The Official TFN Archive Thread: Jan update!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by TFN_Archive_Sock, Sep 10, 2007.

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  1. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    If you're rewriting a fic pretty much from the ground up (and this is at least your fourth time around editing it specifically for the Archive), I feel I have to ask: Why? Just to get it into the Archive? If it's something that really means that much to you, then go for it; that's your decision. But I would seriously recommend questioning why it's that important. In our Unofficial FAQ, we specifically say that if the thought of a story being rejected really upsets an author, then don't submit. Because let's face it: The Archive involves rejection. A story might be rejected for reasons the author disagrees with. A story might be rejected multiple times. There is no guarantee of archival, ever, for any fic. And if that's something that really bothers a writer, then why bother putting yourself through that process? The Archive isn't worth adding that sort of stress to anyone's life.

    I know that what I'm saying here probably sounds contradictory considering my staff position, so I want to be as absolutely clear as I can, and I'm saying it to everyone who reads this thread. I am not trying to discourage people from submitting. Ever. However, the Archive isn't for everyone, and it's not supposed to be a source of ongoing frustration, and being archived doesn't give you any serious levels of prestige or access to an elite audience or any special features that you can't get on the JC or FF.N or any number of other sites. Trying to get a fic archived should be about improving your skills as a writer, writing the best story you can and sharing it. If anyone's adding psychological baggage to the process beyond that, stop. Please. The Archive (and fanfic, and the internet) shouldn't be that important. If anyone thinks that they must be archived to "arrive" as a writer, reassess. That's not true. And editor or not, I simply will not try to put up a false front of the Archive's overall importance.

    I love the Archive. I think it's fun. It's definitely an historic part of TF.N (which, let's be real honest, is probably its biggest draw at this point in time). I encourage anyone who's interested in participating to give it a shot. But please, guys, don't put it on a pedestal it doesn't deserve. The most important thing in fanfic is to write stories that please you. Write things that resonate with you. Then the issues of having a big audience or critical approval or archival will rest in their proper places.

    I'm honestly a little confused here, Striker. The Archive has never, to my knowledge, had a standing procedure of reviewers betaing a fic in any official capacity. Beta work stands outside the Archive's purview. Any reviewer may be a beta if they so choose, but they do so apart from their position on staff, and having a reviewer as a beta neither counts as extra credit toward archival nor grants any guarantees or inside track. In fact, if a reviewer serves as a beta for a story?and pretty much all of us have at some point?that person may not review the story when it's submitted. We strive for the most objective reviewing process we can achieve, and that objectivity would be severely undercut if individual reviewers could rubber stamp acceptances via beta work. You may, of course, ask one of the reviewers if they'd be willing to beta for you, but if so, the Archive as an entity isn't involved in any capacity.

    Also, just as a general FYI, the queue is no longer empty. It actually wasn't for very long after I first looked at it. That post of mine was just a wee snapshot in time, I 100% expected activity to be less than during my last stint on staff, and my comment abo
  2. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Well, the only time I can think of that was in the very first days of the archive, when JediGaladriel betaed, formatted and cover-arted my first three submissions.
  3. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    If she betaed them, she didn't (or shouldn't have) review them. That's absolutely been the rule for as long as I've played any part in the Archive, and I had thought it was a rule from the Archive's beginning. Formatting is simply done by whichever editor has the time to do so, and cover art is entirely separate from anything to do with the reviewing process. As Atty said before, the Archive is a fic archive, not an editing service. Getting a beta reader is up to the author, and while reviewers can and do work as betas when they so choose, that's outside their mandate as Archive staff.
  4. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Yeah, the original way I got into the archive was (as far as I know) that I sent JG the complete text of my story, she read it and said "I'd like to put it in the Archive, but here are recommendations for it before we post it." Once I agreed to or disagreed with those, it was a month or so later that it went up. How times have changed! I like the current system better.
  5. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    I think the Archive SHOULD have something in it's guidelines about re-submitting stories. Without it, the submissions process tacitly DISCOURAGES people from re-submitting and then submitting anything at all to the Archive.

    If anyone asked me about submitting to the Archive I'd suggest:


  6. Submit something short for the first time, just to get acquainted with the process. It would be easier to get a short fic ready for submission than a long one.


  7. Ask your beta-readers if they can beta the story for multiple submission tries. That would save a lot of time if you don't make it on the first try and want to go for it.


  8. PM the reviewers for feedback. They might have some good suggestions. They might have some bad suggestions, too. So, really think about what would be an improvement on your story and what would not. I think that is the most valuable part of the reviewing process -- you really have to stop and think about what is important and worth defending in your writing.


  9. Resubmitting to the Archive is basically 'Reviewer Roulette'. If you've wrung out all the typos and you like it as it is, then what you're really doing by resubmitting is spinning the wheel on getting two reviewers who will accept it. You're also taking the chance that the next reviewers will find whole new issues with the story, which may or may not be helpful. Resubmitting is shopping for a better outcome - sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.


  10. The purpose of submitting to the Archive is to have it in a more polished format than the boards, where people can find it and read it on the internet. All the other hand-waving and stuff about editing and improving your writing may be added benefits, but they are secondary.

  11. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Nov 29, 2000
    star 4
    Truth be told, we do want people to pause and take stock of things before submitting to the Archive. Two people from our staff have to devote their time not just to reading a fic, but to reading it thoroughly and reviewing it. Not having a fic at its absolute best and then having it rejected is a waste of both the author's time and ours. You'd have to see our end of the queue to completely understand this, perhaps. Every month, we receive submissions from people who've barely spell-checked their stories. What does it gain them just to make the barest effort? What does it gain us to reject them? So we tell authors that it has to be beta read. We ask them to wait a week after getting rejected, to gain some distance from the hurt of the rejection and to get perspective.

    So, yes, we do discourage people from making willy-nilly submissions. The problem starts, then, because we are too even with these rules, I suppose. It doesn't matter to us who you are, how many times you've submitted. Whether you are a random person or a big-time JCer. The story gets judged as is, as objectively each time as we can, just like it was the first submission.

    I'm not going to accept a story based upon how hard someone says they've worked on improving if the fic is still not Archive quality. That, frankly, is unfair to all the other stories, both already in the Archive and waiting to be. It lowers the quality of the site as a whole and takes away every ounce of objectivity the system could possibly possess.

    I don't know how to say this gently or sweetly, but the Archive was not designed to baby writers or pat them on the head and tell them what a good job they're doing. It was designed to gather good fic - fics up to certain standards. The laundry list was actually added on as a very lenient favor, in light of the fact that fanfic wasn't as "professional" as real fic and, unlike an original fiction publishing house, could afford it. Likewise the reviewers accepting feedback requests. This is because the site is part of the fanfic community and wants to help improve it.

    Like Gabri was saying, if this more straight-forward approach is too emotionally disheartening to the author, there are other places to go. This is not saying we don't want people to submit; far from it! But we want people to submit fics they feel are really good enough to get in. We're not in the business of hurting people's feelings or wasting their time.

    While I think some of your guidelines are helpful, official "guidelines" for the Archive are very synonymous with "rules." I can see someone following those to the tee and complaining after their story was still rejected. If you'd like, you can form your thoughts into an article and submit it. :)
  12. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    The Archives is a different kind of creature, LOL! Some of the stories I've written that I think are some of my better work I wouldn't submit to the Archives. I know they aren't really suited for the Archives. And you know what? That's perfectly okay. If that's the way the muse told me to write it, then that's the way I'll write it. I'm not saying I can't take constructive criticism or that I won't listen to my betas, but if I feel I'll be compromising the "integrity" of a story in order to get into the Archives, then I won't do it. The Archives isn't the place for every story, even a well written story. Having a blind goal of "getting something into the Archives" is sure to lead to frustration and disappointment. I like the process of submitting because it forces me to take a good, close look at my work. I don't use betas unless I'm submitting something (I'm a horribly impatient writer) so the whole thing is valuable to me, way beyond the acceptance or rejection of a story.

    Just write, be true to your muse, keep writing, look for ways to improve simply because you want to grow as a writer. That's the best thing I think ANY of us can do. :) Just my two credits' worth. :p
  13. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    I think that getting a story into the Archive is a perfectly reasonable goal for a writer to have. I don't know why so many people 'pooh-pooh' it so much on this thread. Sure it's not the best primary reason for writing, but it's a perfectly reasonable writing milestone to shoot for.

    Getting a story into the Archive means:

    ** The story has been beta-read.
    ** The story has been reviewed and given a thumbs-up for online publication.
    ** The story has been placed in an online Archive that could attract more readers - getting people to read your work is a good goal for writers to have, too.
    ** Cool cover art.
    ** Just that sense of accomplishment about getting something done.

    The only author I can think of who wrote first-and-foremost for himself regardless of publication is J.D. Salinger. And the only reason why people might finally find out what he's been writing and putting in his closet for the past 45 years is because he's dead now. I suppose there doubtless are other authors who are similarly averse to publication, but since they don't publish, no one knows who they are.

    Well, people complaining about a review process is as inevitable for an editor as being rejected is for a writer. ;) ;) ;)

    I'll have to think about collecting my thoughts for an article. 'The Cold Hard Facts about Submitting and Re-Submitting To the Archive' would likely be mostly in the form of a list of things. But I'd have to think about them for a bit to make sure I get all the high points.
  14. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    I'm a bit new to this conversation, but could you please keep the bolding down a bit? If feels like I'm being shouted at.

    Having been a beta reader, reviewer and author of the Archives in the past, (who's also had fics rejected), I just wanted to say that while getting accepted into the Archives is a reasonable goal, constantly complaining about the process is not the way to achieve it. An editor's job is not to expect complaints, although I feel the editors are doing a very good job of trying to explain the editorial process involved in getting fics into the archives. The reviewers are given certain guidelines to follow when they review a fic and based on those guidelines, they decide whether or not a fic should be accepted. These guidelines may not be what you feel are necessary, but they're in place to ensure that there is a reasonable uniformity to the caliber of fics that are accepted and published. The staff is there to help writers on this process, but they are not there to hand hold or ensure that piece makes it in. The same would be true in a hardcopy print publication, and while the Archives is not the New Yorker, I don't think there's anything wrong with the Archives wanting to maintain a certain standard of writing/story telling within its collection. It may be frustrating for the author, but if your goal is to get a piece into the archives, wouldn't it be better for you divert the energy away from arguing with staff into trying to write the best piece you possibly can?

  15. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    You know what, Anne? This is enough. Really. Let me say this?again?very, very plainly:

    I am not pooh-poohing the goal of getting archived; I am saying that if that is one's primary goal in and of itself, one should, in my opinion, reassess those goals. And I am entirely serious about that, not "hand-waving" anyone. Please don't impugn my sincerity again. There are plenty of benefits involved in submitting to the Archive. I think the simple fact that I've spent three years of my life volunteering my time to running it should be evidence enough that I care about the Archive and think it's worthwhile. However, the years have added this halo of mystique to the Archive and I've heard a number of people talking about simply "getting into the Archive" as though it simply had to be done no matter the stress. It doesn't, and the Archive is not for everyone. I will not apologize for acknowledging that fact.

    Meanwhile, I seriously don't see how anyone could accuse either me or any of the other staff of not encouraging people to participate in any way. We've been encouraging people to participate for years. And nearly always when we do, someone chimes in to complain about the way the Archive is run. We get it; we're not making absolutely everyone happy all the time. But apparently we're not making ourselves clear: we can't do that. Life doesn't work that way. The Archive works well and has stood the test of time. We appreciate suggestions, but that doesn't mean we're going to implement every one.

    Correction: The only published author you can think of who wrote first and foremost for himself is J.D. Salinger. We are fanfic writers. Our fanfic work cannot be published. In the minds of plenty of professionals, we're committing intellectual theft. Obviously I disagree with that position, but if you're writing stories that cannot and will not ever be acknowledged by the professional publishing world, maybe you should think about writing first and foremost for yourself. And if you want to write primarily for the amateur audience of fanfic readers, that's great too. There are plenty of outlets for it?including the Archive, obviously, but you're sure not lacking for an audience if you don't participate in or get archived by the TF.N Archive.

    Amen to that. But that does not mean that people must devote quite so much time and effort into complaining. We have responded to every one of your concerns. They have been noted. I'm sorry if you don't like every answer, but we're not going to waste our time perpetually going around and around the exact same complaints. If you'd like to write an article and submit it for consideration, that's fine. But it might be worthwhile to actually write a helpful article for potential contributors rather a long list of things that you don't like about the Archive and its staff, as your proposed title seems to imply.

    I think a new topic of discussion is in order, frankly. What are everyone's thoughts regarding our new Flashbacks series? We're very pleased with it as a way to remind people of older and less-read fics. The editors are compiling lists of potential themes for Flashbacks updates, but if anyone has any suggestions, they're very welcome to let us know. :)
  16. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    ONE LAST COMMENT on "Being accepted" - I promise! But as it woke me up at 3AM, I don't want to just let it float away without being said.

    I've seen stories rejected (not my own) for a myriad of 'odd reasons' including 'grammar' (in which a piece written by an English teacher was rejected for!) and the ever elusive 'pacing issues', and in the end, in some cases, there's one very simple explanation... which no one wants to admit to.

    Personal taste of the reviewer/current staff of the archive in question.

    For god's sake, there's nothing wrong with that.

    I've seen stories that IMNSHO just... well... 'yuck', and I've simply passed on over them. I've also seen brilliant stories languish away on the boards alone with limited replies - such is life! Brilliant (professional) writers have been famously rejected because their particular style wasn't 'right' for what ever 'publishing house' for whatever reason - the archive is no different.

    As has been said over and over again, write for yourself, first and foremost, the rest will follow...

    OK, mad dash off to work... :p

    PS - This is from someone who does have works int he archive, and although I'm very proud of them, and think they aver very nice stories, they aren't indicative of what I would consider my very best works. Those stories (such as "Dear Tam" and "Knights and Eros Bound") contain themes that are not 'acceptable' for the archives, such as references to same sex relationships, and stronger innuendo than the archive allows. I could rework them to 'fit' but by doing so, it would severely compromise the very essences of the stories, and it just wouldn't be right.

  17. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    Just a note, I've had emails to the fan fic editors returned recently (yesterday and first thing this morning) so I'm not sure if the email is down or what. Just wanted to let you know. :)
  18. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    I wanted to address this as a reviewer. Getting a submittal rejected for typos and/or grammar doesn't necessarily mean that was the only reason a story might have been rejected. When submitting it's always nice to be respectful of people's time and try your hardest to submit a clean version the first time. Sometimes that doesn't happen, things make it past the betas and the author. We're human. As a reviewer, if I see multiple typos or grammar problems that need more editing on the part of the writer I stop looking for other reasons for rejection. That's enough. We're not expected to keep looking and provide a laundry list of "things to fix" for the author that if done - steps a, b, and c - will result in acceptance.

    The perception that there are "whole new issues" isn't entirely fair. One glaring issue can stop the process in its tracks. The reviewers are volunteers who spend hours, weeks and even days reading submittals. I understand your frustration for the story submitted three times, but admittedly the second rejection was due to a mistake on your part in the file uploaded, not a failure in the process. I also think it should be clear that just because a reviewer rejects a story it doesn't mean they can't review it again (unless they agree to act as beta) and again. The seeming roulette might fairly be characterized more as "this one has gotten a look from me I'll let another reviewer pick up the load."

    FWIW, I feel we're fairly consistent in our decisions. Some reviewers that are viewed externally as tough are actually quite in line with reviewers thought to be easier. It's a constant learning process for the reviewers and editors. Beyond the hard, fast rules of what makes a good story we also monitor things like feedback to stories as they're added to the Archive or how they move up the viewed list. Beyond finding quality writing, the process is also in place to ensure that we bring in stories that will generate a broad interest in the Archive.

    I think you're flat wrong on this. There are tons of fanfic writers out there who wrote fanfic before there was ever the internet. The only difference is now we can share.

    Honestly, Striker, it's cases like yours that tear at our heartstrings. (No, we are not all heartless automatons with REJECT buttons, and we do feel sad for every rejection.) Some people want very badly to be archived. It's a goal and an admirable one. We WANT people to get archived, but we also have a set standard we have promised to uphold as reviewers and editors. As a reviewer I have seen many people work and rework stories to the point they're sick about it. Multiple rebuilds though often don't result in a stronger, archivable story. For people who keep rewriting one story often the best advice is to look at your weaknesses and set out on writing a new story with that advice in mind.

    Yes, we learn from rewrites but we learn more from writing. I do know from talking to many published authors that they have many unpublished manuscripts sitting around, and they had to let those ones go in order to move on with their craft.

    And to be fair, it's really hard to give a complete laundry list on a story as a
  19. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Nov 29, 2000
    star 4
    The email system did go a bit haywire a few days ago, so anyone that sent someone an email through or contact system (individual aythors as well as to editors and reviewers) within that time should be aware that it might not have been received. I think it was about from 2/5 to 2/11 at the most.

    I think (and hope) that your problem, though, is related to the change in the email name. We still have the old one up in the acceptance letter [face_blush] so if you used that one, that might be it.



  20. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Yes it is fair.

    If you have two different reviewers every time for the same story submitted multiple times, then it is inevitable that each pair will have different opinions about it.

    Please explain this. WHEN is a reviewer allowed to review the SAME story twice??? I have always heard that once a reviewer has reviewed a story they are not allowed to review it again.

    Yeah, there were fanfic writers before the internet. AND I AM ONE OF THEM.

    Dare I admit that I've been writing fanfic for 30 years now? When you had to snail mail your pages and art to a zine editor who had to snail mail back an acceptance, rejection or request for changes from multiple authors/artists and then do their own beta-ing. Retype everything (ever heard of a Selectrix?), cut and paste with rubber cement, take it to the printer, pay for the whole thing (big expense), lug all the boxes of pages back, collate, snail mail the contributor's copy and the copies that people had paid for by snail mail. In six feet of snow, all uphill, in the dead of night, barefoot through broken glass..........

    Well, maybe not that last bit.

    People DID share before the internet. They shared quite a lot. Sharing fanfics in zines was the reason why we did it. It was just A LOT harder to do.

    The fact remains that the Archive's sudden-death, Accept/Reject submissions process does not allow for any cumulative editing or improvement for a story. It also discourages re-submission because

    IMO, submitting to the Archive is even more daunting than snail-mailing stories and comments, author-to-editor, and back. And I HAVE done both.

    Now, changing the submissions process for the Archive might require tech support that just isn't available. Or the editors might like the system the way it is. Or something else. The Archive is what it is.

    Authors can do a few things to save time, if they plan for multiple submissions. It would be helpful if the Archive had something about that in the guidelines.

    All this plaintive and defensive text in response to any complaint about the Archive submission process doesn't do anybody any good.
    [/quote]
  21. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    You were misinformed. There's no such rule.
    Nor does your insistence on repeating the same complaints over and over again. Your concerns have been noted. Thank you.
  22. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    The way the Archives is run has seemed to work pretty well for 194 other authors over the years. You may not like the way it's set up, but it has no obligations to change the way it's run to accomodate the wishes of every author that submits.

    You're right in that different reviewers will have different perceptions about a piece, but rarely are perceptions so wildly different that each submission is like spinning a new roulette wheel. It may feel like that because there are new reviewers, but if a piece has many issues with it, certain issues may stand to the fore on the first run, get corrected, only to bring other, lesser issues into focus on the second try.

    And as a former reviewer, I remember that there was never a rule against reviewers picking up the same piece the second time around...however, as a reviewer, I tended to shy away from reviewing a piece the second time around mainly because I often felt that my perceptions from the first round would color my ability to be objective the second time around, and that it would actually improve the author's chances of being accepted if fresh eyes reviewed the work. Also, some pieces that I rejected were truly so painful to read that I didn't feel up to tackling them a second time. But whatever the reason a reviewer doesn't read a piece a second time, please bear in mind that reviewers are VOLUNTEERS. This entire service is a volunteer organization and it's asking much of people with DRL issues to be available to re-read a piece each time an author choses to submit it.

  23. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    I think (and hope) that your problem, though, is related to the change in the email name. We still have the old one up in the acceptance letter so if you used that one, that might be it.

    Ah yes, that would explain it. I thought it was my usually hostile relationship with all things technological. :p Thanks!
  24. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Has the e-mail to/from the archive been changed? There was one point where one particular name became attached to some serious spam/virusmail, and then it seemed like almost everything that came from the archive was nothing but - I had to change my filters to send everything to the spam folder.
  25. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I haven't been getting spam/virusmail as of late from those mailing lists.
  26. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5
    I got some nasty spam a few days ago purporting to be feedback about a fic of mine on the Archives, but that was followed a day or two later by legitimate feedback about a fic of mine on the Archives. The address line of both of the emails was the same, so unless I opened it, they would be indistinguishable.
  27. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    Oh, Kim, how I understand having a tricky relationship with technology. I'm very grateful that Atty understands it, and that we have Anthony. If I was left to handle the technical parts on my own, I probably would manage to delete the Archive. :p

    Breezy, I'm going to have to leave technical questions for Atty to answer (see above :p ), but something's definitely been done. I can tell you that the last time I was an editor, I routinely got between fifty and eighty spam e-mails a day in my inbox, on top of the two or three hundred that went straight to my spam filter, and now it's a busy day if I get two overall. I think the worst of the spam issues have been resolved.

    Whoops, LP, I dropped the ball informing you about that after you told me. Sorry. [face_blush] We discussed it, and it looks like in your case it was someone who doesn't have an Archive account using a fake e-mail to troll. If that sort of thing continues, we'll discuss technical fixes with Anthony. So please, everyone, if you get any flame-ful e-mails from the Archive, let us know so we can block the trolls. You can either post here or PM one of us. :)
  28. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    I might have gotten the same email. It was pretty nasty (and not well written either, LOL!).
  29. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    Oh, dear. We were hoping it was a one-time troll. It may indeed be time to call upon Anthony's services again.
  30. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Nov 29, 2000
    star 4
    Yep. I mentioned it a bit before, but it must have gotten overlooked in the rest of the discussion. The email was changed, and it seems to have stopped the spam coming into the archive, namely the betareaders list and the editor's email (each averaged 300+ emails a day due to spam). I know there were some that would manage to spam archive users by cloning a real force.net email, like Anthony's and maybe even Herman's, but I'm not sure how this works exactly - how they even got a hold of our users' emails. Whether or not this has been fixed, I don't know. Someone would have to tell me if they're still receiving them.

    I'm thinking this was because, with the flashback, your story is now at the top of the archive. I think the person just clicked on your name, typed in a fake name and email address, then sent it along. Unfortunately people can send authors messages even if they themselves are not registered users of the archive. Though it doesn't explain Mama Vader ... [face_thinking]
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