Fanlore:Pre-1995 Fan Name Use

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Policy: Identity Protection - Pre-1995 Fanworks
In summary: In the pre-Internet era, many fans used their real names on fanworks with the expectation that those works would not circulate outside the fan community. To protect the identities of those fans, real names used in non-Internet fanworks prior to 1995 should be referenced on Fanlore with a first name and last initial.
Related Policies: Fanlore: Editorial Procedures, Fanlore: Identity Protection


In the days prior to the Internet, some fans who wrote in zines (or contributed to other fanworks) used their real names as opposed to a fan name. The expectation at that time was that fanworks would remain within the fairly closed community of fandom. It was probably impossible at that time to envision that 20 or 30 years later, everything a fan ever did would be searchable on the Internet by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Therefore, in conjunction with Fanlore's policy on Identity Protection, the assumption of Fanlore is that identity exposure is unwanted.


  • For pre-1995 fanworks, the default way to identify an author (or artist or other contributor) is with a first name and last initial. For example, "Mary R." as opposed to "Mary Richards."


  • If the name in question is known to be a fan name rather than a real name, the full fan name should be used.
  • If the fan, as a matter of choice, is known to use her real name on the Internet in connection with her fannish activities, the fan’s real name can be used. See, for example, Kathy Resch.

A list of pre-1995 fans whose full names can be used in the wiki can be found on the Exceptions subpage of this entry.


The use of 1995 is, admittedly, a somewhat arbitrary date. It was chosen because prior to that date, it was less foreseeable that the Internet would have such a great impact on fandom. The date is therefore a guideline and not intended to imply that non-Internet fanworks thereafter are not entitled to privacy protection if the fan's wishes on the matter are known. If, for example, a real name is used in zines published in 1994, 1995, and 1997, the name should be referenced on Fanlore in first name, last initial format each time.

A safe rule of thumb is that when in doubt (e.g., uncertainty as to whether a name is a fan name or real name), editors should err on the side of protecting the privacy of the fan in question and use the first name, last initial format. Then open a discussion on the relevant Talk Page to solicit the input of other editors and reach a resolution. See Fanlore:Pre-1995 Fan Name Use/Exceptions.