As you must know, up to this point, middleearthnews has not accepted posts or links for those fics/events/etc having to do with the RP side of the fandom. This was a decision made in the inception of the newsletter, since it was, at that time, maintained by one mod and the expansion into LOTR RP was too daunting to even consider. The RP side is just plain bigger than the FP side, and it was just too much to ask that one person try to keep track of it all. (And anyway, your original mod is rather lazy by nature. *cough*)
Circumstances, as they say, have now changed. middleearthnews now has three mods -- the venerable caras_galadhon, empy and estelanui -- two of whom are very active on both the FP and RP sides of things, and all three of whom are willing to give this RP thing a go. So, starting Wednesday, April 2nd, and continuing on through Friday, May 30th (that's a nine week trial period), middleearthnews will be accepting news, links and posts for LOTR RP fandom, in addition to all of those things we now accept for FP fandom.
As noted, this is being done on a trial basis, at the end of which the mods will confer and evaluate, and decide if it should be implemented as new policy. Regardless of how well the trial goes, if it's going to be more work than we anticipated, we might not be prepared to continue. We think you will all agree that the newsletter is a valuable resource within the LOTR community, and we would hate to see it suffer due to mod-overload.
On a similar note, we would like to make this very clear at the onset: Each mod is Queen, Tsar and Despot of her particular issue and owns the right to decide what she will and will not include in a post. (Remember: your mods do this for free and at the expense of their own valuable time; please be respectful of that.) We assume that some bits will be arriving in our inbox, which will probably enjoy a tangential, at best, relationship with these new (temporary) policies. Since it's impossible for us to anticipate every potential problem or foresee all circumstances, what does and does not belong in the newsletter will be entirely up to that day's mod. If she thinks that Viggo's new haircut is not worth the time of formatting a blurb, Viggo's new haircut will have to remain rumour. On the other hand, if it's a mohawk and there's a picture… ;)
Now, we should probably pause here and specify what we mean by LOTR RP:
We are not talking about Orlando Fandom or Bean Fandom or any other Actor Fandom -- we are talking about LOTR RP fandom. Links for comms or stories that focus solely on one actor, paired with whomever, are not what we have in mind at this time. In other words, we do not want to be swamped with Orli fics set in the Pirates 'verse, or during Pirates filming. Unless Viggo happens to show up on the set and fun ensues. We'll trust you to see the distinction; we know that distinction is currently a little ambiguous, but we hope that as we go along, it will become more and more clear what we consider postable and what we don't.
On that note, here's what we anticipate will change:
MEDIA NEWS: Not a whole lot will change in this section. The focus will remain on news having to deal with Tolkien, the books or the movies (including The Hobbit, of course), with possibly an occasional side-trip into actor news. Again, this will be at the mods' discretion.
The fact that Elijah Wood expressed interest in working on The Hobbit = newsworthy.
Whether or not Elijah's once again growing a goatee = not so much.
COMMUNITY NEWS: All communities -- both FP and RP -- are now more than welcome to send updates for this section. Those communities that host both sorts of fics and have heretofore been dropping the RP links from their updates should now include those links as well.
These links are to be reader/mod submitted only, meaning that we will not be asking our mods to go hunting down links to post. If you are a mod of a LOTR RP comm, or know a mod of a LOTR RP comm, we would love to have updates, but if they don't get sent in, they don't get posted.
CHALLENGES, WORKSHOPS, AWARDS: Pretty much the same as the above. We will be more than happy to post updates, notices and links from awards organisations and challenge comms for RP, just as we've always done for FP.
FIC/ART NEWS: This should be pretty self-explanatory. If you have a LOTR RP fic you'd like to promote, or know of one, and which meets the criteria as explained above, we'd love to have the link, so please do send it in.
If you have been sending us lists of links to FP fic and dropping the LOTR RP bits out of it (*hugs mews1945*), you no longer need to go through that last step. Include all LOTR-related fic links!
And this bears repeating: If you do not send the links, we cannot post them. Especially now, when our mods are basically taking on double their usual workload, reader participation is crucial. This newsletter cannot function without it and there is nothing in the world more likely to dishearten and burn a mod out than feeling like she is spinning her wheels for those who do not appreciate what she does. A show of appreciation is so easy; none of the mods expect readers to drop by every day with thanks and praise -- just make that small effort to send in your links! Seriously. That's all. What could be easier?
DISCUSSIONS OF INTEREST: We anticipate very little change for this section, with the exception of the obvious, in linking to discussions that focus specifically on RP subjects when appropriate.
CLASSIFIED: Again, not a whole lot of change in this section, except opening it up to RP as well as FP queries. Looking for a fic in which Billy Boyd was turned into a unicorn and falls madly in love with Miranda? Ask about it here.
We should note that this section was originally intended as a spot for readers to ask the community for help -- with anything, not just fic -- and, for quite a while, continually remained blank. Our mods, being far too conscientious and too creative for words, began filling it with their hilarious FAKE CLASSIFIEDS because none of them can abide a blank space. This, as you can imagine, turned out to be quite exhausting for all of them, and has since been phased out.
However, we invite all of you out there to pick up where our mods' great examples left off. Maybe Karl would like to know what this Éomer guy is on about with his pikes and whatnot. And maybe Aragorn would really like to know who this Viggo person is, making time with Arwen. We know you can all be extraordinarily creative -- c'mon, you're geeks! -- so let's see what you can do, yeah?
RESEARCH AIDS: Okay, this section we may need a little help with. Are there sites out there with bio information on the actors that would be helpful to those writing RP fic? Are there sites that list filming trivia that may help other authors? Why not check your bookmarks and send us a list? Credit, as always, will be happily and prominently posted with your link(s).
TRIVIA: Our Friday mod, caras_galadhon, has been feeling left out since the beginning and has suggested she might like to start actor/crew trivia as a Friday feature. This would work in exactly the same way as our current Book/Movie Trivia features, except that
SEND MATHOMS: No anticipated changes to this section.
COMICS: No anticipated changes here, either, unless someone out there can be a fount of funnies for RP stuff, as grimnir1 has been.
Okay, we think that should about do it. Again, we know we haven't covered everything and that there will be questions/comments, so we are leaving comments open and unscreened, and we highly encourage discussion -- either with the mods or amongst yourselves. (Just please remember to keep things polite; we've never had to ban anyone from the comm and would rather not have to start now.)
We are fully aware that we've probably missed a few things, that there will be snags along the way, and maybe even a few stumbles. In that, we ask you, our Faithful Readers, to give us a hand. Ask us about something you think we've missed; tell us what you think we should keep an eye on; send us links you think might help. This newsletter has always depended upon its readership to continue its existence; we'll be depending on it now more than ever.
Anyone who wouldn't mind spreading the word, please do to link this post in your communities or individual journals.
And, as of April 1st, SEND US THOSE LINKS!
Your Mods, abby_normal, caras_galadhon, elanorgardner, empy and estelanui