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.