I have no idea how this post is going to be received, but I’ve seen a few things today that set my teeth on edge.
This is a friendly reminder that fic writers and artists do what they do for free. People who run fic-finding blogs do what they do for free. People who make gifs do it for free. People who put together amazing rec lists do it for free. People who read and reblog every fic they come across do it for free. People who write amazingly-detailed, insightful or funny tags on their reblogs do it for free. And we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. How cool is that? There’s so much amazing stuff out there for us to consume, and it doesn’t cost us a penny. It makes fandom fun and it makes fandom better.
And all of these people - the artists, the writers, the finders, the giffers, and the reccers - also have lives of their own. They go to school. They work full-time jobs. They have families and significant others and friends and hobbies. They have health problems. They have mental health issues. They have fandom for fun, and they have fandom to escape. Some people like to talk to anyone and everyone who hits up their inbox. Some people are more introverted. Some people prefer to keep a small circle of friends, or got cautious about making new friends after they’ve been burned a few times (haven’t we all run into toxic people online at some point?). Some people follow thousands of blogs. Some follow a few.
What they don’t have is a debt to fandom. They don’t actually owe anyone anything. Whether it’s an update on a multi-chapter, a response to a prompt, a new piece of art when someone requests it, a list of their favorite bed-sharing fics, a gifset, a like, a reblog, a comment, or a beta.
(I’m not saying that feedback or likes/reblogs/comments aren’t important, obviously. *waves* Hi, I write fic. Of course it’s important. That’s not why I’m writing this.)
A lot of times people expect these things, and in some cases people demand these things. It’s not cool. And when the artist/writer/blogger doesn’t deliver, they get anon hate and snotty comments. One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen in the fandom - that good fics by lesser-known authors get ignored - is trying to be addressed by a new blog specifically devoted to promoting these authors. Amazing idea, right? Someone saw a problem and is making a genuine, good-hearted effort to fix it.
That blog is less than a day old, and they’ve already gotten anon comments along the lines of, “Why bother? It won’t help,” and “Why are you waiting before you start reccing? There are authors need your help now.” I repeat: that blog is less than a day old. Someone decided to take time out of their life to try and shed a spotlight on new/lesser-known authors - for FREE - and they’re already getting shit on.
So, I’m a writer. I don’t know how “famous” I am, or how famous other people think I am. I follow very few blogs because 1) I tried following hundreds of people when I first started on Tumblr and it got incredibly overwhelming for me, 2) I’ve gradually whittled my dash down to be as drama-free as possible, and 3) I follow authors and artists who I know from experience post quality content that I know I’ll love. And frankly, I can’t even keep up with everything they post and feel like crap when I fall behind on fic-reading.
Y’all, I work full-time. I have friends IRL and online. I follow a few blogs that make me happy. I try to write. I have serious struggles with depression sometimes. I hang out with my asshole cats. And I am tired. I don’t live in an online bubble to deliberately exclude people. All I do is try to make an online experience for myself that makes fandom more enjoyable for me, rather than more stressful.
I… don’t have any sort of grand thesis or conclusion here, other than we need to be nice to each other, and maybe take other people’s experiences into account when evaluating their behavior. And please, if you find yourself getting angry at authors or artists or gif-makers or rec blogs, remember that you’re getting angry at people who spend hours producing content for you to enjoy, for free. They never had to give you anything, but they still do.