can handle flames.

Oh please!!! *Frightened* you? You've been gizzed, that's all. It was a cute, humorous post mentioning trends in fanfic, such as the ubiquitous first daughter named Samantha!

This post takes direct aim at certain writers, me among them.

Simply not true. No names were mentioned, no particular stories cited. It wasn't even the topic of the post, just an aside within another thread.

If someone has problems with my writing, I wish they would say so to me, or at least have the guts to post on this list, as opposed to starting a fanfic-bashing thread on atxf.

Please get ahold of yourself. For heavens sake, if you don't have a sense of humor, keep that impairment to yourself!
[Gizzie]: Lisa, for heaven's sake, READ the post!! It was MY post, and I did not bash, belittle, or make fun of ANYONE's stories or characterizations...and the word "madness" was not used at all, at least in my original post, maybe in a reply, I don't know.

What I listed were FACTS...character names and the situations mentioned ARE FACTS of fanfic...I didn't say it was WRONG or BAD, and I certainly did not "take aim" at any writers; I have spent the better part of the last year glued to this chair, reading fanfic, and if you have done the same, which I'm sure you have, there IS a number of themes that are repeated...and repeated WELL , in most cases. Mulder IS killed...a lot....Scully IS raped...a lot...they DO have multiple children...lots and LOTS of children...a lot. FACTS. I did not MOCK or belittle ANY particular writer or story, and even YOU must admit, for every "Walls" (which I LIKED, but FACT AGAIN...it is one of probably 20 "Scully rape-aftermath" stories...not bashing, not mocking, but IT IS)..anyway, for every "Walls" and "Words" story posted, there are three badly written, badly plotted, or just plain BAD stories...there is some crap here, with 120,000 stories archived, everyone is not going to be Pulitzer material. I would certainly not run back to atxf with the express intebntion [sic] of bashing this group or fanfic, in general...those who want to do both are already here, and there are a lot of us....a LOT of people "over there" don';t care for the premise of fanfic..and that's ok, too.

My original post was in answer to someone asking what Pendrell's first name was...and then I went on to describe the things that are the norm or oft used here...and if you still think that *I* am full of shit, go to Gossamer and pull "Readers Digest Condensed Fan Fiction"...this story was already archived a year ag, when I came here to play,and some of the fanfic standbys (I hesitate to say "cliches", but that IS what they are) were already in place...how many times CAN someone "brush the hair back from his forehead"...really. Bashing?? Belittling?? No. Fact.

If you are offended, sorry, it was not meant as a cut to you or anyone else, or any stories. Just the facts, mam. [sic]
[Gil Trevizo]: There has been a thread here on why people still read this newsgroup with the archives and the mailing lists. Well, this is *exactly* why a lot of people choose to use x-files-fanfic instead of the newsgroup -- there is little if nothing that can be done to protect people from this kind of abuse on the newsgroup.

Something like this could never happen on x-files-fanfic or fictalk (and I doubt it would happen on any of the non-automated mailing lists either), because those lists are moderated. Flames are not allowed, either on the list or in private email. If a writer is flamed for something they posted on x-files-fanfic, then all they have to do is contact the list administrator, and the administrator can sort things out -- unsubscribing the flamer if necessary.

I understand that posting on the newsgroup provides extra distribution of your fanfic (extra not greater -- x-files-fanfic has 940 subscribers now), but if you're looking for protection then you won't find it here. Usenet is a crapshoot and you take your chances. But with x-files-fanfic and fictalk there's no worries about flames, and with EMXC there's no worries about plagiarism. So if you're concerned about protection, now you know where to come for it

Lisa, I can only imagine how much it hurts to get treated like this. With all the work it takes to write a fanfic and the courage it takes to finally post it, treatment like this is horrible. But if it was Gizzie that did this, then I do think it was all tongue-in-cheek, in bad taste but not meant with malice. I hope you can take some comfort from that.

Just remember that fanfic does not have to be like this. There are places where you can enjoy the experience and be respected for your work without fear of being treated like a punching bag. It can be better than this.
[Lisa Loiselle/original poster]: Trust me... I have a sense of humour. Which is why I enjoy Gizzie's

postings the most and can safely say she is my 'favorite' poster. And though the thread may have started as a tongue-in-cheek thing, some of the nasties over at atxf have continued the thread in a less-than-friendly manner. BTW... I have read the 'Reader's Digest Condensed Guide to Fanfic' (sic), and laughed my ass off. It was posted *here*, though, in a supportive environment, where we can all safely laugh at ourselves(and I can do that, believe it or not). And as far as suggesting that being 'frightened' to post is an exaggeration, please do not assume that everyone has your confidence. Many, many of the writers on this list who are not 'established' feel some trepidation with their first few posts. That, too, is fact. And there are crappy stories and amazing ones... but each and every one of those people took the time to write the thing and was brave enough to post it, and for that, I think every one of us deserves some credit. 'Shippers and non-shippers, great writers and crappy writers, it doesn't matter we are all writing, posting, reading and helping each other. I just don't like to see the efforts mocked on atxf by people that may not have even read any of these stories(that doesn't mean you, Gizzie...

I know you read the stories). I can take criticism. I can take flames. I have in the past, and I will again. With a degree in creative writing, and as a writer trying to 'establish' herself, I've run into a helluva lot more harshness elsewhere(try a flaming review in a city-wide newspaper...ouch) And I appreciate them when the person doing it has actually read (or seen, in case of the newspaper reviewer) my stuff and has valid reasons for *hating* it. A flaming bash from someone on this list, in my private e-box, though it doesn't tickle me pink, at least shows that *you made this person think*. What bugs me is unthinking assumptions by goons who haven't read anything over here(once again, I will state that you are not included in this statement, Gizzie, I *know* you read the stories).

I am not trying to start a flame-war. I have not posted my grievances to atxf, it'd be a Kamikaze mission. Anyway... that's it for now. Please feel free to flame me on this list or in my private box (of course support is always appreciated, too).

Lisa ....with 4 cats, 2 fish, and a guinea pig named Mulder, PS I think I'm gonna wait and post my new stuff when this has blown over... Bonne idee, non?
[Liz]: Please don't let someone's comments keep you from posting. I'm new to this newsgroup, and X-files fanfic in general, but I have enjoyed most of what I've read. Some people will never be happy with anothers idea for a story. All that really matters is how you feel. I have posted fanfic for a different show elsewhere and I do understand how great it is for people to tell you they loved your work, and how much it hurts when people flame you, but for me It came down to the fact that I liked my work. There will always be people who dislike your work, and that's how it should be, but don't let them stop you, because there are more of us who do like your work. So, ignore the flames, enjoy the praise, and KEEP WRITING!!
[Portia]: EXUSE [sic] ME, I know this is a group for FICTION, however .... this is getting out of hand. Let me just reiterate that Lisa Loiselle *totally* misrepresented Gizzie's humorous aside lampooning fanfic cliches.

I'm getting *nauseated* by people who have NOT read the original post refer to it as "abuse," a "flame" and "horrible treatment." It was a joke that only the most humor-impaired reader could *possibly* interpret as serious, much less "abusive." I don't remember anybody being offended by last year's hilarious "Reader's Digest Condensed Fan Ficton," to which this post was akin.

Those who are commisserating [sic] with Ms. Loiselle about this non-existent slight to her pride are *completely* off target. She owes Gizzie an apology for baselessly holding her up for ridicule, *not* vice versa.

As for the sad state of a.t.x-f, it's still full of spam (but to mix a methaphor [sic]) Gizzie's presence is a ray of sunshine that has contributed a lot to raising the general level of discourse far above what it was last year.

Portia (Not Affiliated with Gizzie in Any Way) but getting darn tired of the wailing of righteously indigant [sic] authors.
[ Lee Burwasser ]: I believe I've seen the post in question. While it is not the most courteous communication ever, it is as likely to be an effort at humor as a deliberate attack. The poster really should have crossposted to atxfc as well -- MAKE A NOTE: a case in which crossposting is *more* polite than not! -- rather than talk behind people's backs.

By all means shrug it off rather than be intimidated, but if you can separate the content from the presentation, it might be a good idea. Consider: here is someone else who notices that "Scully gets raped about once a week." Perhaps that particular angst-generator is being a tad over-used?

Or you may disagree with the content, or figure it's not a problem. Naming the kids, for example; no reason not to go with the fanfic-traditional choices. F'ranother instance: the sex is NOT always good, but people do prefer to write and to read stories about good sex rather than stories about clumsy/embarrassing sex, so it's usually good -- That's no reason to make your sex stories about clumsy/embarrassing rather than good.

Recap: whether deliberate bashing or clumsy attempt at facetiousness, the post of someone who either doesn't think to crosspost to the newsgroup involved, or who thinks of it and decides not to, isn't worth worrying about. If it has useful information, use it; otherwise, forget it.
[Amamda]: No, no no Lisa! You're a wonderful writer, and personally, I would love to read your new story in the midst of all this. I don't subscribe to ATXF myself, mainly because of all the crap that is posted, but I do think that public flaming is awful - if you must do it, do it privately. Posting here does take a lot of courage, and sometimes the results are worth it, sometimes not, but always a risk, and no one should be chastised for taking it. Hope you post it anyway! :)
[Lee Burwasser]: I thought it might be intended as humor; people who are deliberately rude are generally more thorough about it. But as the late Isaac Asimov said, humor is a tiny target, all bulls-eye -- you hit it dead-on, or you miss entirely.

Now, as the veterans are always telling the newbies, a post does not have tones of voice or facial expressions to cue in the recipients of the communication. I would add that a great deal of Usenet communication is muddy rather than precise, adding to the difficulty of figuring out where or whether the poster intended to be ironic, flippant, or whatever. It's not only the humor-impaired who might very well be offended at something intended to be funny.

Add to this that humor is often cruel. A great deal of humor depends on a butt, someone for whom the audience is cued to feel no sympathy. (Punch drubbing a traditional Judy-puppet gets laughs; Punch drubbing a pretty Judy-puppet in the same way gets none at all.) Those who feel themselves to have been made the butt of jokes are starting to rebel against,"Gee, can't you take a joke? Haven't you any sense of humor?" No, I *won't* 'take a joke' with me as the butt.

Recap: Humor is difficult; work over your humorous posts, don't think you can just dash them off. Emoticons are exceedingly over-used, but unless you have sufficient command of English to be sure of getting just the right tone by choice of words alone, better safe than sorry. And if the butt of your humor punches your nose -- the risk goes with the territory.
[Kris "Beast" Abel]: What message on ATXF was this contained in Lisa? If they are saying what you're saying their saying, then this is an outrage. We're all X-Files fans here and we all have a right to express our ideas in anyway that we choose. We don't make fun of people who aren't fan-fic writers, so why should they? Perhaps they're jealous of all the attention we get and are so petty that they strike out like this? Kris "Beast" Abel, XF Fan-Fic Authorian
[Jodi Berls]: At the risk of seeming to trifle with your feelings...uh, you're worried about the opinion of a bunch of people who could spend two whole months debating whether Gillian Anderson or Pamela Anderson is better-looking? Opinions voiced in a group where roughly a quarter of the messages have to do with what the X on the window means? Where people really seem to care more about who DD is dating than what's happening with the story line? Think back over some of the stuff you've read over there, and I think you'll see that giving a lot of emotional energy to what happens in a.t.x-f is pretty much a waste of that energy. Look, I love a.t.x-f, but really, you can't take most of it seriously or you'll simply go mad. Post your story, and if you're really worried, just don't read the bloody group for a few weeks.
[Gizzie]: Gadzooks, I can get myself into more trouble.....I wasn't even TYRYING [sic] to be bad.

[snipped: her original post, see The Referenced Post]

...and here again, I REALLY don't want to start a LOUD DISCUSSION, but I am curious...just WHAT do you guys consider a "flame", as it applies to fanfic?? If I say "I don't like this story, I think it's contrived, slow and sachrine [sic] sweet"...is that a flame, or an opinion?? And are people thrown off of these moderated groups for expressing DISlike of something??...cos that's the impression I'm getting, if YOU don't like what someone has written and SAY so...you're out of there. Is it??
[Blackbird]: I agree. From what I've seen of the person in question, she's not the type to bash anyone. I don't know much about her liking fanfic, but I know that she's a great person with a terrifically warped sense of humor. Lisa, don't get all upset and go away! Even if there was someone bashing fanfic'ers, there are a whole lot of us - "lots and lots of us" - who do like reading and writing fanfic, and having read yours, I definitely hope you'll stick around and keep posting!
[Megan]: OK I guess it's bad that we're being bashed/joked about/mildly poked fun at [haven't read ATX ever, so I haven't seen the post] behind our backs. But I think I'd rather have the flames somewhere else. We finally seem to have gotten all of the flamers to go away for a month or so now. Are you saying you want them back? But then it also might be good to have them here so we could defend ourselves or attempt to discuss it like adults.
[Gil Trevizo]: I went through Dejanews and through Zippo, searching for the responses to Gizzie's post -- Lisa has said that it was the *responses* that were hurtful, not Gizzie's post. All I could find was this... "No that wasn't useless at all. In fact it was quite usefull [sic] to me. It has reassured me that I DON'T want to read the fanfic. Thank you very much."

This was all I could find under the subject "Pendrell's first name" that even referred to fanfic. Now Smeagol, while being humorless, did not seem to be malicious either - just simple-minded. Nothing to get really angry about here -- just typical of the mean-spiritedness common to many Usenet newsgroups (and badly-administered mailing lists too).

In fact, in a healthy environment where people don't fear that flames can happen so they let down their guards and become friendly, most people would see that Gizzie's post was an innocuous jibe and Smeagol is just misguided and arrogant. But that kind of environment is difficult to create unless some kind of protection against this behavior is provided. It's not impossible to do it without that kind of protection -- it's been accomplished here on atxc.... for a while. But it is never consistent -- certainly never as consistent as can be had in a moderated environment.

Anyways, I hope we can now all see that there's nothing to be angry about here. Fanficcers are being bashed on atxf, but so are relationshippers, so are friendshippers, so are Duchovnites, so are GATBers -- atxf is an equal-opportunity bashfest, and there's not much I can see to change that.

"You suck" is a flame -- if someone does that on x-files-fanfic or fictalk (or in private email about something that was posted there) then I ask the person nicely to please stop and try to understand their grievance. If the person doesn't stop and doesn't bother to explain themselves, then I'm forced to unsubscribe them from the list. For the record, I have NEVER had to do this in the eight months I've been administering. And I hope I never do -- I feel bad every time I have to unsubscribe an email address that's been sending too many error messages, even if they've sent me hundreds.

OTOH "I don't like this story" without giving any reason why is a spark -- it should be addressed but not condemned. I talk to the person about why they said this, trying to understand why they think the story sucks. So far, they've ended up having legitimate reasons that can be discussed and thus produce criticism of value. But if they were to not giving any reasons, then I'd let it slide -- if it happened again, I'd ask them again why they feel this way. Sooner or later, they get the idea.

But "I don't like this story because..." is not a flame. As long as the person provides a reason for their opinion, then that gives us all something to discuss. Without that reason, we have nothing to talk about, defeating the purpose of the forum.

[Are people thrown off of moderated groups for disliking something?] Hell no. That does NOT happen -- not on x-files-fanfic and certainly not on fictalk. Lemme tell you, when the debate got a little hot on fictalk, I emailed every person that unsubscribed during that period, encouraging them NOT to unsubscribe, trying to make people feel comfortable debating issues. Besides addresses that have malfunctioned, I've only unsubscribed two people from a mailing list. Both were on x-files-fanfic -- one was child who kept making non-fanfic posts to the list after I asked him not to twice and never recieved [sic] a response until after the fact. The other was a plagiarist, who I offered to listen to and come to some kind of understanding with but ignored me.

I am not a tyrant. I work hard and try to cover all bases, trying to create a solution for everybody -- your mailbox can't handle fanfic and discussion, no problem, I make two seperate [sic] lists; your mailbox still can't handle the fanfic, no problem, I make the Weekly Listing of Posts, so you can pick and choose what you want me to send you. That kind of obsessiveness may come on strong, but it's meant to create the best environment possible for X-Files fanficcers. Coming down on flamers is part of that effort, but coming down *hard* on anyone -- whether they are disagreeing or even outright flaming -- would defeat that purpose.

Now i can't speak for all moderators. Most I've encountered let everything slide but spam -- they let flames develop. Among the ones I have seen be diligent about putting out flames, some do so selectively, creating a hostile environment to a minority within the subscribers. But that depends on the quality of the moderator - which can be changed - and not the format of the forum - which cannot.

Sorry I've gone on so long, but I just want to completely be understood here. I know how bad newsgroups can treat you if you aren't completely understood. And now, Gizzie and Lisa, so do you.
[Pamela]: But before any authors out there abandon a.t.x.c en masse for the safe haven of mailing-list distribution only, PLEASE consider those of us who CANNOT subscribe to a fan-fiction mailing-list (in my case, because it would overwhelm my already overflowing mailbox) and who *depend* on a.t.x.c as the most complete possible source for current stories!

I don't know if Gil means the above to sound this way, but it seems as if he's encouraging people to post on the mailing-lists INSTEAD of a.t.x.c -- not IN ADDITION TO a.t.x.c -- which *feels* like a direct blow aimed at the unfortunate people who, for whatever reason, cannot subscribe to *his* list (although I know it is not intended as such! It's just my gut reaction ... and telling people not to post here feels like being kicked in the gut.) (Wasn't the list originally for people who wanted to read stories posted to the newsgroup without having to read the newsgroup itself? Has it since evolved into a list featuring many stories not posted or forwarded to the newsgroup at all?  ;-( WHAT stories am I missing??????) But please ... let a.t.x.c continue to be one of those places.  ;-(

All of you who are blessed with the ability to write fiction (as I am not), please don't leave!
[Frohike]: Lisa, There is always someone out there ready to mock anothers work. IMO the mockers are those with no ability to write stories by themselves, and with bad attitude they try to force others to quit writing too. I've read almost all stories posted here, and I can say only one thing, and this is to all writers who post to atxc: KEEP GOING!
[Sheryl Martin]: okay, let me get this straight, because I missed the original post on ATX... surprising, no?

someone flamed the fanfic authors who live here... whether it was intentional or not, it's managed to hurt some people... which is a Bad Thing...

but the answer is not to refuse to post fanfic; or to counterflame - folks, this is a totally separate newsgroup - as ATXF is - don't forget, it's much harder to get to this group than to that one... and I don't think we should be importing fights back and forth - heck, it's hard enough to ignoring the cross-spamming!!!

but again, I don't think the answer is for us all to stay only on mailing lists and private archives; whispering to each other while leaving this newsgroup a desert... that's not fair to the many lurkers and readers and writers who come here and continue to come here, despite the spamming...

I've been bashed as well - here, in private emails and in forums as well; so I can't support the theory that to avoid all conflict and flaming that you should subscribe to every mailing list and therefore abandon this group - I have a problem with the concept that now people are being actively recruited to leave this group and go to private lists - again, as I've stated before, some people cannot subscribe to lists and it's not fair to punish the many for the faults of a few...

Lisa, please keep posting - ignore it and keep posting publically [sic] - I dread the day when everyone disappears off this group and hides on lists and visiting archives; afraid to put something up...

because then they've won, haven't they?

and who will be here for the new people when they arrive???

'Nuff said...
[Gil Trevizo]: But before any authors out there abandon a.t.x.c en masse for the safe haven of mailing-list distribution only, PLEASE consider those of us who CANNOT subscribe to a fan-fiction mailing-list (in my case, because it would overwhelm my already overflowing mailbox) and who *depend* on a.t.x.c as the most complete possible source for current stories!

But there is a way around that. Every Sunday I put out the Weekly Listing of Posts, which provides the title, author, and summary of every fanfic posted to x-files-fanfic over the past week. People then read the list and ask me which fanfics they want me to send them. That means you can still get the fanfic from the list without overflowing your mailbox, and still enjoy the protection that a moderated forum affords.

I've gone to great lengths here, but it's paid off -- the overflowing mailbox is no longer a problem to x-files-fanfic. in fact, there are no more reasons not to subscribe to x-files-fanfic in some manner. If there are, I'd dearly like to know, so I can work on a solution around it.

I don't know if Gil means the above to sound this way, but it seems as if he's encouraging people to post on the mailing-lists INSTEAD of a.t.x.c -- not IN ADDITION TO a.t.x.c -- which *feels* like a direct blow aimed at the unfortunate people who, for whatever reason, cannot subscribe to *his* list

Lemme just get touchy here for a second, because this has rattled me for a long long time. Neither x-files-fanfic nor fictalk is *my* list. I know it's silly, but every time I see the lists described as "Gil Trevizo's", it irks me.

I did not create x-files-fanfic for me. I was quite happy reading my fanfic off of Gossamer. But I saw the need, and was volunteered for the job. But that does not make it my list.

One day, I'm going to have to stop administering x-files-fanfic and fictalk. That day may come before the list's run is finished. But if it's perceived as "Gil Trevizo's list", no one might come forward to replace me. I want x-files-fanfic and fictalk to last as long as people are interested in reading, writing, and discussing X-Files fan fiction. And that means it's gonna have to outlast me. So I really hate these lists being called my list. This is not a private list -- this is an open forum, as democratic as atxc. Just because I administer it doesn't make it mine.

[snipped]

A newsgroup is not a safe environment -- it can *never* be a safe environment. A mailing list *can* be a safe environment if handled correctly.

So if you're concerned about posting fanfic without fear of being flamed, then atxc cannot address your concerns and x-files-fanfic does. Whether this is enough cause to completely abandon atxc is up to you. If you're not concerned about it, then don't worry about it.

In some cases, the flames against fanfic posted here have become so personal that writers have completely abandoned atxc, but those cases are rare. Still, I do believe x-files-fanfic is a superior forum for fanfic than atxc, in that it provides this protection, it is much more reliable, and IMHO the subscribers are more committed to X-Files fanfic and thus more likely to read your fanfic and give comment than those passing through a newsgroup (which does not usually require the commitment of subscription).

However, just because one is superior doesn't mean that other is useless. EMXC is superior to x-files-fanfic if you're a AOL user, but I still believe x-files-fanfic has worth to AOLers. And I still think atxc has worth to fanficcers, especially as there are still a few writers here who do not post to x-files-fanfic.

[snipped]

atxc has never been and can never be one of those [safe] places. I'm not saying people regularly get treated like this here -- it is a *very* rare occurrence. But atxc can never provide protection against it happening -- it can never fully take away that fear. Only moderated forums like x-files-fanfic and fictalk can. And I believe I have created that on those lists.

Now that doesn't mean that the fear is valid. But I'm not gonna tell any writer that they're being touchy and to just forget about it -- it takes too much courage to post for me to do that. So if a writer is concerned, concerned enough not to post, rather than have them never post and never have the opportunity to get feedback and enjoy the experience of fanfic, there is x-files-fanfic.
[Lisa]: In defense of Gizzie, I must say that she was not bashing anyone. Gizzie loves fanfiction. She is totally addicted to it. I know because she is a friend of mine. We e-mail each other back and forth several times a week and a good deal of our communication is discussing fanfiction. Anyone who has been reading Gizzie's posts on atx should know that she writes with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I've read the post and can find nothing offensive about it.

Let's face it, there is an awful lot of fanfiction that has the themes that Gizzie mentioned. Many stories are the same old thing over and over. Hell, I wrote a story in which Mulder died.

Don't take things so seriously and learn to laugh at yourself.
[Livengoo]: I haven't read the Gizzie lampoons. I do not know what quality they have or how pointed they may be.

That said, I wonder at the nature of this debate. A good lampoon is truly a thing of joy - anybody out there is welcome to nail me to the wall. Did the person who felt offended read the actual lampoon would be my first question. My second would be did the lampoon target just one author, or did the lampoonist generously and graciously smear the attention around? If the former, if only one person was lambasted, and recognizably so, I'd suggest that it might be hurtful. Many of us have MST-ied at one time or another. Most of us refrain from posting (though, I confess, I accidentally spammed one mailing group with just such a really harsh crit).

On the other hand, if what is being nailed is a line or trend of motifs, shall we say, that appear in fanfic then to feel personally singled out might, perhaps, be a bit too much. Anyone who's seen my posts before knows that I really, really intensely and virulently dislike romances and kid stories and all and will simply roll on the floor for a good parody. I also won't single out authors and I won't get bent out of shape if a romantic chooses to utterly parody my work. Personal attacks are different. Personal attacks are never, ever, ever acceptable. Ever. The author should never be made fun of directly, that's not fun, that's assault. The work, yes. That's being put out there and it's up to the author to do a good enough job that the work will stand up to criticism, though any author can and should defend the quality of work. If the work partakes of a trend then lampoons don't seem either directly pointed or out of line. I don't think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had to go take Valium or stopped producing after Mad magazine nailed them. Similarly, unless (and that's a BIG proviso) the work is pointedly attacking one author, then I'd suggest that lampoons be taken in stride. Hell, there are plenty of seriously-intended fanfic stories that I felt were a parody of the show itself, but that's a matter of interpretation.

So perhaps, before we castigate any one parodist for hurting feelings we might want to consider exactly what is being zapped and whether it's really as personal as all that. I parodied love stories, every one of them I could get at. I'm sure a few people felt I'd attacked a sacred tenet of their fandom. Many, many more laughed so hard they spewed coffee on their keyboards and no one, as far as I could tell, felt personally attacked. Fanfic really is frequently unintentionally funny. It DOES have repeating themes (hell, it's got sub-genres! Hurt/nurture, romance, Mary-Jane, etc.) and those themes are a legitimate target for parody. That doesn't mean any one person is being attacked or should feel hesitant to post. There are plenty of readers who welcome your work, and then there are also plenty of us who welcome the parody. If it really is directed at one person, it merits this kind of censure. Otherwise? Well . . . if it's not directed personally, then why feel hurt. Because someone disagrees or feels an idea or theme is absurd? Simply write a parody of your own! (Oh my, a parody of those posts for making money fast - "look, Amway is owned by aliens!")
[Kris "Beast" Abel]:

Portia! It seems we meet again! How are you, Darling?

Anyhoo, about that thing you said that us authors were overreacting.... I READ the article, sugar, and it wasn't that nice or humorous to ME. It was a *sarcastic* reply that really *burned* me as a Fan-Fic Author. The comment made on how we operate (particularly that Scully is raped every week once or twice) made me furious. It *WAS* an offensive gesture that I do NOT appreciate..just like I don't appreciate YOU.

Yours,

Kris "Beast" Abel

P.S. You off your Prozac or something this week?
[SUe]: Gizzie, I don't know how moderated lists like that work, but I am (in my other life <hehe>) a Topic Leader over on GEnie, and we have a general rule we follow: Attack ideas, not people.

So in my book, it'd be fine to say you don't like a story (preferably followed by why), but telling the =author= they (the author, I mean) suck is not acceptable. Now I know we are not a moderated group here, but I like to think that we can all behave ourselves and at least be polite to others. And, for the most part, I think we do pretty well. (I don't subscribe to a.t.x anymore because of the volume and massive amount of flaming.)

At any rate, I think we can chalk this whole incident up to a misunderstanding. I mean, =I= can see that the post was meant tongue-in-cheek, but obviously Lisa didn't. Somewhere along the line the intention was lost to at least one person. It happens. But -- and this is to everyone, not specifically Lisa--one of the things about being online is that, in both posting and in reading, you have to take into consideration that what was meant might not have come through. If you post something, read it over before sending to see if it comes off differently than you had intended. When you =read= something and think it's a flame or nasty or whatever, read it over and think, could this person have =meant= it differently? If you stop for a few seconds like that, a lot of misunderstandings can be avoided.

At any rate, hopefully now Lisa understands that you =weren't= bashing a.t.x.c, and I hope we can drop it now. (Anyone who wants to continue, could you please take it to email? Over half the messages I just downloaded were about something that wasn't even posted on this newsgroup!)

SUe, who just finally finished updating both the FAQ and her Web pages....
[Michael Aulfrey]:I'm pretty sure a lot of writers would agree with me that criticism of virtually all kinds is a flame.  :) :) :)

But seriously, criticism can be very hard for some of us to take. I mean, some of us work for months on this stuff, and unfortunately, at the time of writing these children of ours are as beautiful as anything we've seen. True, with a few weeks and rereadings, they become pimply-faced teenagers, but for those brief few days you feel like you've written a masterpiece. To have that masterpiece then either raspberried rudely or ignored completely (I don't know which is worse) can be heartbreaking.

I consider a flame a flat-out comment of the kind you suggested, without any attempt to try and gently suggest some sort of improvement. That goes beyond opinion in the case of an experienced writer; when it comes to a new writer, it's just damn rude and destructive.

My point is that you escape the tag of a flame by sitting back for a second and thinking carefully about what you say. *Criticism* is not bad; without it, none of us improve. But you'll encourage better writing with a softly, softly approach rather than a Conan-subtle broadside at the obvious inabilities of the writer to construct a plot, and thus increase your eventual enjoyment when the writer comes back having learnt a bit. I suppose there'll be those who disagree with this statement, but then, that's my opinionated writer's ego coming through. :) :)

I'm all for freedom of expression, but only when coupled with fairness of expression. Or, to put it as one of my friends once said, "Ensure brain is in gear before engaging mouth."
[Melissa Kent]: First off, Giz... I don't see anything wrong with your post... you did not flame anyone... but I think a few people might not be used to your sense of humor... (being a cog2 member, I appreciate it!)

Second of all...being in this group for over two years now, I've noticed something about atxc... *someone* is always in trouble in here... (Bruno ring a bell to anyone from about a year and three months ago?!?) And anything which is not all pleasant and high praise can be translated into a flame... even though many of them aren't. I think the concept of "flame" is not well defined, and so is used about as often as the excuse of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is used in court...

And third... this group is not moderated (sometimes I wish it were so we wouldn't get all the "earn $50 million now!!!" messages). You *can* get kicked off a listserv for being a... (keeping language appropriate) extreme jerk... but here, people will just jump on you to get on a bandwagon.

And I'm sorry if I'm offending people who have become lurkers/actives on atxc recently... but that's the growing trend on this group... when I first got on it, there were lots of stories... occasionally a thread discussing one or two, sometimes some questions about an episode to go into a story, and *that's it*. It was a *creative* group... fanfic, occasionally a poem or two, and occasionally requests to either repost or just simply send (the latter being more common if I remember)missing parts or stories that were discussed that have become hard to find... (this is pre-Gossamer, folks).

None of this bitching that there are too many romance stories (which, if you've noticed recently, have been practically nonexistent...), or that so and so's disclaimer is offensive, or such.

JUST WRITE STORIES AND ENJOY THE ONES THAT ARE POSTED, PEOPLE!!

I'm sorry to scream, but honestly, as a writer and as a lover of reading material... what is the big deal?! If you don't like what you're finding on this group, great... go over to Barnes and Noble or Waldenbooks (if you can still find one...) and pick up a recent bestseller and enjoy...

This is one of the main reasons that I have not been very actively involved in this group for over a year... I honestly am afraid that I'm going to get shot down because I might offend one person... I've got *25* stories on my hard drive... done, ready to post. But I'm not going to do it... because I don't want to subject myself to the wolfpack that has become atxc...

Sincerely, Melissa Kent

ps... discussions to my private mailbox is welcome and appreciated... everything else will just be deleted... (including those falling under my personal definition of "flames").

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