This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom, Volume 149

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening. This week and last, events in fandom have largely centred on the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests and demonstrations taking place within America and around the world against racial injustice and police brutality. Racism and particularly anti-Black racism is a problem in fandoms and in fan studies as in other cultural spaces, so in the latter part of this roundup we wanted to share with you some of the links and resources that we’ve come across over the past week or so which provide ways to think about how these dynamics operate – as well as related content on the ways in which fandom can provide a space or a launchpad for activism.


First, a host of actors from fan-favourite media properties have been protesting for Black Lives Matter over the past two weeks and speaking out about their experiences: Kendrick Sampson (of How to Get Away with Murder and Insecure) wrote for Variety about police violence at the protests in LA; Halsey made a lengthy Instagram post about her experience protesting in the same city; and John Boyega’s appearance at the London Black Lives Matter protest prompted a cavalcade of Twitter responses to his statement that he ‘didn’t know if he’d have a career after this’. We also saw pop culture informing protestors’ activities, as Spiderman dropped in on protests on the Manhattan Bridge, and graffiti declaring that ‘Matter Black Lives Do’ appeared on a statue of Yoda outside Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco.

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Posted by Jason Standiford on Saturday, June 6, 2020

On Twitter, one fan (who asked to remain anonymous) went viral with a video drawing an analogy between the demonstrations and the climactic scenes of Avengers: Endgame, offering another example of the ways in which protest can intersect with transformative work.


Given this intersection it’s not surprising that the past two weeks have seen plenty of conversations around fandom as a site for activism, focusing not only on Boyega’s involvement but on the highly visible participation of K-pop fandoms online. This fan activity has included spamming police watchdog apps, as well as tags linked to white supremacists, with gifs and videos of K-pop bands, and has been followed by statements and donations from some major K-pop players (including, notably, a $1 million Black Lives Matter donation from BTS, which was subsequently matched by fans). Praise for both fans’ and idols’ activities has been complicated by input from longtime members of K-pop fandoms who have pointed out that these fandoms are themselves also sites of racist discrimination. Articles by Abby Ohlheiser in the MIT Technology Review, and Natasha Mulenga in Teen Vogue, start to unpick some of these difficulties.

As Casey Fiesler pointed out in a Twitter thread full of references and resources, fan activism has been going on for a long time. But the topic was explored anew in ‘We the Fans’, an article posted this week both on AO3 and on the Pop Culture Collaborative blog. In the piece, Shawn Taylor writes compellingly about ‘tactical fandom’ – ‘fandom as social practice for social good’. Exploring previous fan campaigns against racist, misogynistic and other discriminatory elements in media properties as well as within fandom itself, Taylor makes a case that fandoms are in some ways uniquely qualified to organise for good: “who better,” he asks, “to initiate change for a better society than those who spend a great deal of time reimagining worlds?”


Thinking about making change for a better society, conversations about race and racism have also been taking place this past couple of weeks in spaces devoted to fan studies; the academic discipline that concerns itself with fandom and to which the OTW’s journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, is devoted. A thread from Fan Studies Network North America provides an opportunity to consider this issue, with links to a series of resources which deal with race in both fandom and fan studies. One of these is the 2019 issue of TWC on ‘Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color’, which includes articles on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, amongst many others, and which can (like every issue of TWC) be accessed for free and in full online. Further Twitter commentary from transcultural fan studies academic Lori Morimoto argues that one way to think differently about both fan studies and fandom is to substitute the cosy idea of a fandom ‘community’ for one that sees fandoms as ‘contact zones’ (a term originated by Mary Louise Pratt): “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power”.

A sense of these ‘asymmetrical relations of power’ can be gathered from the Black fans who have been speaking out this week about their own experiences, in personal pieces including this video from Diverse Tolkien, which talks about how fellow fans can support Black women in their fandom spaces.


We know that amongst the readership of TWIF there will be plenty of fans who want to use this moment to think and learn more about the ways in which racism affects the fandoms in which we invest so much of our time and our emotional energy, and to start or continue work on making a change. We also know that there will be plenty of readers to whom none of these ideas are new; and who are constantly compelled to deal with these issues, whether they choose to or not. So we’d like to include a final link here to a different kind of resource; Black Nerd Problems‘s list, posted this week, of selected Black movie and television content to ‘channel your rage’, ‘motivate’, and ‘remind us of presence and life’.

This post has been edited to remove references to the work of Stitch and Rukmini Pande, which they have requested that the OTW not cite in this context.

40 thoughts to “This Week in Fandom, Volume 149”

  1. Lovely one, packed full of resources and interesting links, thanks for writing it!

    Also, don’t know if you’ve already seen it, but there’s an interesting report on the way TV shows and movies creates “a false hero narrative about law enforcement and distorted representation about Black People, other people of colour and women”: https://hollywood.colorofchange.org/crime-tv-report/

  2. I find it interesting and distasteful that you avoid any and all mention of the way the OTW and AO3 contributes to racist discrimination that FOC suffer, as well as fail to lay out any material action that the OTW will take. It sincerely feels as though you haven’t read or reflected on the materials you are name dropping, by Dr Pande or otherwise.

    1. Ao3 is an archive that does not censor. And you’re a white Englishwoman.

  3. Fans of colour has spoken out often and eloquently on how the OTW fosters racist discrimination. This post does not mention any specific actions that the OTW will do to tackle racism on its platforms, or how it will work to become a greater anti-racist organisation, which is a horrible abrogation of duty. Has the OTW engaged with any of the people name-dropped in the post to understand what the OTW could do to be anti-racist?

  4. What changes will you be making the AO3 and Fanlore so they’re actively anti-racist institutions?

  5. Users need to be able to flag racist content on AO3. If that’s really as undoable as AO3 has told Black fans it is in the past, at least take some kind of action when racist content is reported such as adding an archive warning.

    AO3 is absolutely part of the problem when it comes to racism in fandom. In its zeal to allow content, no matter how fringe or over the top, in the name of fan freedom, it has built a space where racism thrives and Black fans in particular are treated as if we’re asking too much when we ask for measures that protect us via warnings the same way AO3 protects everyone else from potentially triggering things. The subset of fans that would be really upset if a major character died in a fan story get more protection.

    In the past, this conversation has ended with AO3 dumping a massive amount of work and responsibility on Black fans to change things, more of a roadblock than anything.

  6. Please, PLEASE listen to Black people, as well as other people of color, when they tell you about the real harm they have experienced in fandom spaces. Then come back with a plan of what you are going to DO about it.

  7. To be antiracist, it’s not enough to just “not be racist.” You need to actually, actively combat racism. Are ao3 and otw antiracist organizations? Because there’s no such thing as neutrality when neutral means “we tolerate your dehumanization & oppression.”

  8. It would be funny, if it weren’t so degrading, that you deleted the comments on this post, while steadfastly ignoring fans of colors’ complaints about you leaving violently racist works up on your sites.

  9. “Racism and particularly anti-Black racism is a problem in fandoms and in fan studies…” Yes, and what is the OTW doing to help combat this problem?

    “We know that amongst the readership of TWIF there will be plenty of fans who want to use this moment to think and learn more about the ways in which racism affects the fandoms in which we invest so much of our time and our emotional energy, and to start or continue work on making a change.” Yes, and what work will the OTW be doing to help facilitate that change?

    “We also know that there will be plenty of readers to whom none of these ideas are new; and who are constantly compelled to deal with these issues, whether they choose to or not.” Yes, and what will the OTW do to amplify the voices of FOC, and ensure they are listened to?

    What concrete steps will the OTW be taking to ensure the safety and well-being of FOC on their platforms, particularly on AO3?

    And, if this is not the appropriate place to ask these sorts of questions, when will the OTW and/or AO3 be releasing statements affirming their commitment to anti-racism, so that such questions may be asked there?

  10. We were discussing this post, and the reactions to it, in one of the Roswell, New Mexico Discord groups and I wrote a list of 10 approaches different groups of people can take to combat anti-BIPOC racism in fandom, centering on emotional labor white fan creators can be doing, but with concrete steps OTW and Ao3 could take. I won’t post a wall of text here, but you can find the post below: https://jocarthage.tumblr.com/post/620733775118221312/i-finished-upreading-an-important-thread-on-racism

  11. Note: I had originally posted this as a short note and a link to a longer post to avoid posting a wall of text, but it seems like that was deleted. Maybe it smelled like self-promotion? I don’t often post in the comments here, so I don’t know the mods’ ettiequte requirements. I’m reposting the full text here — let’s see if it fits the community norms for this space:

    I finished upreading an important thread on racism and fandom in one of the Discord servers where I participate, brought on by the OTW statement. As context, I’m a white, upper middle class queer woman living in the US, so if you are looking to elevate voices of BIPOC creators, this post doesn’t qualify. But I think white people who want to help need to spend the emotional energy thinking through how best to do that, so that’s what this post is.

    My 2c follows. I believe: 1) – 4) are things white fandom creators can do, 5) is something only fandom members of color are qualified to do, 6) – 7) are things OTW can do, 8) – 9) are things Ao3 can do, and 10) is one of the many things media creators can do.

    *Things white fan creators can do:*
    1 ) When we see racist tropes or racism being used in fic we read, use the call in method one writer perfectly highlights and comment asking the author to tag for it. Then we deal with the emotional burden of the ensuing shit show.

    2 ) In fandom conversions on race — or the blank spaces where those conversations should be — we elevate the voices of fans closest to the experience they are working to improve. So Nigerian character is being mistreated, go hunting for a Nigerian fan’s perspective to elevate (ie reblog). Then a west African fan. Then a fan who is a member of the African diaspora. Last, a white fan from a colonizing country. Again, emotional labor, but doing this enough and following authors closest to the problem will change our own awareness of it and help us grow as allies.

    3 ) The partner action for item #1 is when we receive comments asking us to tag for racist tropes, take a day, analyze our work to see how and whether we agree or if it’s a troll, then tag it. And try to fix it in future updates.

    4 ) As we write and create media — to our best to the best of our own flawed abilities as people who are benefitting from and existing within a system of white supremacy and racism against BIPOC people — try to write all of the characters we write as full people. That I believe is the end goal of a truly anti-racist fandom. But as people have discussed, and I think the show runner of She-Ra expressed best, sometimes that means putting a hero shield around certain characters. Like, I will never write Maria as the bad guy. Max I would in a hot second (and have). But there’s so much hate on Maria in the fandom, I can’t in good conscience add my own measure to the weight on that character.

    Something only fandom members of color are qualified to do
    5 ) Fans of color can and if they want to, should, use rec lists to drive people to anti-racist content. As white creators, we should elevate those kinds of lists (ie, reblogging them). And if we don’t make it onto those lists, take a day, think about where we need to improve. This is emotional labor but I think uses the tools of fandom to improve fandom.

    *Things OTW can do*
    6 ) Most boards have write/raise requirements (ie, write a check for $5000 or raise it in donations from donors you bring in) and while there are absolutely wealthy and privileged BIPOC, many BIPOC people are excluded from wealth because of systemic racism (obviously, just stating it to be clear). Those requirements are one of the reasons boards are so white in the US. But when boards have “special seats” without those requirements, the nonprofit not only has less money to fulfill their mission with, but those board members are at a disadvantage in conversations. The solution, from my perspective, is for supporters to donate to BIPOC board members’ specific fundraisers (the “raise” option in the write/raise expectation). But OTW doesn’t seem to have a write/raise requirements, which is awesome! So then the work is OTW actively recruiting BIPOC board members. There’s lots of literature on how to do that, but as with most anti-racism work, it involves listening, emotional labor, and persistence.

    7 ) Host a series of blog posts from BIPOC writers who are paid for their writing, arguing what fans and the systems that support them should do to make fandom anti-racist. That would give us all more good ideas to work with.

    *Things Ao3 can do*
    8 ) Run links to the blog post series mentioned in #7 alongside search results for the fics mentioned in those blog posts. If someone writes a blog post about the RNM 2×6 reaction being racist, the blog post author suggests what tags it be run beside, then it shows up in search results for those tags for 6 months (ie: Roswell New Mexico, Maria DeLuca, anti-Maria DeLuca, anti-2×6). People don’t have to click on the links, but it will elevate to fans in that space that there’s a critical conversation going on that they should engage in.

    9 ) Create an author blocking function. I love my unfollow button and I love my block button on tumblr. This is not a major technical hurdle and would allow fans of color to curate their experiences, which involves emotional labor but also provides lasting relief.

    *One thing, of many, mainstream media creators can do*
    10 ) Give us more and better BIPOC characters to enjoy. RNM is different from any show I’ve ever played around with that all of the major ships have at least one BIPOC person in them. In a world where BIPOC people are in the majority, the narratives which reflect and engage in our world should have more fully-human, well-conceived and often well executed characters like Maria DeLuca, Liz Ortecho, Alex Manes, Kyle Valenti, Rosa Ortecho, Mimi DeLuca, Arturo Ortecho, and Diego. My past fandoms — MCU, SPN, PotC — has no main characters of color and those in the ensemble casts rarely got the kind of storylines and arcs that they deserved. Ones like Teen Wolf who did were the exception and still are and the fandom’s reaction to the BIPOC characters speaks to the pervasiveness of white supremacy in our worlds.

    What did I miss?

    1. There are good suggestions here, especially #3, but there are a some which I don’t think apply: AO3 is a fan work posting site, not a social media network or blogging platform.

      Re #2, how are you defining “a character is mistreated”? That reads to me like bad things happening to Black, etc characters, and implies that anything bad happening to a character is a real-world problem. It’s entirely possible I’m misreading here, but that’s uncomfortably close to the kinds of opinions which AO3 & the OTW were founded in direct reaction to – strikethrough, boldthrough, etc – and runs up against #4, writing characters as whole people.

      Re #4, I agree that to be truly anti-racist fan creators need to treat BIPOC characters as whole people, but I disagree that the onus is on fans to provide representation – that’s canon’s job.

      In addition, AO3 and the OTW have an international user base, and things which count as racism vary around the world. This isn’t to say that racism shouldn’t be called out; rather, that dealing with it isn’t as simple as applying a warning label or refusing to write Black villains. The examples you posted are Western media and cartoon fandoms, and your suggestions all reflect what you can reasonably expect to see in those spaces, but there’s more here than US notions of BIPOC and related discourse. My first thought here is mukokuseki characters, who outside of Japan are often read as white even when the character is explicitly Japanese, and the wank that comes from that; I’m sure other people have better examples.

      Re #8, pushing any blog post into the fanwork tags, let alone promoting it, is an unreasonable request strictly on technological grounds. The AO3 site and tagging system are being held together with shoestrings and hope – just look at how the tagging committees keep synning tags to parents so as to reduce server load (all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now one tag, all the Star Wars eras and both the old & new EU are one tag, mythological Loki/Thor was synned to MCU Loki/Thor, etc), which is breaking a base function of the site, and the massive list of freeforms which need to be made canonical.

      Are you familiar with AO3 Savior, or the anti-kudos script? Things like this or flagging racist content would probably be more achievable as user-created scripts.

      1. #2: There are numerous posts, lists, rants etc around that address when the writing for a character of color, whether in canon or fandom, falls into stereotypes. Some are pretty obvious (not using food-based descriptors for CoC’s skin i.e.; female CoC being written as damsels and or in a relationship doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for white female characters; a female East-Asian protagonist being assertive and confident in canon but written as unsure and submissive in fanon; a black protagonist cast as Gaston in a Beauty and the Beast AU fic; a black and a non-black actor who portray the characters in a popular slash ship are very close in height and body type but a large number of fanfics describe the black man as significantly larger than his partner), some are not. But it’s not particularly difficult to look up stuff like that. As I said, there are already many resources so spending some time to hunt those down to get an idea of what is and is not okay to do in your writing is the least a writer can do. (Also, not to take offense if someone points out the way they wrote a character is bad).

        As for the internationality of the user base, sure there is that. But to pretend that the fandom as a whole is not overwhelmingly Western-centric would be dishonest. OTW and AO3 are based in the US. Their TOS and the law they follow is the US law. And well, we do have to start somewhere. A lot of people are in the Western-based fandoms. Once the solutions are devised and implemented in those, they can then be adjusted for different, non-Western based ones. But they have to start somewhere, so why not in there?

        1. If jocarthage meant “being mistreated” to mean “being written with racist stereotypes,” she should have said that. Phrasing it as “mistreatment” opens the conversation to people who power trip in fandom by harassing and doxxing others under flimsy pretenses, e.g. claiming that writing SW Finn as a bottom/top/as ace/with a white woman/with an Asian woman/with a Hispanic man is racist, or that writing dubcon & non-con with Black characters is inherently racist, even in pairings where both are Black e.g. Erik/T’Challa. To be blunt, those discussions (power trips) are a distraction from actual anti-racist work, and it’s disingenuous to demand the OTW take a stand on them.

          You’re still underestimating how international fandom is, even on AO3, and I’m not sure how to explain this to you. Fandom is on Twitter, and LINE, and lofter; it includes people who write fic, people who argue whether Darth Vader would win a fight against Superman, and people who quietly like their favourite bandes dessinées. Even speaking strictly about AO3 users in the last six months, are you familiar with the massive influx of Chinese fic this year, and the ways people are getting around China’s AO3 ban? The controversy about a user posting unauthorized doujinshi scanlations? Or the push to use slashes when abbreviating omegaverse to a/b/o, so as to not be a slur against Australian Indigenous people? Non-US fans and fandoms are already here, you’re just not paying attention.

          And to be frank, several of the suggestions in this post not only don’t apply to the OTW, but are phrased in ways that show the user is unfamiliar with the org, the site, and how they function. For example, there are already freeform tags on AO3 for things like slavery and canon-typical racism; adding a required warning for racism will only be useful to people who are aware that their work deals with racism, and won’t be any use for people who don’t want to see stuff that’s either trolling or ignorantly racist. Even if something is reported to Abuse, 1) Abuse has a months-long backlog, 2) reporting old fic would clog the queue, and 3) Abuse can only force a Choose Not To Warn warning if the user refuses the requested warning. Not to mention the spaghetti code and how much of the budget is devoted to keeping the servers from imploding! Working around this to achieve a useful warning for racist content would be complex. It can be done, but it would take a lot of time: it’s not something that the org can just push through in a week or two.

          Yes, we have to start somewhere, but those steps need to be relevant so we don’t waste people’s time or energy.

          (For the record, I’m not in any way associated with the OTW, and I’ve never donated or volunteered. I just read & write fic on AO3.)

          1. It seems we are coming at point 2 from different perspectives. I have been looking into the way fandoms treat characters with certain marginalizations for about four years now so when I see someone talking about characters being mistreated in the context of fandom (as jocarthage seemed to do in the post), the stereotypes is the first thing that comes to mind for me. As for the “opening the doors” thing – no one said it would be easy. But avoiding these discussions because some people might use the opportunity to be assholes is not right. The whole point of point 2 was “listen to people who belong to the identity if they tell you that identity was badly written/presented or depicted in a harmful way”. So yeah, if a Black fan tells me that that Eric/T’Challa fic people praise is racist, I will take the fan’s word over that of a non-Black fan.

            Could you maybe not assume things about me? I am well aware of how international fandoms can be since English is not even my first or second language, it’s fourth. Also, I am paying attention if you meant that list as a test or a gotcha, because I am actually familiar with all those examples. Did you know that just yesterday, fanhackers (an OTW’s project) posted about how the contact with the Western fandom influenced the terminology in Chinese BL fandom? And again, OTW and AO3 follow US law in their TOS so international fandom or not, if people want to post on the site, they have to follow laws and conventions based on a specifically Western base.

            As for the implementing the changes would be difficult and long process, that’s not the issue. The issue is that OTW and AO3 seem unwilling to so much as consider making those changes at all. They make posts like the OP, with an empty lip service but the moment they are asked to do more, it’s crickets.

  12. “We know that amongst the readership of TWIF there will be plenty of fans who want to use this moment to think and learn more about the ways in which racism affects the fandoms in which we invest so much of our time and our emotional energy, and to start or continue work on making a change.”

    Fans of color have made it clear how choices at OTW and AO3 have made these spaces actively hostile to and unsafe for them. It seems like a good place to start “making a change” would be implementing what Black fans and other fans of color have asked for for a long time, such as allowing racist fanworks to be flagged and, if a user desires, filtered out. Yes, doing so might require some adjustments to how AO3 operates. But the alternative is prioritizing the status quo over the safety of *all* your users.

    1. Please Delete previous Reply, it was meant to go to go below Jo’s post not to this thread by the Board. Jo Carthage’s recommendations are wonderful and should be taken seriously.

      I am gravely concerned that this list gives things for the writers and readers of AO3 and Fanlore to do, and not for the board and staff of AO3 today. How many members of the board are Black, Indigenous or POC? How many volunteers and committee members are Black, Indigenous or POC? Does the OTW have affinity groups for POCs and Anti-White employees to discuss issues and problem solve? Can we institute blocking features to protect creators and readers who are Black, Indigenous or POC from the hideous racism that exists across many fandoms?

      Please commit to anti-racism work that many fan scholars of color have illustrated that AO3, Fanlore and OTW do not currently work on regularly.

  13. This roundup is incomplete without a full statement from the OTW about how they intend to be better about the treatment of BIPOC and specifically Black fans on AO3. For one arm of the organization to speak out about activism when another arm is an active contributor to racism is inexcusable.

  14. That’s a nice sentiment and all but what will you be doing to make the ao3 more usable for Black creators and creators of colour? What’s your leadership breakdown? Which avenues exist to address racism concerns within the organisation? Are you working on a comprehensive system to allow users to flag and report racist content? Or is this pure virtue signalling without any commitment?

  15. Considering her work was referenced here, I feel like it’s important to add Dr. Rukmini Pande’s (initial) response to this statement on twitter:

    “I’d also like to point out that my work (alongwith other critical FOC) has been referenced, seemingly without it having being READ or reflected on at all re: AO3’s role in fandom.

    There will be a long-form response, but for the moment…

    NO, you don’t get to do that.

    You want make a statement about your anti-racist commitment??

    READ OUR WORK.

    REFLECT ON YOUR POSITION WITHIN WHITENESS.

    DO SOMETHING.”

    (https://twitter.com/RukminiPande/status/1271305987719233537)

    1. Echoing this, Stitch’s twitter has also been incredulous of your namecheck the past day. Do you really respect and read these scholars of color? Or are you just namedropping them so you seem *woke* without having to actually put in work to root out racism in the spaces you create and facilitate?

  16. There is a shocking lack of self-reflection in this post (let alone the needed action and accountability). It reads as if there are no humans behind it – like it’s aiming for some kind of mythic neutrality that only alien observers of our planet might be capable of. And while that’s a cute idea, I know there are humans, because I vote in every election and donate in every fundraising drive. We’re in a moment of national reckoning with the US’s historian of black oppression and extraction (black and indigenous people of color) and an institution like OTW should be deeply engaged. Clearly that hasn’t happened, but make today the day that starts to change. There are great suggestions above and clearly leaders in the fandom field who are people of color and bring the experience and analysis needed to lead this work, so I’ll just say to follow their lead.

    Yeah, it’s going to be hard, but that’s only because you haven’t started yet. Start, and do it. This bizarro-world ’round up’ is NOT action.

  17. While education and the dissemination of resources can be an important step, this post (disingenuously) puts the impetus on individuals, implying that the problem of racism can be solved if everyone does enough reading. It is disingenuous to note that fandom has a problem with racism without acknowledging in any way the role that AO3 or the OTW play in the larger fandom landscape. AO3 as a platform is not neutral, and neither is OTW as an organization. It is both wildly dismissive and actively harmful to suggest by omission that AO3/OTW has nothing to do with “fandom’s racism problem.” I join my fellow commenters in expressing my desire to see an action plan from AO3/OTW on how they will ensure that fans of color (particularly Black fans) are not subjected to abuse on their platform and how they will take steps to make sure the organization is actively anti-racist and not perpetuating white supremacy through inaction. Should members of the leadership lack ideas on how to do so, I would suggest they take their own advice and seek out the work of the fans of color they cited in this post.

  18. Get Dr. Pande’s name out of your mouth. This post is nothing but lip service and it is as empty as the statement released by Warner Bros. regarding J.K. Rowling’s transphobia (https://twitter.com/adambvary/status/1270882869959745536?s=21).

    AO3 and OTW have done nothing to protect black fans and other fans of color from virulent racism or to make AO3 a safe space for them. Put some of the donation money you receive every year to actually combatting the racism in AO3 and working to make AO3 a safe space for fans of color. Use that yearly donation money to hire someone to craft antiracist policies for AO3.

    AO3/OTW is in a position of power. You can actually effect change. So fucking do it.

  19. Contrary to what the previous comments are insisting, instituting a Hays Code for fanfic with pretensions to social enlightment will accomplish nothing except giving bullies a big ol’ tool for bullying people whose fic they don’t like — and if you don’t think that a lot of the reports won’t be in bad faith (e.g., “This Finn/Poe fic is racist because Finn is topping!”), I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    Stitch Media Mix — someone whose only “contribution” to fandom has ever been telling people they’re doing it wrong, and then demanding people pay them for it — is explicit it here about what they want to do to authors whose fic they don’t approve of: “making their online lives hell.” Oh, and Stitch is also anti-underage fic, too.

    I endorse everything said by this Twitter user.

  20. I am writing in support of fans of color who have repeatedly told us of the racist abuse they experience in fannish spaces, particularly AO3.
    Dr. Rukmini Pande wrote that AO3 should use some of our donation money to pay someone for policy work and come up with clear, actionable ways to make things better, and I absolutely agree. I would be far more likely to donate to AO3 again if I saw a clear roadmap being followed and things getting better for fans of color.
    https://twitter.com/rukminipande/status/1272034590446637056?s=11
    It is long past time for AO3 to take action, instead of just occasionally making nice statements, or only discussing this problem as something that happens elsewhere.

    1. It always comes back to ‘pay me money.’

      The whole thing is a racket. There are already ways to deal with abusive behavior from other users on Ao3.

  21. Resource links are NOT good enough. The OTW needs to consider the idea of including an archival link for AT LEAST depictions of slavery, if not something to the effect of expressions of, specifically, violent racism. I personally am writing a fic that includes such scenes of violent racism from villainous parties, and I have tagged the hell out of it AND included long A/Ns explaining my reasoning for including such scenes, but that is me in an overabundance of caution, and there NEEDS to be an external, sote-wide resource readers can have put on the fic if the author has overlooked OR been ignorant of the themes and scenarios they are presenting, and that’s what archival tags are for. I donated to get a vote on board stuff – draft something up and put it to membership vote.

  22. OTW, you cannot say that the Avengers edit is a form of fandom activism when it’s a performative piece, at best.

    You refuse to address how the OTW itself will try and do to combat the rampant racism in its members, in AO3, and how, often times, white users will often times attack black users for commenting on racism in works, for daring to announce being Black creators on AO3, and the lack of empathy or actions taken when BIPOC users have expressed frustrations while using AO3.

    If you have read more than one essay from Dr. Pande and from Stitch, then you would know that this has been an on-going issue for years. Both WOC have written about these issues extensively, as well as the harassment they have received from white fandom members for daring to call out the OTW’s and AO3’s lack of action and performative behavior.

    There’s a reason why a majority of the users on AO3 are white. There’s a reason why BIPOC users do not feel safe, wanted, respected or heard on AO3. Please actually do something to address this instead of acknowledging that racism exists. We want change, not just empty acknowledgment.

  23. Both Stitch & Dr. Pande are now being harassed by fandom for requesting that OTW take an antiracist stance. Do you really support these scholars? If so, use your power within the community to stand behind them and listen to them.

  24. I am getting flashbacks to Strikethrough and every other great fandom extermination event I have witnessed reading this.(Inital oh-so-reasonable “Think of the children” campaigns ending with everything being deleted.) The moment this kind of censorship gets implemented, it will be abused, and it will be a weapon for everybody who is involved in a shipping war or other kind of crusade. I second the suggestions above about using AO3 Savior or other scripts. It is already perfectly possible to filter out users and tags you don’t want to read.
    What cannot and should not be possible is to let random people censor fics for everybody else. That will hurt all writers. Or does anybody think Black or other minority writers/fans would be immune to malicious flagging?

  25. Iirc, Dr. Pande & Stitch also requested ao3 substantively act on the works they namedrop, & do better by bipoc fans. Any plans to honor those requests?

  26. “Racism and particularly anti-Black racism is a problem in fandoms and in fan studies.”

    I would like to know what’s being done in regards to the discussions and ideas fandom has had for making the AO3 feel like a safer and more welcoming place for fans of color.

    It feels tasteless for you to skip right past that in a newsletter that’s fully centered around racial inequalities. Please do better.

  27. The comments here baffle me. What on earth makes you think it’s AO3’s or OTW’s job to fix racism?

    They were founded on the principle that nothing that is illegal is censored or purged ever. Think-of-the-children crowd, please just leave. Stop using the services and stop trying to change the core essence. If you find THE fundamental belief objectionable then it’s just not for you.

  28. That’s a bit harsh but I see where you’re coming from. Not how I would have worded it though.

    You can have freedom of expression or you can censor things based on feelings, not both. The demands by people here that a fanfiction repository “fight racism” are stupid.

  29. I am black and think ao3 is doing a perfect job. Don’t let the woke crowd get you down.

  30. The people calling for censorship in the name of their woke anti-racist religious beliefs confuse me.

    Do they not know why AO3 was founded?

    Also screaming about whiteness while claiming to be against racism has me in tears. If youre looking for racists, start with your mirror.

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