branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
2008-02-09 03:37 pm
Entry tags:

Models and Representations

It strikes me that the model underlying OTW is not that of a hobby or advocacy organization, but rather that of a professional organization.

Consider MLA (professional organization of Language and Literature scholars in the US and a bit abroad). They offer advocacy services (check). They offer archiving services (check). They publish a journal (check). They offer a coherent public relations organ on behalf of their members, a group of people who cannot, in reality, reliably agree on what direction the sun rises in (check). They organize a convention (any day now, just watch).

While I find it ironic that this appears to be the model applied to what is, by definition thus far, an amateur concern, I don’t really think it will cause fandom to become a banana republic or wolves to descend or Atlantis to sink or any of the other more wild concerns that have been bruited about. Like any such organization, it only affects the people who choose to participate and has a far more limited scope than its participants, perhaps, wish to admit. Yes, journalists et al will be able to find it more easily, and may therefore be inclined to represent OTW as, well, representative.

But they’ve been doing that since forever, usually on the basis of single fans or similarly isolated groups. I can’t see anything new on that score.

I don’t see OTW kicking down anybody else’s sand castles, either, so if there’s a developing and vocal corner of fandom that is professionalized, articulate and willing to produce software and services for the common good… well then.

As long as they haven’t made non-discretionary and monopolistic deals requiring anyone to fork over absurd fees in order to get dissertations fic printed, I don’t see much problem.

This is not to say I think the debates should stop; far from it. Debates are what keep organizations like that honest. But flailing and wailing and predictions of Doom And Woe To The Apostate, that we can probably do without.

Not that I expect that to happen. This is fandom, after all.