morgandawn: Fandom is my Fandom (Fandom is my Fandom)
[personal profile] morgandawn

From 2007, a fan muses about how fandom communities are created, the Fourth Wall and the futility of policing other fans:

Fast-forward to, oh, about 1996 or so. Those among us who were in online fandom at the time will know what I mean when I say I have one word: Buffy. Other fandoms were born around the same time, and were taking advantage of new express lanes on the information superhighway (remember when the media called it that? *g*) as fast as they could be built….The WB’s marketing team went all-out with the new Web toys like kids on Christmas morning, and gave us *drumroll* the Bronze  [a forum/bulletin board]….

And then the inevitable happened: People who wouldn’t know a fanzine if it bit ‘em on the hand, and who would picture a guy in stripes with a ball and chain if you said “con,” were writing fanfic. And posting it to the board. Y’know, the board where half the writing and production staff, two or three of the cast (beware of bored Alyson Hannigan procrastinating painting her ceiling!), and of course Big Ol’ Geekboy Joss himself, were sometimes wasting as much time as the rest of us. At least every other day we had to explain to some lovely, enthusiastic person that there were places for that, and it wasn’t here. Because if you did it here, they would have to take our toys away.

Now, this in and of itself was nothing new. There had always been the need to grab someone by the back of the belt and yank them back from the edge of the Lunatic Fringe cliff. Or, if they were particularly determined, cut our losses and hide until the “thud” stopped echoing through the canyon and the dust settled. But now we were running out of hands to grab all those belts, not just on the Bronze but all over the place. Peer education is easy when a trickle of true believers is stumbling on your doorstep. When they’re arriving in Ellis Island droves, you’d better accept that they’re going to start forming their own communities.

Which is, in fact, exactly what’s happened. At this stage of the game there’s a lot of hinky intersection, especially in spaces like LJ with a wide generational and experience range. But there are also parallel spaces where fannish creativity is flourishing with little or no contact with what I’ve been calling, for want of a better term, “traditional fandom.” Some of them have outright rejected what we try to tell them, and I’m not sure they’re entirely wrong to do so. Yeah, we’re just trying to give them the benefit of our own experience, but when it comes right down to it? We’re trying to cover our own asses. Fandom is by its very nature an anarchic structure. When one or more of us say “Stop peeing in the pool, ya dumb kids!” (and I’ve seen it phrased both more and less tactfully and/or effectively), we have exactly as much authority as the addressee chooses to give us.”

Source: “Take two Excedrin and call me when the dust settles” dated May 26, 2007

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