Learning The “Agree to Disagree” Tactic
There is a big chance that you might not agree with someone else in a fandom. You could think that a character deserves more development and screen time, while someone else thinks that character is total garbage. The most important thing is to understand that everyone is allowed to have an opinion, but they can’t force that opinion on you. And, neither can you! So if you come to a standstill with someone, the best thing to do is to accept that you don’t agree and move on. What is also good to know is that you don’t have to hang out (virtually or irl) with everyone in the fandom, it’s ok to stick with the people who have the same ideas as you, but be careful with this. Keeping out everyone different than you will lead to a closed perspective, and there is so much you can learn from the people who don’t agree with you.
Debates and Arguments
Now it is so much fun to have meaningful conversations and debates about how you perceived the book you read or theories you might have about the material. But just like real debates, fandom discussions and debates have unwritten rules. The biggest one is to keep a calm head, and not crush other peoples theories and ideas. Even if you think someone is completely in the wrong, it is best to offer your perspective to them, while not shooting down their own. The only time where it might be necessary to shoot someone down, is when the person is being prejudiced in any way, (ie. homophobia, islamophobia, misogyny , etc). And especially when the person is being very negative and causing arguments. Also, don’t feel like you have to contribute to every conversation or debate, sometimes being a silent fandom member is great!
The no.1 part of a fandom that gets heated is the shipping part. People can be very protective of their ships and get very mad at those who do not ship the pair as well. This is why ‘ship wars’ are a major problem in fandoms, and a key contributor to toxicity. Like in the ACOTAR fandom, the ships Gwynriel, Elucian, and Azriel x Elain, are all popular ships, but people get into arguments over which ship is the correct one. And here is the best piece of advice you can get for ships, and it is pretty mainstream but nevertheless important. ALL SHIPS ARE VALID AS LONG AS THEY ARE LEGAL. So if you see a ship you don’t like or even hate, don’t make a negative comment on the post about it. This is such a common occurrence that many fandom creators have to put on their posts, “no negativity” or “no ship hate in the comments”. This brings us into next topic…
Fandom creators range from cosplayers, fanfic writers, fan artists, and more. These are the people who take the time and out in the effort to create some incredible things for the fandom. And it is because of how much they do for the fandom that they should be treated with respect instead of expecting so much of them. You have to remember that just like you, fandom creators are normal people, not big corporations. So sometimes a fanfic might take an extra week for an update because the author has a test in biology, or an artist will charge commissions more specific pieces because that’s how they make money.
The Big Takeaway
A lot of this stuff seems like common sense, but it is hard to keep in mind. Many people forget that other people have ideas and opinions too, and that they should be respected. This is even harder on online platforms where many fandoms thrive. Basic human decency and being the bigger person make all the difference being in a fandom. Because if you let all that toxicity and negativity get to you, then not only is the fandom you are in feel tainted and not fun, but the book you read that made you want to join the fandom doesn’t feel special anymore.