Links roundup for 13 January 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories on freedom of expression through fanfic that might be of interest to fans:

  • A presentation about stylometry discussed how the new tool Anonymouth could de-anonymize online users and serve as a challenge to “the balance of power between trolls and moderators, between dissidents and dictators, between employers and whistleblowers, between astroturfers and commenters, and between spammers and filters.” However, something else was on the mind of some audience members: “a questioner asked whether Anonymouth’s methods could be used by, say, fanfic authors to make their writing style match the author whose universe they’re dabbling in” suggesting that the tool could be used to anonymize authors as well as reveal them.
  • AfterEllen looked instead at femslash when asking “Does lesbian subtext still matter?”. Citing the period between Xena and Rizzoli & Isles, the author noted, “Both dynamic duos have produced fervent fandoms committed to creating alternate narratives in fan fiction and fan videos, as well scrutinizing every touch and word exchanged between the characters.” These fictional worlds are still of great importance to people whose own worlds deny the existence reflected in fan fiction. “Subtext matters because it creates a virtual playground for lesbian fans to interact with each other on fan forums and Twitter and Tumblr and in the comments sections of the greatest lesbian entertainment website in the world. It matters because lesbians can use that subtext, that chemistry between two female characters, to create their own versions of the story. And it matters because subtext is a gateway drug for main text.”
  • An article on the GayNewsNetwork had a similar take on the importance of slash. “Slash is about seeing the whole world through queer eyes. While most mainstream entertainment is still as straight as a lightsabre, slash allows anyone and everyone to be queer. For once, we can be the heroes.” However, fan fiction is seen as welcoming more than queer desires. “There’s a great tradition in fandom that admonishes kink shaming – that is to demean or label unacceptable something which another fan fetishizes. Dark desires from the crusty corners of your id are not only allowed a space but encouraged. In fandom, I have discovered kinks not only that I didn’t know I had but that I didn’t know even existed.”

If you write or read fan fiction whether about Xena and Gabrielle, or Rizzoli & Isles, why not contribute your fandom experience to Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

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