It has been a longer series than I planned, but it helped get some of the frustrations I’ve experienced just being a fan in the current day and age. As a wrap up, I thought I’d do summation, kind of a quick-n-easy guide to being a good fan.
1.) Be Accepting, Not Exclusionist: It’s hard to become a fan of something if people who are already fan exclude you and deride you for not having been a fan as long as they have. Would you, as a neophyte, want such derision? If you are criticizing them for not being experts as neophytes, you are now part of the problem.
2.) Be Discerning for Personal Tastes, but Not Judgmental: It’s good to be critical and desire the “best” of things, but nothing’s perfect. And just because something isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s bad.
3.) Constructive Criticism, Please: Be critical. Please everyone be critical — don’t just accept what’s been given to you — but be constructive in criticism. If it’s bad, how could it be better? If it could use improvement, how? If you don’t like it, why? If enough people say the same thing, maybe it can become something you’ll enjoy.
4.) Debate, Don’t Argue: Debating is very healthy for an active mind. Arguing is personal and taps into aggression. NOTHING you can be a fan of is worth real rage. Even the things I love the most I wouldn’t defend with violence. Even verbal violence. Would you win new fans that way?
5.) The Impermanence of All Things: Possibly most important, remember the impermanence of ALL the things we love. What we’re fans of today, we may not like tomorrow. The most important thing to our brains may only hold that position for a brief period. Before ending friendships, making new enemies, acting like a petulant child over the things we’re fans of, remember it’s just a thing that we like right now.
Of course there are many aspects to being a “good fan” and, of course, many opinions. It seems strange to think it all comes down to, “can’t we all just get along?” but hanging around the Internet long enough has gotten me to this point! I think we CAN all get along. I think various kinds of fans CAN get along, and many kinds of fans can exist within one person — you can be a fan of games, electronic entertainment, sports, literature, history, natural science, etc. I know you can be, because I am a fan of aspects of all those things. And if someone wanted to debate them or learn about them, I’d be happy to participate!
I feel sure there will be more topics on fandom that come up, and you can be sure I’ll be happy to post about them! Until then, I hope everyone makes the Internet a better place to be a fan!