Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jazzy's Quick And Dirty Guide To Surviving Fandom Drama

If it's Wednesday, there must be drama. Some of you know about The Thing and some of you don't. Some people want to perpetuate the nonsense, some are now ashamed of themselves for not speaking out and some are standing on the sidelines wondering what the hell just happened. I guarantee you that a chunk of the fandom looked at it over the weekend and said, "Yeah, I'm outta here," and went back to lurking. Oh, they might watch but they won't participate in anything. Wanna know how I know that? Because it's happened before. I have friends who no longer participate in fandom events, who have given up their blogs or fic or vids or art or whatever they did FOR US and went away because they were either once targeted or they watched helplessly from the sidelines as someone else was and they were afraid that they might be next.

Fear in these situations, beyond an initial "holy shit," is a choice. We all have choices. What follows are my choices, the way I survive these dramas with my sanity, such as it is, intact. Please understand that the perspective that I'm coming from is one formed by participation in multiple fandoms over the years so while some of these may not seem applicable to the current situation they're still things I keep in mind.

1. Support the target. Email or message her or him (you thought this fandom was all female?) and offer your help. If you want to do Something then ASK what you can do and if the target asks you to leave it alone do that. There may be (and probably is) more going on than you realize or than has been said publicly. Realize that saying, "Well, what did you do to bring this on yourself?" is not only NOT supportive, it's target-blaming.

2. Know who your friends are. Not everyone in this fandom is going to get along. That's just life. While I'm personally and on this blog open to all comers I know who in this fandom has my back. I also have a good idea of who is most likely to stab me in it because I've watched them do it to others.

3. If you've participated in shit kicking then it's your responsibility to clean it up. Own it. Apologize for it. Keep in mind, though, that not everyone will get over it.

4. Get your facts straight. Understand that the argument you're wading into might have been raging across multiple blogs, Tumblr, Facebook, the message boards and through email for months or, in some cases, years.

5. Laugh. Laugh a lot. They can't kill ya and they can't eat ya.

So, that's what I have to say about it. I'm not saying that YOU have to do these things but I'd like to hear how you handle it. Comments are open as long as we can be calm. Be forewarned that personally attacking ANYONE else will get your comment pulled and you put on moderation. I don't want to do that but I will if this gets out of hand.

50 comments:

  1. My one piece of advice is to restrain myself from doing anything quickly. The things I've most regretted having done in this fandom as in life tended to be things I did without thinking about them. Nothing is that urgent. And in fandom, when in doubt do nothing is never a bad idea.

    Also reminding yourself to laugh, as you say.

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    1. Whenever I listen to my intuition to wait it's guaranteed that something plays out in an unexpected way.

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  2. Sometimes people take themselves too seriously myself included.

    I will admit there are times when I'm put off by others who take themselves seriously to the point of being pompous. What I generally do is try to remember we can all fall into this at times, and that makes it easier to ignore the behavior and not hold a grudge. I'm not one for holding grudges anyway.

    Oh, and certainly to laugh. I guess that should be obvious coming from me, but I also have realized there can be a downside to laughter. People who are not in the mood for humor, or who have no humor about something can take laughter as a criticism. I"m sorry they feel that way, but I do realize it can happen. So as much as I like to laugh, I hope it's at myself most of all where it still as the ability to put me in a lighthearted mood without giving offense as easily to someone else.

    So yeah, all of this seems to keep me in good spirits and hopefully others around me.



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    1. I think the easiest way to avoid grudges is to apologize when you realize you've hurt someone. It covers a multitude of sins, you know? Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Jazzbaby, Maybe it's my cold medicine, but I'm not sure what you mean. I'll come back and read this again when I'm more lucid.

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  3. I've decided to limit my contact with the community at large b/c I can't be part of a group that regularly acts this way. there are too many layers and too many players, I need a flow chart! I'm still blogging and I don't think I could quit Richard even if I tried, but I don't want to be on that flow chart ;)

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    1. Flow chart...like a Flo-bee?

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    2. I'm a newbie here so I don't know if your asking me about a haircut or something else ;) yes, my "hair" was weighing me down so I chopped some of it off. am I trying to come out smelling clean?...I want to move forward instead of getting stuck looking back. I know not everyone believes that simple explanation, but it is what it is. no conspiracies.

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    3. I support anyone who wants to make a change. And the Flo-bee crack was a really poor attempt at a pun. Stick around, you'll see more of my lame humor. ;)

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  4. Years ago, I was directly involved in a fanwar that encompassed 4 years and 2 law enforcement agencies. I'll be honest... it soured me on fandom for quite sometime.

    So I learned my lesson. I don't get involved in fandom like I used to. Doesn't mean I'm still not a fan. I am. Of many things. The way I participate has altered, drastically, which is sad. It's sad that one person or a group of people can bring a fandom to its knees or scrambling for cover.

    But yeah - KNOW who your friends are. I don't need a flowchart for that. People drop in and out all the time and time erodes everything, eventually.

    eventually...

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    1. I agree with you, zee but -- four years and two law enforcement agencies? I'm dying to know but probably don't want to really, do I?

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  5. It's best to refrain from even taking part in such inanity, whenever possible. It only feeds the fire. Like most toddler temper tantrums, it's best to just ignore it. It is fascinating, however, to watch grade school antics in adults. We just use more sophisticated words and tactics, but it ends up being pretty clear to most level-headed people when you've lost touch with your more mature side. (and it happens to all of us.) The vociferous voice generally reveals the side spinning in a vortex of their own creation. Step aside and let it spin out its own death.
    Of course, I sympathize with anyone who is a target of a personal attack. Not so easy to ignore then.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Trudy.

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  6. I'm sure you are right,Jazzy :) ..but I was taken by surprize yesterday..
    it was like a slap in my face, I had no idea what was going on.
    I can't stand hipocrisy so I can't act like nothing is happen..I'm sorry ,you know who. I love you ,guys !

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    1. I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong, Joanna, I just know what works for me. Thanks for commenting and you know that sentiment goes both ways. :)

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  7. Hear, hear. This should be required reading before joining *any* fandom.
    One addition: My own old mantra of "Let's find what unites us, not what separates us". Oh, and the ability to let bygones be bygones while learning from mistakes.
    Alright, alright, I'll shut up with my sanctimonious crap.

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    1. Yeah, get yer sanctimonious behind back to *ooof*ing. Thanks for commenting, guylty.

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  8. To all: comments are now on moderation thanks to an Anonymous commentor.

    To that Anon: I said in the last paragraph that I would delete personal attacks. If you would like to discuss that off blog my email is at the top of the page on the right.

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  9. I don't know what happened to Anonymous to get them so riled up but I've had some bad experiences in this fandom as well so I guess I'm not all that surprised. Which is why I mostly stick to tumblr now and stick to the blogs I follow on there.

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    1. Seriously? You can set your watch by the drama that happens in this fandom and not just this particular one.

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  10. I have no idea what you are referring to. Can you direct me to the epicenter of the drama? I don't want to participate in it, but I would like to know what is going on. What the hell happened and where and who did it happen to? Is it ok to ask? I feel like such a outsider when these things come up because I never know what you guys are talking about. I suppose that might be a positive, but I would really like to know

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    1. I'm not certain what's now been deleted and what's still out there, Kathy. Email me and I'll see what I can find for you.

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    2. Now know what drama was/is and it is very difficult to weigh in without using forbidden name-calling and other rude language. Shutting up, keeping sense of humor, and letting vortex move on and dissipate.

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  11. Holy Moly! You nailed it, Jazzybaby. This whole thing is crazy. I appreciate your sage wisdom....and I'm certain I'm much older than you. I cannot figure out who people are and what their intent is. Obviously, there is a cross-section of humanity involved in this experience....and a variety of personalities. I would never write a blog, even if I wanted to. You ladies/gentlemen are braver than I. It certainly opens you up to criticism. I don't think I could take it. I hope I can go back to just watching for pics and looking for intelligent, respectful conversation so I can honor those of you who provide them. (Although, I don't always tell you, I do appreciate it!) On the other hand, I can't always figure out who is who. I might need a flowchart just so I know you all by your aliases! :) - Ms Mel

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Ms Mel. Please don't be a stranger.

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  12. Real life such as it is at the moment has distracted me from actively participating - save for reading my favorite blogs - so like Kathy I have absolutely no idea what has happened.... Although I'm curious I'm not sure I want to know.... unless it's actually useful for me to know....

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    1. I don't know if it's useful or not. It's a pain in the ass, mostly. :) Thanks for commenting!

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  13. I was wondering too what was going on. So I started searching different blogs. Guess what, I found it. I had a sneaking suspicion what it could be. All of this has made me ill. Really ill. I cannot see the point of doing such a thing to someone. It's cruel. I'm not sure what to say. . . I just feel so bad for the person. I've had this happen to me in real life. So I know the feeling.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, jadedrabbit, and welcome to the blog. I agree with you that it can be hard to know what to say.

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  14. I agree with the advice and I dont' even know what the issue was this time but I've seen some of the nonsense that goes on and personally I like to stay out of that. I really don't understand how people get so out of hand and I don't want to contribute to attacking anyone especially when I don't know the whole case and believe me few of us really do. Great advice Jazzy and Serv. Wish more followed it.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Peggy, and welcome back to the blog.

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  15. A very good list, Jazzy. I only caught the tail end of the firestorm on Monday, long after it had started to morph. Unbelievable!

    But I gather that Person A has misrepresented--and/or twisted worse than a pretzel--the description of Person's B's writings. And Person A is threatening all manner of nasty intrusive actions against Person B, that seem similar to what Person A is claiming that Person B is doing/writing which supposedly made Person A upset. *shakes head*

    Perhaps this Person A should look in the mirror--and then wear mittens with no opposable thumbs (or maybe, that would be redundant), so that they can't type any more malicious missives against Person B, or anyone else. Mittens are my equivalent of suggesting that they wash their own mouths out with soap--it’s a U.S. colloquial parenting folktale.

    Anyway, if this Person A is a "troll" who gets their twisted jollies by trying to get our fangirl nighties in a knot, then perhaps we should not give the miniscule few (or one) but stridently vocal Person A trolls out there the attention that they so obviously crave--so as others have suggested, ignore them.

    And instead, we can try to refocus our thoughts upon the fact that we love Dwarves not Trolls. We may “not be in Kansas anymore, Toto”, but “there is no place like home” in the bosom of my RA fan friends. And friends stand up for friends.

    So let’s cheer for everyone for wanting to return to playing nicely in our “sand boxes”--visiting each others’ playgrounds now and again. It’s just that with litter boxes, every once in a while you have to sift out the poop that creeps into the sandbox--and also add in some fresh new sand.

    P.S. Have I mixed enough metaphors for you? Call it a Grati cocktail. Snap!

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    1. Cat Poop Cocktail is as good a description of all of it as I've heard, Grati. ;)

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    2. LOL! I hadn't thought of that. Snap!

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  16. I don't know if it's because I'm newish to the RA fandom, or indeed any fandom, but I find all this most bewildering. I feel as though I've dropped into an alternate universe where the normal rules of civilised society don't apply.
    Are we a community, and if so, do we stand up for someone within that community who's being treated badly? When I first read about what was happening, I did what you recommend in your first point- I emailed a show of support. When the opportunity arose to do so publicly on a blog post, I did that as well, as did others.

    Since then, all I've read is, 'keep quiet, do nothing, laugh at ourselves'. Really? That's correct procedure? I feel as though our support has been tossed back at us as unwanted. Not one word of gratitude that people cared enough to speak out- a simple, 'thank you, your support is much appreciated'.

    I fully understand not wanting to fan the flames, but that was never the intention- it was a way of expressing disbelief and outrage, at an issue that was about how we as a fandom conduct ourselves, and at one person being singled out. Is silence really the preferred option here?

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    1. KatharineD, thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your outrage more than I can possibly articulate. About the silence, again, there may be more going on than anyone realizes. For example, if anyone involved in a drama is considering or has taken legal action they may be advised to stay quiet about it. I've seen this happen in at least one other fandom and zee referenced legal action in her comment. I know it isn't a satisfying answer but, again, I'm open to suggestions.

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  17. I know you're just hypothesizing , Jazzie, about legal action, but even if a potential plaintiff has been advised to keep quiet, that admonishment would not need to extend to others. And anyway, all those behind the scenes emails would be up for grabs as part of discovery. And finally statements have been made - just not the one Katharine is referring is referencing. You're right. It's not a satisfying answer.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Perry. I've seen commentary about fingerpointing but not the fingerpointing itself so I'm not certain which statement you're referencing at this point. That's part of the trouble when these flare ups happen, not everyone is around at the same time, is reading the same blogs or message boards or is in the same place about engaging with either the fandom or the people involved.

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  18. I didn't mean to say anything about fingerpointing in my comment - though there has been that I was not referring to it at all. Katharine said there hasn't been one word of gratitude that people are speaking out. You suggested perhaps it was for legal reasons and I responded that there have been statements made by those who you think maybe quiet for legal reasons, just not the statements Katharine was talking about. I wouldn't read Katharine's comment as pointing fingers

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    1. I didn't read her comment as pointing fingers. I responded to what she said about silence. In your comment you used the word "statements"and that's what I was referring to as fingerpointing. You and I may be talking about two different kinds of statements.

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  19. To all: Blogger is eating comments again and I apologize. If it's eaten yours please email me at funkybluedelphinium at gmail dot com and I'll figure something out. I have a real life crisis I need to handle this morning so I ask for your patience with moderation. I know that tensions are running high right now and I want to thank you all for being respectful of each other.

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  20. I've been on the receiving end and I do not know what I would have done without the support of my friends.

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    1. MoonRAker, I feel for you. I cannot imagine what that must feel like when you're the target.

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  21. Taking a step back from fandom participation seems to have been a good idea after all. I've not seen anything about this in the RA groups I'm in on FB (or if there was, they didn't appear on my timeline), so I'll just sit here on the corner and be happily oblivious to what's happened and offer virtual hugs to anyone who needs it.

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  22. I've been in absentia.....
    What the dickens has been going on??!!

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    1. Email me and I'll send you what I can find.

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  23. I do know about some of these goings on, but not the latest flare ups. I haven't been very active on my blog lately or I should have offered some support there. Now I feel like I don't really know enough to comment. I will be emailing you for an update. Thanks for keeping us informed!

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    1. Check your email, phylly, and hey...good to see you!

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Thanks for commenting!