Subject: You must be this much of a fan of Jacques to apply to our Jacques Bonnefoy Fan Club!! /j
Posted on: 2022-05-14 00:10:02 UTC

Yeah, I know that subgroups are inevitable in a big group -- such is the case in big fandoms I've been in. But, and let me butcher Gandalf here, one might form a PG group chat out of a desire to do good, but from that, they would end up wielding a power too great and terrible to imagine.

Plenty of things are discussed in private, or are best left to be discussed in private, sure. But creating a system where a prospective newbie must impress a ~council of PGs~ who then deliberate in their secret group chat whether or not to give said newbie the opportunity to apply for Permission is incredibly vulnerable to toxicity. Like the Ring itself, the ability to be invisible turns into, ironically, a lack of transparency regarding a process that affects the entirety of the community. It might begin with good intentions, but we're all human and therefore fallible, therefore corruptible. You could end up with newbies trying to curry favour with PGs instead of connecting with non-PG Boarders, or a big Drama about how newbie A was invited to apply for Permission within a couple months but newbie B had to wait a year. Or worse, jilted newbies start trying to incur a(nother?) schism with some crazy conspiracy theory of the PGs being evil puppetmasters of the rest of the PPC.

Believe me, that last one is inevitable. I've run application-based fanzines with invites and there were definitely subgroups complaining that some evil cabal of Yuri on Ice fanwriters were controlling all the zines and only inviting their friends. You can point to the merit of those writers' works all you want, some people are still going to believe there's some conspiracy out to get them instead of improving on their writing, simply because that would make the rejection go down easier. And you need only one malcontent to mess the whole thing up for everyone.

I know those three scenarios I brought up have also happened in the current system, but at least the current roadmap to Permission is transparent and doesn't rely on a subgroup to initiate the process. While the Permission success rate would probably increase on an invite-based system, it still moves the potential for wank from the application results up earlier to even being able to apply for Permission. That, to me, would make becoming a PPC writer even more intimidating for prospective newbies. I mean, I've personally told you that I found you intimidating for a good portion of my PPC career (if it can be considered that); if 2008 me found out she had to impress a ~council of PGs~ to apply for the Holy Permission, she'd probably freak out worse and run for the hills.

Anyway, tl;dr: not a fan of relegating the burden of initiating Permission on PGs, because of way too much experience in various subgroups in other parts of the Internet, including ones that required applications. Still think it's high time Permission prompts got streamlined. Maybe extend the amount of time needed before a newbie applies?

(ETA: clarified the process used for the fanzines. We had guest writers and application-based writers. There were accusations of cronyism for both, but the guest writer invites were especially scrutinised. We initiated a blind reading process for the applications and still got accusations that we only accepted our friends.)

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