|Synonyms:||fringefan, casual fan, armchair fan|
|See also:||actifan, fan entitlement, closet fan|
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A passive fan; the opposite of an actifan. According to Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, the term was in use as early as 1944.
Some argue that the very nature of being a fan is to punch back at the image of people passively consuming media, that fans actively engage with it in a variety of ways. Other fans argue the opposite; for example Tumblr as a platform that encourages passivity. 
Labeling someone a passive fan also touches upon the topic of what makes a "good fan" and a "bad fan."
Regarding Fanworks and Fandom Activity
A passive fan is a fan who consumes fanworks but does not create them, or actively add to fandom.
Trekkies come to [cons] to be entertained, offering little or nothing themselves. Trekfen and STrekfen come to TRADE entertainment. They come to entertain others and find in that act, deep pleasure, but only when it is reciprocal, when the people they come to entertain have also come to entertain them. Trekkies and STrekfen come to cons for two mutually exclusive, diametrically opposed reasons. As a result, the mammoth ST cons are breaking up into two different kinds of cons, catering to different tastes....
There is one other thing though that seems obvious but has yet to be tested. Being both an sf and ST actifan, my vision may be distorted, but it seems to me that no trekkie is going to be satisfied with a con to which Trekfen don't go. The Trekfen provide the entertainment, the trekkies just soak it up, and swoon with unbearable ecstacy. A ST con for trekkies only would end up resembling a circus or a Broadway show.SF concoms would do well to ponder their ultimate purpose in putting on a convention. Awareness of the dynamics of this dichotomy of purpose among con goers may generate startlingly original solutions. The invitation con for actifen only. The show-con for people who want to be entertained by sf/ST. And a third type of gathering designed to mix these groups and give the passive onlookers a chance to pass into the "in-group". 
Passive. It means you watch the parade pass by instead of participating in it. 
...though you may have been a fan of science fiction since you were three years old, is passivity. As long as a fan stays hidden behind his books, zines, or theater seat, he remains a neo. What separates the "oldies" from us neos is - INVOLVEMENT. 
- comment by Morgan Dawn in Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Morgan Dawn (2012)
- comments by Jacqueline Lichtenberg in Critical Mass (article)
- comment to Dark Shadows Open Letters
- a fan's comment to Lately I have noticed a certain conflict between media fen and those who call themselves "true science fiction" fans... (1982)