Letter Spreadsheet Wank
FFA discussed this in mid-October. About a week before, _coal had been champing at the bit for the official letter post. “A coalie socked up and posted it, very barebones & with a brand-new account. The Official Spreadsheeting Team got snippy and posted a post about how that wasn’t the OFFICIAL unofficial letters post, and anybody who posted on it wasn’t getting on the spreadsheet.” After some wank, a different coalie “stepped up to do a spreadsheet for that letter post; Spreadsheet Team thought she was original!coalie and were snippy towards her for a while.” More wank followed, as well as condemnation ofthecolourclear, the main spreadsheeter.
When the “Official Unofficial Letters Post” finally went up, thecolourclear stressed that none of the early letters (~85 of them) would be incorporated into that post. Some participants protested civilly on yuletide_admin, expressing concern for newbies and offering to bring over the early letters. Those comments were frozen and screened, which on LJ can be done only by a post OP or a community mod — and the mods asked thecolourclear why they'd been screened. He “feigned not knowing anything about it, or maybe someone else was screening them! (through some impossible means). Then later on he backtracked and admitted he screened them, because he ‘didn’t know that was frowned on.’” Eventually the comments were unscreened, and a tab was added to the official spreadsheet for the early letters.
One nonny described the _coal wank as “Basically a pissing contest for the privilege of copying and pasting data into a spreadsheet.” Another posted a 17-point list running down the entire wank, and yet another linked to a _coal recap with “a more fleshed out summary of the events between points 1-5 in a way which is slightly more sympathetic to thecolourclear.”
Kinky Letter Debacle
In September, implicated2 posted a guide on how to politely decline kinky content in DYW letters. Commenters on FFA,_coal, and the entry itself took issue with implicated2’s assertion that “No XYZ” was a rude, kinkshaming way of asking not to receive XYZ.
The guide was revealed to be at least partly inspired by grudgewank when implicated2’s recipient from 2013, who had asked for no D/s, commented, and implicated2 replied. naraht brought up the actual text of makioka’s letter, which was impeccably polite.
The discussion in the entry comments ended with implicated2 apologizing for some of her stronger claims and editing the original entry to reflect her change of heart. One nonny summed up the conclusion:
Several of the commenters appear to have gotten across to her how unreasonable the “no [kink]” is kink shaming! stance is. I think it was the one person bringing up respecting the requestor’s right to enforce their own boundaries wrt kink and “but in real life kinky circles someone's ‘no’ is supposed to be respected and people don’t have to say ‘I appreciate that you like [sex act] and that’s wonderful and I don’t judge you for it but please don’t do it to me if that’s all right with you,’” that did it.
As FFA discussed, Pesha put up a 5,755-word Dear Yuletide Writer letter (now f-locked, as is her entire LJ) that was much more about her personal politics than about what she wanted for Yuletide and included a selfie. The _coal discussionincluded a few choice quotes:
My favorite movies are largely banned in most countries. I’m nearly impossible to offend. Hilariously enough? Politics and religion offend me more than any of the things which are supposed to combined. I don’t care about either. I care about the 1st Amendment which entitles me to say what I want about what I like any way I want to say it and the 2nd Amendment which makes me think of Charlton Heston who was so epic, words fail me.
When linking to her letter on the Yuletide LJ community, Pesha wrote, “NOTE: I AM NOT LINKING MY LETTER DIRECTLY BECAUSE I POSTED MY WARNING IN THE HEADER. IT IS THE FIRST POST HERE: http://pesha.dreamwidth.org/” The LJ-cut to her letter initially said:
I AM NOT A SOCK. NOTE: MY ENTIRE LETTER IS BEHIND A CUT BECAUSE IT CONTAINS REQUESTS FOR VIOLENT, CRUELTIDE-SUITED FANDOMS/STORIES AND I AM TRYING TO BE UP-FRONT WITH WARNINGS IN SPITE OF THE FACT I FIND THEM RATHER POINTLESS WHEN I SEE THE FANDOMS ON MY LIST. IF YOU CAN POTENTIALLY BE TRIGGERED OR OFFENDED, PLEASE DO NOT READ MY LETTER. I DID THE BEST I COULD TO MAKE IT SOUND "NICE" BUT NOT EVERYONE WANTS THE SAME THINGS OUT OF THEIR YULETIDE. I AM VERY MUCH HOPING FOR A BLOOD RED YULETIDE FOR MYSELF THIS YEAR. THAT IS MY PREFERENCE. THAT IS MY PASSION. THAT IS WHAT I ENJOY AND I AM #NOTEVENSORRY.
In response to one coalie taking a swing at Pesha's weight, rpg_paige replied, “You are an awful, cruel person. If you took five minutes to actually get to know her, you’d understand all of it a hell of a lot more. If you happen to get paired with my requests? I’d rather you not write anything at all.” She also added downthread:
If ANY Of you hateful, cruel, ignorant people get matched to me, I don’t want your fic. Fuck all of you and your anonymous bullshit. It’s so easy to hide, isn't it? So easy to talk shit about someone who is ten times better than any of you who are saying such awful things about her.
The fact that this thread even EXISTS is disgusting. And I thought indie authors were catty bitches.
rpg_paige turned up once more to inform a coalie, “You’re an asshole. You should learn to STFU.” Pesha’s other friend,violetleehawk, informed _coal, “Well done turning out like sludge from a backed up drain on this thread. I’m sure you all feel very awesome to see so many fellow turds in the ditch.”
Finally, in an anonymous comment, someone purporting to be Pesha's wife lambasted _coal for telling her to kill herself, informing the world that “I have a Master’s in Social Work and it is my life passion to help people who experience real mental illness,” and complaining that _coal is “infring[ing] upon [Pesha’s] constitutional right” to free speech. (The same rant was copypasted here too.) One coalie did reply with sympathy and good advice, but the rest pretty much mocked the “wifey” — who then threatened the people who had told Pesha to go kill herself, “I will find you and go all Liam Neeson on you… I do, however, have vivid fantasies of horrible things happening to you like scenes from a gore film.”
The 10-Sock Saga
As Yuletide mod Morbane announced on _admin on Dec. 8, mods looked into a problem with one pinch hit and found that one person had 10 connected sock accounts. Morbane elaborated in comments that “none of those accounts had letters posted to the Dear Writer Letter post. Many were placeholders.”
Some nonnies believed the purpose was to try to match on one of the socks so they could write the fic they wanted to write rather than fulfill requests (or to perhaps post fics already written); others thought it was to obtain more gift fics.
The mods confirmed two of the accounts involved. One of them, “NormaJeane,” inspired someone on _coal to filk “Candle in the Wind.”
A previous major ban this season was mentioned in the wank that followed, as was a fair summary of the entire episode: “Am I the only one who finds this incredibly hilarious? Reading this thread shows sock accounts are a dime a dozen. The hysterics this has sent everyone into is popcorn material.” There was also a “NovaMist betting pool” on _coal.
Comics Eligibility Wank
On Sep. 13, the mods posted the 2015 Yuletide eligibility rules for community discussion. The ones covering comics fandoms drew lots of attention for what many comics fans felt was the unfair ruling out of all crossover events, including the “Secret Wars” event that accounted for most of Marvel’s 2015 output. “Secret Wars” focused heavily on AUs of the main (616) continuity, which many fans felt should be eligible due to its complete lack of connection to 616. The mods declared these AUs ineligible because they felt unable to determine which comics should be eligible six months post-publication. Hhertzof’s attempts to placate unhappy fans by saying that they could still nominate the old stuff did not go over well.
This also caused a lot of wank on FFA. Some nonnies felt that the comics fans should just shut up and fuck off because“Yuletide doesn’t need you.” Other nonnies described the new rules as “bullshit” and complained about the mods “bend[ing] over backwards” to accommodate Star Trek and hockey RPF while “screwing over comics fans.” One group decided they would protest this by nominating, and requesting and offering if allowed, dozens of versions of Gwen Stacy from variant covers. (34 Gwens were accepted into Yuletide; there were 4 requests and 5 offers, per the signup summary.)
On Sep. 16, the mods backed down. “Secret Wars” titles would be accepted under the same criteria as any other fandom: their nominators would have to prove they were reasonably separate from 616. Nonnies were generally pacified by this; while the Gwen Stacy nonnies kept right on trucking, they were no longer protesting the comics rules.
Nazi RPF Wank
On Oct. 2, in the yuletide_admin LJ post soliciting evidence for fandom eligibility, user ars-belli argued for the inclusion of “Second World War RPF” as a fandom. She claimed she’d “deliberately selected people who were household names at the time and are easily researched today.” And then she presented the names of Erwin Rommel, Reinhard Heydrich, Otto Kretschmer, and Joachim Peiper — all well-known Nazis.
The FFA thread about this was long and contentious, topping out at nearly 300 comments. An early argument that people should be able to write “dark themes" for Yuletide if they want to was rebutted by nonnies observing that there is a vast grey area between “fluff” and fic that could possibly trigger relatives of survivors. Another pointed out that Yuletide participants are
as general an audience as you get in fandom - there’s a good chance you’ll match with somebody with whom you’ve never crossed paths at all before. ... As with putting swastika-themed bed linen on your wedding registry: however generally happy-go-luck and accommodating your extended families and their plus-ones are, there’s perhaps a line. Save that stuff for special requests from your inner circle, you know?
One nonny stated that if “WWII RPF” got approved, they would challenge it during the tagset review in namespace.“Decency, plus there being victims and family of victims still alive. And it’s highly likely that family of victims are participating in Yuletide.” Indeed, at least four other nonnies fall into that category. The same number of nonnies said they would insta-default if they were matched with ars-belli. It was also observed that, as the exchange was first started by Jewish fans who needed something to do during the Christmas season, “I would be amazed if this fandom doesn’t get shot down before sign-ups.”
Nonnies were thoroughly skeeved out by ars-belli’s Dreamwidth and LJ. She belongs to the LJ communities nazifetisch,reel_nazis, reich_writing, and kretschmann. She has tags for Nazi fanfic. Her other tags include “Aryan goodness” and (in reference to certain Nazis) “ovaries go boom.” Her icons include shirtless!Rommel and a close-up of Reinhard Heydrich’s hands, which is the same icon she used in her comment on yuletide_admin. She was hoping to receive U-boat slash for Yuletide this year. One nonny said they think ars-belli knows perfectly well how offensive her request is and that she worded it obliquely in the hope that nobody would pay it much attention.
Inevitably, a concern troll was concerned that meme was concerned about this matter. Tl;dr: The request would probably not be granted anyway, it should not be “appropriate to go through someone’s journal for evidence of how disgusting their kinks are” (despite looking through a recipient’s journal for clues being a Yuletide tradition), the scope of things nonnies think should be banned is far too wide, and people don't really care but are indulging in moral indignation. One response: “This comment is like a concern troll Möbius strip.” A longer, point-by-point response, with good follow-ups.
There was also discussion of Aja, who has requested serial killer RPF for Yuletide before (it’s since been banned); a nonny who was “so tempted to write Heydrich being butt-fucked by his exploding car fic”; and a bit of filk for The Producers. Also,here’s the _coal thread.
In the next FFA post, a nonny reported that a mod had gotten back to them and said that “Second World War” RPF had been rejected.
For Tumblr user lovesmiledonme/AO3 user idc, Shayheyred wrote a Darker Than BLACK Hei/Nick fic titled “The Sky Full of Stars.” The recipient had only two do-not-wants: Character death, and anyone being called “baby.” However, in the original version of Shay’s fic, Nick died at the end.
On Friday (Christmas Day), 05:11 a.m. PST, idc left a politely worded comment thanking Shay for the fic but pointing out they’d requested no character death. Shay at first ignored this, preferring to reply to this praise with “Thank you so much. It’s great to know someone got what I was after.” That was at 8:55 a.m. PST.
An AO3 commenter going by “Iris” scolded Shay on Saturday, 6:31 a.m. PST: “That’s really bitchy of you. You deliberately included something your recipient said they didn’t want. You’re lucky they were graceful about it because they’d be well within their rights to report you to the Yuletide mods for that.” Shay replied at 6:37 that she’d rewritten the fic. One minute before, she’d finally responded to idc with, “I want you to have a story you like, so I've rewritten parts of it so it’s still dark, but not fatal. Hope this fits the bill.”
Other fans of the anime stated this was not quite true. In the rewritten version, Nick is unconscious yet alive, but Shay kept the bit about a star falling from the sky. This coalie wrote about a week later that in canon, a falling star means that a Contractor (such as Nick) has died. This “makes it even more scuzzy. You did someone’s DNW, you were nasty to them about it, and then you did a ‘rewrite’ that didn’t actually fix it so that you could try and convince people that you’ve got some sort of moral superiority here, and then you threw a knife at your really-very-nice recipient post-reveals. Way to be a fucking winner.”
As soon as reveals happened, _coal was on the case. A number of coalies vented their long-term dislike of Shay. Someonebrought up a 2014 Yuletide fic, a 21 Jump Street cooking AU in whose comments Shay scolded the recip for leaving a “Very churlish reply, mate. Very not in the spirit of Yuletide.” Another linked to a pinch-hit prompt of hers for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In which she said, “I couldn’t care less about Gaby, unless she’s used to make one or both jealous of the other.” The coalie was “very put off by ‘idgaf about the female character unless she’s an unimportant plot device to make the male characters I do like jealous before they bang each other and forget all about the irrelevant girl they are at least platonically affectionate towards in canon’ tone.”
Meanwhile, wank continued in the fic’s comments. idc apologized, unnecessarily, to Shay (note the 2 deleted comments in reply to idc). Iris challenged Shay again over the meaning of the falling star: “Nice job leaving it just ambiguous enough you can’t get in trouble with the canon-blind admins.” Shay denied that the falling star meant death and told Iris that since idc and the mods were OK with the rewrite, Iris could “go churn up trouble elsewhere.” When Shellflowers asked her what the falling star did mean, then, Shay claimed “it was meant to be a blur of reality and the end of Nick and Hei’s illusion, but clearly I didn’t write it very well.” _coal called bullshit on this.
On Christmas Day, Shay had up a post on her LiveJournal that’s now locked. (Many thanks to this nonny who scored screencaps! Body of OP, earlier comments, later comments.) To summarize, Shay called her recip “displeased,” “ungracious,” and “bitchy,” while her friends boggled at the idea that anyone might not like a “shay!gift.” Shay claimed that people have been “harassing” her over it, and she referred to such people as “storm troopers.” _coal was not impressed, and neither was FFA.
(Interestingly, while a nonny called Shay “the personification of all the worst aspects of Cult of Nice,” a coalie opined that Shay got in trouble not because she deliberately wrote a DNW but because “she violated Cult of Nice. Note that the mods had to be aware of the situation with the DNW before this, but they didn’t go after her until that public post shitting on her recipient. If she’d kept mum and polite she’d have gotten away with it, but she had to publicly play the martyr.”)
As this nonny pointed out, “The thing is, at least IMO, this actually makes her look way worse. If she’d just said ‘I’m so sorry, I must have missed that, I've rewritten the fic to remove it’ I wouldn’t care that much. Mistakes happen. It’s a bummer for the recip, and I’d hope they got another fic, but nobody’s really at fault for it. But this whole thing about how her recip is the real jerk here, for being insufficiently thrilled to get a fic that contradicted their DNWs, is just terrible.”
On New Year's Day, Shay stated on her LJ that the mods had contacted her about the fic. The post is still unlocked, but it was quoted at _coal in full. The gist is that she’d thought her recip was “just being a pain” by complaining, but when she re-read their letter she realized she’d missed a DNW. “[T]o her credit, she sent me a lovely note thanking me. Clearly I have to read the fine print better next time.” However, some mean old person other than the recip complained to the mods, claiming the original ending was still implied in the rewrite, which Shay called “patently false. So someone out there is stirring the pot for some reason.”
Shay was discussed in the Jan. 6 FFA thread “Favorite Yuletide Wanks?”, with one nonny in particular expressing their longtime hatred of her. There was also a brief follow-up thread about her on Jan. 8, with OP running down the major points of the wank. Another nonny (same one as in previous thread?) said they'd hated Shay for years “because she was a bully in an old fandom. Seeing all the hate piled on her is like getting ten years worth of late Christmas gifts from Santa.”
- Noncon Wank: On Oct. 18, _coal discovered an angry Tumblr post by user konguloarkonan containing a screencap of a _coal thread in which coalies asked for noncon recs. Initial response: “CRY MORE BITCH.” Another coalie was more verbose but equally contemptuous. The thread contains links to two other posts fromkonguloarkonan, plus the observation that they call themselves an SJW. FFA took note, but the wank died out on both communities, even though konguloarkonan tried mightily to keep it going.
- starry_wolf: In mid-October this user, whose Yuletide LJ comm comments are now deleted, tried to request 17 fandoms for Crueltide. They also insisted they could write fic without even knowing the canon/fandom and argued with mods that they should be able to request whatever they want “because it’s really rare.” As this coalie said, “That is some amazing entitlement right there.” Initial _coal thread. A coalie identified starry_wolf as the person who “threw an anonymous tantrum about having gone out to the pinch-hit list this Femslash Exchange. They're insufferable.” The tantrum included the thought “[M]aybe there's something wrong with the people who likes my fandoms.” (Supposedly they requested gen for that exchange, while their Crueltide prompt treated explicit f/f as a DNW.) To top it all off, their letter requested a Maze Runner/Teen Wolf AU. And, unfortunately, for a short while they were beingwhite-knighted on FFA (as pointed out by _coal).
- Meatball42: On Nov. 30, they announced on the Yuletide comm, “I get weirdly shy of gift fic and have shamefully yet to read some from previous fests. I’m going to try to not be a douchebag and read your gift promptly. This is just to let you know that if I don’t comment or kudos, it’s not because I hated it, it’s just because I’m a loser.” They alsoposted twice to the Crueltide thread announcing that they didn’t want their main gift to be cruelfic, just the treats they presumably didn’t plan to read. Unsurprisingly, their author defaulted and their name came up on the pinch-hit list 10 days later; coalies were not eager to write for them. One coalie looked through their AO3 gifts and provided details on how seldom they thanked their authors. However, they reply to every single comment on their own fics. Weirdly, their letter was very long and detailed. “You care enough to put that much effort into the letter but can’t be arsed to read the fic that might come out of it? What even.” And they “took the time to pimp their femslash prompts on the relevant post, presumably in order to attract extra gifts they also can’t be arsed to read.” When 3 pinch hits went out on Dec. 21, one of them was again for Meatball42. On Dec. 26, coalies noted that Meatball hadn’t commented on either of their YT gifts yet, though they kudos’ed someone else’s fic. At this writing (Jan. 20, 2016), Meatball did leave a comment plus kudos on this fic they got, but not on this one. (FFA mention.)
- Early Deanoning Wank: _coal noted on Dec. 6 that Tumblr user mangle-loves-slash had announced they were writing an Undertale fic for Yuletide. Tumblr user wintersoldierfell politely informed them that this was a faux pas (post deleted; _coal mention). An embarrassed mangle deleted both their AO3 and Tumblr accounts, then (if this was indeed them) showed up on _coal to self-flagellate. Coalies told them to relax, it wasn’t that big of a deal. The wank got one brief mention on FFA.
Check back later this year! We’re sure there’ll be wank…