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Content Rules

Jump quickly to: Ownership, Copyrights, and Plagiarism; Dates and Previous Competitions; Submission Limits by Count; Submission Completeness; Real People in Fiction; Mature Content; Submission Approval Process.

The X-Day 2004 competition is by default an all-ages event, and all of the main pages should be harmless to children of any age, as should many of the submissions; there are fewer restrictions on the created works that you submit. The degree of restrictions on submissions themselves will vary depending on the category. The baseline for any image-based work to be accepted is PG13, while text-based works like fan fiction are more liberal and can contain a small amount of NC17 or R material; see the "Mature Content" section for details. This page also covers some other legal issues related to content, such as ownership and copyrights. It also covers limitations by other means, such as creation dates.

To handle the hopefully rare situations where a participant or created work has been banned from X-Day, such as when the participant is accused of plagiarism, or the created work seems inappropriate, there is an appeal process for the participant or creator if they disagree with the decision. A board will be appointed to review denounced cases, so that the situation is dealt with fairly. The details for the appeal process, and the criteria that a board would use to make the initial decisions, still need to be written, so public feedback on this is welcome.

Ownership, Copyrights, and Plagiarism

All works submitted to X-Day, either for listing or competing, must have their submission endorsed by their creators. All creators of a submitted work must have registered an X-Day 2004 Participant Account, and the detail records for the submitted work will be linked to each one of them; a creator gives their permission to have the work listed by adding a link to it from their account. A work whose submission is not endorsed by all of its creators may not be submitted to X-Day 2004.

The primary exception to this rule applies to web sites, where only co-owners must give permission; other contributors to a web site do not have to give permission. A similar second exception concerns fan fiction submissions that have accompanying illustration images made for the fan fiction by someone else; the artist that made the images does not need to give permission. A third exception concerns works that are created collectively by certain types of corporate groups.

When a work is created as a collaborative effort by a group of people, and there is no clear distinction as to which individuals in the group worked on it, or a group member wishes the group as a whole to be given credit instead of the individual, then the ownership of the work can be ascribed to the group as a whole, rather than to one or more individuals. To facilitate this, X-Day provides the means to create more than one type of participant account. The normal type of participant account is for individuals, and a second type is for collectives. Both types of participant accounts can submit works, but only the individual type can vote or leave feedback. An official representative of a group (such as its founder or leader or owner) may create a single collective account for that group, and only that one group representative needs to give permission to submit a work, by linking that group's account to it. Not all types of groups qualify for a group account; to qualify, the group must have its own web site and its own name; an X-Day staff member must also approve the account. Group accounts are only intended for use in exceptional circumstances, and not for most works; most of the time you should link multiple individual accounts to a work instead.

Individual people who are members of a group that has a collective participant account may have their own individual participant accounts in addition to the group having one, to display works that are their own and do not belong to the group.

If a submitted work contains material that was taken from some other work not owned by the same person as the submitted work, then that other person must be appropriately credited for their contribution. For example, if you quote a text excerpt for a discussion in your fan fiction, then its source must be cited in the fan fic. For another example, if you use an image created by someone else on your website, your web site must cite the source and creator of the image. If you use an image created by someone else to illustrate your fan fiction submission, it must be credited.

Plagiarism is among the worst things you can do creatively or professionally. This means taking other people's work, in whole or in part, and claiming that it is your own. Plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification from the X-Day competition, and perhaps banning from future competitions.

Dates and Previous Competitions

You may submit works of any age (including previous prize winners) to be listed in the X-Day showcase, where they can receive feedback comments.

The X-Day competition is more restrictive, and generally speaking, all works that compete in X-Day 2004 must have been created or significantly changed during the last year. Conceptually, this time frame is the year between when X-Day 2003 was held and now. In reality, anything that you worked on after January 1st of 2003 will be accepted, unless it won an Nth-Prize award (or competed) in X-Day 2003. These date limitations typically apply to static works only. If the work is dynamic and regularly updated, like a web site, then it can compete again even if it won before, since the current work isn't the same as what won before.

If a web site was not updated since last year, then it is considered static and may not compete. A web site must be modified significantly in the last year to compete. As for fic/art, they are usually static; but if a fanfic/art is significantly changed so that one would consider it a different work, then it can compete as a new work. The details regarding the degree of change required may get spelled out here later, but more likely this is just a matter of common sense and/or it is subject to staff arbitration.

Submission Limits by Count

Each X-Day 2004 account, whether belonging to a single person or a corporate group, can submit a relatively large number of works to the X-Day showcase, where they can receive feedback comments from other participants. But each account is limited to a small number of works that can also compete against other works to get votes for Nth-Place awards and possible prizes.

Each account may submit up to 10 works to the showcase, any number of which can be in the same category, and receive feedback on them.

Each account may also select up to 5 of these works in their showcase to compete for Nth-Place awards, but only 1 may compete in each specific category. Note that every work by definition exists in only one category, so you can not shift the category of a work just to make more works of the same kind able to compete for an Nth-Place award.

Works that have multiple individual creators would compete exactly once between all of them. However, that work contributes to each person's competitive work limit inversely proportionally to the number of creators, which increases the number of competing works that a person's name is attached to. But the total of competing works between the sharing parties is still the same. For example, if work A and work B are each created by a partnership of creator C and creator D, and both works compete, then each work contributes 0.5 to each creator's limit of 5; each creator has used 1.0 altogether against their limit; between the 2 creators, 2.0 has been used for the 2 works, and each may have 4 additional works compete that they made on their own.

Submission Completeness

Every work you submit must be separate and distinct. Please don't submit multiple chapters of a novel as individual works in the Short Stories fan fiction category and then also enter the entire work in the Novella category. Use common sense - if you wrote a novel, enter it as a novel unless you really feel some part of it works as a short story. Likewise, do not enter multiple parts of a serial as separate submissions; rather, submit all parts as a single serial submission.

When a fan fiction story comes in multiple chapters or parts, all parts are submitted as a single entry and the total word length will indicate in what category it's listed. The one exception to this is serial fiction. A series is a plot arc composed of stories that are, in themselves, complete works, and that depend on one another for sense to a lesser degree than book chapters. In order to qualify as a serial, the work should have at least four stories. Duologies or trilogies should be treated as one story with two or three parts, and submitted as a single work with a combined wordcount and entered in the appropriate category.

As an exception to the above two rules, you may submit individual parts of a serial or duology or trilogy, *instead* of the combinant whole, if each submitted part will work as a separate story, and can be wholly understood by someone who has not read any of the other parts. This exception is given so that bias against multiple stories that are separate but take place in the same continuity is avoided.

ALL fan fiction submissions must be complete. Readers can't properly evaluate a half-finished story. There will be awards again next year (we hope), so save your works-in-progress. The only exception to this is with serial fiction (but not Round-Robins); even in those cases, you must have at least 4 parts, and the end of the last one must be at a logical pause (not a cliff-hanger).

Real People in Fiction

This section refers to the insertion of real people or organizations into created works such as fan fiction, fan art, fan costumes, and fan media, portraying them as a character within the fiction. This section does not refer to informational references to real people on web sites, or in bibliographies or footnotes, as these are not part of a fiction itself.

Any real person, or thinly disguised version thereof, that is used in a fictional story must not be depicted to have any sexual or romantic relationships with fictional characters. No real person slash. No exceptions.

Real life public figures or organizations, such as governments or government members or organizations, must be depicted with no significant alteration to or in compliance with their public image or actions. ("No significant alteration" means that you can depict a public figure doing something minor, such as playing a game or singing a song, that you don't actually know they would do in real life. But what you can not do is depict them in a way that would be considered libel or slander if it was said in real life.) Public figures can also be depicted without the depicted person's permission.

Real life private figures, such as other fans, may not be depicted at all without that person's verifiable permission. Moreover, the depicted person must approve the way in which they were used for the story. If a thinly disguised version of a person is used, then that person still needs to give their permission.

Self-insertion of the author into a fiction, which can take the form of a new character thinly based on the author, and which usually has said person having a major role in the story, is allowed.

Mature Content

Generally speaking, all submissions having content which may be harmful to children 12 years old or younger must carry explicit content warnings among their descriptions that are posted on the X-Day web site. The work's creator can by default write this how they like, though the X-Day manager or staff reserves the right to have them change the warning (or add it in the first place), compliance with which is mandatory. The content warnings should say briefly the kind and scale of possibly-harmful content is in the work so that individual visitors are better informed in support of deciding for themselves whether to view it.

In brief, the main types of content to warn about are those that are either pornographic or violent or abusive. Minor things like a character smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer probably don't need to be warned against.

In case there was any question about it, "slash" is *not* banned from X-Day by default. This refers to any meaning of the word, though it is referred to here in its broadest meaning where it genericly means a story that focuses on the relationship between two people, usually romantic and sometimes sexual. Both "slash" and "non-slash" stories may compete on even terms, as long as they don't violate any other content rules, mentioned further below.

While works themselves may contain mature content, all of their descriptive details that appear on the X-Day website must be completely free of mature content. For example, the titles of works may not contain adult phrases, and nor may their introductory descriptions. These can display to a visitor before they have a chance to be dissuaded by content warnings. Similarly, no mature phrases may appear in the personal profile of an X-Day participant.

The degree of restrictions on submissions themselves will vary depending on the category. The baseline for any image-based work to be accepted is PG13, while text-based works like fan fiction are more liberal and can contain a small amount of NC17 or R material; see below for details. Works that are G or PG13 are accepted in all categories. Anything created with the intent of being pornography, rather than telling a story, is banned. Any work created such that the creator's intent is that the work be obscene, is banned (this does not refer to coincidental obscenity).

Highly visual works like Fan Artwork and Fan Costumes and Fan Media have the greatest restrictions, since they can be entirely absorbed by a visitor within seconds. Whereas, fully text-based Fan Fiction will have fewer restrictions. If text-based fan fiction has accompanying illustrations, then the illustrations must meet the requirements for fan art; the fan fiction rules refer to the text portions only. Fan web sites have all of the same restrictions applied to their content as fan artwork or fan media, unless otherwise stated here.

All fan art and fan costumes and fan media submissions may not have any pornographic content, or nudity (frontal or otherwise), or any kind of sadistic behaviour or graphic violence. No sex-related paraphernalia may be shown, nor any related fluids. No BSDM. Smaller amounts of violence can be shown, such as a couple characters "duking it out", and small amounts of blood (including the color red) or bruises or scrapes can be shown, but no copious amounts of blood (such as spraying or spattering). No dead bodies. No torture of any kind may be shown. Costumes and clothing need to be decent enough that someone can go in public with it, or to a public beach (non-nude, non-topless). No appearance that a character is prostituting themselves (based on modern conceptions). If there is text or speech within fan art or fan costumes or fan media, either captions or speech bubbles, the words must not exceed PG13 standards.

All text accompanying a fan fiction story, such as footnotes or headings or forwards, are subject to the same restrictions as the main body of the story. Mainly, no hard-core sexual scenes are allowed. No graphic scenes of torture or sadistic behaviour. No BSDM. No excessive violence. Besides the aforementioned, fan fiction content rules are fairly liberal, and other types of content that were banned in fan art are allowed in fan fiction.

All fan web sites must follow the same rules in regards to their content as individual fan art or fan fiction submissions do. Fan web sites containing art or text that wouldn't be allowed to compete on their own won't be allowed to compete in aggregate. As an exception to this rule, if the website is clearly partitioned such that the inelligible content is walled off into a "separate site" which is behind a clearly warning-filled gateway page, then the elligible portion of the site may be entered on its own merits. Content warnings as applicable to the "front website" must still be provided in the submission description, however. If a web site is not partitioned, such that elligible and non-ellible works appear side by side, then the web site is banned.

For those of you not familiar with some of the above terms, here's a bit of an explainer. "hard core" refers to graphic descriptions of sexual acts, describing them in great detail such that it is like you are watching a movie of it; also, sexual organs and related fluids tend to be mentioned frequently, and often named using a wide variety of slang terms. "BSDM" refers to a class of usually sadistic activities or devices that are used in conjunction with sex or erotica by some people; it is a catch-all term for things like: "bondage", "masochism", whips, chains, torture, etc. In practice, the use of BSDM usually overlaps with "hard core" though it sometimes may not, and lots of "hard core" is not BSDM. Both of them are entirely banned from X-Day.

It is recognized by the X-Day staff that some quality fan creations do exist which will be banned from X-Day based on their content, but this decision has been made so that X-Day is better off as a whole. Of course, you are still perfectly free to publish such fan creations on other forums.

Submission Approval Process

When you submit a created work using the forms provided by this web site, it will be listed immediately on the public site (that anyone can see) and you will be able to test that it looks correct and that the provided hyperlinks to it work. You can do all of your own testing before a staff member looks, and it can save you from non-approval for such reasons as broken hyperlinks.

The public web site actually has two main listing sections, one having the works that were just submitted but not approved by an X-Day staff member, and the other having works that were approved. Since the first portion contains works that have not been checked for elligibility (whether for mature content or other reasons), the entire section will be marked as a place to be avoided by children. Only when works are approved would they move to the other section where the individual warnings take precedence.

After at least 24 hours has passed from the submission of a work, to make sure you have fixed broken links et al, an X-Day staff member will look at the un-approved submission and evaluate it for normal listing. If it is approved then you are done. If not, then the staff member would ask you to change something so that it can be approved, or alternately they would say the work simply is inelligible and ask you to delete it.

Note that an X-Day staff member reserves the right at any time up to when the competitive voting period begins to un-approve a submission after it was approved (usually either because the submission changed or the earlier approval was deemed a mistake). An un-approved submission goes back to the place it was shown when first added.

Only approved submissions may be given feedback or compete for an award.

Near the end of X-Day, usually when the voting period begins and the submission details are frozen against further changes, any un-approved submissions will be deleted from the system; then only approved ones will appear on the website.

Last Updated: 2006 March 4.

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