• Member Since 19th Sep, 2011
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RBDash47


I used to be relevant!

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Jun
24th
2013

On Weariness · 5:25pm Jun 24th, 2013

A little over two years ago—first with the PFA, then with the Vault—I took the arguably ridiculous tack of turning a fun hobby (reading ponyfic) into a part-time job. In doing so I built myself a reputation and a niche in the fandom that I've thoroughly enjoyed, made friends I won't soon forget, and in general had a blast.

Yet I'm tired. I'm tired of the massive spreadsheets tracking stories I have or haven't read, of spending hours or days building ebooks, of late night last-minute scrambles to put posts together when I hadn't had time earlier in the week. Tired of devoting every last moment of my not consequential free time to my hobby-turned-career. And in a few months, I really won't have time at all, once I return to school to finish my degree.

Sometime this midsummer—I don't yet have a precise date nailed down, but should soon and will let you know—the Vault will cease to update. To continue the metaphor I have in my mind, the large blast-proof door will swing shut and spin sealed, with over 100 stories inside for near-eternal safekeeping. Of course, it's a weak metaphor in the end, because anyone can waltz on in and grab an ebook or interview whenever they feel like it: the site will of course remain up in perpetuity, eventually transitioning to something I host myself so it's no longer dependent on third-party servers and services.

Others are welcome to take inspiration from the Vault, and do their own author interviews or what-have-you on their own sites, but—selfishly, perhaps—I'm not interested in handing the Vault off to anyone else. I've politely declined offers of help before, and my reasons haven't changed: the Vault is and has been a highly personal project, and it would be... painful to see someone else run it.

By way of thanks and apology to those who've been so happy to follow the Vault, I do have a special surprise planned for the final few posts. And as I've planned since the Vault's inception, the very last post will be me interviewing myself. Answering the questions I've foisted on so many authors seems a fitting end.

To those authors who were generous enough with their time to spend hours, days, weeks answering my interview questions, and putting up with me nitpicking my way through your punctuation and grammar, you have my profound thanks. Obviously, the Vault wouldn't exist without you. To those authors who have always hoped to receive a message from me and never did, you have my profound apologies. Even in the Vault's prime, I couldn't keep up with you; the absence of an invitation in your inbox should not correlate in your mind with an absence of skill or worthiness on your part, but an absence of time on mine.

Finally, let me make it clear that I myself am not "quitting the fandom" or anything like that. I'll still be reading fanfic daily, and maybe even have time now to work on my own stories; small consolation, I'm sure. I also intend to keep doing interviews here at FIMFic, and honestly releasing myself from the Vault's format and requirements will let me have a little more fun with that, which hopefully means you all will have a little more fun with that too.

So... yeah. Writing this post has sort of felt like a confession, and making it public is something of a load off. I hope no one's too upset, and if you are, well, I'm sorry. (Not too sorry, mind; I value my personal sanity over your rustled jimmies.)

See you Friday, and happy reading!

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Comments ( 58 )

Well. That sucks to hear.

I do hope you have the very best of luck on your future projects and hope you never stop reading.

~Skeeter The Lurker

We will undoubtedly miss you, but the Vault has to be closed sometime. I'm just happy that so many stories will be preserved. Everyone needs a break, some way more than others. I don't blame you in the slightest for wanting to call it quits. Whatever you do, it was an honor having my story put into the Vault, as well as having the honor of composing the soundtrack for your story.

You've been good to us, RB, and we will never forget your awesomeness.

Oh.

...

There's only so much a single man can do...

I am very saddened but I respect your decision and I hope others will do so as well. You have managed to amass a staggering amount of excellent ponyfics in only about 2 years. I cannot imagine how exhausting that was for you. It could certainly not go on forever, could it...? :ajsleepy:

Although, this is exactly the problem. It's only been 2 years and you've gathered so many stories...Only 2 years...Imagine how many other brilliant stories will come to life in the years to come but they will not be able to enter the Vault.

...Is there no "middleway solution" to this? :fluttershysad:

I wonder if this means you shan't be participating in the fandom for quite some time. Would I be correct in doing so?

Also, I really liked the reviews and will miss them. Perhaps you shall find another calling when you succeed in acquiring your degree.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

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Thank you.

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Imagine how many other brilliant stories will come to life in the next years but they will not be able to enter the Vault.

Used to keep me up at night, tbh. I've had to make my peace with that, for the sake of my own sanity if nothing else.

If someone wanted to take up my mantle, as it were, under their own site? Continue the work I've been doing? Well, it's not difficult to do what I do—"tedious" and "mindless" is more often accurate—it's just time-consuming. I'd happily endorse anyone who appears to be treating authors with respect were they to start up a similar project, to drive views/attention their way.

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As I said towards the end, I'll still be here; the Vault just won't be active any more.

Hydra #6 · Jun 24th, 2013 · · 1 ·

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At least we haven't lost a (proverbial) drinking buddy then. Hope we'll see you often around the site.:twilightsmile:

Best of luck, and take care. :twilightsmile:

If anything, I commend you for knowing when to throw in the towel. Sure, I'll miss reading the interviews (what can I say, I like to know the person behind the prose), but when something becomes like a second job, as you put it, then it's probably for the best that you step away. Ponies are fun; they shouldn't become a burden.

EDIT: woops, missed the part about you intending to continue doing interviews over here.

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I don't think I could have expressed my thoughts better myself. It is sad to see it go, I admit, but in no way do I hold anything against you for it. Just keep with the pony, good sir. It'd certainly suck to see you go. It's great to see you'll still be doing interviews. Best of luck to you and whatever future projects of yours are in store.

Whilst I compleatly understand your point of view, I can't help but feel a little disapointed. You see, ever since I learned of the vault, it has been my intention to get a fic in there. And now I can't, that dream is deader than the proverbial parrot. It's like Rainbow Dash making it to the Wonderbolt academy, only for Celestia to cut military funding.

I acknowledge that I am nowhere near good enough to get in there right now, but I was kinda hoping that in a year or so, if I kept at it and actually managed to finish one of the fics I started, I could possibly get in.

Ah well, life happens, and not always in the way you expect. I wish you luck on all your future endeavours!

1165321

Oh. There is that option, it's true. Fair enough, I guess. You do look like you need some much needed rest and enjoy what the fandom has to offer like the rest of us. It's quite likely somebody else will choose to fulfil the same role, what with so many qualified people on this site. But even if noone will, it's still be alright. We'll manage. In the end, what matters here for us is to share our passion for the show's universe and characters. We're here to take it easy and enjoy ourselves.

Take care, RBDash47 :twilightsmile:

RBDash47
Site Blogger

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Thanks, guys.

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I know. I was perhaps too flippant in my sign-off in the post; I truly am sorry that I can't keep it going long enough to get everybody. I have a number of people on my short list that I'd been waiting and watching, suspecting they'd be there soon, but I ran out of time.

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Eh, it's fair enough. I can't expect you devote so much of your time on a project you no longer feel happy with. Heck, I've had a hard time writing myself, because it's starting to feel like a chore to me too.

So don't feel bad on my account. Besides, there is more good ponyfic out there than there are people willing to showcase it. That you have done so much already is a testiment to the success of the vault.

dang it! I was hoping of one day getting in, curse you real life obligations! :rainbowwild:

I'll miss the interviews too, they were interesting, at least you will continue that hopefully. Damn... I was really wishing I might on day get in, ah well, better keep on trucking.

:fluttercry:

What a shame. It was a fandom institution, and quite possibly its highest accolade. It's unthinkable that it has stopped.

But, ah well, it cannot reasonably be expected of you to keep working on it to the detriment of your sanity. I'm proud to have been inducted before the massive doors clanged shut, at least.

I wish you good luck then, in story-writing or whatever takes your fancy.

Keep on bein' awesome, RBDash47. :twilightsmile:

1165321

Like many others, I am sad to see that the vault will swing shut, never to be opened again. The stories within shall remain preserved, with only copies waiting at the front desk to be taken. I believe you inspired all of us to write, and gave us something to work for. Now we will strive to even further the vault in its retirement, to make our stories better than anything before so as to remember the quality of the chapters within.


Even though I am only now entering high-school, I hope to earn a degree in computer science and computer engineering. As to what this has to do with the vault, I shall someday begin my own site to feature the best of pony fiction. A legacy to the one who sought to find the greatest works within the fandom and tell the world of their existence.

And thus ends the golden age of pony fanfiction. :fluttercry:

It was great while it lasted, that's for sure. Big thanks for all the fish hard work you had to go through to have The Vault prosper. Make no mistake, good sir, you were an icon in this little community and you will be missed. :pinkiesad2:
On that note, I'm glad you remembered about your own interview. I definitely look forward to it (but you can put it away if that meant leaving The Vault open a while longer :raritywink:).

So, what happens next? Will EqD remain the ultimate goal for the aspiring authors and the only place for finding quality fics? Oh, the equinity... :raritydespair:

Not too sorry, mind; I value my personal sanity over your rustled jimmies.

You egoistical egocentric, you. :pinkiecrazy:
OK, OK, I was joking, don't kill me! :pinkiesad2: Sheesh, some ponies... :raritywink:

As sorry as I am to see the Vault close, I know how much work you put into it. I don't think many people realize the amount of editing, formatting, and other things you do for the authors you put in there that makes being selected not just an honor, but a gift. It's perfectly reasonable that you can't continue that indefinitely.

However, I don't know another blogger whose recommendation means more to me, so I hope in your pony reading you'll continue to direct us to great fics. I hope the whole experience is more fun for you that way, because you know the ponies want you to be having fun. :ajsmug::rainbowdetermined2::twilightsmile::raritywink::pinkiehappy::yay:

Fair enough. Merely out of curiosity, what other sites function similarly to the Vault? You mentioned you knew of some, and this's the first I've heard of it.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

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Well I hope it stays a famous institution, even if it gets a bit dusty... :rainbowwild:

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That would be very cool! If ponyfic is still around, there's always room for another one.

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Will EqD remain the ultimate goal for the aspiring authors and the only place for finding quality fics? Oh, the equinity...

A dark world indeed, sir. (Oh, hi prereaders! Heh heh, uhhh... how 'bout that Equestria Girls?)

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I figure you guys put way more time into the stories than I do, but, yeah. And I absolutely intend to offer recommendations here and there as I run across works I think are exemplary.

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I'm not aware of any that currently do exactly what the Vault does; I was saying that if anyone were to start one up and seemed to be good people, I would cheerfully endorse them and point others their way. The closest I can offer right now is actually one of EqD's prereaders: amacita has started conducting interviews with authors.

1165630

Sorry. Sorry. The Vault is the Vault -- bomb-proof, time-proof, and all that. :twilightsmile:

The institution I was referring to was the induction of fics into the vault. That is going away, alas.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

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Ah, yes, there we go.

Honestly I've been having trouble coming up with accurate phrasing.

"The Vault is closing."
"But you said the site will stay up forever!"
"Oh, the site's still up, but the Vault is closed."
"So I can't download fanfics any more?!"
"I... no... wait..."

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"The Vault is full. The rest of you will have to die a horrible death of radiation sickness as most of your tissues slough off from your gently glowing bones. So sorry for the inconvenience. But, hey, at least you'll get to distract yourself from the gut-wrenching horror of your demise by reading any of the wonderful stories[1] that will be available from the Vault in perpetuity. " :pinkiecrazy:

[1] And one by GhostOfHeraclitus, don't know how that happened.

As one of those lucky authors who managed to squeeze my way inside (I maintain I'm only in there because of a lucky interrobang), I want to say thanks for all the hard work you put into making it happen. I don't think it's right to focus on the fact that something you've gotten into the habit of doing is ending and lamenting the end of it. I think the right outlook is to look back at all the hard work you put in and what you created. Even if you've stopped adding to it, the labor of love you devoted to the project will be clear to anyone who happens to discover it later.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

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Now I really want someone to write a Fo:E crossover with... I don't even know what the other half of the crossover would be. My life?

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"Pinkie Pie's Party Canon" remains the funniest joke I've read in the fandom's entirety, in any medium. Hard Reset deserves its place for that if nothing else.

No small part of me will be relieved when the last post goes up, certainly. I'm actually doing what I can to accelerate that process, which is why I don't have a definitive end date yet. And I'll always be proud of my work in the fandom. :twilightsmile:

RBDash47
Site Blogger

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I know, I know.

Also:
goo.gl/gK1sM

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What we really need, I feel, is a good way for a bunch of people to do something vaguely Vault-like. Sort of a collaborative recommendations society. For example, I would likely not put in the full pdf+ePub part, but doing the promotion&mirroring of 'good fics' sounds like something I'd be in for (especially with the "why yes, it is ridiculously subjective, thanks for noticing").

My first-draft implementation vision looks like a fimfiction group, though, with each member having their own recommends folder that non-contributers can't post to. But that is doubtless something that can be refined, if any are interested enough.

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PM me, I'm interested. But I don't want to start a long conversation in somepony else's blog.

RBDash47
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By all means, go for it here. And Piquo Pie might want to get in on it too, we have briefly discussed the various possibilities moving forward.

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Sounds intriguing. I have reserved my user page solely for recommending stories I consider good thus far, so I am interested to see what we can do in case we cooperate in a team. :twilightsmile:

Pat yourself on the back, 'cause you lasted a lot longer than I would have. And remember, because of your idea and hard work, this is the only fandom so far to have ever had one of these.

And since the Internet abhors a vacuum, you can bet someone will try to build another Ponyfic Hall of Fame, sooner or later. If it's even close to as good as the Vault, we'll be lucky.

I'd simply like to point out that the existence of the Vault is a testament to the will of the Fandom, however short- or long-lived it may have been. :moustache:

Now, I certainly will miss seeing RB update with additions to the Vault, as I don't know how many of said updates I added to my Favorites and Read Later list. However, I still respect his decision, and I openly agree that he chose the best moment to seal off his creation (besides being still open to downloads, of course). :pinkiesad2:

I wish the best of luck to any who wish to take up a similar account, and I'm certainly glad the Mr. Dash will have more of his own time returned to him. :twilightsmile:

maybe even have time now to work on my own stories

This line here:

Gets the big grinning Pinkie. :pinkiehappy:

Mike

Darn. And I never got in. Well, if time's up then time's up. Thanks for doing it as long as you did.

I'm just sorry for whomever it was you were going to interview this week. Because now you'll have to kick them out and interview me instead, or lose your soul in the unspeakable shrieking madness of my death-whinny.

I don't think anyone would complain if now and then you added links to new stories that catch your eye, without the epubs and editing, on an informal & irregular basis,

...well, that sucks. Bah. I really did join the fandom too late, didn't I?

Anyway, even if it's not great for us newer authors, I can hardly begrudge you wanting a break. I've always been impressed at the amount of work you've put into this stuff, and the Vault was one of my big sources of stories early in the fandom, when I didn't know who I wanted to read, or which stories of theirs. You did an amazing job, and you've earned your rest.

You miss the obvious.

The vault is full.

Whatever happens from here on out, do take pride in the fact that not only is that you made the Vault, you make the Vault - you are the Vault. Its position in ponyfic as a gold star speaks also of where the community places you - on the pedestal that you deserve because of hard work and just good taste. It's solemn as a reviewer to see a standard lock up - heaven knows what would happen if Chris were to follow suit - but the countless interviews have helped me, at least, to know a bit about the authors we look up to, and the community that's taught me so much, and it has been, if nothing, interesting.

To sum it up: thank you. You're awesome; stay awesome.

RBDash47
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I hope someone does.

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But... it's... you, you're the interviewee this week. Does this break the internet?

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Sure, let's go with that!

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"Something interesting" has always been my goal. :twilightsmile:

To everyone else, thank you.

Wait, I think we should get a chance to interview you.

What's remarkable to me about the Vault is how much consensus there is about the stories that are in it. I've never heard anyone complain about its contents. There are other reviewers whom I respect a great deal, but who had obvious brain malfunctions while reading stories that I like. They have personal tastes that would make them exclude many of the fandom's favorite stories. Chris gave Eternal only three stars; presentperfect despises Sunny Skies All Day Long.

You seem to have thought about what the most famous stories are, who the most important authors are, and which story to pick for each author, taking into account your personal taste, popularity, author's preference, and historical importance. AbsoluteAnonymous gets The Games We Play, which I happen to think is among her worst stories (I couldn't get past the first few chapters), but which is what made her well-known (and is the one she's most proud of). Cold in Gardez gets The Glass Blower instead of his more-popular comedies, which is interesting (and he approves of that choice). The exclusion of Blueshift is noticeable, but probably says something about what you were trying to do.

So how did you pick stories for the Vault?

RBDash47
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That's an interesting idea. I could run an AskMeAnything in a blog here, I guess? Maybe when the Vault is closer to actually ending (we're still at least a month away, perhaps two).

Judging from comments on the actual Vault site, InquisitorM seems to take issue with my choices a lot... can't please everyone!

And you have correctly identified a lot of the factors at play, probably more eruditely than I could. It's hard to give a definite answer and so I've never attempted to, going with the simpler "Whatever I damn well please" whenever anyone's asked me. The reasoning behind each story in the Vault is different. There has never been one set of standards I go by; when I'm reading stories I'm not sitting here with a checklist I wrote out two years ago, ticking boxes as the story hits the notes I'm looking for.

And really, there's a reason I didn't become a reviewer or an editor or what-have-you like so many others. I'm absolutely terrible at putting why I like a story into words (and the opposite as well, why I don't like a story). The worst part of every Vault post is trying to come up with a line or two about that week's story to open the post with. A story either does it for me, or doesn't. I filled the Vault with stories that did it for me.

I always feel a little like Oz the great and powerful, because I feel that in many ways I've been put up on the same level in the fandom as people like Chris or the EqD prereaders, but I also feel like people don't notice that I don't really do anything close to what they do. If you think about it, the Vault is really just a glorified "recommended reading" or "favorites" list. I have absolutely no idea how Chris or the Equestrian Critics Society or the prereaders do that voodoo that they do do.

This has been kind of rambly, and I can't really tell if I've answered your question satisfactorily.

In the end, my hope is that the contents of the Vault offer a (woefully inadequate) cross-section of what the fandom has to offer. That it can be sort of a primer for a new initiate to our world, and that it might give them a solid foundation.

As I know very little about the Vault (I've always been more concerned with reading and writing fics and my own original novels and the like), I was only just getting to know of the concept, so I'm sorry to see it go.

On the other hand, if I might suggest a possible means to keep it going for you yourself, maybe do one interview a year or something? This way the Vault doesn't strictly 'close' so much as it becomes something that is only done every so often. It would let you keep your hobby of interviewing authors of fics from the fandom, and might allow writers who have wanted to get in to..well, get in. :twilightsheepish: I say this not for myself as again, I'm still relatively new to the fandom and I'm not very well known anyway, so I doubt I would have ever gotten in, but it's an idea for those who put out some great fics that might give you something to do every so often when the time is available to do so.

Oh holy crap.

That's … geez. I certainly understand. So much work went into what you did! You're an institution, though. I feel like the Pulitzer Prize committee is saying they're done, but take heart, maybe someday there will be a Nobel for journalism or something.

I'm really glad you'll still be around — you're a cool dude. This is really going to leave a hole in the community, though.

(Also, I thought I'd followed you. The fact I heard of this through word-of-mouth indicates I was mistaken.)

RBDash47
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I'm tickled by the image of people murmuring in hushed whispers about the Vault closing, and you happening to overhear.

I was surprised by the notification about you watching me too! I assumed that you already were for some reason.

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The problem with just doing them occasionally or what have you is it's a slippery slope which would very easily suck me into doing it full-time again. There's been enough for me to do it once or twice a week for almost two years; I'd have a very hard time narrowing my selections down to a few a year. From another perspective: I want to do something to the best of my ability, or not at all. I don't much care for the idea of half-assing something.

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I wouldn't say that doing the vault once or twice a year is half-assing it. It was simply a suggestion though. And who knows, maybe the time will come when you might decide you want to start doing the vault again, regardless how unlikely that seems right now. But in any case, as I said, it was simply a suggestion. :twilightsmile:

Man, I hear you on how time-consuming a lot of this stuff can get. Can easily eat up all your free time before you know it.

Thanks for everything you did with the Vault. It's been a really fantastic project. :twilightsmile:

I"m saddened to have heard the news of the ceasing of activities, but this is probably the most level-headed announcement of cessation of an internet project I think I have ever read. In other words, it sounds like you're doing this for all the right reasons, and I hope things work out for you. :) You've made quite the lasting impression on the fandom.

... awww... Hey... does that mean that any relatively recent submissions are totally off the table?

:ajsleepy:

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