Working on a fandom site: It’s more complicated than that ol’ Facebook relationship status.
Fansite folk are lucky beyond belief for all the recognition and opportunities we’ve been given, but things often get tricky behind the scenes. Though it’s usually friendly competition between fansites, that’s not always the case. There’s pressure to outdo someone else: To post first, to have the coolest design, to get the exclusive, to be the most interesting, etc. Internally, there’s the never-ending matter of who does the work vs. who takes credit for the work. You question who’s in it for the love of Fandom X and who’s in it for the perks and acknowledgements.
Thankfully, most of these are not Victor’s Village problems given our editorial nature (though damn does our layout need an update!) Personally, I work and have worked on other sites where these problems definitely crop up.
All of this, we hide from the audience as much as humanly possible. Why? Because nobody wants to be THAT GUY. Whatever problems we have, we’re usually level-headed enough to recognize that it’s not about us, so we don’t make it public knowledge. It’s about creating an exciting environment to enjoy something we love tremendously and just want to talk about non-stop! And oh, do we talk…
Recently, you’ve probably noticed people airing out their dirty fansite laundry. Sometimes it’s been in the form of confrontation, other times reaction. And whenever we see it, we absolutely cringe. It all goes back to production vs ownership. Fansites are not a contractual entity, so if you create and curate on your own sections of the content, aren’t they yours?
Look, maybe we’re the new age hipster mom and pop shop taking about corporate establishments here, but it comes down to morals. If Them There Eyes or JJ decided left Victor’s Village under any circumstance, their work is theirs. Why? They worked their ass off creating it! And they did it for their own reasons, not so I could use it to benefit me later on. They’ve helped the site I started blossom and thrive and I owe way more to them than they do to me (Obviously, the same goes for Twiffidy, who was a wonderful addition to the site for two years before retiring from the site with zero love lost)!
Even though we’re not involved, it’s embarrassing because accusations and consulting lawyers and being upset about what people think of you is the exact opposite of what fandom is about. None of you should have to see that, let alone have the situation explained to you due to misleading information elsewhere. It’s sad that it got to that point.
The truth is, sometimes fandom fails you.
Site runners forget that we’re doing this for YOU and not for ourselves. Even if we live off what we make from our sites (which is few and far between, by the way, as most sites barely pay for themselves and almost all of us work full-time outside these shenanigans), we started our sites with the hopes of inspiring people and sharing our love of this thrilling, enchanting, emotional journey with others. We forget that in the long run, we are one of SEVERAL media outlets covering this fandom and our individual sites are not terribly important in the grand scheme of things because fans could easily get the same news elsewhere. We’re lucky to have you and acting like we’re the center of the Internet just ain’t cool.
Nobody wins here. So can we all agree to save the drama for our mamas and act like the stellar Hunger Games fanatics that we are?!
The Girl With The Pearl