The Spuffy site Elysian Fields has been pursuing a vendetta against me and some friends for a few years now. We have our own chat room, and a forum, and are part of a new archive (West of the Storm) that has its own forum, but uses our chat room. They have gone after our site, changing their rules to force out any and all references to us. When someone asked about a story I wrote, one of the admins told them it could be found on AO3. When someone else said it could also be found on the archive West of the Storm, their comment was removed from the site.
Why is this being done? Because a few friends and myself made a forum in an attempt to foster discussion among Spuffy fans. We associated it with a chat room, and we ran a few events. We were, admittedly, a little overzealous in trying to let people know about these events, but it was due to excitement, not malice, and the stories being produced were going to be posted on Elysian Fields. Instead of being contacted and asked to maybe tone it down a little (which we absolutely would have done), rules were immediately put into place with no advance warning.
We were irritated by this, but whatever. Not a huge deal. And they now had rules about sites being able to be promoted once a week. Cool. We hadn’t planned on doing anything like that, but why not take them up on it? So, we did.
We also talked freely in our chat room. There were some other rules on Elysian Fields that we weren’t too keen on. Not everyone is going to like every rule on a site. That’s normal. We grumbled about them, because that’s what people do. Some of us also talked about some less-than-stellar reviews we’d received on EF (including a transphobic rant left as a “review”), as well as expressing dissatisfaction with how the moderators had dealt with the issue of a serial flamer on the site. And there was discussion about some EF members sending e-mails wishing death and rape on people due to their fanfic preferences (those preferences being a general disinterest in all human fics).
We also discussed the idea of making our own archive site, where we could set up our own rules and fanfic categories.
All of the above, including the possible archive site, were referenced as reasons when EF sent us official warnings on their site, policing our conversation on the chat room of a completely different site. When they were PMed with information about harassment and death and rape threats, they said there was nothing they could do about off-site issues. But they felt they could give warnings and punishments on their site to people for griping on another site. They decided that there would be no mention of our forum and chat room on their site, no promotions. Nothing. They claimed that they had endorsed us (they never did. In fact, they’d been working hard to reduce any mention of us even before this), and that we “said bad things about them.”
So, yes, EF believes they have the right to censure and punish people for the things they grumble and gripe about on other sites. Once you are a member there, they feel that they own you, and can dictate your thoughts and feelings and how those are expressed online (unless you’re creating burner e-mail addresses to send death and rape threats for daring to be “meh” about all human fics. That, they don’t care about).
Even before all of this, we had an issue with a highly considered member of Elysian Fields coming onto our chat and yelling at people (including those who had never even heard of Elysian Fields before) for not being on the Elysian Fields chat room instead. This person also sent PMs to our chat members that were described as being disgusting. The Elysian Fields moderators were informed about this behavior, to which they said they could do nothing, as it was on another site (though, again, they felt they had the right to issue official warnings to people on their site for being vocally grumpy on outside sites about their policies and the behavior of some of their members). They were also warned that the person causing problems in our chat room seemed to want to cause issues between the two sites. This warning was dismissed as nonsense.
Over time, a few other friends that weren’t involved with the EF nonsense joined up with us to create an archive. And that brings us back to the beginning. Following EF’s own rules, when someone asked about one of my stories, they were told that it could be found on West of the Storm. It was removed and the person who posted was told that West of the Storm was banned from any and all mention on the site.
Keep reading and being a member of EF if you wish. Many of our active members in chat are, and we have no problem with it. Our chat room is often used to brainstorm fics that are then posted on EF, and we tend to have writing parties so people can work on EF event stories. So, read whatever stories you want, wherever you want, and post wherever you want (we have no problem with stories cross posted both there and here.) But do please be aware of the behavior of the Elysian Fields moderation team.