So Babylon 5 was what got me into Tumblr. I heard good things, lurked a bit, and got sucked in. I saw Tumblr as this wonderful place of .gif sets and meta and sweet, enthusiastic people, because that was what I got in the B5 fandom. More recently I’ve stuck my head out of this glorious little hidey-hole and looked into other fandoms, and I have to say that I was dismayed with what I found. While there were still sweet people whose enthusiasm for those fandoms made me more than willing to follow their feeds, it often seemed that the ‘fans’ of a given fandom—those who posted about it regularly—hated it more than anyone I had ever encountered. There was post after post under the general fandom tags written by fans hoping their show/book series/etc. would fail after showing the slightest flaw. There were fans who so vehemently defended their own interpretation of canon that they would mercilessly flame those who disagreed with them. I encountered pointless ‘ship wars, and accusations ranging from ‘your opinion is wrong’ all the way to ‘you are a horrible person for liking X’ (‘horrible person’ being a substitute for any number of increasingly cruel insults).
I realized how sheltered I had been by this lovely fandom. This sort of thing either has never happened in the B5 Tumblr fandom, or is so rare that I have never perceived it. I don’t know what it is about our fans. Are they more mature? Does the distance in time help to not reduce us all to screaming teenagers worked into a fervor of near-religious-zealotry? Is it the show itself? Or is it something else altogether? I honestly don’t know what has caused this, but when I look at the Babylon 5 Tumblr fandom I see a model of what I want all other fandoms to be like: thoughtful, respectful, enthusiastic, eager to include new fans, and never eager to shame those whose opinions on the fandom differ from our own. I don’t see the ‘ship wars. I have never seen a Londo/G’Kar ‘shipper accuse someone who prefers them to be friends of homophobia. I have never seen a fan who preferred Sinclair to Sheridan get shouted down for being ‘wrong’. All in all, I have never seen the bullying or the judgmental attitudes that seem to pervade other fandoms. There may be fandoms similar in this to the B5 fandom, where sanity and kindness also reign, but I have yet to find such a shining example of civility as I have in the Babylon 5 Tumblr fandom.
So thank you. Thank you for being my first Tumblr experience. Thank you for showing me how it could be, how it should be. Thank you for respecting one another, and sharing your love for the fandom. Thank you for responding to theories and essays and meta with intellectual debate rather than name-calling. Thank you for being sweet and welcoming to a new fan, and continually engaged with an ongoing fan. Thank you for acting like sane and rational and decent people. Thank you. You are, each and every one of you, my internet heroes.