Help talk:Fandoms

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I really like the idea of a general, standard template/outline for fandom pages, but I would have no idea how to fill most of this out for any of my fandoms:

=Canon Overview=
==Fannish Demographics==
==Fannish Focuses and Significant Omissions==
==Noteworthy Activities==
===Trends and Fannish Movement===
===Contributions to Wider Fandom===

I assume that most of my fandoms have mainly women (and girls) in them, but I can't swear even to that, never mind any more specific demographic info, and I'm not sure what the next two things mean/are looking for ("significant omissions" sounds like it's saying "ur doing it wrong", and what's a "noteworthy activity"? Would regular fannish stuff count there, or just something like raising money for charity?)

I'm also not sure what's meant by "fannish movement" -- where the fans tend to come from or go to? (Like, lots of early Sentinel fans came in from Due South, and later moved on to SG1.) Or...? And I'm concerned that "contributions to wider fandom" will result in a lot of people having to write a disheartening "none" when they're writing up their fandoms, because there's nothing specific that anyone can point to to say "this fandom did it first, and now lots of other fandoms do it, too," even though the fandom is contributing to wider fandom just by existing and in other intangible ways.

Maybe I'm just coming at it from a different place? For the fandom articles I'm writing, I'm focusing more on how a new fan can find things and what sorts of things she'll find; I'm giving a show synopsis with links to key characters and pairings, a quick overview of the general fandom (which will eventually go into more of the history and any controversies, as well as the fandom's general culture), and then looking at fanfic, fanart, vids, archives, zines, and mailing lists/communities/forums (so, in order -- types of individual things that the fans produce, the places those things are collected, and the places where the fans congregate to talk). The Professionals is an example of the general layout I'm using (the "stub" is accurate, there's 30 years of history to fill in yet). I'm not sure where most of that would fit in the template above. --Arduinna 22:16, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

For omissions, I was thinking something like "For some reason, this fandom has almost no genfic," which you'll see noted, I think, in the bandom profile. I think that's a significant omission, but if it's not clear, that's no good, and also, I don't want it to come across as judge-y.
Maybe "impact on wider fandom" or something more neutral? I think it's worth noting when a fandom ends up contributing, for example, the term 'sex pollen' or Harry Potter's recruiting effect. But I don't want to imply that fandoms who have "only" created lots of marvelous fanworks are somehow less worthy.
Possibly because I have a more macro focus, I tend to see trends as more significant than individual works and archives, but-- the reason I asked for feedback on this is so that my POV won't end up dominating, because that is absolutely the last thing I want.
For demographics, I was thinking it's worth noting when, for example, a fandom is older, or younger, queerer, or straighter, more or less cis, than "average", or at least when it is perceived that way.
Please feel free to suggest an alternate template that we could use or adpt, I'm totally serious about wanting input. Betty 22:56, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah! Okay, that is clearer. Hm. What about something that goes for more generic headings, and offers suggestions underneath each? (Which would also break the headings up on the page and make it less intimidating, I think.)
Something like:
=Canon Overview=
[brief description to provide general context for the fandom]
[background info such as when and where did it start; what the general focus is (gen/het/slash/other; romance/action/au; etc.); what's the fannish makeup (younger, older, mainly female, mainly male, mainly queer, etc.); what sort of fanworks does it produce (fic/vids/art/other); what's the meta like; etc.]
==Fannish Activity==
[more detailed look at fanworks and fan discussions, both in general and with specific examples, including things that have influenced the fandom]
===Lists, Communities, Forums===
[what's made the fandom what it is today?
==Impact on Wider Fandom==
I don't think that's quite it yet, and it may be overly detailed from my inserting my own working layout in the middle there (and probably overdoing the suggestions), but maybe something like that? (Looking at this, it's clear that my focus really isn't macro when I'm talking about individual fandoms rather than Fandom, so probably there needs to be more meshing here.) --Arduinna 23:59, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

I think that suggested template is extremely discouraging. It has a focus on "data" (like "demographics" "trends" "movements") that individual fans can't really provide with any certainty, and also are things that you usually only write down in numbers with sources for fear of being challenged heavily for making up statistics (and rightly so), the other sections imply value judgements that fans are always reluctant to make ("noteworthy" "significant" "contributions to wider fandom" ), so nobody would dare to add anything. However if over time, lots and lots of fans provide perspectives and anecdotes they remember in more freeform articles, impressions and trends will become visible as individuals just tell their fandom's story.--RatCreature 00:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with RatCreature. None of this info is anything that people can say for sure, because everyone focuses on their own section of fandom. Maybe you (general you) can vaguely say the demographics for your fandom on LJ for example, if that's where you hang out, but LJ is not the be all and end all of fandom, and even then, it's likely that your view is skewed by what subset of fandom you hang out in, slash, gen, het, etc. for larger fandoms. And usually any non-fanfic-related parts of fandom will be ignored as well. --Kyuuketsukirui 01:02, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Is it the template specifically you find troubling? There were some requests for a kind of outline for fandoms, which this was in response to-- Do you think such a thing is possible without making these kinds of assumptions? I can see what you're afraid of, although my hope would be that multiple people editing the article would have the same effect of expanding the points of view even within an outline. --Betty 01:52, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I would be afraid to just add just with a template like yours, because I couldn't provide any of what it asks for (stastics, decisions about noteworthiness, effects of my fandom on fandoms I don't know of...). It's like being given an outline for a term paper, only I was never in the course the outline is intended for.--RatCreature 02:06, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I think some sort of template is a good idea. I don't think this specific template is a good idea. I think the suggestion above to put any possible demographic info in the overview is okay, though I still am hesitant about that, because the thing is, even with multiple people editing, it is highly likely that it will all be multiple people from the same general area of fandom. I just don't foresee getting a ton of people from FFN, etc. coming to edit the wiki, even though FFN is a very significant chunk of fandom, and overall OTW and the wiki are very fanworks-focused in a way that automatically narrows the scope. --Kyuuketsukirui 02:25, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

- Truth to be told, I find the template waaay too detailed. Yeah, it would be *beautiful* to actually have that kind of overview. But. I may be pessimistic, but actually filling this out would either require one extremely dedicated person eyeballs-deep into the fandom with a lot of research-fu, or a wide enough group of contributors. I don't see that for every given fandom. Canon, Fandom, History, Fanworks; this is what pretty much every fandom can provide. I had to smile a little at Arduinna's list ( -- sorry, Arduinna, not in a negative way!) because to me, it is such a very SF/Fantasy-fandom-skewed list. It's not as if these things would not exist in, say, gaming fandoms, but the list presupposes that, for example, zines play an important enough role in each fandom to warrant their own subsection. I may have misunderstood this, but my point is actually just to to point out that making the template too specific will make it a bad fit for many fandoms (the kinds that don't spring to mind immediately.) --Lian 02:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

I think keeping the standardized headings broad is a good idea. Maybe some of the other suggestions can be given as examples from specific fandoms to show what kind of statements could go where rather than in the abstract, that would be much less daunting thann seeing these fill in categories.--RatCreature 02:36, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
No worries, I agree. :) I know people were asking about having a standard formatted structure for pages, so I was trying to make the language more generic. And even in SF/fantasy fandoms, not all those sections will apply, by a long shot -- every fandom is different, and having a set structure will mean that some are going to be shoehorned in, not always well.
FWIW, my own feelings are that the wiki will shake out into something that will develop its standards as it goes along, and people make more pages, and borrow the most useful formats and structures from other pages. Fandom does best when it's left to grow organically. I'd be perfectly happy with a template that just had a few very basic headers like your suggestions. (Or no template at all; it hasn't seemed to stop anyone so far, not having one! *g*) --Arduinna 03:43, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Revision .1

I've removed the template, and put in a "possible points to address" instead. It's my hope that this will have the effect of making it more helpful, and less intimidating. Does this seem good? Can it be improved? --Betty 04:50, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Maybe there could be mention of the wiki's PPOV policy again and how it relates to adding info for fandoms. What I mean is that all your examples still focus on a macro perspective that is not easy to come by, and I think there should be some indication that it is also okay to just add limited things that you know about your own fandom, or even your own subgroup, and to just hope that others might be able to add more stuff later.
To me it seems that your hints are mostly from a "top-down" model, i.e. someone has a general idea (or maybe just a personal thesis) about how their fandom is, how other fandoms are, and then that gets filled in like when you write starting with an outline, and eventually that's done by many people. But I think fandom articles could also work on a "bottom-up" model, i.e. people add details they remember, maybe not so significant things, but stuff that they know happened in their little corner of fandom, without knowing how it'll all come together and then over time with luck a broader picture emerges, and the editors can sort that into sections and structure it.
Like A adds that there were the the fanfics X, and Y and the fanart Z all centered around genre W all of a sudden, and they were really popular and W became a big thing, possibly because the author of Y was so popular and widely recced and popularized W. Then B adds that actually W came out of this huge kerfuffle two fandoms over, and just spilled over, because the writer of X also was participating there, then C adds that actually in their corner X, Y, and Z weren't popular at all, got mocked as OOC, and really genre W wasn't big at all and they had never heard of the author of Y so clearly not that popular... and then some scores of similar such edits later maybe some macro perspective becomes obvious or maybe not.--Ratcreature 05:31, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
1. Betty: I like it, especially the invitation to adapt&remix :) But I'm still missing a section on fanworks.
2. I think there should be some indication that it is also okay to just add limited things that you know about your own fandom, or even your own subgroup, and to just hope that others might be able to add more stuff later. I agree with this, but... [..] and the editors can sort that into sections and structure it. -- well, isn't exactly this what these suggestions are for, only earlier in the chronology? I see these suggestions as a combined approach: top-down (let's give you some guidance as to where your contribution could go, to help alleviate Existential Wiki Nausea) and bottom up (I'll just fill out that part of my fandom's history that I know, right here in the History section!)
So I don't see how giving these suggestions would keep people from adding 'bottom up', although clarifying that it's just that, guidance, is a good idea. But I honestly believe that the second approach outlined -- purely 'bottom-up' is not preferrable, since a) I don't see how it is more inviting -- instead, anecdotal evidence suggests that people feel less inclined to add their own perspective/knowledge if there is no structure in place, *right there on the page*, indicating they are invited to do just that, b) as we've seen, people will always be striving to structure their content as they are writing, and not just leave snippets without context. (I have to admit it mystified me a bit, since while yes, this is one valid work process, I honestly don't see how it's the primary, or preferrable, one.) ... Or am I misunderstanding you? --lian 12:11, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I didn't say that I'm against the broader overview examples at all, I just think there should be more variety in the examples, so that it is made clear bits can be edited that are not representative for the total. I think the PPOV thing is hard to grasp in practice, and many people, myself included, when thinking "wiki" think of wikipedia and how it is aiming to be neutral, and only include things with sources rather than opinions and no own research, which of course is very very different from this wiki, but it influences the image of wiki for knowledge collection, even if you read somewhere in the help section that this is "PPOV". So when you see "history of your fandom" you may think you have to know a lot to start that section, not just this one bit that your favorite list got started in 1997 and then broke up in a flamewar in 1999 or whatever. So I'd like more concrete possibilities reflected in the examples.--Ratcreature 13:08, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Right, so I did misread you in parts. Ultimately, though, I entirely agree -- I think that we're probably too tuned to Wikipedia yet to fully grasp the Fanlore way (I mean, we're evolving it right now, so...) *g* So maybe include the qualifiers into the structure? Something like, (either at the beginning of the article or in the sections:)
==History== (We're building this article bit by bit, like a brickolage of experiences. We hope that something approaching a comprehensive picture will emerge once many people have contributed their bits and pieces. Please step right in and add your nugget of knowledge! (Please see [[PPOV]] for how we differ from Wikipedia.)
Okay, this is lame, but ... I would love something like that either in the 'Stub' template or in the proposed 'page structure template', right there on top of the page/section (because often you only have that one chance to convince people that WAIT!, don't leave, you can totally edit this page!,) or in the related templates (I believe more detailed ones 'needs more fanhistory' etc are being developed?). Hm, what's you take? --lian 13:29, 8 October 2008 (UTC)


The Bandom link isn't very helpful because it goes to a disambiguation page. I think adding a link to Star Trek might be a good idea to show how to structure a franchise (fandoms shouldn't be subpages because that tends to create a mess with subpages of subpages and no one knows where to add what about pairings and characters that exist in different versions, etc.). --Doro 23:46, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree. I added Star Trek, but I'm having trouble finding a fandom page to replace Bandom that looks "complete." Some of these are fairly substantial: Sherlock Holmes, due South, Highlander, X-Files, Smallville, the Stargates, and popslash.--æthel 03:49, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Based on a very quick look over, I think I like the Highlander one best, because it seems to mostly avoid being a series of long lists of fanworks/archives/zines etc.--MegR 10:48, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Iron Man? Yu-Gi-Oh!? Stargate: Atlantis is pretty good. The Sentinel still has a lot of gaps and probably needs reorganising, but I think there's more fannish content than most of these pages.--MegR 11:37, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I like the Merlin (BBC) page a lot but I'm biased. *g* --Doro 11:47, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
They all look good, so I added some to the page. Merlin looked good, too, but it seemed unnecessary to have both Merlin and SGA, since it sometimes feels like the former is the successor of the latter. But if people keep working on the pages, the "best" fandom examples may change.--æthel 04:06, 21 January 2010 (UTC)