Today the topic making the rounds is reviews. Perhaps this is my fault, because I've been thinking and writing about them lately, and navel-gazing in an attempt to figure out what my problem is. The anonmeme is apparently psychic, and started stirring shit up-- according to others. (Obviously the anonmeme doesn't care about my locked entries which it can't see, but the coincidence is funny.) And eh, that's what anonmemes do. Frankly, I feel like it has stirred more trouble since its genesis than we had to put up with before, and it doesn't seem terribly constructive. YMMV. You all know how I feel about anonmemes.
One friend says we should stop whining about the death of FE fandom, which is probably true - a low review count doesn't mean the fandom is dead. Another talked at length about why reviews are so scarce, and what we should all be doing to change that. (And I do agree with many points, for the record.) Others have posted on the same topic, but I've been busy entertaining today, so I'm going to jump straight to the part of the entry where I'm going to piss people off:
It's one thing to say we should start reviewing, and another thing - apparently - for people to practice what they preach. I've seen this entry several times in the last year, saying the same thing: instead of complaining about not getting any reviews, get out there and start handing reviews out to other people! Fandom means participation! Think about how much you want responses to your work and then make someone else's day by giving!
Less than a week later, the same people make excuses on their journals. Sorry, I've been busy, sick, had a fight with my mom, had work, etc. I just didn't get around to reviewing your stories. I totally will! Just not right now. Meaning never.
Here's the thing about that: it's okay. We have lives. If you're sick, you should be resting and recovering, not dragging yourself out of bed to read and review someone's fanfic. In fact, you are in no way obligated to review anything. Neither am I. If you promised, well - get better and then think about keeping your promise or not.
And then, seriously consider not promising next time if you don't often feel moved to review. Stop whining about how few reviews you get if you're not willing to review for others (I usually review when I read, but should stop bitching anyway), and stop getting on your soap box to tell the rest of the fandom we should start reviewing, or doing this or that, when you don't follow your own advice.
Everything about this discussion bothered me. Part of it was the hypocrisy up above, and part of it is actually on another topic: newbies and snark.
I am not the anon who started that thread about the ~mysterious person~ who dissed something her friend likes to write, and then ranted about older fans who snark newbies. (Or maybe the second topic was a different anon? Who can tell.) Anon bitching is for fucking cowards, so I'm going to say out loud, with my name signed, that regardless of how much shit that thread stirred up, I think the OP was right.
How necessary is it, really, to snark fic you think is bad-- at length? Ask yourself. Is this constructive? Does it make fandom better? Does it improve the quality of fic out there? Does it erase bad characterization? Does this make the fandom feel friendly to newbies? The answer to the last question is probably no, and honestly, if you complain about the death of the fandom and then turn around and snark the newest Mary Sue fic in the archive, you're a hypocrite and only have yourself to blame for what you consider the demise of your beloved fandom. Truly, the demise is relative if you can find fic by new authors to snark in the first place.
As someone who used to snark fic quite often, and in public, I understand the kind of image one creates for oneself by doing so. (Hint: it isn't a good one.) I also understand that it hurts feelings - and no matter how terrible you think a Sue fic is, writing and posting it is not a crime that needs to be punished. You can roll your eyes at the summary, laugh at it over AIM, and then let it go. You can read it, snicker about it, and then close the thing with no one the wiser - certainly not the poor author. This has been said before, but I'll say it again: today's Sue ficcers are tomorrow's amazing writers. When I broke into fan fiction back in 1998, the first thing I did was write a series of Mary Sue fics.
Am I still writing Sue fics?
They'll get over it. Meanwhile, why the fuck are you reading stories you know you'll hate? How many reminders do we need that there's a back button and we should use it? For that matter we older, supposedly smarter fans should be able to tell just from the summary that something is going to be "bad." Why click on it?
Oh, right. It's fun to make fun of people. Well, okay. You do that. The noobs will go over there - probably - and create the kind of fandom space that actually welcomes them. Or they'll leave because they don't have time to put up with this shit, and we'll lose a potentially good part of our fandom. Is that what you want? Do you want to discourage or alienate people and shrink the fandom down to its tiny, stagnating core?
You are not helping. And you're not making the rest of us look any better, either, because we're guilty by association. One fan snarks, and the entire circle is assumed to be doing the same every day, all the time, snark snark snark.
Count me out.
So. A few of you in particular have been snarking lately, and this is not me passive-aggressively saying I hate you. I don't. I haven't been reading the snark because it doesn't interest me, and the fics it's about are usually based on games or fandoms I'm also not interested in. I'm not trying to lecture you. In fact, this entry is every bit as hypocritical as what I'm criticizing. But this was kind of ticking me off all day, and I just now realized why. Naturally, the whole world needed to hear about my revelation.
EDIT: if you think I'm talking about you, go ahead and PM me. But seriously, this is not about YOU