Whoosh! Issue 13 - September 1997

A CYBER HISTORY OF THE ONLINE XENA COMMUNITY:
APPENDIX J --
VENATOR ON FANDOM AND THE CHAKRAM MAILING LIST

A Whoosh! Archive Project
By Diane Silver
Copyright © 1997 held by author
1136 words



Questions were asked in the summer of 1997.




Venator on Fandom and the Chakram Mailing List

http://www.frontiernet.com/~venator



DIANE SILVER:
[177] When did you get involved with X:WP online?

VENATOR:
[178] I first lurked on the MCA Hercules NetForum, and then I moved over to lurking on the Xena NetForum in October of 1995.

SILVER:
[179] What was your first involvement like? What did you do in the early days?

VENATOR:
[180] After delurking when I saw someone started using derogatory terms towards women and claiming what a "man" should be like, "Hunter" (my nick at the time) was introduced to the people on the Forum. After that, I was labeled the "protector" of the Forum, for I would always speak up when someone said (or did) something inappropriate.

SILVER:
[181] What did it feel like to be involved in those days? Got any funny stories? Heartwarming stories? Angry stories?

VENATOR:
[182] Back then, it was very pleasant being on the Forum. You could actually leave your browser set at the 25 most recent posts, and only check once a day! There was no need for a mailing list, for people only discussed the show. No fan fiction, no trolls, no flames, it was great.

[183] Many strong friendships were formed in the early days, for back then, people were honest and caring, and had no ulterior motives. One of the "founders" of the Forums, as I like to call her, Artemis, even gave me my name of Venator, which is the latin translation of Hunter and history was kind of born then.

[184] I also am the person who came up with the term "Xenite", using it first on the original mailing list, as well as on the Forum. Everyone voted for what we should call ourselves, and my little term won out. Pretty cool, huh?

[185] Of course, to every heaven, there must come a little hell, and there were three or four people who wanted nothing more than to "run" things in their own little way, "flirting" with 15 year old girls, harrassment by phone, etc. These people started a nice smear campaign against many of us, which is why you don't see many of the "originals" on the Forum (or anywhere else for that matter) anymore. Those people really took the fun out of the Xenaverse...and yet, they are still out there, while we sit back and let them continue to do what they do. Oh well.

SILVER:
[186] How did your activities change over time?

VENATOR:
[187] I went from being just "the protector" on the Forum to a founder of the first Xena IRC room, #lawless, on the Undernet. We had chats weekly there, and it was always a fun time. Unfortunately, when those certain aforementioned people decided to start hanging out daily for 8 hours at a time, that is when gossipping occurs, and that's when people start to lose sight of what they were there for in the first place, Xena. Because of such nonsense, I left the chats, but the lies and rumours about myself and others can still be heard in different IRC rooms around the web...very pathetic.

[188] For a weekend in March '96, Arbiter, the person who ran the original Xena list (and the only list at that time) let me run it while he was gone. I took to the moderation like a fish to water, and I realized that the mailing list was a service I would love to provide others with.

[189] When Arb finally left the Xenaverse in May '96, he didn't want to give me the list, because of the nasty stories that people were spreading about not only me, but himself as well, and many of our friends. This, in fact, was one of the reasons why he left the Xenaverse. It wasn't fun anymore with such people spreading negativity out there. Anyway, other lists sprang up, but within the course of the other list's first month, I was deluged with requests from people who knew the type of person I REALLY was, and knew that I could do a good job bringing back the original mailing list quality. So, I did it, less than a month after Arb stopped his list, "Chakram" bounced back at the end of May '96, using the same guidelines as the original list. And now, Chakram has over 1,000 members on it (as of March 1997), with people from more than two dozen countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Great Britain, Thailand, and Canada adding to our Amercian ranks.

SILVER:
[190] How did your feelings change over time?

VENATOR:
[191] I've always considered myself a huge fan of the show, but when I see the depths that others go to in terms of fandom, I feel like an outsider. Perhaps that helps me be a better list moderator, for I don't have that "fanatical devotion" to it that others do. Heck, it's just a TV show!

SILVER:
[192] Did your view of the show change over time? If so, how?

VENATOR:
[193] Not really. I take the show as it really is, camp, and that is it. I don't have a stake in it, or any of the debates that people get involved in regarding it, so I just sit back and let it entertain me. Personally, I don't think the show is as good as it was in the first season, but hey, that's me.

SILVER:
[194] Did any of your personal attitudes change? If so, how?

VENATOR:
[195] If anything, my attitude towards people on the internet has changed. I'd really not like to get into it, but let's just say that people can say or do whatever they want to out here, and have no regrets. I don't like that. I don't enjoy seeing the lack of a conscience that a great deal of the fans have, and how they weep and cry about how Xena and Gabby are together, but they don't practice what the show preaches, if you catch my drift. Friendship, loyalty, trust, honor, these things all seem to be a foreign concept to a lot of online people. It appalls me.

[196] On a better note, due to the constant wild stories that certain people spread about me, I met my girlfriend online. She heard the stories, couldn't believe that such a person could exist, chatted with me for a long time, and after meeting me, realized that all the stories were horrible lies. If only more people would not believe everything at face value.

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