Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

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Knitterlywitch
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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Knitterlywitch » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:48 am

Usefulbeauty wrote:I agree with Knitterlywitch.
I'd also like to say that while I'm still just bewildered by the whole situation and how fast it all blew up, you guys are handling it really well, so thanks so much for that.

I want to know what Marianne was talking about with Livejournal. I wonder if I could, you know, get those folks to work things out with people here. Because, even though you all say it isn't, I still feel like them leaving was sorta my fault.

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby 9430 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:23 am

I haven't been on the board very much for the last couple of months since I have my Master's thesis gnawing away at my spare time, so a lot of this appears to have passed me by. I still have pretty much no idea of what was going on since the whole thing seemed to go massively out of proportion and people seemed to be way overreacting, but none of it seemed to be cause for people leaving the forum. I can't see that it is any single person's fault. Both MmeJavert and Marianne did very well at calming things down when they did suddenly explode, and I don't think that there was anything that could have been done to prevent what happened.

I'm really sad that some people who make wonderful contributions to the board are leaving, and I have no idea why. I just hope that everything will calm down and people will feel that they can come back whenever they want. It's holiday season and I guess tensions are a little higher than they normally are, and perhaps it will all cool down by itself after Christmas. One can only hope.
aka Fiwen

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby MmeJavert » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:51 am

Unfortunately, Knitterly, Marianne and I are not going to escalate drama by rehashing it again here. A few people including me have posted about the problem on livejournal, there have been some good comments made, but there have also been some unhelpful comments as well, and those comments have only fed the flames rather than helped to alleviate things. I think if things had not been taken outside of Abaissé, some people wouldn't have been pressured to leave the forum. But on livejournal we all feel freer to express our blunt and honest opinions, so feelings have been hurt, and hurt deeply. Including mine.

I am seeing the ugly reality of "you can't please everyone" with the policies on this board. Policies may be clarified and updated, but on Abaissé the over-riding rule of EVERYTHING is, as always, "Don't be an ass." That will never change here. There are boards where the moderators do not care how members treat each other; this is not ever going to be one of them. We care. We just can't protect everyone from everything, prevent every unfortunate, rude, mean, or offensive thing from being said, and every sensibility from every harm. We can try to foster open discussion and debate, and freedom of speech, belief, expression, but unless people understand that those freedoms and liberties extend to yes, sometimes not all unicorns and fuzzy kittens and political correctness, these tensions will probably recur despite all my and others' best efforts.

And that's why I have this post, because without hearing constructive suggestions or differing points of view, I just can't make things better at all. I'd rather try and fail, than not bother at all.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Ulkis » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:11 am

I wonder if I could, you know, get those folks to work things out with people here. Because, even though you all say it isn't, I still feel like them leaving was sorta my fault.


Knitterly it wasn't. I know how it feels to think "oh if I hadn't said this so-and-so thing wouldn't've happened" but in this instance if it hadn't been in the thread you started it probably would have occured somewhere else.

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:07 am

I have only a vague idea of what is going on, and I am very sorry for it. (feels like the resident clueless one)

Apologies here if somehow, I inadvertently contributed to the situation.

To Knitterly: Ditto with what Ulkis said. Don't beat yourself up about it.

If there is any way I can help, please let me know.
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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby hazellwood » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:23 pm

This wouldn't have happened at all if people didn't already feel this way. Knitterly, you didn't cause this. You might have sparked it, but other situations have been sparked, also, but the fact is that this did not just spontaneously happen.

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Knitterlywitch » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:45 pm

hazellwood wrote:This wouldn't have happened at all if people didn't already feel this way. Knitterly, you didn't cause this. You might have sparked it, but other situations have been sparked, also, but the fact is that this did not just spontaneously happen.

I know, but... I still feel bad.

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Alex » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:35 pm

I haven't been on in a while (I've been very busy with school and the holidays and getting stranded in Europe because of the snow, etc.) and I don't have a LiveJournal account, so I don't really know what the exact situation was that sparked this thread. However, I did want to weigh in because someone earlier on mentioned how there are people who go by the Brick, and people who go by the show, and when those people disagree on certain things, it can get a bit tense.

I agree with this assertion. I've certainly been in conversations (which I've always found extremely interesting) where I was in the "minority" because I go by the show, whereas a lot of people here (especially when talking about characters' personalities) go by the Brick, thus there's obviously going to be a lot we disagree on. I never take such disagreements personally (I mean, I'm studying politics so I'm used to disagreeing with people but still being friends with them XD), but I could certainly see how some people might see all of that and be scared away, like "gosh, these people are always arguing!" And I admit that once or twice I've just stopped responding to threads because I didn't join this site to practice my debate performance, you know?

But then again, I'm not sure what happened so that might not have to do with this. My point, I suppose, is that the site might intrinsically have a "tense" atmosphere at times, because the discussions we have tend to spawn, by nature, disagreements between those who prefer the show and those who prefer the Brick. I don't think there's anything you can do about that, other than to ensure that when people disagree, we don't go "well you're wrong because that's not in the Brick" of "you're wrong because the musical says such-and-such" (and while people don't say it that bluntly, I do think that's at the heart of a lot of the disagreements that occur on this board).

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby nashie-chan » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:32 pm

While I have been a lurker longer than I've actually been a member, I saw some of went down on LJ and as a mod in another portion of the internet, I feel your frustration. Kudos for trying to work it out as best as possible, but I guess the old saying IS proving true - that you cannot please everyone.
"We will have our day, sailing into the fire!" - Into the Fire, The Scarlet Pimpernel

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Patria » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:19 am

I'm a newbie who arrived about a month ago, and to start things off, I want to say that I'm not even going to pretend to know what's going on here.

What I do know is that I adore Abaisse. I've received an incredibly warm welcome from everyone here. I'm already coming to know many of you through your stories and art and posts, and you've all been enormously helpful and friendly. I can anything Les Mis related here, from debating the meaning of an obscure Brick passage to browsing a 46 page long topic on Enjolras' preferred sex positions. I never get bored here; there's always something to think about, something to laugh at, and someone to talk to. I personally want to thank you, Mme. Javert, for creating this wonderful place full of friendly, witty, and intelligent people. Every site, every board, every fandom has it's darker moments, but in the end the community prevails. We love you and we love Abaisse-- this too shall pass.
It sounds corny but it's all true.

I know this is 100% un-helpful, advice-wise. I just want to offer support and say that Abaisse is a great place and will remain one as long as the core group remains, despite the best efforts of a few drama mongers.
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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Eppie Sue » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:41 pm

I know it's been four weeks, but this thread was pointed out to me and I've just had a look around to see what was going on as everything before Christmas just went completely past me, partly because I just didn't see it and partly because I was busy. I don't want to generalise it too much, but I suppose, especially as it's been a while, I'm not just going to refer to this one incident.

It's no secret to you guys that I do have my own history and problems with Abaissé. I value it very much for the information that can be found here, for some people here, for it being almost solely about Les Mis and for having some great and profound discussions. However, I have stayed away for some time from it because I wasn't feeling comfortable at all, and there has been a giant blow up some time ago which did already lead to the stage of "What is going wrong, though?". I wrote a lot on this topic on livejournal back then and tried to be constructive with what I wrote, I suppose Marianne might remember it. I looked at it again and I don't know if it's helpful. To me, it seems like I don't really know how to be helpful regarding this topic, but I will try, because I want it to be better.

On Abaissé, I almost solely post in one subforum, the Stage/Musical one. That's not because I'm not interested in the novel - I love the novel. It's just that I, personally, feel "safe" with the musical. It really matters to me, it's a live, real thing, and there are people involved, some people that I know, people I admire. It's constantly changing and developing and it's the one thing in the giant universe of Les Mis (which extends further than anything here on Abaissé) that I feel completely at ease with because I know it so well that I can survive any discussion without feeling inadequate.

There are so many topics on here, though, that I would never participate in, most of them part of the meta/brick part of the Les Mis world, and I think what throws me off is the fact that discussions about characters turn personal and extremely serious so very often. I think the Enjolras - Autistic thread is a good example, and to some extent you can even mention the Les Mis Wiki, which fuelled the last big blow up, here to confirm what Starlene has already brought up: These characters are treated like real, existing people. And I just don't understand that. They're not. I like the characters and yes, it matters to me that they are portrayed well, but there are fans out there who write fanfiction with their own set of rules, who talk about them in broader terms than what is written by Hugo, put them into different situations, make up traits that still work with what is written in the novel just as speculation, never intending it to be a new truth, maybe just joking or just wanting to put a different spin on it, and while it's fine to have dozens of "Top or bottom?" pages of "discussion", it's frowned upon to do this. My problem is that these people that are writing fanfiction and are doing it for fun, without much research, even those that make Enjolras fall in love with Éponine, they have feelings and they should matter more than a single character in the book.

See, the thing is, I'm approaching Les Mis from a different angle, and I know it doesn't matter as much to most of you as it does to me, because my outlet of Les Mis love is not so much the detailed historical accuracy and knowledge, life of the 1820s and 1830s, politics or anything like that, for me it's the stage production. And I get passionate and very, very defensive over this, so in a way I can relate to feeling passionate about a certain doctrine and about the characters in the book, because, yes, I will get horribly frustrated if the roles are performed as two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs and without doing them much justice. And I will write reviews and be quite honest about my opinion there, explaining it - among other things - with reasoning drawn from the book, too. But I'm writing about people who are doing a job, and as the audience, I feel it is appropriate to have a clear opinion. However, I'm also aware that no one is going to do any damage to the characters. Not a single fanfiction, no art work, no musical interpretation is going to hurt them. Yes, I'd rather know that the audience is getting absolutely perfect performances and know everything about the characters just from watching these performers on stage, but overall, I'm just happy if I see that they enjoy it and value the talent and dedication they have witnessed on stage, even if it goes against anything I hold dear about the characters.

It's quite possible that it has to do with trying to get a better view of the bigger picture. It's very easy to get completely lost in details and to lose appreciation for a simple thing - that Les Mis means something different for all of us. It's a book that has a different impact on every single person, and that's a wonderful thing. And it's incredibly popular, so some people are just going to read the abridged version, some people are just going to see the musical, some people are just watching a film. And of course you can argue that these are not true fans of Les Misérables, because, after all, Les Misérables is based on a book, and if something goes against canon, it shouldn't be considered to be part of Les Misérables. On the other hand, though, we have to be careful to not let that attitude get too far (or very far at all), because it can be extremely hurtful for everyone who is fine with having (what I consider) a very interesting and intriguing discussion about Enjolras in terms of autism. Or any other matter at all. It might make you want to speak up, almost in a kind of "Hugo can't defend his book and Enjolras can't speak up for himself either" way (simplifying it), but maybe it would help if you don't feel like you have to protect anything all the time. Just because a couple of people on Abaissé are considering this aspect of a character and are drawing parallels doesn't mean everyone is suddenly taking it as a new truth. Just because there was a silly "Wiki" out there that was quite obviously edited without control doesn't mean people are going to consider it as valueable. No one did. No one really cared about it. Most fans are able to read a book and understand the characters. If they don't do, then maybe they're too young and will grow into it - hell, I spent the first five years of my life as a Les Mis fan breaking all kinds of rules that are established in the fandom - or they never will, but it won't actually do any harm because no one has actually been disgraced or violated. Enjolras is a wonderful character, yes, but I sometimes get the impression that there is an almost religious attitude towards him. He, like all the others, is a fictional character and, technically, nothing at all that is being written about them should be taken as a personal affront against the fandom, against Abaissé or the characters as such and there is no reason whatsoever to police it.

I understand the feeling all too well, honestly, and I'm not blaming anyone. I like to compare it to reading statements about performers whose performances I've seen (and I know very well) not being true at all and stepping in to say "No, actually, this never happened" or "He didn't do that" or "She didn't play the character like that", but that's more or less because it's very factual and not up to interpretation and also because those are actual people that are being talked about, which to me makes all the difference. I know it gets harder the closer characters get to your heart and the more you identify with them, I just feel like something I personally would only apply to people who I know and who I don't want to be reduced to what people would like to make them out to be is being applied to fiction.

Also... whenever people mentioned not taking things so seriously on Abaissé back in the Wiki debate, I don't think they meant "Be funny!", because a lot of things on this board show great humour and wit, even silliness. It's not about that. It's about taking this a bit lighter and not thinking that the weight of the Les Mis world rests on your shoulders. I know it's again a very personal example, but there are discussions about Les Mis on West End message boards that would seem completely out of place here because they are not about historical accuracy or perfect characterisations, and yet these people count themselves as avid Les Mis fans, too, and don't have any idea these forums exist.

It's very honourable to want to have a good and educated perspective on Les Mis that is shared by anyone and understood by anyone as true and right, and I'm convinced that many of the truths that are universally accepted by most here do correspond very accurately with Hugo's intentions and are factually correct. But sometimes it doesn't work like that and then it's maybe better to let certain things pass, to remember that no one is going to get hurt and nothing is going to get devalued by a couple of (very loyal, intelligent and considerate) Les Mis fans discussing aspects like Asperger's in regard to Enjolras in one part of this message board and that there is a whole lot of Les Mis out there that doesn't fit in at all with Abaissé. In a way that's nice, even desirable, because it certainly is what makes Abaissé special (in the best sense) and what makes many feel at home here, and I don't mind speaking up and putting something right that is factually wrong at all, it's not that... It's.... oh, I'm repeating myself.

I hope it was okay to post this. I'm convinced that not everyone shares these views or understands them and I really can only speak for myself. I just thought I should post them here as there was a thread for it instead of just thinking about it silently. I didn't want to offend anyone and hope I haven't done that.

Oh, and thanks for reading all of this.
Last edited by Eppie Sue on Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Marianne » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:33 am

Thanks for contributing--I had been wondering what your thoughts were on all this, since you're one of the people who've had the most vocal falling-outs with Abaissé, and even if you weren't involved with this particular round, some of the same issues are probably at work.

I think everyone needs to work on distinguishing debate and friendly, reasoned disagreement from disapproval and telling people they need to STFU and take their views elsewhere because they're flat-out wrong. The burden falls mostly on the people disagreeing not to be pissy or overly aggressive or judgmental, but I think things might also go more easily if people being disagreed with tried to seek clarification on whether something was really meant as disapproving, or asked the other poster(s) to back off a little if they thought a debate was getting too intense. And it would then be on the other person to honor their wishes.

I'm not going to pretend there's never any disapproval or judgment. I'm also not going to pretend it never goes too far or that there's no reason to question how it gets deployed, because everything you've said is valid and your post should be food for thought for everyone here, but I will offer up an additional viewpoint about why it's there. I think the culture of the Les Mis fandom has been shaped by its history--particularly the fanfic-y part of the fandom, which was pretty vibrant in the late '90s and early '00s and full of people bouncing ideas off each other and having fun with interpretations and making up all sorts of fun things. I disagree with a lot of those interpretations and I'm pretty vocal about critiquing them, but I would never, never disapprove of those fics and RPs or the people who created them, because that was their way of being fans and interacting with the material. The problem arose when those people left (most around 2003 I'd say?), the fandom hit a slump, and those interpretations stopped being personal, creative variations on a theme and started becoming fanon--fixed, taken for granted, assumed to be true. For a very long while it seemed like everyone in this corner of fandom was doing the same thing all the time without even thinking about it. Then, I want to say circa 2007 or 2008, we got an influx of new blood--enthusiastic newbies who wanted to bring in a fresh perspective instead of submitting to the old accepted views, combined with people who'd been there during the slump and not liked it. And once the number of people who wanted to question the old fanon hit critical mass, a very hostile reaction to that fanon developed, because we'd spent five years with it being bloody everywhere and everyone accepting it blindly and interpretations that were fresh or creative or closer to the book were being dismissed or just never taking hold.

That, personally, is why I get trigger-happy about interpretations that resemble certain tropes. The default assumption, lodged in the corner of my brain that joined the fandom back in 2005, is that all the newbies coming in have been exposed to these tropes as though they were common wisdom and have internalized them to some extent or another, so my default reaction is to question the hell out of anything resembling the old fanon to make sure that if people think X, Y, and Z about Enjolras, it's because it's their opinion and not because someone wrote a fic like that ten bloody years ago and the zombie of that characterization is still lurching around everyone's subconscious. I'm pretty sure it's also why a number of people here get uncomfortable and defensive if someone is casually batting around an idea that has the potential to glom onto some ancient bit of OOC dogma and spawn a new iteration of it that other fans will then take as gospel.

Again, I think there needs to be some give-and-take here. People who weren't here for the slump should be aware of this history and why it's stepping into a minefield to mention, say, pacifist!Combeferre--the Brick-picking crew doesn't loathe that idea simply because it's "omg so not canon" but because it used to be a particularly nasty bit of received wisdom that fed in specific ways into some particularly nasty and pervasive ideas about Enjolras and the students. But, reciprocally, people who were part of the Nerd Renaissance should remember that things have changed, that they don't have to be so defensive anymore. And they should pay attention and ask themselves whether, in questioning something that looks like an old and hated trope if you squint at it from the right angle, they aren't poking holes in something that is genuinely creative or original. And most of all, they should make sure that in fighting old ideas about what Les Mis and its characters meant, they aren't setting down new but equally narrow rules, or inadvertently enforcing their way of fannishness as the one true way.



tl;dr: people who frequent Abaissé tend to get twitchy about old fanon and protective of the characters it affected the most; they should be careful not to extend that protectiveness to harshing other people's squee if said squee is not a mindless regurgitation of said fanon; people being disagreed with should remember that generalized twitchiness might not be directed at them (or at anything that deviates from the ONE TRUE CANONICAL AND HISTORICAL WAY) but at the specter of ideas that genuinely screwed up a large part of the fandom for a while because of how stale and how dominant they were.

I'd be very, very interested in suggestions for how to foster the Brick-and-history-nerd culture that's sprung up here and keep it vibrant without pushing away people who do things differently. I would hate to discover ten years down the line that the ideas that have come out of this place have become tropes just as stale, dogmatic, and far from the original spirit of interacting and commenting on Les Mis as the ideas that came out of LM fandom in its frenchboys.net heyday. And I would hate to learn that our particular preoccupations are coming off to newbies as the gold standard of what it takes to be A Good Fan.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.
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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby MmeJavert » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:00 am

Before I start this VERY long post, I want to tell you, Eppie Sue, that I appreciate the time and thought you put into this post. I am going to ask you and everyone else reading this to take all of my comments in the spirit in which they are intended: as constructive dialogue, asking for clarification as necessary, and not being judgmental or condescending or mean or uncaring. Some of my comments/questions may come off as blunt or could be read in a less than positive manner, however I'd rather be blunt and get my ideas across, than be vague and confusing in an effort to be *too* considerate of feelings. I don't intend any hurt feelings from my questions or comments or answers here.

On Abaissé, I almost solely post in one subforum, the Stage/Musical one. That's not because I'm not interested in the novel - I love the novel. It's just that I, personally, feel "safe" with the musical.

There's nothing wrong with this. I just want to say this out loud, explicitly, in case it's not clear. I hope it's not an implied attitude, at least administratively, that you are not welcome to only stick in one board. The only time the "please don't keep your interaction to one board only" suggestion applies is if a member focuses all their time on the off-topic boards. I can't prevent anyone from doing that; but that defeats the purpose of an on-topic board. That said, you are allowed to pick your favourite corner of fandom and stick to it--so long as this doesn't result in you treating people who don't feel the same as you as somehow inferior. I don't mean to imply that you are doing this, just that there have been times that I feel members here have implied, by words/actions, that certain beliefs/behaviours within fandom interaction are more acceptable and approved than others, and often on a musical/book division. I don't want that. I like the book a lot more than the musical; I have my personal issues with the musical (mostly technicaly); but kudos to anyone who can get as excited as I was about it four years ago. I can't anymore, so I generally don't participate in much musical discussion.


and while it's fine to have dozens of "Top or bottom?" pages of "discussion", it's frowned upon to do this.

It's frowned upon? I'm not sure I follow this line of reasoning. Maybe I'm just misreading your post, but it kind of sounds to me that "the better fans look down on this behaviour and you should stop it." Or did you mean something else? Who is frowning upon what, I guess I just want to be clear. Because I don't think that thread is presented as 100% serious in any way -- so do you mean it's frowned upon for the more, I dunno, "good and interesting" members of fandom to stay away from that stuff, or do you mean that anyone who DOESN'T enjoy that gets frowned upon for not doing so? Or do you mean something else?


people that are writing fanfiction and are doing it for fun, without much research, even those that make Enjolras fall in love with Éponine, they have feelings and they should matter more than a single character in the book.

Yes. Everyone has a right to write fanfiction for fun. My PERSONAL view on the matter is this: anyone who chooses to write a story and post it on a public site such as fanfiction.net should be prepared to get the reviews they ask for. When you ask for people to review your story, you are asking for their opinions; and people's opinions differ so you should expect positive and negative reviews. Do I approve of reviews that are purely designed to be nasty? No. Do I ever feel sorry for someone who cried for days because someone posted a critical (not mean) review of their story? No. For me; for people who have used the internet as long as I have -- getting mean people comment on your fanfic or blog posts is a sort of initiation rite, a sort of proof that you Can Handle The Internet. It is a plain fact that the internet is inhabited by a lot of mean people. And I don't intend this to sound mean or uncaring; it's just the way it IS. I had people say a lot of mean and rude and downright destructive things to me in my first years in fandom on the internet; in fact I still encounter it from time to time. The answer is not to run screaming from the internet going MOMMY THEY'RE BEING MEAN; the answer is to look at why people are saying such bad things.

If someone is a writer genuinely interested in writing stories for the purpose of getting better, they'll take the reviews in the sense they were meant. Ignore the reviews intended only to be cruel; listen to the reviews meant to be critical (whether in good ways or bad); and don't let ANY review dictate to you whether you should continue writing. However, just because you are new, or because you're writing something you and your friends personally like, does not make you immune from hearing negative things. I cannot and will not ever pretend that the internet is a nice safe place to share your work and get lots of stickers and happy comments.

Of course they are people with feelings who matter. But honestly? We should pretend to be nice to people who are writing truly awful fic? Yes, we shouldn't be mean, but I'm not going to write a glowing review of a fic that is terrible just to spare authors' feelings, and I really hope that's not the intention you wanted to convey with this comment. The only way to improve your writing is to get and respond to constructive criticism. It is my personal belief as a regular fan and internet user that if you honestly cannot handle hearing negative things about your work, you probably should not be posting it so publicly. I don't post anything on the internet that I couldn't bear to hear maligned. And if I do post it I will just let the meanspirited comments slide. Granted, that takes a lot of time and work to learn how to do, but the internet is not your mother and will not put your story up on the fridge with a gold star regardless. And we aren't going to do ANYONE any favours by treating them that way.

Administratively speaking... I do not intend to allow or encourage purely destructive criticism of any fanworks here. But I will not disallow, out of hand, comments that are less than purely positive or glowing. Administratively speaking, we are not going to intentionally foster a community where no one feels safe to respond to fic because of the negative atmosphere. Administratively speaking, we are ALSO not going to disallow comments that don't presuppose the author of the thread/story to be a sensitive wilting flower.


I mention things in a personal AND administrative capacity because obviously my personal beliefs are going to colour my admin policies. I can't pretend I'm perfect; I can't pretend my policies are going to make everyone happy; I also can't allow my policies to unfairly benefit someone else at the expense of others. So administratively speaking -- constructive reviews and comments are allowed, whether negative or positive in the main, but comments meant to be purely negative, mean, rude, condescending, or otherwise DESTRUCTIVE will not be tolerated.

Any posts on Abaissé that look suspect can be reported -- Please PM the topic/post in question to the Abaissé Voice of Mod account for ANYTHING you think seems out of the spirit of this forum. I/Marianne cannot and will not promise that we will adjust policies according to everything everybody says, but if we have SPECIFIC examples of SPECIFIC behaviours that are wrong, AS THEY HAPPEN, we can tailor policies and rules to cover the widest array of problems and issues that might arise.

As far as uniformly deriding certain types of fic ... well, I admit I've been guilty of this. I know others have, too. I try to keep my mockery to types, tropes, genres, and generalities as a whole, but I may very well have slipped up from time to time. I don't like Valjean/Javert or Éponine/Enjolras, however I freely admit I have read at least one fanfic for each that I actually liked. I do admit it's fair to NOT blast people just for writing a particular pairing. I do admit that it's fair not to blast people because they're going off canon. HOWEVER. I don't see anything wrong, either personally or administratively, for anyone to leave a constructively-worded review mentioning or explaining that the fic doesn't match up to canon counterparts; it's when people say "you're wrong to write this fic because it does not fit in with canon or how I view it" that we have a problem, not when people say "I just wanted to let you know that canonically this fic would be very implausible, so if you were going for canon-compliant this fic would not be meeting that standard." There ARE fics out there that quite blatantly ignore canon strictures and don't care, and that's fine. Just, if you do post those fics, be prepared to put in an author's note or aside that you don't intend it to be perfectly canon compliant, and I'm pretty sure that will decrease (if not completely stop) any Brick-picking commentary.


See, the thing is, I'm approaching Les Mis from a different angle, and I know it doesn't matter as much to most of you as it does to me, because my outlet of Les Mis love is not so much the detailed historical accuracy and knowledge, life of the 1820s and 1830s, politics or anything like that, for me it's the stage production.


Fair. Your approach is different. I don't want to come across as looking down on you for preferring musical canon; in return I'd like you to not look down on me for preferring novel canon. Does that seem fair and constructive? I will admit that I got that attitude from you sometimes -- that we who like the book better are so snooty and holier-than-thou just because we like the book better than the musical, though I will also admit that it might be my perception more than your intention. And if the reverse is true, I apologise. It can be hard sometimes to be all excited for your own point of view while also being welcoming and permissive of a sometimes-completely-opposite point of view, and I am trying to be more open-minded in all types of discussion.

I have tried, administratively, to make it clear that Abaissé is the place for you whether you fangirl David Thaxton's Enjolras; Hugo's neverending supply of classical gay allusions for Enjolras; or the ridiculous 1830s sleeves that Cosette must've worn; or _insert movie production here that was so much better than the rest_. It doesn't appear to me that this is always the case, and I don't know if it's because I, as administrator, have failed -- or if it's because it's a situation beyond my control here. If I can fix it, I very much want to.


Enjolras is a wonderful character, yes, but I sometimes get the impression that there is an almost religious attitude towards him. He, like all the others, is a fictional character and, technically, nothing at all that is being written about them should be taken as a personal affront against the fandom, against Abaissé or the characters as such and there is no reason whatsoever to police it.

Some people like Enjolras best. Some people like Javert best. You maybe were not here during the time that you could not SAY A SINGLE THING bad about Javert without having a cadre of fangirls jump on your for "just not getting it." The same has happened for Éponine.

However. The implication of this comment is that, anyone who feels strongly about Enjolras (or any other character) to an almost religious extent, something is wrong with that person. Many of us fixate on a character, a portrayal of a character, or a part of the canon (musical or book) because we like it best. No, we cannot say our way is the one true way; but you cannot say someone is somehow less important because they are ALL Enjolras/Javert/Éponine (insert whoever else) ALL THE TIME. I think if we ALL took people's opinions -- including the worship at the altar of Enjolras -- as merely opinions rather as established fact, it might not be so overwhelming.

I can't help but read "god what is wrong with you people who worship Enjolras-as-written-in-the-book like that" into your comment. Maybe it's my personal bias speaking here, but if that's how I'm reading it, chances are someone else is reading it and being hurt by the implication you think they're somehow less important for fixating on that detail rather than the whole.

That said ... my Enjolras does not have to be the ONE TRUE ENJOLRAS, and I don't ever want to imply that it is. Same goes for any other character I write. And, possibly, most other fanfic authors here will agree with that sentiment.


and stepping in to say "No, actually, this never happened" or "He didn't do that" or "She didn't play the character like that", but that's more or less because it's very factual and not up to interpretation

To an extent, you're right here. HOWEVER. Saying things like "oh So-and-so was such a bland Cosette because she didn't try ANY ornamention on that high note in In My Life" is not factual; it's opinion. You can say in response, "well sometimes she DOES add colour to that note, just maybe not the night you saw it" is one thing; saying "No, you're wrong, she's a FABULOUS Cosette, you are just not viewing her correctly," is another thing. But I think you are referring to the ACTUAL touches people put in more than the reactions people have to those touches; I just wanted to put a little clarification in for this. You're referring to when people say that certain actors said a particular line or performed a particular action, that they don't ever (or even usually) do. And that's always fun. Discussing, "did Thaxton really kiss him or is it just my overactive imagination" is fun, but it isn't fun when someone insists it was one way or the other when there isn't really compelling visual proof one way or the other. 'NO THEY DEFINITELY KISSED I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY OR WHAT EVERYONE ELSE SAW.' isn't fun; but when no one can actually see what's going on, well...

I'm just saying that performances are not always 100% black-and-white fact-only things. Different seats in the theatre provide different views; different people will view things differently. However... fighting over whether Thaxton took the high note in the Final Battle or not--this is something factual, I agree.

(I'm sorry, I'm a natural nitpicker. It's in my nature. Please don't be too offended...)



Anyway. If there was anything I did not respond to adequately or at all, I apologise.

I will admit I take fandom, at least as it appears in Abaissé and whom I interact with, VERY personally. That's not going to change just because you or anyone else tells me I shouldn't. I have been in fandom more than half my life, there's no way I can NOT take it all personally. But I am doing my best to remember that everything is not about me or anything like that. I just care very much that this fandom -- this corner of it in particular -- is the absolute best it can be.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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Marianne
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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby Marianne » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:17 am

MmeJavert wrote:
and while it's fine to have dozens of "Top or bottom?" pages of "discussion", it's frowned upon to do this.

It's frowned upon? I'm not sure I follow this line of reasoning. Maybe I'm just misreading your post, but it kind of sounds to me that "the better fans look down on this behaviour and you should stop it." Or did you mean something else? Who is frowning upon what, I guess I just want to be clear. Because I don't think that thread is presented as 100% serious in any way -- so do you mean it's frowned upon for the more, I dunno, "good and interesting" members of fandom to stay away from that stuff, or do you mean that anyone who DOESN'T enjoy that gets frowned upon for not doing so? Or do you mean something else?


I parsed it as "you have forty-five pages of nit-picking over Enjolras' sexual preferences, yet you frown upon character interpretations that don't fit your collective headcanon."

Which I... don't think is true, but I'm concerned that this is the impression being given off.

I think of fanfiction kind of like theatrical or musical performance--you have a source text and you put on your own interpretation of it, and your interpretation might be good or awful, and it might indirectly comment on the source and the interpretations others have done and choose to highlight different aspects or even modify the source material, but it doesn't affect the original source. One bad production of Hamlet does not diminish Hamlet or Shakespeare. But some interpretations are more influential than others, and if all I'd seen for the past five years were bad knockoffs of David Tennant's Hamlet you bet I'd be touchy about new productions that seemed to have unconsciously borrowed from that version.

Or, like... imagine Abaissé as a forum for medieval/Renaissance/Baroque music enthusiasts with a bunch of people who were super into historically-informed performances, and a collective RAGE BUTTON about the editorial excesses of 19th-century editions trying to make Palestrina sound like a fucking overwrought Romantic shit-for-brains composer oh god listen to us raaaant. Being geeks about how this music was originally performed doesn't mean we object to people doing new and different things with it, we're just twitchy and still overly bitter about (not-so-recent but still influential) misconceptions of how it should be performed. And we could talk all day about 17th century performance practices.

What I'm getting from Eppie's post is that we come across like historical performance practices are the only right way to do it, God help you if you like the Romantic composers even when they weren't touching early music, and if someone showed up being all "Hey guys, my band covered 'Stella splendens in monte' on the bagpipes, lute, and electric guitar!" or even just "Hey guys, I haven't done all your research about Händel but I sang this in voice lessons, have a listen!" they'd worry that they'd get shot down or just ignored. And once you have that kind of atmosphere, even if you have several people going "Ooh, this is cool and interesting," all it takes is that one smartass saying "...why are you tuned to modern A440 instead of a proper A415?" or "This is really good but AUGH PET PEEVE THOSE ORNAMENTATIONS ARE TOTALLY BEL CANTO STYLE, NOT BAROQUE" to reinforce the elitist stereotype.

So I guess the moral of this story is that if you're a history geek, don't be that smartass unless someone specifically invites that kind of criticism, and if you're offering up an interpretation that's nowhere near the style that predominates on this board, try to remember that some of us are twitchy over one set of discredited dogmas, not everything that doesn't fit our collective nitpicky idiosyncracies.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.

- George Sand, Les sept cordes de la lyre

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Re: Your Admin is hurt and frustrated and requests your help...

Postby MmeJavert » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:48 am

Marianne wrote:I parsed it as "you have forty-five pages of nit-picking over Enjolras' sexual preferences, yet you frown upon character interpretations that don't fit your collective headcanon."

Which I... don't think is true, but I'm concerned that this is the impression being given off.

I think of fanfiction kind of like theatrical or musical performance--you have a source text and you put on your own interpretation of it, and your interpretation might be good or awful, and it might indirectly comment on the source and the interpretations others have done and choose to highlight different aspects or even modify the source material, but it doesn't affect the original source. One bad production of Hamlet does not diminish Hamlet or Shakespeare. But some interpretations are more influential than others, and if all I'd seen for the past five years were bad knockoffs of David Tennant's Hamlet you bet I'd be touchy about new productions that seemed to have unconsciously borrowed from that version.


Okay, I didn't read it that way. If that's how you meant it, Eppie Sue, then I think I understand better where you're coming from. I just didn't see it right away, and it might be my brain being tired or something, and I am sorry about that.

I don't like the idea that the people who are into the nerdy history part of it have to, I dunno, back down or even dumb down some of their stuff. One of the good things about this place is it's a place for the shamelessly geeky to have our own haven, as the real world tends to mock really nerdy/geeky people and behaviours and hobbies. Having a sort of "yay brotherhood!" of fellow nerds is one of the things that makes Abaissé great.

However it's ONE of the things. Abaissé would not be awesome without all the people who like ALL THE DIFFERENT THINGS THEY LIKE. I want to promote that, not squash it. I'd rather see lots of differing interpretations of all sorts of things -- book-related and musical-related -- than one true interpretation of it that only some people like or agree with. Our fandom is great because of how diverse we all are in our interests and hobbies and preferences and backgrounds. I want Abaissé to display that. I want to see lots of people reviewing the musical or the myriad movies or giving us their own unique ideas on Brick canon. I want to see people posting fanfic, even if it's short or not perfectly polished or their first try ever with bunches of mistakes -- you can't learn without starting somewhere, and I've always believed this was one of the friendliest places on the web to post fanfic because you are far, far more likely to get nice and constructive criticism here.


On that note... I want to remind everyone on the board/reading this post: PLEASE do not stay silent if something about the board or a member is bugging you. You don't have to publicly post in the Q&A board if you don't want to, you can either report a post using the button on a post -- it's a little icon at either the top right or bottom right of a post, it looks like an exclamation point -- or you can PM the Voice of Mod account about it.

Mods are not omniscient as much as they wish they were -- allpowerful is one thing, but the mods wish to know in which ways to direct said power. We will not abuse it, but if we DON'T KNOW where anyone's problems are, we cannot fix them or try to mitigate them. Even if you think it's silly or stupid, if it's bothering you, please speak up. You will remain anonymous, no one but the mods will ever hear about it, and the mods won't judge you for anything you might say. Even about the mods. We may not be able to DO anything about your problem, but we definitely can't do a single thing if we don't know about it.

We are always happy to answer questions about the board or work out problems. I just--without this constructive dialogue thing, I wouldn't know what to say or how to adjust my thinking to see what other people are seeing. I wouldn't know Eppie Sue's side of the story if she didn't post this message; so if anyone else wants to mention something -- either by PM so no one else has to see, or here in this board -- PLEASE don't hesitate.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"


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