Citizens Against Bad Slash
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(From Sept. 2000)

CABS is a year old. Well, it's a year and a month old, but we missed the actual day, so we're celebrating it now. We're still around and still updating, although I don't know if we've accomplished anything rather than making a few friends, a few enemies and eating a few bags of corn chips. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course we haven't accomplished anything. But what better excuse to feel important, even if we're not?

In honor of this great event, I, Jane, have devised a list of things I have learned and things I would have done differently if I could go back a year and do it all over again. Would I? Of course! This is subtitled "If you want to start your own badfic site," because I've seen some come and go this past year.

Things I've learned from starting CABS
(subtitled: If you want to start your own badfic site....)

The first thing I learned from CABS is that it's very easy to start a site like this but it's a pain in the ass to keep it going. When you first start it, you get all sorts of attention and hatred thrown your way, and it has the same sort of sick appeal that makes people unable to walk away from flame wars. When the smoke clears, and things die off, and people stop telling you that your existence makes them hate gun control laws, you have to remember why you started the site in the first place. Are you really in it to speak out against common slash problems, or are you in it for the attention? Sites that are in it for attention disappear pretty quickly. Keeping it going requires reading more slash in one sitting than most people can tolerate. I have read so much slash. I have seen so many similes for the word "cock" and so many tales of people breathing heavily, sweating and groping each other that sometimes I have to fight the urge to do it to strangers on the street. I would recommend anyone looking to start their own badfic site to determine why they want to do it, and if they're going to keep it up. Pretty soon, people stop paying so much attention and what you have is basically another web site to maintain.

Another thing I learned from CABS is that it was a great choice to remain anonymous, and I'm not being sarcastic.

If I could go back, I would have had CABS focus on a small handful of fandoms rather than all of them. People e-mail asking for their stories to be read or what have you and you end up reading stories about fandoms you don't know and weren't even interested in to begin with. Then you get curious and watch the show. I ended up watching Babylon 5, and The Sentinel, and Oz, and way too many episodes of Highlander.

Be prepared for hate. This sounds like a given, but you can't grasp the enormity of it until you're faced with it. There may be a time when you're laughing evily and thinking you don't give a shit and are still flying high from the incident or group of incidents that made you frustrated enough to start the site. People will call you childish, and ask you who you think you are. They'll call you cunts. They'll say you're spoiled and mean and hurtful, even when you try not to be. I had a Phantom Menace writer e-mail me, and I e-mailed her back what I thought was an even-handed reply, and on the Master and Apprentice list she snipped most of my reply so that it lost its meaning and said "That's what you get from dealing with a 2 year old." Uh, thanks so much. I'm not going into this because I want sympathy, or because I regret anything. I'm not saying that people shouldn't have been pissed, because we expected that they would be. Now, after a year, I still don't give too much of a shit because I still think I'm right. I'm just saying that when you invoke a strong reaction, be prepared for the strong reaction.

People will say "Where's your fic?" Don't bother posting any. We posted some and about two people read it. Someone from the Oz fandom critiqued my story and mailed it to me. I don't know if she wants her name mentioned, but she knows who she is, and thank you. The lovely Maygra from TPM fandom, who was a frequent poster to our message board and a great woman, critiqued Virginia's story. Other than that, it was met with indifference. Then you've wasted a story that you could have posted somewhere else with your real name on it.

Don't make the offer to critique fic unless you're prepared to follow through. We still have stories that were sent to us that we haven't critiqued. If you're one of them, e-mail us a reminder and feel free to add that we're shits for making you wait so long.

Don't try to have a "white" version and a "black" version. It's too much fucking work.

Eat some cake.