March 26th, 2008

Soaped Monkeys Of Fandom!

Irrelevance to the new fen

This post is taken from a bunch of replies on a friend's journal, that it was decided we should stop hijacking and move the discussion somewhere else.

The problem is that a lot of fans want to get along, and many longer term fans don't like change, so the old fans don't change and the new fans try to fit in. The newer folks aren't encouraged to exptress their ideas, and fans have always been good at shouting down those they see as wrong.

I tend to think that when one is well-known and respected in the scene, they have a responsibilty to the newer folks to keep an open mind and to give them the chance to express themselves.

For instance, I have the newer people in Melbourne saying they don't see the point of having fan guests. I disagree with their opinion, but respect and understand that if they feel that way, then many more new folks will as well. So I either need to justify why we do it well enough that they can see my point-of-view, or rethink having fan guests in order to be relevant to the newer folks.

Though that said, I think the fan guest issue is a tiny one compared to how magnificently irrelevant our style of cons currently are to the new crop of fans.

New fans aren't coming to cons. They see them as over-priced, they don't see that they will get any value for money, and when they do come along, they have a hard time making friends because they're shy and because many of us are shy, we're more comfy talking to people we already know.

And then they hear us slagging off 'mundanes' and similarly showing fandom's intolerance for those not like themselves. So to new folks we come across as more exclusive than inclusive.

So discuss... and especially if you're one of the newer fans, please, please, please speak up and tell us what you'd like to see at cons, and what you think needs to be changed.