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[sticky post] Why have I added you as a friend?

Jul. 20th, 2014 | 08:45 pm

Please pardon the intrusion! I've added you as a friend because you've indicated that you are interested in fan fiction in your user interests. If you read fan fiction, do you have a few minutes to contribute to a project on fans and fan fiction?

more about this projectCollapse )

This friending is temporary, I'll be closing this journal once the project is finished. However, if you would like to be removed from my friends list please leave a comment below and I will be happy to do so. (Comments are screened to protect your privacy.)

Thank you for your time and I apologize for any inconvenience.

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fan demographics: gender and sexuality

Jul. 23rd, 2015 | 12:39 pm

For the next round of posts, I’m going to focus on some of the ways fans described themselves in 2008. In order to get a sense of who was participating in the 2008 Fan Fiction survey, the participants were asked for some general demographic information. At the time, I wanted to get a sense of the mix of fans taking the survey. Now, I’d love to know what you make of this data.




2) gender and sexuality

The vast majority of fans participating in the survey (96%) identified as female. Many participants identified as heterosexual (68%), but a significant portion of participants (32%) identified as non-heterosexual, including the 23% of participants that identified themselves as bisexual. That’s roughly a third of participants identifying as something other than straight.

— From Fandom Then/Now: The Participants

I’ve got a few different things I’m wondering about this and I’d love to get your thoughts.
  • First, what do you make of this data? Is there anything else you think we should pay attention to here?
  • Also, how much does this match with your experience of fans and fandoms today?
  • Finally, how do you feel about surveys collecting this kind of information about fans? Do we need this kind of data? Is it useful?

Comment at Fandom Then/Now or respond in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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fan demographics: ages

Jul. 16th, 2015 | 12:07 pm

For the next round of posts, I’m going to focus on some of the ways fans described themselves in 2008. In order to get a sense of who was participating in the 2008 Fan Fiction survey, the participants were asked for some general demographic information. At the time, I wanted to get a sense of the mix of fans taking the survey. Now, I’d love to know what you make of this data.



1) ages

First, in 2008 the participants skewed younger. The survey was only open to participants 18 or older, but the vast majority of survey participants were under thirty years of age. These numbers may also imply that there is significant participation in fan culture from individuals younger than 18. However, since younger fans were excluded from participating, these fans and their reading practices are not represented by the 2008 survey results.

— From Fandom Then/Now: The Participants

What do you make of these numbers and the ranges of ages represented? Is there anything else you think we should pay attention to here?

Also, how much does this match with your experience of fans and fandoms today? Do you think most fans are 30 and under or have things changed?


Comment at Fandom Then/Now or respond in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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Participant Demographics

Jul. 10th, 2015 | 12:56 pm

The next area of the project I’d like to talk about are the participant demographics. This section of the project can be found here: The Participants.

To be honest, I’m ambivalent about the use of participant demographics in fan research. I’m not sure how helpful they are. What do you think? Do you think demographics are useful? What do you want people to think about when they’re looking at demographic data on fans? What advice would you give them? Comment at Fandom Then/Now or respond in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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(no subject)

Jul. 2nd, 2015 | 12:07 pm

Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction’s past and future.
“[In 2008] the commercial romance stories I read seemed to focus more on creating a series of linked stories set in one story world. For example, at the time J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series was very popular. In this series, the stories focus on one couple at a time, one book at a time. This ‘series’ more than 'serial’ approach seems to convey a stronger sense of stability and permanence to the relationship each book focuses on. Even if the characters appear again in a later story, their reappearance often takes the form of an update, rather than an entire revisiting of the relationship. The more serial works of fan fiction I read provided a significant contrast to this approach. Many of these stories returned again and again to the same set of protagonists, constantly building and rebuilding their relationship based on what challenges the source-text might throw at fan authors.”
— From Fandom Then/Now: Romance & Fan Fiction


What do you think? Comment at Fandom Then/Now or respond in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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generic tendencies #3: seriality & instability (p2)

Jul. 1st, 2015 | 12:31 pm

Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction’s past and future. In my last round of posts I was focusing on things I noticed as I read different works of fan fiction and commercial romance. So far, I’ve touched on narrative arcs and world building and character relationship development (p1, p2). The last story elements I noticed were trends regarding seriality and narrative instability (p1).
Three: Seriality & Instability (p2)

Although the serial is seeing a rise in popularity in commercial romance today, this trend wasn’t as visible to me when I was reading popular commercial romances in 2008. At that time, the commercial romance stories I read seemed to focus more on creating a series of linked stories set in one story world. For example, at the time J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series was very popular. In this series, the stories focus on one couple at a time, one book at a time. This series more than serial approach seems to convey a stronger sense of stability and permanence to the relationship each book focuses on. Even if the characters appear again in a later story, their reappearance often takes the form of an update, rather than an entire revisiting of the relationship. The more serial works of fan fiction I read provided a significant contrast to this approach. Many of these stories returned again and again to the same set of protagonists, constantly building and rebuilding their relationship based on what challenges the source-text might throw at fan authors.

What’s your take on the different types of serial storytelling we see in commercial romance and fan fiction?
What do you think of my findings? Read the full write up on fan fiction and romance here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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(no subject)

May. 19th, 2015 | 12:09 pm

Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction’s past and future.
“A work of fan fiction contributes to much a larger body of fan work, a network of stories being continually produced by fans. An individual story joins both this broader network of stories, as well as potentially being affected by a source-text that may still be developing its own version of the story. These larger networks of stories work together to reinforce the sense of a continually changing story-world, one always filled with the potential for new conflicts. Essentially, even if one individual work of fan fiction ends with a happy couple, there is always a layer of instability within a fandom’s larger story world. This deeply affects the sense of finality fan fiction readers may get from an individual story’s happy ending. It may also drive fan authors to keep revisiting characters and working to restore them to a moment of stability and happiness.”
— From Fandom Then/Now: Romance & Fan Fiction


What do you think? Comment at Fandom Then/Now or respond in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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generic tendencies #3: seriality & instability (p1)

May. 15th, 2015 | 01:47 pm

Fandom Then/Now presents research conducted in 2008 and uses to facilitate fan conversations about fan fiction’s past and future. In my last round of posts I was focusing on things I noticed in 2008 as I read different works of fan fiction and commercial romance. So far, I’ve touched on narrative arcs and world building and character relationship development (p1, p2). The last story elements I noticed were trends regarding seriality and narrative instability.
Three: Seriality & Instability (p1)

In 2008, I noticed a heightened feeling of seriality in the popular works of fan fiction I read, particularly when compared to the popular romance novels I was comparing them to. Many of the works of fan fiction I read had sequels or were part of a larger series. Reading these stories, it felt as if the characters were part-way through a larger journey. This felt different from many of the commercial romances I was reading, which often stood alone and had a clear sense of closure at the end. This may be influenced by the medium itself. As I’ve already discussed, an individual work of fan fiction feeds off of a larger story-world that keeps changing. From season to season, a television show will introduce new plot developments or characters to challenge it’s protagonists. These changes continually introduce new obstacles for a fan writer to deal with. This environment may facilitate a greater sense of seriality within fan fiction.

However, as a reader I didn’t only experience this feeling of seriality when I read fan fiction from fandoms where the source-text was still being produced. Irregardless of the fandom, many of the fan fiction authors I was introduced to were working on extensive follow-ups to their initial stories. A work of fan fiction contributes to much a larger body of fan work, a network of stories being continually produced by fans. An individual story joins both this broader network of stories, as well as potentially being affected by a source-text that may still be developing its own version of the story. These larger networks of stories work together to reinforce the sense of a continually changing story-world, one always filled with the potential for new conflicts. Essentially, even if one individual work of fan fiction ends with a happy couple, there is always a layer of instability within a fandom’s larger story world. This deeply affects the sense of finality fan fiction readers may get from an individual story’s happy ending. It may also drive fan authors to keep revisiting characters and working to restore them to a moment of stability and happiness.

What do you think about this idea that fan fiction often tends to feel more serial? Do you notice anything like this when you read commercial or fan romances today? Does fan fiction feel any more serial to you today than it did in past years?
What do you think of my findings? Read the full write up on fan fiction and romance here. Share what you think about this on the Fandom Then/Now website or respond in the comments section below.
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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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Repost: About the Project

May. 8th, 2015 | 07:06 pm

(Originally posted here.)

About the Project
Fandom Then/Now is an idea I've been sitting on for a while. When I completed my MA Thesis in 2008, I shared the final thesis project with individuals who asked to see it. However, I'd done a large survey as part of the thesis project and I really wanted to share the results with fans. At the time, I got the idea to put all my results online and open them up for fans to look at and give input on. I was getting ready to do start this in 2009 but then SurveyFail happened.

SurveyFail was incredibly unsettling to me. Roughly one year after I launched my 2008 project, here were these two individuals (Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam) calling their survey project the same exact name as my 2008 survey and using eerily similar methods to reach out to fans and request for fan participation. And yet, Ogas and Gaddam's motives, politics, and research ethics seemed to be completely contrary to my own.

At the time in 2009, my response was to duck and hide. I didn't want to give Ogas and Gaddam any publicity and I didn't want any research I'd done associated with them. The SurveyFail incident also made me particularly concerned about the ways research on fans is conducted. I felt strongly that research on fans and digital cultures is a process that must have more dialogue built into it. In October 2010 I presented "Fen Responses to Fan Research: Methods of Participation and Engagement" at the Midwest Popular Culture/American Culture Association's annual conference. In this paper I reflected on my 2008 survey project, the 2009 SurveyFail incident and called for fan researchers to design more participatory and conversational research projects. I hoped that this participatory approach would help to counterbalance some of the issues that internet/digital culture researchers were struggling with at the time.

Fandom Then/Now is an experiment. It's my way of testing out what a participatory and ongoing research project might look like. As a scholar, I begin any new project by building on my past experiences and research. That's where Fandom Then/Now begins. I'm starting with past work that has been integral to shaping my thoughts about fan fiction and romantic storytelling. Into this, I've woven in many of the questions and ideas that are driving my current research project (my dissertation).

I want to share these initial thoughts and ideas while I'm working on my dissertation. I'm hoping that fans will be able to add their own thoughts along the way and help to shape the research. My goal is for fans to participate not as research "subjects" or bits of data, but as peer reviewers.

About Me
I am Katherine Morrissey, currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a PhD Candidate in Media, Cinema and Digital Studies in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). I also have a Master’s in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University. My research focuses on production networks for popular culture, representations of female desire, and the ways that digital production is reorganizing romantic storytelling. My research is grounded in my experiences as a queer feminist, geek girl, and acafan. I have been actively participating in fan communities since 1996.

At RIT and UWM, I’ve taught courses on film, television, and digital media, writing, participatory culture, and romance genres across media. I also have professional experience in web and graphic design, as well as communications and marketing in the non-profit sector.

If you'd like to check out some of my research, you might be interested in the following:

"Fan/dom: People, Practices, and Networks." Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 14, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2013.0532.

"Fifty Shades of Remix: The Intersecting Pleasures of Commercial & Fan Romances." Journal of Popular Romance Studies. 4.1. (2014) 1-17.

(Updated May 2015)

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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Here we go again…

May. 8th, 2015 | 06:57 pm

I hope everyone is having a lovely spring!

As the spring semester winds down I'm getting ready to start up another round of fandomthennow posts. I'm going to jump back into sharing excerpts from the project website. As in the past, these posts will be made on Tumblr, Twitter, LiveJournal, and Dreamwidth. Please feel free to comment, reblog, and share in any of those spaces.

First, I'm going to repost some important details/background information about the project, just to refresh everyone's memories.

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Comments on this post are not screened/hidden by default. Others will be able to see them. Please remember, these comments are being collected for research purposes. Comments left here and the pseudonyms associated with them could potentially be used in presentations/publications associated with this research. I take your privacy very seriously. If you are concerned, for any reason, about your public posts being connected back to you or to your pseudonym, there are ways to screen your identify further. Visit the Protecting My Identity page to initiate this process.

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