Friday, September 30, 2016

My Weekend After AfterEllen

As by now you’ve realized, I’ve been moving the last two weeks and am surrounded by a mountain of boxes and my own exhausted tears. But I wanted to offer two more very gay cents on what is happening over at AfterEllen right now. A week after the last original posts under the old AfterEllen were published Sept. 21, a new post has sprung up from one of the site’s relatively newer freelance writers explaining “Why I’m Still Here.” It is well-written and no doubt heartfelt. And I sympathize with the writer’s desire to not lose something so very important to our collective histories as queer women. AfterEllen has born witness to our culture for the past 14 years, often when no one else would.

But right now, to be brutally honest, I’d rather AfterEllen shutdown all together than become a rotting zombie corpse of itself buoyed by the occasional “evergreen” lesbian-ish clickbait lists and coasting on the enduring strength of its archives.

This is a site I, we, all cared deeply about. It had its flaws as all sites do. But since its inception it was edited, managed, curated and cultivated by gay women - period. To hire random freelancers and have some random Evolve editor try to recreate that is ludicrous.

What the company did to Trish and our readers (not to mention us writers) was shameful. The site – any editorial site – cannot run without an editor who understands its mission and vision. It cannot run without writers who buy into that mission and vision. It can not run without a community who supports that mission and vision.

Look, I understand everyone needs to pay her bills. I am not criticizing the writer’s decision. This change will be a big hit to what has been a steady income for me for pretty much 10 years. And I understand the desire to cling to the vestiges of AE. It has also been my home for more than a decade and I would absolutely not be the person I am today without it. But this is why I’m leaving. Until the people who own AfterEllen can prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that whatever they try to build out of this festering rubble is a real, genuine and sincere attempt at creating engaging/educational/entertaining content for and by queer women – I am out.

We built this together and it matters. We dictate our own history and our own future. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. As previously announced, I’ve climbed on board with the fine folks at Autostraddle where I will be blissfully rejoining my friend Heather Hogan. So look for my writing there in the near future.


Helena said...

I really feel so sad for all the writers involved - and all the readers. Rest assured I , and many others, will follow you wherever we can find your excellent writing. Happy weekend and thinking of you with all the unpacking.

FASTTCR said...

The last big redesign of afterEllen (the one in which most of the old content disappeared) did me in. I will miss forever the talk forums and TPBM (the person below me) thread. The amount of love I put into the site was more than received back. At times the online "friendships" were as real as any friendship I had. I never needed the site for social connection, I just loved it. And then it was gone. So as sad as the loss of afterEllen is, and it is a loss, it is not nearly as painful given how much the site has changed over the years.

I'll miss immediately running to the site when a news story broke or to find out new things. Although much is covered in mainstream media these days, it is not the same. The trolls who put hateful comments on the message boards make it unsafe space for anything other than consuming. There is no community conversation of like minded (enough) women who just want to appreciate each other and the women/celebrities they adore. So it ends, for now. Thank you Dorothy for EVERYTHING so far and all that you will be in the future. Ready to read.

I still believe in summer days.
The seasons always change
And life will find a way...

Roz Turner said...

I completely agree. Sadly, I think the site started a sad, slow decline a couple of years ago - though it's writers still had valid, important things to say. This, I feel, was more a result of having to please the profit-driven bastards at the parent company rather than a genuine editorial direction/wish.

Yes, we all have to eat and pay the bills, but let's try and do that in a way that doesn't capitalise on other people's shitty treatment. I wish someone would mirror the site, totally ad-free, somewhere else. That would be the archive we deserve - all the good times, with none of the profit bullshit.

Can't wait to see you on Autostraddle soon, Snarks. They're lucky to have you.

Briony said...

So glad you put this into words, as i was really struggling to clarify *why* i decided that giving up a site that i have spent 13 years reading (at 26 years old, that is literally half of my life) rather than trying to keep it alive, as that writer is apparently trying to.

I think ultimately for me, it boils down to the fact that by getting rid of the writers and editors, the site is already dead. There's nothing to save. These people still involved in AfterEllen are just tying puppet strings to a corpse.

Anonymous said...

YES! I have been waiting for you to join Autostraddle for years. I loved Afterellen's early years and stayed for a long time, but lately I would only click over to read your posts, and even then I was frustrated by the design and ads that made it almost impossible to read an article and look at the accompanying pictures without a constant barrage of other nonsense. It hurt my soul to scroll down a page.

I'm so sorry for you, though. I know how hard it is when a family you love and have poured so much of yourself into becomes a corporation that reflects none of your values and respects none of your work and experience. I hope you at least enjoy the new site.

Carmen SanDiego said...

It's the "weekend at Bernie's" version of after Ellen
I am still mourning the site's death but I am very happy to see you at autostraddle, my second home

NotOnlyButAlso said...

I mourned AE many years ago (about the time the L Word ended...) although I have occasionally dropped back in to see what's happening in the old hood. Let's celebrate it for what it was and what it achieved - not the least being introducing so many of us to the delights of Ms Snarker. But I do sometimes wonder whatever happened to Jennifer from Pittsburgh et al. It was a great community of commentors back in the day.

NotOnlyButAlso said...

Oh good lord! No sooner had I posted my comment above than I clicked on the link to the original article and there she was in the comments - Jennifer from Pittsburgh! Perhaps, Snarker, your site has become the perky village coffee shop hang out that AE once was?