Monday, 19 June 2017

There is no moral imperative for fans to follow creators to pastures new

Over the last year or two, as an increasing number of creators who got their break in the My Little Pony fandom move on either to other fandoms or to wholly original work, I've noticed a rather odd attitude start to take hold, only from a few people it's true but in one or two cases including some quite loud voices. This being that fans who don't wish to follow those creators are somehow letting the side down.

This is a silly attitude.

Look, I write pony fanfiction. I'm no genius, but I do have a few regulars who read most of what I publish. I'm grateful to them. But if I announced tomorrow that I wanted to switch fandoms, or to strike out into original fiction instead, with the same general style but minus the framework of the Equestrian world, I'm pretty sure that at least some of those regulars would lose interest.

There is nothing wrong with that.

As well as being an author of ponyfic, I'm also a reader. And the fact is that a considerable part of my enjoyment comes specifically from the use of the MLP setting. Even the very best authors in the fandom, those who could truly make it as pro original fiction writers – and in a few cases already have – wouldn't have the same interest for me if they stopped writing pony.

Of course, I don't only read ponyfic. And also of course, I know I'm unlikely to be this committed forever, and that the base of good ponyfic writers is likely to continue to shrink as the fandom does likewise. But expecting me to continue to read Cold in Gardez's work if for some reason he started writing fics about Pokémon instead... well, no.

If you like a soft-pop musician who later starts making mathcore, nobody assumes you're somehow letting the side down if you don't continue to listen to that artist's new music. I don't understand the notion that creators deserve loyalty even if they totally change their scene. No, they don't. Artists have the right to go somewhere new; fans have the right not to follow them.


  1. While I have seen some instances of this with the pony fic crowd, I think we have been pretty okay when it comes to this kind of thing. On the other hand, the music side of the fandom is plagued by this situation, with a lot of artists that start to make non-fandom stuff complaining loudly about not getting the attention they used to get – often calling their fans "ingrates" for not following them blindly.

    Even worse are the ones that do the above after deleting/hiding all their old releases, essentially denouncing all their past work. It's essentially them saying that what their audience used to like was bad, but that they should be still following them. It is this weird combination of pretentious arrogance and feeling entitled to an audience that really infuriates me.

    1. Agreed – some fandom musicians do seem to have this sense of entitlement more than most fandom writers seem to. Actually, I even saw it from JanAnimations the other day, though I'll put that down to justified irritation on his part at the name "Button Mash" turning up in a licensed product. I only used ponyfic in my examples because that's the part of the fandom I know from both a creator's and a consumer's perspective.

  2. I can't relate directly to being a creator moving on from MLP stuff. But when I STARTED doing MLP stuff, I was effectively 'moving on' from my previous creative work in the LEGO community, for which I would built a reasonable reputation.

    And interestingly, I kind of took the opposite approach to the one you're complaining about above. I didn't want to annoy the people who followed my LEGO work by suddenly bombarding them with MLP stuff. So I kept the MLP work completely seperate by making a new YouTube channel, new username etc. I was effectively starting from scratch.

    It's only in recent times that I've started merging the 2, mostly because of a certain project.

    1. I don't actually mind in the least whether creators choose to use the same account for new stuff or to keep on with the existing account. Both are fine by me. The only thing that annoys me is what Soge mentioned: the equivalent would be if someone had said to you, "Well, I'm really here for the Lego so I won't be looking at your MLP stuff" and you'd insulted them for having that attitude. Sadly, a few creators really do behave like that.

      Also, yes, "a certain project" is definitely one I'm very much looking forward to seeing come to final fruition! :)