In 2018, let’s stop pretending abusive fans are ‘passionate’

This is an important article, and why I’ve spoken about toxic fans and toxic fandom in the past.

If a company, a director, an editor, a writer, whoever does something wrong or that upsets you, there are ways to respond to it that get the message across (even with stubborn or mean-spirited ones) WITHOUT taking it too far.

There is no context where SWATting a person is okay. Same goes for death threats, doxxing, making harassing phone calls, sending suspicious packages, and other things that are not physical harm but create fear of being harmed.

If you have a problem with what someone’s done and it’s legitimate, it has solid ground to stand on, then making your case and spreading it is usually good enough. Yes, you’ll run into people who push back even if they know you’re right, but a majority of people care about what’s right. Especially in the modern social climate.

By making a case, if it’s legit, then the person/people/company behind the cause will often respond by trying to fix things. If they’re good-intentioned, they’ll do it right away if they see what’s wrong. If not, they’ll do it with enough pressure. In extreme cases, boycotts on various levels may work in conjunction with calling things out. We live in a capitalist society. Refusing to give money affects not just immediate funds, but future opportunities to make money too.

This is why some fanboys will mock complaints with “you’ll buy it anyway,” and why stuff like buying a game just to break it is the wrong approach. If you give money, you’re actually hurting your cause.

If you care about something, you want things to be preserved or (more often) changed, there are ways to do it that are right and ways that are wrong. Avoid the toxic abusive stuff like SWATting and death threats.

In 2018, let’s stop pretending abusive fans are ‘passionate’

I want to make a quick post about “true fans”, the people who insist they’re the real fans of a franchise or character to the point where they will smear and abuse anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Most of us already know how awful this is. The people who do it are trying to become the ones who have total control over fandom. They want everyone to adhere to whatever they decide is best, and they want everyone to admire them.

It doesn’t work that way, of course. Toxic fandom is toxic not only because it hurts people, but because it hurts the very things people insist they’re fans of. With every person that gets driven out of the fandom because they don’t want to deal with abuse, the object of fandom has fewer people to support it. The object of fandom gets fewer pieces of fanart, fanfiction, cosplay, and fewer reasons for the company that actually owns the rights to care. Once the fandom has lost so many fans that hardly anyone’s talking about it, the fandom becomes much much less than it can be. It’s a direct attack on a much loved dream.

There’s another element, though, that’s extremely important to bear in mind.

“True fans” don’t flock to things that are worthless. They don’t abuse people over things that have no value. Abusive fans are horrible to have and everyone would be better off if they stopped being abusive… but they also demonstrate that what they’re being abusive around is meaningful in its own right, and that a LOT of other people can see its worth too.

No matter what happens, how horrible it gets, it’s important to remember that. Past the vile behavior, there’s a wonderful franchise or character that has so much to offer. If that was not the case, abusive types would focus on a different franchise or character with a much bigger following.

This is what really keeps me going in spite of smears and attacks: knowing that the thing I’m getting abused for supporting has a lot to offer.