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The Great Enabler

So far, I've refrained from posting about the Great Slashthrough (or whatever it was called). The calls for fandom[*] to up sticks and move to an LJ-a-like are, quite frankly, daft[**]. The big issue to arise from this is the nature of the interpretation of LJ's terms of service. As a company incorporated in California, LJ's legal context is understandably parochial, but the breastfeeding usericon debacle showed one thing to be clear. Despite the provisions in the Californian civil code with respect to public breastfeeding (Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997)[***]), LJ/6A have so far demonstrated that they take a more conservative line than that which is required by the letter of the law. With this in mind, their attitude to drawings of possibly underage fictional characters doing rude but consensual things to each other was entirely predictable.

Less predictable is their attitude towards pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia communities, or ana/mia if you'd prefer to pretend that they're lifestyle choices and not life-threatening psychological conditions. I became aware of these a couple of years ago, but never really gave much thought as to whether they represented a contravention of LJ's terms of service. Given the following clause, it's fairly clear to me that they do:

XVI 13. Promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities, promote physical harm or injury against any governmental entity, group or individual, or promote any act of cruelty to animals. This may include, but is not limited to, providing instructions on how to assemble bombs, grenades, and other weapons or incendiary devices;

I'm then more that a little disappointed that LJ/6A have chosen to ignore communities that exist to enable self-harming behaviour, as this quote suggests:

we allow pro-anorexia communities to remain because they are, in most cases, serving as support groups for the members. Silencing them won't make their problems go away; we'd rather allow them to heal together as a community.

Let me restate that: LJ/6A is happy for communities that promote self-harm to remain because they're support groups? If that isn't enabling destructive behaviour, I'm not sure what is. Lest this be mistaken for a member of LJ staff voicing their personal opinion, we were later reassured (by the same person) that this was official policy. Either LJ/6A's policy is straight from cloud cuckoo land, or they need to rein in their staff before they commit another policy blunder.

(and a tip of the hat to hanacandi for spotting this)

[*] At this point I should point out that this is primarily the Harry Potter fandom I'm talking about. Quite why they describe themselves all-encompassingly as 'fandom' when they have little overlap with mainstream SF fandom is quite beyond me. But I digress.

[**] I'd also ask where the HP fandom was during the spat over breastfeeding images in default usericons.

[***] 43.3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.

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Devil's advocate question - why should "fandom" mean "science fiction fandom"? Why can't it mean Harry Potter fandom or football fandom or skydiving fandom or anything else?

Asking non-sf folks to hand "fandom" back is as ineffective as demanding North Americans give us back the English language because they keep breaking it.

Interesting question. Historical precedent, I'd say; SF fandom has a very early claim on the term (although the OED notes 1928 for baseball fandom, and US sources place it around the turn of the century). The jargon of HP fandom is very close to that of SF fandom (fanzines, fanfic and so on), as one would expect from what is effectively an offshoot of SF fandom. What surprises me is that HP fandom has comparatively little awareness of and overlap with mainstream SF fandom.

Bah. Maybe I'm just an vile elitist written-SF fan.

(Deleted comment)
I want to make sure that we understand the same thing by the terms you're using. Mainstream, as you use it, is the same as non-genre (in this case, non-SF)? You talk about mainstream canons, which I take to mean series of books or television programmes which do not predominantly make use of (SF) genre tropes. Is this correct?

I use it slightly differently (and qualified as 'mainstream SF fandom') to refer to those SF fans whose primarily activity is reading (as opposed to watching television/films, writing and performing filks, writing fanfic, making costumes, and so on).

That said, I view mainstream SF fandom as a broad church. Attend an eastercon or a worldcon, and you'll find all of the above denominations represented, and if you wanted to describe the sum total, you'd just talk about 'fandom'. This doesn't seem to be a view that would be shared by the slash and media fans that I've seen on LJ, which I find a little sad.

(as an aside, I think that the jibe about 'obscure SF novels' is a little off target; you could as easily criticise media fandom for their attention to the minutiae of their respective TV series)

Agreeing with above and hawkida; the 'fandom' I have the most involvement with personally is mainstream SF. But the fandom I encounter on LJ is huge, and distinctly not what nmg means when he refers to 'fandom' in the original sense.

I think SF fandom is pretty much ignoring this one; it's diverse already. But LJ fandom is huge, and interlinked, and organised. The RPers, especially the cross fandom RPers in comms like milliways_bar have links to many different genres of fandom, and many non-HP friends of mine are steaming over this whole thing.

And it's the RPers who represent a big chunk of LJs revenue stream, many had 5+ paid accounts for their different characters; many no longer do.

I've not researched the ana thing, only heard about it this morning and am swamped at work, but I concur that they need to be damned careful.

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