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More From The Fandom Vaults: Part II - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
More From The Fandom Vaults: Part II
The debate about reviews vs feedback vs. concrit stretches back to the Ur-Mists of Time. In fannish circles, it has been with us since the first fan published the first Star Trek story and then ran weeping into the bathroom when her innocent fic was used a stand-in for someone’s misplaced copy of the Eye of Argon. And of course, reviews/feedback (and the lack of reviews/feedback) have both been blamed for the decline of good writers, the decline of fanzines, the decline in mailing lists, and the decline in Big Bangs and other fic challenges. The decline in fannish civility, the decline of entire fandoms and the decline of Civilization usually follow closely behind these claims.

Back in 1996, one of the debates raging on Virgule-L (the first slash mailing list) was what exactly was the relationship between a writer and a reader? Did the reader have any responsibilities in the relationship? This debate then ‘declined’ into the absurdist question of whose ‘fault’ was it if a reader didn’t like the story. The writer for writing poorly? The reader for reading poorly? It seemed somehow mission critical to some fans that we precisely determine who was to blame!

Back then I had, it seems, the same amount of patience for straw arguments as I do now (as in none). Here was my response:

"I think we've got it all wrong here -- it's neither. It's the printer's fault. If they wouldn't print the damn stories, then no one would feel inadequate, confused, offended, amused, aroused, or entertained.

I think we should just go back to telling stories inside our heads (with maybe a few scribbles or notes that we can quickly dispose of whenever anyone approaches.)

Then we could tell all of our friends about those great lines of dialog that *just* got away."

So there you have it. Substitute "the Internet" for "the printer" and we've moved forward to 2012.*  I hope that settles the question and we can move on to more relevant topics. Like whether tumblr will really be the cause of the  Decline of Fandom.

*"But wait," you say? " Isn't the Internet...like me? You? All of us?"
"Quid spectas festucam in oculo fratris tui, trabem autem quae in oculo tuo non advertunt."
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