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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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maybe unpopular fannish opinion
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
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.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/57402.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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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.

Co-signed.

Seriously. Do people who body build or do weights or like, knit have these kinds of hobby-related existential crises? Remember Reader's Digest having all those totally heartwarming stories about how like "[Insert hobby of choice] changed my life!" What makes fanfiction inferior to that?

Most of my outrage comes from the blurring of the lines between a not for profit organization and a charity. On paper they're the same, but while FA is a not for profit organization only wanting to provide a community tool, I would not label them a charity in a more traditional sense. Probably because if I were in a place where I had to choose between fanfic and food, or fanfic and housing, my odds of picking fanfic are low. It's not on my top ten list of basic survival, sure it'd make it pretty high on a broader list, assuming room and board and health are taken care of it would make it up there, and while reading is certainly good for my mental health, I'm not sure computer>internet>fanfic would be put above a library or used book sales.

I think what upsets me is that they had many the viable alternatives, while a lot of the organizations on that list have probably worked their other viable alternatives to death or are working them as we speak. To me, $25k one time donation to a fanfic archive also just seems over the top.


Otherwise I mostly agree with you, they're not personally killing babies, but they're also being, I don't even know what word to use because I am currently detoxing off vicodin for a bit so if this is incoherent then we can sit in the same club house.

Pepsi clearly states this is open to businesses as well as non-profit, so for the purposes of Pepsi's thing, it doesn't matter. Again, though, I agree; there are viable community alternatives, which is where the argument needs to be based.

I'm against it because I think they should check around to find a less expensive server, do a donation drive, and other things first. I also think that it's kinda shameful because fanfic is a hobby. A great hobby of which I'm not embarrassed, but a hobby nonetheless. I don't think it really is educational in the sense that the grant was looking for.

Also, I think it outs people without permission. I may not care at all that people know I write. But applying to a huge corp for money puts the site out there and they didn't ask what people thought first. Some people may not want the site to be out there to that degree.



I'm against it because I think they should check around to find a less expensive server, do a donation drive, and other things first.

I agree.

I also think that it's kinda shameful because fanfic is a hobby. A great hobby of which I'm not embarrassed, but a hobby nonetheless. I don't think it really is educational in the sense that the grant was looking for.

I--don't agree, but for these reasons: in the proposals there are a lot of 'hobbies' being used; the difference is that those hobbies are targeted toward minority or underserved or disabled individuals to enrich their lives. FA's proposal does not have that, or any plan or explanation detailing their 'educational' thing, what it means, what it will do, or it's goals. I mean, there are several giving drama or dance instruction to inner city kids or sending elderly/disabled to the theatre or getting a club started for particular underserved groups. Dance, drama, and writing fanfiction/creating fanart are to me perfectly equal, valid hobbies.

fandom can be a powerfully positive thing and it has made a positive difference in many people's lives, mine included. but like Amireal says above, it's not a charity. it's not a primary source for meeting basic human needs or preserving human dignity - and in a world where those things are being provided less and less, yeah, I think it's pretty self-centered and short-sighted to think a fanfiction archive is worth being on the same list as the other charities you mention.

I agree, though, that it's nothing more than self-centered and short-sighted.

why couldn't FA do a damn Kickstarter campaign? run off some cheap t-shirts and zines for thank you gifts and there ya're.

One of hte problems with the Pepsi thing is that the parameters are really loose and general and so dog parks are competing with autism with model train sets. I can see why FA would look twice, because many proposals weren't any better or more far-reaching; I mean, I'm reading through some on the 5000 and 10000 that are really not so community oriented.

I agree about the parameters set. The child of a friend of mine has an incurable genetic disease whereby eating too much protein can cause blindness amongst other health issues. The charity supporting people with the illness put themselves forward. They were beaten out by a project for the restoration of a wooden rollercoaster! I'm sure it needs preserving as it's a piece of history etc, but in context, I think the charity could have used funds more. I don't blame the rollercoaster people for beating the cahrity out, they entered fair and square, I just wish that there had been perhaps some splitting into categories so that like projects went up against each other. It would still be Solomans choice, but it would have been better than the rollercoaster thing! So yes, I think they got the parameters wrong.

Oh, nice example; thank you. I've been trying to think and blanking on a good comparison.

I just wish that there had been perhaps some splitting into categories so that like projects went up against each other. It would still be Solomans choice, but it would have been better than the rollercoaster thing! So yes, I think they got the parameters wrong.

Yes. It feels skeevy when you have disease versus famine versus like, death; I mean, that kind of multiple-choice question does not do well.

I am not more pissed at the FA people than some of the other options out there, I am just equally disgusted. And the Pepsi people fail at parameters.

And a lot of other things said above in comments *waves vaguely*. Like the education thing. And hobbies are not the same as ending world hunger. JUST SAYIN'.

*grins* I think if FA was doing this--independent of their server bills--for some educatoinal purpose, I'd be really interested in that.

For the majority of people I don't think it's shame of their fannish activities that has got so many people pissed off about this.

I think it's a combination of things:-

First, I think people - no matter how much they love fanfic - don't like the idea of someone equating fanfic with disadvantaged people/areas. Especially as 15k seems to be going towards servers/re-imaging and the like.

I agree that if there was a definitive educational element to it, with next to nothing to do with servers and that kind of thing, people might be more interested. But, to me, it seems as though the educational stuff was kind of tacked on to make the proposal more likely to be picked.

I also think that since fandom is so good at raising money for various causes the idea of going outside of fandom - as if fandom has let FA down - really rankles. I can't believe they really looked into all their options or really publicised any donation drives before going for this. I know it's been mentioned before, but this is kind of what OTW is for. I can't imagine them refusing to help.

I also think that people who post their fic on FA have the right to be pissed about this. This could, in theory, bring a lot of attention FA's way, and there will be many people who don't want their fannish activities under such a spotlight. I appreciate that if it bugs them that much, they can just remove their fic from the archive, but it seems a shame that some people will feel they have been forced into doing that.

I'm not calling for the blood of the FA peeps, but I do think this was badly planned out and I don't think they thought through what they were going to say if/when they were challenged for putting themselves forward.

It continues to astound me that people who have been in fandom for so long still can't predict when something is likely to anger a huge proportion of the community.

God, I agree with all of this so much. Just--pretty much all of it.

Fanfiction isn't the source of shame. Writing fanfiction is not shameful. Being a fanfiction archive isn't shameful.

/signed.

The only breakdown I know of is on their Pepsi Refresh Page:

$ 6,000 Purchase new servers and get them up and running
$ 4,000 License fees and upgrade costs to update the forums and review boards
$ 5,000 Revamp the fic hosting system/database, and the search and tag systems
$ 5,500 Improve writing education resources including realtime online classes
$ 4,500 Support large-scale projects (plays, films) by creative fandomers

Had those last two items been what they were trying to get a grant for and they'd gotten the funds for servers/upgrades/new code via fandom auctions/donations I would have been okay with all of this. Hell, I probably would have gotten involved.

Honestly what pissed me off is what you edited into your entry. How did they think those words would be taken?

Edited at 2010-11-03 07:10 pm (UTC)

Honestly what pissed me off is what you edited into your entry. How did they think those words would be taken?

This. They red herringed themselves. I mean, self-immolation when you aren't actually being douchey is new to me; I can't imagine what the hell any of them were thinking.

(Deleted comment)
I probably phrased most of this wrong; it's not being mad at FA for being appropriate is wrong, because oh were they, and how, and douchey to boot.

I saw this and mainly thought, do we really want Pepsi to sponsor fandom?

*twitches really really hard*

Right, I hadn't actually gotten to the corporate thing. I love Pepsi. The drink. Not in my fandom endeavors.

Can I just mention- slightly off topic since my thoughts on the subject have already been expressed by far more articulate people- that I truly look forward to the day you decide to tackle the issue of shame in fandom. I'm a completely passive participant but the undercurrent of 'dirty little secret' bothers me. We need a Pan-fandom Pride Day (or does it exist?).

http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/57898.html

I think this sort of covers it? It kind of got away with me.

*sends hugs* We can always use more articulation, if you ever want to write up your thoughts.

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