dark_administrator: (chromatic yuletide 3)
dark_administrator ([personal profile] dark_administrator) wrote in [community profile] dark_agenda2011-01-02 12:08 pm

Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Challenge Summary & Discussion

Authors have been revealed and [archiveofourown.org profile] yuletide has opened an AO3 collection for New Year's Resolution 2011, thus, marking the end of the main [archiveofourown.org profile] yuletide challenge.

Last year, [community profile] dark_agenda was started as a collective effort to promote representation for chromatic sources and characters in [archiveofourown.org profile] yuletide. This year, with your continued help and support, we extended our effort and sought to provide more resources. Among them included the lists of Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Fandoms & Characters (html version), Chromatic Yuletide Fandom Promotion Posts, Source-Sharing Resources, Chromatic Yuletide Beta Offers, Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Prompts (html version), Critiques & Common Pitfalls and Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Stories & Resources. We amassed:
And our challenge AO3 collection received ~260 submissions!

Thank you for all the participants, beta volunteers, readers, wranglers and passersby who contributed to and supported Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Challenge -- we can not truly thank you all enough!

Of course, our AO3 collection will remain open for New Year's Resolution 2011 submissions and we will continue to collect more fandom meta tags, requests and stories. (For New Year's Resolution 2011, we would love more help in adding requests from Yuletide Complete List of 2010 Prompts to our prompts spreadsheet -- you can use this form or add prompts directly into the spreadsheet, thank you!)

We realized that despite these awesome numbers and achievements there's still much we can to do to increase visibility of chromatic sources and characters. Stories from chromatic sources and/or featuring chromatic characters still only comprised less than 20% of [archiveofourown.org profile] yuletide output and the percentages for stories from African, First Nation, Latin American and South/Southeast/West Asian sources are even depressingly lower (some even non-existent).

With that in mind, how has your experience with Chromatic Yuletide been so far? We'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback! If you participated in Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Challenge:
  • To which challenge components did you commit yourself and how did it go?
  • Did you have specific goals in mind while writing your story? What were they?
  • Do you have any tips and tricks for writing chromatic sources or characters you'd like to share?
  • How were [community profile] dark_agenda helpful for you in achieving your goals? And what do you think [community profile] dark_agenda could do to be more helpful?
  • How effective were the promo posts? Were there some formats that worked better than others?
  • Was the information provided on the beta list sufficient? Are there other categories that we should include for next year?
As readers:
  • What were your expectations for the Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Challenge? And did the challenge meet them?
  • For [archiveofourown.org profile] yuletide stories in general this year, what were some portrayals of chromatic sources and characters that work for you? What didn't? How do you think those latter portrayals could be better?
  • What do you wish to see next year with regards to chromatic source and character representation?
kurushi: (Default)

[personal profile] kurushi 2011-01-07 08:47 am (UTC)(link)
I didn't participate in the Chromatic challenge, but this year is both my first year participating in Yuletide and noticing the existence of the challenge, so I thought my feedback might be useful.

To begin with, the labels 'Dark Agenda' and 'Chromatic' put me off. For a challenge supporting cultural diversity, using skin colour based words to identify the challenge turned me right off from the start.

I was incredibly confused as to whether you were endorsing the exploration of wider cultural sources through Yuletide, or trying to increase the presence of specific genetic groups. I think I'd have read more and cared more about Dark_Agenda and the Chromatic challenge if it had been clearer.

The lines drawn for qualifying fandoms and characters seemed arbitrary and poorly explained; shows from all countries (especially Japan, which was heavily represented in the source lists) can also include racist or exclusionary themes. 'Chromatic' creators are at times liable especially in comedic shows to play up racist attitudes towards their own ethnicity and can also adhere more strictly to stereotyped behaviour. I think I would have had less of a problem with the challenge, if I'd been able to figure out whether it was about skin colour, geography, or multiculturalism (or a mix of all three).

All that said, I was quite pleased and delighted once I read some of the pages in this comm to discover that the challenge was endorsing a greater cultural awareness of characters and settings. I myself try to contemplate not only the canon character but the context of their setting, upbringing and personal history. I try to write in a wide variety of gender and cultural identities, and I thought it was great that (whether as the focus or a sideline of the challenge) this was being supported.

I don't think I'll participate next year, but if I see some/any of the following I changes I'll possibly change my mind: A re-think of the comm and challenge labelling; clearer identification of WHAT the challenge actually is (clearer language, less ambiguity about whether this is based on skin colour or culture or geography); the consideration for inclusion of smaller European cultures (I think I heard these were all excluded?); and finally perhaps during Yuletide including in some promo posts language that encourages more culturally aware fic-writing irrespective of qualifying for or undertaking the chromatic challenge. After all, it's the spirit of the writing and research, not the label, that will improve fandom in general.

I hope I haven't come across as too nitpicky. I'm really curious as to how this challenge will evolve, and I have enjoyed reading a lot of chromatic tagged fics this year. I love the idea of proofreaders with culturally sensitive context. Congratulations on this year's turnout.
wistfuljane: portrait of mizuki from hanakimi (manga) (mizuki)

[personal profile] wistfuljane 2011-01-07 03:10 pm (UTC)(link)
To address one of your concerns, we define the term chromatic and its shortcoming in our announcement post:

We use the term 'chromatic' as an umbrella definition for 'sourcelander', 'hyphenate', 'diasporian', 'person of colour', 'non-white', while we acknowledge that it has shortcomings. Similarly, we accept that there is a certain flattening in our 'White / Western /Other' terminology.

Chromatic is not a term [community profile] dark_agenda coined, but it's one coined and adopted by some non-white/people of color as one of the many umbrella terms to which they refer themselves, with its shortcoming and all. One that have gained significance and momentum in recent years (e.g. Chromatic Realities Press, [community profile] chromatic_fanfic and [community profile] chromaticvision among others).

[community profile] dark_agenda seeks to promote representation of chromatic sources, sources by non-white/creators of color in general and sources both from non-Western origins and by non-white/creators of color in particular, of chromatic/non-white/characters of colors and the responsible portrayal of. The community supports diversity and multiculturalism of chromatic characters, cultures and the respect of.

While [community profile] dark_agenda also supports general diversity and multiculturalism, one of its purposes is to create a space where we, non-white/fen of color especially, can and are encourage to produce (and/or consume) fanworks centering on chromatic characters and cultures responsibly and respectfully and our focus is on that. We'll try to be clear about the community's purposes in any posts made outside the community (e.g. possibly adding a "[community profile] dark_agenda, a community promoting chromatic sources and characters,..." introduction perhaps), but we're -- I'm less willing to compromise on our community's name or our usage of the term "chromatic".

Thank you for your feedback!
kurushi: (Default)

[personal profile] kurushi 2011-01-08 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
Fair enough, then. If it's all about skin colour then a lot more makes sense, and though this isn't a challenge for me I can see the interest and need for it. The only thing that really confused me was when in some posts cultural exploration /multiculturalism seemed to be equated with skin colour, which in my mind is a bit, well, wrong and creepy. I think if it was clearer that skin colour was the basis of the challenge, I still may have made that mistake. I'm not sure what to suggest to clarify things, though an introductory post or master post with an outline of objectives couldn't go wrong. I haven't ever heard the term 'chromatic' used myself, but I'm not in America so presumably it simply hasn't caught on over here.

I myself don't think that skin colour is a good line to draw, but then again I'm white, so my perspective is probably biased by my own experiences in fandom; I can't know how it feels. I'm glad to hear at least that it's run by and for non-white groups (and it's not a bunch of white fans deciding where the skin-colour line is drawn.)

Thanks so much for clearing up those things for me, and though you won't see me signing up for the challenge, all the best next year!
wistfuljane: portrait of mizuki from hanakimi (manga) (mizuki)

[personal profile] wistfuljane 2011-01-08 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
As far as I know, the term chromatic doesn't have a specific regional origin -- or rather regional usages. I should have been clearer, but the term gains significance and momentum in recent years mostly online and it's used internationally, U.S. American non-white/people of color among them, yes, but not limited.

[community profile] dark_agenda explores and celebrates both chromatic/non-white/characters of color (e.g. Korean descent characters living in Korea, Japan, Brazil, U.S.A.) and chromatic/non-white and non-Western cultures (e.g. portrayals of Korean cultures in Korea, Japan, Brazil, U.S.A.). I'm not sure I understand why issues with regarding to race and ethnicity can't also be related to issues of cultures? I'm not also sure I understand the insistence on labeling issues regarding race/ethnicity/culture to be solely about skin color? As if chromatic/non-white/people of color who identified themselves as such differentiate themselves (solely) based on skin color?
Edited 2011-01-08 04:43 (UTC)
dhobikikutti: earthen diya (Default)

[personal profile] dhobikikutti 2011-01-08 05:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Hi there, I know my co-mod [personal profile] wistfuljane has already replied to you, but I just wanted to jump in, in case other people reading this thread had the same question. The name [community profile] dark_agenda is a pun, originating from my first post the yuletide comm last year talking about trying to 'subvert' yuletide by writing only chromatic sources and characters. We are fond of the name because it tongue-in-cheek references the way that efforts to talk about race and representation in fandom often get painted as nefarious and dangerous; it also plays with the whole dark=evil concept that often feeds into racist rhetoric.

In spite of the name, we are not actually holding up brown paper bags to the skins of characters before deciding whether they are acceptable to be written about for our challenge. We include several ethnicities, such as West Asian, Latin@, and Roma, who are often considered 'White' in modern, Anglo discourse. And all of us moderators acknowledge that race, ethnicity, culture, and nationality intersect in very complicated ways, thus making any sort of 'here is where we draw the line' decision process very difficult, and suseptible to criticism.

Thank you for sharing your feedback with us!
tevildo: Photo of pohutukawa with Rangitoto in background (Yuletide3)

[personal profile] tevildo 2011-01-08 06:38 am (UTC)(link)
one of its purposes is to create a space where we, non-white/fen of color especially, can and are encourage to produce (and/or consume) fanworks centering on chromatic characters and cultures responsibly and respectfully and our focus is on that

Thank you for stating this so clearly. I'm sure this is already obvious to followers of the yuletide comm, but there's not much publicity for those who interact with yuletide in other ways, and so this message doesn't seem to always get through.

Just using my personal example, I wasn't aware of Dark Agenda until it was brought up in yulechat. Because I'd written a treat using a source and characters from my own (non-white) culture, I went to check on the Chromatic Yuletide 2010 Profile on AO3 to see if it was relevant to my story, and found the page quite confusing to use.

One thing that isn't very clear is that the FAQ section concerns the collection, while the Rules section concerns the challenge, and they are not related. Despite what the FAQ states, the name of the collection implies that (at least in spirit) it's run as a part of the challenge.

Another thing is that under the Rules section, the "suggested hierarchy for approaching the challenge" starts with: "First, write for a language and culture other than your own." Although by then I'd worked out that the challenge didn't apply to me, this still felt a bit exclusionary, as if the default participants for the challenge (and therefore the collection) were white people, where "language and culture other than your own" = "chromatic".

Because I had written a story in my own culture (in a deliberate, almost aggressive, way), I felt that I'd fulfilled the letter of the collection, but not the spirit of the challenge. Because the collection felt like a part of the challenge, I was initially hesitant about whether my story really qualified for it. I ended up commenting on one of the publicity posts, and was persuaded by a combination of the lovely reply I got and deciding that I'd written and researched enough on a "language and culture other than your own" for my other two stories (albeit about white people) to qualify.

So while I'd love to see the challenge continue next year, and will almost certainly participate, I'd love it even more if the Profile page on AO3 could be updated to a) emphasise the fact that the collection is separate from the challenge (maybe by changing its name?), and b) reflect its purpose as you've stated in the quote above, maybe by using more inclusive language.

I apologise for coming across as over-sensitive and demanding here, but I recently learnt from a training session at work that it's always better to give feedback, so here it is. :-)
wistfuljane: chihiro from sprited away walking toward the train station in the river (Default)

[personal profile] wistfuljane 2011-01-08 07:00 am (UTC)(link)
Another thing is that under the Rules section, the "suggested hierarchy for approaching the challenge" starts with: "First, write for a language and culture other than your own." Although by then I'd worked out that the challenge didn't apply to me, this still felt a bit exclusionary, as if the default participants for the challenge (and therefore the collection) were white people, where "language and culture other than your own" = "chromatic".

The suggested hierarchy is just that, suggested. We encourage participants to structure the challenge in ways that they feel comfortable doing and if they've fulfilled any aspects of the challenge, they've, I feel like, met the spirit of the challenge in some ways.

By write for a language and culture other than your own, we encourage not only white people to write outside of their cultures and languages (i.e. white writers to write about chromatic cultures and languages), but also chromatic/non-white/people of color (e.g. Vietnamese descent writers to write about Filipino cultures and languages).

But I understand your concerns and perhaps we could provide examples for some of our challenge components and hierarchy -- or clarify them in some other ways.
Edited 2011-01-08 07:03 (UTC)
tevildo: Photo of pohutukawa with Rangitoto in background (Yuletide3)

[personal profile] tevildo 2011-01-08 09:09 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the explanation, but I do get it now! :-) I wasn't commenting on the intent of Dark Agenda or on the challenge itself, which I support, but on the wording on the Profile page.

I understand that the suggested hierarchy is only a suggestion which doesn't have to be followed. However, it might be nice to emphasise this on the page itself, or to include some other suggested hierarchies, or to have each of the bullet points as a separate suggestion, without implying that the most basic approach is to write a "foreign" culture?

Again, my issue with write for a language and culture other than your own is not that I want to just write my culture; this year I'm fully intending to both request and offer other cultures as part of the challenge. It's just that all through the page the language used has been "chromatic", and now it's "other than your own", so it sounds like they're being equated -- which isn't what was intended.

And thanks for considering clarifying the page!
dhobikikutti: earthen diya (Default)

[personal profile] dhobikikutti 2011-01-08 06:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, getting the AO3 collection FAQ and rules into order is definitely on our agenda, and I appreciate your taking the time to tell us how confusing it was. I think we saw that confusion expressed quite a lot in the last couple of days on the yuletide comm, so we'll make sure to look at how best to delineate the collection and the challenge next year.
If I can be a totally nosy parker, could I ask what culture you were writing that story about? (She said, always on the look-out for culture-specific betas. :))