Episode 19: Cataloging Fandom

 
 
Episode 19’s cover: Jeremy Bentham’s preserved body, as displayed at University College London.

Elizabeth and Flourish talk to Ludi Price, a librarian and PhD student in information science whose research focuses on how fans collect, tag, share, and otherwise interact with information (e.g., fanart, fanfic, fanvids, facts about their fandoms, etc.). Then they read and discuss two listener comments. Topics covered include crowdsourcing, Jeremy Bentham, why Amazon.com’s search and tagging system sucks so much, yaoi/yuri and shounen ai/shoujo ai, and ageism in fandom.

 

Ludi adds: “I just thought of an addendum I’d like to add to this episode if that’s OK. Just if there are any listeners out there who’d like to explore fandom through Library & Information Science, we’d be really interested to discuss it with you at the library school where I do my research. That’s City LIS, which you can find on Twitter using our hashtag #CityLIS, or you can go to our blog which is at, I think it’s at blogs.city.ac.uk/citylis. We’re all, especially my supervisor Lyn Robinson who’s really into this stuff, we’d love to hear from anyone who’s interested in weird or unusual kinds of documentation such as how you’d record live performance or an installation piece in a museum or whatever, or for example video game experiences. I’m also interested in the information behavior of people like comics collectors, artists, fanfic writers. So if you’re intrigued, come and check us out at City LIS, and we’ll be more than happy to discuss all your ideas, thoughts, opinions, whatever. Thanks!” You can reach Ludi at @ludi-ling, @ludiprice on Twitter, at https://blogs.city.ac.uk/ludiprice/, or as ludi-price on DeviantArt.


Show Notes

A painting of Jeremy Bentham in his older years.
  • Ludi has some further thoughts to share:

Basically, Library and information science is the melding of two things - books and computers, both important ways in which we walk our information journey, creating and finding information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yrisec7C7gQ

The following video, though kind of outdated now, is a great way of explaining what we study in information science, and the many ways in which we create, instantiate and share information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4CV05HyAbM   I guess the point of what I am studying is that we are ALL experts in some way, which is something info sci has traditionally failed to grasp.  You don’t need to have qualification or a career in something to be an expert, and fans are a prime example of that. They are experts through passion.  I actually think fans are at the forefront of this digital information revolution, but very few people, even fans themselves, tend to recognise it.

Unfortunately I can’t send a link to the in-depth article of my research so far, as it’s currently in the long, dismal process of journal publication, but I do have a link to a slideshow presentation I did at the European Fan Cultures conference last autumn, which is about the results of a study I did in my second year. It’s here: https://www.academia.edu/23092874/Fans_as_gatekeepers_The_role_of_cult_media_fans_in_collecting_preserving_and_sharing_fanworks- and I’ve also attached a video of the slideshow below, which you can use on your Tumblr if you want (sorry, no time to do audio for it! :P).

Can I just add this link to one of my favourite things - superheroes who are librarians? http://io9.gizmodo.com/5671047/20-heroic-librarians-who-save-the-world  It includes two of my personal favourites - Batgirl from the DC Universe, and Karma from the X-Men.  Love it. :D

An instance of the Ancient Aliens meme, except the hands are made larger and it is captioned YAOI HANDS.
A New Yorker cartoon: one dog sits at a computer and tells another, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Transcript

[Intro music]

Flourish Klink: Hi, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Minkel: Hi, Flourish!

FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!

ELM: This is Episode 19, “Cataloging Fandom.”

FK: And we’re gonna be talking to Ludi Price, who is a PhD student and a librarian, and she’s working in information science and she’s going to talk about why fans are interesting in that arena.

ELM: Right, and we’re also going to take the opportunity to exorcise all of my lingering feelings about my master’s degree, which was in this realm.

FK: Oh, exorcise, not exercise! Exorcise.

ELM: Yeah, like a demonic possession.

FK: “The power of Christ compels you” kinda thing.

ELM: Yes. The power of Christ does compel me.

FK: Right.

ELM: Kinda thing. Cause I got a master’s degree in the digital humanities two years ago now, and that’s, at that university it was in the broader realm of information studies, which includes information science, librarians, archivists.

FK: All that good stuff.

ELM: Yeah, it’s great stuff.

FK: So you have feelings about that.

ELM: Yeah, I have a lot of feelings about it. No spoilers.

FK: OK, should we just talk to Ludi then?

ELM: OK, um, and after we talk to Ludi we’ll read a couple of—we’ve been tagged in a few Tumblr posts recently, and so we wanted to talk about one of them, and we got an email that I think referenced, what episode was that where we talked with Destination Toast about yuri?

FK: It was several episodes ago.

ELM: Lord only knows. It was some time ago. So we got a thoughtful email about that so we can talk about that too.

FK: Alright, so, shall we talk to Ludi?

ELM: Let’s call her up!

FK: All right, let’s welcome Ludi Price onto the podcast!

ELM: Welcome!

Ludi Price: Hello! Thank you! Great to be here, I’m very flattered to actually be asked to come on here, because not many people know what I do or understand what I do, so yeah, it’s great to talk about it!

ELM: That’s a perfect setup for us to say “What do you do?”

LP: Ah, OK. I am many things, but part of what I do right now is I am a PhD student at City University London in Information Science. And I am actually researching the information behavior of fans. But at the same time I’m a librarian part-time. There’s kind of interconnections there. And of course I’ve also been a fan since I was a little girl.

FK: Information science—I understand, I think I understand what a librarian is at least on some level, but what is information science?

LP: Ah, OK. Actually this is a bit of a long story, because library and information science, the two disciplines, there's a lot of overlap between them and they’re usually lumped together, but they are slightly different. So I would say that information science is kind of the overarching discipline. So it’s the science of how we deal with, as human beings, information. So a lot of it is to do with the information chain, how do we create, find, seek and actually find, collate, disseminate, share, and organize information.

So it’s not actually a chain, a linear chain, it’s more like a cyclical chain, so we create, we organize, we share. Library science is kind of, I don’t want to say an offshoot of it because that’s disrespectful to librarians, but it’s, it’s the same but it’s to do with specific collections, basically. So in a library you will have a collection of some books. And then intertwined with that is the idea of documentation and documents themselves of which from my perspective you would consider fanworks as documents, and how are they collected and shared.

FK: OK, so fanworks are documents, then what’s interesting about fans and the way that they deal with this stuff—it seems like everybody must, everybody encounters and deals with information, why are fans especially interesting in this way?

LP: Well, you’ve kind of hit the nail on the head, because everyone in their everyday lives encounters information, from the books you read to even like bills and just general everyday things like that. Information science in itself as a discipline is more interested in kind of the more professional aspects of that, like how do certain groups deal with finding information. For example how do lawyers find information and what do they do with it. How do teachers deal with information. How do students deal with information.

And it’s only fairly recently that people have started to look into the more everyday aspects of information behavior. How do individuals deal with their own personal information, for example. And there’s also been kind of a movement towards how do people, I don’t know, people who are enthusiasts and hobbyists, how do they deal with information. Because a lot of what they do doesn’t have official channels or official sources, resources to gather information from. A lot of what they do they kind of document themselves and fandom is closely related from an information science point of view to the information behavior of hobbyists and collectors and enthusiasts and volunteers and things like that. Because they work outside of official channels and a lot of what they do is from their own kind of passion about or obsession, dare I say, with something. So yeah, there is kind of an interest in the more informal ways of sharing information in the information sciences. And fandom is a part of that that has been largely ignored, in fact almost totally ignored, and even though people are starting to pick up on that, that's something that I'm interested in.

ELM: Yeah it’s funny because one thing that struck me a lot while I was doing my master’s was how much of the behavior that was being studied in terms of information organization or behavior seeking online was around academia.

LP: Mm-hmm.

ELM: And it did seem to me a huge oversight that everything I’ve always encountered in fandom seemed so much more exciting and richly organized and built as opposed to the stuff that we were studying.

FK: But, wait wait wait, actually it would be helpful to me if we could be concrete about what the stuff you’re studying is. Because I just heard a bunch about how people study, yeah, academics or whatever, but they ought to be studying hobbyists and maybe they’re beginning to, but what is the thing that you're studying? Is it the way that people find fanfic or find fanvids or the way they bookmark them, or like…what is it?

LP: So I’ve taken on a humongous task of trying to research the whole information chain so everything from how fans find fanworks or whatever or information to do with their fandom all the way through organization of these works or whatever to actually how they share them with each other. So this is a really huge topic because no one has actually ever looked, to my knowledge no one has ever actually looked at the whole information/communication fans as fans do it, basically.

But obviously because of time and whatnot I’ve had to focus in on certain areas. So in my first year what I actually did was a literature review which was basically trying to synthesize the literatures of library and information science and fan studies and see if there was any kind of commonality or any research that overlapped on each other. So I’ve found out some stuff from that about how fans tend to go for informal information resources, how they come up with their own vocabularies, ontologies, taxonomies, things like that. They’re very generous with what they share and what they do.

FK: OK so just to make sure I understand, if you’re talking about, like, fans coming up with a vocabulary and taxonomy and stuff, so one thing you might be interested in would be like the Archive of our Own tagging system? Or vidders.net and the way vids are organized with in that?

LP: Mm-hmm! Yes yes.

FK: OK.

LP: Exactly. And that's actually something that I've started to look at in my third year, which I’m in now, I’m actually gonna do some social network analysis but not social networks—tag network analysis of Archive of our Own, Tumblr which I just want to give a shout-out right now to Destination Toast cause she’s really helped me with that, she’s come up with some awesome Python scripts to help me collect data from Tumblr which is really difficult to do.

ELM: That’s awesome.

LP: Thanks to her, she’s great! Also I’m looking at Etsy cause another thing I’m looking at is fans who are not entrepreneurs but are fans who sell their work as well. So yeah a lot of what I’m focusing on this year is tagging practices, classification practices, vocabularies, things like that.

FK: Sorry to have cut you off Elizabeth, because I just felt like I had so many questions and you already know what she’s talking about and I have no idea!

LP: [laughs] That’s fine, that’s fine! That’s cool.

ELM: I just wanted to throw academics under the bus—but you’re an academic so maybe I shouldn’t!

LP: [Laughs] If you wanna go off record that is absolutely fine! [All laugh] I do not mind at all.

ELM: No, it’s just like, I often felt like, you know, say you wanna study how people communicate and organize on Twitter for example, you have to pick a subgroup, you can’t just say you know. And it just felt like the default was to pick academic Twitter, which sometimes I just felt like it was a strange way to draw conclusions. I mean I just—you can see it, in fan studies more broadly, people will in a very social science way focus on a very small fan community and then draw some, I feel like a lot of times they don't even draw bigger conclusions because they just observe. And you're like, or like, I would get this in DH—that’s digital humanities, Flourish, just so you know. [FK sigh-laughs] They’d be like “We studied an email group of 20 people, and two of them said this, and four of them said this.” And I’d be like, OK. I just—I, you know, I guess cause I was a journalist before and I’m a journalist after and during, I don’t know what this tells us. I don’t want to put you on the spot and make you defend academic study. So. [Laughs] I can cut myself off.

FK: But you are a little bit. [Ludi laughs]

ELM: No! It sounds like you are, it sounds like you have a bigger scope though, or maybe that’s not true?

LP: To a certain extent. I think with anything in academia, especially with anything in LIS, Library and Information Science, the problem is that it’s such a huge area. Information as you said comes into all aspects of our lives and so by its very nature, if you’re studying it, you have to focus on a certain subset or group. It’s hard to make generalizations from all that.

ELM: Right.

FK: How much do you draw conclusions from, how much of this is about just observing behavior and how much is about improving practice in other areas, so like, learning lessons in one area and then applying those lessons to another? The reason I ask is when, since eBooks have become a thing that everybody does the way that, I really personally wish that eBooks were organized in a way that was a lot closer to fanfic archives. Right?

ELM: Mm.

LP: Yep, yep.

FK: Because fanfic archives are clearly superior at actually directing you to what you wanna—I mean like this is an opinion, but. And it sometimes is irritating when people talk about the “new developing area” of this and it’s like, yeah, there’s been a ton of you know, native online texts that have existed for years that have been in archives that have had this practice. So is some of that work about just like observing even if it’s a small community, a community that seems to have made an innovation or to have something working for it and then applying that to other areas?

LP: Yeah definitely. That is actually one of the aims of my thesis is to see how this works, all these findings can actually feed into the discipline of information science itself, or not the discipline but practical uses of it, basically. Can we harness information practices, the passion, the investment that fans have in organizing their works, which is not—it can be creative but it's just a practical way of organizing your fanworks. And fans are brilliant at doing that. I might say that some, many, most of are even better than professionals at doing it.

ELM: Yeah!

LP: And [laughs] I really want to make library users and other librarians as excited about the work they do or the resources they're accessing as fans are. I’m really lucky that actually my PhD supervisor is really supportive and she’s really into the whole fandom herself. She really inspired me because I never even, when I finished my masters I just thought I was gonna go on a library career path, librarian career path. And then she was like, “Ah, you know, have you ever thought about doing a PhD?” And I was like “Um, kind of no maybe?” And she was like, “Well, have you ever thought of doing a PhD about how fans deal with information?” And I was like “Say what? This is potentially a thing?!” I was like “Yeah, okay!” And luckily she helped me with my proposal and I was lucky enough to get funding for it, so that’s really cool.

And she was really into this idea of new forms of documentation and new forms of looking at works. And I think this is a time of, even though there’s a lot of cuts in the library and information professions, in England anyway probably where you are too, there’s a great push for innovation and a great push for library and I don’t know museum archives. The users of these and memory institutions to actually get involved in helping to organize and share and get people excited about collections. I don’t know if you've seen things like Galaxy Zoo and the World Archives Projects and stuff like that, Transcribe Bentham, these projects where they want people who are really excited, amateur historians and genealogists and things like that to actually come and look at the work, transcribe it, to tag it and stuff like this.

For the library and information professions this is a really exciting and amazing thing! It’s like, we can harness the passion of the public to actually come and do this stuff for us! And it’s like, this is not a new thing, fans have been doing this stuff for years. And they are just amazing at doing this stuff!

ELM: This is interesting to me and I’d be really curious to know, and I don’t want to go too deep in the weeds, but like, so Transcribe Bentham is the like—Transcribe Bentham, Flourish, is [laughs] is the—

LP: Sorry about this!

FK: [laughs’ What’s funny about this is I actually know a great deal about both Transcribe Bentham and the digital humanities but I will be the official person who doesn’t know things about things so you can explain them!

ELM: [sputters] No it’s just like we have to explain it for the listener—

FK: We do, we do!

ELM: [doubtful] You know a great deal about Transcribe Bentham, really?

FK: Well, I had a long conversation with somebody about it actually when I was in London last, so that’s the only reason I know.

ELM: With someone who was involved?

LP: Oh really?

FK: No, somebody who’s in digital humanities, about it.

ELM: So Flourish, I won't Benthamsplain to you, but for the listeners, [laughs] Jeremy Bentham is a—

FK: [giggling] Benthamsplain!

ELM: Spiritual founder of—

FK: A corpse.

ELM: —of UCL, he’s not the actual founder of UCL, but he’s like the father of UCL, he’s a what, late 19th, late 18th century early 19th century philosopher?

FK: And now he’s a corpse.

ELM: —real chill, and so his body is in the—[Ludi laughing] He was super chill though, that’s his thing, right? Like, and [laughs] he invented the panopticon? Yeah, his body is in the hall at UCL—

FK: But not the head!

ELM: The head is in the basement.

FK: Because people used to steal the head!

ELM: Actually, I heard that it was too deformed to show now.

FK: [disappointed] Oh, really? I liked my idea better that people had, like stolen it.

ELM: Anyway.

LP: It’s a good idea!

ELM: As you know, OCR, text recognition software can’t handle handwritten text, particularly from way back in the day. So they have all of his archives so they created this project where it’ll be like fun for the public. I shouldn’t make, sound so flippant, some people enjoy it. Where they transcribe his letters piece by piece and tag it very lightly with XML, and then there’s someone who works on, like, cleaning up the work of the public.

And as far as I know most of it is done by like half a dozen individuals who are just very dedicated. One woman used to watch EastEnders every night and now she, [laughing] now she transcribes Bentham. Just like, fine! That's cool! It’s interesting! But I, one thing that really struck me, at UCL I had no less than 150 lectures about this project in my various classes. Which was a little frustrating since we all had to take the same classes.

LP: I’m sorry. I’m sorry to bring it up.

ELM: I’m traumatized.

FK: There’s other projects like this too, right? Like the New York Public Library recently did a thing with menus, which also are hard to OCR.

ELM: Right, there are all of these image projects, even Google was trying to get people to tag their shit for them. The thing that really struck me though when I hear about things like Transcribe Bentham, and this gets back to what we were just talking about—I kind of bristle at the, like, academic embrace of this unpaid labor. So they’d be like, in what you’re describing they’d be like “The public is gonna love this and we have a free source of doing this work that would take a billion hours and tons of resources that we just don’t have.” I thought that was a weird strategy to kind of, fall, rely on. It was being treated like this was a default thing that was just gonna happen.

In fandom it's different because I think there’s a lot of interesting questions of unpaid labor in fandom, but like, it never would occur to me to say like, if I was like “Oh, can we all look through these Sherlock screencaps to see if we can like catalog X, Y and Z,” people would just do it, and you’d be like, “Of course I’m doing that, I love that, you know?” And so that’s the tension and the difference and I’m wondering if you’d care to comment on that. Sorry that was long.

LP: That’s OK! Yeah it's difficult obviously there’s a tension there. And you know, I was a member of World Archives Project for like three years, and I never saw it as unpaid labor cause it was fun, it was enjoyable, and it was something that I really liked to do, and yeah, I don’t know if there's any easy answer to it.

FK: Well isn’t there also a question about who it’s benefiting? We all do things that are unpaid labor that make, sort of, the world nicer, right? This is one of the questions about sort of the quote “emotional labor” that people go through, like, when we’re in public, we hold doors for other people even if we don’t know them.

ELM: Is that emotional labor?

FK: I think some people would say it is.

ELM: Aw, it’s not that hard, guys. Who are complaining.

FK: But also when we, you know, like with our friends we share things, in order to make a—like in an office we all agree to do things. And so there’s a question of, like, it’s one thing for Google to ask people to tag things that are then going to benefit Google’s algorithms and benefit Google’s ability to make money off of stuff and it's another thing to be like, “Here is an archive, here are the letters of Jeremy Bentham, they are public, they are for the public’s use, and in order for everybody to get more use of them, which everybody has…” 

ELM: I think Google having, like, working on their algorithm for image search is vastly more beneficial to the public.

FK: Yeah but it ultimately results in, Google owns that algorithm. It may be more beneficial for the public but Google still ultimately owns it and makes money off of it.

ELM: Flourish you know that their motto is “Don’t be evil,” and so… 

FK: Oh yeah, cause that’s enforceable.

LP: I think they got rid of that motto now.

ELM: [laughs] Cause they started buying robotics and weaponry facilities and—

FK: But you see what I’m saying, right, because on the one hand it’s beneficial for the public to do that but on the other hand you’re literally giving value to a corporation that you don’t own any part of, whereas Jeremy Bentham’s letters are, I guess I don’t know for sure that this is the case but I assume that they are in a charitable situation, right.

ELM: Cause he was just so chill, right.

FK: Well, most university—

ELM: Right, cause they just own them. UCL has them. This kind of leads back to something that I wanted to, kinda carry along with the comparison between what you were talking about before, fans’ natural inclination to organize and desire to do this stuff, and trying to bring that into the realm of you know professional information organizers, librarians and information scientists.

I have to wonder if you see a tension there too because like, just like I’m saying with I can’t imagine that anyone would want to transcribe Jeremy Bentham’s letters—and I understand that there are people that are and I’m not meaning to disparage them actually, like, thank you for your labor or your passion which is not labor! I’ve had a lot of jobs where I’ve had to organize large amounts of information and I enjoy that in my, like, OCD quelling kind of way, but it’s nothing like the joy that I get in fandom organizing and seeing the way things are organized. And I wonder if you think that that's something that’s like, that’s surmountable, or…does that make sense?

LP: Yeah it does, it makes a lot of sense. And the more I look at the subject the more I don’t know if it’s achievable. I mean, last year I actually did a talk about trying to harness that passion in your library users that fans have, and they were just like, “We don’t see people becoming that obsessed with what we have.” And someone said, “Your users would need to have a huge investment in your collection, like fans have in their fandom.” And is it possible to kind of induce that in your users? When an academic library can’t even get their academics to tag the books in their library system catalog in the area of study that they are seriously invested in and hopefully passionate about? If academics can’t be bothered to do that… 

FK: Does it, do you see any difference with genre fiction? Because something I definitely wondered about was…full disclosure, the thing that bothers me in the eBook universe is romance novels of which, which I think are sort of the closest officially published thing to fanfic, I mean that's how I see them.

LP: Yep.

FK: And I enjoy them for the same, for some of the same reasons that I enjoy fanfic, and so it really grates my cheese to not be able to find romance novels in the same way I find fanfic.

ELM: Grates your cheese, Flourish, wow.

FK: Grates my cheese. And I think that there’s a lot of other romance readers who feel the same way, and I know that because romance readers tend to create their own, like, incredibly complex libraries and have extreme eBook cataloging, like, for themselves, but I haven’t ever seen that for a community out in the public.

LP: Yeah, that kind of ties into some of the studies that have been done on hobbyist collectors and stuff like that. And a lot of what they do they do in a very insular world. The difference between the information behaviors of hobbyists and enthusiasts, et cetera, et cetera, is that fans do it in a participatory way. They will organize and collect and classify and do all this stuff but they will share the fruits of their labor online and say, “This is up for grabs, you can copy this, you can use my vocabulary, whatever.”

Hobbyists don’t tend to do that. I mean they might do in a kind of physical meatspace club or something. But they don’t tend to do it in large scale, en masse movements like fans do. And what you’re saying about romance fiction and stuff like that, I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who have classified and made collections and stuff. But they don’t come together to share that. And I think probably some of the stuff that they are doing would be of great interest to publishers or the eBook creators or whatever.

And I think that this is where the intersection comes with what I’m doing with fans and what we’re saying about romance readers for example.

FK: You know it actually, while you were talking it occurred to me that maybe GoodReads is the closest thing that we have to that.

LP: Yep, yeah, I think you’re right.

FK: It doesn’t have the same robust tagging system but there are things people will make like, a collaborative list of every, here are all our favorite forced marriage romance novels. [Ludi laughs] and similarly Ravelry might be one of the few places where people who are hobbyists share information, in the knitting and crocheting and yarn-making community.

LP: Mm.

FK: I’m sure it’s the exception that proves the rule, is what I’m saying.

ELM: The interesting question here though is, what is the aim of all this tagging? What is the aim of the way that you’re organizing? Like Amazon organizes their books in a way… 

FK: It is a way.

ELM: That exists… 

FK: There is some organizational principle.

ELM: They play at having all these deep subcategories like you know, like “#19 in African American-Football-Paranormal Romance.”

FK: That obviously mean nothing to people.

ELM: Which sounds like the most amazing story that I’m going to write right now. But you know, they don’t care—the question is the people doing the organizing, do they care about the person who needs to seek out this information. Like Amazon doesn’t give a fuck, right?

FK: But they should, right? Isn’t their business helping you find the thing you want to buy?

ELM: Not books. [laughs] But that's fine. They don’t exist to sell books, Flourish! And I’ve been thinking a lot about this and maybe this is taking it too far afield, but I’ve been thinking about how fanfiction categorizes by emotions, right, and you can explicitly seek that out, so it’s a question of like…I think if you don’t understand that some people read looking for angst or hurt/comfort or fluff or whatever, whatever the equivalents would be in the professionally published world, then you’re not inclined to organize that way but maybe that’s what the person who’s seeking out the information wants, does that make sense?

FK: Right or like—

ELM: This is something that I've been thinking a lot about but I don’t know why I’m saying this right now.

LP: No no, it’s really interesting cause I think fans are you know, they’re so into their little niche interests or kinks or whatever that fan tagging and fan classification is so highly granular, like it goes into really really specific details so you can find exactly what you want as easily and quickly as you want. And the marketing industry is not geared to that. Even though with the rise of the internet you are able to find, the internet better serves the long tail of what you want more easily, you can find really obscure stuff really easily, I think there’s still a tension with the marketing industry at large. They still kind of, it's still broadcasting to the masses. You could have a potential really small but dedicated community that’s really heavily into this one product. And I’m not sure that many of them have quite grasped that yet. I don’t know, I’m just spitballing.

FK: This is interesting, it puts me in mind of the fact that Netflix recently made a statement that everybody in the entertainment industry is like “Oh!” about which is the same thing I’ve been saying for years, which is that gender and age are not good predictors of what you want to watch. Like, this seems like it should be obvious, right? Gender and age are not very good predictors of what you’re gonna want to watch, with the exception of if maybe you’re like a woman of childbearing age you’re more likely to watch instructional videos about baby care, but actually who knows, right?

ELM: Classic Netflix content.

FK: You could be a 16-year-old boy who is like about to have a baby sister or brother, who knows?

ELM: Interesting example.

FK: Anyway, this is funny because it—it blows people’s minds still that this might be the case. That’s like the broadest possible categories.

LP: Yeah, it’s true.

FK: So do you think that library, do you think that libraries and the way that information is organized in there, do you think there are biases that come through from the commercial realm over into that realm?

LP: Oh definitely, definitely. I guess that goes without saying. You’ve gotta be, your books, your collection has gotta be used. You can’t just have books just sitting there or else they’ll just be a waste of space. So they get weeded if no one uses them, if they’re not in circulation. So yeah, definitely. And that’s also part of what I’m interested in, is the fanwork as a collection. And as part of human culture, libraries themselves think of it as a throwaway culture. And there’s been a movement now to collect fanzines and have fanzine collections, but this is kind of, you know, the fanzine has had its heyday and it’s kind of trying to catch up with something that’s moved on so very vastly.

And so there are huge holes in libraries where fandom is concerned. And it’s a huge part of our human culture, you can’t deny that. Luckily, fans are doing a lot to preserve their own culture and I have an investment in it, so.

ELM: It sounds like there’s a disconnect though between—I feel like this is a theme we keep coming up against. Fans doing it themselves, we were just talking about this, the big episode about TV and film production, it just seems to be this gap between what the establishment is doing in any of these realms and what fans are mirroring but doing for themselves internally. Which is—or I just went on a rant about this about journalism, cause men keep writing stupid articles about fanfiction. Like, why aren’t fans doing it? But then it’s complicated.

FK: And then we have people like Ludi who are trying to bridge that gap, right?

LP: Yeah, for what it’s worth! Definitely. [laughs]

ELM: It’s worth a lot! So I don’t know, I feel like all three of us are in similar positions and I, I’m really tired right now. So I don’t know how you guys feel.

FK: I’m not tired right now, but.

ELM: Great, you had some coffee!

LP: Yes.

FK: You had coffee too, Ludi!

ELM: I haven’t had coffee yet. So one thing that I do see a lot these days, I think as fan studies gets more visibility—do you identify as a fan studies person?

LP: Not completely, I feel half and half. LIS and fan studies have widely divergent, like, backgrounds and methodologies, you just can't—

ELM: Cause fan studies is usually, it's social science-y, right?

LP: Yeah it’s more media and cultural studies, yeah.

ELM: OK. So that aside I think because it’s gotten so much more visibility recently I see a lot of younger people writing saying, realizing that this is like a viable thing now, yeah? …Flourish is waving at these metaphorical, or these imaginary young people.

FK: Yeah! They’re not imaginary, they’re real!

ELM: It’s exciting to think about, I am approaching what will be my 10 year college reunion, if I had known 10 years ago that this was something that I could have studied it might have changed everything, you know?

LP: Mm-hmm.

ELM: And so I’m wondering if you have any, like, advice or resources, I don’t wanna put you on the spot, but in terms of people beginning their academic journeys and wanting to take this stuff seriously, cause I see a lot of confusion.

LP: It’s a very kind of visceral question for me, because I spent a lot of my life just feeling really unhappy with what I was doing and where I was going and then I, I just like, I was so fed up I was like “I want to be a librarian!” Because that’s what I wanted to be originally as a kid, right. So I went back to school and I did the master’s in Library Science and then I got a job as a librarian and then in the space of, the same week as getting the job the PhD proposal acceptance came through and I was like “Wow, I’m doing an information science PhD in fans!” And you know, I still can’t really get over that this is a thing. And if I’m doing this weird subject that I love so much, and I do love it despite sometimes feeling like I want to tear it apart, it’s possible, you know? It's possible to do this if, I mean, a lot of it is luck and circumstance, I never would have gotten into it if I didn’t have a brilliant supervisor who is both a leader in her field, in the field of information science, and also is a fan herself.

But you know, if it’s something that you’re passionate about, if you’re a fan you go and do it, you write your fic, you make your vids, whatever, if you want to go into the academic area of fan studies it’s there, and if you’re passionate about it do what you do as a fan and go for it. Just try and do it, even if things are rubbish sometimes, sometimes you write crappy fic, but you love it, go for it!

ELM: That was a very positive ending!

FK: Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Ludi, you’re like a little ray of sunshine!

LP: Aw, thank you, that’s really sweet!

FK: You really are.

LP: Thank you for having me, it’s been an awesome ride. [all laugh]

FK: Bye!

[Interstitial music]

ELM: So that was great!

FK: It was wonderful! I definitely feel like I understand better what information science is and I also feel relieved that I’m not the only one who thinks that fanfiction has a legitimately better tagging system than most other fiction.

ELM: It totally does though. No, yeah, you’re not alone, Flourish, everyone thinks that!

FK: Yes.

ELM: But it’s like, it made me think of, do you remember, ah, Clive Thompson, he writes for Wired, sure he still writes for Wired, Emily Nussbaum's husband, [both laugh] I remember he wrote an article a few years ago that was like, it wasn’t an egregious man-mansplains-fandom article, but it was kind of like, it came from a more genuine place where was just basically like, “People are showing me this fanfiction stuff and they’re doing this all before the rest of us.”

FK: Yeah.

ELM: “They’ve been doing it for, like, a decade.” And it was like, you know, this is a good, like, I like that he framed it this way—maybe I’m misremembering this article—but I like that he framed it that way and not like, in a ’splainy way, you know what I mean?

FK: I do. I know what you mean.

ELM: I’m gonna dig up that article. We can put it in the show notes. Because… 

FK: That would be great! Cause I’m really interested in this question, I’ve encountered a lot of times when someone sounding off about “How do we archive things? How do we do this?” And I’m like “Ahh!”

ELM: But I think it’s still like, we left it an open question and I think Ludi answered it in a way that wasn’t necessarily positive, to say that like, I don’t know if you can transfer that passion that spurs this organization—even in listening to her talk about it this is something that I encountered a lot, you know, when I was doing my master’s in this program with a lot of, you know, museum studies and people talking about how to engage the public, and it’s like, you can’t convince people to get really invested in your thing, you know?

FK: I mean—

ELM: Just cause it exists doesn’t mean—

FK: Just cause it exists isn’t enough of a reason, yeah. I mean, you can say there’s weird things that people can be talked into being invested in, like Alexander Hamilton, for instance. Right? Like… 

ELM: He’s not that weird. He’s on the 10 dollar bill, it’s not that weird, Flourish.

FK: No, but if you had said, like, if you had said two years ago that people would be completely obsessed with everything to do with Alexander Hamilton and were reading primary sources and so forth and that it was such a broad based thing, I would not have believed you.

ELM: I would have believed you.

FK: Yeah, but I mean—

ELM: If you had used the word “musical” I would have 1000% believed you instantly, because somehow musicals have that way of doing that to people who like musicals.

FK: That’s true. But you get what I'm saying right is that there’s a lot of things that people don’t have a reason to care about as much, but that can be potentially activated, but it’s harder than just being, like, “Here, you can transcribe some things with this tool.”

ELM: So what you’re saying is, we should write a transgressive rap musical about Jeremy Bentham. Called The Panopticon.

FK: And it features necrophilia.

ELM: That is, I guess, the transgressive element.

FK: [laughs] I already have too many things to write for you to commit to this.

ELM: “Panty Raid at Slytherin,” “Panty Raid at Slytherin”!

FK: Let’s move on to the Letterbox segment.

ELM: I like how you’re giving it an official title.

FK: I like the term “Letterbox” and I never get to use it.

ELM: Great, Letterbox! So we’ve received some emails, there’s one that we want to read—oh, it was the episode where we talked to Owen, that’s when we started by talking to Destination Toast. So that would have been Episode 14 I believe? “Larry Is Real”?

FK: #LarryIsReal.

ELM: If memory serves…No, it was Episode 16, “Larry Is Real”!

FK: Episode 16, “Larry Is Real”—#LarryIsReal, gotta get it right.

ELM: So we started that episode talking to Destination Toast and one of the things we were talking about was how the frequency of the term “femslash” in tags on AO3 and I think possibly elsewhere has decreased over time despite the amount of femslash increasing and proportionally increasing. Whereas fandoms that tended to use the term “yuri,” which depended on which fandom and it seemed like it was more non-western stuff—

FK: Mm-hmm.

ELM: That’s right. They were still using that tag with some frequency.

FK: Right.

ELM: So that led us to question the very nature of same-sex shipping pairings. And—

FK: Right.

ELM: Slash and femslash culture.

FK: So made-of-coffee, that's “made dash of dash coffee,” at Tumblr, wrote to us, and wanted to put in their two cents on the yaoi/yuri thing. So I’m just gonna read the email.

ELM: A portion of the email.

FK: A part of—a portion of the email. Yeah. “The terms were used widely when I got into anime fandom around 2003, pretty much for anything that had gay/lesbian action in it, where ‘shounen ai/shoujo ai’ would be more like a vanilla love story. Especially for fic, you saw these alongside the common disclaimers you also mentioned—no flaming, don’t like/don’t read. As far as I know, officially in Japanese media ‘yaoi’ and ‘yuri’ is used more strictly for fan-published doujinshi, fanart and fic, while original content like anime and manga uses the term ‘boys love.’

“But as long as I remember, there has always been a lot of confusion and discussion going on about these words, especially due to the whole problem of transferring content and culture from Japanese to Western fandom, Western anime fandom. Another controversy was whether one of these terms, ‘shounen ai,’ or ‘BL,’ boys love, actually refers to underage or pedophilia. Anyway, terms have always been murky and become blurred in the whole translation process. Today on Tumblr and generally in fandom I feel like ‘yaoi’ is commonly used for a genre of anime and manga that has really cliché top/bottom, seme/uke roles, very limited plot, and is often not that good altogether. Please google ‘yaoi hands meme.’

“I think all of these are reasons why the terms aren’t used that much anymore by creators referring to their own fanworks, but another big factor is probably the blending together with Western media fandom in the last couple of years, which wasn’t exactly happening before Tumblr existed because we had our own anime-centered platforms or LJ groups. Since then we saw a rise of terms like ‘slash’ and ‘OTP’ and ‘shipping,’ which I don't remember using before. It seemed to always be ‘pairings,’ but I might be wrong about that.”

So that’s really interesting.

ELM: Mm-hmm.

FK: I feel like this is a whole sphere that we haven’t even touched, and in fact one of the things that made-of-coffee says is that it would be wonderful to have people from anime and more generally like people from international fandom, whether it’s people from Western anime fandom or people from Japan or people from, from a broader international base on the podcast.

ELM: Yeah. So. Send us some suggestions!

FK: Yeah! We would love to have more people on and we’re trying to, we try to make this as diverse as possible but, uh, as you guys may or may not know this whole production is just me and Elizabeth. It’s just us. We don’t have anybody like, booking or like editing or transcribing or doing anything else, so we have limited bandwidth to try and find people, and we'll do a much better job if our beloved readers…listeners…we’ll do a much better job if you guys help us [Elizabeth snorts] by suggesting good guests and, and, you know.

ELM: Though one thing I will say is, and obviously this is open to feedback if people feel like they want to see this, but we get suggestions for guests sometimes where they’ll be like “You should talk to this person, they’re in the blank fandom.” And it’s like, well, that’s not really what we do. You know? You can be in whatever fandom, but we’re talking to you because you're doing something with that. You know? So…you know. And it is true that a lot of it is some kind of professional connection where they’re, obviously I feel like because this podcast sprung from a place where we were all there in a professional context, but also as fans at Comic-Con, right?

FK: Yeah.

ELM: But that being said, if you’re, if you’re an expert, on a particular fandom or a corner of fandom, that’s one thing, right? Do you know what I’m saying?

FK: Yeah. I might phrase it as we definitely want to have guests from lots of different places and backgrounds and from different fandoms, but we also want to make sure that there are things we can talk to those guests about that are broader than just like “Hey, here’s my fandom.” So for example, we’d love to have people from different anime fandoms, but it would be especially great if we could identify people who had a lot to say about the way that anime or western fandoms have clashed recently, or someone who could talk about doujinshi and the way that that interacts in Japan. People who have their own fandoms that they’re excited about, but who also can talk about things that are more broadly applicable across fandoms.

ELM: I think that was a more diplomatic way to state it.

FK: D’aww.

ELM: Than “Stop giving us stupid suggestions”—obviously I don’t feel that way.

FK: All I would like to say to sort of round this out is, just obviously we have not done the greatest job of even following up on our New Year’s resolution to include sports fandom in this, which is partially because we have a lot that we’re all, you know, we're playing every role, so help with suggestions for people to have on the podcast is one way that you as a listener can be really really helpful and support us.

ELM: We did have two men, though.

FK: We’re doing better in that respect.

ELM: Is it better, though?

FK: We’re representing more different voices.

ELM: Sure! Men.

FK: Which is what this whole thing is what we’re trying to do, though, right? We’re trying to include different voices from countries that are not the United States or the UK—

ELM: We want international men.

FK: And fandoms that are not Western media fandom… 

ELM: Exactly!

FK: So come on guys, rec us! Rec us people! [ELM laughs] OK. We should read the other letter in our letterbox.

ELM: Yeah, so this in fact is not in our letterbox at all… 

FK: That’s true.

ELM: It was a Tumblr post that we were tagged in.

FK: I may have spoken too soon when I named the letterbox.

ELM: I mean, it’s a metaphorical letterbox, I guess?

FK: OK.

ELM: So this is a post we were tagged in and explicitly asked to…well, were we actually explicitly asked to comment on it? That’s fine, we’ve chosen to comment on it.

FK: Well what I would say is we were, we were, we were tagged in this post and there were some questions in the post… 

ELM: Oh no, they did ask! They said “I have a few questions to pose that hopefully might be a topic of a future episode.” And it still could be a whole episode, but we could just start by reading some of this post. The Tumblr user is feliciasuelynnreviews.tumblr.com. Do you want me to read this one since you read the last one?

FK: Yeah, absolutely.

ELM: Um, OK. So here’s the crux of it. “I would say I’ve been in a fandom community starting with bandom and anime,” I should say it like Flourish. Ahh-ni-may. Right?

FK: I don’t know, I don’t know whether that’s how it’s supposed to be said or not.

ELM: Your Japanese pronunciation sounded great to me with literally no, no knowledge whatsoever, so. Anyway. “I would say I’ve been in a fandom community starting with bandom and anime since about 2006. I was 11-12.” We are much older than this person. “I am now almost 23 and I’m having a bit of a crisis when it comes to fandom. My main fandoms at the moment are books, Korean pop, and YouTube personalities. I love my fandoms and I’m typically a lurker. My crisis is that I’m starting to feel too old for fandom.”

OK. Can I pause and say that it was at this moment when I was reading it and I was like “Oh no, this is gonna turn into one of those,” you know those posts on Tumblr where someone is just like “You’re over 25, and you still have a Tumblr?! Loser!” And then there’s always a bunch of glorious rage from everyone over the age of 25.

FK: I would, I would, I would, I like it best when a rage granny gets involved.

ELM: Yeah!

FK: Just like “OH NO YOU DIDN’T.”

ELM: Absolutely. Yeah. OK. Anyway, but this isn’t where it went, so I was really excited to see that. OK. “I’m not sure if it’s just the fandoms I happen to be a part of or if it’s like this in a lot of other fandoms, but a lot of fans I tend to encounter in these fandoms are about 14-17. It makes me feel weird and old and out of place, especially when you sometimes encounter fans who do say things about being 18+ means you’re too old for fandom. I also wish I could find more people my age in these fandoms because awesome as it is that the internet lets you transcend age a bit, it also makes things feel a bit weird sometimes.”

They go on and they say, “I guess my questions are these. Do other people find it weird to interact with people underage with regards to fandom, especially since a lot of it can be 18+ content? Do you find some fandoms have a certain age range that most of their fans fall in? Is it weird that I feel like I shouldn’t be following people on Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube if they’re under 18? Do you think fandom or certain fandoms have an age where you probably shouldn’t be involved?”

FK: Yeah, I have a lot of feels about this given my One Direction fandom and like—

ELM: Let it all out, Flourish.

FK: The different fandom groups of people. Well no, it’s interesting, because all my friends from college are like, really into One Direction fandom, and they’re all like 30, and then on Wattpad the people who I interact with, some of them are older but a lot of them are much younger, a lot of them are in high school. And so it’s interesting cause I can totally see how somebody going into this, there’s always threads about “I’m 18 and I feel like I’m outgrowing fandom, can somebody who’s older tell me that I don’t have to give it up.” And then a few people will come in and be like, “I’m still here!” And in fact, usually I’m one of the oldest people in that.

So in fact if you were looking at just One Direction fandom from Wattpad, you would definitely think that there wasn’t anybody, or there were only like 10 people over the age of 25. But that’s not true at all, it’s just different groups in different places.

ELM: So, OK, there’s like, this is like a multi-layered issue though right? Because it’s one thing for you to be the old person in this scenario…there’s two things going on simultaneously here. One is about you, people being like “Get out of here old person” or whatever.

FK: Right.

ELM: Or you feeling like it’s not appropriate that, not appropriate for someone of your age to be engaged in this kind of activity or these kind of interests. But the other thing is the idea of you being in the same space with people who are 15. So those are two simultaneous layers, does that make sense?

FK: Yeah, that makes sense. But I guess that it doesn’t make sense to me why you shouldn’t be friends with someone who’s 15, right?

ELM: Well.

FK: No really, we're human beings who interact across ages, like, it’s—it was good for me when I was 15 to be friends with people in fandom, and I’m still friends with a lot of them.

ELM: What if you’re 12?

FK: I’m still friends with people I was friends with in fandom when I was 12!

ELM: I think that you are an exception.

FK: Yeah but what is, what's necessarily wrong with that? Why is it wrong for a 12-year-old to have a friend who is much older if they actually share an interest?

ELM: Well, I think that I am not one to be pearl-clutching and moralizing about this, but taking this hypothetical 12-year-old lying, clicking yes on are you 18+ as I’m sure all of us always did forever—

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Being friends with a 40-year-old writing explicit fic? Maybe that was you…?

FK: No, I think that’s a different case, though. Because I think that there’s separate cases here. I think if you’re talking particularly about 18+ content and sharing that with somebody, that I think does get weird, you know what I mean? Potentially weird and—

ELM: I think that young teens, if they understand what’s going on, I don’t know what age we draw the line at, but I don’t think you say “Oh, because you’re not 18,” you’re 14 and you understand exactly what’s going on, I think you should be reading—

FK: Yeah, we’d be hypocrites to say otherwise.

ELM: Yeah, but also I just don’t, I think to create this, like, in our Puritan culture to put a, it puts these aggressive boundaries on these things, blah blah blah, whatever, this is probably a conversation for another day. But you, wait, you were saying it’s outside the realm of explicit fic, but I just feel like that’s so much of what happens in transformative fandom.

FK: Yeah but you were just telling me last episode that you don’t particularly read smut, that that’s not the important thing to you in fandom!

ELM: I don’t read smut but it’s been interesting to me actually to see, as I've started to do these rec lists for my newsletter, cause I've done a few of them now, and we put the ratings in the little blurb, and I’ve been shocked at how many of them actually are explicitly rated. Cause it’s just, it’s so normalized. I’m not reading PWP, ever, I just—I love plot, but it’s very rare to find amongst the stuff that I read anyway the good serious long fic, to find not even. It’s rare to find that it’s not, it isn’t an explicit scene in it or several.

FK: OK, so if you think it’s possible for a young teenager to read, I don’t know, you know, a story in a literature class, like—I don’t know, you’re a 14-year-old, whatever, if it;s possible for you to read a work in a literature class that had a lot of things going on with it that included some sexuality in it, and like, shouldn’t that person be able to have a conversation with somebody who’s older about it within certain… 

I understand why you would feel like, I understand why that would feel awkward and weird, and I understand why someone might choose not to put themselves in that situation who was older or who was younger, but I think having a hard line and being like “Man, talking to a 14-year-old about a fic that has an explicit scene in it, that I’m scared of,” I don’t know.

ELM: I mean I’m not necessarily saying that these are my positions, in terms of… 

FK: Fair enough.

ELM: Yeah. Maybe the distinction lies in the community elements of it, I don’t know.  Also I don’t know what kind of school you went to, but like, public schools in New York State are not letting you read explicit stories in high school.

FK: In California there was some stuff that like, slightly edged on it, but we weren’t doing it in public school, no. Not in general.

ELM: I mean, I just, there was some adult content…also, that’s complicated and I don’t want middle-aged male teachers having to, you know.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Oh, just thinking about it right now…!

FK: [laughs] It’s difficult enough when you have to talk to a male literature professor about Lolita in college and you’re like “Ugh, this is weird and awkward!” Ok. But I think what we’re coming to is that it’s totally normal to feel weird to interact with younger people around 18+ content.

ELM: See, the thing is I never think about this, though and it makes me feel like, it makes me feel like the ball’s kind of…I remember there was a Tumblr post that was going around, it had like thousands and thousands of notes and it was like, “If I follow you and you are under 18 and it makes you uncomfortable, you need to let me know and I will unfollow you immediately.” You know? And so it’s, cause it’s hard because, how many times have you been reading a fic and they’re like “Sorry for the delay, I had to take my SATs.” [laughs’ And you’re like “I had no idea!” You just writing this explicit sex scene and they seem to have a really firm grasp of also, workplace dynamics. So… [laughs] You know like, I would never… 

FK: Right, because on the internet nobody knows what age you are or anything and so it’s not clear… 

ELM: Or if you’re a dog. Exactly.

FK: Or if you’re a dog who can type. Or bark using voice recognition? Anyway, I also don’t actually have this very often. Sometimes people make it clear. I think on Wattpad it tends to, more people talk about like “Oh yeah, high school, I have to deal with this or that.” But yeah, a lot of times people don’t make it clear.

ELM: So how are, how are we to know. Just look at Neil in Slash! How was Denis to know?

FK: It’s true…although I probably wouldn’t open, you know, a conversation by like trying to get someone to cyber with me.

ELM: We didn’t mention that in our last episode but that’s how their conversation begins. With a very explicit suggestion.

FK: Yeah, I can say this, I have never invited anyone involved in fandom to cyber with me and I don’t ever intend to in the future, so if somebody does that using my IM, I’ve been hacked.

ELM: I’ve never heard anyone say “cyber,” use “cybersex” in a verb like that. Is that normal?

FK: Were you not on AOL chat rooms circa 1998 and got the “Wanna cyber?” questions?

ELM: No, I never went into, like, chat rooms with strangers.

FK: Oh. Well, you—

ELM: I don’t like talking to strangers, remember? I talk to my friends.

FK: You didn’t miss much, but yes. Cyber is a verb. It’s a very retro verb, but it's a verb.

ELM: Yeah it does feel like, it feels like I’m watching Law & Order: SVU in 1999 right now.

FK: It’s super… 

ELM: “The kids are tryin’ to cyber with each other!”

FK: It’s super retro, which is why I was using it—

ELM: They would have used it—

FK: —tilde ironically.

ELM: Detective Munch would have been like “The kids these days. Oh yeah, it’s a thing on the internet!”

FK: It’s like lipstick parties, except it’s real.

ELM: Or the ones with the bracelets? The ones with the different color bracelets?

FK: None of these were real. It's all a lie.

ELM: You're saying that kids didn't get bracelets for performing different sexual acts circa 2005?! Cause [FK laughs] Detective Munch and Detective Tutuola told me they did. That’s right. Detective Tutuola. Anyway. Um, so I mean, the idea though of feeling like you’re too old for fandom in general, how do we feel about this?

FK: I experienced some of those feelings and I came to realize they were bullshit, so.

ELM: Great.

FK: No, I really do! I—I don't know if this is the case for everybody, but for me when I was about, when I was heading into college, I felt like “I need to do something real with my life, and real things are not fandom, I’m too old for fandom.” You know? Like I’m growing out of it. This was, by the way, despite the fact that I knew lots of actual adults in fandom. Somehow these two things didn’t connect in my mind. I don’t know why. They didn't.

ELM: You were a stupid 18-year-old, Flourish.

FK: I guess I was! But those feelings were around, I think, shame about being involved in fandom and not thinking it was like a worthy thing to be focused on—stuff that we talked with Ludi about just now. And when I got a little more self confident and realized a little more that I was probably not going to be a minister, long story—

ELM: There's that.

FK: There is that. But but I realized that those were totally barriers that I had put up for myself.

ELM: Mm-hmm.

FK: And no one was looking down on me for being older than 20 in fandom.

ELM: Hm.

FK: Literally nobody except maybe some pissant 15-year-old on Tumblr and who cares, they’re whatever.

ELM: Don’t be ageist.

FK: I can be ageist if somebody’s being nasty to me!

ELM: No, I mean, just say they suck! You don’t have to say they suck because they’re a certain age.

FK: I was not trying to say they suck because they’re a certain age. I also think there are pissant 60-year-olds.

ELM: That’s so true.

FK: Isn’t it? I was just saying 15-year-old because I was trying to be clear that I was talking about the people who say “Get off Tumblr, you’re too old.”

ELM: Right right right. If they ever looked at Tumblr’s demographics they would see that in fact they’re in the minority.

FK: Yeah, and I suspect that even for things like Wattpad there’s probably a higher proportion of older people using it than most users would realize.

ELM: Yeah, and also it’s like, the one thing that struck me about—cause I was looking at the Wattpad stats when I was writing about teens recently—

FK: #teens!

ELM: —in pizza parlors, sorry, that’s a reference that probably makes no sense out of context, and it said that the, it was something like the two biggest parts of the pie chart, I can't remember what the percentages were but say it was 80% of all the users are between either 13 and 19 or 20 and 29 or something like that, and so it’s like—I can’t remember how it broke down, but basically it’s like, I’m not sure that the demographics on stuff like that are predictors of what the demographics will be in five years because who’s to say. These are new platforms for a lot of people these are new communities and new, this is their first introduction to fan stuff. Just because they’re, maybe it’s something they’ll grow up with and they'll continue to use. We just we can’t say. Yeah. Great. Good response.

FK: Yay!

ELM: So anyway I feel like we can talk about this all day and maybe if a young person wants to come on and we can argue? No actually that’s a terrible idea, scratch that. But thank you to both of you for getting in touch with us through these various channels, as we said one was an email to fansplaining@gmail and the other one we were tagged in a Tumblr post. So you can do either of those things, you can leave us an ask, you can tweetstorm at us—please don’t do that; you can tweet at us one thing…or two, maybe?

FK: But not like 500?

ELM: Are those all the channels of communication? I think so, right?

FK: I mean, you could leave us a comment on SoundCloud. But the other things that you could do, so obviously we love getting letterbox items and we will read them and talk about them, hooray, but you can also suggest guests for us, as everybody knows now we are looking to interview people involved and thinking about sports and especially people from not the United States or the UK, and people in anime fandom, and so if you have ideas for guests that would be good to have on please let us know. And you can always help us out by reviewing us on iTunes, because as we have said a million times before, that’s how new people find this podcast and we like having listeners. That’s you!

ELM: We do like having listeners.

FK: All right.

ELM: All right, are we all set? We saying goodbye, Flourish?

FK: Till next time, Elizabeth.

ELM: Kay, bye!

FK: Bye!

[Outro music]

FK: The opinions expressed in this podcast are not those of Stratus Media Ventures, Chimera Media Group, Chaotic Good, or our clients, or our employers, or anyone’s except our own.

EpisodesFansplaining