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Synonyms: controversy, kerfuffle, discourse, fan war, fan feud
See also: Fandom Wank, SlashFic Hall of Shame, Social Experiment
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Wank is a synonym for masturbation. In mainstream UK slang, wank means nonsense or rubbish. There are several fannish definitions for the term wank.

Also see kerfuffle and discourse.


1. A loud and public online argument, often involving many participants outside of the initiating members, and often devolving into side-taking, hyperbole, and personal attacks. Use of "wank" may especially indicate a debate which occurs over and over with nobody ever changing their minds, such as whether authors should use warnings, or write incest fic. Example: "There's another RPF wank going around. I'm staying out of it."

2. A catchall term for objectionable or contemptible fannish behavior. Plagiarism, character bashing, sockpuppetting, blatant self-aggrandizement, and trolling are all wanky behaviors.

3. Wank or fanwank can apply to elaborate canon-rationalization or theorizing.


Wank is used as a suffix to reference particular kinds of wank, usually based on topic or motive.

Grudgewank is wank where someone is stirring up trouble on one topic because they're upset about some other, unrelated topic. Grudgewank is often suspected or speculated rather than confirmed or admitted.


Recently, some fans have objected to the use of wank to describe discussions or arguments about serious issues like racism or sexism, in any given fandom or in fandom as a whole. It is felt that equating these issues with lesser issues such as ship wars trivializes them.[1] Suggested alternate terms include imbroglio[2], debate[3] or discussion.


A glance at Fandom Wank will frequently point fans to the locations of the very latest wank. Wank is a common activity on communities such as Fanficrants. Since Strikethrough, every time LiveJournal staff has posted an official update of any sort, there have been loud protests from some members of fandom; this has caused a common attempt to post "In before wank!" in the first handful of replies. (Sometimes's it's accurate; sometimes not.)

Some communities and forums are declared to be "wank-free," meaning the moderator staff will censor discussions that are becoming too heated, insulting or off-topic. Disemvoweling is sometimes used in these places.

Further Reading


  1. ^ For example, News and Notes by zvi, Aug. 4, 2007; Wanking Fandom, Saving the World by Same Old Hope, Nov. 21, 2007.
  2. ^ A little bit more about imbroglio (I am still retired, though) by zvi, November 1, 2007.
  3. ^ Untitled LiveJournal post by coffeeandink, October 29, 2007.