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Lack of minority writers

Darian Wolfe

I was reading in a recent topic now locked questions about why there are not many minority writers here. I would like to hazard a few guesses.

I would say that it would revolve more around language and culture than any actual prejudice. I am not going to spend time, even if I was firing on all cylinders, learning say Swahili or Vietnamese to read a piece of good fiction and definitely not for a stroke story.

Then there are cultural references. Someone who lives in the deep south of North America has a different life experience from someone who lives in Nepal. Sure, there are many things in common but there are enough differences that what makes compelling fiction for one will be drab or confusing for the other. Even among English writers, there are many subcultures represented. If you don't have an interest or experience with that culture you probably won't read much about it.

As far as I know, as long as a story fits within the legal requirements and SOL guidelines it can be posted. That's a door wide enough to drive a fleet of Mack trucks side by side through. If authors can't see the opportunity that's on them. Lazeez isn't getting rich off us. I'm sure he makes a nice living but that's about it. I wouldn't care if he was making extreme bank off this site as it's set up now. I'm getting what I want from it. Anyhow, that's my nickel.

Ernest Bywater

@Darian Wolfe

The only two real rules Lazeez has are the legal ones and the stories are to be in English, as that's what most of his members read. I know we have a number of authors who learned English as a second language who contribute stories to SoL, and I know there are authors from every continent who contribute to SoL, so the lack of authors from any minority is more likely to be they have a lack of a good knowledge of English, or they don't write stories, or they don't know about Sol.

I do know the only time Lazeez stops someone from posting a story is when they abuse the site terms of use.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

I know there are authors from every continent who contribute to SoL

Probably not Antarctica. Or is there a penguin who writes stories?

Replies:   sunkuwan  Ernest Bywater
sunkuwan

@richardshagrin

There is one Penguin who writes stories.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Keet

I think I have encountered some stories in Spanish, maybe even a French one.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Probably not Antarctica. Or is there a penguin who writes stories?


I know of a person who wrote and submitted stories while they were assigned to Mawson Base in Antarctica.

Replies:   Remus2
Michael Loucks

@sunkuwan

There is one Penguin who writes stories.


Though he goes by a name these days... ;-)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Michael Loucks

Though he goes by a name these days... ;-)


Penguins have names and genders! What about Yorkie bars?

AJ

Not_a_ID

@Darian Wolfe

I was reading in a recent topic now locked questions about why there are not many minority writers here. I would like to hazard a few guesses.


I am actually kind of curious as to how anyone is able to draw that particular conclusion.

How do they KNOW that a particular author isn't an "assimilated" person of ______ descent? There are a lot of them out there in the population at large, so for all we know, short of the author saying what they are, several of the "top authors" could be minorities.

Darian Wolfe

@Not_a_ID

Very valid question! I admit is a general assumption that is based upon several things.

1. general tidbits we learn about each other through our interactions as well as comments by the moderators.

2. Word usage and patterns. If you have high enough reading comprehension skills you can easily tell what decade a fiction piece was written as well as the probable continent the writer was raised upon. Someone who learned English in India writes differently than someone who learned English in the Belgian Congo even if they are both fluent in written English.

3. Lack of diverse subcultures in stories. For example, I don't know that I've ever seen a story other than Lazlo Zalezac's that spent a lot of time focusing on life in the black hood. Even then it was rather idealized at least compared to the one I lived in for several years. Being a cracker can be a bitch. I've seen very few oh I don't know, Palestinian love stories. Why? Nobodies writing them. When I say minorities, I'm not speaking specifically of non-crackers. I am speaking of Non-European Culture writers.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Darian Wolfe


I would say that it would revolve more around language and culture than any actual prejudice. I am not going to spend time, even if I was firing on all cylinders, learning say Swahili or Vietnamese to read a piece of good fiction and definitely not for a stroke story.


That's not really an issue. Since English has essentially become the language of the internet, most international authors—if they want recognition—will likely know and be moderately conversant in English. In fact, for years, some of the best rising new English authors are Hindu Indians, writing in English rather than their native languages. However, their 'voice' and perspective are far enough from our own, they're hard to wade through, so I don't see them doing well here either.

When I first made these complaints—which I've repeated over the years—isn't that we don't welcome foreign authors, but rather why we don't have many female, black, Hispanic or LGBT authors from the countries already frequenting the site.

My opinion is, the site is SO predominately older-white-male, that the few who venture here take one look around, and hightail it out again looking for more receptive sites.

That's the reason, why after sitting my one gay romance story, I finally published it on SOL, simply to help offset the overwhelmingly straight older male perspective the site offers. As you'd expect, it didn't get many readers, though it did get better scores than I expected (although it also go the expected 1-bombs as well).

But as Ernest points out, SOL does enforce an 'English only' restriction, though ASSTR, while it was still active, was drawing a growing number of foreign language stories, so the market for those stories is growing, despite still being fairly small.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

I am actually kind of curious as to how anyone is able to draw that particular conclusion.

How do they KNOW that a particular author isn't an "assimilated" person of ______ descent? There are a lot of them out there in the population at large, so for all we know, short of the author saying what they are, several of the "top authors" could be minorities.

My issue isn't whether someone can hide on SOL, but on the site's lack of alternate perspectives. We've had a fair amount of female authors, but most do exactly like you're suggesting, adopting the same 'straight male' perspective, even going so far as to write COA harem stories (one young, inexperienced guy with dozens of women clamoring after them). Frankly, if you can't tell an author is a minority from the story, what difference does their presence her make. It certainly doesn't encourage more women to step forward and take up a pen themselves.

What we really need is some new blood to shake up the place, and force both authors and readers to consider alternate perspectives. After all, the main reason why readers read at all is to expand their world. But if all anyone reads are voices extrolling the exact same values, then what's the point.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we suddenly toss out all the existing authors, but having a few fresh perspectives now and then might go a long way, potentially encouraging other authors to adopt some of their techniques, but more importantly, encouraging even more minority participation. They'll always be in the minority here, but that's not really the point. My main issue is, we're essentially deep in a well, listening to the echos of our own voice (perspective), assuming it's the voices of a vast community. It's essentially the FOX/CNN approach to literature: only presenting what it's readers are 'comfortable' with and never challenging their perspectives.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

What we really need is some new blood to shake up the place, and force both authors and readers to consider alternate perspectives. After all, the main reason why readers read at all is to expand their world. But if all anyone reads are voices extrolling the exact same values, then what's the point.

I don't agree. Replace your "alternate perspectives" with "pedo writers" and we have the same discussion as recently about the wave coming from ASSTR.
Forced diversity doesn't work and can only result in everyone walking away. There's a reason that there are specialized sites like those for MM and the MC site. SOL has found a balance that works, don't try to break it.

Replies:   sunkuwan
sunkuwan

@Keet

You mean, don't let people who have different political leanings into my safe-space. They could question my sand castle that I meticulously build and I did my best to make this place unwelcome to others, don't destroy all my work.
?

Replies:   Keet  Jim S
Keet

@sunkuwan

You mean, don't let people who have different political leanings into my safe-space. They could question my sand castle that I meticulously build and I did my best to make this place unwelcome to others, don't destroy all my work.
?

Sorry, but that is close to the stupidest misinterpretation I have ever encountered. I guess it fits your colored view.

richardshagrin

One reason that older male authors write stories posted here rather than other activities is their need for money is less as they are already somewhat successful, they aren't starving artists and in some cases their other options for activities are more limited. They aren't going out playing football or other sports like some young men and women, but they might not be wealthy enough to play a lot of golf. In most cases spending all their time wooing whatever sex they are interested in doesn't occupy much of their time. So they write about what otherwise they might be interested in doing. Those that can, do. Those that can't, write. They don't need to work 24/7/365 like some minority or other culture people do just to survive. They have some time to write and their other options are even worse than writing.

Why are you spending all this time reading Forum posts?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Jim S
Updated:

@sunkuwan


You mean, don't let people who have different political leanings into my safe-space. They could question my sand castle that I meticulously build and I did my best to make this place unwelcome to others, don't destroy all my work.


I think it's already been established that SOL is fairly welcoming to any author, just not those dealing with pedophilia, although the 14 year old boundary is 4 years younger than the U.S. standard. Just about every other sexual perversion has been written about here -- just check out the permitted codes.

I view SOL as a bottoms up site, i.e. one where members decide what they like to see. Somewhat analagous to a democracy in that respect, i.e. the voters decide. As opposed to the top down approach of shoving something down the member's collective throats ala U.S. college campuses and other bastions of thought control.

My view is let them write it and throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. Or slides down into a pile of excrement. The readers will let them know which it is. Sacrificing this site on the alter of diversity achieves nothing but, as Keet notes, a lot of members walking away. Paying members. That just might piss off Lazeez a tad. And prove to be the death of the site. I agree with Keet here.

robberhands

@Jim S

although the 14 year old boundary is 4 years younger than the U.S. standard.

The US doesn't have any such age limitations in regards to writing. That's a Canadian specialty as far as I know.

I also don't know whether Lazeez noticed a decline of member numbers on the site.

The few rules authors have to accept don't exclude any specific themes or minorities I could think of, apart from the already mentioned special Canadian age restriction. No one is forced to read any specific stories, and I wouldn't know a reason to read and vote on stories I'm not interested in. Democracy doesn't play any part in my reading preferences.

Replies:   Jim S  Crumbly Writer
Jim S

@robberhands

The US doesn't have any such age limitations in regards to writing. That's a Canadian specialty as far as I know.

I thought they did. I know that a few sites that I frequent on the U.S. side of the border seem to enforce that 18 years old must be mentioned somewhere in the body of the story if "underage" sex occurs. Even when it makes absolutely no sense. Authors that I've talked to at these other sites say it exists. Something to do with a Federal child pornography statute. I thought that's why ASSTR was running into problems.

Replies:   robberhands  Not_a_ID
robberhands
Updated:

@Jim S

I thought they did. I know that a few sites that I frequent on the U.S. side of the border seem to enforce that 18 years old must be mentioned somewhere in the body of the story if "underage" sex occurs.

No. The U.S. Federal Law On Child Pornography only applies to images (i.e. pictures and videos). The age restrictions you observed on other story sites are self-restrictions, not enforced by law.

ETA: Here is a link to an official site of the US Department of Justice.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Remus2

@Ernest Bywater

I'm aware of one author who wrote as a pastime while working McMurdo station.

Not_a_ID

@Jim S

I thought they did. I know that a few sites that I frequent on the U.S. side of the border seem to enforce that 18 years old must be mentioned somewhere in the body of the story if "underage" sex occurs. Even when it makes absolutely no sense. Authors that I've talked to at these other sites say it exists. Something to do with a Federal child pornography statute. I thought that's why ASSTR was running into problems.


It is called "cover your ass" the US laws only address "actual child pornography" not the fictional content. However, obscenity laws introduce themselves into the mix and create legal grey-areas that most sites prefer to avoid. That and most of them probably didn't research very deeply into the matter. They saw the 18 or older requirement for porn, and Assumed it applied to fictional literature as well(they tried, it was struck down).

Further adding into the mix is many of those sites are supported by advertising revenue. As such whomever they're getting that service from may be the ones stipulating that requirement.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Darian Wolfe

Since you are guessing at the reasons why SOL does not have a fair representation of minority authors, it would be reasonable to believe you agree with that position.

Authors talk about their backgrounds in their profiles and blogs, but I don't recall many who define their racial lineage. I am also unaware of any statistics gathered by SOL on racial distribution of SOL authors.

Therefore, I would be interested in why you believe SOL has a deficiency in minority authors.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Remus2

To a Nepalese, anyone from outside of Nepal is a minority. The frame of reference for what is being called a minority should be better set. It should also be taken into account that this is primarily an English language site.

Other countries define in their own way/culture what is erotica and or a good written story. This subject does not lend itself well to an American centric view, much less any other specific country/culture.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

I seem to remember, probably long ago, legally you were a minor until you reached 21, and after some legislation, the age of majority became 18, except for some activities like buying liquor and marijuana. So minority is defined as being less than 18 years old. Among other things, they don't let you vote. When you reach 18, welcome to the majority. Legally Minority has nothing to do with race, it is age.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

One reason that older male authors write stories posted here rather than other activities is their need for money is less as they are already somewhat successful, they aren't starving artists and in some cases their other options for activities are more limited. They aren't going out playing football or other sports like some young men and women, but they might not be wealthy enough to play a lot of golf. In most cases spending all their time wooing whatever sex they are interested in doesn't occupy much of their time. So they write about what otherwise they might be interested in doing. Those that can, do. Those that can't, write. They don't need to work 24/7/365 like some minority or other culture people do just to survive. They have some time to write and their other options are even worse than writing.

No one suggested kicking our current crop of authors to the curb. It's simply a discussion of opening the site to some new voices. How well those other voices fit in, or whether the even find an audience, remains an open issue. But if we're encouraging novice writers to take a chance here, why not extend the offer to those besides older white males with oversized political leanings?

Why are you spending all this time reading Forum posts?

Hey, give him a break. He's new to the site, he's exploring all the venues and asking questions, which is the kind of thing we want new people to do.

Since we're speaking of opening ourselves to new voices, should we really be telling the newest crop of newcomers to 'shut up and sit down'?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Not_a_ID
Updated:

Can I have a cane so I'm able to wave it around yelling "get off my lawn" now? ;)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

My view is let them write it and throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. Or slides down into a pile of excrement. The readers will let them know which it is. Sacrificing this site on the alter of diversity achieves nothing but, as Keet notes, a lot of members walking away. Paying members. That just might piss off Lazeez a tad. And prove to be the death of the site. I agree with Keet here.

While I agree with the 'letting readers decide for themselves', the 'Sacrificing this site on the alter of diversity achieves nothing' is going a bit far. Keet is simply asking WHY there's apparently so little diversity. And it's a subject which has been breached before, so he's hardly a 'new troublemaker'.

Instead, let's work at making the site as open as possible, and then, when we do get some new faces (i.e. aside from the same old pale-while ones with liver spots we all recognize), we'll see how we fare in the open market.

But the forum discussions is evidence against your point. If new members aren't allowed to ask question, then maybe we DO need a walled garden, where no one will ever ask why we only grow white lilies and insist on planting some (ugh!) other flowers?

Frankly, given our history and our reaction to new stories, I'm skeptical that any minorities would ever spend longer than a half-hour on the site. But does that mean we shouldn't at least ask what's wrong with including a few more viewpoints?

The echoing voices on the forum sound suspiciously like many neighborhoods in the 60s, when 'those new fellas' moved into town and suddenly everyone started packing up and leaving, rather than having to deal with a few new ideas. Having lived through it then, and repeatedly over the next fifty years, I'm not eager to see us making the exact same monumental mistakes again.

Replies:   Ross at Play  Keet  Jim S
Not_a_ID
Updated:

The "problem" such as it is regarding diversity, or lack thereof, is a combination of reader/user response, in particular the one bombers and "hostile" comment makers, paired with a limited number of people evidently having surfaced over the years to make the attempt. (Where they may have promptly encountered our resident hostile 1 bombers)

Not sure where you're going to go attract the desired type/types of writers. But more importantly, not sure what you're going to do about "Mr. 1-Bomb" either.

The forum is another matter, (parts of) it being more tightly linked to SOL than it was previously may not have been the best of decisions, as it certainly has helped alienate a number of authors over the years.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

It's simply a discussion of opening the site to some new voices.

There's one minority which seems, anecdotally, to be well-represented. It's WOMEN: White, Old, Male and Extremely Narcissistic.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

maybe we DO need a walled garden

Okay in principle, but HOW and WHAT would you need?

For starters, I think you'd need:
1. A webmaster who's responsive to users' needs and a technical whiz-kid. Check!
2. Some reviewers willing to give priority to writing reviews of stories written by "minority" authors.
3. Some sort of connections where minority authors could apply and readers could identify the reviews.

Anyone else out there with any bright ideas?

Perhaps the site could ask questions about age, gender, nationality, and ethnicity ... BUT state clearly they are optional and only used by the site for its purposes and NEVER revealed to anyone else.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
samuelmichaels

@Not_a_ID

Not sure where you're going to go attract the desired type/types of writers. But more importantly, not sure what you're going to do about "Mr. 1-Bomb" either.


No fullproof by any means, but the current score mechanism ignores outliers on both sides, so a small number of "1-bombers" should not have an effect on the story score.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

The US doesn't have any such age limitations in regards to writing. That's a Canadian specialty as far as I know.

I also don't know whether Lazeez noticed a decline of member numbers on the site.

Actually Lazeez has denied anyone 'fleeing' because of the loss of the under-14 stories. In fact, he's said that the boost to the sites membership has been SO strong, that he's been considering getting rid of the 'grandfathered' stories which still have such material in them (seeing as he hasn't acted since them, I'm assuming he's waiting for the stories to slowly be 'archived' away.

Replies:   tendertouch
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

It is called "cover your ass" the US laws only address "actual child pornography" not the fictional content. However, obscenity laws introduce themselves into the mix and create legal grey-areas that most sites prefer to avoid. That and most of them probably didn't research very deeply into the matter. They saw the 18 or older requirement for porn, and Assumed it applied to fictional literature as well(they tried, it was struck down).

Further adding into the mix is many of those sites are supported by advertising revenue. As such whomever they're getting that service from may be the ones stipulating that requirement.

I suspect it's the second case. When the Canadian and Australian laws went into effect, the U.S. saw no similar restrictions surface. But, when most of the major publishing sites, led by Amazon, began instituting an "18 Only" policy, most U.S. websites fell into line so they wouldn't draw fire from anyone looking to stir up legal issues.

The U.S. has a long and storied tradition of supporting freedom of expression, and it was a LONG and PAINFUL fight, since prosecutors, lower court judges and many politicians were rapid to arrest and prosecute whoever they could.

But, with the backing of the mainstream publishers of the day, they tackled case after case, and slowly carved out legal protections through established legal precedent. So now, few legal scholars dare to fight against a losing strategy (despite the fact that currently, NO publisher seems willing to invest the money defending their authors anymore).

However, few other countries have such a well-established protection of literary works (movies aren't as well protected, since the movie industry has traditionally rolled over and agreed with virtually Every government restriction on their content). There were a few notable exemptions, but only for recognized 'literary' works which had already proven themselves unassailable.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Since you are guessing at the reasons why SOL does not have a fair representation of minority authors, it would be reasonable to believe you agree with that position.

I'll volunteer. I'm about as 'lily-white' as they come (partially Danish/English and Norwegian), though I married a Jamaican and raised two black daughters, so I'm well aware of the massive difference between how whites are treated and how even the well-dressed and educated blacks are. Seeing how they were treated on a daily basis by my friends and family was a real eye-opener!

Plus, my brother was an early pioneer in the 'gay' movement. They create the Lamda civil rights group specifically to fight his case (he was their first client) and he overturned the legal precedent of the time of dishonorably discharging anyone tossed out of the military for being gay (meaning they couldn't hold a government job, couldn't get public funds or even, in many cases, vote).

It was largely because of him, and the time I spent in the 80's gay Mecca of NYC that's caused me to be such a proponent of legal rights for minorities in general.

Replies:   REP
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

When the Canadian and Australian laws went into effect, the U.S. saw no similar restrictions surface.


True, because they surfaced here in the US first,

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/ban-on-virtual-child-porn-struck-down/article1022685/

In the United States, the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act expanded the ban on child pornography to prohibit any image that "appears to be" or "conveys the impression of" someone younger than 18 engaged in sexually explicit acts.


But that law was overturned by SCOTUS in 2002.

Crumbly Writer

@Remus2

Other countries define in their own way/culture what is erotica and or a good written story. This subject does not lend itself well to an American centric view, much less any other specific country/culture.

Again, that's largely a non-issue. Because most of the world's internet usage is in ENGLISH, most people across the globe look to establish themselves via the American market (i.e. in English). If they wanted to keep to their native-born speakers, they'd choose to only post in Hindi.

Again, NO ONE has suggested we suddenly demand SOL publish stories in a variety of foreign languages.

Replies:   Remus2
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I seem to remember, probably long ago, legally you were a minor until you reached 21, and after some legislation, the age of majority became 18, except for some activities like buying liquor and marijuana. So minority is defined as being less than 18 years old. Among other things, they don't let you vote. When you reach 18, welcome to the majority. Legally Minority has nothing to do with race, it is age.

That fight was over drinking age. The legal age for a LONG time was 21, but then young men started protesting during the Vietnam War, saying they were 'old enough to die for my country but not old enough to drink in my country'. As a result, they reset that law, which held throughout the Vietnam War. However, once that war ended, it didn't take long for them to change the laws back again, so now the legal drinking age is 21 again (based on alcoholic content).

Replies:   PotomacBob
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Can I have a cane so I'm able to wave it around yelling "get off my lawn" now? ;)

You can borrow mine. I've about wore my arm out complaining about everything under the sun!

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Not sure where you're going to go attract the desired type/types of writers. But more importantly, not sure what you're going to do about "Mr. 1-Bomb" either.

When I first broached the topic several years back, my initial comment was only that the scoring system essentially 'rigged' the system against minority voices, not that the site was openly hostile to minorities.

Amazon has the same issue, with allowing users to downvote and register complaints about any product or they dislike, they they restrict the votes to 1 - 5 stars. On SOL, with 1 - 10, the lonely 1-bomb has much more of an effect. But then, we've seen over the past several years how much Amazon and Twitter have gotten because of those self-same user votes. In short, allowing the majority to vote against anything they've not already used to is a recipe for disaster, because most people will always vote down anything their now familiar with.

However, there's no way we can back the entire 20th century up at this point, so the votes and scores are going to stay, regardless of the unintended consequences.

Thus, since those few initial posts, I keep bringing the issue up, just to remind everyone how hostile the site appears to minorities. I'm really NOT expecting anything to change, but I'd like for people to admit that we have a problem with new ideas in general.

tendertouch

@Crumbly Writer

he's been considering getting rid of the 'grandfathered' stories which still have such material in them


I asked Lazeez about this seeing that I'm playing with a sequel to a story that couldn't be posted now (all participants in the same general age group.) He said that as far as he knows there are no legal issues coming up that would require they be taken down and that he has not said anything about taking them down unless legally required to do so.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

maybe we DO need a walled garden

Okay in principle, but HOW and WHAT would you need?

Sorry, I was being facetious, poking fun at those protesting that 'we don't wanna read nothin' else' types. I never expected anyone to take the comment seriously.

All we need is to recognize that we 'like things the way we've always had it, and to politely refrain from attacking any and all newcomers. (Seriously, every time someone suggests a literary idea an author hasn't been following their entire lives, we end up in shouting matches and closed threads!)

Seriously folks. No one is out on the streets, begging homeless immigrants to start writing stories for bored English readers. But acknowledging that we're blinded by our own insecurities at least raises awareness.

Perhaps the site could ask questions about age, gender, nationality, and ethnicity ... BUT state clearly they are optional and only used by the site for its purposes and NEVER revealed to anyone else.

Never going to happen. Lazeez created the system specifically so that readers could feel free reading sex stories without fearing that their employers, insurers or government prosecutors were going to be examining their reading lists. Thus he maintains NO individual histories of readers, including NEVER asking for their credit cards or other supposed 'proof of age'.

Replies:   Ross at Play
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

That was the federal government imposing its will on the states. Many states lowered the drinking age to 18 (I think one may have lowered it to 17) during the War in Vietnam, just as Crumbly Writer described it. Then, President Reagan and the Republican Party passed, at the request of the auto insurance companies, a federal law saying that if the states wanted to get any federal highway funds, they had to raise the drinking age to 21. I am not aware of any state that resisted the feds.
Question: Is that federal law constitutional?

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I never expected anyone to take the comment seriously.

Woe! Ye of little faith, to harbour such doubts about the intrinsic generosity of spirit of our little band of white, old, male, angry narcissists.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ross at Play


white, old, male, angry narcissists.


I prefer obnoxious and energetic when it comes to me. I'm neither old, or angry.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

I prefer obnoxious and energetic when it comes to me. I'm neither old, or angry.

It appears I've underestimated the diversity already present within our little band.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

Multiple enumerations are needed

StarFleet Carl

@Darian Wolfe

a cracker


I prefer the term Saltine American ...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

On a personal level, I don't care one way or the other about someone's race. I am more interested in what type of person they are and if I would consider them to be a friend, acquaintance, or someone I would prefer to avoid.

Remus2

@Crumbly Writer

Again, that's largely a non-issue. Because most of the world's internet usage is in ENGLISH, most people across the globe look to establish themselves via the American market (i.e. in English). If they wanted to keep to their native-born speakers, they'd choose to only post in Hindi.

Again, NO ONE has suggested we suddenly demand SOL publish stories in a variety of foreign languages.


And you missed my point by a couple of miles. I'm getting the impression you're exceedingly full of yourself. Why don't you read my comment again for what it is rather than what you'd have it to be.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@tendertouch

Thanks.

It would be out of character for someone who likes literature enough to set up a website for it to suddenly indulge in book-burning. And since nothing is broken, there's no need to fix it. I'd be extremely surprised for girl/boy stories to be purged unless Canada legislated against them.

AJ

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

Instead, let's work at making the site as open as possible, and then, when we do get some new faces (i.e. aside from the same old pale-while ones with liver spots we all recognize), we'll see how we fare in the open market.

What is not open about SOL? As far as I know there are only 2 main rules: write in English (didn't know before that this was a requirement) and no underage sex. I'd say that is as open as can be. There is no blockage in any kind of way for any minority author to enter here and post his/her stories.
But why push to get more minorities? Nobody here has any idea how many minorities are already represented. 'New faces' will come and stay if they feel comfortable here.
I feel you are hinting at 'positive discrimination' and there are enough examples showing that is a huge mistake.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Michael Loucks

@robberhands

ETA: Here is a link to an official site of the US Department of Justice.


And that link provides a nice example of why the US Federal government is interfering in the daily lives of individuals, which was something the Founders sought to prevent:

Even if the child pornography image itself did not travel across state or international borders, federal law may be implicated if the materials, such as the computer used to download the image or the CD-ROM used to store the image, originated or previously traveled in interstate or foreign commerce.


According to the Feds, if your computer wasn't built with parts and materials solely sourced in your state, with all of THEIR parts and materials sourced in your state, AND the operating system was completely written and sourced in your state, they have jurisdiction due to 'interstate commerce'.

What a load of crap. Next thing you know, if your electricity came from out of state, or the materials for your house or car did, then the feds can fine you for not mowing your lawn or speeding on a city street. SIgh.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

I prefer the term Saltine American ...

Salty, a bit stale and dropping crumbs all over(eg: Crumbly)?

Crumbly Writer

@Remus2

Pardon me? The entire post consisted of: I have no interest in reading anything in another language, by someone in a foreign land with a different set of interests.

NO ONE ever mentioned opening the floodgates for foreign languages, or asking the Nepalese to submit stories. There's little chance any story will ever appear in any language other than English. Instead, we're simply discussing why so few minorities feel comfortable here, and whether we can do something to bring in a few more points of view (i.e. less testosterone based).

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Nobody here has any idea how many minorities are already represented. 'New faces' will come and stay if they feel comfortable here.

I've heard from quite a few minority writers (more gay, bisexual or transgender than black or brown) who say they've come to the site, took one look around and headed for the hills. This, despite the fact the options for those writers are so limited, and the fact that, statistically speaking, gays are by and large, voracious readers and financially support any site which supports them. Thus this isn't a purely hypothetical 'agenda looking for a problem'.

Granted, I doubt SOL readers will ever welcome those stories, whatever the context, but given that established base, you have to ask yourself: if a site catering to SEX stories is that unwelcoming to anything besides vanilla sex, then how do the other ethnic minorities feel when they come here.

I've seen a few of those venture in, and quickly pack up their bags too. As for women, you'd think they'd fit right in, but the few who've made a home here do so by writing the exact same stories the old white men are. Rather than providing a fresh perspective (no offense to any individual author), they're simply reinforcing the same attitudes.

I don't know about you, but I don't read fiction/fantasy to be comforted. I read to be taken to exotic lands and to have my assumptions questioned, as I consider multiple 'what if' scenarios.

But, I think the majority has clearly spoken, and I'm the little boy crying wolf out in the fields, so I'll shut up and slink away again (at least until the idea erupts once again).

But … the current literary trends are no longer being set by the same old write men. There are many alternate voices, crying out to be heard. And so far, they have no welcoming home encouraging them to voice their opinions (for better or worse).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Jim S
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


But the forum discussions is evidence against your point. If new members aren't allowed to ask question, then maybe we DO need a walled garden, where no one will ever ask why we only grow white lilies and insist on planting some (ugh!) other flowers?


I think you misunderstand me. What I supported with that quote was let anyone in that wants in without restriction (except those noted, i.e. child porn). Let their stories get posted. Then let the readers decide.

If the complaint is that there aren't many here, my answer would be --- so? Is there an obligation for a privately owned voluntary site in the wide open environs of the internet to represent someone else's idea of either fairness or true representation? I don't think so. If someone doesn't like SOL's atmosphere, they're free to create their own site with their own rules. At least I thinkthey still have that freedom.

Maybe I'm a little gun shy but whenever "diversity" enters into the discussion, it seems that some top down forced encounters are the end result. Operative word there is "forced". This is for over the 45 or so odd years since it has been U.S. government policy.

Hence my support for Keet's in the quote above.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I've heard from quite a few minority writers (more gay, bisexual or transgender than black or brown) who say they've come to the site, took one look around and headed for the hills.


And by doing so they exercise a form of bigotry themselves. Because they don't see a preponderance of what they what to read they think it's not welcome or allowed. If no one posts what they like there won't be any here. They need to post their stories and get on with life, some will object and some will applaud, but if they're serious about writing and posting stories they should just do it, and SoL is the place to do it.

If they post any stories that don't show LGBT sex or romance no one will even know if they have tendencies that way. Thus any perceived prejudices won't appear at all for those stories.

...................

At the moment Sol has 42,722 stories. I just did some single tag checks to get the following hits:

Ma/mt - 365
mt/mt - 282
Ma/Ma - 826
Gay - 698
Lesbian - 2,777
Fa/Fa - 4,038
ft/ft - 478
Fa/ft - 562
bisexual - 3,258
cross dressing - 194
transgender - 23
shemale - 82

Now, I'm sure some stories count in more than one tag, and some of the newer tags aren't on some of the older stories. However, if I leave out the bisexual, transgender, and shemale codes that still gives a total of female / female stories at 7,155 or 16.75% of SoL stories with the male / male stories at 2,171 or 5.08% of SoL stories. With all categories making 12,883 or 30.15% of all the stories. I suspect the real figure is probably around the 20% mark after all the multi-tag stories are accounted for.

I ran all the searches again to look at score spreads and found some with nothing, for a female / female the highest as 9.39 and the lowest as 2.21 while the male / male had a high of 9.49 with a low of 2.12

This information comes solely from tag searches and it says nothing about the real content or quality of the works in any way for or against since I did read them.

...................

I have written a number of stories with male / male sex scenes and / or female / female sex scenes. The male / male sex scenes have been the hardest for me to write, and two that were exclusively male / male I got scores of 6.36 with 2,359 downloads and 6.88 with 1,156 downloads (this one is a premier member only story so it has less visibility). Mind you, my lowest scoring story is a 5.98 and it is a much sex story.

So, CW, I suggest you try talking those people who ran away into coming back and giving the site a good try with several stories to see how they go.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

This information comes solely from tag searches and it says nothing about the real content or quality of the works in any way for or against since I did read them.

That... was some extensive research! I never had the idea that SOL was aversive to specific kinks, especially not seeing the vast number of tags that are available for all those kinks. You might even say that SOL is as divers as possible.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

I never had the idea that SOL was aversive to specific kinks,


The tags do two main things - first is to help readers to find stories they're interested in reading, and the second is to help readers avoid stories they are not interested in.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
LOAnnie

I think the answer was broached here. Older, White, middle class or above males are typically at the apex of society, facing far less challenges than those of us who are bound by such things as jobs and other home and/or family responsibilities that may hamper an ability to write.

I have an amazing job that's near 6 figures but I find myself working so much that writing is just not nearly in the time budget as I would want/hope for. Now imagine the black man or woman who is having to work 2 jobs, or more manual labor because they can't get a nice coushy office job.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that there aren't white dudes who don't have it rough—but my perception is that they're not the ones writing here. Being able to create art for arts sake (and not a paycheck) is just a luxury that a lot of people don't have time for

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@LOAnnie

Being able to create art for arts sake (and not a paycheck) is just a luxury that a lot of people don't have time for

I don't disagree that time is an important factor but I think there is a more important factor that isn't touched here yet: education. First the education to read in English, to use the internet and have the interest to read more then just F*book. Second the education to being able to write a story. There's a reason so many of the writers here are American; they have a part in their curriculum that most other countries don't have: creative writing. I'm Dutch and we have one of the best educational systems in the world but we do not have creative writing as part of our curriculum which I suspect results in less writers. I bet that if it were possible to retrieve the data that it would show that those countries with creative writing in their basic curriculum produce the most writers (and probably the best), followed by the countries with general higher education.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

The problem is that the groups you mentioned most likely want a site that is totally devoted to their kink. Since SOL is not a single-kink site they don't feel comfortable between the 'white hetero's'. Understandable, but from both sides.

I promised I'd stay away and keep mum, but I couldn't help popping in, just to see what direction the thread has taken since my last post.

Actually, you'd be surprised. While you're right, gays prefer 'safe sites' where they can feel free to express their issues, they're not limited to that, especially not the way that most 'old white males' tend to filter their news based on whether they fit their preconceived notions.

Again, it's been demonstrated quite a few times that gays, for whatever reason, are voracious readers and very loyal, not only to authors of gay porn, but across the board to a variety of established authors. While you're right, that many will choose to remain in 'safe' gay ghettos, the pickings there are slim to none, and they'd prefer joining a larger established community—as long as they won't be attacked for being who they are.

That said, I truly don't believe SOL, or its readers, are ready to bite that bullet at this point. I was mainly interested in starting a discussion, not on changing the site, but debating why our site has become it's own 'walled garden'. (P.S. That's also why I've suggested to Lazeez that he might want to consider a separate LBGTQ site, specially catering to this demographic precisely so it won't freak out the SOL regulars. Unfortunately, since neither FineStores nor SciFiStories has really taken off, I don't think he's ready to try yet another struggling site.)

Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

If the complaint is that there aren't many here, my answer would be --- so? Is there an obligation for a privately owned voluntary site in the wide open environs of the internet to represent someone else's idea of either fairness or true representation? I don't think so. If someone doesn't like SOL's atmosphere, they're free to create their own site with their own rules. At least I thinkthey still have that freedom.

And I agree with that view. I wasn't suggesting we 'force' an entire new cadre of unknown and unpopular authors on unsuspecting readers. I merely wanted to start a discussion on why so many newbie authors, who struggle to find a venue just like the rest of us, turn and run shortly after viewing the site. It's not like they haven't investigated the site, but it doesn't take much investigation to note that the site would ultimately prove hostile to anything they submit.

We can't replace our readers, or even our current authors, but we can discuss how we got to the state we now find ourselves in.

Again, I'm not bitching that we don't have more Hunan Buddhist authors. Instead, I'm lamenting that so many stories here are virtually retreads of the same thought processes, if not the same basic plots. That's why some new blood, and some fresh perspectives, might just boost everyone's storytelling.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

And by doing so they exercise a form of bigotry themselves. Because they don't see a preponderance of what they what to read they think it's not welcome or allowed. If no one posts what they like there won't be any here. They need to post their stories and get on with life, some will object and some will applaud, but if they're serious about writing and posting stories they should just do it, and SoL is the place to do it.

That's why, after withholding my one gay-centric story (with a few explicit scenes), i decided to get off my high horse and actually post something which broadens the site rather than merely bitching about it. Granted, the reception those types of stories have gotten in the past prevented me from releasing it under my name (although its emblazoned across the cover if they search for it). And while it did get enough 1-bombers to impact the overall score, it did surprisingly well.

Here's hoping it made a small difference, but a single story every now and then won't make the site seem any 'warmer' to minorities.

So, CW, I suggest you try talking those people who ran away into coming back and giving the site a good try with several stories to see how they go.

I did, and generally, after considering it for some time, they all decided 'Nah' after seeing how readers respond to topics they dislike (again, I blame the scoring system rather than the readers, which Amazon also suffers from).

I'll keep trying in the future, but for now, I've run out of openly gay author friends. :( We don't run in the same circles, most of the time.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The tags do two main things - first is to help readers to find stories they're interested in reading, and the second is to help readers avoid stories they are not interested in.

Which is the optimal solution. However, those beneficial results are largely offset by the unduly advantage a ten-point scoring system grants the few (and rare) 1-bombers who'll down vote any story they dislike without ever attempting to read it, based on subject matter alone.

Again, I'm not suggesting we replace the current story system, merely own up to what effects is has on our choice of stories. But I've always like the ability to filter out, or search for, stories you either dislike or are seeking.

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

why so many newbie authors, who struggle to find a venue just like the rest of us, turn and run shortly after viewing the site.

How do you know "so many" turn and run? Perhaps you know a few gay-story authors but as far as I know there is no further data to support your statement.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I blame the scoring system rather than the readers

"Thinking outside the box" again - and I can already hear Lazeez howling in despair as I type - why not apply transformations to the displayed scores of all stories with the genre LBQT? It could be a simple (for someone not doing it) plot from the current scores to a normal-ish curve with a range of 1.0 to 10.0 and a median score of equal to the site's current median, which I think is about 6.6. This should probably only be run about once per day and there would be a consequence that readers would no longer see a score change when they vote. The 1-bombers would still be active but the displayed scores would more closely reflect what readers who chose to read the stories thought of them.

Crumbly Writer

@LOAnnie

I'm not saying that there aren't white dudes who don't have it rough—but my perception is that they're not the ones writing here.

That's always been my perception. I keep referring to 'old-white men' on the site because that's the category of most SOL authors I communicate with (technically, that would be 'disabled old white men', as opposed to those who are merely retired), including myself, so I'm hardly beyond reproach. While we have quite a few younger budding authors, the vast majority (who I regularly communicate with, at least) fit into that category. And even when they don't, most adopt the same perspective when writing, rather than backing the trend (maybe because they come here because they prefer those stories?).

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

There's a reason so many of the writers here are American; they have a part in their curriculum that most other countries don't have: creative writing.

That's a good theory, unfortunately, from my experience, aside from a few random individuals (Rache is the most obvious one), few here have ever studied any kind of writing beyond high school. Instead, most seem to fall into writing simply because they have so MUCH time on their hands, and have a lifetime of knowledge and personal experiences to share.

Though, you're probably right in that the American education system actively pushes Creative Writing, so even if we Americans never studied writing, we've been inundated in a culture who rewards authors and seeks to emulate them. But again, I think that's an indirect result, rather than a primary result. Again, most of us are merely figuring it out as we go, rather than having any real clue what we're doing.

In my own case, my only class in writing was in 'effective writing', which emphasized writing brief papers focused on simple sentences and simple bullet-point details that are easily absorbed by bored business men in the tech field. Otherwise, my ONLY training was my extensive reading as a younger man.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

How do you know "so many" turn and run? Perhaps you know a few gay-story authors but as far as I know there is no further data to support your statement.

Uh, they comprise the ONLY ones I've ever communicated with on the site, they approached me ONLY because I make SUCH an issue about inclusiveness, and they've all left before long. If there are any others, I've not only never encountered them, but again, they are merely duplicated the exact same 'old-white male' perspective in their storytelling. Somehow, I doubt someone from a different background would have the exact same perspective. At least those minority authors I worked with, trying to get give SOL a shot, certainly didn't.

Is that comprehensive enough for you. If you've got competing evidence, I'm glad to hear it, but so far, I haven't encountered any. So I can only base my data on my personal observations by working with minorities (again, mostly 'disabled older white men') on the site who reached out to me.

But again, I suspect I'm beating a drum no one else is interested in listening to, as no one else seems interested in entertaining my central proposition. They all seem interested in denying the little evidence I have in the matter, while offering none of their own. So after a dozen pointless posts, I'll save you all the continued lectures and bypass the thread and shut the hell up, since I still seem to be a lone 'boy who cried wolf' shouting into the darkness.

No offense to anyone who wasn't trying to shut me up, but once again, I see no evidence that anyone is even remotely interested in discussing the possibility that SOL isn't an equal playground for one and all, and holds no biases against anyone. I get the point. Personally, I'm sick of listening to myself too!

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


No offense to anyone who wasn't trying to shut me up, but once again, I see no evidence that anyone is even remotely interested in discussing the possibility that SOL isn't an equal playground for one and all, and holds no biases against anyone. I get the point. Personally, I'm sick of listening to myself too!


I'm not entirely sure anyone claimed it was an equal playground. The closest was perhaps Ernest, when he did his category search result comparisons.

The thing making it "unequal" is the established readership who vote on stories, and their behavior. Laz has taken measures to curb the more overtly abusive behaviors, such as the previous round of scoring system changes, as well as the author contact system becoming internal to SOL(so authors could report abusive behavior in a manner Laz could verify).

As to the rest, the only thing that is going to resolve that is time(and authors of the relevant groups coming here to make an attempt at it). As noted, it seems that the (reader) response to homosexual content on the site has mellowed out over the past 5 years or so.

I'd suspect it may have something to do with that "old, white, male" group, as one thing they're really good at doing is becoming too feeble to continue on in settings where browsing and participating in porn sites is something they can do. Be that due to being placed in a care facility, or because they died.

It also might be because their outlook has moderated over the intervening years, you never know, stranger things have happened. (Particularly relevant for the younger crowd--who may not be so young anymore)

norefund

Here is my two units of currency, from some one who qualifies as a non-native to English, foreign type.

I agree with the assertion that there is a propensity toward a certain type of story here. For example, I kind of find all the do-over stories super annoying. But having read all the posts in this thread, no convincing case has been made that there is a formal, structural impediment to there being more types of stories, by a more "diverse" group of author.

There is certainly, in my view, no justification for someone to look at the site and immediately "head for the hills". I understand how an author might post one or two stories, not get the sort of response they were hoping for, and not come back. But suggesting this site is such an obviously ethno/hetro centric, dick-swing barn of a place that people feel justified in not even engaging with it doesn't resonate with my experience - at all.

Again, I am not suggesting - in anyway - that authors and stories on this site don't incline toward certain archetypes. What I am saying is that in an open environment where authors are free to post stories and users are free to read/vote for the ones that appeal to them, there aren't good solutions available for significantly altering this dynamic.

What can be done and has been suggested during this thread amounts to dancing on the head of a pin. Unless one is prepared to overtly alter what stories are available and/or are presented to users - when searching for example - in order to push more exposure for certain, designated categories of story/author, we aren't going to be getting anywhere. All sides have - rightly - made clear they don't want to see solutions like this and I would add that it would be more than counterproductive to do so anyway.

So we can keep going in circles and say we care about and are discussing diversity, but it isn't a question of not acknowledging or wanting to talk about it. It's that no one is presenting substantive solutions nor does it seem like they are able to.

In life as in online fiction libraries, if your kink, preference, point of view, gender, race, whatever, isn't at any given time, the prevailing one, very little else can be done after overt, formal hindrances that exclude them have been removed. All subsequent acts of inclusivity and what-not amount to tying someone's shoelaces for them and claiming you helped them climb a mountain. More often than people are comfortable acknowledging, the 'help' is more akin to tying a person's bootlaces together and still claiming you were instrumental in getting them over the peak.

If authors are getting any amount of abuse, by all means, come down on those doing so like a ton of bricks. But if authors under-represented here don't see a need or value in posting to this site, no amount of handwringing, ineffectual tinkering, or bandying about of slogans is going to achieve very much.

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