I’ve largely been approaching the various “don’t censor fandom/the ao3″ conversations through a lens of race because many of the people arguing in favor of what’s essentially a free-for-all because desire is like sacred also don’t get that some of the stuff fandom desires leads to the erasure, objectification, or dehumanization of characters and fans of color
and i just saw this long ass “if you don’t like the ao3, make your own it’s open source” post and it reminded me of the fact that well… what happens when fans of color make our own?
We get accused of alienating white fans, reverse racism, and of causing drama.
I’ve been thinking about the AO3 controversy a lot, and how pointing out racism is so often categorized as “purity wank.”
AO3 prides itself on its transparency, its warning labels making it so, in theory, no one will be caught off guard reading something triggering.
If there is no intention to cut racist fanwork on AO3, there should be a “racism” content warning, and it should be something readers can flag, not just something the author chooses (because then it would only be used in fics where racial slurs are used and nothing else).
I know the chances of AO3 allowing (especially) Black people to tag fics as racist to inform other fans is below zero. AO3 will never prohibit racist fanfic, and it will never warn readers of racist content – unlike things like sexual assault, which they strongly encourage authors to warn readers of so “everyone” can have a safe experience.
I am 100% in favor of this idea (a racism content warning, and other bigotries while we’re at it).
May I ask something? Why do fics that are either explicitly, irredeemably racist or pedophilic HAVE to be on AO3 at all? If they can casually tell us to just go somewhere else if we don’t like it, then why can’t those stories be kept somewhere else? If people don’t want cp/racism mixed in among their stories, but a small group do, and make it so that their preference is what shapes fandom experience, then their claim of fandom space being egalitarian is an obvious lie.
They don’t have to be, but they are, and that’s not going to change. AO3 was built on the idea that a space where anything goes can be a safe place if everything is properly tagged. So, fine, make racism a content warning then.
I’m fully aware it’s not that easy.
AO3 is a safe space for writers. Therefor fics will not be deleted, unless it’s plagiarism. In example if a fic contains rape but the writer chose “no warnings apply” the abuse team will, if the writer doesn’t change it, change it to “chose not to warn”.
There are browser extensions that allow you to block writers or keywords from your view.
I guess with one of these it should be possible to share a blocklist maintained by black volunteers. But I have no experience with any of them.
Just one quick question for you. If AO3 is supposed to be a “safe space for writers”, then why are fics that satirizes fandom’s racism and racist tropes being deleted from the archive? Satire of fandom is allowed per the TOS, it’s not against anything. But fics that dares to poke fun of these tropes and the writers who use them are deleted, but not the actual racist works who use them in all seriousness?
How does that fit with your narrative of AO3 being “a safe space for writers” when all writers are clearly not equal before the TOS?
Heck, try to get a racism warning applied to a fic that is racist. We’re not even talking about deleting the damn thing, just putting a fucking archive warning on it so it could be blacklisted and avoided. That is apparently too much to ask for an archive warning system that supports that.
So in fact your “just use blocking tools” method not only completely fails – as ever – to address the actual problem here, it is also impossible because these fics are not tagged in an appropriate manner and there’s no archive warning for racist content.
Not to mention, you can’t bring up blocking tags as if it’s in any way effective in the same breath as the ‘chose not to use archive warnings,’ a feature which by design enables shithead writers to blindside readers with whatever fucked up content they want.
You can block ‘chose not to use archive warnings’ too.