AS-NS and Ace Times might, just might get AVEN recognition.

For over a year now the good people over on the forum AS-NS have been trying to get themselves on AVEN’s site list. Now there might be a real chance of it happening. Lets look at the story so far.

About this time last year Lord Grep (on AS-NS, or G0D on AVEN) came up with the idea of creating another forum so that he could chat with his friends without AVEN telling him that their ideas were against the rules. He also thought that the asexual community lacked an independent news site, and so thought “I’ll darn well make them”.

Now from the outset AS-NS had a tense relationship with AVEN, as there have been many attempts to shut the site down, or get it banned from even being mentioned on AVEN. Yup, they actually wrote up rules with the intent of blocking people from even linking to AS-NS on AVEN.

Why would AVEN want to block AS-NS? The simple reason is that AS-NS had wildly different rules than AVEN does, and there isn’t the same system of governance, or the draconian rules on what can or cannot be said. Some people then used this (oddly they were later found to be AVEN staff members) to say bad things about AVEN members, and thus these things would circumvent AVEN’s own rules on not saying mean things about people.

At first AS-NS didn’t see the harm in any of this, and to be fair, I don’t think any AS-NS people have an issue with calling people names, or making jokes at other people’s expense, however AS-NS decided that it wasn’t really what AS-NS was about, or rather there is way more to talk about than AVEN in the first place, and thus it removed all offending material, and it still does. Anything that is personally insulting towards AVEN members gets removed.

AS-NS also has a great deal of content that just could not be said on AVEN with incurring disciplinary action, but the whole point of AS-NS is that people can converse freely, and that any perspective is welcome. In fact AS-NS sets out to be a place of discussion, and debate, so it really encourages diversity of opinion, and respects that people have a right to think, and say whatever they like.

The strange upshot is that AS-NS is way more polite and cordial than AVEN can be. On AVEN people have found ways to circumvent the rules, and still be quite nasty without necessarily breaking the rules, whereas on AS-NS because everyone has the option to be as rude or nasty as they like, everyone does their best to be polite and courteous with one another. Also there are less misunderstandings or needs to clarify everything one says, as people accept that what is being said is to be taken in the most typical way. AVEN is a different environment. I can use a conversation that this article references in order to demonstrate the point. The page is HERE .

At one point G0D says that “AS-NS is not a competition with AVEN, it is more the antidote”. Then Sally writes “An antidote is known to be something to rescue people from poison. So you consider AVEN poison, but you’re upset because AVEN doesn’t advertise AS-NS” This sort of taking to extreme or twisting of words is something that is what makes discussing anything on AVEN so damn tiring, and pointless. It is so competitive, and petty.

I digress a little. Some time about May time last year AS-NS asked AVEN if it would include AS-NS on its list of external links, as AS-NS is a forum for asexual people. It took a long time (as it usually does) for a moderator to bring it up, and then after a long period of back and forth it told us that we had to wait six moths to reapply. It also made up most of the rules that external sites had to follow in order to be recognised. Its rules are as follows:

AVEN rules on linked sites

Sites must have been created at least 6 months prior to them being considered a Community Link.

  • Sites linked in this forum will need to have English as their main language, as we have an Alternate Languages Forum for non English websites.
  • The site must have some link with the topic of asexuality but it doesn’t have to be the single theme.
  • The site must not be discriminatory towards any gender, creed, religion, nationality, ethnicity, disability and sexual and romantic identity and will be removed from the listing if that becomes the case.
  • The site must be free of destructive language, misrepresentation of asexuality, personal attacks towards their own members and/or AVEN members, identity policing (denying the identity of an individual or group based on behaviour, preference, or other criteria) and/or the breaching or the encouraging to breach of any laws. Again the link will be removed if that is the case.
  • If a site is found to not meet these requirements, it may be reconsidered 6 months after the first consideration.

The rules are vague, but it would seem that AVEN itself would fall afoul of them. There is one key difference between the way AS-NS deals with issues where people are insulted, and that is the post – and usually the whole thread – will be removed. AVEN on the other hand more often than not leaves the content in place and then disciplines the user, so the offending material remains on display for all to see.

Another odd thing to note about AVEN’s list of external sites is that most of them are hardly used, or defunct. As far as we can tell AS-NS is the busiest asexual forum by some margin second only to AVEN. There are other sites out there that are growing but AVEN doesn’t seem to want to list them, or remove the ones that are no longer relevant.

AS-NS was most taken aback by the way that AVEN seems to think it is the only way to do things, and that its moderation and policy decisions should apply to any site, and it will threaten new sites with being banned if it does not conform to its ideals. We have learned that Apositive was also threatened by AVEN with similar measures if certain posts were not edited or deleted, and some people had their posts edited without consent in order to appease AVEN.

If AVEN was just your average company that wished to make money from a forum, these actions would be understandable, but it isn’t. AVEN claims to be a hub for asexual people, and a place where people can start a journey, and find other people to share their experiences with. AVEN’s forum is a part of that, but it cannot expect that all asexuals want to fit in to its way of doing things. It has its place, and while AS-NS is very different from AVEN in its ethos and culture, the thing that brings them together is the same thing, and we hope over the next few days AVEN realises this, and grants AS-NS with a deserved link, and a description on its “External Links” page.

Oh I forgot, we have asked that Ace Times receives a mention too. Who knows we might get a break.. We expect to know which way AVEN decides by early next week. Fingers crossed!

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