Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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a reference guide to the BFS debates, abbreviated

Now this is interesting. My lemming icon goes into effect. I took some time today to read up on a few posts I'd marked as being interesting and came across these three--though I could swear I read Hope's soon after she posted.

misswindy discusses what makes badficsupport and Fandom Wank completely different in terms of what they do in fandom and why BFS isn't a good idea. Here is the discussion as it stands, with velvetglove contributing another thoughtful essay here. Hope also thinks thoroughly in this discussion.

I'll start by stating I'm a member of BFS so as not to cloud the issue, though I'm not entirely sure it clarifies my position except to say, I did have fandom_wank on my friendslist up until Te was targeted there, so I tend to sit on very narrow fences and watch for awhile. The group's only been around about two weeks or so, so making a judgement call on its quality and/or intent as opposed to what it actually does is impossible without a little more exposure. schmevil's a friend and I thought the idea was interesting, especially with some of the thoughtful essays regarding fanfic that have come out. God knows, I essay on badfic writing at the drop of a hat, though I tend to shy away from specific examples.

I wasn't entirely sure why so many people who embraced the concept of fandom_wank didn't like the idea of a group that mocks badfic or badfic concepts--after all, this is only the latest of many, many, many, for those who remember Godawful, BTS, Bad Writer, No Biscuit, etc etc etc. And for SV veterans who were around for the first season, I don't think any of us will forget anytime soon the TWoP fracas over Te's Vision Thing series that occurred not once, but I think two or three times if memory serves. An entire thread ended up being devoted to fanfic criticism, though I have no idea if that's even around anymore.

However, some interesting points were made. Think of this as a reference guide to the current critiques and meta.

To start off, this is taken directly from the group user info page, covering what is and what is not acceptable so we have a baseline.

This is a multifandom community.

Things you can do:
1) Shred fics in friends-locked posts. This does not equal meanness for its own sake - you must be able to back up your critique.
2) Post essays about er, badfic uplift.
3) Weep about how you'll never be the same after encountering badfic.
4) Rant.
5) Discuss specific authors in friends-locked posts.

Things you can't do:
1) Use the LJ names of badauthors.
2) Post the complete text of a fic. Instead, link to or paste the relevant sections behind a cut tag.
3) Use netspeak.
4) Post off topic.
5) Share/reproduce the contents of another member's friends-locked post.

If you break the community rules you will be banned.

So. Onward to the thoughtful people.

Miss Windy

For all of these reasons, groups like badficsupport truly annoy me. There is nothing to be gained by publicly humiliating people you don't think are up to par with your all-important arbitrary literary standards. The irony is that some of these writers have written stories *I* have seen passed around and laughed at in badfic-loving chat rooms! If that's not illustrative of how silly the whole idea is, I don't know what is.

I support people's right to put out total, sheer, unadulterated crap. Because the truth is? Everyone puts out crap at one point or another, and we've all lived to tell the tale. Some people write nothing BUT [what is, IMHO] crap, and still have fans, so obviously there's room for different tastes in every fandom. Do I think we should refrain from criticizing bad stories? Shucks, no-- I think it's important to communicate *to the author* when you think a story has potential but failed in many ways. This can only help a writer with some ability. And this is the way we *create a fan community*, which can't be achieved if people are afraid to post things.

This is possibly one of the best arguments I've heard against it and pretty much falls in line with my reasoning on why I tend not to critique in my LJ as a rule (exceptions have happened, but rarely). It takes a LOT of courage to post your first fanfic story, and you pretty much spend the next few hours (days) flinching just a little at the thought of someone just hating it and deciding they just have to share that hate with you. In detail. With profanity. For a long, long time. That is a feeling that will never go away, though, trust me on this one. I still flinch every time I post. Reminds me my hobby of choice is a lot more stressing than, say, crochet. *g*

Also reminds me that when I post something, it stops being about me and starts being about everyone else as well. Which is where I stop being ABLE to agree with the above, but that's an entirely different discussion.

There's also this point, which velvetglove makes and I'm thinking about. Number one on her listing of how fandom_wank is different than BFS.

Fiction is usually written to "entertain" an audience.

True. Holding fanfic to literary standards is one of the oldest arguments in fandom. It's the 'it's for fun, stop being mean' argument and so on and so forth. Which makes for some uncomfortable moments when say, you're in chat with fans of opposite schools of thought. Dear God, may I never be in a chat room that happens in again. *shudder* Like RPS versus non-RPS people. Very scary.

I tend to be more comfortable with the concept of mocking stories than people. That's just me, though--I don't see the point in mocking people who write essays or meta I don't like. I tend to not friend them or skim over if it's someone I know who happens to be having a very not social day. *shrug* Like badfic, you don't actually have to read it or go look for it.

One specific point of disagreement, though. I'm still working out how I feel about BFS and both how it's being presented and how it's actually developing. I really, really like the essays. And let's face it, if someone's going to shred something of mine? Would totally like to know about it. Er. I think.

Miss Windy

You can see how something like this could easily become a weapon in a vendetta against an individual. (Their rules state that vendettas are ok as long as the vendetta is *well supported*. Hee!) Hell, someone who doesn't like *me* could certainly have plenty of fodder for groups like that. ;)

That's also true for fandom_wank. Like any critical group, vendetta is always a problem that comes up when unethical or hypocritical people use a forum dedicated to one purpose to further their own dislike of a person. I'm not entirely sure what Miss Windy means by a supported vendetta thing being okay, but I'm probably reading it wrong.


However, I do have a problem with badficsupport because it is not just a place to discuss fiction critically. That good purpose is rolled in with a bad purpose- poke stories with sticks, shred other people's work, rend clothing and rub with ashes over the agony, oh the agony, of being forced to share fandom space with people who write bad stories, and that sucks. Any good that could come of the essays is going to be dulled by the general atmosphere, where meta-thoughtfulness slaps up against petty grievance. The dual mission smacks of agenda-pushing on the negative side.

*giggling* This is why I like other people meta'ing. Saves me much time in the way of thinking.

Anyway. Relisting the relevant essays.

misswindy talks here.
velvetglove discusses here.
lexcorp_hope mulls very thoroughly here.

There were a couple of essays I read that covered this topic as well, but these three covered all the iffiest points most thoroughly. Also check out comments in all these. Much interesting food for thought. I don't agree with the entirety of any of these, but until I'm sure why I don't and have some concrete thoughts behind me, I'll just keep thinking. Or get more tea, as I have run out of coffee. It's a tragic life I lead.

Love fandom. Love it. Any other good thoughts I missed on the subject by any chance? Feel free to pass on the link.
Tags: meta: fandom
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