From the editor of Dimensions Magazine....
Another year ended, and it's time to reflect a bit about all that's happened in 1997.
The development of the Dimensions Online website has exceeded my expectations. Much of the credit for that goes to Dani Osborne who became Dimension's Online Editor when we merged her wonderful BBWQT site (which we'd been hosting for a while) into Dimensions Online earlier this year. Dani has done an outstanding job managing and improving a site that has grown into a very large and comprehensive resource, one that you can spend hours perusing, and one where you'll always find something new and interesting.
Dani also set up our bulletin boards which have become centers of spirited discussion for numerous BBWs and FAs. There are days when more than a hundred new notes get posted on a board, and it's always nice to come home from work, fire up the old modem, sit back, and take in all the new posts. Some of the discussion going on is really first class and I wish we could capture it and make it available to all Dimensions readers.
I'm told that many people also enjoy our chat facilities. However, Dani and I are still looking for something that's a bit slicker and faster, so expect some changes in the coming year.
Dimensions Online has become so big that despite our relentless work, some people have emailed me asking when the site will be updated. It is, of course, updated every day, but sometimes that's not obvious because we're working on certain sections while others don't change for a while. I do feel bad, for example, for the slow progress on the Future Plumpers section. There is a lot of interest in that area, and we get new nominees all the time, but creating high-quality new pages takes a lot of time. A couple of people answered our call for "Pagemasters," people responsible for certain sections. Karl Niedershuh's excellent pages on Ann Wilson and Janeane Garofalo are a great example of what happens when we get help.
And speaking of help, we are thrilled at how many of you have contributed to the "Weight Room" this year. What started as just a small collection of stories I found on my hard drive is now probably the largest archive of weight-related fiction anywhere. Together with the Weight Board and some other features, the Weight Room has become quite a fascinating place to explore and discuss weight-related fantasies.
I'm also thrilled to have Wilson Barbers' Fat Magic room as part of Dimensions Online. Wilson is one of the most dedicated and talented masters of FA fiction, and I really appreciate his wilingness to share, for free, so many of his stories.
In keeping with Dimensions' tradition of addressing both FAs AND those they admire, we have also beefed up our large size fashion coverage. Fashion editor Sandie Sabo has done a super job keeping us informed on what's hot and what's not, and she's also been instrumental in keeping Dimensions' Fashion Links list ahead and up-to-date.
Earlier in the year I shared my thoughts with you about the problems I see running both a print publication and an online site. There are both opportunities and problems. Few publications have figured out yet how to make an online publication financially feasible. Many have folded or become mere placeholders for a flood of commercial ads. I wanted to stay away from that, but, of course, eventually we'll need to make Dimensions Online at least self-supporting. First Virtual image sales defray some of the costs, but for the most part, Dimensions Online is subsidized by Dimensions Magazine and my other ventures. I received some very good feedback on how to address some of the problems this past year, but haven't really managed to implement much of it. And even though we have our webserver right here in our building, technology often still stymies me. Everything done on a UNIX system is complex. I know Apache can do individual password access, but I still haven't figured out how...
Even though we haven't put up any new morph experimetns, we get a surprising amount of feedback on them, and requests for more. I wish I had more time to play with Morph and Goo and all the other graphics programs. If you have anything interesting, by all means send it our way.
You may have also noticed that Dimensions is rapidly becoming THE place to get your size acceptance news. Thanks to our judicious use of online search robots, skillfully directed by Dani, you'll always know what happened in the areas of size discrimination and size acceptance. Hey, for the first time ever, even Radiance Magazine mentioned Dimensions as an important size acceptance source.
By and large, 1997 was a year where the concept of size acceptance has made significant strides. Several high publicity cases opened the public's eyes to the plight and issues of fat people. A large, glossy, commercial magazine named "Mode" was started, catering to the larger woman, and it seems to be doing well. And, after all warnings from the size acceptance movement had gone unheeded for several years, some popular diet drugs turned out to be dangerous disaster and were pulled from the market, leaving millions of people wondering whether they have been permanently harmed. Some fat people were actually angry that the drugs were removed from the market. Personally, I feel that even those who feel compelled to reducing their bodies into a size and shape approved by Cosmo and Shape magazines deserve better than a drug that zaps your herart valves.
In any case, the diet drug fiasco was a major publicity win for NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, an organization that Dimensions wholeheartedly endorses and supports. Not only had NAAFA and its spokespersons warned and testified against the drugs, but NAAFA had also initiated a much publicized lawsuit on behalf of some diet drug victims. Ten days later, the drugs were withdrawn from the market. Now, of course, every law firm in the country is suing the diet drug companies, and the whole tragedy has become a big gold rush. But only NAAFA had the guts to actually do something when thousands of doctors were still pushing the drugs.
There were also some disappointments during the year. A young man with a big ego started a website that borrowed heavily from Dimensions and a mailing list, and recruited me and some other size acceptance veterans to participate. He then established sort of an anti-NAAFA, publicly embarrassed me on his mailing list and threatened to throw me out. We're still listing his group in our Dimensions LinkMANIA section, and some of his devotees plug it on our bulletin boards. His rude behavior lost my and Dimensions' support and respect, but that doesn't mean that any good work they may do won't be appreciated.
Another sad case was the long-term ally who had his own website and who had often solicited my advice and then all of a sudden went berserk, attacking anyone in sight and sending me an unprovoked email message with threats and obscene insults of Dimensions' female members. I haven't heard from him since and he's been banned from our boards. I like to believe that the burdens of life just made him snap and he's on the way to recovery because, in many ways, I miss him and his words.
Other than these few dark clouds, things couldn't have been better at Dimensions. We cranked out some of our best issues ever, thanks to the best team of contributors I have ever had. Thanks Elizabeth Fisher, Josh Max, Barbara Altman Bruno, Bill Sherman, Hillel Schwartz, Dr. Moe Lerner, Kelly Bliss, Sally Smith, Sandie Sabo, and all the others who helped me make it happen! You're the best. And the website actually received NAAFA's coveted "Distinguished Achievement Award" last summer. That one largely belongs to Dani Osborne and all the folks who contributed to making Dimensions Online what it is today.
I am certain that 1998 will be a great year. Before the end of this month, our front page will have been accessed a million times since we started counting. And we will do anything we can to make Dimensions Online an even nicer and more fascinating place to hang out for large people and their admirers.
Sooo, Happy New Year to everyone!! May your fondest wishes come true. And thank you so much for being part of our family.
Conrad H. Blickenstorfer