X-Files Wank: 1996-2000

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Title: X-Files Wank: 1996-2000 is not the official title, but one used here on Fanlore to refer to the comments within a bigger post
Creator: cschick
Date(s): June 2006
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links:
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In June 2006 at Fanthropology, a fan (cschick) wrote of much wank in the X-Files fandom between 1999 and 2000.

The comments are imbedded here: Now we are 10, almost; Archive.

The post addresses the comment: "Most people just don't remember the stuff that went down five or ten years ago because it has very little relevance to their own fannish experiences."

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts from the Post

That's why the MsScribe "gate" affair makes me laugh. Sure, XF never had anyone who managed to do such shit as long or as "big" as she did. But its early days had people who intentionally split the fandom by playing groups off one another and using people's trust of the medium to convince their friends and supporters that others were bad people.

(For example, person A sending mail bombs and hate mail to friends and supporters of person A, forged to look like they came from person B, who person A wanted to villify. That person and these actions were the source of a fairly early and long term division on ATXC between shippers and noromos, particularly some of the noromos who later formed the basis for the XF slash community.)

Amusingly (in this context), much of the XF wank/nastiness/division from 1996-2000 can trace its origins back to a single person who intentionally created mistrust, splits, and nastiness that never really healed despite that person's fairly early explusion from the community. Partly because nobody ever really had the time, balls, or complete evidence to put together something like this.
It's hard to track if you weren't there at the time, due to pen name changes, but what happened was this:

1996ish: there were two "big" groups on ATXC, the het Mulder/other, Scully/other, or Scully/Skinner shippers (MSR noromos) and the MSR shippers. (And the no romance at all noromos, but they didn't play a big part).

There was tension, the tension was increased into hatred/wank/division by someone who liked playing the two groups off one another. The ways in which the person was doing so weren't discovered until the divisions were too extreme to be fixed--many people believe to this day that the "leaders" of the MSR shippers were mail-bombing/hate-mailing the other-het shippers.

When it was discovered, the evidence wasn't the strongest (it's hard to explain header and SMTP injection forgery to the non-technical, especially since this was before it even became known to most sys admins), and there was a whole bunch of other wank going down. The wank was semi-related (it wasn't shipper versus shipper; but it was related to the same type of games being played and failing), and resulted in the person in question being rejected from the community as a whole, but there was never a chance for the earlier damage that person had caused to be revealed and maybe cleaned up.

To tell you the truth, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what was going on, and I didn't have a full picture of what had actually occurred until 2001 or so (that's when I found out that the person had been mail-bombing allies as well as enemies using forged headers; the evidence needed to show that was not true was long gone at that point and nobody still carrying a grudge was going to be convinced that they'd been hating the wrong person).

Some BNFs of the other-het shippers moved into slash and became the founders of the original XF slash mailing lists. (There were others involved in this as well, slashers who started out elsewhere and probably had no idea of the ATXC history; I believe the founder of the big slash archive on simplenet was someone in that position.) So, some of the anti-slash backlash on ATXC (~1998) was actually backlash against slash AND those who were the slash BNFs rather than "just slash." And I suspect that some of the slash BNFs wanted that backlash to occur, to further separate the slash and MSR (==ATXC) communities. Lots of politics.

And, to further muddy the waters, some of the MSR shippers who really didn't get along with the BNFs of the MSR ship went off into slash as well.

So, while I'd say that some of the anti-slash tension on ATXC was simply anti-slash, it was also against the authors and admins who became involved in slash. And about particular authors who became involved BECAUSE they wanted to further divide themselves from ATXC and saw slash as a method to do so.

(Obviously, this is all post-experience analysis. Part of it comes from watching some of the same BNFs implode the original slash communities and return to differently taunting the MSR community a few years later--a pattern becomes more recognizable the more often it occurs. Would all this have still occurred without the influences that brought it to a head quickly back in 1996? Probably. As quickly or to the extreme? Who knows.
This gets complex when I don't want to be naming names . . . (since some of these people are still around, and still probably don't fully understand what occurred).

Basically, you had one person who was mailing-bombing and hate-mailing people in EACH group (the MSR shippers and other-het shippers) and forging the names of well-known participants in each group into the headers of the mail bombs and hate mail. So, the other-het shippers were apparently getting mail-bombed and hate-mailed from the BNFs of the MSR shippers, while the MSR shippers were apparently getting mail-bombed and hate-mailed from the BNFs of the other-het shippers (and, to add to the confusion, from random other accounts this person set up to represent "lurkers" on each side).

Publicly, the person was advocating why can't we all just get along and don't air your dirty laundry, and seemingly supporting both sides.

From my side, I'd seen evidence he'd done to to the MSR shippers. (We and some other sys admins pulled apart some mail bombs and traced them despite the forgeries.) We thought then that this was the full extent.

Many years later, I learned that the other-het shippers had also been receiving these mail-bombs and hate-mail from MSR shipper BNFs/MSR supporters. Given that the people they claimed to have received mail bombs from neither had the technical ability or capability to send them (one of them was on dialup THROUGH a BBS, and had a very small upload limit a day--there was no way that person could have been sending mail-bombs), the logical conclusion is that the person was doing it to both sides. But at this point, there's no actual evidence to show that. And probably nobody cares that much.
The term slash, although not necessarily the concept of slash, was something I was introduced to online (so, around 1995ish). I just can't recall a time when I didn't see "slash" as an accepted part of ATXC. In fact, I can recall that during my first six months on ATXC, the tide turned and the group became friendlier to MULDER/SCULLY ROMANCE (previously, it was not considered friendly to MSR; MSR was the ugly stepchild written by silly fangirls previous to that), but I don't recall any sea change like that being needed for slash. It was rare, but it was accepted that there was a segment of the community that wrote it, and that it was welcome.

Goin' back to the time when I actually wrote fan fiction, my story When Skinner Meet Frohike was actually intended to poke fun at both the slash and the MSR communities. It used cliches generally available from both sides. I recall it took me close to a year to write the fic (that's why I'm an admin, not a writer--a 50K fic took me a frickin' year to write) and it was archived in Feb 1997. That means I probably started work on it in early 1996. The slash had to be there for the cliches to be there, for me to want to write a story that poked fun at both the slash and het sides. What you had back then was Gossamer, ATXC, EMXC, M&S, and XFF. That was all--and I was reading at Gossamer, and on ATXC and XFF.

Knowing what I know about the development of the XF slash community, I can see people wanting to view ATXC as unfriendly to slash around late 1997 as part of the development of an us versus them identity. And yeah, you did have the eww! gross! folk that liked to often complain about the 'prevalence' of whatever they object to, including slash, or SSK, or Mulder/other or Scully/other, or MOTW, or whatever. Trust me, they're still around. The anti-slash ones have always been among the nastiest, but that's not limited to XF.