A Woman-Run Star Wars Fandom

“The fanfic side of fandom has ALWAYS been woman-dominated,” you’ll say to me and that’s correct. But Prequels fandom in the early 2000s was unique in that it wasn’t just the transformative corners of fandom where women made up most of the participants. As I pointed out above, the curative side of fandom (the one responsible for gathering, curating and cataloguing canon info), which is usually male-dominated, was primarily the domain of women as well, as far as the Prequels were concerned. The ‘Fashion in a Galaxy Far. Far Away’ sites, responsible for cataloguing every outfit in the films, were ran and populated largely by women and girls. The Royal Handmaiden Society catalogued every appearance of every handmaiden in the PT, along with her name and background in an effort as impressive as that of other super-fans who can identify and name background characters that appear for only a moment in front of the camera. I was in on the work as well and spent dozens of hours drafting backstories for the handmaidens.

Source: THE PREQUEL TRILOGY IN THE 2000s — A WOMAN-RUN STAR WARS FANDOM by rhodanum (January 9, 2019)

No single server

Decentralization upends the social network business model by dramatically reducing operating costs. It absolves a single entity of having to shoulder all operating costs alone. No single server needs to grow beyond its comfort zone and financial capacity. As the entry cost is near zero, an operator of a Mastodon server does not need to seek venture capital, which would pressure them to use large-scale monetization schemes. There is a reason why Facebook executives rejected the $1 per year business model of WhatsApp after its acquisition: It is sustainable and fair, but it does not provide the same unpredictable, potentially unbounded return of investment that makes stock prices go up. Like advertising does.

Source: Why does decentralization matter? by Eugen Rochko (December 30, 2018).

The Sith Academy at MIT

I was startled to hear from Siubhan that my ambition has finally been realized, and some lunatic at Williams has put “The Thirteenth Mary Sue” on a syllabus. Henry “Textual Poachers” Jenkins himself is assigning the Sith Academy to students at MIT. I can see what pulls them in: in addition to all of its other features, the Sith Academy is wrapped in so many layers of metatextuality it could make your head spin. And for those interested in the fanfiction phenomenon, the Sith Academy–thanks in large part to Siubhan’s herculean efforts as an editor–assembles in one place a huge body of work which, as obscene and blasphemous as it may be, is consistently well-written and funny as hell.

Source: Meet Me At The Grey Side: A Critical Afterword by Plaid Adder (June 23, 2001).

An entire force of young talent

The Apple ][ hackers were born out of a software industry which made it almost impossible to copy a software package, even for the purpose of having archival backups. Most companies also only sent one disk out with the package. There were a few exceptions to this rule but with the popularity of the Apple ][ computers among teens of the time, it meant that there was an entire force of young talent with time to burn. And burn they did, all so brightly, cracking every known scheme produced.

Source: Apple ][ Hackers (2009?).

The alternative I’ve been waiting for

For me it’s the alternative I’ve been waiting for. I’ve known for a long time that LJ and fandom would part ways sooner or later. I had assumed that after Usenet and mailing lists and bulletin boards and blogs, LJ would be replaced by an entirely different interface, and on some level, I think the Archive of Our Own will become a central fannish interface, hopefully replacing/supplementing much fic posting on journals and some of the delicious tagging. But I still want a place to chat with my friends and be fannish beyond reading the stories.

That’s where I think DW will be a better place with all the advantages of LJ but fewer of the disadvantages. Check out the Diversity Statement to get a sense that this is a different group of people than what we’re dealing with on LJ these days. Moreover, one of the co-founders is a fan, so that I know my fannish concerns are acknowledged, but it’s a commercial entity, so that I know the project will be handled professionally. It’s forked of the LJ code, thus allowing me to have all the things I love about LJ (and loathe about blogs), yet it’s developed by people who’ve lived deep within the bowels of LJ for long enough to know where its faults lie.

Source: dreamwidth and me by cathexys (March 30, 2009).

The Harry Potter years

The Harry Potter years also happened to coincide with the Wild West era of the internet and the rise of abstinence-only sex education; as a result, for better or for worse, erotic Harry Potter fan fiction played a major and under-discussed role in millennial sexual development. This was especially true if you were queer—or, not to put too fine a point on it, if you were me—and had picked up on the secret gay love story that existed between the lines of Rowling’s text.

I refer, of course, to Sirius and Lupin.

Source: Harry Potter and the Secret Gay Love Story by Frankie Thomas for The Paris Review (December 10, 2018).

Solarpunk: A Reference Guide

Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and wild, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid. Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world — but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share. At once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, and an achievable lifestyle.

Source: Solarpunks.net Reference Guide (2018) // Archived version

The gifts of programmers

Since 2001, whole industries have grown out of the gifts of programmers, and these industries are dependent upon free software, without which they would not be profitable. Many of the programmers thought they were giving gifts to mankind, not to Google. Others had no such illusions: they were competing for positions in an industry where performing free labor of professional quality was an implied prerequisite for being hired. The current state of open source — inevitable from the beginning — is the exploitation of the expectation of free labor for the sake of propping up unprofitable businesses.

Source: Free software and the revolt against transactionality by John Ohno (2018).