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To register at AFF, or not to register.


You know, back when all this began, I was a happy lurker on AFF.net. I donated a few times over the years. Then I got the bug to start writing Aulu lemons, and -- woot, the site crashed! Behold my awesome powers of entropy! And that was good, because it meant that I spent a lot longer polishing my first submissions.

Eventually I couldn't stand it anymore and started posting on ficwad.com. I've also discovered Freedom of Speech Fanfiction Archive. However, I had meant to tide myself over until AFF was back up, then post there.

There's just one problem. I've met some great folks on the forums and lj pages of the AFF community, but I've also seen some really nasty posts on the yahoo group list that give me pause.

I've been a moderator here and there for nearly ten years. Sometimes members drive us completely bonkers. Sometimes (well, always) they bitch and moan. I've been known to be curt with them now and again. What I saw on the yahoogroups list was beyond curt.

1) The front page of AFF kept saying the move would happen by Feb 15. For a week or so, there was no update to explain why the site was down, timing out, or author controls were frozen. Mods were snippy or uncommunicative answering questions. All they needed to do was post a notice on the front page of AFF saying, "hang tight, folks, we've run into some massive technical glitches that are slowing us down; AFF will be back but it's going to take a few weeks!" I don't blame the mods for not posting such a notice for some time, but I don't think they should've jumped on members for continuing to ask "what's happening?" before, or even after, those notices went up. (Some people always seem to miss the memo.)

2) Moderators attacked members for trying to use the site once it came back up, calling them names and blaming them for making it go slowly. If the site wasn't ready to be up, then it's really not the members' fault for stepping through the front door when it's open.

3) Moderators on the yahoo group kept mocking members for being unable to wait for the site to return. That wasn't what members were asking for. Members were asking for some information. It wasn't, "bring it back now now now!" but "er... is it just my net, or is AFF still dead? Any ideas why?" Those are not unreasonable questions to ask, and some of the scathing responses I saw gave me pause.

4) Moderators on the yahoo group finally declared they'd just ban any complaining, questioning, etc, and anyone who wanted to bitch could just leave. They gloated that they'd delete any post that mentioned censorship. That's when I got nervous. I mean, we don't like ff.net because it's so very arbitrary towards authors. So why on earth start making AFF that way?

Yes, some members were being cranky, others were asking the same questions that had already been asked over and over, but I can think of so many other ways to deal with their griping, and I can't condone dismissing all complaints or frustration as that of idiots, brats, crybabies, etc.

So I'm left scratching my head.

I was looking forward to becoming an AFF author instead of an AFF lurker. I've waited patiently for nearly 2 months to post my first story. Now, at last, the "register" page is open. But... do I? Or do I just stick with ficwad and other places, which seem a little more good-natured? It's not that I think the AFF mods are unmitigatingly bad -- some of them are patient above and beyond the call of duty, while others have been working their buns off to get this move accomplished -- but the comments of a few of them were so discouraging that I really don't feel comfortable with AFF any longer, whereas, ironically, when I was just a lurker... I was happy to support the place.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Warning, this might get long from the amount of stuff I want to write in response going through my head. :D

I thnk you should still go ahead and sign up at AFF and I'll tell you why. First off, the moderators aren't really involved in the day to day dealings of the website archive unless of course you're underage or have done something wrong like put the wrong type of story or whatever in some screwed up place. I've never had to deal with them really unless I was reporting an underager. I wasn't very happy with the way they were dealing with the situation either with the website hiccups lately. I am on the yahoo mailstring too and I just plain don't read it anymore. Between the countless members who keep asking whats going on and the bitchy responses from a certain select moderators, I just don't find interest in it anymore. I agree it certainly isn't that difficult to put a simply message on the main page, or a rerouted page when the site was down, saying that such and such with the site will take longer than expected. Plus, not everyone was on the yahoo mailstring to be *in* on all the information going on. If they didn't want those questions they could've put a message up, that simple and all of this would've been avoided. So there is indeed a lack of communication I think between the mods and admin on issues such as this (some of them didnt even know why the site was taking longer!!) so there might be some need of reform in that area. But like I said before, besides these recent problems with the site, you don't see the mods all that much.

As for personal issues with the mods, I don't like a certain couple of them just from the way they behave and being a mod myself on a big website forum (as you can understand being an admin/mod too on a large website) I think they should really learn to curb their behavior a little bit, especially in responses.

However, I was also thinking that with these latest problems with AFF people have started to branch out to other archives. It really depends on how all this will go with AFF in the future with this new server provider. A lot of people lost faith I think with the website and have moved on elsewhere. The problem is you don't find nearly enough archive sites that allow the same thing as AFF.

Secondly, there are a heck of a lot more readers and writers on AFF than most other sites. If visibility is important and more feedback, the best would be to sign up at AFF. Ficwad and FOSFFA (thats freedom of speech's acronym heh) just don't have the numbers sometimes. FFnet has the numbers but much more of the teenyboppers and immature weirdos. AFF has the maturity (usually) that we need to glean off of by reading other stories but also in responses and critique.

So either way, I'm trying not to let the moderator stuff get me down and I've talked to Apollo on occasion who seems to have a good head on her shoulders. I'm hoping she and Jaxxy will do some changes among the staff and such once the site issues are completely done. I know they were looking for a serious knowledgeable database person but I'm hardly that and ironically that was one of the serious problems then had with moving the website to the new server was corruption in the database conversion. I might be much more knowledgeable once I finish my database class this semester and take the advancced class eventually for my masters but it will be a while. Otherwise I would offer my services just so I could see the site be more stable.
Mar. 31st, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
Heh, you'd be a wizard there, I bet!

I'm hoping members have branched out a bit and started visiting other sites, because I really like ficwad (or I wouldn't be there, eh?), so maybe this will be good longterm.

I wasn't on the email group for AFF at all, just the forum, until the forum had been shut down for a while. That meant I wasn't getting whatever info was being posted to the yahoo list. I dropped by the yahoo list a few weeks into this and discovered flames flying in every direction. It was just nasty. It wasn't a very good way to find information, as you say!

And at the same time, I'd been forewarned by a few folks who had come to the AFF forum after getting blocked from the yahoo group. They seemed articulate, if ticked, and they did not seem unreasonable to me in their frustrations. As soon as I got on the group, I saw others getting scolded, mocked, and told to leave, and/or having posts blocked. One of mine was for reasons I sincerely cannot fathom.

I feel bad for the members who were railed at. I feel weird joining a club when I've just seen the staff kick somebody in the shins. Does that make any sense?

On the other hand, the mods on the AFF forum were hardworking, patient, firm and blunt when necessary without resorting to name-calling. Hentai Plushie works her butt off. I have no doubt that Jaxxy and Apollo are responsible Poobahs. So I know it's not everyone. It's just a few that really make me wince.
Mar. 31st, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
yea the forum isn't as bad as the yahoo group. I enjoyed visiting the forum but I haven't really had the chance to even visit it let alone go to the main archive. Most of my time is at work and it really is bad if the powers that be like to make sure you're working find you are instead on some website with the term "adult" on it. Especially considering that they are starting my more thorough check for my clearances now I can't afford even thinking of glancing through without posting. Hubby takes up most of my free time at home after work so that just doesnt leave much time... either saturday mornings (which might be busy with taking puppy to the dog park or catching up on house cleaning) or the every other week friday I get off.

My reading has seriously floundered but that's why I like getting tidbits from you in the mail. ^_^ speaking of which, I think I might start updating my stuff at FOSFF again... I started to but got no feedback really but maybe I'll just put everything up once I have some time. BTW, I'll accept your challenge for the Aulu fic once I get more written. :D
Apr. 1st, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
So, I did it.

Simple answer: reviews are nice.

Less simple answer: the mods of the yahoo groups are the ones that are making me twitch, and telling us "don't let the door hit you on the way out" (literally). So, okay, I will take their advice and get the heck away from the bad mojo flying around that list!

Still not sure I feel up to donating to AFF again after this, but I guess I've chipped in before, which is more than some lurkers are able to manage.

I'm still gonna treat ficwad as my primary spot, though, and post stories there first.
Apr. 1st, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
yay!!!! *speeds away to check it out*
Apr. 1st, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
AFF was my favorite site for the longest time, but I'm with you on the not keeping people informed stuff. I kept checking the "Main Categories" page like the banner said and found nothing but out-dated intel. I've virtually given up on the site. I've been posting on about a dozen other sites for years now and will continue to do so, but I don't know if I'm willing to bother with AFF with all the jerking around that's been going on. I can understand glitches happening and stuff taking longer than expected, but it's not unreasonable to ask them to LET US KNOW, even if it's just a, "Hey, we're not sure what's going on, but we're working on it."

I've started posting at Ficwad and I frankly haven't been impressed. I go out of my way to make my characters "real", receiving multiple accolades for just that and have been getting no reviews and only minus ratings for "Mary-Sues." Frankly, Ficwad has begun to disgust me. I'm glad someone is having a good experience there, but I'm about ready to throw them in the trash bin with FF.net and AFF.
Apr. 1st, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: sites
Yikes. Mary Sues? O.o That's not good.

The trouble with ficwad is that it's so tiny, you're totally dependent on the circle of reviewers prowling in a given fandom, and there aren't that many.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
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