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Anon culture in fandom

  • Jul. 18th, 2010 at 4:13 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
So I'm working on my next post for the Symposium blog and I'd like to write about anonymity in fandom. But I need your help!

I've been following the latest anon meme that sprung out of the ViVidCon debates (is there some kind of Fight Club thing where you're not supposed to link to it? or actually name it? I'm going to err on the side of caution here, but let me know if there are standard anon meme rules or norms I should be observing), and it's been pretty fascinating to see the different dynamics of how discussions play out there vs. on LJ/DW. I've checked out a few other anon memes in the past, but this is the longest I've ever followed one. Yet I haven't left any comments on the meme, so I can't claim to be a participant-observer -- there's something about posting anon that just weirds me out (personally, not when other people do it). I'm not sure what it is, but I definitely got weirded out the couple of times in the past that I posted on anon love memes where you tell people on the flist how awesome they are. Which, hey, people on my flist are awesome, and deserve to hear that! So I don't know what my mental block here is.

So I'd love to hear from any of you about the pleasures (and perils!) of posting anon, or participating in anon memes. I'm also thinking of saying something about kink memes, which are the other major place that I'm aware of that carve out a pro-anon space in fandom, and seem to be on the rise over the last couple of years. But I know even less about kink meme culture than anon memes! So any observations, insights, experiences you'd like to share about kink memes & anonymity would be welcome.

And I think I need a third thing, right? I figured I'd at least reference the WoW/Blizzard Real ID controversy, but it would be nice to have a third instance of anon culture in LJ/DW-based media fandom, if anyone has suggestions.

Anon posting for comments is on, naturally (ETA: and IP logging is off). Thanks in advance!

ETA 2: I've fallen way behind on responding to comments, but I'm reading them all & appreciate all the perspectives & experiences & context that everyone's offering.

ETA 3: The first part of my Symposium blog post on anon memes is now up.



cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)
[personal profile] cathexys wrote:
Jul. 18th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Yes, in a way it reminds me of how LJ used to be...a bit more aggressive and through the anonymity with some assholes, but in general a thinking through, taking an giving and...

It makes me sad that I don't feel like I want to do that anymore in my own journal...and I can't say why, because I don't want to put blame on social justice issues...Im' hoping I tried not to be an ass before and if I have a few more things I'm aware of now that shouldn't suffocate me the way it is.

I think it is the modes of engagement...and that makes me want to not post anything anywhere any more!
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
[personal profile] crypto wrote:
Jul. 19th, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)
I think it's possible to say that there's different kinds of work being done in public pseudonymous LJ/DW space vs. anon memes, and that maybe those two kinds of work are both valuable but don't coexist easily in the same space. 'Work' isn't really the right word, maybe something like 'processes'....

I know what you mean, though; I've posted a lot less over the last year, partly because of a shift in the modes of engagement on LJ/DW.
phoebe_zeitgeist: (Default)
[personal profile] phoebe_zeitgeist wrote:
Jul. 19th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
And once again, I'm rewarded for reading the anonymeme
It's how I found your post, which I've put in the metafandom links for today.

Anyway, as I'm sure you know, you and [personal profile] cathexys are far from being the only ones who've posted a lot less over the past year or two, partly because of a shift in modes of engagement. I know I'm being overly optimistic to think that this meme alone will make much of a change in how non-anon debate is handled on LJ/DW, but I'd like to think it's at least possible. The whole thing keeps reminding me of the Great Loyalty Oath episode in Catch-22: it's like seeing Major __ de Coverly stand in the middle of the mess hall and shout, "Give everybody eats!"
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
[personal profile] crypto wrote:
Jul. 19th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: And once again, I'm rewarded for reading the anonymeme
I'll just qualify to say that I'm not sure that posting less is always automatically a bad thing in some contexts, especially if the net result is to amplify different voices which had been marginalized. But I also think that there's a value in having spaces that facilitate grappling with issues that one is unsure or ambivalent or frustrated about -- spaces which include posting under filter or flock or in anon memes or through other channels like email or chat.
phoebe_zeitgeist: (Default)
[personal profile] phoebe_zeitgeist wrote:
Jul. 19th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
It reminds me of a happier past, too. And I haven't been as surprised as I might be by the quality of some of the discussion: it's been clear for a long time now that a lot of substantive conversation that in the past would have been held in public is now either not held at all or else is taking place under lock. There's been no shortage of voices arguing that the pattern of fandom response to the !fail du jour either creates no chilling effect on speech at all or else chills only the sort of speech that all decent people agree or should agree ought to be chilled, but it has seemed to me that the evidence is otherwise. And the explosion of discussion in the anonymeme, where it's much more difficult to deploy the heckler's veto, only underlines the point.

I wish I saw a way to go back to having more of these conversations in non-anon venues, if only because it's easier to navigate when you have an identifier attached to each individual participant. As things are, though, I can't really blame people for not wanting to do it. Moderating a discussion on a charged issue in such a way that people who disagree are made welcome, and personal attacks shut down before they can poison the discussion, and so on is intensely time-consuming. It was less so, I think, back in the days when expressions of rage and such weren't valorized in quite the way we see now, and when posters could rely on some loose sense of community standards to work for them rather than against them.

Despite my pessimism, though, I'd like to think that the meme will help. It provides a model of actual engagement with difficult issues and conflicting opinions, and it also cuts through the isolating effect of any perceived mobbing in non-anon venues: people who, say, question the way the term "tone argument" has been deployed within fandom can suddenly see how far they are from being alone.
(Anonymous) wrote:
Jul. 19th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
when posters could rely on some loose sense of community standards to work for them rather than against them.

Let me fix that for you, Eternal Tone Arguer, "when WHITE posters could rely on some loose sense of WHITE AMERICAN community standards to work for them rather than having to be more inclusive."
(Anonymous) wrote:
Jul. 19th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Waste of keystrokes.

It's all been explained to phoebe_zeitgeist before with no visible affect.
(Anonymous) wrote:
Jul. 25th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Because there's only American people live on Earth, naturally...
(Anonymous) wrote:
Aug. 2nd, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
Yeah right, like the Fail Brigades care that there are people on the internet who aren't American, if they actually realise it.

And yes, this can harm and erase the experiences of people who aren't white and the way they handle racism: