gwyn: (yuletide lights)
[personal profile] gwyn
From [personal profile] sineala, You've been in fandom a while. Is there something you miss from the olden days of fandom that no one does anymore? Or is there something that fandom does or has now that you wish you'd had way back when?

Man, yeah, there's a lot about fandom of yore I miss, and I think a lot of it was that sense of we were in a small group of people who weren't known much, and so we were all in this together. Now it's this thing that's talked about endlessly in the media, there are people who have academic careers built on it studying us like we're lab monkeys, everything's out there and in public. Which--it's great because you don't have to be mentored into things anymore, you can start doing fandom sort of right out of the box and if you're a person in a hostile space or live somewhere remote, you can still have fannish connections with people, you don't have to have enough money to get to a con in order to make connections or find an ad in a magazine and write away for zines.

But the flipside is that we have these shitty-ass communities that mock and sneer at and attack fic writers and vidders and artists, we have people who steal fannish content and appropriate it, we have anon hate and all that kind of crap. We have corporations making money off of fans and thriving on our energies. I was talking with someone recently about how now that Yuletide is so huge, we have a lot of people who create sock puppets just to get gift fics and don't do anything in return, there are tons of people who participate who really only do it for themselves or to try to become popular in as many places as they can. We have these awful sites like Yuletide Coal, because sure, why not shit on the people who are providing this entertainment for free out of their own time as gifts for other people.

There's no way to put the genie back in the bottle, and I love that people who might not have been able to find fandom can now, but god, I miss that sense of community, I miss the world where the levels of wank and shittery were much lower, and there wasn't so much anonymized hatred out there for the cowards and mean girls. I was actually feeling like, the other day, I almost kind of missed the days of personal web sites for fic and web rings! Simply because it wasn't about this relentless popularity contest, and you didn't see fans getting attacked in their own story comments sections.

Certainly there were assholes back in the day, god knows there were plenty of them, but I honestly can't remember anyone ever saying "you should just kill yourself" because someone's story didn't provide them the proper level of free entertainment and apparently backbuttoning was too difficult for them. Certainly there were people who mocked or laughed at someone's fanfic or their fannish personality, but I can't remember the vitriol I've seen heaped on people or felt myself just because someone doesn't like your fanworks.

There's so much more to choose from, obviously, so much more fic and vids and art, and you don't have to pony up $20 for a zine all the time or go to cons so you can bid on original art. And that is cool, it really is. But I miss the...smallness of it, I guess, the community that felt a little stronger, a little more loving, and less fractured.

And to end on a more positive note, one thing I would have killed for back then, though? Digital media. There are times I hate like hell what's going on with the vidding landscape as programs disappear and codecs stop updating and media conglomerates make it harder to distribute vids, but holy hell is it so much easier to work, once you can get things finessed. I think about a vid like Hallo Spaceboy, with so many different types of source and being able to completely change the look of clips and "age" them and all that stuff...and I boggle. Of course the tech had to evolve, that's how it goes, but back then, oh the things we might have been able to do!

Date: 2016-12-31 10:14 am (UTC)
sperrywink: (Avengers Steve Bucky Back Shield)
From: [personal profile] sperrywink
It's amazing the differences 20 years will bring about. I am one of the ones that didn't know fandom existed in the 90s, so I am happy for the wider audience to some degree since it allowed me to find fandom, but at the same time I get what you mean.

Date: 2016-12-31 10:44 am (UTC)
mlyn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mlyn
I hate saying "yes to all of this" when you've been in fandom about twice as long as me, but: yes to all this.

Date: 2016-12-31 05:51 pm (UTC)
dine: (cane hand)
From: [personal profile] dine
oh man, every word rings so true - you've nailed it exactly

Date: 2016-12-31 08:47 pm (UTC)
ranalore: (cave fen)
From: [personal profile] ranalore
Co-signed so hard. I feel like the openness of fandom now also better facilitates multi-fannishness, but the dark side of that is definitely the facilitation of assholishness. I feel like there's a lower signal to noise ratio now.

Date: 2016-12-31 09:59 pm (UTC)
jenab: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenab
Yes to all of this.

There are benefits to fandom now but also a lot of darkness in the form of more attacks on people. I miss that sense of community I found nearly 20 years ago and don't know if I would have lasted as long as I had if I found fandom now.

Date: 2017-01-01 03:15 am (UTC)
sineala: Detail of The Unicorn in Captivity, from The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry (Default)
From: [personal profile] sineala
Thank you so much for answering my question! Honestly I figured that you were going to pick digital vidding because I am in awe of anyone who could do anything with two VCRs, but yeah... now that the barrier to fandom entry is a lot lower, you can get... a lot of behavior I think you never saw as much before.

Date: 2017-01-01 05:34 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yeah, I really really miss that tight-knit sense of community. It feels a lot larger and more diffuse and nowhere near as welcoming now.

(The other thing I really hate is so much of the academic work on fandom and fannishness that I see is just awful. It's like an application of French literary theory to fanfic, and I hated it when that was being applied to books and movies. Argle.)

Happy new year!

Date: 2016-12-31 06:57 pm (UTC)
fenris_wolf0: So innocent it hurts! (Default)
From: [personal profile] fenris_wolf0
As a confirmed stalker of your LJ, I thought I should leave a word to say I agree 100% with your post and this is a great opportunity to wish you an excellent 2017!

I am probably showing my fandom years, but I find the current fandom platforms both very convenient for the consumption of fandom media and much worse at communications with identifiable other fans.

While I love the anonymity we take for granted in fandom, it is hard to avoid noticing that some seem to think it means it is acceptable to behave like hateful trolls at the drop of hat, using a completely weird level of vitriol.

Anyway, thank you for your posts which are always interesting and worth reading: then again, I admit I am biaised since I have loved your fanfics for so long and still would happily read your grocery list!

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