Jate vs Skate

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Ship War
ShipWar: Jate vs Skate
Date(s): 2004 - 2010 (?)
Location: Forums, Message Boards, The Fuselage
Fandom: Lost
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

This article or section needs expansion.

article is a work in progress, needs more fan reaction, links to discussions, etc

Jate vs Skate was a Ship War in Lost fandom, between fans of two Kate Austen pairings: Kate Austen/Jack Shephard‎‎ (Jate) and Kate Austen/James "Sawyer" Ford‎ (Skate).


The love triangle in canon. To further complicate things two competing ships were introduced in later seasons, Juliet Burke/Jack Shephard, known as Jacket, and Juliet Burke/James "Sawyer" Ford, known as Suliet. This lead to, what some fans referred to as, the convoluted love quadrangle.

There was also an OT3 of Kate Austen/James "Sawyer" Ford/Jack Shephard for those who are not inclined to ship wars.

Kate Negativity

Unlike some other ship wars, where the focus is on the character central to both pairings, the Jate vs Skate ship war seemed to more about the male characters and their happiness, this sometimes lead to negative feelings towards Kate, if not outward hatred.

But the thing is that there were a lot of people who shipped Skate either because they hated Jack and didn’t want him to have what he wanted, or they liked Sawyer and wanted him to have what he wanted. They didn’t actually care about Kate. As soon as another option for Sawyer presented itself, half the Skaters jumped ship.[1]

There was a lot of slut-shaming of Kate going on from both sides too, IIRC. I wasn't into either ship because none of those three interested me as characters, but their ship war would spill into every part of the fandom.[1]
It was HUGE and it was UGLY and a lot of it was really gross about Kate, especially (IMO, as a Skater for life) on the Jate side - as in, if she picked Jack that was proof of her being reformed/redeemed, but if she picked Sawyer she was forever an irredeemable skank. Most of it was about which dude you liked/hated, which made it hard for me because my fav was Kate.[1]

But it came across so often, in the show and in the fandom, as though Kate were the prize for whoever came up trumps between Jack and Sawyer. It changed a bit later on, and I think Kate managed to move away from it thankfully, but it was very much present. I always liked Kate, often in spite of the writing, and fandom at the time could be absolutely poisonous towards her.[1]
I'm one of those Kate Haters, but I'll freely admit it's through no fault of her own. I didn't really mind Kate until she came to be defined as the principal point in the principal love triangle. Then, whenever any one talked about Kate, it was in the context of whether she wanted/loved/belonged with Jack or Sawyer.[2]

Message Boards

So how does a shipper war get "ugly"? After all, it's just the Internet bulletin boards for Lost—the worst anyone can do is post mean or taunting messages in each other's threads, right? If it were only that simple. The posts were bad enough, but add to that some Skater/Jater/Jacket members who are skilled at fanart (i.e., icons, avatars, manips, videos, wallpapers, banners, lolcats) — the war escalated and got really personal, really fast. If you have spent any time around the Lost fans online, you should be aware of how intelligent most of them are, and they have an amazing capacity for sarcasm, both subtle and not so subtle. Slamming opposing shipper groups via graphics became commonplace; so much so that the Mods at The Fuselage had to start issuing warnings and infraction points for avatars that could be considered to be "baiting" specific shipper groups.
When the shipper wars blew up on The Fuselage, the impact may not have been felt by the entire board, but it was definitely felt by the Mods. It is impossible to commiserate with the Mods at The Fuselage unless you are one of them. It is a truly thankless job, and it can suck the joy right out of you if you let it. The wars pushed the Mods to their absolute limits, with a seemingly never-ending string of reported posts. The various shipper groups were spying on the competing shipper threads, then reporting back in their own thread; then the other group would find out and they would do the same thing. It was a continuous vicious cycle with no real end in sight. On top of all that, the shippers began accusing certain Mods of favoritism. Every warning, every infraction was picked apart to identify its level of harshness. Tallies were kept and compared. It was impossible to make everyone happy. It wasn't just Skater vs. Jater or Jater vs. Jacket anymore; it was Skaters vs. everyone, Jaters vs. everyone, etc. The notion that a Mod could be "neutral" was a foreign concept to most of the shippers—even though the ability to handle a situation without bias is one of the main traits you need to be selected as a Mod in the first place. The Mods had to come up with a way to try and corral the shipper groups and separate them or else the infraction points would continue to rise and more people would be banned, which nobody really wanted. The solution the Mods devised was to make each of the most volatile shipper threads — the Jaters, the Skaters and the Jackets — private. To view and post in one of these three threads, you had to declare your allegiance and request admittance. The Mods look at each request, then either allow or deny it. Again, if you have not spent much time around a forum with shipper threads, and maybe even it you have, this solution may seem a little extreme. And it was an extreme measure to take, but it was necessary, for the health of these shipper groups and the sanity of the Mods.[3]

Interactions with TBTB

From what i've noticed, Jaters became more vocal after the beginning of season 3 where there was so much skate and Darlon lied about a final choice being made In "I do" which turned out to be Sawyer. After that they seemed determine to make themselves be heard, by sending Darlton packages and stuff.[4]

When the Televisionary blog had an upcoming interview with the showrunners and asked for fan questions, many fans wanted questions answered about the showrunners preference for Jate or Skate, and it quickly devolved into name calling and other behaviours, which prompted the writer of the blog to respond:

Televisionary is not a bunch of people, it's just me. It's more a matter of me not ever asking fans to pose questions again after this thread has descended into hate-mongering.

To people posting links to this saying that I am asking for "Skater" or "Jater" questions, please stop. I am not looking to court any shipper fan bases or ask an infinite number of questions about any relationships.

Please keep in mind that this is a series of serious interviews with the cast and creators of Lost[5]

Fandom Reaction


Both Jaters and Skaters claimed that their couple would be victorious by the end of the series. Jaters mantra of “Jate is Fate” and Skaters claim that Skate was endgame led to vicious “shipper wars” on internet fan sites[6]

You implying skaters are worse is just as biased and untrue as skaters saying jaters are the worst. Both are as bad as each other. Of course Skaters will accuse Jaters of being the worst and Jaters will accuse Skaters of being the worst, because thats their experience. If someone from the opposite ship says something nasty, the other side is more likely to pick up on it, whereas if someone from our own ship does the same, we don't really pay much attention to it because it wasn't directed at us so we are not offended or annoyed by it. But the simple fact is, both sides are equally "prone to outbursts" and nasty behaviour. Its just a matter of when and where they do it.[7]


This is really interesting. How often do you get a romantic triangle (or really any conflict) that has an audience so divided? I'm sure ABC is loving it! I hate to admit it, but sometimes I actually enjoy the ship wars - as long as things don't get too nasty. It's sort of like Jerry Springer, but the fights are about a topic I'm interested in.

I've suspected for a while that the shipper universe is pretty evenly split. I have my favorites but will truly be O.k. with either outcome. (I love LOST enough to forgive the writers for not letting me have my way.) I think explaining time travel might be easier than justifying why Kate picked one of her men over the other!

With passions running so high on both sides, it's hard to imagine TPTB digging themselves out of this hole!![4]