The Organization of Transformative Works. My Thoughts. Again.

posted January 3, 2008 by Q

QRemember The Organization for Transformative Works? I talked about them here.
So, this afternoon, OTW had a live Q&A session on IRC. This is the second chat that OTW had, and I took part in both of them. I had various questions and concerns that I wanted addressed.

If you want to read the logs they're freely available online First chat Second chat I am user "AnarchicQ", as I'm sure you've guessed.

The only thing I want to note about the first chat is that they didn't have time to field all my questions. It was irritating, but understood, as they were trying to figure out just how to work a real time Q&A session. Also, I was asking the 'easy' questions first, since I knew future questions I had were standing on somewhat brittle ground.

But today something in me stopped playing nice. Maybe it's the fannish company I keep. Maybe it's what I've been reading about OTW. Maybe I'm just sick of academic jargon. You know, more so than before.

I had two very important questions that I wanted to get answered, and this time I was going for broke.

My first question was the lighter of the two.

"Ok. I have two actually, but my first one is Why didn't you approach the founders of resources that you want, like eFiction, Scribblit, Fanworks finder, and so on. You say you're 'for the fans' but you're not including very helpful resources."

Naomi Novik spent 40 minutes talking in circles as her way of answering. There come times where I am a little forceful or a touch snarky, but the more she talked, the more she angered me. Naomi was using a lot of words to say very, very little. Also, if you read the logs you can see that really, their concern (so far, this changes later in the log, keep an eye out.) is purely academic. (The term is Acafan for Academic fan/dom or Fanaca, fandom academics. This is to say, people who study fandom and fans on an academic level, write essays, journals, get papers published, make polls, that sort of thing.)

After 40 minutes of the runaround, I get de-voiced (Anything I type won't be seen by users.) and another question is addressed.

The next question is answered comparatively quickly, although it sounds very "50 year old man trying to be hip and with it to the kids.".

"<+Naomi_Board> so right now, the reality is there is nothing all that much to enjoy -- right now what we have is a spiffy professional-language website that says "hey we're building this cool fannish archive"

<+Naomi_Board> but we don't have the archive built yet so, if you're not particularly interested in meta or fanacademia and not worried about legal issues, there isn't a reason to care until we show people the beef *g*"

The powers that be on OTW are so mired in their academic prattle that, try as they might, they can't seem to speak to "us", the common fan. I've said it somewhere before and I will say it again. "OMG I WROTE THIS ON A SUGAR HI @ 3AM PLZ R+R!!!!1" is a very big chunk of the fandom society. They are not going to understand OTW. If OTW are lucky they'll either see a new place to archive (Eventually), or "LOLZ COOL THEY WANNA MAKE FANFIC A LAW!!". Kind of.

And then we came back to me. And I asked the hard question.

"With all the wank(Drama) and drama and apparent pro-plagiarism attached to her name, why is Heidi8 on your legal advice team? And what's OTW's official stance on plagiarism?"

(Heidi8 is a Harry Potter fan with a background in LAW, working once upon a time for a legal firm...or something. She has allegedly plagiarized stories in her own fan fiction works, defended a fellow plagiarizing Harry Potter fanfic writer Cassandra Claire, and tosses about threats of lawsuit willy nilly.)

I've addressed this in my previous post about OTW and I finally wanted a from-the-horses-mouth answer. The answer?

It boils down to "We're not comfortable talking about just one member of OTW, so we'll throw her credentials at you!"


That's your official answer? Your official answer is "This is uncomfy, here's her resume, she offered to help so we took her on because we need helping helpers who help!" Really? Really?

So let me get this right.

OTW wants to help me make my fanworks legal. They took on the help of a confirmed liar, plagiarist, bluffer, lawsuit happy once-big-name-fan to advise them how to do this, and they didn't think about the reciprocations?

Do OTW know what they're doing? No. Clearly not.

I have one final question for OTW, but that will have to wait until next live chat session. But here's a hint: It involves bondage.

Some fun links and conversation:

LJ Post: LOL @ OTW