wombat1138 (wombat1138) wrote,

The death of FanfiX.com

I started to compose this account elsewhere, as a reply to someone else's blog entry wondering what had happened. It got long enough that I figured I might as well park it here in case it needs re-editing, and anyway there still may be enough interest in the site's disappearance, even after all this time, to have just one centralized account for general reference. Or if not, at least I'm not cluttering up someone else's blog with it.

For some years, FanfiX.com was one of the largest (and iirc, the first and for some time only) archives of Star Wars fanfic on the web. The domain was launched in 1997 by Deb/GuriX as a successor to a SW fic site she'd already set up on her own, and she remained its owner until the end. I was one of Fanfix's co-archivists from early 2001 until it unceremoniously died near the end of 2003, and even I'm not entirely sure what happened. Readers may wish to refer to http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://fanfix.com as needed.

From the start, Deb delegated some of the update maintenance and most of the design coding to Susan/Gator. Starting in 1998 or so, they usually had a third person helping out with updates-- first Ted, who eventually drifted off; he was replaced by another assistant who iirc was never listed on the contact page, and whom therefore I will only call "M".

Routine maintenance consisted of downloading the emailed story submissions to reformat and lightly spellcheck them, then adding the new entries to the proper category's index page. When each maintainer was done with a batch, (s)he'd upload the stories and the updated index pages to the host server. The latest version of the index pages was usually retained on the maintainer's own computer for re-use next time, but the original and reformatted stories might or might not be locally deleted/retained depending on disk space, sense of tidiness, or random whim.

In late 2000, Deborah was in a nasty car accident and broke her neck, which naturally reduced her involvement with the site. I don't think she suffered permanent paralysis, based on what I was hearing at the time from "M" (I had very little direct communication with Deb), but I was recklessly inspired to volunteer to step in to help "M" and Gator.

In mid-2001, a website went up to collect nominations for a proposed set of "Omega Awards" for SW fanfic. This was somehow connected with Deb (I never did find out who was the other main figure behind the Omegas). "M" threw a snit about slash and stormed off, leaving the regular maintenance to Gator and me. The Omega Awards fizzled away and died by early 2002 with some parting bitterness toward Deb, which would not have helped her morale. In addition, iirc in the interim I heard from Gator that Deb's oldest son had enlisted with the military soon after 9/11.

In early 2003, the domain host had a server crash that wiped out most of the site. There wasn't much of a unified recent set of backups beyond whatever Gator and I had on our own computers. We got most of the site back up and kept going, but Deb must've been even more demoralized.

In late 2003, the site went down for good (or at least until someone else re-registered the name in 2005). I contacted the domain host, who told me that it had been suspended for non-payment; I asked them whether someone else could take over the payments, and they said only if they received official confirmation of the domain transfer from the current owner. I can't recall whether I tried or managed to consult Gator, but I certainly did email Deb; when I got no response, I sent Snailmail to the address listed for the DNS registry. I never received any reply from her, and I hope that she and her family are okay.

And that's it, really. I still have some of the index pages and master story lists on my current hard drive, transferred over from an old computer that died since then. I even still have some of the story files from my last update. As far as I know, that's all that's left of FanfiX.com outside the Wayback Machine.
Tags: sw
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