Fanboy Interview with Laura Hale

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Fanboy Interview with Laura Hale
Interviewer: Michael Pinto
Interviewee: Laura Hale
Date(s): May 8, 2008
Medium: online
Fandom(s): fandom
External Links: entire interview is online here, Archived version
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Contents

Laura Hale was interviewed by Michael Pinto for Fanboy.com in 2008. The subject of the interview was fandom and Hale's Fan History Wiki.

Some Excerpts

The most important thing is to first realize that you need to document and to make your voice heard when you see documentation being done. In my experience with Fan History, that is the biggest problem. People don’t see the need to document their history, to tell their own history. They will let others do it instead and complain about how it is being done. So if you see a project, be it Fan History, a LiveJournal community dedicated to the history of your fandom, Wikipedia, FanAc.Org, the Organization for Transformative Works, ask the people involved how you can get involved.
I got into fandom in 1996. I had a few fabulous people who taught me about fandom, the social rules, etiquette, history, the terminology that was used, etc. Most of those people came out of the Star Trek and Babylon 5 fandoms. In 2000, I was involved with FanFiction.Net, and created a project called Writers University on the site. I created it back then because I wanted to share with others what others had shared with me. It made my transition into fandom easier having those mentors and having that historical background. Writers University left FanFiction.Net and the history section went with it to a few different urls. In May 2006, because I wanted to expand on and consolidate the knowledge of fandom history that had been sitting around my hard drive, and because Wikipedia deleted the Diane Marchant article, the content I had moved to FanHistory.Com. The decision was made to use a wiki format because I wanted to get more people involved in telling the history of fandom because for a few years, the only person writing history inside media fandom telling the history of media fandom was me. So it began as a one person show. It has since expanded beyond that.
Couple of qualities. First, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and shamelessly promote yourself. Second, provide people with what they want in terms of content. Third, be controversial. Fourth, keep doing that again and again. The fans who really get to be known across fandom are the ones that can do that. That’s the way to get notable and known. The other way to get notable is to create a quality product that fandom will consume and use. The downside to this is that, unless you’re vocally making yourself the front person for that product, selling the product as an extension of yourself, you might not gain personal notability. The best example of this is FanFiction.Net: Most people know it and use it. They don’t necessarily know Xing Li, nor how notable and influential he has been in reshaping fandom since 1998. Root at MediaMiner.Org, a large anime fan fiction site, is pretty similar in how he’s shaped things in his corner of fandom. He’s rather hands off with the site but he created the framework for a large and active anime fandom community to form around it. Justin Sevakis at AnimeNewsNetwork is another example of a fan more known for his product than his name inside of fandom.