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The Lauderdale

I think your list and mine may overlap, Randy.

7/2/2012 #661
piewacket

Any idea of what the reviews said? Maybe it was just a troublemaker from outside the community?

7/2/2012 #662
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I think your list and mine may overlap, Randy.

I take it you're not referring to Chanukkah or Kwanzaa? LOL

7/2/2012 #663
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Any idea of what the reviews said? Maybe it was just a troublemaker from outside the community?

None, and I don't know where they were posted. No, I think it was people who were needlessly inflamed by some loose talk about the motivations of the person who reported the story in question. There was one person in particular making it a religious thing. But you don't have to be a fundamentalist Christian to have a problem with that particular story running under the rules in place at the time. I'm not religious at all, and I think that story went past the line from Mature into Adult. The ratings panel agreed.

I had my doubts about the morals clause that kept the MEFA admins from simply allowing stories of all degrees of explicitness to run. So did Virtuella. But the volunteer in question, Elliska, explained her situation and that was good enough for me. She didn't deserve any abuse. Several people were accused of being the anonymous person who made the original complaint about the story, and they didn't deserve abuse either.

7/2/2012 #664
piewacket

Wow. Why do so many people involved in fanfiction act like asshats?

7/2/2012 #665
militaryhistory

Because it's the internet.

7/2/2012 #666
Braka Lightbringer

Because of the virus called fail.

7/2/2012 #667
Morthoron

Breaking news: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MEFAwards/message/11257

I guess that should teach us not to question authority.

Well, I guess someone is taking their football and going home. We could always start an alternate organization: MePA (Middle-earth Porn Awards). Reviews could be scored from a tiny Hobbit penis right up to a Mumakil schlong.

7/2/2012 #668
Virtuella

If I ever find out who did that, they will be on my list. NOT my Christmas list. The other one.

Same here. Does anyone happen to know where Elliska posts her stories? I'm inclined to leave a few friendly reviews.

Randy, while LC is memebers only, I found certain attitudes displayed by certain people uncomfortable. It was as if anything Marta did just earned her more fire and the worst possible assumptions were made about her motives. Now I have a good deal of respect for Marta; she has put huge amounts of work into MEFA and has tried to be fair to all the diverse groups in fandom. I thought the way she handled this rating thing was ill advised, but anyone can make a mistake. I'm really sad that she has decided to give up.

Well, I cast my vote in favour of having the 2012 MEFA. I hope it will go ahead and I think we should try and make it the best MEFA ever.

7/3/2012 #669
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Same here. Does anyone happen to know where Elliska posts her stories? I'm inclined to leave a few friendly reviews.

I don't know. Someone mentioned knowing her work from Stories of Arda, where even signed reviews can be deleted. I honestly don't know about any other archives.

Randy, while LC is memebers only, I found certain attitudes displayed by certain people uncomfortable. It was as if anything Marta did just earned her more fire and the worst possible assumptions were made about her motives.

I did too. But understand that we were dealing with some very hurt feelings. People felt rejected and marginalized. People who had also put a lot of work into the MEFAs themselves. Part of this was from the original misunderstanding. However, Marta told us to go ahead and discuss amongst ourselves, which we did, and then she reacted by pulling down the whole house.

I'm between a rock and a hard place, because I can't really speak freely without becoming toast. I'm probably toast already.

7/3/2012 #670
pandemonium-213

Same here. Does anyone happen to know where Elliska posts her stories? I'm inclined to leave a few friendly reviews.

Stories of Arda, I believe. I don't know if they are posted elsewhere.

Randy, while LC is memebers only, I found certain attitudes displayed by certain people uncomfortable. It was as if anything Marta did just earned her more fire and the worst possible assumptions were made about her motives.

"Certain attitudes" and "certain people" make me a wee bit (well, more than a wee bit) tetchy, because despite the connotation of specificity, it could apply in a broader sense than you intend. For the record, I strived to maintain a professional tone and called for a constructive approach, rather than whinging and hand-wringing. I cannot say that the response from MEFA leadership impressed me in any positive way, particularly in a professional context. That's not how my world functions.

Now I will snark: given what ensued on all sides, any attempt to put a measured, reasonable tone on the issue may as well (to paraphrase Basil Fawlty) be trying to talk to the cat. And absolutely, Elliska (or anyone, for that matter) should never be subjected to such reprehensible behavior. By the same token, I personally resent being tarred with the brush by the vague language from MEFA leadership that implies those of us who took issue with the ratings were responsible for this alleged action. And I say "alleged," because no specifics have been forthcoming.

7/3/2012 . Edited 7/3/2012 #671
OldStoneface

piewacket Wow. Why do so many people involved in fanfiction act like asshats?

militaryhistory Because it's the internet.

This....

EDIT: Well this is interesting. I was not aware it would keep the hyperlinked profiles in the reply...

7/3/2012 . Edited 7/3/2012 #672
Virtuella

Pande, I thought your letter was very well worded and I had no issue with how you handled things. But I eventually tuned out of the debate because I felt whatever Marta did, short of doing exactly as we asked, was getting her stick. After she said that the author's explanation would be optional, I thought people could have eased off instead of putting on more pressure. After what happened previously, I can't disagree with the principle of screening ratings.

7/3/2012 #673
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

"Certain attitudes" and "certain people" make me a wee bit (well, more than a wee bit) tetchy, because despite the connotation of specificity, it could apply in a broader sense than you intend. For the record, I strived to maintain a professional tone and called for a constructive approach, rather than whinging and hand-wringing. I cannot say that the response from MEFA leadership impressed me in any positive way, particularly in a professional context. That's not how my world functions.

Same here. I think we can say that some people were outraged and hurt. Me, I was just very annoyed by what I felt were unnecessary changes tactlessly applied. I'm trying to keep it respectable out in public, but I'm kind of pissed right now.

One thing is becoming apparent to me from the comments coming in -- there has long been a split between the 'wholesome' Tolkien ficcers and the 'Adult' fanficcers, and push finally came to shove in a perfect storm of fuckuppedness.

7/3/2012 #674
Morthoron

Actually, Stoney, I think the asshattery is part and parcel of the partisanship and cliquishness of fan-fiction, which is quite evident in the quid pro quo voting and review process that marred MEFA. Now it is writ large in this tempest-in-a-teapot issue regarding Elvish porn, and people have taken sides. I despise the idea of Legolas fisting Celeborn, but if it's an adult site (I believe there are age limits, yes?) then poorly written smut should receive poor reviews, or no reviews at all (considering one cannot give a poor review, since the asinine word count of a review matters more than the content).

7/3/2012 #675
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

After she said that the author's explanation would be optional, I thought people could have eased off instead of putting on more pressure. After what happened previously, I can't disagree with the principle of screening ratings.

True, but it still left us with about five times the number of stories having to be submitted to the reviews panels, no exceptions unless you had them at one of the approved archives. For someone being crushed under time burdens, that's an odd policy. I think it deserved some discussion, and that discussion was taken to another venue as requested.

7/3/2012 #676
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I despise the idea of Legolas fisting Celeborn, but if it's an adult site (I believe there are age limits, yes?) then poorly written smut should receive poor reviews, or no reviews at all (considering one cannot give a poor review, since the asinine word count of a review matters more than the content).

No, technically it's a 'family-friendly' site, whatever that means. Of course, it only links to stories at other archives and sites, most of which have ratings, warnings and age limits. Plenty of opportunity for the sensitive-natured folk to be warned off. I agree -- the voting should take place with our silence if we don't care for stuff like that.

7/3/2012 #677
Virtuella

there has long been a split between the 'wholesome' Tolkien ficcers and the 'Adult' fanficcers

Leaving people like you and me stuck in the middle. :(

7/3/2012 . Edited 7/3/2012 #678
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Actually, Stoney, I think the asshattery is part and parcel of the partisanship and cliquishness of fan-fiction, which is quite evident in the quid pro quo voting and review process that marred MEFA.

Veering into dangerous territory here, but someone made that point on the MEFA Live Journal, about some marginal 'Elvish porn' getting through while other stories didn't and it all depended on who loved ya. I thought it was a fair comment, even though I'm not innocent in this.

7/3/2012 #679
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Leaving people like you and I stuck in the middle. :(

Precisely. If not for the fact that Haru is here at FFN and rated T, I think, it would have to go past the panels because of the disturbing theme of what 'Haru' saves the innocent young elf-maiden from with his intervention. And there's no damn Elvish foo-foo in the entire piece.

7/3/2012 #680
Virtuella

Gah, I said "people like you and I." I should lay off that easy-drinking wine...

7/3/2012 #681
Zoop

I'll be the first to admit that I'm quite the newb when it comes to fanfiction, and even moreso with regards to the MEFAs. I confess a deep-rooted thrill at the prospect of being nominated, just from the primal need for attention and acknowledgement [blush]. I guess what I fail to grasp is how any restriction on content is manageable without rigorous review by a panel of judges. And I don't mean in the sense of choosing which ones are "worthy" and which are smut. I mean, why aren't the awards open to all fanfiction, regardless of genre? Yes, you'd get the adult ficcers, but hey, I'll bet some of that isn't gratuitous porn, and any that is just wouldn't, you know, win anything. Except maybe in a Best Elf Porn category (or Most Ridiculous Elf Porn, which would be even funnier). I probably have a very naive view, but it just seems to me that quality should override subject matter, and the judging should be handled differently. Yes, Story A got 57 reviews, but they were all WTFs and 'this sucks', whereas Story B got 5 reviews but they were about structure and content and loaded with critical praise. Why should Story A get a higher score than Story B?

I don't know. Just rambling at this point. What prompted the rule to exclude "questionable" adult material? Was it squeamishness on the part of the judges, who I gather are volunteers? How many people are generally on the panel? Can they be "lumped" into genre-specific subgroups as well, so the particular areas someone doesn't feel comfortable reading won't be on the docket for that subgroup to review? Just thinking out loud. I hate to see something like this go straight to hell just as I'm getting into writing fanfiction. XD Selfish, I know.

7/3/2012 #682
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I mean, why aren't the awards open to all fanfiction, regardless of genre?

Because they aren't and never have been. At the very beginning, there was a faction that wanted to exclude all 'slash' even if it was T-rated with no sex scenes at all. Lassa-lanta will bear me out on this. The reason for the 'Mature' ratings cap was because some people didn't want to rub shoulders with stories like Violation of the Evenstar or Celebrian, which I understand. Just as I understand the principle of not wanting to rub shoulders with censorship.

The policy was that stories that were on the borderline between Mature and Adult were supposed to go past a ratings panel. Someone didn't do that, and here we are.

I probably have a very naive view, but it just seems to me that quality should override subject matter, and the judging should be handled differently. Yes, Story A got 57 reviews, but they were all WTFs and 'this sucks', whereas Story B got 5 reviews but they were about structure and content and loaded with critical praise. Why should Story A get a higher score than Story B?

That's how it has always worked at the MEFAs. It isn't just a simple vote. It's based on the size and point content of a review, and everyone quickly learned that a negative review was counter-productive.

7/3/2012 #683
Virtuella

Yes, you'd get the adult ficcers, but hey, I'll bet some of that isn't gratuitous porn, and any that is just wouldn't, you know, win anything.

Alas, it's not as straight forward as that. I wouldn't like to have to compete against a story that got reviews not for literary quality but for its panty-wetting propensities. And I do think that there should be some limits, though of course that brings up the tricky questions of where they are. I also think that a minimum level of respect for the source material is indicated and I do wonder about the mind-set of people who think it's fine to write stuff that would really, really upset Tolkien.

7/3/2012 #684
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Alas, it's not as straight forward as that. I wouldn't like to have to compete against a story that got reviews not for literary quality but for its panty-wetting propensities.

That already happens. In previous years, the criteria for 'Mature' material was very liberal, although I'm kind of uncomfortable now. Two of my stories, Cophetua and Strange Stars had their share of cold-shower material, but they also had solid stories to go with it. Did that give me an edge? Oddly enough, no, considering Strange Stars' success at the MEFAs versus its performance on another awards competition. Slash is gonna hurt you.

And what upsets Tolkien? I've gotten criticism on everything from Elves liking cats to . . . the fate of Legolas in Strange Stars.

7/3/2012 #685
The Lauderdale

What prompted the rule to exclude "questionable" adult material?

Before my time, although I think the ban was always intended for "outright" rather than "questionable" adult material.

Was it squeamishness on the part of the judges, who I gather are volunteers?

Ratings guidelines were ultimately set by admin, so far as I can tell. Judges, ie. ratings panel people, were volunteers and worked with the guidelines given them. I have effectively outed myself as one of those people last year. Interestingly, from what I can see, ratings panel volunteers tend to be Mature or Adult (the terms under the old guidelines) story authors themselves. My belief is that the panel self-selected that way. Authors who identified at the more mature/adult end of the scale tended volunteer themselves out of a concern about the cap on Adult works and how such matters were to be judged, and wanted to be sure that if a ratings system and potential disqualification procedure was in place, it be as fair as possible. That was certainly my motivation for volunteering last year, and I've seen a number of other panelists say as much.

How many people are generally on the panel?

Three on a panel, with a few in the wings in case someone needed to recuse themselves or didn't have the time. Decision to keep a story or disqualify was based on a majority decision - two out of three or three out of three say this story fits the guidelines, or does not.

Can they be "lumped" into genre-specific subgroups as well, so the particular areas someone doesn't feel comfortable reading won't be on the docket for that subgroup to review?

That what the folks in the wings were for, in the event that someone didn't have the time or didn't think they could be fair about the story.

Just thinking out loud. I hate to see something like this go straight to hell just as I'm getting into writing fanfiction.

Me too, very much so. [frowns/scowls] I'd like to see the MEFAs salvaged, but it looks like several new awards competitions are already being brainstormed as their replacement(s).

7/3/2012 #686
The Lauderdale

And what upsets Tolkien?

My Orcs.

There's also the matter of people writing fanfiction because something in Tolkien's original upset them.

7/3/2012 . Edited 7/3/2012 #687
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

And what upsets Tolkien?

My Orcs.

And my elves. Nasty contrarian buggers refused to knuckle under to the Valar. Instead, they stayed in the world where Eru put them and are working to make it a better place through social activism and general philanthropy. Which includes manufacturing educational toys.

7/3/2012 #688
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Before my time, although I think the ban was always intended for "outright" rather than "questionable" adult material.

It was, but there was some confusion about what 'outright' meant. Some people thought that as long as it wasn't 'PWP' it was okay. But that would mean that the LOTR equivalent of Fanny Hill or DeSade's Justine was eligible. Or American Psycho. And I don't think that was ever true.

7/3/2012 #689
Virtuella

Interestingly, from what I can see, ratings panel volunteers tend to be Mature or Adult (the terms under the old guidelines) story authors themselves. My belief is that the panel self-selected that way. Authors who identified at the more mature/adult end of the scale tended volunteer themselves

This is interesting indeed. I saw some people make it look as if their stories would br judged by a panel of brick-headed prudes (I believe the term "church-lady" was used somewhere)

What upsets Tolkien? Well, I said "really, really upset." I didn't mean having a different perspective on aspects of his work or addressing issues that one has found unsatisfactory in the source work (I hear you, Laud). I mean writing things that we can be certain Tolkien, considering the man we know he was, would have found revolting. Now, of course someone could come and say, "I find it unsatisfactory that LOTR doesn't contain any hardcore p0rn," but frankly, why do they bother with Middle-earth at all then? Why don't they just read and write their hardcore p0rn and let LOTR be?

7/3/2012 #690
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