Work Header

What Keeps a Fandom Going?

Chapter Text

Different things I've read this past week have made me think about what keeps fandoms active as well as what tools people use to find and get involved in fan activities. So below are some buttons and boxes for you to click and tell me what you think.

What Keeps a Fandom Going?
Participants: 259
Have you ever been to a convention (any kind)?


What kind of cons have you been to?

Single fandom con
Multi fandom con
Genre con (comics, sci-fi, etc.)
Special con (i.e. cruise, actor con)

If you have not been to a con, what is your main reason?

Cons just aren't my thing
I'm kind of interested but not enough to bother
They're too expensive
They don't tend to be well run
I do want to go but just haven't managed it yet
They never have guests I want to see
I prefer just getting together with friends
I don't trust the people who run them

If you do go to cons, what is your main reason for doing so?

I enjoy getting together with other fans
I enjoy seeing particular guests
They're my sort of vacation
I volunteer at cons and like working at them
It's an excuse to travel
It's a kind of tradition
It's a shopping excursion
I'm a vendor/performer

Do you think cons are important in keeping a fandom vibrant (i.e., new people coming in, participants active)?

Maybe (see comments)

What do you think is the most important thing cons can contribute to a fandom?

Keeping fans connected with creators and actors
Keeping fans connected with eachother
Symbolic value, demonstrating fandom turnout
Attracting new participants to fandom
Showing media owners that there is interest in the product
Giving fans a chance to share their work
Giving fans a place/time to cut loose
Other (see comments)

Do you like to read long (40,000 words or more) fics?

Yes, I used to but not anymore
Yes, I'd like to but don't really have the time

Have you read any long fics this past year?

I wanted to but I couldn't find any of the type I like
I wanted to but couldn't find any for my fandom

Do you think that having longer fics available in a fandom is helpful in keeping it active?


If yes, what do you think are some reasons that it's useful?

Long stories become well known within and outside the fandom
Long fics allow you to become more immersed in the fan verse
Long fics give a comparable experience to a novel
Longer fics are more appealing to new fanfic readers
Long fics can become texts that bring people together
Other (see comments)

If you think long stories are not useful for a fandom, why not?

Maybe they are, but no more so than shorter fics or other types of creations
No, because most people don't have the time to read those stories
No, because most people don't want to commit themselves to keeping up with a long story
Long stories get too AU and become their own thing
Long stories are often a sign of poor quality
Other (see comments)

Do you think it's beneficial for vidders to become better known outside of fandom?

Yes, it's good for fandom as a whole
Yes, it could be good for individual fandoms
No, it will bring unwanted attention to fan activities
No, it could bring legal repercussions to many fans
It will only benefit the vidder in question
It will only harm the vidder in question
Other (see comments)

Do you ever go looking for fan vids at places like YouTube or iMeem?

Once or twice
I never look for fan vids anywhere

Do you use

I've started an account but haven't used it

Do you think a site like helps fandoms?

Yes, it helps organize resources on a fandom level
Yes, it helps new people find fan works
Yes. some other reason
No, it just helps individuals
No, it's too much work
No, it just brings non-fans to material they don't want
No, some other reason

Additional Comments

I don't read any fanfic. I think that's one of the weird effects the Internet (or more particularly journal services and web fora) has had on fandom. It's a text world, so it's drawn out and drawn together a lot of fanfic writers, and created a false impression that fandom is fanfic.

I've been to two cons (anime) and my main reason for going to both was to see Japanese bands I wouldn't otherwise be able to see. However, I also went to the first one to meet up with a group of fans from an online forum, and I would go in the future for that reason. Other than that, I might go every once in a while when I can afford it, but as a lurker I find cons don't really have much to offer me, as many of the activities require getting involved in things. Nor am I interested in cosplay, which is a big part of most of the anime cons.

I've never heard of Also, while I might have thought of going to a con prior to the Flanvention 2 scandal of yesterday in Firefly fandom, after that debacle, I really don't trust con runners. Starfury ones are great fun though, in fact all the ones I've been to in the UK over the last few years have been. There used to be some dodgy ones, but all the current con people (Starfury, Wolf, Gabit, Rogue etc) have been great fun, and good value for money. :) Signing events are a different matter however. LOL

I've never been to a con because I live too far away from a major city - the expense and difficulty of getting there is too great.

I've been going to cons of one sort or another for over 25 years now. I started with general SF (which included both author and actor guests of honor plus ones that were purely fannish)and gaming con and a couple of comic cons. The SF and comics cons primarily acted as a place to get things and get exposed to things I that I wouldn't have had easy access to in a small town in the 80's, especially as a teen.
Once I ended up in "media fandom" I have been to both general media cons (with and without actors or other involved with the shows)and in those cases it's been at least as much about meeting up with other fans as it has been about access to stuff (and in the case of media fandom it's the stuff has usually be less physical and more idea driven, especially since the net has eclipsed zines and tapes as a means of distributing fic and vids/eps). I have been to and helped with and run by myself actor cons and help run a vidding con.

I live in Australia, so we don't get many cons. I've been to a couple of actor cons, but never anything fan run or with panels or anything. :( Clubs too, I got into fandom pretty much entirely through my uni's science fiction club, whose alumni are totally the SMOFs of west australia and to some extent the whole country (people from other parts of the country may dispute this :)).

I would love to go to a con but have never done so because I use a wheelchair. Fanfic on-line was first and only experience of fannish activities.

I'd say that cons' contributions are a mixture of the options that you offered, varying according to the neture of the con and the fandom and state of the canon (Is it open or closed etc.) The original size of the fandom can matter a lot too. Smaller fandoms can have small turnouts and find it a sign of cheer. A formerly large one can see small turnouts and think it's a sign of doom.

I'd love it is there was a site like for tv series & movie based videos. A site where it's easy to choose a certain title and search for videos based on it; not sites like youtube where there's no structure. Now I never know where to search for non-anime I don't want to watch a video at all if I can't save it on the computer if and when I discover that I like it. I usually won't even bother with vids because finding them is such a problem. Especially because I don't keep an eye out all the time, but prefer to get several at once, with lots of time in between those times, and if I go to LJ communities most links for interesting-seming videos are dead by then. I've asked for a reupload once or twice, but mostly I don't want to bother the makers. Which is why an archive site works better for me - especially one like that tells me which videos I downloaded and should rate, because I'd never remember it on my own.

I've been to SF/fantasy cons and to gaming cons (things like Origins and GenCon). I have no opinions on vidding at all. It's an art form that doesn't interest me, so I've not paid enough attention to its existance or issues to have opinions on them. I find extremely frustrating and hate its color scheme, but I know that there are people love it. I'm simply unlikely to do much of anything with it any time soon. I don't think that long fics alone can make a fandom active and vibrant. I believe that stories of all lengths are required for that. Long fics do show that there are dedicated fans (not the same thing as 'active and vibrant')

I think long WiPs are a way to keep the shiny-things!attracted crowd coming back...I have one such friend who skips from fandom to fandom like someone whose rocks in the lava keep sinking...she rarely returns...but to a few she comes back because her favorite authors are still writing a story she's interested in. As for cons I went to one across the country as a gift from a friend, and it was wonderful. I mostly went to meet people, and I did...I attended some events and discussions, and enjoyed them immensely, but what I really loved was the chance to hug people I'd never laid eyes on before (but still hold as among my closest friends), to personally compliment my favorite fic authors, to dance united and free with nearly a thousand other people who loved what I loved.

I'll go to every fan-run con I can reasonably afford, especially if it's a slash con. When it comes down to it, fandom is all about the fans. Media will come and go, as will actors, but what makes it all worthwhile -- the rich reward -- is the company of other fen.

I checked "other" for the type of convention, because I couldn't figure out what WriterCon would be considered. Multi? Special? Genre? I also did "other" on long fic benefit. Long fics are good, if they are well written and completed. My experience is that a lot of longer fics never make it from long WIP to finished. Or if they do, they endings seem to peter out. can help fans, fandoms, or regular people :) only insofar as people agree upon tags. If someone tags a set of fics "hp:char:snape," another uses "ss/hp" for fics and art alike, and a third tags everything HP-related as "potterfic," say, others who try to track down fics with certain tags have to do a lot of hunting. That isn't wholly bad, and I certainly wouldn't advocate that people employ a standard set of tags; entries aren't MARC records, and even librarians can't agree 100% on how to catalog something. But I think the network-and-tag assemblage at, diigo, and similar systems is a bit deceptive in the kinds of access it allows (and conceals).

I love cons. I love doing panels, meeting con buddies, seeing guests whose work I admire - but I prefer fan cons to pro cons. I went to four this year, and I used to do more.

I don't get the impression that cons attract any but the fairly committed - otherwise how do you find out about them? To be fair, I don't go to cons, and may be way off here, but from an uninvolved perspective that's how it feels. Long fics can be great, and I'd bet a fair few fans started reading one story and got drawn in. But there are two major risks - never finishing, which certainly alienates some readers who want a resolution and means WIPs may get a wary reception from some; and starting with a great idea which is then lost because there's no one who feels able to say 'stop': no word limits, no enforceable editing, it has a lot of potential for self-indulgence. As for vidding, as one of the techno-semi-literate mediocrity, it's too much hassle, and my software isn't up to downloading it, let alone creating it. Not my thing, and not likely to be!

I have an account at and at 1st I was putting articles there that I might want to reread nor show to a friend. These were usually scientific; news; political; etc. I never really thought of using it in terms of fandom or fanfic. Are there communities there or something? is there like an FAQ on delicio and fandom - I get the feeling I'm missing something. Thanks for the poll- very interesting - I started going to conventions going 28 years to early Shore Leave conventions in Baltimore- What I do and the amount of time and money spent at cons has changed but it was where I first met a lot of fans and I enjoyed them for that more than anything else. Another reason for going to cons - buying things- t-shirts; jewlery;calendars;books; photos; etc.

I've been in fandom for about 10 years and read a lot of fanfic. Personally, I've always liked longer stories, novel length or more, best. For me, it's sort of the longer the better; the longer a story is the more immersed I feel in it. But I like long non-fanfic novels in the same way. I've read War and Peace and Gone with the Wind. I like long works. That's just me. But from what I've seen long fanfics can become a rallying point for lesser known ships and fandoms. Fans gather around them. Say there are 20 active fans who love pairing X/Y in a specific fandom. Only a few stories exist for pairing X/Y, but once a long story starts to be written fans of X/Y gather around, all posting comments along the way. Long fanfics also establish BNFs in some fandoms and BNFs for specific ships. I do remember there being more long fanfics back circa 1995-1998. I'm not sure why that is, but there certainly were more. It might just be a matter of fad and what's popular currently. I think it used to be the in thing to write a medium length AU story of your own and explain your take on the fandom or characters. Now it's the in thing to produce character based one shots. It's the difference of one verse a half dozen of another. I think long fics may be produced less because writers are more distracted. The internet was very different in the nineties then it is today. There were no fanvids and it was harder to post fan art. There were no blogs, just archive websites that worked differently. People may have spent more time reading or had more time to read the longer works. And they may also have spent more time writing. The difference I believe is that shorter works, oneshots, now get more attention than they used to. Oneshots seemed to be ignored in the old days. I read a few but they were never recommended or received a lot of reviews. Now they've come into popularity and I think it has something to do with authors figuring out how best to use the format.