zellieh: Text: ENGLISH lurks in dark alleys, beats up other languages & rifles their pockets for spare vocabulary (writing: english steals vocabulary)
[personal profile] zellieh

Story Wars (http://www.storywars.net) Story Wars Blog (http://storywarsblog.net/)


"Read a story. Write the next chapter. Vote on your favorite chapter."

So. lots of round-robin fics written by strangers... who earn points, based on votes left by other readers and writers? ...Okay? I like Tumblr's shared universes and fandom's shared tropes and habit of co-authoring stuff, so I took a look at this. There doesn't seem to be much concrit or conversation, just a straight-up popularity contest. Honestly, I think it's a terrible idea. Adding point-scoring and competitiveness to a fic-writing, fic-sharing site seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

The part of me that's seen shit go down in the internet is just wailing, Cassandra-like: "This will end in wank! Mark my words: there will be wank, and accusations of favouritism and hackers and sabotage and wailing about cliques, BNFs and bullying, and the mods will end up rending their clothes and rubbing ashes in their hair forthwith, yea verily forsooth!"

Basically, if you find counting kudos and hit-counts stressful, don't want strangers in your personal universes, and find popularity contests anxiety-inducing, this is probably not for you (or me). Oh, and also? HERE BE DRAGONS! There are NO content indicators, maturity ratings, or warnings OF ANY KIND. All you get is title and the author's name, not even a line of text from the story. I'd call the while thing a choose-not-to-warn, NSFW site!

Also, this part of the blurb reminded me of FanLib's attempt to profit off of fanworks (emphasis added is mine):

"Who owns all the stories that are written? -- All user-created content on Story Wars is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
What does that mean? -- That anyone can share or adapt your writing as long as they attribute you." [To be fair to Story Wars, this permission is required for a shared-fic-writing site, but it leaves the door open for 'anyone' to be, say, an individual or company selling authors' works commercially and for profit -- without asking permission, paying the authors, or sharing the profits.]

"Why did we choose to share it? -- In a far far away future, we hope to be able to create real books of your stories. Think about it, a physical book that you could show your friends!" [Think about it: Do authors get paid when these books are sold?]

I think the real question here, neatly elided in the blurb, is: Who has the right to sell and profit off of your stories, your ideas? EL James was only able to file the serial numbers off of her fanfic and sell it as 50 Shades of Grey because she owned the rights to her story. If authors co-write a popular, potentially-profitable blockbuster story on Story Wars, will they be able to sell it? Would they be able to stop someone else from selling it? I have some concerns...

(Excerpted 'Story Wars' section from a longer public post on my own personal journal. Cross-posted to the LJ Life W/O FanLib comm.)

Going back to the main Story Wars site, I couldn't find a TOS page at all. Maybe you get that when you sign up to become a member, but I find it hard to trust a site that won't tell me what I'm signing up for until after I've signed up. Also, the more I look at the way this idea's being implemented, the more I feel like I'm watching the internet equivalent of a horror movie set-up: "I've got a great idea! Let's create a site on the internet! What could possibly go wrong?!" *Jaws music*
[identity profile] topaz-eyes.livejournal.com
Henry Jenkins has recently posted 5 parts of an 8-part article called If It Doesn't Spread It's Dead on his blog. In his words, it is a white paper which was developed last year by the Convergence Culture Consortium on the topic of Spreadable media. Part Four has a small discussion about FanLib.
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
Another news article 1 about FanLib partner Craig Singer's newest venture casually mentions FanLib has become Disney's Take180.

This is the second article 2 confirming Disney bought FanLib; I assume the information appears in a Disney financial report. Any Disney stockholders out there? The financial report may state the price paid for FanLib.

Take180 is visually ugly, and laden with "challenges" and prizes. It looks exactly the way you would expect FanLib to look after a quick re-do to serve Disney's interests. It is also riddled with the celebrity brown-nosing rampant at FanLib. The pitch (Be part of a creative community. Get in the spotlight. Prizes happen.) is nearly indistinguishable from Chris Williams's promotion of FanLib in July, 2007. 3

The men who owned FanLib (brothers Chris and David Williams) did not have the balls 4 to tell the 25,000 members of the sell-out. They have said nothing publicly on the subject (according to my daily news webcrawl since June, 2008). At the time of the closure, I speculated the only confirmation might be a FanLib-like product from Disney. 5 Now we have it. FanLib closed on August 4, 2008. 6 Take180 opened around August 29, 2008. 7

I had the lowest possible expectations of the Williams brothers, but even I didn't expect them to lie about matters of importance — not when the lies would inevitably be exposed. Apparently they thought lying was the better trade-off: better to lie and cowardly escape the reaction of fandom, even though they would be exposed later as liars.

Perhaps the FanLib founders feared their members would join Take180 and make a wreck of its forums, sullying its Disney purity. Perhaps they feared FanLib's failure 8 would foul Take180 before it was out of the dock. Or perhaps Disney publicists, reviewing the Williams brothers' track record 9 in communicating with fans, ordered them to be silent.

Five months have gone by since FanLib closed. Its members are scattered; articles about FanLib have dwindled. If nothing else, the lies bought time.

There's more. Craig Singer's current venture, the film Perkins' 14, came about this way:

"A year and a half ago, Singer was sorting through hundreds of one-paragraph ideas submitted through his Web site, FanLib [...]. The 10 fan finalists were then asked to create a 'video pitch' for their idea. It was a fan in North Carolina who came up with the premise of 'Perkins 14' [sic]— about a town that has suffered 14 child abductions, and the obsessed cop [...] who finds that the kids have been turned into zombified killing machines." 10

Craig Singer used a FanLib member's original idea to launch his new career? 11 I need a stronger stomach. Edit: Jeremy Donaldson's idea was submitted through massify.com in association with FanLib. 12

Another thing: numerous people in fandom (and outside of it) distrusted the Disney buyout rumor because it was farfetched Disney would believe a fanfiction website could be profitable (especially after FanLib's example). But Disney had no such foolish belief. Fanfiction appears at Take180 only as an interest in member profiles.

Take180 is built from FanLib's corpse, using a single limb added in October, 2007, vid hosting. 13 (Edit: Turns out this is literally true. Take180 URLs indicate it lives on FanLib's former servers.) Instead of the female dominated world of fanfiction, Take180 goes after amateur film makers — a fandom YouTube; you can imagine the corporate orgasm the concept would induce — presumably to gain the young male demographic FanLib slavered after. 14

Just one more thing. Confirmation of the Disney buyout means we must reconsider FanLib.

As a fanfiction archive and as a fandom community, FanLib was a disaster. 15 But as a money-making venture for a small group of wealthy white businessmen, it was a success: with $100 million 16 to spend on acquisitions, Disney probably paid quite a bit more for FanLib than its initial investment of $3 million in venture capital. 17

This is bad news for fandom; it will encourage future greedy and destructive corporate interference with fan creations.

Sources )

[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
December 28, 2007 — The Christian Science Monitor holds forth on the good and bad in the "digital race" of 2007. In their annual summing up, FanLib is the "bad" object lesson for "Web 2.0".

Digital race? WTF, dudes! It isn't a race, it's a freaking big bang spreading outwards in every direction.

The corporate attitude towards "Web 2.0" is so darn inane, based on the belief businesses can, and should, shape the Internet into nothing more than a customer support and marketing research group. For the company's benefit, of course. Assholes!

CSM: Fans responded by dissecting and criticizing content on the FanLib site and eventually forming their own site dedicated to archiving and protecting fan fiction, called the Organization for Transformative Works... The takeaway? Companies need to understand what motivates audiences before creating business models around them.

The takeaway? Oh, please! The Internet is not all about the corporate bottom line! The Christian Science Monitor is falling into the FanLib trap here, judging Internet "success" by how thoroughly customers are exploited.

Yes, my period is over. Why do you ask? *munches chocolate-drizzled caramel corn*

Note: The Christian Science Monitor has a circulation of 70,000, and an estimated online readership worldwide of at least two million. It is the largest news service to carry a FanLib story (negative or positive) so far. Before this article, FanLib was mentioned only in trade and academic news publications with circulation of at most 20,000.

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