asked me about being on Freedom City back in the heyday of mailing lists! A little background: Blake's 7 had (has) two major mailing lists--one was more general-interest, and Freedom City was more free-wheeling and open to fic and shippiness. I got accidentally unsubscribed from Freedom City at some point and never got back in, so I'm mostly describing a period of time from 2005-2007 or so (and just my own personal impressions, of course! There are people on my flist who may well have been there too!)
Mostly I remember the meta with fondness! There was a constant flow of discussion about characters and episodes, and because of the feeling of a mailing list, you felt pretty comfortable saying anything, knowing that the people hearing you were all interested in B7 as well. The shift to LJ was actually hard for me, because I feel uncomfortable posting things that are definitely not the reason people followed me. Tumblr is...well, I guess once you reach Tumblr you have to just embrace the chaos, but it still makes me unhappy at times! Freedom City was opt-in, so everyone wanted to talk about B7. And because it's a closed canon that's been over for decades, you could be pretty sure that everyone was well-versed in canon. There were people who had favorite minor characters (Carnell, Jarriere, Og, Bayban, Brian the Spider) that they promoted with zeal and humor, lots of favorite conspiracy theories about how to explain odd quirks in the show. There was also a fair amount of fic, a lot of which wasn't overtly shippy (both a con and a pro for me). There was a lot of focus on creating clever, unexpected, experimental fic, which was a lot of fun to read even if I have no talent for writing it.
I learned two important lessons from Freedom City that have been useful in my fannish life! The first I learned when the topic of whether Blake was a sociopath terrorist or not came up for the first time, and the list became embroiled in heated debate on the topic. Everyone had very strong views, forcefully argued. Eventually the dust settled, the debate died down, and I thought, "That was interesting! I'm glad we've got that settled for good now." What can I say, I was young and foolish and had not learned the essential fact of fandom: wank is perennial. It slumbers beneath cordial exchanges, ready to break out afresh with a new stimulus. I think we had basically that same argument every three or four months--someone would make a glancing reference to Blake's character and suddenly we would all be having the same arguments over again. It was like the WWI Christmas Truce in reverse--usually everyone would be playing cricket and singing songs together, and then everyone would dive into their established trenches for twelve hours of intense sniping, then back to the cricket-playing. I thought that was odd at the time, but it was my first lesson in the fact that every fandom has these sorts of flash point issues that are always ready to ignite.
The other lesson I learned when someone--I think it was Predatrix, and am ashamed I don't remember--posted a short story to the list. She's a better writer than I am by a long shot, but I guess I was in a snarky mood or something, because I forwarded it to my husband with some snotty opinions about it.
Except instead of forward, I sent my bitchy message to the whole list.
Words cannot describe my utter mortification--I actually laid down on the floor and wept with shame, I felt so horrible. I'm blushing right now just remembering it. Predatrix was amazingly gracious about it, much better than I deserved, and my humiliated apologies were generally accepted. And this is where I learned to never be snarky at all if I could help it, and if I MUST get something off my chest, to do it as privately as humanly possible. But mostly from then on I have just resisted the urge to rip things up. What the hell, it's just a story or a post, what am I going to gain being nasty about it? If the person in question saw my "clever" remarks, how would it make them feel? Because who knows, they might. To be honest, probably that mistake, coming so early in my fannish life, served me pretty well, because it drove home that being positive is a LOT less likely to make me feel horrible in the long run than being negative. I was very, very lucky that people were forgiving to me--but Freedom City’s atmosphere was like that.