What's With IOHO?

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Title: What's With IOHO?
Creator: original post by Cynthia, plus commenters
Date(s): June 15, 1999
Medium: online
Fandom: The X-Files
Topic:
External Links: What's With IOHO?; archive link with expanded comments
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

What's With IOHO? is a 1999 post at alt.tv.x-files.creative.

The original post is by Cynthia. It berates a fanfic rec site for including an X-Files story by Gwyneth Rhys without that author's permission. The ensuing discussion includes 55 comments by 29 authors.

The discussion's topics include: fiction archiving, permissions, the trials and tribulations of archivists, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, white knighting, lack of assuming good faith, miscommunication, bruised egos, fans feeling under-valued for their fanworks (including fans who created and maintain archives), BNFs sticking up for each other, old grievances, the story Complicated Shadows, and a peek into fan cultures and exceptions regarding access and creation of fanworks. Also some sockpuppetting. The conversation is also one that illustrates the conflicts when fans/fanworks are both the customer and the product.

Related Essays and Posts

Excerpts

[Cynthia, original commenter]:

Some time last year, this web page [ IOHO ] had a hassle with a writer whose work they used without permission [1] That hassle was resolved when the writer in question removed her work from the web. I figured that the people who run IOHO had learned their lesson, about etiquette and how to ask permission to post authors' stories. Boy was I wrong.

I have a friend named Gwyneth. She's a dynamite writer. I know her from zine fandom. She's also a professional writer and editor by trade and as such was more than a bit nervous about posting her stories, fanfic or not, to the web. A group of us convinced her otherwise. I for one, now regret that. Because the people who run IOHO, without asking Gwyn's permission, have essentially republished her story on their web site and had I not been wandering by there the other day, she still wouldn't know it had been done because THEY NEVER ASKED HER PERMISSION TO PUT HER STORY ON THEIR PAGE.

This is what Gwyn asked me to forward to people here:

<<gwyneth rhys was upset to learn that one of her stories had been taken and put up on lisby's site. She really doesn't want to have her stories archived anywhere else; she puts a lot of work into them and wants to have as much control as possible. No one asked her permission to archive this, they simply took it and put it up (with the wrong title, too!). Gwyn is a professional editor and writer in real life. She's very aware of copyright issues and creative ownership issues. Because they're fan stories, it's pretty hard to scream copyright violation. But they are her stories, and she has a right not to have people take them and post them without her permission. If people want to link to it, fine, she's flattered and honored; but putting it on your own site without permission is another thing entirely. This is exactly the reason she did not want to publish on the web in the first place. And if they don't take the story down, or she has to go to the ISP and site host to resolve this, then she's probably going to throw in the towel. And that means we won't see the two new M/Sk stories she is planning to post at the end of the month, nor the other stories she's writing next.>>

The IOHO web site has already cost this community one writer. Please let's all do what we can to make sure it doesn't cost us another.
Amy: Excuse me, but did anyone ASK IOHO to remove this story before they brought the crusade to the newsgroup?? I think not. I *know* they did not. I am so *sick* of people bringing these arguments to the newsgroup before trying to take care of the situation themselves. If I had to count how many archives have my work without my permission, I would be counting all day, I am quite sure. That is the risk you take when you put it on the web. Here's a word of advice. If you find someone that has your work and you don't want it there, ASK THEM TO REMOVE IT. Private e-mail is nice. Private e-mail is polite. Private e-mail usually works. If private e-mail DOESN'T work, then you can bitch. I once had a once-popular-now-defunct archive that would regularly archive my work when I repeatedly told them not to, nor did they did they remove the old stuff of mine when I asked. Now, THAT made me angry, and understandably so, but I didn't go on a smear campaign to get my 'revenge' so to speak. Life goes on. Now, being an archivist myself, I also say I make mistakes myself. Sometimes things slip in that shouldn't, and things don't slip in that should. It's unfortunate, but I know a word from an author is all I need to fix it to the best of my ability. Sometimes it can't be immediate, that's true, but I do have a job ;) Let's be reasonable when it comes to things kind of things. And do us all a favor, leave us out of it.
zoot: author of Complicated Shadows:

>>Excuse me, but did anyone ASK IOHO to remove this story before they brought the crusade to the newsgroup?? I think not. I *know* they did not.>>

Well, I don't know Gwyneth personally, but I do know the members of IOHO.

This line appears prominently on Gwyneth's web page, which I have visited to read her fiction:

Do not archive these stories anywhere else.

And I, for one, would be really interested to know how it is you know for certain that no request was made, Amy. I wrote three times myself. There was another writer, who I shall leave nameless to prevent her from being embroiled in this [2], and she had to write multiple times to get her story removed.

This is a common, repeated behavior on the part of IOHO, so it's no surprise to find that someone, once again, has been stung; I wish them joy of trying to get satisfaction.

zoot
CiCi Lean:

>>Excuse me, but did anyone ASK IOHO to remove this story before they brought the crusade to the newsgroup?? I think not. I *know* they did not.>>

And according to a very large DO NOT ARCHIVE ANYWHERE ELSE disclaimer on Gwen's website there should never have been a need for that.

IOHO are repeat offenders in the "Archive First, Ask Questions When Caught" game.

Gwen is not the first author to find a story archived there not only without permission, but with a clear DO NOT ARCHIVE warning placed on her work.

And ... once there, it seems that authors have a hell of a time getting the damn thing removed.

No, this is a matter that's very appropriate for the newsgroup. Because it's not a lone occurance. And the repeat nature of it smacks of either arrogance or just sheer stupidity.
zoot:

Almost everything you do can be located on the 'Net, I'm afraid, so unless you want to do what a character I recently saw on some eminently forgettable television show does--stop driving, stop voting, have no credit cards, no memberships, no nuffink--you're going to be on the 'Net. Email spammers gather addresses from USENET and mailing lists and so on, just as Deirdre points out.

I do periodic searches to see what's out there and how my name is being taken in vain. I've found two addies that I've never had, and a few other things that, while annoying, were essentially harmless in nature.

Nor is it just on the 'Net.

However, as I said, the folks at IOHO have done this before--and btw, the unnamed writer I mentioned earlier has NOT been removed, after reading Cynthia's post, I went over to IOHO. The html text that they had 'borrowed' from her site appears, however, to be gone.

They also appear to have removed Gwyneth's story.
Amy:

>> Well, I don't know Gwyneth personally, but I do know the members of IOHO.>>

So do I, and they have more integrity in their pinkies than many people combined on this newsgroup.

>>This line appears prominently on Gwyneth's web page, which I have visited to read her fiction: Do not archive these stories anywhere else.'>>'

Perhaps, but these stories weren't ON her site when they were found, they were on a rec page. So therefore, someone else got the stories, and didn't follow the 'do not archive' thing.

>>And I, for one, would be really interested to know how it is you know for certain that no request was made, Amy. I wrote three times myself. There was another writer, who I shall leave nameless to prevent her from being embroiled in this, and she had to write multiple times to get her story removed.'>>'

From the webmistress herself, whom I hold in the highest regard. And for the record, Sheare, your story WASN'T ON the site to start with. You had a cow over a simple RECOMMENDATION that people read your work. Since you brought it up, you then proceeded to destroy hers and OTHER authors' work to 'get your revenge' so to speak. I *really* don't think you should be throwing stones at anyone. I see nothing wrong with a rec, no matter who it comes from, but that's just me.

I would once again wonder how the hell ENCOURAGING people to read an author's work suddenly makes them the devil?!? This makes no sense to me whatsoever. If you are SO protective of your work, then DON'T post it on the internet. THis is issue really gnaws at me. Don't turn this into an 'I've been wronged' issue, because it isn't. It's a personal vendetta, plain and simple, and I for one am sick and tired of seeing the dirty laundry aired on the newsgroup. In fact, I won't post anymore about this topic, having said what I need to say. Take your trash elsewhere, cause most of us don't really care anymore.
[Cynthia]:

<<Excuse me, but did anyone ASK IOHO to remove this story before they brought the crusade to the newsgroup?? I think not. I *know* they did not.>>

Well, you would be wrong whoever you are. Gwyn did ask. And you know what else? When I got a response from the IOHO people this morning, they acted as if they'd never heard from her.

I've been here before.

I did what I did to make them do what Gwyn wanted. If they were generally responsive to the authors whose work they steal, I wouldn't have to do it because they wouldn't be doing anything worth getting upset about. Then again, if they weren't stealing work without permission, no one would have anything to get upset about either.

<<If I had to count how many archives have my work without my permission, I would be counting all day, I am quite sure. That is the risk you take when you put it on the web.>>

Maybe in your world, but not in mine. In mine, people take responsibility for what they do and they behave accordingly to people in their universe. I like my world better than I like yours.

[snipped]

>>Perhaps, but these stories weren't ON her site when they were found, they were on a rec page. So therefore, someone else got the stories, and didn't follow the 'do not archive' thing.>>

Oh bullshit. The html copy I saw on the IOHO site was *IDENTICAL* to the html copy from Gwyn's site. They may have found the recommendation (though they say a friend told them about it on their web site, which notice is still on the updates page, so that's already two stories floating around that don't compute) but they went to Gwyn's site to get that story and they ignored her "do not archive elsewhere" banner.

<<Don't turn this into an 'I've been wronged' issue, because it isn't. It's a personal vendetta, plain and simple, and I for one am sick and tired of seeing the dirty laundry aired on the newsgroup. In fact, I won't post anymore about this topic, having said what I need to say. Take your trash elsewhere, cause most of us don't really care anymore.>>

Again, this is bullshit. This isn't bliss's argument, it's MINE, with Gwyn. There is no personal vendetta. Gwyn HAS been wronged and as of this morning, at least for now, her story is no longer on IOHO, which means that what I did last night WORKED and writing to those oh so ethical people you keep praising privately DID NOT.

I believe that speaks louder than anything else at this point.
Ambress:

>>f I had to count how many archives have my work without my permission, I would be counting all day, I am quite sure.>>

That is the risk you take when you put it on the web. So is that the "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" argument I spy? Or is it, "if you're gonna go around dressed like that, don't be surprised if someone tries to drag you in an alley"?

I know little about IOHO, but I am curious: Is that the general consensus of the newsgroup? My impression was that writers put instructions about archiving on their stories for a reason, and that it is only courteous to follow their instructions. If this is a free-for-all, then why do so many people put archive instructions on their stories? Some archivists may think it is petty or unreasonable to have to ask first if an author puts "Please ask first" or a "do not archive" on their story, but isn't that the author's decision to say "archive wherever you want" "please ask first" or "don't archive anywhere"? If you don't have time to be polite, then perhaps it's just the author's loss that they don't get to be on your wonderful archive.

I myself just think it polite, and not unreasonable, to be asked first. I think most archivists are very respectful of authors' preferences in this matter, but I have encountered one unfortunate exception. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth and wondering if I was the only one in the fanfic community that thought that other people should show some modicum of respect for your clearly stated preferences. Please tell me I'm wrong about that.

Ambress
[Grace]: So because *somebody* else ignored the "do not archive" label on her stories, IOHO is in the right to *also* ignore the label? I believe the proper term is "two wrongs don't make a right." I write occasionally and know that if I ever put a "do not archive" label on any fic of mine, I would have a good reason, and would expect my request to be heeded, not ignored simply because "all the cool kids are doing it."
Red Valerian, owner of Sisters in Smut:

I would just like to add my very public agreement with every single thing that Amy has said so far in defence of the owners of IOHO.

I'll let you in on a secret. Being a webmistress isn't all that much fun. Oh - it's rewarding. It's challenging. And occasionally it's even satisfying - especially when someone remembers to thank you for the hours you put in showcasing other people's talent.

But most of all it's hard work. Bloody hard work. And not the 'fun' sort of work you get when you write a story and start to get lots of wonderful feedback.

It's nothing like that satisfying.

Why?

Well - primarily because *you* know, and everyone *else* knows, that all you're doing is hanging the paintings in the Louvre. The masterpieces were done by someone else.

But the thing that keeps you doing it is the appreciation you get from readers and authors. Most of them seem to understand that what you're doing is primarily a selfless task. Something you're doing for them - and not for yourself.

Until you've done it, you can have no idea of the mind-numbing tedium involved in archiving other people's work day after day and week after week and year after year. It can take me up to an hour to get a story online and into all of the various indices. The obsessive/compulsive in me usually tries to run the stories through a spell-checker too, just to make sure they're as good as they can be. Then if it's humanly possible, I also try to read the stories and send supportive feedback.

Some days, when I'm tired and it's midnight and suddenly five stories pop into my inbox, I just want to forget it all. To turn off the computer and go to bed and stop updating my site - there and then.

But of course I don't. Instead I decide to take a tiny peep at the stories first. And there will be some new masterpiece by jordan or mlb or Xanthe and I'll just want EVERYONE else to be able to read them too. So I sigh and decide that I can probably get by with four hours sleep after all, and I stay up and archive them.

Sure - sometimes I make mistakes. I've posted stories that had prominent 'DO NOT ARCHIVE' demands on them which I never even noticed. I've honestly missed them. It just seems incomprehensible to me that an author wouldn't want their work *read* so I forget to look out for archiving instructions.

As a consequence, I too have had rude 'Remove my story at once - how DARE you' letters. They've actually made me cry on one or two occasions. I remember it had taken me over two hours once to get one huge series of stories online which someone had recommended to me personally, and then within an hour of the stories being posted I got a furious letter from the author acting as though I'd stolen her work and demanding its immediate removal.

Well of course I removed it. But you know, to just get shouted at when you've put in hours and hours of work - let me tell you, it's not pleasant. It's dispiriting and depressing and down heartening - that's what it is.

Hence my public sympathy with the owners of IOHO and my public disgust at the way they are being treated.

To have people on this ng accuse them of *theft* merely because they took the time to showcase stories by OTHER authors seems absolutely ludicrous to me.

Where is the theft involved? The authors' names and disclaimers were left intact. Credit was given where credit was due. I think the authors were being paid the ultimate compliment of having their work highly recommended by other writers - publicly praised by the people whose praise really means something.

In their position, I would have felt honoured. So would most authors.

Those with any sense, anyway.

Red Valerian
JourneyToX:

Well, I can say one good thing has come out of this thread, namely, that Red V has reminded me how hard she works to keep up an excellent archive, and how overdue I am in thanking her. Red, you are truly appreciated, if only by people like myself who too often forget to express that appreciation.

I have often said, to my shame, that I have no idea about building webpages. Somewhere around a year or so ago I guess I hit that wall of "I can't/am scared to learn anything new" that I usually associate with people twice my age. Yuck! So I can't build a webpage and have only the greatest admiration for those who can. My own webmistress, fabulous Alanna, has gone out of her way to make my webpage better than I could ever hope. It's an art and a gift from her heart, and what can I say? All praise, Al.

I'm in your debt, Red V, for your great archive, your sincere encouragement in writing, and just for being you.

So, it's a better day for me for having said that.

-)
Kipler:

<< Most of them seem to understand that what you're doing is primarily a selfless task. Something you're doing for them - and not for yourself.>>

Red, I see your point here, and I "get" that being an archivist doesn't earn the folks who do it a lot of appreciation or reward. (Frankly, if I had ever tried to start an archive, I would have long ago said, "Forget it! You can all go archive your OWN stuff! I quit!") And for people whose stories aren't up anywhere else, the archiving service is probably a great thing, and deserving of thanks.

But what other people are saying is that they don't *want* their work archived. So to them, having the work posted doesn't feel like a favor, though it may certainly be intended that way. As someone who prefers to be unarchived, I always feel badly when I have to say "no" to people, or ask them to take down stuff that they've already put up. It's embarrassing; people tend to take it personally. I'd actually prefer to be spared the whole situation.

<< It just seems incomprehensible to me that an author wouldn't want their work *read*>>

Me, I don't want my stuff archived anywhere but Gossamer and my own site. I have some very legitimate, very personal reasons for feeling that way. It's not a slam against anyone who archives stuff, nor is it a sign that I don't want my work read. It's just a different (and, to me, safer) way of presenting the work to people who want to read it.
[Marion/Gris Gris]:

In acknowledgement to the great work of the archivists we should consider that sometimes mistakes just happen and hopefully can and should be corrected. (Of course I understand the policy of >ask first-then post< and the respect for the author's wishes, as well as an author's wrath when being disrespected.) But as a curious reader (not a writer!) I would like to ask a question to all the authors that might be concerned: Why don't you want to have your stories archived at certain places? Following the path of posting of a lot of stories over the past years, I've seen many DO NOT ARCHIVE-stories and I just wondered but didn't think further. No offense - I just would like to hear about some opinions.

Marion *Gris-Gris*
[Red Valerian]:

>>Me, I don't want my stuff archived anywhere but Gossamer and my own site. I have some very legitimate, very personal reasons for feeling that way. It's not a slam against anyone who archives stuff, nor is it a sign that I don't want my work read. It's just a different (and, to me, safer) way of presenting the work to people who want to read it. --Kipler>>

I do understand and respect that. I just meant that if an archivist makes a mistake and posts something she shouldn't, the mistake should be accepted as such and not treated as some sort of nefarious plot to 'steal' a sister author's work.

And Kipler - I bet when you have to ask someone to remove work which has been archived without permission, you do so with sensitivity and your usual delicate touch. I think that's all I'm asking. That people recognise that archivists aren't the enemy. They're people too who bruise easily. (If you prick us, do we not bleed, and all that.)

But I'm sure that I'm preaching to the converted in your case.
TexxasRose:

Marion, I can only answer your question in regard to myself, but here it is: I can be a bit obsessive/compulsive about my stories at times, and errors drive me nuts. I can't count the number of times I've been skimming over one of my stories and found a spelling or grammar error, or simply a better way to word a sentence, when my beta reader and I have both been over the story fifty times already. I allow linking to my stories now, with very few exceptions, for the simple reason that when I find one of these errors I can correct it on my own site easily. That way, all archivists who have linked to my story will always get the latest, best version I can provide. I hate bothering archivists by constantly sending them updated copies of my stuff, so there are some previous versions of my stories out there on Gossamer, and a couple of other places, of older stories. It's taken me a while to clue in to this, but now it's 'linking only' for the most part. Anyway, that's just one author's reasoning, I'm sure everyone else has their own.

Texx
zoot:

[Why fans want to control their own fanwork archiving is] a loaded question, I think. For some, it has to do with a simple desire to control where their work is archived. For others, it has to do with a simple desire to prevent unauthorized use of text. For yet others, it's because they like to maintain their own websites, and control update, philosophical differences with archive admins, or simply because they want their stories grouped or sorted differently than a larger archive might.

zoot
Ambress:

>>Archiving without permission is just wrong.>>

I agree, and it bothers me that some people seem to be responding by saying that if you are an author and you don't want your work archived, or if perhaps you want to be *asked* first so you can check the site out and see if it's called "The Fifty Dumbest X-Files Stories Ever Written" before you agree, that there must be something wrong with you. If someone archives my story without permission and I write what I think is a very polite inquiry about why they would do that, why they would change the title, and why they would put up their own summary which appears very dismissive to me, and hurts my feelings, what justification does an archivist have for sending back a sarcastic, hurtful, diatribe about how ungrateful I am? I'm certainly not denying that it is an honor for someone to ask to archive your story, but this person may have good reasons for not wanting her stories archived elsewhere, and even if her reasons aren't good, isn't she entitled to them?

Why should any author be dismissed as senseless merely because she wants to make her own decisions about where her hard work goes? That sounds too much like a guy who calls a woman a dyke, or frigid, or a bitch, merely because she doesn't want to go out with *him.* Don't tell me fanfic authors are the only ones without the right to say no.
zoot: Thanks, Red. I understand your feelings, but my sense of honor was diminished by the backstory behind the rec [at IOHO].
bugs:

I wanted to jump off of this post although I agreed with all of Red V's original post. As with many of these threads, I think we're back to everyone's personal perceptions of a situation and their own motivations. I particularly agree with Red about writing being shared with everyone. I believe Brandon Ray has some wonderful statement to that effect on his webpage in regard to archiving his work.

I realized as I got that first statement from a friend that knows about my fanfic, 'well, now write something you get paid for.' People just can't comprehend that people's kind words are a payment. I never saw myself as that sort of selfless type either,<g> but that's the way it feels. It's like freeware, something we create to share with others for their use and enjoyment.

The only time I could imagine I would turn down an archivist or ask to be removed from an archive is if the archive had a theme I found personally offensive. Then I would be asking myself how I wrote something that ended up there! <g>

I respect everyone's right to have their own personal reasons for not sharing their work with as many readers possible, but for me, being out 'in public' possibly getting put up on a unseemly site or having my work 'stolen', well those are the lumps I risk doing this. We cannot completely control this situation, I hate to tell everyone that!

And I would like to publicly thank my webmistress, Tara W, for taking the task of creating a site for someone she doesn't even know and putting in all those long hours. And thank you Red V, for giving me the picture of the whole process-- bugs
Ambress: I am sure that all archivists work very hard, and some harder than others, to make their archive the best that it can be and to provide a valuable service to the fanfic community, but I find it hard to believe that you don't get any personal satisfaction out of what *you* have created. If you don't, you should. A beautiful, well organized archive is a thing of beauty and a joy forever (or, well, I guess until TOSed). The Guggenheim is a work of art itself. Perhaps we need to start a Unsung Archivists Thread Now that we've done fanfic authors, betas, and stalkers.
CazQ:

Well, I've never yet refused an archiving request...but I like to have the option. For me, it's simply wanting to know *exactly* where my stuff is going. I post under a pen name that's very close to my real name, ridiculously so in fact (ah, the perils of posting stories *before* realising the advantages of a pen name <g>). That being the case, I'm leery of having my stories anywhere I don't know about, just in case RL circumstances should ever intervene and make me need to take the step of pulling my stories off the archives.

It's also a little about courtesy, I guess: if you were a good friend of mine and wanted to borrow my stereo (groping frantically for a prized possession to use as an example <g>), say, you'd ask first, right, instead of just taking it? Same principle. Even if you know someone will say yes when you ask to use something of theirs, it's nice to say please anyway.
[Marlene, one of the owners of IOHO]:

>> Amy said: Perhaps, but these stories weren't ON her site when they were found, they were on a rec page. So therefore, someone else got the stories, and didn't follow the 'do not archive' thing.

Cynthia said: Oh bullshit. The html copy I saw on the IOHO site was *IDENTICAL* to the html copy from Gwyn's site. They may have found the recommendation (though they say a friend told them about it on their web site, which notice is still on the updates page, so that's already two stories floating around that don't compute) but they went to Gwyn's site to get that story and they ignored her "do not archive elsewhere" banner.>>

Cynthia, you're wrong -- again. The site recommending the story sent Lisby directly to the story itself, not to Gwyn's site. No anti-archiving message was on the story so she could not have seen and did not see one.

>>Cynthia said: There is no personal vendetta.>>

Cynthia, from the histrionic tone and word choice of your entirely unnecessary post I have to sincerely doubt this is true.

>>Cynthia then said: Gwyn HAS been wronged and as ofthis morning, at least for now, her story is no longer on IOHO, which means that what I did last night WORKED and writing to those oh so ethical people you keep praising privately DID NOT.

But Cynthia, you did *not* write to us. You got on a public newsgroup and screamed at the top of your lungs. <shrug> Sure, the story is down. If we had known the author's preference we would have abided by them. The fact that Lisby's family life intruded on this cyber life is the reason the author was not emailed. It was just an unintentional oversight. It would have been done. Your over-reaction was unjustified.

[snipped]

To repeat what I said in my previous post, when we were sent your post from ATXC, Cynthia, neither of us had had any word from Gwyn. Lisby immediately removed the story and then left for work. Gwyn's post came in around 7:00 a.m., by which time Lisby was somewhere on the DC Beltway. The story had already been removed. When Lisby got home in the afternoon she found Gwyn's post and responded to it. To say we "acted as if they'd never heard from her" is inaccurate and, again, inflammatory.

[snipped]]

...if I get the gist of it, we're being called thieves. We have stolen nothing. Calm down.

[snipped]

>>And ... once there, it seems that authors have a hell of a time getting the damn thing removed.>>

Absolutely untrue. As soon as Lisby read Hoffman's inflammatory post on atxc she removed the story from our website. That was about 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. At that point in time the author had not written us (it came through Lisby's server around 7:00 a.m.), had never told us we couldn't archive, and there was no anti-archiving notice in the story that Lisby had been send to by the other site, the one that recommended Gwyn's story. We don't search every author's website, we have lives. We simply want to say "Hey, here's a good story!" And with the recent archive-linking difficulties we've chosen to store the shorter stories on our hard drives. But, hey, if an author doesn't want to take up my drive space, that's no problem. The story is down. It won't be back.

Marlene
[Marlene]:

Let's cut through the crap, shall we? Bliss, you are Kass, Kassandra, Zoot, Wickdzoot, and even (in an underhanded ploy to confuse readers) Iwonders and Isabelle Wonders. Not iwonder, that's my moniker. Yep, it's just one letter but there's a big difference. Bliss, if you're talking about Complicated Shadows yet again, you're muddying the waters. Intentionally, as usual. You are not the victim you think you are.

No, bliss, you don't know the members of IOHO. You only know your own self-deluding, self-aggrandizing, self-victimizing version of reality. If you want to go into that ALL OVER AGAIN I could, but I don't feel it's worth my time or effort. If I thought I could show you reality and convince you, it might be worth it; but I've learned -- the hard way -- that this is impossible. You refuse to recognize any reality but your own.

To the matter at hand: There was *no* archiving message in the story that Lisby read. And since the point of writing a story is to have it read (that's right, it is!) she saw no reason to run a backcheck on the author's preferences. All the same, out of courtesy, she does ask authors if they mind having their story at IOHO and enthusiastically recommended; I do, too. This author would have been written next. Because Lisby was already hip-deep in HTML-ing she went ahead and added the code for this little story she liked so much. There was no reason to suspect that an author wouldn't want more readers. The authors we've asked have responded favorably. If her family life had not distracted her Gwyn would have been emailed.

Did Gwyneth write Lisby? Not until after the story had been pulled.

How long was the story up at IOHO? About 24 hours.

What was the first complaint we heard? From Hoffman's post at atxc.

Is the story still at IOHO? No. God forbid someone should be allowed to know we like a story!

>>This is a common, repeated behavior on the part of IOHO,<<

Absolutely not true.

Bliss, once again you have decided to attack Lisby with absolutely no reason. How many times before you're satisfied? How many times before you stop seeing yourself as a victim? You were never a victim at Lisby's hands. Let me also say here that Lisby did not take every one of Gwyn's stories and trash them line by line, as you did Lisby's. Nor did she create a website specifically for trashing the stories [3], as you did. Nor has she created a mailing list and then a newsgroup specifically for venting spite (under the guise of playfully enjoying being naughty), as you did.

Your next life, based on the deeds of this one, is going to be very difficult.

Really weary of the bullshit,

Marlene
[Dolphin]:

Now I'm just a reader and have only speculated on creating a web page for my recommendations. So I'd like to know to know how archivist get stories to include. It seems to me that you have 2 ways - they are sent to you or you see something you like and ask the authors permission. It is inconceivable to me that someone would post someone's story without getting their permission.

Dolphin
[Kimberly]:

To answer Dolphin's question, I usually either find stories off Mailing Lists, or here . If I like them and they have either indicated in their author's notes that it's okay to approach them to archive then that's exactly what I do. In my feedback, I include a request to archive and provide a URL so they can take a look around and see if my site is to their liking. I will admit that I did send a request to archive a story once that had a "Do Not Archive" clearly printed on it, but that was because in my own eagerness to ask I didn't look. When moments later I did catch it I sent another mail off to them and said you know what, I'm an idiot I didn't see that you preferred not to archive your piece, but thanks for the wonderful read. ( You remember that CiCi? LOL ) Then there are authors that I have become friendly with over time, who will send me their work right off the bat to read and to post if I like it.

Yes there are some occasions where I see "Post anywhere just as long as my name is on it, and it remains intact" and I have posted it. To be honest this is only after I send feedback and a request and haven't heard back before I update.

BUT, I repeat BUT, I always send a note to the author after the update is complete telling them I've posted and to check around and make sure everything is to their liking, and if it's not then I'd be more than happy to accommodate them. If that means removing the piece so be it.

Was it wrong to post something that was labeled do not post? In this case I would have to say yes, IMHO, the webmasters should have made the author aware not only that she had intentions to post it, but that she did in fact post it.

But please keep in mind that Webmasters are human too...and there will be errors, but I don't think that there is any other intention than to bring attention to a piece of work that we find entertaining and we would like to share with other readers. I don't think the intent was malicious and meant to do this to piss off the author, and sometimes that's what it boils down to...intent. Why else would you bother to do a site at all, unless it was strictly to showcase your own work?
Miss Elise: For me, it's a question of control. Maybe I'm weird in that I like to know exactly where my fic is. Limiting where it goes help me know. It's worked so far, though one archive did grab some stories that they didn't have permission to. After writing a kind note, the stories came down.
[Jessica/Arcadian]: I even would love to know it if my story hit a MST3K archive (one of 'em has, but they only did the first chapter, which was a slow start - the more exciting rest of the story, the guy "couldn't make fun of") or a badfic archive. Plus, I like to see what I'm archived with. Action-Adventure, shippers? that kind of thing.
Red Valerian:

I do get tremendous personal satisfaction from maintaining an archive I'm proud to be associated with. And the best part about it is that often I get the very first look at stories before anyone but the author has ever seen them. It's a wonderful feeling to be in on the birth of the whole creative process.

And I'll also admit that I rarely have to ask authors permission to archive nowadays. Virtually all of those who want their work on SIS send it directly to me or else they notify me to let me know that I can link to their sites. I know which ones will turn me down, and I no longer embarrass myself by asking them.

Just occasionally I come upon a 'new' Skinner author on atxc or Gossamer. I write to them and introduce myself. I tell them about our site and about Sue Tennyson's Walter Skinner Fanfiction site and I provide the urls to both. And then yes - I ASK if they'd like to be archived on SIS and if they say yes, I suggest that in future they send me their work directly or else tell me where it's archived so that I can put in a link.

Problem solved.

But as I said in my earlier post, I have made mistakes in the past. When you're setting up an archive, it's a massive task to contact all of the relevant authors to ask permission. And sometimes it's just not possible. Many of the authors have email addresses on their work which are no longer valid. Others don't respond to your requests. Do you take their silence as a 'yes' or a 'no'? You want to archive the stories, but things have suddenly got complicated. Rightly or wrongly, your very enthusiasm often leads you to 'archive and be damned.'

I remember posting Kate's 'Yes Sir' with a huge disclaimer saying that I'd taken it off of Bobbi's site just before it disappeared, but had no permission to post as the author's email had not been included. I said I would remove the story at once if the author so desired, but until she did so I thought it was too good not to be made available to a world hungry for Skinner fic. Then I posted a message to atxc asking Kate to get in touch with me if she objected to her story being on SIS. About six months later she *did* get in touch, give her permission and let me have a valid email address.

Great sigh of relief from me. That time my 'taking a chance' paid off.

But there are nearly 600 stories on SIS and close to a hundred detailed fantasies about the Skinner character. Small potatoes compared to Gossamer, but still quite hefty numbers. When you're working with those kind of figures, it is easy to make a mistake at first. You get run away with your enthusiasm to provide readers with the best fiction there is. Yes - you make some mistakes, but hopefully you learn from them too.

Let's just all try to be a little more tolerant of each other here. We all have the same goal - right? To write or to read quality X-files fan fiction. To share our delight when we find outstanding work and to reward it accordingly with our public praise and our public recommendations.

Several contributors to this thread have said that they'd want to be sure their work hadn't been archived in a negative way - as one of the 'Ten Worst Fanfic Stories' for instance. Well - obviously I agree with that. But IOHO is a site which recommends only a few excellent stories by outstanding authors. There is no hidden agenda in their recommendations - merely the desire to share their joy in having found quality fiction.

It just seems to me that some people are putting the archivists on trial and finding them guilty for what was probably nothing more heinous than a genuine attempt to compliment a sister author or to encourage a promising new one.

I don't know either of the archivists and I have no vested interest in defending them. I'll admit that when I saw what this thread was about, I ran off and checked to see if any of *my* work had been recommended on IOHO - but no such luck. (I forgave them when I saw they'd put SIS down as a favourite link, however!)

And the more I thought about the accusations of 'theft' which were flying thick and fast this time last night, the angrier I got. Hence my public defence of them and this continuation of it today. I had a lot that I wanted to get off of my chest. I still do, but I think it's time I took pity on everyone and ended this massive post now.

-- Red V

PS: Thank you to everyone who has written to me privately or publicly on this issue. And especial thanks to those who have been so complimentary about SIS. In my hasty and emotional post, I may have made it sound like I actually resented the upkeep necessary in running the archive. I don't. It's such an important part of my life now, that I can't imagine a time when it didn't exist. I'll keep running SIS as long as people keep visiting the site and reading the wonderful stories.
[Dragan Antulov a.k.a. Drax]: There are many reasons. Some authors simply don't want to be associated with certain genres - for example, non-slash author probably wouldn't appreciate seeing his or her story featured on slash archive. Some like to have total control over their work. If you have your stories archived at one or two places, it is easier to pull them off the Net or change them, when the time comes.
Lisby, one of the owners of IOHO]:

Thank you very much for this intelligent and honest view of what recommendation sites try to do for other people's writing. I appreciate your Webmistress's understanding of what it takes to run a rec site, how much work we put into it, and how easy it is to make an oversite or mistake then have to endure the dispiriting consequences when all you wanted to do was be nice to somebody who wrote a story that made you smile. I hope that all the posters who expressed such outrage can put their hand on a Bible (or holy book of their choice) and swear that they are incapable of human error. I don't think a single one of them can, IMHO.

Thanks again, Red. You're a good and thoughtful person. I'm sorry you cried in the past. I cried at this fiasco.
[Mel]:

I understand the occasional "Ooh... I LOVE THIS STORY and NEED TO ARCHIVE IT NOW!!!!" rush... although my archiving results in saving waaaay too much fanfic to my "Fics are In Here" Zip Disk, not to the web. I've tried to get my archive up and running... it's a tough job, but as much as it's for the public to enjoy, it's for me, too. And I'm not going to post others' fics without their permission since I ask the same favor of my own. It's a hard thing to do with the temptation of great writers out there... but I *do* force myself to do it. I'll keep a story on my hard drive and salivate over it while enduring the wait to hear from a writer. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Those I don't hear from, I don't archive.

I wasn't in the original argument in this thread... to my knowledge, I've never been to IOHO. I don't know the parties involved, and won't preach. The story has been removed, the situation appears to have been handled poorly overall but has been fixed. We've learned and will move on, right? =)
[Byers]:

I hate ranting as much as the next person. It wasn't exactly nice to come on to this newsgroup for the first time in a year *after getting off it for a similar bitch-fest* and see this kind of crap going on. This argument should never have been here in the first place. The only thing you are doing is causing enemies for yourselves, all parties involved. Though both sides have given gripping accounts, exactly what the hell can we do about this? Since both sides seem to be in error here, it's really something to be resolved between those two sides. I personally would be honored if any archive were WILLING to recommend a story I wrote. Would you scream in rage if a novel you wrote ended up on the NYT Bestsellers list? I think not. People make mistakes. By blowing those mistakes out of proportion and acting so childishly about them, *especially* in public is doing no good for your cause and it's ruining the whole damn thing for everyone. Please consider that.

a Mirnen who is tired of sitting back and watching the fight

References

  1. This is in reference to the site's owners recommending an X-Files rec site, and including a short excerpt.
  2. The writer of this post is referring to themselves in the third person as they are doing a bit of sockpuppetting.Another fan calls this fan out on this fact in this post.
  3. This was a website on Soho Cafe that is long gone.