December 27th, 2007

FGT Boots

OTW - weighing in on the debate.

A few weeks ago, The Organisation for Transformative Works officially launched. I know some of my flist already know about them; if you're in fandom (any fandom) and you haven't run across them yet, you should check it out, either at their own website or in otw_news (on LJ, GJ, IJ and JF).

OTW got started this summer as the fanarchive project. Now it's something more.

In the past month or two, I've read an awful lot of paranoid nonsense about them, mainly in the comments of their own news posts and then in personal LJ posts by the same people rehashing the same stuff. I've also seens some very legitimate critique of OTW and their aims, some mud-slinging from people who seem to feel threatened by them in some way and, very occasionally wank that makes Harry Potter fandom look sane. A lot of it made metafandom.

*shrug* Just goes to show getting a good idea off the ground isn't easy.

In adding my own voice to the throng, I daresay I'm inviting yet more wank, but there are a few things which, maybe others have already said but if so, I haven't seen them said. So here goes.

First, and foremost, yes there are problems with the language OTW have chosen for their vision & values and mission statement. But I really, really, believe this is one time fen would do better to look behind the words to the intent, and just trust that these people are what they say they are. A lot of the worst criticism of OTW has come from fen who feel excluded by phrases like "transformative" or by OTW's recognition that media fandom is female dominated. They ignore the reassurances of the actual people involved in favour of nitpicking the language, and while I can see their points are valid, I don't belive that when it's time for OTW to show instead of tell, that they would actually exclude male fen or RPS fen or bandom fen. If they were likely to, I reckon they'd have said so already, and those people they didn't want around could go do their own thing and be happy. It would be far easier for them if they did exclude RPF, bandfic, songvids: they're far more likely to win some kind of legal recognition for written fanfic based on TV shows and movies (which actually is legitimate transformative use) than they are for real person slash (much of which which is legally libel, until proven otherwise). But they're bending over backwards to be as inclusive as possible. Of course they're not succeeding 100%: they're human. But they're doing a far better job than anyone has a right to expect.

I also think it's fantastic that they acknowledge the femaleness of fandom right from the beginning. Most of the argument against that is proving, to me at least, why that acknowledgment is so very necessary.

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