First Results: Fandom History & Interaction Survey

Yesterday on kind of a whim after a discussion about fandom and our own experiences within it, a couple of friends and I ended up throwing together a survey to ask other people about how they’ve been involved with fandom and fandom discourse/wank/drama. Initially I didn’t think there would be very many responses, but the fact that there has been (a little over 325 in under 24 hours!) suggests to me that people are interested in sharing their fandom experiences, and the response that I’ve gotten to the survey on Twitter tells me that other people are interested in the results.

I do want to offer a disclaimer before showing any of the results: everything is anonymous, and while I could have asked Google to make people sign in to complete the survey and ensure that they only did it once, I decided against it in fairness to people who don’t want their results associated with the Google account, people who don’t have Google accounts, and in the event that Google would show me people’s emails. I don’t want that information. The demographic info I asked for was to see trends in who was responding, not identification purposes. Additionally, the data that we decided to collect isn’t for an intricate study on human behavior–I came up with in an afternoon (literally yesterday), and so the questions haven’t been run through IRB approval. If I were doing things totally right, they would have had to have been. That said, the survey is voluntary. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who’ve responded, and the depth in the open-ended question responses tells me that fans care about this sort of thing.

The questions were as unbiased as we could make them–there are a few instances where I left off “non-applicable” instructions, and while one person has said it’s biased not to include it, the reason is honestly because by that point I figured most people would know to put it if it didn’t apply to them (and most people did). Because I have no way of knowing who answered what, I have asked questions about sending and receiving hate messages. The point of the survey is not to judge people who have sent them, but to understand why they were sent in the first place, and to talk about trends in discourse. It was my first attempt at making a survey of this kind of scale, and now going through and looking at the first round of data collection.

If you’re interested in taking the survey, you can do so here.

Demographic Information

Age Range Chart 5.25 11.30AM.PNG

As of right now, the responses in this survey are split primarily between people who are in the larger age range of 19-30 (green, purple, and blue), and a few responses from people who are just under or just over that range. There have been a couple responses from fans in their 40’s and 50’s, and none so far from anyone under 13.

I left the response to describe gender open-ended; on the one hand, it does make data collection and viewing a little trickier (no pie-chart or graph), but on the other, there are a lot of different ways people can identify. That said, the majority of the responses are from people who identify as women.  Next is nonbinary, then agender, male, genderqueer, fluid, and questioning. Some people chose to include that they are trans or cis.

At first glance, it looked like most people responding to sexuality were answering “Bisexual,” though at a later look, it seems fairly divided between bisexual, ace-spectrum, lesbian, heterosexual, queer, and gay–though there are plenty answering anywhere in between, including demi, pansexual, and fluid. (Knowing how people are responding now, I think when I make a follow-up survey on shipping I’ll be able to make a multiple choice option and not feel as worried about excluding anyone.)

Location Chart 5.25 11.50AM.PNG

There are…a lot of countries here, and some of the country codes put places like the UK up in the G’s (I assume because “Great Britain,” but again, first time doing this sort of thing).  The big portion of the graph is the United States. The next largest portions are the UK (5.4%), Germany (4%), Canada (5.7%), and Australia (3.1%). Also represented are countries such as: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Switzerland, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland, India, Pakistan, Italy, Mexico, and more. What we can say is that fandom experiences reach across the globe.

We can also say, however, that some of the answers in the survey are going to be tilted more towards an American experience.

Finally, when it comes to demographics, we hit the question of race and cultural background. I left this one open ended too–not everyone is going to describe their race and ethnicity in the same terms an American would, but even for American folk who filled out the survey, I wanted there to be the opportunity to describe what they see as theirs. The majority of people responding to this survey are, as of right now, white, but it’s interesting to see that some people include their class upbringing, their heritage in terms of cultural identity, and how there’s difference between cultural identity and racial identity.

Fandom History

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Most people responding to this survey have been around fandom for upwards of five years, which I think provides the opportunity to talk about how fandom has grown or changed for better or worse.

People have been in a lot of different fandoms, but here are a few that keep popping up in the terms of this particular survey:

  • Harry Potter
  • Voltron Legendary Defenders
  • Yuri!!! On Ice
  • Anime (in general)
  • KPop
  • Free!
  • Attack on Titan/SnK
  • Final Fantasy
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Star Wars
  • DC Comics
  • Marvel
  • Dragon Age
  • Homestuck
  • Hetalia
  • Steven Universe
  • Jonas Brothers
  • Supernatural
  • Naruto
  • Teen Wolf
  • Les Miserables
  • Bandom
  • Star Trek
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Sherlock
  • X-Files
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!

This isn’t a full list (Google Forms and the data sent to a Google Sheet aren’t great for this kind of information providing), but it does give us an idea of where a lot of overlap happens.  These seem to be the fandoms people include the most.

Many people who are engaging with fandom are creating within it: while some responses state that they mainly look at or read fanwork and participate in discussions within the fandom, a good majority of responses are from people who create some kind of fanwork.

Fanwork

Engage with fanwork 5.25 12.21PM.PNG

Big duh.

Reading Fanfiction 5.25 12.22PM

Most people are reading fanfiction. (By the way, if the numbers seem off between here and the first image, it’s because the survey is still live, and there are still people taking it.)

Fanfic Commenting 5.25 12.24PM

…But not everyone who reads fanfiction comments on it.

The next question asks about when/why people do comment, or why they don’t.

When Commenting Fanfic 5.25

Most of the explanations for when people comment are short, but there are a few longer explanations that provide a little more insight about people’s opinions towards commenting:

I only comment on great occasion when I’m particularly impressed with a writing style or if an author takes a common concept being written in the fandom and puts their own spin on it to make it something new. I respect the creativity and effort that takes. This isn’t to say other fanworks aren’t worth comment, I just don’t like leaving comments that say nothing unique about the work. Kudos on AO3 are essentially saying “I like this” and while some people like to leave kudos and leave a comment saying “I like this”, it feels redundant to me because it tells you nothing. In addition to that, I have trouble with the validation culture that fan-fiction writing breeds. If people berate others for leaving kudos instead of comments, I’m not likely to kudos or comment no matter how talented a person is. If people say they will only continue the work if they get enough feedback on the first chapter, I won’t read the rest of it. If I find authors excessively insecure, I tend not to read them because they’re the types who let fans’ negative or positive opinions influence their stories. I like to read works written by people who believe in their ideas and have a story they want to tell.

Social anxiety seems to be one factor in why people don’t comment as often as maybe they otherwise might, as well as worrying that what they want to say has already been said. However, as in cases like the response above, some people might have concerns about the way people in fandom need validation–and that perhaps we encourage people to need validation so much that it’s just as bad to give into it as to crave it.

How to share Fanfic 5.25

Sending fic to people who might like it seems like the number one way people share work they enjoy. That said, a lot of the “other” response say that they don’t share it at all, though some people draw fanart of the fanfic.

I went through basically the same questions with fanart that I provided for fanfic, and while the sharing method is different (there aren’t rec lists for fanart), there were some similarities.

Finding Fanart 5.25.PNG

There are a lot more people who don’t seek out more fanart than there are people who don’t read/aren’t interested in finding more fanfiction. There could be a few explanations for this: 1, when you have a Tumblr or Twitter feed filled with your favorite artists, you don’t necessarily need to go outside that bubble to find more–someone is probably going to share something you like anyway. 2, fanart might not necessarily be something people have to seek out. Or 3, which is suggested by responses to a later question: some people don’t go into tags for a ship or character because they don’t like going into the tags thanks to posts by other fans. It might not be any of those reasons, or a combination of them.

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Roughly the same amount of people who read fanfiction are looking at fanart. (Again, probably, duh.)

Now regarding commenting on fanart. It might appear that fanart gets wider reception within fandom–probably because we can all visibly see when it’s reblogged–but more often than not, people aren’t commenting on fanart. They might include something in the tags when they reblog it, but it seems like for whatever reason we as fans are reticent in giving feedback on anything, even if we like it. It could be nerves, though some responses state that it doesn’t feel necessary. So this (as someone who isn’t a fanartist) was interesting to see, especially when we get to later responses.

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Fanart is definitely easier to reblog, though.

Creating fanwork.PNG

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The other fanwork that people create include cosplay, memes, shitposts, RPs, and animations.

Most of the work being produced are for some of the fandoms previously listed. Name-dropped frequently were:

  • DC Comics
  • Voltron
  • Star Wars
  • Free!
  • Harry Potter
  • Teen Wolf
  • Hetalia
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Star Trek
  • Supernatural
  • Yuri!!! on Ice

Something I was super interested in while making this survey was the question of, if people used to create fanwork, why they stopped. I got a few different responses, many along the lines of falling out of enjoyment with the given fandom, lack of time, and a few other reasons. Here are a few that really stuck out, though:

No longer creating 5.25

Others include the following:

I’m answering this because my output for fanworks has dropped majorly. I’ve largely stopped creating fan works aside from meta complaining or criticizing fandom because the fandoms I’ve been in didn’t make me feel valued as a creator. No one ever talked to me about my content (but they’d talk to other people about it) and I basically got sick of churning out work for little or no commentary from the people in my fandom.

I stopped creating for my first fandoms because I lost interest in the “creating” part, mostly because I was a beginner, not only as a writer, but as a language speaker. Spanish is my mother language, and the aimed public was English-speaking, so writing in English when I could barely speak it was too hard. Not to mention I’m a perfectionist. I ended up deleting my oldest works and closing my account.

I do have periods of not wanting to do it anymore. The lack of engagement of the fandom with fanfiction kills the will to make new things. If nobody comments on your fics, an author can spiral into a cycle of “oh I guess nobody actually likes this” and not have enjoyment out of creating anymore. It becomes work – which nobody pays for – and that is too draining to continue.

Burnout seems to be a major issue for writers particularly (though I won’t say that it doesn’t affect artists, too). It can be difficult writing primarily in a second language, and it can be disheartening to not get any feedback. On the one hand we might argue that we should be writing for ourselves and our own enjoyment especially knowing the infrequency with which people might comment, but on the other it can get people down–and according to these responses it does feel good when people take notice of your work.

Other instances of people leaving what they were doing had to do with it not being enjoyable anymore. An RP community became an unpleasant place with an “us v. them” mentality, people weren’t enjoying writing or creating anymore, and these things happen with any interest.

This, however, was one of the most startling responses:

I don’t know if this will be relevant in the future of this so I’m just going to tell you this now. Last year, I got reported to the FBI for writing an incest abuse fanfiction involving fictional characters by someone on Tumblr. The FBI actually ran an investigation (ran a bot on my blog, then manually went through specific pages) and I was never prosecuted because what I was doing wasn’t illegal, but it RUINED me. Ruined my self-confidence and for a while, my love for fandom and sharing work. I’m still shook up and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. When people think anti-kink people are harmless, they are WRONG. They tried to literally ruin my life. I have a Masters degree and a six-figure job that I worked 6.5 years for and they tried to take that away from me over a fanfiction. It’s utterly appalling. They wouldn’t leave me alone until I admitted past trauma to my 1,200 followers on Tumblr, which was one of the most humiliating things I’ve ever gone through.

These are anonymous responses. I don’t know who this was. But this is frightening, even though we know that in the end, writing content that other people have issue when the characters are fictional isn’t illegal.

Fandom Interaction

Fandom Friends 5.25

 

Fandom discussions 5.25

 

fandom discussion content 5.25

It seems like shipping is one of the big discussion points across the board.

Lost Friends 5.25

I wasn’t sure exactly how this question might play out. I’m glad that the majority of people have not lost friends over fandom disagreements–but there’s also the possibility that they’re only friends with people who agree with them. This goes both for shippers and antishippers and either way. I was interested in what usually would have been the cause of a friend breakup that happened over fandom, though, and whether or not the same people who primarily have friends in fandom versus a mix of friends in and out of fandom would be more likely to see this happen.

If You Have Lost a Friend

It seemed like for the most part, there were disagreements about shipping and headcanons (and not wanting to keep to a friend’s specific headcanon about a character), but there were a few interesting points: when do you respect someone else’s original characters, what’s the proper conduct for constructive criticism.

Fandom and Safe Spaces

This wasn’t its own section of the survey, but I wonder if it should have been. I have a lot of opinions personally on safe spaces, but the survey wasn’t about me, and I left the first question–that is, “Should Fandom be a safe space?”–open-ended. For one thing, leaving it open-ended leaves it open to definition, which a lot of people noticed and said, “Well, that depends on what you would call a safe space.” It’s not about what I would call a safe space though; it’s about what you call it, and if it should be the way you define it.

The majority of the responses say yes, they think it should be–both with and without explanations of what a safe space means. Some people take a very pragmatic approach, in that fandom is what you make it, and it’s up to you to set your own perimeters for what’s okay and what’s not okay. Some say that fandom should be fun, and that it’s a place for people to explore the things that you wouldn’t be able to in real life–while others say that fandom must be protected from incest and age gaps. That seems like the crux of the argument for both sides. There are also people who say that fandom should not be a safe space, but again mainly because it shouldn’t be a place that is policed. The majority of people want it to be free from homophobia and transphobia and misogyny and racism, but the problem then becomes who is the person who decides what is and what isn’t.

The disagreement, then, I think is not primarily in whether or not fandom should be a safe space (is anything really capable of being a safe space?), but what the definition of a safe space is.

And while the majority of people think that fandom should be a safe space, here’s what they think it is right now:

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Furthermore, not everybody has felt anxious in fandom, but the ones who have name the following fandoms as being sources of stress:

  • Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (rapists/sexual harassment at conventions)
  • Voltron Legendary Defenders (anti-shippers who have sent death threats, accusations of pedophilia, excessive ship hate, threats to voice actors)
  • Free! (Ship wars)
  • Teen Wolf (Ship wars, “Purity Police”)
  • Les Miserables (canon compliance)
  • Star Wars (fear of creating “problematic” content)
  • Attack on Titan (ship hate, different opinions)
  • Supernatural (fanfiction wank)

That said, other responses suggested that anxiety can pop up in any fandom; the amount of people who are in the Voltron fandom responding to the survey may skew the data that way.

Furthermore, when people have felt anxious, it’s from both smaller blogs and big name fans.

Fandom Treatment and Unpopular Opinions

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Opinion Isolation 5.25

 

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This is the most interesting data to look at compare to each other for me, and part of it might have been the way I asked the questions. On the one hand, less than half of the survey participants have felt isolated because of their opinions, but over half have been afraid/embarrassed/otherwise uncomfortable to share their opinions because of fandom atmosphere. Regardless of how people feel about fandom as a safe space and what a safe space should be, it isn’t currently one where people can share what’s on their mind without the worry of a bunch of messages in their ask box.

Here are some of the big places where people feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions:

  • Voltron
  • DC Comics
  • Mass Effect
  • Dragon Age
  • Homestuck
  • Steven Universe
  • Star Wars
  • Glee
  • KPop
  • Teen Wolf
  • Overwatch

Here are some of the longer comments:

Not a specific fandom, but the current fandom climate, especially on tumblr, makes me hesitate to weigh in on the Discourse TM, i.e. the whole “if you write darkfic, you are a bad person” thing. I… really don’t want to get into a debate about it? Especially, as there is nothing to discuss. They’re wrong. End of story.

On Teen Wolf in a FB group, a couple of admins immediately singled me out when I joined (early 2016) and kept attacking just because I didn’t ship their (one of most popular) ship. It was not fun, and to this day anything even slightly divisive, I post from a second, unrelated account. VLD fandom is like walking on eggshells, I’m very careful of what I post, and make my opinion very clear so that it doesn’t get twisted around. You might get attacked any minute.

Shipping something outside of the ship considered the “main” ship in any given show is almost always a problem, especially if the ship is a “eternal rivals trope” ship. It doesn’t matter which fandom it is – there’s always going to be someone screaming “SHIP XYZ IS ABUSIVE AND IF YOU SHIP IT YOU’RE SICK IN THE HEAD” (or worse).

VLD antis b/c some of them earnestly believe doxxing is a perfectly good way to punish people for disagreeing with them, and actually Cardcaptor Sakura – I was one of a very small group of people who didn’t care about Touya/Yuki as a ship, but I was afraid to say so because it was so popular at the time.

Honestly, all of my fandoms that I’ve written for. I had to abandon Tumblr completely and go through public records trying to erase my existence from the internet for fear of being doxxed. It still keeps me up at night, to be honest. I have almost 10 fake email addresses and don’t buy commissions for fear of people exposing my information.

Hate Messages, Pt. 1

Initially I put the questions about hate messages in two separate categories–one in general, and then one about discourse. Thinking about it, I might have just lumped them both together.

When responses started coming in, there weren’t very many from anyone who had sent hate messages, and most of them condemned them. Which, great–we should probably not be sending anyone anything threatening or meant to make them feel like garbage. On the other hand, as the person who is trying to gain this information, I want people to know that I don’t know who you are. There’s no Google sign in. As far as I know it could just be one single person taking this survey 300 times, and there would be no way for me to tell. My job while collecting this information is not to judge it, or that it’s been done, just to see it and get an explanation. I don’t know who you are. For the purpose of this survey, I don’t care if you sent the hate mail–I just want to know if you ever have.

Have you sent hate messages 1 5.25

People who said that they have sent hate messages have done so for the following fandoms and reasons; the fandom is outside of parenthesis, and their explanation is within without editing:

  • Avatar (exactly 1 time)
  • Buffy (my first fandom)
  • D.Gray-Man, Free!, VLD (usually for cross tagging their wank like an asshole)
  • Homestuck
  • Mass Effect, Dragon Age
  • Probably Homestuck (it was many years ago when I was a teenager)
  • Splatoon, MLP
  • Voltron

Received hate messages 1 5.25

That said, a solid amount of responses say that they have received hate messages. The fandoms they were in include:

  • Voltron
  • Dragon Age
  • Bleach
  • D. Gray-Man
  • Free!
  • Homestuck
  • Yogscast
  • Harry Potter
  • Star Wars
  • The Last of Us
  • Dishonored
  • DC Comics
  • Bandom
  • MCU
  • Hannibal
  • Steven Universe
  • Mass Effect

Hate messages happen regardless of fandom overlap.

Discourse

Discourse has gone by many names, and most people are familiar with it in at least some iteration, whether as wank, drama, salt, or hateblogging.

Here’s a ranking of what how people responding to the survey place as producing a significant amount of discourse:

  1. Voltron Legendary Defenders
  2. Steven Universe
  3. Star Wars
  4. Mass Effect
  5. Yuri!!! On Ice
  6. Supernaural
  7. Harry Potter
  8. DC Comics
  9. Marvel Comics
  10. Overwatch

Again, this data may be skewed; the majority of the fans responding to the survey at the moment are VLD fans, and as the survey goes on there may be a change in discourse. It’s possible that we all see whatever is at the forefront of our dashes as contributing the most to discourse or any perceived issues within fandom.

The majority of the discourse seems to be about shipping, according to responses, though it also can expand to discussions about race, gender, and characterization. This leads to whether or not there’s constructive discourse to be had or if it mostly boils down to the same issues that have been bothering fandoms for years: ship wars.

Some responses on the nature of discourse:

Some legitimate call-outs on bad/creepy behavior done in a way too public, incorrect way without any attempt to educate and others are simply people getting mad over teenagers acting like teenagers. Some is legitimately over problems in fandom (like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), but these days that’s out of proportion to the former ones.

In my opinion, most discourse involves people who are insecure over fictional pairings. Instead of leaving people alone to ship what they want to ship, they must come up with reasons for why certain pairings are unhealthy or problematic, so they can have a “real” reason to dislike the pairing. I’ve seen quite a lot of shippers who use social justice terminology to perpetuate terrible ideas. Some of them feel legitimately uncomfortable, but overall most discourse appears to be a glorified ship war.

Ship wars and misdirected anger. Many people who participate in fandom are folks who feel powerless in our daily lives; some fans feel powerful when they direct their vitriol at their peers because we’re easy targets. It’s simpler to send a hate message to someone on tumblr than it is to change the things in our lives that TRULY make us feel angry or helpless.

What ship is canon (spoiler alert, 90% of them aren’t). Who’s ALLOWED to ship what and why/why not. Who’s allowed (or not) to create content XYZ that the fandom deems “PROBLEMATIC”. Whether character XYZ is abusive – and 99,9% of the time they’re not – they’re just part of a ship that’s not a “main” ship, or they fall into the “eternal rivals” trope ship category. I believe this is an extension of the 90’s fandoms ideas that the female characters “get in the way” of gay ships. At least we’ve moved past making “hate shrine” websites for female characters now. … Or so I hope…

“Discourse” contains everything from serious discussions of racism and queer-phobia in fandom to arguments over shipping. It’s a broad term used most generally for ‘discussion I don’t like’.

Discourse too Serious 5.25

Not serious enough 5.25

I also wanted to know if discourse could help a community, and whether or not people felt like it could be constructive at all.

How can Discourse help 5.25.PNG

It seems like the majority of people responding are interested in discussion, and think that it would help to be able to talk about the issues that distress them in a civilized way, but because of the current fandom atmosphere, it seems impossible to have those discussions–they loop back into the personal, and there’s frequent dismissal of what isn’t someone’s own opinion. One response said that we are spectacularly good at not acknowledging when we’re wrong about anything, and I think that shows. In any case, the current climate of discussion in fandom prevents communication between people, and these responses suggest that especially in terms of discourse, most things are taken to extremes or only seen in terms of black and white.

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Furthermore, more people have seen discourse harm communities rather than help it; in many cases, those extremes have meant causing physical harm to people or emotional distress. We can think back to the response where a participant noted that they were reported to the FBI over the fanfiction they were creating, regardless of the fanfiction technically being legal. At what point do fans take things too far into their own hands, and when do hate messages switch to where they’re causing harm beyond the distress of threats over the internet?

When it comes to discourse specific hate messages, most people again (likely because of how many people are in the fandom) cite the VLD fandom as being particularly aggressive. Another long response offers this:

Yes. Free!, Voltron, YOI, Kuroshitsuji. I answered already but: – Usually on tumblr/twitter, on anon 20% of the time. – Telling people to not cross-tag their wank, usually aggressively. – Telling people to stop reposting certain artists’ works without permission/send hate for people who repost my content without credit (without permission is fine if with credit). – Calling people out for being hypocrites, for making homophobic/heteronormative/racist comments (not for lighting in drawing or the super ridiculous stuff) comments – Sending wank as revenge or in reply to hate/harassment they sent me or my friends. 80% of the time off-anon. – Treating idiots like idiots for idiotically spreading fandom misinformation, unless it was a reasonable mistake. Usually on cross-tagged stuff. – I’m generally of the opinion that anyone who cross-tags their wank has any and all hate coming to them, unless they’re wanking about something they like themselves (depends). – Treating people who willfully misunderstand things for no reason other than to win an argument poorly. – Etc.

The Voltron fandom in particular sees a trend of messages calling other fans pedophiles, sending death threats because of ships or character orientation head canons, and other messages in a similar vein. Again, I do not think this is exclusive to the Voltron fandom; I just think that the Voltron fandom currently makes up the majority of these responses.

People who say that they have sent hate messages have sent in the Buffy fandom or Harry Potter fandom. For the most part, the overwhelming response towards sending hate messages is negative (which I think is a good thing!).

Trauma 5.25.PNG

This question was suggested by Meeya; there can be a trend in certain fandoms where you might only be “allowed” to ship something or have an opinion if you disclose previous trauma proving that it’s alright for you to engage in that kind of content. Unfortunately, a not-insignificant number of the participants in this survey say that yes, they have felt obligated to reveal past trauma in their fandom experience.

When it comes to how discourse has emerged in fandom, responses are somewhat split. On the one hand, fandom wank has always existed, and there will probably always be people who are willing to discuss what doesn’t work within a show, whether or not people are being racist, etc (this is how we get better at inclusivity). That said, more responses suggest that the kind of discourse climate that exists on Tumblr really started to emerge as a thing about two years ago. Responses also suggest that they’ve felt like there has been more of the kind of discourse specific to Tumblr in recent fandoms such as Voltron, Free! and YOI than they recall in older fandoms.

In general, when people have received hate messages over fandom and discourse, they think that the people sending the messages are mid-teens to mid-20’s. It’s not exclusively something that teenagers do (especially when their ages are in their blog bios), but when an age isn’t readily available, most participants in the survey think that they’re probably younger fans. When people have sent any hate messages, they generally do not send them to minors.

Many participants in the survey have felt that discourse typical of the Tumblr community has had a negative impact on their enjoyment of a particular media, but at the same time discourse and conversation that has talked about wider societal issues made them more conscious consumers of media.

Fortunately, most of the participants in the survey have not felt like they had to leave fandom because of the behavior of other fans.

End Notes

That took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) with the feedback the survey has gotten. I’m very interested in fandom trends, good or bad. The survey is still open, so if you’re interested in taking it and offering your point of view, it would be very much appreciated! I’ll be revisiting the results again once there’s more significant data. In particular, I’d like to see more responses from people either outside of the Voltron fandom, or from people who maybe are the anti-shippers. Because of the way the survey is set up, I honestly have no way of knowing who has and who hasn’t responded.

I will say that I do plan on making a survey about shipping in the very near future, especially since that seemed to be one of the primary concerns of discourse and I’m interested to get more information in that vein. If there are questions you think I should ask or if you have suggestions on how to make that survey a little more streamlined, I would appreciate it!

And I hope that this information is useful, whether it’s for examining ourselves and our own roles in fandom or how we fit into the wider fandom discussion.

 

On a very small and final note, if you wanted to send me a coffee, that’d be really cool.

 

 

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Author: jillboger

Part time writer. Editor-in-Chief for the Bridge volume 13, former EIC for The Odyssey at BSU. My glasses protect my secret identity.

2 thoughts on “First Results: Fandom History & Interaction Survey”

  1. Ooooh this has been fascinating to read. Thank you for sharing. It’s interesting to read as someone who only rolled up and engaged in fandom 8months ago. I was pretty horrified by the discourse i read and made it my mission to not follow anyone that posted hate cause that shit is emotionally draining to read and kinda gross (regardless of what the hate was about). I think criticism can and should absolutely be constructive but i also think one of the major flaws in platforms like tumblr and twitter is that some people don’t know how to write or present it constructively(and they aren’t encouraged to either). Idk, i think there’s a variety of issues at play, but platforms of presentation is a pretty major one. Might be interesting to know where people primarily engage in fandom? Like, I’m a twitter person but have a tumblr for my own work because i feel that tumblr works as a better artistic sharing platform. But twitter has more of an immidiacy and intimacy than it (also the mobile app doesn’t suck).

    Dunno if that made sense. It’s 6am here 😂😂😂 thanks again for sharing! I’ll take the survey later 🙂

    Like

    1. I have to say, that my tumblr is purely for appreciating fanwork, so I don’t know about the wank on that particular site, but I am in a decade-old Harry/Draco facebook group and my goodness, there are some very entitled fans. I’ve been lucky enough to only follow authors who write and reblog posts about keeping open-minds, if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say it, only offer constructive criticism when the creator requests it and take live-and-let-live attitude toward fandom. I feel like most the people I encounter on that facebook group never had that information or guidance just because it’s another aspect of fandom that is pretty esoteric if you don’t follow someone who advocates it or go looking for it yourself. Without that kind of fandom education, most discourse will just devolve into the ye old forum wars. Personally, I used to love, love bashing on a female character in one of the biggest fandoms, but then I read some brilliant meta by writers who wasn’t her biggest fan either, but respected her as a character, and I grew up. Now, my reading taste has grown as well, so I find that fic that resorts to character bashing to bring the ship together generally distorts a character so badly that it’s utterly OOC and the rest of the writing is superficial and obviously written by someone very young.

      Sorry to word vomit in your comments, but this aspect of your survey really struck a chord.

      Like

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