The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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the good old days before google were dark and involved horses
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I am celebrating the fact that this time next week, this testing cycle is over and I will have glorious not terrifyingly days at work in which I will not be in a constant state of panic. Which also coincides with payday, so really, what can be better than that? A pony, that's what. Though not by much.

So I was reading about how the internet now sucks since facebook came in and all these people who aren't, you know, whatever they aren't (I am unclear, but I will admit hilarity that I hate facebook but am also required to instruct people now finding it on what privacy settings mean and what they do and why more is better), but okay, we're going to do a flashback to the year 2000 and go forward, when I discovered google and the world changed.

This is where our journey begins.

Google took six weeks to update with new material. Six weeks. I will not tell you how or why I know that, or why I tested that, or even how I tested that; suffice to say at that period of my life I had a lot of time on my hands and loved spreadsheets--check my fic output for X-Men fandom and you'll see I really did not have more important things to do. By March 2001, they'd shaved it to about a month. It was 2003 before it dropped under a week (I want to say five days, but I don't have those notes and yes, at one time, there were in fact notes). Now it's almost instantaneous.

Finding fic with google was hit or miss in a really horrifying, confusing way. You weren't more likely to find porn. You wish it was more likely to find porn. I have no idea what some of that I found was, but it was not porn. Those were sad days.

You still thought altavista and yahoo were the most awesome search engines ever. Yes, you did.

A lot of fic was still behind password protected walls and good luck getting anyone to answer your emails. (not all fic. Not even most fic. but a lot of fic. especially in certain fandoms you wanted to read in.)

Pre-lolcats. There was a time we did not have cat macros. Think about that one and shiver.

Journaling sites were still new and bizarre. If you had one, there's a fair to good chance you did not yet know about the magic of comments unless you were an early adopter of LJ or waitlisted for sites that offered to install comments on your diaryland account (I was waitlisted for comment function), and fandom was still mailing list based. This was your only source of fic. Moderators were tiny gods with magical hammers. If you pissed off the mod of ClarkLex*, you had the SSA and also, you were fucked. Have fun with that!

(* example mailing list. Not meant to reflect actual ClarkLex mod policy.)

You knew Television Without Pity when it was MightyBigTV and when it was sane and awesome but less likely to be hilariously wanky. So you know, there's a trade there.

Handcoding entire archives was still normal. Handcoding entire archives without CSS was normal. And it was formatted for 800X600 or below.

You were involved with or watched a flamewar that involved or was about thete1 and/or harriet_spy and/or liviapenn. Sometimes weekly.

You know what an intellislasher is and at one time mocked it. If you were one, you were above that sort of thing.

You learned HTML because you were desperate for a page that wasn't a red blackground with black text. Or you fell desperately in love with it. The latter was disturbingly more likely. Those were dark, dark days.

At some point, you owned buttons on your site illustrating your affiliations, your friends, and who you hated.

You hear Godawful Fanfiction and sigh a little at what could have been. And wonder what the fuck happened there.

YIM and AIM let you paste up to 2000 words of fic into chatboxes. God I miss those days.

You used ICQ and IRC both. (I know IRC is still in use.)

You were involved in at least one mailing list deletion, or you were the mod of a list you deleted in a fit of flounce and God willing, that will never end up on Fanlore. It will. Just give it time.

You remember the culture shock of a dozen fandoms hitting each other for the first time in LJ and RPS dropping on top of it all like a goddamn atom bomb. You remember writing about the morality of RPS until your friends started coming out as readers and writers of it. You got over it. You participated in the first Slashing the Slashers without any sense of irony.

You remember the first Fandom Wank in LJ and how that was totally shocking. You meta'ed about it while you watched it. Lotrips was still but a gleam in someone's eye. Everyone hated HP. Or so they said.

Michael Rosenbaum was sent a sex box. You're still not entirely over that.

Mpreg, slavefic, and extreme AUs were edgy. You then probably ended up in SGA reading about John and Rodney as ice cubes, girl scout cookies, and plants, and think in wonder about those days of innocence. Mpreg girl scout cookies who are enslaved by plants, that's what's edgy now, people.

We discovered panfandom stories that scraped across our flists like meteors and smushed all fic beneath them. We learned to hate that shit as we secretly read them, because hey, they were good.

You read the MsScribe saga live with your friends. And dear God did you boggle.

The term "His wife? A horse" was not yet meme. (hint: google if you don't know. And don't stare at me in betrayal, I did not hit Search for you. It's on your head.)

There was no Adam Lambert slash.

I'm saying, it's better now. Though granted, horsefucker, we could have lived without him. Anything anyone wants to add?
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It's funny because it's true!

I did not know about the horsefucker and I also need to look up "intellislasher" (although I can make some guesses), but otherwise: I LIVED THIS.

It was--I have no words for horsefucker, but it was an experience. I've never had to get onlien that fast to paste to everyone I ever met, because that needed to be shared for the sheer horror factor.

Intellislasher was an HP thing.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH!

You knew that Bindlestitch was where the wicked Due South fans went.

Geocities was awesome.

Prospect-L meant something, even if you'd never seen an episode of The Sentinel all the way through.

God, geocities. So much history. So much that really should be gone.

God, yes. Usenet and kermit and red ryder and bboards. Lynx and mosaic, before 'the web' got graphics. And what about 1993/the AOL invasion? There was fic out there, but it weren't easy to find, and Sturgeon's law was just as true then as it is now.

You forgot the one thing that has haunted fandom and frustrated readers since the very beginning: the abandoned WIP.

OMG. RIP the poor abandoned WIP. There are still fics from six fandoms ago that I think about and wish that damn bitch would finish.

Man, I am such an Internet Baby, despite being 45. I participated a tiny bit in some sort of AOL X-Files board when my kids were wee, and grew vaguely embarrassed that everyone else on it seemed to be in high school, and ran across my first bits of fanfiction, which were so astoundingly Mary Sue that I fled from the whole concept in terror, thinking that's all there WAS. (Probably this is good; had I found terrific fanfiction then, I would have gotten totally sucked into fandom and probably been a lousy mother to my wee kids. Not that all fangirls with wee kids are doing badly at it, I just don't think *I* could have pulled it off.)

So my first fandom experiences were through LiveJournal, with comments and all, and noticeboards and award sites and Crack Van to help you find things, and I am really, really happy about that. I've gotten invited to a couple of old-school listy-type things since then, and I just flat DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY WORK, I can't seem to...find a through-line for the conversations, you know?

VIVE LA PRESENT DAY, is what I'm saying.

Confession: I love internet nostalgia.

flamebyrd

2010-03-20 05:22 pm (UTC)

I got LJ back at the end of 2000, but at that time all my friends (CLAMP and other anime/manga fandom, mostly) were using pitas blogs or self-hosted Blogger (you know, the ones where you gave Blogger your FTP info and it would upload for you). You commented by addressing people in your own posts. Every morning involved opening a billion new windows (tabs, if you were lucky) to see if anyone addressed you (and also to read their posts. I suppose).

There was a mailing list, but there were also forums! A lot of yaoi fanfic was posted to forums. I actually ran one for CLAMP fanfic, which was a terrible, terrible idea because I am the worst mod ever.

There were still BNF wanks and pairing wars (although when one erupted in my fandom I was shocked! I had never heard of this concept before! I had clearly not been in Due South fandom).

Hotmail wasn't owned by Microsoft and it was the free email of choice (Correction: Wiki thinks that Hotmail was acquired by MS in 1997. Weird, because I thought I had an account before MS bought it). I would bounce between free hosting providers whenever they started requiring ads instead of a nice discrete link at the bottom of the page. (Geocities required you to put in the code for the ads yourself!)

And let's not get into music and tv sharing... (I will say this: Real format was popular in my circles because it was so much smaller!)

Edited at 2010-03-20 05:24 pm (UTC)

Re: Confession: I love internet nostalgia.

margi_lynn

2010-03-20 08:16 pm (UTC)

Hotmail: I did too! It was more like 98 when they got bought because I said I don't want anyone to not be able to find me! So I kept it.

God, it was a different world back then.

Torrents was a description of what happened if it rained a lot.

If you wanted to watch a show that did not air in your area/country/planet/whatever you went on the internet, and asked about it on a list to see if someone would physically dub vhs tapes of it for you and then mail them to you.

You were always weeks if not months or years behind. (In fact I think I may *still* be not caught up on s3 of SG-1...)

When you posted fic you waited for locs emailed to you instead of comments on a post. (And if you were me you kept said locs(letters of comment) in a folder to reread on days when you were convinced your writing sucked.)


When you were finally - FINALLY - able to download a show, it took between SIXTEEN and TWENTY FOUR HOURS to do so on your superfast 28.8 bps modem. (Hi, Earshot and Graduation, I'm looking at you.)

In some fandoms you were dependent for your fic on the one person who'd inherited the One Big Fic List from someone else who'd gafiated two years before, and that one list mod was certifiable and would happily bounce members for the heinous crime of being friends with someone she disliked. Or for posting fic that wasn't the canon-approved OTP. Or for posting fic that acknowledged that entire seasons existed (Alphagate, I'm looking at you).

There is certainly shit I don't miss about the good old days.

the good old days before google were dark and involved horses

tropes

2010-03-20 05:37 pm (UTC)

I am in love with this whole post.

Moderators were tiny gods with magical hammers. If you pissed off the mod of ClarkLex, you had the SSA and also, you were fucked.

Not to get in the way of the nostalgia trip, but the mod of ClarkLex ran the SSA, at her personal expense. In between the amusing flamewars.

Can't say I much miss the era of "I will gladly use the services you give away while talking shit about you, because God knows I am owed all these things."

I was being sarcastic, I swear.

And disclaimer added! Seriously, it was the last list I was actually interactive on.

Edited at 2010-03-20 06:06 pm (UTC)

- You were considered strange and odd for NOT writing under a pseudo-pseudonym in popslash, because RPS was a secret and considered the ickiest of the icky by many. Now as you hear about people sending the members of My Chemical Romance links to slash fic about themselves, you almost kind of wish it'd stayed under the radar more.

- You remember the brilliant, giddy feeling of finding a large fic archive in a new fandom. Archive sites were the libraries of fandom before Delicious, before LJ, before anything else. You didn't have to fight to get on those mailing lists, because someone had MADE AN ARCHIVE. You could read a story from beginning to end, and only had to fight through the Courier 10-point font with no paragraph breaks, without having to look for new emails for each part in the mailing list archive.

Slashing the Angel, Waxjism's collection of sites, the Nummytreats fic archive, Due Slash, The UnConventionalrelationsShippersList site, so many more. They were our first best ways to read lots of fic in one, wonderful place. Archivists were GODS.

- You continually used (and still use) new and exciting ways to share media, whether that be hooking two VCRs to each other in 2000 to dupe a tape of N'Sync on a local news show to send to fans in California, or updating to the best new torrenting client in 2010 to seed and feed "Merlin" from England to the States in near-realtime. You stay on the cutting edge of technology because you MUST. Fandom has made us all early adopters and beta testers.

- Nothing surprises you anymore. You even shrugged off the Care Bears slash. Really, after Squidwarts, what is left?

Edited at 2010-03-20 06:15 pm (UTC)

because you MUST. Fandom has made us all early adopters and beta testers.

enderwiggin24

2010-03-20 08:13 pm (UTC)

THAT is SO true!half the stuff I could do in my job, I could literally NOT explain to my boss, where I learned that, coz definitely not at University *G*.
it was just "err I am online a lot", and also first among my friends here in Germany, who bought the first broadband flatrate for 60 Euro. (nowadays , 6 years later, its around 30 Euro).

(Deleted comment)
The huge, huge Stargate wanking. Sam/Jack vs Sam/Daniel.

savedanieljackson.com

HUGE.

There was Sam/Daniel fic? That Sam, she gets around. Or so I hear. *g*

You printed off porn at your school's internet after-school activity group, because your parents could not even consider having the internet. (Or maybe that was just me?)

When you finally got the internet, it was most likely dial-up.

FF.net was a place you would actually go to in search for fanfiction.

OH GOD, I still have my binders of fic. God, I did it on the library and college campus in the one stinking lab room that I knew was never occupied.

We didn't have a printer because it was too expensive

- Sites which used frames were the height of fashion.

(When I wrote my very first fic and posted it online (SG1 gen, Spring 1999, since you ask), I had to email it off to Heliopolis, the archive, where someone hand-coded it for uploading.)

Are you the Rheanna who wrote that story about Jack and how everything started rotting around him, including the food he ate, so they sent him off-world to die alone? And then he peed and there was moss! And everything was okay again?

...

OMG. I just looked at your website. YOU TOTALLY ARE THAT RHEANNA! Man. I FUCKING LOVED THAT STORY.

Dude. I am so friending you! Forgive me for being all stalkery, but WOW!

ETA: It was The Midas Syndrome! Seriously, one of my favourite pieces of fanfic EVER.

Edited at 2010-03-20 07:34 pm (UTC)

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
*holds up lighter and sways*

it's like my ENTIRE EARLY DEVELOPMENT right there in essay form. i'd be horrified, except i was an early adopter of lj and i LIVE for fanfic. at this point, the only thing to do is crack open a bottle of celebratory alcohol and toast you.

haha, I remember all of that. I hit X-Files fandom just after the switch over to mailing lists from alt. circles. Remember searching for fanfiction on yahoo? Somewhere around 13 pages in you could find the first glimmerings of fic. But we learned, and with the right modifiers we could trim out all the merch sites in favor of the fic. Those days are the origin my google-fu.

Remember when people were excited about fanfiction.net?

I didn't really hit Smallville in it's hay day, but a sex box? Really? Do we have pictures of his face? Oh MR, I'm glad you yourself are a bit crazy, otherwise this might have traumatized you.

Lived the drama that was HP: The veela boobies, r.i.d.d.l.e., intellislashers, Cassie Clair, the first Severus Snape Fuh-Q-Fest, the my fic can out-horrify your fic, the porn offs. The good, the bad, and the Oh-my-God-my-brain-may-never-recover-from-that-non-con-necro-incest-fic.

*sighs* good times.

Fandom retrospective is fun!

Lived the drama that was HP: The veela boobies, r.i.d.d.l.e., intellislashers, Cassie Clair, the first Severus Snape Fuh-Q-Fest, the my fic can out-horrify your fic, the porn offs. The good, the bad, and the Oh-my-God-my-brain-may-never-recover-from-that-non-con-necro-incest-fic.

Oh my god, the Veela Boobies! *laughs* Yes, and the whole wankery around Aja & co. It felt like there was wank every week...

Oh-my-God-my-brain-may-never-recover-from-that-non-con-necro-incest-fic.

Damn. Word. *laughs* HP fandom, you were batshit crazy, but you were still my first love. ♥

This is all true, however I still miss mailing lists as central places sometimes (before they splintered). And I am not alone with that as 48.3% of the respondents of my fandom nostalgia poll soemtiems feels nostalgia for fandom in the late 90s and were around then (10.2% feel nostalgic for it based on hearsay) and 56.8% for the early 2000s.

I feel nostalgia for fandom in the late 90s and I wasn't around then!

I want to add that I love you more now than ever. I recently tried to explain to the young'ns what it was like when Napster was new and shiny, and how exciting it was. Bittorrent is better, but Napster was special and happy and innocent.

p.s. remember Bindlestitch? Good times.

Around 1999-2000, you still had a couple big fandom lists you might follow on listservs (X-Files, HL, etc), but then you joined a bunch of fandom-specific lists on Onelist, which then changed to Egroups, and then one afternoon it switched to Yahoogroups. Good times.

Also, let us not forget the implosion of Oz fandom over Beecher/Keller vs. everything else. One day, several lists, an archive: collapsed in on itself, poof. It was sort of like watching a black hole form via time-lapse camera.

Onelist! I was totally trying the other day to remember what the hell it was called before Egroups. Also, it's super-weird that all the Usenet archives are now owned by Google and called Googlegroups. Also it's weird that mailing list still exist, like, at all.

Those were the days :')

We were so young and rebellious!

Oh, the memories! When fic was either in E-groups or self-coded Geocities pages. When a good link list or an archive was a treasure! When I heard about Savage Garden RPS and was all "Eeew!" about it! There were webrings and Lycos was a good search engine, everyone had a hotmail address and Netscape was the best browser EVER. I copied fics on disks at school and read them on sister's computer, managing to fill up her hard drive. With .txt-files!

My first fandom ever was X-men, in... 1996? Those were the days...

oh my god, Lycos! and Hotmail, and NETSCAPE! I totally remember my Netscape snobbery! and Altavista was like, my favorite search engine.

I remember I had a freeopendiary before moving to LJ in 2003. Christ, I've been on LJ for seven years?

Oh god, when I was a wee!fan I was looking for the tamora pierce stuff and that was in 1999 or 2000 I think?

And I knew nothing and used internet explorer's search engine to look for fansites, and when I found fanfiction.net I was SO HAPPY and also did not understand what NC-17 was(fanfiction.net had NC-17 stuff back then!)or slash, or that people could post works in progress, and I read EVERY SINGLE FIC (I think there were 73 pages of links, at least at the begininng), it took me forever, and wow. And I LOVED Mary Sues, I mean I LOVED the idea that someone from our world could go to a magical fantasy land and get high on sugar and call the King an ass.

In our naive little hearts, we all loved Mary Sues at one point. Eventually we learned better, but it was sparkly fun while it lasted.

Ah, those halcyon days when I received massive digests in my mailbox everyday from FORKNI-L FKFIC-L and HLFIC-L, consisting of thousands of comments in no particular order. And I saved the best fic on floppy disks. And, oh, how my mailbox screamed in agony during a War!

I tried to join the Blake's 7 fandom too, but the lysander mailing list was BRUTAL to newbies, and I didn't have a thick enough skin back then.

I miss the days when Superguy put out many hours of reading every week. It's still going, but if there's a post a month, it's a lot.

I still have a MightyBigTV mug floating around here somewhere.

And I remember how much I resented having to finally get a LJ account - most of my fandoms were still on mailing lists and the last thing I needed was another place to have to check every day, but it seemed like everything I wanted to read was friends-locked.

All of your first paragraph: I WAS THERE, TOO. (Well, for the FK parts.) Ah, the utterly disorganised consolidation of a single fandom-wide mailing list... *memories*

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