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Fan power is a wonderful thing. It keeps creators motivated, provides a community from which its members can strongly relate to and even generates its own original content out of passion. Let's face it, some of you editors came to Wikia to share your knowledge of your favourite game, animation or story (which is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of; you guys are awesome!). These make a wealth of info, on which some users are willing to defend and debate over to no end. However, I feel sometimes the line has to be drawn on how intensely one should do so.
Recently, I have come across quite a lot of instances (more offline than online) in which these people threaten and hurt those who deride and insult the fandom. Cliché phrases like "Oh my God, who watches that anime anymore?" and "XX is so stupid, it's only for nerds" are often met with physical replies. My sister, 13, has seen girls in her school scratch and punch out of anger on being derided. She tells me they usually act like that when they're in groups of 5 people or more, so they look big and intimidating. My college also has fanatics, although they aren't that bad. (Yet.) I feel I don't have to give any names, this is a universal problem.
If you know that you often get angry and flare at the nostrils when someone calls your fanbase useless and nonsensical, please. Take action. Acting irrationally to a common remark not only makes you and everyone else supporting your cause look foolish, it also makes you do things you will probably regret later. Also add that to the fact that you may lose friends, or be seen as an easy target for bullying. Here are some tips I can offer:
- Understand that this is a problem. Threats, counter-insults, mind games and physical abuse are intolerable actions. No matter how far you think you can, there must be a time when the world will finally get you back for it. Don't let it get to that.
- Think about the insignificance of insults. Well, yeah, haters may call your show dumb, but will that stop it from broadcasting next week on your local TV station? Will these people even bother to write hate letters to an animation company or start a hate group online? Can they do much? No, most times it's just your response they enjoy, so give them less of it and they'll stop bothering you.
- Refuse to cave in to pressure. You are only weak and vulnerable when you think you are. Always try to settle things intellectually first.
- Talk to a friend. Now, doing this to a fellow hater will be counterproductive, so don't do that. Instead, confide in someone you can really trust about the fact that you can't control yourself well anytime someone hurls an insult. He or she may help you see the bigger picture and be a pillar of support for you.
- Control your anger. Anger management can help you reduce the number of incidents where you let your emotions go too far. Try meditation, changing your phone's music playlist to something more relaxing, getting enough sleep so you don't get irritable easily... the list goes on. Tips on these can be found with a quick internet search.
- Build respect. If you can get your friends to understand that fans are also human and need to be respected in spite of their differing beliefs, you're one step closer to avoiding conflict.
- If all else fails, just ignore the attacker. Be a rock, unflinching to abuse. Your steel spirit will endure in the end.
If you are a friend or family member who knows of a short-fused fan, help out as much as you can. Try and enter the circle of acceptance first, explaining that you've started watching/reading the material, and when the time is right, tackle the issue slowly. Ask why he or she is so defensive and violent at the mere mention of this book/TV show/game, then offer your support; a little goes a long way and even your presence can give them a reason not to hurt others.
As we approach the end of 2014, maybe those of you with this affliction could try being a respectable, rational fan as the new year's resolution. I wish you every success.