News
What would you like to see happen?

This message comes from both Adora and Keith.

We've been discussing the reactions nonstop over the past few days. We've read all the comments and we know you're unhappy - and we don't want you to be.

We honestly just want to make positive changes to the site, but not at the cost of driving people away. We're both willing to work with you to find a solution that is more comfortable.

All previous plans are on hold.

What would you like us to do to resolve the situation? Would you prefer to have Adora back in charge?

The server has been paid up for quite some time, so if people truly want to have Adora back in charge, losing the site in the immediate future would no longer be an issue.

Keith would like to remain as part of the team (and fulfil a role as technical admin), but any future changes would go through Adora and be put to a vote by the community itself.

We're both busy with family commitments in the coming days but wanted to get this quick message out to you to begin this dialogue with you.

- Keith & Adora

--Keith & Adora on 04/07/11 - 12:59 am 44 Comments

Comments
This morning when I logged on, there was a newsitem of Aelfwine where she/he addressed concern regarding the possible response of the Tolkien Estate now that the ownership has taken a commercial interest in this site. Why has that newsitem, posted by a mod of all people, been removed?

What is this for a kind of action? Is this another way of not listening to members and their mods, simply because they put something up there that you guys do not wish to have an emphasis on, let alone have not adressed these very valid reasons at all?

Way to go on restoring that trust and do not bother to say that this was a stupid whoopsie that has been made. That excuse is wearing very thin now.
- Rhapsody on 04/07/11 - 01:25 pm
First I want to say thanks for the News Archive button, I'm sure quite a lot of people (me included) didn't know before how to find older items.
For my part I'm willing to wait and see what will happen with the site, though I agree with what many already said, this community knows what it wants and I don't want flashy shiny features, I'm a reader, I come to this site to simply read stories and comment on them.
But this is also the crux of things - if all of my favorite authors leave, then of course I'll follow them. For now I'll just see how things will develop, though I repeat, I'm quite happy with the site as it is.
- tinara on 04/07/11 - 01:57 pm
One thing. Stay as an administrator if you like and want to learn about Tolkien (which I personally don't believe you), but please, roll back the plans to commercialize this site. That, or get the eff out and keep your grubby fingers off fandom. As it's been pointed out, and as at least Adora should understand, fandom is a gift economy. It won't (and for copyright reasons, can't) mix well with money.

@Rhapsody: Since the article was removed, could you summarize what it said?
- Innin on 04/07/11 - 02:36 pm
From the top of my head, Aelfwine expressed her/his main concern about the Estate's possible actions to take on this website. She shared the link to the FAQ the estate has on this: http://www.tolkienestate.com/faq/p_2/

and cited this part from it:


"Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)
The simple answer is NO.
You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".
Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.
The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment."
- Rhapsody on 04/07/11 - 02:46 pm

The former (and current) users of this board would, I think, want to be assured that this site remains as it was. For us, it is about feeling at home in a place where we can be assured that our work is safe, and our concerns dealt with by a an admin and moderator who will respond to us quickly, and understand us.
Henneth Annun Story Archive shows its hosting fees, its target and shortfall on the front page with a donate button. As they say, 'every web site costs something to operate.'
No-one is naieve enough to think it does not cost to use web-space, and we remember the last time this archive went down for a few days because it needed hosting fees. They were found, but apart from another notice about donations perhaps a year ago, nothing has been heard since, and sometimes you do have to get pretty much in peoples faces to remind them that donations to keep the site running are vital. After all, people come onto an archive to read, review or to post, and a donate button is easily overlooked.
Henneth Annun is doing well with its current donation drive, and there is no reason why LOTRFF could not have adopted a similar approach.
Since everything has been said, all over the web, about the illegality of making profit from fanfiction, I won't go into that because, for the people who have been concerned and angry enough to take their stories down, this post will, I am afraid come too late. And it is they who I have been thinking of ever since this began. If we could be assured that the archive remains as it was, dependent on donations (and we do not mind being reminded; for if we had been earlier, Adora would not have needed to sell the site.) assured that our work is safe, that we can contact a person who understands and enters our concerns, that still leaves the departed authors with the knowledge that they felt forced into removing stories that acted as a record of their lives as fanfiction authors. And some of them went back to the time this archive opened.
Our only payment as fanfic authors, is to be able to see, by the click counts on our stories, if people are reading. One can pretty much tell that if a story's word count climbs day after day, that some people, somewhere, are reading it, not just glancing, and hitting the back-button. Some of those authors had hit-count numbering thousands or tens of thousands. Hitting that delete button is traumatic, believe me. I have not done it here - yet, but I have elsewhere.
And then there are the reviews. While some people will save them, not all will remember to. And that is lost, that 'record', that knowledge people read their work and liked it, were stirred enough to review it. It is hard work. It is blood, sweat and tears, it's tiredness, frustration, it's headache-inducing. We only do it because not writing it is not an option for us. We love what we do, but it takes its toll.
Deleting those stories is like self-harm; a kind of suicide, destroying that record of readership, and would not have been done lightly. I cried for those people.
If this site were operated as before, I think the least that should be done is an offer to reinstate those authors stories as they were, with the read-count and reviews they had before they deleted their work. I believe all is backed up, so it should be possible. They might refuse, and may not post any new material on here anyhow, as the trust has gone, but as a gesture of goodwill, I think this should be offered to them as a visible record of their may years of work.
Most of those authors were the bedrock of this site, the authors who win awards, who are respected in the fandom, and with a fan-followings who will go where they go. They are the people who made the Tolkien fandom into the place it is: a place where one can read some of the most astonishingly innovative, transformative, courageous, sensual, dramatic and brilliant work posted online. They did not deserve to be put in the position where they felt they had to hit that delete button.
Siân.
- Spiced Wine on 04/07/11 - 08:02 pm
From what I've seen from the plethora of posts at various wank sites, I seriously doubt anything you say at this point would change anyone's view point. Seems to me the members don't trust either you or Adora. I don't see how you can recover from this foible.
Soc Kemhard
- Soc Kemhard on 05/07/11 - 05:00 am
Tsk tsk tsk. And you're censoring people now, here and on your blog? You have moved from a shovel to a backhoe, dude! *looks down in hole you have dug yourself into* ECHOOOOO.... echoooo
- Soc Kemhard on 05/07/11 - 09:03 am
I am not a writer who often posts my work. But I understand every word Sian (Spiced Wine) said. What I write is a part of my soul. I do not want to write or read trifling little stories. I want to read stuff with real emotion and life. That is not always pretty and “G” rated, though sometimes it can be beautifully nc-17 rated. A Number of times it has been said, “nothing will change”, and then a disclaimer is added…”yet”.

I want to have that “yet” or “for now” removed never to show up again. I want every author here, and every reviewer to be assured freedom. NO site on the internet is fool proof against underage people gaining access to what is deemed unfit for them. Do what you can to make it secure and then let us be adults. I am 49 years old, far too old to be censored. As Spiced Wine says, we write because we must. The authors that bring so much traffic to this site will keep writing. It is up to you to keep them here. I think complete assurance of freedom and safety for mature authors would go a long way. We love our young fan fic authors. They are our future. But there are any number of places they can read and post. I enjoyed the adult community that this was, and I hope you will unquestionably remain.
- Lisse on 06/07/11 - 10:18 pm


The trouble is, Lisse, is that this has gone spectacularly tits-up, and the adult content is only part of the problem.
1) Keith Mander made it clear that he wanted to run this site to basically make himself revenue; not, as I thought at the beginning, to get the site to pay for itself -- a very different proposition, and one which I am sure most people would not be averse to.

From that comes
2) How do you monetize a site so it will bring revenue? Well, FF.Net runs ads; when I visit, the screen blanks out and hit me with a full-page ad; annoying, but I rarely go on FF.Net. However FF.Net will not host Adult rated stories. Both it, and LJ (under different owners) completely buckled under pressure, and removed adult content without prior warning. Ask Ziggy or Esteliel, both have to self-censor to post their work there.

Maybe Keith Mander can navigate the waters of advertising, but if that is so, then I can see all Adult content being pulled in the same way. We can only look at what's happened in the past, and to far larger concerns. He bought a Twilight fanfiction site.
Twilight is young, and sparkly (couldn't resist!) with a majority young authorship. I doubt he would run into adult content problems on there. It's like the Bahama Banks, pretty, shallow waters, where you can see what the content is. But that patch of the Pacific out there, where the waters turn deep, deep blue? That's the Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the ocean of fanfiction (and that's us: the Tolkien fandom.) It's a mile deeper than Mount Everest is high, and there are creatures swimming in those depths people don't want to imagine, and science is only just giving names to. Those names: Dubcon, MPreg, Noncon, Sub/dom, BDSM, slash, twincest, threesomes and moresomes? You have to understand what those names mean, and what they bring with them if you try and catch them. They're not tame, they're not comfortable, but they're never going to go away. Those creatures are perfect for their environment, and some people do want to study (read) them. So, if, as a site owner, you get barraged with complaints about adult content coming up in ads on a site that a twelve-year old can access, he or she is going to have to let those dark creatures swim loose. LOTRFF may exist to become a family-friendly site, but this particular author of a series founded on incest, M/M relationships, rape, torture and the occasional orgiastic ritual, will obviously not be using it.

And then there is the Tolkien Estate. While the Organization For Transformative Works are willing to defend our right to create and post non-profit fanfic, and to host our stories whatever the rating, I doubt a businessman would. To do that you would have to care deeply about fanfiction, and believe in it.
No fanfiction writer wants to see their Long Peace with the Tolkien Estate explode into the Dagor Bragollach and become the Dagor Nirnaeth Arnoediad. (Again, couldn't resist.) We're happy writing and posting our non-profit stories. Fanfiction as a whole does not mesh well with money. After all, if we wanted to make money from writing, we would not be writing fanfiction. We know we cannot sell it. We are passion-driven creatures. We don't mind archives paying for themselves, but even were the Tolkien Estate not an issue, how many people would be willing to post on a site knowing their work is paying some-one a good wage, while they (like many people) are just managing to make ends meet?

But the point is; none of these concerns were truly addressed, and people left. A community of 7 years duration has become a place I don't want to post any-more. It's like a city after a bomb's been dropped. We'll regroup and rebuild in other places, (and are already doing so) because we follow the authors -- that's what fanfiction is about after all: writing, reading, reviewing, discussing, becoming fans of fanfiction writers and their works. What can be done here, on LOTRFF? Now, I honestly don't know. It would have to be something incredible, and almost impossible.

- Spiced Wine on 07/07/11 - 04:12 pm
@ Spiced Wine and Lisse

What I find very disturbing is one of Keith's comments on his blog to KYMAHALEI concerning NC-17 material.

I’ll reiterate that nothing is changing with regards to the site’s policies in the immediate term. I’d like to provide some further clarification on this; could this therefore mean a change in the future if not now? It could, yes, BUT only if you, the users, desire to see any change. As far as I’m concerned on the matter, my opinion is mute and I’m not going to impose my ethics on the policies. Let’s have an open discussion on this and make a collective agreement. (emphasis mine)

He's not going to impose his ethics on the site policy? That statement there makes me nervous, because it speaks that he has a personal issue with the NC-17 content, and if that's the case, when challenged, he's not going to fight for the authors' rights to post it.
- Soc Kemhard on 07/07/11 - 09:17 pm
@ Soc Kemhard.
From the beginning, I felt that ultimately, NC17 rated works would be pulled under pressure, and that there could be no reassurance on that issue.
I have now uploaded all my works elsewhere, and deleted them from this site. After four years, it hurt, but I would rather them be hosted on an archive where I know they are safe, and the owner, who also writes Adult work, will welcome them. Arbitrary deletion of NC17 has happened before, and I could see it happening here. The fact that is had not, and nothing had changed, was not reassuring to me.
- Spiced Wine on 07/07/11 - 10:40 pm
It's been some days. For now an update about any behind-the-scenes developments would be great. Transparency goes a long way, don't make the same mistakes again.
- Innin on 09/07/11 - 05:33 pm
What would you like to see happen?

I would like to see you stop being a coward and address the questions/concerns brought to you by the members of the community you ruined. Your silence in this matter proves just what sort of a person you are. Not only is ignoring the members of your website rude, it's bad business.

To those members who are still here and decided to give Keith a chance, perhaps you should check out the link someone posted at Keith's blog (http://globetrooper.com/round-the-world-slowly-with-a-laptop-2011>. Seems he is planning to travel the world. Kind of hard to do if you're only making a modest salary to pay your bills, eh? Face it, Keith is a liar and a coward and has abandoned this site. Hope you don't wake up one morning and find it has disappeared. Sadly, I think that is exactly what will happen.... ~Soc Kemhard
- Soc Kemhard on 27/07/11 - 02:12 am
Is that dialogue going on somewhere else? If so, kindly direct us to it, because I don't see it here.

I do owe Mr. Mander a big thank you though: transferring my fics to another site (and re-editing them in the process) has really got my creative juices flowing again. So, for what it's worth, at least one good thing has come from this mess.
- Laurelin on 28/07/11 - 11:40 am
The link was given at Keith's blog (sorry, links don't work for me here, you have to copy/paste):

http://www.keithmander.com/?p=1191#comments

Note, Keith actually DID reply at his blog, saying it doesn't cost much to travel the world. Riiiiight. Sorry, man, but it takes more money than the average person has.

The link given about him traveling the world:

http://globetrooper.com/round-the-world-slowly-with-a-laptop-2011

- Soc Kemhard on 28/07/11 - 10:34 pm
di·a·logue /ˈdaɪəˌlɔg, -ˌlɒg/ [dahy-uh-lawg, -log]

1. conversation between two or more persons.
2. an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.

And here on the LOTR Archive? 3. SILENCE . . . for 31 days and counting.
- Erullisse on 04/08/11 - 06:59 am
Could some one please be honst? What is going on?
- Lisse on 14/09/11 - 07:53 pm
Could some one please be honst? What is going on?
- Lisse on 14/09/11 - 07:53 pm
Could some one please be honst? What is going on?
- Lisse on 14/09/11 - 07:53 pm
how are things going in here, this site will profit from our stories?
- peamaps on 14/10/11 - 10:39 am