Whoosh! Issue 13 - September 1997


A Whoosh! Archive Project
By Diane Silver
Copyright © 1997 held by author
1096 words

Questions were asked in the spring of 1997.

Spikus on Fandom and the Birth of the XenaVerse Mailing List

[142] Then did you get involved with online Xena fandom?

[143] I've watched Xena from the very first show last Fall. (I'm not a Hercules fan, but I had seen her on his show as I surfed channels. I remember thinking: "Wow! Who's that beautiful woman in armor on here?" But then I found out she was a "bad guy" and kept on surfing.

[144] I became obsessed with Xena after DREAMWORKER. It showed on a Friday here in Washington, DC, and that following Monday I searched the Web for a Xena site. I came across the MCA page and joined the Netforum. That was probably late September or early October of 1996. Nobody else I knew was into Xena -- my only fan activities were online.

[145] What did you do first in online Xenadom, and how did your online activities change over time?

[146] Although I mostly lurked on the Netforum, I emailed a couple of people privately. After a few months of the NetForum, the originator of the initial Xena mail list offered to start a mail list for those Xenites who didn't have Web access or found the Netforum too clunky (that was me). (Sorry, I've forgotten the guy's name.) [It was Arbiter.]

[147] I was one of the first 20 or so people on that original Xena list. It was fantastic! I had really disliked the Netforum interface and was happy to have my obsession land squarely in my computer every day.

[148] That list kept growing and some of the members (myself included), began doing a subset of posts called FLUFF. Cliches had already developed and power struggles ensued. The list split into two: one was the moderated Xena list (for "serious" discussions), one was the unmoderated FLUFF list (the Xenaverse). Most of the FLUFF listers also belonged to the moderated list.

[149] This continued for a number of months. Then the FLUFF list had problems and went down. The list owner had other priorities than getting the FLUFF list back up but would not allow us to post on the moderated list. This caused some large grumblings from the FLUFFers. Penthesilea and I had met in real life and become friends and fellow FLUFFers who chaffed at this loss. Penth got permission to start her own list at her university; she asked me to help run it; we became Co-Warlords.

[150] At about the same time, Sandi-J formed the Herc/Xena list for those fans who wanted to discuss both shows at once. More power struggles and skirmishes, and the "original" list folded.

[151] A couple of months later, Chakram, a reincarnation of the original list, restarted. After that came Xena Campfire Girls, then the Gabsclan, and on and on.

[152] My activities have changed significantly. I didn't participate much in the Netforum, but was pretty vocal in the early days of the original list. Ally and I were the original FLUFFers on the old list and even after the list split, I spent a significant amount of time on each list. On becoming a CoWarlord for XenaVerse, I've spent more time on adminstrative duties than actual fun posts to the list. And I haven't fluffed in AGES. In fact, I rarely get a chance to read all the posts. I just don't have the time.

[153] What was it like during the early days online? How has it changed?

[154] Well, I sort of think of it as 20 newbies all getting in the same room and grinning ear to ear and drunk on all the cool friendly vibes and energy. I was ecstatic to be able to talk with other people who thought that Xena was the best thing since sliced bread. Everything everyone had to say was great-- the ideas and reactions we all had were fresh and new and everyone was SO happy to be connecting with other people who had been so overwhelmingly swept up by X:WP.

[155] Now, of course, us cynical old-timers have either dropped off the lists or lurk mostly (like me) or spend too much energy nitpicking at annoying lines or characters. But that's the cynical view. Many of the old-timers also have provided the best perspective on the growth of the characters, the arcs of the storylines, and the continued (although usually more manageable) obsessiveness about X:WP.

[156] In recent months, the XenaVerse has been growing by leaps and bounds. We have almost 600 people (between the regular list and the digest) now and we get about 2 new people a day (net -- between subbing and unsubbing).

[157] While I'm glad more and more people are watching X:WP, I miss the "family" feeling I had when the Xenite community was smaller. (Family in both senses--both queers getting to know and accept each other and queer and straight interacting in newer, more positive ways.)

[158] Have your online activities changed your views of yourself, the world, and/or the show?

[159] Tough question. Certainly, my view of the show is enhanced, broadened, and deepened by all the different views and analyses of X:WP. I've become much more aware of butch/femme and power struggles; I've gained new respect for the hard work and lead time that goes into making a TV show; I am constantly reminded of capitalism in its ugliest forms when trying to get Xena dollies.

[160] I have renewed faith in the goodness of people by all the positive interactions I've had on the Net -- from sending money blindly into the world for Xena dollies to the intense sense of community among fellow Xenites who rally when one of their members is hurt or needs comforting to the warm welcome I know other Xenites have had from strangers in foreign cities.

[161] I have a new comprehension of responsiblities in relation to power by being a CoWarlord; of the frustrations of Freedom of Speech; and of the stupidity of even the smartest people (myself included).

[162] I have a more enhanced understanding of heterosexual males and the walls we women (and lesbians) run up against even when they're "on our side."

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