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Removal of stories at CL and reminder re: NC-17
posted August 5, 2002
The Library has received numerous emails in the past few days regarding the removal of a previously posted story due to NC-17 content. Because so many readers have questioned this action and are apparently unaware of the Library's policy on NC-17-rated stories, we thought this would be a good time to clarify things and remind everyone about the Library's rules.
The great majority of stories archived at the Library are perfectly within the established submission rules for our gen Sentinel archive. However, on rare occasions, a story initially archived at the Library may end up being removed (usually within the first few days of posting) because the librarians become aware that the story actually isn't within the submission rules. Whenever this happens, it is always unfortunate because it causes confusion and awkwardness for readers and the author as well as for us here at the Library. These rare instances happen simply because the Library is very short-staffed at the moment and the single on-duty librarian cannot be expected to read through every single story sent for archiving. If we tried to do that, it would take us many more days to archive stories, and we have always tried to archive stories as quickly as possible so readers can get to them quickly. We try our best, but sometimes things fall through, and we apologize for that. However, to maintain the standards set for the Library, we owe it to the readers to correct mistakes when they are discovered.
Whenever a story ends up being removed at the Library, it is never done because a single person writes us and "complains" about a story. The Library NEVER removes stories solely based on a concerned reader's comments. We, the librarians, always review the story in question ourselves to determine whether or not it can remain at the Library. If a story does need to be removed, we will always notify the author and give her the reason why it had to be removed.
Recently a story was archived at the Library but unfortunately ended up being taken down after a few days because we realized the story contained a scene that qualified as NC-17 by the Library's definition. The Library's definition of NC-17 is posted on the Site Info page and states "by our definition, NC-17 includes any story containing graphic or explicit ("on-camera") descriptions of sexual encounters of ANY nature". Different people have different definitions about what is NC-17 and what is not. Because of this, we had to create a definition of NC-17 to use at the Library and go by that (not the author's) when deciding whether or not to archive a story. So even though an author may rate her story as being "R", if it has on-camera sex in it, we will classify it as NC-17 and won't be able to archive it at the Library.
That said, I want to emphasize that when we have to remove a story from the Library because of NC-17 issues, it is in no way a reflection on the quality of writing. There are a handful of stories by very popular Sentinel fanfic authors which we have been unable to archive at the Library because we don't take stories rated NC-17 or above. These stories are considered very well-written by many readers, but they aren't at the Library because their content does not qualify under our NC-17 rule. These authors still have their other stories linked at the Library, and you can even find their NC-17 stories by visiting their personal websites. It's just that the NC-17 stories aren't listed at the Library. In the case of the story which was recently removed, the author and her other stories remain listed at the Library and will continue to be listed as long as the author gives us permission to do so. Readers can still find and read the removed story at the author's website because the Library doesn't control what authors have at their own websites. The only thing we do have control over are the stories we list at the Library.
We at the Library always want our readers and authors to feel free to write us whenever they have a question about a story and whether or not it should be archived. But having lots of people emailing us and accusing us of not checking our facts before we remove a story is not only incorrect, it's not constructive. We always expect ourselves to check the facts before we take a story down, just like we expect authors and readers to be familiar with the submission rules. All the librarians put in a lot of personal time at the Library and take a lot of pride in maintaining an archive which is useful, up-to-date, and stays true to its mission, which is to provide a listing of Sentinel stories which is safe for gen audiences. Thank you to all of our readers and authors for helping us make the Library such a great place.
Robyn and the CL staff