Who is a true fan, and who is a fake fan? What makes you a toxic fan? The internet is roaring with debates and arguments over these topics. In my previous article, we discussed the different types of fans in the world. We will see in this episode what makes you a true fan.
- A real fan encourages people to get to know the series, not belittle them for not doing so.
An attitude like this example, “You have not watched Death Note yet? Thou shalt be condemned!!” is unwelcome. You are free to introduce someone to, in this example, “Death Note.” But to outright bully them for not showing interest is immature behaviour. Recommend it and move on. They will take your suggestion if they’re interested.
2. It is not wrong to exhibit strong interest or admiration in something, but never gatekeep (setting standards for what makes them a fan or a better/worse fan than you/chosen one).
This point is similar to the first point. Gatekeeping means nagging someone constantly to indulge (and like) everything you say and do. Doing so is childish.
3. Never hate on their competition literally just to praise your brand.
Comments meant to put down competitors (for example, Marvel vs. DC) to show your favourites on top are equally unacceptable.
4. Never brag about things like the number of times you’ve read/watched a series or why you think you’re a true fan while others aren’t.
Many fandoms have a set of toxic fans whose sole purpose seems to be to boast about why only they’re the most faithful fans. This is because they have read/seen a series multiple times, have all the merchandise, etc.
5. Appreciate the Original Source Material.
Rather than engaging in all these, take a more peaceful and nontoxic route. You like a novel, read it. You like a movie, watch it. You like a series or a sport, enjoy it. The source material is called ‘canon,’ which matters more than countless arguments online. Your time is not worth wasting on pointless online debates.
You are allowed, just like anybody else, to like/be a fan of something/someone without having to know every single fact about it. You don’t need to know all the easter eggs, plot points, all chapters, and pages, etc.
Unfortunately, some fans keep bullying and nagging other people online and maybe even offline for not showing as much interest as they do in a particular series/movies/novels/sports and so on.