Company and Fan Behavior

How y’all doin tonight?

*crickets*

Great!

I don’t know what I’m actually going to write about tonight. I’ve been commenting more often on my Twitter account lately. Let’s just see where this goes and add a title from there.

As a user of the internets, I’ve seen a lot of corporate and fandom behavior in my time. I’ve repeatedly seen companies make terrible decisions based off their biases. I’ve repeatedly seen fans defend those terrible decisions, often making excuses to suggest those decisions were good or there were no other options. I’ve also experienced on multiple occasions the sort of animosity received when questioning the actions of a company or creator that a fan has a deep devotion toward.

My comments and actions are built off my experiences. This is true for everyone, of course, but it’s worth explicitly stating because too often, people do not remember this implicitly. They remember their own experiences but forget that other people have experiences too, and those experiences shape their activity.

I can’t say I know with perfection what will or won’t happen, or the intentions of companies and people. It’s incredibly easy to misinterpret, misunderstand, miss important details. What I can say is that my experiences provide me with a base, a set of patterns, a commonality in the way certain types think and act. From this, I can get a sense of things that could happen and their likelihood.

Within this, I create a mental buffer zone. There’s what I expect. Then there’s the possibility of worse. I prepare for worse. Sometimes I’ll say worse scenarios I’ve prepared for, sometimes I won’t. Typically, the worse scenarios don’t happen.

It’s rare for me to be taken by surprise by worse scenarios anymore. 3rd Birthday is one of the cases that sticks out in my heart as a surprise. I thought it might do good things for Aya Brea, and by the end, Squeenix had sunk so low that I was mentally prepping for the prospect that they might make official guro.

But then that happened because of a mistake: any time I actually believe in good things coming from a company that has repeatedly done awful work for years, they always prove I was stupid to believe in them.

If you’re someone who wonders why I have a hard heart about what to expect from a particular company or creator, this is why. My experiences tell me not to trust them. So I don’t. The more bad experiences I have with them, the more good experiences I will need to restore any confidence I once had in them.

… Which is not the way bad companies operate.

Bad companies do not want to get better. They don’t want to learn from their mistakes. They want to people to THINK they want to get better, and avoid pretending they’ve ever made any mistakes as much as possible. Progress takes a level of work and conscientiousness that bad companies are allergic to. Better to say the words and do a couple token actions that give the appearance of progress, than to try at any actual, real progress.

And what’s most insidious about bad companies is how their status leads to exploitation of people fitting particular criteria toward the illusion of the company being better than it is.

A writer looking to break into an industry or establish their name can’t risk rocking the boat much if they fear doing so will lead to career death by a thousand cuts. Maybe they won’t get fired outright, because that would be too obvious. But they might get less work. Their pitches might be dismissed. If you’re denied opportunities you would otherwise get, that may not be called a firing on paper, but in function it most certainly is.

And then of course, there’s the fans. Who a creator would have to worry about as well. Hard to call out a company if the company has ardent fans eager to play defense for them no matter how heinous the company’s actions are.

I’ve had my own experiences. But in truth, the one sticking in my head most right this second is not one of mine. It’s what happened to a woman who dared to speak out in protection of her own work. Because her speaking out had the natural effect of making a company look bad, fans of the company wasted no time in smearing her. Making up all kinds of excuses for why their actions were justified. The sort of actions that they would decry as inappropriate if the target was the company or people working at it that they cherished so much. Then of course when their actions had the desired effect, I watched those same people continue to gaslight like hell. Pretending the logical evidence of the consequences of their actions right in front of them was something else entirely.

I’m being deliberately vague above. Because the person I’m thinking about is someone who by her actions and comments during the situation implied that she simply wanted it to end. And I aim to respect those wishes. Her wishes are more important than how I feel about the situation she was in. But I’m still pissed as hell about it, and it burns in me every time I remember.

I guess that’s where this post was leading. I’m going to wrap it up, and go back to playing a game I started.

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