News
Changes at LotRFF

Hello,

My name is Keith and I'm delighted to make this very special announcement.

I've been talking with Adora for several weeks about the future of the site. We've come to an agreement where I will be taking on ownership and technical responsibilities for the site.

I can appreciate that this might surprise many of you. Rest assured that all of your stories are safe and the site will continue to exist for a long time to come.

Adora will continue to be very much involved with the site as the founder and moderator. You'll still be able to reach her using her site related e-mail address.

Adora has done an incredible job growing the community over the past 7-years and I'm super excited about helping take the site to the next stage as a team. Expect an all new design, new features and lots more over the coming month or two.

Please shoot an email to us using the contact form if you spot anything that's not working on the site or if you'd like to chat!

I'll post more information about the plans real soon.

Speak to you again soon,

Keith

--Keith Mander on 27/06/11 - 02:42 am 31 Comments

Comments
I have to admit I was afraid this site got sold and wasn't coming back. So glad that didn't happen! Glad to have you as our new administrator! Looking forward to the new updates and the features; will it include a chat/messaging perhaps so contacts with fellow authors can be easier?? *crosses fingers* Anyways, a huge thank you to Adora for bringing this site to life and keeping it running for the past seven years! Can't wait to see the changes! :)
-Beol
- on 28/06/11 - 02:31 am
I must admit that I'm rather concerned about this. You own a company that makes money from buying popular websites, which is fine - but I did not agree that my stories will earn money for the owner of this website when I signed up for the archive. I post these stories for free, so fellow fans might enjoy them - I most definitely do not want to be a user who generates free content for one of the many companies who want to make mone from the social media boom.

Furthermore, I am a little concerned about the legal aspects here. Fanfiction by its nature occupies a grey zone in the copyright and IP debates, and while I do think of fanfiction as trannsformative work that fulfils the requirements of fair use, the moment you try to earn money with it, it becomes quite a different matter. The Tolkien Estate particularly is very, very protective of their copyright, and I'd hate to see our entire fandom targeted because of this.

Mostly though, regardless of the legal issue, fandom, for me and many, is a gift industry. Fandom at large has never reacted well to companies trying to make money from them. Google "Fanlib", if you want an example. That said, I do not quite see why I should create content for free which you will turn into money, especially when there are enough by-fans for-fans alternatives. I've been a vocal supporter of the Archive Of Our Own and the OTW since its planning stage, because I've always feared that something like this would happen in in our near future. I'm really sad to see it start at an archive that has become my main archive, which I've used for so many years. One of my stories is the 5th most read story of the archive, with around 68 000 hits, and I can see no reason at all why all these hits for my stories should make money for you in the future, when I've always seen my stories as a gift to fandom - not as free content for a company to turn into money.
- Esteliel on 28/06/11 - 03:54 am
What Esteliel said.
- Pink Siamese on 28/06/11 - 04:38 am
As the person who owned and sold the site, let me say a couple of things.

Fandom is about the gift, yes. I get that.
That is exactly why I've chosen to devote the time, effort and expense required to run the site for the past seven years. I wanted to give back to the community. This is also why I've never cluttered the site up with ads or attempted to profit off of it in any way.

I have paid out my ass for server fees for nearly a decade that I cannot afford. People love to talk about the supportive nature of fandom, but that doesn't extend to financial matters. I have requested donations several times over the past few years, in addition to providing a donation button directly on the site.

Do you know how many people have contributed over the years? I can count them on one hand.

I'm not criticizing people for that. I'm just saying that even within a fandom that ideally, shouldn't have anything to do with financial issues, someone has to pay.
I don't think it's necessarily fair to get all idealistic about the concept of someone making a little profit off of a site, when nobody seems to be bothered by the alternative of someone having to strain their own finances to keep a site open in the first place.

I've reached the point where I either needed to close the site... or I had to let go of financial responsibility. I felt that selling to Keith and working with him as a team was my best option.

That being said, I didn't just sell the site without extensive negotiation and stipulations in the contract that would allow me a high level of permanent involvement in the community and would protect members and their work.

I wish people would withhold judgment and talk to me about it directly if they have concerns, rather than assuming the worst.

I've chosen an option that not only allows us to keep the site open, but gives me the ability to work with someone who has the time and resources to improve the site in ways that I simply can't do at this time.

People will still be able to read, share and review stories, which was the entire point of the site in the first place.
- Adora on 28/06/11 - 06:42 am
I was afraid that stories would get bumped out...So glad it did not...Welcome aboard Keith! Glad Adora that you are still around! As for the fanfiction world. I watched a biography on Tolkien and in that bio it was stated that Tolkien's greatest wish was for the reader to be able to put themselves mentally into his stories and enjoy them. This is nota direct quote, but a round about, And that is what we do as fans of this man's great achievements. We are not making money on his works or taking from him. If anything we are allowing ourselves come out in our own stories merely based on his. I think he would be proud that we loved his work enough to do this.

Brandy (Haldirsbaby)
- on 28/06/11 - 08:26 am
Financial stability is an issue to almost everyone in this day and age . My family has also been hit by the money crunch . I look forward to seeing how this site will change and/or grow. Good luck to you Adora and to the new owners. I also look forward to hearing from you.
- aelfwine on 28/06/11 - 08:35 am
Glad this is finally happening! Just one question, could one of the changes be that the list box where you choose your character(s) for your stories be changed to checkboxes or radio buttons? I am unable at this time to select more than one character at a time, which makes me not want to post anything!
Also, a chat/message feature would be totally awesome!!!
Adora, congrats for sticking with the site for seven years, that's more than I could ever do! Glad you'll still be involved as well!
Abby, aka Erulassë
- Abbyforth on 28/06/11 - 11:29 am
I wish people would withhold judgment and talk to me about it directly if they have concerns, rather than assuming the worst.

How, when you gave us no chance to do so? Apparently you and Keith Manders have been talking about this for weeks, but you never said a word to the users of the archive. The first we knew of this was when the archive was gone, and all that remained was a note from Keith that he was the new owner - which caused lots of panic for us, and hours of work for Samtyr who tried to backup as much of our reviews as she could.

It's your website, which you can sell if you want. But my stories are mine, and he did not buy them together with the site.

I would have had no problem at all had you slathered the archive with ads in order to pay for the server. But I do have a problem when a company buys the site and does the same, not only to pay for the server, but to make a profit of it.
- Esteliel on 28/06/11 - 02:10 pm
What Esteliel said. I had thought the Fanlib incident would have made people very wary about trying to use fans' work to make money. I did not agree to my stories making money for someone else when I joined this site. I understand there is a financial drain involved, but NOTHING has been said in nearly a year about the financial side or the possibility of the site being sold to someone interested in turning a profit. I would have liked to have been warned. As it stands, due to the underhanded way in which this buyout took place, I have lost all confidence in this site and its owner(s). Please remove my status as a moderator and delete my account entirely. I have already removed all my stories and will not be returning.
- on 29/06/11 - 02:12 am
http://www.keithmander.com/?p=1191#comments
Take back my last comment... Esteliel and NiRi are absolutely right. Oh and just so you know, Fanlib doesn't exist anymore. What does that tell you about lotrfanfiction's future.

Bye lotrfanfiction.com. Oh and please remove my account too.
- on 29/06/11 - 02:19 am
I agree with Esteliel. There are legal issues for those of us who choose to leave our stories on this site if the advertising is meant to turn a profit rather than just maintain the cost of the site. Can Keith reassure us about this? Otherwise, I'm out of here too.
- on 29/06/11 - 04:30 am
Adora, thank you for shouldering the financial burden of this site for so long. I should have known that there was a serious need for contributions. I am sorry that it is now clear to me, but too late to make a difference if I did give. One thing above all I hope does not change, and that is artistic freedom for the authors. I want my favorite authors to be able to continue writing exactly as they do now, NC 17 rating and all.
- Lisse on 29/06/11 - 01:36 pm
First of all I discover that with the change over more than half of the reviews on my stories have mysteriously vanished. Ka-poof! I am very unhappy about this as I treasured those comments.

Secondly, I'm very unhappy that there was no warning or discussion with people on the site about this. Because this site was friendly to the kind of stories I write, I have used this as my primary archive and invested a tremendous amount of time to post nearly 9 years worth of creative output here. I wrote these stories to share with other fans, not because I desired to be a slave using my hard labor to enrich some corporation. I completely understand that there are expenses involved and therefore that ads (which I hate having to look at) may be a necessary evil, but when the stated goal as expressed in interviews and your own blog Keith, is to acquire the site to make money, no I don't appreciate that.
I'd like to know honestly what you plan to offer to make this worth my time to continue being here and to put hours and hours into producing free content for you? In addition there are real concerns about fanfic for profit. As long as this is a hobby and we're sharing for free, we fly under the radar. The minute this is a for-profit venture, watch out.
- elfscribe on 29/06/11 - 07:09 pm
I agree with all the above that oppose you mr. Mander...Philandering corporate Donkey!

I hate to see this site go...The Elves of Tolkien's world are sailing away from here now, cause they can't stand to see it go to pots.

I say this is a mutiny and no one can sue us for it!
- on 30/06/11 - 06:55 am
I agree with all the above that oppose you mr. Mander...Philandering corporate Donkey!

I hate to see this site go...The Elves of Tolkien's world are sailing away from here now, cause they can't stand to see it go to pots.

I say this is a mutiny and no one can sue us for it!
- on 30/06/11 - 07:00 am
Okay, I am still a member...GET WITH THE DARN PROGRAM DUMBASS... I WANT OUT! DELETE IT
- on 01/07/11 - 02:44 am
i see many people are having trouble closing their accounts. not surprising. i have deleted my stories but i want them removed from any server present past or future on which they may be stored ASAP along with my account and all personal information related to it. i sent a request to both emails on the site for my account to be closed and the stories to be purged. do so immediately. i do not want my work or personal info affiliated with a for-profit site which is not run by and for the fans.
- on 02/07/11 - 03:23 am
@Adora: yes, it is costly to run a site like this,and perhaps if you had come to the people who use it and love it then perhaps there might have been another way. other sites go through similar problems and survive by being up front with the members and simply saying it upfront: it costs x dollars to run the site and we are x dollars short - pitch in or it folds. I paid to have an lj acct and would do so for a decent fanfiction site as long as the cost reflects the service provided and is not a for-profit industry. too bad you did not even ask the community if we were interested in that kind of program. i am very concerned about what is on this site now and feel violated because this was all done in a very sneaky way so that i could not opt out and remove all my stuff before you sold it off. if my account remains open and my stories remain accessible i will seek means to force their removal if necessary. really really bad form, dear. trusted you.
- on 02/07/11 - 03:31 am
"Without any income stream, simply none of this would be possible. Some of the most high profile and engaged fan fiction sites (including fanfiction.net, twilighted.net, and harrypotterfanfiction.com) all generate revenue and have used that to grow and improve their sites. "

And they do so with ads and we all were well aware of what the sites do to make money to remain in business. This is not really the same, is it. we joined 'A Tolkien Loving Community" that was dedicated to us - the fans who read and write fanfiction. We who choose to post on ff.net or other for profit sites did so knowing what the sites were about and that ads would always be part of the scene. Those who chose to join here did so on the idea that this was 'our' place, a place only other people who love what we love would spend time in. This depressing event is like finding out your sister sold the house your family lives in to the local slumlord.
- on 02/07/11 - 03:50 am

The most recent news post explains that all plans are on hold and that we're inviting you to speak about the site management.

I want to address some comments here that have not been responded to.

@Lisse: This is discussed further on the FAQ thread. The policy regarding NC-17 content is not set to change. Could it change in the future? Yes, but only if requests by you the users.

@erobey: Your account has been removed, as requested.

- root on 04/07/11 - 02:19 am