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23 February 2008 @ 07:45 pm
Fandom: Feniquette  
This is actually taken from my discussion with partly_bouncy about OTW. I thought a post about fannish etiquette actually is important, since there really isn't any one place where new fen can go to learn proper fannish deportment. While the list comes from time lurking on UseNet, it is still of value in the world of Web 2.0.

  • Post in full sentences, using correct grammar and spelling: Online, the written word is the method of communication to the rest of the world. Making your statements clear, concise and intelligent broadens your audience appeal, and helps create and maintain interest in what you've got to stay. Also, it makes your words accessible to non-native speakers and blind readers, who may be using translation software or OCRs to understand you.

    If you default to a personal style (eg. you don't capitalize the first letter of the beginning of a sentence), then be consistent throughout your posts.

  • Even if you don't agree, be polite: No one likes being disagreed with; it's simply our nature. But people can respect your arguments -- even without agreeing with them -- if you present them politely. SHOUTING IS REALLY ANNOYING, and you look obnoxious to others when you do it. Since tone, facial expressions and body language are not available in online communications, emoticons ( ;-), :-D, :-) ) can go a long way in proving you're not taking an offensive position.

    However, if you're really intending something nastily, don't rely on a smiley as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Be honest with yourself.

  • Step away from flame wars: Anyone can write an invective-filled screed. It really doesn't take that much talent: call someone every name under the sun, throw in a few words that would make a sailor blush, send. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. A truly good flame is written so well that the person reading the flame doesn't know they've been flamed until after they've been reduced to ashes. If your writing talent isn't that skilled or you will feel mortally wounded by every sling and arrow to come your way, you will never be a flame warrior, Grasshopper.

    Don't worry. Most people aren't flame warriors; their egos can't handle it. If you find yourself involved in a flame war, step away from the keyboard; turn off the computer; read a book, watch TV, work in the garden, just get as far away from the 'net as you can. Flame wars are emotionally draining, and while they burn hot for a day or two, they're quickly exhausted and forgotten if you don't keep fanning them.

  • Don't shove your hobby into the face of celebrities or TPTB: Really. For most celebrities, your media-fan interest is their job. And it's a grueling one. If you were out somewhere expecting to have fun and someone in your field shoved a bunch of work in front of you for your review, you'd likely be angry and offended. Expect the same response from celebrities. If you're nice, respectful of them and their personal space, most will be pretty cool and receptive to you as a person.

    Remember the character is not the actor (and vice versa). You will be very disappointed if you're expecting them to be one and the same.

  • Respect your fellow fen, even if you don't like them: You'll meet a lot of people online. Some you'll like; some you won't. You'll make your fannish experience more enjoyable if you are able to treat the folks you don't like with some respect. Be polite, and you're likely to get politeness in return.

  • If you can't respect your fellow fen, then practice avoiding them: The internet's a big place; so there are plenty of places to hide. It's not worth getting aggravated over someone; just block them. And continue on your merry way.

  • Don't whine: Nothing is more annoying than a crybaby -- whether it's in RL or online. If you really have to get something off your chest, that's what your private journal is for.

  • Accept concrit graciously: No one is going to like everything you do. Be happy that someone has taken the time to review your work and make suggestions. If you post something publicly, expect a public response.

  • If you leave a fandom, just leave, don't make a production out of it: Nothing is more amusing than watching someone whine about all the meanies, how they're never going to post again, and that they're leaving right away. Only for them to return a half-hour later to respond to comments and repeat exactly what they said previously. Ad infinitum. If you are truly sincere in leaving, then leave. No one will think less of you as a person. You've stuck to your guns; you're doing what you set out to do.

  • You really don't need to have the last word: No. Really. You don't. When you've reached an impasse in a discussion, walk away. Let threads die on their own; not every comment needs a response.

  • Don't feed the trolls: Sometimes trolls are hard to spot. Sometimes they're easy to recognize. Both varieties are looking for one thing: attention. If you ignore them, they'll go away and bother someone else. Giving them attention is like getting into a battle with a six-year-old:
    "Mommy, why can't I do this?"
    "Because . . . "
    "But why . . . "
    "Because . . . "
    You'll never win, and you'll look foolish trying to.

These are the rules I tend to follow, and they've served me well in my ten years on the 'net. Of course, YMMV.

Twice in one week. Now, I'm truly worried.
Isis: wingsisiscolo on February 27th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
If you default to a personal style (eg. you don't capitalize the first letter of the beginning of a sentence), then be consistent throughout your posts.

Weak advice weakly stated. My rule is that correct capitalization is part of correct grammar and spelling. Use it. I will not friend anyone who consistently refuses to use standard capitalization, and it will take a lot to get me to read a post written without capital letters.
klangley56: pic#70148146klangley56 on February 27th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
I'm with you on that one. I can't see that example as a "personal style," I see it only as a silly and irritating affectation. Always makes me wonder if the person's caps key is broken . . .

Otherwise, overall sound advice. Wish more people would take it.
Dash O'Pepperpfeffermuse on February 27th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
I'm less annoyed at someone who doesn't capitalize the first letter of the beginning of a sentence if they're consistent in their writing. What really annoys me is something like this: i went to Disney World today. we went to the Magic Kingdom. My eye can at least adjust to all lowercase; it's jarring when the letters keep changing.

Do you have any suggestion how to re-phrase it?
Isis: dead!Bobisiscolo on February 27th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
My suggested phrasing is in my previous comment. :-)

I mean, you could say, "I, personally, pfeffermuse, believe you should either use standard capitalization, or no capital letters at all." But I, personally, isiscolo, disagree with this. (However, it just pisses me off even more at people who write with no capital letters when they use ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS because then it becomes clear that they actually DO know how to use the fucking shift key. I am willing to grudgingly allow those manually disabled for whom typing is a painful chore to do what they must - but I dislike reading text that doesn't use standard capitalization, I find it difficult to read, and a person would have to be a gifted writer indeed for me to regularly read his or her nonstandard writing.)

Er, I just may feel very strongly about this. :-)
peasant_ on March 2nd, 2008 10:37 am (UTC)
Do you have any suggestion how to re-phrase it?

How about:
If you default to a personal style (eg. you don't capitalize the first letter of the beginning of a sentence), then be consistent throughout your posts. And accept that a lot of people will refuse to read you because of it, and will probably be dismissing you as a pretentious twerp.

I don't think one should give them any encouragement ;o) Good list otherwise, I was nodding along.
(here via metafandom btw.)
plus one skeletondelurker on February 27th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
I'd argue that not capitalising at the beginning of a sentence is quite rude, because it makes reading the post harder for the reader. Not capitalising is inconsiderate and poor etiquette.

You really don't need to have the last word
So true.
Truthful Plum Logical Horse: [this is how we] live freemegyal on February 27th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
Here from metafandom.

Excellent, just perfect. If fandom was a clubhouse, this should be on the door.
blktauna on February 27th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
I Laughed. I remember these rules from USENET and sadly not enough people followed them their either.

And I notice here people are still bogged down in the minutiae of capitalisation rather than what is actually being discussed.

Not saying it is so in this particular case, but this is also a favoured tactic of trolls to deflect the conversation.
Dash O'Pepperpfeffermuse on February 27th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
I didn't know that about trolls with the capitalisation issue, but it's something to keep in mind.
blktauna on February 27th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
It's not the capitalisation per se, it's the drawing the focus away from the main body of the conversation to focus on something small in an effort to derail the discussion.

Dash O'Pepperpfeffermuse on February 27th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
That makes sense. Sorry for being so dense. Whatever the intent, it did seem to do just that. C'est la.
makdmakd on February 27th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Well said!
mayor of newmarkethivesix on February 27th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)
Here from metafandom.

Everyone's talking about the caps thing so I thought I probably would do, too. Sometimes I post comments in entirely lowercase because a) I'm lazy or b) my mood doesn't suit intial/proper caps. That might not make a lot of sense, but if I'm not in a mood where I really can't be fucked taking the time to alt the caps key, then I won't.

But I never mix. It's either all lowercase or properly initialised. One or the other. As someone said before: it's distracting as heck when it's mixed, and you're like, "Ahh, what's going on?!". Also I think that's a sign that the person leaving the comment is a) incompetent or b) purposely being annoying or c) genuinely doesn't know how to use a keyboard/write, all of which end up with me thinking, "Argh get with it, please!"

Having said that, you can't please everyone lol. Some people won't like the fact that I just put lol at the end of my previous sentence. There are so many people on the 'net... It would be impossible.

All in all, this is a good post for pointing out the "finer" points when it comes to socialising on the Internet (some might say that's an oxymoron). Good stuff mate.
mayor of newmarkethivesix on February 27th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
edit: Oh and sometimes if I'm really desperate to say something, and there's a lot to say, I won't caps properly because my mind's always faster than my fingers can follow (I'm a slow typer, what can I say).
cookiefleck: cookies macademia nutcookiefleck on February 27th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out the meanings of the insular and overly-cute terms fen and feniquette, and finally found a reference to an alternate plural of "fan" used by sci fi fans. If you want to write advice for newbies (and I don't consider myself a newbie) then you might want to make your language a tad more universal. JMO. Otherwise, I mostly agree with what you wrote.
Franzifranzeska on February 28th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Twice in one week. Now, I'm truly worried.

Cue the evil organ music and diabolical cackling!

But seriously, I think these are great guidelines, especially the one about public posting inviting public response.