|Cerebral Hens Network FAQ
||[Jan. 1st, 2006|12:53 am]
If you've got some questions, or just want to learn more, you'll likely find the answer in our Frequently Asked Questions.
What the heck are "Cerebral Hens?"
Why, that's us! You found us! Hooray, welcome, and baawwk!
And just what do you people do here?
In a nutshell, we're a blog network for Alan Rickman fans-- though, technically, you don't have to be a rabid Rickmaniac to join, or even talk about him once you're here. The whole idea behind the network was to create an environment where people can feel a little more comfortable being themselves around other fans, and discuss subjects, ideas, and questions that interest them in more depth than might otherwise be appropriate on your average message board. What we do, essentially, is blog together.
I'm not sure I like the term "hen." It's rather off-putting.
Understandable. We never liked it ourselves. In fact the last straw was when we saw this comment from the IMDB boards, posted by one "Schmuppy":
"Yeah, Dingo - you can have a lot of naughty fun if you want to, baiting the sad hens that make up Alan Rickman's fan base. Some of them take it to total stalker proportions. Others just obsessively trade factiods about Rickman gleaned from years of obsession. They spend hours a day trying to one-up each other about how much they 'know' Alan. Try making up something juicy, like telling them you saw Alan Rickman fall off a stool in Joe Allen's, reeking of Tanqueray, and then watch gleefully while they screech and wail and eat their own heads."
The comment amused us, since in our estimation Alan Rickman fans are a rather sane and intelligent bunch on the whole. Surely "cerebral hens," we thought. It's a rather satisfying subversion of an otherwise negative term, almost as good as actually flipping our buddy Schmup the the bird. It's also a fantastic name for a rock group.
Cool! Where do I sign up?
Right here. Grab a button, leave a comment saying you'd like to join.
Okay, I've signed up. Now what? How does this Hen thing work?
Once you're linked, anything you post on your blog or LJ will appear on our Friends' Entries page. Fellow Hens will see your posts, then turn up to discuss whatever you posted. They may even carry the discussion into a post on their own blogs.
Oh my God. I don't have to start writing giant, philosophical essays, do I?
Not unless you want to. Some of the writers among us, like Christina, and Jen, like to post very lengthy, involved essays because language, analysis, and philosophical discussions interest them. Others of us, like CatsPlay and Dee, like to post graphics and artwork in addition to writing long meditations on various subjects. A few Hens, like Laurie and Courtney, prefer to muse about their day-to-day thoughts and experiences; emteee, in fact, has committed her LJ to the exploration of random subjects for the benefit of the Easily Amused (TM). It's all good. The best thing to do, now that you're a Hen, is, well, whatever you usually do. Be yourself. Talk about what you want to talk about. Read the other Hens' journals and then jump into the discussion.
So I don't have to be cerebral? I can still just goof around with everybody, squee, and have fun?
Of course! Squeeing and silliness are just fine, though we hope you'll jump into more involved discussions when they interest you, and feel free to start lengthy, involved discussions of your own.
Yeah, I noticed that the discussion around here gets pretty intense. It's a little intimidating. I'm not sure how people will react if I jump in out of nowhere and start saying what I think.
Cerebral Hens is not an exclusive club. It's a philosophy of fandom, the main thrust of which is the freedom to share ideas, openly discuss issues, and question the things we see happening in the fanbase and elsewhere. This means that while there aren't strict rules about the kinds of subjects we can cover, the idea is to think a little bit more deeply about them; in other words, that we thoughtfully consider what everyone says, and recognize the value of what they say. It also means thinking hard about what you say before you say it, and choosing your words carefully when you do. Be reassured that among the Hens, comments are always welcome, no matter how lengthy, complicated, or even controversial, so long as they're thoughtful and well-considered. It's even okay to express disagreement with another Hen's views.
What if someone leaves negative comments on my journal?
While other hens may take issue with something you say, they'll never flame you; Hens won't tolerate the abuse of fellow Hens. However, there are a couple of things you can do in the unlikely event that someone makes unfriendly remarks on your blog.
One of the best things to do is to think carefully about what you want to say, and take your time when posting to your own journal or commenting on someone else's. The trouble with internet conversation is that we can't see each other's facial expressions and body language, so it can be difficult when reading other people's posts to figure out, sometimes, what their intentions are. Taking the time to think about how our readers might react ahead of time, and to fully explain our opinions or questions, is one way around that hurdle. The more you explain yourself, the more likely other people will be to hear you out, as opposed to jumping down your throat.
You can also take advantage of the comment controls offered by your blog host. A lot of people simply disable the anonymous posting option. A few blog hosts even give you the option to screen comments before they're published, or to delete comments if you wish. Most of the hens have found no reason, however, to do anything more drastic than block anonymous comments. What you do in terms of technical comment control depends on your comfort level, and the climate of the community on your particular blog host.
Is there anyone I can go to for help? To whom may I complain? Who's in charge around here, anyway?
CatsPlay holds down the technical side of things and keeps us organized, and Christina handles the mailing list. Apart from them, Dee, emteee, and Jen have been on the network longest and know the ropes. They're all pretty friendly, helpful types.How do you handle offensive posts?
The absence of an Alpha Hen doesn't mean that there are no expectations, or that anything goes. We don't censor material, or try to moderate anyone's journal; each Hen is solely responsible for her own content. This means that if you post something other Hens find objectionable, you can bet they'll be likely to open up a discussion about it, either directly on your thread, or in a post on their own journals. In certain cases we also reserve the right to filter out not-safe-for-work posts from our Friends Entries page.
What's considered not safe for work?
Graphic sexual material. Full frontal nudity. Racial or ethnic slurs. Personal attacks, insults, or hostilities directed at other Hens or anyone else; that includes Alan Rickman's family, friends, or loved ones.
What if I want to leave the network?
We hope you won't, but if you'd rather not be in the network anymore, you can contact CatsPlay, and she'll remove your blog from the list on the main page.
Can I still come back and comment, though?
Sure! You're always welcome to contribute to the discussion, even if you'd rather not be linked to the network, or even consider yourself a Cerebral Hen. Lots of "regulars" on our blogs aren't members, and have no wish to join the network; that's perfectly okay! We still value their thoughts and insights, and we're happy to see them when they drop by.
No one's commenting on my posts! I thought you said you liked to share ideas and value people's thoughts around here.
We do! It can be discouraging when few or no Hens respond to your posts, but that doesn't mean that your posts are dumb, or that you're not accepted by the rest of the group, or that no one cares. The network's pretty big, and there's a lot to read, and think about, and comment on; it can be hard for the Hens to keep up. Each of us has her own way of dealing with that problem: some of us diligently read and comment on everything, while others of us reserve our comments for those posts which spark an idea for us. Some of us just read, and don't comment at all. Remember the lurker! The majority of us Hens do read each and every post which appears on the Friends' Entries page, even if we don't always comment. So please don't be discouraged! Every contribution is valuable; we know you're out there, and we care about what you have to say.
Help! Now there's a stranger on my thread!
That's probably a fellow Hen. Say hello and how-do-you-do!
They're, erm, posting a lot of rather lengthy replies. Are they trying to hijack my space?
No. Multiple, lengthy comments from other Hens frequently appear as a thread develops. When it happens, it's usually because someone's posted something extremely thought-provoking, funny, or insightful, and it's inspired other Hens to make obervations of their own. It's testimony to the quality of your chosen subject matter if it's happening to you; it's a compliment! Your readers are excited by and interested in what you've said. Sit back and enjoy it, make comments back as you think of them. Just go with it.
Okay, level with me. Surely there are some rules around here. What are they?
Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Read and Consider Carefully. Don't be Afraid to Question. Friendship and Tolerance. Squeeing is A-OK.
What if I want to post my Snape-oriented slash fanfic?
Erm, it's not really that kind of place...
You said It's All Good. I heard you say it.
Well, that's certainly true. Let's just say that, around here, if you post that sort of thing, you shouldn't be surprised if you get feedback on a level to which you may be unaccustomed.
Oh yeah? Meaning what?
We've got a couple of English teachers in the ranks. And professional writers. And at least one editor.
Erm. I don't like the sound of that.
They won't hesitate to openly offer criticism. And grammatical corrections.
I'm not saying you shouldn't.
I'm just sayin'. Any other questions?
Do you have AR's cell number/home phone/email/snail mail/pants size/Jell-O flavor preference? Can you tell me where I can find it?
Does AR read what we post? Does he pay attention to the network? Does he know about it?
While we admit that it would be wicked cool and awesome if he did, we're pretty sure that, in fact, he doesn't. Teh Man is busy. He's got better things to do than, say, see which episode of Weebl and Bob Moro's recommending today.
So this isn't the Official Alan Rickman Fan Club?
Sorry, no. We're a group of fans, mostly, but we're not "official," whatever that means.
Do you presume to speak for Teh Man, or for his fans?
Certainly not! How on earth would we even begin to attempt such a thing? We can only speak for ourselves. We haven't got connections. We're not privy to any top-secret information. We're no more special than any other AR fan group. We're just a bunch of friends who blog together and squee, that's all.
Have questions, suggestions, or concerns about the FAQ? Leave a comment, and squawk about it. Your thoughts matter to us! We'll try our best to address any issues or questions you may have.