OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Naomi Jacobs

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Naomi Jacobs is an interdisciplinary Research Fellow, whose work looks at how technology and society interact. In addition to her purely academic writing, she has also co-written two books in the Black Archive series, which takes critical looks at individual episodes of Doctor Who. The second of these (on Kerblam!) is due to be released in November 2019. Today, Naomi talks about her article in Transformative Works and Cultures on fan conventions.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

My first experience of fandom was in 1995, when I was about 14, and came about because I noticed a sign in a local gift shop. It was advertising a painting demonstration by Clarecraft, a company that made figurines of the characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I’d had been reading these books avidly for a number of years, so of course went along.

The lovely lady I met that day was Isobel Pearson, who alongside her husband Bernard (known to Discworld fans as The Cunning Artificer) founded Clarecraft. She told me they were hosting a fan gathering in the summer at their headquarters in rural Suffolk, and encouraged me to come along. Attending that event was my introduction to Discworld fandom, and led to me attending (and eventually helping run) many conventions and events.

Around the same time, we got our first modem at home and I discovered the internet. I was also a big fan of The X-Files at the time, and found a forum where I made many friends, one of whom introduced me to the concept of fanfiction, and got me interested in the (at that time niche) fandom for Doctor Who. We’re still friends! Read More

5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things telescopicpoems Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with telescopicpoems, who volunteers as a staffer on the AO3 Documentation Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I’ve been part of the AO3 Documentation Committee (“Docs” for friends and family) since late 2016. Docs is mainly responsible for writing, revising, and updating the FAQs and Tutorials found on AO3 (for the most part, it’s whatever can be found in the Archive FAQ). We’ve also been working with Open Doors on updating their user-facing documentation. Our goal is to help the people who use the Archive understand how everything works and use it to its full potential!

Other than that, I’m also an Open Doors staffer, still on my training wheels, learning to help keep both fanworks and fandom history alive.

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: OldToadWoman

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

OldToadWoman is a large ball of anxiety and weird ideas (and possibly toads) that resolves into a human shape and manages to type out fan fiction from time to time. Find her works on her Dreamwidth.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I don’t know whether it was a teacher lecturing me on plagiarism or a classmate teasing me about making up silly stories based on a TV show, but I somehow knew I wasn’t allowed to write fanfiction before I even knew what fanfiction was.

I stumbled into science fiction fandom in college and it was just a magical encounter. You’re allowed to write stories and share them with other fans without having to worry about them not being “good enough” to publish, and it’s okay if they’re based on TV shows and movies that already exist? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, I was very short-sighted and jumped into fandom posting under my real name. I can’t really talk about my first fandom without basically doxxing myself. Even though I was submitting to zines under my real name, it never occurred to me that what I wrote back then would leak out beyond that small fandom and end up documented on the Internet forever* [stay tuned: There’s a happy ending to this one]. One woman in our fandom used a pseudonym and we all thought she was a bit pretentious and now I realize she was the only smart one. Of course, at the time I was writing pretty innocuous fluff. I had no idea that someday I’d be writing explicit fiction that my boss might not approve of.

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