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Date: 2009-06-07 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] dysprositos
Right! I definitely don't want to imply that the part of fandom I'm familiar with (i.e., Western media fandom as found on LJ and other journaling services, and united with such communities as Metafandom, Fandom_Wank, Fandom_Secrets, and so on) is the be-all and end-all of fandom. But, as you point out, the various parts of "fandom" at large are so wildly divergent, particularly in culture, that including bandom and anime fandom and SFF fandom and Western media LJ Metafandom/FW-centered fandom and more which are not commonly considered fandoms (for instance, machinima is a fanac, right? How about modding?) or which I've never heard of (what is this rockfic you speak of?) would be counterproductive; it would be completely impossible to pin down any kind of shared culture, shared ethos, or common expectations, except some sort of Panfandom Manifesto that may be two sentences long. ("It's O.K. to be passionate about things you like. It's fun to make shit from or about the things you like.")

So, no, I definitely agree that "my" corner of fandom is fairly insular, and thus as a culture is different from other perfectly valid corners of fandom, and probably choosing Fandom_Secrets as one of my examples of centers of fannish activity was a bit misleading (it's useful in distinguishing it from traditional SFF Scary Ponies Oh No fandom, but is more pan-fannish than I was looking for). And I definitely wouldn't expect people from, say, anime fandom to do more than blink at me if I mention Buffy or, better examples, Supernatural or Merlin. (And I hope they would expect the same from me as regards their shows. All I know about AI RPS I learned from reading astolat!)

The idea in this post was to talk about fannish expectations within "multi-fandom spaces like Metafandom". Partly because I'm just interested, but partly because you've got to see the water if you're ever going to leave the fishbowl, y'know? I don't want to be the fannish equivalent of the person who goes on at length about how she doesn't have a culture or an accent, why do those people talk funny and eat weird foods and wear bizarre clothing? Which is a very easy trap to fall into, assuming that where you are is all there is, so--hopefully defining the boundaries and borders and common expectations and culture of our (relatively small) corner of fandom will help with recognizing that, no, this experience is not the default, these assumptions don't hold outside this area, you can't fit the "insanely large, sprawling reality" of fandom as a whole into the "small model" that you (and by "you" I mean "I") build to understand interactions here.

The model-building itself isn't the problem, I don't think. You have to have some kind of understanding of the people your primary interactions are with; otherwise you might do something stupid (say publicizing someone's real-world name and identity while in the midst of a culture where it is a fundamental understanding that you do not do that and anyone who does is basically a jerk of the strongest order of Do Not Engage, because you believe that "if you've got something to say, you should say it under your real name"). It's the assumption that that model perfectly models everybody everywhere ("what you do know that isn't so") that's the problem.

tl;dr: draw the lines. Draw the model. See the model. Notice where other areas of fandom don't fit the model. Realize you must build different models for other areas. Peace, love, eternal pan-fannish harmony. (This is preferable to the ordinary process, which is: don't realize the lines are there. Draw the model. Apply model to all other areas of fandom. Get irritated when other people aren't behaving "properly".)
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