There we were sitting round the table, surrounded by these terribly normal and respectable middle-class people. We were half-way through the first course when Syd suddenly coughed and spluttered, left his soup and went upstairs. When he came down, I looked up and he had chopped off all his hair. And would you believe it, no one batted an eyelid. They just carried on with the meal as if nothing had happened - didn’t say a word. I thought: ‘Are they mad or is it me?’
Gala Pinion, Syd Barrett’s then fiance, about the time he cut his hair at their engagement party in October 1970
can we change the way we, as a fandom, look at fanfiction, and fanart?
can we, as a fandom, start appreciating authors and artists in the way that they deserve? what i’ve seen since i joined the marvel fandom two years ago has shown me that that the current attitude to art and fic is, well, kind of appalling.
we read things, sometimes we kudos, we rarely comment. we reblog stuff with base level tags, or just hit ‘like’ and move on.
i see text posts that are outdated memes get more notes than a piece of art that took a lot more than ten minutes to create.
fandom is so rich with talented people that seeing the fruits of their effort has become the norm. we appreciate it, but not in the same way we would in smaller fandoms.
we’ve become expectant. we’ve become elitist. we see so much work from so many fan creators that we’ve stopped appreciating the time it takes to create them.
artwork can take hours, days, weeks, months. same with fic.
we consume it in minutes, or hours, or days, and move on.
these fanworks are not a right, these fanworks are a privilege, and one we, quite frankly, are deserving less and less.
when was the last time you left a comment on a fic? when was the last time you reblogged meta, or art, or just a post about your favourite characters, with anything other than the character names and the fandom in the tags, and maybe triggers shown in the work? when was the last time you truly showed your appreciation for the creators in the fandom?
i’m not saying i’m not guilty, but i see artists think they’re terrible because their work doesn’t get notes, i see writers give up because their work has just been consumed without anyone saying “hey, good work with this!”
i’ve seen new writers scared to start, because they don’t think they’re good enough for fandom. i’ve seen artists scrap every single thing they draw because it doesn’t hold up to what fandom has dictated is good by the notes a select few people get.
and sometimes, that’s all it takes. “hey i really enjoyed this” or “wow this is gorgeous” or even just a button mash in the tags or the comments. it can do wonders for a creator’s self esteem, it can be the thing that keeps them creating.
it can be the difference between a dull dash with textpost after textpost and a vibrant dash with art, edits, gifs, or all shapes, sizes and skill levels.
a kind word can be the thing to push people to keep working, to get better. even if they’re not at a standard you deem “worthy” of comments, or they’re not popular in the fandom.
in fact, especially these people.
i’m not saying that the writers and artists with 20k followers and a million notes and comments don’t deserve them, they absolutely do, but there are so many underappreciated artists and writers out there, that don’t get the feedback they deserve simply because they aren’t “big”.
you can see it for yourself - look at the top fics on ao3 for whatever ship. you’ll see recurring usernames, only a small handful of people, and then a drop in kudos, hits, and most prominently, comments.
if we as a fandom want to show the writers and artists, editors and gifmakers, icon makers and manip-artists, and everyone else i can’t think of off the top of my head, that we deserve their time and effort, we need to start giving them this feedback.
tl;dr: comment on fic. comment on art. reblog things instead of liking them. send messages directly to the artists and writers if you can. show these people that this fandom wants them here. or we’re gonna see a sharp decline in people willing to give fandom anything.