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[Answered] Rules Query: What counts as fan-fiction?

#1 · Posted: 22 Jun 2013 21:41
In the thread "What if Tintin was in a Zombie Apocalypse?!?", the moderator's note said that we aren't allowed to contribute "what basically amount to stories."
So how come we're allowed to come up with detailed timelines for Tintin's backstory, or speculate about what would happen if Tintin lived in the Victorian era or became a stand-up comedian? And how is that any different from speculating about "Alvaro's" family history?
Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 23 Jun 2013 11:51
You raise a good point and one which gives us a challenge in trying to stay legal and allowing open discussion on a given subject. I think if you read the threads you've mentioned you'll see we've made a distinction between a discussion (like how something would affect the stories) and fan-fiction. For example, in the "What if: Tintin lived in the Victorian era" thread we've tried to keep it limited to talking about how living in the Victorian era would impact the adventures of Tintin, or how the existing stories compare to other adventures from the era. We've reminded posters quite a few times to avoid steering the discussion into anything approaching fan fiction.

The (now deleted) thread about "What if: Tintin and Cº performed stand-up comedy?" has turned out to be a pretty limited idea and drifted off into oblivion some time ago. But you can be assured that we were paying attention and would have stepped in to moderate if it needed.

As for "detailed timelines for Tintin's backstory" it's difficult to make a judgement without actually knowing which specific threads you're referring to. If you have any objections to any particular threads, or disagree with a moderating decision, the thing to do is to contact the moderators directly. We will always follow up and make a decision, which might lead to closing certain threads or making amendments to our rules. I know we'd all prefer to allow free and open discussion about Tintin and this shouldn't be a problem if everybody keeps to the rules :-)
#3 · Posted: 23 Jun 2013 17:38
I'd also add to H n r's comments above that we rely on the cooperation of the members in making the distinction for themselves; that's why so many threads get started, and so few threads are shut down!

In the case of the zombies one, you will note that this wasn't actually the first (nor last) thread on this self-same idea from that member (in this case, two threads were combined), who began with a longer post detailing a "dream" which was in effect a story; because of this and other attempts at "story" threads, it was easy to identify the issues for us (which revolve around keeping the site and forums free from legal problems and thus open).

With the comedy one, it was left open because it might have developed into something interesting, and we give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible – who knows where the next good insight will come from? If someone was able to tell us that Hergé was influenced by this comedian or that stand-up in his work, which was reflected in such and such exchange in the books, well that's all grist to the Tintinological mill.
We know that some of the physical antics seems to have developed from Hergé's love of silent comedians such as Harold Lloyd (the skyscraper incident in America, for example); there may be a source for the verbal comedy too.

He did himself give an example for the introduction of Haddock's mis-use of innocuous but complicated vocabulary as swear-words, which came from a malapropism he over-heard when out one day, but there may be more waiting to be uncovered, or at least introduced to an English-speaking audience which might not have access to all the materials out there.

The Alvaro story one, well that is simply creating new material out of nothing, which seems to be clearly fiction writing to me.

Not all things are cut and dried, not all approaches would be the same - but we just try to do our bests.
We aren't robots and aren't computers, and age and experience may mean that we'd handle things differently now to how we'd once have done so - and this could lead to inconsistency (indeed it has done, but we try and resolve things whenever possible).

It also has to be repeated, that this site isn't a democracy, nor public property. It's Irene's site, and Irene's forums, and she has set up a remarkably free, easy and polite atmosphere in which to indulge our common interest in all things Hergé; to do so for free is a great kindness on her part (she bears all costs herself, as well as making time in her busy schedule to develop and maintain the site technically).

To keep Irene free from any possibility of comeback from the actions of others is a large part of why we have forum rules; we'd rather nip something in the bud quickly, than let something slide and find that Irene was in legal trouble... Fan fic is too much of a hot-potato for us to be involved in, even if we wanted to.
#4 · Posted: 26 Jun 2013 02:10
Wow now I understand these forums a bit better after reading just this thread.
This answered some of my own questions about fanfictions as I kind of got the idea they were simply not allowed on here and now I know why.

Besides, there are plenty of other sites you can go to where there are tons of fanfictions.
Anyways thanks for posting this!

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