Two posts, thoughtful reading here and here.
You don't need them to read this, but I found them interesting. Me, I'm just wondering what I've been actually thinking this entire time. Or I know, but accepting it? Not so easy.
Fandom_wank was like, my guilty pleasure until the minute Te went up on it this week, and two hundred and ten comments later, I'm getting why I had the guilt. Because I enjoyed--a LOT--some of the flaming/ridiculing/mocking. Even if I didn't participate. It's a great spectator sport. There's the virtual satisfaction of watching someone you don't like get shot at and being able to say, well, I didn't do it, and your conscience is kind of okay with that. So it sort of works out. Kind of like watching really violent television. Things you'd never do yourself, things your conscience says no to, all sanitized for viewing. It's great stuff.
My original response was, nutshelled, they are totally stepping on my icon. Fair enough--I'm sure Stormfreak's buddies felt the same way. And I think some posted. And Matt Nute's. And everyone else's.
What makes it--more satisfactory than some flame wars was really the fact of it's almost complete inanswerability. As many posters stated, the disclaimer says it all. This is a place of mocking stupidity in fandom. Which we all do. And it's great to watch whatever we think is idiotic being mocked. This is really the perfect spot to carry on a really GOOD flamewar. It's the one place where it's all attack and defending isn't acceptable.
Because the attacking is all in fun.
Flame wars are nasty. We've all been in, observed, or hid from them. I've done all three and helped start one, too. They don't last long. You get to a point of saturation with the subject--both sides get exhausted with attacking each other and eventually, normal business resumes. They're--uncomfortable, even if you like conflict. They draw blood. They break lists up. They end friendships, cut up fandoms, and wreck karma in a huge way. That's why people usually don't like them, avoid them, and that's why they want them to end.
They have consequences. Ones that entire lists, fandoms, and individuals have to deal with, including how they feel after the heat dies down and they look back and note, at some point, they lost perspective and accused the list moderator of being Hitler's less pleasant brother.
That's a flame war. That's where your ass gets fried if you're nasty, lose perspective, and pretty much lose your head.
Hence we invent something far more bloodless. At least, comparatively.
By definition, fandom_wank's agenda is to mock fandom stupidity. Granted. Mocking is always fun. We do it everywhere and all the time. That's what lj-friendslock and filters are for, what private chat is for, and what private lists and email are for. Great. Go at it. And it's private and unanswerable.
Which was really your only other option if you wanted a bloodless flame war. Take out the people who would defend.
Fandom Wank is option three. And it's pretty damn good for that. You get your flaming, you get the pack mentality, you get to do it publicly, and you get a way to disclaim it all. You CAN say stupid things, childish things, misinterpret, or accidentally say something silly, and you get the coolest disclaimer ever, the one that covers it all.
It's all in fun. Don't take it so seriously. It's just wanking.
The argument is, fandom_wank isn't about personal attacks, which is true. It's not, by it's own agenda. It's about mocking the stupid things people do in fandom. Fair enough. My argument is, some people can't really separate the two. And no matter what the actual agenda *is*, this is where it ends up. Not every time. But enough times. It ends up in a very, very interesting flame war, a totally new kind. One side gets to go as far as they want with no check at all but their boredom. And because it's acceptable there, it becomes more prevalent over time. It becomes standard, accepted behavior to flame without consequence, and use that 'this is just wankery' to defend it. And the more people do it, the more they believe that it really is enough to say, it's only fun, no matter how far it goes, no matter how deep it cuts. Like it's been stated, this isn't a place for serious discussion, and so it becomes, in effect, an organized, accepted, and almost institutionalized place to bring every single grudge, every issue, and just go at it.
Without that pesky other side able to call you on it, because the second they do, they're taking it seriously, and that's against the agenda, and that's against the disclaimer, and you're just being silly then. Because it's not meant to be serious. If you defend, for any reason, even to correct an error in the original statement, or an outright misrepresentation, it can be blown off, because it's just wanking. Having fun.
You know, I really don't think this about anyone BUT me. I don't think it'll change minds or anything, and I don't think I really care if it does. This is--mostly, if not completely--about what I can stand about myself. I enjoyed it too much. I liked the perceived bloodlessness. I liked it a LOT. And I STILL like it. And someone I don't like is going to go up and go through that, perhaps like, TOMORROW, and I'd probably like it if I watched. I just think, this time, I won't. At least, I hope I don't. Because if it hurts me to see a friend go through it, if I can hate every second of it, if it would bother me if it were ME there, then I can damn well personalize with everyone.