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Msg# 11147

MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Proposals Posted by Doc Bushwell June 28, 2012 - 19:10:21 Topic ID# 11147
[Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA participants listed below.]

On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:

-- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories, from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has the potential to decrease this diversity.

-- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.

-- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.

-- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications noted above.

--The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more complexity to the MEFA nomination process.

We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for consideration:

-- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.

-- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the ratings system.

-- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.

-- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the nominations have closed.

-- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2 weeks for a longer work).

-- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the voting season.

For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012 awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the 2013 season.

We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards remain a good experience for all members of our community.

Signed,

Aeärwen
Elfscribe
Elleth
Erulissë
Grey Gazania
Ignoble Bard
Kimberleighe
Jael
Olorimë
Oshun
Pandemonium_213
Russandol
Scarlet10
Spiced Wine
Surgical Steel
Virtuella

Msg# 11148

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 28, 2012 - 20:31:53 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Doc Bushwell and all,



Thanks for letting me know about your concerns. I want to apologize for the
way this change was handled. According to the letter, you and everyone else
who signed below obviously see it as a major change for the MEFAs. I can
only say I didn't see it that way. Actually, when I was developing the
content advisories we're using this year (several people contributed to
that, but since I signed off I'll take responsibility here) I made a
conscious effort to parallel the old ratings guide as much as possible.



Why did we make these changes at all? There were several issues with how
authors told their potential readers about their stories. First, the old
ratings system asked authors to give a single rating for their story that
covered everything ý any sexual content, any violent scenes, any mature
themes, whatever. But since this was all covered by a single rating, it was
harder for readers to know why a story had a certain rating. We did let
authors elaborate on this through warnings, but even that didn't get across
all of what readers needed to know when deciding whether to read their
story or not. So I decided the best thing to do was to have several
different ratings ý one for violence, one for sex, and one for everything
else. That way authors could provide specific information and readers could
make better decisions on whether they wanted to read this kind of story or
not.



I also wasn't comfortable with the whole concept of "warnings," as if
things like an effective violence in a battle scene, or erotic content in a
wedding night scene, were a reason *not* to read a certain story. Some
readers will choose not to read a story with sex or violence (or both);
some readers will be drawn to it, and others will be indifferent. I was
trying to find a more neutral way to describe these questions than
"ratings" and "warnings." Likewise, I was uncomfortable with the connection
between explicit content and age. That smacks of trying to "protect"
children, which I've never been a fan of. In any event, most Tolkien fans
are adults and some of those avoid content rated adults at various
archives. So whatever their reason for doing that, it wasn't their age.



Most importantly, I was trying to avoid a bad situation we had at the end
of the 2011 awards. As most of you know, the MEFAs don't allow some stories
to compete based on their content. Stories with graphic, explicit sex
scenes or their violent analogues usually aren't allowed. Last year I found
out a story in our awards violated this rule (quite possibly
unintentionally!) and so wasn't eligible to compete. I don't want to rehash
that whole situation because it's not fair to the author. But the bit
that's pertinent here is, that whole situation made clear to me the current
way we handled things needed changing. We needed to know whether stories
were eligible or not WAY before that point, which is another thing I was
trying to address in the new rating policy. Under the new policy, if a
piece is near that eligible/ineligible line, we make SURE it's eligible
early in the award. In practice, that means anything with a "Mature" rating
under the old system or a content advisory of "5" under the new system, for
sexual content, violence, or themes.



These are all changes, but in my mind they were fine-tuning of the current
system, not a whole new system. For example, content advisory "5" was
analogous to Mature under the old system ý so the same kind of violent
contact that would have earned a Mature now earn a "5" for violence. That's
the intent anyway. It's completely possible that I made a mistake setting
things up (I'm human, after all) so that there are changes. But if there
are any, they were unintentional. That said, even if it is fine-tuning
rather than a substantive change, maybe I should have discussed this more
with the whole group. I'm trying to balance an increasingly busy RL with my
commitment to the MEFAs, and I may have done a bad job here. The MEFA group
is BIG, spread out over lots of different groups, so having a discussion
like that does take a lot of energy and time on my part. That means I'm
probably more hesitant to have policy discussions with everyone than I
should be. I certainly didn't mean to force other people into a big change
that caught them by surprise.



One obvious solution to all of these problems is to just take away the
requirement that MEFA-eligible pieces not have graphic sex or violence in
them. I actually considered that when trying to decide how to handle these
problems, but decided against making that change for two reasons. First,
that IS a major change that we need a group-wide discussion before we can
make that change, and at the time I was trying to get through a major
grad-school exam. There also was a significant practical issue: some of our
volunteers couldn't continue to volunteer at an award that allowed adult
content, because of RL concerns. (I actually was in a similar position at
one point, when I worked for a religious non-profit, though my situation
has changed.) That was another reason I wanted to find another solution.



That said, if enough people want to get rid of the requirement saying
stories with graphic content aren't eligible, I'm willing to discuss it. Or
if you guys can see a different, better way of handling things that handles
things in another way. I really don't have the time just now; MEFA
nominations themselves start in a few days, and I start teaching summer
school next week so my time is really tight on both fronts. But things will
be a lot calmer in a month or two, once we're through nominations and
categorizing and once my RL is more manageable. So if you guys (or anyone
else) wants to discuss how we handle ratings in future years, I'm all for
that. Especially if you will be patient until I have the time to give this
topic the attention it deserves.



I'm really very sorry so many people are upset over the changes to how the
MEFAs handle ratings ý particularly *because* it's ratings. I've actually
worked quite hard over the years to open up our ratings policies so more
people can participate. You may remember, at one point the policies were
much more restrictive for sex than they were for violence, and IIRC you
couldn't link to an archive that had an NC17 warning; neither of those
rules is true anymore. If this current round of changes is a step back, I'm
willing to try to fix it for 2013 (for 2012, we're just too close to the
start of the awards). I just ask that anyone upset by this change be
patient and work with me once things calm down enough to talk about this
topic.



BTW, if anyone out there doesn't want to participate under this policy, I
can add you to our don't-nominate list (either for 2012 or permanently) if
you email me at mefasupportATgmailDOTcom. Speaking personally, I'd hate to
miss out on any of the authors mentioned at the bottom of Doc Bushwell's
letter being part of the MEFAs ýI just don't want anyone to do anything
they're uncomfortable with. This is emphatically NOT my way of saying
"don't let the door hit you on the way out"; I'm eager to come up with a
policy that works better for everyone. But if anyone feels they need to
take a step back, just let me know.



Marta

(MEFA Admin.)


P.S. - Doc Bushwell, I don't know how many of your cosigners read this
Yahoo group. Please feel free to forward on this email to anywhere you
think is appropriate.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11149

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 28, 2012 - 21:04:00 Topic ID# 11147
FWIW, as someone who has been at least peripherally involved with the MEFA
since day one, I really like the proposed changes overall. All things, it
seems, need tweakage, but I love the idea of being able to basically
blanket accept stories based on their existing ratings wherever they are
archives and i love the idea of being able to give a 1 for violence and a 5
for sex, if that's what it is, or however the story runs.

It seems to me that it puts a great deal more flexibility in the hands of
the authors to easily and quickly pocket-hole their story and a great deal
of information to the reader to easily choose which stories seem appealing.

*
***Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 8:31 PM, Marta <marta.fandom@gmail.com> wrote:

> Why did we make these changes at all? There were several issues with how
> authors told their potential readers about their stories. First, the old
> ratings system asked authors to give a single rating for their story that
> covered everything ý any sexual content, any violent scenes, any mature
> themes, whatever. But since this was all covered by a single rating, it was
> harder for readers to know why a story had a certain rating. We did let
> authors elaborate on this through warnings, but even that didn't get across
> all of what readers needed to know when deciding whether to read their
> story or not. So I decided the best thing to do was to have several
> different ratings ý one for violence, one for sex, and one for everything
> else. That way authors could provide specific information and readers could
> make better decisions on whether they wanted to read this kind of story or
> not.
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11150

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Neume Indil June 28, 2012 - 22:22:36 Topic ID# 11147
Speaking as an author first, I would feel more comfortable running a story
under this season's guidelines than I did under the old ones. Part of the
reason I've assisted with the ratings panel for the last 3(?) years is to
better understand where the fandom in general, and these awards
specifically, draw their "acceptable" content lines. I frequently write
graphic sex and violence, because I believe the world Tolkien created was
not lacking in either of those in spite of his silence regarding sexuality.
I recall when I first participated 7 or 8 years ago wondering when the
ban-hammer was going to fall on me, as it did on a friend in a previous
season with very similar subject matter/content. I knew how to rate stories
at my home archive, but not at the MEFA. Basing the 'rating' of a story
here on its rating in a home archive (where applicable) removes a layer of
concern for the participating author, as the equivalencies were addressed
in a previous update from Marta. I'm sure, as part of transitioning to the
new system, the same chart/list could be posted on the MEFA nomination page
directly, to help alleviate some back-and-forth for nominators and
nominees, as well as MEFA volunteers.

Having sat both sides of the table, I'll be the first to say: sorting out
how to "warn" readers of what they're about to see without being
exclusionary (or offensive) is a tricky undertaking. In my own writing, I
tend to be quite conservative in ratings and explicit in content
advisories. Ultimately, though, I'm one of those people that would like to
see the restrictions on "adult" subject matter removed entirely. I'm a fan
fiction reader and writer, not a Net nanny, after all. And yet, pornography
and child endangerment laws being SO diverse across our equally diverse
fandom, an official position *must* be adopted for both the smooth
operations of the awards themselves, and the informed participation of
people in areas where strict content laws exist.

I believe this year's changes are a good step toward maintaining those
protections while allowing flexibility for the authors who wish to
participate. That said, I also see the side posited by Doc Bushwell et al
that it is a rather sweeping change that leaves a lot of decisions up to
the Ratings Panel that were formerly the responsibility of individual
authors. I *do not in the least* mind fielding a few more reading requests
than last year. However, from an author's perspective, I would also be
concerned that a personal prejudice on the part of one of the ratings team
members would somehow color their judgement of my work if I were required
to justify my rating to the panel. (i.e.: A panel member dislikes Slash as
a genre and automatically judges it more harshly than Het pairing stories.)

Thus, I support the idea of a check box on the entry form releasing
responsibility to the author of a particular story, IF and ONLY IF, readers
with concerns are still allowed to request review of a given piece, per the
current system (3 of us reading, with an alternate in the event of
indecision, 2 teams to keep any one group from being overwhelmed, since it
is plain these changes have caused questions among regular participants).

Additionally, as a ratings panel member, I would be willing to add my name
to a public statement, agreeing to abide by the guidelines given and set
aside any personal prejudices or questions of personal taste to the best of
my ability. In a court of law, a defendant stands before a jury of his or
her peers decided on through interview with the judge and legal counsel; in
the MEFA, those of us who metaphorically raise our hands and offer to help
become that jury, with little way for participating authors to know who we
are, how we think, and what prejudices or "baggage" we might carry. (Child
molestation and abuse, personally, is a hard topic for me to judge fairly,
and I would likely recuse myself from a ratings question centering on
either of those rather than risk judging a story on anything but its
merits.)

Authors occasionally make mistakes, and misjudge our audiences from time to
time. We cannot maintain a standard of what to expect at the MEFA that
allows for the informed participation of readers, some of whom have to
protect themselves from very strict pornography and child endangerment laws
on a federal level, without SOME means of defining what can and cannot
compete.

I favor keeping control of a story's rating in the hands of its author(s),
and the responsibility for any distaste or dislike on the reader's part in
the hands of the reader, assuming the reader is given adequate means of
understanding what a given story might include. The ratings panel (which,
it seems, needs a more fitting name) must be able to mediate any disputes
that arise, but must have a standard from which we may work to exclude
questions of personal taste.

Thank you, authors, for letting the volunteers know your concerns about
this change and what you feel would make our on-going search for a
'standard' more comfortable for you. You have raised valid talking points,
and given us suggestions with which to work toward solving the problem. As
always, I am so awed by the caliber of people (not just writers, but people
in real life) that participate here. The easy road in this case would
simply be the road out; working to perfect the system takes both courage
and desire for compromise, which it seems we have in good supply.

On Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@gmail.com>wrote:

> FWIW, as someone who has been at least peripherally involved with the MEFA
> since day one, I really like the proposed changes overall. All things, it
> seems, need tweakage, but I love the idea of being able to basically
> blanket accept stories based on their existing ratings wherever they are
> archives and i love the idea of being able to give a 1 for violence and a 5
> for sex, if that's what it is, or however the story runs.
>
> It seems to me that it puts a great deal more flexibility in the hands of
> the authors to easily and quickly pocket-hole their story and a great deal
> of information to the reader to easily choose which stories seem appealing.
>
> *
> ***Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<
> http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77
> >
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<
> http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1
> >
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 8:31 PM, Marta <marta.fandom@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Why did we make these changes at all? There were several issues with how
> > authors told their potential readers about their stories. First, the old
> > ratings system asked authors to give a single rating for their story that
> > covered everything ý any sexual content, any violent scenes, any mature
> > themes, whatever. But since this was all covered by a single rating, it
> was
> > harder for readers to know why a story had a certain rating. We did let
> > authors elaborate on this through warnings, but even that didn't get
> across
> > all of what readers needed to know when deciding whether to read their
> > story or not. So I decided the best thing to do was to have several
> > different ratings ý one for violence, one for sex, and one for everything
> > else. That way authors could provide specific information and readers
> could
> > make better decisions on whether they wanted to read this kind of story
> or
> > not.
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------
>
> Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11151

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 28, 2012 - 22:34:45 Topic ID# 11147
Everything the Other Becky said, especially in regards to the paragraph
below.
* **
*Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM, Neume Indil <neumeindil@gmail.com> wrote:

> Additionally, as a ratings panel member, I would be willing to add my name
> to a public statement, agreeing to abide by the guidelines given and set
> aside any personal prejudices or questions of personal taste to the best of
> my ability. In a court of law, a defendant stands before a jury of his or
> her peers decided on through interview with the judge and legal counsel; in
> the MEFA, those of us who metaphorically raise our hands and offer to help
> become that jury, with little way for participating authors to know who we
> are, how we think, and what prejudices or "baggage" we might carry. (Child
> molestation and abuse, personally, is a hard topic for me to judge fairly,
> and I would likely recuse myself from a ratings question centering on
> either of those rather than risk judging a story on anything but its
> merits.)
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11152

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 0:03:05 Topic ID# 11147
Hi everyone,

Thanks for your thoughts. I've been reading them over and thinking about
the various points raised. I'm not replying to the specifics because (as I
explained in my first email) time's just too tight to get into the meat of
this issue right now. I'm happy to discuss it all in more detail once we
get through with nominations + categorization.

In the mean time, I recommend that everyone who's interested in this topic
start making notes. As you're using the 2012 site, jot down your
impressions about what works and what doesn't. Think about what your ideal
way of handling these kinds of questions would be. That kind of thing. Then
we can compare notes in a few months and see how to make things work better.

Marta


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11153

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by voirreyj June 29, 2012 - 2:45:14 Topic ID# 11147
Could I suggest that something of, or about, this whole discussion be posted at the LJ community, and its mirror on Dreamwidth if there is one?

As you mentioned yourself, Marta, there may well be people who would find the discussion interesting - might even be pleased to know that there IS a discussion, but are not part of the Yahoo group. Clearly this would still not cover all participants, but might spread things a little further.

curiouswombat

Msg# 11155

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by annettekupke June 29, 2012 - 5:55:33 Topic ID# 11147
Hi, Marta,
thanks for the comprehensive reply. I understand that you are in a difficult
position, trying to please everyone, and I appreciate that you have put a lot of
thought into this. However, you have in your reply not addressed the crucial
point, the point why I signed Pande's letter: That the burden of proof is on the
author. I very strongly resent that an author would have to justify their
stories /by default/. For one thing, it is like asking Alice Walker to justify
the literary merits of "The Colour Purple" or Arundathi Roy to justify "The God
of Small Things" - I could give you any number of examples of "high" literature
that deals with some really distrubing themes. Even Hartmann von Aue's very
pious 12th century novella "Gregorius" is centred on the theme of incest.
Secondly, it is unfair that stories with a 5 rating should be thus singled out -
why are people trusted to rate a 3 or 4 correctly but not a 5? The only fair way
here would be to make everybody justify any rating they give - clearly
impractical. Thirdly, there is a very real danger that some authors will rate
their story 4 when it should be 5, to avoid the hassle of having to defend their
story, and therefore the whole thing would be counterproductive. So, by all
means, have the rating, but don't make authors justify their stories unless
there is a complaint.

As for the rating system itself, I found it /very/ confusing. Strictly applied
it would lead to all sorts of oddities - for example any story making reference
to the One Ring or indeed any of the Rings would have to be rated 3-4 by
default, because hey, that's supernatural. The whole LOTR fandom is supernatural
when you come to think of it. What is "implied" sex - using any character who
has a child is implying sex, isn't it? In Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain,"
Clawdia Chauchat says to Hans Castorp, "Don't forget to give me my pencil back,"
and that by general consent of the literary community is an invitation to go to
her room later to have sex with her - so that's a 3-4 then, yes? Or do you just
mean "And they stormed into her bedroom and dot dot dot"? Why does bigotry merit
a 5 but self-harm and domestic violence only a 4? Why is peace-time violence a
3-4 but wartime violence a 5? Then again wartime violence "may be alluded to" at
1-2, but romantic kissing needs 3-4? What do you mean by "even an adult might
find upsetting"? Might? I can't stomach amnesty international reports and I get
really upset about anything that deals with the death of children. Yet other
people faint at the mention of premarital sex. You would need to be more
specific.

On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would
lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme
that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the
same website?

Msg# 11156

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by voirreyj June 29, 2012 - 7:01:27 Topic ID# 11147
I think you are right - the whole thing is going to be very much a matter of personal interpretation - over and above the judgements we, as writers, make when archiving stories, and different people are going to read the definitions in very different ways.

And the problem of what 'even an adult might find upsetting' is a 'how long is a piece of string' definition; discussions on breast-feeding can upset me terribly as I was so ill when I had my daughter that I was unable to feed her. My husband can be reduced to tears at descriptions of someone's cat being ill. On the other hand consensual sex would never upset either of us - and he can watch violence in films that makes me feel sick.

But my main reason for using my lunch break to join in at this point is your side-note -


>> On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the same website?<<

I completely agree. I cannot see any way that looking at a web site with links to stories including fight scenes or people having sex can have anything to do with where people work. There is, firstly, no compulsion for you to use the links and in any case how would your employer know what you are doing in outside work?

And people should not be on the website whilst at work, and should most certainly not be reading fic - because that is not what the people who pay you pay you to do!

No matter how hard I try I cannot see how anyone's work should have any bearing on whether they participate in the MEFAs - and if one or two people have a valid reason for their employers being aware of their whole on-line history including the existence to links to things that they then did not read, I still cannot see why it should effect everyone else who may participate.

curiouswombat

Msg# 11157

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 29, 2012 - 7:27:43 Topic ID# 11147
I agree with everything Annette's said. I think it's inherently unfair to adult authors writing about adult characters behaving in an adult manner to justify the 'merit' of their stories.

I'm also uncomfortable with the notion that if your story's hosted on a certain archive, it's automatically vetted for a couple of reasons:
- it smacks of favoritism toward certain archive owners and suggests that some of them are inherently better and less biased than others when it comes to vetting stories
- what do you do with the story which used to be on an archive and isn't any more? I'll use myself as an example - when 'The King's Surgeon' ran as incomplete, it was hosted on SoA. When it ran as a completed work, it wasn't anymore. So what happens with those stories? Is there going to be an automatic positive bias (used to be on SoA, therefore pre-vetted) or an automatic negative one (well, why isn't it there any more? Must be something horrible, better vote against that story!)

On the issue of 'some people might get fired if they're on a site with adult material...' I'm now working for a medical software comaany. Everyone here needs to understand that your company's IT depertment has the total right to look at anything you do with a work computer. If you're spending time at work to do anything MEFA related, it's no different than spending your time at work online shopping. If it's excessive, you can be fired. So if people really have that fear? They're probably not devoting enough time to their actual job when they're at work to begin with.

And if you're doing your MEFA work at home on your personal laptop, your employer has absolutely no right to install spyware on it. If you're really worried that your boss is looking at your personal internet activities on your personal computer in your own home, you should probably be looking at hiring a civil rights attorney, because that's a violation of your right to privacy.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "annettekupke" <annette@...> wrote:
>
>
> Hi, Marta,
> thanks for the comprehensive reply. I understand that you are in a difficult
> position, trying to please everyone, and I appreciate that you have put a lot of
> thought into this. However, you have in your reply not addressed the crucial
> point, the point why I signed Pande's letter: That the burden of proof is on the
> author. I very strongly resent that an author would have to justify their
> stories /by default/. For one thing, it is like asking Alice Walker to justify
> the literary merits of "The Colour Purple" or Arundathi Roy to justify "The God
> of Small Things" - I could give you any number of examples of "high" literature
> that deals with some really distrubing themes. Even Hartmann von Aue's very
> pious 12th century novella "Gregorius" is centred on the theme of incest.
> Secondly, it is unfair that stories with a 5 rating should be thus singled out -
> why are people trusted to rate a 3 or 4 correctly but not a 5? The only fair way
> here would be to make everybody justify any rating they give - clearly
> impractical. Thirdly, there is a very real danger that some authors will rate
> their story 4 when it should be 5, to avoid the hassle of having to defend their
> story, and therefore the whole thing would be counterproductive. So, by all
> means, have the rating, but don't make authors justify their stories unless
> there is a complaint.
>
> As for the rating system itself, I found it /very/ confusing. Strictly applied
> it would lead to all sorts of oddities - for example any story making reference
> to the One Ring or indeed any of the Rings would have to be rated 3-4 by
> default, because hey, that's supernatural. The whole LOTR fandom is supernatural
> when you come to think of it. What is "implied" sex - using any character who
> has a child is implying sex, isn't it? In Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain,"
> Clawdia Chauchat says to Hans Castorp, "Don't forget to give me my pencil back,"
> and that by general consent of the literary community is an invitation to go to
> her room later to have sex with her - so that's a 3-4 then, yes? Or do you just
> mean "And they stormed into her bedroom and dot dot dot"? Why does bigotry merit
> a 5 but self-harm and domestic violence only a 4? Why is peace-time violence a
> 3-4 but wartime violence a 5? Then again wartime violence "may be alluded to" at
> 1-2, but romantic kissing needs 3-4? What do you mean by "even an adult might
> find upsetting"? Might? I can't stomach amnesty international reports and I get
> really upset about anything that deals with the death of children. Yet other
> people faint at the mention of premarital sex. You would need to be more
> specific.
>
> On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would
> lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme
> that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the
> same website?
>

Msg# 11158

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 8:34:04 Topic ID# 11147
First, to clarify, although "Doc Bushwell" appears as my nom de Net on Yahoo, please be aware that more of you may know me as "pandemonium_213" a.k.a. Pande.



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:

>
> Thanks for your thoughts. I've been reading them over and thinking about
> the various points raised. I'm not replying to the specifics because (as I
> explained in my first email) time's just too tight to get into the meat of
> this issue right now. I'm happy to discuss it all in more detail once we
> get through with nominations + categorization.

As noted in the letter, we acknowledge that time is tight and that major changes may be difficult to effect at this point. That said, I think we need to delineate things beyond just taking notes, making comparisons, etc. in "a few months." I suggest deciding on a more specific timeframe (if not immediate, than soon) and a venue that is accessible to more stakeholders. You needn't be burdened with this alone either. I'm confident others would be willing to help out in the interest of collaborative problem-solving.

Pande

Msg# 11159

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by elliska67 June 29, 2012 - 8:46:51 Topic ID# 11147
> On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would
> lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme
> that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the
> same website?

Just for the record, I'm the member that would lose my job if it were found that I participated in NC-17 rated activities. I work two part time jobs, one at a Christian college and one at a state school that teaches minors. In both jobs, I signed a 'morals clause' which states that it is a terminable offense to be discovered to be involved in any activities that are illegal, immoral or might reflect poorly on the reputation/mission of the school. Examples listed of such activities in each contract include "participating in the production NC-17 rated entertainment, including, but not limited to, photographic materials, video materials or print materials to be distributed in any format." (That is a direct quote from the contract I signed at the Christian college--and yes, people there have been fired for that clause before, one for writing HP slash fanfic--'course she was caught writing it at work on the work computer, which I am not stupid enough to do).

Is it unlikely that I would be caught? Probably. I doubt anyone at work reads LotR fanfic. But is it possible? Sure, because my last name is Ellis and the first two initials of my first name are Ka (my username here is elliska). Not too bright of a username, to be sure, but I was a newbie to fanfic when I used it in 2000 and I didn't know better.

I'm not interested in entering this argument at all. But I was not going to stand by and watch Marta's honesty be impugned either.

Msg# 11160

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Cathleen June 29, 2012 - 9:08:35 Topic ID# 11147
At my workplace *any* internet activity or personal-related use of your work computer is grounds for firing. Best to leave any stuff of this nature to your non-work hours!
 
Cathleen
 
 
 

"Beautiful, glorious Scotland, has spoilt me for every other country!"


Mary Todd Lincoln


http://www.lotrgfic.com/


http://community.livejournal.com/lotr_community/


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTR_Community_GFIC/
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LOTR_DFIC/


________________________________
From: elliska67 <elliska67@yahoo.com>
To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 9:02 AM
Subject: [MEFAwards] Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Proposals


 

> On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would
> lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme
> that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the
> same website?

Just for the record, I'm the member that would lose my job if it were found that I participated in NC-17 rated activities. I work two part time jobs, one at a Christian college and one at a state school that teaches minors. In both jobs, I signed a 'morals clause' which states that it is a terminable offense to be discovered to be involved in any activities that are illegal, immoral or might reflect poorly on the reputation/mission of the school. Examples listed of such activities in each contract include "participating in the production NC-17 rated entertainment, including, but not limited to, photographic materials, video materials or print materials to be distributed in any format." (That is a direct quote from the contract I signed at the Christian college--and yes, people there have been fired for that clause before, one for writing HP slash fanfic--'course she was caught writing it at work on the work computer, which I am not stupid enough to do).

Is it unlikely that I would be caught? Probably. I doubt anyone at work reads LotR fanfic. But is it possible? Sure, because my last name is Ellis and the first two initials of my first name are Ka (my username here is elliska). Not too bright of a username, to be sure, but I was a newbie to fanfic when I used it in 2000 and I didn't know better.

I'm not interested in entering this argument at all. But I was not going to stand by and watch Marta's honesty be impugned either.




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11161

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by elliska67 June 29, 2012 - 9:15:41 Topic ID# 11147
Also for the record, and to forestall any unnecessary discussion: I do NOT think that one or two volunteers' work situation is a good reason/argument to limit a larger group's activities. I've told Marta before that I will just quit the MEFAs if the group at large does decide to accept NC-17 material. Its no big deal to me. But I'm working two part-time jobs, even if I don't particularly like either one of them, because I need to eat and live indoors, so I'm not risking my job for fanfic. :-)

I do think more discussion on this topic is possible and a good idea. There are many sides and opinions to hear on this issue. On the other hand, I also am involved enough with the management of the MEFAs to know that changes cannot be enacted for 2012, if for no other reason than recoding the site would require too much time. So I agree with Marta that we should make notes of what works and what doesn't and readdress this after categorization is over, to be ready to implement site changes for next year.

Msg# 11162

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Esteliel June 29, 2012 - 9:16:47 Topic ID# 11147
Hello,

I've been wanting to keep mostly out of this conversation, because I
did not want to be the sort of wanky author who gets all up in arms
over their stories. I'm the author Marta refers to below in her mail
whose story was disqualified last year (and indeed, I accepted the
nomination fully believing that the MEFAs were now fine with explicit
sex as long as it was part of the story and the characters'
journey, because that seemed to be what was said last year).

I just shrugged the disqualification off back then. After all, it
wasn't the first and won't be the last time that this sort of thing
happens to mature slash fic. Unfortunately, I did not know then what
I know now - that it would have repercussions for the entire part of
our fandom who, as adult readers, enjoy reading about adult themes,
and furthermore, that the disqualification of my story and thus also
the changes being implemented this year were not really due to
policies but to the protests of one single person.

It has been brought to my attention only two days ago that it was one
single person who, due to her fundamental Christian views, thought
that all of my stories had no right to compete at the MEFAs, and who
lobbied endlessly for two months to have at least one of them removed.

Having this brought to the open after half a year has passed, I am
starting to wonder why it is that one person's sensibilities are given
priority over the sensibilities of all the authors who have now
spoken out in protest against the new ratings system. While I do
not care so much whether one single person was offended by
clearly labeled stories, I do not think that such a large part of
fandom should feel excluded or put under pressure to prove the
"literary worth" of their stories, all because of one person's
protests.

After all, all of us have our own sensibilities, and there is no such
thing as specific 'themes an adult might find disturbing,' as
we all have different things we find disturbing. For example, I
find much of Elfriede Jelinek's literature very disturbing, yet she
won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Likewise for many of the
examples Anette brought up.

As others have pointed out, I do hope that the concerns voiced by so
many people will result in a discussion now - and not just after a
MEFA year has passed. After all, I know just how much passion and time
many of the people speaking out here have invested both into their
stories and into their participation in these awards. I would truly
hate to see them either not participate or being made to feel not
welcome and as if they have to prove the worth of their writing first.

Esteliel


> Most importantly, I was trying to avoid a bad situation we had at the end
> of the 2011 awards. As most of you know, the MEFAs don't allow some stories
> to compete based on their content. Stories with graphic, explicit sex
> scenes or their violent analogues usually aren't allowed. Last year I found
> out a story in our awards violated this rule (quite possibly
> unintentionally!) and so wasn't eligible to compete. I don't want to rehash
> that whole situation because it's not fair to the author. But the bit
> that's pertinent here is, that whole situation made clear to me the current
> way we handled things needed changing. We needed to know whether stories
> were eligible or not WAY before that point, which is another thing I was
> trying to address in the new rating policy. Under the new policy, if a
> piece is near that eligible/ineligible line, we make SURE it's eligible
> early in the award. In practice, that means anything with a "Mature" rating
> under the old system or a content advisory of "5" under the new system, for
> sexual content, violence, or themes.

Msg# 11163

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Trina Strong June 29, 2012 - 9:37:54 Topic ID# 11147
I fully agree with Esteliel. Are the awards chosen based on the beliefs of this single person or do we have a committee as I have always believed? I love you guys but come on, majority rules. Trina



________________________________
From: Esteliel <esteliel@gmx.de>
To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:16 AM
Subject: Re: [MEFAwards] MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Proposals

Hello,

I've  been  wanting to keep mostly out of this conversation, because I
did  not  want to be the sort of wanky author who gets all up in arms
over  their  stories. I'm the author Marta refers to below in her mail
whose  story  was  disqualified  last year (and indeed, I accepted the
nomination  fully believing that the MEFAs were now fine with explicit
sex  as  long  as    it    was  part  of the story and the characters'
journey, because that seemed to be what was said last year).

I  just  shrugged  the  disqualification  off back then. After all, it
wasn't  the  first  and won't be the last time that this sort of thing
happens to mature slash fic. Unfortunately, I did not know then what
I  know  now  - that it would have repercussions for the entire part of
our  fandom  who,  as adult readers, enjoy reading about adult themes,
and  furthermore,  that the disqualification of my story and thus also
the  changes  being  implemented  this  year  were  not really due to
policies but to the protests of one single person.

It  has been brought to my attention only two days ago that it was one
single  person  who,  due to her fundamental Christian views, thought
that  all  of my stories had no right to compete at the MEFAs, and who
lobbied endlessly for two months to have at least one of them removed.

Having  this  brought  to  the open after half a year has passed, I am
starting to wonder why it is that one person's sensibilities are given
priority  over  the  sensibilities  of  all  the authors who have now
spoken  out  in protest  against  the  new ratings system. While I do
not  care  so  much  whether  one  single person was offended by
clearly  labeled  stories,  I  do  not think that such a large part of
fandom  should  feel  excluded  or  put  under  pressure  to prove the
"literary  worth"  of  their  stories,  all  because  of  one person's
protests.

After  all, all of us have our own sensibilities, and there is no such
thing  as  specific 'themes  an  adult  might  find  disturbing,'  as
we  all have different  things  we  find  disturbing.  For  example, I
find  much of Elfriede  Jelinek's  literature very disturbing, yet she
won  the  Nobel Prize  for  Literature.  Likewise  for  many  of the
examples Anette brought up.

As  others  have pointed out, I do hope that the concerns voiced by so
many  people  will  result  in a discussion now - and not just after a
MEFA year has passed. After all, I know just how much passion and time
many  of  the  people  speaking out here have invested both into their
stories  and  into  their participation in these awards. I would truly
hate  to  see  them  either  not participate or being made to feel not
welcome and as if they have to prove the worth of their writing first.

Esteliel


> Most importantly, I was trying to avoid a bad situation we had at the end
> of the 2011 awards. As most of you know, the MEFAs don't allow some stories
> to compete based on their content. Stories with graphic, explicit sex
> scenes or their violent analogues usually aren't allowed. Last year I found
> out a story in our awards violated this rule (quite possibly
> unintentionally!) and so wasn't eligible to compete. I don't want to rehash
> that whole situation because it's not fair to the author. But the bit
> that's pertinent here is, that whole situation made clear to me the current
> way we handled things needed changing. We needed to know whether stories
> were eligible or not WAY before that point, which is another thing I was
> trying to address in the new rating policy. Under the new policy, if a
> piece is near that eligible/ineligible line, we make SURE it's eligible
> early in the award. In practice, that means anything with a "Mature" rating
> under the old system or a content advisory of "5" under the new system, for
> sexual content, violence, or themes.




------------------------------------

Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
Yahoo! Groups Links



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11164

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 29, 2012 - 9:42:33 Topic ID# 11147
I don't guess I understand the concept of "justifying" the story. If I
write a piece of eroticia, the 'sexual adventure' *is* the main thrust of
the story. If I write a "sexually mature drama', the detail of the sex (or
violence, depending on your fetish) enhances and advances the story ...
It's not a matter of 'judging' the story in any way, only that the very
most extreme heat levels are not eligible to participate in the MEFAs.

(and as an IT security professional, yes, part of what I do is monitor
firewall traffic and report to employers when employees access anything
that employer had determined to be inappropriate and we have at times
provided documentation for legal cases. ....and i know many people who only
have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point.)


* **
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On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@gmail.com> wrote:

> I agree with everything Annette's said. I think it's inherently unfair to
> adult authors writing about adult characters behaving in an adult manner to
> justify the 'merit' of their stories.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11165

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 29, 2012 - 9:45:15 Topic ID# 11147
Elliska, I don't think that anyone was intending to impugn Marta's honesty. Speaking for myself, I was questioning whether this should even be an issue.

Also, if I recall correctly, NC-17 materials were never allowed in the MEFAs to begin with, so your objection makes little sense in terms of the specific wording of your contract - and if you recuse yourself from serving as a liason to persons who've written work that your boss might find objectionable, then you haven't participated in producing it. If they *did* find out and terminate you, you'd have good grounds for an unfair termination lawsuit.

Finally, is it really fair to those of us who *don't* work at places like Christian colleges to have *your* morals clauses enforced on us? I personally don't think so. I personally think it's unfair to those of us at workplaces without morals clauses to have to choose what to write and what not to write based on 'oh, if I'm competing in the MEFAs it might affect this person's job if her boss interprets my R rated fic to be NC-17.'

It's another thing that to me smacks of favoritism and exclusivity - choosing what fic is 'acceptable' and what's not based on the vagaries of another person's workplace rules.

I appreciate that the individuals who came up with this new policy had good intentions, but I think we all know what's paved with those.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "elliska67" <elliska67@...> wrote:
>
>
> > On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would
> > lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme
> > that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the
> > same website?
>
> Just for the record, I'm the member that would lose my job if it were found that I participated in NC-17 rated activities. I work two part time jobs, one at a Christian college and one at a state school that teaches minors. In both jobs, I signed a 'morals clause' which states that it is a terminable offense to be discovered to be involved in any activities that are illegal, immoral or might reflect poorly on the reputation/mission of the school. Examples listed of such activities in each contract include "participating in the production NC-17 rated entertainment, including, but not limited to, photographic materials, video materials or print materials to be distributed in any format." (That is a direct quote from the contract I signed at the Christian college--and yes, people there have been fired for that clause before, one for writing HP slash fanfic--'course she was caught writing it at work on the work computer, which I am not stupid enough to do).
>
> Is it unlikely that I would be caught? Probably. I doubt anyone at work reads LotR fanfic. But is it possible? Sure, because my last name is Ellis and the first two initials of my first name are Ka (my username here is elliska). Not too bright of a username, to be sure, but I was a newbie to fanfic when I used it in 2000 and I didn't know better.
>
> I'm not interested in entering this argument at all. But I was not going to stand by and watch Marta's honesty be impugned either.
>

Msg# 11167

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 10:00:06 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Pande,


> As noted in the letter, we acknowledge that time is tight and that major
> changes may be difficult to effect at this point. That said, I think we
> need to delineate things beyond just taking notes, making comparisons, etc.
> in "a few months." I suggest deciding on a more specific timeframe (if not
> immediate, than soon) and a venue that is accessible to more stakeholders.
> You needn't be burdened with this alone either. I'm confident others would
> be willing to help out in the interest of collaborative problem-solving.
>
>
That sounds reasonable. By a few months I meant just after check ballots
are posted. That's about the time that the awards more or less run
themselves and it won't take all my fandom time to run them, so I'll have
more time for this discussion.

So for time frame, how does early September sound?

As for venue, I'm open to suggestions. We could use the [mefa-discussions]
Yahoo group, but I don't know if everyone interested in this wants to join
up to a specific Yahoo group (which, as far as social network goes, seems
decidedly old school). Another possibility is that I set up an email
distribution list specifically for this purpose - so no need to have a
Yahoo account if you don't have one. If people want to do this some way
other than email, I'm fine with that, too. Pande, you've obviously been
working with people upset by this change if you signed and posted a letter.
Do you have any idea what would be most convenient for everyone?

Marta


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11169

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 10:00:53 Topic ID# 11147
Hey guys,

I've* *intentionally avoided trying to defend the new content advisory
system or answer the specific criticisms people have of it. That's because
I simply don't have the time to have a full-scale discussion right now of a
major policy. It strikes me as seriously unfair for me to present my side
of why I think the new system works without really giving everyone else's
opinions careful consideration and replying to them. (Time issues aside,
I'm also just too worn out mentally from getting ready for the 2012 awards
to give this question the thought it deserves.) Since I asked everyone else
to hold on to their thoughts until we could have a proper discussion on all
this, it only seemed fair that I hold onto my own as well. I'm actually not
ignoring the points people have raised here.

That said, there are a few concerns people raised that I want to say a word
on. These have more to do with understanding how things work than
discussing how they SHOULD work, I think. So I thought I'd explain how the
current system works to hopefully correct some of that misunderstanding. If
you don't *like* these approaches, that's the kind of thing I'll be happy
to discuss when we get through categorizing and can really dig into these
issues.

1. "The new system privileges some archives over others."

As I explained, there are two ways a story with a "5" rating can compete in
the awards: either go through the ratings panel or else be posted at a
certain archive using one of that archives' ratings. As part of getting
ready for the 2012 awards I went through all the archives I was familiar
with, poked around for an official policy of what that site considered
appropriate for each of their ratings, and compared it with the MEFA
content advisory guidelines. If a certain rating clearly matched up with
our "5" (or less), then stories with that rating didn't need to go through
the rating panel.

I can see how this might seem like we're privileging some archives over
others, but I don't think that's the case. First, the list of archives I
came up with isn't conclusive. If your archive isn't on the list, all you
have to do is email me a link to your archive's ratings policy. I'll look
over it and see how it matches up with the MEFA content advisories, and
then I'll add it to the list of archives. You can also use a link beside
the one you're linking to for the MEFAs, by emailing me that link
privately. That means if your story is posted to Open Scrolls (which has a
well-defined ratings policy) but you prefer to use your HASA link (which to
my knowledge doesn't), you're more than free to use your OSA link to show
me your story is eligible, while still linking to the HASA archive.

I do see some room for concern, particularly if you only post to one
archive or skip the whole archive scene in favor of your personal site. But
I also wanted to make clear that the list of archives you can use to skip
the ratings panel can be added to, and you don't actually have to use those
archives for your story URL if you don't want to.

2. "The new system lets members with a grudge against you keep your story
from competing."

Actually, the ratings panel system is designed to *minimize* the effect any
one person can have on whether your story is eligible or not. Each story is
read by three people - none of which is me or your liaison - and officially
we go with what the majority says. In practice, those three volunteers tend
to discuss why they thought the story deserved a certain rating (or content
advisory under the new system), and they usually come around to a unanimous
decision after they've all read the story. But in any case one person isn't
going to be making your story ineligible.

We also have an alternate reader who steps in when one of the main three
decides they can't be objective. And here's a way I CAN change things for
the 2012 awards, if people think it's a good idea. If your story has to go
before the ratings panel, I can tell you the three people who will be
reading your story, and if you prefer that any of them not read your story,
I can replace that person with the alternate. Would that help with peoples'
concerns in this area?

3. "Adult authors should be trusted to label their story appropriately."

This is a point I'm generally sympathetic to, actually. I'd love to trust
authors to label their own stories and trust readers to just decide what's
most appropriate. The problem here is that the rating (or content advisory,
now) a certain story has affects whether it's eligible to compete. If we're
going to say "stories with content _______ aren't eligible" then I need the
ability to withdraw stories that don't meet that requirement. We check
every other eligibility requirement and withdraw stories routinely if the
link requires you to log in, for example, or if it already competed in a
previous year.

In past years we *did* trust authors to police themselves on ratings and we
only did something about it if a reader questioned whether the rating of a
particular story was appropriate. But the situation at the end of the 2011
awards definitely left a bad taste in my mouth (and the other volunteers I
discussed this with as part of the PM also thought it was an unfair
situation). There are two possibilities as far as I can see: either we
decide that after a certain point we just don't enforce some of our rules,
or we check every nomination up front so this doesn't come up later in the
awards. That first option struck me as unfairly arbitrary (though perhaps
it is the way to go - we can talk about this in the discussion of ratings
if people like). Which left the option to check every story up front. If
it's infantilizing to authors to make them prove their story isn't adult,
the old system was infantilizing *and arbitrary. *I was trying to at least
not single out certain authors to make them justify their ratings decision,
and to do it early enough that authors hadn't been competing for months
when they discovered their story wouldn't be eligible after all.

This may be the wrong way to handle this - as I said, I'm willing to
discuss better ways of handling this, including doing away with the
requirement that adult stories weren't eligible. But authors having to
justify their stories' rating isn't a NEW thing; the only change here is
that it's applied to all authors and not just some of them.

One other thing. Some people have said they can't understand how anyone's
work could police what they did on their own time. I can only speak to my
own past experience with a morality clause, when I worked for a religious
non-profit a few years ago. I *did* have to sign a statement agreeing not
to produce or distribute adult material (and linking to an adult-rated
story on someone else's website would qualify). Would they have found out
if I was doing something like that if I didn't check in from a work
computer (which, yes, is a pretty dumb thing to do if this is your work
situation!)? Probably not. But I would have been bothered by the fact that
I wasn't keeping my word since in my case the clause applied to what I did
on or off the clock. So it is a real situation, I think. It may effect few
enough people that the best approach is for the people effected not to
volunteer any more. If other people are willing to step up and volunteer in
their places, then I have no problem opening up the MEFAs to all stories
regardless of rating. We can talk about that in September.

Thanks for reading this. As I said, I'm not trying to debate whether these
policies are good ones or not; I'm simply trying to explain what has
changed and what hasn't, since I think some people are misunderstanding
what exactly is changing. (Some people have genuine gripes that deserve
discussion; we can take them up in September, once I've gotten through the
MEFA's busiest season.) I'll try to reply to a few specific emails tonight,
if I have time; right now I have some long overdue emails to help the
liaisons get ready for the 2012 awards, and then I have to head out for the
day. Sorry I don't have more time to devote to this issue this morning!

Marta


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11170

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 29, 2012 - 10:06:33 Topic ID# 11147
Sulriel, when you say:
'....and i know many people who only
have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point'

I'm not buying that as an excuse for two reasons:
- if you're thinking of being a MEFA volunteer and your only access is at work, you should think again. I honestly do not believe that there are enough hours in a work day for most employees to both participate fully in whatever they've volunteered to do AND to adequately do their job
- *Public libraries* for the most part have publicly available internet kiosks. If someone really feels that strongly about participating, create an anonymous e-mail account through g-mail or whatever client they prefer and then go to the public library.

I'll say again that I don't feel that what I as an author choose to have participate in the MEFAs should be impacted by someone else's workplace restrictions.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@...> wrote:
>
> I don't guess I understand the concept of "justifying" the story. If I
> write a piece of eroticia, the 'sexual adventure' *is* the main thrust of
> the story. If I write a "sexually mature drama', the detail of the sex (or
> violence, depending on your fetish) enhances and advances the story ...
> It's not a matter of 'judging' the story in any way, only that the very
> most extreme heat levels are not eligible to participate in the MEFAs.
>
> (and as an IT security professional, yes, part of what I do is monitor
> firewall traffic and report to employers when employees access anything
> that employer had determined to be inappropriate and we have at times
> provided documentation for legal cases. ....and i know many people who only
> have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point.)
>
>
> * **
> *Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@...> wrote:
>
> > I agree with everything Annette's said. I think it's inherently unfair to
> > adult authors writing about adult characters behaving in an adult manner to
> > justify the 'merit' of their stories.
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11171

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 29, 2012 - 10:14:22 Topic ID# 11147
for example:.... I work online out of a home office. My work and personal
systems run through the same router/network. My work doesn't specifically
have a morality clause, but i am sympathetic to people who do. I'm not sure
how unique my situation is.

If I had to drive to town to the local library (~20 miles each way), I
simply wouldn't participate at all. :( also consider that people do have
free time at work, lunch breaks, for example, that could be used to
download stories to read for later.
* **
*Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:05 AM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@gmail.com> wrote:

> Sulriel, when you say:
> '....and i know many people who only
> have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point'
>
> I'm not buying that as an excuse for two reasons:
> - if you're thinking of being a MEFA volunteer and your only access is at
> work, you should think again. I honestly do not believe that there are
> enough hours in a work day for most employees to both participate fully in
> whatever they've volunteered to do AND to adequately do their job
> - *Public libraries* for the most part have publicly available internet
> kiosks. If someone really feels that strongly about participating, create
> an anonymous e-mail account through g-mail or whatever client they prefer
> and then go to the public library.
>
> I'll say again that I don't feel that what I as an author choose to have
> participate in the MEFAs should be impacted by someone else's workplace
> restrictions.
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11172

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 29, 2012 - 10:16:45 Topic ID# 11147
sorry. i was reading backwards. I won't reply again until the official
discussion. please add me to wherever it's going to be. (or i assume an
announcement will be broadcast so everyone that wants can join in)
* **
*Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:00 AM, Marta <marta.fandom@gmail.com> wrote:

> to give this question the thought it deserves.) Since I asked everyone else
> to hold on to their thoughts until we could have a proper discussion on all
> this, it only seemed fair that I hold onto my own as well. I'm actually not
> ignoring the points people have raised here.
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11173

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Neume Indil June 29, 2012 - 10:31:15 Topic ID# 11147
It seems, ultimately, that we need to determine specifically *whose*
standard we work from when determining ratings, and then come up with a
MEFA definition of "pornography", which must be more specific than the old
"you know it when you see it" adage.

Please include me in any email group or discussion board about this topic.
Thanks. :)

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@gmail.com>wrote:

> **
>
>
> sorry. i was reading backwards. I won't reply again until the official
> discussion. please add me to wherever it's going to be. (or i assume an
> announcement will be broadcast so everyone that wants can join in)
>
> * **
> *Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<
> http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77
> >
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<
> http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1
> >
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:00 AM, Marta <marta.fandom@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > to give this question the thought it deserves.) Since I asked everyone
> else
> > to hold on to their thoughts until we could have a proper discussion on
> all
> > this, it only seemed fair that I hold onto my own as well. I'm actually
> not
> > ignoring the points people have raised here.
> >
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11176

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by annettekupke June 29, 2012 - 10:40:03 Topic ID# 11147
Agree. Nobody gets their salary for doing MEFA volunteering. That's where I would have moral concerns...



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "surgeon_ruth" <surgsteel@...> wrote:
>
> Sulriel, when you say:
> '....and i know many people who only
> have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point'
>
> I'm not buying that as an excuse for two reasons:
> - if you're thinking of being a MEFA volunteer and your only access is at work, you should think again. I honestly do not believe that there are enough hours in a work day for most employees to both participate fully in whatever they've volunteered to do AND to adequately do their job
> - *Public libraries* for the most part have publicly available internet kiosks. If someone really feels that strongly about participating, create an anonymous e-mail account through g-mail or whatever client they prefer and then go to the public library.
>
> I'll say again that I don't feel that what I as an author choose to have participate in the MEFAs should be impacted by someone else's workplace restrictions.
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@> wrote:
> >
> > I don't guess I understand the concept of "justifying" the story. If I
> > write a piece of eroticia, the 'sexual adventure' *is* the main thrust of
> > the story. If I write a "sexually mature drama', the detail of the sex (or
> > violence, depending on your fetish) enhances and advances the story ...
> > It's not a matter of 'judging' the story in any way, only that the very
> > most extreme heat levels are not eligible to participate in the MEFAs.
> >
> > (and as an IT security professional, yes, part of what I do is monitor
> > firewall traffic and report to employers when employees access anything
> > that employer had determined to be inappropriate and we have at times
> > provided documentation for legal cases. ....and i know many people who only
> > have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point.)
> >
> >
> > * **
> > *Becky Burkheart*
> > *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> > Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
> >
> > *Short and Twisted Fairy
> > Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> > Unique
> > twists on seven classic fairy tales*
> >
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@> wrote:
> >
> > > I agree with everything Annette's said. I think it's inherently unfair to
> > > adult authors writing about adult characters behaving in an adult manner to
> > > justify the 'merit' of their stories.
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >
>

Msg# 11177

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 29, 2012 - 10:40:28 Topic ID# 11147
I wasn't talking about PWP, and you know it. Your entire argument is based on attacking a straw man.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "picara_embustera" <picara_embustera@...> wrote:
>
> @Surgical Steel
>
> You'll notice, if you read elliska's other post that s/he already said that s/he agrees that one person's problem shouldn't effect the group and s/he'll quit, if need be.
>
> Now is that fair to her/him? Should your desire to read one thing prevent her/him from participating? How many people do not want to read PWP are out there? How many people do not want to compete with PWP? This goes both ways, if we really want to be fair.
>
> As it is, no changes have been made in the policy other than people need to get borderline stories looked at up front by a panel of people. That makes sense to me. I'd rather not take time writing a 10 point review for a story that is going to be judged ineligible later.
>
> And the panel does not base its decisions based on people work place rules. It bases them on long standing rules that purely NC-17 stories are not allowed--you said that they've never been eligible yourself in the same post! This no NC-17 rule has been in place since the MEFAs began.
>
> The panel is fair. My works have gone before the panel, so I know how it works. It is very fair and clear and explains things when you ask why they decided a certain way. And no one on the panel hides their ID. When I worked with them, they emailed me from their regular user accounts.
>
> This is a mountain out of a mole hill.
>
>
> > Finally, is it really fair to those of us who *don't* work at places like Christian colleges to have *your* morals clauses enforced on us? I personally don't think so. I personally think it's unfair to those of us at workplaces without morals clauses to have to choose what to write and what not to write based on 'oh, if I'm competing in the MEFAs it might affect this person's job if her boss interprets my R rated fic to be NC-17.'
> >
> > It's another thing that to me smacks of favoritism and exclusivity - choosing what fic is 'acceptable' and what's not based on the vagaries of another person's workplace rules.
> >
> > I appreciate that the individuals who came up with this new policy had good intentions, but I think we all know what's paved with those.
>

Msg# 11178

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 10:47:37 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Trina,

(One last email, and then I really do have to leave my computer for several
hours!)

Just to be clear: Here's the process that led to that story being withdrawn.

1. A member emails me as admin saying they think a certain story doesn't
meet MEFA eligibility requirements.
2. I forward on the details about the story to the ratings panel, a group
of three volunteers.
3. Those three volunteers read the story and decide what rating they think
it should get
[under the new policy: what content advisory]
4. If the majority thinks the story is adult rather than mature, it's
withdrawn from the competition.

One of the benefits of the new system is, this WILL NOT HAPPEN THIS YEAR.
No readers get to come around halfway through the awards and question
whether a story is eligible or not - because if it's anywhere near the
line, we've already worked out if it's eligible or not. If your story is
cleared at the beginning of the awards it's not getting withdrawn later on.

Btw, I make a point of never questioning the member's motive for why they
reported the story. That's not really my business. Plus, you guys don't pay
me enough to mess around with that. *g* But it's not just one volunteer
making the decision; it's two out of three. And this year, there are *two*
three-person panels meaning each individual has even less influence here.
Incidentally, we came up with a panel to avoid having one person's opinions
sway things; it was actually originally supposed to keep authors' liaisons
from making those kinds of decisions unilaterally.

Marta

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM, Trina Strong <h2ocolor2001@yahoo.com>wrote:

> **
>
>
> I fully agree with Esteliel. Are the awards chosen based on the beliefs of
> this single person or do we have a committee as I have always believed? I
> love you guys but come on, majority rules. Trina
>
> ________________________________
> From: Esteliel <esteliel@gmx.de>
> To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:16 AM
> Subject: Re: [MEFAwards] MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and
> Alternative Proposals
>
>
> Hello,
>
> I've been wanting to keep mostly out of this conversation, because I
> did not want to be the sort of wanky author who gets all up in arms
> over their stories. I'm the author Marta refers to below in her mail
> whose story was disqualified last year (and indeed, I accepted the
> nomination fully believing that the MEFAs were now fine with explicit
> sex as long as it was part of the story and the characters'
> journey, because that seemed to be what was said last year).
>
> I just shrugged the disqualification off back then. After all, it
> wasn't the first and won't be the last time that this sort of thing
> happens to mature slash fic. Unfortunately, I did not know then what
> I know now - that it would have repercussions for the entire part of
> our fandom who, as adult readers, enjoy reading about adult themes,
> and furthermore, that the disqualification of my story and thus also
> the changes being implemented this year were not really due to
> policies but to the protests of one single person.
>
> It has been brought to my attention only two days ago that it was one
> single person who, due to her fundamental Christian views, thought
> that all of my stories had no right to compete at the MEFAs, and who
> lobbied endlessly for two months to have at least one of them removed.
>
> Having this brought to the open after half a year has passed, I am
> starting to wonder why it is that one person's sensibilities are given
> priority over the sensibilities of all the authors who have now
> spoken out in protest against the new ratings system. While I do
> not care so much whether one single person was offended by
> clearly labeled stories, I do not think that such a large part of
> fandom should feel excluded or put under pressure to prove the
> "literary worth" of their stories, all because of one person's
> protests.
>
> After all, all of us have our own sensibilities, and there is no such
> thing as specific 'themes an adult might find disturbing,' as
> we all have different things we find disturbing. For example, I
> find much of Elfriede Jelinek's literature very disturbing, yet she
> won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Likewise for many of the
> examples Anette brought up.
>
> As others have pointed out, I do hope that the concerns voiced by so
> many people will result in a discussion now - and not just after a
> MEFA year has passed. After all, I know just how much passion and time
> many of the people speaking out here have invested both into their
> stories and into their participation in these awards. I would truly
> hate to see them either not participate or being made to feel not
> welcome and as if they have to prove the worth of their writing first.
>
> Esteliel
>
> > Most importantly, I was trying to avoid a bad situation we had at the end
> > of the 2011 awards. As most of you know, the MEFAs don't allow some
> stories
> > to compete based on their content. Stories with graphic, explicit sex
> > scenes or their violent analogues usually aren't allowed. Last year I
> found
> > out a story in our awards violated this rule (quite possibly
> > unintentionally!) and so wasn't eligible to compete. I don't want to
> rehash
> > that whole situation because it's not fair to the author. But the bit
> > that's pertinent here is, that whole situation made clear to me the
> current
> > way we handled things needed changing. We needed to know whether stories
> > were eligible or not WAY before that point, which is another thing I was
> > trying to address in the new rating policy. Under the new policy, if a
> > piece is near that eligible/ineligible line, we make SURE it's eligible
> > early in the award. In practice, that means anything with a "Mature"
> rating
> > under the old system or a content advisory of "5" under the new system,
> for
> > sexual content, violence, or themes.
>
> ------------------------------------
>
> Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11179

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by annettekupke June 29, 2012 - 10:55:07 Topic ID# 11147
Well, looking at that clause I would say a lawyer would be able to defnd you in that case. I don't know what exactly you do for MEFA, but it's usually things like sending out e-mails to participants, making banners, building the website etc. That's not "producing NC-17 rated material". But whatever.



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "elliska67" <elliska67@...> wrote:
>
>
> > On a side note, I have real difficulty believing that there are people who would
> > lose their job if they participate /in their private time/ in an award scheme
> > that includes racy stories - not write them, not read them, just interact on the
> > same website?
>
> Just for the record, I'm the member that would lose my job if it were found that I participated in NC-17 rated activities. I work two part time jobs, one at a Christian college and one at a state school that teaches minors. In both jobs, I signed a 'morals clause' which states that it is a terminable offense to be discovered to be involved in any activities that are illegal, immoral or might reflect poorly on the reputation/mission of the school. Examples listed of such activities in each contract include "participating in the production NC-17 rated entertainment, including, but not limited to, photographic materials, video materials or print materials to be distributed in any format." (That is a direct quote from the contract I signed at the Christian college--and yes, people there have been fired for that clause before, one for writing HP slash fanfic--'course she was caught writing it at work on the work computer, which I am not stupid enough to do).
>
> Is it unlikely that I would be caught? Probably. I doubt anyone at work reads LotR fanfic. But is it possible? Sure, because my last name is Ellis and the first two initials of my first name are Ka (my username here is elliska). Not too bright of a username, to be sure, but I was a newbie to fanfic when I used it in 2000 and I didn't know better.
>
> I'm not interested in entering this argument at all. But I was not going to stand by and watch Marta's honesty be impugned either.
>

Msg# 11180

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 29, 2012 - 10:55:48 Topic ID# 11147
It's not that I lack sympathy for people with morals clauses, it's that I think their workplace restrictions shouldn't be enforced upon me.

And even on your lunch break? If you're using a company issued computer on a company server, you have to assume that the company's watching. I think you know that already.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@...> wrote:
>
> for example:.... I work online out of a home office. My work and personal
> systems run through the same router/network. My work doesn't specifically
> have a morality clause, but i am sympathetic to people who do. I'm not sure
> how unique my situation is.
>
> If I had to drive to town to the local library (~20 miles each way), I
> simply wouldn't participate at all. :( also consider that people do have
> free time at work, lunch breaks, for example, that could be used to
> download stories to read for later.
> * **
> *Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:05 AM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@...> wrote:
>
> > Sulriel, when you say:
> > '....and i know many people who only
> > have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point'
> >
> > I'm not buying that as an excuse for two reasons:
> > - if you're thinking of being a MEFA volunteer and your only access is at
> > work, you should think again. I honestly do not believe that there are
> > enough hours in a work day for most employees to both participate fully in
> > whatever they've volunteered to do AND to adequately do their job
> > - *Public libraries* for the most part have publicly available internet
> > kiosks. If someone really feels that strongly about participating, create
> > an anonymous e-mail account through g-mail or whatever client they prefer
> > and then go to the public library.
> >
> > I'll say again that I don't feel that what I as an author choose to have
> > participate in the MEFAs should be impacted by someone else's workplace
> > restrictions.
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11181

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by annettekupke June 29, 2012 - 11:00:15 Topic ID# 11147
Agree. Nobody gets their salary for doing MEFA volunteering. That's where I would have moral concerns...



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "surgeon_ruth" <surgsteel@...> wrote:
>
> Sulriel, when you say:
> '....and i know many people who only
> have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point'
>
> I'm not buying that as an excuse for two reasons:
> - if you're thinking of being a MEFA volunteer and your only access is at work, you should think again. I honestly do not believe that there are enough hours in a work day for most employees to both participate fully in whatever they've volunteered to do AND to adequately do their job
> - *Public libraries* for the most part have publicly available internet kiosks. If someone really feels that strongly about participating, create an anonymous e-mail account through g-mail or whatever client they prefer and then go to the public library.
>
> I'll say again that I don't feel that what I as an author choose to have participate in the MEFAs should be impacted by someone else's workplace restrictions.
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@> wrote:
> >
> > I don't guess I understand the concept of "justifying" the story. If I
> > write a piece of eroticia, the 'sexual adventure' *is* the main thrust of
> > the story. If I write a "sexually mature drama', the detail of the sex (or
> > violence, depending on your fetish) enhances and advances the story ...
> > It's not a matter of 'judging' the story in any way, only that the very
> > most extreme heat levels are not eligible to participate in the MEFAs.
> >
> > (and as an IT security professional, yes, part of what I do is monitor
> > firewall traffic and report to employers when employees access anything
> > that employer had determined to be inappropriate and we have at times
> > provided documentation for legal cases. ....and i know many people who only
> > have internet access at work, so i also feel this is a valid point.)
> >
> >
> > * **
> > *Becky Burkheart*
> > *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> > Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
> >
> > *Short and Twisted Fairy
> > Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> > Unique
> > twists on seven classic fairy tales*
> >
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@> wrote:
> >
> > > I agree with everything Annette's said. I think it's inherently unfair to
> > > adult authors writing about adult characters behaving in an adult manner to
> > > justify the 'merit' of their stories.
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >
>

Msg# 11182

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by annettekupke June 29, 2012 - 11:11:02 Topic ID# 11147
--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "picara_embustera" <picara_embustera@...> wrote:
>How many people do not want to read PWP are out there? How many people do not want to compete with PWP? This goes both ways, if we really want to be fair.<

I have read widely at MEFA and never encountered PWP. I would suggest the previous system worked well enough to keep PWP at bay.


>As it is, no changes have been made in the policy other than people need to get borderline stories looked at up front by a panel of people.<

No. This is one of the objectionable points. A story which falls into the 5 rating as described is not "borderline" PWP and the author of such a story may understandably resent such an implication. For example, I've recently completed an original novel that deals with the history of the German-German border. This novel includes three sexual encounters, two of them explicit, one F/F, and two fairly shocking violent deaths. The sexual content makes up a maximum of 5% of the whole text. I would be very offended (actually, make that "severly pissed off") if anyone suggested that the novel was "borderline" pornographic. Writing about sexuality (which is part of life and therefore justifiably part of a character's story) is a completely different thing from writing pornography.

I can see the danger of an author not being honest and choosing a 5 rating where a 6 would apply. But I see an equal danger that an author would now choose a 4 rather than a 5, just so as not to have to jump through hoops. And what about the careless person who rates a story 2 when it should be 4? Why do they not have to defend their choice?

Msg# 11183

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by vanimore\_gorthaurion June 29, 2012 - 11:35:46 Topic ID# 11147
I would like to say that I nominated Esteliel's stories on the understanding that an adult story was acceptable as long as the adult elements were pertinent to the plot, the character development, in short were part of a novel rather than a PWP. I did not misread the guidelines; this was said on an LJ post, with words to the effect that if there were adult stories we had wanted to nominate that year it was now too late, but that we could nominate them the next year.
I nominated them (among others) and my feeling when told that Cuil Eden was withdrawn only a few days before the voting season closed was that of disbelief and disgust. One person made it their job to see that at least one of Esteliel's stories (and her most well-known) was disqualified, and apparently she wanted another pulled as well. This is persecution, nothing less.

Every-one knows that there are award-winning and lauded works of literature that deal with controversial subject matter. No-one has to read anything that disturbs them, but surely the readers must be permitted to speak with their nominations and votes.

When this matter comes up for further discussion, I would like to be included, please. I have never and will never had any interest in my own work participating in the MEFA's, even were it not adult. I declined nominations as such things are not my cup of tea, but I *am* invested in certain fanfiction works, and want stories that impress me to be free to compete. It is my way of doing a little more than reading, reviewing and recommending.


--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Esteliel <esteliel@...> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I've been wanting to keep mostly out of this conversation, because I
> did not want to be the sort of wanky author who gets all up in arms
> over their stories. I'm the author Marta refers to below in her mail
> whose story was disqualified last year (and indeed, I accepted the
> nomination fully believing that the MEFAs were now fine with explicit
> sex as long as it was part of the story and the characters'
> journey, because that seemed to be what was said last year).
>
> I just shrugged the disqualification off back then. After all, it
> wasn't the first and won't be the last time that this sort of thing
> happens to mature slash fic. Unfortunately, I did not know then what
> I know now - that it would have repercussions for the entire part of
> our fandom who, as adult readers, enjoy reading about adult themes,
> and furthermore, that the disqualification of my story and thus also
> the changes being implemented this year were not really due to
> policies but to the protests of one single person.
>
> It has been brought to my attention only two days ago that it was one
> single person who, due to her fundamental Christian views, thought
> that all of my stories had no right to compete at the MEFAs, and who
> lobbied endlessly for two months to have at least one of them removed.
>
> Having this brought to the open after half a year has passed, I am
> starting to wonder why it is that one person's sensibilities are given
> priority over the sensibilities of all the authors who have now
> spoken out in protest against the new ratings system. While I do
> not care so much whether one single person was offended by
> clearly labeled stories, I do not think that such a large part of
> fandom should feel excluded or put under pressure to prove the
> "literary worth" of their stories, all because of one person's
> protests.
>
> After all, all of us have our own sensibilities, and there is no such
> thing as specific 'themes an adult might find disturbing,' as
> we all have different things we find disturbing. For example, I
> find much of Elfriede Jelinek's literature very disturbing, yet she
> won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Likewise for many of the
> examples Anette brought up.
>
> As others have pointed out, I do hope that the concerns voiced by so
> many people will result in a discussion now - and not just after a
> MEFA year has passed. After all, I know just how much passion and time
> many of the people speaking out here have invested both into their
> stories and into their participation in these awards. I would truly
> hate to see them either not participate or being made to feel not
> welcome and as if they have to prove the worth of their writing first.
>
> Esteliel
>
>
> > Most importantly, I was trying to avoid a bad situation we had at the end
> > of the 2011 awards. As most of you know, the MEFAs don't allow some stories
> > to compete based on their content. Stories with graphic, explicit sex
> > scenes or their violent analogues usually aren't allowed. Last year I found
> > out a story in our awards violated this rule (quite possibly
> > unintentionally!) and so wasn't eligible to compete. I don't want to rehash
> > that whole situation because it's not fair to the author. But the bit
> > that's pertinent here is, that whole situation made clear to me the current
> > way we handled things needed changing. We needed to know whether stories
> > were eligible or not WAY before that point, which is another thing I was
> > trying to address in the new rating policy. Under the new policy, if a
> > piece is near that eligible/ineligible line, we make SURE it's eligible
> > early in the award. In practice, that means anything with a "Mature" rating
> > under the old system or a content advisory of "5" under the new system, for
> > sexual content, violence, or themes.
>

Msg# 11184

Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 11:43:28 Topic ID# 11147
Pande here.

I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:

I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open membership. Would that work for folks?

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA participants listed below.]
>
> On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
>
> -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories, from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has the potential to decrease this diversity.
>
> -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
>
> -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
>
> -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications noted above.
>
> --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
>
> We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for consideration:
>
> -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
>
> -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the ratings system.
>
> -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
>
> -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the nominations have closed.
>
> -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2 weeks for a longer work).
>
> -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the voting season.
>
> For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012 awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the 2013 season.
>
> We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards remain a good experience for all members of our community.
>
> Signed,
>
> Aeärwen
> Elfscribe
> Elleth
> Erulissë
> Grey Gazania
> Ignoble Bard
> Kimberleighe
> Jael
> Olorimë
> Oshun
> Pandemonium_213
> Russandol
> Scarlet10
> Spiced Wine
> Surgical Steel
> Virtuella
>

Msg# 11185

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Barbara Rich June 29, 2012 - 11:47:31 Topic ID# 11147
That would work for me.
Dreamflower

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM, Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@gmail.com>wrote:

> **
>
>
> Pande here.
>
> I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do
> not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
>
> I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open
> membership. Would that work for folks?
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
> >
> > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> participants listed below.]
> >
> > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> >
> > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories,
> from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has
> the potential to decrease this diversity.
> >
> > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a
> problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> >
> > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature
> content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories
> and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> >
> > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on
> the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications
> noted above.
> >
> > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> >
> > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult
> to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for
> consideration:
> >
> > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather
> than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated
> stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> >
> > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check
> off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> ratings system.
> >
> > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the
> ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have
> experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> >
> > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> nominations have closed.
> >
> > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2
> weeks for a longer work).
> >
> > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the
> voting season.
> >
> > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought
> before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be
> too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012
> awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the
> 2013 season.
> >
> > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards
> remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> >
> > Signed,
> >
> > Aeýrwen
> > Elfscribe
> > Elleth
> > Erulissý
> > Grey Gazania
> > Ignoble Bard
> > Kimberleighe
> > Jael
> > Olorimý
> > Oshun
> > Pandemonium_213
> > Russandol
> > Scarlet10
> > Spiced Wine
> > Surgical Steel
> > Virtuella
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11186

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 11:51:00 Topic ID# 11147
Agreed. However, I do not have posting privileges on the LJ MEFA Community so I propose setting an LJ community up that is specific to this topic and with open membership.


--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "voirreyj" <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> Could I suggest that something of, or about, this whole discussion be posted at the LJ community, and its mirror on Dreamwidth if there is one?
>
> As you mentioned yourself, Marta, there may well be people who would find the discussion interesting - might even be pleased to know that there IS a discussion, but are not part of the Yahoo group. Clearly this would still not cover all participants, but might spread things a little further.
>
> curiouswombat
>

Msg# 11187

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by rhapsody\_the\_bard June 29, 2012 - 11:51:51 Topic ID# 11147
--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "annettekupke" <annette@...> wrote:
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "picara_embustera" <picara_embustera@> wrote:
> >How many people do not want to read PWP are out there? How many people do not want to compete with PWP? This goes both ways, if we really want to be fair.<
>
> I have read widely at MEFA and never encountered PWP. I would suggest the previous system worked well enough to keep PWP at bay.

*coughs* There has been, in the past during the MEFA 2007 season a nc17 story in the competition (PWP at that). Just look at the MEFA archive, you can find it. It was put in front of the ratings panel prior voting season and it passed the panel, it did run, but didn't place that high (no problem for me :c)).. I happen to know this because it was a story I wrote. So this argument doesn't hold up and it shows that a ratings panel does work *if* a story that high rated is placed in front of the panel in a timely manner. The vetting process, as far as I understand it now, that happened during the counting of check ballots end December 2011 and to have a story disqualified during that period after the votes have been cast by reviewers (as it was the case here), that is something I do question. But what's done, is done.

I also understood that before all this went down, as Esteliel illustrated, things went wrong and two months before it was put in front of the rating panel a discussion happened behind the scenes... that is what surprised me the most when that was revealed just a few days ago.

I would want to add my name to Pandë petition also because based on one casus (the 'old system' worked brilliantly for years (and yes compliments for the rating panel volunteers!) so why change it based on one incident gone wrong?), changes has been made without consulting those who have to review their works accordingly: the potential to be nominated authors. They now have to decided - in quite a rush - if they do not wish to be nominated ánd they have to - if their work is on the mature side, explain in written word why it it falls under a higher rating. It just isn't clicking a few extra boxes, it just isn't putting it in front of a ratings panel before voting season starts. It is just a lot more work for those author's in question - besides other reasons that they feel singled out from those who write 1-4 rated stories.

This is something that cannot wait until September, it is a problem for authors at this very moment. And should be dealt with, imho.

One of the main reasons why I decided not to have my works nominated (again), was just like the past years: filling out the forms is a daunting task that needs to be done properly and I frankly do not have the time for that anymore. I tried it once with a very busy RL and I found it to be a nightmare (as my dear liaison back then knows). Having this new requirement added (since I also tend to write mostly mature things), is another sign for me that it is for the best not to have my works nominated.

Rhapsody
(the very busy)

Msg# 11188

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Neume Indil June 29, 2012 - 11:51:59 Topic ID# 11147
Works for me. :)

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM, Barbara Rich <aelfwina@gmail.com> wrote:

> That would work for me.
> Dreamflower
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM, Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@gmail.com
> >wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> > Pande here.
> >
> > I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do
> > not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
> >
> > I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open
> > membership. Would that work for folks?
> >
> > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> > participants listed below.]
> > >
> > > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> > protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> > >
> > > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> > interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories,
> > from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has
> > the potential to decrease this diversity.
> > >
> > > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a
> > problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> > submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> > >
> > > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write
> mature
> > content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories
> > and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> > >
> > > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden
> on
> > the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the
> justifications
> > noted above.
> > >
> > > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> > complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> > >
> > > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult
> > to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals
> for
> > consideration:
> > >
> > > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather
> > than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated
> > stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> > mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> > >
> > > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors
> check
> > off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> > ratings system.
> > >
> > > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the
> > ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have
> > experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> > >
> > > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> > nominations have closed.
> > >
> > > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> > question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2
> > weeks for a longer work).
> > >
> > > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> > designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the
> > voting season.
> > >
> > > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought
> > before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> > Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be
> > too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012
> > awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for
> the
> > 2013 season.
> > >
> > > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> > volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> > community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> > engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the
> awards
> > remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> > >
> > > Signed,
> > >
> > > Aeärwen
> > > Elfscribe
> > > Elleth
> > > Erulissë
> > > Grey Gazania
> > > Ignoble Bard
> > > Kimberleighe
> > > Jael
> > > Olorimë
> > > Oshun
> > > Pandemonium_213
> > > Russandol
> > > Scarlet10
> > > Spiced Wine
> > > Surgical Steel
> > > Virtuella
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------
>
> Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11189

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by voirreyj June 29, 2012 - 12:40:14 Topic ID# 11147
Excellent!

curiouswombat.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
>
> Agreed. However, I do not have posting privileges on the LJ MEFA Community so I propose setting an LJ community up that is specific to this topic and with open membership.
>
>

> >
>

Msg# 11190

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marlyn Bumpus June 29, 2012 - 12:45:31 Topic ID# 11147
Hi there!

This works for me.

Cuio mae.

Aeärwen


----- Original Message -----
From: Doc Bushwell
To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 9:50 AM
Subject: [MEFAwards] Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Proposals




Agreed. However, I do not have posting privileges on the LJ MEFA Community so I propose setting an LJ community up that is specific to this topic and with open membership.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "voirreyj" <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> Could I suggest that something of, or about, this whole discussion be posted at the LJ community, and its mirror on Dreamwidth if there is one?
>
> As you mentioned yourself, Marta, there may well be people who would find the discussion interesting - might even be pleased to know that there IS a discussion, but are not part of the Yahoo group. Clearly this would still not cover all participants, but might spread things a little further.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11191

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 29, 2012 - 12:50:09 Topic ID# 11147
Works for me!

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> Pande here.
>
> I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
>
> I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open membership. Would that work for folks?
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@> wrote:
> >
> > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA participants listed below.]
> >
> > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> >
> > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories, from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has the potential to decrease this diversity.
> >
> > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> >
> > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> >
> > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications noted above.
> >
> > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> >
> > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for consideration:
> >
> > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> >
> > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the ratings system.
> >
> > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> >
> > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the nominations have closed.
> >
> > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2 weeks for a longer work).
> >
> > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the voting season.
> >
> > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012 awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the 2013 season.
> >
> > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> >
> > Signed,
> >
> > Aeärwen
> > Elfscribe
> > Elleth
> > Erulissë
> > Grey Gazania
> > Ignoble Bard
> > Kimberleighe
> > Jael
> > Olorimë
> > Oshun
> > Pandemonium_213
> > Russandol
> > Scarlet10
> > Spiced Wine
> > Surgical Steel
> > Virtuella
> >
>

Msg# 11192

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propo Posted by Linda June 29, 2012 - 13:07:33 Topic ID# 11147
I've been following this discussion and must say I don't have a problem with most of the new system, though I do agree with the concerns Virtuella raises.

How do you define "themes that would upset even an adult" as different things upset different people? For example, many people get upset at the mere mention of spiders.

My stories don't contain explicit sex or violence worse than in Tolkien's works,which I've no interest in writing or reading,(with the possible exception of one scene written years ago) but I do quite often explore adult themes.

I my would like to use personal site to host stories if I should be fortunate enough to be nominated for MEFA as I can post illustrations there, so would that be acceptable as my main URL if I used a back up URL on SOA or MPTT, as all my stories are also hosted on one or the other?

Also why isn't N&N
http://www.naiceanilme.net/
or the Teitho site
http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=index

listed as safe archives as they have very strict rules about acceptable content?

Linda




--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA participants listed below.]
>
> On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
>
> -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories, from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has the potential to decrease this diversity.
>
> -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
>
> -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
>
> -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications noted above.
>
> --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
>
> We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for consideration:
>
> -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
>
> -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the ratings system.
>
> -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
>
> -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the nominations have closed.
>
> -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2 weeks for a longer work).
>
> -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the voting season.
>
> For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012 awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the 2013 season.
>
> We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards remain a good experience for all members of our community.
>
> Signed,
>
> Aeärwen
> Elfscribe
> Elleth
> Erulissë
> Grey Gazania
> Ignoble Bard
> Kimberleighe
> Jael
> Olorimë
> Oshun
> Pandemonium_213
> Russandol
> Scarlet10
> Spiced Wine
> Surgical Steel
> Virtuella
>

Msg# 11193

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by rhapsody\_the\_bard June 29, 2012 - 13:15:34 Topic ID# 11147
--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> Pande here.
>
> I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
>
> I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open membership. Would that work for folks?

Absolutely! People with openid accounts or facebook accounts can also leave a signed comment there, simply perfect!

Rhapsody

Msg# 11194

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 29, 2012 - 13:17:39 Topic ID# 11147
I don't have an lj any more, but i do have a facebook account
* **
*Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM, rhapsody_the_bard
<rhapsodybard@gmail.com>wrote:

>
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
> >
> > Pande here.
> >
> > I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do
> not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
> >
> > I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open
> membership. Would that work for folks?
>
> Absolutely! People with openid accounts or facebook accounts can also
> leave a signed comment there, simply perfect!
>
> Rhapsody
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------
>
> Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11195

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 13:28:12 Topic ID# 11147
All right, then, I will set such an LJ up and post the link as a separate topic here. But for the meantime, I have a bunch of regulatory type stuff to do. No morality clauses here. But confidentiality and IP protection? Ooooooh, yeah!

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> Pande here.
>
> I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
>
> I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open membership. Would that work for folks?
>
>

Msg# 11196

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 13:30:12 Topic ID# 11147
Per Rhapsody's comment, you can likely sign on, but I will emphatically NOT be discussing these issues on Facebook.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@...> wrote:
>
> I don't have an lj any more, but i do have a facebook account
> * **
> *Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM, rhapsody_the_bard
> <rhapsodybard@...>wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Pande here.
> > >
> > > I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do
> > not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
> > >
> > > I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open
> > membership. Would that work for folks?
> >
> > Absolutely! People with openid accounts or facebook accounts can also
> > leave a signed comment there, simply perfect!
> >
> > Rhapsody
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
> > Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11197

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 29, 2012 - 13:36:35 Topic ID# 11147
I took Rhapsody's comment to mean i could use my facebook account to post
on LJ? Is that the case? (I haven't been over there in 'i can't remember
when'.
* **
*Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@gmail.com> wrote:

> Per Rhapsody's comment, you can likely sign on, but I will emphatically
> NOT be discussing these issues on Facebook.
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11198

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by rhapsody\_the\_bard June 29, 2012 - 13:45:51 Topic ID# 11147
Yes you can, during this year's B2MEM we had participants logging onto LJ to leave comments on the B2MEM lj community. But discussing it on facebook, no, not looking forward to that either.

Rhapsody

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@...> wrote:
>
> I took Rhapsody's comment to mean i could use my facebook account to post
> on LJ? Is that the case? (I haven't been over there in 'i can't remember
> when'.
> * **
> *Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> > Per Rhapsody's comment, you can likely sign on, but I will emphatically
> > NOT be discussing these issues on Facebook.
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11199

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Sulriel of Menegroth June 29, 2012 - 13:50:40 Topic ID# 11147
no. i wouldn't want to.
* **
*Becky Burkheart*
*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>

*Short and Twisted Fairy
Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
Unique
twists on seven classic fairy tales*



On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM, rhapsody_the_bard
<rhapsodybard@gmail.com>wrote:

> Yes you can, during this year's B2MEM we had participants logging onto LJ
> to leave comments on the B2MEM lj community. But discussing it on facebook,
> no, not looking forward to that either.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11200

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by rhapsody\_the\_bard June 29, 2012 - 13:56:32 Topic ID# 11147
Here is the link to logon to lj with your facebook account:
http://www.livejournal.com/identity/login.bml?type=facebook

and here is the LJ FAQ entry about it:
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=318&q=facebook

Good luck!

Rhapsody

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@...> wrote:
>
> I took Rhapsody's comment to mean i could use my facebook account to post
> on LJ? Is that the case? (I haven't been over there in 'i can't remember
> when'.
> * **
> *Becky Burkheart*
> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
> Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>
> *Short and Twisted Fairy
> Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
> Unique
> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> > Per Rhapsody's comment, you can likely sign on, but I will emphatically
> > NOT be discussing these issues on Facebook.
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11201

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Kim June 29, 2012 - 13:58:35 Topic ID# 11147
Don't blame you Pande;  I wouldn't discuss my dog's eating habits on Facebook,  let alone potentially sensitive issues ;p.

Hi Sulriel,  If the LJ community is open like they are discussing,  you can use your Facebook open ID to comment,  you don't need a LJ account.

Cactuskim



>________________________________
> From: Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@gmail.com>
>To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
>Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 11:22 AM
>Subject: [MEFAwards] Re: Potential venue for further discussion
>
>
>

>Per Rhapsody's comment, you can likely sign on, but I will emphatically NOT be discussing these issues on Facebook.
>
>--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@...> wrote:
>>
>> I don't have an lj any more, but i do have a facebook account
>> * **
>> *Becky Burkheart*
>> *Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
>> Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>>
>> *Short and Twisted Fairy
>> Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
>> Unique
>> twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM, rhapsody_the_bard
>> <rhapsodybard@...>wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >
>> > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@> wrote:
>> > >
>> > > Pande here.
>> > >
>> > > I would have put this on the MEFALJ Community for discussion, but I do
>> > not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
>> > >
>> > > I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open
>> > membership. Would that work for folks?
>> >
>> > Absolutely! People with openid accounts or facebook accounts can also
>> > leave a signed comment there, simply perfect!
>> >
>> > Rhapsody
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > ------------------------------------
>> >
>> > Visit our website: http://www.mefawards.net/MEFA2009/
>> > Yahoo! Groups Links
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>>
>
>
>
>
>

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11202

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Kim June 29, 2012 - 13:59:56 Topic ID# 11147
Yes you can,  you can post using the Open ID feature between LJ and Facebook if the LJ community is fully open.



>________________________________
> From: Sulriel of Menegroth <sulriel@gmail.com>
>To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
>Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 11:35 AM
>Subject: Re: [MEFAwards] Re: Potential venue for further discussion
>
>
>

>I took Rhapsody's comment to mean i could use my facebook account to post
>on LJ? Is that the case? (I haven't been over there in 'i can't remember
>when'.
>* **
>*Becky Burkheart*
>*Write Horses Right ~ avoid the The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About
>Horses<http://aconspiracyofauthors.com/acoajoom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=77>
>
>*Short and Twisted Fairy
>Tales<http://www.amazon.com/Short-Twisted-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B008C33UEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340341155&sr=1-1>
>Unique
>twists on seven classic fairy tales*
>
>On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Doc Bushwell <docbushwell@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Per Rhapsody's comment, you can likely sign on, but I will emphatically
>> NOT be discussing these issues on Facebook.
>>
>
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
>
>

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11203

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 14:11:31 Topic ID# 11147
I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though, so
everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
comments, too.

(I'll play around with that this afternoon and play around once I've
managed it. I'll also put up my email from last night on LJ, live
curiouswombat suggested.)
On Jun 29, 2012 12:43 PM, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@gmail.com> wrote:

> **
>
>
> Pande here.
>
> I would have put this on the MEFA LJ Community for discussion, but I do
> not have posting access there. So here's a proposal:
>
> I will set up an LJ community specific to this topic and make it open
> membership. Would that work for folks?
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
> >
> > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> participants listed below.]
> >
> > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> >
> > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories,
> from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has
> the potential to decrease this diversity.
> >
> > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a
> problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> >
> > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature
> content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories
> and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> >
> > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on
> the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications
> noted above.
> >
> > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> >
> > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult
> to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for
> consideration:
> >
> > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather
> than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated
> stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> >
> > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check
> off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> ratings system.
> >
> > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the
> ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have
> experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> >
> > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> nominations have closed.
> >
> > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2
> weeks for a longer work).
> >
> > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the
> voting season.
> >
> > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought
> before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be
> too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012
> awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the
> 2013 season.
> >
> > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards
> remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> >
> > Signed,
> >
> > Aeýrwen
> > Elfscribe
> > Elleth
> > Erulissý
> > Grey Gazania
> > Ignoble Bard
> > Kimberleighe
> > Jael
> > Olorimý
> > Oshun
> > Pandemonium_213
> > Russandol
> > Scarlet10
> > Spiced Wine
> > Surgical Steel
> > Virtuella
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11204

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 14:29:21 Topic ID# 11147
Yes, but with the following proviso...

Make it open. Period. No "though" qualifier is necessary. Sorry. When it comes to non-fiction writing, I am a stickler for clarity (and brevity). It is absolutely vital that all the stakeholders may start threads and that all comments are allowed, including anonymous comments.

Thanks.



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
> That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though, so
> everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
> account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
> comments, too.
>

Msg# 11205

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 15:12:10 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Pande,

I've been thinking about this, and the more I think about it the more
uncomfortable I am setting up a new place to have this discussion. Part of
the reason this became an issue was that the decision only reflected some
peoples' opinions rather than the group at large. If I set up a group just
for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into
the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions
of one segment of MEFA members.

In the past when we discussed PM topics with the group as a whole, we did
that at the [mefas] LJ community and at the [mefa-discussion] LJ community.
I'd like to try to have this discussion all in one place. LJ seems the most
friendly to people who aren't already members of that site (because of open
ID and the possibility of anonymous comments). I think Yahoo gives people
more flexibility for starting new threads, though. Which would you prefer,
LJ or Yahoo?

Marta

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
> >
> > I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
> > That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though,
> so
> > everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
> > account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
> > comments, too.
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11206

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj June 29, 2012 - 15:40:36 Topic ID# 11147
I for one did not know that a seperate LJ group for MEFA discussion existed - and can see no link to it on the ordinary MEFA LJ... which I would have expected. Actually I can't even find it when I search LJ for 'mefa-discussion' so I don't see it being a much used forum...

If you were to use the current MEFA LJ you would have to totally change the way it is currently set up. You would need to open posting to it - as only 5 people currently have the ability to do so - and no longer screen anonymous comments. Otherwise you could not prove that you were not directing/censoring any discussion.

The Yahoo group is not a good place for discussion - following discussions here is really not easy - look at the number of posts in this discussion alone with people going 'sorry... I was reading from the wrong end of the thread...' and so on.

A link here to an open LJ account, where anyone can comment whether or not they are a member of LJ let alone a signed up member of a group would open it to the most possible people.

curiouswombat.



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Hi Pande,
>
> I've been thinking about this, and the more I think about it the more
> uncomfortable I am setting up a new place to have this discussion. Part of
> the reason this became an issue was that the decision only reflected some
> peoples' opinions rather than the group at large. If I set up a group just
> for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
> strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into
> the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions
> of one segment of MEFA members.
>
> In the past when we discussed PM topics with the group as a whole, we did
> that at the [mefas] LJ community and at the [mefa-discussion] LJ community.
> I'd like to try to have this discussion all in one place. LJ seems the most
> friendly to people who aren't already members of that site (because of open
> ID and the possibility of anonymous comments). I think Yahoo gives people
> more flexibility for starting new threads, though. Which would you prefer,
> LJ or Yahoo?
>
> Marta
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@> wrote:
> > >
> > > I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
> > > That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though,
> > so
> > > everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
> > > account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
> > > comments, too.
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11207

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 15:47:51 Topic ID# 11147
I must be even more worn out than I thought! I meant the mefa-discussion
*Yahoo* group. So the two options are:

1. http://mefas.livejournal.com/
2. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mefa-discussion/

(These are both linked from the FAQ page of the main mefawards.org site. I
think it's called "Groups that Discuss the MEFAs" or something along those
lines.)

I'd be happy to discuss the ratings in one or both of them, but think it's
probably best we not start a whole new group...

Marta

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@manx.net> wrote:

> **
>
>
>
> I for one did not know that a seperate LJ group for MEFA discussion
> existed - and can see no link to it on the ordinary MEFA LJ... which I
> would have expected. Actually I can't even find it when I search LJ for
> 'mefa-discussion' so I don't see it being a much used forum...
>
> If you were to use the current MEFA LJ you would have to totally change
> the way it is currently set up. You would need to open posting to it - as
> only 5 people currently have the ability to do so - and no longer screen
> anonymous comments. Otherwise you could not prove that you were not
> directing/censoring any discussion.
>
> The Yahoo group is not a good place for discussion - following discussions
> here is really not easy - look at the number of posts in this discussion
> alone with people going 'sorry... I was reading from the wrong end of the
> thread...' and so on.
>
> A link here to an open LJ account, where anyone can comment whether or not
> they are a member of LJ let alone a signed up member of a group would open
> it to the most possible people.
>
> curiouswombat.
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11208

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Doc Bushwell June 29, 2012 - 15:58:19 Topic ID# 11147
Yes, that's a good point, re: the self-selection of a separate and specific LJ, but I do see the need of *some* accessible venue for this particular topic.

Personally, I'm flexible with either Yahoo and LJ. My impression is that others find Yahoo cumbersome or less than accessible, so how about one of the LJs?

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Hi Pande,
>
> I've been thinking about this, and the more I think about it the more
> uncomfortable I am setting up a new place to have this discussion. Part of
> the reason this became an issue was that the decision only reflected some
> peoples' opinions rather than the group at large. If I set up a group just
> for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
> strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into
> the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions
> of one segment of MEFA members.
>
> In the past when we discussed PM topics with the group as a whole, we did
> that at the [mefas] LJ community and at the [mefa-discussion] LJ community.
> I'd like to try to have this discussion all in one place. LJ seems the most
> friendly to people who aren't already members of that site (because of open
> ID and the possibility of anonymous comments). I think Yahoo gives people
> more flexibility for starting new threads, though. Which would you prefer,
> LJ or Yahoo?
>
> Marta
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@> wrote:
> > >
> > > I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
> > > That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though,
> > so
> > > everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
> > > account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
> > > comments, too.
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11209

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj June 29, 2012 - 16:06:50 Topic ID# 11147
Well the objection to this Yahoo group as the forum would stand for that one, too, clearly.

Anyone who wanted to participate would have to work out how to join and would need to be comfortable doing so. I am actually uncomfortable with the fact that my name crops up here as the one I have for my 'well known to colleagues, friends and family' Flickr account - I was unable to find a way of joining a yahoo group under my 'pen-name'. I am sure there are a lot of others who would be even more uncomfortable for similar reasons.

So would you be happy to allow everyone to post to the MEFA LJ and to no longer screen anonymous comments? If you aren't then it will have to be a new group to have any integrity, I'm afraid.

And I say all this as someone who is actually more or less neutral on the original subject of how the ratings have been redefined - but can see how any discussion must be seen to be open to all with no possibility of anyone being able to affect it.

curiouswombat


--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> I must be even more worn out than I thought! I meant the mefa-discussion
> *Yahoo* group. So the two options are:
>
> 1. http://mefas.livejournal.com/
> 2. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mefa-discussion/
>
> (These are both linked from the FAQ page of the main mefawards.org site. I
> think it's called "Groups that Discuss the MEFAs" or something along those
> lines.)
>
> I'd be happy to discuss the ratings in one or both of them, but think it's
> probably best we not start a whole new group...
>
> Marta
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> >
> > I for one did not know that a seperate LJ group for MEFA discussion
> > existed - and can see no link to it on the ordinary MEFA LJ... which I
> > would have expected. Actually I can't even find it when I search LJ for
> > 'mefa-discussion' so I don't see it being a much used forum...
> >
> > If you were to use the current MEFA LJ you would have to totally change
> > the way it is currently set up. You would need to open posting to it - as
> > only 5 people currently have the ability to do so - and no longer screen
> > anonymous comments. Otherwise you could not prove that you were not
> > directing/censoring any discussion.
> >
> > The Yahoo group is not a good place for discussion - following discussions
> > here is really not easy - look at the number of posts in this discussion
> > alone with people going 'sorry... I was reading from the wrong end of the
> > thread...' and so on.
> >
> > A link here to an open LJ account, where anyone can comment whether or not
> > they are a member of LJ let alone a signed up member of a group would open
> > it to the most possible people.
> >
> > curiouswombat.
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11210

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 16:14:22 Topic ID# 11147
On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@manx.net> wrote:

> **
>
>
> Well the objection to this Yahoo group as the forum would stand for that
> one, too, clearly.
>
> Anyone who wanted to participate would have to work out how to join and
> would need to be comfortable doing so. I am actually uncomfortable with the
> fact that my name crops up here as the one I have for my 'well known to
> colleagues, friends and family' Flickr account - I was unable to find a way
> of joining a yahoo group under my 'pen-name'. I am sure there are a lot of
> others who would be even more uncomfortable for similar reasons.
>
> So would you be happy to allow everyone to post to the MEFA LJ and to no
> longer screen anonymous comments? If you aren't then it will have to be a
> new group to have any integrity, I'm afraid.
>
> And I say all this as someone who is actually more or less neutral on the
> original subject of how the ratings have been redefined - but can see how
> any discussion must be seen to be open to all with no possibility of anyone
> being able to affect it.
>
> curiouswombat
>
>
I actually need to work out why anonymous comments are screened on LJ, and
how to undo that. Does anyone know how? If not, I'll poke around their FAQ
and see what I can find. I can also set up a "MEFA Guest" post that anyone
could log into and just type in their name at the bottom, if people think
that would be useful.

I agree, we need to have this happen all out in the open. I think LJ will
work, especially if we allow anonymous comment or have that "MEFA Guest"
account to help non-LJ members participate.

Am I right thinking most people are more comfortable with LJ rather than
Yahoo?

Marta


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11211

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by keiliss June 29, 2012 - 16:35:24 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Marta. If you go into the LJ account settings --> privacy, you can stop it from screening anonymous comments.

~Kei

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> > Well the objection to this Yahoo group as the forum would stand for that
> > one, too, clearly.
> >
> > Anyone who wanted to participate would have to work out how to join and
> > would need to be comfortable doing so. I am actually uncomfortable with the
> > fact that my name crops up here as the one I have for my 'well known to
> > colleagues, friends and family' Flickr account - I was unable to find a way
> > of joining a yahoo group under my 'pen-name'. I am sure there are a lot of
> > others who would be even more uncomfortable for similar reasons.
> >
> > So would you be happy to allow everyone to post to the MEFA LJ and to no
> > longer screen anonymous comments? If you aren't then it will have to be a
> > new group to have any integrity, I'm afraid.
> >
> > And I say all this as someone who is actually more or less neutral on the
> > original subject of how the ratings have been redefined - but can see how
> > any discussion must be seen to be open to all with no possibility of anyone
> > being able to affect it.
> >
> > curiouswombat
> >
> >
> I actually need to work out why anonymous comments are screened on LJ, and
> how to undo that. Does anyone know how? If not, I'll poke around their FAQ
> and see what I can find. I can also set up a "MEFA Guest" post that anyone
> could log into and just type in their name at the bottom, if people think
> that would be useful.
>
> I agree, we need to have this happen all out in the open. I think LJ will
> work, especially if we allow anonymous comment or have that "MEFA Guest"
> account to help non-LJ members participate.
>
> Am I right thinking most people are more comfortable with LJ rather than
> Yahoo?
>
> Marta
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11212

Changing settings in LJ Posted by Levade June 29, 2012 - 16:36:17 Topic ID# 11147
You can change the settings for anonymous comments in LJ:

Go to HOME (it's on your profile page, right by your user pic)
Go to PROFILE and in the pull-down menu, select SETTINGS
Once it takes you there you can see all the settings on the LJ and one of those is allowing anonymous poster/comments.


levade



> I actually need to work out why anonymous comments are screened on LJ, and
> how to undo that. Does anyone know how? If not, I'll poke around their FAQ
> and see what I can find. I can also set up a "MEFA Guest" post that anyone
> could log into and just type in their name at the bottom, if people think
> that would be useful.
>
> I agree, we need to have this happen all out in the open. I think LJ will
> work, especially if we allow anonymous comment or have that "MEFA Guest"
> account to help non-LJ members participate.
>
> Am I right thinking most people are more comfortable with LJ rather than
> Yahoo?
>
> Marta
>
>

Msg# 11213

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj June 29, 2012 - 16:45:41 Topic ID# 11147
I maintain a few comms - go to your Profile, Settings, then switch 'work as user' to the relevant group.

Now go to privacy and 'comment screening' - screen anonymous is the default these days - quite rightly under many circumstances! Reset it.

This is also, where you can change posting access to everyone who is a member - the top line 'default security setting'.

curiouswombat.

> I actually need to work out why anonymous comments are screened on LJ, and
> how to undo that. Does anyone know how? If not, I'll poke around their FAQ
> and see what I can find.

>
> Marta
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11214

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Neume Indil June 29, 2012 - 20:24:08 Topic ID# 11147
I'm far more comfortable with LJ than Yahoo. I read all these posts in
Gmail as it is because Yahoo is sort of the town bicycle in terms of
linkjacking etc. Still happens with LJ of course, but not *nearly* as
often.

Also, while you're in settings Marta, make sure that the "mark all links in
comments as spam" "feature" is turned off, or people attempting to post,
say, a story link as a comment will be screened and we can't see what
they're typing. One of LJ's "features" that screws up a lot of good
conversations/information sharing in the attempt to stop spammers I'm
afraid. :(

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 5:31 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@manx.net> wrote:

> **
>
>
> I maintain a few comms - go to your Profile, Settings, then switch 'work
> as user' to the relevant group.
>
> Now go to privacy and 'comment screening' - screen anonymous is the
> default these days - quite rightly under many circumstances! Reset it.
>
> This is also, where you can change posting access to everyone who is a
> member - the top line 'default security setting'.
>
> curiouswombat.
>
>
> > I actually need to work out why anonymous comments are screened on LJ,
> and
> > how to undo that. Does anyone know how? If not, I'll poke around their
> FAQ
> > and see what I can find.
>
> >
> > Marta
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11215

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Neume Indil June 29, 2012 - 20:27:30 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Linda:

Thanks for providing links to those two archives. I've never even *heard*
of them before, so aside from giving Marta a crack at adding them to the
list, I'll probably get a chance to poke around a couple of new sandboxes.
:D You just made my day.

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:07 PM, Linda <gingerleo@gmail.com> wrote:

> **
>
>
> I've been following this discussion and must say I don't have a problem
> with most of the new system, though I do agree with the concerns Virtuella
> raises.
>
> How do you define "themes that would upset even an adult" as different
> things upset different people? For example, many people get upset at the
> mere mention of spiders.
>
> My stories don't contain explicit sex or violence worse than in Tolkien's
> works,which I've no interest in writing or reading,(with the possible
> exception of one scene written years ago) but I do quite often explore
> adult themes.
>
> I my would like to use personal site to host stories if I should be
> fortunate enough to be nominated for MEFA as I can post illustrations
> there, so would that be acceptable as my main URL if I used a back up URL
> on SOA or MPTT, as all my stories are also hosted on one or the other?
>
> Also why isn't N&N
> http://www.naiceanilme.net/
> or the Teitho site
> http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=index
>
> listed as safe archives as they have very strict rules about acceptable
> content?
>
> Linda
>
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
> >
> > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> participants listed below.]
> >
> > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> >
> > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories,
> from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has
> the potential to decrease this diversity.
> >
> > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a
> problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> >
> > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature
> content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories
> and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> >
> > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on
> the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications
> noted above.
> >
> > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> >
> > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult
> to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for
> consideration:
> >
> > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather
> than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated
> stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> >
> > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check
> off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> ratings system.
> >
> > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the
> ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have
> experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> >
> > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> nominations have closed.
> >
> > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2
> weeks for a longer work).
> >
> > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the
> voting season.
> >
> > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought
> before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be
> too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012
> awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the
> 2013 season.
> >
> > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards
> remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> >
> > Signed,
> >
> > Aeýrwen
> > Elfscribe
> > Elleth
> > Erulissý
> > Grey Gazania
> > Ignoble Bard
> > Kimberleighe
> > Jael
> > Olorimý
> > Oshun
> > Pandemonium_213
> > Russandol
> > Scarlet10
> > Spiced Wine
> > Surgical Steel
> > Virtuella
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11216

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 20:32:16 Topic ID# 11147
Linda,

The *only* reason they're not included is because I forgot about them since
they're not archives I personally use. Do you happen to have links to their
ratings guidelines? If you don't, I'll try to find it on their site later
but it would save me a bit of time if you have them. In any event I'll get
them added to the list of archives.

Marta

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:07 PM, Linda <gingerleo@gmail.com> wrote:

> **
>
>
> I've been following this discussion and must say I don't have a problem
> with most of the new system, though I do agree with the concerns Virtuella
> raises.
>
> How do you define "themes that would upset even an adult" as different
> things upset different people? For example, many people get upset at the
> mere mention of spiders.
>
> My stories don't contain explicit sex or violence worse than in Tolkien's
> works,which I've no interest in writing or reading,(with the possible
> exception of one scene written years ago) but I do quite often explore
> adult themes.
>
> I my would like to use personal site to host stories if I should be
> fortunate enough to be nominated for MEFA as I can post illustrations
> there, so would that be acceptable as my main URL if I used a back up URL
> on SOA or MPTT, as all my stories are also hosted on one or the other?
>
> Also why isn't N&N
> http://www.naiceanilme.net/
> or the Teitho site
> http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=index
>
> listed as safe archives as they have very strict rules about acceptable
> content?
>
> Linda
>
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
> >
> > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> participants listed below.]
> >
> > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> >
> > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories,
> from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has
> the potential to decrease this diversity.
> >
> > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a
> problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> >
> > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature
> content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories
> and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> >
> > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on
> the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications
> noted above.
> >
> > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> >
> > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult
> to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for
> consideration:
> >
> > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather
> than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated
> stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> >
> > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check
> off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> ratings system.
> >
> > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the
> ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have
> experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> >
> > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> nominations have closed.
> >
> > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2
> weeks for a longer work).
> >
> > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the
> voting season.
> >
> > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought
> before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be
> too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012
> awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the
> 2013 season.
> >
> > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards
> remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> >
> > Signed,
> >
> > Aeýrwen
> > Elfscribe
> > Elleth
> > Erulissý
> > Grey Gazania
> > Ignoble Bard
> > Kimberleighe
> > Jael
> > Olorimý
> > Oshun
> > Pandemonium_213
> > Russandol
> > Scarlet10
> > Spiced Wine
> > Surgical Steel
> > Virtuella
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11217

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marlyn Bumpus June 29, 2012 - 22:26:57 Topic ID# 11147
Hi there!

As the LJ community still isn't accepting open posting, and because of the hard feelings and finger-pointing that has been floating around this list of late, I feel I need to post this now and in here. I apologize if this perpetuates the discussion here in the Yahoo group instead of taking it to LJ, but I honestly don't feel that hanging onto this post for any length of time would be in anybody's best interests.

Now, normally I would be one of the last people to voluntarily defend someone who's part of the Religious Right - those of you who know me know that I'm non-Christian and that both I and my children have suffered plenty of abuse and harassment at the hands of such folks over the years. Also, I freely admit that all of my information about this - from the the new ratings process itself to the facts of the incident that evidently spawned it - has come to me in the time since Marta posted her original message regarding the changes for the 2012 MEFAs season. I was unaware at the time of the incident that started all this, and I would have preferred to remain that way, frankly.

I also freely admit that I am and have long been friends with the person who made the complaint that started all this, regardless our religious differences; but I walk in lock-step with nobody, and I am just as capable of pointing out to a friend when s/he violates my principles as I am of pointing such out to a stranger. For the record, however, I had no idea this person was going to do this or that it would happen so late in the season - she didn't discuss it with me at all. I was pretty much ignoring the MEFAs at that point anyway, for reasons immaterial to this.

But fair is fair - and someone needs to put the missing pieces of the matter out there. Yes, the handling of this matter went down very wrong for Esteliel and the readers of her story that had it placing second in its category. I don't argue that point, and I can fully sympathize with any hard feelings Esteliel, the person who nominated her works, or the readers whose reviews were summarily dismissed might feel about things. But it has lately been brought to my attention that something else happened along the way that hasn't been mentioned by anyone openly as yet. Marta tells us:

> 1. A member emails me as admin saying they think a certain story doesn't
> meet MEFA eligibility requirements.
> 2. I forward on the details about the story to the ratings panel, a group
> of three volunteers.

And yet, I have been informed that in fact two months passed between between when the original complaints were made and when the stories were finally booted over to the ratings panel. Furthermore, when the complaint was made, Marta allegedly told the complaintant that she would keep her informed as to developments - and the complaintant then heard absolutely nothing for two months after that.

Now, as hard as it might be for some of us (myself included) I'm gonna ask you all to try to put yourself in the complaintant's shoes for a moment. Consider that YOU had lodged a complaint that you felt (for whatever reason) was valid (the timeframe of making the complaint notwithstanding in this example.) Wouldn't YOU want to know in a relatively timely manner that, at the very least, your complaint had been taken seriously enough that the stories in question had been sent to the ratings panel for assessment? And if you continued to hear absolutely nothing about anything for two solid months, wouldn't YOU be asking, from time to time, what was going on? Would you consider this "waging a campaign"?

IMO, in the final analysis, however, the religious/political/whatever views of the person making the complaint last year really don't matter at all to this discussion and actually only serve to obscure what's really important. What really matters about the original situation that sparked this policy overhaul is that:

1. The objection to the stories was made too late in the process to fairly impact the contest as it stood. This, if nothing else, is where the complaintant made her mistake - she should have spoken up a helluva lot sooner. IMHO, her objection should have been summarily dismissed on those very grounds and the story allowed to compete, regardless the ratings committee upheld the objection in one of the cases she presented. Any subsequent delay on the part of the MEFAs team, for whatever reason, only made matters worse and compounded the unfairness to all concerned as a result.

2. Communications between parties to the situation broke down. The above is only one example within this situation in particular where I have come to understand that emails either were not sent or went astray. It's pretty obvious that this only made matters worse for all involved.

3. Discussion of policy changes as the result of this situation were made arbitrarily and behind closed doors, without input from the membership at large. Only now are all the facts emerging to the light of day.

As I said, I'm just putting a missing piece of the puzzle where it needs to be in the interests of fairness to all sides of the discussion. I personally have no real dog in this fight, as I intend to go on the permanent "Do not nominate" list regardless of outcome. (Marta, if you're reading this, please put me on that list, okay?)

However, I speak out now as a matter of principle. My concerns are that, while tossing around the story of how this all came about and laying blame right and left, all the facts need to be taken into account - no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient they might be to one side or the other (or their supporters) - and that whatever happens as a result of this conversation and/or debate happen in as transparent and fair a manner as can be. My hope is that whatever resolution emerges address all the concerns involved.

Cuio mae.

Aeärwen

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11218

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 23:09:21 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Annette,

>As it is, no changes have been made in the policy other than people need
> to get borderline stories looked at up front by a panel of people.<
>
> No. This is one of the objectionable points. A story which falls into the
> 5 rating as described is not "borderline" PWP and the author of such a
> story may understandably resent such an implication. For example, I've
> recently completed an original novel that deals with the history of the
> German-German border. This novel includes three sexual encounters, two of
> them explicit, one F/F, and two fairly shocking violent deaths. The sexual
> content makes up a maximum of 5% of the whole text. I would be very
> offended (actually, make that "severly pissed off") if anyone suggested
> that the novel was "borderline" pornographic. Writing about sexuality
> (which is part of life and therefore justifiably part of a character's
> story) is a completely different thing from writing pornography.
>
>
I think there's some confusion here, when you say that a "5" means
borderline PWP. It means borderline *ineligible* but there are things
besides PWP that would be ineligible. For instance, if you had a novel
about Faramir's and Eowyn's courtship including a graphic sex scene on
their wedding night, this might be ineligible depending on (a) how much
physical detail was presented and (b) whether the scene's main point was
titillation or whether it was to build on some theme developed earlier in
the story. This wouldn't be PWP of course, but depending on how that scene
played out it might not be eligible for the MEFAs. (BTW, I'm not passing
judgment on the story - that's just where the MEFAs have always drawn the
line in the past. That may be something to discuss when we take up this
question in more detail in a few months.

I can see the danger of an author not being honest and choosing a 5 rating
> where a 6 would apply. But I see an equal danger that an author would now
> choose a 4 rather than a 5, just so as not to have to jump through hoops.
> And what about the careless person who rates a story 2 when it should be 4?
> Why do they not have to defend their choice?
>
>
I can't think of a single instance offhand where an author intentionally
misrated his or her story. (I may be misremembering, of course.) What I
*can* think of are cases where authors either misunderstood the rules or
for some other reason *mistakenly* gave their story a lower rating than
MEFA policies required. The whole point of this new content advisory system
is to catch those mistakes early on in the awards rather than later, so we
don't have more situations like the one last year.

If an author rates their story as a four and I later found it was
ineligible, I would leave it in the awards. I'd probably up the content
advisory but I wouldn't remove it from the awards - because it's too unfair
to the author to have his/her story withdrawn mid-awards. (And if there was
a rash of such stories I'd probably need to go back to the drawing board,
because that would mean the current policy wasn't working.) But I would
hope the overwhelming majority of authors wouldn't do that, because as I
said MEFA authors have been pretty good in the past about good faith
mistakes vs. intentionally breaking the rules. As long as we have a policy
saying certain content makes stories ineligible, I need to do what I can to
minimize how often things like the case with this hypothetical four story
happen. That's the point of this policy. But there's also such a thing as
having a heart. That's another reason for the new system; because we do our
due diligence up front, we can handle the exceptions more on a case by case
basis.

Marta


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11219

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 29, 2012 - 23:31:33 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Linda,


**
>
> How do you define "themes that would upset even an adult" as different
> things upset different people? For example, many people get upset at the
> mere mention of spiders.
>
>
Things like this are always tricky. That's one of the reasons we *need* a
ratings panel - because these ratings a lot of times depend on context, so
it's very difficult if not impossible to give a checklist that everyone
will apply in the same way. I'd expect the ratings panel to think of a
generalized human adult, not someone with a particular history who's more
sensitized to a particular theme than most people. For instance, I will
always be upset by stories depicting suicides but I wouldn't expect the
ratings panel to include suicide under this description. On the other hand,
a story that portrayed a rapist and depicted that character's raping as
*good*, I can see that falling under this description. (Again, it would
depend on the specifics of the story.) That's the kind of things that most
humans, just by virtue of human nature, would find upsetting.

My stories don't contain explicit sex or violence worse than in Tolkien's
> works,which I've no interest in writing or reading,(with the possible
> exception of one scene written years ago) but I do quite often explore
> adult themes.
>
> I my would like to use personal site to host stories if I should be
> fortunate enough to be nominated for MEFA as I can post illustrations
> there, so would that be acceptable as my main URL if I used a back up URL
> on SOA or MPTT, as all my stories are also hosted on one or the other?
>
>
That's not a problem at all. If you use any of those sites as your back-up
URL (if you provide one), then the story won't have to go to the ratings
panel. And even if you don't include one of those sites when filling out
your form, you just need to let your liaison or me know about it. Email me
the link to your story at SOA or whatever, and I'll use that to verify your
story's eligible - you don't even have to include it on the form if you
don't want to.

Marta


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11220

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 30, 2012 - 0:20:58 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Marlyn,

Now, normally I would be one of the last people to voluntarily defend
> someone who's part of the Religious Right - those of you who know me know
> that I'm non-Christian and that both I and my children have suffered plenty
> of abuse and harassment at the hands of such folks over the years. Also, I
> freely admit that all of my information about this - from the the new
> ratings process itself to the facts of the incident that evidently spawned
> it - has come to me in the time since Marta posted her original message
> regarding the changes for the 2012 MEFAs season. I was unaware at the time
> of the incident that started all this, and I would have preferred to remain
> that way, frankly.
>
>
To be absolutely clear, I try very hard not to take into account people's
ideological background. If the person who had a hard time with the story is
a conservative Christian - and I honestly don't know one way or the other -
I like to think I'd have handled the story the same. I don't want any
religious people to not feel welcome at the MEFAs.

But fair is fair - and someone needs to put the missing pieces of the
> matter out there. Yes, the handling of this matter went down very wrong for
> Esteliel and the readers of her story that had it placing second in its
> category. I don't argue that point, and I can fully sympathize with any
> hard feelings Esteliel, the person who nominated her works, or the readers
> whose reviews were summarily dismissed might feel about things. But it has
> lately been brought to my attention that something else happened along the
> way that hasn't been mentioned by anyone openly as yet. Marta tells us:
>
>
> > 1. A member emails me as admin saying they think a certain story doesn't
> > meet MEFA eligibility requirements.
> > 2. I forward on the details about the story to the ratings panel, a group
> > of three volunteers.
>
> And yet, I have been informed that in fact two months passed between
> between when the original complaints were made and when the stories were
> finally booted over to the ratings panel. Furthermore, when the complaint
> was made, Marta allegedly told the complaintant that she would keep her
> informed as to developments - and the complaintant then heard absolutely
> nothing for two months after that.
>
>
This situation went wrong in several different ways. One of those ways was
miscommunication. For some reason that I never was able to figure out, some
of the readers' emails went into my spam folder. I received an initial
email from this member - and I never heard back. Of course the member had
emailed me but it was in my spam folder and I didn't realize anything had
been sent until much later, when the reader mentioned something at her LJ.
(Or at *a* LJ; I can't remember all the details of that situation offhand.)

I honestly thought the member had decided not to pursue the matter. When I
heard about the problem I immediately emailed the volunteers who help me
run things behind the scenes once categorization is over (at that point it
was Inkling, Elliska, Dreamflower, Linaewen, Tanaqui, and Aranel Took) and
asked how they wanted to handle it since it was so late in the awards. We
eventually decided out of fairness to the reader (and yeah, I can
understand why she would feel put off - I would have) to put the story to
the ratings panel. Two of the ratings panel members emailed me back and
since their decision was unanimous I made the changes they suggested, which
included withdrawing one of the stories the reader had mentioned. (I later
found out that the third member wasn't receiving *her* emails, due to a
technical problem at her end; but even if she had voted against the other
two ratings panel members the result would have been the same.)

IMO, in the final analysis, however, the religious/political/whatever views
> of the person making the complaint last year really don't matter at all to
> this discussion and actually only serve to obscure what's really important.
> What really matters about the original situation that sparked this policy
> overhaul is that:
>
> 1. The objection to the stories was made too late in the process to fairly
> impact the contest as it stood. This, if nothing else, is where the
> complaintant made her mistake - she should have spoken up a helluva lot
> sooner. IMHO, her objection should have been summarily dismissed on those
> very grounds and the story allowed to compete, regardless the ratings
> committee upheld the objection in one of the cases she presented. Any
> subsequent delay on the part of the MEFAs team, for whatever reason, only
> made matters worse and compounded the unfairness to all concerned as a
> result.
>
>
That's just it - the awards rules, as they stood last year, didn't have a
time limit, a last day stories could be withdrawn. To just say this
complaint came up too late, I would have been going against those rules.
Maybe I should have (it's not like they're a legal contract or anything),
but at the time I honestly thought that would have been more unfair to
everyone involved than what I actually did.


> 3. Discussion of policy changes as the result of this situation were made
> arbitrarily and behind closed doors, without input from the membership at
> large. Only now are all the facts emerging to the light of day.
>
>
The way you phrase this makes it sound like it was malicious - like we were
somehow plotting. (That may not be your intent, and if I'm misreading you,
I apologize.) I can see how it might look like that, but speaking from the
other side, it really wasn't seen as a change in policy. In 2011 we had a
ratings panel deciding whether stories were mature or adult, and that was
just what they will be doing in 2012. The difference is that where before
this only happened if an author or reader requested it, now it would happen
across the board, at a point early enough that if a story was ineligible to
compete we wouldn't be in a situation like the one you described above.

It's very difficult to do a public policy discussion. The MEFAs are a large
group. We're actually spread over *several* groups - this Yahoo group, the
LJ community, and probably several authors who aren't members of either.
That means to discuss things like this publicly, I need to follow multiple
discussions - and even if we come to a decision in one place we still need
to come to that same conclusion somewhere else, or somehow reconcile the
different decisions. I'm a volunteer, and a busy one at that, so having
discussions like that take a lot out of me. So for something that seems
like a minor change (it really did), I'm sure you can see why I wouldn't
consult the whole group.

In retrospect, maybe that was a mistake - but it was definitely an honest
one.

As I said, I'm just putting a missing piece of the puzzle where it needs to
> be in the interests of fairness to all sides of the discussion. I
> personally have no real dog in this fight, as I intend to go on the
> permanent "Do not nominate" list regardless of outcome. (Marta, if you're
> reading this, please put me on that list, okay?)
>
>
Not a problem. I'll get Aranel to add you to that list.

However, I speak out now as a matter of principle. My concerns are that,
> while tossing around the story of how this all came about and laying blame
> right and left, all the facts need to be taken into account - no matter how
> uncomfortable or inconvenient they might be to one side or the other (or
> their supporters) - and that whatever happens as a result of this
> conversation and/or debate happen in as transparent and fair a manner as
> can be. My hope is that whatever resolution emerges address all the
> concerns involved.
>
>
Again, just to be clear: I haven't been hiding facts out of my own
discomfort. This whole situation was a bit of a perfect storm - problems
with emails, loopholes in the old policies, and just bad timing all around.
I apologized to Esteliel at the time, and I felt badly about the whole
situation, but the last thing I wanted to do was put her (or the reader who
reported the situation) on the spot in front of all the MEFA members.
That's the reason I don't discuss withdrawn stories before the whole group.

While we're on it, let me apologize both to Esteliel and the reader who
originally asked me to look into this story. While I honestly was trying to
do the best I can, I think I probably mishandled the situation from both of
your perspectives. The fact that it wasn't intentional doesn't take away
your frustration, embarrassment, or anger. I'm sorry. (I believe I
apologized to both of you at the time as well, but since we're making this
public, I wanted to make that part public as well.)


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11221

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marlyn Bumpus June 30, 2012 - 1:27:09 Topic ID# 11147
Hi there!

I guess I didn't voice things properly - a major weakness in a medium that uses only the printed word. At no time have I believed that you acted maliciously or deliberately tried to obfuscate. If my wording made it sound as if I was accusing you of that, I do apologize. It certainly wasn't my intent, and I worked hard to try to edit that post so as NOT to put that idea across. Obviously, I should have edited some more. :-p

Thank you so much for your reasoned response to my post, especially if you felt attacked by it; and again, my apologies.

However, comma...

The fact remains that the time element during which communications were fouled up certainly made an already volatile situation that much more likely to go awry - and it was the one piece of the puzzle that hadn't been adequately taken into consideration at all as people tried to figure out what happened. In many ways, between what I have heard from others and what you explained just now, I believe we now have a far more complete idea of how things went down from BOTH perspectives, and how the lapse in communications was a major contributing factor to the problem on BOTH sides.

That's all I wanted to have happen, to be honest: that any discussion of what happened "back when" include a full and fair accounting from BOTH sides of the equation - nothing less and nothing more.

Besides, the amount of finger-pointing and general Religious Right-bashing and more specifically Fundamental Christian-bashing (of the complaintant especially) I've seen lately has, frankly, been quite distressing to me. I may not agree with folks of that bent, and I have plenty of personal reasons for distrusting them in Real LifeT, but it bothers me greatly to see them unfairly abused in this setting.

I honestly think that the only time any moral standard or belief system need play a part in a MEFA policy consideration is when weighing a volunteer's contractual morals restrictions against the rights of others NOT to be restricted in that manner. Fair play dictates, even then, that the religious conservatives among us deserve to have their beliefs at the very least respected and not bashed. By the same token, however, expressing a desire not to be asked to capitulate to someone else's employment agreement or sincere beliefs doesn't qualify in my book as bashing or disrespecting either the volunteer's beliefs or those of his/her employer - provided it's not expressed in a disrespectful manner. Hopefully we can move away from that a bit now.

Framing that powder-keg discussion and resolving that conflict will not be easy by any stretch, and the resolution most likely will not please everybody when all is said and done.

I don't envy you your job.

Cuio mae.

Aeärwen


Again, just to be clear: I haven't been hiding facts out of my own
discomfort. This whole situation was a bit of a perfect storm - problems
with emails, loopholes in the old policies, and just bad timing all around.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11222

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by annettekupke June 30, 2012 - 4:57:30 Topic ID# 11147
I'm sorry, Marta, but I find this response really confusing. How does the new system help to catch mistakes early if it only applies to 5 rated stories? I wouldn't want my eight-year-old daughter read a story with violent content which someone "mistakenly" rated 2 when it should have been 4. But only the 5 has to be defended. And I find it entirely unclear what constitutes a 6 rating for general content that "even an adult might find upsetting." I am an adult and I find it upsetting to read anything that involves the death of children. I can kind of handle it nowadays, but during pregnancy and when my children were very young, I found it completely unbearable and I would imagine many other mothers have similar feelings. So going on that, I might demand that a story that deals with, say, miscarriage or cot death would be ineligible because it "upsets me," even (possible more so) if the focus was entirely on emotion and no graphic detail was given.





--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Hi Annette,
>
> >As it is, no changes have been made in the policy other than people need
> > to get borderline stories looked at up front by a panel of people.<
> >
> > No. This is one of the objectionable points. A story which falls into the
> > 5 rating as described is not "borderline" PWP and the author of such a
> > story may understandably resent such an implication. For example, I've
> > recently completed an original novel that deals with the history of the
> > German-German border. This novel includes three sexual encounters, two of
> > them explicit, one F/F, and two fairly shocking violent deaths. The sexual
> > content makes up a maximum of 5% of the whole text. I would be very
> > offended (actually, make that "severly pissed off") if anyone suggested
> > that the novel was "borderline" pornographic. Writing about sexuality
> > (which is part of life and therefore justifiably part of a character's
> > story) is a completely different thing from writing pornography.
> >
> >
> I think there's some confusion here, when you say that a "5" means
> borderline PWP. It means borderline *ineligible* but there are things
> besides PWP that would be ineligible. For instance, if you had a novel
> about Faramir's and Eowyn's courtship including a graphic sex scene on
> their wedding night, this might be ineligible depending on (a) how much
> physical detail was presented and (b) whether the scene's main point was
> titillation or whether it was to build on some theme developed earlier in
> the story. This wouldn't be PWP of course, but depending on how that scene
> played out it might not be eligible for the MEFAs. (BTW, I'm not passing
> judgment on the story - that's just where the MEFAs have always drawn the
> line in the past. That may be something to discuss when we take up this
> question in more detail in a few months.
>
> I can see the danger of an author not being honest and choosing a 5 rating
> > where a 6 would apply. But I see an equal danger that an author would now
> > choose a 4 rather than a 5, just so as not to have to jump through hoops.
> > And what about the careless person who rates a story 2 when it should be 4?
> > Why do they not have to defend their choice?
> >
> >
> I can't think of a single instance offhand where an author intentionally
> misrated his or her story. (I may be misremembering, of course.) What I
> *can* think of are cases where authors either misunderstood the rules or
> for some other reason *mistakenly* gave their story a lower rating than
> MEFA policies required. The whole point of this new content advisory system
> is to catch those mistakes early on in the awards rather than later, so we
> don't have more situations like the one last year.
>
> If an author rates their story as a four and I later found it was
> ineligible, I would leave it in the awards. I'd probably up the content
> advisory but I wouldn't remove it from the awards - because it's too unfair
> to the author to have his/her story withdrawn mid-awards. (And if there was
> a rash of such stories I'd probably need to go back to the drawing board,
> because that would mean the current policy wasn't working.) But I would
> hope the overwhelming majority of authors wouldn't do that, because as I
> said MEFA authors have been pretty good in the past about good faith
> mistakes vs. intentionally breaking the rules. As long as we have a policy
> saying certain content makes stories ineligible, I need to do what I can to
> minimize how often things like the case with this hypothetical four story
> happen. That's the point of this policy. But there's also such a thing as
> having a heart. That's another reason for the new system; because we do our
> due diligence up front, we can handle the exceptions more on a case by case
> basis.
>
> Marta
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11223

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by elliska67 June 30, 2012 - 8:50:20 Topic ID# 11147
> I honestly think that the only time any moral standard or belief system need play a part in a MEFA policy consideration is when weighing a volunteer's contractual morals restrictions against the rights of others NOT to be restricted in that manner. Fair play dictates, even then, that the religious conservatives among us deserve to have their beliefs at the very least respected and not bashed. By the same token, however, expressing a desire not to be asked to capitulate to someone else's employment agreement or sincere beliefs doesn't qualify in my book as bashing or disrespecting either the volunteer's beliefs or those of his/her employer - provided it's not expressed in a disrespectful manner. Hopefully we can move away from that a bit now.

Aerwen hit two nails on the head in this post: 1) this is a 'powder-keg' issue and 2) the written medium, especially when it is not exchanged in real time like texting, where people can immediately correct misconceptions, is very difficult. Written medium is especially difficult when multiple discussion are going one between multiple people in multiple places.

She also mentions "the rights of others NOT to be restricted." That has been a major misconception in this discussion that I'd like to comment on.

I have been involved in everything discussed here: since 2005, I have been a volunteer at MEFAs--I set up user accounts when people ask for them, I am a liaison during nomination season and I categorize stories during categorization season. Since I am involved in a lot at MEFAs, I am also one of the volunteers that took part in the policy discussions that made the new policy we are discussing here. (Just to clear up what I do, because people have asked in other posted).

Moreover, I am involved because, as I said in an earlier post, I am the volunteer with contractual obligations at work that Aerwen refers to above.

I'd like to make two points on the topic of my 'contractual obligations:' so hopefully that topic can be put to rest as Aerwen suggests:

1) Marta commented in her original response that one of the options we considered when discussing how to prevent what happened to Esteliel's stories last year from happening again was to just do away with the no NC17 requirement all together. Look at Marta's original post. She said: "One obvious solution to all of these problems is to just take away the requirement that MEFA-eligible pieces not have graphic sex or violence in them. I actually considered that when trying to decide how to handle these problems, but decided against making that change for two reasons. First, that IS a major change that we need a group-wide discussion before we can make that change, and at the time I was trying to get through a major grad-school exam." As she says in the second part there, having the group discussion about eliminating the no NC17 requirement is not something we are hesitant to do. The reason we did not so it is because: due to the RL issues of all of us taking part in this conversation (she only mentions her own issue, but we all had some), it was too late/too difficult to start such a complicated public discussion. We decided to put that off until next year and try to develop something to fix the basic problem while making only minor changes. Now I will not disagree that what we saw as minor changes, others see a major changes. But that is an honest mistake.

Marta also says in her original post: "There also was a significant practical issue: some of our volunteers couldn't continue to volunteer at an award that allowed adult content, because of RL concerns." That is what people have focused on here, rather than focusing on Marta's point that we were willing to have discussions--just later when we had time to participate. People concluded from the second part of Marta's statement that one person's beliefs/requirements were being forced on others. That is not true. The only place where my employment came up was when I said (this is a quote from my email): "Heads up Marta: if we do go NC17, I'm going to have to quit. I have a morals clause in my contract. I shave it pretty close as it is, and I doubt I'd get caught, but I don't want to take a chance what with finding jobs being so difficult right now and with my husband's job being a little unstable right now. So, you might want to bring on an extra liaison and categorizer next season so you have someone to replace me in case I leave." Her response was, "I'd hate to lose you as a volunteer, but I was planning on bringing in more liaisons this season anyway so more people are involved and ready to step up in case any of us leave the fandom, so we should be ok. Thanks for letting me know."

That was it. No one--neither Marta nor me nor any of the other liaisons -- ever thought my contract should in any way effect the MEFAs. We postponed the bigger discussion until when we had actual time to have it, and I gave Marta a heads up so she'd have time to replace me before we went that way if the whole group decided to. And that was all she meant in her original post.

All these discussions about whether I've interpreted my employment contract correctly, whether a lawyer could defend me, whether I am doing my MEFA volunteering at work and therefore deserve to be fired anyway--all of them are irrelevant and frankly a little insulting. I am a 50 year old woman. I a PhD. I have been gainfully employed for over 30 years and I always get good evaluations. I don't do my MEFA work at work. All irrelevant.

What is relevant is what I said above and in my second post: I will quit MEFAs if, after a discussion by the group, we go NC17. It is no big deal if I do quit. My problem, no one else's, except I felt it would be fair to tell Marta she needed to replace me in time for her to train someone to do everything I do. We all agree I should quit rather than restrict the whole group. We have all agreed on that all along.

No one ever thought one person's work should dictate MEFA policy. That is an incorrect conclusion, caused due to the volatility of this topic and the weakness of this medium.

2) The second issue I'd like to comment on is: since I am, for now, still going to be a volunteer and was one in the past, I'd like to clear up the question of how my personal beliefs have influenced MEFA policy discussions. There have been comments here in this group that have implied people with anti-NC17 beliefs shouldn't be involved in policy making. In other forums, like LJ, I have seen posts on this topic that have referred to me as a 'fundamentalist Christian nutjob' that people are 'appalled' could be making MEFA policy. In fact, last night, I started getting PMs from my LJ and reviews on some of my stories telling me that people like me shouldn't be involved in the MEFAs. I am insulted by these comments because they do not respect people with Christian beliefs. Moreover, the people making these comments don't know me. I was born Presbyterian, raised Catholic until the age of 16 when, with my family's full support, I became a Buddhist. I have practiced that religion ever since. It is a religion based on tolerance and respect for all. I just happened to get a job at a Christian college. Moreover, I am currently employed as a librarian (I got my M.L.I.S. from University of South Florida in 2009). I have been trained to reject censorship (as if I needed that training--I've always rejected censorship). That is part of the ethical code of librarians. Finally, I have nothing against NC17 works. Many of the people who signed the original letter should look back over their reviews where they post. I've given many of you very positive reviews (even on very violent/very sexy stories). Some of the people that have been pm'ing me and leaving reviews on my stories should look and see I reviewed them positively too. I have nothing against them or NC17.

I have never, as a liaison or any other type of volunteer, tried to censor what can appear on the MEFAs.

I normally try to stay out of this stuff. I really avoid online debate. The only reason I admitted I was the one with the work contract was because people were saying that they thought Marta was offering weak/not true excuses for not bringing this discussion to the whole group. There was no way I would let Marta take heat for something that was my issue. The only reason I posted this now is because I honestly hope people will leave me alone in LJ and stop drawing invalid conclusions about me just because I work in a certain place.

Most importantly: I strongly hope that the idea that one person's beliefs are being imposed on everyone else will be dispelled. That is simply not the case. As Marta said, this whole situation really has been the perfect storm.

Msg# 11224

Follow-up: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Doc Bushwell June 30, 2012 - 8:52:26 Topic ID# 11147
Based on feedback I have received from the signatories of the letter, LJ is the preferred venue. You've received great feedback from Keiliss, Levade, and Neume. Here's a screenshot (linked to my Photobucket album) that might be useful, too.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d18/docbushwell/ScreenshotofLJCommPrivacySettings.jpg

Please let us know what we can do to help and allow the discussion to proceed in a timely manner.

Thanks!

Pande

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> I must be even more worn out than I thought! I meant the mefa-discussion
> *Yahoo* group. So the two options are:
>
> 1. http://mefas.livejournal.com/
> 2. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mefa-discussion/
>
> (These are both linked from the FAQ page of the main mefawards.org site. I
> think it's called "Groups that Discuss the MEFAs" or something along those
> lines.)
>
> I'd be happy to discuss the ratings in one or both of them, but think it's
> probably best we not start a whole new group...
>
> Marta
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> >
> > I for one did not know that a seperate LJ group for MEFA discussion
> > existed - and can see no link to it on the ordinary MEFA LJ... which I
> > would have expected. Actually I can't even find it when I search LJ for
> > 'mefa-discussion' so I don't see it being a much used forum...
> >
> > If you were to use the current MEFA LJ you would have to totally change
> > the way it is currently set up. You would need to open posting to it - as
> > only 5 people currently have the ability to do so - and no longer screen
> > anonymous comments. Otherwise you could not prove that you were not
> > directing/censoring any discussion.
> >
> > The Yahoo group is not a good place for discussion - following discussions
> > here is really not easy - look at the number of posts in this discussion
> > alone with people going 'sorry... I was reading from the wrong end of the
> > thread...' and so on.
> >
> > A link here to an open LJ account, where anyone can comment whether or not
> > they are a member of LJ let alone a signed up member of a group would open
> > it to the most possible people.
> >
> > curiouswombat.
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11225

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by heartofoshun June 30, 2012 - 11:51:03 Topic ID# 11147
Can anyone read this? I cannot figure out how to discuss here.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:
>
> Yes, that's a good point, re: the self-selection of a separate and specific LJ, but I do see the need of *some* accessible venue for this particular topic.
>
> Personally, I'm flexible with either Yahoo and LJ. My impression is that others find Yahoo cumbersome or less than accessible, so how about one of the LJs?
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@> wrote:
> >
> > Hi Pande,
> >
> > I've been thinking about this, and the more I think about it the more
> > uncomfortable I am setting up a new place to have this discussion. Part of
> > the reason this became an issue was that the decision only reflected some
> > peoples' opinions rather than the group at large. If I set up a group just
> > for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
> > strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into
> > the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions
> > of one segment of MEFA members.
> >
> > In the past when we discussed PM topics with the group as a whole, we did
> > that at the [mefas] LJ community and at the [mefa-discussion] LJ community.
> > I'd like to try to have this discussion all in one place. LJ seems the most
> > friendly to people who aren't already members of that site (because of open
> > ID and the possibility of anonymous comments). I think Yahoo gives people
> > more flexibility for starting new threads, though. Which would you prefer,
> > LJ or Yahoo?
> >
> > Marta
> >
> > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
> > > > That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though,
> > > so
> > > > everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
> > > > account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
> > > > comments, too.
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >
>

Msg# 11226

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj June 30, 2012 - 12:15:09 Topic ID# 11147
Yes - I can - it was just e-mailed to me. But I do find it a cumbersome communication forum...

curiouswombat

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "heartofoshun" <heartofoshun@...> wrote:
>
> Can anyone read this? I cannot figure out how to discuss here.
>

Msg# 11227

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by heartofoshun June 30, 2012 - 12:23:27 Topic ID# 11147
I think it ate two of my earlier posts. One really long one (ain't you all lucky today! too tired to re-write. Meanwhile, Yahoo groups passed me a scary malware that I am having trouble eliminating. Wow! No good deed goes unpunished).

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "voirreyj" <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> Yes - I can - it was just e-mailed to me. But I do find it a cumbersome communication forum...
>
> curiouswombat
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "heartofoshun" <heartofoshun@> wrote:
> >
> > Can anyone read this? I cannot figure out how to discuss here.
> >
>

Msg# 11228

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marlyn Bumpus June 30, 2012 - 12:27:11 Topic ID# 11147
Hi there!

Yes, I see this.

Cuio mae.

Aeärwen/Marlyn

----- Original Message -----
From: heartofoshun
To: MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 9:41 AM
Subject: [MEFAwards] Re: Potential venue for further discussion



Can anyone read this? I cannot figure out how to discuss here.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@...> wrote:



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11229

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Linda June 30, 2012 - 12:36:08 Topic ID# 11147
Thanks for your reply concerning which links to use, Marta.

Here are the links
http://www.naiceanilme.net/viewpage.php?page=rules
http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=rules

I have in previous years had nominations for stories on those sites, which I like as they don't host explicit material or PWP.

I do very much appreciate all your hard work for MEFA and understand now why the sites were overlooked,

Linda



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Linda,

> The *only* reason they're not included is because I forgot about them since
> they're not archives I personally use. Do you happen to have links to their
> ratings guidelines? If you don't, I'll try to find it on their site later
> but it would save me a bit of time if you have them. In any event I'll get
> them added to the list of archives.
>
> Marta
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:07 PM, Linda <gingerleo@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> > I've been following this discussion and must say I don't have a problem
> > with most of the new system, though I do agree with the concerns Virtuella
> > raises.
> >
> > How do you define "themes that would upset even an adult" as different
> > things upset different people? For example, many people get upset at the
> > mere mention of spiders.
> >
> > My stories don't contain explicit sex or violence worse than in Tolkien's
> > works,which I've no interest in writing or reading,(with the possible
> > exception of one scene written years ago) but I do quite often explore
> > adult themes.
> >
> > I my would like to use personal site to host stories if I should be
> > fortunate enough to be nominated for MEFA as I can post illustrations
> > there, so would that be acceptable as my main URL if I used a back up URL
> > on SOA or MPTT, as all my stories are also hosted on one or the other?
> >
> > Also why isn't N&N
> > http://www.naiceanilme.net/
> > or the Teitho site
> > http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=index
> >
> > listed as safe archives as they have very strict rules about acceptable
> > content?
> >
> > Linda
> >
> >
> > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@> wrote:
> > >
> > > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> > participants listed below.]
> > >
> > > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> > protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> > >
> > > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> > interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of stories,
> > from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system has
> > the potential to decrease this diversity.
> > >
> > > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present a
> > problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> > submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> > >
> > > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write mature
> > content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their stories
> > and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> > >
> > > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue burden on
> > the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the justifications
> > noted above.
> > >
> > > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> > complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> > >
> > > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be difficult
> > to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals for
> > consideration:
> > >
> > > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but rather
> > than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of nominated
> > stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> > mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> > >
> > > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors check
> > off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> > ratings system.
> > >
> > > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to the
> > ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who have
> > experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> > >
> > > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> > nominations have closed.
> > >
> > > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> > question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum (2
> > weeks for a longer work).
> > >
> > > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> > designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of the
> > voting season.
> > >
> > > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are brought
> > before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> > Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may be
> > too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the 2012
> > awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for the
> > 2013 season.
> > >
> > > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> > volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> > community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> > engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the awards
> > remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> > >
> > > Signed,
> > >
> > > Aeärwen
> > > Elfscribe
> > > Elleth
> > > Erulissë
> > > Grey Gazania
> > > Ignoble Bard
> > > Kimberleighe
> > > Jael
> > > Olorimë
> > > Oshun
> > > Pandemonium_213
> > > Russandol
> > > Scarlet10
> > > Spiced Wine
> > > Surgical Steel
> > > Virtuella
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11230

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by surgeon\_ruth June 30, 2012 - 12:45:54 Topic ID# 11147
Hi, Marta,

When you say:
'If I set up a group just
for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions of one segment of MEFA members.'

I'm afraid I don't see the problem. Wherever the discussion is held, it will be dominated by those who have strong opinions on the issues at hand - whether that's here, at the MEFA discussion LJ (which is hard to find), or whether it's on a separate LJ set up simply for that purpose. As far as I'm concerned, the most important thing is that it be in a forum which is truly open - where everyone with an opinion on the matter can state that opinion without fear of censorship.


--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Hi Pande,
>
> I've been thinking about this, and the more I think about it the more
> uncomfortable I am setting up a new place to have this discussion. Part of
> the reason this became an issue was that the decision only reflected some
> peoples' opinions rather than the group at large. If I set up a group just
> for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
> strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into
> the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions
> of one segment of MEFA members.
>
> In the past when we discussed PM topics with the group as a whole, we did
> that at the [mefas] LJ community and at the [mefa-discussion] LJ community.
> I'd like to try to have this discussion all in one place. LJ seems the most
> friendly to people who aren't already members of that site (because of open
> ID and the possibility of anonymous comments). I think Yahoo gives people
> more flexibility for starting new threads, though. Which would you prefer,
> LJ or Yahoo?
>
> Marta
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@> wrote:
> > >
> > > I like this suggestion, with one proviso: can I be the one to set it up?
> > > That makes it feel "official" to me somehow. I'll make it open, though,
> > so
> > > everyone can start threads. Non-LJ members can use their FB or Dreamwidth
> > > account through the magic of OpenID, and I can probably allow anonymous
> > > comments, too.
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11231

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marta June 30, 2012 - 13:03:17 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Ruth,

I have no problem holding a discussion in public, as I've said several
times. I also want to assure anyone you won't face censorship from me.
We've had passionate policy discussions in the past, all with signed
comments, and no one has ever been banned from the MEFA on that basis or
ignored by me, as far as I know.

Since we're holding the discussion at the [mefas] LJ community anyone who
has an LJ account even if they aren't a member will be able to contribute.
They can also comment if they don't have an LJ account, using either the
open ID feature (which I can explain when the time comes in more detail) or
using the anonymous comment feature. I just ask that they make it clear
who's making the comment, by typing their name at the bottom of the comment
if it isn't clear otherwise. Without that, it's impossible to get a sense
of how many people agree with a certain suggestion. Anonymous (in the sense
of "unsigned") comments also make it easier for people to be uncivil - just
look at online forums for politics. But I hope you guys can trust me enough
not to punish anyone (officially or otherwise) for comments they post.

The 2012 MEFAs begin later today, and I still have lots of things to do
before then. And life will get even busy after that - there's a reason we
don't usually have policy discussions while the awards are going on. Also,
I want this group to be a good place for authors new to the awards to find
out more about it. That's difficult if everyone is involved in such an
in-depth conversation. (I know I'd be overwhelmed.) So this will probably
be my last public post on ratings for a while. I will make that LJ post
pointing people to the original letter and my response, as I promised
yesterday (it's on my to-do list), but I'd appreciate it if everyone
interested in this topic could hold your ideas until we can discuss this
thing properly in September. That will happen at the [mefas] LJ community,
and of course I'll post an announcement here when we're ready to start
things off.

Oh, and btw - I hope all the nominators, authors, and reviewers enjoy the
2012 awards. Have fun with it!

Marta

On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM, surgeon_ruth <surgsteel@gmail.com> wrote:

> **
>
>
> Hi, Marta,
>
> When you say:
> 'If I set up a group just
>
> for this discussion, then I suspect only those who feel particularly
> strongly about this issue will sign up for that group, so we'll run into
> the same problem: whatever decision we make will only reflect the opinions
> of one segment of MEFA members.'
>
> I'm afraid I don't see the problem. Wherever the discussion is held, it
> will be dominated by those who have strong opinions on the issues at hand -
> whether that's here, at the MEFA discussion LJ (which is hard to find), or
> whether it's on a separate LJ set up simply for that purpose. As far as I'm
> concerned, the most important thing is that it be in a forum which is truly
> open - where everyone with an opinion on the matter can state that opinion
> without fear of censorship.
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11232

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj June 30, 2012 - 13:10:19 Topic ID# 11147
Hmm - I can read it - and I thought I'd replied to say so - except that I can't see my reply - this is a very difficult place to figure out... I think I am too old for it.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "heartofoshun" <heartofoshun@...> wrote:
>
> Can anyone read this? I cannot figure out how to discuss here.
>
>

Msg# 11233

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by heartofoshun@aol.com June 30, 2012 - 13:22:59 Topic ID# 11147
Woohoo! I am so excited. But I cannot fuigure out how to post this on the website, but I can read new postings.






-----Original Message-----
From: voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@manx.net>
To: MEFAwards <MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sat, Jun 30, 2012 2:10 pm
Subject: [MEFAwards] Re: Potential venue for further discussion





Hmm - I can read it - and I thought I'd replied to say so - except that I can't see my reply - this is a very difficult place to figure out... I think I am too old for it.

--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "heartofoshun" <heartofoshun@...> wrote:
>
> Can anyone read this? I cannot figure out how to discuss here.
>
>









[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11234

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Marta June 30, 2012 - 13:25:21 Topic ID# 11147
Hi Linda,

Thanks for sending those links. It saved me some time.

I looked over Naice a Nilme, and that site clearly says explicit content
isn't allowed. So I've added it to the list of archives people can use to
skip the ratings panel. If you give us a link to NAN (either as your
primary/secondary URL or by emailing it to me), your story can compete -
even if it has a content advisory of five.

For Teitho, I couldn't find an actual description of their ratings; it just
says that stories have to be M (R) or less without really spelling out what
that means. that's not really enough to go on. So unless they give more
details somewhere else, I can't include them on the list of archives. I
hope that won't be too much of a problem.

Marta

On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM, Linda <gingerleo@gmail.com> wrote:

> **
>
>
>
> Thanks for your reply concerning which links to use, Marta.
>
> Here are the links
> http://www.naiceanilme.net/viewpage.php?page=rules
> http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=rules
>
> I have in previous years had nominations for stories on those sites, which
> I like as they don't host explicit material or PWP.
>
> I do very much appreciate all your hard work for MEFA and understand now
> why the sites were overlooked,
>
> Linda
>
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
> >
> > Linda,
>
> > The *only* reason they're not included is because I forgot about them
> since
>
> > they're not archives I personally use. Do you happen to have links to
> their
> > ratings guidelines? If you don't, I'll try to find it on their site later
> > but it would save me a bit of time if you have them. In any event I'll
> get
> > them added to the list of archives.
> >
> > Marta
> >
> > On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:07 PM, Linda <gingerleo@...> wrote:
> >
> > > **
>
> > >
> > >
> > > I've been following this discussion and must say I don't have a problem
> > > with most of the new system, though I do agree with the concerns
> Virtuella
> > > raises.
> > >
> > > How do you define "themes that would upset even an adult" as different
> > > things upset different people? For example, many people get upset at
> the
> > > mere mention of spiders.
> > >
> > > My stories don't contain explicit sex or violence worse than in
> Tolkien's
> > > works,which I've no interest in writing or reading,(with the possible
> > > exception of one scene written years ago) but I do quite often explore
> > > adult themes.
> > >
> > > I my would like to use personal site to host stories if I should be
> > > fortunate enough to be nominated for MEFA as I can post illustrations
> > > there, so would that be acceptable as my main URL if I used a back up
> URL
> > > on SOA or MPTT, as all my stories are also hosted on one or the other?
> > >
> > > Also why isn't N&N
> > > http://www.naiceanilme.net/
> > > or the Teitho site
> > > http://teitho.waking-vision.com/modules.php?name=Intern&file=index
> > >
> > > listed as safe archives as they have very strict rules about acceptable
> > > content?
> > >
> > > Linda
> > >
> > >
> > > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Bushwell" <docbushwell@> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > [Note: This letter represents the collective position of the MEFA
> > > participants listed below.]
> > > >
> > > > On the advent of the MEFA 2012 season, we, the undersigned, wish to
> > > protest the proposed new ratings system. Our objections are as follows:
> > > >
> > > > -- The Tolkien fan fiction community represents a wide array of
> > > interests, and the MEFAwards have been inclusive of a variety of
> stories,
> > > from genfic to those with mature content. The proposed ratings system
> has
> > > the potential to decrease this diversity.
> > > >
> > > > -- Because ratings across archives are not harmonized, these present
> a
> > > problem as applied broadly to the 2012 rating system and may favor
> > > submission of stories nominated from one archive over another.
> > > >
> > > > -- The ratings system places an undue burden on authors who write
> mature
> > > content by requiring them to justify the literary merits of their
> stories
> > > and potentially discourages their participation in the awards.
> > > >
> > > > -- The ratings system also has the potential to place an undue
> burden on
> > > the MEFA ratings panel and administrators, who must vet the
> justifications
> > > noted above.
> > > >
> > > > --The proposed numerical system on a scale of 1 to 6 adds yet more
> > > complexity to the MEFA nomination process.
> > > >
> > > > We recognize that at this time the new ratings system may be
> difficult
> > > to overhaul for this season. However, we offer the following proposals
> for
> > > consideration:
> > > >
> > > > -- For this season only, maintain the 1 to 6 rating system, but
> rather
> > > than mandating written, detailed justification from authors of
> nominated
> > > stories containing "5" content, trust that the authors know that their
> > > mature content does not contain gratuitous sex, violence, and/or gore.
> > > >
> > > > -- Addition of a check box to the nomination form that all authors
> check
> > > off to indicate that they have read, understood, and have applied the
> > > ratings system.
> > > >
> > > > -- Any objections to a nominated story should be brought forward to
> the
> > > ratings panel, ideally comprising 5 individuals, including those who
> have
> > > experience with writing stories that contain mature themes.
> > > >
> > > > -- The objections should be made no later than 4 weeks after the
> > > nominations have closed.
> > > >
> > > > -- The decision by the panel as to the suitability of the story in
> > > question to remain in competition should be made within 1 week maximum
> (2
> > > weeks for a longer work).
> > > >
> > > > -- Stories receiving objections that are not addressed within these
> > > designated timeframes should be allowed to compete through the end of
> the
> > > voting season.
> > > >
> > > > For future MEFAs, we ask that such major changes in policy are
> brought
> > > before the membership at large through mailing lists, LJ, or the Yahoo
> > > Groups prior to implementation. Again, we recognize that the time may
> be
> > > too short to make significant changes to the rating systems for the
> 2012
> > > awards, but we request re-evaluation of the current ratings system for
> the
> > > 2013 season.
> > > >
> > > > We appreciate all the hard work that the MEFA administrators and
> > > volunteers have done in the past and continue to do on behalf of our
> > > community. We present our concerns and offer our proposals in order to
> > > engage in an open and transparent dialogue meant to ensure that the
> awards
> > > remain a good experience for all members of our community.
> > > >
> > > > Signed,
> > > >
> > > > Aeýrwen
> > > > Elfscribe
> > > > Elleth
> > > > Erulissý
> > > > Grey Gazania
> > > > Ignoble Bard
> > > > Kimberleighe
> > > > Jael
> > > > Olorimý
> > > > Oshun
> > > > Pandemonium_213
> > > > Russandol
> > > > Scarlet10
> > > > Spiced Wine
> > > > Surgical Steel
> > > > Virtuella
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11241

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj June 30, 2012 - 16:56:15 Topic ID# 11147
Marta - I know you are all busy at the moment, but could I ask again, on behalf of anyone else who watches the LJ community for news, rather than being a member of the Yahoo group, that one of the five people with posting access to it put a short post to say that this discussion is happening here? Possibly with a link?

I doubt all 125 people who watch the LJ group are also part of this group.

Perhaps just 'once the new season is under way we will be hosting a discussion here of the problems people foresee with the new ratings system as there have been a number of people posting about this on the Yahoo group (insrt link here!)'

At the moment it is all a bit cliquey as the only people aware of this discussion are going to be those with Yahoo accounts.

Thank you, curiouswombat





--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> > Well the objection to this Yahoo group as the forum would stand for that
> > one, too, clearly.
> >
> > Anyone who wanted to participate would have to work out how to join and
> > would need to be comfortable doing so. I am actually uncomfortable with the
> > fact that my name crops up here as the one I have for my 'well known to
> > colleagues, friends and family' Flickr account - I was unable to find a way
> > of joining a yahoo group under my 'pen-name'. I am sure there are a lot of
> > others who would be even more uncomfortable for similar reasons.
> >
> > So would you be happy to allow everyone to post to the MEFA LJ and to no
> > longer screen anonymous comments? If you aren't then it will have to be a
> > new group to have any integrity, I'm afraid.
> >
> > And I say all this as someone who is actually more or less neutral on the
> > original subject of how the ratings have been redefined - but can see how
> > any discussion must be seen to be open to all with no possibility of anyone
> > being able to affect it.
> >
> > curiouswombat
> >
> >
> I actually need to work out why anonymous comments are screened on LJ, and
> how to undo that. Does anyone know how? If not, I'll poke around their FAQ
> and see what I can find. I can also set up a "MEFA Guest" post that anyone
> could log into and just type in their name at the bottom, if people think
> that would be useful.
>
> I agree, we need to have this happen all out in the open. I think LJ will
> work, especially if we allow anonymous comment or have that "MEFA Guest"
> account to help non-LJ members participate.
>
> Am I right thinking most people are more comfortable with LJ rather than
> Yahoo?
>
> Marta
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11242

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by peppercornpalace June 30, 2012 - 18:15:15 Topic ID# 11147
Everyone involved in the discussion thus far has posted good points.
However, until the issues raised have been addressed I would like to
have my name withdrawn from the nominations this year. The system as it
is now is complicated, cumbersome, and skewed against those who write
adult themed material. I know the idea was to make it easier for authors
to know up front if their stories were eligible, and to make it easier
for authors to know how to rate their stories, but I don't see new
processes helping to achieve that goal in a satisfactory way, and then
there is the problem of adding that extra layer of justification for
authors.

I look forward to the upcoming discussions and to the changes for the
better I'm sure will result.

Mike aka Ignoble Bard




--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "rhapsody_the_bard" <rhapsodybard@...>
wrote:
>
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "annettekupke" annette@ wrote:
> >
> > --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "picara_embustera"
<picara_embustera@> wrote:
> > >How many people do not want to read PWP are out there? How many
people do not want to compete with PWP? This goes both ways, if we
really want to be fair.<
> >
> > I have read widely at MEFA and never encountered PWP. I would
suggest the previous system worked well enough to keep PWP at bay.
>
> *coughs* There has been, in the past during the MEFA 2007 season a
nc17 story in the competition (PWP at that). Just look at the MEFA
archive, you can find it. It was put in front of the ratings panel prior
voting season and it passed the panel, it did run, but didn't place that
high (no problem for me :c)).. I happen to know this because it was a
story I wrote. So this argument doesn't hold up and it shows that a
ratings panel does work *if* a story that high rated is placed in front
of the panel in a timely manner. The vetting process, as far as I
understand it now, that happened during the counting of check ballots
end December 2011 and to have a story disqualified during that period
after the votes have been cast by reviewers (as it was the case here),
that is something I do question. But what's done, is done.
>
> I also understood that before all this went down, as Esteliel
illustrated, things went wrong and two months before it was put in front
of the rating panel a discussion happened behind the scenes... that is
what surprised me the most when that was revealed just a few days ago.
>
> I would want to add my name to Pandë petition also because based on
one casus (the 'old system' worked brilliantly for years (and yes
compliments for the rating panel volunteers!) so why change it based on
one incident gone wrong?), changes has been made without consulting
those who have to review their works accordingly: the potential to be
nominated authors. They now have to decided - in quite a rush - if they
do not wish to be nominated ánd they have to - if their work is on
the mature side, explain in written word why it it falls under a higher
rating. It just isn't clicking a few extra boxes, it just isn't putting
it in front of a ratings panel before voting season starts. It is just a
lot more work for those author's in question - besides other reasons
that they feel singled out from those who write 1-4 rated stories.
>
> This is something that cannot wait until September, it is a problem
for authors at this very moment. And should be dealt with, imho.
>
> One of the main reasons why I decided not to have my works nominated
(again), was just like the past years: filling out the forms is a
daunting task that needs to be done properly and I frankly do not have
the time for that anymore. I tried it once with a very busy RL and I
found it to be a nightmare (as my dear liaison back then knows). Having
this new requirement added (since I also tend to write mostly mature
things), is another sign for me that it is for the best not to have my
works nominated.
>
> Rhapsody
> (the very busy)
>

Msg# 11245

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by Marta June 30, 2012 - 18:37:12 Topic ID# 11147
Hi curiouswombat,

Thanks for the reminder. In all the shuffle I hadn't gotten around to it,
but I have now. You can see that post here:

http://mefas.livejournal.com/309037.html

Marta

On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@manx.net> wrote:

> **
>
>
> Marta - I know you are all busy at the moment, but could I ask again, on
> behalf of anyone else who watches the LJ community for news, rather than
> being a member of the Yahoo group, that one of the five people with posting
> access to it put a short post to say that this discussion is happening
> here? Possibly with a link?
>
> I doubt all 125 people who watch the LJ group are also part of this group.
>
> Perhaps just 'once the new season is under way we will be hosting a
> discussion here of the problems people foresee with the new ratings system
> as there have been a number of people posting about this on the Yahoo group
> (insrt link here!)'
>
> At the moment it is all a bit cliquey as the only people aware of this
> discussion are going to be those with Yahoo accounts.
>
> Thank you, curiouswombat
>
>
>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 11246

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj July 01, 2012 - 4:35:05 Topic ID# 11147
Thank you Marta. (Haven't had time to read the comments there yet - off to church!)


--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Hi curiouswombat,
>
> Thanks for the reminder. In all the shuffle I hadn't gotten around to it,
> but I have now. You can see that post here:
>
> http://mefas.livejournal.com/309037.html
>
> Marta
>
> On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> > Marta - I know you are all busy at the moment, but could I ask again, on
> > behalf of anyone else who watches the LJ community for news, rather than
> > being a member of the Yahoo group, that one of the five people with posting
> > access to it put a short post to say that this discussion is happening
> > here? Possibly with a link?
> >
> > I doubt all 125 people who watch the LJ group are also part of this group.
> >
> > Perhaps just 'once the new season is under way we will be hosting a
> > discussion here of the problems people foresee with the new ratings system
> > as there have been a number of people posting about this on the Yahoo group
> > (insrt link here!)'
> >
> > At the moment it is all a bit cliquey as the only people aware of this
> > discussion are going to be those with Yahoo accounts.
> >
> > Thank you, curiouswombat
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11249

Re: Potential venue for further discussion Posted by voirreyj July 01, 2012 - 12:01:03 Topic ID# 11147
I am sorry, Marta, that that LJ post seems to have developed a life of its own - I suppose I should have guessed...

But there will now be a good deal of useful stuff there for you, and as many others as possible, to consider once this year's awards are up and running, rather than everyone feeling that 'we'll look at it in September' is just fobbing them off. Not that I want to imply that you meant it that way - just that it seems as if some saw it as such.

curiouswombat



--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta <marta.fandom@...> wrote:
>
> Hi curiouswombat,
>
> Thanks for the reminder. In all the shuffle I hadn't gotten around to it,
> but I have now. You can see that post here:
>
> http://mefas.livejournal.com/309037.html
>
> Marta
>
> On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM, voirreyj <voirreyjohnson@...> wrote:
>
> > **
> >
> >
> > Marta - I know you are all busy at the moment, but could I ask again, on
> > behalf of anyone else who watches the LJ community for news, rather than
> > being a member of the Yahoo group, that one of the five people with posting
> > access to it put a short post to say that this discussion is happening
> > here? Possibly with a link?
> >
> > I doubt all 125 people who watch the LJ group are also part of this group.
> >
> > Perhaps just 'once the new season is under way we will be hosting a
> > discussion here of the problems people foresee with the new ratings system
> > as there have been a number of people posting about this on the Yahoo group
> > (insrt link here!)'
> >
> > At the moment it is all a bit cliquey as the only people aware of this
> > discussion are going to be those with Yahoo accounts.
> >
> > Thank you, curiouswombat
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>

Msg# 11250

Re: MEFAwards 2012 Ratings System: Objections and Alternative Propos Posted by Bonnie L. Sherrell July 01, 2012 - 12:59:46 Topic ID# 11147
Real life has been consuming my time the last few days. I, too, would like to
be made part of any group that discusses this situation, both because I'm on the
ratings team this year, and because I write stories that examine many very adult
themes in spite of being purposely written to lessen the impact of the topics so
as not to be terrifically offensive.
Bonnie L. Sherrell
Teacher at Large

"Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." LOTR

"Don't go where I can't follow."