1. Member Since 22nd Sep, 2011
  2. offline for 5h, 6m


I'm the creator of Otakuworld.com, Jenniverse.com, the computer game Boppin', numerous online comics, novels, and tons of other wonderful things. I really love MLP:FiM.

More Blog Posts73

  • 5w, 2d
    Voiceless In Hillsboro - Season Five and Other Things


    Voiceless In Hillsboro


    Season Five and Other Things

    It's a little strange not having a voice. My whole family and I came down with some terrible virus, that, in me, allowed an opportunistic bacterial infection - long story short, for the past three weeks I have been sick as sick can be. Triplet antibiotics have helped, and I am slowly climbing back to life. But - I cannot make a sound. I am mute. I sure hope my voice comes back one day.

    I may be mute in real life, and feel like death warmed over, but I am not mute here, in the realm of text, so I thought to say a few things about the most recent season of My Little Pony.

    Season five, so far, as of 'Castle Sweet Castle', is excellent.

    After my scathing 'Around The Bend', you might want to know why I think this, and I want to tell you.

    The first three episodes of season five are, in my opinion, as good as the work in season one. They do, of course, of necessity, have to run with what has been established in the intervening seasons, I have no issue with that. Indeed, it is mandatory - consistency is not the 'hobgoblin of small minds', rather it is the foundation of all suspension of disbelief. Without consistency, there can be no meaning or value to causality, and causal relationships are the machinery of drama and storytelling.

    What makes season five good is that thus far, in these first three episodes, we have consistent characters acting according to what we know about them, they act in a rational and meaningful way, and they are not bent into self-parodies or used for cheap gags.

    And one of those characters, the most important character in almost any story, is the world. The world is also being attended properly.

    "Know your world, know your characters, and you need not fear even a thousand pages of story."

    Yes, I am quoting myself. But that does not make it any less true.

    In season five, thus far, Pinkie Pie is funny, but she is also competent. She isn't just a joke. She adds to the group, she helps, she supports, she has useful input. Remember 'Giggle At The Ghostie'? That was intended to be Pinkie's defining moment. In that pilot, that scene tells us exactly what and who Pinkie is to the team - and from the start, the Mane Six are supposed to be a team, an action team, working together as a group to solve problems. Pinkie uses humor to save others, to rescue others. She uses the tools of laughter intelligently. She isn't just a useless clown.

    Rarity may be emotional, but she is smart. She is supposed to be capable and able. Initially, Faust described her as the oldest, and she is supposed to have the experience and backbone of an independent entrepreneur. She isn't supposed to be a useless frail. She's back... not perfectly, but back, and she is starting to have moments again, moments of competence.

    Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack - sure, they can have personality quirks, but the original picture we were given of them is that they are capable adventurers. This is the heart of what they should be along with Twilight - all capable representatives of Equestria, not just gags or cheap joke characters. They aren't wacky superhero parodies, they aren't Animaniacs or Freakazoids... they are a team driven by friendship, determination, and their trust in each other. In short, they should be played as they were when we first met them - as if they were real, as if they were people, not mere toons.

    Season five has returned to this. The Mane Six are not jokes now. They are handling the problems they face together, as useful, functional members of Equestria's elite Friendship Squad. And this is exactly what they should be, because it is how they were intended to be, and how they were first presented to us, back when Lauren had any say at all.

    The world has meaning again. The world is the most important character of all.

    Geography is consistent again. Ponyville is a flat river valley again. We have a god-damned MAP, front and center, and woe betide any writer for the show who does not sit up and take notice of what that represents. It means 'treat the show as a real world, not as a cheap gag'. It means 'there be places here, places with names and relationships to each other'.

    A world is a character. It changes over time, it has history, it has a feeling of its own, and it has places within it that have relationships just as people-characters have relationships... and those change over time too. A world has a character arc. We have seen Equestria grow, we have seen it develop as a place - not without some serious growing pains thanks to terrible writers - but we have seen it grow.

    Originally, Lauren Faust, in an interview, described Equestria as being a blend between the Elysian Fields and Oz. It was supposed to literally be the Elysian Fields - that, as many know, is why Tartarus is located below it. That was also why Queen Celestia was supposed to be essentially a Greek goddess... until Hasbro marketing demanded she be a princess, and get rid of the overt Greek pagan stuff and... well. Those who've kept up know the story. And how Faust got pushed out, and how she can't talk straight about any of it now.

    Season five has gone back to Faust.

    How? Those of you who read - really read, not just fan fiction - probably know the classic Oz books pretty well, but for those that don't, let me give the briefest of infodumps: after all the fuss with Dorothy and getting the basic world nailed down, the many, many books that continued the story went afield. Basically, Oz proper was now understood to the reader, and under Celestia's - ah, Ozma's - dominion,  so adventures now took place at the borders and fringes of Oz. It became the great quest, after a fashion, to bring the authority of Queen Ozma to the undeveloped and unexplored parts of Oz, the edges of the map and even off the map.

    This is what we see in the two part 'Cutie Map'. The show is utterly Oz-like. Our team is sent off to the frontier to confront a threat to the harmony of Oz - ah, I mean Equestria. Excellent. Faust must be smiling. I am.

    We also see, in 'Castle Sweet Castle' real consequences to changing the world. Gone are throw-away stupidly deadly cliffside roads that could never exist in a flat river valley - there for one episode for a cheap gag, gone the next, nothing matters, nothing is real.

    No, now, we have a consistent world. I want to scream this point: SEE HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE CONSISTENCY MAKES?

    Twilight is broken hearted - as a lot of we viewers are - at the loss of the Golden Oaks Library. It wasn't just a cool home, it was the coolest home. It was the dream home of fantasy, a living tree that loves back, filled with books, covered in nurturing leaves. It was everything great about a Hobbit hole mixed with everything great about elves and magic and wonder. A living tree house. If it isn't every child's dream at some point, that child grew up in a desert.

    This was not a cheap gag. The Golden Oaks was obliterated. It was destroyed, and because the world was made consistent again, that fact MATTERED.

    And, thanks to the world being a viable character again, we can deal with the tragedy of the loss of the Golden Oaks, and we can understand how Twilight, as a character, felt about this change to the world, and to her life. We can see things played realistically. Twilight isn't bouncing around because she went up a level and gained a cool new super-hero hideout, a crystal castle made of magic - no, she's depressed.

    Twilight just got her own Hall Of Justice, and she is depressed. Because her home was destroyed. Because she isn't just some two-dimensional super-hero, she is a person. She isn't a cardboard character. She is mourning the loss of her proper home, and, by extension, her childhood too.

    Because now, forced (by Hasbro marketing) into being an alicorn princess prematurely (Faust intended the event to be the culmination of the entire series, something for the ending), Twilight has to grow up fast. No more playing in the treehouse, she has princess duties, and she can't go back. The Golden Oaks is ash... and roots hanging from her ceiling. Her personal life is over. Now she serves the Crown.

    That is some real, powerful stuff there. That is damn good writing for any show, not just a cartoon about ponies.

    And a word about that - cartoon. Cartoon about ponies. It's just a cartoon. It's only a cartoon. It's just a kid's show. It's for little girls. It doesn't have to make sense.

    Do you think that way? Fuck you. Seriously. You are an idiot.

    Animation is just one medium for expression. Just like live-action film, just like computer animation, just like text, just like books and audio drama and stage drama and every other form of creativity. Listen up: only idiots dismiss animation as being only for children, and only idiots imagine that things ostensibly written for children cannot also be written for adults too. Indeed, most classic English children's literature was written as much for the adults reading it to their children as it was to the children they read it to. That is what makes classics... classic. They speak to both adult and child together.

    My Little Pony should make sense. It should be deep. It should have meaning and worth and value. It should be intelligent and make sense. If not for the benefit of we adults, then for the benefit of children watching it. Don't underestimate children. Yes, there are some droolers out there, but there are also some reading at a college level in second grade, like me, and I suspect, many of you (I'm looking at you, fellow Bureau and Optimalverse authors!). Even the droolers do benefit from logical consistency in their media - things making sense.

    The notion that a cartoon doesn't have to make sense is horseshit. Bullshit is lies, horseshit is actually toxic lies... if you didn't know the difference.

    So, the big conclusion.

    I'm sicker than hell, still, and season five, so far, rocks. It rocks because it is returning to the reason we all fell in love with Friendship Is Magic in the first place - and that is solid characters, valid relationships, intelligent plots, and a consistent, amazing world worth suspending our disbelief for.

    If season five can keep this up, if it doesn't bellyflop into a big pit of stupid, then we may well have the best season since the first.

    Here's hoping that season five keeps up the rock-solid goodness of writing talent.

    It is my demand that the on-screen My Little Pony be at least as good as the writing I favor here. If it can't meet that level, then I have to wonder why the writers are 'professional' and getting paid at all.

    So far, this season, the writers are earning their dough.

    So far.

    - Petal Chatoyance

    April 15th, 2015

    52 comments · 550 views
  • 20w, 2d
    The State Of The Unicorn 2015

    44 comments · 649 views
  • 38w, 3d
    In Hell, There Are No Desks

    I'm typing this from my lap, on a new keyboard I am unused to. Had to get a new one, we couldn't connect my old keyboard - they don't make those ancient connectors anymore, and the cable needed is still in a box. Everything I own is in a box, and will be for the next three to four months at least.

    Hah! How the mighty have fallen, eh? Once I lived in a palatial home, now I have no room of my own. My world, for now, is the far corner of what - in a normal person's house - would likely be the 'living room'. The house is filled with hundreds of boxes, and no way to unpack them. Why? It's a little bit Sokoban, and a little bit 'guess what's in the box' and a little bit 'we are so fucked'.

    Intel got caught with their fingers in the European cookie jar, as you may recall, and they had to pay billions in fines. Worse, they got very complacent and ignored the rise of mobile computing entirely, so the pacific rim ate their lunch with cheap, easily modified, dedicated chips for consumer goods. Desperate to look good to stockholders, they did the usual American Capitalist Trick: fire most of the workers who actually do the work in a way that denies them any benefits or severance of any kind. Suddenly, without employees, they look great on paper!

    The way they did this is to announce that if one wanted to work for Intel any longer, one must move to the region around Portland, Oregon. Naturally, this meant that more that 75% of their employees in the divisions targeted would be screwed, and 'choose' to leave their jobs of their 'own volition', thus making their quitting their 'free choice' and thus ineligible for any benefits of any kind - the slackers! The losers! Stupid peasants with homes and communities and family obligations and relatives and lack of resources to move at the drop of a hat!

    It was evil, but damn clever. Force people to have to quit because moving is not possible for most people. Brilliant. Dirty as hell, of course, but cunning.

    That still left tens of thousands of people flooding into a fairly small region, Hillsboro. It was sheer luck we found an overpriced house at all - there is a huge bubble going on as folks gouge the hell out of the influx of Intel folks. House-flip-a-go-go! Gold rush!

    Bottom line? It is impossible to get a contractor to fix a house or turn a garage into a room. And that is a problem, you see, since the entire plan was to convert the garage into my room. For me to live in. That isn't happening. It's so massive an issue, that the guy that set up our internet? He is part of a small army of folks brought in from Colorado just to hook up internet here in Hillsboro. They're letting him go back to Colorado for a week to see his family, then it's another month of hooking up folks like us... the Intel Invasion. They don't have enough native cable guys here to do the job. Consider that.

    My family is hoping that maybe by October or November, it might be rainy and miserable enough that the contractors here might be unable to work outside - or unwilling to work outside - and it might be possible to get some to do interior work at last, and thus finally build me a room to live in. It's a hope, anyway.

    Until then, I am the empress of cardboard boxes that I can't get into... because there is no place to unpack them. I have six pieces of clothing, my shoes, my computer and monitor, my 360 and PS4, a chair, my toothbrush and the medicines I have to take, one garbage can, and my purse with my ipad in it. This is my world. This is my life. I am slowly going through some of the mis-labled boxes, checking them, resealing them, and writing their contents down (the packing crew did a random job, just insane) to find, well, things. More clothes to wear. Even one game for my PS4 to play. But, it's rough going - the house is chock-a-block with boxes. We were entirely depending on having my room done, so that my stuff could get unpacked, so there would be room to unpack other things. That isn't happening. We also expected that the boxes would be correctly labeled too. Nope.

    If I had thought, even for a moment, that everything would be lies and bullshit, and that it would all turn out to be a clusterfuck... I would have done some things differently.

    So, here is my big lesson to you, in case you have to move:

    Expect that nobody is telling the truth about anything, that everything will be fucked no matter what, and that nothing and no man can be trusted. Prepare accordingly: take enough stuff you need to live normally in the car with you, and don't let said stuff get packed up on the moving truck. Even if you have to make six or ten five hour trips back and forth to do it, do it. Keep what you need close to you. Because it will all go horribly wrong. When it does, you will have all of your necessities with you in your fortress of cardboard boxes, and you will be alright until things eventually become rational again.

    I didn't do the above, so now, for the next many months, I must peer at a monitor stacked on six shelf boards balanced on two incomplete drawer shells and type from my lap.

    Because, in hell, there are no desks.

    Anyway, we are in a new house, there is a lot wrong with it, but it will get fixed in time, and maybe in enough months, I will have a room again. And a surface to type on. (In the mean time, I am experimenting with using boards across my chair arms, tilted boards balanced on the edge of my monitor base, and pillows with boards on them as ways to get that 'desk feeling' back. Something will work, eventually. Surely.)

    When I get used to my new keyboard (this one is USB! Huzzah! I am finally in the new decade!) I will continue with my writing.

    So, for the too-long, didn't read crowd: I am down and (relatively) safe, the move is sort of over, and I am the empress of cardboard boxes, all hail me in my palace of cardboard!

    Lastly, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and kind to me during this fairly awful situation. You are wonderful, and I am grateful for you.

    All hail Cardboardia!

    May your boxes never crush

    A land not unlike Minecraft

    Someday the toilets will flush

    All hail the Empress

    ensconced in cardboard wall

    one day the mythical contractors

    will build her unicorn stall

    All hail Cardboardia!

    who knows what's tucked inside?

    Intel and life and human greed

    will ever take us for a ride!

    When you gaze upon a cardboard box, remember: the empress gazes back at you. (No, she doesn't. She's too busy feeling sorry for herself. The stroppy bint.)


    - Petal Chatoyance

    40 comments · 724 views
  • 41w, 1d
    This week and the next is moving.

    And I am in hell.

    Please, Celestia, CelestA.I. - I want to emigrate to Equestria.

    30 comments · 541 views
  • 43w, 6h
    It looks like we have a house.

    A little update on my life, it looks like we have a house to move to.

    Over the past... however long... we have been negotiating for a home in the Portland area. Hillsborough. We are just about to sign - this weekend, actually - and then we will own a home about six minuted from the Intel campus.

    It will need a little work - in order to provide me with a roughly equivalent 'Uniplex' room - the common place where my family gets together to watch or play, and the place I do everything in - the garage will be turned into a finished room with a proper floor and insulation and nice walls and skylights and suchlike. A replacement Japanese soaking tub will take a little longer, but it is in the plans.

    The house we are getting has some upsides and some downsides. It has enough rooms for a polyamoric family of four, which is good - one thing we have learned about being in a group marriage is that having enough private space is really a vital thing. People need some alone time. So a house for us has to have places where family members can just isolate if they need to. Say to work on something without interruption, or even just to chill out.

    The house is quirky, which is good. It appears to have been several houses, in a way. A house that was built on, then built onto again. The stairs are crazy in it, short stairs mostly, but strange in placement because of the haphazard way the place sort of grew over time. It has a moderate yard in the back, decent for gardening in, and a very nice front yard with a mature cherry tree. Mmm. Cherries.

    On the negative side, it is not very isolated - it is in the middle of Spielbergian Suburbia. It is next to the distant outer yard of a gradeschool, hopefully that will not be too awful. We are not 'kids' people, and we don't like noise and screaming and people breeding all over the place. Also, there is an airport nearby, somewhere. We have no way to know if we are on a flightpath that will be hell to suffer under. I guess... we'll find out.

    I tried packing some of my little, fragile things, and I broke down in tears. It was also hard on my stamina. Ever since my heart attack about a decade ago, my stamina has not been great. I'm going to need help packing, a lot of it, and I'm not sure how that is going to work out yet.

    But... the plan is that in three weeks or so, I will be living in a new house. When the shit hits the fan, it happens fast.

    That is the update, for those that care.

    I will keep working on my novel with dedication, but because of circumstances, I cannot promise, nor hope to always manage a chapter a day. I am sorry. I hate this unfortunate fact. I was really hoping to perform like I used to. But... life. The real world always gets in the way of ponies, and that is why real life is always inferior! :derpytongue2:

    Oh, how I wish that the Bureau Mythos, my own Pony Singularity, or the Optimalverse was real.

    But then, I doubt I am alone in that.

    - Petal Chatoyance, July 25th, 2014

    28 comments · 390 views
  • 44w, 3d
    Error Correction

    16 comments · 349 views
  • 44w, 5d
    Adrift Off Fiddler's Green: a new story is coming!

    We have a lead on a house. If things work out, then we may own a new place to live by the end of the month.

    This has cheered me enough that one day, I woke up, and... I wasn't completely sad. I had some energy. I had just a little joy in me. The bright day wasn't shining with despair anymore. I almost felt happy.

    And what powers my ability to write is feeling joy. Even just a little.

    And that translates to:

    Adrift Off

    Fiddler's Green

    A     C o n v e r s i o n     B u r e a u     S t o r y

                                                                  By Chatoyance

    It's coming. The first chapter is even now going through approval. It's a sort-of follow up to HUMAN In Equestria, and sort of it's own novel. It stars, with permission, a reporter character courtesy of Midnight Shadow. Why? Because while it is trivial to just invent a character, using his newfoal 'Frontpage' from 'Midnight's Tail' makes me feel, just a little bit, like the old days, when I was part of a community of writers all sharing the same mythos in joy and friendship. That sort of feeling is precious.

    A note on HUMAN In Equestria. For months and months, it has sat there, unfinished, a blot on my perfect record of always finishing every story. So, I set out to finish it. That was my initial goal. But... stories have lives of their own. Stories are living things, and what happened was that in doing more chapters of HUMAN, I realized an astonishing thing.

    I had already finished the book perfectly ( just as some readers did, in fact, point out at the time ) and I had failed to notice it. Or believe it. I think I didn't want that particular ride to end, really. But... it is complete. The 'new chapters' proved that to me. The book had a perfect, happy ending, plus an epilogue that tied everything up. It was complete, I was just unwilling to admit it. Silly, stubborn me!

    So, now I had two chapters and no book to put them in.

    That is remedied as of now... or rather, when the new novel is greenlighted and online. Soon, I expect.

    Please look for it. I would love to tell you a story, if I may.

    A story of the deepest secrets of Equestria... like what it actually is, what the princesses (and Discord) truly are, and... the little issue of what happens in my Equestria after ponies... and other creatures... die.

    Because an event, with a little Snow Bunny, from HUMAN In Equestria, needs to be followed up.

    Because stories, have a life, of their own.

    I guess... I'm back!

    - Petal Chatoyance

      July 12, 2014

    34 comments · 851 views
  • 47w, 5d
    The State Of The Unicorn

    First, I want to say that I am sorry to my friends here, who worry for me. I've been very distant and closed-off for some time now, and I still am to a great degree... but maybe that needs to change just a little. My friend Midnight Shadow is courageous enough to talk about himself and his life here, so that is what inspired this blog post.

    I haven't wanted to say anything about my life currently, because of three reasons. One is that I don't want to be seen as a whiner. Another is that I am embarrassed by how messed up I am. And another is just pure and simple depression. Depression is pretty powerful.

    My family has to move. Some of you know that, because you have asked me during times when I had enough inside to respond at all. Moving is hard on anyone.

    For the past eleven years, I have lived in a marvelous, magnificent home. The only house I have ever liked, much less loved, in my life. I was under the belief that it would be the last house I would ever live in - that I could stay here until the day I died. The house is literally one-of-a-kind. It was a show-home for a failed housing development that failed.

    It likely failed because the houses were too nice.

    As I type this, I sit under massive golden beams of wood buttressing my twenty-five-foot high golden plank ceiling. Light streams in from the cathedral windows far, far near the top. In the morning, the light gleams off the solid wood and makes the entire, vast chamber glow with golden light. My room, my 'Uniplex' is thirty-some feet long by twenty wide, and every wall is shelves. I live in a library, only of games and promotional toys (I worked for many years in the software industry) like some game-designing Twilight Sparkle. And that is just my room. On the second floor, up the spiral staircase.

    We got it cheap, originally, because nobody wanted it. It was too weird for normal people. Seriously. Yes, the bathroom in my 'Uniplex' has no door, and just opens into the large gallery I am in. Yes, the walkway beyond my door overlooks the rest of the inside of the house like some catwalk within a mad-scientist's lair. Yes, the spiral staircase is like something out of a science-fiction show. And yes, there are no walls but that are covered solidly in shelves.

    It's perfect. I love it. Our family are readers. Those shelves are filled with the massive book collections of four people - me, and my three spouses.

    I live in a library house.

    And I have to lose it.

    The one thing I have always wanted, my entire life, was a permanent home. I had to move every three to six months, growing up, because of my father. He made maps for the USGS. Supposedly. It's a weird story. Another time. I never got to have friends I didn't lose, I was lonely all the time, it sucked.

    Finally, I have a permanent home, at fifty, and now we have to move. To Oregon.

    I was born in Oregon, and I hate it. Loathe it. Despise the state. Admittedly, I only knew eastern Oregon: desert-y, dry, filled with uneducated, narrow-minded conservative, racist bastards who hate everything I love and admire. Had to deal with it every summer, because my mother owned a house in Baker City. It was the only island of security in my constant moving, and I despised it.

    We're moving to the Portland area, which I am told, is nice. It's supposed to be 'Seattle Light': liberal, educated, tech-savvy, queer positive, ethnically diverse - everything I like. The problem is that we are not alone.

    The reason we have to move is Intel. Intel, the big chip maker (Intel Inside!) made a few stupid moves. They got caught being Microsoft in Europe, buying freedom from competition with payola and ended up fined 1.7 billion dollars. Also, they've somehow managed to overlook how big, universal, monolithic processors for desktop computers aren't the market anymore... and that kinda means they're currently boned. Long story short: they have to get rid of two thirds of their workforce, and they don't want to pay unemployment to anyone.

    The answer? Make everybody who works for them move to Portland... or, well, it's your choice if you want to keep working. Brilliant! Screw everyone legally! America! What a country!

    And it's going well. They expect to lose 70% of their employees, which will look great on the bottom line. All over the country, though, thousands of people are nevertheless moving to Portland. We have to compete with them. All of them. Thousands, streaming into the areas outside of Portland, small areas, the only areas within commute distance of Intel.

    Additionally, Chinese nationals are currently buying up Portland real estate to get their money out of China fast. We lost one house because just such a person came in with a big suitcase full of money and bought the house we were negotiating for - for a 100,000 dollars over the asking price. They took the case. Of money.

    We can't match that kind of bullshit!

    Portland is three hours from where we live. This has to be done.

    We can't find a house we can afford. The prices are insane now. Big housing bubble because of all of this. We can't buy land to build our own house for the same reason. We've been trying since September of last year. The only rental houses are tiny, cramped, piss-pots that we can't fit into without ending up killing each other. But we have no choice. We have to move.

    By this upcoming September. Not much time left.

    Tomorrow, we drive down, yet again, to check out some unlikely properties - some blank lots, formerly farmland, without sewer, water, or power... and two houses, one located near a sawmill, the other on the runway of an airport. That is how desperate things are getting.

    And I sit here, in my dream home, the home I love, the perfect home, which I was promised I could live in for the rest of my life, the home I will lose. Forever.

    In my polyamoric family, I am the center. I am the lynchpin, the hetaera, the earthmother who holds it together. I comfort my spouses, I nurture them, I kiss their boo-boos, I listen to their pain. That's my position. It is where I fit best, and I am glad of it, and it is an honor. I am the uberwife. It is a sacred thing.

    But, it is also a very demanding thing. I am everybody's comfort. But there is no comfort for me. I can't unload, I can't break down, I can't fail, because if I collapse, everything goes to shit. Seriously, it's happened before - once when my mother died. I just fell apart and so did everything else nearly. Only love kept us together. I herd creative, superintelligent, incredibly driven cats for a living, you see. Without a cat herder... well.

    I am vastly well rewarded for an uberwife - don't feel sorry for me on that account. I get all the goodstuff. No complaints there.

    It's just that, when things are really tough on everyone, when everyone is openly talking about how tasty a cup of cyanide would be right about now? It's hard. Normally I manage to repair myself, keep myself functioning. That's part of the reason I am what I am in my family. But when it gets this bad... I'm not doing well right now. That's the fact of it. I am not doing well at all.

    It's been a hard past two years - two of my spouses nearly died from super-resistant bacteria. One from a burrito, the other from a swimming pool, but in both cases, these people I love more than my own life came within hours of dying. One involved blood everywhere, from every orifice. Everywhere. So much blood.

    Don't eat at Taco Time. I mean it. And don't swim at the YWCA.

    Then, of course, there was the matter of the Anti-TCB bastards here, destroying my entire genre, then dividing and conquering my writing community - turning many of those I thought my friends against me to save themselves... and ultimately, breaking me. I come here, to Fimfiction, to find safety, community, relief, and friendship. What a maroon, right? What a fucking idiot, right? Am I right? Love and tolerate. Yeah. Sure.

    So, I am very damaged, yet it is a time when I am most needed. I am failing. I am falling apart. And I can't, because I have a job to do. I need to be there for my family. And I am doing my best, but... I am not doing well. At all.

    The best case scenario, currently, is that we find a house we can stand, somehow, and don't take too much of a financial catastrophe to buy it. If we even can.

    We may end up renting a crappy place and living out of boxes for the one to three years it will take for the bubble to burst. Then maybe we can buy a house.

    We may, if we are very lucky, manage to buy a chunk of unloved, reject farm land, and over time, develop it. Septic tanks and a well. Get power in somehow. Literally buy the farm.

    But whatever happens, it is going to be a move down. Way down. Downscale. And that hurts, real bad, after thirty years of working our asses off to have something decent, finally, after all the suffering and struggle.

    My spouses are hurting really bad about this. They are utterly raw. That's why I have to be there. Mommy Jenny, keeping the family going. It is literally my honor. I am grateful to be such, to such wonderful people.

    But... I am not doing well.

    And that's where I am at, and why I have been so weird lately, so distant, so... unapproachable. It's why I won't skype, or answer emails easily. It's hard just to talk to anyone. It's hard, some days, just to keep breathing. Marvin, from Hitchhiker's is too upbeat for me right now. Bloody party robot.

    Well, I've embarrassed myself enough for one blog. Big shithead whinger I am. Whine, whine, whine. "Oh, all I've worked for these thirty years is all going to be lost forever! Oh poor me!" I know, there is no pity on the internet. Only hate, spite, trolls and loathing. And of course 'First World Problem, Chatoyance, losing your home! Some people don't even have homes! Fuck you! Go live in a car, you misanthropic cunt!' Oh, yeah, I expect that too.

    But not from everyone, and not from you. Not from you, the ones that still bother to read my blog.  

    So, anybody know a brilliant home under 350K in the Portland area within 30 minutes of Intel that could house four people? 3 1/2 bathrooms, maybe some space for gardening, no need for proximity to schools or anything else breeders need? A big, big room to use as an Uniplex? Three bedrooms, two offices, kitchen, garage, and utilities room?


    Yeah, I know. It's okay. Hey, I'm only fifty-four. I can always just... start over. Even despite my heart condition, I probably still have almost twenty years left.

    Do a lot in twenty years. Yeah. A lot.

    Like I said. I'm not doing well.


    So, that's the story. Now you know.

    And knowing is half the battle. The other half involves bullets and explosions. And Michael Bay.

    And a goat.

    - Chatoyance, June 21st, 2014

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  • 103w, 3d
    Online Abuse On Fimfiction, part four of four.

    The Story Of My Leaving

    By Chatoyance

    You who follow my work here on Fimfiction may be curious about the circumstances of my leaving. I left abruptly, and without explanation. I would like to correct that.

    In short, I left because I felt heartbroken. I had been the focus of organized online and offline harassment and bullying because of my Conversion Bureau stories, but this was not the main reason for my flight from Fimfiction.

    What was the final blow for me was the betrayal of some of those who I considered dear friends and allies, as well as the failure of the Fimfiction management. It was possible to nearly cope with the constant abuse so long as I felt support from those I trusted. But when some of my trusted friends failed to back me up or stand with me in a time of trouble, when some even joined with those who were abusing me, that was simply too much.

    During the worst of the harassment directed against me, I received multiple death threats, countless letters and messages of hatred and insult, constant downvote abuse that rendered my own posts silenced, and in the real world suffered targeted denial of service attacks against my family servers and mailservers, as well as hacking attempts, some successful and quite destructive.

    All of these attacks came with proxy-anonymized messages of hate and insult, directed personally at me, from members of the Anti-Conversion Bureau. They claimed the attacks were specifically because of my Conversion Bureau stories, and the stated goal was to force me to quit writing. It was an organized, orchestrated, ongoing assault that affected my family and myself.

    The abuse began in the March of 2012.

    Until that time, for a full year, I had enjoyed the most joyful and wonderful creative period of my entire fifty-three years of life. Better than my entire software career working for companies like Activision and Electronic Arts, more enjoyable than my second career helping to develop and run one of the first, and most successful games websites at the beginning of the internet. More fun that my third career as a cartoonist. It was the happiest year of my life, in terms of creative expression.

    I needed such a happy creative outlet because it was also a year of fear and near tragedy. Two of my spouses nearly died from terrible infections, one lost her esophagus from food poisoning, another nearly perished from a seemingly unstoppable kidney infection. Only last-resort antibiotics barely saved their lives. The single thing that kept me going during this nightmare was writing my stories. There were times the only bright thing in my life was the camaraderie of my fellow Conversion Bureau authors, and the support of my fully engaged readers. That kept me afloat, and able to help my spouses.

    While this year of online joy and real-world horror went on, a group of young men on a wargaming forum called ‘forums.spacebattles.com’ decided they were deeply upset that anyone was writing about the Conversion Bureau universe. They seemed to feel that the mere existence this fiction somehow threatened their own beloved fantasies of power-suited supermen killing aliens in bloody, nightmarish wars. They ranted and raved about how anyone could write stories where humans would willingly become aliens, rather than kill aliens.

    This caused so much trouble that they were asked by their own community to leave.

    So it was that in March of 2012 this same small group of wargamers joined Fimfiction and immediately began attacking the Conversion Bureau authors. Naturally they attacked the most prolific author preferentially, and that author was me.

    In short order they attracted a following (the internet loves a gang-up), pulling in people from many other places on the internet and worked to create what amounted to a hate group - the Anti-Conversion Bureau Group (now renamed as the ‘Alternative Conversion Bureau’ as an escape from censure by the moderators). The attacks increased as inflaming posts and angry diatribes encouraged collective violence against the authors of the Bureau stories, and very specifically me. It was calculated online terrorism, and it naturally just got worse and worse.

    I, having no concept of the scale of the attack, did my best to ask those that persecuted me to stop. I suggested that if they did not like my stories, that there were thousands of other stories to turn to. I begged them to simply not read my work.

    But they were not there to read pony stories. These bullies were very clear - they had come purely to silence all of the Conversion Bureau authors, destroy the Bureau genre itself, and - because I was prolific, to especially silence me. The reason for the attack? They did not personally approve of such stories, and since they did not approve, such stories should not exist for anyone.

    They were wargamers. The campaign they launched was carefully architected and carried out, and in the end caused many authors to abandon Fimfiction, including myself.

    I begged the moderators to help. I begged the site owner, Knighty, to help. I provided concrete proof of the abuse directed towards me. A weak, ineffective effort was made to deal with the most egregious of the growing group of bullies, but in the end, nothing real came of it. There was no follow-through whatsoever.

    Evil, true evil, is always a matter of institutionalization. For harassment and abuse to exist, those with power and authority must turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. Through failure to actively protect those within their care, authority offers tacit approval of abuse. Through thoughtless coding of features, programmers make abuse easy, and thus unintentionally encouraged.

    Despite clear examples of blatant abuse and real-world attacks, the moderators failed to confront and stop the abuse, and ultimately Knighty - who barely made a token effort to deal with the bullies and their hate group - failed everyone.

    But the final blow came when many of those I considered my friends - those who I had shared my glorious year of joyful creative fellowship with - either silently ignored the ongoing attacks, or blatantly caved in and chose submission to the abusers, rather than to work together to oppose them. By then, I had become essentially the sole focus of attacks, yet only a handful of people stood by me.

    You only know the true character of a friend by what they actually bother to do when you are under attack.

    Management would not help. Many of my former friends on Fimfiction remained uselessly silent or joined the bullies. Eventually several of those who had courageously stood with me became so hurt that they simply had to leave - in disgust, in grief, in sadness.

    Then I too, seeing their wisdom, also left.

    No truly sane or decent person ever abuses or harasses another person.

    That so many people were driven to gang up to destroy a genre of fiction and the authors that wrote it is not a sane, or a decent, or a kind, or a good thing. It is worse that Knighty and the moderators of Fimfiction effectively stood by and let it happen. All evil requires is that good men do nothing, or in this case, little.

    In the aftermath, the leaders of the original attack have consolidated their victory. They have begun a widespread effort to delete the bulk of their own vicious and threatening postings from Fimfiction, and the scars left behind by this mass deletion are easy to see. Only the responses to these vile and sometimes frightening attacks remain, ghostly quotations merely hinting at the truly terrible threats and slander now purposefully deleted.

    The victors write the history books, and an effort is ongoing to make the creative authors of the Conversion Bureau out to be the aggressors - especially me. That this is ludicrous should be obvious with even the simplest thought about it. The very notion that a creative person, busy writing stories to an appreciative audience, could somehow magically force dozens of people to join a website so that they could then be attacked is utterly insane. That a happy, content author with many fans has any reason to cause trouble to anyone is beyond credibility.

    That one little author of pony stories could be the aggressor against over four-hundred members of a group dedicated to eliminating that author and her choice of genre? It beggars the imagination. Yet this is their Big Lie.

    It is always the behavior of bullies that they paint their victims as deserving harassment, and ultimately being to blame for their own abuse. Apparently, I dressed provocatively.

    It is beyond silly, of course, but this is the story that is being crafted, and the bigger the lie, and the more often it is repeated, the more people will believe it. Already, some people on Fimfiction are actually falling for this ridiculous revisionism, simply because it is all they hear, it is not being challenged - as it should be - and it is not something that is being thought about at all.

    No person should ever be harassed, or bullied or attacked online. Abuse and harassment should be challenged at every appearance, friends should stand together to oppose harassment, and all should demand that the management of a website aggressively and universally protect and defend its users from abuse - both by action in the moment, and by website design that eliminates the abuse of tools that permit harassment, and the provision of working tools for users to protect themselves.

    I was terribly harassed, yet only a few true souls tried to defend me. The management failed me utterly at every level, and the structure of the site itself is easily abused to cause harm.

    This is why I left Fimfiction.


    Petal Chatoyance, 2013

    (Jennifer Diane Reitz)

    The Complete Abuse On Fimfiction Blog Series

    Quick Links to previous parts

    Part One: Abuse, why, how and how to cope

    Part Two: My letter To Knighty

    Part Three: What you can do to help things

    86 comments · 2,824 views
  • 103w, 4d
    Online Abuse On Fimfiction, part three of four.

    What You Can Do To Make Fimfiction A Safer Place

    By Chatoyance

    You’ve now read about the story of my departure from Fimfiction, how and why bullying was possible here, and the letter I sent Knighty to explain how he can protect you from what happened to me.

    It isn’t safe here, I am not a special snowflake, and what happened to me can absolutely also happen to you. You may be next. If not you, then someone you care about here. That should not happen, it is wrong.

    So, what can you do to protect yourselves?

    The emotional self-protection advice within the Online Abuse article is helpful I believe, but to make Fimfiction a decent, safe place to write in, Fimfiction itself needs to change. The changes are simple, easy, and only require that Knighty and the moderators choose to bother with them.

    At least some - preferably all - of the items listed below need to be implemented for your protection, and only a strong and unyielding demand from the user base can hope to have this happen. If you want some tiny degree of protection from harassment, you need to make sure Knighty and the mods hear this need loudly, clearly, and unceasingly until something is done. It seems clear that no one person can convince Knighty that the need for basic user protections is both important and needful. Some or all of the following - or something equally powerful - desperately needs to be applied to Fimfiction:  

    First, all tools and components that can be easily used to cause abuse to others, or which create an atmosphere of contention and conflict must be eliminated. Primary among these is the comment erasing, easily abused downvote button - it is unnecessary, contrary to the spirit of pony fiction, and automatically pits users against each other. If there must be a way to vote on a story, all that is required is an upvote. Say something nice, or say nothing at all.

    The worst abuse an upvote alone is capable of is slightly inflated popularity, and that, really, hurts nobody.

    Secondly, the blocks on others made by a user should automatically carry over when they create a group. The user blocking choices of the founder of a group should also determine who may belong or not, and if they have blocked someone, that choice should inform the groups they create. This permits the existence of safe spaces. Deletion of comments within a group should be fixed, it currently does not work at all much of the time.

    Thirdly, some proof of identity should be demanded by Fimfiction with each account to prevent the endless creation of sock-puppet accounts for purposes of abuse and harassment. The identity of users does not need to be open to the public, and should not be open to the public - but it should be clearly understood that those in charge of Fimfiction know who the users are, and that users will be held accountable for their actions on the site.  

    Lastly, the moderators should proactively and robustly enforce anti-harassment and anti-bullying policy, that policy should be clearly stated with clear rules and definitions, and those seen to be harassing others should be severely dealt with. Additionally, groups formed solely for the purpose of harassment and hate should not be tolerated to exist at all. When found, they, and all members of such groups, should be promptly and severely dealt with.

    In short, a standard and functional anti-harassment policy should be completely followed through with, and harassment of any kind should not be tolerated in the least.

    How do we make this happen?

    The only way to make these changes happen is to convince Graeme Pollard, ‘Knighty’, the creator/programmer of Fimfiction to take real and useful action with regard to them.

    This means you need to write to him, and explain that you want these safety measure to be implemented, that reducing bullying matters to you, and that there is a problem here, and it needs to be solved.

    Write to Graeme (Knighty) at:


    or PM him from his user page, or post directly on his user page, here:


    What else can you do?

    Never tolerate bullying or harassment. Report it and demand a response when you see it - even if it is not directed at you. Especially if it is not directed at you - protect your community, protect your friends.

    If someone is being bullied and harassed, stand by them. Support them. Defend them. Remain loyal and true to anyone being attacked, and always stand united against every bully. If you side with those who commit harassment or encourage harassment, then you are just the same. You are a bully too. Always protect and defend those who are being hurt. Demand protection - and results - from management when harassment happens to anyone.

    Always remember that there is no excuse for bullying. Bullying is not ‘free speech’, it is not ‘criticism’ it is not ‘teaching’ it is not ‘calling someone on their bullcrap’ - it is an assault, it is wrong, and there is no excuse for it. If a post is not kind, if a post is not civil, then do not tolerate it. Shut down any attempt to put forward the notion that abuse is ever justified by any reason whatsoever. If it cannot be said kindly, then it should not be said. Incivility is abuse. You create the culture you live in by what level of behavior you tolerate. Bullies must not be tolerated.

    If someone bullies you, do not respond. Block, delete and report. A bully is beneath you, they are not worth your time or feeling.

    It is easy to spot any bully - if they are trying to silence someone, frighten someone, or make someone feel bad about themselves or their creative work, they are a bully. There is no excuse for behaving like that. Creativity should be encouraged, and if a comment makes you feel bad about yourself or your work, then that comment is bad. Real teaching is kind and helpful, real criticism is kind and helpful, and it is absolutely possible to discuss any subject in a supportive, kind way.

    If things are not civil, if they are not polite, if they are not kind, you are under attack.

    Demand a safe, civil environment!


    The Story Of My Leaving - the conclusion of this series.

    65 comments · 1,530 views
  • 103w, 4d
    Online Abuse On Fimfiction, part two of four.

    My Letter to Graeme Pollard(Knighty)

    email: knight33@gmail.com


    Hello, Graeme!

    I’m Jennifer Reitz, (Chatoyance on Fimfiction) and I wanted to write to you about programming with regard to Fimfiction. You probably know me as the writer who was harassed into leaving. Rather than being angry, I'd like to help the situation as it stands.

    In the 80’s, before I founded my own little software company - Accursed Toys, Inc. - I worked for many companies. There was a saying at the time among designers, like myself, and programmers too, that ‘The Interface IS The Game’. This is fairly common sense - the entire possibility set which a user has available to them in any program is circumscribed by the interface they use.

    But interface is far more than a set of command options. Interface defines and creates user experience, and in a social context, as with a social website, interface directly shapes user culture.

    Humans Can Be Programmed

    Human behavior is programmed and shaped in countless deliberate ways, and any given culture - from that of the men of a military boot camp to the tone and attitude of a classroom - is, optimally, deliberately shaped and created to serve a defined goal. When social behavior is not shaped and defined, people become confused about what is expected of them, they often fall to a lowest common denominator of behavior, and chaos ultimately ensues. Social environments can be programmed through the choices of those creating them.

    Fimfiction is a social environment.

    Options Are A Form Of Communication

    In any computer game, the tone, emotion, and feeling of the work are defined not just by the graphics or the music or the characters, such human matters are also created by the possibility set available to the player. In any situation, be it physical interaction or online interaction, mood and feeling are likewise defined by the chosen set of allowed actions.

    The Three Choices

    In any program, game or website, everything that matters to the user ultimately reduces to choice. From an emotional standpoint, there are three types of choices: Antagonistic, Amicable, and Neutral.

    A Neutral choice is purely functional. Selecting a font, choosing to save or load, these choices are tools and carry no social power in and of themselves.

    An Antagonistic choice is one where the user is pitted in some fashion against another user, or a perceived opponent real or computer controlled. Antagonistic choices generate conflict, upset, and drama, but also excitement. Antagonistic choices promote tribalism, infighting, and a social contract of warfare.

    An Amicable choice is one where the user cooperates with other users or adds to a growing body of mutual choices. Amicable choices promote fellowship, civility, and a social contract of mutuality.

    Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

    The use of tools to express opinion within a social space is useful and common, but how such tools are implemented has a tremendous effect upon the emotional character of such a space.

    The use of a ‘Thumb Up To Approve, Thumb Down To Disapprove’ option instantly introduces conflict. It is an Antagonistic choice set. Users comprehend the tone of their online social environment through the possibility set provided them. Websites that wish to generate conflict and drama provide means by which users can polarize themselves into opposing tribes and groups. Fighting and turmoil is a natural result as these means are utilized. For a website about Klingon Fandom within Star Trek, for example, the use of an ‘Up Dagger’ and a ‘Down Dagger’ would be expected. Klingons are warriors, and opposition is their nature.

    Friendship Is Choices

    For a website defined by values of cooperation, tolerance, and compassion, conflict choices would generate a culture at odds to the subject matter. The options provided to a user within a program define their experience, more than this, the available set of options defines mood, tone and the emotional feeling of the user.

    In the case of Fimfiction, the choice to provide both ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ is an antagonistic choice set. It communicates opposition and encourages dispute and discordance, conflict and tribalism. It is in opposition to the milieu of My Little Pony. That it can also be abused to entirely erase the posts of users only enhances this effect. The result is bullying and social warfare.

    By constraining the possibility set to limit user actions to only those things that are desired or which are appropriate to the subject matter, online culture is defined and reinforced.

    Eliminating all oppositional choices creates a shared culture. It is a form of communication, of programming, which instinctively defines to the user what is expected by what is possible.

    Eliminating any such choice as ‘Thumbs Down’ would go far towards silently, elegantly shaping the user culture of Fimfiction. Leaving only ‘Thumbs Up’ allows expression of opinion, but places the emphasis entirely on positive, shared, cooperative attitudes. The user can chose to go out of their way to show support - ‘say something nice’ - or refrain from support - ‘or don’t say anything at all’. This unconsciously promotes civil behavior without having to say a single word.

    The single worst possible abuse that could be made of a purely ‘Thumbs Up’ system would be that a group of dedicated superfans might over-praise a given work. This is not any kind of problem, and if anything, encourages users to behave in ways that garner positive feelings.

    Covering The Socket-Outlets

    Every option, tool, or selection offered to a user should be considered through the filter of “How could a truly vicious person abuse this?” While only a small percentage of people are likely to abuse a given system to hurt others or to cause trouble, the damage a single determined user can do to even a large social group is great. Essentially, the interface to any program, especially software designed to create a social environment, requires child-proofing.

    While some web sites thrive on interpersonal and group conflict - such as the defunct Portal Of Evil, or Encyclopedia Dramatica and 4-chan - their membership is limited to a small subset of possible online users.

    Fimfiction appeals to a much larger potential audience, one that includes the very young to the very old. If a large participation is desired, all design should optimally exist to reduce conflict, encourage civility and mutuality, and generate emotions of welcoming and safety. This is the tack taken by successful commercial websites, such as those owned by Disney, Nintendo and others. A safe, civil environment provides the greatest possibility of a maximal audience.

    No Room For Hate

    When I, and many others, were singled out for harassment because of our participation on Fimfiction, it was a very traumatic experience. Many highly productive writers dedicated to helping and supporting other writers have fled entirely, myself included. Initially, I will honestly say that I desired nothing less than bloody retribution. Such feelings are precisely what are not useful or optimal for a My Little Pony website to generate. There are ways to prevent such harassment before it begins, through website design alone, such as shown in the ‘Thumbs Up’ example.

    But sometimes it is absolutely necessary to impose culture, and in doing so, the best model is one of effective parenting.

    An effective parent sets rules and boundaries, clearly states the consequences of breaking those rules and boundaries, and then fully and completely follows through with imposing those consequences should the rules be broken.

    The single greatest failure a parent or leader can make is to fail to follow through completely when imposing consequences. At best the parent or leader is seen as weak and ineffective, at worst they are seen as complicit in the breaking of the rules by all concerned, especially those actually breaking the rules themselves.

    Human beings (of any age) operate under a base assumption that whatever is not forbidden is allowed. If someone in charge is ignores violations, then the assumption is that permission has been tacitly given.

    This happened with regard to the contentious Anti-TCB hate group. When it was deleted, it was immediately restored, the members believing that the entire deletion had been a software glitch or accident.

    If a leader or parent figure weakly imposes consequences, then they are perceived as weak and easily manipulated, or they are seen as tacitly supporting those they are dealing with.

    This also is true with regard to the Anti-TCB group (now the Alternative TCB Group), who express, openly, just these thoughts. The rule was not harass others, and they now conform to appearing to not openly harass anyone. This is not the same as ceasing destructive behavior. Since no real consequence came of their actions, and since nothing was clearly defined or said with regard to their actions, their reasonable assumption is that they can get away with anything so long as it is not overt.

    I should note that I, and others, are still being harassed even after leaving entirely.

    When faced with clearly destructive, antagonistic behavior within a social environment, it is necessary to reiterate a clear and firm statement of policy followed by fully followed through consequences. This is the only way to establish order, which is why it is the established methodology of human history. Partial efforts, weak warnings and failing to deal with a problem only leads to endless troubles in the long term.

    This can be seen most clearly in children raised by ineffective parents.

    You Are The Parent, You Are The Programmer

    You own Fimfiction. You are seen, rightfully, as the leader, the authority, the parent, who defines the rules and tone of the website. This is true whether or not you desire such responsibility, because primates naturally desire an authority figure - a grayback - to establish order. Your behaviors and actions towards your users are a form of programming. Even as you program the code of the website, your communication with your users programs the society your website collects. You program your user base through what you say and do, and how you construct your interface. Neither side can be neglected, or all falls into some degree of malfunction.

    Parenting is simply hacking children into proper social function. To run a social environment - such as a forum website - optimally, it is required that you act the role expected of you, which is that of a leader, a grayback, a parent. Your users are your children, and your actions and pronouncements - or lack thereof - determine what they become.

    I encourage you to think carefully about what kind of social environment you actually want to create with regard to Fimfiction. Do you want a contentious society filled with grief and harassment, a place where users - especially the young, the vulnerable, the creative and sensitive - feel unwelcome, endangered or threatened?

    Do you want Fimfiction to be a place where the greatest number of people, of all ages and temperaments, gather to celebrate My Little Pony with creativity and mutual support?

    You have the power to construct, to program, either possibility, and in fact you are already doing so. Your every choice and action - or inaction - accomplishes precisely this.

    My experience of Fimfiction, as well as the experience of many others, is that Fimfiction is increasingly becoming a typical internet place of abuse and harassment. This is inevitable, as any website grows in population, unless strong and considered action is taken to deliberately shape the culture as it develops.

    One tool is through the options presented to the user - what they can and cannot do, and how any given tool or gadget can be abused, or how abuse is prevented, or made irrelevant.

    Another tool is by treating the users as your own and parenting them effectively, making what is permissible clear, and what is not allowed even more clear, and then following robustly and implacably through with any corrective action. No second chances, no wheedling out of anything, no weakness.

    To respond correctively to a breach of law is to keep a promise - to fail to do so is to have one’s words and authority forever considered questionable. Failing to follow through is how parents lose control of their children, and how children go bad.

    it is also how social websites become nightmare places of abuse and incivility that push users away.


    Thank you for listening to me, for hearing me out.

    During my time on Fimfiction, I had one of the best years of my entire life. For a single year, I felt part of a supportive, intelligent, clever group of writers all sharing a mythos in common. I wrote some 800,000 words, possibly some of the best writing of my life. The experience of camaraderie and shared creativity got me through some terrible real-life events: Two of my spouses (I live in a polyamory, or group marriage) nearly died, the victims of MRSA and foodborne infections. They survived, barely, but the trauma of these horrific events brought me desperately low. Only writing my Conversion Bureau stories, and feeling part of the Fimfiction community kept me able to function during that time.

    When the Anti-TCB began its attacks upon me, my family, and our servers and property, it destroyed for me the single greatest emotional escape and support I had in my life outside of my own endangered family. I miss writing for my Fimfiction fans more than I can adequately express. But as long as Fimfiction remains combative and hate groups remain, I feel excluded and forced away.

    I know I am not alone in that feeling.

    I am told that you care about such matters as these, but simply are unsure what to do about them. My wish, in writing this to you, is to offer some idea of effective strategies you can use to make Fimfiction a safe and inclusive place with no room for hate within it. I would find it difficult to imagine that you would wish it to be a place of anger and abuse.

    I believe there are several things that can be done immediately to sculpt the society of the Fimfiction users.

    One is to reexamine the site interface and shed any option or gadget that permits the abuse of others. My first choice would be the ‘Down Thumb’, to remove it universally. The ‘Up Thumb’ is a benefit, alone.

    Another thing that would help would be to make sure that users can block others in - all - cases, and that the blocking choices of a user who starts a group are transferred to that group automatically.

    The establishment of a clear and precisely defined policy against harassment should be made highly accessible and obvious, and it should be enforced with robust and implacable determination and effect. The trusted Moderators should be given the tools to enforce the policy, and encouraged to take action swiftly and definitively. It should be made clear there is absolutely zero tolerance of harassment, hate groups and bullying, and that all users are expected to treat each other with great respect. To be effective, there can be no weakness in this. (I myself have used all of these methods in our own websites over the years to absolute effect. They work.)

    For the future, I would offer that it would be wise to consider the development of Fimfiction, and any other social websites you may create, in terms of what functions of both interface and policy are needed in order to create the exact social structure you desire. Define the kind of society you wish to create as part of the process of programming the whole. Hack the social environment - it is an extension of the function of your code, if you think about it.

    With respect - and hope,

    Jennifer Diane Reitz (Chatoyance)


    I have never received a response.

    Do you agree with any of this? You can make it happen, you know. Just demand it loudly enough, for long enough.


    What You Can Do To Make Fimfiction A Safer Place

    47 comments · 1,235 views
  • 103w, 5d
    Online Abuse On Fimfiction, part one of four.

    I have returned to acquire the text of my unpublished, seventh chapter of ‘I.D. - That Indestructible Something’. While I am briefly here, I might as well make a statement. Here then is the beginning of a four- part blog series regarding the events of my leaving, and the problems inherent to Fimfiction itself.

    Online Abuse

    How to understand it   -   Why it happens   -   How to deal with it

    By Chatoyance

    Welcome to Fimfiction. You will be bullied and harassed.

    The fault is not yours, you are not to blame, neither do you deserve it. You may be bullied in small ways, with insults or having your comments obliterated by downvotes. You may be privately messaged vile things and you well may have lies and slanders repeated against you. Your attackers will try to make you feel small, make you feel that you are at fault, or that you have no right to create, or to even live.

    How can this even happen?

    The reason it can happen is because the website, Fimfiction itself, allows it to happen. Evil, real evil, is an institutional matter. It can only exist when it is permitted to exist. For evil to occur, all it takes is those in power turning a blind eye and ignoring things. What allows you to be attacked is the management and programming of Fimfiction itself.

    The first, and most obvious problem is posting anonymity. Complete anonymity inevitably leads to some degree of bullying and harassment. Websites that require valid personal identification when creating accounts on them have vastly fewer incidents of abuse, and should abuse occur, the perpetrators are more easily dealt with either by the website management, or by legal authorities. Anonymity breeds contempt of others by creating a feeling of total freedom from responsibility. Simply knowing that the website owner has true knowledge of user identity can stop a great deal of abuse. This is a major reason why professionally run forums, such as those run by corporate entities, always demand personal identification on signup.

    There are many ways an online environment can either prevent, or promote bullying and harassment. Every tool and gadget will be used for harm by evil people, if it can be, and the social tone of an environment is determined by what is possible within that environment. One particularly egregious example of this can be found in nothing more than the ‘thumbs up/ thumbs down’ voting system. It is by design intrinsically contentious - it pits people against each other.

    The creator of Fimfiction, Graeme Pollard (Knighty), has chosen to create an environment where it is possible to downvote comments into invisibility. This means that voting can be used as a weapon, one with no defense against it. The same downvote can be used to make your story socially unacceptable, to silence and censor you. There is no way to block this attack and there is no recourse. The moderators will not help you, Knighty will not help you. This is just one way the website itself socially programs for contention and emotional violence.

    Your power to block and delete the written attacks of those who would hurt you is limited and often faulty. Strangely, it is implemented in such a way as to make your deletions - when they work - leave traces, which in a social context makes you look bad for protecting yourself.

    If you form a group on Fimfiction, to create a safe space, your own block list will not keep out those who want to harass you. You will have to individually block your attackers all over again, while they harass you for it. You may find it impossible to delete their posts. You may need to close your group entirely, and only admit people one-by-one, vastly limiting who will choose to bother to join. And even with this tactic, your own comments and posts, within your own private group, can be downvote-bombed into oblivion with no recourse, and no hope of help.

    Worst of all, the administrator and owner do not follow through when problems arise. Through inattention, thoughtless programming choices and indifference to online harassment, Fimfiction itself supports bullying.

    Thus, when bullies harass you here, it is not your fault, you are not to blame. The fault lies with the institution, the fault lies with the programmer, Graeme Pollard, and the moderators who serve him. Bullies will always take advantage of the tools and circumstances available to them, and abuse the system as it exists. It is up to the site creator to prevent such abuses rigorously through programming choices based on understanding of the reality of online harassment.

    This is how to understand what is happening to you. You are being bullied because harassment is intrinsically allowed to occur, when it could easily be made virtually impossible. You could be given strong tools to protect your space. To delete cleanly. The existence of easily abused downvotes could be eliminated. The owner and moderators could take the issue of harassment seriously and end it through site programming and strong, proactive action.

    Fimfiction is about pony fiction. The ideal is ‘love and tolerance’. The line you are given is that harassment will not be tolerated. These are illusions.

    You are bullied because the institution itself physically, programmatically, permits your harassment to occur, and because the owner and moderators do not consider the issue worth real, firm action.

    Understanding this, you can easily grasp how abuse can happen here.

    Why you?

    Your attackers will have many reasons to justify their abusive behavior. All of these reasons will revolve around you, what you write, what you think, what you are. In every case, it is all lies.

    Bullies and abusers are broken human beings. No decent, sane, good person would ever wish to harass another person. The attacks against you have nothing to do with you. If the cause truly was your writing or words, those harassing you could chose to go read something, anything else. There are thousands of authors and stories on Fimfiction to choose from. The bullies lie. It is not your words, or your stories, or your ideas, or your self that is the reason you are being attacked.

    The reason you are being attacked is because those harassing you are dysfunctional. It could be that they are too emotionally immature - regardless of their physical age - to grasp that they are doing something wrong. They could have had very inept parents who failed to teach them civil behavior. They could have endured parents who abused them, and they learned abuse as a way of life. They could be incapable of genuine compassion for others.

    Most commonly, those who harass and abuse others are powerless people who feel weak and powerless in their own existence. They are desperate for even the most petty and small sensation of power in their empty lives, and bully strangers in order to feel less weak and pathetic to themselves. By silencing, hurting, and minimizing you, they feel dominant for a moment. That brief victory is likely the only thing going for them. It may be all they have.

    ‘You’ are not important to them. Though it may feel like it, you have not been personally singled out - however much your abusers may make it seem so. Statistically, most online abusers have attacked others before you, and will harass still more people after you. You are just another target in a long line of targets. But to get to you, to induce maximum hurt, abusers will make you feel singularly targeted, uniquely attacked, and personally the focus in every way.

    The reason you are being attacked specifically is that you were there. It could have been anyone. You were chosen and reasons were invented to justify that choice. Your abusers will make those reasons into an almost religious cause, so that they feel righteous and just in attacking you.

    But no sane, decent, good person ever harasses or bullies or attacks another. Knowing this, you can now understand why abuse happens - those who harass and abuse are broken, malfunctioning people. There is something wrong with them, and they are acting out in ways that are socially inappropriate and ultimately cruel and wrong. It has nothing to do with you, rather abuse and bullying is about mental or emotional illness - of one kind or another - causing destructive and uncivil behavior to random others.

    What can be done?

    The most obvious and direct answer to online harassment and abuse is for the owners and operators of a social website to make harassment virtually impossible by programming the site to prevent it, and then following up with a strong, proactive effort to police the environment.

    In the absence of decent institutional control and response to harassment, there is only you. You must protect yourself, as best as you can, using all available means.

    Those tools that work, or marginally work - such as blocking, deleting, and locking - should be used consistently. It is always advised that you remain as anonymous as possible, just like those who would attack you.

    The fact is that this is sometimes not possible.

    Those who abuse and harass are by nature destructive and uncreative. In being attacked on Fimfiction, it will be because you dared to be creative, to write stories and produce content for the site. Most of those who attack you will never have written a story themselves, and the few that do will likely create few works, and often those works will be parodies or insult stories devoid of real imagination.

    Those who harass become good at spotting their victims work, style, and content. You may be discovered even if you try to hide, because you are creating works as opposed to mocking works, and trying to entertain rather than hunting people in order to cause suffering.

    What this means is that you may have few protections, and no way to truly hide. Nowhere to run, and few means to defend yourself. You may find that truly desperate, twisted bullies will not leave you alone even if you follow all the rules of how to deal with bullies. Hiding may be impossible. Ignoring your attackers may fail, asking them to stop may fail, and appealing to authority may be utterly pointless.

    In this circumstance, currently common to Fimfiction, there is one remaining tool left.

    You need to understand, clearly, robustly, deeply that anything that your attackers have to say is utterly beneath you.

    This may seem hard. As a creative person who is not a bully, you may want to see the best in others. You may feel that the opinions of every person should have merit, that if many people come down on you they must have a point, because they are many, and you are alone. Creative people often have such egalitarian, kind, and generous views. It is likely you have such views, or want to have such views, because of the nature of Fimfiction - it is a website about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and the reason you are here is because you love the ideal of a world of friendship and kindness.

    Such things are indeed good ideals. They are wonderful ideals. But in the real world, in a world that is not a cartoon, the fact is that there are broken, damaged people who thrive on hurting others. People who derive joy and feelings of importance and power and even self-worth from knowing they have destroyed or harmed an innocent stranger. People who will justify their cruelty by any means they can, and deny their own evil especially to themselves. This is real, this is the real world. The people who harass you, bully you, are such people.

    No sane, kind, or good person ever harasses or bullies another person.

    You must, despite yourself, despite your wish to see the best in others, despite your ideals, accept that the world is not a nice place. There are nice people, to be sure, but there are many more who are indifferent to evil, or who openly engage in it. This is why you are being attacked. It is obvious, really.

    Knowing this, it is imperative that you recognize that no person has the right to any opinion about anything unless they are truly worth your respect and trust.

    Understand that. You must grasp this, right down to your gut.

    No person has any right to any opinion, unless they are truly worth your respect and trust.

    The majority of the people on this website? You do not know them. You have no basis to trust them. They are anonymous, they hide themselves like cowards. Some bullies may seem friendly at first, to gain your trust. Trust takes time and is hard won - do not give it lightly or easily. The only judge of character is behavior over time. A lot of time.

    You are in your right, and your right mind, to instantly dismiss the opinions, observations and attitudes of the majority of people you will ever meet or deal with. This is doubly true online.

    Before you grant any voice your ear, ask yourself: who is this person? What have they truly done, in a real way, to demonstrate supportive friendship to me? Is that supportive friendship solid - have they never betrayed me? Unless you can state to yourself that someone posting a comment is worth your respect and trust, INSTANTLY DISMISS WHATEVER THEY HAVE TO SAY.

    Your feelings, your creativity, your peace of mind is worth something. Dismiss, ignore, throw away any random comment that is negative, uncivil, rude, or just feels wrong. It just plain is not worth your time. Accept this. Know this. Live by it.

    For it is your armor.

    The anonymity of the internet, combined with the indifference of institutions to abuse and harassment automatically make an environment contentious and dangerous to your happiness and peace. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it currently is this way on Fimfiction. Know this fact. Use your armor.

    If a seemingly friendly commenter begins to turn rude and abusive - you have been had. Accept that. Let them go - delete, block, ignore. They are not worth your time.

    If a group of posters dig into you and your work, attacking you while claiming they are trying to teach you, or improve your work, or that it is just honest criticism - they are lying. They are bullies.

    Violence - including emotional violence - only teaches violence.

    Real criticism is kindly said, and real teaching is gently given.

    If a comment feels abusive - it is abusive. Your emotions are the judge, the only judge. A kind person will find a kind way to say something. Knowing this, you can discern who is worth listening to, and who is to be utterly ignored.

    Treat everyone politely, but don’t let them into your mind or heart until they prove they are your friend.

    But it still hurts!

    I thought just this, and to an extent I still feel it. Verbal and written harassment is processed by the same part of the brain that processes physical pain. Chronic attack can cause damage that can be seen during imaging of the brain. Insults and abuse, contrary to common belief can truly damage people. On the internet, showing that you have been hurt is itself insulted. A bully will use anything and everything to dismiss you and imply that your pain is your fault. This is sociopathic behavior. It is just about as wrong as it is possible to be.

    That said, there is a degree by which we are to blame for some of our own suffering, and that is when we fail to protect ourselves because of innocence, ignorance, or the willful desire to see the best in others. This is an error.

    When I was attacked on Fimfiction, I was very hurt, and I was insulted for even being hurt. This is of course wrong, but even so, the bullies did have a very thin, very specious, but true point - I was not using my armor. The only reason the comments and attacks and abuse of others could hurt me at all was because I was generously granting those that abused me equal status. I considered them my equals. I thought of them as worthwhile people.

    And they absolutely were not worthwhile people, and they absolutely did not deserve for me to consider them my equal, and they absolutely were beneath me in every regard. If I had truly understood this, I could not have been hurt by them.

    No sane, kind, decent person ever abuses another person.

    If you are being abused and harassed and bullied, whoever is doing it automatically is beneath you, utterly less than you, and not worthy of any consideration whatsoever. You need to learn to dismiss them and ignore them the instant you recognize such people. Ban them. Block them. Delete them. Ignore them. It is your right, and it is the proper thing to do.

    You are the creative person. All an abuser can do is abuse. They are worthless.

    If management was doing its job, you would be protected from such people, and have tools for the few that slip through.

    You may want to believe the best about everyone. That is what those who would hurt you depend upon. If you want to not be hurt, you must be very choosy with your trust and respect, and you must only bother with the opinions of those who have earned your trust.

    Everyone else - the whole of humanity - is not worth your least consideration until they prove to you, concretely, over time, otherwise.

    The moment you can internalize this, really feel this, you will have an intelligent, real, and true armor to protect your feelings. This is your ultimate defence. This is sometimes your only defence. Always remember:

    No sane, kind, or good person ever harasses or bullies another person.

    If you are being ganged up on - that is abuse. If you or your work is angrily attacked - that is abuse. If you receive death threats or threats of physical harm - that is absolutely abuse.

    Real criticism is kindly. Real teaching is kindly. Real comments will make you feel like writing is worth the effort. If the comment you read isn’t kind, it isn’t worth reading, because it didn’t come from anyone worth your time to listen to.

    Do not be complicit in your own hurt. Use your armor. Ignore, delete, dismiss.

    If you’ve already been hurt -

    If you’ve already been hurt by bullying, by harassment, by those beneath you, then you are probably feeling pretty bad. You may be depressed, grief stricken, angry, and feel both helpless and hopeless.

    Understand that these feelings are legitimate. Emotional abuse hurts, and is a serious matter. It is processed in the brain by the same region that processes physical pain. It is equivalent to physical harm, as far as your biochemistry is concerned. Society often dismisses and minimizes emotional abuse, but this is a foolish, outdated belief not supported by medicine.

    You are not at fault. You have been attacked, harmed, by sick, broken people. It is reasonable to feel hurt and angry. On the internet, your attackers are almost certainly practiced at being anonymous, and the fact of being anonymous gives cowardly people the security to hurt others. It is reasonable to feel helpless and frustrated - those that hurt you are beyond your reach, and beyond punishment. It is also reasonable to feel angry that such abuse was even allowed to happen. Much abuse can be prevented by proper website design, as mentioned.

    But here you are, hurting. What now?

    Time. Time and comfort and distance from the source of the pain. You need time to heal and to gain perspective. You need to get your brain to decide that everything is OK again, so that you will feel better, and the way to do that is to make your experiences OK. Your environment OK. If your senses report things are safe and alright long enough, your brain will calm down, and your depression and helpless anger will lift. Counseling may help, talking to friends - real friends you rationally trust - will help.

    Understanding and internalizing the above can help.

    If nothing works, then find something else to do, and leave Fimfiction behind.

    If you can’t do that, take time to heal up. When you return, apply what is provided here diligently. Avoid the mistake of granting anyone the privilege of having anything to say to you until they earn it by proper behavior over time. People do not deserve your attention or respect unless they earn it.

    Treat everyone politely, but don’t let them into your mind or heart until they prove they are your friend.

    And always remember: no sane, kind, or good person ever harasses or bullies another person. The moment you detect abuse of any kind - dismiss, delete, and ignore.

    Because you, being a creative person, are worth more than that.


    My Letter to Graeme Pollard (Knighty), the creator and owner of Fimfiction.net

    72 comments · 1,713 views

Do you remember Equestria?

I do.

Equestria was a medieval world with magic, populated by sapient ponies. It was a Dungeons and Dragons world divided into a safe realm under magical protection, bordering a forest of ancient, mythical monsters. It had a unique and mostly self-consistent technology based on horsepower and some magic. The few exceptions were introduced by writers that didn't quite get the concept as created by Lauren Faust.

The stories of Season One were each lessons, real lessons, in friendship; as Twilight Sparkle learned, so did we, the audience. The focus was on the characters and their relationships with each other; what adventure there was existed to highlight this focus.

Once or twice, every season, we would have a Big Event, a true adventure, always very heroic fantasy.

But above all, I remember Pinkie Pie, the comic relief that with her wacky antics permitted the rest of the characters to be the opposite of wacky; to be relatively serious, composed of strengths and weaknesses, ultimately complex personalities dealing with each other.

Now, with Episode 8 of Season Two, Equestria, that beautiful vision of Faust's has been destroyed.

Pinkie Pie is seen less because she is no longer needed; in Season Two every character is wacky and kooky and crazy. Gone forever is her 'Giggle At The Ghosties'; now she is terrified of ghosts, fleeing at the mere mention of the word. She is no longer silly-yet-courageous. She is barely there, an echo, a ghost herself.

Suddenly, Equestria has stopped being a self-consistent world, and has instead become a stage upon which any prop - from a hydroelectric dam to make a 'Superman The Movie' Reference, to a street that ends in an insanely dangerous cliff - all can be inserted purely for a cheap gag. I have no doubt we will soon see the characters typing away on the Equestrian internet; we have already seen radiation/biohazard suits in use.

Do you want to know what cartoons have a more solid world than Equestria now? Thundercats did. He Man did. Bloody, dreadful SMURFS have a more self-consistent world, a more rational ontology, than Equestria. It wasn't always so.

Equestria was once a wonderful, astonishing land of medieval ponies with magic.

Now it has become Wacky Land from Tiny Toons Adventures; it has become Family Guy, it has become Freakazoid, filled with parody references to media - to movies and other cartoons, but nothing of its own anymore. I've seen those other shows, I loved My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic because it WASN'T them. It was unique.

There have been a couple of decent episodes in Season Two. Sisterhooves Social was wonderful. Lesson Zero was... alright. Luna Eclipsed had its moments, but, let's face it, that was not the Luna we saw at the end of the pilot for MLP:FIM. Imagine if they had done as well as some of the fanfic writers and fan illustrators in representing a shy, quiet, regretful Luna, being helped with love and understanding to fit in after having been imprisoned for so long. Better, isn't it, just thinking about it?

In the first season, there were moments of quiet, moments of sadness, moments of sincere emotion. Season one was filled with emotional sincerity.

Now, in Season Two, wacky cartoon gags are the focus, and they are non-stop for the most part. MLP:FIM has become a parody of itself; Friendship Is Magic has lost its soul to become another empty collection of cheap jokes.

Do you remember learning about a world where ponies literally made Nature work? Winter Wrap Up? The Running Of The Leaves?

Didn't you want to see how they made Winter and distributed it? Didn't you want to see them make Spring? Would that not have been better than seeing a cheap parody of Batman, Zorro, Superman and Darkwing Duck rolled into a rehash of Season One's "Boast Busters"? Now, instead of Trixie learning not to brag, we have Rainbow Dash learning not to brag.

It was better the first time they did that story, and it was better because it wasn't a cheap parody of movies, but instead it was a genuine story of feelings and characters.

I almost quit writing tonight, because of Episode 8, The Mysterious Mare Do Well.

It wasn't just terrible; it was an abomination that destroyed the very world in which the characters we have come to love exist in. Characters are a product of their environment. If the environment is wacky, so must be the characters, as they relate to it.

Pinkie Pie is irrelevant now because every character is Pinkie Pie. No character is deep, or real, or truly sincere anymore. They cannot be, because the world of Equestria itself has failed them. I guess Discord won; its all chaos now.

Apparently, when Lauren Faust left, she took the magic with her.

The writers that remain only know how to do cartoons as gag shows. All of the Sailor Moon inspired tenderness is absent, dead, destroyed.

And I find that terrible.

To those that read my stories here on FimFiction, I want to make it clear that my Equestria is my best understanding of Lauren Faust's vision. It's filtered and expanded through my brain, of course, but my Equestria does NOT have hydroelectric dams, or automobiles, or steam trains, or electric machines or cheap gags.

My Equestria is a medieval-like magical world of sapient equinoids who have to personally operate Nature. My Equestria is not a place of parody, it is a place where relationships matter, and where reality is self-consistent. This is the Equestria I extoll in my stories, not the version we are seeing in Season Two.

It also bothers me, I must say, how few people out there, on sites like Equestria Daily, in the comments, seem capable of understanding what they have lost. They seem content with a wacky gag cartoon that happens to feature ponies. They seem to delight in formerly sensitive, complex characters suddenly acting like the usual American Style cartoon puppets. They don't see that they have lost an essential, anime-like depth of spirit and tenderness. They don't care, or they don't mind.

Not me.

I yearn for Faust's original Equestria, I yearn for my vision of a world of real, cooperative, feeling, intelligent equinoids living under different physical laws than our Earth.

Once there was a show about that world; I miss it.


Chatoyance · 607 views · Report
#1 · 181w, 5d ago · · ·

Thank you! I knew I couldn't be the only one!

Season 2 has lost most if its...well, magic. The world is a wild mix of technological eras. The cast acts out of character. Overall, the series has become less believable.

Maybe we obsess over these things too much... it is and always was a show for 6-year old girls after all. They don't really pay much attention to bronies (other than the Ditzy inserts) and we can't expect them to. Sure, some of the team have expressed their thanks a couple of times, but that has no direct influence on the production.

We'll probably continue to see cheaper gags, more fanon-crushing developments, family trees and names and a world that is designed to fit around the "message", not the message around the world.

It's a sad development nevertheless, especially considering the influence it had over the world wide web and the community it spawned. I guess western cartoons simply can't keep up depth for very long :(

#2 · 181w, 5d ago · · ·

While I agree with you regarding episode 8, I don't think you are being fair.

Lauren supervised both Seasons of FiM. It is still her world, and it is very creative and meant to be modern for today's little girls and their parents. Now as for the wackyness we are seeing, we need to remind ourselves that television is ratings driven, thus there has to be some leeway to some humor to captivate the audience into staying on the channel to watch commercials.

This season appears to focus on the individual characters more the its previous one. It may be why we see less of Pinky Pie... we may have a episode of her very shortly or not. One thing is certain though, the hub may have requested some changes because of their educational commitments. The ponies act as role models that children may imitate in real life. We really do not need children running around acting crazy like Pinky Pie, as that will no doubt create problems later in life. Its good to have humor, but there is a time and place for it.

I can understand your objections to the modern theme (ie electric dam, cranes, etc.) but look at the episode in season 1 where Apple Bloom makes cupcakes with Pinkie Pie. Electric mixer, and the stove looks like it may be electric powered.

See it this way, don't stop writing because one episode let you down, try seeing the modernness as something that you could use for a future story. You do not have to include it in future stories. And hey, this episode might of been a one time thing. Don't give up hope!

#3 · 181w, 5d ago · · ·

I actually liked this episode as a lighter look at things, but having said that, what you're talking about has merit. I personally liked the antics, but the moral of the story was a bit too soon after the last episode. It seems Dash only gets an episode where she acts like a jerk, this series. She's not displaying loyalty, so why is she the element of loyalty?

Not everything has to be epic, not everything has to be serious, and there are a number of excellent writers in the series so please don't let one episode knock you down. I don't like seeing skyscrapers, dams and trams in Ponyville, let alone Equestria, but I can take them in short bursts (this is my major beef with the CMC episodes, rather than the CMC themselves. They do very un-ponylike things in un-ponylike ways rather often).

Season 2 isn't season 1, but I do think they're sticking to the formula provided by Faust. Although drift of that will occur, I do think we'll see things return "to normal" once they get over their "every pony has to have a message to Celestia" stint. I think the writers are exercising some freedom and I'm prepared to give them that, but I do want things more medievil in the long run.

#4 · 181w, 5d ago · · ·

ponyville is medieval.. explain the wild west or victorian towns then , or electriconic lab and photographers then.

but yes we lost something , shame about it  , maybe we set the bar too high?

#5 · 181w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

I personally feel that you are overlooking some details, and not being very fair to the show. You seem to be extending a single episode to claim that the entire season has gone silly.

Yes, episode 8 was silly. However, so was Feeling Pinkie Keen. Mare do Well had a dam and a unusual street. Pinkie Keen had a falling piano and a supercomputer. What about Over a Barrel, where a single pie to the face makes a buffalo apparently mortally wounded until he tastes it? How about Owl's Well, where Spike pulls an evil mustache and cloak out of nowhere for the sake of a joke? The universe changing for the sake of jokes has been happening since the start of the show.

Characterization tending to vary has been happening since the beginning of the show. For example: Fluttershy became afraid of heights for Dragonshy, after we'd seen her and Rainbow Dash fly Twilight down a steep cliff. Some episodes later after Dragonshy, we saw her flying and carrying a cart of frogs. Rarity lost all traces of her generosity for much of Sonic Rainboom, making the situation even harder for Rainbow Dash.

Episode 8 had its problems, sure. Every episode has its problems.

#6 · 181w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Good points. There is certainly truth behind your words. However, I don't think the comedic elements themselves are the problem. It's unique and fun to think that ponies make war with apple pies. It's what they do to the characters.

The problem, and I think that's what Chat meant aswell, is that everypony is approaching Pinkie-level of wackiness. Their character traits are pushed to the extreme.

Twilight snapping in Lesson Zero would give Pinkamena a run for her money (not to mention that it didn't fit her personality at all imho).

Dash is acting like a complete flankhole and not like the embodiment of Loyalty in Ep 7 and 8. Yeah, Dash has always been a bragger, but it's completely exaggerated in the last episode. She, too, was out of character.

Pinkie was a scaredy-pony on several occasions now (Giggle at the Ghostie much?).

And do you really need to put hydroelectric dams and steam-powered trains in Equestria (especially after pony-drawn trains have been shown before)? Okay, I don't mind that much myself, but was it really necessary?

Of course you could argue that these changes happen all the time, and that even S1 wasn't spared. (Flutterrage, anypony? Twilight's basement lab?) And in fact, one would have to be quite obsessive to even complain about these things in the first place. Maybe. But it disappoints nonetheless.

I'm probably being too harsh on S2. But it still feels different, wrong, somehow.

Maybe fanfics have just twisted my expectations...

#7 · 181w, 4d ago · · ·

Every week in S2 I have felt it could have been better. Sure S1 had it faults, but just look at "Ticket Master". They handled that horrible 'only two tickets' dilemma that has shown up in way to many shows with an interesting and refreshing change. But S2 almost feels like they are trying to hard to appeal to their target audience (little girls) and bronies. Now the episodes are more slapstick and trite, but on the other hand a lot of the brony favorites in the way of background characters are showing up. Derpy has been in every episode in S2 so far since the third one at least, and I've been seeing a lot more of lyra, bon bon, and berry punch as well. But as I'm sure as nearly every writer on this site can attest to, trying to make everyone happy is the fastest way to make nobody happy.

#8 · 181w, 3d ago · · ·

I agree somewhat, season 2 doesn't  seem to have that spark that drew me in before. However that could simply be that with this season, our expectations  have raised the bar to a point that we aren't blown away by the new episodes like we were in season 1.

Personally, I am going to withhold judgement until we see a few more episodes. There's  still time to save the spark.

Also, S1e8 was the work of a writer who has not written for this show before.

#9 · 181w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

I have to disagree with you on Luna Eclipsed. It was a wonderful episode, and I think you may have just gotten too attached to your fanon for her to appreciate it. It shows us that Equestria is not a static place, that it changes and grows. One thousand years ago, the princesses were much farther removed from the populace, using the booming voice you would expect to hear from a living god who controls your entire world. I think it was really interesting to see Luna, effectively a time traveler, try to come to grips with how pony society has changed.

#10 · 181w, 3d ago · · ·

First of all I'd like to say that I respect your writing. I don't have an account here yet but I mean to get one soon, once I have something written worth putting up. Your work is inspiring, to say the least.

But when it comes to all of this I... can't help but think you're being a little narrow-minded.

First of all, Faust was not gone for Season 2. She was still a creative consultant; this was still her world and she probably had a hand in it before leaving over the whole season Season 3 thing. I may be wrong on this, and if so please do tell me, because it's not my intention to present untrue points; but she had many opportunities to step in and fix things that did not line up with 'her' interpretation of Equestria and she didn't.

Addressing your argument over Pinkie Pie next, well, I just think that's not fair, especially not the way you phrased it. You're letting single episodes (one drop in an eight-episode and growing bucket, as it were) define an entire season, and that's just being biased. I'll be the first to admit that The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well and Lesson Zero were probably a little more over-the-top and heavy-handed than they needed to be. Crazy Twilight existed for one afternoon. She doesn't exist any more. Braggart Dash has *always existed* and while that was turned up to eleven in this episode it's certainly nothing we haven't seen before; knowing Dash, she probably remembers the whole Trixie ordeal but chooses not to apply it to her because, well, she's Dash, she's different from Trixie. Indeed, Twilight and Applejack both, while sacrificing some screentime, have become more stable and dependable and less wacky, and Rarity certainly seems  to have learned a few things from the Sisterhooves Social.

Pinkie herself being the element of Laughter is probably more lighthearted than anything; I am not fond of her as a character, but she proved in Luna Eclipsed that she isn't stupid and universally afraid of ghosts; she's trying to get a laugh out of everyone else, trying to keep it in good fun. Pinkie is still Pinkie, just not in an upfront and obvious manner.

As far as gags go, well, they aren't new. When it comes down to it this is a cartoon show, and cartoon shows will always have gags. Season 1 had its fair share--horse-drawn horse-drawn carriages? A hop, skip, and a jump? Pretty much every scene with Gummy ever? Reliance on gags is not something new.

The argument about Luna disappointed me. Tychomonger said it first, but the way you phrased it really just makes it sound like your fanon of Luna is a security blanket that you don't want to let go of. I have a philosophy, and you can reject or accept this as you choose, but in watching or reading or playing or otherwise enjoying media, there is a difference between "somber canon" and "gag canon," and it's important to not mix the two up. The way Luna is, the way she was presented in the show, is relevant, it is "somber canon" because it was not treated as a joke. It mattered to the episode as something more than a plot device; the way Luna acts, speaks, looks, whether you like it or not, is the way the show presents it, seriously, and even if this upsets your view of the quiet bookish Luna (which was my view too, I assure you!), as an author for the fandom attempting to follow the canon as it's presented comes before any personal wiles. Then there's "gag canon," the things that are only there for one-off jokes or as arbitrary plot devices, i.e., most of The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well. Was the dam relevant to the episode? Yes. Was the tram relevant to the episode? Yes. But only tangientially; only in ways that could have been accomplished otherwise, things that are only there to serve one job before they're thrust out of the spotlight. That is gag canon... "silent canon," as it were, if you will pardon the pun, in that it is the kind of canon that can be ignored without damaging the overall view of the world. Will a fic suffer because you do not acknowledge its dam or the building under construction? No. But will a fic suffer if an author obstinately ignores Royal Canterlot Luna in favor of a bookworm? Some may disagree but the ultimate answer is yes. What good is a fanfiction author that does not acknowledge the work he or she has based their effort on?

Lastly, I can't help but feel that your argument leans a little too heavily on self-righteousness and unjustifiable arguments. You call it your interpretation of Faust's idea of Equestria, and that's all it is; but it seems more like you are insistent that your interpretation is the rawest, purest form, that you somehow have Faust in your pocket to check that your canon lines up exactly with hers, and that's presumptuous. Season 2 Equestria is as much Faust's as Season 1; and what is it about your interpretation of Equestria that makes it superior to what you see as something inferior while in reality it's exactly the same, with one or two minor gags that don't fit your comfortable level of medieval Equestria.

Remember Vinyl Scratch? A Unicorn Wizard Did It. A Unicorn Wizard can Undo It, if you don't think it fits.

#11 · 181w, 3d ago · · ·


Ignore what I said up top, I have an account, barebones as it is. This way at least it feels like a non-anonymous face to talk to, I'm sure, if you want to reply


#12 · 181w, 3d ago · · ·


*Drops keyboard*

Gargh, I love a good argumentative rant, and you have to go and beat me to it! I agree with you completely, and you touched on all points perfectly. If only I could irrationally curse you like a cliched supervillan! :pinkiecrazy:

I will say this: Chatoyance, it's apparent from what you've said before that you have lots of headcannon. It's good headcannon, and it's quite unique, but sometimes you have to divorce your headcannon and all the fanfiction you've read and written from what you actually know about the show and the stories/setting. The CB stories are already, by definition, alternate universes, and you should keep that in mind. I notice that you've inadvertently forgotten to tag 27 ounces and The Taste of Grass as such. Everything you've written doesn't fit in the show's or Faust's Equestria, only in yours. You can make as many stories in as many Equestrias as you want, and we all enjoy reading those, but if you start getting confused about whether you enjoy the show or not then it's time to forget the fanfiction, reboot your mind, sit down, turn your smile up and watch a marathon of random episodes until you enjoy them again for simply being fun. You really don't want Nostalgia to set into your head or you'll never enjoy any of season one again either.

#13 · 181w, 20h ago · 1 · ·

While I think your tone was a bit hyperbolic, I have to agree with you on the main points.  'The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well' was an episode that not only put the cast out of character (repeatedly humiliate and deceive your best friend in an effort to 'teach her a lesson'?), it put Ponyville out of character.  And it's just the worst offender of Season Two.  'Lesson Zero' was funny as heck, but we've never ever seen Twilight that OCD.  It should have started more gradually; Twilight should have been fine at the beginning of the episode, and she should have only been worried when she realized she didn't have a friendship report.  The talk of 'magic kindergarten' should have come sometime around when she pulled out the Smartypants doll.

Your blog post really got me thinking about what I like and don't like about the show.  Furthermore, it got me thinking about RP on a ponyMUSH I frequent.  There have been things going on there (canon characters getting pregnant, an actual Doctor Whooves, a character very clearly inspired by Minecraft) that have bugged me for a while, but your blog got me to take action and demand that the staff establish just what the theme of the MUSH is before Gundam ponies or pokeponies start showing up.

Finally: you're the Unicorn Jelly person!  I'm always surprised when I find someone I know from one context in another context; just yesterday, I found out one of my favorite anime fanfic authors from back in the day, who I thought had dropped off the net, has been working on a very nice ponyfic.

#14 · 180w, 5d ago · 1 · 2 ·

TL;DR Edition: BITCH :flutterrage:

WHINE :raritydespair:

MOAN :pinkiesick:

#15 · 180w, 5d ago · · 2 ·

TL;DR Edition: BITCH :flutterrage:

WHINE :raritydespair:

MOAN :pinkiesick:

#16 · 180w, 5d ago · · ·

Mister Cellophane here

I have to agree with Apocalypse Pony said, this really is a bitch and moan about how MLP:FiM is RUINED FOREVER (as TVTropes would put it) due to one episode of the new season. Don't you think you're being very melodramatic over this. You saying that your stories have tried to understand the vision that Faust have (or had see you think that Faust has not on the team to help out in S2). Have it not occurred to you that, maybe, you were wrong on Faust's vision and she was only making this show to entertain little kids, which somehow, expanded into a wider age-rating. And really, you crying over a cartoon, for little girls; does this not occurr to you as somewhat childish?

Also I can't say that fandom Luna is anything remarkable to be honest. I find canon Luna to be infinitely more interesting then some sort of mix between Fluttershy's character and Twilight's character. She is now her own character, and, to say the least, she is loud and proud.

To say that the magic is gone now that Faust left (really didn't do your research there) is just wrong and on the whole, insulting to the hardworking people whom worked on the first season, like the music crew, the voice crew and, of course, the animation team themselves. They made S1 the way it is, and the same people are making S2 as well.

I didn't like the episode myself, but, calm down. This is really not helping anything, and you really need to get over yourself, girl.

#17 · 180w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Essentially, what I get from this blog post is that you want what you want, and nothing else.

Well what makes you so special?

I get it, you and the rest of the fandom wanted a shy Luna. The portrayal was common, popular, and pretty much the focus of everybody. Hell, I even did it myself, though, unlike most, rather than complaining about it, I found a way to make fanon and canon work together in a way that was not only unique, but plausible. Instead of complaining about such ridiculousness and crying out for things to return to the way that you want. Adapt, make it work.

Pinkie Pie's hardly irrelevant, she's just yet to have her episode yet. If anyone is due for their episode, it's Applejack. Applejack has the least development of any of the Mane 6, because she didn't even have 'her' episode in season one. Like how Pinkie Pie's was Party of One, Rainbow Dash's was Sonic Rainboom, Fluttershy's was Dragonshy, Rarity's was Suited for Sucess, and Twilight's was Winter Wrap Up.

Applebuck season doesn't count, because we didn't even know who any of the Mane 6 really were yet because of how early in the season it was.

Hell, even the upcoming episode that's supposed to destroy all the fanon with a foundation of Equestria story, I've got a plan to make whatever I write just as valid.

My interpretation of Equestria is of a country, located in a world that spins around Tau Ceti, where the thermionic valve (or Vacuum tube to the yanks)  is the pinnacle of technology. A world roughly equivalent to 1943. Is my interpretation any more right than yours? Nope. Sure as hell not.

(Though considering some of the examples of technology shown in the show, seems to be close to what I invisioned, which I will admit, that my already inflated ego is liking very much :trollestia: )

Essentially? Drop the holier-than-thou act about it, it's a television show that you have no creative say in. It's not going to be the end of the world if Princess Luna TALKS MUCH LOUDER THAN IS NECESSARY! :trollestia:

#18 · 180w, 5d ago · · ·

I feel your pain bro in regards to some of the stuff. Admittedly I haven't like EVERYTHING about the new season but I haven't hated it either. In fact I would say I like the second season, it started off strong with John De Lancie essentially playing Q in Equestria and then we got episodes like Sisterhooves Social, Cutie Pox & May the best pet win :pinkiehappy:.

So yeah it's been good for most of the season and then we got episodes 8 & 9 which I didn't like as much as the earlier episodes but they weren't terrible series killing episodes, just the bad apples/bad episodes that every series gets. Lets face it no Tv series has every episode be perfect (Except Game of Thrones but Season 2 can still ruin that if it wants to.).

Anyways give the show time, yeah maybe your initial vision of Equestria has been shattered, but you still have that lovely version of Equestria which is important that you hold on to, otherwise we might be deprived of some great stories. Many of which I'm coming to enjoy :twilightsmile:.

Also I agree with Wheller, we need an Applejack episode since the last 3 episodes since we pretty much had 2 Rainbow Dash episodes and a Rarity one that I didn't like all that much. But I'm hopeful for the future of the show and equestrian Fiction in General.

#19 · 179w, 6d ago · · 1 ·

Am I the only one that thinks episode 8 could have been set in Chatoyance's conversion bureau universe?  The amount of technology there could have been copied from earth.  I think they would take some of the more useful, peaceful tech.  Also, the world is expanding in this universe, so it makes sense that Ponyville would be expanding as well.  Hence the new building and the road leading off a cliff (they were going to build a bridge).

#20 · 73w, 4d ago · · 1 ·

Hey, Chatoyance... I know you'll be shocked that this age-old entry is getting a response in December 2013, but I just want to say I am SOOOO HAPPY that someone else on FimFictiom remembers the original He-Man, Thundercats, and the Smurfs!

Totally spot-on about how they had more consistent universes than MLP did.  Back then, "its a kids show" wasn't allowed to be an excuse for sloppy writing, not like today where laziness is the rule.

#21 · 72w, 3d ago · 1 · ·


Wow! I am amazed my old blogs are even being read!

Oh, I lovingly remember those old cartoons. They were awesomesauce.

#22 · 72w, 3d ago · 1 · 1 ·

>>1667563  All three cartoons are on DVD now, actually.  I own complete sets of He-Man (plus She-Ra) and Thundercats.  Smurfs was never really my thing but there's a complete series release in the UK (not in the USA though, for some reason).  I've heard the UK sets don't include the Johan and Peewit shorts though, which kinda sucks (I don't know about the US releases).

It's kind of weird how I discovered this blog.  I hate to point this out, but, ummm, people sometimes mention you (mostly just to say your stories are full of misanthropy.  While I haven't read one yet, I'm willing to bet that the charges are false).  I got curious, read through your blog, and I'm like "Oh, this person seems to know what she's talking about."

It was also awesome to see someone who

A) keeps her Sega Genesis games in good condition

B) remembers classic cartoons and

C) also sees how Season 2 set the show rolling downhill.

Seriously, that's when I got hooked.  "Finally, someone else who sees the decay!"

We need more people like you in this fandom, because honestly I get tired of people pretending everything is all hunky-dorey and, as Mark Evanier put it, "the complainer is always wrong."

Anyway, my blog is here if you wanna see what I've written.

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