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Silly question: I wrote up a footnotey explanation of the controversialness of "feral" over on Feral Fandom. Should I just import it over here? Same in both places, or have one refer to another? In some ways, Feral Fan, Feral Vidder and Feral Fandom are all alike, and will address the same questions the same way. But... I don't have a feel which entry should be the "master" entry with the most detail. Thoughts? --Vee 15:31, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

I did change the controversy section over there, as it didn't include the why of the original term being invented. Feral vidder might be the oldest of the terms, and it was specifically related to people like Megan Kent who read an intro on how to vid in a zine, and who them went out and bought the equipment to vid, without ever having anyone mentor them personally (which is how vidders learned to vid back int the late 80s/early 90s.) Feral fan might beat it out, though, as it references people who would stumble onto zines at a sci fi con or an ad at the back of a magazine, and then buy zines and get into fandom that way, without knowing someone and have them hand them zines, which was again the more typical way to get into fandom in the late 80s. Feral fandom is the newest term, really only coming into its own post-internet, and with the breakdown of the gatekeeper system, I'm not sure if it's useful as anything other than a historical term. --rache 16:21, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we ought to merge all these terms under "feral" since I think they're all related, right? Then everyone could link to Feral#Feral Fandom and it would all be kept together. Y/N? --Betty 18:54, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Good thought. I think that would be great, since they're all early terms in media fandom. --rache 18:59, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Done. If someone can add some stuff for Feral Vidders, rache, you seem to know something on the topic. --Betty 19:06, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll add the stuff I put in here, and probably rearrange stuff a bit, as the same controversy applies to everything; I think the terms themselves can be downgraded a heading or something. Hmm. --rache 19:09, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

So I've read the article, and I guess I understand the concept, but -- what is meant by 'gatekeeper function'? who, exactly, were those 'gatekeepers'? And the examples fpr feral fandom sound a lot like gateway fandom or threshold fandom to me. What's the difference? Could someone explain this? --lian 20:28, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

As I understand it this "gatekeeper" refers to a person who introduces the newbie into fandom, and mentors them. Whereas "gateway fandom" just means it is the first fandom for someone and threshold fandom that it is the first fandom for many fans in this fandom. The latter terms still work in current fandom, where most media fans come into fandom on their own through just stumbling upon a website or googling it. E.g. by the older early 1990s standards me coming into fandom through just finding a Sentinel website in 1996 and not being mentored by anyone would have made me a "feral fan" had it happened five years earlier and with a fanzine. So Sentinel was my "gateway fandom" (to media fandom anyways) but since TS had many media fans in it with media fan practices, it wasn't a "threshold fandom". Does this make it clearer?--Ratcreature 20:51, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh, man. Let me see if I can snag a free preview page from Enterprising Women with something about it on it. It looks like it's described in Chapter Four: Training new members. Ah! I was able to pull from that Enterprising Women free preview:
The women's fanzine community draws its members from among the adult and late teen population, and it has developed an extensive mentor-apprentice system for training newcomers in the structures and customs of the community, including the codes and aesthetics of fan fiction, and a particular aesthetic of television viewing.

Essentially, in 1980, you had to know someone to get into fandom. They would meet you at a con, and you'd get to know about fandom from them, and they would act as the gatekeeper for the community, vetting you and teaching you what you needed to know about how to interact with the community outside of your relationship with the gatekeeper. It took about 2 years for this socialization process to happen, according to Camile, so...yeah, it was an a different way to get into fandom from what we know now. It doesn't have anything to do with gateway fandoms or threshold fandoms, it was about a physical person who would slowly introduce you to fannish activities. --rache 20:59, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

It was certainly a different way to get into fandom from what we knew in the 60s and 70s. *boggles* Why did this kind of social structure evolve? Why was it deemed necessary to "train" newcomers in this way? Anyway, I think it is important for the article to go into a bit more depth on what a gatekeeper is and their role in mentoring newbies. I'm going to paraphrase Ratcreature's and Wickedwords' explanations here toward that end. --KTJ (talk) 06:33, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Media vs. not

I edited the feral fandom definition to make a more obvious distinction between it's use within media fandom (Xena, Twilight etc) and the less common use to refer to fandoms outside media fandom (anime, webcomics etc) The page seems to mostly use the first definition, but I have seen the second used and I feel the distinction is important. But since I'm not really in media fandom I'm not 100% sure I got that part right: would Jane Austen fandom count for example? It's been around a lot longer than mainstream media fandom, but is around a form of western media. I decided it didn't, which is why I said modern Western media, but I would appreciate someone more knowledgeable fixing it if I'm wrong. sqbr 02:47, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Depends on your definition if Jane Austen counts or not - some media fans would say yes, because Jane Austen fans don't comply to their idea of common standards. But all of it turns into boundary-policing if you're not careful. Cesy 17:53, 22 June 2012 (UTC)


I don't think the HP example is a good one. The Cassie Claire situation was a bit more complex than the people in HP not knowing what plagiarism was, or, to quote from the page: had not developed a culture-wide response to same, [indicating] that the fandom was not entirely acculturated to mediafandom (where plagiarism was met with "outrage and pitiless mockery, a custom long-established"). I'm pretty sure that stealing another fan's story was just as unacceptable in HP as it is anywhere else. The CC situation was one where an author included lines from popular shows in her story, it was a WIP, which meant you always wanted to know what happened next, and (this is the part that led to the whole controversy) it was the most popular HP story at the time. If I remember correctly, the story had more than 6,000 comments before Laura kicked CC and her fanfic off; it wasn't so much a case of "Yay, we embrace plagiarism" as it was an example of people being extremely unhappy about losing access to their crack of choice. After all, they couldn't just read the original author's story (there wasn't one), or watch Buffy instead; because a few unattributed quotes here and there don't equal several 100,000 words of Draco-centric epic; the experiences just aren't the same, which comes back to: "They took our crack! We want it back!" Certainly an interesting example of emotional investment in a fanwork, author/reader dynamics or whatever, but I don't think there is anything particular feral about it. --Doro 11:01, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Also, while HP was the first fandom for many, it never felt *that* different to me from any other internet fandom except for being really large. Then again I'm not convinced this "feral fandom" concept is really all that valid for internet fandoms anyway, because I have yet to see examples here for some really insular fannish cultural practices that would make a fandom see really odd to others. Maybe that's because of the corners I hang out in, obviously huge as HP is, I have no clue about much of it, but the other examples don't make this "feral" idea on a fandom level much clearer to me.
Most fandoms no matter how many fans come from previous fandoms have some idiosyncracies that fit that particular source. Okay so Xena fandom calls f/f "alt" and certain AUs "uber", but that's kind of like XF having a genre "Muldertorture" while SGA has "Shepwhump", I don't see yet an explanation how that itself is something that would amount to a fannish culture clash. Same with the categories in XF, I don't know whether XF was really the first online fandom to have them, but obviously they are really useful in large archives and soon became adopted by much of the rest of media fandom, like TS also had archive categories and more as the archives grew. Guide Post in TS eventually had sections for "angst", "smarm", "case stories", "AU", "crossovers", "kids", "challenge", "humor", "adults only", "horror", "episode related" and "holidays" on its index page, compared to that the Gossamer categories of "Crossovers", "X-Files", "Adventures", "Stories", "Vignettes" with the subcategories "Romance", "Humor" and "Angst" hardly seem excessive. --Ratcreature 12:50, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
XF used complex single-letter coding for its genre-tags, though, and they were nitpicky and weird. I think that fandom took and ran with the good parts of the classification system, and left behind the part where R meant romance, A meant angst, T meant adventure (because A was taken), and people would have deep and serious arguments over whether or not M/S indicated the same thing as MSR. In XF, 3/4 of the tags you describe were not legit, or were larded into the summary/description. The coding was strict and specific, and the chief reason I'd call it feral is that it's totally incomprehensible to someone who isn't familiar with the coding already. --Vee 05:06, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll take a stab at the section and see if I can fix it and smooth it out. --rache 14:47, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I ended up redoing most of the section, but I really think we need a link to the Cassandra Claire controversy, but it doesn't look like that has been created yet. Doro, can you stub one from what you have, or if I have just missed it, can you put in that link? --rache 15:19, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Rache, what was your thinking on removing two of the links (or did they get removed before you started revising)? I think in the course of smoothing/rewriting, a valid perspective got deleted. Whether or not everyone would agree that HP is/was a quasi-feral fandom, the links make clear that some fans thought it was, and discussed it as such at some length. That's no longer clear in the existing graf, and it seems like PPOV would warrant it being added back in.--Vee 05:06, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I thought I summarized the HP part of it okay, but I'm happy to add the ref back. I pulled that quote from one of them and added it to the article, but go ahead and change it if you'd like. The plagiarism part I thought should probably go with the Cassie Claire information, which is why the article now links to that. I had no idea how to add it though, or what the pertinent bits were, so you might need to do that yourself. --rache 05:46, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Currently it is a subsection on the plagiarism page: --Ratcreature 15:22, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! --rache 15:26, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Twilight seems to be another gateway fandom with a lot of feral fans who are participating in traditional fannish activities without any real connection to media fandom at large. I saw a lot of discussion of this around Comic-Con 2008, but seem to have lost the links for reference. Anyone else hang on to them? --Sashadavidovna 19:59, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Go ahead and add what you remember to the examples page. People can go back in and update it with citations later, and fix things that you may have misremembered. I rely on the other contributors here for a lot of that kind of help. --rache 20:12, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Pre-Term Examples

While the term "feral" was never used, the huge influx of Star Trek fans in the late 1960s and the 1970s were an example of some of this "free range" fannishness. There were many, many instances of the old school, general science fiction fans being very unhappy with the influx of what they felt to be huge mobs of fans who were uneducated in the ways of fandom; folks who didn't know the language, didn't know the customs, hadn't "paid their dues," were female (!), hadn't learned at the knees of the "right" people, supposedly weren't interested in "real" science fiction, and essentially invaded the traditional fannish places. And vice versa: Star Trek fans found the general SF/sf fans to be hostile, unwelcoming, snobbish, rigid, and overwhelmingly male. The culture clash was huge and long-lived and a major source of discussion. It reminds me of the 2008/09 "invasion" of the Twilight fans at Comic-Con and how those who'd "been before" looked upon the mobs of unschooled masses (again, of females) and reacted in much the same way. --Mrs. Potato Head 21:08, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

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