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A lurker is an individual who consumes fan-produced activity such as fiction, meta, and general discussion, but does not contribute and/or make themselves known to fandom at large. Reasons for this may be varied and complex, and may include (but are not limited to):

  • shyness
  • a perceived real or potential indifference or hostility to the individual from others in fandom, should they make themselves known
  • privacy issues
  • lack of knowledge of fandom and its conventions and/or lack of emotional investment in fandom, etc.

Much is imputed to lurkers, but by definition they are difficult to document. Once a lurker identifies themselves (delurks), they cease to be a lurker.[1] Many people lurk for some period before their active engagement in fandom. Newbies who display a lack of knowledge of fannish conventions are sometimes encouraged to "lurk moar".

JMS named the underclass of Babylon 5 "lurkers" after the lurkers of the various GEnie, CompuServe, and Usenet communities centred around Babylon 5[2].



  1. ^ Fictualities discussed the difficulty of discussing lurking in the essay The sound of one hand clapping: a lurker's manifesto, Jan. 16, 2006. Accessed Oct. 25, 2008.
  2. ^ The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 1993, Accessed 21st November 2008