Ah, the internet. It is, on good days, the gift that keeps on giving. More often than not, though, it’s the Salt Plains of humanity – and few places generate more salt on average than fan groups online.
We’ve asked some members of the Girls Got Game team on what their pet peeves were in fan spaces. Here’s some of the sauce!
PAM, Crouching Site Mom Hidden Rage Machine
Where do I even begin? I’ve been in fan circles since Livejournal and 4chan, so that’s a lot of accumulated hate – I mean, observations. Heck, I’m not even sure whether fandom groups have gotten dumber or if I’m just getting older.
I’ve got a long personal list, but these days? The thing I absolutely hate seeing on fan groups is “xxx ruining my childhood/fandom”. The life-ruiners of choice appear to be feminism, queer stuff, and race, which just… really, guys? Really?
Let me say it plainly. If a dose of much-needed representation is enough to send you into fan tears of raaaaage, get out. We don’t need you. Also, for those of you who are so bothered by new developments and ideas ~ruining your childhood~, you probably didn’t have much of a childhood to begin with.
ADE, Too Salty For His Own Good
Hi, I’m Ade. I’m made of salt. I’m mostly angry at anything at any given time. But since I’m trying to have a more positive outlook on life, I try to avoid things that make me angry. However, ever since Game of Thrones stopped being a show that was enjoyed mostly by geeks and is now a mainstream phenomenon, I see People Spoiling Stuff Like Crazy all the time. And it’s unavoidable.
There’s nothing wrong with a show like Game of Thrones becoming so popular that it is no longer a fringe thing. I welcome more fans to partake into these things that I love. But, guys, here’s the thing: some of us would like to experience our shows/movies/video games/comics without knowing what’s in store for us. Don’t be the asshole who live-tweets every single piece of dialogue and plot twist.
Not everyone has the luxury to catch up on whatever piece of pop culture in the same rate as you do. Stop flaunting the fact that you can watch Game of Thrones on a Monday morning on paid company time.
Also, stop complaining about people who are salty over spoilers. You went out of your way to ruin people’s experience, and now you expect them to stay out of the internet? It’s your responsibility to not be a dick. You need to GTFO the internet when you post spoilers and ruin it for everyone else.
JUDITH, Translates Fangirl Screams Into Words
Salt salt salt about the Everything is Problematic fans. Can I even call them fans? I guess not!
YOI’s idealistic world with no homophobia is problematic! Chris Pratt got tan for Jurassic World? That’s brownfacing! How dare you draw Team Leader Blanche in a lighter shade of brown! Who cares about light sources in drawing?
Please shove your uninformed opinions up where the sun don’t shine and get back to me when you learn the meaning of the word “context”.
DENICE, surprisingly nice online but real life Lot’s Wife
When you admin fan groups, it’s inevitable to see people who are just getting into the fandom get super-excited about many things — from realizing that they are not alone to those who just start shipping everything. But one that always rubs the salt in my otherwise practiced diplomacy are the OMG THIS TOTALLY OBVIOUS POINT IN THE PLOT WILL TOTALLY BLOW YOUR MINDS GUYS. It’s totally cool to be excited by things you didn’t notice before, but if you missed the whole point of the material, um. I judge you.
On the other side of the coin is THE GATEKEEPER. Fandom is not owed to you, and the point of joining a group is to find people who enjoy the same material. People who say that they don’t like their fandom becoming mainstream because it’s “attracting the jejoise” should get their fandoms shoved up their behinds, since they keep wanting it to remain obscure anyway.
And then there’s the chaotic neutral EDGELORD “Everything Is A Construct” SH*TPOTATOES who just frickin finished Philo 101. I get it — your life is so devoid of meaning that the only lulz you get is through being offensive online and feeling like you’re smarter than the mainstream “sheep”. It doesn’t make you cool though — it just makes you a dick. And not the pretty dicks too. More like the surprisingly sad ones that leaks of desperation and gonorrhea.
PJC, Chronic Overthinker of Fandom Minutiae
I’m generally chill about how people choose to practice their fandom. But I do get peeved by the mirror opposite of the phenomenon that Judith brought up: fans who refuse to be critical about problematic faves because it’s “no fun”. It’s lazy to excuse ethical lapses in a creator’s work because “it’s just a show/game/comic/movie”. Just no. As fans, this stuff resonates with us. We often claim to relate to it. So we owe it to ourselves to recognize what messages it might be projecting.
Hear me out: being critical doesn’t mean organizing discussion groups, coordinating boycotts, or behaving like a “killjoy SJW” in general. Although it certainly can involve those things, if that’s what floats your proverbial boat.
All I really want is for fans to recognize that every media product is a creation of human people who hold particular views on gender, sexuality, race, nationality, social class, and so forth. Inevitably, even in the most committee-driven narrative, some of those perspectives will spill over into the work. It’s entirely possible to like a creator’s work — its craft, entertainment value, aesthetic merit, and the feels it brings — while still acknowledging that it may have dubious representations of human experience.
And it’s not even as compartmentalized as that. It’s possible for the same work to normalize LGBTQ relationships but take for granted damaging myths about the poor; or support nuanced views of race while also low-key kink-shaming. Stories can be messy and complex like that because people are.
Recognizing these lapses takes nothing away from the qualities that make a fandom otherwise compelling — and it certainly doesn’t make one less of a fan.
KIMI, Shrine of Salty Rage
One of my greatest pet peeves is the idea that creators are solely beholden to their audience and are expected to bend to them. This applies to transformative aka fan-made material as well. Social media has been a great way for fans and creators to connect; with fans being able to let their voices be heard greater than ever. But this comes with a downside: the mindset that if you demand hard enough, you will be catered for.
This is most seen in shipping wars, which in ye olden days, never involved the creators. It was usually just people doubling down and making more content for their preferred ship so that they’d show up higher on fanfiction.net. Now there’s a lot of vying and plying to ships and headcanons into canon.
While some of this is good and can be positive for the development of the material as a whole (such as when the creators of Overwatch decided to go with popular fandom perceptions of Soldier 76 as a grumpy dad or D.Va as a Doritos eating gremlin) a lot of the time it ends up being very messy.
While it’s all well and good you’re able to headcanon a character however you wish, it takes a lot of work for a creator to put their content into the world. I am a firm believer of making creative content is a deeply personal process. These characters and stories mean something to them, which is why it makes pleading for certain things very difficult reading.
DANZY, saltiest shiberino in existence
Man, we’d be here all fuckin’ day, all through the night, but let me pick my top irritations where fandoms are concerned.
“My ship is better than your ship.”
Brosis, unless your “ship” (a fictional relationship between two characters, regardless of gender, and often pulled out the ass of momentary subtext) involves an actual corpse-fucking rapist-murderer, NOBODY FUCKING CARES HOW MANY DIVERSITY BROWNIE POINTS THEY TICK OFF A RANDOM LIST.
We’re all here for make-believe and escapism. And we all have our favorites when it comes to things that tickle our fancy, but if someone likes X/Y and you like X/Z, leave be, stick to your corner and shut. The. Fuck. Up. About how much more “precious” and less “problematic” your ship is. It’s not a contest. There’s no rainbow unicorn cake at the end of this argument. You’re wasting people’s time with this.
“Your favorite character/ship is problematic and you’re a horrible person for liking them.”
This one too. We’re all reading/watching/listening to the same thing, right, fellow fans of [horrible canon with horrible people in horrible situations]? We all know that Sangwoo from Killing Stalking is a fictional serial-killer rapist kidnapper, right? We’re all aware that Ramsay Bolton was a piece of imaginary shit, right? Yes? Okay, good. You can stop assuming we’re also mass-murdering turdbags in real life anytime now.
Enjoying certain fandoms require a certain level of, at the very least, academic sophistication in terms of comprehension, and SOME form of moral compass. Murder is bad. Rape is bad. Torture and arson and jaywalking are bad. Moral complexity in a fictional construct, be it a character or a setting, should not be bad. (Unless it’s shittily written.)
“Only real fans know [some inane and pointless random trivia].”
Congrats on having absolutely nothing going for you or your life that your biggest concern is the accuracy of a nameless extra’s knight armor in a fanfic for a television adaptation of a book series (and no, it’s not just Game of Thrones). Ten million applauses for you.
“JOHN DOE CAN DO NO WRONG HOW DARE YOU NOT LIKE HIM!!!1!”
I can’t even start on this. PJC’s bit on this same thing explains why this is annoying in a much more diplomatic fashion, honestly.
“I hate Game of Westlords because it’s everywhere.”
Not exactly a fandom thing, but still annoying. You know all those “I am part of the 1% of the population that hasn’t seen ______”? Statistically speaking, as of 2016 only 22% of the global population have access to televisions. In contrast, for the same year, 49% of the global population have access to basic internet. Not only are you NOT part of a 1% of anything (unless you’re super rich, in which case please donate to a charity after you read this), you’re also being an incredibly annoying dickwipe on social media. Here’s your award, it smells like moldy cheese.
NOEY, Bunnies Have Teeth for a Reason
The others have covered a good number of peeves, but OH MY GOD don’t get me started on the Trust Me, I’m A Veteran I’m The Authoriteh card.
I’m pretty sure we’ve ALL met someone like this. They’re the people who like to lord their tenure as a fan of <insert fandom/hobby here> as license to bitch and moan about how new fans are ruining Their Fandom. Or how ~diversity~ means their favorite series/comic is pandering to demographics that don’t matter. Or the ones that quiz you forever about that one specific panel/arc/episode.
Stop Being An Arrogant Arsehole. You don’t hold sole proprietorship of your love for something, and all this gatekeeping needs to stop. The world is getting smaller. Moves towards inclusivity and the gradual opening of doors to welcome new blood is a GOOD THING.
There are also those fans who bitch about how a show is totally ruined because X character left and how u should be ashamed if you still like it. UM??? If you decide not to like something anymore, sure. You do you. But I am perfectly allowed to enjoy whatever I want, so stop shitting on my fun.
But you didn’t think about that, did you? No. Because you only think about yourself.
KAREN, the rare Pokémon contributor who spawns randomly on the map
I love my fandom. But there are people in them who make it difficult for everybody else, and that grinds my gears. #IWishICouldBakeACakeFilledWithRainbowsAndSmiles #ThisIsWhyWeCantHaveNiceThings
1. The Self-proclaimed Character Owner or alternatively, License To Cosplay
Sometimes, their crazed obsession is focused on a single character. Maybe they’ve already placed dibs on their husbando/waifu beforehand and rages at anyone else who expresses adoration for them. Or to take it up a notch, they love the character so much that they’ve claimed the identity as their own. They gone so deep into it. This kind of possessiveness and entitlement rears its ugly head during cosplay conventions, where they get petty and bitter when another person dresses up as their fave. Reality check: the creator is the only one valid to lay claim to the property. You don’t own it.
2. The TL;DR Fan (A.K.A. Permission to post Posse)
Every fandom group has those peeps who can’t be bothered to read the rules. And they make some half-assed request by adding “permission to post” as “courtesy” but post it anyway without waiting for confirmation.
3. Consistently Off-topic Crew
They talk about another show that the actor/actress has been in; nevermind that it has nothing to do with the fandom. Alternatively, they share a blind item/showbiz gossip that holds no water. They are usually guilty of having increasingly long chat threads in the comments section talking about something else entirely.
4. Dick-tator Moderator.
There are good leaders and there are corrupt ones – much like in fandom circles. The one who stomps around the virtual ground, puffing up their chests, and abusing their power. Catch them on a bad day and they’ll go on a banning spree; especially if you call them out on their BS.
JERICA, Got Lost on the way to the Dead Sea
Because everyone’s already mentioned my pet peeves, here’s something I’ve been encountering recently in my return to fandom: I Created A Thing, Now Worship Me. Fanfiction and fanart are the lifeblood of a fandom, especially during the lull between the next book/movie/game/show release. Fan creators put out content, all for free, without anyone forcing them to do so.
Here’s the thing: as fan creators, you invest time, effort, heart, skill, materials, and more for your content. So yes, it’s understandable that you do want some acknowledgement or validation for your output. But know that when you create something for a fandom, your fellow fans do not owe you praise, hearts, likes, kudos, or comments. You are not entitled to be praised just because you posted fanart or fanfic.
Yes, it would be nice if anyone who came across the content and liked it would let you know. But if you think that compliments are your god-given right, you have another think coming.
Complaining in fan groups/chats that your work isn’t getting noticed because you aren’t popular is bull; it disrespects those who actually noticed and liked your work. And popular fans—BNFs became BNFs because they (well, most of them) are visible contributors who worked their way by creating content, growing their craft, engaging other fans, and earned that audience. Don’t expect that status or a shower of compliments just because you created something. Fandom doesn’t work that way.
Do you feel us or do you Feel us? Let us know in the comments!