With a confusing system and a new form of social networking, the right way to go about getting used to Hey! Nielsen is taking one’s time. You step back, view the situation, and based on that engage the new medium with a fresh eye.
But fan movements aren’t about taking their time: for better or for worse, they are about mass movement and mass impact, something rarely associated with stopping to smell the roses. The result was a huge swarm of Jericho and Supernatural fans as they rose to the top of the charts, which is seemingly “good” based on the site’s attempt at measuring fandom. However, it was clear that in the hustle and bustle there had arisen some hard feelings. Jericho and Supernatural fans were labeled “spammers,” flooding the site with too many opinions and only focusing on a single series.
While here at Cultural Learnings we provided a certain level of warning to fans about this, we did make note that those who attacked fans for this were missing the point. This was echoed by fans who responded, upset at the lack of patience on the other side of the fence.
“To generalize our fandom like that makes me a little upset,” Supernatural fan Brooklyn writes, “because some of us know how to conduct ourselves accordingly. I also want to say that I think one reason we were so zealous is because we saw this as an opportunity to really get the word out on our notoriously over looked show.”
Similarly, Jericho fan Starfire felt “people should use the Grandmother principle: as in “What would your Grandmother think of your actions – if she would give you a pinch – don’t do it.” However, all sides agreed that a certain level of negativity is to be expected; unfortunately, however, negativity is something that can go too far.
These two fan groups, with so much in common, found themselves not only pitted against overzealous users from other areas but also against one another. A lot of this can be linked to the competitive element of the website: fans from one side trying to regain the top spot placing negative views on the other show in question.
One Supernatural fan notes that they “don’t like Jericho, but I’m not over in the sandbox mucking up thier threads. It’s silly and childish.” And many others agreed: the competitive element of the site brought out some unfortunate behaviour that is not likely to be indicative of normal internet etiquette. It became a race to become #1 as opposed to promoting their show through non-numerical, non-quantitative ways.
And I don’t understand this, I’ll be honest: Jericho and Supernatural fans have a lot in common, and attacking one another was in the best interest of no one. I understand that being #1 became important, but was not also the public perception of one’s fandom through comments/reactions part of that concern. These are two fan groups that should be working together, not at each other’s throats.
There were also other individuals who began attacking this rising fandom by placing negative reactions on all things Jericho, Supernatural, Stargate: Atlantis, Dresden Files and everything else. I think this is the exact opposite approach one should take. These fan groups were overeager, maybe, but is eagerness really such a sin?
However, these fans are not dwelling on the negativity. As Jericho fan foxgray1 notes, “I feel it is the nature of humanity for some people to be heavily defen[sive] in their own thought systems[;]…also, some people will fight just for the sake of fighting.” This attitude promotes the message I received from most fans: they accept the negative comments, feel they’re slightly out of taste, but have not been distracted from the thing that brought them there in the first place: promoting the show(s) they love.
Which is why this isn’t a problem that Hey! Nielsen can really fix. The competitive nature of the site will always bring out the worst in everyone, and it’s up to fans to keep it from surfacing and to not let it distract from the real purpose. This is a solution that is about fans, users and Hey! Nielsen being more understanding of the fandom out there, and I don’t think there’s a “plan of action” that could solve these concerns. However, really, this is more for the fans to decide. I’ll post more of their comments below, and then hopefully more might offer their own solutions to this concern.
Sandy, a Supernatural fan, feels it was inevitable:
I think it was an overreaction. This is what happens on every Internet survey and poll. One fan finds out about the survey/poll and posts all over their fandom that their show isn’t first! OMG! Must go support show! Everybody runs over to vote, and suddenly that show gets a huge surge in voting. Then another fan in another fandom will see the change in votes and post all over their fandom that their show is losing ground! OMG! Must go support show! And then *that* show’s votes surge, and around and around and around it goes.
Shoi, a Supernatural fan:
It’s a little disappointing, honestly. The show receives very little promotion from its network, and always seems only just out of danger of being canceled when renewal times come around, and so I think it’s not surprising that a lot of us are eager to jump up and immediately be counted as a proud fan, or to talk about how much we like it and how good we think it is. I think that’s understandable from the point of view of anybody who’s been a fan of an under-appreciated genre show! I can’t fault people for being somewhat annoyed, I guess, but I think where other fans of shows in similar situations are concerned, we’re really in the same boat. No reason to go for the throat.
OKJHawkGirl took a more proactive approach from a Jericho perspective:
Didn’t bother me much, because there wasn’t that many. I just gave them a complete disagreement on the rating scale.
WelcometoCO, another Jericho fan, raises an issue we’ll be discussing in greater issue tomorrow:
If someone has an opinion that’s different from my own, I can ‘agree to disagree’ and respect that differing opinion, as long as it’s just as respectful of mine — and that it’s backed up with reasonable justification. However, when I see Jericho, its cast, and its fans being bombarded with -5s and nasty comments from ‘users’ just for the sake of being negative or as an unjustified lowest-possible-rating protest vote, then I question the usefulness of this system to provide any true measurement of anything.