atra (atrata) wrote in fandom_flies,
atra
atrata
fandom_flies

this one got pretty long.

It's been a weird day, full of pain-fueled pseudo-fever-dreams about fandom. Every few hours I'd wake up, stagger to the computer, read comments until I couldn't do it anymore, and then stagger back to bed. But I am better now, and I've got some Thinky Thoughts to share.

In unfinished business from the last post: InsaneJournal is not run by 6A, nor affiliated in any way. I think perhaps the confusion comes from the fact that they use LJ's code, but that code is open source and free. See this thread, in which the IJ owner explicitly says that they are not affiliated.

In unfinished business from other posts, I believe I have set up all these comms so that any member can post to them. If anyone would like to take cross-posting duties off my hands, that would be full of awesome. You can link back here, or paste the text, or whatever. I'm going to try to get to it tonight tomorrow, but I have about a million comments to respond to first.

In links business, metafandom, as always, rounds up a ton of posts regarding the recent unpleasantness.

Now, on to the new business. I've started this part a million times, and my brain just goes in circles. Hopefully some semblance of coherency will come out somewhere.

I think the first order of business remains getting the word out to as many people in as many fandoms as we possibly can. You guys have been amazing; in less than 48 hours there are 1300+ watchers (!!). I've updated the profile page to be a little more reflective of what's going on and what the issues are.

I guess the thing that concerns me are the people in fandoms saying this doesn't affect them; it's my belief that this affects everyone. Yes, ponderosa121 drew some chan; the piece of art in question was not chan. elaboration was banned for incest. (Correction: Both were suspended for chan.) But leave all that aside for a moment. Say your fandom doesn't involve underage characters or incest. LJ has declared themselves to be arbiters of artistic and literary merit.

Let me say that again. LJ has declared themselves to be arbiters of artistic and literary merit.

Any fandom -- hell, anyone at all, fannish or not -- posting explicit works of art or writing is vulnerable. 6A/LJ is a business. They're here to make money. These are their servers. They can, and will, do as they please. I'm not shocked or surprised or pissed off that this is the route they've chosen. Again, they're a business, and their interest is in turning a profit. And this kind of environment is not good for fandom. For any fandom.

So we need a place of our own. It's really that simple.

Except it's not simple, because which place? Hasn't this been done before? Isn't there a for-fen-by-fen LJ clone out there? There is, in fact. It's JournalFen. nardasarmy has an excellent post about JF that raises a lot of very good points.

One of them is that JF is a fan-run start-up that's slowly going bankrupt. Another is that maybe fandom hates MySpace, but it makes money.

So where does that leave us? Do we reach out to JF, offer them our support and our money and our time? I mean, on the one hand, yes, of course; they're fen and they're doing a cool thing and they deserve support. (On a personal level: yes, I have an account; no, I don't use it; yes, I give them money anyway.)

But the more I've thought about this, the more I can only come to this conclusion: we need to build something new. An LJ-clone site based on paid accounts and donations isn't a sustainable business model in the long-term. And when you bring in corporate help, well, we all know what happens because we're living it right now. In terms of the current LJ-clone sites, they all have some drawbacks; my own concerns are pretty much covered by what astolat has to say here.

Yes, we all like many of LJ's features. We bitch when they change stuff, and we like threaded comments and we like our f-lists and our icons. But don't we want more? Don't we make post after post about man, LJ is cool, but it would be even cooler if it did X? If we could subscribe to individual tags and have functional searching and easily import and export and back up our posts? If we could easily change metadata, integrate with an archive, automate newsletters, moderate RPGs? If there were killfilters and widgets and comments we could edit?

Fuck yeah, it'd be cooler.

And it'd be cooler for everyone, not just Potterfen. So again, I say, we need to build something new. Many of those features are not possible using LJ's code base, and I worry that using it would make us dependent on them for updates and would, to some extent, stick us with their business model, which, I think we agree, is swell for them and bad for fandom.

So there it is. I know this seems completely insane. I know it requires serious developers to write new code and serious money to buy servers and put them wherever we're going to put them and mirror them somewhere else, and serious business people to come up with a way to make this sustainable and serious tech support to ward off spammers and other issues and serious legal types so we can stand our ground when (not if) someone comes after us. This is huge, and I know it. This is not a small undertaking, and I don't take it lightly.

Now, as far as a plan to put this in place, I'm not there yet. Step One is, and always will be, spread the word. Maybe no one likes to admit that there are BNFs, but there are certainly people with a lot of influence in various fandoms, and everyone knows it. Who are they? Are they your friends? Convince them. Or e-mail me and tell me who they are and I'll give it a shot. Maybe they're already here. Who knows. But keep talking and debating and being awesome in the comments.

Step Two has got to be to bring in some honest-to-god help. All those things I mentioned about all the serious people this requires? I'm not any of those things; I'm certainly not all of them. I'm a girl with a dream and an obsessive love of making lists. A committee is clearly in order. I need to think a little more about what sort of committee and how large a committee and all that. Input is, as always, appreciated.

And now that it's five in the morning and I have to be up in a few hours, I'm going to go to bed and dream of fandom.

Much love.
Tags: planning:initial
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