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Thread: July Activities 2012

  1. #1
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    July Activities 2012

    One of the primary safeguards on the archives that keep readers from encountering themes they would rather not is the rating/warning system. While not failproof, it does allow readers a preview of any heavy or potentially unfriendly themes that might crop up in a story. For some, such themes and higher ratings are a deal-breaker; for others, however, sometimes, they are a deal-MAKER.

    What I would like to discuss is how a story's rating affects your desire to read it. As usual, ask and answer one topic question (TQ). Returning to the discussion is both allowed and encouraged. Here are a few to get you started.:



    You are presented with two stories: one rated Professors with warnings for Suicide, Abuse, and Violence, and one rated 1st/2nd Years that features your OTP and Mild Profanity. Both seem equally interesting to you. Would you choose the story with a higher rating over the lower rated one, or vice versa?

    Are there any ratings or warnings that are dealbreakers for you?

    Have you ever stopped reading a story because you encountered an uncomfortable subject not covered in the warnings?



    This activity must be completed by no later than the end of the day on 15th August to count as your monthly activity in your July requirements.
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  2. #2
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    July Feature: Same-Sex Pairings

    Having just trawled through the Quicksilver Quill Award nominees, I realised that the past year has brought a lot of new SSP works to MNFF. Not only from the Cotillion, but from some of the established authors working through each and every corner of the archives. Same-Sex Pairings is a bit of a niche writing category, but some of the products of that category are stunning, indeed.

    Your challenge, my dear SPEWers, is to find a same-sex pairing story and review it. It doesn't have to be specifically in Same-Sex Pairings; it could be in Femmeslash, Harry/Draco, Remus/Sirius, or even in a completely different category but featuring a same-sex pairing.

    As usual, ask and answer one topic question (TQ). Here are a few to get you started:



    As a reader, to you approach SSP differently than het romance stories?

    Do you, as a reader and reviewer, hold SSP fics to a different standard of pairing plausibility than you do for het pairings?

    Do you find rarepair SSP to be more or less interesting than more mainstream pairings?



    This activity must be completed by no later than the end of the day on 15th August to count as your monthly activity in your July requirements.
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  3. #3
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    You are presented with two stories: one rated Professors with warnings for Suicide, Abuse, and Violence, and one rated 1st/2nd Years that features your OTP and Mild Profanity. Both seem equally interesting to you. Would you choose the story with a higher rating over the lower rated one, or vice versa?
    I'd probably read both eventually, but it would really depend on my mood at the time. If I was tired or just not feeling too great I'd probably want something light and cheerful, so it would be the 1st-2nd fic all the way. However, there are equally times when I feel more drawn to darker things, things which are likely to give me something to think about. I don't mean that a more innocent story can't give me things to think about, but I'm less likely to be drawn into random musings by them.

    Are there any ratings or warnings that are dealbreakers for you?
    I don't usually pay a lot of attention to the ratings/warnings on a story because I can deal with reading about even the most sensitive issues. I'm not a fan of AU stuff, so I don't often read stories with that tag, but if I come across one that interests me then I won't let the warning put me off. I will read just about anything, so no, they aren't ever deal breakers.

    New TQ: Do you dislike the plot spoiler aspect of the warning system? Would you rather pay attention to the warnings and loose some of the surprise of plot twists, or be ignore them and risk reading things you weren't entirely comfortable with?
    Say, for example, that a character is going to die unexpectedly in a fic. I would rather not know about it in advance from the warnings because clearly it's supposed to be a surprise, a plot twist. That's why I don't pay too much attention to the warnings. I'd rather not lose the surprise of the twist, and I'm generally able to cope with any sensitive topics raised in fics.
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  4. #4
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    You are presented with two stories: one rated Professors with warnings for Suicide, Abuse, and Violence, and one rated 1st/2nd Years that features your OTP and Mild Profanity. Both seem equally interesting to you. Would you choose the story with a higher rating over the lower rated one, or vice versa?
    Honestly, I don't really pay attention the warnings at all. I just look at the summary and if I think it's interesting I'll go for it. After I decide whether to read it or not, I'll look at the warnings - and the only thing I ever look for in there is Student-Teacher Romance and Slash. If it's got either of them in there then I won't read it, but if those are absent from the list I won't really care what else is present. But based on the summary, what I will and will not read kind of depends on my mood, just like Sophie said. If I'm feeling kind of angry or upset, I'll go for the higher rated one. If I feel cheerful or just in the mood for a light story I'll go for the 1st-2nd year one. I will, however, read both of them at some point.

    Are there any ratings or warnings that are dealbreakers for you?

    Yes: Student/Teacher Romance and Slash, as stated in my previous answer. Maybe it's because I come from a country where same-sex relationships are severely looked down upon, but I'm not really keen about slash and femmeslash. No offence meant - I just won't read it. And I find Student-Teacher Romances kind of awkward. I'm not saying that having crushes on a young and good-looking teacher isn't wrong, (and I don't really mind having celeb-crushes on older actors, either) but actually going into a relationship with someone old enough to be their father... it kind of makes me a bit skirmish. So if those two warnings are present I won't read the story, but otherwise I don't really care what's in there.

    Have you ever stopped reading a story because you encountered an uncomfortable subject not covered in the warnings?
    No, not really, that's never happened before.

    Do you dislike the plot spoiler aspect of the warning system? Would you rather pay attention to the warnings and loose some of the surprise of plot twists, or be ignore them and risk reading things you weren't entirely comfortable with?

    To tell the truth, I like spoilers . I flipped to the end of DH to see if everything was as I hoped before starting to read the actual book. But in context of this question, I'd say that since the only thing I look for is the SSP and S/T romance, I don't really pay attention to what else I'm seeing in there. That way none of the intended surprises are lost.

    New TQ:
    Alternate Universe - What sort of AU story would you/wouldn't you read?
    There are some AU stores that mess about with pairings - like Harry/Other character or Hermione/Other character. Unless it's a really well written Dramione fic, I don't think I'll read that sort of AU story because I like the pairings the way JK Rowling kept them. However, I do like some good old time-travel fics or Sirius-is-alive stories. They are often a lot of fun to read.

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  5. #5
    Ebil Minion Ravenclaw
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    You are presented with two stories: one rated Professors with warnings for Suicide, Abuse, and Violence, and one rated 1st/2nd Years that features your OTP and Mild Profanity. Both seem equally interesting to you. Would you choose the story with a higher rating over the lower rated one, or vice versa?
    Like Sophie, I would probably want to read both, but it would depend on my mood and the summary of the fic. However, all in all, I would probably reach for the lighter reading. With heavier stories, they weigh on your mind for longer if you read them properly. I prefer light-hearted stuff because itís happier and I tend to read to take my mind off of whatever I donít want to be doing, so I donít want to read things which are more dismal than that. However, if it got too saccharine I might have to get out of there. However, if the Professors fic sounded more interesting, then Iíd go for that one.

    Are there any ratings or warnings that are dealbreakers for you?
    I also tend to ignore the ratings and warnings. I read most stuff, and judging by my WIPs along with my radical shipping, I donít think there are any ratings and warnings that would ward me away. However, I donít think itís so much whatís covered but whether itís written sensitively.

    Have you ever stopped reading a story because you encountered an uncomfortable subject not covered in the warnings?
    I have never actually been in this situation, but I think that I would only stop reading if there was already something I didnít like before I encountered said unmentioned theme i.e. poor grammar/spelling, bad plotline. Actually, I think it would be more a case of an insensitively covered theme. However, if I was already kind of enjoying or intrigued by the story, I wouldnít stop reading just for the one topic. However, if it was a chaptered fic and this uncomfortably presented theme recurred, then I would stop reading. I do believe that mods would notice this and not let it through, which makes the reading experience a lot more comfortable for everyone else.

    Do you dislike the plot spoiler aspect of the warning system? Would you rather pay attention to the warnings and loose some of the surprise of plot twists, or be ignore them and risk reading things you weren't entirely comfortable with?
    To be honest, Iíve never been in this situation either. I donít have a problem with spoilers really (I often read the last page of a book before finishing it) but I usually ignore the warnings anyway. I actually tend to look at reviews before stories to see if theyíre worth reading. I like being forewarned, so I really donít mind this aspect. I donít know that warnings actually spoil a fic that much anyway. If you know a character is going to die, you canít always be sure which character, especially if the fic has been written really well. On the flip-side of the plot-spoiler, some warnings are so obvious theyíre not needed, like Character Death in a murder mystery.
    The one thing that does irritate me a tiny bit about the warnings system is the Sexual Situations tag. If you have mild profanity and strong profanity, why canít you have the same for Sexual Situations. It does annoy me when you have a Sexual Situations tag on a fic but the author has to leave a note to say that itís just for a kiss rather than actual sex.

    Alternate Universe - What sort of AU story would you/wouldn't you read?
    Iím actually writing (or perhaps I should say failing at writing) something AU at the moment, and I think that the premise is reasonably interesting. Iím absolutely 100% fine with people messing with pairings (in fact I find complete canon a little boring at times, and therefore almost encourage this), and I donít mind bringing dead people back to life as long as itís done plausibly. Originality is a good thing so I think the only AU I wouldnít want to read is a rewrite of the books.

    New TQ(from me): Student/Teacher Romance Ė Do you see this as wrong? Why? In what situation would it be acceptable? Unrequited Student/Teacher? What about the use of the rating referring to Former Student/Teacher?
    I personally think that Student/Teacher is fine as long as the student is over 16 and they arenít pressured. Everyone has had that crush on a young, good-looking teacher. As for former students, I see no problem with this at all as a concept on its own.
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  6. #6
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    Student/Teacher Romance – Do you see this as wrong? Why? In what situation would it be acceptable? Unrequited Student/Teacher? What about the use of the rating referring to Former Student/Teacher?
    I kind of find Student/Teacher romances a little bit awkward, especially if the age gap is really high. I think that a student/teacher Romance is acceptable if the age gap is less than seven or eight years. For example, lets say that you have a teacher who has just joined Hogwarts at the age of twenty-three or something. If he falls for a student in her fifth year or above it wouldn't really be a problem for me. But if the teacher is say, forty and the student is sixteen, than I don't think I'd read it. The teacher is old enough to be her father, and I'm pretty sure it's rather awkward.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that having crushes on a good-looking older person is wrong - I have celeb-crushes on a lot of older actors myself. I think Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman (as Snape), Nathan Fillion (Richard Castle) and Tom Hanks are awesome and I often go gaga if I find great pictures of them.

    Former Student/Teacher is not a problem, though, because it's not a student-teacher relationship anymore, exactly. I don't think I have a problem with that

    I think the main reason for me thinking like this is that in my country there are some social rules about who you can be in a relationship with. Since I grew up being taught that you can't go out with a person that much older than you or with a person of the same gender as you, it's remained stuck in my head. I'm sorry if you found this odd .

    New TQ:
    Abuse - how much of it do you think you can handle reading?
    I'm okay with a lot of abuse, like getting tortured by the Death-Eaters or harassed by bullies. Most of the fics are about these sort of abuse anyway. I don't like reading about family abuse, though, especially if it's about a child getting beaten up or spousal abuse. I feel that a family is supposed to be a family, not a warzone. Reading family abuse makes me sad and depressed.

    --Nadia

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  7. #7
    MissMeg
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    I reviewed The Good Daughter, by lucca4.

    Do you, as a reader and reviewer, hold SSP fics to a different standard of pairing plausibility than you do for het pairings?
    I think I do a fair amount of the time because often it takes more effort to convince me that the characters involved in the SSP are in character. It seems like a large number of SSP pairings include a character who is treated as straight in canon (although he/she may be bisexual). There has to be a certain amount of believability/context for me to enjoy any pairing, whether SSP or heterosexual. It takes a little more effort, I think to make Harry believably like (romantically) another guy than it takes to convince me that he's in love with Ginny or Hermione. It takes an incredible amount of effort to convince me that James is romantically interested in another guy since I really can't see him with anyone other than Lily. I suppose that might come from being exposed to more heterosexual relationships than SSP relationships in RL, but I think it comes more from the characters, since I hold a SSP relationship w/ very minor characters or OCs to the same standard as a heterosexual relationship.

    Do you find rarepair SSP to be more or less interesting than more mainstream pairings?
    As a whole, I don't really think so. I'm assuming mainstream pairings refer to mainstream SSP pairings. It really depends on the SSP rarepare-- since there are definitely some rather bizarre ones that I can't see myself ever reading. However, I'm not a huge fan of Sirius/James or Harry/Ron either, so I don't think it's really correlated with rarepair vs. mainstream pairing.

    I've never written a SSP story, so I'm curious:
    New TQ: Do you approach writing a SSP story differently than you would approach a heterosexual romance? How?
    New TQ: Do you prefer reading femmeslash vs a slash pairing with male characters? What about with writing?

    -Meg

  8. #8
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    You are presented with two stories: one rated Professors with warnings for Suicide, Abuse, and Violence, and one rated 1st/2nd Years that features your OTP and Mild Profanity. Both seem equally interesting to you. Would you choose the story with a higher rating over the lower rated one, or vice versa?
    Few warnings will put me off; it's length that will deter me. I rarely read long, many-chaptered stories because most of the time I'm on MNFF is fairly late at night, and I don't want to be delving into something so lengthy. Bearing this in mind, I'd probably go with the second choice, but add the former to my favourites for later perusal. Like others have said, I'd probably end up reading both at some point if the content interested me.

    Are there any ratings or warnings that are dealbreakers for you?
    The only thing I absolutely will not read, as people have already mentioned, is Student/Teacher romances. Not only do I find them awkward to think of, but I just don't like the thought of large age gaps. If, hypothetically, there were to be a young teacher and older pupil, it wouldn't be as bad, but I still would be very reluctant to read it. It's the one taboo that I'm not comfortable with.

    Have you ever stopped reading a story because you encountered an uncomfortable subject not covered in the warnings?
    They only time I stop reading a story is if the writing or characterisation bothers me, so no, I haven't ever stopped reading because of the subject matter. I don't think I would stop if there was potentially upsetting material not previously mentioned, as long as it was written sensitively.

    Alternate Universe - What sort of AU story would you/wouldn't you read?
    Actually, I think AU is the other thing I don't read. I don't actively avoid it, but I feel that there are so many opportunities within canon for excellent stories that we don't need to stray far from it. That said, in areas where there's little given information, like Next-Gen, Marauder Era, or Historical Era, I'm much more accepting of AU because there's nothing to say that it never happened. I don't mind people changing pairings from any era, but it's when they change big things, like killing vital characters or even relocating characters, that I don't like as much.


    Student/Teacher Romance – Do you see this as wrong? Why? In what situation would it be acceptable? Unrequited Student/Teacher? What about the use of the rating referring to Former Student/Teacher?
    I do see it as wrong. I can't justify it to myself. I get it when students have a crush on their teacher, although I've never had one; but I just can't understand why a teacher would reciprocate feelings for a student - especially when they're so much younger. I think my main problem is the age gap, and therefore I wouldn't be keen on a Former Student/Teacher relationship either. I've never seen a fic about a young teacher and their student, although I'm sure some exist. I still don't think I'd read it, as I feel there's something lacking in a teacher who would defy law and expectations just for a relationship with a current student.

    New TQ: How careful are you when you rate/warn your stories? Do you err on the side of caution, or do you take a risk to preserve potential plot spoilers?
    I used to be very careful when I rated my stories, worried that they might get rejected if they didn't display suitable warnings. However, as I got used to the system more, I relaxed a lot. To be honest, few of my stories use many warnings, as I tend to write humour or more universally-friendly fics. That said, when I wrote the story of Helena Ravenclaw and the Bloody Baron, I got quite carried away with the death scene. It was evident from the outset that they were going to die at the end of the story, but I included warnings for character death, suicide and violence, and boosted the rating up to 6th-7th years. The rest of the story may not have needed such suggestive warnings, but the last few lines could potentially have been upsetting to someone who wasn't expecting it.



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  9. #9
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    You are presented with two stories: one rated Professors with warnings for Suicide, Abuse, and Violence, and one rated 1st/2nd Years that features your OTP and Mild Profanity. Both seem equally interesting to you. Would you choose the story with a higher rating over the lower rated one, or vice versa?
    I would probably read the higher-rated story. I'm not much of a fluff person, so I prefer subject matter more pertinent to adults, and that tends to mean higher ratings and more warnings.

    Are there any ratings or warnings that are dealbreakers for you?
    Not really. The things that end up being real dealbreakers for me are summaries and pairings. If you give me a James/Lily story with a dull summary, I won't touch it with a ten foot pole.

    Have you ever stopped reading a story because you encountered an uncomfortable subject not covered in the warnings?
    No. I have stopped reading stories because they stray into the land of suck, but on this site, that doesn't tend to be an issue too often. More often than not, though, it's mostly because I put off reading a chapter until boom, I'm twelve behind and I just never get around to it.

    Do you dislike the plot spoiler aspect of the warning system? Would you rather pay attention to the warnings and loose some of the surprise of plot twists, or be ignore them and risk reading things you weren't entirely comfortable with?
    Ugh, yes. Ruining plot twists with warnings sucks. Unfortunately, people need to know what's coming if it's something heavy like drug abuse or rape, because not everyone can deal with reading such subjects and should be forewarned that uncomfortable waters be on the horizon. That's why I don't bother reading warnings on stories I take up for fun. Whatever it is, as long as it's well written, I don't care.

    On another vein, I really think the powers that be should make a Snanyone warning. Here and there, someone will chuck a random Snape romance in a story and make me want to yarf.

    Alternate Universe - What sort of AU story would you/wouldn't you read?
    Hmm, let's see: Alternate Book 7, James dies but not Lily, Dudley is a wizard
    Die in a fire: Sirius didn't die, Snapewives, unbeknownst offspring of various Marauders, and I'm sure I'm blocking several out from my conscious thought for my own protection.

    Student/Teacher Romance – Do you see this as wrong? Why? In what situation would it be acceptable? Unrequited Student/Teacher? What about the use of the rating referring to Former Student/Teacher?
    I'm not averse to it, really. I don't particularly like to see it glorified or romanticised, as it seems an abuse of power and trust on the part of the teacher. However, if it were, say, a brand new teacher in their early 20s and an of-age student (16 or older), it wouldn't be too bad. But the horrid thing I tend to find is Snape/student stories, and that, besides being a gross character assassination, well...it's just gross all around, really. Former Student/Teacher is a non issue for me because what students do when they leave school is no one's business but theirs. It's not against the law and I have no problem with it.

    Abuse - how much of it do you think you can handle reading?
    I don't care, really. I can handle a lot of things, as I'm an adult and have seen far worse than anything allowable on this site. What I don't like is when abuse is mishandled and treated like a plot device and not a personal trial a character has to deal with. When that happens, I cringe on behalf of all possible abuse victims who might happen upon that story.

    How careful are you when you rate/warn your stories? Do you err on the side of caution, or do you take a risk to preserve potential plot spoilers?
    Well, as I'm a mod, I should think I know what should be what, but I think I rate stories adequately. I had a reader once gripe at me about a Remus/Sirius story of mine (in that category), and a Slash warning wasn't attached. Yeah...that's what I thought.


    I like this discussion. You all are so active and well-spoken!
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  10. #10
    Ebil Minion Ravenclaw
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    I reviewed 1942: A Rhapsody in Riddle, by eldritch.

    I've never written an SSP either, so I'm interested to know how others do it.

    As a reader, to you approach SSP differently than het romance stories?
    No, I donít really. Yes, I do understand that theyíre different, but theyíre not as different as they might seem. They still need to build a plausible relationship and meet the same standard as any other fic, het romance or otherwise.

    Do you, as a reader and reviewer, hold SSP fics to a different standard of pairing plausibility than you do for het pairings?
    It depends again on how well written the story is. If the characters are straight in canon, then it will be more difficult to overcome this impression. I salute people who can do this: I donít know that I could manage to do that. However, it does take a lot to get around canon relationships. For example, Harmony is slightly more plausible than Drarry because in canon, Harry and Draco donít like each other very much, but both are sort of undermined by the fact that all of the characters are canonically paired up.

    Do you find rarepair SSP to be more or less interesting than more mainstream pairings?
    As I tend to view SSP in a similar way to het pairings, I would say that I do, as I tend to prefer rarepairs more in general. That said, SSP is more Ďrareí section of pairing anyway. I like Dumbledore/Grindelwald, but I am also a big fan of Snupin, which Iím pretty sure falls under rarepair SSP.

    Do you prefer reading femmeslash vs a slash pairing with male characters?
    I donít think I have a preference as such. I find that femmeslash tends to be more romantic and male slash more sexual, although this is not true of all stories. The story I reviewed, 1942: A Rhapsody in Riddle, contained no sex, very little sexual behaviour, and quite a lot of romance. Really, I think it just depends on the characters for me.


    New TQ: If you were given a choice to read an SSP or a major canon pairing, which would you choose, and which do you think you would find easier to review? Why?
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