Recently I was poking around some fan posts, where one person commented that in the old days everyone had their own websites, but nowadays people use the likes of Fanfiction or AO3. She wasn't being rude, but I got the impression that she was saying that individual websites were somehow... inferior to the big multi sites.
I know I haven't been in the game for a bit... but... is that really the case? Does nobody make their own sites now? If so, that's... appalling. I'm aware I'm something of a dinosaur but I don't like the big fan sites. I tried Fanfiction.net, I think I have a story on there somewhere, but I hated it; I don't use AO3, and I definitely don't want to join anything just to read some stories.
For me, part of the fun of running your own sites is control. (Yes, I have been called a megalomaniac before!) Its fun planning how you want it to look, how you want people to view it, what you want on it. From what I've seen, the big sites are white, bland, and impersonal. They feel soulless to me. One thing I loved to do on Scribes was find the little gems that nobody else had found. Often the author was shy, or frightened of the archives, or lacked confidence – and that kind of author would never be found on the biggies. All those brilliant stories lost. And every time I asked for a story – Scribes had around 900 stories and every one of them was posted with the authors' permission (that was a lot of emails, I can tell you!) - the author was so thrilled to be chosen that it made their day – and mine, for that matter.
Perhaps arrogantly, I'm proud of my part in the Buffy fandom. Authors have told me I've given them confidence to write more, to learn, and try new things. My fiction challenges have inspired thousands of stories that wouldn't have existed at all. Friends have written stories simply because I've asked them to, and we've shared ideas and plot bunnies and generally leant on each other, and its horrifying to me that none of those stories would exist without the small friendly archives. My stories wouldn't exist, either. It took Mike weeks to persuade me to post my first offerings online, and that, friends, is how my first website came to be.
Of course, its entirely possible I've got the wrong end of the stick and am getting my knickers in a twist over a silly misunderstanding. I hope so.
Have I got it wrong? Do you like the big archives?