A Taxonomy of Fans

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Related terms:
See also: Actifan, BNF, Neofan, Closet Fan, Armchair Fan, Lurker
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Fans apply various taxonomies to themselves and other fans.

Types of Categorizing

Fans may categorize themselves or other fans according to their level or type of activity within (a) fandom, such as noob or newbie, long-time lurker, commenter-not-writer, acafan, etc.

Fans may also categorize themselves and other fans according to their perception of how they or the other fans are perceived in terms of name-recognition or influence, such as:[1]

  • NNF - No Name Fan (perhaps known to no-one (pure lurker) or a few people on their flist)
  • LNF - Little Name Fan (somewhat known in certain corners of their fandom)
  • MNF - Medium Name Fan (not yet or no longer a BNF, often a fic writer)
  • BNF - Big Name Fan (name recognition in (almost) all corners of their fandom)
  • GNF - Giant Name Fan (either within a fandom, or a very big BNF across multiple fandoms)
  • panfandom BNF or GNF (every non-noob in large swathes of many fandoms is likely to recognize their name)

If fanfiction writers, fans may categorize themselves as xNF according to how many comments they receive on an average fic.

In Different Fandoms

From an essay in Spectrum #24 (1976) by M.J. Fisher called Underground Fandom:

[The first line]: Fans have admitted in the past that the structure in fandom comes close to anarchy and that the less formal structure, the better.... 1) Armchair Fan 2) Trekkie 3) Neofan/Trekker 4) Contributing or Established Fan 5) BNF. "Armchair fans have almost no knowledge of fandom, and most Trekkies are more interested in Star Trek in its pure form than in fandom. Neofans, however, are people who have broken into fandom and are learning the ropes.... The real activists exist with Established Fans and BNFs. These people have worked their way up through the pyramid. Most Established Fans can be considered ST trivia experts not just because they have worked toward that goal but because trivia is something you master to be able to contribute to a lot of discussions in fandom.


  1. ^ According to threads at certain anonmemes.