Well, this has been...a day. I woke up this morning to an email from the person doing the new meta fandom newsletter--which I sort of had read about, but not really paid attention to but thought it was very cool that someone was doing--asking if I had a linking policy, because they'd posted about a fanlore post of one my old LJ entries and a couple commenters had mentioned that it might be good to check with me about it.
I've never formulated any kind of policy because I'm a no-name fan and to be honest, I don't really pay attention to these sorts of things, not to mention that I hardly ever lock my posts, and I wasn't even sure what the post in question was. (And I want to make it very clear before I get into this longer thing that I have no issue with the meta fandom newsletter person, I appreciate her thoughtfulness and willingness to work with me.) But I went to the metafandom journal, and found the post, and started reading through the comments, and got kind of upset. I didn't even know what post this was talking about, because she'd kindly taken the link down while waiting to hear from me, but I started to grok from some of the kind of mocking comments that it was a personal rant about entitled kids these days.
From 2006. That someone on fanlore called mrs. potato head put up last fucking year, with absolutely no context or background. And never once asked me about, even though I'm still active in fandom and they could easily have written to me on LJ or in PMs. And the thing is, I was very upfront that I was writing a personal rant (I still haven't gone back to look at the post, I simply don't have time), but the fanlore person basically used so many excerpts and pejorative content descriptions that I don't need to, it seems like most of the post is there, along with a bunch of comments, many of which I think the commenters would be as upset as I was to find them there. I wrote that post in the assumption that it was my personal journal that I was making a personal rant about fandom in, and I wrote it less than a year after my fucking TWIN SISTER DIED, and after the death of a fandom friend whose absence I was keenly feeling at the Escapade con.
I was a really different person in 2006 from what I am in 2018 and 2019. I've changed a lot in 13 years, and fandom has changed, and really, the Internet has changed. Back then, LJ was the primary game in town, and the way we interacted with it was different from how we interact with tumblr. I've been profoundly affected by my sister's death, my friends' deaths, knowing the people I know now. It never would have occurred to me that someone would be combing through my LJ, which I don't even use anymore because of the whole Russia thing, looking for posts I made about fandom and culling them to post in completely contextless history posts, opening me up to attack or ridicule when someone else finds them and links to them.
And I'll restate--I have nothing against the idea of keeping fannish histories about meta posts, or linking to them in a kind of historical way. I think documenting fannish history is vital, and it's one reason I was active on fanlore when it first started (I have lots of reasons for not staying active, but this is sort of one of them). And I'm really glad they thought I had something of interest to link to! One of the comments was from kore
, pointing out how uncomfortable she'd be if a personal vent she'd made 13 years ago in her own space after the death of a friend was linked to without making sure it was okay. I really appreciated that, because the me 13 years ago was such a different person, and that was a time when we weren't really locking things a lot, or at least, in my sector, we weren't. And again, there was no context for this fanlore post, nothing that explains why it's there.
But the thing is, not every single piece of fandom meta has historical value
. (I hear the archivists yelling NO! Samuel Pepys! All those old APA zines and newsletters and stuff! How would we know what the daily life of fans were like otherwise or what the hot topics were! I hear that, but again, sometimes we're not writing these things wanting them to survive in a time capsule. Sometimes it's personal venting, sometimes it's us trying to work stuff out, and we don't want them to survive.) I wasn't given a choice by the fanlore person. They never asked me, hey, I'm going to comb (stalk) through your LJ that you don't even use anymore and take so many excerpts from this ancient rant of yours that I might as well publish the whole thing, and I'm going to open you up for ridicule in the future, and also the people who left comments who might be horrified by language they used casually back then they'd never ever use today, and I'm going to do this 12 years after the fact for no particular reason, 'kay? All they had to do was PM me, so I could have ruminated on that, and looked at the post, and then maybe said, hm, you know, not okay, I didn't remember a single thing about that post and it was from a bad time. And I could have gone back and locked it.
I'm upset that the fanlore person picked this crap to post 12 years after the fact--like, WTF?--and now I have to, at a time when I'm absolutely swamped, deal with all of this and don't really have the spoons or the time. It took me a long time to unravel this morning. And I could have said, hey, you know, I have a number of nicely aged, oaky, pleasant vintage rants about fandom that don't have that unpleasant terroir of grief and misery and unhappiness. Shit, I have a vertitable SMORGASBORD of ancient ranty meta posts that people could ridicule me over, do you prefer a booth or a table?
But I didn't get that chance. I knew nothing about the fanlore post till today, and I don't have time to search out how many other posts this person might have culled from my goddamn LJ that I don't use anymore and they never bothered to ask me about. And now they're forcing me to a) spend the time coming up with some kind of links policy (which, I'm old skool, I've always believed that public posts are public and people can do what they want up till now) and b) trying to decide how to handle locking in a journal I don't even use--do I lock down the whole thing, which means people can't access the public posts like vids and fic or do I have to invest the ridic amount of time to read through nearly two decades of postings to find the individual ones I'd never have wanted to be made historical documents in freaking 2019?
I'm not thrilled at being forced by someone else's lack of thoughtfulness to do something, but now I have to. And I have to see what other things fanlore might have there that'll surprise or piss me off. Not everything is a historical document, not everything we've done as fans was created with the intention of surviving more than a dozen years to be discussed like it's something new and noteworthy. Sometimes, we're happy to let things die in the past--that's okay. There's lots still that could live on. I don't really want that thing to be my legacy, or lots of other things--there's plenty of better stuff for a legacy. I could have even pointed that out, if they'd bothered to ask, and I might even dig some of it up and see if the meta newsletter person would be interested, since I sort of caused them a lot of bother today.
The changes I've gone through in 13 years, a lot of them have come from wounds and scars and loss, but you know, that's life. Hopefully, I'll be here in another 13 years, and I have no idea what fandom will look like then, but I really hope that we don't have to fear the stuff we say now coming back to haunt us or that we can't control our own spaces. I love fandom, I love its history, but I hope we don't forget in our efforts to document that history that individual people are the ones behind it.