News of Note

  • OTW Fannews: Fannish practices

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 24 January 2014 - 12:58am
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    Banner by caitie utilizing tags from AO3

    • The San Francisco Examiner reported on gay fans' annual Buffy celebrations. "It was the geeky gay holiday party of the year. 'Gay men love the show because it shows strength in places that don't follow stereotypical societal or heterosexual norms,' Byrd said. 'When getting to know people, I typically out myself as a die-hard 'Buffy' fan. Rarely has a gay person not seen at least one episode of the show.' The article quotes media and religion scholar Anthony R. Mills who suggests "'Real-life practices like attending conventions and screenings create important social interactions; the continuous re-watching of episodes, both communal and individual, functions as religious ritual.'"
    • Blogger Sean Kleefeld observed the similar behavior of television and comics fans. "It's not uncommon now for not only fans to get together to watch in groups, but there are even bars and restaurants that host Scandal viewing parties. Comics, by contrast, have long been seen as a solitary pursuit. After all, part of the nature of reading is that the individual is free to take in the narrative at their own pace." However the viewing behavior of fans was different from casual TV viewers. "Taking in the story is, despite the pacing being at the discretion of someone other than the reader her/himself, an intensely personal experience. Even if everyone in the room is sharing that same experience. It would be like you and all your friends reading a copy of the same comic at the same time -- you're all seeing the same story, albeit with slightly different pacing, but the reading experience is very personal. It's only after you all finish that you can socialize your thoughts and feelings about it."
    • The Daily Dot looked at examples of fannish tagging on AO3. "[W]hen you take a stroll through its 'freeform' tags, the tags that aren’t about categorization and are all about having fun, you meet with a repository of creativity formed somewhere between 'shameless self-gratification' and 'ideas that sounded great when I was high.' Thankfully, the Twitter account @TagsofAO3 is here to catalog the best of the best."
    • The Atlantic discussed How Fanzines Helped Put Doctor Who Fans in Charge of Doctor Who. "Who offers an case study in the way that modern fandom has evolved. The fanzines where Capaldi and others got their start may have seen their numbers decline over the years, but their DNA is all over the modern fandom in a way that distinguishes it from other sci-fi fanzine communities like that of Star Trek. Doctor Who fanzines not only helped keep the fandom alive during its hiatus, they've been a long-standing venue for fans to debate and police the limits of the Doctor Who universe—and these debates have had a direct and noticeable influence on the show itself."

    What fannish practices have you noticed? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Takedowns from all sides

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 - 7:39pm
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    Banner by Bremo of the post title curving as if it's sliding down a wall.

    • Forbes was one of many sites discussing YouTube's crackdown on fans who use video game footage to review or discuss games. "So at the same time as two major console makers are integrating video sharing into their systems, YouTube is cracking down on the video game community. Of course, YouTube’s response to this is vague and unhelpful...Now a number of video game publishers such as Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive and Capcom have stated publicly that people should fight the copyright claims, understanding full well the win-win situation for all involved."
    • On another front, booksellers are censoring erotica writers. "Some U.K.-based ebook retailers responded with public apologies, and WHSmith went so far as to shut down its website altogether, releasing a statement saying that it would reopen 'once all self-published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available.' The response in the U.S. was somewhat more muted, but most of the retailers mentioned in the piece, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, began quietly pulling hundreds of titles from their online shelves." The reasons why were never stated. "'I'd get an email from them saying, 'We found the following books in violation of our content guidelines,' she recalls. 'But they wouldn't tell me why. There were no specifics.'"
    • If copyright or censorship fears weren't enough, apparently the study of erotic fiction is being targeted by some government cost-cutters. "The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $914,000 to help fund The Popular Romance Project since 2010, an ongoing study that explores 'the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction.'...The grants are highlighted in the 2013 'Wastebook,' an annual report ...that highlights taxpayer-subsidized programs that...are questionable or unnecessary, especially during a time when lawmakers are viciously debating spending levels and how to trim the nation’s $17 trillion debt."
    • Meanwhile Slate's Future Tense blog looked at How Artificial Intelligence Might Monetize Fan Fiction. "A fan fiction writer e-publishes a story he wrote using the main characters, a vegan vampire who runs a butcher shop and a werewolf who turns into a plumber at full moon. His book sells millions of downloads, too. Did the fan fiction writer do anything prohibited by law? Not necessarily. As U.S. copyright law anticipates only human authors, it is reasonable to read it as providing no copyright protection to authors that are not human. The fan fiction writer can use the Super Potter Brothers characters as much as he wants; they’re in the public domain. Anyone can use them and make money from them, including the movie studios."

    What fandom takedown cases have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: From the worst fanfic to the awesome

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 19 January 2014 - 6:57pm
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    Banner by Robyn of two figures, one with a question mark over their head and one with an exclamation point

    • The Daily Nebraskan looked at how fanfiction gives the audience control. "To Busskohl, writing fanfiction is somewhat like role-playing.'Sometimes I just want to explore what a character would do if put in a situation they didn’t have to deal with in the original...Nickie Bonar, a 40-year-old small business owner from Omaha, has been writing fanfiction with her 15-year-old daughter, Ari, for years. '(Fanfiction) is a great way to develop as a writer before going out into the world,' said Ari...'The ‘plot bunnies’ don’t leave you alone until you write. It’s the feeling of people wanting to read your stories. The fans make or break the writer.'"
    • The Boston Globe looked at the importance of what-ifs. "Fanfic writers are too fervent and independent to be passive viewers or readers; they’re inspired to be creative by the visions of Stephen King, Shonda Rhimes, Julian Fellowes, Rowling (whose books are the most fan-fictioned of all), and countless other creators. They find joy in expanding plots only hinted at, joining together characters from different sources, and sometimes, correcting what they see as flaws or oversights in a story they otherwise value — it’s all a kind of folk art."
    • At The Verge, Adi Robertson wrote about trollfic. "If fan fiction is about negotiating where a canonical story ends and your original fiction begins, trollfic moves outward: at what point can you safely place a line around something and say 'that’s the author' or 'that’s the text'? Narrators address the audience not to to break the fourth wall, but because they just aren’t capable of writing a scene without an external reference point...More than anything, trollfic forces the artificiality of what we write to the forefront."
    • Turning to the best, Juli Monroe at Teleread discusses How to Find Great Fanfiction, With Little Hassle. "Single fandom archives are often tricky to download from, but they often have the best stories. A Teaspoon and an Open Mind (Doctor Who/Torchwood archive) is an excellent example. There’s no way to directly download, but the overall quality of stories is high enough to make the effort worthwhile."

    Write about the remarkable fanworks you've come across on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanworks around the world

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 16 January 2014 - 8:31pm
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    Banner by Lisa of an aerial view of a network of city lights

    • Awesome Robo! explored Pacific Rim fanart. "I'd always been pretty curious about how Japan, especially their creative community would react to Pacific Rim, a movie that was a whole-hearted ode to various pop culture genres like Kaiju films and various 'Tokusatsu' (Special effects) genres that their cinema scene popularized...What we found was a plethora of amazing tribute pieces executed in a variety of styles and interpretations of both the Kaiju and Jaegers alike, showing that the movie had definitely found it's place with artists abroad."
    • The Mary Sue posted images of Batman graffiti discovered in an abandoned building. "Graffiti artist Pete One has been known to dabble with the Dark Knight in the past, this time he used an abandoned building in Ronse, Belgium for his canvas and took inspiration from the animated Batman TV show, comic artist Jock, and more!"
    • The Daily Dot wrote about an Attack on Titan cosplay film. "[W]e’re pretty sure 夜透 has taken the 'cosplay film' to a whole new level. The film features the J-rock song 'Neverever Land' by Nano, and a cover of the 3rd ending theme to Attack on Titan, 'The Reluctant Heroes,' as covered by a YouTube artist named Mica Caldito whose performances of two songs from the series recently went viral. The video was uploaded a few weeks ago but only recently crossed over into English-language SnK fandom."
    • A theater company in Asheville, South Carolina decided to put on an evening of Shakespeare fanfic. "[T]he Bard's work remains in high demand, with modern and star-studded adaptations of plays like Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing filling movie theaters every few years. But it's not these reinventions that have captured the imagination of The Montford Park Players. Instead, the theater company's 'Evening of Shakespeare Fan Fiction,'...features G.B. Shaw's Dark Lady of the Sonnets and Vincent Dowling's The Upstart Crow."

    Write about the fanworks of your country on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: 2013 Recaps

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 13 January 2014 - 4:39pm
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    Banner by Erin of  a collage of various TV show characters.

    • The Backlot's Shipping News series was among those providing a look back at 2013. They recounted various important moments for slash fandoms, such as May's Saturday Night Live event. "In a whirlwind skit that included cameos from Ben Affleck to Anderson Cooper; Seth Meyer and Hader’s character, Stefon, tied the knot! In perhaps one of the best OTP-becomes-canon moments ever, Meyers gave his usual Weekend Update sign off as, 'For Weekend Update, we are Seth and Stefon Meyers, good night!'"
    • The Learned Fangirl looked at gaming content in 2013. "By 'women in games,' I mean 'female characters, preferably protagonists, featured in games,' not women in the industry or in journalism or criticism. In short, this is not another review of Anita Sarkeesian or the Ada Initiative (both worthy causes)." She concluded that "The real issue I ran into was the dearth of such games from which to choose; given that there are dozens of major industry games released every year, it seems sad that I can’t come up with a top ten list because there aren’t ten games that fit the basic criteria. But at least none of the top five – even the top seven – feature cooking, sewing, or having babies… because female gamers enjoy shooting things, too."
    • Vulture looked at 2013 TV ratings to see who was watching what. "Some shows you'd expect to have a more youthful audience still have plenty of Gen-Xers and above watching, though. The median age of the Glee viewer is now 41; CW's Arrow is up to 48 (two years older than that of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)." Meanwhile "Among African-American adult viewers under 50, Scandal is the No. 1 non-sports show on broadcast, doubling the numbers of the No. 2 show of 2013 (American Idol) and nearly tripling the ratings of the No. 3 show, lead-in Grey's Anatomy. Among Latinos and Asians under 50, however, comedy rules: The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family finish No. 1 and 2, respectively. (By contrast, those two comedies don't even crack the top twenty with African-Americans.) Among the major networks, Fox does particularly well with minority audiences: It has seven of the top twenty shows with African-Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos."

    What 2013 recaps do you have to share? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanworks going public

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 10 January 2014 - 9:26pm
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    Banner by Diane of a flasher opening a tan raincoat

    • Over the last ten years as fanworks have spread to more and more online sites, it's become a daily occurrence to find a media story pointing to one or more of them. Often these stories profess a sense of astonishment that they exist but don't do any research or provide any useful information. More recently, an even less informative but more unpleasant stunt has become common, as interviewers use fanworks to provoke a celebrity reaction. The fanwork creators are generally no more pleased at the outcome than the celebrities.
    • While such incidents have occurred repeatedly in connection to various fandoms, one has finally brought the fan point-of-view into the media coverage. As reported in various outlets, at a special screening for Sherlock fans its panel moderator insisted on the lead actors reading excerpts from a NSFW fanfic. What was different were the number of writers focusing on fans' reactions. "There has been an outpouring of support for ‘mildredandbobbin’ from Tumblr Sherlockians, with one slash fiction writer even outing herself and declared that she was proud of what she wrote. Another supporter has written an open letter, attacking Moran and saying that she has helped perpetuate a misogynistic misrepresentation of the fangirls."
    • Chris Meadows at Teleread prompted a discussion about the issue. "So, both Cumberbatch and Freeman seem to be more or less cool with the whole slash fan art thing. Yet various personalities seem to think it’s funny to confront them with this stuff over and over, as if this time they’ll manage to get a rise out of them."
    • Author Angela Highland expressed concern at the message being sent by such incidents. "I’m a fan of not pointing and laughing at people. There’s way too much of that in the world. And not enough encouragement of people to make some goddamn art."
    • Zap2It recounted the incident with many excerpts of the fic, but concluded "There may be two important lessons here: 1) Fan fiction has its place and this was not it. 2) Never mess with a fandom. They do not appreciate those who mock."
    • Queerty called the stunt a disaster. "According to audience reports, as is often the case when mainstream tastes detect even a hint of kink, Moran presented the fanfic as mocking and silly and campy and lame. Because gosh, how stupid of people to be passionate about something."
    • The Telegraph went beyond the incident to mention fanfiction traditions and explain what went wrong. "Some of the people writing fanfic - including the author of the piece Moran supplied to Cumberbatch and Freeman - are grown women and mums finding an enjoyable and productive outlet for having fun. They don't want to see the fourth wall broken any more than the actors want to do it."
    • Blogger Sarah Siegel took a contrary view, in part because of the lack of visible reaction to previous events. "And nobody’s ever really made a fuss about it. The author or artist chose to share their work publicly, and at worst it makes for an uncomfortable interview — which is the interviewer’s prerogative. The one caveat I’d add is that there is a difference between a TV interview intended to promote a project which will be screened to thousands (or millions) of people, and a very intimate Q&A intended for a small audience of die-hard fans. So if Moran made one gaffe, it was in not really understanding her audience." If so, then presumably the next time such an incident occurs, no one will be able to suggest that it's never mattered to anyone.

    What fanwork ambushes have you seen happening? Write about them Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Home of the tech

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 8 January 2014 - 8:13pm
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    Banner by caitie of the OTW logo being lifted by multiple Twitter birds

    • Tech developers are taking note of people's interest in using all sorts of platforms for storytelling. AuthorBee is targeting those using Twitter clients (or AuthorBee's own web interface) "to create, co-create and curate rich, long-form stories with their followers." Targeting both professionals and amateurs the company states "'A story can really be anything...it can be breaking news, fan fiction or poetry. It can also be a travel log, a Haiku, a hip-hop song or a chocolate chip cookie recipe. What matters is the common interest or passion shared by the contributors.'"
    • Kik, on the other hand, took note of its existing users and decided to market to them. Digiday reported "Behold, the power of boyband fans": "'Kik mentioned that "One Direction" was one of the most discussed things on the app, so we brought that opportunity to Sony Music,' said Eytan Oren, director of partnerships at the IPG Media Lab." Noting that marketers need to pay attention to who is using what and how, another IPG spokesman said "You can’t be a professional and ignore where emerging channels are focused."
    • The New Republic explored the effect Netflix is having on television and the lifespan of entertainment products, concluding that it is following a fandom model. "When you meet someone with the same particular passions and sensibility, the sense of connection can be profound. Smaller communities of fans, forged from shared perspectives, offer a more genuine sense of belonging than a national identity born of geographical happenstance. Whether a future based fundamentally on fandom is superior in any objective sense is impossible to say...Certainly, a culture where niche supplants mass hews closer to the original vision of the Americas, of a new continent truly open to whatever diverse and eccentric groups showed up."

    How have you seen technology affecting fandom? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: The power of the personal

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 6 January 2014 - 12:35am
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    • Nico Lang wrote in Salon about why an album is her Thanksgiving go-to. "When Liz Phair was recording 'Guyville,'...she had to pretend that she could find the answers in his music, a way to go forward as an artist. However, Phair knew all you really have is what’s in your own head, and listening to 'Exile on Main Street' on repeat tells you more about yourself than it ever will about Mick Jagger. 'Exile' has become a tradition for me...not as a memento of the past but as part of a relationship that will continue to evolve even as others come and go. We have the traditions that are given to us by historical edict, but the more important ones are those you build for yourself, the constants that remind you of who you are and where you’ve been."
    • Emily S. Whitten had things to be thankful for in her Comic Mix columm. She wrote about the results of a fandom auction to help her with vision surgery expenses. "[B]y the end of the auction, fandom, consisting of some people I knew but many I didn’t, had raised the entire $8,000. Add to that a few other generous donations from friends who had learned of the online fundraising secondhand...and my recovery and medication expenses were covered as well. I could hardly believe it, but there it was. This tremendous burden lifted from my life by the kindness of a community. Seeing fandom come together to help me like that was, and to this day is, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced."
    • The Otaku Journalist wrote about one fan's experience moving to a relationship with someone she was fannish about. Asked "What has been the most interesting part of your transition from fan to girlfriend?" she responded "I am a fan! *punch*...I joke to him that I’m his fangirlfriend. Before and after we got together I drew fanart, wrote a fanfic, read his fan tumblr, and watched each episode when it comes out. I also did a cosplay once, but I’m too bashful for him to see me in it. The only thing that is different is that I know some upcoming AT4W stuff. Not a whole lot, but now I get the excitement of seeing other fans reactions." Dating someone who has fanworks about him is "Like dating anyone, but with more pictures and words!"

    What have you personally experienced in your fandoms? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Exploring fair use

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 3 January 2014 - 8:40pm
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    Banner by Lisa of a spraypainted wall reading 'Remix'

    • A recent legal spat over the repurposing of a Beastie Boys song brought discussions of fair use to the fore. xojane claimed "The Beastie Boys versus GoldieBlox battle cuts close to my heart because I love the Beastie Boys, and I love companies developing anti-sexist takes on products, but I also love fair use. And in this particular instance, the Beastie Boys are wrong. The celebration of their fight against GoldieBlox is missing a key component of the situation here, which is that the GoldieBlox video, which perhaps not ethically defensible given the expressed wishes of Adam Yauch, could very well be perfectly legal. And you should want it to be, because fair use and transformative works lie at the heart of so much of art, culture, criticism, and society."
    • On the Media's P.J. Vogt cited similar issues in his discussion. "[I]f you side with Goldieblox, you probably see a hypocrisy here. The Beastie Boys built a career on sampling. How can they then turn around and tell Goldieblox their own work can only be recontextualized with permission?" But he sided with the band until "I spoke to an actual expert, Julie Ahrens, Director of Copyright & Fair Use at Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society. She convinced me that Goldieblox is probably in the right here...After all, while the Goldieblox ad is, in fact, an ad, it’s also a legitimate piece of cultural criticism."
    • Reap Magazine also tackled the issue of transformative works and came to a similar conclusion. "What fans create in modern transformative works of art today is really an extension of what artists like Duchamp and Warhol did in the past. And as much as some studio producers, artists and writers would like to control spectator reaction from a legal standpoint, that just is not realistic."

    What fair use discussions do you have to share? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Slapping on labels

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 3 January 2014 - 12:42am
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    • As fanfiction and other fanworks become an increasingly common mainstream reference, disputes about what it is and isn't are likely to grow. However, one problem emerges when professionally published content is somehow distinguished from fanfic simply because an outlet like NPR doesn't want to call it that. "When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel."
    • In another terminology mishmash, The Daily Dot reported on a new game called slash: romance without boundaries which takes "Cards Against Humanity to the next level, offering fans the chance to create the ultimate OTP (One True Pairing)." The game successfully raised double its original goal on Kickstarter to begin production, but the title is odd given that the purpose of the game is shipping, not necessarily slashing. The idea seems to come more from how "[t]he game’s designer, Glenn Given...used to weave fanfic crossovers into his high school RPG adventures."
    • Foreign Policy reported on a variety of new Chinese terms in circulation because "the Chinese Internet [is] obsessed with writing gay Sherlock Holmes fanfiction" However, "[w]hat makes his Chinese fans special...is that some are risking jail to write him into slash fiction. In early 2011, authorities in China's inland Henan province arrested Wang Chaoju, the webmaster of the slash fiction website Danmei Novels Online, and charged him with 'disseminating obscene content' after finding about 1,200 sexually explicit danmei stories among the tens of thousands on the site. Later that year, Justice Online, a legal news website, labeled slash a 'harmful trend,' quoting a psychologist who said the literature 'could lead to a deviation of sexual orientation, difficulty interacting in social situations, and even criminal activity.' To avoid punishment, writers and readers of explicit slash often exchange content over email, ensuring the work remains invisible to the wider Internet."

    How do you define different fandom terms? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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