a pang of indescribable profundity (hector_rashbaum) wrote,
a pang of indescribable profundity

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I've gone back and forth (and back, and forth, and back, and forth, and back...) regarding whether or not I wanted to post about the Laura wank. I commented in the initial, now-infamous fanthropology post but backed off once the inevitable wank started building up. Other than that I've kept my big nose out of this, save for comments in two posts: lennoxmacbeth's FANDOM CAN GO TO HELL and ciderpress's I've got the thingie. Half in English. Half in squibbly.

There are a number of reasons for this, the big one being that Laura is my friend, but I very much disagreed with her actions in this case, and as her friend I didn't want to add to the dogpile. Laura knew about both comments I made, I e-mailed her with a link to the initial lennoxmacbeth comment, and mentioned that I'd commented in ciderpress and what I'd said. She also knew, before the wankstorm started a'brewin', that I disagreed with her actions and expected there to be consequences in the form of major social backlash.

I'm posting now because I've been defriended by Laura. The fault is some hers, some mine, and the backstory is kind of involved and I'll get to that in a minute, but the long and short of it is the stuff she defriended me over is the kind of stuff I wouldn't want to be friends with anyone who couldn't tolerate anyway. It's a shame, and I'm sad - the one thing I haven't wanted since this started was to lose a friend - but at the moment, I'm pretty sure the Laura I thought I was friends with doesn't actually exist, in which case me speaking up wasn't the problem...just the catalyst.

I have outed a fan. I will not say who, but she and I have talked about it, and I have apologized, sincerely, both at the time and recently. That doesn't change that what I did was extremely wrong, that the information is still out there, and part of the reason I've been quiet throughout this discussion is I've assumed people know I'm an "outer" and don't expect to be taken seriously. For what it's worth, if it's worth anything, my last act as a FanHistory admin was to delete the fan's Real Name article, and revert the Fan Name article to a version with no identifying information.

Anyway, ciderpress called me out on being an "outer"; in response to her comment I sent her and the fan I outed an e-mail elaborating on the circumstances surrounding the outing. I kept it private at first because of my friendship with Laura, but my first instinct was to post it publicly, and having slept on it after the defriending I've decided to post it here now. If for any reason ciderpress or the outed fan wish to have this removed, you have my e-mail.

(For a little extra context, I wrote this after my last comment in the ciderpress post linked at the top of this post. I had just learned the outing I had thought over and done with had been redone at some point between the reversal and now, and was not at all happy with Laura.)

I wasn't (and I'm still not, really, but I have a far better understanding of the cultural differences) an LJ fan - I did all my fandom stuff almost exclusively (the only exception was metafandom, but I only clicked the rps- and bandom"[until bandom's meaning shifted (I keep tangent-ing, sorry)] tagged entries) on RockFic. I had met Laura on RockFic, actually. I was getting more interested, writing some meta and dipping toes in when all this crazy interesting StrikeThrough/FanLib/BoldThrough/etc stuff started happening.

So I had just kind of catapulted right into the middle, getting all into debate and wank and wow this is kind of fun, and OTW came and man I had some things I disagreed with. And I am a very...I don't shut up, haha. And I...wouldn't say used, but Laura very much capitalized on that, when she saw that I was absolutely willing to hop right in and say "this is kind of cool, but this part sucks and you should ___ to make it cool".

So that's where I was coming from: I saw something with some benefit, but I had all these criticisms. Laura saw no benefit, saw me criticizing, and started kind of suggesting these other issues. So I had my things I reallyreally believed in, and some of her things I reallyreally believe in (like the wiki thing: not knowing how wanky FH was, it reallyreally did make more sense to me to work with an existing one that I really believed in than to start from scratch), and some of her things I wasn't too sure of, but, y'know, if she was too shy to speak up...

Anyway. Somewhere along the way I just went from wanting to help to getting angry, and bitchy, and grudgey. There was other stuff influencing that - at the same time the first round of "what does 'bandom'" mean debates were going on, we were arguing with OTWers about what "transformative fiction" and "media fandom" meant, so for this one group of us Rockficcers (w/ Laura) we were getting hit from both sides with language debates and self-definitions and...ugh. (I'll admit: my timeline may be off, these language debates may have been after the outing - I do know I was wanked out and grudgey at the time, though)

AND, midst of all this, I was still not really an LJ fan, so I really had no concept of the specific social norms, backlashes, etc. on LJ. I'm not sure Laura realized how naive I was when it came to LJ norms - if she specifically took advantage, that's a big deal, but I'm not convinced she did. [ed. - I doubt anything could convince me save Laura actually flat-out saying "yep, I knew, and I sure did take advantage of you but good"]

Grudgey, wanky, LJ-naive me got an e-mail from Laura about who [OutedFan] was, and that she wanted to merge the two articles. I no longer have the e-mails from this, so I can't check the reason she gave; I believe the reason I gave [OutedFan] was I had merged to eliminated redundancy (I wasn't lying); Laura's wasn't so innocent, but I wouldn't have done it if she'd said something outright mean.

It really was that simple for me. And, if it helps, I wouldn't have done it to you were I not willing to "out" myself - the Hector Rashbaum article contains my real name, and the history has the school I was at last year. This isn't the "if I'll do it, everyone should" argument, I'm just saying I honestly didn't think having real identity linked to fandom identity was a negative thing. Culture clash.

When [OutedFan] asked to revert the edit, I immediately e-mailed Laura and recommended we do it. IIRC she was reluctant, but I did convince her. After that, and apologizing to [OutedFan], I wiped my hands of the matter - although clearly I should've kept an eye out.

I don't mean to imply, necessarily, I thought that specific outing was value-negative. A good parallel would be the "ebandom" trainwreck: at the time, I legitimately thought coining a new term, one similar to "bandom", would be the best avenue for everyone, and I didn't think the term itself was negative. That doesn't mean there was no wank/grudge/malice in my use, or in the wiki page - but it wasn't an entirely malicious gesture. It was an action borne in no small part out of grudge that I would not have condoned or carried out if I had thought it was entirely negative.

One thing not included in that e-mail - because I had, quite honestly, completely forgotten about it until sidewinder mentioned it when I told her what was going down - was that Laura and I apparently discussed (and she must have discussed with other wiki admins, hence sidewinder knowing) redoing the outing once the wank had died down.

My initial thought was "holy shit I am a douche". And I owe OutedFan another, sincere apology.

I thought about it, for an hour or so before I went to sleep last night. I only have a foggy memory of that conversation - I could be remembering it entirely incorrectly, it could be me trying to massage history to feel less guilty. I want to say I suggested that when I was talking Laura into reverting, that it was an "okay, I know you don't want to, but just do it NOW and we'll do what you want LATER" compromise - but I don't remember for sure, and I don't want to misrepresent.

But anyway. Where it stands today: For voicing my disapproval of her behavior and her lying by omission to me (a lie by omission I discovered very publicly, I was defriended. For attempting to un-out somebody who had already been un-outed once, I was de-adminned.

I did, for a time, believe with almost childlike faith in the FanHistory wiki. And when I started to learn about the wank surrounding it, about the bad rumors and the negatives, I thought it could be saved. I thought a little better PR, more admins like sl_walker, less admins like me - only there by virtue of my friendship with Laura - find some people willing to go through and proofread and clean up, ignore the worst of the wankers, it could be good. I believed, honestly, it would have been the best thing for both OTW and FH for them to work together.

A few weeks ago, I started to realize FanHistory will never go anywhere with Laura at the helm. She's too wanky, and while I don't believe she deserves everything she gets, something like that needs credibility in fandom. Which is a shame, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

So there's my dirty laundry. What a week for Sims to be broken.

ETA: If you're not averse to giving FanHistory hits, Laura has issued a public statement in the FanHistory blog. If you are averse, nestra has posted a trancript in her journal here (thanks, everysecondtues)
Tags: fandom, friends, wank
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