Elfwood Down Due to... Death Threats?
Elfwood (www.elfwood.com) claims to be the largest Science Fiction and Fantasy art and fiction site in the entire world. They claim to have over 125 thousand pictures and 10 thousand stories online. They claim one of the most dedicated fan followings around, consisting of gamers, fanfic writers and budding artists. Since June 26th, they can also claim to be totally offline.
Elfwood, accessible via a whole slew of domain names (elfwood.com, elfwood.lysator.liu.se, etc.) apparently was taken down on June 26th after someone posted a death threat in the comments section of an artist's personal page. Yes, a death threat, if you can believe that.
Thomas F Abrahamsson, the site's founder, has thus far been unreachable via email. Given that, here's what we've been able to gather thus far on our own:
Someone accused another artist of a copyright violation, basically saying that they had copied the work of another person and passed it off as their own. In dealing with this issue the ERB (Elfwood Review Board) removed not only the piece(s) accused of being in copyright violation, but other pieces which contained "some modern elements, and some fan art."
All of which is no big deal, except after this happened, the Elfwood message boards and email servers were inundated with a slew of nasty messages accusing the ERB of being Nazi-ish in their actions. Among the messages which bounced around were several death threats, including one creative post from someone named "Assassin" who "threatened to throw gasoline on the ERB crew and burn them alive." This, in addition to "ALL kinds of misinformation and conspiracy theories."
In response to these messages, the decision was made to shut down the site entirely, and it remains down as of this posting.
Whether or not the actions taken in response to the threats is warranted, extreme or otherwise, I can't say, not knowing the specifics of the situation. But personally, I would guess that there are other problems brewing at Elfwood -- you don't shut a site down for over two weeks to clean up some nasty messages.
The site remains accessible, albeit only with the same explanatory splash page, although email is bouncing and apparently offline (at least in part). The police have apparently been called in to deal with the death threats, and the ERB is undergoing some sort of re-evaluation and re-configuration. And in response to all of this, the site's founder has gone some way towards justifying his actions by saying, bluntly, "Some have compared Elfwood with a democracy - but it is not: We are NOT a new geocities, and you cannot post whatever you want at our site - sorry."
All of which is true, but what he's failing to grasp is that a site that claims to be the home of tens of thousands of artists and writers can't suddenly evict them all, sans notice, and expect them to be waiting at his door when he opens it back up. Some further explanation or action is necessary, and soon, or "the largest Science Fiction and Fantasy art and fiction site in the entire world" is going to be nothing but a graveyard for amateur art and fiction.
Anyone have any further insights into what the hell is going on at Elfwood?