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Meta on AO3: Get it while you can.

I just got an email from AO3 - because my meta was reported by an unhappy Sherlock fan, the AO3 team had to review it, and they seem to have decided that they want to be a fanfiction-only site and that I have to remove it. 

So, to anyone who hasn't downloaded my Study in Pink rewatch yet, and wants to. You have ~16 hours before I delete it. It is now deleted. 

At this point, I don't really care anymore. And the AO3 team are perfectly within their rights to run their site however they want. It's not like I'm paying them to host things for me.

I still don't think I'll join mediafire or anything like that. I just don't feel like it. Maybe I'm being persnickety, but for some reason I just don't like file-sharing sites. Anyway, I suppose if enough of you gang-up on me, I might eventually break down and upload pdfs somewhere. But, right now that feels unlikely.

AO3 kind of sucks for meta anyway, because so few people comment over there so there's no discussion afterward (which is one of my favourite parts of writing meta, since, you know, I already know my own thoughts, but I don't know other people's).

TNP People - I have been crazy busy and I'm flying in an airplane all day today, so the chapter is going to be delayed by at least another week. In the meantime, tell me what you think I should change in the next draft to make the story/pacing/plot/characters suck less! 
UPDATE: Five minutes after I deleted the meta, I got an email from AO3 apologizing for telling me to delete the meta and saying that I could keep it up until they make a final decision on the status of meta as a fanwork and whether it should be allowed on the site. They also asked to please let them know if I had any thoughts to contribute to the discussion. Even though it's 3am here (and midnight Vancouver time) I wrote them back and gave them a few thoughts. The work has already been deleted, so I can't undo that - but it's nice to know that there's still a chance that I could one day post it again.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
Aw! That really does suck. I hope they're changing their TOS to indicate their stances. Really, it's disappointing, not just about your meta, but for meta in general, because that's a fanwork. Fans put a lot of thought and effort into meta, and they deserve to have their own place to archive it. TBH I'm disappointed with the OTW. It's more than just your meta; it's for meta everywhere. Ugh. I might have to write a post to vent about this, 'cause I'm really disappointed in them.

If your problem is supporting MF, I have an account you could host it on. And I also can make PDFs. Just offering it up, if you're comfortable with it.
Jul. 11th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
If your problem is supporting MF, I have an account you could host it on. And I also can make PDFs. Just offering it up, if you're comfortable with it.

That'd certainly be preferable to getting my own account. Thanks for the offer! Let me roll it around in my head for the day and I'll get back to you. :)

And yeah, part of me is disappointed because the way AO3 is set up would make it MUCH easier for me to post my SPN Timeline over there.

I guess we have to wait for some entrepreneurial fan to create an AO3-like site for meta. I hope someone does. Sadly, it is not going to be me.
Jul. 11th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
Sure thing!

Yeah, I'd love to see a site like that. I would read the ever-loving shit out of everything there, even the stuff for things I didn't watch/read lol. I'm starting to wonder, though, where they're going to draw the line, now that they've started? Fanfic and fanfic only? What about meta in fanfic form? What about mixed-media posts? What about fanart? I guess that's the problem whenever someone starts deciding what you can't do.
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's hard thing to navigate when you start to decide what constitutes a "fanwork" and what doesn't.

I do it too though...I hate it when people call their reaction/review posts "meta" (which is why I don't label my "Quick Reaction" posts as meta). That's not an indepth study of the episode/character/theme, that's just an emotional response and ungathered thoughts.

I was even loathe to call my rewatches meta. You may notice that none of my SPN rewatches are tagged "meta", because I still don't think I'm talking about the show indepthly enough to deserve that label.

With my Study in Pink rewatch sitting at over 14,000 words though, I decided that it was less of a "reaction" and more of a "meta on character motivations and personalities as revealed in A Study in Pink plus general thoughts on the adaptation" (I just went with a shorter title :P)

So yeah, if I ran a meta site, I'd be constantly seeing people post things there that I didn't believe were "proper meta"...but then whether I asked them to take it down or not is another question, I suppose. I mean, I can't really get mad at people for defining "meta" differently than I do, just like I can't get made at AO3 if they don't see meta as being a "fanwork". FYI: This is the part of the TOS they quoted me:

Our Terms of Service, Section IV, part H, state in part:
H. Illegal and inappropriate content:
The Archive of Our Own is a place for fanworks… Content may not be uploaded to OTW’s servers if it …consists entirely of actual instruction manuals, technical data, recipes, or other non-fanwork content, including non-fanwork creative work. Uploading such content is a violation of the ToS.
(Emphasis is theirs)
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
I think, for me, it's not so much meta or not meta, but different kinds of meta. Quick reaction meta, arc meta, character meta, relationship meta, etc. which would then give you a way to sort and organize meta of different kinds, y'know? In-depth vs. off the top of your head stuff. Some people go looking for just episode reactions and thoughts, and they could find theirs through that group. I sucks that there's all these places for fanfic and fanart, but so few forums for critical thought, y'know?

I hate that fanwork and non-fanwork are such broad categories. They get to decide what's a fanwork and which kinds of fanworks they'll allow...and for a group that touts openness and an interest in fans and their creations, it's just really disappointing to me. I'm very invested in things like OTW and Dreamwidth, things that open doors, so it's a big deal for me when I see either limiting their services and what can be posted.
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's really a shame that meta doesn't have a good host anywhere out there. I agree with everything you just said.

Also, good idea with the different types of meta! Haha, I had never thought of that. *now I feel kind of ridiculously stupid*
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)

Evidence suggests that this is a CANONICAL FUCKING TAG. With fourteen hundred works.
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
I know! That's why I thought I could put it up!

But whatever. *shrug* It's not worth arguing about, at least, not for me anyway.
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
They really need to get their shit straight.
Jul. 12th, 2012 08:10 am (UTC)
Hey, just wanted to say that there's been an update - I've updated the post. The team captain type person apologized and reiterated that meta was still under discussion and that I could keep it posted until they come to a decision (unfortunately I'd already deleted it at that point.)
Jul. 12th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, interesting. Keep us updated; as you might have guessed, it's pretty interesting to me. :)

ETA: Wow, what's it like to have started such a discourse about this stuff?

Edited at 2012-07-12 01:01 pm (UTC)
Jul. 12th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
It's kinda weird, to tell you the truth.

I mean, when I first got the angry comments from AO3 users, I was pissed off an up-in-arms about it. (But I think that was mainly the fault of the commenters tone - and also the fact that they really had no right to tell me how to use the site, since there was no mention that meta wasn't allowed in the TOS).

But, after writing to AO3 and receiving emails about it from them, I wasn't really angry anymore...I'm perfectly respectful of whatever decision they come to. It's their site and their decision, and I CAN see the argument for not allowing meta just as much as I can see the argument for allowing it.

So, it feels sort of funny to have started the discourse even though I'm not rage-shouting about it. Usually this sort of discourse is started by people who are much angrier than I am. :P

Anyway, I will keep you updated! :)
(Suspicious comment)
Jul. 12th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm fundamentally misunderstanding something, but it seems to me that for something to be a fanwork, it must be associated with at least one piece of art that somebody else created. Of the first twenty works on that tag, fourteen are not so associated (that is, 'Original Work' is the only thing under 'Fandom').
Jul. 12th, 2012 05:51 am (UTC)
You might not be convinced, but this thread might help grasp how it comes about.

Jul. 11th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
"Your comment has been added. According to this journal's settings, it was marked as spam."

The fuck?
Jul. 11th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
Ugh, yeah, my LJ's been doing that to anyone who puts a link in their comment. I have no idea why. I just have to reply to it and they'll unmark it as spam, but it's super annoying.

Maybe when I have time later, I'll see if there's a setting somewhere that I can change. It's not like I get much spam here that I have to worry about.
Jul. 12th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
(Here through http://unofficialotwnews.tumblr.com )

You can change that setting here - just uncheck the "Spam Protection" box. (The special section they're talking about is here in your Inbox.)
Jul. 12th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Jul. 12th, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I'd to find it for myself a while ago.
Jul. 11th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
I'm annoyed for you. grrr.

Meta for me is a vital part of fanfic. Meta is engaging, creative work.

I don't respect their decision. D:
Jul. 11th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know, it is disappointing.

But, it makes me happy to know that there are people like you out there that love and support meta. :)
Jul. 12th, 2012 01:35 am (UTC)
Hey, popping by from seeing this post on tumblr.

A friend of mine also got pinged to take down her meta today, which really kinda bugged me, given that Fanlore's definition of fanwork actually includes meta as one of the categories. It's like... fanfiction's cool, fanart is cool, fanvids are cool, but fan-nonfiction is apparently a no-go, and that's not clear anywhere in the TOS.

Meta in the context of fandom is something that wouldn't exist without fannishness and fannish culture, so I honestly have no idea why it's not considered a 'fanwork'. Honestly, I just want to throw my hands up in the air and go whaaaaat sometimes.
Jul. 12th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I feel weird about people discussing this so much...not bad or anything, just weird.

I agree that they should put it clearly in their TOS. When I wrote and asked, they said that it was still under discussion, but I was fine as long as no one reported me - of course, I already knew someone had reported me, so it was only a matter of time. :P
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 14th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
Interesting and very good point! :)

I'm fine with keeping my "discussion" type meta on LJ, really. There's a "resource" type "meta" that I would love to post on AO3 though, because I think AO3 is much better set up to handle it...and it's also a resource that other people can use for fic, so it'd be nice to have it archived somewhere.

But yeah, it's a tricky thing to try to decide where to draw lines in the sand when you run a website. I certainly don't envy AO3 the task.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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