fandomthennow: (Default)
Over the next few weeks I'll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I'll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I'll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here using the #fandomthennow tag or on& the site to share your thoughts and ideas. This week we're onto popular fandoms and stories. (This is a fun one. Check out these numbers!)
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Many of the favorite fandoms, stories, and authors from the survey will be of no surprise to those active in fan communities in 2008. Harry Potter, Stargate (SG1 and SGA), and Supernatural appear right at the top of the list. Take a look at the numbers, however. The Harry Potter fandom had about triple and Stargate double the amount of recommendations that other fandoms had. Clearly, these were two areas of very heavy reading activity during this time. Beyond the top six fandoms (Harry Potter, Stargate, Supernatural, Doctor Who, the Joss Whedon Buffy and Angel fandoms, and J.R.R. Tolkien fandoms) the reading numbers start to level off dramatically.

Generally, while dozens of fandoms are represented in these survey results, a heavy amount of reading consolidated around certain authors and works of fan fiction. There were several overwhelmingly popular stories and authors, many of stories written by authors who are prolific writers, often producing work in more than one fandom.

Do any of these numbers or fandoms from 2008 surprise you? If so, why? Do you notice anything else that's interesting here? Is there anything else you think I should consider?


Read the full write up on popular fandoms and stories here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond here in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

fandomthennow: (Default)
Over the next few weeks I'll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I'll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I'll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here using the #fandomthennow tag or on the site to share your thoughts and ideas. Today, one last post about fan engagement/reading habits. Tomorrow, we're onto popular fandoms and stories.

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In the not-so-distant past, fan fiction about real people was a pretty controversial topic in media fandom. In 2008, 34% of the survey participants read some kind of real person fiction (RPF). The majority of participants (67%) said that they did not read stories about real people.

When this survey went out in 2008, many popular boybands were going on hiatus and the size of the celebrity-focused Popslash fandom had begun to decline. For a time however, Popslash was a large fandom with a heavy presence on LiveJournal. As popslash's popularity faded, a new music-celebrity related fandom, bandom. began to develop. Today, interest in real-person related fan fiction continues. There are fandoms for athletes, actors, musicians, news anchors, and more. While the ethics of writing and reading real-person fan fiction is still debated among some fans, the controversy it used to provoke seems to have faded.

Again, however, I'm basing this on what I've observed. As fans continue to spread out across different social media sites, perhaps there are webspaces where fans go to either find or avoid more controversial types of fan fiction. What do you think? Do you visit or avoid certain websites because of the types of fan fiction they make available? Are there types of stories today that are still taboo or has a more "live and let live" approach become the standard? Why? What might be fueling either the taboos or their reduction?
Read the full write up on fan engagement here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond here in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

fandomthennow: (Default)
Over the next few weeks I'll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I'll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I'll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here using the #fandomthennow tag or on the site to share your thoughts and ideas. First up! Fan engagement and reading habits from 2008 and today...



The image above shows the number of survey participants who were participating in a single fandom or multiple fandoms in 2008.

In the past, stories were often distributed within a fandom for a show, a pairing, a character, actor, etc. For example, stories could be shared on a fandom list-serv, in an online community dedicated to a specific pairing, posted on a dedicated fandom archive, etc. However, as media fandom increasingly used LiveJournal, this may have facilitated more long-term social links between fans across a variety of fandoms. In 2008, survey participants were almost evenly split between fans that engaged with more than one fandom at a time (54%) and fans who stuck to one fandom at a time (46%).

Today, I'm not sure what the trend is. With more media fans spread across sites like Archive of Our Own, FanFiction.net, Tumblr, and Twitter, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, etc., I wonder if this is something that is enabling any different or new reading habits. Finding stories about a particular character or a certain pairing of characters doesn't necessarily require joining one specific journal community or mailing-list any more. Instead, sites like Archive of Our Own, FanFiction.net, Tumblr, and Twitter allow fans to access many different fandom tags within a single website. This makes me wonder. Is it possible fans are reading a broader mix of fan fiction today? Are fans able to be more "multi-fannish" than they used to be?

Read the full write up on fan engagement here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond here in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

fandomthennow: (Default)
Over the next few weeks I'll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I'll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I'll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here using the #fandomthennow tag or on the site to share your thoughts and ideas. First up! Fan engagement and reading habits from 2008 and today...


The chart above shows the types of fan fiction represented on Archive of Our Own (AO3) as of December 2013. On AO3, m/m has nearly double the amount of stories that some of the other categories do. This indicates that there are a lot of people writing m/m on A03. However, it's important to read these numbers carefully and in context. This doesn't necessarily indicate that slash is more prevalent than other types of fan fiction. While AO3 is a popular archive, it isn't representative of all available fan fiction. For example, in my 2008 survey, Jane Austen related fan fiction was one of the most popular fandoms. At the time, this fandom was totally new to me, simply because I'd been so focused on studying fans connected to LiveJournal. At the time, Austen fans had several fan fiction archives elsewhere, exclusively dedicated to Austen-related stories. Similarly, the Whovians are often found on A Teaspoon And An Open Mind. There are countless other fandom specific archives out there.

Another important factor shaping the current AO3 numbers may be the archive's "adult content" policy. AO3 allows it, FanFiction.net did once but no longer does. While Fiction Alley has been a popular archive for Harry Potter fans, it doesn't allow stories with adult content either. These kinds of content policies may lead fans with shared interests to cluster on particular websites, spending more or less time on AO3, depending on their reading preferences. Adult content restrictions may also disproportionately affect the amounts of m/m or f/f content represented on different web archives. With so many different sites collecting fan fiction and catering to different groups of writers and readers, it may not ever be possible to fully map the kinds of fan fiction read by fans.

What do you notice about your fan fiction reading habits? Do you find yourself preferring a certain website, community or archive more than others? Or, do you look reading material in many different places? If you've been reading fan fiction for a while, how have the websites you visit changed over time?

Read the full write up on fan engagement here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond here in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

fandomthennow: (Default)
Over the next few weeks I'll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I'll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I'll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here or on the site to share your thoughts and ideas. First up, fan engagement and reading habits from 2008 and today...


Slash was technically the most popular category of fan fiction for participants in the 2008 survey, but it appears that survey participants were reading slash and gen fan fiction in fairly even amounts. At least, that’s what it looked like when fans were asked about their general reading preferences. However, slash was much more heavily represented when I looked at the different stories that fans identified as their favorite works of fan fiction. (See Popular Fandoms & Stories for more on this.) Looking back, I wonder if something important was missing from my original question. I didn’t ask about frequency. Sure, many people were reading many different kinds of stories, but how often did they read them? Did they have a type they read more than others? A favorite? If I had also asked how frequently participants found themselves reading different types of fan fiction, those answers might influence how we read these numbers. Given the prevalence of m/m in the favorite stories, I wonder if the fan taking the survey tended to read one variety of fan fiction significantly more than others.

What about you? If you read different types of fan fiction (gen, het, slash, femslash, yaoi/boyslove, or yuri), do you have a favorite type? One you read more than others? Has this changed over time?

Read the full write up on fan engagement here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond here using the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

fandomthennow: (Default)
Over the next few weeks I'll be crossposting pieces of the Fandom Then/Now webproject here. I'll be moving in order through the site, starting with information about the project and ending with some of my ongoing questions. I'll link back to the site in each post. Please consider commenting here or on the site to share your thoughts and ideas. But, before we begin, let me introduce myself.

About the Project
Fandom Then/Now is an idea I've been sitting on for a while. When I completed my MA Thesis in 2008, I shared the final thesis project with individuals who asked to see it. However, I'd done a large survey as part of the thesis project and I really wanted to share the results with fans. At the time, I got the idea to put all my results online and open them up for fans to look at and give input on. I was getting ready to do start this in 2009 but then SurveyFail happened.

SurveyFail was incredibly unsettling to me. Roughly one year after I launched my 2008 project, here were these two individuals (Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam) calling their survey project the same exact name as my 2008 survey and using eerily similar methods to reach out to fans and request for fan participation. And yet, Ogas and Gaddam's motives, politics, and research ethics seemed to be completely contrary to my own.

At the time in 2009, my response was to duck and hide. I didn't want to give Ogas and Gaddam any publicity and I didn't want any research I'd done associated with them. The SurveyFail incident also made me particularly concerned about the ways research on fans is conducted. I felt strongly that research on fans and digital cultures is a process that must have more dialogue built into it. In October 2010 I presented "Fen Responses to Fan Research: Methods of Participation and Engagement" at the Midwest Popular Culture/American Culture Association's annual conference. In this paper I reflected on my 2008 survey project, the 2009 SurveyFail incident and called for fan researchers to design more participatory and conversational research projects. I hoped that this participatory approach would help to counterbalance some of the issues that internet/digital culture researchers were struggling with at the time.

Fandom Then/Now is an experiment. It's my way of testing out what a participatory and ongoing research project might look like. As a scholar, I begin any new project by building on my past experiences and research. That's where Fandom Then/Now begins. I'm starting with past work that has been integral to shaping my thoughts about fan fiction and romantic storytelling. Into this, I've woven in many of the questions and ideas that are driving my current research project (my dissertation).

I want to share these initial thoughts and ideas while I'm working on my dissertation. I'm hoping that fans will be able to add their own thoughts along the way and help to shape the research. My goal is for fans to participate not as research "subjects" or bits of data, but as peer reviewers.

About Me
I am Katherine Morrissey, currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a PhD Candidate in Media, Cinema and Digital Studies in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). I also have a Master’s in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University. My research focuses on production networks for popular culture, representations of female desire, and the ways that digital production is reorganizing romantic storytelling. My research is grounded in my experiences as a queer feminist, geek girl, and acafan. I have been actively participating in fan communities since 1996.

At RIT and UWM, I’ve taught courses on film, television, and digital media, writing, participatory culture, and romance genres across media. I also have professional experience in web and graphic design, as well as communications and marketing in the non-profit sector.

If you'd like to check out some of my research, you might be interested in the following:

"Fan/dom: People, Practices, and Networks." Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 14, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2013.0532.

"Fifty Shades of Remix: The Intersecting Pleasures of Commercial & Fan Romances." Journal of Popular Romance Studies. 4.1. (2014) 1-17.

(Updated May 2015)

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.
fandomthennow: (Default)
My name is Katherine Morrissey and I am currently working on my dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I've been researching fans and fan culture for some time and I want to publicly share some of my past research with fans/fan communities. I've created a website called Fandom Then/Now to share research from 2008 work and the thoughts/questions that are driving my research today. I'm hoping to collect comments and observations from fans (you!) on the project and on fan fiction.

If you have time, please visit Fandom Then/Now and share your thoughts. I would also appreciate it if you shared this link with anyone else that you believe might be interested.

The Fandom Then/Now website is not a formal survey or structured questionnaire. Instead, Fandom Then/Now is intended to be an ongoing conversation/brainstorming session where I share past work and some of the questions that are propelling my current research. This is designed to be a participatory process. Along with the past findings, there are questions spread across the website. Please comment wherever you compelled to share your own thoughts and observations.

As you do this, please know that your comments are being used for research purposes and may be incorporated into the project. I take your privacy very seriously. If you would like to take steps to screen your identity please visit the project's Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

Since media fans are spread across so many different websites and fandoms, I want to reach out to as many different fans as I can. However, I can't do this without your help. If you know anyone who might be interested in participating, please help me spread the word! Feel free to send this posting along to your friends and publicize this project elsewhere. The project can also be shared on Twitter, Tumblr, Dreamwidth, and LiveJournal.

Visit http://katiedidnt.net/fandomthennow to review the project and share your thoughts. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at fandomthennow@katiedidnt.net. (Comments are screened to protect your privacy.)

Thank you so much for your help in making this a success!
fandomthennow: (Default)
Please pardon the intrusion! I've added you as a friend because you've indicated that you are interested in fan fiction in your user interests. If you read fan fiction, do you have a few minutes to contribute to a project on fans and fan fiction?

more about this project )

This friending is temporary, I'll be closing this journal once the project is finished. However, if you would like to be removed from my friends list please leave a comment below and I will be happy to do so. (Comments are screened to protect your privacy.)

Thank you for your time and I apologize for any inconvenience.
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