Because despite being swamped by school work, I still love my fandoms.

Recently I just had my exam in my SPCOM 133 class, and it’s an extemporaneous speech. While my performance bombed spectacularly (protip: always have your speech guide in hand, to assure that you won’t go overtime [which is important for me, since I do tend to ramble off]), I did like my topic – it was about fanfiction and how it should be supported instead of banned.

Yeah, geeky. But there are some geeky things that are, indeed, Serious Business for many.

Now, I know this was a debate that had raged on for years, and both sides have presented their reasons why or why not fanfics should exist. I don’t think I need to rehash them here anymore since it’s easy to find the tracts for and against the issue with a few words in Google. For my part, I’m for the existence of fanfiction – come on, I write them myself – but if an author expresses his refusal to have fanfiction of his works, I’ll respect that. Also, I’m not in support of published fanfiction or fanfiction for profit (leave the earnings to the original creators, come on). What I don’t like is when other anti-fanfiction authors begin to rag and belittle fanfiction as though everyone who engage in it are amateur, starry-eyed and delusional teenagers (answer: definitely, definitely not).

I guess the reason why this fanfic debate has become controversial nowadays is because of the Internet.  And since it’s easy to get published online, there is a massive collection of fanfiction to be found, and no one could deny the fact that the bulk of those stories are of…well, questionable quality (read: they suck. Sturgeon’s Law at work here, people). I guess I could understand some of the reasons why published authors don’t like to have fanfiction starring their characters: imagine having those precious characters whom you have slaved upon transformed into laughable parodies of themselves, and in massive numbers too. The thing is, if these authors don’t want to see fanfics of their works online…well, they might as well hide their works and ban online communities centered around them. It has become easier for people to find likeminded fans and form communities, where fanfiction – the ‘what if’ scenarios which are maddening to write and read – could be made and exchanged. It’s nearly impossible to stop the spread of anything online. If one searches hard enough for something, that something could be found. That’s the nature of the Internet and the nature of online communities – it’s such a large, sprawling network that it’s downright suicidal to try stemming the flow.

Instead of viewing fanfics as a bane of sorts, why not view it as a chance to connect with the fandom? I think decrying fanfiction (especially in a condescending, too-good-for-you way) is a good tactic to alienate fans and would-be fans (it happened to me, actually). Get to know what they think of the world, the characters, and discover their interpretations. In return, the fandom should at least try not to become headaches for their authors, ie, respect their author’s wishes if they have said no to certain things. It sounds a bit like coddling, but today’s fandoms can be powerful, with how they can utilize today’s social media for their own purposes. They can make personas favorable or unfavorable with just a few posts in a few choice sites. There’s something scary and beautiful in there, with how a diverse number of people could unite online and use the power of technology to be heard. Something scary and beautiful and, well, to be handled carefully.