Talifan

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Talifan are fans who insists upon having the only right approach to the object of his fandom. Often followed by ferocious outrage when the authors or creators let others contribute in the further development of the fictional universe, particularly when those others write something which goes completely against the talifan's view of how powerful the magic, or technology of said franchise should be. The term itself came into being as a contraction of "taliban fan", though the exact origins of the term are sketchy, and various persons have been credited with the term's creation. It was used initially by professional writers and others in the industry, but it has since found it's way into general useage in various fandoms.

The Dark Moose on StarWars.com Blogs defines the distinctive characteristics of talifan further:

  • Harassing demeanor - they seek out the author or artist to attack them verbally on the same point over and over and over. Even if its a point they had nothing to do with in creating. Even if its a point they can do nothing about to change. Harrassment flows quickly into a kind of "e-stalking" in that wherever that artist/author may go on the Internet, they go, too. Even more ominously, they may send letters or make phone calls.
  • Personal attacks - A Talifan doesn't criticize a book, or a game, or a poster or a model or collector's item. A Talifan attacks people. Personally. Often times, profanely. Instead of making a suggestion or offering a point for debate, they purposefully attempt to make the author or artist feel besieged. They will attack their professional abilities. They will attack their level of competence. They will attack gender, race, creed, any detail they can glean, they will attack the person simply for being what they are. These are not valid fan opinions, these are malicious, abusive, antagonistic and in many cases some would consider libelous affronts.
  • Intense negativity - Talifans seek out negativity. They hunt it with myopic intent. They'll draw you into an argument, sometimes over something innocuous, even something you don't really care about. What they want is to abuse, malign, extort, insult..and oddly, be abused, maligned, extorted and insulted in return. It's something akin to sadomasochism.


In the Versus Debates

While there are certainly talifans of all franchises, the most notable examples of tailfans were first seen amongst the Saxtonites and Warsies, most in particular Wayne Poe ,who seemed to lead the attacks, was extremely upset that Karen Traviss wrote in her Clone Wars novels that there were only about 3 million Clone troopers. Poe and the other fans felt that the ICS numbers and their own speculation were the only correct ones, and promptly instigated attacks on her on a variety of forums, such as Starwars.com. Traviss in response stated that the 3 million clones number was her following George Lucas own instructions (via Lucasfilm) on the size and scope of the Grand Army of the Republic. However this continued to lead to a variety of increasingly bizarre and extreme attacks on Karen Traviss of a personel nature that ranged from questioning her competence as a writer as well as her military service experiance. Most infamously, a CGI video made by Poe showing him beating up an effigy of Traviss (named Sharon Crevice in the video) and her supporters. In later versions this is changed to Poe killing the supporters as well as numerous innocent bystanders using a shotgun and hand grenades before assaulting the Traviss effigy, perhaps killing her, and then making a slashing motion across his throat with his fingers to indicate his intentions. There are allegations of online stalking, though they have largely been denied. The backlash from the Wayne Poe and talifan attacks on Traviss may well have lead to the retconning of some of the Saxton authored power generation figures from various recent Expanded Universe works.

External Links and references

Sex, Lies and Video Hate is the blog article by The Dark Moose on the subject of talifans and Wayne Poe's attacks on Karen Traviss in particular. The StarWars.com blogs have been taken down, the gist of Dark Moose's article is copied here:

Blue Mod Group by: The Dark Moose date posted: Jun 08, 2006 12:39 PM | updated: Jun 11, 2006 2:34 AM


Sex, Lies and Video Hate 

I witnessed a tiny portion of fandom gone horribly wrong last week.

An ex-poster made a disturbing video and threw it up on YouTube. It's gone now, don't even bother looking for it. It violated multiple provisions in their Terms of Use. I was a little concerned at the idea it was allowed on their site for any amount of time (there was a previous version of it). But once they viewed it and circumstances surrounding it, trust was restored in their standards by them removing it.

It was a choppy, low-rent CGI "Sim-like" video called "Talifan!"

Before we get into it's contents, let's make something clear - some rush to identify with this term without understanding it's meaning. Some believe it has to do with simply being critical of some media tie-in books. They think it's a derogatory term invented to silence dissenters.

Some go so far askew on the definition as to associate it with a single author, and a single plot point.The term "Talifan" is in actuality what you would call an "Industry Term", not even coined recently, but thrown about moreso by those that identify with it than those actually in the industry. A "Talifan" is someone who personally attacks, harrasses, berates, even threatens and extorts authors in an effort to make their criticism heard. Most of all, they want a reaction, an argument, preferably, one that has only one side - theirs. What I call "debate by attrition", meaning they mean to whither opponents simply by not listening, simply by pounding the dusty tomes of their dogma into the pulpit. Debate is for concensus, and revelation. Not for victory at any cost.


Talifans are not endemic to Star Wars. They are a sort of "pre-cancerous" anomaly in several franchises: Buffy, Star Trek, Harry Potter, James Bond...you name a media franchise, they've got 'em. Talifans lash out at two sets of people - licensed artists or authors (even game developers) in a franchise, and fellow fans for enjoying their work.


What sets them off? They pick out a particular detail they don't appreciate in a recent work.... for those that know what "'shippers" are, for them it could be that Harry Potter and Hermione Granger are not romantically involved. For Buffy it could be some vampire power nuance.


Now, here's the major misconception: some feel maligned by the term because they think its what they think. They think that they get saddled with this less-than-flattering epithet reminiscient of fundamentalism and intolerance just because they have an opinion that differs with a writer's, or the fan community at large.

Not so.


A Talifan is marked as such because of their methodology. It's not what they say, it's how they say it. It's not the opinion, it's the behavior. In particular, a Talifan has a few earmarks:

> Harassing demeanor - they seek out the author or artist to attack them verbally on the same point over and over and over. Even if its a point they had nothing to do with in creating. Even if its a point they can do nothing about to change. Harrassment flows quickly into a kind of "e-stalking" in that wherever that artist/author may go on the Internet, they go, too. Even more ominously, they may send letters or make phone calls.

> Personal attacks - A Talifan doesn't criticize a book, or a game, or a poster or a model or collector's item. A Talifan attacks people. Personally. Often times, profanely. Instead of making a suggestion or offering a point for debate, they purposefully attempt to make the author or artist feel besieged. They will attack their professional abilities. They will attack their level of competence. They will attack gender, race, creed, any detail they can glean, they will attack the person simply for being what they are. These are not valid fan opinions, these are malicious, abusive, antagonistic and in many cases some would consider libelous affronts.

> Intense negativity - Talifans seek out negativity. They hunt it with myopic intent. They'll draw you into an argument, sometimes over something innocuous, even something you don't really care about. What they want is to abuse, malign, extort, insult..and oddly, be abused, maligned, extorted and insulted in return. It's something akin to sadomasochism.

I personally don't use the term Talifan very often. I don't have to, because here, we already have a term for the above online social phenomenon:

"Troll."

SW.com has had its fair share of trolls, and it's subset portion of Talifans. But we don't distinguish here. I'd imagine that any troll that was banned for exhibiting signs of Talifannery believe, once again, they were banned for an opinion when of course they were banned for a much older, more mundane offense of simply being unable to function in an online community without attacking fellow members.

And make no mistake when we say here that authors, artists, production staff members, actors, game developers, continuity wranglers, even George Lucas himself is a member of this community. They are not somehow magically excluded from the respect and courtesy we show each other just because of their position. Just as clear is that we moderators have the full backing to protect every member of this community from such attacks within the scope of our abilities and authorities.

So if you believe yourself to be a "Talifan", if you accept this industry term with some amount of dubious pride, it's best to understand what you're identifying with. It's not because you think Harry Potter should have a different girlfriend. It's not because you think James Bond should be played by one person rather than another. It's not because you disagree with the power output measurements of a deflector dish on a Consitution-class Star Fleet vessel. And its not because you disagree with troop numbers in the Clone Wars.

If you identify with the term "Talifan", you're saying that you stalk authors on the Internet, that you attack them personally over small details, that you espouse an extreme form of literary orthodoxy rather than allowing for twists and turns in the arc of a story, that you harass, insult, malign, accuse, and even use deviant and dangerous logic toward the end of changing a plot point or a character description that, for all your efforts, will probably not be changed. And you're saying that you're a Troll - an outcast of any online community, exiled by their own anti-social behavior. To identify with the term might be precipitous in terms of your continued posting career.

Before you plaster that Scarlet "T" on your sweater, think about what you're saying about yourself. Think about what others are saying about you. And then stop to think "Is that true?" And more importantly, "Is that right?" and "Do I behave that way?" and "How would I feel if the tables were turned?"

Oddly I've seen plenty of people make the mistake of confusing the term, in particular over a few people's contention the troop numbers in the Clone Wars are "minimalist". They forget that the number is provided by Lucasfilm. They disregard the idea that authors don't just blithely change someone else's artistic or practical vision for their franchise. And so they criticize who they can see the most clearly - authors, artists, continuity wranglers, game developers, etc. Even if they have nothing to do with the genesis of the perceived discrepancy. Even if the circumstances surrounding the perceived discrepancy aren't even fully known yet. Star Wars is known for it's plot twists, you might remember. Things that don't appear to be true or possible, turn out being true, and very possible. Spice freighter navigator or Sith Lord? Arch-nemesis or familial relation? Clone or recruit? Senator or Satan? Love interest or sibling? Pretty big logical gaps to fill, and yet filled they are.

But that's not the mistake. It's perfectly fine to have a dissenting opinion about the material. I don't agree with everything myself. I don't agree with the way Padme's role was treated in the Prequels. I don't agree with the discrepancies between the novelization of Return of the Jedi and the actual events in Episode III. I think the Rancor was a goofy puppet. I never believed Anakin and Padme's love story was plausible, and felt rushed.

But I don't attack people because of it. I don't accuse them of not knowing what they're doing. I likewise hold out that it's personal taste, or, just as likely, a point I just have trouble getting like everyone else does. We're not perfect, us readers and movie-goers. Sometimes things get by us. And more importantly, the vast majority of us have never offered professional literary analysis, or written a book, or directed a film, or acted, or managed a vastly complex continuity matrix that spans three decades of real time, thousands and thousands of years of fictional time, and just as many characters, technologies, organizations and places.

And so I don't have to worry about making the mistake that because I don't agree with those points in the books and films, that I could ever even remotely be labeled a "Talifan." Because to think this is possible, to confuse myself with a term so imbued with closed-mindedness and antagonism, is ludicrous.

If I were to ever confuse being critical with what Talifannery represents, this umbrage at the term would be similar to someone walking walking down a crowded street and calling out "Any morons out there?" and me actually answering "What!? How dare you, sir!"

That would be exceptionally stupid on my part. So I wonder why other people allow themselves to merge the ideas.

Being a Talifan doesn't mean not agreeing. Being a Talifan means being a jerk, and in some cases flirting with crossing a more serious line. These are people that can't distinguish between personal attacks and analysis, between stalking and criticism, between opinion and dogma, between discussion and confrontation, between debate and bickering, and between lobbying and abuse. They also employ the mobius logic that anyone who doesn't agree with the fringe concerns of these few is "on the other side". They'll go so far as to accuse you of trolling if you oppose their statements. Yes, seriously. Blatant trolls accusing people of trolling because they disagree. The same people that are offended because they feel their only crime is, yes, disagreeing. It's hypocrisy wrapped in intolerance, sandwiched between neuroses and projection, with extra jerk sauce. Inside out and backwards.

Whenever I hear the term "Talifan", the immediate image that leaps to mind is the character in Stephen King's "Misery". I have to think that it's even inspired by just such a fan, before they had the monniker. The woman in "Misery" is a Talifan gone horribly wrong, and given some of the violent and offensive things I've seen Talifans say in a failed effort to distingish bad ideas from good, I'd say some of them, unchecked, would be headed that direction.

She doesn't agree with one of her favorite writer's decision to kill off a main character. So she conspires to kidnap him, and torture him until he resurrects the character (Misery) from the dead. Her crticism and difference in view and her extreme devotion (far past the normal bounds of "fandom") pushes her to attack the writter irrationally, to blame him personally. Worse, she moved freely between the realms of fiction and fact, and could no longer see the line she had already crossed.

In short, she lost perspective, with dire consequences for herself, and everyone around her. She lost sight of what is worth getting into a confrontation over. She went from fan, to critic, to conspiring stalker, to violent, out of control manic.

That's not to say that is the eventuality for every Talifan, and we can all, of course, tell the difference between the unbalanced fictional character "Annie Wilkes" played by Kathy Bates and a real life situation. But it does remind me that people can go too far and not know it. Or perhaps be all too aware of it, who knows. Either way, this is why we all need a reminder of just what is "too far".

Which brings me to the original source of my dismay...

This fan that made the video in question had been extremely critical of a particular author here, Karen Traviss, and the inclusion in her stories of troop numbers provided by Lucasfilm. There are a few that feel the number is wrong, and I won't dispute the point. There are likewise a few that feel much larger numbers presented elsewhere would be more reasonable when speaking of a galactic-wide conglict. Again, I have no dispute for this. Any points on that, I've already said, and more importantly, my opinion on it as a fan is one tiny voice. I vote my acceptance or rejection of such ideas with my credit card at the bookstore. What I say here is just one opinion among many.

Two important points have to be made, however - 1) what she created with the numbers was an incredibly creative and elegant solution, whether you believe it or not 2) the books she wrote, and hopefully will continue to write, aren't even about that. They don't even remotely focus on troop numbers, they focus on moral dilemmas, intense character interactions, the juxtaposition of incongruous ideals, commradery, warfare, tactics, loyalty, perserverance, tragedy... The Clone Wars, and the heart of the experience of being in them. Troop numbers aren't even a tertiary concern in the vast majority of her work. To focus on aspect of troop numbers alone is to have missed the point.

That being said, here's where I will make my voice heard, and its not just my voice. I have some backup and more than a few handy buttons when it comes to this site. But more importantly, I feel a responsibility to raise awareness elsewhere of this kind of behavior, because it's wrong, and I believe deviant and even sets dangerous precedent.

The original version of the video depicted a meeting. I won't reveal the name of the person that makes the video, or his "Productions" firm, if there is such a thing. Not because I think he deserves anonymity or freedom from his own tactics used against him. It's because I have standards for myself. I won't link to it, because it's only found on his private web space now. Not to mention, it's objectionable, and it doesn't belong on this site - I've already removed it once. As mentioned before, the title of the video is simply "Talifan!".

A man, who we assume represents the fan in question and protagonist, walks in and asks what's going on from one of the many white armor-clad troopers, who obviously represent clone troopers. The trooper answers that an author is speaking the language she invented, and apparently defending "her" troop numbers.

After some low-brow allusions to things like "speaking Mandabonian" (? please), the fan being "just a concerned Space Force fan" (? ok, really), and one "Sharon Crevice" (this is clever?), it gets dark in a hurry in the following segment:

1 ) He confronts the Author about not only regarding the numbers issue but the creation of a language for the fans.

2) He calls her the "C" word.

3) He grabs her lapel, and shakes her violently.

4) And in his film-based fantasy, he berates her nose to nose, snarling in her face, driving her backwards while still physically grappling her.

5) And then he pushes her to the ground and stands over her in apparent male dominance and self-righteousness. His fantasy victim grabs her mid-section as if injured, breaks down in tears, and runs away.

That's just the first version he posted on YouTube. After complaints, he yanked it, and re-posted what he deemed was a more appropriate version. The differences?

1) He bleeped the C word.

2) He made a reference to him not being a "mysonginist" (again "just a concerned Space Force fan") which apparently had been a label given to him in previous complaints regarding the first version.

And then, the video just gets truly jacked up, and the real intention appears to be revealed. After his questions with the faux trooper, he becomes exponentially more violent....

4) In the middle of what appears to be a library, he produces a shotgun.

5) He begins to mow down any of the Sim-like characters who oppose him. Even people that haven't done anything to him.

6) He then produces hand grenades. He sets about the library blowing people apart, with either his shotgun or by fragmentation.

A library. Shotguns, innocent bystanders blown away. Sound familiar? Ever hear of a tragic moment in time known as Columbine? Ever wonder where kids like that get such heinous influences?

7) In the smoky aftermath of this ultra-violent rampage, he again confronts the Author, and man-handles her in the same fashion. Grabbing, shaking, screaming, pushing... and then he closes his hand around her throat.

He ends his tirade, making his final statement, a statement clearly intended for Karen Traviss.

8) He pantomimes throat-slashing to her. As in what is commonly used to say, without words, "You're dead."

He ends the action with this character belly-laughing maniacally and rubbing his hands together. Clearly, something in all that is funny to him.

The film closes with the definition of Satire as "A novel or play or film, etc, that ridicules people's hypocrisy or foolishness in this way, often by parody." He cites the Oxford American Dictionary as his source.

He follows this with the definition of "Asshats' - his own, no doubt, as "brainless "****wits that can't distinguish between satire and Attack Videos."

Or, he adds, yours truly, The Dark Moose. Apparently because I've been seen raising awareness of this kind of disturbing trend in fandom.

Do I care about being referred to as an Asshat? Not so much - occasionally I am. Who isn't.

Do I care that a fan has turned a violent fantasy into a video that attacks one of our Star Wars authors? Yes.

Because the ending, the definitions, couldn't be more ironic - what he sees as satire has been confused with posting a violent fantasy on the Internet which appears to many to be a veiled threat. Like Annie Wilkes, the line this fan crosses is never regarded. This person has merged the idea of satire and violence, somehow, and wants to advise us of the differences. Good luck with that.

I'm going to say this (and everything I say about this video is just my opinion) unequivocally speaking, this video sickens me. Of all the very wonderful fan videos out there that people have produced, the funny ones, the thoughtful ones, the weird ones...this one belongs nowhere in those ranks. This is a hate video, pure and simple, made to represent the fantasies of a fan that, in his dreams, would forego making a logical case for change, and instead would clear a room of those that disagree with him using death and mayhem as his chief tools. And then, done as a dubious coups de grace, mime cutting someone's throat.

Because he doesn't agree with a number. A number LFL created, and stands by.

A number.

A fictional number of fictional characters in a fictional universe. Given these circumstances, in his own imagination, anyone that agrees with the number dies a violent death. At least in his self-proclaimed form of "Satire".

Think about that. Think about both sides of that coin - 1) on the one side, it's incredibly goofy and ill-conceived. It is the epitome of the stinky underside of geekery gone tragically stoopid.. 2) It's wrong. It's violent, it's morally confused, and it's not what Star Wars is about. George Lucas himself said the saga was essentially about "letting go", and the consequences of not being able to. Not being able to let go of rage, aggression, fear... that video is a culmination of what happens when someone doesn't "get" the meaning of Star Wars.

He attacks her in terms of her Sex, he attacks her as a Person, he attacks her with erroneous and misleading information, and he does it all within the framework of a truly crappy fan film with slipshod animation. Insult to injury.

And those of you that don't agree with said number, think about what having this sort of fan represent you does to your cause. To your credibility. To your reputation. Think about how you'll be received the next time you'd like to discuss the topic, what might run through people's minds... "Is this the guy that'll make a hate video about us if we talk to him? Will he blow me away in effigy? Is this person even .sane?" And has it, by default, been made "topica non grata" by virtue of the atmosphere created around the subject matter?

Like I say, I won't reveal the person that made this film, or link to his personal webspace. And I won't link to any of his videos, and they simply aren't allowed on SW.com because of the nature of his previous work. I'll only say he's produced a sequel called "SODDS" (in a not-so-inspired reference to the short story "Odds" by Karen Traviss). And it reeks. Boring and rambling, and when you get to the punchline, you realize 6 minutes of your life are gone. All so that the point could be missed again. I even hear he's received complaints because it's so long (not unlike this entry, but I actually have a point) and he's considering editing it to win back favor. It doesn't erase the extremely violent message sent before, it only shows there's a certain amount of flailing to make up for lost ground. You can't fault him for persistance, but I'll certainly fault for the intent, personally speaking.

I became a moderator of this site a few years ago...somewhat reluctantly, I don't mind telling you. Being a moderator means giving up certain luxuries. Joining in on a lot of conversations, posting truly stoopid threads...I used to do this. But I have a different role now. That's ok, because I actually believe in that role.

One of our admins, I believe it was Ghent, put it best when he said of the role of a moderator was "to lead by example". I'll be the first to say I'm not the best example of "leading by example". I remain, after all, The Dark Moose.

But now, I mean to take up that yoke with a bit more conviction. Because the reasons one becomes a moderator at StarWars.com, the leading and official website of Star Wars fandom, are not always what you think they are. It is not because you get insider information - you don't. It is not because you get to hobnob with celebrities - you don't. It is not because there is wealth or fame or popularity waiting at the end of any fanboy rainbow - there isn't. The reason I became a moderator at StarWars.com is simple - I love the franchise, I love the fandom, I love the stories, and I love our community. As goofy as that sounds, it's true. Group hug. Ok get off me.

And one reason you might not think of when you think of someone doing this pretty thankless, payless, occasionally jacked up nutty volunteer assignment that by its very nature removes you from your fellow fans... are you ready for it? It's pretty melodramatic and smacks of delusions of grandeur, but here it is...

To protect my fandom.

Mainly from psychopaths, idiots and profiteers.

There have been franchises before and contemporary to the Star Wars phenomenon that have imploded in part because of elements in their fandom. Why? When fandom turns on itself, all the reasons for being part of something special flies out the window. There have been sad stories of fans letting the object of their own adoration down, abandoning truly great sagas to fall by the wayside because of petty bickering and selfish agendas. I think we all wonder now what has happened to the great empire that was once Star Trek. I hope it's not lost, honestly, to history, because it had a place...strike that, it built a place that other franchises stand on. To some extent, I'd say even Star Wars. But it languishes in syndication, and I can't help but wonder what happened to its own fans. Some of them are among us. Some of us Star Wars fans, myself included, miss what Star Trek, and its community of fans, represented at one time. I hope it returns soon.

Personally I don't think Star Wars is even remotely near this kind of demise. It is a vibrant community, thirsting for more material. Beyond that, it is a responsible community, a discerning community, an intelligent community, a diverse community, and above all else, a respectful community. Some of the most insightful commentary I have ever read about any science fiction, or any social endeavor of any kind, has been right here. Yes, I'm biased. But truthfully, from the Cantina, to the BCaT to the Hyperspace Forums to the Blogs, I've read the best ideas, dreams, humor, and thought- provoking analysis of some of the brightest people I've seen online, ever, right here. That's why I'm here, and that's why I volunteer. Don't ever let me complain too much about it - it's still an honor, and don't think I ever doubt that for a second.

But Star Wars, like many movie and book enterprises, has this aforementioned "pre-cancerous growth". Small, but cancers are not to be ignored. They have to be detected and treated early. They have to be relentlessly guarded against.

See, there are many different types of malcontents in the real world. Some will set your house on fire, some will rob you blind, some will stalk you in the night. And some of those are here on the internet. To me, they are no better and no worse, because they exist to destroy something, or at least try. These would be the many variety of Trolls, and sometimes something more.

Many media franchises are experiencing the same phenomenon, mostly an online phenomenon.. It comes with the territory; it's like dry rot if you own a boat for any amount of time. It should also be pointed out that online fandom does not represent the greater fandom abroad. There's a lot of people here, to be sure, but the in the great wide world of Star Wars fans, we're probably a much smaller segment in comparison.

We've had all kinds here in the SW community, and I'm sure you've seen a few.

We've had sock/trolls (what I refer to as "strolls") - that's the kind that spends huge amounts of wasted time creating new accounts only to say "hey lock me lock me lock me loc-". And then they're locked. Weird.

We've had Character Hater trolls - trolls that can't stand certain characters. They'd rant on and on and on about someone like Mara Jade, how that "red-haired hussy" should die a hundred horrible deaths. They would attack anyone who disagreed with them, accusing them of siding with said hussy or brat or braggard or fish-eyed fool....as if they were a real person.

We've had "serial" trolls, who like chronic poltergeists would lurk for weeks or months, only to come back and post some rambling manifesto about 80's music or the Matrix or how George Lucas was doing unspeakable acts to their fandom.

And then there's ALL CAPS TROLLS, Txt msg tr1s!, ####-trolls, basher trolls sent from other franchises, spammer trolls, impostor trolls who claimed they were George Lucas or some other fan, Hayden haters, and yes, Supershadow trolls (whom I believe to be the poor misguided soul himself, trying to get hits on his fraudulent site)....

We had a guy spam all the forums with spoilers once, to ruin Episode II for everyone. We even had a guy type over and over: "I like poop." Yep. A poop troll.

But worst of all, there's the troll that Crosses the Line, and whereas we don't tolerate any kind of troll, there's nothing more serious than a troll that threatens or stalks people. Some have turned so violent and twisted they would threaten to run over us mods (ok, me in particular) with their cars. They threaten other posters with physical violence, moderators, admins...doesn't matter. I can't think of another term for this troll except Whacked Out Violent Troll.

And now they seem to be after our VIP's (actors, authors, employees, etc.), people that, in any fan community, are easy public targets. Especially those that take the time out of their professional lives to come here and speak with us.

It's not just up to me or fellow moderators to guard against this kind of behavior. It's up to you, the fans, online and off, to recognize this problem, to point it out and then throw it out. This is not something to be silent about, or to play the "wait and see" game, hoping that it will go away.

I am not condoning flaming them back, even in defense of another poster or VIP. Breaking the rules to thwart those elements makes you guilty yourself. But what I am saying is don't accept that its ok to personally attack anyone in your community, either fellow fans, or VIP's. Speak out against it when you see it. And immediately get a moderator when you see it happen by posting a report in Forum or Blog Feedback.

It's ok to share negative opinions about Star Wars or other types of media here. You can say you don't like a book or game or comic, and you can say why. But you can not go after someone personally. And if a VIP has answered your question once, asking it again repeatedly could be harassment, especially if they indicate they'd like you to back off. This blips our radar on this important issue.

So let's define the more important terms, something more useful than "Satire" or "asshats".

Let's define "Talifans" in terms of these boards and blogs, starting with some of what they are not, and then, what they are:

What a Talifan is Not...

~ A Talifan is not someone who simply disagrees with an idea.

~ A Talifan is not someone who offers negative criticism of a book, movie or game.

~ A Talifan is not someone with a suggestion on how things might work differently.

~ A Talifan is not someone who wants to see better products from Lucasfilm and expresses disappointment.

~ A Talifan is not someone who questions the status quo.

~ A Talifan is not someone who adheres to the Terms of Use, and has a reasonable understanding of Internet etiquette while offering their views.


What a Talifan is...

~ A troll. One of the worst kind.

~ Sometimes, something worse.

(and of course, everyting inclusive from previous points)

There have been many of our most popular authors driven off of various SW community boards because of flames, acccusations, and relentless personal attacks. Some have even received death threats. Yes, death threats.

I know of at least 5 authors who no longer wish to participate in the various online communities because of how they are treated. Think about that.

Whether you pay for Hyperspace or not, that should anger you if you care to interface with some of the people that shape the Star Wars universe. If you value the chance to directly tap their thoughts and opinions, to get insider information about upcoming releases, to get their views on how a character thinks, or how a vehicle moves, or how a technology works, or what becomes of the Star Wars galaxy in general - if you value any of these amazing opportunities, shouldn't you care that people are actively trying to ruin that for you?

Doesn't it bother you when you see a heated discussion turn into flaming and discord? Doesn't that drive you away as well? It almost has this effect on me, I can tell you.

But, like me, you have a choice, and you have a voice, and you have power to make changes. If you don't want those counterproductive elements here, then say so. And if you want to help maintain an environment where authors, actors, production staff members, artists, LFL employees and the like want to continue to interact with the fandom of Star Wars, then say so.

Truth is, VIP's don't have to visit us. None of us have to be here. But they choose to for us, and we choose to for ourselves. I was heartened to see that the boards at TheForce.net, considered one of the cornerstones of Star Wars online fandom, has after many years of suffering issues with rampant member-on-member and member-on-VIP flaming, finally taken some tentative steps to put a stop to it. I think they should be applauded for the journey they've taken to safeguard the ability for fans to interact with one another and with VIP's in a constructive and non-hostile environment. I also think they have a ways to go. Everyone does. They've just taken the first steps. To stop where they are is to send the wrong message of partial acceptance. I hope they continue to follow through, because we all have to set the standards from site to site as to what's tolerable.

That's why most sites have rules against trolls, flames, socks, and spamming. That's why many have the same standards about profanity and objectionable material. And now, they are just beginning to understand that Talifans are trolls, and don't belong.

If my name appears at the end of this film, I shall consider it my signature on a great virtual petition to cast out and keep out these kinds from our fan communities. And I doubt he has room for all of our names at the end of his low budget hate videos.

It's your fandom, too. Protect it.

DM out "

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