I'm uploading all my fandom links to del.icio.us (an activity that's dreadfully boring, but somehow delights the archivist in me), and I find myself faced with a dilemma.
A year or two ago, my intense love for Firefly led me to fandom. The overlap between fandoms led me from Firefly to Harry Potter. I scoffed initially, but then I found musesfool
's huge and fabulous Remus/Sirius rec list: So, PoA Finally Convinced You That SB/RL Is Canon! Here's The Fic You Must Read!
, and I was hooked.
, because I'm obsessive, I tracked down replacements for all the links on her list which had expired since 2004, when she put it up.
Mostly, the links weren't working because the authors had retooled their sites. However, there are a couple that expired because something went down and the people who wrote their fics got the hell out of Dodge. Anne P, for example, erased all traces she could find for "Whom He May Devour" because she'd gone over to... wait for it... the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fandom. (I'm trying hard not to judge. I mean, it's not like canon-HP is Art with a capital A, apologies to JKR.) I think Arabella and Firelocks (of Sugar Quill) had some kind of falling out, because their 3-part fic, "Down From The Tree", got the same treatment. (Although part two is still up on Sugar Quill, which is odd.)
The thing, though, is that nothing really dies on the interweb, and I'm a crafty websearcher, and therefore I found all the stuff that the authors tried to erase from existence. [ETA, for clarity:Found on places where the authors seem to have posted them themselves, but, at the same time, these places -- mostly mailing list archives -- are such that they can't be readily altered. I'm not talking about Wayback.]
So, the dilemma is this: do I post links? I'm leaning towards yes. The pieces were, after all, originally published online, and have been read by hundreds of people already. They probably exist on dozens of hard-drives and I'm sure that they've been printed out.
In addition, I have little patience with people who deny their previous work because they're now interested in something new. [ETA, again for clarity: And I mean precisely that, not "removed because the authors are now publishing work on paper under the same name and don't want their stuff to be confused." I realize that motivation for removing web-archived work varies.]
That said, there are articles of mine which I'm terribly embarrassed about -- stuff I wrote in highschool or my early twenties -- and the fact that they can be found through Google irritates me. Juvenalia may be interesting to researchers, but my youthful pompousity makes me blush, and the thought that various people in my life might find them is horrifying. (Same with my early erotica. It's blackmail city, I tell you.)
I think this is different than what happens when you switch fandoms, but I can understand how it's possible someone might have the same reaction to their previous fanfic efforts as I do to my unfortunate 1993 highschool essay for the Quotidien website. (And don't bother googling: I was successful in getting that one off the server.)
On the other hand, though, I'm pretty convinced by the argument that publishing your work means it no longer belongs solely to you. [ETA, again, because this was sloppy of me: I don't mean that it's "no longer your work," I mean that it takes on a life beyond you, and that it exists in other people's heads, and that it becomes part of the collective imagination.]
What do you think, o flist? Where should the line in the sand be drawn?
Erring on the side of "not-pissing-people-off," and also "not-being-so-self-important-as-to-
Google," I'm not posting the links. */unnecessary Saturday-hand-wringing
* Whew. Wankery is exhausting, you know? And I'm still sitting in my pajamyas as I write this, so it's clearly time to stop.]