Critics United and random Campyness

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So, as I mentioned before, there has been a lot of tension between authors on Fanfiction.net and a group calling themselves Critics United. Basically, CU has kind of vowed to review only in constructive ways, stick to approved orthography and grammar and keep an eye on stories that might or might not break the rules of FF.net. Doesn’t sound so bad.

But now a lot of authors complained about how suddenly their stories disappeared  “without warning”, and blamed it all on CU. Cue the forming of Authors United [against Critics United *sticks out tongue*]. Not an actual, single group, but this is essentially what they represent, and it’s easier to write :P

Just to clarify, I’m not taking sides here. I think Critics United have a right to form a group, and they have a right to warn authors who break the site rules – and to report the relevant stories if they are not changed accordingly. Equally, the authors can ask them to stop doing so if they feel they are treated unfairly (is that even a word? oO).

What I don’t like is this attitude of superiority some of the Critics display. I’ve browsed their forums, and although they claim not to be arrogant and smug about their cause at all, some of them are. Very smug, actually. I’m not pissed off by people notifying authors that their stories are breaking rules – I’m pissed off by people who a) tell people via review, publicly, instead of sending them a PM, and b) act like they are scolding a child that did wrong and needs to be corrected by a mature adult. Again, not all of them do that, but I’ve seen some do it. Not to me, but that’s not the point – I’m merely ranting about something I don’t like here, so don’t call me out on “not being affected personally blabla”.

On the other hand, we have AU (here standing for Authors United; we are talking about fanfiction after all, so I thought I needed to make that clear^^). AU are authors who have been informed about their rule-breaking and/or reported by members of CU. Some of them had their stories removed or their accounts banned; I understand that their are irritated, to say the least. But as far as I understand, that never happened without warning, at least not if a member of CU did the reporting. Yet AU started a protest against Cu and demand CU be disbanded and future groups of their kind be forbidden.

Now, while I think both groups have some valid points (CU: Stop breaking the rules!; AU: Stop being so arrogant about your ’cause’!), I also think that there has been bullshit coming from both sides. The whole thing is getting a little ridiculous, to be honest. So, the whole point of this post is to say that BOTH sides should calm down a little, take a deep breath and try to understand each other a little better. Rule-breaking is bad, but being self-righteous about deciding who actually breaks the rules and who doesn’t is NOT better. Guys, can’t we all just, like, talk to each other in a civil manner and stop the whole “You’re mean! – You’re meaner!” thing before it gets out of hand?

Also: Please, CU, could you just stop scolding people for bad spelling and grammar? Yes, I know it’s annoying to read, but you don’t have to – that’s the wonderful meaning of “freedom of choice”.  If the story complies to the rules, it’s fine. Bad grammar never hurt anyone. You’re free to ask the author if they could try to improve their writing if you feel the need to do so, but please, don’t bully them into anything. That’s just low.

*phew* Okay, I think I’m done here. Just had to get this out of my system. I like FF.net, and I’d rather it doesn’t turn into a big, virtual kindergarten.

 

~ ~ ~

 

On a rather unrelated note: It’s June 16, and that means the first Camp NaNoWriMo of this year is officially half over!

Unfortunately, my novel is not. I’m at 25k, but only about 30% of the plot is done. Well, damn. I’m gonna need to do some sprinting if I want to start part two of three in August. If you’re interested to read some excerpts, head over to the wonderful Campfire Chat in the NaNo forums. I try to post an excerpt every evening (German evening, that is) – sometimes translated by me, sometimes Google will have to do the job. Also, several other awesome people post their great writing there. It’s cool, you should check it out ;)

That said: Have a nice day, and happy writing! :)

 

 

-Ricarda

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5 responses »

  1. My problem with Critics United is that they literally benefit no one. They aren’t giving constructive criticism, are taking away enjoyment from readers, and are harming the community. I’m not saying they should be disbanded, but I do wish they would just knock it off.

    Frankly, I think FF.net’s guidelines are deeply flawed, but while CU is just a symptom of that it doesn’t excuse them. My personal belief is that if everyone stuck to ignoring things that didn’t affect them (like “rule breaking” fanfics) we’d all be better off. I don’t really understand why they’ve taken it upon themselves to be moderators–they aren’t affiliated with FF.net and by doing this they’re harming good writers.

    (I apologize for my rantiness ;) I just posted about this too and then found this post from the random-blog button and got riled up)

    Also, good luck on Camp NaNo! I’ve wanted to do that but there’s just never been a good year.

  2. Show me one piece of evidence that CU reports stories for grammar and spelling, other than obvious trollfics.

    They focus primarily on stories that break site rules, such as copyrighted song lyrics, plagiarism, interactive contests, non-story announcements disguised as stories, and of course– real person fiction.

    The rumor about their attacking stories over piddling details is just that: a rumor. Wasn’t there also a rumor that one of their members committed suicide last suumer because she couldn’t handle the stress? Or was she killed in a car accident? Just like the kid who supposedly committed suicide after getting a nasty review from them, but then showed back up a few weeks later claiming that CU had hacked his account and it was all a lie.

    Show some common sense, people. If they were all that evil, don’t you think FFNet would have acted by now? Ask for some proof before you believe everything you hear.

    Oh, and FYI . . . the “dead” CU member returned this week to brag about some writing contest. Not bad for a dead chick.

    • Dear Oh, Really?, please don’t take this answer too personally, I’m simply correcting some of your assumptions about my post/opinion/research and not trying to insult you, or CU, or its members, for that matter.

      First off, I never said they *reported* stories for bad grammar, I merely mentioned the scoldings (and yes, that’s what it sounds/reads like to me) I’ve seen in some reviews, and occasionally someone in the forum asked for advice whether or not to call an author out for their bad spelling or grammar.
      Second, I never said that CU don’t have a valid point in reporting stories that break the site rules; I just don’t like the attitude in some of their postings. I never said they are “all evil”, as you so nicely put it. Take a deep breath, re-read my post, and you’ll see. Really, you can relax, I won’t stir up the FF.net folks against CU.
      Third, what on earth do faked deaths have to do with anything I said? ôO I mean, it’s cool they are alive, but what do I have to do with them?

      Oh, and one last thing: I don’t go around just repeating rumours. I read a good part of the CU and some of the AU forums, to see what all the fuss was about, so I think I can very well say my opinion is based on facts, not Tumblr ramblings, whiny author’s blog posts or cheesecake.

  3. It’s interesting how this thing is still popping up from time to time. How CU got blamed for the purge, how they are nothing but evil minions of satan, etc. Not that you said that, of course, but those are the most common complains about that group.

    Kind of reminds me how they were attacked after someone in tumblr wrote an article (full of lies, mind you) with photoshoped screen captures completely aimed at making the group look bad. Then the purge happened and it escalated quickly.

    And yet, they’re still there, which to me it means that CU isn’t in the wrong about what they do.

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