MSTing is a process of eating fecal matter, regardless of its origins (bad fanfiction, or "badfic"), and regurgitating it with your own unfunny commentary stylized after the show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The term MST (an abbreviation for “Mystery Science Theater”), or alternately, Mary Sue Torture, can be used as either a noun or a verb. MSTs are inherently hilarious, like the original series, and are never filled with monotonous humor that amounts to little more than giggling at spelling errors repeatedly.
Creating An MST
Step One: Find Badfic.
It is not difficult for an aspiring MSTer to find a truly horrible fanfic on the internets. Just go to any website where people publish fanfiction and I promise you it will be harder to find a good one. See "Badfic Dumps" below if you've managed to escape the lulz, and congratulations on having a life.
In some MST communities it is considered good manners contact the original author by email beforehand to get their permission, but most MSTers think good manners are anti-lulz.
Step Two - The Riffers.
An integral part of an MST is choosing the cast of characters who will be "watching" the Badfic and mocking it. Traditionally, the robots Crow and Tom, and either Joel or Mike (depending on your season's preference) would do the riffing. Alternate choices include using characters from one particular show or game (ex: Cloud, Tifa, and Sephiroth), or just randomly picking your favorite characters from random places. Some people who are (or want to be) internet-famous use themselves and their friends as characters.
Many MSTs have long, detailed plots and stories to go along with them, explaining how their riffers are forced into reading bad fanfiction by their captors. The rest of the MSTers just assume you'll fill in the details yourself.
But since no one gives a single fuck about the characters and people who MST are themselves hacks who can not write "In-character", the end result is always the same: Everyone on the crew has the same personality - the MTSr's. That is why it's more easy to just skip the pointless choosing of characters and stop wasting everyone's time.
Step Three - The Riffing.
Riffing is accomplished by inserting snarky comments into the text of the fiction itself. Riffing, while not particularly difficult to do, especially if one puts aside all normally-followed rules governing written humor, is the most time-consuming part of creating and MST. It takes time to think of dozens of witty one-liners, especially when badfics are burning you eyes. Luckily there are many pre-formatted techniques that a would-be riffer can use like Madd Libs.
- Type One - Confusion
- Mr. Spock opened the door after he opened the door.
Joel: Is that physically possible?
- Type Two - Sarcasm
- Scully was jumped by gang members that night in a dark alley.
Tom: Scully always was the smart one, walking alone at night in the dark.
- Type Three - Interruption
- Sailor Moon walked up to Sailor Mars and
Crow: -They had wild passionate sexersize!
- Type Four - Oh Noes
- Warnings: Yes, theres Rape(M/M/b/b/b/g/dog), plus Angst.
Tom: Did that just say M/M/b/b/b/g/dog? Save me!
- Type Five - Reassurance
- Joel: Stay frosty, guys.
- Type six - In-jokes that only the MSTer gets
- Batman returned to his Batcave.
Crow: Just like Bob at work on Friday! Hee hee!
Important things to make fun of: Poor spelling, poor grammar, poor characterization, ambiguity in descriptions, the author's sexual preference.
Important MST cliches to perpetuate: Joel saying "Keep Frosty", Tom's head exploding, Crow making all the pervy jokes, mentioning other more popular MSTs.
Speaking of other MSTs, a great way to fill in missing lines of riff is to take them from other MSTs written by other MSTers, because everyone knows that if a line was funny once, it can always be funny again.
Keep in mind that to have an effective MST, the riffs should slowly shift from insulting the Badfic itself at the beginning, to directly insulting the author hirself by the end.
Step Four - ePublishing
Time to post the MST to the WWWorld! Be sure to post it to as many forums, websites, and drama communities as possible, because the secondary goal of MSTing behind author-dissing is to get glowing reader feedback. Be sure to add the disclaimer that (a) you are not making a profit on your MST because it's "just for fun", and (b) you really, really, really are only doing it for the lulz, not to damage the target author so they'll never write Badfic again. At the very least, beg the reader to consider the MST as amusing constructive criticism, no matter if it is actually constructive or not.
If done correctly and while traveling back in time to 1998, your unfunny copyright infringement might draw the attention of the designated lolcow or it's fantards and produce lulz in the following ways:
Sometimes the original author will find out that you made fun of his bad writing with your slightly less bad writing and confront you and your e-community directly. Here are some of the arguments he might use as to why you should delete your MST and apologize to him or her.
"You Used My Work Without Permission!" - Often when an author discovers their Badfic has been magically transformed into an MST, their first cry is "theft". The usual side-arguments of copyright infringement (which is hilarious because that is what the original fanfic is anyway), harassment and damaged reputation are frequently brought into it. According to Internet Law, the author is entitled to bring the offending MSTer to Internet Court, which usually bubbles down to both sides declaring themselves the victor. Besides, parody is allowed when it comes to copyrights. But who cares about that?
"You Hurt My Feelings!" - Despite the loud and proudly stated claims by the MSTer that insulting the author in a personal way was completely unintended, many "victims" of MSTing still hold fast to their belief that MSTers are just another form of Trolls, whose sole purpose is to cause flame wars and broken e-hearts to amuse themselves. Contradictory statements are always the best retort for this, both conflicting with the author's statements and the other statements by the MSTer themselves. In other words: Just troll the fuck out of them by acting stupid and watch them rage on as they try to make sense of your nonsensical arguments.
"You MST Because You're Not Creative Enough To Write Fic Yourself!" - At first this may seem like a valid argument based on truth and fact. However, can the author really infer that he/she/it is creative when he/she/it is writing cliche-crusted X-Files fanfiction? I didn't think so. This is pretty much the classic DA style defense of: "OMG UR JUST JEALOUS! IF YOU DON'T LIKE DON'T LOOK! ID LIKE TO SEE YOU DO BETTER!". Which is even more hilarious in this case because, unlike actually drawing something, opening up a notepad and writing fanficition requires even less skill and exactly no effort.
"I WILL MST YOU BACK!" - Targets of MSTing often end up trying to write their own MST as some sort of revenge or attempt to join the community/prove they are not butthurt. This almost always ends in failure as everyone just floods their thread with bad reviews, MST's their MST, reminds them they are not welcome there and just continue to troll. Ending with the faggot getting mad again and rage quitting.
Common Drama In MST Threads
"No comments! :(" - One of the common complaints among MSTers is the lack of reader feedback they receive. Usually they find out that the best solution is to whine and beg people in their communities to read it.
MST3K crew or Other? - Another common argument in the MST community is the validity and "goodness" of an MST if the cast of riffers differs from the traditional. This stems from the fact that all MSTers are snobs.
Joel or Mike? - Only ask this question when you are looking to incite over 9,000 pages of lulzy fans battling it out in capslock.
Places and Faces
- Shuuichi's Vault of Anime Mistings - Known for having well-written MSTs and an elitist community. Formerly "Shinji's Vault of Anime Mistings", which was eventually destroyed from the inside out when one of the people running the site suffered a fatal case of Internet Asshole Disease (See Also: Lowtax Syndrome).
- Smartania - A group that does the ripping in bit of a different way, which they call "hacking". They think we shouldn't include them in this list of MST sites, but we are more persistent than they are, and we shall have fun posting it anyway.
- Project A.F.T.E.R. - Another alternative MST site that doesn't use a cast of characters or any bullshit back story for the riffing. For this reason it is commonly denounced by "real" MSTers who know that building a cohesive and detailed plotline is what really makes the MSTs funny.
Bad Fanfiction Goldmines
- FanFiction.Net - Drama ensued when this popular fanfiction website banned the posting of MSTs. But no one can stop you from copy/pasting the fanfiction and posting it elsewhere.
- AdultFanFiction.Net - MST refugees from FanFiction.Net sometimes post their shit on Adultfanfiction.net despite it sometimes lacking the pr0ns. Otherwise, it is a MiSTer's dream come true.
- Fandomination.net - Mostly dead, but weeaboos still post fictions here. Good luck finding one since you have to join the site to actually read anything.
- Oscar - Probably the most well-known victim of MSTing since his sexual preference is "cat". He also may be the most well-known hermaphrodite in the fanfiction world.
- Daveykins - Best known for his terrible and often racist Sailor Moon and Sonic the Hedgehog self-insertion fanfictions, as well as for his god damn mullet. The only person who still gets mad at MSTing in spite of it being dead for over a decade.