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06 February 2010 @ 02:24 pm

Because of some of the comments to yesterday’s post I got a (very real) migraine but also a really cool idea (some of my best ideas come when my left eye is throbbing—I have no idea why—a migraine is supposed to be the aftershock of some kind of seizure—maybe they work like kicking a coke machine does to get results). Let’s make a poll and have a BLEACHNESS FEEDBACK DAY!

In the light of fandom talking about fandom, there was some real criticisms made here of this community. Now, I may be at a disadvantage here because I don’t read criticisms of bleachness in other fandom places (it’s no secret that I have a lot of disdain for places like fandomsecrets and fandom_wank and for the general concept of go anon and complain) but here, I need to listen. Some of the same community members have made the same criticisms more than once, and because those criticisms involve the notion that people can’t speak up here because of an intimidating atmosphere, I need to know:

1. Who else agrees
2. To what extent is there is a problem with people not participating because they are
confused by the nature of the community
3. To what extent the community needs to evolve to accommodate those people if it indeed does need to accommodate to them
4. What I personally can do to make bleachness a more welcoming place

I’ve said it so many times here and it’s stated within the Bleachness Rules and Guidelines ( linked on the sidebar of the comm) that bleachness began as my personal writing journal and community of friends and evolved from there. It was never intended to be a general Bleach community catering to any and all fans like its predecessor, the larger and more rigidly moderated manga community soulsociety . This very fact may be the source of a lot of the uncertainty I’m hearing from the membership. Yesterday, delwynmarch observed: I'm all confused. Is Bleachness your extended-LJ, in which case I would naturally expect an amount of favouritism, or is it a general comm in which case I would expect everyone to be treated the same? Also, is it a group of like-minded friends, in which case I'd feel out-of-place posting stuff that's not related to the group's main interests, or is it a general comm where all interests are valued equally?

The guidelines entry answers that question—no, all interests are not valued equally here because this place has its biases and preferences. The same can be said for the general Bleach fandom. But that doesn’t mean that your Hisagi essay wouldn’t be welcome here.
The only way to find out how it will be received is to post it.

The issue of how friends versus newcomers are treated in this community is a trickier one—in regards to that natural social way of things, you can definitely expect that I am going to be more familiar in comments with people I’ve known for years than with people I haven’t known, but I do believe I’ve been very warm and welcoming when people announce that they’ve delurked to join. I can’t speak for all my friends and how welcoming they want to be because they’re free to be themselves, but yes, this community has the atmosphere of a hang-out because it began that way. It’s not a public service. Bleachness isn’t a newsfeed. It’s my community and I invest time in it for my pleasure primarily but also because I love to share my fandom love with others.

I could’ve chosen to make this community an elite one or an invitation-only one or one like the “adults only” Naruto community to which I was recently introduced. At this Naruto comm, all discourse can be read by the public but membership is closely moderated. As it was, I kept membership open and never disabled anon comments. I’m wondering now, though, if my desire to preserve the original character of a “me and my friends community” might not necessitate that. Or—if the belief is widespread enough that bleachness needs to be less cliquey, then maybe I can discover and initiate ways to make it less so or maybe even plan to transition it to new maintainers (if and when my own interest and joy in it dries up).

Other charges against this community have to do with its tone. It’s fairly difficult to me to take these charges very seriously because I’m more concerned with how fairly people are treated in this community (i.e. that members are not outright bashed or insulted) than with how members choose words to express their opinions. Mods can’t monitor interpretations of “condescending.” Personality conflicts aren’t my business. Some people may think it was “in poor taste” of me to mention my many college degrees. Other people may find the conviction with which some fans express their faith in “Ichigo is gay” or “IchiRuki will be the endgame ship” annoying. Neither I nor any mod can do much to assuage those who are wounded by such impressions. Snarky remarks are everywhere—it’s a rare fandom community where even mods don’t make them, and I prefer the character of this place to the draconian nature of many places that are so heavily moderated that people can’t say anything at all because any disagreements may offend . If there’s any one thing I’m happy about how bleachness has distinguished itself from other fan places, it’s that there’s lots of discourse and open disagreement here and some of us really think arguing is fun.

All I can say before looking at poll results is that I’m listening to my members, though. I can say that I’m aware that this community is different from those originally conceived as general communities or ones with specific purposes and as such, I’m aware that it’s going through growing pains right now.

So, talk to me.

I won’t be on most of the day because I’m off to an all day celebration thingy at synagogue but I’ll get back to everyone, I promise.

You should be able to vote on this poll as anon if you wish---if I’ve done things right via my html. But if you can’t you may still comment anon to this entry. Because in the past week I’ve been trolled on my personal LJ and because anon people online/people using sock puppets have presented themselves as friends and allies only to later reveal their malicious intent, I consider this an extremely generous gesture. Don’t abuse it.

This poll is closed.

I read this community because (check all that apply)

I was on debbie's original f-list
I came here to read debbie's fic
I was friends with someone who rec'ed this place
I like the discussions
I like the news you can't find elsewhere on Bleach forums
I get my manga spoilers here
I subscribe to many Bleach communities and this is one of them
I don't like this community but I lurk here because I'm curious about it
I don't like this community but I lurk to disagree with it and/or make fun of it
Other (explain in comments)

The character and personality of this community

is just fine by me
is a little abrasive but I tolerate it because I like other things here
is intimidating and I wish it were friendlier
confuses me
challenges and engages me
is overwhelmingly IchiRuki and that bothers me
is somewhat IchiRuki and that bothers me
is IchiRuki and that doesn't bother me
is snobby and insular but I don't mind
is snobby and insular and I DO MIND
doesn't crack down on "bad behavior" as much as I'd like
is refreshingly tolerant of letting members express themselves in many ways
Other (explain in comments)

What I'd like to see more of in bleachness is

useless polls
power level and fighting talk
civil shipping discussion
anything light to entertain me
anything academic and nerdy and meta to make my braincells churn
naked Ukitake

What I'd like to see less of in bleachness

useless polls
shipping discussion, period
personal LJ-like posts from debbiechan
naked Ishida

debbiechan should

disable anon comments
keep anon comments
try to change the character of her community to accomodate to its size
allow the community to continue to evolve naturally without too much tweaking and rules and management
consider adding mods or making the ones she has work harder to diffuse tense discussions

My experience in bleach fandom includes (check all that apply)

making fanworks (fic or art or graphics)
writing essays
being a mod or administrator of a forum or LJ community
being an owner of a character or pairing fanclub
being an active participant in online Bleach fandom
I'm not very active online when it comes to Bleach fandom
I send Kubo Tite my panties
I married Ulquiorra on an astral plane
I read the manga and don't watch the anime
I watch the anime and don't read the manga
I paint my toenails but don't trim my nosehair
I love this fandom but I hate it too
No, I am not bipolar; debbiechan is
metaphore_art on February 6th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I think delwynmarch's observation that you quoted pretty much hits a large part of the disconnect on the head. People are coming at this community with wildly different understandings of what it actually is.

As you said, this isn't a general Bleach community; this is a personal coterie discussing general Bleach things. There is a difference.

I think people still don't get that you didn't create this community with the intention of drawing general Bleach fans (even though you've said it I don't know how many times) In a deliberately general setting where the objective is to be as neutral as possible and provide a playground for everyone in the fandom (like BA, BF, or SS were designed to be) the development of a communal majoritarian mentality is mostly held in check. But that wasn't the purpose of this community.

The reason why it seems to be an IchiRuki haven is because it started out as a hang out for you and your friends, and many of your friends just happen to ship IchiRuki. The discourse hasn't changed; it was always this way. What has changed is the amount of other people joining in. It's true that when you look at it from the starting point of it being an intentionally general community, it seems like it's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

But if you look at it as how it actually is, it's quite like your house being the hang-out house for you and your group of friends that other people just started to notice and took it upon themselves to walk in one by one until everyone in the school hangs out there like it's a public diner instead of your personal kitchen. And then some of those people are wondering why they can't order exactly what they want or why the discussion taking place in the living room always seems to skew one way. To you, and to us, that's a ridiculous notion; it's your damn house and this was meant to be your hang-out time with your friends, and furthermore, we think it's pretty nice of you to welcome them in and tell them if they want something special, all they have to do is bring it themselves to share.

(And the analogy is even more apt considering the fact that you, alone, did in fact, PAY for this community; it's almost like leased space; in essence, your internet home)

Which is not to say that new friends can't make the hang-out that much more fun. The problem is one doesn't walk into someone's place and tell them what they should be doing and how the rest of the people there should be behaving. They're not entitled to do so. If there was even a smidgen of an indication of bleachness being held out to be a neutral all for everything place and then people were unsuspectingly jumped on, I'd give it more slack, but that's simply untrue. You shouldn't have to compromise your community or your personality for the whims of everyone else; it's impossible, everyone is different.

Given all that, I think one of the most maddening notions I read in this whole discussion was the idea that the community has outgrown your original intentions, so amendment is necessary to accommodate that. That's like saying your house has become the local hangout whether you wanted it that way or not because you didn't lock your doors, so now you need to change it to accommodate that.

No. You don't. Not unless you want to. The real question should be what do you want, and yet, here you are asking people what they want. To me, that's proof positive of how welcoming and caring you actually are for the people who like to spend their time here. You even found mods to work with so that there would be other people around for members to go to if they had an issue. I really don't know what else to say (It looks like I've said enough! Sorry about that!) ;)
Silvia: ukitakenightshade_ave on February 6th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, thank you so much for saying what I was thinking but couldn't find the words (and I call myself a writer, lulz). I also love your analogy, because Bleachness totally feels exactly like that.
Danielwdboldstar on February 6th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I would also like to ditto this post. More of the bleachness haters need to understand this.
Kylarakarenai on February 6th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
This was very thoughtful and so clear about the perspective of where this comm came from. It clarifies things for me, too. Thank you.
oh gallant piglet,aizome on February 6th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
THIS. A thousand times, this.

If someone wants a comm tailor-made to fit their own ideals, they're free to go make one.
tamzin: girlytearsconquistadora on February 7th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
An wild insightful post appears! Haha, really, you stated a lot of things that I hadn't given much thought to before but still completely agree with nonetheless. Thank you.
Vayshti: bleachvayshti on February 7th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
I echo all of this - so much better said than my fumbling attempts above.

Especially the bit about Deb standing aside in her own comm and placating all whims (or even the majority whims)... er... no?

I know Deb's turned off the naming on the poll, which for veracity of results is a good thing, but seeing that figure of people who thinks the comm should be a democracy... I'm wondering how many of the people who ticky-boxed that are from the camp who see bleachness as a general fan comm?
nehalenia: daddy approvesnehalenia on February 7th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC)
THIS. Every word of THIS. I feel exactly this way, but Met has expressed it better and more succinctly than I could have.

secila80: Rukia smilingsecila80 on February 7th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
Yet another ditto on this post, especially THIS:
The real question should be what do you want, and yet, here you are asking people what they want. To me, that's proof positive of how welcoming and caring you actually are for the people who like to spend their time here.
♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀la_kalaka on February 7th, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)
Agreeing pretty much with it. Before all, this is Debbie's place, she is caring so much for us.

thank you for express this cause I agree with it.
Horusguard76: B - Bleachfandom - PunkShuuhei (cool)horusguard76 on February 7th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
Thank you for this post - it clears up so much. ♥
connaka: usui/misaki » love!connaka on February 7th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
Well said, Jenni. ♥
 la vie élastique: RUKIA - devilshuimei on February 11th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)

Despite my not being active in fandom anymore, I do still like coming here to read the discussions and to see what all of you are saying ♥
Laura Bryannanlaurabryannan on March 1st, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Well said! I remember how amazed I was the first time someone posted their own work here, and how big it was of Deb to let it stand. Most would have politely asked the person to remove the story and kept bleachness as she had intended it to be, her own writing journal.

Your analogy of the living room is perfect. New visitors need to mind their manners. The party began years ago!
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on March 1st, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)

Haha, I remember that day too.

Just as a note, I was looking over the feedback day entry and it seems that at least three of the handful of people who wanted to community to adapt to fit the growing membership left bleachness. I've known full well for years that it's impossible to please everyone but this still made me a little sad. I thought of another analogy though--take any news magazine. Say some readers of the Nation wrote in and wanted to make it a more conservative journal. It would certainly be within their rights but the Nation as established by its editors and writers has always had a particular color and slant. It seems like the dissatisfied readers could take their readership (and money in this case) elsewhere rather than try changing a larger population of established opinion....

Not that I don't expect or want bleachness to change. I guess I'm just being a little nostalgic in the midst of all this media attention because of the Simmons story.
(no subject) - laurabryannan on March 1st, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)