What is flaming/ hatemail you ask? Well, let me put it this way. Say, you read a fanfic by an author and you don't agree with a characterization, a certain message or scene in the story, or you think there are elements that are very similar to those found in another story. So, you write a letter of feedback to the author. Now, if you politely tell the author your views for the betterment of the story or the author's education, that's called constructive feedback or criticism. However, if you find it necessary to judge the author's morals or personally attack them, telling them that they deliberately plagiarized or should never write TYR fanfic again, or should have all their stories removed, that is called "flaming."
Flaming or hatemail has happened anonymously to several authors in the fandom seriously discouraging them from writing and participating and I will not tolerate it happening with any of the authors posted here. The Hitching Post was established to encourage writing, not discourage it. However, I will not tolerate defamation or censorship of any kind.
Don't get me wrong, constructive criticism is fine and very healthy for an author as he/she develops, but there is a fine line between constructive criticism and judgmentalism. Unless you're Mr. Ed Spielman himself, it is arrogant, petty, and childish to consider that you have the penultimate right to make judgements about what should be posted and what should not. If you don't agree with an author's writing, treatment of characters, or subject matter, I would hope that you're adult enough to not read that author's works. For parents concerned about their children reading adult material I have one phrase for you: responsible parenting. If your children know you don't approve and you monitor your children's Internet access and wanderings, you have nothing to worry about. Towards those ends, there are also ratings here at the Hitching Post as well as at other sites to help you in making responsible reading decisions.
Just so there's no misunderstandings for anyone: yes, you have a right to your opinion regardless of what it is, and, yes, you have the right to free speech. You do not have the right to steal away the joy someone finds in a pasttime or in writing and you do not have the right to personally attack anyone in regards to a piece they spent a lot of time and effort in writing!!
Many of you will never experience reading a piece of hatemail and for that I'm very glad. But, I want any and all the authors who have blessed me with the privilege to post their stories to feel welcome here and within the fandom as much as possible, therefore, I extend to you, my authors this opportunity. Should you receive any email or feedback that you would deem a flamer and/or hatemail, send it to me. I will read it and if, indeed the writer has flamed you, I will post it here on the page for all to see irregardless of whether or not it is anonymous. The pettiness of such incidents and personal attacks reflect negatively back not upon the individual, who often writes anonymously, but upon the fandom at large making all of us look bad.
There is no reason that the world is not big enough for differences of opinion without judgmentalism. That doesn't mean that you can't have a differing opinion from an author about characterization or what not or alert them that there may be similarities to another story. Authors appreciate those things, especially since we don't always notice them ourselves until much later. I just ask that you remember that this is a fun, lighthearted pasttime that many people enjoy. Please, do not steal their, and my, joy through your immaturity. Also, these stories are called fanfics which is short for fan-fiction, fiction being the operative word here meaning "not based on fact." You cannot characterize or judge an author by what they write because their pieces are meant to be fiction and not necessarily based on the author's real-life morals and/or beliefs.
If you have any questions, comments, or have anything to add to this
topic, please feel free to email me, the Barkeep, at email@example.com.
Please help me fight against the demoralization of our authors and fellow