crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
crypto ([personal profile] crypto) wrote2010-07-18 04:13 pm

Anon culture in fandom

So I'm working on my next post for the Symposium blog and I'd like to write about anonymity in fandom. But I need your help!

I've been following the latest anon meme that sprung out of the ViVidCon debates (is there some kind of Fight Club thing where you're not supposed to link to it? or actually name it? I'm going to err on the side of caution here, but let me know if there are standard anon meme rules or norms I should be observing), and it's been pretty fascinating to see the different dynamics of how discussions play out there vs. on LJ/DW. I've checked out a few other anon memes in the past, but this is the longest I've ever followed one. Yet I haven't left any comments on the meme, so I can't claim to be a participant-observer -- there's something about posting anon that just weirds me out (personally, not when other people do it). I'm not sure what it is, but I definitely got weirded out the couple of times in the past that I posted on anon love memes where you tell people on the flist how awesome they are. Which, hey, people on my flist are awesome, and deserve to hear that! So I don't know what my mental block here is.

So I'd love to hear from any of you about the pleasures (and perils!) of posting anon, or participating in anon memes. I'm also thinking of saying something about kink memes, which are the other major place that I'm aware of that carve out a pro-anon space in fandom, and seem to be on the rise over the last couple of years. But I know even less about kink meme culture than anon memes! So any observations, insights, experiences you'd like to share about kink memes & anonymity would be welcome.

And I think I need a third thing, right? I figured I'd at least reference the WoW/Blizzard Real ID controversy, but it would be nice to have a third instance of anon culture in LJ/DW-based media fandom, if anyone has suggestions.

Anon posting for comments is on, naturally (ETA: and IP logging is off). Thanks in advance!

ETA 2: I've fallen way behind on responding to comments, but I'm reading them all & appreciate all the perspectives & experiences & context that everyone's offering.

ETA 3: The first part of my Symposium blog post on anon memes is now up.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-18 08:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I find the way that people are talking about the latest anon meme very strange. Like everyone's talking around it, and is very quick to say "Oh, but don't read there, it's awful!" If it's awful why are you reading there? It's pretty easy to avoid. And if you keep feeling the temptation, Chrome Nanny or Leechblock on Firefox will help.

There is certainly something going on that so many people are on anon-memes of various sorts (lol_meme is what, 4 years old now and still going?), making locked communities to discuss things, and making a lot of locked-down posts. People are angry. And it's easy for people to dismiss that anger as all "oh, the fragile flowers in fandom who can't stand having their privileged checked!" And while that is some of it, that is not all of it. There's a lot of discussion and thrashing out of ideas and just talking about why some things are "okay" and some things are not. And sometimes we don't want to have these conversations attached to our names because it's still okay in fandom to sniff and go "Oh, so_and_so. Wasn't she the one who, five years ago, said X?" Because we all know that no one changes their minds, no one develops new ideas, and no one learns anything ever. We're all static and never changing.

If I want to say "I think it's really shitty the way a bunch of people are jumping down This Person's throat for fucking up and not giving her any time to breath and respond", I have to really ask who I know is going to agree, who is going to loathe me for that, and who is going to attack me for it. If I say the same thing on an anonymeme, I can get a testing of exactly how bad what I've said is - or if it's bad at all - and still discuss the matter without needing to wonder who's going to attack me for it.

There's no nuance anymore in these discussions. And I really hate that. At least anonymously I can discuss things and work out my issues. All I want to talk about on my LJ anymore is my favorite color and the weather, because they seem the safest topics.

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thistleingrey: (Default)

[personal profile] thistleingrey 2010-07-18 09:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I haven't paid attention to this anon meme: I know it exists because a few friends/acquaintances have mentioned it--the end. Re: perils of posting anonymously, however, I wonder sometimes whether people remember/know/care that, even when IP logging is not on, somewhere there's a server that knows the IP address used when a particular comment was submitted. It takes a lot of work to be truly anonymous online, and even then, sometimes there's slippage that can reveal a trail after the fact.

I'm struggling to think of instances of *anon* culture specifically, versus the varying manifestations of pseud culture. hmm.

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littlebutfierce: (oofuri momokan pr0n)

[personal profile] littlebutfierce 2010-07-18 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Here via my network; I find this all v. fascinating & look forward to your blog post!

I have never participated in any anon memes of the first type you mention; I'm vaguely aware of them, & have taken quick looks when links come up through my circle or whatever, but they generally seem so hateful that I don't see the point.

Kink memes I know a bit more about. Um, I probably wouldn't have dipped my toe into fic-writing waters had I not had a nice friendly kink meme in which to do it. It helps that the fandom in question is small, so I think people are more appreciative of any fills; I'm not sure if I wanted to do, say, Harry Potter kink memes, that I'd have the nerve.

I don't know if I have anything more useful to say, alas! But I would love to see what others have to say about it.
facetofcathy: four equal blocks of purple and orange shades with a rusty orange block centred on top (Default)

[personal profile] facetofcathy 2010-07-18 09:40 pm (UTC)(link)
One other anon thing that is not a meme, is wank-report at Journalfen where a lot of Fandom Wank and Unfunnybusiness posts come from. It's interesting that the reporting is mostly anon, whereas the commenting on the two comms themselves is usually restricted to non-anon. I actually find the threads on Wank Report more interesting than Fandom Wank itself.

I've been following the Big Bang threads on spnpermanon because it is one of the few places outside a very tiny minority of delicious users where you get honest critical reactions to fic. You get grudge wank and sniping and various other things too, but it's one of the few places where someone might say something insightful, but not totally positive, about a story. You also realize how very, very lonely (and safe) it must be to write Gen fic.

I have not got the patience to follow a regular anon meme just due to volume and signal to noise ratio.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-18 09:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Not really the same thing, but there is an anon component to the Yuletide/Festivids/Yuletart model, where the work is posted but the author remains anonymous for a period of time. I've never heard the story of why it's done this way but it does create a space in which people post their recs and preferences without knowing whose work they're talking about.

I'm sure that in some cases it's perfectly clear who wrote what, the fandoms being small and the participants being known, but as a relative newbie I found it very liberating to read and post recs with author unknown.
lo_rez: green-on-black classic radar circular grid (Default)

sorry!

[personal profile] lo_rez 2010-07-18 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Unintentional anon is unintentional!

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cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

[personal profile] cathexys 2010-07-18 09:45 pm (UTC)(link)
There was a big debate over anon memes last year in re to a bandom com...I'll try to find the link to one of the better essays talking about the advantages of anon.

Back then i felt that anon was bad, and I've hated anon memes because i dislike the way they take away responsibility and accountability...and yet...this time around, i'm enthralled with the number of actual debates going on there rather than simply bitching about people. There's much less ad hominem and grudgewank than i've previously seen and much more attempts to debate arguments without authorial weight (or fallacy?)

Another anon meme that i've enjoyed lately has been the SPN/J2 Big Bang meme. some of it is vicious, but a lot is useful. It's a bit like wikipedia where the intelligence of crowds gives me a decent sense of the stories before reading them...
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

[personal profile] cathexys 2010-07-18 09:50 pm (UTC)(link)
It was impertinence (http://impertinence.livejournal.com/486217.html?format=light). And there's a few more posts on metafandom (http://delicious.com/metafandom/anonymity)

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ratcreature: RatCreature as a sloth (sloth)

[personal profile] ratcreature 2010-07-18 09:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I have browsed some of the latest because I saw it mentioned again and again, but I have the same problem with anon memes as with comment fic and kink memes, that they are tedious to browse, so unless someone links you to interesting bits you have expand comments, wait, expand another comment thread, wait, and so on and so forth, and I'm on broadband even and it still takes forever. Also more often than not there are no subject lines. So with the recent one I never even got around to seeing anything that would have justified all the interest on my f-list, because I was fed up with the navigation before I ever got anything that was truly different from non-anon comments. Also in the past when I have browsed around anon memes I was just frequently confused, because there were bits of personal gossip, and airing dirty laundry, which might have been interesting in a rubbernecking way, except I had never heard about any of the supposedly "BNFs" even though I was in the same fandom. I had that happen in HP and SPN anon memes, that I had no idea what past kerfuffle and conflict was being rehashed or who most of these people were. So when I do browse for longer to it's never even worth the tedium, because it's mostly about people I don't even know.

At least with kink memes usually someone ends up making a delicious account so that you can find what you want. I really hope for those that the recent DW suggestion about anon comm posts gets implemented and we could have anon posting and decent browsing and organization at the same time, with things easily tagged and fic not splitt into tiny gazillion parts.

As for posting anon, the same laziness hinders that. I can't be bothered to log out of my accounts just to rant in some comment.

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(Anonymous) 2010-07-18 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
It's freeing to be able to say things you wouldn't say with your name attached. I'm not talking about nasty, mean things ... although, y, there is sometimes that. But I'm talking about things so personal you're ashamed to say them with your name attached.

lol tl;dr

(Anonymous) 2010-07-18 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
The most obvious benefit to posting anonymously is that you have the freedom to say what you want whenever you want and for whatever reason (although most anonmemes now tend to have some rules on content [eg no comments on people's religion] that are inforced by mods). No names means no accountability (unless you screw up and post logged-in).

Of course this freedom can be used for "evil" - trolling is common in many forms (trolling other named accounts is usually frowned upon, but trolling the meme itself whether by fucking up the page through coding or just by being an asshole is a normal occurence). But that freedom can also be used for "good" - discussing personal problems or sensitive topics, airing greivances you would otherwise be afraid to bring up. There is a difference between hatememes and other anonmemes, simply in that hatememes are used solely to hate on suggested people or topics.

Lastly, I read a couple of the other replies to this post and wanted to comment on the difference between 4chan and other anonmemes on LJ. The differences lie in tone, in-group slang, and speed. 4chan has been around for a long time now in internet time, and caters to a different demographic than most LJ fandom IMO. The general tone of the site is quite different because of that demographic - the primary users of 4chan are young men, and their slang reflects that. Instead of calling each other "bb" (short for "baby"), they call each other "fag" or variations on it (like "dayfag" for daytime users, "nightfag" for nighttime users, "tripfags" are users identified by a tripcode), not to mention the various names based on the board names (eg /co/ is the comics board and "/co/mrades" are normal /co/ denizens). Also, a large amount of content on 4chan's boards would simply not be acceptable on an LJ-based anonmeme. Trolling is accepted and far more aggressive than what is typically seen on LJ, and -isms of all kinds are regularly employed by the users (try finding a serious poster on a LJ anonmeme joke about someone else's "faggotry"). Finally, because of the age and organization of the site, the boards and threads move extremely quickly - not always true of LJ anonmemes.

Most importantly, the site itself is constructed to delete old threads. 4chan has no long-term memory. LJ meme does. This leads to a larger catalogue of slang, in-jokes, and what is considered acceptable in-group behaviour.

I apologize for rambling at you, and hope that even a fraction of this is informative to you.

Re: lol tl;dr

(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 12:45 am (UTC)(link)
Except for when GJ went down. ;_;

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(Anonymous) 2010-07-18 11:39 pm (UTC)(link)
The anon meme offers the opportunity to offer dissenting opinions. We've had some really interesting, and I think productive, discussions on disability culture that I've otherwise only seen elsewhere under f'lock. People can talk freely without fearing that the Fandom Police will descend upon them.

Also, the meme brings people from very different fandoms together, people who normally don't interact unless their f'lists cross over somehow. You get a lot of different perspectives this way, which only adds to the quality of the discussion.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 12:52 am (UTC)(link)
I think part of that "under flock" thing comes down to the problem with LJ/DW culture and Public Discourse.

I want to have more of the conversations with other people with disabilities online that I usually have when offline, but a conversation that's started in my journal is considered "public", so I need to consider whether or not I actually want to have a conversation about disability that any one, disabled or not, can see and thus make assumptions about.

Sometimes I just do not want our in-group discussions about disability to be fodder for people without disabilities to use in arguments. And yet, since every discussion on line is "Disability 101", we'd have to have them in locked communities or on message boards that somehow vouched for others.

I've noticed that people of color also talk about this - wanting to have discussions about issues between people of color that aren't for the prying eyes of white people. I know there are some forums where they do that, but I'm not sure how they vouch for people, or if they take it on faith.

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(Anonymous) 2010-07-18 11:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Everyone is forgetting to mention lol_meme. It has been running on JF since 2006, started with the pandameme that was deleted by Aja (bookshop), and is now on dreamwidth fulltime. It's like 4chan for girls, with its own slang and recurrent topics, like periodshits. Check it out. http://lol_meme.dreamwidth.org
vehemently: (Default)

[personal profile] vehemently 2010-07-19 12:48 am (UTC)(link)
I like to call a spade a spade! Also, the anonymeme you're talking about has a thread somewhere in it lamenting how people aren't comfortable publicizing it. Fail_fandomanon (awkward name) is here.

(I was perturbed, when it first started, to find it aping W*ll Sh*tt*rly's icky language, but it's clear that a preponderance of the participants view him with contempt, and the name is an unfortunate -- and really, awkwardly-named -- coincidence.)

I first heard of permanons via friends who RP in anon LJ comms. To which I didn't really see the appeal, but then, I don't RP. It is certainly the cast that Wank_Report has become much more active and discussiony (okay, mostly flamey and lulzy) in the past year or two; it used to be much, much flatter. I don't think anonywank is the only reason F_W disallows anon comments -- spam is certainly a factor -- but it certainly cuts down on the likelihood of the wanked person charging in to explain her rightness. Unless she already has an account.

[personal profile] cofax7 likes to say that fandom routes around a choke point. The fail anon in particular is an obvious sign that conformity isn't working the way it usually does. (The same is also true of anon story-reviewing. Which, ask me some time about the X-Files history of anon reviews. Now that was a war.) Why not, and whether that can be remedied under out own names, is hard to say; I really don't care to imagine a future in which fannish interaction defaults to anonymity. I'm here for the people, you know? Not the aggregate people.
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[personal profile] cofax7 2010-07-19 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
Which, ask me some time about the X-Files history of anon reviews. Now that was a war.

::has unpleasant flashback::

Crypto, you might want to scroll back in my LJ a week or so back: there was a long discussion with an anon in it that I don't know if you saw.

I really don't care to imagine a future in which fannish interaction defaults to anonymity. I'm here for the people, you know? Not the aggregate people.

Yeah, that.

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wembley: Are your children playing with Lucifer's testes? (luciferstestes)

[personal profile] wembley 2010-07-19 01:13 am (UTC)(link)
(is there some kind of Fight Club thing where you're not supposed to link to it? or actually name it?

It's not an anon-meme thing, it's an LJ-media-fandom thing. Pretend it's not there, because anon negativity is really, really frowned upon. Or only refer to it obliquely. I guess the idea is to view the anon meme as trolling and so not to give them attention, but... that's not how anon memes like this work. They feed off current hot topic discussions in fandom, but not off mention of the anonmeme itself. If the participants feel secure enough, it'll keep going for a while. Having a "don't feed the trolls" policy toward anon memes is pointless.
wembley: Revamped version of my very first LJ icon. It's of Wembley Fraggle. (mohinder bandage)

[personal profile] wembley 2010-07-19 01:19 am (UTC)(link)
Also, re: The First Rule Of Fight Club, I think a lot of people are probably reading it and not talking about it because it's not socially acceptable to publicly admit you're reading it, though I think that attitude is starting to shift.

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A glimpse from the Internet dinosaur land...

(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 04:38 am (UTC)(link)
Before Dreamwidth, before Livejournal, before even web browsers, there was Usenet. A text-based (ASCII only where formatting was limited to _this_ and *this*) medium.

Anyway, some of the Usenet groups preferred poster anonymity and for posters to stick to the topic that the group was dedicated to. Most groups, being unmoderated, had some flexibility as to what was considered "on topic" by group consensus.

Among the reason these groups preferred poster anonymity was that it discouraged readers from making assumptions on a post based on the poster's identity, social circles, educational background, etc. before even reading the post. In the other words, the reader's biases, filters, and prejudices were activated by the poster's name alone before reading one word.

The anonymity was supposed to focus readers' attention itself to the discussion itself and not on who said what. It was the "author is dead" thing in action.

I don't think a lot of DW/LJ fandom realizes how absurd it appears to base arguments on the whole "the author is dead, the reader determines meaning in a text" theory and then have a hissy fit claiming that anonymous posting is unacceptable.
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)

Re: A glimpse from the Internet dinosaur land...

[personal profile] rivkat 2010-07-19 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I had understood the argument to be that anonymity creates a different (and, in some versions of the argument, undesirable) text; pseudonymity allows your comment to be situated in a different way. The author may or may not be dead, but the reader reads in context. And that's setting aside the question of content differences in what gets said anonymously v. pseudonymously, which are also important.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 05:32 am (UTC)(link)
The places I spend the most time on are my fandom's anon kinkmeme and another anon meme which has been going a long time. I've been anon memeing for basically the past six years or so, so at this point it feels normal for me.

I like anon places because even though they're anonymous, they still become tight-knit and feel like a real community. Even if you don't know their names or handles, the people there are your people and you have affection for them. It's actually pretty easy to recognize an outsider as opposed to a regular -- so it's not even truly anonymous.

One of the main benefits to me is that you can ask for embarrassing advice, admit your worst secrets, say something completely stupid, and then start fresh with the very next comment. The other thing is that people for the most part are honest, and I've learned a lot about my personality flaws that no one in RL would have ever pointed out to me. I've learned things that people Just Don't Talk About like women's health issues, mental health issues, things I thought only I did but really most people do.

(Anonymous) 2010-08-03 06:16 am (UTC)(link)
This is how it is for me too!
sqbr: And yet all I can think is, this will make for a great Dreamwidth entry... (dreamwidth)

[personal profile] sqbr 2010-07-19 06:22 am (UTC)(link)
Hello! I am here via metafandom, and starting from a similar position, down to the "I'm not even comfortable posting anon on love memes" thing :) (I can do anonymous gift exchanges but they do still feel odd)

One thing making me unsure about linking it even though I have some thoughts I wouldn't mind poking at (and I'm plausibly not typical) is that there are people in my reading circle who are the center of specific hate threads, and I'd really hate to be the person to draw their attention to it and ruin their day (If you're on my circle and wondering if I mean you, let's just assume I don't)

(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 06:43 am (UTC)(link)
I thought of replying to this under my own name (or rather, my normal pseud), but it felt wrong, because I'm commenting as someone who's taken part in the current anon meme, not as myself, if that makes sense? (Actually, thinking about it, it's really weird. But saying 'I felt this' or 'I wanted to say that' logged in feels like de-anoning myself, even if it isn't specific, and even though I haven't said anything I would mind having traced back to me - it's more like it feels against the spirit of the thing not to stick with complete anonymity.)

I've been pleasantly surprised by the standard of discussion, although I suppose it's less pleasant if you start asking why we can't behave like that when not anon. I think it's partly that you can't make proper ad hominem arguments in an anonymous setting: you can't really be sure if you're talking to one person or several, and it's obvious that all you have to judge them on is what they've said in a given comment, which is visible to everyone, so if you want to call them names over it, you either have to make an actual argument for it, or accept that everyone else reading will use their own judgement whether you're right or not.

Nor is there an element of threat, which can be a bad thing in that there is nothing to stop trolling (although I've noticed there is a degree of social pressure exerted even anonymously), but is also a good thing because there is no concern that an unpopular opinion will lead to people denigrating you elsewhere, to people who won't bother to check back on what you really said and judge for themselves.

Then, too, it's more casual than making a post in your own journal. You can just comment on things that catch your eye, or throw something out there, rather than having to make an entire, carefully reasoned post summing up clearly everything you think about a topic. And you can drop out and come back in as you feel like, whereas in your own journal, if you don't reply to someone who disagrees with you, it looks like you accept they've made a knock-down argument, when really you may just not have any idea where to begin, or feel that there's no point arguing with someone so hostile. In an anonmeme, you can step back and let someone else respond if you want.

I'm a little conflicted about liking fail_fandomanon so much: I haven't heretofore been a great fan of anonymity in discussion, feeling that you really should be prepared to stand behind any position you care to advocate. But I may have been wrong. Forcing the emphasis off the people involved and on to the arguments used is good thing, and if the only way to do it is to be anonymous, I think it's worth it.
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[personal profile] torachan 2010-07-19 11:02 am (UTC)(link)
I got sucked into reading [livejournal.com profile] fail_fandomanon and its spin-off [livejournal.com profile] anonficreviews (though so far this one seems to be a better idea in theory than in practice; not many people are actually posting reviews) and have commented several times, but don't consider myself an active participant. The desire to comment always has to be weighed against the hassle, and usually I find I am not willing to jump through all the hoops (1. open a new tab to get the "anon" option, 2. comment, 3. hit post, 4. captcha, 5. hit post again).
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[personal profile] schmevil 2010-07-19 09:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I feel like maybe a review comm would work better if there was a sock posting reviews, with anon comments to the main review allowed. Dissenting opinions encouraged. Gets over the laziness and fractured attention hurdles.

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[identity profile] frogspace.livejournal.com 2010-07-19 05:11 pm (UTC)(link)
So any observations, insights, experiences you'd like to share about kink memes & anonymity would be welcome.

There was a story posted to kinkme_merlin that was a bit unusual but it turned out to be so popular that the mods asked the author for permission to repost it in a better readable format and the reposted version got a lot of comments too. Many comments begged the author to de-anon but they stayed anonymous and gave a great explanation for their choice: http://merlinkinkmeme.livejournal.com/3040.html?thread=16608#t16608

(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I think anon culture would have a much better rep if the communities enforced a 'no personal attacks' rule, but without that the legitimate discussion gets lost in all the viciousness and hate.

[profile] spnpermanon is SPN fandom's anon/hate meme, and it's members have spent a huge alot of time and effort trying to convince SPN fandom that it is not a hate meme. But it's creator, [profile] winterweathered, admitted not too long ago that she created it because she was attacking someone on another hate meme that got deleted, so she didn't have anywhere she could keep attacking people she hated without anyone knowing she was doing it. IOW, she specifically created it to be a hate meme, specifically because she wanted to attack people she didn't like without getting a reptuation because of it, and she and a lot of other people still use it exactly that way. There may be some interesting discussions there, but that doesn't remove the reason it exists or the all hate and lies that have been told about people there. Plus anyone who criticizes the comm while not cowering behind being anonymous becomes an avowed 'enemy,' has exaggerations and outright lies spread all over the community about them, and is harassed in their own journal and in the journals of their friends and in other communities. The fandom has never been great, but adding a permanent hate meme has it made so much worse, and I'm a nobody in the fandom so they don't even know who I am to attack me.

It reminds me of a video I saw with the creator of 4chan awhile ago. He spent 20 minutes talking about how wonderful 4chan is because people once used it to save a cat and to organize protests against scientology. However, when he was asked about the rampant child pornography and the site members who spent months or years harassing the parents of a child who had committed suicide, he just kept mumbling about how they'd saved a cat and fought scientology. He couldn't defend it, so he just pretended it doesn't exist. Anon culture in fandom keeps doing the same thing. Most of what they do can't be justified by anyone, so no one ever tries. They just find the discussions that are defensible and pretend the other stuff doesn't exist or that it is so rare it is not worth discussing, even though that is a huge part of what the communities exist for.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-21 07:05 am (UTC)(link)
I'm sensing some butthurt.

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(Anonymous) 2010-07-19 10:57 pm (UTC)(link)
I spent a lot of time at one point on the Who_anon meme. Who fandom is mostly fractured and feuding, I know few people in it, I stepped into the online fandom very late and don't know where the landmines are. The Who-anon meme was a way of finding discussions that didn't turn into round #3,465 of "you said that classist thing about Rose in 2006" v "you said that racist thing about Martha in 2007".

That's not to say that grudgy arguments about racism and classism are not present on the meme, only that they do not *necessarily* come attached with the baggage of targeted personal grudge. There was no possibility of dismissing what someone had said because of who said it. Amid some gross stupidity, there were some fantastic discussions of those issues and others that changed the way I saw things for good.

There's also the advantage of getting links to interesting news and stories very quickly on the meme, and after nastiness there's a tendency to respond with fic recs, picspams and links to videos in a "la la la not listening" way, and those are lovely.

I know lots of people talk of fandom as a nurturing community and source of great friendship but my experience has not been uniformly positive. I want fandom -- and the messy, argumentative world of Who fandom in particular -- at arms length, and my contact with it controllable. I want to walk away without the drama of 'unfriending'.

Anon memes remind me very much of the old usenet days of threaded discussion that is unmoderated and thus untrammeled. If you wanted to discuss Christian imagery in the Buffy you could go to that thread, if you wanted to discuss how hot David Boreanaz was, there'd be a thread for that too, and if you wanted to share a recipe you could look for the nearest flamewar, make a sarcastic remark and then post the recipe for blueberry cookies.

In the great cycle of fandom, usenet gave way to mailing lists, where people could gather with their likeminded brethren, not have to engage with people whose opinions were painful to them, and mods could halt the trolls. Then LJ took that a step further and made each person the arbiter of arguments in their own space.

Aren't anon memes a return to an earlier mode of discourse where no one person can shut down the discussion? A chance to experience the entirety of a fandom and not just the parts you're automatically drawn to?

Ultimately, I couldn't hack it. The cognitive dissonance of not liking grudgewank, not wanting to see the hounding of the same twenty or so people and not liking anonymous bitching and breaking of flock, and yet participating on an anon meme was getting painful. For me it didn't work, despite all the interesting, great things on the meme.

I can't say I never said anything on the meme that I wouldn't say elsewhere with my name attached if the subject came up because I did once call someone a very rude gendered insult and wish I had not -- gendered insults are Not. Okay. even if someone is being a vicious idiot. But other than that, I'm fine with what I said while anon and okay with people being on anon memes if that's where they feel happiest chatting. Ultimately didn't work for me because I couldn't filter in the good while ignoring the bad.

I do *really* miss the critical, open discussions of fanfic, though. It's the one thing that has never been permitted to continue elsewhere. All efforts outside the anon memes will be stopped by someone hunting down the anonymous reviewer via internet jedi mind tricks and outing them.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-20 10:48 am (UTC)(link)
I am really enjoying the anon meme. I'm finding it incredibly freeing for a number of reasons:

1. I can point out flaws with the way fandom handles fails without it causing a massive fight

2. I can talk about people with bullying behaviour in fandom and not have to worry about repercussions

3. In my lj persona, I am constantly aware of the fact that I'm not as smart nor literate as most people. It makes me worry about everything I write, and I constantly check my posts/ comments and feel like an idiot. With an anon meme, I can write a bunch of crap and not have to worry.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-21 06:22 am (UTC)(link)
R: 3

This, this, this. As someone with anxiety problems who has trouble expressing things in words, this is a BIG reason why I do most of my talking on the anonmeme. It's so freeing to be able to bang out a comment and just not care instead of staring at the "post a comment" box for an hour trying to come up with something that doesn't sound stupid before giving up.
naraht: (Default)

[personal profile] naraht 2010-07-20 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)
When I first read about anonmemes (bandflesh, to be specific) via metafandom, I was pretty disapproving, in that disapproving way that you can have when you've never encountered something personally and don't know anyone who takes part in it. (Honestly I felt the same way when I first read about RPF before figuring out it was actually something that I had, oh, done already without conceptualizing it as such.)

What changed my mind was reading spnpermanon in the wake of the recent controversial Haitific. Sure, there's a lot of fluff and vitriol in there but the anons there (I feel weird saying "nonnies") had actually offered up a deconstruction of the fic that was just as good and insightful as you could find anywhere else. More to the point, they had done so earlier than almost anyone else, because anonymity had made them feel free to wade in with critique of a big and somewhat popular fic. Being someone who wants to see more open discussion and critique of fic, I think anonymity worked well in this case.

Failfandomanon I have mixed feelings about. Not at all sure it was started with what I consider to be positive motives, but there is some good discussion in there and I've taken part now and then. I think the moral of the story is that anonymity can be used for great social justice and also... not. It is what you make it.

One thing I've noticed recently, and I think I would trace it back to the influence of lol_meme rather than spnpermanon, is that there have been a *lot* more anonymous comments recently on non-anonymous meta posts. People are obviously taking the freedom to discuss anon out of the anon comms and into other spheres. I haven't got a solid opinion on this one way or another, but it's definitely a phenomenon and perhaps another data point for you.

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(Anonymous) 2010-07-21 01:58 am (UTC)(link)
The thing I have seen in my fandom's anon meme is repeated trolling of a few people in fandom. By trolling, I mean that there are a few people who are disliked by some anon posters for whatever reason (grudginess) and their names are brought up whenever they say something even slightly wanky.

Whereas, if the comment hadn't been brought to the meme, then only their friendslist would see it or care. (I'm speaking about things like shipping wank, not serious business.)

So I think it's too easy to target certain people or carry out anonymous vendettas. The meme thrives on wank.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-21 06:53 pm (UTC)(link)
The thing I have seen in my fandom's anon meme is repeated trolling of a few people in fandom

The same thing happened in my main fandom last spring, with one hate meme and one anon meme that was a hate meme in everything but name. One fan was repeatedly attacked by a troll who knew personal information about her and her family, which I thought was completely over the line even for an anonymous hate meme.

The fail_fandom anon meme seems to be panfannish enough to avoid being taken over by any specific fandom's grudgewank, except for a few high profile metafandom people who've had a lot of vitriol directed at them. Well, and the endless fount of wank/imbroglio/another imbrolgio/more wank that is scans_daily.

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(Anonymous) 2010-07-21 07:10 am (UTC)(link)
I don't usually read anonmemes, but the spnpermanon has really impressed me. Yes, there is trolling and douchebaggery but there is also a lot of good, honest discussion. Anon memes are good for being absolutely blunt when calling people out, too, especially if you don't have the spoons to duke it out in your own journal.

I've looked at the dreamwidth lol meme, but it moves too fast for me to read and I like how the spn meme at least pays lipservice to making things easier to find.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-21 08:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I think co-opting the language of disability to mean 'not brave enough to attack someone under your own name' is seriously fucked up.

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