[FFML] [FAQ] FFML Frequently Asked Questions (monthly automatedposting)
WELCOME TO THE FANFIC MAILING LIST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS!
LAST UPDATED: 2016/07/22
Dennis Carr took over maintenance of the FAQ temporarily.
Dead links were removed. (Lycos? C'mon, man!)
Bing added as a search engine.
Dennis Carr (dennisthetiger (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net)
Switch <niftol (AT) i-manila (DOT) com.ph>
Shunsuke <shunsuke (AT) direct (DOT) ca> (no longer working)
Gary Kleppe <gary (AT) garykleppe (DOT) org>
Warr <warr (AT) gci (DOT) net>
The Eternal Lost Lurker
Andy "Panda" Skuse (Co-Creator)
Sapphire, The Blue Tigress (Co-Creator)
Vincent Seifert <seifertv (AT) csus (DOT) edu>
Michael A Chase <mchase (AT) ix (DOT) netcom.com> (no longer working)
If you have any questions or comments regarding this FAQ, or would like
the latest updated version, please E-mail one of the current maintainers
The FAQ is also on the web in plain text at:
Shaule Sachs has put together an HTML version of the FFML FAQ at:
VERY VERY IMPORTANT NOTES
1) SAVE A COPY OF THIS FAQ!!!
If nothing else, it will tell you how to unsubscribe when you are
ready to leave. As a hint, posting a message to the list will NOT get
you unsubscribed, and will probably only result in a lot of angry
E-mails or FAQ copies from other users.
2) DO NOT POST TEST MESSAGES TO THE LIST!!!
If you think you've been unsubscribed or if you think the list is
down, see the section "'I think I've been unsubscribed.' OR 'Is the
On-list replies to test messages are subject to the same rulings
as posting a test message; in other words, a tempbanning.
3) DO NOT POST CHAIN MESSAGES TO THE LIST!!!
Be forewarned that anyone posting a chain message to the FFML will be
immediately banned. Chain messages include any E-mail that instructs
the recipient to forward it to as many people as possible, especially
computer virus warnings.
4) IF YOU ARE NOT AN FFML ADMINISTRATOR, DO NOT USE THE [ADMIN] TAG!!!
You should generally not reply on-list to [Admin] posts; if for some
reason you feel it is absolutely necessary to do so, remove the tag
[Admin] from the subject header. Anyone using the [Admin] tag who is
not an admin may be tempbanned.
5) DO NOT MAKE CROSS-POSTS TO THE FFML AND THE REC.ARTS.ANIME.CREATIVE
E-MAIL SUBMISSION ADDRESS!!!
People injudiciously using the Reply-All function on posts of this
nature have created problems in the past. If you wish to submit a
fanfic to RAAC at the same time as you post it to the FFML, simply
send two separate posts. If you cross-post to the FFML and RAAC,
your FFML posting privileges may be removed.
IMPORTANT FAQ NOTE
For the following information about email messages and requests, any
word in angled brackets <like these> should NOT include the brackets
with the word. The angled brackets are used only to clarify the word(s)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
* What is the fanfic mailing list?
* How do I subscribe to/unsubscribe from the FFML?
* What other server commands can I use?
* What are options, and how do I use them?
* Why does FFML keep setting me to vacation mode?
* How do I post to the ML?
* Can I post to the ML if I'm not subscribed to it?
* What can I post to the ML?
* What's this about "subject tags?"
* What are spoiler warnings, and when do I need to use them?
* What about story format?
* Who owns the FFML?
* Who are the moderators of the list?
* 'I think I've been unsubscribed.' OR 'Is the list down?'
* What is SPAM?
* When is it permissible to post a request for a fanfic?
* How can I find a fanfic that I'm looking for?
* Don't beat a dead horse.
* When should I respond to FFML posts by private mail?
* What is C&C?
* What is an MST?
* What is a 'LEMON' fanfic?
* What is a challenge?
* Is there an official archive for the FFML?
For information about fanfic related websites, newsgroups and irc,
see the "FFML Resources" guide. If you missed it when it was posted,
send a request to either of the FAQ Co-Maintainers listed at the top
of this FAQ. Or you can get it from the following websites:
Yes, we know it's badly out of date. If you'd like to help do
something about that, please contact us.
* WHAT IS THE FANFIC MAILING LIST?
The fanfic mailing list (FFML, or ML for short) is a forum for
authors and fans to discuss fanfics (fanfiction stories) that are
posted to the FFML. Originally, the FFML allowed only stories
involving settings, characters, props, attacks or any combination of
the above from anime/manga. The scope has since expanded, but it
still has a strong anime/manga flavor.
Just in case you don't know what anime or manga is, anime refers to
Japanese animation (cartoons) and manga refers to Japanese graphic
novels (comic books).
* HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE TO/UNSUBSCRIBE FROM THE ML?
To SUBSCRIBE TO or UNSUBSCRIBE FROM the FFML, access the page at
and fill in and click as advised.
You can also make such adjustments via email. You can obtain a list
of commands recognized by the list server by sending a message to:
ffml-request (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net
with the word "help" in the subject or body (don't include the
quotes), and you will get back a message with instructions.
* WHAT OTHER SERVER COMMANDS CAN I USE?
First off, all commands should be sent to:
ffml-request (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net
...with either a single command in the subject line, or a list of
commands in the body of your email.
The important commands are as follows:
password [<oldpassword> <newpassword>] [address=<address>]
Retrieve or change your password. With no arguments, this
returns your current password. With arguments <oldpassword>
and <newpassword> you can change your password.
(Semi-important - you were automatically issued a password
when you initially subscribed if you did not provide one
through the webui. If you don't have that, use this command.
Set or view your membership options.
Use `set help' (without the quotes) to get a more detailed
list of the options you can change.
Use `set show' (without the quotes) to view your current
There are other commands, but the above commands are the ones you'll
most likely use through email. To retrieve the full list of
commands, simply send a message to:
ffml-request (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net
with the word 'help' in the subject or body (don't include the
quotes), and you will get back a message with instructions.
* WHAT ARE OPTIONS, AND HOW DO I USE THEM?
Options (functionally equivalent to "flags" on the old FFML)
determine how the computer deals with your list subscription.
For example, if the option 'Mail delivery disabled' is set on your
account, it will not send you posts made to the list. This is useful
for going on a vacation without having to unsubscribe from the list;
it's equivalent to the 'Vacation' flag on the old FFML.
If the option 'Set Digest Mode On' is set, instead of receiving
individual messages from a list, you'll receive one post per day
containing all the day's messages. If the day's traffic exceeds
256K, you'll get more than one digest for that day.
If the option 'Receive your own posts to the list' is set (as it is by
default), you will receive copies of your own posts.
If the option 'Receive acknowledgement mail when you send mail to the
list' is set, you will receive a short note telling you that your
message has been received.
You can set options by going to
and logging in with your email address and the password sent to you
when you subscribed.
* WHY DOES FFML KEEP SETTING ME TO 'MAIL DELIVERY DISABLED'?
The list software automatically does this when too many messages come
back to chez-vrolet.net because they could not be delivered to your
address. This may happen because your mailbox is full, or because of
some technical problem at your internet provider. The option may be
enabled in the usual option-setting way (see 'What are options, and
how do I use them?' above). If it keeps getting disabled by the
system, consult your internet provider and ask them why your account
is bouncing messages.
Important note - one has three weeks to remedy the situation on
their own before they are automatically unsubscribed.
* HOW DO I POST TO THE ML?
Send mail to <ffml (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net>. As a measure to block E-mail
advertisements on the list, only subscribers are allowed to
post. Those subscribed in 'vacation' mode (see 'What are options,
and how do I use them?' above, and the section immediately below)
can still post even though they do not actually receive any FFML
Before you send anything, please, please, PLEASE read the rest of the
FAQ, especially the following sections "What can I post to the ML?"
"What is SPAM?" "Don't beat a dead horse;" and the first section of
"What is C&C?"
* CAN I POST TO THE ML IF I'M NOT SUBSCRIBED TO IT?
Yes and no. You can't post from an address that isn't on the
list, but you can subscribe for posting purposes only, without
actually getting any mail sent to you.
Subscribe as described in 'How do I subscribe to/unsubscribe from the
FFML?' above, then use your password to access the options page and
set option 'Mail delivery disabled'.
This will allow you to post, but you will not get FFML mail to that
address. This is useful if you have multiple email addresses; set
'mail delivery disabled' on the ones that you want to post from, but
don't want to get FFML mail to.
* WHAT CAN I POST TO THE ML?
You can post stories, of course; C&C on posted stories is also very
welcome, and posting well-thought out story ideas is permissible.
Also, where to find background and character information and questions
and answers about the same. Email people directly when answering a
simple question, and don't forget to remind people to email you
directly when answering your question. Posting requests for fics to
the list is strongly discouraged; see "How can I find a fanfic that
I'm looking for?" below.
The FFML was originally intended for stories that are directly
related to existing anime or manga. The scope of allowed fanfic
genres has since widened considerably. After careful discussions by
the moderators, here is a listing of the new genres allowable.
Comics: DC, Marvel, independent publishers, Heavy Metal, etc.
But not Archie comics (see below).
Sci-fi/Fantasy material (literary, television, movie): Star Wars, Star
Trek, Doctor Who, Buffy, Xena, Harry Potter, and like genres are all
permitted... but not things like Desperate Housewives, Magnum PI,
Video games: some sort of sci-fi/anime/fantasy element is required.
Final Fantasy has always been permitted. Resident Evil would qualify.
Legend of Zelda, sure. Pac Man, Frogger, and the like, no.
Non-Japanese animation: probably permitted if it has SF/fantasy
Formerly allowed and still allowed: matter relating to the broader
spectrum of Japanese culture, such as things deriving from Japanese
fighting games and the like. Thus, things like Sonic, Final Fantasy,
Street Fighter, and the like are okay, as are stories based on
American-drawn manga such as Gold Digger and Ninja High School,
There are a number of authors who have been quite definite about not
allowing fanfiction of their works, so those are banned. Included in
this list are anything by:
Laurell K. Hamilton
Dennis L. McKiernan
Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
DC and Marvel lemons are not allowed. This is being extended to any
story using those characters, even if it's a crossover and the lemon
elements don't involve the licensed characters.
If you are in doubt, ask the moderators privately by emailing to
<ffml-owner (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net> rather than posting the question to the
This mailing list is mostly for stories not yet on
rec.arts.anime.creative, although there are exceptions such as if
it's not available via ftp anywhere or if the general consensus on
the list is to post it. Also, if you're posting the next part of a
series that has never been seen on the list before, post the previous
parts unless they're really big.
Please be judicious about reposting chapters that have already been on
the list. It's not necessary to post all previous sections of a story
along with a new one that you've just completed; most of the people
who are interested in your story probably already have the back
chapters, and for those who don't, WWW or FTP addresses can be
included in the current chapter, or you can offer to send them
privately upon request. If you do feel that a repost is called for, we
advise at least a day or two's wait between each sizable section so as
not to overwhelm readers.
Do not cross-post to the FFML and the rec.arts.anime.creative e-mail
submission address using a single post. Send two separate posts
instead, one to the FFML and one to RAAC. See the 'VERY VERY
IMPORTANT NOTES' section of the FAQ for more details.
If you've just arrived on the list, be advised that there's no need
to introduce yourself; if everyone did it, there wouldn't be much
room for anything else. If you feel the need to introduce yourself,
it is suggested that you do so as a preface to a fanfic or a bit of
When you reply to an FFML posting, please be aware that the new list
has limits on how much you can quote from a previous poster:
- No more than 20 consecutive lines may be quoted.
- No more than 50% of the message may be quoted.
- The above limits aren't enforced on short messages under 20 lines
A message which exceeds these limits will be referred to the admins
for clearance rather than being posted to the list immediately or
disappearing into oblivion.
Please don't "top post" in your replies; the standard Usenet/mailing
list posting conventions of putting newer text below the text it
replies to, either at the bottom of the message or interspersed within
the message, is much clearer about who said what about what when long,
complex replies from multiple respondents are involved.
* WHAT'S THIS ABOUT "SUBJECT TAGS?"
To help members of the list sort the mail they receive from the FFML
more efficiently please use the following tags in the subject header
of your posts to the FFML.
[Fanfic], [Fic] = Marks a message as containing a story\chapter.
[C&C] = Message containing Comments & Criticisms on a fanfic.
[Spam] = Something that admittedly does not belong on the list.
[Spamfic] = A fanfic, usually under 10kb, and usually written either
for humor or shock value; a parody or short fic with a punchline.
[Info], [Announce] = Side notes, not quite spam, but not 'fics
[FAQ] = Frequently Asked Questions update or Resource Guide.
[Admin] = Moderators' use only. If a post comes over the list with
this tag, you should read it. DO NOT post a message to the list
with this tag in the subject header, even if it is a reply to
another such post, unless you are one of the moderators.
[Lemon] = See the section below on 'LEMON' fanfics.
Tags are also used to identify which series a fanfic is based on,
e.g. [Ranma], [BGC], [Inu-Yasha]. This will help direct your story
toward those who would like to read it. Other tags may indicate the
general tone of a fic, such as [Dark] or [WAFF] (the latter is an
acronym for Warm and Fuzzy Feeling).
* WHAT ARE SPOILER WARNINGS, AND WHEN DO I NEED TO USE THEM?
Anime and manga series often have important plot or character elements
which are not immediately obvious, but are revealed over the course of
the series, usually with full revelation coming in later installments.
It is important to keep in mind, when preparing to post information
which could reveal a major plot element of a series, that there may be
people on the list who haven't seen the entire series, and who may not
appreciate having it ruined for them when they open their e-mail.
Therefore, any time you post information which might spoil the series
for others, please include the tag [Spoiler] in the subject heading of
your message. It is also useful to enter several (usually 10-15) blank
lines somewhere before the spoiler itself, as a further precaution.
Spoiler warnings should also be used when discussing a fanfic, if the
discussion would reveal a major surprise in the fic -- for example, if
an important character gets unexpectedly killed off.
* WHAT ABOUT STORY FORMAT?
This is just to tell you to use plain text characters and to wrap
your lines to about 74 characters a line or about 10 to 12 words a
line. Basically, whatever word processing program you use, save the
story in text format (the one with the extension .TXT). Don't use
fancy quotes and characters either; not all of these characters
translate very nicely to plain text format. Please, do not post in
HTML format; some of us do not use email clients that can parse HTML
Thomas Michael Edwards' Reform is available from:
Baptiste Lepilleur published Ttr (The Text Reformatter) here:
If you use a better one, let me know and I'll put it in the FAQ too.
The FFML software does not allow the posting of stories as
attachments. Text attachments sent through the list will be stripped
and converted back to plain text by the system before being sent out.
Non-text attachments will be auto-deleted.
You also might want to note where to find previous parts or chapters
of the story. New list members are more likely to read that new
chapter if they can get their hands on the previous chapters. On the
other hand, mass repostings of previous parts are not recommended, as
it can be very annoying for readers to have their boxes filled up with
stories that have already been sent out.
You do want your story read, don't you?
* WHO OWNS THE FFML?
The FFML was originally created by White Wolf.
Philip Mak hosted the server and the domain for a long time after
that on anifics.com until he passed on in early 2007.
Dennis Carr brought the list to chez-vrolet.net on July 1, 2007.
* WHO ARE THE MODERATORS OF THE LIST?
There are currently several moderators of the FFML, who monitor
the list for content and issue bans to list policy violators.
If you have any problems related to the list, DO NOT write to the
list itself about it! Send email to <ffml-owner (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net>,
which will forward your message to all of the list moderators:
Gary Kleppe <gary (AT) garykleppe (DOT) org>
DB Sommer <sommert (AT) connecttime (DOT) net>
Adrian Tymes <atymes (AT) gmail (DOT) com>
June Geraci <karaohki (AT) snet (DOT) net>
Christopher Angel <c_j_angel (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> (on hiatus)
John Biles <rhea (AT) ikkoku (DOT) maison-otaku.net> (on hiatus)
and also to:
White Wolf (Thom Woosley) <cherry (AT) thekeep (DOT) org>
Dennis Carr <dennisthetiger (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net>
Dennis Carr manages the machine on which the list runs; contact him
about technical problems or questions not covered in this FAQ.
Semi-importnat: Dennis will *rarely* engage in moderation of the
If you believe that an admin has acted unfairly against you, write to
<ffml-owner (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net> and explain why you feel you have been
wronged. You may request that another admin review your case.
You will not be banned or have other action taken against you for
making a complaint, as long as you don't make it to the list.
* 'I THINK I'VE BEEN UNSUBSCRIBED.' OR 'IS THE LIST DOWN?'
First, here's what NOT to do:
PLEASE DO NOT SEND TEST MESSAGES TO THE ML!!!
If you think the list is down, DON'T email the list!!! Ask one of
the moderators privately. Alternatively, E-mail another subscriber,
or one of the auxiliary lists (see the Resource Guide), and ask
whether they have been receiving list mail.
Remember, if the list is down and you send a test message, you're
just making matters worse. And if the list isn't down (or when it
goes back up), you'll draw the wrath of the moderators down on your
If you think you may have been unsubscribed, the easiest thing to do
is to send a subscribe request to <ffml-request (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net>. The
system won't let you be subscribed twice -- if you're already
subscribed, it'll tell you. If this doesn't work, E-mail the admins
at <ffml-owner (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net> or Dennis Carr at
<dennisthetiger (AT) chez-vrolet (DOT) net> and explain the problem you're
* WHAT IS SPAM?
SPAM is junk mail/ off-topic conversation. DON'T SPAM a lot. We're
a pretty easy-going bunch about this, but if you don't stop when
asked, you may be "postbanned" -- meaning that for a time, you will be
prohibited from posting anything to the list.
The FFML moderators have the following policy on SPAM:
* Posts that are not allowed and can result in permanent postbanning:
Extremely offensive flames
Chain letters, especially virus warnings
Commercial solicitations of any kind, including attempts to sell
anime/manga related goods through Ebay or any other means
* Not allowed, may result in immediate temporary postbanning:
Spam polls: off-topic surveys that ask for on-list responses
Continuation of a thread that has been banned by the moderators
Portrayals of the murder of another author without permission
(yes, somebody actually did this)
"Merry Christmas" posts, or similiar holiday-related spam (this
does not include holiday-themed fanfics)
* Not allowed, postbanning may result for repeated offenses:
Controversial off-topic arguments
Fic requests (but see the next section below)
* Discouraged, postbanning may result for excessive amounts:
"Me too"s -- posts that agree without adding anything
Character debates (e.g. "So-and-so is Ranma's Best Babe!")
Silly and thoughtless "Story idea" posts (but well-thought out ideas
are very welcome)
Evasion of a postban (by, for example, posting under a different
account) will result in the ban being made permanent.
Note that, except in very unusual circumstances, you can't be banned
for anything other than your posts to the list.
"Flames" are insults or other attacks that target someone personally.
Negative comments on a fanfic are *not* flames, and the moderators
will not ban you for them -- though continually posting nothing *but*
negative, unconstructive comments will probably not win you any
friends on the list.
It is always a good idea to check through an entire thread before
posting in it. The question you are answering may have already been
answered, or the moderators may have already called a halt to the
thread. If you think a thread is going to be banned, it probably will
be. In such a case, the proper thing to do is to refrain from posting
in it. Don't try to slip in one last post before the ban comes
SPAM includes threads where a few people are replying to each other
more than twice a day so the list seems more like a conversation
between two or three people, and anything that would be better off
emailed privately. Don't forget that complaints about the amount of
SPAM on the list are SPAM themselves and tend to generate even more
* WHEN IS IT PERMISSIBLE TO POST A REQUEST FOR A FANFIC?
Fic requests are a technically forbidden but in practice tolerated
aspect of the FFML. This is mainly because a ban on all fic requests
would be needlessly authoritarian--sometimes, posting to the FFML in
search of a fic really is the last resort.
However, a great deal of fanfic requests are unnecessary, and create
needless trash on the mailing list. This section clarifies what
future policy towards fic requests will be, in an attempt to lower the
volume of unnecessary requests and the SPAM threads created by them.
Fic requests tend to fall into four general categories:
1) Genuine Last Resorts
The author has no web site. They don't respond to e-mails. If they
do, their hard drive has crashed, and they don't have a copy of the
fic. The FFML Archive shows no trace of it.
In this instance, posting a fic request to the FFML is acceptable.
Please make a genuine attempt -- checking web sites and e-mailing
the author at the very least -- to find the fic without resorting to
a FFML post; see the next section, "HOW CAN I FIND A FANFIC THAT I'M
LOOKING FOR?", for tips. Specify, as you always should with fic
requests, that people should reply to you privately.
2) General Requests
Classically, this is the request for "any fanfics where Ryoga and
Ukyo are a couple" or any other similar such thing. There are
generally two reasons for making requests like this -- either you're
interested in reading a fanfic of this type, or you want to see if
the idea you've got has already been written.
Requests like these are discouraged, as there are other methods to
find them--the prime one being to read a lot of fanfics. You can
also ask on a newsgroup such as rec.arts.anime.fandom, or, if you
have on-line friends who are also into fanfic, ask them.
If you do post requests like this, don't do it frequently. And, of
course, ask for private replies.
3) "I Can't Remember the Name"
It's a fanfic you read half of on a forgotten web page several
months ago. Ranma was in it. And Predator. And Bun-Bun, from
"Sluggy Freelance". But the page is gone, and you can't remember
what the fanfic was called, or who the author was.
Like general requests, these are discouraged, and the same methods
outlined under general requests can be used to attempt to find them.
If those don't work, be as detailed as possible in posting your
requests to the FFML, don't do it frequently, and ask for private
4) Simple Laziness
You were off the FFML for a week, and would like everyone who wrote
a Sailor Moon fanfic that wasn't WAFFy to send it to you. Sure, you
could use the author database or the archives to look for them, but
you don't want to take the time. Or you deleted a fic and then saw
C&C that made you interested in it, but can't be bothered to write
to either the author or the person making the commentary to ask for
Requests like these should never appear on the FFML. Asking for
private replies won't cut it here--people posting fic requests
spawned from an unwillingness to make a little extra effort will be
warned, or possibly even tempbanned.
No matter what the type of request, ALWAYS make replies to fic
requests privately, even if the author does not request it. Do not
post them to the FFML. If the author of a fic request finds himself
or herself deluged with e-mail, he/she can post a short notification
to the FFML that the request has been filled.
If you are also interested in the fic requested, write to the person
making the request and ask him/her to pass on any information received
to you. Do not post such a request to the FFML.
* HOW CAN I FIND A FANFIC THAT I'M LOOKING FOR?
There are plenty of ways to obtain a fic *without* posting to the
list. The first thing you should try is to E-mail the author of the
story, or check the author's web site. Web sites for many authors are
listed in the FFML Resource Guide. Didn't get the Guide? Email one of
the FFML FAQ Maintainers and ask for a copy, or see the web addresses
If you don't know who the author of a fic is, try emailing someone
else on the list who seems to have read the story; or check the FFML
archives (see the last FAQ entry).
Web search engines such as the ones at
may be helpful; just search for anything specific you can remember
about the fic, such as author or title, or even fragments thereof.
If you're following a link, but the site is gone, you can use
to go back in time to when the links on the site weren't dead.
For example, entering this page:
(which is currently a dead link) into the wayback machine, as the
gives a list of dates that the page was edited, and links to the page
as it had been then. Selecting the last date the page was edited,
for example, displays the last valid version of the page.
It's a very useful tool for someone who knows where a fic *used* to
be, and can't find where it's moved to... archive.org can be used to
(re)read it without having to ask the mailing list.
* DON'T BEAT A DEAD HORSE
Threads that usually degenerate into SPAM, or are SPAM to start with,
are better not started on the list in the first place. If you really
have to ask about such topics on the list, make sure you remind
everyone to send responses PRIVATELY and not to the list. If you want
to, you can post the results of the PRIVATE discussions on the list
* Romanization. Especially, the 'u' argument. "Is Ryoga
spelled 'Ryoga' or 'Ryouga'?" Just remember that there's more
than one 'official' system being used in the world today.
* Physics discussions. Anything from black holes to time travel.
Questions on these subjects may be E-mailed directly to Gary
<gary (AT) garykleppe (DOT) org> for answering.
* Technical discussions. Mech designs, weapon comparisons, and
things that go boom.
* Character debates, such as those over who would make the best
spouse for character X or who would win in a fight between
characters Y and Z. (Characterization issues that are related
to a specific posted fic *are* fair game for the list,
provided that they are kept focused and that the discussion
stops if the moderators ask that it do so.)
* Discussions of controversial topics like religion, politics,
etc. when not directly related to a particular posted fic.
Remember that the list serves people with a wide variety of
beliefs and nationalities. One person's honored leader is
probably someone else's rotten scoundrel, and what you think
is an inspirational message may be a declaration of war to the
* Complaints about certain types or genres of fanfiction, e.g.
'Why do so many fics feature Ranma' (or Sailor Moon, etc.)
Everyone has different tastes, and if you don't like a
particular type of story, the best thing to do is simply to
look for something else to read.
* Personal arguments between yourself and another list member. If
you have a problem with someone else's behavior, take it up with
him/her by private mail. If you feel someone is violating
list policy, E-mail the admins about it. Posting to the list is
not a good idea, as this sort of thing tends to result in long
and bitter spam feuds.
* Posts containing debates or guides as to the use of Japanese
honourifics, or Japanese language in general, are now disallowed,
excepting as how they may pertain to a specific story. Threads
containing such will be banned immediately as such can easily and
more readily be dealt with privately, or with a modicum of
personal research (see FFML Resource Guide for some useful
* WHEN SHOULD I RESPOND TO FFML POSTS BY PRIVATE MAIL?
You'll notice that replying to a message from the list will default
to replying to the list. Which has its uses.
To keep list traffic at a manageable level, certain types of responses
are almost always better sent privately:
* Answers to questions, unless you really think your reply contains
information beneficial to the list at large. Remember, if the
answer to a question is obvious to you, chances are it's obvious
to a lot of other subscribers. The person who posed the question
might deserve to have his or her mailbox filled with hundreds of
replies, but the rest of the list certainly doesn't. So please,
send your reply privately. In particular, survey questions (e.g.
"What is your favorite anime?") MUST be answered privately.
* Replies to someone who asks for private responses only. This can
be violated in RARE circumstances, such as when a poster gives
inaccurate information and refuses to post a correction. When
people ask for private responses to a question, they are doing it
to keep the spam level on the list down. You should oblige them.
If you really feel the need to have other people read your
response, consult the Resource Guide for a listing of other
places to which it might be sent.
* Posts that don't add anything that hasn't already been said.
ALWAYS make sure this isn't the case before posting to the list.
* Flames, responses to banned threads, or anything else prohibited
by list rules.
* It goes without saying that a private message should be replied
to privately. Do not reply to private messages on the list,
unless the sender gives you permission to do so.
* WHAT IS C&C?
Comments and criticisms. All authors want feedback on their stories
to help improve them. After all, this is what the list is really for.
When sending comments or criticisms to an author, there are a few
things to consider before posting your observations:
1) Lurk for a while before posting to the list. Spend some time
getting to know the FanFic ML. There is no better way to find out
about etiquette and 'unspoken' rules.
2) Some authors want comments on creative content (plot,
characterization, etc.) while others like a more detailed analysis of
their stories that includes technical aspects such as grammar and
spelling. Some authors greatly appreciate honest negative criticism,
while others would prefer those without anything nice to say to say
nothing at all. Often authors will indicate what kind of feedback
they are looking for in their authors' notes. If not, consider asking
the author via private email which type of response they would prefer.
3) Posting your C&C to the mailing list is fine unless the author
states otherwise. If an author specifically asks for private comments
then you should abide by his or her wishes.
4) In your C&C, quote however much (if any) of the story is necessary
or helpful for readers to understand what you are referring to.
Sections that you have no comment on should be snipped. Do NOT repost
an entire fic or section merely to add a line or two of commentary.
For an expanded discussion of this, see the "What is C&C" FAQ
Supplement. This is available via E-mail from the FAQ maintainers, or
on the web at:
* WHAT IS AN MST?
MST stands for Mystery Science Theater, a cable TV show featuring a
man and two wisecracking robots. They are forced to watch bad movies,
and they make clever commentary on them as they go.
Fanfiction MSTs are based on the format of that show. In a fanfiction
MST, several characters (one of whom is usually the actual author of
the MST) read a fic and make running commentary.
It's important to note that an MSTing doesn't necessarily indicate a
bad fic. While it's true that some authors do MSTs to make fun of
stories that they didn't like, others do them for stories that they
did like in order to give them more exposure.
* WHAT IS A 'LEMON' FANFIC?
'Lemons' are stories with explicit sexual content and should be
labeled as such in the [Subject:] field when posted. Not everyone
on the FFML is over 21 years old.
Subject: [LEMON] Story name
A 'Lime' is a story that involves sexual situations, but does not
give explicit descriptions of sexual acts. Tagging this type of story
as [LIME] is highly recommended.
The term 'Lemon' derives from an anime called "Cream Lemon."
* WHAT IS A CHALLENGE?
A challenge is a request or suggestion to the FFML for writers to
write stories within parameters specified by the challenge.
The preferred method for challenges is for all entries to be sent
directly to the person who posed the challenges, who will then weed
out those which don't meet the requirements and post the final results
(or a URL for them) to the list in one post.
Generally, the above is recommended but not mandatory. We may require
it for challenges which are expected to generate a lot of responses.
If you have any doubt, contact the moderators with a description of
the proposed challenge and ask.
Challenges shouldn't be used as an excuse to post silly or thoughtless
* IS THERE AN OFFICIAL ARCHIVE FOR THE FFML?
The archive for the current incarnation of the FFML is online at
http://www.mail-archive.com/ffml (AT...let (DOT) net/ (mirror)
The older archives are in the works.
Sanjiyan's Anime Forums has a web-based FFML archive starting
2003 May 01 at
There are some unofficial web-based archives in which you can find
the older posts; these are listed in the Resource Guide.
There's also the FFML Map Project, newly reborn as the FFML
Directory, a purely-voluntary effort to locate the members of the
FFML. For those on the list who would like to be included in the
FFML Directory, please send an email to
zoogz (AT) yahoo (DOT) com
with the following information:
Name you'd like to be known as (very vital!)
City and state/province/prefecture/department/etc. that you reside
Preferred email address (if different than the one that the
mail came from).
Any other information that you might think is useful (like
college/home addresses) will also be accepted.
The result (the FFML Directory itself) is online at
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