hi! this is a bit of a strange question but i was wondering: how do you deal with fandom frustration? when you love fandom content but frequently feel frustrated by a large portion of the fan base? i'm a fandom baby in a lot of ways and sometimes though i feel like a jerk, it's so hard not to let other people overpower my experience. i love hearing your thoughts on everything in general, but. if you have the time i'd love to hear your thoughts on this as well. hope you have a nice day. :)
hmm! this is a great question and one I’m not 100% sure of how to answer, because for the most part I have had very positive fandom experiences. but when it comes to making your fandom experience as relaxed & fun as possible, here are my tips:
1) accept right now and forever that everyone does fandom differently, and everyone is in fandom for different reasons and to get different things out of it. it doesn’t matter if people don’t ship what you ship. it doesn’t matter if they write stories of which the summary makes you recoil in horror. they are not doing this at you. accept that you are going to do you, and everyone else is going to do themselves, and unless their shit spills over into your personal space (see point 3)) then there is literally no point in trying to control the fannish experience that anyone else is having. fandom’s a large space! there’s room for everyone!
so the thing to do is:
2) CURATE YOUR FANNISH EXPERIENCE. I’ve been doing this since ye olde days of livejournal and do it even more intensely now. essentially: find the people you like, and the parts of fandom you like, and carve out your own corners where you can hang with like-minded people. you don’t have to be right in the thick of it, reading everything, interacting with everything and everyone. you don’t have to track all the tags which are crammed full of stuff that annoys you. you can take it slowly, and be discerning.
if you want to read meta, find the people who write it and follow them. ditto art. learn to embrace ao3’s excellent search function, and to use a tumblr blacklist. if you want to read fic and are bemoaning the fact that none of it is quite what you want: write your own! enthuse about your ideas on tumblr! leave prompts on kinkmemes! befriend some writers! I have to admit I am still pretty lost when it comes making friends on tumblr because the etiquette is bizarre and variable, but hey: the messaging system exists, askboxes exist, comments on ao3 exist. sure, different people have different levels of openness to making new bosom friends, but nobody minds being engaged. we’re in fandom to be fannish, together.
3) if people are being jerks in your space, block ‘em. ignore ‘em. delete ‘em. I am not even remotely internet famous enough to be at risk of being deluged by trolls, but on the rare occasions that I’ve engaged in good faith and subsequently decided that I was being concern-trolled, I’ve noped cheerfully out of there. the few accusatory or unpleasant anon (because they’re always anon!) messages that have landed in my inbox, I’ve deleted without batting an eye. sometimes I share it with a friend via chat or email and we have a laugh about it, and that helps settle any residual hurt or irritation that I might feel. I’m a grown fucking woman. I keep a calm sympathetic face while being shouted at, cried on, confided in, manipulated, and projected onto, for a living. and I have zero qualms about policing the boundaries of the spaces I’ve carved out for myself–the fun, creative, relaxing, incredible places–in fandom.
4) manage your entitlement. just remind yourself every so often that nobody owes you the next chapter of that story, or the exact piece of art you want to see, or the paragraph-long comment, or the attention you crave, or the whole-hearted agreement you seek. remember that everyone has their own lives, and you’re never seeing the full picture. be gracious. be kind. try to resist the urge to snipe and snark and finger-point and complain in public; I enjoy a bit of fandom bitching as much as the next person, but I inflict it all on my friends, in chat.
5) the flipside of this is: show appreciation of the things you like. comment on that story. reblog that art with a furious tag spiral of capslock (creators LOVE tag spirals). put together a rec list–this is also a great way to show people what kind of things you like, so people who share your tastes know who to gravitate towards.
if you are frequently frustrated by a large portion of the fanbase, anon, then ask yourself: are you reading the comments? ie. are you making yourself engage with parts of fandom where people have THE WRONG OPINIONS and are writing your beloved characters THE WRONG WAY? if so: just scroll past. don’t read it. unless you really enjoy an argument, don’t feel obliged to reblog it with a detailed explanation of why they’re wrong: you’re gonna frustrate yourself and, yes, maybe end up looking like a jerk. just shrug and move on. maybe this isn’t the corner for you.
I have been following my own advice in this regard for almost 14 years. I’ve kept a handful of enduring and awesome friends from most of the major fandoms I’ve been part of, and I’m still making new ones, and I’ve (mostly) managed to avoid wank. I write what I like, and I read what I like, and I try to communicate generously and enthusiastically with people who are creating the things that I enjoy.
tl;dr - seek out the things that make you feel good, and follow them. weed out the things that make you feel bad, and ignore them. it’s fandom. it can be as serious or unserious as you like, but it IS supposed to be fun.