Okay so it was brought to my attention by RedJane12 that a one shot I co-wrote with Missy Dee for our Dirty Lemons page had been plagiarized by this lovely NO MA ALLOWED person. My gut reaction was to tell her I wasn’t going to bother clicking the link she had provided for me that would allow me to see exactly what was going on. I was good. I didn’t click the link and I didn’t get involved. I figured I don’t need that kind of frustration and nothing I say is going to stop a troll from trolling. The more attention you feed a troll, the trollier it gets.
But then yesterday my curiosity got the better of me. I decided I could go and take a look just to see what all the fuss was about. It was also brought to my attention that Angela was on the list of smut writers he/she had targeted for public stoning and had referred to her as a “dead smutty bitch” or something of that nature. It could have been “smutty dead bitch”. Either way, that didn’t sit well with me at all. I wasn’t close to Angela but we did trade comments back and forth, both on our works and on Facebook. From what I can tell, she was a very nice woman with a fantastic sense of humor. Regardless of whether or not I was a die hard fan of hers, I respected her work and the time/effort she put into it. Her death was tragic in many ways and for someone to make light of that… I just couldn’t abide it.
What can I do about it? Nothing. By the time I got to check out NO MA ALLOWED’s profile, he/she had already changed it to remove that little bit of nastiness. The excerpt from Little Red Wagon had been removed from her page and in place of the stories that had been plagiarized were “author’s notes”, ironically also against the policy of Fanfiction.net but apparently rules don’t apply to trolls.
I must be getting mellow in my advancing age because what I saw in those notes didn’t make me angry like they might have even a year or two ago. What I saw there made me actually kind of sad. I don’t know the backstory behind this person or what caused them to lash out so badly at people they don’t even know for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s pathetic. I suppose living in a country where there are mass shootings almost on a daily basis makes you put things in perspective. I have bigger fish to fry than what some troll thinks about internet smut.
Purely out of a need to feed my own curiosity I went to look at the “reviews” that were left behind. Not too surprisingly, a lot of them were guest reviews. Some of them were sarcastic and biting; some threatened to report the troll for their violation of TOS; some were downright vulgar and offensive. There were few comments that were worded kindly and attempted to be nice to a person who, quite honestly, doesn’t seem to have much kindness in their heart.
The reviews I saw made me sad. I know, I know, a lot of people would probably say she doesn’t deserve kindness or to be treated nicely. I’m not going to judge the people who left anonymous reviews calling her a cunt or telling her she needs to get laid to “fuck the bitch out of her”. I’m no one’s mother and we’re all adults here. At least we should be. If you’re under eighteen and reading smut on the internet, there’s nothing I can do to stop you. But I digress… The reviews made me sad. Why? Well, there’s a part of me that would like to think we’re better as a fandom than to stoop to her level of name calling and childishness. There’s also the possibility that you win over more flies with honey than vinegar but trolls are rarely won over and I know that.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few choice words for her myself. What I was surprised by was that I didn’t want to log in and leave her a rant in defense of my work. I didn’t want to leave some snarky guest comment that said, “Fuck you and the dick you rode in on.” Instead, I looked to see who was on her hit list. I recognized a lot of those names. A lot of those authors are women that I have become friends with. We send Christmas cards, birthday presents, Skarsporn, help each other’s kids with school projects because we live in different parts of the country and we talk about our lives outside of fanfiction. These women have become a fantastic resource in my writing and also personally.
I was more hurt by this than I was angry. In case it’s gone unnoticed over the years, I don’t like to see my friends being attacked by others. Maybe it’s my Mother Hen Complex or the Taurus in me that gets all fired up and ready to stampede any fool unfortunate enough to wake the sleeping bull inside me. I don’t know if that list is sitting on her profile because she thinks it’s going to bring shame to the writers who are on it, but I can tell you now – and I’m fairly certain I speak for all of the authors on it – that they are fresh out of fucks to give. All of my fucks are tied up in other things.
Thinks that matter. You know, like gun control, women’s rights, the incredible fuck up that is our healthcare system in America, climate change, homeless veterans, starving children… the list goes on and on and on. I simply don’t have any fucks to spare for this person who had decided that internet smut is the best use of her energy and voice. I’m more concerned about cyber bullying and the posting of revenge porn than a group of authors who are writing imaginary porn. Maybe I just have my priorities straight? I don’t know.
In the end, I’m sticking by my decision not to feed the troll. I read Wifey’s fic response to Marie Antoinette and while it made me laugh, I’ve decided I’m not going to waste my time or energy dedicating work to her. What will it accomplish? A year ago it might have made me feel better. Now I’m just kinda shrugging it off and getting on with my day.
Before I go, though, I do want to say thank you to those that jumped up in our defense. I can’t speak for all of the writers out there but I know for me your support is greatly appreciated. Your encouragement, reviews and sometimes your publicity mean the world to me. I would write no matter what but it is positively wonderful to be able to engage with the readers and answer their questions when they have them. That’s something that professional writers don’t always get to do. I feel incredibly blessed that so many people have continued to follow my work and grow with me in the time that I have been in the fandom. Sometimes I think I take it for granted.
I’m an old timer now. I looked at that list and some of those names I didn’t even recognize. It’s been a long time since I’ve published anything on fanfiction.net and for good reason. Hell, not a single word from Dirty Lemons has ever been published over there and yet we made the list. I guess that means we’re special, huh?