I'm in a Neil Gaiman fan group on Facebook and they're a daily irritation, mostly because I'm a bit offended by one of their policies. A member of the group posted a question asking if she could link some Good Omens fanfics she enjoyed. Her post was immediately shut down and the admin told her to "message me". I messaged the admin asking what the answer was, and the admin told me that the group is dedicated to "celebrating the works of NG" and that fanfics "cross the line" by celebrating other people's work so they are prohibited.
Of course, considering I'm a fanfic writer, that bugs me, as fanfics don't compete with the original authors - and NG himself supports fanfiction - but hey, it's their group and they can make their own rules. The thing is, the vast majority of posts and discussions in the group are fan art, either posting of other people's art or "here's my drawing of Death and Dream". NG isn't an artist, but technically, fan art is someone else's work and by the rules of the group, shouldn't be allowed either. (You could also argue that although NG is not the person who drew the Sandman comics, he did design the characters, including how they looked, so drawing them is as much an infraction of his rights as writing them.) However, they only ban fan art posts if the fan art is being sold (such as on a poster or t-shirt), as it isn't official NG merchandise and he's not earning from it.
I don't actually object to fan art being posted to the group, mind you. I just don't see why there's a difference between fan art and fanfiction as far as being "NG's works" or not. Some of the fan art even has a story - little cartoons, for example - but I suppose it's considered okay because it's drawing and a little dialogue and not *gasp* words that NG could have written but didn't.
Another type of post that's common in the group are Tumblr ficlets. You know, a ten-line little scene between Aziraphale and Crowley showing just how adorable they are together. (eyeroll) That is okay in the group. I guess fiction using NG's world and characters is okay as long as it isn't posted on ffnet or AO3? Or maybe it's a word count issue: seventy-five words or less isn't offensive to the admins' sensibilities.
I admit it: I really don't get it.
My husband's getting sick of my daily outbursts of "And now look at what they're allowing today!" and has suggested I leave the group. I'm seriously thinking about it, as it honestly has little actual discussion of NG's works. This is largely due to Good Omens, sadly. Before the show debuted, there were intelligent discussions about characters and themes, but GO overwhelmed the fandom and worse, came with compelling images, which is a lot easier to share than in-depth conversations about the merits of the Marquis de Carabas.
Today may be the breaking point. A member posted a picture of a person on her train watching GO on her tablet. It was taken from the back with just the person's glasses and some of her hair visible at the edge of the frame; the style of the glasses frame was the only indication of the gender of the person. One of the admins immediately berated the member for taking a photo of a person without their permission and posting it to the group. While that's certainly a consideration, the person in the photo was not identifiable in any way, and in the past, there's been no issue with other photos (such as photos at conventions with cosplayers that obviously didn't know a picture was being taken, not to mention the people in the background). There have even been a couple of "Omg, I was at this place and Michael Sheen was there and I snapped this pic of him" posts - the celeb in question obviously didn't know.
I guess I'm simply getting tired of having the rules being applied arbitrarily, in a group from which I'm getting no appreciable benefit.