Welcome to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Cornucopia.
This thread is intended to clear up some of the rampant misconceptions regarding not only Critics United, but also the reasoning behind some of ff.nets rules. We did our best to make it as comprehensive and easy to understand as possible.
However, if we missed something, please let one of the forum mods know so we can include it.
Cha6/6/2012 . Edited 10/15/2012 #1
To all the direct contributors of this thread. If not for their hard work, this thread would not have come together so quickly:
DarkSacredJewelXoX, Gaaras1Girl, Runic Healer, Flaer, The Sky Above, BBBKA, Dr Facer, Rarity Royale, Yemi Hikari
To the following for contributing and indirectly assisting in the formation of this thread:
Lord Kelvin, awesomegirl13, Ten Ways to Spoil Dinner, Lollje, MrGoodyTwoShoes, That Way, Cherry Dragon
To all our past members who contributed to the development and guidelines of Critics United as well as helping to come up with solutions to most rule violations. They are too numerous to name, but they are no less appreciated and still held in high regards.
To all our present members who, without knowing it, assisted in one way or another, even if it was simply standing firm with their beliefs in unity:
Son of Palpatine, SilveringBlue, RayneXHatake, EternalKnight219, onewithnothing, MewJounouchi, Chocolate Pencil, TaiyouChan, Spectral Lily, live.die.be, Mrs. Flamer, Shaded Silvering Grey, i.like.frozen.peaches, Whimsical Symphony, BerlinZwingli, LeftHRyder, Yuna Honey, Rome Beauty, The Legend of Derpy, Zelus the Envious, Quiet Librarian and Total Justice.6/9/2012 . Edited 6/9/2012 #2
How Critics United Works
Critics United provides a support structure to site members who were already concritting on their own and advising people their work has violated a rule.
We all have our favorite fandoms we like to read. If a member sees a violator, they will review and at least tell the writer their story is in violation and why.
We do not report their story at this time. The review is merely a warning because there are writers who *haven't * read the rules or simply didn't understand them. Now, if the writer reacts negatively, like cussing us out or telling us to f*ck off, or just outright ignores that first review, then we will bring it to the attention of the group. Each member either chooses to review the story or just report it. The reason for this is there are writers who think that first warning review is a joke or some sort of flame. Usually, when they get more reviews emphasizing the same thing, their story is in violation, they will basically say, 'Ooops, sorry about that!' and then ask how to fix the story so they *don't* lose it.
Then, if we can, we will offer suggestions on how to fix the story. In the event of a writer blowing off the warning, then we will continue reporting the story until it is removed. Now, it takes time for the site admins to investigate all abuse reports. That gives the writer time to think and go about changing their story. If they don't make the effort to make it compliant within the site rules then obviously the site admins will see the violation and delete their story.
We're hoping the recent purge doesn't mean that the site admins have stopped investigating. The time it takes for the admins to investigate is a saving grace. We'd rather stop reporting a story if a writer is willing to get over their anger enough to focus on saving their work.
Nowhere in this process are we bullying a writer. We *NEVER* report unless a writer reacts negatively or completely ignores our review. Most of us give the writer a couple of weeks before bringing them to the group, plenty of time for any busy individual to get our review. To bully someone we'd have to force them into doing what we want. If a story is being deleted then obviously we *didn't* get them to do what we wanted, did we?
The choices from the beginning are entirely up to the writer. Contrary to popular belief, we don't just report stories without notifying the writer in some way shape or form. Never have, never will We have strict standards and procedures we have followed since this group was formed.
We kept in mind that we did *NOT* want to target writers or harass or bully them in any way. If we did that, we'd certainly be going after every story on a writer's account. Our policy is only one story at a time. We feel that if the writer loses one story, they should still have a chance to save their others. Also, if we reported all their stories they could lose their entire account and that would not be fair to them either.
We discourage our members to not go after old fics. If it's more than a year old, we don't bother with it, especially if the user profile hasn't been updated in at least that long. There are plenty of newer stories in violation and it's important to show the writers what they're doing wrong so they can fix things to be compliant within the site rules.6/9/2012 . Edited 6/9/2012 #3
These are some of the frequently asked questions CU has gotten over the course of our existence.
Hopefully this will be able to answer your questions you may have after finding out about us.
1. Why was Critics United formed?
It was founded in 2010 when myself, DarkSacredJewelXoX and the mod Gaaras1Girl were getting tired of trying to find good stories, but due to the huge amount of Truth or Dare, script format, FaceBook fics, etc. We both were critics and were already used to getting the angry authors who didn't want to hear that their story was against the rules. After stumbling upon another author, who once was a mod here, we began sending each other stories that were breaking the rules. After brainstorming the idea, the forum was made and the search for members began. We were tired of all the poorly written rule breaking fics that were swarming the site, overshadowing writing that was allowed to be posted.
2. Why doesn't CU warn the author before reporting their story?
We do warn the author first. One member from CU will find a story and review it. Many authors are willing to fix it and admit that they didn't read the rules. Others lash out, others tell us they won't change it, and some just ignore us and continue posting the same way. One of those three things has to happen before other CU members are informed. The story isn't reported until it's clear that the author will not fix it.
3. Why is CU deleting stories?
No site member has the power to delete stories. We can only report them. The administrators of the site are the ones who make the final call.
4. Can't you be nicer in your reviews?
Not all of us leave harsh reviews. Some review according to the situation, not just copy and paste the same review. Some members do have copy and paste reviews for some types of violations. It makes it less personal and more detached. It must also be taken into account that an author has most likely lashed out at a member and at that point, we don't feel the need to be as kind in reviews. Even then, the only reviews you will see from us here in the forum is from rule breakers or those in the Help Topics.
We still have stories that we give constructive criticism on that have no reason to be in the forum. There are also the "Review Request V2.5", "The CU help desk - Q&A thread', and "Not all Critiques are Bad " topics which further prove that CU isn't simply about getting rid of violating fics.
5. Do CU members leave anonymous reviews?
No CU member leaves anonymous reviews. It is unfair to leave a review that may leave the author with questions and not leave a way for them to get in touch with the author who wrote the review.
6. Why does CU leave reviews calling stories "sh*t fics" or other names?
It is the reviewer's own personal opinion of the story. We have rendered cursing from reviews, but that doesn't mean an author isn't entitled to their opinion that a story is crap. Reviewers aren't required to be nice in their reviews and CU members are not told how they should review a story. Each has their own personal style, some being harsher than others. The term "sh*tfic coined long before CU was even an idea.
7. Why is CU reporting stories just because they have bad grammar or aren't good enough?
That is a myth. We only report rule breaking stories; however, poor grammar, punctuation etc. is reportable. Sometimes we'll point out grammar errors, but first and foremost is the rule violation. If the grammar is so bad that a first grader could do better, it's likely a trollfic and will get reported for that.
8. Why does CU gang up on an author?
Sometimes it takes another person telling the author that they are in violation before they are willing to change it. Our goal is for the author to fix their story (if possible), not to report it into oblivion. Sometimes it flusters the author, sometimes it gets their attention and they change it.
9. A lot of people don't like Critics United. Doesn't that bother you?
No it doesn't. If we didn't have thick skin, we would have stopped reporting and warning authors a long time ago. After dealing with authors and seeing a trend in responses, it's very easy to let things roll off our backs.
10. Why doesn't CU just report a story and not review them?
It is completely unfair to come onto the site and find your story has been removed and you have no idea why. Every author has the right to know they are in violation and be given the opportunity to fix it. CU provides that opportunity. There are many independent critics and other movements who do not warn people that their story is getting reported. We do and when it's removed, the author knows exactly why it happened.
11. Is CU reporting MA stories?
We used to report very few. There was confusion and self interpretation of what could be considered MA. CU has reported bestiality stories and stories when scenes that were clearly too mature for the site. Other than that, due to confusion about what 'M' could contain, we did not report MA fics.
We weren't involved with the mass deletion of MA stories in June because of the fact so few were brought in. However, the site adminis made it clear on the update that stories with sex scenes or scenes depicted too violent won't be tolerated:
Fiction MA rated content which can contain adult/explicit content on the site. http://www.FanFiction.Net only accepts content in the Fiction K through Fiction M range. Fiction M can contain adult language, themes and suggestions. Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature is considered Fiction MA and has not been allowed on the site since 2002.
12. There are tons of stories like mine, so everybody does it! Why are you picking on me?
We're not singling anyone out. We just happened to find your story. As for the 'tons' of similar stories, we don't have that many members and have real lives. Most of us don't go out 'looking' for violators. If you know of stories just like yours, the other writers might appreciate you giving them a heads up their story is violating the site rules. Unless you want us to tell them?
13. Why do you do this?
Each member has their reasons, but just about all of us love our fanfiction. We love reading and/or writing it. We all know that this site is the best for fanfiction. However we got tired of the rapidly increasing amount of violations. We each decided to do something to help solve a worsening problem. We could've easily ignored things and just continued looking for good stories to read, but felt if we didn't at least try, who will.
14. But the site admins should be policing the site for violations, what makes you think you can do their job?
We aren't trying to do their jobs. The site admins asked all of us when we signed up for our accounts to police ourselves. The site admins would have to hire a huge staff to patrol this site. They are only making enough money off of advertising fees to cover costs, but it isn't enough to pay for the amount of people needed to check through the hundreds of thousands of archived stories for violations. They would have to charge members a fee to use the site to cover the cost of hiring someone to do that.
15. Do you guys ever disagree on how your group should work?
That's how we worked out our methods. We argued and figured out what worked best that would make everyone happy and still be within the site rules. That's why some members are harsh reviewers and others are not. We don't all work the same and the group has to accommodate that.
16. Have you ever seen a really good story deleted because of a rule violation, or do you just go after the ones you don't like?
Yes. There have been some violators that were actually pretty good we reported in our early days that we had to watch get deleted. Those stories are part of the reason why we came up with solutions to most rule violations that we will share with writers who really want to save their stories.
17. Does CU work outside of
No. Enforcing the rules of every website any of us frequent is not the life goal or focus of every member.
18. Does CU work in collaboration with any other forum?
CU works independent to any other movement or forum. Any forum or person claiming we collaborate with them is just looking for attention. each forum of critics has their own way of handling stories and although we sometimes visit each other's forums, we are not working together.
19. Is CU reporting stories for being yaoi or yuri?
No we aren't. A story won't be removed because it's a same sex pairing and none of us have a vendetta against same sex pairings, although some of us do not read it. The reason a yaoi or yuri story is removed is because it most likely has a lemon in it, not because it has same sex pairings.6/9/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 3/1 #4
Solutions to make violating stories compliant with the site rules
This was written in collaboration with MrGoodyTwoShoes.
We've all faced situations where the author breaks the rule and they want to know how to fix it? It used to be that none of us had any suggestions other than recommending they delete it.
However, there were writers truly sincere in wanting to keep their work without violating the site rules. So through good ol' trial and error, as well as stumbling across the work of some very clever writers, we eventually came up with some suggestions.
So here are some quick, ready made solutions that generally work or put the author on the right path of thinking and working creatively within the site rules. The casual lurker at CU can use these ideas just like our members do when working with writers.
However, there are some violations that can't be corrected, such as plagiarism.
A. Problem: Author writes an author's note (announcement/update) as a chapter/story.
Solution: Suggest they move the announcement/update to their profile page. Believe it or not, people will check profile pages, so be ready to reassure the author of that.
B. Problem: Author posts a Story Idea/Story Challenge.
Solution: Suggest moving the Idea/Challenge to their profile page or even creating a forum for their challenges. If not, there are existing forums with threads to post those ideas in. Writers are always looking for these and do search forums.
C. Problem: Author posts an interactive poll as a chapter/story.
Solution: Suggest moving to profile page (where there is a poll function) or a forum.
D. Problem: Author is writing in 2nd person perspective ("You" based).
Solution: Not much can be done outside of switching to 1st or 3rd person perspectives.
E. Problem: Two authors, working together, post the same story on their respective accounts.
Solution1: Review both authors, alerting them to the rule about multiple entries of the same story. Suggest they should choose who gets to post it to their account. Make sure the review is exactly the same, word for word, on both stories. Do not make the choice for them as to who will post the story. They generally work it out for themselves. Whichever writer does *not* post the story can post an announcement in their profile alerting readers about the story and where it is.
Solution 2: Another solution that has worked well in the past is suggesting to the authors that they open a joint account to publish the work they write together.
F. Problem: Author posts a list.
Solution: Suggest the author begins writing a group of short stories (drabbles) based off each point in the list with the list serving as a table of contents. Most authors jump at the idea of doing this and usually grow as a writer.
G. Problem: An internet chat/facebook/myspace/twitter/email/text message story is posted.
Solution #1: Suggest the author re-writes their fic and removes the chat portion where they refer to what went on in the chat without writing any part of the story like the chat room.
Solution #2:Another option is to convert the chat into dialog. However, instead of using the "he/she said" dialog tags, it'd be more like "he/she typed". Encourage them to paint a written picture for their readers so they know what's going on.
H. Problem: Author posts an interactive character submission sheet (Oc's needed, SYOC Hunger Games fics, etc.).
Solution #1: Suggest author moves the form to their profile and they have submissions PMed to them via their profile while they write the story.
Solution #2: Suggest they create a forum where they place the sheet and people can submit and continue to interact as the story evolves.
Solution #3: Suggest they delete and repost while utilizing either Solutions #1 or #2. This is to remove the 'evidence' of their story being interactive. However, the more reviews they already have, the more reluctant they will be to do this. So do not push this one.
Extra note: Just be aware that most reviewers are idiots, so chances are a bunch will still review with sheet submissions despite the author changing how they get submissions. Some authors might need to be advised of this.
I. Problem: Author writes a story in chat/script format.
Solution: Suggest to the author that they need to write it out as a traditional story following proper grammar rules concerning dialog. Be ready for the excuse of, "I don't know how to write like that..." with the reply of, "all you need to do is character said this…" and so forth. These can be dicey and you may end up guiding them through changing it.The upside is that the "dialog" is already there, it just needs to look like normal dialog and not like chat/script.
J. Problem: Interactive Q&A/Send in your dare story (usually written in chat/script see above).
Solution #1: Similar to the interactive character sheet. Suggest the author takes requests/questions/dares via PM and then writes the story around it.
Solution #2: Probably the best idea, take it to a forum where they can interact and pretty much role play to their hearts content.
K. Problem: Author posts a songfic with copyrighted song lyrics.
Solution #1: Author removes the lyrics and notes within the story where the song in question is "playing" in the background or being "sung" by a character. Author could state in an 'Author's notes' at the end of the chapter suggesting readers look up the lyrics to see why the song was used.
Solution #2: Author removes the copyrighted lyrics. In their profile they can post a link (currently they can only copy/paste the url address as links are still disabled at this time) to the song or in an author's note at the end of the story they can state the name of the song and the performer and suggest readers look it up on YouTube.
L. Problem: Author has used Real People in a story.
Solution #1: Author changes the names to original characters that share the same traits as the real people.
Solution #2: Author changes the spelling of the name. People still know who is who but they can't be claimed as a "real person" because of spelling difference.
M. Problem: Non-story essays/rants/opinions.
Solution: Turn it into a story where the characters express the writer's thoughts and feelings through conversations and interactions with other characters. There are some exceptionally clever examples of this across the site and the writer can take it as a challenge to be creative while expressing themselves.6/9/2012 . Edited 10/15/2012 #5
Fanfiction.net now allows people to upload pictures to the site. However, the site does have some rules. If you have a picture that is in violation you have two solutions. One of the solutions is to edit the picture so it is complaint, but you are only allowed to do this if you have the rights to do so, which will be explained in the third post. The second solution and most practical is to find a new picture. I'll note here that there are people on DA who may take a request to create cover art, but be forewarned that they don't have to take your request. If someone creates cover art for you, be sure to thank them. Anyways, here is an explanation of rules two through four.
FFnet Cover Art: No Adult Content - original article
This is an essay covering one of the rules for uploaded pictures on fanfiction.net and why they have such a rule in place. The rule I'm going to cover in this essay is number two.
Posting adult/provactive images are not allowed will result in the immediate removal of your account.
I'll start off with the fact that while the site admins currently do misspell the word provocative, do not use the fact it is misspelled as an excuse not to obey the rule. This infraction is enough to get your account completely removed from the site and you could lose every single thing you've worked on. Breaking the rule is not worth the cost of losing your account and every single bit of work you may have put into the work.
The word provocative has two meanings that people posting cover art on fanfiction.net need to be aware of. ( The first definition of provocative is this. making people angry or excited: deliberately aimed at exciting or annoying people
This isn't to say a person can't make a statement about something. For example, the slogan phrase "Just Say No" was created to remind kids when they saw it to stay away from drugs. McGruff the Crime Dog was created to remind kids that a life of crime doesn't pay. Smokey the Bear's message is to "prevent forest fires". These are used as teaching tools and whenever their images come up the child is given a friendly reminder not to do stuff they shouldn't. None of these images are meant to provoke fear, anger or sadness among an individual.
Have any of you seen those ads trying to get people to stop smoking though? These ads are shown at night for a reason. Sure, they have a good message for people, but the point behind them is to evoke the strong feeling of fear whenever someone picks up a cigarette. Something that provokes a strong feeling of anger are pictures of the KKK. So unlike "Just Say No", McGruff and Smokey all of these images are going to be considered provocative because they are meant to cause a reaction to the extreme.
However, this doesn't mean you can't have an image that evokes some kind of feeling. For example, the characters from Nightmare before Christmas are "creepy" characters but they are also a child friendly kind of creepy. No, the kind of pictures not allowed on the site are the ones that would cause people to go up in arms if they found out such an image was found on what is supposed to be a child friendly site. So it is basically important to keep the images used as G rated as possible. Which I might add goes back to the first rule for uploading images. All the Site Guidelines apply.
Under the Site Guidelines is says this. Entry title and summary must be rated K for all audience. No exceptions.
Now, some people may think along the lines of, "but this rule applies only to the title and summary". However, there is a reason why the title and summary on all stories must be rated K for everyone. This site is supposed to be child friendly and thus the images posted to the site should be child friendly. It doesn't matter that there is a filter that will stop children from finding M rated fanfics when they peruse the archives either. The stuff posted to your profile is not filtered and a child can easily pick up an M rated fanfic to read and still find the image. More information on this later.
Moving on, I am going to cover the second definition of provocotive. sexually arousing : intended to arouse someone sexually
This means "no porn", right? Actually, that is only scratching the surface of what the site admins over at ffnet don't want posted. First, a lot of the artists on this site know full well that you can create an image that arouses someone sexually and it not be a pornographic image. The more skin one shows, the more likely someone is to be aroused sexually. Thus the more skin you show on a character means the more likely someone is to be aroused sexually. On the flip side showing some skin isn't a bad thing either, nor are characters that happen to have a large chest size.
Let's go instead with "would Disney show it?" While Disney does have kissing in the movies they do not show kissing lip to lip on their covers art. The cover art that does depict kissing is like the cover art from the reading book "The Princess and the Frog: Kiss the Frog". Some people may argue along the lines of, "but it is so romantic to see them kissing lip to lip in the picture". The reason people find the picture so romantic is because kissing does cause sexual arousal.
How about clothing that people wear? I unfortunately can't say "if you wouldn't let your kids dress like that" simply because I've seen the videos where parents let their little tykes dress up like hookers or beach babes and let them dance to provocative music. I think it is better to say "would their be a public outrage if you saw a thirteen year old dressing like this and posing like this. If the answer is yes, then your picture is probably provocative. If the answer is no, then your picture isn't provocative so long as the clothes fit.
Absolutely avoid content that is ecchi. One of the things this means is avoiding pictures that show a female's characters panties. There should be no pictures where the female's chest size defies willing suspense of disbelief. There should be no pictures where the female anatomy looks like it is going to pop out of the clothing any minute which goes back to clothes actually fitting. It should look like a female is wearing her bra. No pictures that have a secret joke.
I can now come to the adult content not allowed part. The reason adult content is not allowed on the site is because the site can face legal action as it is supposed to be a child friendly site. Contrary to what some people believe, this isn't a censorship issue but a case of selection. A parent picks and chooses what their children are ready to read while the librarian picks and chooses the books the public is ready to read, not to mention they keep more iffy stuff in the back room.
Not to mention it is a serious legal issue. Over on deviant art Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence and Gore, Strong Language or Ideologically Sensitive material gets a minor warning or a strict warning. The image is given a filter over it in order to stop minors from viewing it. On top of this they do not allow certain images depicting minors in a certain manner. They would get into legal trouble for allowing minors to easily get a hold of mature content.
Now, some people may be thinking along the lines of "Why can't fanfiction.net implement a system like DA does?" An advanced system like that would require lines and lines of coding. Programming stuff like this is in reality no easy task and shouldn't be treated as if it is easy. Not to mention ffnet is free to use and no one has to pay to use the site, which helps to maintain the costs to have a programmer to do advanced programming like this.
- Keep your pictures to a K rating
- Don't post anything that makes the readers go "sexy".
- Don't post violent pictures. I didn't cover this, but I think keeping the pictures to a K rating covers this.
- Don't post pictures that is meant to strike the wrong cord, like KKK pictures.6/13/2012 #6
FFnet Cover Art: Blinding Work - Original article.
In this journal entry I am going to cover the third rule about the art work for cover pages over on fanfiction.net. Here is the rule.
Posting purposefully distracting, "blinding" images are not allowed, i.e. images with solid neon colors.
Some people may be thinking along the lines of "but this is a direct violation of my freedom of speech". However, would you say the same thing to someone who creates a billboard on the interstate that was so distracting and so blinding that it caused you to get into an accident? Does their freedom of speech trump safety? There is a reason why the police sometimes hush the media on certain issues. Certain information could cause panic among those hearing the news, as is shown in the movie Die Hard II. I won't spoil it though for the people who haven't seen it.
On top of this, there is a health risk with certain images that people use. Do any of you remember the big news about the forth Twilight movie and how it caused seizures among some movie goers? I'm not speaking out against the movie here, but there was a serious health issue for people going and seeing the movies. I know some people may still think it is a hoax because there were people who had seizures who claimed not to have been effected. However, I am going to point out the fact some of these people were on medication to prevent these seizures while other people didn't have seizures because their seizures were not induced by light.
Well, the same issue goes for the images you are posting to the site. I'm not going to be posting any images with moving graphics because I don't want to cause people problems. I don't know if ffnet even supports cover art with moving graphics. If it did I am going to flat out tell you not to post any as that will be considered problematic right away. Not all moving graphics will cause a seizure but the site admins are going to play it safe as it is a serious health issue.
Actually, this all boils down to a health issue for people. I know that some of you reading this article are going to think, "but it doesn't happen to me". That doesn't mean it doesn't happen to other people. You're basically saying you don't care what happens to other people when you know that your graphic is being posted and may cause problems. Certain images might not induce a seizure, but they can cause a person to have a mild headache. Or they cause a strain on the eyes. Be forewarned that the samples I am linking to may cause an eye strain for some people. They are though, wonderful artwork.
The second type of distracting art work I am going to talk about is art work that uses neon colors. Neon colors are really cool colors I admit, but they also have an effect of causing things to pop out. Sometimes this is a good thing and the neon color actually helps the picture show up. Other times the image will just pop out way too much and will draw the eye in way to many directions. The more neon color used, the more the picture will pop out to the eye. For artists looking to use neon colors in their cover art, less is more and use a neutral color to somewhat neutralize the effect of the neon color rather then black or white. And for example...
The third type of art work that one should absolutely not use is op art. Op art is art work that creates an optical illusion. Optical illusions are done specifically to distract the eye. Same as with the neon colors, not all cause problems for the eyes, but others do. The rule of thumb is don't use solid complimentary colors and don't use solid neon colors. And absolutely don't use images that you can see the illusion of movement or hidden pictures. And for example...
The third type of art work is glittery pictures. I know people are thinking... but didn't you cover that with moving pictures? I'm specifically talking about the pictures that are still but have a glitter effect applied to them. Like this one.
This image is all right because the glitter effect is confined to a small area. However, lets say this was the complete picture and it was covered with glitter effect completely. That would constitute an image which is hard on the eyes for some people and that you shouldn't use.6/13/2012 #7
FFnet Cover Art: Right to Post - original article
I'm now going to cover rule number four for the cover page art work over on ffnet.
You must have the required permission and rights to use the image that you upload.
Let's say you are writing a fanfic for Pirates of the Caribbean. You think that the coin from the movie would illustrate your fanfic very well and you find this picture of the coin on screenmusings. ( Since you found the picture on the net, that means you can use it... right? Just because you find something on the net doesn't mean it is in public domain though... so no. How about if you screen capped the picture yourself from the DVD you happen to own? The thing is, just because you own a copy of the work doesn't mean you have the rights to said work. You need permission from Disney before you can use any screen cap or partial screen cap for your cover art.
Now, some of you may be thinking... but screenmusings is using screen caps from movies without the permission of the people who do own the rights of the movie. Unlike our use for fanfic cover art, their use actually falls under fair use as they serve the purpose of a database and archive. Also, if you have a Harry Potter fan site you can use the art work to create your layouts because fan sites fall under the category of fair use as they report the sites. The site notes that you can use the scene caps to create fan art, but here is where things get a bit iffy.
When you create fanart from an already existing piece of work, you have to change so much of the original work for it to be considered in fair use. For example... llojleen's picture Harry Potter constitutes fair use despite the fact it looks exactly like the original because the medium is not a photograph but done with pencil and eraser. ( daekazu's Harry Potter vol. V OOTP constitutes fair use because they did the characters in their own style and even added in something at the bottom. (
However, when it comes to art work consisting of photo manipulation, you can't simply crop, recolor or erase background stuff for it to be considered fair use. You have to take the old image and actually turn it into something new. Like niko2137 does with their Harry Potter - Star Wards. ( Or it uses a lot of stock images but still makes something new as with anaweston's Manipulation: V. (
And even saying this, not everything is going to fall into fair use. The people who created the Harry Potter movies can come out and say "we didn't give you permission to manipulate our art work". That's where stock images come in. A stock image is an image that is under a copyright that allows for the free use in other art works out there. niko2137's art work falls under fair use too because it falls under parody/satire use. The safest bet though is to simply use stock images.
I mentioned a couple of paragraphs prior to this that simply recoloring an image doesn't amount to fair use. What if you have an awesome character who looks like Sonic the Hedgehog but has different colors and maybe a spike in a different position? There is a picture of Sonic in a really cool position, so is it all right to recolor the image so that it looks like your character? Actually... no. Recolors are not in fair use because you don't have permission from people to use the picture for recolor purposes. You can draw your character and use a similar pose, but you can't trace the image.
I point you all to the case of Nick Simmons where the man plagiarized heavily from the Bleach manga and other manga/comics. ( He also plagiarized artists on DA and he did this work a published work. Some of the work is traced from actual pictures while others are eyeballed off actual pictures. His comic book called Incarnate happens to have been pulled from publishing because of the plagiarism issues. ( Of course... lets say credit is actually given. Borrowing poses is one thing if you give credit on your art, but tracing and simply recoloring an image is a no go.
Some people may argue... "but I spent so much time on the recolor I did!" And I say to this... "really?" Here is cover art I created by cropping one of my existing art pieces. ( and ( original piece took half an hour to an hour to complete. Cropping and editing the cover art didn't take much time. And here is my fire dragon recolor I did. (
This took me less then a minute to do. Adding basic shading wouldn't have taken up much time at all. A lot of the work, like figuring out the composition and where the lines go is already done for me. The picture looks nice, but most of the work was already done before I created the recolor.
This isn't to say though you can't use recolors of your own work. This also isn't to say you can't use recolors of other people's work if they give you permission to recolor their work. You can't though recolor another work and use it unless you have permission. This includes recolors of existing works.
And now we come to the last point that needs to be made about permission issues. Lets say you see a piece of fan art or a photo you would really like to use for one of your fanfics. You still have to get permission from the original creator to use the piece as a fanfic color.
Asking in a comment on one of their pictures doesn't mean you've obtained permission either. A person can always say you aren't allowed to use their picture at all, or they may have some very strict stipulations for how the picture will be allowed to use. They can always recant their permission to if you do something to tick them off. (Like recoloring their artwork...)6/18/2012 #8
Glossary of FanFic Terms
The world of Fan Fiction can sometimes be intimidating because of the slang terms and abbreviations that get tossed about. With a little help from friends and from the Urban Dictionary, I have put together this list of terms and definitions to help out, although I'm sure I've missed a few.If there are any that should be added, or if I have made any mistakes, please contact me.
Adultfic - Fan fiction that depicts sexual or overly violent material. It would be rated PG-13 to NC-17 if it were a movie.
Alternate Universe [AU] – A story in which an author will choose to stray from the canon of the show and create events on a different timeline.
Beta Reader - An editor of fan fiction. This is anyone who is sent a story for the purpose of reading and reviewing a story before it is posted.
Canon - The events which happen in the fandom. Every person, event, statement, etc. that happens in the show, movie, or book is canon.
Concrit (Constructive Criticism) --A specific type of feedback in which helpful suggestions or edits are offered to improve the quality of a story. Concrit is not a flame, even though it may contain negative comments as well as positive.
Crackfic – A story that is completely random and makes no sense.
Crossover - A fan fiction which incorporates characters, events, places, ideas, etc from another fandom.
Deathfic - A fan fiction which deals with the death of a character.
Disclaimer - A note that acknowledges that the fan fiction author acknowledges the copyrights to the material which they are writing for.
Drabble - A fan fiction that is self contained and is no more than 100 hundred words.
Fandom - The activities, canon, characters, fan fiction, and fans of a particular show, movie, book, etc.
Femslash - A story depicting sexual situations between females.
F/F - denotes sex between two or more females.
Filk - A fan fiction that is a parody of a song.
Fix-It --An alternate universe story in which the author attempts to correct or rewrite something that they feel the original canon should not have done or failed to do properly.
Flame - A negative, hurtful comment meant only to anger or upset a person. Not all criticism is automatically a flame.
Fluff - A light fiction which is usually just a day-in-the-life piece that is cute and humorous.
Gary-Stu - Any original male character which is too perfect, too extreme, or otherwise badly done.
Lemon – A story with graphic or explicit sexual content, either heterosexual or homosexual in nature.
Lime – A story with light or mild sexual content, either heterosexual or homosexual in nature.
Lulz- Laughter at someone else's expense.
MST ((Mystery Science Theatre) – Author inserts of "humorous" personal comments within the body of a fan fiction story. Usually not funny to anyone but the author.
Mary-Sue - Any original female character which is too perfect, too extreme, or otherwise badly done.
M/M- Sex between two or more males.
MPreg (Male Pregnancy) –Stories with a male character capable of conceiving and/or carrying a child. May or may not include the birth as well.
Newbie - Any fan that is new to a fandom or list.
OC (Original Character) - Any character that is not in the series and is created by the author.
OOC(Out of Character) - A canon character acting in a way that is totally contrary to how they would act in the original work.
Oneshot --A single story that can be read and understood in full without having read any other prior story.
PWP (Porn Without Plot) -A piece of fan fiction that contains nothing more than sexual acts between the characters.
RPF (Real Person Fiction) -- Stories featuring a real life person, celebrity, or historical figure.
RPG - Role Playing Game .
Shipper -Someone who supports a particular pairing.
Slash – A story containing a homosexual relationship featuring at least one canon character.
Songfic - A fan fiction which is based on a song or includes a song.
Troll -- Someone who deliberately and repeatedly makes inflammatory comments in an attempt to upset other people and create trouble. Trolls try to get emotional responses, preferably as explosive as possible, and don't actually care about whatever point they are making so long as it starts an argument.
Vanilla - Sex which is ordinary male/female without any kinky stuff.
Whump/whumpage -- Stories in which physical or emotional pain is heaped on a favorite character, often repeatedly and brutally.
Yaoi- Stories with a male homosexual (m/m) relationship.
Yuri – Stories with a female homosexual (f/f) relationship.6/21/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/15/2012 #9
List of Websites Suitable for Celebrity/Real Person Fan Fiction
(from the FanFiction.net Rules and Guidelines)
Entries Not Allowed:
4- Stories with non-historical and non-fictional characters: actors, musicians, and etc.
As you can see, stories featuring real people are unwelcome here at FanFiction.net. There are, however, many sites that allow or are especially made for this type of story.
If you are currently writing, considering writing, or enjoy reading stories about your favourite celebrities, please head over to one of these sites instead of here.
Sites especially for One Direction fan fiction:
onedirectionfanfiction.net -the above and this one are two different sites.
Sites especially for Justin Bieber fan fiction:
General sites especially for real person fan fiction:
rockfic.com -for stories about rock bands such as Metallica, Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi, etc.
beatlesfanfictiondirectory.com -for stories about the Beatles.
asianfanfiction.com -for stories about J-pop and K-pop singers, Asian actors, etc.
fanfictional.forumotion.com/forum -for stories about J-pop, K-pop and C-pop singers.
iwritesins-andfanfiction.tumblr.com -for stories about Panic at the Disco.
jonasbrothersfanfictionarchi ve.com -for stories about the Jonas Brothers.
glee-rpf.livejournal.com -for stories about the cast of Glee.
monkeydrunky.com/edie/rps.htm -archive of slash fan fiction about various actors and musicians.
General sites that allow real person fan fiction:
quotev.com -formerly Quizazz.
archiveofourown.org -you will have to wait quite a while to receive an invite for an account here, although stories can be read without one.
Some of these sites have a very small community or have been abandoned years ago, however there are plenty of stories hosted on them that you can still read. If you join a rather large, not fan fiction specific site like DeviantArt, Tumblr or Livejournal, look around for groups or communities dedicated to the kind of stories you're interested in -you might even make some cool new friends.
If anybody has any more sites that I've missed or should be added to the list, please PM me or a mod and let us know. We'll try to add it when we have time.6/21/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/15/2012 #10
Why is MA content not allowed in Fanfiction.net?
MA content is content for Mature audiences. Usually ages 18 years old and above (American law, other countries' age of consent varies). Anyone below 18 is considered a minor.
Now, why is MA content not allowed in Fanfiction.net? First of all, Fanfictio.net's allows users that are 13 and above. Any sexually explicit content is considered as pornography and the parties involved are punishable by law.
An article states:
Harmful to Minors – A.K.A. Harmful Matters Constitution (Per U.S. Supreme Court) States may prohibit access by minors to material deemed harmful to minors. Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968) Federal "Harmful To Minors" Law There has not been a federal harmful matters law until the recent legislation, the Children's Online Protection Act (struck down by the Court for now), and the Children's Internet Protection Act (struck down for public libraries, for now).
Meaning lemons fall under that category.
Written works that blatantly show how sex happens is considered as pornographic. Since the age in which Fanfiction.net allows is 13, it's safe to say that there are minor-aged users on site. Meaning the site can be punishable due to having materials considered as harmful to the psychological and emotional status of minors.
Meaning whoever writes lemons is showing sexually explicit material to minors and thus, they are punishable by law. With the large amount of MA content on site, lawyers will be feasting on Fanfiction.net in case a parent presses charges for letting his/her child use a site that contains sexually explicit content. Especially when it should contain something like this:
"Content providers should take steps to avoid providing such material to minors. One way to do this is to have a warning page where viewers must click on a statement certifying that they are over the age of 18 or 21 and will not hold the site responsible for violation of community standards."
Meaning, Fanfiction.net should have a page where the user must confirm that he or she is already an adult. However, Fanfiction.net does not contain this feature, AdultFiction.com does. Xing Li is already punishable by not creating a feature like this in a site that obviously has graphic pornographic content. Majority of the users are below minors, and others are below the age of consent for having an account in the site.
(a)"Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or who has a minor assist any other person to engage in, or who transports any minor in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with the intent that such minor engage in, any sexually explicit conduct…………shall be punished as provided under subsection
Since the base of the site follows the law whatever country/state it is in, Fanfiction.net has to follow America's laws in terms of pornographic content.
'if the act depicted in the pornographic content is legal in the jurisdiction that it is being distributedfromthen the distributor of such content would not be in violation of the law regardless of whether it is accessible in countries where it is illegal. This does not apply to those whoaccessthe pornography, however, as they could still be prosecuted under local laws in their country.'
Fanfiction.net can be prosecuted for allowing pornographic content on a site accessible by minors. Since, on the article above is on the Bill of Rights of the US, FFet is punishable by the law US has in their Bills in regards to pornography. Additional punishment can also be added to their sentence if a certain law is violated from what state FFnet is located in.
As for the user that uploaded the pornographic content, he/she is punishable by the law from what country he or she comes from. For example, if the writer is from Singapore, the writer is punishable by laws from Singapore in regards to internet pornography.
What about the readers?
There are ways to trace who accessed a certain site, and those that are not careful enough can be traced by the FBI and charges can be pressed against the offender. However, if the reader is from another country, evidence of the user's usage/reading/access to the pornographic content can be sent to the reader's local government and he or she can be punishable by their law.
That is reason enough why Fanfiction.net does not allow MA content. For one, I'm sure the owners wouldn't want to pay a fine and/or be imprisoned for years. However, since Fanfiction.net is not a site that depicts original fanfiction, they can also get into trouble with fandom owners who would want to press charges for usage of their creations.
Fandom owners may press charges like indecent portrayal of their products should Fanfiction.net would be sued for distribution of pornographic content on a public site. Besides Fandom owners, real-life people can also press charges for indecent portrayal of themselves. Relatives of historical figures can also press charges. As for public figures or heroes, the local government from where they came from can also press charges.
(Additional Note: JK Rowling almost pressed charges against writers creating graphic, indecent, and sexually explicit materials. I'm sure a Harry Potter fan wouldn't want that.) COPA will definitely be hot in Fanfiction.net's heels for allowing materials harmful to minors. All of these go under indecent portrayal via sexually explicit content.)
What is MA content?
This part covers what materials are considered as explicit and punishable by law. Sexually explicit content is subjective; however there are already materials that are already, by definition, MA. According to Wikipedia, 'obscene' pornography is not protected by the US's regulation of the First Amendment. Now, what is considered as obscene pornography?
According to Wikipedia:
"Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter. Pornography may use a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting,animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and strip tease.
However, majority of the users from Fanfiction.net are minors, so the site has to follow a certain set of laws that protects children.
"Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) applies only to schools and school libraries that use certain federal funds to access the Internet. CIPA defines "material that is harmful to minors" as: any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that -- (i) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; (ii) depicts, describes, or represents in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and (iii) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors. This statute refers to minors as persons under 17. It differs from the COPA definition (below) in three respects.
Anything considered as NC-17 in the MPAA system is considered as a violation in Fanfiction.net, thus pornographic content is not allowed. Smut and PWP (Porn without plot or "Plot? What Plot?") are not allowed, since they are considered as pornography.
Mindless sex is satisfying to a few readers, however Fanfiction.net does not allow them due to the presence of minors in the site.
Display of genitalia in a graphic manner is not allowed. The matter remains subjective, however usage of genitalia is considered as pornography, thus harmful to minors. Meaning, any sexual act, as long as the words show how the act is happening, is considered as pornography, thus punishable by law. Subject matters like masturbation, bestiality, graphic or stimulated nudity, necrophilia, pedophilia, are considered as hardcore pornography.
However, Soft core pornography is not protected, thus allowed. According to the article above, CIPA allows the display of post-pubescent breasts, however any acts depicting stimulation of the organ is considered as soft core pornography. Display of stimulated genitals is under COPA, and any lewd or sexually explicit portrayal of these organs is punishable as well. Penetration and excretion are not allowed. Ejaculation clearly falls under that, and sex regardless of gender also falls under these laws and definitions. However, Fanfiction.net allows non-graphic depiction of sex.
Non-graphic depiction includes censorship of genitalia and the act itself. However, Fanfiction.net may allow suggestions of the act, and perhaps a few passages that indirectly describe a part of the act without portraying the act itself. Nudity is allowed, however actual portrayal of the genitals is not. There are also other sexual depictions that are not allowed. Acts like vaginal or anal penetration, cunnilingus, fellatio and ejaculation, or extreme fetish acts described in a graphic manner are not allowed. Implications and or softened or vague descriptions of the act is allowed. Nudity and small passages of softcore pornography is allowed, as long as there are no graphic descriptions of genitalia stimulation.
As long as the reader is unable to visualize the sex scene in great detail as he or she reads, it should be fine.
The author can depict or highly write a suggestive passage, leading the reader to conclude that a sexual act occurred.
Fanfiction.net shouldn't be promoting mindless pornography, it should be promoting creative works with great plots, sympathetic characters, realistic pacing, and satisfying narration.
How? There are good authors on site, who write stories of all kinds of genres, without graphically describing sex.
Many authors can try to create their own style without servicing readers with a mindless scene that contains sex and nothing but sex. Writers should be striving in creating stories that does not shock the reader with mind-blowing porn, but with a heart-reaching story that will definitely last in the hearts and minds of the readers as great tales.
If you can't live without porn, try Adultfiction.net.
Additional Notes: I'm sure plenty of users are saying that FFnet should have certification buttons, but if a kid has a parent that checks browser history, or is aware of the sites his/her child enters, they would definitely see that this site allows minors access to sexually explicit content. I'm sure that is enough to get them pressing charges.6/22/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/15/2012 #11
References:6/29/2012 . Edited 6/29/2012 #12
Well, I hope you like short and to the point.
There are two prime reasons that 2nd person (you) based fics are not allowed.
The first, and most important reason is because it can be considered a form of child porn. Say, for example, you're reading a "You based fic" that goes along just fine for a few chapters, but then comes to a part with a lemon (sex scene), that story is having someone run their hands down your buddy, exploring your more intimate attributes, removing your clothes, laying you down, you get the idea, yes? Now lets say that you're 13 years old reading this story. The person responsible for writing said story is now guilty of child porn, and if an angry parent found out they could not only sue the site itself but also prosecute the writer and have them labeled as a sex offender for the rest of their life.
The other reason that Second person (you based) fics are not allowed is because they are often used for interactive stories. As in people send in reviews asking the author to write what they want, rather than going off of the actual authors own "imagination".7/5/2012 #13
What's the deal with Real People stories?
As Fanfiction's rules state, real people are not allowed to be used as characters in a story. While the full reason may not be entirely clear, this much is certain; it's very close to obsessive stalking. There are many people who innocently write stories with no intentions of harming these celebrities, however there are also ones that depict the gruesome death of the performer.
In many cases, authors on this site use Original Characters, or OC's, to make a story with the band or person of interest. While those might seem innocent, they could tarnish the public image of the celebrity or their managers may find it. If a celebrity claims that they 'like' to read fanfiction, please remember that these are real people that are being written about. As fun as it may be, image that the story is being written about yourself and not just a celebrity that you do not know.
Image, to a celebrity, is everything. It's how they make their livings. If they gain a bad reputation, they're not going to be able to perform very well or find a director that's willing to cast them. A good, recent example would be Michael Vick. While I'm not certain there are stories about him, he did have a pitbull fighting ring in his home. Another is R. Kelly and his accusations of urinating on people.
Then there are the ones that are big time performers like Michael Jackson. He's very well-known and his image was sullied by accusations that he was molesting children that were on his Ranch. Whether this is true or not damaged his fame notably. Many people were even against buying a CD that he'd made or even allowing their children to the Ranch again.
Another notable case is of Pee Wee Herman. He was the host of a rather popular children's show and a couple of movies that were big for him. His career was nearly completely ended when he was caught masturbating in a public theater.
As can be seen from these examples, the image of a star is very important to them. It's their fame that helps them pay their bills, keep food in their houses and helps to provide for their families. To defame them in stories that are posted on a public site is disrespectful to the artist. If their publicity managers were to find it, they would be very upset and most likely demand that either the story or the site be taken down. The Jacksons certainly are not shy about using their lawyers, so why should the others be?
There are very extreme cases in which a fan is so obsessed, they actually kill the object of their obsession. Many famous cases are John Lennon, Rebecca Schaffer, and Selena (Quintanilla Perez) [killer was caught stealing and shot the singer in retaliation].
Most recent cases would be:
X: Meg Ryan: She got a restraining order against a man who had been claiming to be her 'husband' and is now awaiting a competency hearing.
X: Britney Spears: A crazed fan was found camping out in her garage an although no charges were pressed, he was sent to an L.A. hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
X: Steven Spielberg: A man was issued a restraining order that required him to stay at least 150 yards away from the director. This is not Spielberg's first encounter with obsessed fans either. In 1998, Jonathan Normal was convicted of felony stalking and hatching a plan to rape the director and hold his family hostage.
X: Dimebag Darrell: The guitarist for Damageplan and Pantera was killed during a shooting spree at a Columbus, Ohio by a crazed fan who believed he was responsible for the breaking up of a band.
More serious cases include:
X: Björk discovered some of the negative affects of fame in 1996 when an21 year old obsessed fan mailed an acid bomb to her home in London, and then committed suicide. The bomb, which would emit sulphuric acid upon opening, was intercepted at a London post office. The impact of the incident resulted in Björk leaving England and recording her next LP in Spain. But Björk continued to attract the most obsessed fans in the music industry, and was feeling the need to stop making music because of a stalker breaking into her mum's house and leaving threatening messages in 1998.. Björk told the newspaper, Expression: "This is worse than the mailbomb… that the people I love are subjected to threats because of me is horrible… and the thought alone that someone could hurt my son makes me feel sick… I feel very guilty… maybe I have to stop releasing my music…"
X: Tuesday December 8th, 1980 John Lennon was shot down with five hollow-tip bullets as he left his apartment building in New York City. His assassin was Mark David Chapman, whom he had just given an autograph to. Chapman would influence scores of future stalkers, and has been quoted as saying "I was making a statement…I became the Catcher In The Rye…Lennon became my new identity." He became a famous person, literally overnight. He will soon be up for parole.
X: Rebecca Schaeffer, co-star of the television sitcom "My Sister Sam" was on the upswing of a promising career when Robert Bardo shot her down in 1989 at the door to her apartment. Barto tracked her down using computer data banks and found her apartment. He waited in front of her place for hours. A studio delivery-person dropped off material for her to review and then Barto went to her door. The first time he went to her door he was simply turned away. Rebecca said she was very busy at the moment. Barto became more agitated, then went to her door again, and with no words he just shot her point blank. He fled on foot, in flip flop sandals. He was picked up the next day in Tucson Arizona, wandering along the freeway. Why her? In Bardo's words "…saw a commercial for her TV show…her personality came out…an open personality…it interested me in the show…I felt like I knew her."
While these are the more public and extreme cases, there are also reports of the Internet's rumors 'killing' celebrities. These can be found here:
Taylor swift sued over her image. Her legal team contacted Celebrity Jihad [a website] and threatened a lawsuit over fake pornographic images and also demanded that the photo be removed. She is one of the latest in a slew of celebrities to be targeted in apparent nude photo scandals. Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, and Blake Lively have also suffered after alleged naked photos of them that appeared online in recent months.
George Clooney and Julia Roberts sued Digital Projection, Inc and Beyong Audio bosses to protect their intellectual property rights after photos of the pair allegedly appeared on the business' websites, brochures and newsletters. Clooney and Roberts demanded unspecified compensatory damages, in addition to punitive damages and attorneys' fees. They also sought an injunction to prevent the firms from using their names and images in the future.
Kim Kardashian posed in a bikini on a billboard touting the services of Dr. Victor Ramirez, a local plastic surgeon, and the use of Kardashian's image without permission put Ramirez in a risky predicament. The reality show star may sue the doctor.
When making stories about real people, please remember to keep them off of this site as per the Rules and Guidelines. If you wish to have your story out in the public, there are many other sites on which to post them. There's nothing wrong with celebrity-loving, but please respect them and give them the space that they need.7/7/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/15/2012 #14
FFN trolls, what they are and how they work.
Troll. That is a term that is thrown a lot to people one disagrees with on the Internet, and certainly used quite a lot on FFN; unfortunately, most of these times the term is used incorrectly. Because of that, a definition of what an internet troll is will be necessary before we can proceed to talk about what a FFN troll does and how they operate.
An internet troll is someone who intentionally disrupts an internet community by posting off-topic and extraneous inflammatory messages with the intention of getting an emotional response and to disrupt the flow of normal conversation.
Something else that we must make clear is motivation. What motivates a person to troll an internet community?
After years of observation, some research and personal experience, I believe that trolls act the way they do because they yearn for violence and to cause trouble in any given environment they participate in; they want to provoke negative emotions and a general sense of outrage to as many people as possible in order to feed the morbid pleasure they get from it.
Normal trolling tactics include breaking as many rules of the site or community they are attacking as possible, engaging in taboo topics, name-calling, stalking, falsely agreeing with others, spamming and many others.
A particular type of troll that I find quite interesting is the Concern Troll and the reason is simple: concern trolls are highly effective. You see, these trolls pretend to be someone who agrees with the members of a forum, community or site in order to write posts with "concerns" that have the intention of planting doubt, fear and uncertainty in any given group they might be trolling. Concern Trolls are among the sneakiest, and are often able to destroy communities by making its members doubt themselves, or by posting something that could be seen as a sensitive article in a receptive community that would send the users there rushing against people in a different site. When a concern troll has managed to create a flame war over false, one-sided accusations written in an emotionally manipulative article disguised as a concerned post, we can say that the troll has been successful. This is the reason why I consider concern trolls as extremely dangerous.
Three things we must also make clear before starting discussing FFN trolls are these:
Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at how an FFN troll operates.
During my time on this site I've seen, reported and witnessed the fall of many trolls, and I feel that experience can be helpful when it comes to discussing how a person trolling this archive operates.
The first thing we have to mention is that due to the nature of this site and it's primary function (hosting fanfiction) trolls do not operate as they normally would on other communities.
What do I mean with that? Well, it is easy. FFN is not a community that thrives on forums as they aren't the main focus on the site, and given that individual users have direct control over their forums, trolls can be easily identified and banned from any forum extremely quickly because the majority of FFN members don't like to be trolled. This means a troll can quickly reach pariah status on this site the moment they try to troll the users of any of the many forums we have here.
That is the main reason trolls don't normally care about trolling forums or creating forums of their own. It's too much work and the results they get are over quickly and easily dealt with as soon as the trolling is identified.
And that is why FFN trolls go about things in a very different way. With this I mean that an FFN troll does not target users or forums unless particular circumstances are met. Normally, trolls here target categories instead.
How do they do that? Well, I'm sure you've heard the term trollfic more than once, have you not?
Let's have a small parenthesis to define what a trollfic is, shall we?
A trollfic is a story written with the only purpose of being as offensive, disgusting and inflammatory as possible and it is the main weapon of the FFN troll. While the majority of trollfics break the rules of the site, there are some of them who manage to remain within the rules. They are written to deliberately bait for flames, and each flame the trollfic gets gives pleasure to the troll.
There are many types of trollfics. The most common are those of violent nature in child friendly fandoms such as Dora the Explorer, Blues' Clues or any other child friendly franchise.
Violent-happy trollfics are not exclusive to those types of franchises, as categories with very vocal fans are often targets as well, which is the reason why the Harry Potter, Twilight and Naruto fandoms are often targeted.
Similar in writing, but with a different approach are trollfics with sexual content; depicting innocent characters as sexual addicts, incestuous deviants or suffering from extreme fetishes such as bestiality or scat is also a common practice that many FFN trolls use.
The gibberish trollfic does not contain a story of any kind. They are often non-story rants of offensive nature, copy&paste of irrelevant things (I've seen gibberish trollfics which contained a copy paste of a DVD's instruction manual) or simply several paragraphs of random keyboard presses like these: UHRO#(HND28.
These types of trollfics are not as successful as their more violent or sex oriented cousins when it comes to getting flames, but they offer nothing and clutter the site.
The Spamfic. These are normally one line stories of insulting content aimed at the category it is published in, other authors or famous people, though sometimes spamfics can also be several thousand characters long. So why are they called spamfics? Because the troll uploads as many of them as possible as often as possible; burying real fanfiction under what becomes a wall of trash.
Spamfics are notoriously the most annoying of them all if only because of how annoying they are. Fortunately, given the amount of work spamming this site requires, trolls normally don't bother with spamfics but there's always an exception.
There are other types of trollfics, (I've even seen interactive ones) but the ones listed above are the most commonly found here.
Now that you know the weapon of the troll, let's talk about how you should deal with them.
Ideally, you must never engage a troll. The reason as to why is quite simple: you can't defeat a troll in a verbal argument. Since trolls don't care about what they are talking about and they do it only to get a negative reaction out of people, it isn't possible to outsmart them, as they won't care about how intelligent you are and in fact will love to know they got a smart person responding; and insulting them is futile, as they immediately gain pleasure from knowing they got you to respond.
It is possible to make a troll angry as it is possible to insult them, this requires however, a lot of time invested in studying a particular troll to detect quirks and other traits to use successfully against them; doing this, however, is not particularly easy and I personally advise against it.
The best way to deal with a troll is the obvious one and I'm sure you already know which one it is: Ignore and report. Even if you're dealing with a troll posting spamfics flooding a category, the best course of action is just that; ignoring them and reporting them.
I know that when you deal with a troll you expect immediate action against them to be taken, but unlike what happens in forums, trollfics and the troll account do take a while to be deleted and banned respectively. Rest assured that your reports are the best course of action, and remember that nothing hurts trolls more than refusing them the attention they so much crave.7/17/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/15/2012 #15
List of useful links to authors in need of that extra bit of information or help
All the links on the list are operational at the time of this writing, if one link is not operational, please let us know or contact a CU moderator. Since the site does not allow external link other than to fictionpress and youtube, you will be required to copy and paste the urls to your browser.
If you ever wondered what songs are in the public domain, then you don't have to wonder no longer; you can find an extensive list of public domain music and works here:
Also another source of information is the Internet Archive, while the content there is under Fair Use, that doesn't mean you can use it without permission. It works as a place to find good references, though. You can find it here:
Another place that is worth visiting is Project Gutenber, where you can find an extensive library of public domain books. Remember that reading also helps you develop a better writing style. You can find it here:
A quick guide with useful tips for beta reading; the site is no longer maintained, but the essay is quite good and worth reading. You can find it here:
If you are unsure about your original characters and wish to see how close they are to becoming a Mary Sue, you can always take the Mary Sue Litmus Test, which can be found here:
Sometimes a synonym is just what you need to enhance your sentences in the way that you desire, or sometimes all you need is a good antonym; you can find plenty of them in synonym dot com, accessible here:
Creating characters, worlds, situations and coming up with new names is not always easy; to help you with that, you can always use some of the many generators available here:
Have you ever needed a riddle for your characters to quote or to solve? You can find plenty of them here:
If you want to give your original characters that extra layer to avoid them feeling one-dimensional or if you wish to find information about how to portray certain aspects of mental disorder, you can always visit archetype writing, which also includes a very useful essay regarding writer's block. You can find it here:
If you ever need to use medical terms for a story you can find a very comprehensive list which includes easy to understand definitions here:
If, on the other hand you need a martial art for your character or characters, you can always use the following lists of martial arts from around the world:
Sometimes, you may need to include a word in a different language and the best way to get it right is by using it properly. In order to do this, you can use one of the following dictionaries:
I really hope you find these links useful.7/20/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/15/2012 #16
The FF.net Classification Codex
Just something I cooked up one day during my early days at Critics United that should help people understand the terms who toss around from time to time when describing certian people/things here.
The "Youngin"/New Writer - Usually new to writing in general, much less fanfiction. Generally identified by their poor writing technique as well as structure writing. Odds of being under-age for the site high. Most easily spotted for their very poor spelling and grammar along with their low word count. May or may not have excessive author's notes. Usually non hostile, although some case of hostility have been noted. Generally doesn't understand how things work and will try to use a sob story. Chance of encounter: Low to medium.
Ignorant/Compliant Author - The term "Ignorant" may be incorrect, but fits as these are usually authors who didn't know they broke the rules and are happy to have been given the heads up and makes the changes. The most common of those dealt with along with being the easiest to deal with. Chance of encounter: very high.
Hostile Author - This is the type of author who responds angrily to reviews and are usually extremely stubborn. Tends to use poorly spelled insults and threats along with lots of cursing. May or may not operate in a Gaggle. Chance of encounter: medium to high.
The Fanbrat - Extremely hostile in their responses. Generally uses poorly spelled and typed insults and threats. Very likely to use reprisal reviews against reviewer to "get back at them." Almost always runs in a Gaggle. Usually has conversation with friend's via author's notes. Most common in the "ask a ..." script based writing. Can evolve into a Troll depending on the circumstance. Most likely to appear in the Worst Review thread. Chance of encounter: low to very high.
Gaggle - Term used to identify groups of "Fanbrats." Numbers generally range between 3-6, although higher numbers have been reported. Common practice of a Gaggle is to review each others fics to artificially raise the review count. Also known to attack other reviewers via their own reviews on a story. Author's within a Gaggle are also prone to review their own work and use it as a means to attack critics. Gaggle's are also know to attack in a group stories of people who left reviews they "didn't like". Generally hostile, Gaggle's can be dealt with since they are all a "monkey see monkey do" types - remove one and the rest will follow. Chance of encounter: rare to medium
The Defender - A person who responds to a review in defense of another's story. Generally a friend or fan of the work/author. Can be extremely hostile at times. However, most cases can be called "Fanbrat" level. Known for their righteous attitude and need to show how strong they are by defending their "pal". Unlike most author's, Defenders can rarely be reasoned with and are always right in their mind. Chance of encounter: low to medium.
The Crusader - A recent offshoot of the Defender, Crusader's are different in that they are not necessarily allied with the author or even a fan of their work but feel that any criticism that is not deemed "positive" is not needed and the reviewer/critic in question must be removed from the site at all costs. Can be viewed as hostile at best, to extremely hostile at worst. Because they are only recently identified not much else is known as per if they operate in a gaggle. Further investigation is required. Chance of Encounter: rare.
The Lecturer - An offshoot of the Defender, Lecturers are less hostile (in general), but like Defenders and Crusaders can not be reasoned with for they are right and you are wrong. Lecturer's often write long winded messages in which they are talking down to and are very condescending towards the critic. Like Crusaders, they may or may not be allied to the author or a fan of the story, however, their goal is similar to the Crusader in that they want/demand the critics to stop reviewing. There is one major difference, the Lecturer only wants the critic to change how they review (usually noting how it hurts people feelings or the critic won't have any friends if they continue) and not leave the site like the Crusader. It should be noted that Lecturer's can easily evolve into Hostile and/or Fanbrats as the exchange takes place (and the Lecturer gets frustrated), so one should deal with them with caution. Chance of Encounter: Low to medium.
The Avenger - Another offshoot of the Defender, Avengers are allied/friends of the author and sole purpose is to "get back at the critic" by any means necessary. They are purely hostile and will attack via reviews on the violating work, attack via revenge reviews, attack with PMs (usually tossing in a threat to report the critic along with the accusation of 'bullying'), attacking via forums and even go so far as to create a forum for the sole purpose of attacking the critic in question. As with others of similar type, they can not be reasoned with. Chance of encounter: rare to low
The "Know-it-All" - KIA's are becoming more and more visible in recent months. They are usually authors who misread, misunderstand or downright lie about the rules and regulations of the site yet act as though it is the gospel. They also spread around their version of the rules to others as they claim to be an "expert". Generally non-hostile although many display a 'high horse' attitude to the critic when confronted about their misinformation. Usually becomes compliant once they understand where they made a mistake. Chance of encounter: low to medium.
The Encourager - not an author per say but a reviewer type that is more and more visible as time goes on. Can be confused with Defenders and Avengers with the main difference being they support the author and rarely acknowledge much less attack the critic. Encouragers will often review with lots of courage egging on an author of a violating story to continue despite knowing full well said story (and author) are at risk for removal. Often goes to the point of downright telling the author they are above the rules of the site although this was one single extreme case. Encouragers actually lack courage themselves that they show via review and will back off almost immediately when confronted via PM although some cases are known to strike back by reviewing again encouraging the author even more. Chance of encounter: low to high
The Troll - By very definition the worst of the offenders. Usually moves alone, but has been known to form in groups of trolls. Has nothing positive to offer the site and usually attempts to intentionally engage reviewers. Can often be confused with the "Youngin" and "Fanbrat," although, further investigation can reveal their true identity. Extremely hostile and should follow the current policy of Identify, Isolate and Ignore. Very high chance of reprisal reviews. Chance of encounter: Rare to medium.
The Attention Whore - An offshoot of the Troll, AW's are known for making submissions, and later responses, intent on continuing the engagement with the critic/reviewer since they crave/demand the attention. While they may not necessarily be hostile compared to their counterparts they are persistent in maintaining focus upon themselves for their satisfaction. Like Trolls and Fanbrats,AW's cannot be reasoned with and will in fact feed off any discussion attempted by the reviewer/critic. Attention Whore's are very difficult to differentiate from a troll, thus making true AW's hard to spot as generally Trolls like to disguise themselves as an AW. Chance of encounter: extremely rare.
The Baiter - Relatively new, baiters are called such because they try to bait people into doing something they want. Most baiters operate to get attention for their writing although there are many that are just trying to bait the target into an argument in which they plan on using such against the target down the line. Baiters seemingly appear out of nowhere, much to the confusion of their target, and are not necessarily allied with authors of the work they seemingly are defending. The general way to deal with a baiter is to just ignore them. Chance of Encounter: Rare
The Spammer - The Spammer selects one, or several, categories and proceeds to post dozens of one liners every day. Most are insults towards the site or the users of the category(ies) under attack; the objective of the Spammer is to bury real fanfics with spamfics in order to get fame and notoriety. A Spammer won't revenge review, but might use your review on his spamfics. They could be considered an offshoot of the Troll and can be dealt with in the same way. Chance of encounter: Extremely rare.
The Smile & Nodder aka S/N - Characterized by their ability to 'look' you in the eye while while smiling, acknowledging they've done wrong and accepting responsibility before duly promising to never to do it again with several nods of their head. Once your back is turned, they blithely, as they usually aren't being deliberately spiteful, turn around and repeat the exact same offense you just nailed them for. Offshoot of the Fanbrat as they tend to run Gaggles and is likely to become Hostile when challenged, wondering why you're picking on them. Chance of Encounter: Low to medium.9/8/2013 #17
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