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[personal profile] misscam

Once a plagiarist, always a plagiarist?

So, still following the tale of MsScribe and feeling generally blah, I got to thinking about fandom and BNFdom and the things people do for both and why. What is so alluring about fandom is the way you can create your own identity, an online self, and some seem to go further than others. I for one is a lot more bitchy online than in rea life, probably because I channel it out here. And a lot of us probably polish ourselves to shine a little more. At what point does that turn into deception and lies, I wonder? Some do come into fandom lying and spinning tales from the start, some seem to get to a point where they want attention so much they create situations where they get it.

Fandom does have a hierarchy. In the very fanfic-driven ones, plagiarists are probably at the very bottom. And as seen in a link above, once you've committed plagiarism, you are painted with that brush and people distrust you. And at the top, you have those often called Big Name Fans, or BNFs. I suspect very few wants to be at the bottom. But at the top... Yeah, I think a lot of people want it. Not everyone. But certainly some of those who do also mock BNFs. Fame just has a certain magic pull on most. We mock the media fascination with fame, but we also fuel it. Humans are never simple, I guess.

But to get back to the BNF, the goal MsScribe was after if we're to believe the tale. There is something amusing about the thought of being famous for being a fan, but I guess what BNFdom is more about is rising to the top of that particular hierarchy. Becoming the alpha. Now, I'm not going to claim I was ever a huge BNF, but I did gain a certain level of fame in LotR fandom. I got a feel for what it might be like. And it can be quite addictive, but also very tiresome. Because fandom is fickle and for some, I think it's never enough. Perhaps that is why MsScribe kept doing more sockpuppetry. Perhaps that is why I keep writing fanfic. Attention is here today, elsewhere tomorrow, what will you do to swing it back, if that's your game?

Fandom is also about friends and communities. If you form attachments to people, you generally don't want to screw them over. Generally. It can still happen, of course, but more by being thoughtless or accident or some such. But then again, I've heard a few of those who did do stuff for attention say afterwards that it wasn't done with ill will. I believe some of them. So clearly, humans don't always think things through and friendship is no guarantee you won't get screwed over.

And yet, we keep on making friends. Fandom would be awfully lonely if we all distrusted each other. Some play it more carefully than others, some get burned more than others, and the two needn't be connected, ironically enough. Some people stick by their friends and might even refuse to believe there's been lying and deception, or some don't care. On a certain level, I can do understand that. If you've invested enough emotion in something, letting go is very hard. And loyalty does kick in. However, there does come a point where doing nasty in the name of friendship is no excuse at all, but everyone will draw that line differently.

Some of you here will remember the Thalia stuff, some will not. Summed up, Thalia was young and did a few things for attention that got revealed. I was pissed off at being lied to, others forgave. I got some flak for not forgiving, and I probably gave some flak for forgiving easily, in my view at the time. There is no key here, I think, no one approach that is wrong and one that is right. There's just human reactions and what they lead to.

I don't like being lied to. I don't like being screwed over. But like all humans, I will do both, and others will do them to me. And fandom is filled with humans and sockpuppets, and thus lies and screwing over too. A lot probably goes unrevealed. But when not, you get reactions like those you can look at in the comments over at Bad Penny, where the tale of MsScribe is being told. I don't know the truth of that one, since I don't have access to an unbiased, fully catalogued index of all information, but what is there is plenty damning. And so I wonder the why. I'm not sure I have any better answer now than when I started. I know that humans will be humans, but that is poor excuse and only at best a simple explanation. Perhaps it happens more online because it is a world where you can invent yourself, a world you can leave and start over in, reinvent yourself if needed. That sure is harder in real life.

So, the why probably has no easy answer, but it has a few explaining facts that might help towards an understanding. Fandom has some special cirumstances that some people will use. Humans will be humans. Fame will be fame. Shit will happen. Some will be forgiven, some will not. And undoubtedly, you'll probably always get flak, whichever choice you make.

But for me, I'm having a once-in-a-lifetime fandom forgiveness day. Today only, you may tell me if you've lied to ne and/or screwed me over that I was unaware of. I'll probably be hurt, but I am going to forgive it and never speak of it again. It's your choice whether or not you want to trust me on it, but I can pretty much guarantee this is a once-off. I can hold grudges like a champion when I want to. Do it in whatever form you like - anon entries will be screened and you can thus leave anon comment only I will see here. Or e-mail or IM or whatever you prefer, if you prefer to say something at all.

Either way - do be careful what you do in fandom, yeah? You might be human, but so is everyone else. They do get hurt. Even if it's "just" online.

That goes for me too, brain. Make a bloody note.

Date: 2006-06-19 12:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evilstorm.livejournal.com
I've felt the BNF pull before, but I'm simply too goddamn lazy to write, so I've kinda acknowledged that that's never gonna happen. Besides, being Geek is much more important to yours truly than being BNF, so. Anything goes, really.

Some of the best fics I've ever read, and I mean best of the fucking best in nigh-on 5 years of trawling online, have had a seriously limited audience. Can't imagine why, but I personally like it better that way because the readers and author have kinda gotten pretty close. It's shibby.

The general principle of "People are bastards", I find, tends to explain most anything encountered online or IRL.

Date: 2006-06-19 12:35 pm (UTC)
ext_7885: Photo of Bitch,please Scarlet O'Hara (Default)
From: [identity profile] scarlettgirl.livejournal.com
Dear Misscam,

I hope you don't mind that I stole all of your Doctor Who stories and posted them on omgthedoctoristehsex.com.

Can you ever forgive me?



Date: 2006-06-19 01:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reia.livejournal.com
I got some flak for not forgiving, and I probably gave some flak for forgiving easily, in my view at the time.

I tried to forgive, and after a couple weeks I finally just had to send her an e-mail and cut the friendship off. I have enough people lying to my face off-line, I don't need it in my "escape", which is what fandom is to me. I was quite hurt by Thalia, and I'm still pissed off by what she did.

I hope you don't mind if I stole all of your lj icons?


Date: 2006-06-19 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cesario.livejournal.com

I am your father.


Date: 2006-06-19 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chunkylimes.livejournal.com
This is completely irrelevant, but omg icon.

I didn't send you a postcard D:. I'm ashamed.

Date: 2006-06-19 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dune-drd.livejournal.com
Dear cam,

I hope you don't mind thatI crawled into your fics and rolled in them like a dog with the vague hope something of them might stick so I get to write such beautiful things.

If you do mind I promise to bathe.

Date: 2006-06-19 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cincoflex.livejournal.com
dear Miss Cam

YOU are a Plagarist! You stole the idea of a forgiveness day from the Jews! It's called Yom Kippur, and I'm reporting you to the Supreme Deity and to top it all off I'm NOT forgiving you!!!


Dear Miss Cam,

I've been accused of being a BNF, but really, Cincoflex is only nine letters, and somepeople have names that are a hell of a lot longer. How can I prove my point?

Date: 2006-06-19 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starsong24.livejournal.com
I once told a lie, and people were angry because of it. And some people were hurt, but I don't know if you were. I didn't like all the bad feelings, so I elaborated the lie a bit more in a way that calmed people down and made them 'forgiving' or somesuuch.

I feel guilty all the time for starting it at all.

Date: 2006-06-19 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoraheatherly.livejournal.com
Icon love!

Confession? Well, I've never ripped off your work and I'm a fairly low wank person, fandom-wise. The only thing I can think of is that I thought you were a little full of yourself when I first met you, because you were in snark mode at the time. But that was due to the fact that I was brand new to any sort of fandom online, still subscribed to the theory "don't like don't read omg!" and truly believed that my 10th Walker Legolas epic was a masterpiece.

Even after I got to know you and realized what a kind and humble person you were, it took me a long time to come to terms with the whole GAFF school of thought. Eventually though, I realized this was entirely based in my own insecurities. Fandom had to teach me quite a few harsh lessons before I could understand where the snarkers were coming from and that yes, 9 times out of 10, they were right.

I suppose I have that to thank you for- I really did make an effort to understand why you felt the way you did about fanfiction. I respected and liked you so much as a person that I didn't want my hang ups to be a barrier between us. Ultimately, I don't think I would have gone to that effort for anyone else and were it not for you, I'd probably still be ranting about GAFFers and pounding out Mary Sues left and right.

Also, it made me realize that the type of writing I was doing was far below my skill level and to improve, I had to push for a higher standard.

Thank you for that and apologies that my initial impressions were so far off-base. I'm glad that I made the effort to see beyond them because if I hadn't, I would have missed out on some very important lessons and a truly wonderful person.

Date: 2006-06-19 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluerosefairy.livejournal.com
Dear Cam,

My fandom confession involves having read virtually everything you've written at either "Better With Two" or Teaspoon, and spectacularly managed not to review anything. Will try and rectify that today and tomorrow. Gah, usually I'm better at reviewing (and fangirling), but my only excuse is that I'm fairly new to participating in DW fandom and have convinced myself that I will sound stupid if I review.

Your friendly neighborhood dork girl,


Date: 2006-06-19 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robin-2370-hood.livejournal.com
I love your icon.

I just observe fandoms and read fics, I've never posted anything and I try not to get involved in wank, unless it really makes me mad. I've never been able to steal anything, in RL or on the internet. I guess I have an irrational fear of consequences, and of nice people not liking me because I'm an idiot.

I wanted to apologize on behalf of certain libraries, and I believe certain governments that have stolen this wonderful amnesty day idea of yours. Hopefully you can find it in your loving heart to forgive them on this day. (This is a wonderful example of getting people to not like me because I'm an idiot. My friends don't even understand my humor sometimes, sorry if I offened you.)

Date: 2006-06-19 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robin-2370-hood.livejournal.com
Could someone explain to me what exactly the MsScribe story is? Please?

Date: 2006-06-20 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fondued-jicama.livejournal.com
Always like you, been amused and appreciative of your opinions- since it's good to know other views on things- and generally found you a good sort of person. And I don't think I have lied to you, but maybe I have. oO; It's not like I make it a habit.

Date: 2006-06-20 01:42 am (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Chrisjen Avasarala on the roof (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
I don't think I've *talked* to you enough to have lied to you? Hmm. I think I do feel the pull of BNFs, and sometimes want to be around them, and then worry that hanging around someone for the reflected glory is wrong. Which, interestingly enough, made me want to hang around you more after the OFUM furor had died down a bit. Since I'm not an active DW fan, you being a fantastic writer in that fandom isn't intimidating at all, and it's nice to meet you as Just Another Girl (and not *just* OMGtehamazing!OFUM author, though I haven't entirely forgotten that incarnation of you, either).

I still use mini-balrog as slang for typo, though. :-)

Date: 2006-06-20 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elvenpiratelady.livejournal.com
I'm going to say "I love your icon!", but I'm also going to reference the quote and say I got it from reading other people's comments, agreed with it and wanted to emphasise it. I hope I've avoided plagiarism.

I must admit, sometimes I read your snark and it makes me angry, because I try to be optomistic and I come online to distract myself from the sad things in the world. That's not a complaint, just a reflection, because I get into very black moods myself. But then as often as not when I come back again you've written a beautiful fic (most of which I keep forgetting to review/comment on, sorry! I do appreciate them.) Or else I'm in a better mood by then and I can point and laugh at the badfic/wangst.

I don't know, people get so attached to fanfic, why don't they remember that we've all got different opinions and we have a right to express them? Then of course I'm hypocritical, being on the PPC Posting Board and [livejournal.com profile] _scourgify_. But I try very hard to criticise the fic, not the author.

Date: 2006-06-20 07:28 am (UTC)
ext_74116: (Default)
From: [identity profile] visp.livejournal.com
Dammit, makes me wish I'd done something worthy of forgivenes.

Date: 2006-06-20 08:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-troll.livejournal.com
Except for reading all your stories on ff . net (even those for/from shows I've never seen) and never ever reviewing anything I'm innocent.
Beside being The American President Who Is In Charge Of The world, that is.

Oh emo viking, have a chocolate ice-cream to drown the tears in.

Date: 2006-06-20 08:25 am (UTC)
ext_104931: Beauty And The Books (Default)
From: [identity profile] melliyna.livejournal.com
I haven't talked to you enough to lie to you and I wouldn't anyway. Because as far as I can see stuff like this seem to partly come from the fact that it can be so easy to forget that people on the internet are real people, with real feelings that can be hurt - not just pixels and words on a computer screen.

See I just don't understand the craziness that people get in to over fandom - but then again I always thought fandom was a happy place where you could squee, have interesting discussions and disagree in a reasonable manner and it was all good. Reading the [livejournal.com profile] msscribe stuff was really depressing because I just couldn't shake the thought that all this was over fandom - something that is supposed to be fun and friendly.

Actually it was you and the OFUM fics that introduced me to this side of fandom (as I said I have a drama avoidance radar - I don't pick it up online or in real life) and while it hurt because I tend to think the best of people it was a good thing in a lot of ways because not only did I get to read some excellent fic by you and the fic authors I found through your friends list I learnt that sometimes it is a mistake to assume the best of people. I still do it though.

So I'm going to go hide in my quite little lurky corner, happily accepting different opinions and perving on David Tennant and squeeing over the fact that the new series of Doctor Who will be arriving in Australia really soon.

Date: 2006-06-21 09:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] doubtful-salmon.livejournal.com
Doesn't everyone want to be a BNF at some point.

But once I read this BNF story that everyone was all over, and it was terrible. It was just bad. I can't tell you how truly terrible I found this story. The jokes were easy, the setups were lame, the scenario was improbable (and not even funny improbable), and the writing crossed the mediocrity line to just plain...bad. I mean it was NOT good writing, and it was really not good comedy. It was one of those things that you might write to amuse a friend of yours, or to amuse yourself, which I can appreciate. But she posted it and everyone just went WILD over it, this friend of mine who showed it to me included.

It struck me that day, and it stuck with me, that fandom is mostly just dumb. It's really dumb. Let all this wank be testimony to the fact that fame in this verse is not due to talent, but popularity. I think we always knew that, but it was always a which came first, the chicken or the egg sort of question. But it seems clear that at least in this story, it was the popularity that came before the talent.

I would like to say this should be a nice way for everyone who is not a BNF to still hope for success, but alas, the real world seems to work in the same way.

Anyway, just thoughts.


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