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Home / Meta / Rants / Why I took my stories off of Fanfiction.net

I like Fanfiction.net. I think that in theory it is a very good idea. I like and admire the fact that someone took it upon themselves to create a place where fanfiction of all kinds can be stored in one location and people can provide instant feedback about it. In theory, this is a great idea.

In reality though, there are a few bugs.

The first of which is slash. Fanfiction.net does not really take slash into account. At all. Back in the beginning I asked the archivists there about it and I was told it was just not technologically possible for them to create separate sections just for slash.

Ok, says me, that's fair. I can more than understand the technical bugs that are involved with archive programming, especially archiving on such a large scale.

Except that about maybe a month after that conversation FFN changed its format to one in which there were more sections and sections with subsections and so on. You're telling me that when they did that they couldn't include a subsection for slash? Or that they couldn't add in an entirely separate area for it? If you can add in a new section you can add in a slash section and FFN has added plenty of new sections at this point.

So I'm left with nothing but the conclusion that the FFN folks just don't want to include a slash category. Which is fine and certainly their prerogative, but IMO it's not a good idea. FFN is too generic. It's got too many readers that have never heard of slash before in their lives. Which means that even if you label the story as "slash" they won't understand what that label means, they read the story anyway even if they're flamingly homophobic, and then flame the author in turn.

Which leads me to my next point.

The strength of FFN is also its greatest weakness. The strength of it is that it puts fanfiction in a central location so that everyone can get their hands on it and comment accordingly. The weakness of it is that everyone can get their hands on it and comment accordingly. Which means homophobes are going to read slash, AU haters are going to read AUs and people who don't even get fanfic are going to give you their opnion about it.

Look, I don't mind feedback and I certainly don't mind negative feedback, but for your feedback to mean something to me you've got to show me that you know what you're talking about. I don't comment on the quality of country music because I don't understand it, so please don't comment on my stories if you've never read fanfic before and don't get why I keep writing about two guys having sex together.

Basically I just got tired of seeing stupid comments in my mailbox.

Do I say that because all of my stories were great and wonderful and deserved no bad comments? Of course not. Some of my stories up there were only fun little things I'd scribbled together and posted for the heck of it. Had I rated them myself I would have probably at best called them a 7 (using FFN's old rating system) - not great but not hideous either. But these weren't just comments about those stories (some of which were apt). These were comments about stories that I knew to be good and that my intended audience knew to be good - these were stories that won awards in the last round of Golden Rats. Stories like Michael, which had one person on Rotoli so impressed they talked about how it was a perfect example of the kind of depth of details that can be found in Protestant writing whereas a commenter on FFN asked me why it hadn't included details enough.

My Star Wars fics were getting comments as diverse as "Great story, loved the punchline!" and "What was the joke supposed to be?" My VampChron fics had people asking me which books the events in question happened in. My Batslash stuff had people asking where the homoeroticism came from.

You can see the source of my frustration.

Finally I decided that I was tired of it. I sat back and thought long and hard about why I wrote these stories in the first place and I realized it wasn't so everyone in the world could read them. It was so my fellow fans could read them. I wasn't writing these things for any random person on the net, I was writing them for the people who were on the mailing lists, bulletin boards and story discussions with me. They were my intended audience, they understood where I was coming from and if they wanted to hate one of my stories they'd at least have a good reason why.

So I took my stuff off of FFN. I support it in theory, I encourage it to fight the good fight, but I'm not going to put my stuff up there. I'm not a feedback hog, I don't need it to find my intended audience and I just don't see the point.

But that's just me.

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