[Thread Collection] The Archive As Fandom Dream Thoughts (4/10/2021 + 4/8/2021)

Today has been full of people talking critically about the AO3’s failures in response to a viral tweet about ao3 as “the fucking fan fiction dream complaint” and yet another moment of folks in fandom going “well i don’t see valid complaints so they don’t exist. As I am still locked due to the horrifying antiblack harassment from February and the fact that I’m multiple fandoms’ favorite punching bag for no actual reason beyond the fact that I write about racism in fandom like this… I’ve reposted some of today’s Twitter thoughts here.


A tweet thread “in response” to a viral tweet I saw early in the morning. I’m locked and I probably caught OP A in chainblock so I didn’t quote and chose instead to screenshot. OP B got blocked in a fit of pique but since I’m locked they didn’t have access to my tweets anyway.

This is peak fandom to be like “I haven’t heard a valid complaint and so none exist” when again the two most valid complaints are:

A) this archive protects racists and their purposefully racist fanworks

B) when people are harassed on ao3, there are no tools for them to be safe

The thing is that OP probably HAS seen conversations about racism on the AO3 and fandom as a whole (like racists using slurs, their purposefully racist fics and racist harassment and a refusal to do better for people and characters of color) and wrote it off as antis/bad faith 🙄

People who aren’t me have gone “hey this space actually nurtures racists and here’s some of the actual racism I’ve seen on the AO3… and also they never followed up their post BLM promise with action”

Not seeing those convos speaks to ignorance, not absence. (This is that whole thing where white fans constantly reaffirm fandom as a white space. Those two problems are the biggest of the “real” problems out there and what AO3 is doing with Blocking/Muting users in the works only partially solved the second one.)

This person (probably not white, bio says Arab) goes full to the “well this is hard, let’s do nothing”, “the only people complaining don’t use the site” and “how do we know it’s on purpose/explicit” approach to racism on the ao3

And it’s honestly not that hard to put together a baseline of unacceptable and purposeful racist content and behavior that’s not acceptable on a platorm. What also helps is that racists are so smug that they literally go on their main platform to brag about what they’ve done so🤷🏽‍♀️

Rather than urge the ao3 staff to put together a committee to figure out what kind of experts need to be tapped to help them handle racism on the platform and protect all fans of color, the common reply is “racism in fandom is a real problem BUT what can the ao3 do”


This thread about the second user up top’s one comment about AO3 not being a space for equality or whatever:

“fandom is racist as hell but ao3 isn’t gonna be like, the place to find equality.”

A) why not? Why shouldn’t it be? Would this person say that about dudebros flooding tags with homophobic works

B) why isn’t racism a thing people care to handle here (it’s cuz fandom is racist)

“people have to learn to not write racist tropes”

Okay but it’s not even just about the racist tropes, something that published authors fuck up at. It’s about overt hateful racism that exists to put POC real and fictional in their place via fanworks and fan behavior on the ao3


This thread about white supremacy in fandom and fandom as an increasingly white supremacy/supremacist friendly space.

Transformative fandom keeps reaffirming itself not just as a space where white queers/women/survivors/etc can thrive but where white supremacy (so much of the stuff I see some people retweeting in the name of freedom in fandom is from alt right dudebros ) is more welcome than POC

And all of this keeps happening at the expense of BIPOC in fandom – even the ones who keep their heads down or toss people like me under the racist bus.

Fandom is only escapist for SOME people and for everyone else, their dreams, desires, etc will get ground underfoot.

It IS white supremacy in fandom that redefines conversations about racism as “porn burning just like nazis” and “censorship”, reframing anti racism as anti sex/porn AND anti queerness while also wailing about a supposed bias against white WOMEN.

It IS white supremacy in fandom that turns BIPoC who talk about racism into targets and dehumanizes them in the process of opening them up to harassment.

Even the ones on the “freedom of fandom/pro fiction” side aren’t safe and are treated poorly the second they speak up.

And I mean it’s clearly white supremacy in fandom when you’re retweeting white supremacist dudebros and parroting their talking points about anti racism and crt like “this is what antis sound like” where antis = clearly poorly veiled code for BIPoC in fandom who won’t bootlick


This thread about how we’re almost at a year with no anti-racist action from the AO3 from Thursday.

Oh we really are coming up on a year of AO3 sort of saying they’d do something about racism (or whatever they actually said as I was busy dealing with antiblack harassment from obsessed racist weenie in fandom, many of whom were doing such in defense of the ao3…)

Yikes 😬

And yes, it is difficult to figure out HOW to do something at this scale without ignoring cultural complexities but AFAIK? They haven’t even tried to do the thing that’d actually help everyone: clarify, strengthen & (fairly) ENFORCE their offensive content and harassment polices

The offensive content policy is basically “lol ur fault if u get offended weenie” & then the harassment policy, while clearer, is not evenly enforced (as I know Black people punished for responding to antiblack harassment in their fic while allowing white racists to harass bipoc

(And I mean things like slurs aimed at users, setting off site users up to be harassed by first and last naming them in their racist troll fic, that person with the high key antiblack transformers fan fic of all things… Not people who just cannot write. Hateful bullies.)



For more thoughts on the AO3’s failures around racism and what folks are willing to do to defend it SPECIFICALLY (please do not zero in on the like 2 times I mention a personal discomfort with underage characters in erotic situation, that is not even remotely the point here) check out the following posts:

Collected Tweets on Racism in Fandom and Certain Sentiments Related to Freedom of Fic(cing) – From 11/24/19

Fleeting Frustrations #8: Revisionist Fandom History Strikes Again

Fleeting Frustrations # 7: Archive Frenzy and Being (Un) Grateful To Our Fannish Foremothers (Stuck In 2002)

Antiblackness in (Service of) the Archive: A Statement

Let’s talk about racism in The Archive – again.

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: The Cult(ure) of Nice

I’m working on making my tweets accessible to people who are blocked AND who do not follow me while I am locked for the foreseeable future due to aggressive and frightening harassment (including concerns of potential doxxing and people actively stalking me across the internet and reporting back to racists who hate me and want to destroy me/my life. Any tweet links in the above posts to my main account will be inaccessible until I find archive links for them or repost as thread collections.

Bear with me.

About Stitch

Stitch writes about what needs to be written.
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1 Response to [Thread Collection] The Archive As Fandom Dream Thoughts (4/10/2021 + 4/8/2021)

  1. militantlyromantic says:

    I think one of the thing that interests me about this is that l fought a really long, ugly battle, both as a volunteer within the org and as user of the site on a completely different issue of accessibility: that there should be an opt-out of kudos for those authors for whom it really fucks with. One would not think this is a crazy ass idea, right? I had support. (More than you’d think.). And I was endlessly told that others accessibility was more important. AKA, Naomi Novik really wanted to be able to press that button and feel good about herself when she was reading on mobile. My point being, I think the issue here goes even deeper than mere “this is hard, we don’t wanna,” right? It goes to whom not handling it allows to feel at ease.

    Liked by 1 person

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