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The White Lotus Sentinel: Issue 12, 20 January

Minnichi January 20, 2013 User blog:Minnichi

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Issue 12: January 20, 2013

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Avatar Wiki Chronicles: On Blocking and Low-Quality Articles
Minnichi - Editor

As I was pondering what to write for the WLS issue this weekend, I remembered the irony that the WLS tends to focus on writing itself. For a newsletter that revolves around anything fanon-related, why shouldn't we have content that reflects the essence of an actual fanon? And I mean that literally. Forget writing an article about the common trends of "life" in the fanon portal (my original plan) - I'm just plain-out writing about life here now. As in I've written this as a fanon author. You'll see what I mean.

(Not to mention this is probably more effective than a boring, lecturing column when it comes to discouraging people from writing low-quality articles...)

...

A.W. Chronicles

Note: The two administrators mentioned are described based on Lady Lostris's and Thailog's corresponding illustrations from the most recent Ba Sing Se Times article.

An unnamed girl exits her university with a yawn. She has long black hair and brown eyes, and she hates the school shuttle (which always leaves right as she reaches the stop). As she stands there waiting for the next one, stranded in the cold, icy wind, she pulls out her smartphone and checks the Wi-fi connection.

As soon as she types in her student ID and passcode for access, the world transforms.

With a crackling sound like thunder, the sky itself twists in crazy patterns until all that's left is a cloudy, beige-colored haze. The school's massive buildings also warp into strange things, growing into tall, elegant towers of Asian-inspired architecture. There are thousands of them in all shapes and sizes, each labeled for a very unique purpose. The girl is too used to them to offer anything more than a glance, however, and strolls down the beige-colored bridge that has begun to extend from beneath her feet. Her stone-covered hand raises to her mouth to stifle another yawn, and she lifts her face a little higher to see beneath the dark green brim of her pointed hat. And oh, she has a name now: Minnichi.

The green-robed inhabitant of this world - a world called "Avatar Wiki" - picks up her pace as she passes an unstable-looking building. Unstable as in it's basically a tall, cardboard box labeled "My Article." Those flimsy things have often cluttered up normal buildings to make the Wiki resemble more of a hobo community. However, Minnichi knows that there are fellow inhabitants here who prevent such things from happening - which is actually the main reason why she's hurrying past the cardboard box. She's barely gained a foot of space between herself and the hobo building when it suddenly lights ablaze with such force that she's flung forward face-first to the ground.

Sitting up slowly to recover and muttering grouchy gibberish under her breath, Minnichi turns around to see that a woman is hovering next to the pitiful building, high above the ground atop a little golden cloud. This user, dressed casually in a plain shirt and jeans, rests a hand on her waist as she examines her work. (In other words, watching the cardboard box burn to the ground.) Her blue-grey eyes reflect the image of the flames within them, and they gleam with the slightest hint of irritation. A messenger hawk lands on this woman's shoulder as she unrolls a fancy scroll with a header that reads "Page Deleted," but she's barely touched the tip of her quill to the paper when a haggard, enraged user suddenly rushes out from inside the burning cardboard box. Minnichi has no idea why this user even tried to stay in there that long, given that it collapses into a pile of ashes shortly after he leaves.

Tucking the quill back into her pocket, the woman on the golden cloud notices the cardboard box-creating user pointing a menacing finger in her direction and peers back down at him. He's covered in ashes, practically growling through his gritted teeth, and overall just shaking with rage. "Why do you keep deleting my articles?!" he demands, taking no notice of the girl in green robes observing him in the distance.

It begins at her scalp and slowly travels down every long brown strand of hair, until they begin to defy gravity itself as they ignite. "I've told you many times already..." says the hovering woman, her unamused face now framed by long, deadly flames. "The content of your articles is completely irrelevant to the Wiki and its purpose, and you're getting down to your very last warning -"

"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, YOU (censored by the Wiki's community)"

"...Okay then, you've just ignored your very last warning. Like I've said countless times, I'll have to block you for six months due your behavior - starting now." The woman has already outstretched her hand even as she speaks, and she positions her palm down at the troll of a user.

He finally seems to realize that being blocked from this world is actually a possibility, and his eyes widen in fear as the flames begin to dance around the woman's fingers. "Wait!" he cries. "I'll make my next article about how great you are instead! Don't -"

It's too late. With a thrust of her arm, the woman shoots down a blast of fire that cracks open the ground upon impact. Minnichi has to shield her eyes from the blinding explosion that causes more dirt particles to fly all over her. When she looks back up, however, there's only a sizzling crater in the ground ahead. The troll is nowhere to be seen.

Blowing away some excess smoke rising from the tip of her finger, the woman sighs and examines the remains of the cardboard box once more, her hair flowing back down over her shoulders in its natural brown color. At last, she notices the green-robed girl still sitting in the distance, and she suddenly smiles. "Howdy, Minnichi!" She waves so cheerfully that one can wonder if the fire-blasting a few seconds ago had even occurred at all.

Minnichi cracks a little smile back, standing and dusting off her robes. "Hey, Lostris." She glances for a second at the smoking crater several feet away. "So, er, how's it going?"

"Oh, you know. Blocking trolls, fixing images, playing Twister with Thailog, the usual..." Lady Lostris floats down closer atop her golden cloud to better address her fellow user. It finally registers why Minnichi was sitting on the ground, and why the girl's face still has some dirt caked on its side. "Oh! I'm sorry, did I do that?" Lostris exclaims.

"Nah, it's cool," Minnichi replies with a shrug. "At least that guy's not around here anymore." The administrator gives an approving nod towards her crater. "But I always wondered," continues the green-robed girl. "What exactly - happens when you block someone? I mean, you just shot him with fire, so..."

Lady Lostris gives a merry laugh, sitting down casually so that her legs dangle over the edge of her cloud. "Honestly they don't feel a thing, don't worry," she explains. "It's the same for any blocked user; they just disappear completely from the earth without a trace, with no means of return unless we say so. The administrators just change up the methods they use to teleport the trolls away every now and then -" Just then, a deafening boom of thunder echoes across the sky as a massive, crackling branch of lightning strikes far away upon the the beige horizon. "And oh, that would be Thailog blocking a user," Lostris adds with a chuckle. "It just makes the process a little less mundane for us, you know?"

Minnichi nods silently as she makes out a barely visible figure hovering above the lightning-struck area in the distance, who's covered almost completely in black and appears to be tilting his head backwards with cackling laughter atop his golden cloud. "...Yeah, I can see that."

Two more messenger hawks suddenly fly into the scene. One of them perches on Lostris's shoulder again, while the other settles atop Minnichi's hat. The administrator is the first to detach her letter, sighing as she scans over it. "Well, I forgot to mention that blocked users have one form of communication: replying to the message that announced their block. She holds out her parchment for Minnichi to see, which is overflowing with raging, scribbling sentences along the lines of "You have to believe me - my evil sister did it!!!" Lostris shakes her head as she rolls back up the letter and sets it ablaze between her fingers. "He could at least try to change his handwriting..."

Minnichi sighs as well. "People these days..." Remembering about the hawk still perched atop her head, however, she reaches up and finally detaches her own letter. When she examines it, she discovers that there's nothing on the parchment at all other than a single, plainly written word: "Hello." The green-robed user rolls back up the letter at once and hurriedly stuffs it into her pocket. "Sorry Lostris," she says quickly. "Ima have to go see what KMP needs at the Ba Sing Se Times headquarters."

"Of course! Tell him I said hi," replies the female administrator. "I've got work to do, anyway..." She warily eyes a whole community of cardboard boxes in the distance. "See you around, then?"

"Yeah, see ya around. Later, LL!" And with that, Minnichi disappears with a flash of green into the beige horizon as she darts away, where she'll be sure to run into more Wiki troubles before she ever reaches the BSST headquarters...

The End?

48px-4357864.png Outside Influences in Fanon
Omashu Rocks - Editor

Fun and thoughtful tools utilized by talented authors or cheap and unimaginative cop-outs used by writers who lack creativity? That is the question facing those fanons who include references, however subtle or obvious, to the something in the real world, like an event, celebrity, movie, book, etc. I for one am I big fan of these, and in Avatar Brek, I based three unseen characters off of real-lie politicians, wrote my own Avatar-World version of Kristallnacht, and referenced copied Spongebob in an opening scene to one of my chapters. Some may appreciate the fact that I did all of that, and others might see it as "plagiarism." For the past week, I've managed to find couple of different views from both sides. The first obvious divide in opinions comes from the varied reviews of another one of my fanons, Political Animals, which is the Avatar version of the American mini-series with the same name. While one Fanon Review Squad member didn't appear to find anything wrong with the unoriginality of my story, and instead offered praise in the "creativity" section, the other two, quite understandably, deducted some points. That decision is quite reasonable, and I must admit, I may go "too far" when it comes to these references.

Searching for other real-world allusions on the fanon portal, I discovered two that reference the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, Jump by Azulazulazula with a tribute through the series infobox and Alone by Millennia2 with the chapters "Twin Towers," Parts 1, 2, and 3. If you haven't been able to piece this together already, Heiress of the Nile by Lady Lostris, which is objectively one of the most well-written fanons on the wiki, takes place along the Nile River in Egypt and the setting reflects the time and culture of the Ancient Egyptians.

I was also able to catch up with Typhoonmaster, who shared some of the real-life influences in his writing. His one-shots, Happiness and Determination, are influenced by the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ryan Bradbury and the Rocky series, respectively. He also told me that his Dreams has the underlying theme of euthanasia, a topic he says he can understand both sides of but has no position himself.

A different user, who has elected to stay anonymous, was at first confused when I asked him/her of his/her fanon contained any real-world references. After I explained, he/she made it clear that he/she was not a fanon. "I hate when people think they can just steal from another show or something or something that like actually happened and just wham into their fanon," she/she said. "It's like they just couldn't think of anything themselves, because they have absolutely no creativity." As someone who is guilty of everything this user has described, I asked further questions about the matter, to which he/she responded "I think some people just don't know how to write for their life so they just Avatarise everything that already exists." (Gulp. Hopefully this person hasn't read my fanons…)

So what do you think? Are authors "referencing" or "cheating?" Are these examples "influences" or "stolen material?" Check out the poll below!

50px-3327121.png Main Page Designs
AvatarRokusGhost

Fanon-writing is a creative activity, just like other forms of writing. The fanon portal of Avatar Wiki is home to a lot of creative authors with creative stories based on the Avatar franchise. For many, though, the creativity does not end with writing the stories themselves. With the wide array of possibilities wiki-coding has to offer, users can decide how best to set up their fanon articles, chapters and story pages. Just like with anything else, trends and fashions change over time. Avatar Wiki has been witness to this for fanon story pages in the 3 1/2 years since the merger.

The traditional style was heavily dominant for a long time and is still often used today. Avatar: Guardian sports a short description of the fanon at the upper-left, just under the property template, with the infobox and logo for the fanon beside it. The rest of the page is divided into simple sections with headers and information on the story, its characters and the reception its got. At the bottom is the a template with links to all the published chapters. Some advantages of this layout lie in its simplicity and it being easy to make. Even with this simple style, one can customize a bit by changing the colors of the infobox and property template.

Most older fanon pages like Avatar: Wanted‘s don’t have colors - or simply just have the plain style brown, mainly because the templates used at the time weren’t as flexible with covering, and many of the authors who wrote the earlier stories aren’t active now to give them colors.

In the Spring of 2011, a bold departure was made from the norm with the column style of page setup. While still using the same form of coding as any other page on here, it doesn’t use the same headers and guidelines normally found for a wiki article. After the top banner, the page is split in newsletter-like halves and the reader can now see two sections of the page side-by-side at any point. Generally, the plot and setting sections were closer to the top, and the reception and subscription sections were closer to the bottom. Well-known fanons like The Avatar Rhythm and Dancing Shadows were some of the first to use this style, as you can see in the page histories of those fanons. Since then, however, the authors have moved away from using columns.

The Avatar: The First Skybender style of page got some popularity in 2012 after Master Ratava joined the wiki and created the namesake fanon for the style. The sections of the pages combined elements from the traditional and column styles in their headers, with most of the sections a certain color or tone, surrounded by one or more colors for a nice aesthetic effect. Along with this, many fanons which use this style also have tabs on top for point-and-click navigation at the top of the page. Many users followed suit after Ratava introduced it, and this style even found its way into the Fanon Awards.

In a recent bold move, some fanons like Elements of Life have begun using sliders on their main pages, with up to four large images. Ever since this was first used on here, others have copied it like wildfire. The Avatar Rhythm main page now has a slider. I too have succumbed to this trend with my newest fanon. Of course, pages with slider styles can differ with what’s below them. Some have the pages partially-columned in some areas, and styling becomes a lot more complex once you factor in the placing of images, polls and other gimmicks. Whether as fun or creativity or for catching potential reader’s attentions, it certainly contributes to the variety and flavor of this community.

So, how will you design your fanon page?

White lotus tile icon Fanon Urban Dictionary
Staff

Ugly People 

noun; Something that will not ever exist in a fanon. Heck, even the story villains are smoking hot these days. "You seriously need to balance out your characters. It's downright unrealistic how flawless you make them sound...down to the looks, too." "Nuh uh! They're not all models or something, what're you talking about?" "Really now? Then how about you take this girl here (points to character's name) ...and describe her as 'fat' for me? Oh, and some zits would be nice too." "(Scoff) T-that's a ridiculous -" "She's a horrible person anyway, why not?" "Erk - *cough* *hack* *choke* This has nothing to do with anything!" "So having no ugly people in your world is realistic?" "Ugh, stupidest advice ever! I'm leaving!" "Right..." 

 Emergency Deletion   

noun; What every request to delete a fanon tends to sound like. It stems from a sudden, unfathomable hate that the author develops towards his/her story, as if the writing is the most atrocious mass of text in the universe. "Hey (insert admin's name), think you could delete this fanon for me? I really didn't like it..." "Sure, but are you positive you want to do this? You could always see what you can impro -" "I'M POSITIVE! This is an emergency! The longer that hideous thing stays on the Wiki, the longer it's exposed to eyes that may possibly see it! And the longer it's exposed, the longer those eyes will associate that writing with me! And the longer that writing is associated with me, the longer -" "Alright alright, I'm on it!" "YES! KILL THAT FANON PAGE! KILL IT WITH FIRE!"  

Author-Exclusive Memory   

noun; A source of many misunderstandings between authors and their readers. One can forget that the only person who will remember every little detail that exists in a fanon...is the person who wrote every little detail that exists in a fanon. "Huh, that's weird. I thought he was 10 when he saw his mother leave." "No, you're wrong. 8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, and 19 chapters ago, it said on line 35 that he saw his *sister* leave when he was 6 years old, his other sister leave when he was 4 years old, his father kill a man when he was 8 years old, and his mother *die* - not leave - when he was 10 years old. Sheesh, don't you remember anything?" "Okay man, I'm a huge fan of your story and all, but that's author-exclusive memory...sorry..." "Excuses!!!" 

 Usergroup Takeover   

noun; That which occurs when one spends so much time doing usergroup activities that one ceases to be the most basic kind of user in the fanon portal: a fanon writer. "Hey, I'm new here, and you seem to be the big name to go to for help." "Am I now?" "Yep. What do you do in the fanon portal anyway? I'm trying to decide where to start." "Oh, there're tons of things to do here! Let's see, I've got this review that I'm like 3 weeks late for now, then I have to go change out the fanon promotion schedule, and then there's that one article I still need to write for the WLS, and then about 3 other stories I'm totally slacking on editing for -" "Wow, that's a lot of stuff! You must be, lyke, famous or something with a legendary fanon!" "Hmmm...oh, that's right. I forgot that I have a fanon. Yeah. I also...write. A fanon." "Where??? I must see!" "I...don't remember... (Gasp) I don't remember!" "...Are you okay?" "It's usergroup takeover, I tell you! They've killed the author within my soul! (Cries in a corner)" 

Love the Fanon Urban Dictionary? Miss any definitions? See the complete collection here!

50px-3467474.png Fanon Advertising Report
Godsrule

Hey there, God here with the latest scoop on the Fanon Advertising System. This week's winner is TheLoKnessmonster for his thoughts on Avatar: Advent of Earth. The fanon is full of beautiful title cards and a riveting story.

Final Logo

It's 220 AG, thirty years after Korra's death, and the legacy of the Avatar is all but forgotten. Killed in her sleep by a force that to this day remains a mystery, Korra was not reincarnated. Naturally, her spiritual disappearance was followed by a short era of mass hysteria, but... as the four nations remained undisturbed by conflict in her absence, her memory slowly faded from the earth. Three decades passed, and still, this peace remained.

The same cannot be said for our world, which seems to be stuck in an era of conflict, and struggle.

However, one fateful day, a wormhole inexplicably opens, leading from our solar system to a destination unknown. Unbeknownst to our technologically advanced civilization, on the other side lies the Avatar Earth, where a historic event is taking place. The United Republic of Nations, commonly abbreviated to “the URN”, has won a worldwide space race, and is leading its sister nations into the final frontier by sending a rocket filled with intrepid individuals to its only moon. However, this groundbreaking expedition takes an unexpected turn when another wormhole suddenly opens out of nowhere, and sucks the rocket in! Thus, it and its crew soon come flying out the other end, in the skies of Our Earth!

Fanon Word Search

Newsletters have these sorts of things, so why not? Here's a little something for any WLS readers who appreciate a good puzzle.

http://i1310.photobucket.com/albums/s643/minnichi92/wlspuzzle_zps18a1ea54.jpg
Image icon
Click here to complete the interactive
word search puzzle.

HAVE A FANON ARTICLE IN MIND? REVIEW? INTERVIEW? ADVERTISEMENT? OPINION? REQUEST? SEND IT TO ONE OF THE EDITORS AND YOU'LL BE IN THE NEXT ISSUE!

Fanontastic Polls

What do you think of "outside influences in fanon?
 
3
 
40
 
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1
 

The poll was created at 13:27 on January 20, 2013, and so far 46 people voted.
What's the best fanon main page design?
 
9
 
7
 
3
 
27
 

The poll was created at 13:27 on January 20, 2013, and so far 46 people voted.

Want to know more about The White Lotus Sentinel? Find out here!

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