November 3rd, 2010

children of dune - leto 1

maybe unpopular fannish opinion

UPDATE: Please read at the end; it doesn't excuse FA's behavior, but at least it's a legit reason for why this grant was applied for. I think.

So I was promised that if I totally went crazy post-anesthesia and posted like, IDK, mass defriends and pointless rage to my flist, everyone would blame the anesthesia. For the record, I totally controlled my own evil twin, so I see no reason why I can't say, hey, my post-anesthesia breakdown exception will be used today.

Unfunny Business: FictionAlley and the Pepsi Refresh Challenge, which short version, Pepsi has a list of grants for people to submit project ideas to that will make a difference. Submissions can come form people, businesses, and non-profits, and you submit and people vote for which project by clicking.

Fail Fandonanon: Harry Potter Pepsi Refresh (I understand if you are against anon comms and feel uncomfortable clicking, but there are some interesting comments here. They were also the first place I read this, after Madelyn emailed me.)

Right, got all that out. Now.

I'm against this pretty much entirely because in general, I think fandom's own community resources should be very thoroughly checked first before going outside of it. I also think that is why OTW exists. This grant feels, to me, like the kind of thing for those without community resources to make their particular positive impact thing happen. And I don't buy FA's reasons for doing this entirely because I'd like to know what the education thing means.

But I'm not exactly enjoying the deep and meaningful connection with a lot of people's reactions to FA doing this which seems to be carrying the rhetoric to the point of if FA gets this, somewhere a baby will die and the blood spilled in the name of Dick Cheney to give him eternal youth or something. Apparently just doing it at all kills puppies. I'm being kind of hyperbolic, you say? About on the level of current comments.

Yes, it's stupid and self-absorbed of FA; but not any more stupid and self-absorbed than "Create a killer whale sighting network" because come on, who thinks killer whales are more important than starving kids? Really self-absorbed people, obviously. Who thinks dog parks are more important than starving kids? People who hate kids, this is totally math. Or build a low cost fitness center for the Nadonia Hills Community. Or knitting hats for cancer victims? Or...wait.

[note: I approve of knitting hats for cancer victims.]

I can't even get where the extremity of the rhetoric is coming from at this point; FA is not actually taking the bread directly from a child's mouth and beating them with it. I expect people outside of fandom to 'hurp, durp, pedophiles want money for their pornsite', but come the fuck on. Porn is less important than starving kids. Everything is less important than starving kids. A lot of the proposals I read on that site were not morally or ethically superior to funding a server for a large fanfiction archive and its attached messageboards; very few of those proposals were equal to starving kids. By that I mean those proposals also sucked and were stupid, not appropriate, narcissistic, or aligned with philosophical goals that made me nervous about what exactly they'd be 'educating' people with, and I'll be honest, a couple made me hope for the shark viewing thing to win, because no. That doesn't justify FA applying along with Create a model train layout for residents in the Cross Keys Village (for the record? I like this one). And some were just unrealistic proposals that just didn't seem to have a plan so much as an ideal.

So saying FA was pretty ick to do this, especially when community support is out there? Fine. Saying there are more worthy causes? Wonderful. I don't think it's appropriate in the context of the Pepsi Challenge. Acting like it's a huge crime against humanity for them to try and do it is an inappropriately unproportional reaction.

Okay, level with me. Is it the porn aspect or the fanfiction/loser/geek aspect that's setting off some kind of shame-o-meter that's making this into a war crime? Yes, our reputation IRL is pedophilic straight white middle class housewives who are single and fat and disabled with three kids and haven't gotten laid ever, I get that. HP doing this is like icing. I get slashers are going through a period of self-reflection where we feel we have to either justify our porn for the good of society or constantly belittle ourselves as writers by saying that it's all we do and we are and it's worthless, without merit to ourselves or society. You know, like everything women do.

[I'll come back to this one day when I'm feeling masochistic enough to sit down and tell people why I think their hobby is wonderful and what I think it does for society and in the world, but to me the most important aspect is what it does for a person but that is not today.]

We're calling everything we write 'porn'.

Being ashamed of yourself is one thing; feeling ashamed your hobby is 'writing porn' if that is in fact all you think you amount to when you indulge your creativity, fine, I'd love to open a dialogue about that and get to the bottom of it because I don't agree and I think we've moved beyond being ironic when we say it straight into possibly internalizing it. Shaming other people is something else entirely.

FA doing this sucks because in the parameters of this challenge, and considering the potential for the fandom community to handle this, they shouldn't have submitted. It wasn't appropriate for what specifically they do. Fanfiction isn't the source of shame. Writing fanfiction is not shameful. Being a fanfiction archive isn't shameful. And neither is watching whales. Or trains. Or a lot of those proposals. They don't belong in this challenge.

[..though I'm going to add, again, agreeing FA shouldn't have applied, I'm not in love with Pepsi's parameters. I mean, the starving kids are competing against the cystic fibrosis kids against the autism kids against the no kill shelter. Solomon did not have to deal with this kind of choice.]

CLARIFICATION: I somehow missed this completely, a member of sf_d mentioned it and I went to look and lo, I read right over it.

Pepsi Refresh: How It Works, please scroll down to the bottom. There are six grant categories: Health, Arts and Culture, Food and Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods, and Education.

FA applied under Arts and Culture, with entries listed here. (Can I get verification for this? Or did they apply under Education?)

Here is a list of grant recipients and their successful ideas.

Having said this, I still don't agree FA should have applied, because again, their primary reason was server maintenance and without a clear plan of community based enrichment or education. However, by applying, they are not competing with starving children, building shelters, or researching disease; they are competing with high school band uniforms, earplugs, restoring theatres, building community gardens, musical education, and art projects (many if not most of which are targeted for the underserved, youth groups, minorities, the disabled and elderly, etc).

Note to FA: what the fuck were you doing with that starving African children snipe that set this off? Would it have killed you in some way in your original entry to say what category you were applying in and a breakdown of what exactly you plan to do with the money with clearly delineated goals? I mean, I have read around and I don't see anywhere this was spelled out clearly and concisely with an explanation of why you were going this direction other than the server thing.

I'll be honest--the starving children comparison people are doing right now pisses me off, but that bit you pretty much used like raw meat for baiting purposes and surprise, surprise, without you clarifying what you were doing, people ran with it. It's a blatant mischaracterization of what you were trying to accomplish and it's not like anything related to fanfiction and fandom isn't immediately under suspicion.

Whatever. I don't know if I'm more pissed at the 'hurp, gurp, all fanfiction is porn and worthless' being trotted out by people in the community or the fact that they were basically given a script to do it with.

(If I'm wrong and they did an actual complete breakdown or explantion somewhere before this exploded, link me? I cant' find anything but the original post about it.)

Clarification Mark 2

Going through the winners, each category has it's own winner each month at each monetary level. The categories do not compete against each other for funding. Verified with sorting by Amount: 25,000, All Categories, and September. Each category is a different color. So no, there is no direct competition with starvation, disease, or other serious social problems.

...I cannot believe FA didn't explain this themselves.

[Again, if I'm reading this wrong, and God knows I could be, please correct me and thank you.]
Correction: [personal profile] rydra_wong double checked me in comments and verified that there are months a category did not get a grant in a particular grant level, so it's--God, I hope I read this correctly this time--top ten ideas in all categories separated by grant amount? Except for the 250K level, which is only two per month.

And apart from that, I'm kinda pissy at Pepsi again because the separation by category would have made sense and been less starvation or famine, which is more important to you thing.

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children of dune - leto 1

update to the FA and pepsi thing

So normally I wouldn't do a separate post about an earlier post, but my earlier post about FA and the entire Pepsi grant is updated due to more information on what exactly they applied for and its parameters.

Here (and on LJ), just scroll to the bottom. I--weirdly, this makes it even worse since they managed to snatch infamy and doucheness from the jaws of "Oh, so you're applying for an art grant and have a plan to use this money for educational and enrichment? Interesting. Still not sure you should do it, but it has nothing to do with starving children in Africa as a red herring of herringness."

I'm closing comments on this entry to consolidate comments if anyone wants to comment. I mean, it's one thing to have a misunderstanding by accident, but holy shit, it's like the goal was to cause an explosion.

[note: assuming that they do not have a post anywhere with actual details other than the first one that was--I have no words. I will really happily joyfully take correction if somewhere they actually stated what category they were applying for and a detailed explanatoin of their goals other than new servers.]

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children of dune - leto 1

i still think you're amazing, you know

I'm trying not to confuse the issue or take away from FA's actions, which were by any standard completely wrong, but I'm really hitting hard against how we're devaluing ourselves (and you know, other people) in response.

FA fucked up. They were asking for money for their servers and vague 'educational' somethings untyped. They weren't applying for the purpose of a concrete concept with a complete explanation of what it would need, what it would accomplish, and what the eventual goal was and who it would benefit.

The fact they are running a fanfic archive, or it had anything to do with fandom, is immaterial to that; they weren't doing it for the right reasons or in the spirit of Pepsi Refresh (I just typed the words 'spirit of Pepsi Refresh'. Some part of me just tried to die for that). Any group of any type who approached an organization this way would have fucked up; being fanfic does not make it worse or better, from an objective POV. From a concrete POV, as in, this is my community, I'm just as pissed that they didn't come to the whole community first if they were in dire straits--which I'm still not sure they are since the comments are pretty contradictory in themselves.

That disposed.

Art and community enrichment are legitimate enterprises on which to give or get money. A lot of the discussion ending up asking the question "how often do you beat your wife" in metaphor; as a general rule, unless you are either remarkably masochistic or you have an axe to grind, setting everything in the goddamn world against starving children is absolutely insane. I could have used my ridiculously large copay for surgery to, IDK, buy food for a homeless shelter; gall bladder stones are not necessarily deadly and what's pain compared to starvation? Thyroid medication isn't strictly necessary for my survival and my copay for that could feed a family of three in some countries according to certain commercials. All the time I spend learning coding and bash scripting is serving absolutely no purpose in the greater or even smaller scheme of things. The time I spent writing this entry could have been spent working in a soup kitchen.

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children of dune - leto 1

i bring meta links!

So to make this nice and clean, a few final notes (here, not elsewhere; everyone else discuss to your heart's content!):

Via [personal profile] bookshop who gave me the link: FA is withdrawing according to fictionalley who posted the announcement. gwendolyngrace is on sabbatical.

[personal profile] obsession_inc posts The Fiction Alley Brouhaha: a bit of research in which she wins the internet for spreadsheeting the winners of Pepsi Refresh to get an idea of numbers and categories that win. She also posts a clear explanation of the rules from the shockingly unclear website and some further thoughts on the topic.

Again, she did a spreadsheet.

[personal profile] justira posts [Make-Your-Own Meme] FictionAlley and Pepsi and Fandom covers more on the FA debacle and examines the separation of merit of proposal from the people doing it; I'm in agreement with pretty much everything she says on the context of Pepsi Refresh in this.

[personal profile] katekat posts my [unpopular] thoughts on FA's attempt to find funding on FA, fandom, funding and doing an excellent job of breaking down what made FA wrong in what they did and how they went about this, but not, again, because of what they are.

ETA: [personal profile] futuransky posts on corporations, charity and the question of deserving with an examination of false dichotomies and charity and the intrinsic value of art and human expression. It's an extremely articulate post and beautifully written as well as thoughtful.

Yes, this is rather thematic meta recs that show my bias, but it's not like I've ever been subtle. I am as one with my anvil.

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