Fan Run

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Fan run refers to any fan activity that is conducted by one or more fans and focuses on consumption by other fans.

Some key characteristics of fan-run activities are: they usually start out as non-profit; they have little to no budget; they are non-professional endeavors, and usually all work is done by volunteers who receive little or no monetary compensation for their work and time. The term by fans for fans can often be found in the description of these activities.

The power over the product and content is in the hand of the fans and not a commercial supplier or TPTB/copyright owner.

This may include for example:

Also see List of Fan Run Star Trek Merchandising Companies.

Fan earned servers vs. commercial servers

Early on, fans have been determined to be in control over the works they created.

One example is some early-to-mid fanfiction authors who declined to have their works archived in specialized archives. This led to the fact, that a lot of fan work was inevitable lost when hosted like Geocities, AOL Hometown or Lycos' Tripod Massacre closed and the corresponding author pages were deleted.

Archive of Our Own's creation was an extension of a mindset that there is a need for fans to own their own servers in order to control the content and protect that content from official influence.

Techno terms like “Foxed,” which means when a studio threatens legal action against an online blogger or forum user, came out of that period. Other terms now synonymous with the show came out of X-Files fan sites.

The X-Files: A History of the Fandom by Matt Allair, Den of Geek, Jan 24, 2018

In the wake of Yahoo's devaluation of Tumblr (which is now owned by Oath/Verizon), a need was expressed by fans to "own what we build" to guarantee longevity.

Whereas those of us who’ve been around forever know from experience that listservs can vanish overnight, web hosts and server owners can kick you off and delete your website, corporations can and will attempt to delete your communities because they think you write and draw illegal material, businesses can fold and collapse and leave you with years of fandom infrastructure completely demolished.


That can’t be said enough: owning and yes, even building, our own community spaces is the only way to guarantee longevity. If anyone who actually lived through Strikethrough and Boldthrough and LJ in general, much less the nightmare of Delicious shutting down, actually came to Tumblr with the idea that it would be our shiny new forever fandom home, I would be very surprised. But we’ve all been really content to just be here without seriously looking for alternatives and backups. And meanwhile, ask any Tumblr user under, idk, 16 or so, what the next fandom blogging and discussion platform will be after Tumblr, and I’m not sure they’d have any more of an answer than I do.

Fandom, Inc.

In October 2000, Fandom, Inc., a commercial dot-com startup, threatened a fan named Carol Burrell who owned the domain name, saying they had the trademark on "fandom" and if Burrell didn't give up her domain, they'd sue her.[2]

Wikia hosted wikis project vs. self-hosted wikis

FANDOM is a brand of the commercial Wikia, Inc that hosts a lot (if not the most) wiki projects that are maintained by and contributed to by fans. Contrary to self-hosted wikis, edits and contribution may not done under a creative commons license, but automatically become the intellectual property of Wikia, Inc, depending on the wiki's initial license type.[3] Due to Wikia's wiki "branding", software modifications to the default mediawiki layout and navigation pages, it's very hard to identify under which license type an individual wiki is operated, since the license is not displayed in the wiki's footer by default.

Another issue: advertising on all Wikia pages, as well as personal information that is collected (and thus monetized) for marketing reasons.[4]

Wikia projects often result in a number of duplicate or even competitive wiki projects on the same topic or in abandoned wikis if the "owner" loses interest or no longer finds the time maintaining the project.

So what makes this one [Wikia] different? It's that, along with original features from its own editorial staff, as well as curated content from "the best of the web" and social media, it will also include content submitted from the fans themselves.

That include Fandom's "fan contributors." That program will allow users to write pieces, and make videos, giving them a platform to get their work published. There are currently over 125,000 contributors on Wikia each month.

Fandom will also include highlights from Wikia's 360,000 fan communities.

So basically the site seems to be a marriage between what Wiki usually does, which is allow its users to contribute to the site, while also going larger and including more content, as well as exerting control over what gets published.

Wikia is blurring the line between reader and journalist by Steven Loeb, January 25, 2016</ref>

Fan-run websites vs. official authorised fansites

Pottermore maybe the most famous case where the creation of an official fan site lead to the temporary closure of fansite with virtually exact mission and content, The Harry Potter Lexicon, and the lawsuit that followed.[5] A lot of fan discontent stemmed from the fact that the space was subject to the whims of The Powers That Be, leading to them creating their own spin-off social spaces.

In some cases, like for example with the Official Gillian Anderson Website, an initially fan-run website may become an official authorised web site.

Examples of fan run activities by Fandom

Harry Potter


Star Trek

Starsky & Hutch



See also

Links/Further Reading