not your typical annihilatrix (furiosity) wrote,
not your typical annihilatrix
furiosity

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When you're there, they're your friends and then, when you're not around...

0001 - I appear to have a bizarre fascination with giving Draco weird professions in my post-Hogwarts fics. So far, he's driven a Ministry car, been a journalist, bartended in the dark™, been a pianist, answered Celestina Warbeck's fan mail, marketed magical devices, ran a bookshop in Vienna, and written songs for the Weird Sisters. I have six stories in which he works for Voldemort (in all of which he's unhappy, and turns spy in three of them). I'm working on my first ever Auror!Draco story now, and have two more in the works where Draco has unconventional jobs (not telling).

...I've written no model!Draco, teacher!Draco or rentboy!Draco. The gods of HP cliche must be extremely unhappy with me. >.> *plots to escape their wrath by writing a Salinger-esque series of vignettes where Draco can't hold a job down due to being a horrid drama queen and works briefly as a model (I said Evian, not Dasani, plebe!), a teacher (But Headmistress, I require a personal chef!), and a rentboy (What do you mean, hands and knees? I might scrape my knees!), then ends up as Harry's kept man* >.> What? I might even include bonus Veela!Draco mockitymock.

0010 - Yeah, ok, fine, I admit it. I'm an OTP-er of the worst kind. H/D FOREVA!!1!1one!1 I can read/write Harry and Draco in other pairings, but these pairings are extremely few in number (two for Draco, five for Harry). There's just something about H/D that resonates with me, on a level that's lost somewhere between emotional and rational. I point and laugh at people who call it a 'fangirl' pairing or 'implausible' because clearly they don't get it!1!!one!11 Yeah, more than a year later, I still squee for H/D. Still got my pet peeves, still got my canon nazi tendencies, but I ♥ H/D liek whoa. [/brainless fangirl, apparently]

0011 - And on a completely unrelated note, the recent wankasplode with Detention reminded me that I'd left the Matrix fandom under similar circumstances, sort of. Except I didn't leave in a fit of pique; I'd been getting ready to take off for a year and a highly unpleasant (and drawn-out) shitstorm regarding "just who pays for what around here" made me throw my hands up in frustration and say "I quit, bitchez."


Basically, I can totally relate to the sentiment that goes "it's my site and I do with it what I will!" because really, if you run a site it involves paying for hosting, for the domain name, for tech support if required. It involves long hours of coding, making sure internal links work, looking for and adding new content. It involves timely communication with site users, regular backups and site promotion. It's a lot of work, and much of it is so behind-the-scenes that most people don't realise just what an effort it takes to maintain a fan site of any sort. They just see the frontend, never the backend and for most, it's easy to sit back and expect things. Yeah, I've been there, run/modded sites, put in the long hours, dealt with user entitlement, got the damn battle scars. I can relate. Except when I can't.

There are many different types of fan sites and they're all run very differently.

You can have your basic "fact collection" site with picture galleries and various other 'static' content that doesn't change much -- you just add new content whenever you come across it and no one has access to managing or updating the site but you. This type of site is basically 'what you see is what you get' and the site owner is basically saying "this is all my work and you may enjoy it whenever you like but I can also pull the plug at any time if it gets to be too much". An admin at a site like that pulling the plug, to me, is perfectly fine and understandable. Sites die all the time, it's the way of the Internet, unfortunately. This is where my 100% agreement with "it's my site and I do with it what I will" stops, though.

There are sites with message boards -- message boards often require moderators and so you have to give up a little bit of the control you have in order to let other people help you run the site. Some message boards are autocracies, some democracies, some are just total anarchy. All types have their positive sides and negative sides -- at an 'all anarchy, all the time' sort of board, you can get spammers and trolls with no one bothering to do anything about them, but everyone is free to do as they will. At democratic boards, you generally have well-behaved folk who are ready to follow general courtesy/netiquette guidelines and self-moderate, but admins are unable to make decisions of their own as they have to poll the users every time something needs changed/added, and the polling/discussion process can be very time-consuming. At autocratic message boards, it's easy to follow rigid rules and basically submit to 'Mod's Law' but sometimes rules are too rigid, causing discontentment. If your site has an active message board with many users, and that's what's driving the site, I think it's absolutely not okay to pull the plug on it without giving the users who wish to stay the option to carry on with the site by turning over control to someone who's willing to keep maintaining it and paying for it. If your site is popular because of user contribution, it's not your site anymore. You may be paying for it, you may be spending time on technical maintenance, but you are not singlehandedly responsible for the popularity of the site, your users are. And if you piss off your users enough, they might just kill your site even if they don't have root.

Don't believe me? In March 2000, some egghead at the official WarnerBros site decided it was time to prune posts at a few user-driven fora that were getting too large. One of those fora was the official Matrix discussion forum, where yours truly was an active participant. From one day to another, we (a core group of about 100 people) found ourselves at a board that had lost some of the most amazing philosophical discussions on the movie the Internet had ever seen, without so much as a "hey guys, we're going to get rid of all the stuff you've been posting, wanna back it up, better start now!" We were enraged beyond belief. After repeated communications with the WB site admins regarding recovery of things we'd been posting at the board for the previous year proved fruitless, we simply left. The official boards were never the same again. The level of intelligent discourse never again reached the same heights it used to in 'our' days and some of us were angry enough to keep going back there and warning new users away, telling them to come to our new place, where their thoughts were safe from unchecked deletion. In retrospect and given the size of the Internet, it was a bit of a tempest in a teapot, really, but we did effectively kill the official WarnerBros Matrix forum until the sequels. I'm not sure what the state of those boards is today, as I've been out of the fandom for a year and haven't checked the official boards for over three years, but for years, it was a total fucking ghost town. That's user-driven content for you. Piss off the users, lose your content.

The moral of the story is that if your site relies heavily or wholly on user-submitted content, you're an idiot if you're going to claim the whole thing as yours. It's not. This goes for fic archives especially. A fic archive is nothing if there are no authors posting there. It's nothing if people are not reading the stories posted there. Nothing, zero, and this is why fic archives should not be started by people who cannot understand that by providing a service that's essentially geared towards being user-driven, they forfeit their right to stamp their feet at the merest disturbance and scream "MY site, MY money, MY everything!" Because without your authors and your readers, you can sit on your site and spin, darling, for all the good it'll do you. Online, content is king, and if your users are providing your content? Damn skippy they have a right to have a say in the fate of your site. It's not even a goddamn question, for crying out loud, because a site without content is worth nothing. It doesn't matter how hard you worked on it, it doesn't matter how much money you've put into it. It doesn't even matter how pretty it looks. If your content is shit, so's your site. And if your users are providing your best content, you better not make them unhappy, because you might find yourself high and dry, with no users and therefore no content.

On the flip side, users absolutely do not have a right to demand things from you. They do not have a right to assume you owe them anything more than basic courtesy. You don't have to bend over backwards for your users because in the end, you are the free service provider, you are the top dog and head honcho, and what you say goes. But basic courtesy is something you absolutely MUST provide, and basic courtesy includes making sure that if YOU personally cannot be there to take care of things that the users can't take care of, you appoint someone who can take care of things in your absence. That means turning over admin access -- maybe not to the point of risking having your site taken over in your absence, but enough to be able to keep things running. It's called creating user accounts with admin-level access without giving up root, what do you mean your site is hosted on a Win2K/NT server? XD

I digress. Courtesy, man. Otherwise you're doing the equivalent of a giant "fuck you" to your users, which is a REALLY FUCKING STUPID MOVE if your site's content is provided by those users. You are entitled to respect and courtesy from your users, absolutely. They should be grateful that you're providing them with the service. But expecting boundless gratitude with nothing in return? Delusional. You owe your users as much respect and courtesy as they owe you. This isn't a question of "who owes whom more", it's a question of basic. Human. Decency.

Granted, some admins at elite archives can get comfortable with time -- they've already got the popularity so they don't have to be as nice to everyone, they think. They're certainly entitled to think so, but they probably shouldn't be surprised when their users disagree. Bottom line, if you can't deal with people -- and dealing with people is wanky business, at the end of the day -- don't run a site that requires you to do so. But if you really must, get a few willing co-admins/mods who can deal with people. Then you can reap all the rewards of being the top dog at a popular fandom site while avoiding all the wank. Two major discussion boards in the Matrix fandom ran exactly on that sort of scheme, and it bloody well worked! When things went wrong, all user wrath was turned at the mods and co-admins while everyone genuflected before the head honchos. Both boards were 'autocracies'; I was a member of both but posted very rarely, because I had my hands full with the site where I was the techie admin and we polled the users on everything, including forum colours and designs. I was also somewhat the unofficial Pointy Stick wielder and was often sent to poke people who misbehaved when everyone else would give up on them. But we don't talk about that. I just had no llamas then, that was why I was so ornery. :))


0100 - Oh, sweet LJ. I hope that one day comment notifications will be back to normal. :\
Tags: draco malfoy, meta:fandom, meta:harry/draco, online culture
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