lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
If you were going to introduce someone to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., or maybe remind someone who hasn't seen it in ages how much fun old-school spies can be, what one episode would you pick?
lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
I've been wanting to say something about the Hugo-host kerfuffle, but haven't been able to come up with something that encapsulates it without frothing at the mouth. To my surprise, my housemate nailed it. I'd told her about the kerfuffle, and she was pretty upset by it, not least because an author she really liked and respected displayed extreme asshattery. So I sent her a quick link round-up, on the principle of primary sources. Her response:

"I found it helpful to see just how cruel some people can be & how nice others are. Big pluses to Paul Cornell & Neil Gaiman, big minuses to lots of others who didn't do their homework."

Which says all that needs to be said about that, really.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Note: Although this was inspired by the recent AO3 fallout, it's really an open comment on fandom in general, past, present, and future. I'm not a member of the OTW, I only use AO3 if that's where a story I want to read happens to be, and I don't know any of the people involved. But I've seen this kind of crap many times in many places, and I've been on the receiving end enough that I now do a lot less for fandom than I otherwise would. I see the damage that it causes.


It's an unfortunate truism that Fandom Eats Its Own. Anyone who has ever produced something for fandom at large (and the larger the something, the worse it gets) knows this. You work your heart out on making this shiny fun thing, be it a website or a fanzine or a convention or whatever, and you do your best to make it work as well as possible for the wide variety of people who are going to use it. You generally do it for free, and you do it in whatever spare time you can steal away from all the other demands in your life. You do it because you think the thing, whatever it is, is cool, and because you want to give something back to the fandom that you've gotten so much out of.

Most people who use it, whatever it is, will just use it and never say anything, and that's okay. Their use is your reward. But of the people who do say anything, the ones who say "Thanks!" will be overwhelmed by the whiny, self-absorbed, entitled jerks who will verbally eviscerate you because the thing you made isn't perfect. For them, that is. You didn't place their personal preferences above all other considerations, or you aren't telepathic enough to know what they want when they couldn't be bothered to tell you, or you didn't alter the laws of physics to prevent them being temporarily inconvenienced in pursuit of their hobby. (Ghu help you if you made an actual mistake, which being human you might have done. Although actually, the response is pretty similar whether you objectively goofed or not. You're still a horrible person who has Ruined Their Life as far as most of the people you'll hear from are concerned.) And worst of all, you haven't fixed it all Right Now.

And the more you do, the bigger and better and shinier a thing you try to make, the more abuse you will get for it. Succeed, by whatever standard, aim as high as you can envision, and that thankfully-small but loud and persistent section of fandom will do everything in their power to tear you down. They will eat you alive and then complain that there's nobody left to make things for them, and never see the connection.

It's a rare person who can work their heart out on something, take that kind of crap in return, and come back and work their heart out some more. Most people go through a round of this, maybe two if they're stubborn, and stop volunteering. They may stop in a public, showy way, or they may simply go away and not come back. And whatever else they would have made for fandom... doesn't get made. The convention they would have run, or the website they would have created, or maybe something as small as the minor bug fix or how-to document they would have written. And yes, maybe someone else will step up and fill in those holes, but that's time and energy the someone else is then not spending on whatever they might have made, if those holes had already been filled. The end result is still a net loss for fandom as a whole.

I have tremendous respect for the people who can keep coming back, year after year, making new things for fandom or keeping old things going, despite the crap. They're an impressive breed. But that doesn't mean that the people who go away, whether crying or shouting back or just silently, didn't make a valuable contribution and wouldn't have continued to do so if some of the people they made it for didn't make it so thoroughly unpleasant.

This isn't an exhortation to thank the people who make what you use, although that's certainly a good idea. Nor I am urging fans on the receiving end not to point out problems; I used to work in IT, and I know the value of a good bug report. But there's a difference between saying, "Hey, this is broken or could be better" and ripping someone a new one because they dared to be not perfect. And there's a world of difference between suggesting a personal-preference tweak to something that works pretty well most of the time for most fans involved, and howling and flinging crap because everything is not perfect for the unique and special snowflake that is you.

What I want is to take all those whiny, entitled jerks, the ones who write diatribes trashing the volunteers who make things for them, to an alternate universe where people like them don't exist. And I want to show them the fandom there, where hard work is appreciated and where mistakes or opportunities to do better are pointed out with courtesy and understanding. I want them to see all that fandom could be, all the beautiful shiny toys and the long-lived fannish institutions -- for five minutes. And then I want to bring them back here, where fandom staggers along, doing pretty good most of the time in spite of people like them flinging crap at it, but constantly having to compensate for the people whose willingness to pitch in has been eaten. I want them to see what they could have, if only it weren't for, well, them.

I can't think of a better punishment.

lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Nobody told me that the cranky old lady in Cabin Pressure is played by Stephanie Cole!

I mean, yes, Benedict Cumberbatch, that's nice and all, but Stephanie Cole!!! That is the kind of thing to overcome my aversion to the audio-only format.

Well, poo to you too.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 12:19 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
In the last few days, journal-based-fandom (or at least the parts of it I read) seems filled with people deriding Inception, castigating Naomi Novik, and slamming Bujold.

I am not such a delicate flower that I can't cope with people not liking the things I like, but I gotta say, f-lists, lately you are not bringing the squee.

R.I.P. EW

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 06:41 pm
Edward Woodward passed away yesterday at age 79.

I'll confess, I kind of wondered when we'd be hearing this news. Still sad, though. The man had an impressive and versatile body of work, including some of my favorite series ever.

Oddly enough, I was just watching Callan on DVD (a belated birthday present) this afternoon. With clear copies, it's even more obvious why Woodward won awards for the role. A fitting tribute if anything is.


lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Seriously, people, get over here and vote for Fiona. 1:3 against Veronica Mars? What is wrong with the universe?!?

Teyla and Carter could use some love, too, from the looks of it.

First Post

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 12:35 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
So, here I am with my shiny new Dreamwidth account. Whee!

I'm not singing the praises of Dreamwidth from the rooftops, but I'll admit to being mildly geeked about it. I like the business model; a lot of thought clearly went into how to make this work, in terms both of making the users happy, and keeping the light bill paid. I like that it's fandom-friendly, and the owners know what that means. I like the approach to diversity and inclusiveness; 99% of that stuff is never going to matter to me directly, but again, it shows real thought went into the foundation of this thing. I approve of businesses based on sound preliminary planning and an open-eyed view of reality, so I want to see DW succeed just for that.

Will Dreamwidth become fandom's promised land, with pr0n and honey for all? Only time will tell. I would like to see fandom migrate away from LiveJournal; there hasn't been an outbreak of stupid on LJ recently, but I think that's more luck than policy. Maybe DW will be the destination of that migration, maybe not. I am cautiously optimistic (which is about as optimistic as I get); we'll have to see how things go once it's out of beta.

And I maintain that optimism despite the fact that every single thing I've done so far has involved a bug or glitch of some kind. Including creating my account; apparently I managed to hit the five-minute window yesterday when there was a major server swap-out going on. Honestly, there's a lot things broken that I would have expected to be working by this point (large userpic handling, reading list color selection, inbox vs. email notification). I'm glad that I was able to get an invite code (thanks, B!), because the service is really not up to the level where I would be happy paying for it. Well, they've got "beta" plastered all over it for a reason; I've worked in IT enough to know what a total code overhaul can involve, and the fact that they're tackling that rather than trying to layer on more patches on top of patches is another reason I really want to see this thing succeed.

So, there's my starter post. If I know you from LJ (or ought to) and you're here too, drop me a comment. Now, let's see what happens when I hit "Post"....

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