Jericho Fans Win

stan herd crop art

You’ve surely heard about the protest. The peanuts. The venom. And now… the victory!

June 6, 2007

To the Fans of Jericho:


Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.

As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of “Jericho” for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more “Jericho,” we will need more viewers.

A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that “Jericho” will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting “Jericho” on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.

On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of “Jericho” in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.


Nina Tassler

President, CBS Entertainment

Great to see fans organize and get what they want. And good to see that even when he blocks their emails, ultimately Les Moonves, CBS CEO, knows he serves the fans rather than the other way around (let’s hope this proves true for users as well!).

Of course, these fans have done CBS a tremendous service in publicizing and raising interest in Jericho, and I think Tassler is absolutely fair in asking them to keep on doing that.

Here’s Stan Herd’s original sketch for the crop art seen above and used as the opening shot:

stan herd sketch

Getting silly with things too serious to be silly with

And now for something completely [or maybe just a little bit] different:

This is an oldish, but still pretty funny parody of what an internet message board for the Globe Theater might have been like. Samples:

“The worst was King Lear. Cordelia’s death was just another cliche ‘Woman in an Icehouse’ moment from Hacks-peare.”

“The man clearly has issues. I mean, Taming of the Shrew? Women are shrews? I feel sorry for his wife. No, I don’t, she must deserve it if she has so little self-esteem to be with him. Othello is one of the most offensive and racist pieces of filth I’ve ever had the misfortune to see. And Merchant of Venice is just as bad. I’m honestly surprised people still give him work, he so clearly has an anti-diversity agenda.”

“Is he really all that bad? I thought Hamlet was sort of okay.”

“Oh, please, the plot of Hamlet makes no fucking sense. There’s a ghost and incest and an army on the border, yet they have time to fart around with stupid little plays that do NOTHING to advance the story? It’s stupid. And he clearly killed Rozencrantz and Guildenstern because of his anti-fun agenda, as has already been noted.”

And in a slightly similar vein, I was highly entertained to see that Jane Austen fans have gotten in on the LOLcat thang. Keep an eye on the Austen Blog for LOLUpdates:


and don’t miss the LOLcat version of Pride and Prejudice:

Rich man can has girl.

Bngli: i can has dance?
J4N3: k
l12: i can has dance too?
DarC: no u ugly go way
l12: LOLz
Bngli: BRB

MrC0lnz: l12 i can has heart?
l12: no gway
Chrltt: u can has me
MrC0lnz: K BRB

lyd14: o hai

DarC: i can has heart?
l12: no gway u rude

DarC: hai
l12: OMG thought u were AFK!!1!

J4N3: OMG K17y & Wikm BFF
l12: WTF?
lyd14: i can has wikm, k?
Wikm: i can has $$$? LOL
DarC: k

Bngli: hai, back. i can has heart?
J4N3: k lol
DarC: back
l12: thx 4 ur help
DarC: i can has heart?
l12: k lol

Meanwhile, friend of fans everywhere, Henry Jenkins, gets the LOL treatment:


Sadly, we of the fairer sex hardly ever get to be LOLTheoristed. What would Jane say?






iLike – – MOG Facebook Smackdown!

It’s been about 10 days since Facebook debuted its applications and the clear winner is iLike, which has well over a million users. It’s taking turns with the Mobile platform at the top of the most-users list:

picture-3.png, who lost a week while getting their app ready to go, are rising quickly but far far behind with just over 40,000 users:


If you’re REALLY bored it’s kind of fun to spend a couple of minutes looking at the ‘most used applications’ list. You can refresh continuously and watch the numbers climb. Last night was picking up about 5 users per refresh while iLike was picking up around 20.

MOG’s application which launched the same day as iLike’s, meanwhile, is floundering. It peaked at just over 20,000 users and now seems to be losing users at a rapid rate. This morning Facebook says it has about 5,400 users. Ouch Update: In comments David Jennings points out that there are 2 MOG applications, and the one that had 20,000 users now has around 22,000. My error. Sorry and thanks for the catch David!


I wondered what implications the success of a Facebook application has on the website itself. So I bopped over to Alexa. I don’t trust their numbers very much in an absolute sense, but as a means of comparing one site to another at least most of the biases are going to be comparable (though I wonder about the international distribution of Alexa’s data points and how that affects this). Anyway, it’s the best data we’ve got I think, flaws and all.

When you compare these three sites over the last three months, it looks suspiciously as though all those new users on Facebook might be pulling users away from itself. Below are the comparative graphs for iLike,, and MOG in terms of reach and rank. You can see that is higher than the others (though the difference is much less than it used to be), but look at what happened to iLike in recent days. Not only does it seem to be dropping dramatically, MOG has overtaken it in rank.



As a social scientist I know better than to conflate correlation with causality. There could be several interpretations of these figures. But it certainly makes me wonder if iLike users are switching to using the application within Facebook rather than going to the iLike site. Some sites, like ReverbNation, have designed themselves to be most successful when spread throughout the internet. Is iLike such a site? What are the implications for destination sites if integration with other destination sites means loss of their own traffic?

I think we will see more and more of this sort of merging of multiple sites into one at user discretion. Pageflakes, iGoogle, and other start pages are doing this. I waxed about my dream of doing this (only better) here. But it requires new ways of thinking about what it means to be a successful internet company.

Oeuvreblogs Galore

The other week I wrote about Pop Songs 07, Matthew Perpetua’s effort to blog all R.E.M. songs. That very same day, New York Magazine ran a piece on this new blog genre, labeling them “oeuvreblogs” (ooh la la!), giving Perpetua the credit, and identifying several others:

Perpetua’s R.E.M. blog seems to have kicked off a wave of oeuvreblogs, as they’re being called: blogs devoted to parsing the complete works of a particular artist in microscopic detail. Writers’ responses are typically personal rather than historical, and they’re a good way for fans of a band to geek out alongside fellow travelers.

Among the blogs cited in this article are those devoted to John Cale (Fragments of Cale), the Mountain Goats (Emotional Karaoke), Radiohead (Fridgebuzz), Pearl Jam (More Than Ten), and others.

Meanwhile my friend Avi, of It’s A Trap, points out that he beat Perpetua to the concept with his Saturday posts about Bear Quartet songs:

Apparently “Oeuvreblogs” are the new black? I may not quite have the fervor to post about every single Bear Quartet song ever recorded, but I suppose that my weekly posts qualify in some way. Going strong since January! Take that Perpetua! Carrying on…

Rock on, Avi!

Fanfic trouble at Live Journal

Yesterday, someone pointed me to this Boing Boing post about LiveJournal purging some fanfiction and related accounts, causing quite a stir. The matter was brought to Boing Boing’s attention by Madeline Ashby, a writer, cyborg theorist, blogger, soon-to-be-grad student, and (recent) LJer. Knowing she reads this blog, I asked her to explain what’s been happening. The result is long, but very interesting.

[Update: A lot of LJ fandom folks have been coming by to read this and I'd love to hear your perspectives in comments (yeah, I know you've been writing about this all over LJ and maybe you're tired of explaining it to outsiders, but in case you aren't, I'm all ears. Or eyes.)]

Q: Can you give us a snapshot of Strikethrough 07, also known as the LJ Purge? What’s the situation?

A: If I had to sum up this entire event within a single metaphor, I would say that what has happened is that certain individuals have treated LiveJournal like Baghdad. In trying to find a few very harmful, dangerous people, those individuals have done a broad sweep of the population, identified a few widely-shared characteristics, and suspended privileges — some might even say rights — with the goal of stopping crime. And like Baghdad, the situation has turned explosive. Residents are unhappy. Some of them were guilty, but most weren’t. Now what remains is the opportunity to find a new, smarter strategy.

To understand the LJ Purge, you have to go back to Friday, May 25. That day, I was preparing for my role as a panelist at Anime North. I didn’t see what LJ user Liz Marcs called “the perfect storm” on the horizon. She describes it excellently at this post. In her post, she attributes the perfect storm to three factors:

1) The controversial statuette of Mary Jane Watson, which ignited outrage on the part of female comics and media fans and earned fandom lots of attention in the process

2) The swirling vortex around FanLib, a for-profit website that a) purports to have invented fanfiction (a piece of misinformation that the women at the Feminist SF blog take great issue with), and b) to syndicate fanfiction from other sites without the author’s permission. For more information, check out Henry Jenkins’ interview with the CEO, and some response to it.

3) A rumour that LJ was being pressured by an outsider group to purge certain journals based on content. Said content might include fanfiction of an illicit nature. Although members of the Abuse team at LJ scoffed at such threats, the rumor persisted. Here’s a link.

As it turns out, the rumor was true. An online group called Warriors For Innocence had contacted advertisers who work with LiveJournal, alerting LJ to content they found offensive, specifically that relating to incest, pedophilia, or child rape. WFI claimed that according to LJ’s Terms of Service, LJ had the mandate to eliminate those journals and communities who listed “incest” and such terms in their interest field. LJ promptly suspended journals and communities without warning, with a total of approximately 500 sites affected — the count is ongoing. However, LJ’s understanding of context proved lacking. Along with actual child pornography sites, several fanfiction communities, legitimate LiveJournals (including those belonging to survivors of incest and child rape), and literary discussion groups were suspended or deleted.

Needless to say, news of the purge spread through LiveJournal like wildfire. Fannish users were warned to change their list of interests, lock down their fanfiction, and close ranks. The “it’s a raid!” meme spread, with a huge amount of backlash. LiveJournal communities were established to fight what many saw as an infringement of civil liberties at worst, or an unforeseen reading of the Terms of Service at best. Reaction was mixed: Many fans felt betrayed by what they saw as LJ’s cave-in to corporate interest, and a subsequent denial of the American First Amendment right to free speech. These fans felt targeted by a bizarre anti-fanfiction Kristallnacht, as though WFI had chosen to throw bricks through the gleaming windows of “Wincest,” (Supernatural) “twin-cest,” (Harry Potter) “Elricest” (Fullmetal Alchemist), “Paire” (Heroes) and other fandoms.

Still others thought that it was unfortunate, but predictable. LiveJournal is owned by the corporation Six Apart. Corporations have no obligations to customers, only to their shareholders. If users have a problem with the way LJ does business, these users argued, there are other services. Moreover, they argued, this is not a First Amendment issue. Rather, it’s part of the complicated relationship between corporations, customers, and special-interest groups. It’s unfortunate that some users suffered, but it’s nothing worth going to war over.

Chairman and CEO of Six Apart, Barak Berkowitz, has since apologized for the snafu, saying “we really screwed this one up.” His apology says that “attempt to clean up a few journals” has “turned into a total mess.” When speaking about WFI, he says: “Even idiots can be right about some things.” His answers have proved remarkably unhelpful for some fans because they do not clearly elucidate what Six Apart or LJ define as “appropriate” and do not outline a plan to protect fans and other users who are not breaking the law:

Further inquiry has occurred at BoingBoing. As a regular BB reader, I suggested the story upon first hearing of it because I thought it might interest co-editor Cory Doctorow, who recently wrote a defense of fanfiction in an editorial for Locus Magazine. Co-editor and NPR contributor Xeni Jardin picked up the lead and ran with it. At the moment, the tech-savvy readers at BB are conducting a homegrown investigation into who exactly is behind Warriors For Innocence. WFI’s spyware-infested site is run on a proxy server through, which leads some readers to believe that they have something to hide. Other LJ users allege that WFI is run by Christians of the homophobic variety.