metafandom

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Newsletter Community
Name: metafandom
Date(s): 23 January 2005 (account created) - 3 June 2011 (last post)
Moderator: acari, Amireal, Fabu, fairestcat, inalasahl, isiscolo, lovelokest, Oulangi, p_zeitgeist
Founder: lim
Fandom: multifandom panfandom metafandom
URL: metafandom's delicious account,
newsletter on livejournal,
Dreamwidth mirror,
InsaneJournal mirror

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
metafandom default icon, image shows the Enterprise from Star Trek: TOS

metafandom is a newsletter community on LiveJournal. It was founded in January 2005 by lim, Cathexys, Fabu and Makesmewannadie.

The idea to create metafandom came from a conversation with Sophia Helix, on her post the waning of ambivalence, during which she said:
... wouldn't it be great if there was a fandom newsletter that just linked to *everything* interesting? It wouldn't have to point and laugh, or even comment at all, just list the hot spots people are gathering in. With the terrible dispersion that LJ has afflicted upon fandom (I couldn't possibly friend everyone who's interesting on, so I rely upon links to find out what's going on), such a newsletter would be invaluable. [1]

metafandom eventually completely replaced Metablog, an earlier LJ community designed to link to blog posts of general fannish interest.

The name "metafandom" was originally meant to suggest "beyond individual fandoms and about fandom itself", but this meaning is largely ignored by the members of the community, who prefer to it to mean "fandom meta", leading to an endless[2][3][4] circular argument about the inclusion of content that is not "meta."

Having a post linked on metafandom could be both a blessing and a curse. Depending on the topic and fan temperament, having someone preface a comment on a post to your journal with "here from metafandom" could be welcome, or not so much.

History

  • The mods have changed over the years, and the community later cross-posted to Dreamwidth and used Delicious and an automated bot to simplify the posting.
  • By 2010, the community included a lot of links to content that was more about social justice than fandom, or about intersections between fandom and privilege. This caused some debate, and also indirectly led to the creation of Linkspam on Dreamwidth.
  • As of late 2010/early 2011, the newsletter version of metafandom on the various journal platforms was not published as often. However, metafandom editors continue to collect links in the metafandom delicious account (which includes the link to and snippet from each relevant post). Thus, the delicious account can be used not only as a way to find archived metafandom links, but also as an inbetween-newsletter-issues source for (to be) metafandom-ed links.
  • The last post was in June 2011. (Note that Delicious was relaunched in September 2011, breaking functionality many newsletter communities had relied on to make posting links from delicious easier. If metafandom had still had plans to continue, this would have torpedoed their plans.) In 2013 the newsletter Metanews was started by other fans to fill the hole Metafandom left.
  • In 2017, the LJ community was imported to Dreamwidth as a backup. [5]

As of 2017, the livejournal community had 1,121 posts; 4,223 comments; 2,104 members; and 3,788 watchers.[6]

Reactions/Reviews

On Being Linked by Metafandom

Some fans complained that after being mentioned in a metafandom post they received unwanted and negative attention. One of the list moderators wrote:
"In terms of what we all post in our own journals, I recognize that sometimes when we post, we assume a certain readership (our flists), and that when people who don't know us read something out of the context of all our past posts, they may misinterpret it and jump to false conclusions about us and our beliefs. This is the risk we take whenever we make public posts, and believe me, I know how frustrating it is, it's happened to me more than once. But I also believe strongly in linking to interesting and thought provoking content on lj (hence my many rec/link posts) because it keeps the conversation going and adds new voices, and yes, draws attention to folks who are posting clever and thoughtful analysis (just as I want to draw attention to the writers who post good fic, I want to increase the readership of folks who post good meta). I know that there have been a few incidents where people have felt attacked by one or more commenters who came via metafandom, and I'm sorry that that's happened - of course we can't always agree, but I wish that we could all discuss things in a civil manner without resorting to personal attacks. But I assure you that it is never our intent at metafandom to cause trouble."[7]
""I'm here from Metafandom" is the shark jump of livejournal."[8]

However, others were grateful for the exposure and discussion that ensued from a metafandom link.

Wow, I always get metafandomed over half-assed random posts. But welcome, all, and thanks for the awesome discussion! I always meet so many smart people through metafandom.

No need to apologize for tangents or rampant speculation! I fully support both.[9]

Positive Commentary on Metafandom

In 2009, a LiveJournal post titled In search of anti-racist fanfic writing discussion which sought after "a place where people who are in the process of writing fanfic can talk about colonialism, appropriation, etc. in the source material/canon and in their own narratives" received some comments recommending metafandom as a place to find discussions of race and racism.

metafandom sometimes has discussions on race and racism in fanfiction.[10]

I'm seconding metafandom, it's the best place I know of to keep up to date with this sort of thing. And if you want to start a new conversation write your own post and mention it in the comments, you may get linked to.

Other than the race tag at metafandom (and there's more at "culture" etc) the other best resource I know of for sheer weight of fandom-race links is The Great Race Discussion Linkspam.[11]

In 2010, a fan wrote approvingly of the positive discussion of Mary Sues taking place on metafandom, publishing their own thoughts on the subject in response.

There's a lot of really positive talk over at metafandom about what a Mary Sue is and how we can all stop bashing her. I just wanted to add my two cents.[12]

Criticism of Metafandom

Some LiveJournal comments made in 2009 remarked on the fact that the metafandom community had become very self-absorbed and inward-looking, and had ceased to have any kind of productive debate as a result - suggesting that the quality of discussion on metafandom possibly deteriorated in later years.

satismagic:

I've stopped going to metafandom because there seem to hang only completely self-absorbed jerks and know-it-all idiots around there. Just one glance at the first handful of summaries of posts makes me want to bang my head against the closest hard surface until it breaks. (Either surface or head.)[13]

azalaisdep:

Having poked my head in for a brief look, I detect the danger signs of any kind of critical community (lit crit, cultural crit, whatever) that spends too long talking to itself and about itself and not enough time back immersed in the source material...

... eventual complete disconnect from any of the things they/we originally loved and were interested in talking about. At which point I usually lose any original interest I had and wander off, whistling, to read/write/watch something...[14]

telperion1: (in response to azalaisdep)

That's an interesting connection. I don't have much connection with crit communities, except within my own academic discipline (philosophy) where sometimes people will go round and round debating [x]'s interpretation of some key philosophical text - never getting back to whether the original key philosophical text was right, never mind saying anything about the key philosophical issue.

Metafandom seems worse in many ways. I don't mind crit in small doses, but I think you really nailed the issue there.[15]

elliska:

Yeah, I feel for you on this one. I think at some point people get so far into any crit type discussion (political, literary, religious, whatever) that they really can't see beyond what they've determined is 'right' and so discussion really halts. I think that's especially true in forums as opposed to academic realms, because people in academia are challenged by their peer review systems to continue growing whereas electronic forums do not have any real standards or means to encourage growth. That is why I've stopped playing in these things for the most part. I barely have time to write. I'd rather do that than have pseudo-intellectual discussions with people who are 'right'.[16]

Metafandom's Legacy

In 2011, LiveJournal user schmevil wrote a post entitled I really miss Metafandom, in which they lamented the loss of metafandom and what it brought to fandom, and the lack of a similar community to take its place.

I really miss Metafandom

Like really, really. I miss the links to specific fandom meta, in fandoms I'd never heard of. I miss the links to gonzo acafan analysis, using theories I'd never heard of. I miss several hundred comment posts, full of people who didn't even know each other, but managed to have a great conversation anyway. I miss the discussion chains, hopping from journal to journal over the course of weeks. NOSTALGIA.

1. Yes, Metafandom still exists on Delicious, but (is it just me?) I feel like it's time is over. It's the post Metafandom era. And getting close to the post LJ era. (Not so much in the sense of LJ becoming a ghost town, but rather, it's been for a long time a relic, and with the rise of Tumblr and Anon fandom, its relevance is fading).

[...]

Those huge Metafandom-generated discussion of days gone by were one of my primary ways of being fannish. So yeah. Boo to its slowdown, and to its move away from LJ/DW (as a newsletter). [17]

Other users agreed, and pondered whether it might be possible for someone new to revive metafandom and keep the newsletter going.

I hear you, I miss it a lot too. Plus, I hate tumblr and anonymemes, so I miss all the more that side of fandoms & LJ :/ [18]
It would be nice if the folks who ran metafandom would hand it over to someone else willing to keep posting it. Fandom newsletters sometimes have interesting meta links, at least.[19]
I don't know any who'd be interested in picking up Metafandom at this point. Maybe two years ago, but now? Perhaps a new fandom newsletter would be more enticing, but even then, with the move away from LJ/DW, it would need vastly different linking and link-gathering strategies. More WFA in scope?[20]

metafandom is still occasionally cited as a reference for fans who are interested in reading through older meta.[21] The term "metafandom" is also used in contemporary fannish discourse to describe meta about fandom or fannish topics, although it's unclear if that usage reflects the specific legacy of the community or just an original derivation of the term.[22]

Further Reading

References

  1. Sophia Jirafe. the waning of ambivalence; archive link with expanded comments, 23 January 2005. (Accessed 06 March 2010); reference link
  2. skuf. 'I don't think shaggirl has anything to do with fandom meta...' 05 March 2005.
  3. gaudinight. 'a litte disappointed in Metafandom' 23 April 2007.
  4. oh, good grief! by telperion1 via LiveJournal. Published December 22, 2009 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  5. https://fairestcat.dreamwidth.org/640248.html
  6. metafandom - Profile, Archived version (Accessed 9 April 2017)
  7. A few quick thoughts about metafandom dated June 14th, 2005; reference link.
  8. fail-fandomanon post dated July 5th, 2010.
  9. Comment from Why is there so little geeky academic discussion of femslash? (2007)
  10. Comment by alex, LiveJournal. Published January 16, 2009 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  11. Comment by alias_sqbr, LiveJournal. Published January 16, 2009 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  12. Mary Sues on metafandom by sci_frey via LiveJournal. Published April 15, 2010 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  13. Comment by satismagic, LiveJournal. Published December 23, 2009 (Accessed July 3, 2018).
  14. Comment by azalaisdep, LiveJournal. Published December 23, 2009 (Accessed July 3, 2018).
  15. Comment by telperion1, LiveJournal. Published December 28, 2009 (Accessed July 3, 2018).
  16. Comment by elliska, LiveJournal. Published December 23, 2009 (Accessed July 3, 2018).
  17. I really miss Metafandom by schmevil via LiveJournal. Published November 24, 2011 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  18. Comment by etrangere, LiveJournal. Published 25 November 2011 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  19. Comment by sandoz_iscariot, LiveJournal. Published 25 November 2011 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  20. Comment by schmevil, LiveJournal. Published 25 November 2011 (Accessed July 1, 2018).
  21. Tumblr post by flyingfish1. Posted on December 5, 2017. Accessed on August 13, 2018.
  22. "metafandom" tag on Tumblr. Accessed on August 13, 2018.
✪ This article was previously featured on the Fanlore main page in 2018