a meta on meta

Something’s been nagging me about most fandom meta for a while, and I’ve only recently put my finger on it:

The vast majority of what crosses my dash is coming from a position of bad faith.

By bad faith, I mean meta presuming that most people are 1) doing fandom wrong and 2) need to be instructed on how to do it right. Meta writers are addressing common fanons, stereotypes, trends, and other aspects of fandom that they dislike, and which they think need to be stopped or reexamined. And you know what? I’ll admit that there’s sometimes a kernel of truth in what people are presenting; however, I think the means are very flawed. Wagging fingers at people doesn’t work very well, because you’re guilting them for how they choose to spend their free time, in a hobby that they love.

Here’s what happens when I see a piece of meta chiding fandom:

  • People who already agree with the stance agreeing with the meta
  • People who disagree, posting rebuttals

  • People reblogging with guilty tags about how they feel bad for enjoying [bad thing]

Is this really productive? Is it encouraging less [bad thing], more [good thing]? Not really.

Now that I’ve put myself in the position of doing the exact fingerwagging I’ve criticized, what do I think is the solution to this problem? Because yes, there are some things in fandom which are pretty bad, and which I wish reduced.

Produce the work you want to see in fandom. If you don’t produce content, then comment, kudos, reblog, rec, or otherwise send good wishes to things that meet your standards for [good thing], instead of yelling at people for [bad thing]. Be supportive, rather than negative. Ignore shit that you hate, because it doesn’t deserve your attention anyway. What’s a greater condemnation of a work than silence? Being nastily critical will often put fans on the defensive and create more support of things that are legitimately problematic/bad/just plain silly. No one wants to produce fanwork to an empty room. And all that attention that you’re now giving to [good thing], rather than [bad thing]? Is going to produce more and more [good thing].

Plus, you can always make friends through privately griping about [bad thing], so you can still get your hate on, you diamond.