The Current Dirt – 1 April 2018

Despite Donna’s Stories being back at its original location, donnas-stories.com, there’s more to be done.  Unlike most of our resurrections, Donna is still very much involved with the site, and upon the discovery of quite a bit of termite-infested code and lots of missing links, we’re keen to give it a full renovation for her to continue with, and will let you know what’s happening when that’s sorted out.

At the moment we’re focusing on getting some smaller author pages back online, but the majority of sites being worked on are under names that need to be changed.  The interwebs were a very different place in the 90’s.  Newsgroups were rather secluded places where it felt safe to post your stories, and it was generally assumed, I think, that what happens in newsgroups and on a few isolated archives and geocities websites stays in those places.  20-25 years later and the internet is a very different place.  Smut-writing students are now well-respected community members, parents, and even  award-winning well-respected (and often still smut-writing) authors who don’t want to be forever associated with their youthful indiscretions.  This week the stars aligned and we were able to contact a couple of those writers and are under negotiation to have their pages republished here after removing any personally identifying information.

It’s almost impossible to remove everything that’s already out there, and if someone’s managed to do that we’ll respect the effort involved and not resurrect their site, even under a different name, without their permission (although if they’ve done that good a job there’s no site to resurrect anyway).  If there’s existing work still out there, having an alternative author name for it won’t make that go away, but it can reduce use of that original name in links etc, and hopefully take the focus off the original name.

We’re often unaware of which author names are sensitive, and it can take a bit of research and/or luck to discover that an author wants their fic or name removed.  This week we discovered a post in the old alt.tv.x-files.creative newsgroup where a still much talked about author today attempted to have their last name changed to an initial when they were looking at becoming a high school teacher and didn’t want their fanfic found by students. We hope she hasn’t had to change her real name or isn’t rocking in the corner every time her last name is mentioned in conjunction with her fanfic, particularly since a boost in circulation of one particular smut classic after it was alluded to by Gillian Anderson in January.  So as a very belated community service announcement on behalf of Jess M,  if you’re sharing anything of hers please don’t use her full name.  Feel free to contact us if you require validation of this.

In fact, we’d go far as to recommend you avoid using full names when you’re discussing or linking to a fic hosted somewhere on the web, because while it may be hidden from search engines in its original location, using the full name  somewhere that search engines will index may cause issues.  Perhaps use initials or see if there are other identifiers, such as their Gossamer author ID, to identify them without posting their name in it’s entirety.  It’s something we tend to do without thinking, and as much as we love these authors and want to praise and share their work, we don’t want it to become a burden to them, and we don’t want to risk its removal completely.  On the other hand, we also don’t want “protecting authors” to be a defense for plagiarism.

If you are an author with a still-used name that you’d like replaced, please let us know and we’ll do our best to do some name-washing for you by making your stories available under a name you can live with.

While we don’t have any new sites to reveal right now, there’s a lot that’s been happening behind the scenes and we’re itching to make some more classic fic available.  Now that Season 11 is over, and we’ve almost put My Struggle 4 behind us, things should pick up again.