Is this a problem with FanFare? June 1, 2015 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps this is confirmation bias, but it seems to me that many FanFare threads have descended into “this show or movie is bad, and you are a bad person for watching it.” This, despite that fact that the people making these statements are clearly (hate?) watching the show or film.

In my mind FanFare should be more of a water cooler moment than a French New Wave lit crit lecture. Just my preference of course. However, I think if people like Show X or Film Y and scroll over to FanFare, and all they find are folks saying how bad the show or film is, that’s not exactly conducive to conversation for people who like Show X or Film Y. Nobody wants to be told time and again their favorite band sucks.

Certainly many shows have gone off the rails, and many films have problematic moments. And some shows or films are inherently problematic. So I’m not suggesting we shut down critical conversation or the occasional good old fashioned snark. But after a certain point, if you’re still watching and commenting on a show or film, it seems counterproductive to post only condemnation to FanFare.
posted by digitalprimate to Etiquette/Policy at 9:12 AM (137 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I can't say I've noticed this. Can you point us to some examples?
posted by lalex at 9:15 AM on June 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't think I've ever seen this on fanfare? on fpp threads, sure, but not on fanfare.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:21 AM on June 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't think I really want to do that because it will seem like calling people out, which is definitely not my intention. However, if everybody starts asking for examples, than it's clearly just confirmation bias on my part and not an actual problem :)
posted by digitalprimate at 9:22 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've noticed this. I almost gave up on reading Game of Thrones threads after the last couple. I was pleasantly surprised with the latest one though. I guess if the episode is good, then comments are favorable. If the episode isn't great, then comments are generally negative.

The problem with Fanfare is that it's on Metafilter, and Metafilter is on The Internet. And if something on The Internet isn't The Best Thing Ever, then it is ABSOLUTELY SHITTY and people will be happy to tell you how shitty that shitty thing filled with shit is. I guess they think that's better than saying nothing at all.

That all said, I'm glad Fanfare exists on Metafilter. I think negativity is not unique on Fanfare, I think it's a problem across Metafilter and The Internet in general.
posted by bondcliff at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


When I see criticism, I usually see sandwiches.

Something Good (bread)
Something critical or negative about show and/or episode(fixin's)
But then again, I love this show (bread)

I'm okay with that because it still keeps the overall thread positive but allows for some discussion.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have noticed this too, and I really wish people could just not.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:27 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I only recall this in the Last Man on Earth threads. But that show turned terrible super fast, and the tone of the threads flipped really fast into a kind of gleeful hate watch. I think no one bothered posting the last couple of episodes. So in that case the Fanfare threads pretty accurately represent the community's response to the show, rather than yelling at each other.

The other shows I follow have some legit criticism and discussion but are in general pretty positive, even with shows that made some weird choices.

Is this mostly about GoT? I know there has been a big critical backlash after the recent rape-themed episode. I'd love to see other examples posted. I think Fanfare works differently that the blue or Askme in the sense that most people really skip over posts about things they arent' engaged in, so its harder to get a general feel for the tone of the sub-site. On the Blue I'll at least skim the comments on posts that I have no interest in and have a bigger picture of the community as a whole. To say nothing of Metatalk, where its pretty easy to tell what kind of mood people are in.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:37 AM on June 1, 2015


My feeling has been that to the extent that there's been a significant chunk of negative discussion of a show, it hasn't so much been a broad issue across FanFare discussions as it is something that comes up mostly in a couple of the highest-profile shows, where there's both (a) a lot of people showing up for any given thread and (b) a lot of both in-fandom and more general media criticism chatter informing folks' perspectives on what's going on with a show.

If a lot of people show up, there's gonna be proportionally more criticism; if a lot of people are already frustrated with how a show's been dealing with one or another problematic element or narrative/character fumble in a show to date, they're more likely to bring up the latest instance or express their continuing frustrating with the show.

For most shows or movies, that's not as much of an issue because the folks showing up to discuss are more likely to be self-selecting specifically for enthusiasm about a chance for a discussion of a thing they liked, vs. the really high profile stuff where keeping up with the show may in part be just a pop culture literacy, watching-it-because-it's-what-everyone-is-talking-about thing that has a different kind of momentum.

It's a difficult balance, because, as you say, shows and movies are in fact gonna have legitimate problems, missteps, running/intractable story or thematic or etc. issues, and folks talking about those is something I would very much expect to see as part of the mix of media discussion among mefites.

But I do think it's possible to sort of go all-in on that in a way that can end up violating the spirit of that "three and out" maxim folks sometimes bring up talking about arguments on Metafilter; it's easy to go from "I have a critical thought about this" in isolation to more of a hobbyhorsing thing without meaning to, and one of the issues with TV shows in particular is that because there's these weekly threads, what may be totally reasonably characterized as just a bit of criticism in a single thread can, across multiple threads, turn into something with more of an outsized footprint on the feel of the conversation.

Again, mostly this seems to just be really big ticket stuff. Huge movies, huge TV shows. And I think it's partly unavoidable in those and a natural part of the mix. To the extent that there's probably some cases of folks digging in sort overly long and hard in one case or another, I do think it's basically always a good idea (as with all things in mefi conversation, really) for folks to sanity-check their own commenting habits occasionally, really take a look at your behavior from a distance and sort out whether what you're doing is participating in a conversation or just more grar-blogging in public or something. Be part of striking that balance.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


it's easy to go from "I have a critical thought about this" in isolation to more of a hobbyhorsing thing without meaning to, and one of the issues with TV shows in particular is that because there's these weekly threads, what may be totally reasonably characterized as just a bit of criticism in a single thread can, across multiple threads, turn into something with more of an outsized footprint on the feel of the conversation.

This is especially the case in less populated FanFare threads. It's really easy to dominate a discussion when you're one of only a handful of people participating.
posted by meese at 9:57 AM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's why I've been starting all those threads for Please Don't Eat the Daisies.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:07 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Stop discussing terrible shows and the problem solves itself IMO.

Actually, I haven't seen this happen much on fanfare, but I think it kind of comes with the territory. At least FanFare threads stay open instead of closing after a month, so if people who have interesting things they want to talk about it can maybe happen after the initial immediate visceral OMG this sucked so much wave has crested?
posted by MoonOrb at 10:09 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll own up that half of my comments on FanFare (so, two) were not exactly saying nice things: one of them was being graceful the kids in Bob's Burgers were a bit less hyper, and how Louie might have ran out of steam.

However, in general, I only make negative comments about stuff I like, but have limited complains/concerns. I'm not going to jump on a BBT discussion and say the series themselves are terrible, or on a Simpsons and whine on how the show is an insult to what made The Simpsons great.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


cortex: "It's a difficult balance, because, as you say, shows and movies are in fact gonna have legitimate problems, missteps, running/intractable story or thematic or etc. issues, and folks talking about those is something I would very much expect to see as part of the mix of media discussion among mefites. "

Would the mods have a problem with users flagging (and mods deleting) negative comments that are not particularly substantial criticism and are more "this sucks"? As an example, this comment (not calling out the particular user, it was just the first one I could remember off the top of my head) seems like one that doesn't need to be in the thread.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:17 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stop discussing terrible shows and the problem solves itself IMO.
MoonOrb

Isn't this exactly the problem? Your terrible, worthless show is someone else's favorite, and people jumping in to discussions to let others know they think a show is shit isn't very helpful.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:21 AM on June 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


Would the mods have a problem with users flagging (and mods deleting) negative comments that are not particularly substantial criticism and are more "this sucks"?

I don't have a problem with the idea of folks flagging stuff that feel like is contentless gripery, yeah. We'll certainly take a look.

Though with say that specific example (acknowledging here that I know you don't mean it as the platonic ideal of a problem comment) I'd probably shrug and leave it be; it's not exactly detailed criticism, but it does seem like someone at least minimally engaging in something they've seen and putting it into a little bit of context. Following that up with some doubling-down or whatever would be more of a problem; "I saw this and didn't like it" is far less of an issue than some notional "and let me say for the third time and with the clear implication that if you disagree you are bad at media consumption: I didn't like it" version of getting carried away with it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stop discussing terrible shows and the problem solves itself IMO.

You will pry my FanFare discussions of Pretty Little Liars out of my cold, dead hands.

Actually they are mostly just my husband and me anyway (and occasionally another friend or roommate or something) so I've considered trying to coordinate dinner plans while we speculate about the identity of A. PLL PREMIERE TOMORROW OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:31 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I see this mostly in recent Game of Thrones threads, particularly in the ones that includes discussion of the books, because people have something to compare the show to and everyone hates change. It was getting so bad, I was considering sticking to the Show Only thread, but the most recent episode has been received better, so there's less of that sort of griping.

This isn't specific to GoT threads on MeFi though, it's been all over the internet, especially with the show's more brutal recent story turns.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on June 1, 2015


I had a very cathartic experience ranting and raving about how the Walking Dead finale was awful. It made me nicer for like a whole week, getting all that hate off my chest.
posted by angrycat at 10:44 AM on June 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is one of those areas where in the long term we will probably just have to trust moderator judgment. I hate watched the last seasons of Dexter but when I commented online I did so when I felt I had real criticisms. I think that should be allowed. "This sucks," is probably too thin to be considered substantive criticism. But there are middle grounds that can be more confusing. If you see a user over a few weeks adding nothing I would contact the mods.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your terrible, worthless show is someone else's favorite, and people jumping in to discussions to let others know they think a show is shit isn't very helpful.

But let's be careful, given that the threads for Last Man On Earth were some of the best and most enjoyable FanFare threads I've ever come across. I kept up with them long after I stopped watching the show, just because they were so awesome.
posted by meese at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I agree that there seems to be more negative, often contentless commentary in FanFare than I might have expected, and I disagree that it happens mostly with "really big ticket stuff." Any new show I've started watching since FanFare's been up has had lots of comments that are really just the commenter speculating on whether they're going to bother continuing to watch, which I find not just boring, but a little depressing. Only rewatch threads seem relatively safe from an abundance of negative comments in the particular FanFare show threads I have tried following. It has been weird and disorienting to find that some other online communities have started being more pleasant and upbeat places to read comments on new shows than here.

Of course criticism is normal and expected, but I guess I am just often trying to go into new, less well known shows with a bit of optimism, and FanFare can make that hard for me.
posted by obloquy at 10:58 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


If anything, I've felt the opposite, where a show's overwhelming support on FanFare makes me hesitant to be the guy barging in with a bunch of negativity.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:02 AM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just wish I could post about shows that I like. I don't normally see the shows that I'm watching on Fanfare. This is probably because I watch DVD copies of old shows but when I suggest them on Fanfare they never get approved ("Department S", "Jason King", "Man in a Suitcase", etc)
posted by I-baLL at 11:04 AM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


“this show or movie is bad, and you are a bad person for watching it.”

Is the second part with the judgement actually being said, or do you just feel that it's there?

As someone who states strong opinions about entertainment, I've noticed two kinds of reactions - people who take the criticism personally and people who don't.

So I have friends who are hurt and sad if I say, "That show is terrible!" and friends who just say, "No way! It's great!"

I'm curious to see examples where the "you are a bad person for watching it" part is actually said, and not something you're reading into it.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:06 AM on June 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


i don't think any of the shows i follow or comment on have this problem. occasionally it's like "eh, where is this going, i'm not so sure about it..." but never big aggro conversation killing criticisms. but, i'll never watch GoT so maybe that's why i'm missing it...
posted by nadawi at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2015


I just wish I could post about shows that I like. I don't normally see the shows that I'm watching on Fanfare. This is probably because I watch DVD copies of old shows but when I suggest them on Fanfare they never get approved ("Department S", "Jason King", "Man in a Suitcase", etc)

Why aren't they being approved?
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2015


I only recall this in the Last Man on Earth threads. But that show turned terrible super fast, and the tone of the threads flipped really fast into a kind of gleeful hate watch. I think no one bothered posting the last couple of episodes. So in that case the Fanfare threads pretty accurately represent the community's response to the show, rather than yelling at each other.

As jenfullmoon pointed out in a late LMoE episode recap, it's hate-watching vs. hope-watching. I see a lot more of the latter in the FanFare threads on LMoE (and Halt & Catch Fire, and recently in Louie, and even in the wrestling discussions).

But yeah, if it's aggressively "This sucks and people who like it must suck," that's heavily not cool and needs to be flagged and policed.
posted by Etrigan at 11:08 AM on June 1, 2015


A big part of the reason why I stopped commenting in the Gotham threads (and why I stopped watching it with five episodes to go in the season) is because I caught myself succumbing to the hatewatch. Clearly there were people in-thread who honestly and non-ironically enjoyed the show, and I felt like my more negative appraisal of it was kind of bringing things down, so I decided to just steer clear from then on.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there's a difference between "this show is terrible" and "this show is terrible and you should feel bad for watching it."

I've noticed it with Game of Thrones the most, but there has definitely been commentary both in Fanfare and other places that because the show depicts rape, watching and enjoying it implies that you're ok with the general idea of rape. So you get super public "I'm so done with this show" pronouncements that it's hard to believe aren't also intended to say "because I think the show is bad because of X, you are a bad person for liking it."

I've posted negative criticism of media that I haven't enjoyed watching on Fanfare more than once, and I think it would be a shame if things changed such that those kinds of comments weren't welcome. What would be nice to see less of though are the critical comments that are also thinly veiled attempts to shame those who do/did enjoy the work.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Why aren't they being approved?"

I don't know. I'm pretty sure I did the suggestion thing for them months ago but they never got put up.
posted by I-baLL at 11:14 AM on June 1, 2015


can i request that we don't re-legislate the GoT rape stuff here? it makes these threads hard to participate in for me.
posted by nadawi at 11:14 AM on June 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


sparklemotion: "I think there's a difference between "this show is terrible" and "this show is terrible and you should feel bad for watching it."

It's interesting that we're having a very similar discussion in the next MeTa thread over.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2015


I've been pretty fortunate, the majority of the Fanfare show threads I participate in have had very little of this type of posting. I will say that some have contained criticisms, but those are almost always constructive.

This may say more about my viewing tastes than the site, tho'!
posted by Atreides at 11:16 AM on June 1, 2015


Why aren't they being approved?

That's a question I'd have to punt to Matt, unfortunately; I do know that he went a bit from more restrictive to less restrictive over time with FanFare approvals as the subsite got rolling and the culture and use cases became clearer, but I wasn't directly involved in the show submission/approval process until recently.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:18 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm curious to see examples where the "you are a bad person for watching it"

Again, I don't want to get into specific threads or posters because I feel this might be a more general problem, but in my opinion there is a non-zero intersection between the aesthetic/moral judgment levels in some threads.

And nadawi, I completely agree that GoT is a huge outlier here and best left out of the discussion. It's kind of its own thing and a huge derail, IMO.

FWIW my original observations were having to do with SoA and Vikings contrasted with the (also by me) beloved BCS.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2015


Have 2 sites. Fanfare and, I don't know, Unfare. Threads appear on both, if you liked it, use FanFare if not, then Post your comment on Unfare. I'm not seriously suggesting this though it would be interesting.
posted by devon at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2015


cortex: So should I resubmit or should I hold off on that?
posted by I-baLL at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2015


i feel like posting old shows that a single person is watching in the hopes that someone else might one day watch and join in the discussion gets pretty close to GYOB territory. "rent these dvds to join the discussion" is a little too niche.

i bet it would work better if it was a "let's watch this old series currently available on netflix" club, though.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


Thanks for explaining, cortex!

digitalprimate: And nadawi, I completely agree that GoT is a huge outlier here and best left out of the discussion. It's kind of its own thing and a huge derail, IMO.

I agree that it is, but I'd like to note that we now have 19 First Watch with Books threads for GoT -- the last episode of the second season will go up on Friday. None of them have had a hint of "you're a bad person for watching this terrible show."
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm curious to see examples where the "you are a bad person for watching it"

In the discussions about NetFlix's Daredevil show there was a poster who kept coming in saying they were confused about what's happening, which is fine. Criticism about the way the show handles plot, characters, etc is fine. What wasn't fine was their repeated insinuation that the only people who could like/follow the show are mindless fanboys. This poster didn't seem open to discussion beyond repeating their confusion and their insulting insinuations and eventually left, but it was unpleasant.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:28 AM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


(GoT should be avoided here, yeah. We just had three threads on the subject across the site and it makes it confusing to discuss it in a fanfare specific way. Maybe some other time if there are issues worth discussing)
posted by Drinky Die at 11:33 AM on June 1, 2015


What wasn't fine was their repeated insinuation that the only people who could like/follow the show are mindless fanboys.

i went back and figured out who you're talking about and I dunno. The person doesn't use "mindless" or address other fans' worth I can see. They're complaining that the show wasn't structured in a way that works for them, and saying they think it was structured for fanboys. I grant the use of the word "fanboy" is needling, but beyond that, the criticisms seem to be directed at the show, not people who understand it.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:39 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


"i feel like posting old shows that a single person is watching in the hopes that someone else might one day watch and join in the discussion gets pretty close to GYOB territory. "rent these dvds to join the discussion" is a little too niche."

So we should only use Fanfare for shows that are currently airing? And are viewable internationally? What would be the harm in making a Fanfare post about an old show? I don't understand the criticism. You already have to "rent these dvds" or "get a netflix subscription" to see a lot of the shows on Fanfare already. Murder She Wrote is on there, Arrested Development, Ghost in the Shell. What's the issue?
posted by I-baLL at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


i'm not in charge of making any decisions about fanfare or anywhere else on metafilter. i shared an opinion that you don't have to agree with or care about in any way.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:43 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


angrycat: I had a very cathartic experience ranting and raving about how the Walking Dead finale was awful. It made me nicer for like a whole week, getting all that hate off my chest.

But you also made smart, funny, insightful and critical contributions all season long; I don think there's anything wrong with venting over particular things (especially a finale) but a show like Last Man On Earth had a lot of people commenting who hated the show and were never going to like it, period. Personally, I found it impossible to really try to talk about it with the few others who liked the show.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, the second part of your comment:

"i bet it would work better if it was a "let's watch this old series currently available on netflix" club, though."

kinda does describe what FanFare is partially.
posted by I-baLL at 11:47 AM on June 1, 2015


i think in the early days of fanfare matt was only approving things that were available for streaming in some way or currently airing.
posted by nadawi at 11:57 AM on June 1, 2015


cortex: So should I resubmit or should I hold off on that?

If you're looking at older or more niche or poorly distributed stuff, I think a good way to go is to try broaching it on FanFare Talk first and see if there's any interest. With currently airing or historically popular shows it's a pretty easy bet that at least a few people will be jumping into the conversation, but if it's something where that's unlikely it may not make a ton of sense to set it up as a new show on the site.

That said, that's generic advice on the subject. I don't have any specific familiarity with any of the shows you mentioned, but others might, hence the idea of floating it as a FanFare Talk thing to see who's out there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:00 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sangermaine, the first part of my comment was a joke meant to point out exactly what you said.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:00 PM on June 1, 2015


Is there a different threshold for threadshitting type comments on Fanfare? I feel like I've seen some one line comments on new shows that basically come down to "This sucked and I didn't like it," and while I feel like deleting the comment would be kind of stifling a valid enough opinion, especially in the case of a new show where there's not much there to discuss yet and a "this sucks" comment can express a sort of vote on continuing to post Fanfare threads at all, but I also feel like it kills potential discussion. I don't mean to call anyone out. Fanfare is still newish and I'm genuinely wondering if there's value in that sort of "thumbs down, did not like" comment in the context of Fanfare.
posted by yasaman at 12:03 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


a show like Last Man On Earth had a lot of people commenting who hated the show and were never going to like it, period. Personally, I found it impossible to really try to talk about it with the few others who liked the show.

For LMOE, though, the whole post was often framed as snarking on the show. It's difficult to have a non-snark-filled discussion in that setting.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:17 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


"The problem with Fanfare is that it's on Metafilter, and Metafilter is on The Internet. And if something on The Internet isn't The Best Thing Ever, then it is ABSOLUTELY SHITTY and people will be happy to tell you how shitty that shitty thing filled with shit is. I guess they think that's better than saying nothing at all."

It's not just the internet, though I think that's an influence. Because I'm an old and yell at clouds, I'm often vexed by the peak ahistorical hyperbole about goddamned everything being best/worst ever — our media is not worse than the party and yellow press eras; our politics are not more contentious than those of the 1800s (when ballot violence was a regular feature of campaigns, whether Nativist against immigrant, city machine politics or just good old cider drunkeness), etc.

TL;DR: Ahistoric hyperbole is the worst ever.
posted by klangklangston at 12:33 PM on June 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well I think we should have a snark-free day. No - seriously, it would be great if we all just dropped our snark for a day and hung out like friends. No, really! It'd be -- no, hang on guys I'm being SERIOUS. Please. Please, you assholes, just fucking listen to my idea, I mean -- Oh wait you're not even fucking taking this seriously you goddam pieces of shit, you horrible fucking turd sucking ... uh ... you ... aah ... huh. Umm, OK.

Ok, so -- how about this: let's have a quidnunc kid-free day! Alright!!!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I predicted this would come up in last weeks GoT thread but I thought it would be in FanFare Talk. Is that not for FanFare discussions? I thought that's what FanFare Talk was for.
posted by Justinian at 12:47 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


By way of contrast, I've stopped reading and participating in a couple of shows where the comments were just fannish lovefests. I am not interested in fan culture, and I can't imagine reading a thread that's just fifteen people posting about how awesome something is or all the ways they liked it. I come from a totally different tradition, though, so I like discussion that treats the show or movie as a work and doesn't talk about the characters like they're real people.
posted by gladly at 12:50 PM on June 1, 2015 [22 favorites]


Only rewatch threads seem relatively safe from an abundance of negative comments in the particular FanFare show threads I have tried following.

I should probably give you all fair warning that I am saving up for a major hate-post if the Doctor Who re-watch thread ever reaches Season 7. I promise to only do it once.
posted by kanewai at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


OK, so I'm one of the Last Man on Earth snarkers. And I was super snarky because it started out with an AMAZING premise that was pretty exciting and then it very quickly turned into something not quite so amazing.

But IIRC, the snark in those threads was directed at the show and not the fans. I really loved the threads and very much appreciated jenfullmoon's very funny and comprehensive recaps.
posted by mochapickle at 1:24 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah those threads were great.

The Arrow and Flash threads also have great snark and co 'm plaints about the shows. I love those shows but even more i love to read lively conversation about things i like. See the excellent mad max fanfare thread.
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:40 PM on June 1, 2015


When opinions differ on an important film, we generally prefer to let the person who likes it most write about it.’ It follows that the strictest adherents of the ‘politique des auteurs’ get the best of it in the end, for, rightly or wrongly, they always see in their favourite directors the manifestation of the same specific qualities. So it is that Hitchcock, Renoir, Rossellini, Lang, Hawks or Nicholas Ray, to judge from the pages of Cahiers, appear as almost infallible directors who could not make a bad film.

- On the politique des auteurs, Cahiers du Cinema, 1957.

Take back what you said about French New Wave criticism! Take it back now! *sob*
posted by ernielundquist at 1:49 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


If you're looking at older or more niche or poorly distributed stuff, I think a good way to go is to try broaching it on FanFare Talk first and see if there's any interest. With currently airing or historically popular shows it's a pretty easy bet that at least a few people will be jumping into the conversation, but if it's something where that's unlikely it may not make a ton of sense to set it up as a new show on the site.

I think Cortex is spot on. I would definitely bring up older shows in a FanFare Talk before trying to start posting them out of no where. Figure out what's available and how and see who wants to join the party. On MetaFilter, it's entirely possible there's a dozen people who all own the same dvd box set of that show that aired six of the twelve episodes back in the late spring of 1959. You never know!

By way of contrast, I've stopped reading and participating in a couple of shows where the comments were just fannish lovefests. I am not interested in fan culture, and I can't imagine reading a thread that's just fifteen people posting about how awesome something is or all the ways they liked it. I come from a totally different tradition, though, so I like discussion that treats the show or movie as a work and doesn't talk about the characters like they're real people.

Sounds like offering your perspective would be a valuable bit of conversation. You should reconsider not participating. The best discussions can arise when someone challenges the existing view point constructively and forces others to consider that alternative.

Not to add to the workload of the mods, but perhaps the best solution in this situation would be for someone to send a note to a mod when they feel a thread is getting particularly snarky or negative. The mod can then read it for themselves and offer an outside perspective and A) agree and drop a note in the thread about reducing the snark or B) politely tell the original concerned MeFite, "It doesn't look that bad to me..."
posted by Atreides at 2:43 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I think Cortex is spot on. I would definitely bring up older shows in a FanFare Talk before trying to start posting them out of no where. Figure out what's available and how and see who wants to join the party. On MetaFilter, it's entirely possible there's a dozen people who all own the same dvd box set of that show that aired six of the twelve episodes back in the late spring of 1959. You never know! "

Yup, that's what I'm gonna do. The only issue is that I can't decide if I want to propose the shows on FanFare talk as individual items or as a more broad ITC show thing. Ofcourse that would also end up including Danger Man, the Saint and tons of others so maybe I'll just keep it to those 3 at first? Department S and Jason King are intertwined though. Hmm, choices.
posted by I-baLL at 2:50 PM on June 1, 2015


Really? Called out twice. Jesus Fuck, people. If you're going to do that shit, be grown-up and use my name.

I made a comment in the DD thread about how I would have preferred the superhero reveal and y'all went fucking apeshit on me multiple times. I gave up on explaining my POV since it was a apparently upsetting that someone didn't find that damn show to be the most perfect thing since the doubledown. The attacks were fucking unpleasant FOR ME. I could have been a nasty shit about the treatment I received in that thread but I wasn't. I walked the fuck away, like I'm supposed to do, and I still get shit? Yeah, fuck that.

Secondly, I fucking loved old school Mad Max and the new movie was disappointing. And, yes, the plot and ending was highly reminiscent of Solarbabies. I would have appreciated someone noting that for me so I didn't waste my time. I did my part to give others like me a heads-up. Yeah, no treatise on why I didn't like it. So, sorry. I learned from the DD thread that a reasoned argument why something is shit doesn't fucking matter when there is a lovefest going on.

FYI, your favorite band sucks.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 4:46 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


[One comment deleted, don't call people assholes.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:48 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


yikes
posted by angrycat at 5:00 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


By way of contrast, I've stopped reading and participating in a couple of shows where the comments were just fannish lovefests. I am not interested in fan culture, and I can't imagine reading a thread that's just fifteen people posting about how awesome something is or all the ways they liked it. I come from a totally different tradition, though, so I like discussion that treats the show or movie as a work and doesn't talk about the characters like they're real people.

I've been told in FanFare that I was acting like I was owed something by a show's creators because I didn't like the direction the show took with its main character and that I should just get over it. I'm finding myself not interested in participating when the attitude in a lot of threads (especially the GoT threads lately) is either like the show as it is or GTFO.

Maybe there needs to be a separate site called FawnFare where people don't have to be bothered by criticism of a television show?
posted by eyeballkid at 5:04 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Secondly, I fucking loved old school Mad Max and the new movie was disappointing. And, yes, the plot and ending was highly reminiscent of Solarbabies. I would have appreciated someone noting that for me so I didn't waste my time. I did my part to give others like me a heads-up. Yeah, no treatise on why I didn't like it. So, sorry.

I didn't think your comment should have been deleted. I think a lot of your comments in fanfare to be thoughtful and pretty honest across the spectrum.

I think there's always this thing, though, where if a majority of people like something, and someone in the minority comes in to say otherwise, there is a direct correlation between the irritation (or lack of) felt towards that comment and the amount that the dissenter feels the need to justify the comment. For example, if someone dissents against the majority and it's thoughtful, it should be well received in mixed company. If it's a one-liner that feels dismissive to an ongoing and thoughtful conversation, it comes across as having some sort of awareness of good aesthetics that you're above sharing with everyone else. It can feel like an arrogant way to dismiss an entire room of people having a good time. That's just a natural psychological response, regardless of whether it should be that way.

I'm not saying this is what you were doing at all. There's a place for venting (even short quips), and there's a place for being thoughtful. Maybe the best place for being thoughtful and a little more wordy is when other people are already doing the same thing, and you have a thought that goes against the flow.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:13 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I made a comment in the DD thread about how I would have preferred the superhero reveal and y'all went fucking apeshit on me multiple times.

Which thread is this? I went looking and couldn't find it. I'll confess, I rolled my eyes at your comment in the Mad Max thread, but wrote it off as "not everyone interacts with things the same way I do, and that's OK even if it annoys me." But if there's context I'm missing, I'd be interested in reading it.
posted by KathrynT at 5:31 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are so many times when people suggest you keep watching a show because the story improves, or a character's arc changes, or something else. There are plenty of things I watch where I'm like "Ugh, really? Does this get better?" and give it a chance. I'd comment in threads with the same thing, voicing displeasure with how the show is progressing. Eventually if I hit a "Fuck this, it's not proving worth my time" straw I'd voice that too. Doesn't seem problematic.

I'd count that as water-cooler-appropriate.
posted by erratic meatsack at 6:00 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


The problem with Fanfare is that it's on Metafilter, and Metafilter is on The Internet. And if something on The Internet isn't The Best Thing Ever, then it is ABSOLUTELY SHITTY and people will be happy to tell you how shitty that shitty thing filled with shit is. I guess they think that's better than saying nothing at all.

I wish people would understand that liking something a lot but wishing it was better is not the same as hating something. "Could be better" is a far cry from "ABSOLUTELY SHITTY."

A thread full of nothing but fawning praise would be boring and pointless.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:12 PM on June 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


"By way of contrast, I've stopped reading and participating in a couple of shows where the comments were just fannish lovefests."

A chorus of "this sucks" or the same exact criticisms, week after week, gets extremely old, very fast. But so does a chorus of "this is great" or the same exact praise, week after week. It can be a problem in an individual thread if everyone is saying the same (obvious/uninteresting) thing, or if one person says the same thing week after week, or if the threads for whole shows are like this every week. It's hard to say exactly where the line is, but it's there.

Disallowing or disapproving of negative criticism is a terrible idea. Positive-only discussions are lifeless and boring discussions. But I think that people have some trouble with both positive and negative comments with regard to not really being involved in a conversation. If you're just announcing your opinion, that's pretty boring. And when a bunch of people just announce their positive or negative opinions, it's boring. Also, in those threads, those opinions are usually pretty superficial.

What will always help with the problem we're circling around -- whether it's positive of negative comments -- is to be involved in the conversation. In a conversation, it's not really helpful to be the eighth person to say "this sucks" or "this is great". In a conversation, when you want to say that something sucks or is great, people expect you to explain why you think so. And after you do, they don't want you to repeat that four more times, or again every week. Also, people will disagree with you and question your argument. That's how it works. It's not an attack, it's a conversation. If you just want to announce your feelings, keep a diary or something.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:29 PM on June 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


Count me in as someone who doesn't see FanFare as merely a collection of fandoms. There's no shortage of places on the Internet for that. I read and participate in threads there for the same reasons I read/participate in the rest of this site - discussion that is mature, interesting, fun, funny, insightful, critical. I love comments that make me think of a work in a completely different way, whether it aligns with my take on a show or not. I consume media more from the viewpoint of a critic than anything else - that's how I enjoy things! And when something works, I'm enthusiastic about it. But there are a lot of shows and movies out there, and hey, that means not everything is going to be up to snuff. Thinking/reading about what isn't successful is as important for me as what is, and I want to hear from others on that too.

So that's my perspective: as long as you're not being a jerk or offensive or otherwise breaking site rules, opinions shouldn't really be off-limits. Even if they're negative. Even if they're not couched in lots of reassuring language about how you love the show but just hate this one aspect.

Maybe a bunch of this is informed by following the back-and-forth of film critics and music critics on twitter - they're passionate, opinionated, and they'll absolutely call something out when it's needed. It's understood that this isn't a big deal, just an exchange of ideas. What draws them together is an unspoken love for the art form and a desire to experience the great parts of it.
posted by naju at 7:32 PM on June 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Really? Called out twice. Jesus Fuck, people. If you're going to do that shit, be grown-up and use my name.

This seems deeply uncharitable in light of Rock Steady's attempt to frame his comment so as not to call out any particular user.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 7:36 PM on June 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


FanFare Talk

Can we write about favorite bands on this thing yet? Because I want a Talk Talk Talk.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:42 PM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would very much enjoy a discussion of Danger Man. But I'd probably miss it because I'm not likely to check FanFare often enough to see it posted.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:44 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


This seems deeply uncharitable in light of Rock Steady's attempt to frame his comment so as not to call out any particular user.

Although, it does feel like a call-out when you draw attention to a particular person as an example of negative behavior, no matter how you couch it. But Rock Steady was very polite.

Strangely enough, some of the more enjoyable show threads I've participated in were the Last Man on Earth discussions which were often very negative of the show. Somehow I managed to enjoy myself despite being one of the few people who seemed to find even a modicum of redeeming value in it most of the time (can't help it, I like that Todd actor who was also in Better Call Saul, BTW). I'm pretty sure it had to do with the fact that despite liking it more than most (and despite my best intentions, so sorry), the dissenting opinions were engaging, well thought out, humorous at times, and not disrespectful. I like the Better Call Saul type threads, in which almost nobody has a negative thing to say (you just sort of bask in the awesomeness of the show). I also the ones in which there is respectful dissent. It's not hard to be respectful, it just means being a good listener to others and letting them have their say, keeping track of where the conversation is going, not being too quickly dismissive of things that people have put a lot of thought into, and not walking into a room like you own the place with your esoteric knowledge of what makes a good show/movie. Take all that into account and I think we're golden.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Really? Called out twice. Jesus Fuck, people. If you're going to do that shit, be grown-up and use my name.

Come on. It's foolish to try and have a discussion about what kind of comments are and are not acceptable without bringing up examples. I didn't use your name because, as I said, I wasn't trying to call you out, but just trying to bring up the kind of comment that I didn't feel added much to the conversation. I apologize if I hurt your feelings, but I really don't think I'm the one that needs to grow up in this situation.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:56 PM on June 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


I really haven't seen this at all, but I tend to stick to the cartoons, sitcoms, and the occasional movie. For example, in the Steven Universe threads we mostly get effusive joy about the show, but occasionally someone will be critical of the writing or some other aspect, or talk about how their expectations weren't met, or a pet peeve that was used as a shortcut, and I like reading those comments just as much as the talk about the various musicians who work on the show or playing find-the-reference or talking about color schemes as storytelling device. Over in the Jupiter Ascending thread I was one of the few who really panned it and I didn't at all feel afraid to talk about why I didn't like it. But I also didn't tell people they sucked for liking something I thought sucked.

I think using the term "fandom" to imply a sycophantically positive discussion is really disingenuous - fandoms routinely thrive via harsh criticism of their source material. It's different on FanFare because it doesn't encourage creation nearly as much as curation, but I've seen plenty of fun discussions involving out-there theories and links to critical essays and reviews that I think there's tons of room for opinions that aren't unexamined or solely positive.

I guess I'm glad I still don't watch GoT.
posted by Mizu at 11:33 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I haven't really noticed it either. Because I live in Australia, the things y'all are watching and being very opinionated about aren't out here, or are only out through streaming services (and my internets isn't good enough to cope with streaming video). So I stick to the rewatch threads and the occasional movie. I think the Buffy discussion has been great - lots of people enthusing about aspects of the show we really like, but also people picking at plot holes or criticising Xander (fairly, it's not a pile-on Xander hate-fest). I've really been appreciating a lot more about the show and enjoying the discussion. Ditto with the Fringe re-watch, which has faltered a lot but more due to lack of participation than being a hate-fest or love-fest. Which is maddening in its own right, but hey, people have lives and I understand that I binge-watch a lot more than anyone else seems to.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:17 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's worth distinguishing between films and tv in this discussion. I think it's a lot more legitimate to come to a thread on a film and describe what doesn't work for you about said film, even if it's a few lines, provided the whole conversation doesn't become that; I think "me too" comments aren't very helpful, either negative or positive.

There's also a case of engaging with the show on a critical level and just hating it. In the Buffy rewatch I think it's fair to say that everyone writing are fans of the show, but are all quite happy to describe how much some episodes suck or don't work. But if there was someone every week telling us how much they found the show miserable and hated all the characters it would bring the tone down, certainly. I think the volume level would matter: a show with a low following would suffer greatly if one commenter decided to go heavily negative as their opinion could begin to dominate, but in bigger threads it's maybe less of an issue?

I have to say that while I've read the books, watching the GoT DVD I have is becoming less and less appetising as time goes on...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:19 AM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've greatly enjoyed all of the comments on The Walking Dead this last season even though many of them (mine especially) skewed negative. But I think there's a general agreement that we're criticizing because we care. The show has potential and the characters have potential and there's nothing like it on TV, but when they do something wrong we talk about it. Some agree, some disagree, but it's civil.

Agreed that movies and TV are different. People go to movies for lots of reasons, and often they have vastly different experiences. TV isn't (usually) like that, you watch it because you enjoy that sort of thing or enjoy the earlier episodes.

For example I'd be perfectly comfortable dropping into a Mad Max: Fury Road discussion and saying I hated the film, which I probably would if I saw it. It's not my cup of tea. But if I watch one episode of GoT I'm not going to drop in and be negative about it because I'm not a fan of fantasy in general and I don't have the background knowledge to appreciate the show.

REALLY, when it comes down to it, talking about Fanfare as if it's a single community is fundamentally mistaken. Each show forms its own community, and like any online communities, some are going to be huge and confusing, some are going to be small but useful, some are going to be small but overrun with fans, some are going to be small but ruined by trolls.

All I know about the complexity of moderating something like that is that i wouldn't take the job and I'm glad there are people who do.
posted by mmoncur at 12:45 AM on June 2, 2015


'For example I'd be perfectly comfortable dropping into a Mad Max: Fury Road discussion and saying I hated the film..'

But without a quick explanation like, gratuitous violence or bad camera angles, it appears to be noise and like a series, is it wise to Jump in?
No, I agree. I did that and it was damn embarrassing even unto to me.
But I never thought it possible for anyone to write a synopsis of this most complicated series. The contributors were wise. Some ups and downs and what insight. It was refreshing to see others enjoyed and understood such shows.
I think Ivan hit it on the head. Discussion is key. A few bumps are ok if is yields.
posted by clavdivs at 2:14 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


For example I'd be perfectly comfortable dropping into a Mad Max: Fury Road discussion and saying I hated the film, which I probably would if I saw it.

Or, you might be surprised and love it with the heat of a thousand suns, despite your normal preferences. But that's a discussion for another subsite!
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:14 AM on June 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


My parents have had issues with watching movies with certain friends and relatives for years. They didn't realize it was a problem until one time when they went to the movies with my aunt and her significant other. My parents spent the entire car ride back discussing and picking the movie apart while the other two listened.

Finally my aunt couldn't take it any more. "If you hated the movie, just don't talk about it!"

My parents were amazed -- "But we loved the movie!"

"But you spent the whole car ride home criticizing it."

"Exactly. If we hadn't liked something about it, it wouldn't have been worth picking apart."

I'm my parents' daughter -- I am another one of the LMOE snarkers, I guess, although I also noted the things I liked (January Jones on a garbage truck!) and I actually defended one of Phil's actions in the final ep.

But like my parents -- picking apart the media and seeing what makes it tick, and finding out what worked and what didn't work, for me and for other people -- that's the BEST PART of it.

I find that the Orphan Black threads (the only other ones I really participate in -- I read a lot more than I participate in) are also sometimes pretty negative towards the show and its choices, especially for certain episodes that didn't work for everyone, but people don't seem to take issue with the negativity as much as they did for LMOE. I'm sure partly because it's just a different ecosystem. Orphan Black threads launch with neutral ep descriptions, rather than snarking. LMOE is intended as comedy for light watching, while Orphan Black is critically-acclaimed and has nothing to prove.
posted by pie ninja at 6:26 AM on June 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


A couple of comments deleted. Please don't turn yet another Metatalk thread into snarking about a particular member or being sarcastic about someone asking that this not become yet another thread about a specific upsetting topic that has already been covered in painful detail across a slew of threads. Let's stick with a policy/standards general discussion about Fanfare.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:31 AM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


After seeing this thread posted I reviewed my own participation in Fanfare and to be honest there is a definitely a negative tinge to a lot of my comments there. I think it sort of comes down to the whole idea that you rarely flag down a restaurant manager to tell him or her how wonderful your meal was, but will do so to let him or her know if someone was wrong.

With the exception of Sons of Anarchy, which I was definitely hate watching by the end there, all of the shows I comment on in Fanfare are shows I really like. I'm rarely compelled to comment though, just to say, "What a great episode, huh?", but frequently will comment if I have a particular bone to pick.
posted by The Gooch at 7:41 AM on June 2, 2015


grar-blogging in public

Great name for an emo cover band.
posted by y2karl at 7:51 AM on June 2, 2015


I kinda think it's a matter of perspective - for most of the Fanfare threads I follow/comment in the criticism feels like it's almost always coming from a place of "I love this show, but it could be (or, often, HAS) been better for [list of reasons]." But then again, I'm generally not following the "big name" series like Mad Men or OITNB, so maybe I'm just off in my own little corner of Generally Positive Fanfare, and a sort of excess negativity is a genuine problem in at least some Fanfare threads.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:10 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there's a strong difference between loving something so hard you nitpick it, and hating something and all it stands for enough to not even watch it. The former should be welcome in FanFare, the latter not so much.

If you're still watching, you're still a fan.
posted by corb at 9:38 AM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


people can probably take a second to just give some lip service to "this is a thing i have enjoyed" before launching into their criticisms, especially if they're criticisms have been received badly previously. intent is really hard to read online.
posted by nadawi at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2015


I get that, but it's kind of weird in some of the show threads where people have been there for ages commenting prolifically, so you know they enjoy it.
posted by corb at 10:07 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


people can probably take a second to just give some lip service to "this is a thing i have enjoyed" before launching into their criticisms

True, although this may be where the "community" aspect comes into play (and, again, my FanFare perspective might be too limited here); often there's a pretty regular group of commenters in show threads, so when [User X] gets GRAR-Y about a specific episode or a show in general the other regular commenters (and readers?) are aware of a history of positive comments or genuinely constructive criticism from other threads.

(And maybe this is just kind of highlighting a difference in FanFare discussions between different media, obviously it's easier for a "community" to coalesce around a TV show or a podcast or a FanFare Club, something regular, rather than the one-off discussions about films (or books, if those ever get added).)
posted by soundguy99 at 10:30 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Frankly I find it tedious to preface every comment with "I love this show! But..." or something similar before tackling it an a more critical manner. I'm much more in-line with naju's concept of FanFare - perhaps it's a throwback to early days of blogging? And perhaps not easily grafted onto the community culture in formation on FanFare.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:04 AM on June 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


One thing's for certain: love-ins are boring and stultify conversation.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:06 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


One thing's for certain: love-ins are boring and stultify conversation.

I think that can be true, but there are shows and movies that are so in their own class that you start talking about them as if they are true works of art. For me, the Mad Max discussion ventured into that territory, and also the Better Call Saul discussions. There were so many hidden things and surprises and intentional subtleties with deeper meanings that I found them a joy to discuss, even if the general merits of the movie as a whole were not under dispute.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:14 AM on June 2, 2015


i'm more saying, if someone is finding that they keep getting blowback when they're being critical of something they like, it might be true that their intent is getting lost. we can't control how we are received really, but we can control how we express ourselves, and part of that is noticing when what we think we're expressing repeatedly isn't getting received in the way we anticipated.

like i said, in the parts of fanfare i participate in, i've not seen this issue - smallish groups discussing entire seasons with a variety of liking and disliking with seemingly no fighting. i think this is because on these less followed shows we recognize each other and remember past participation. for this bigger shows this might be harder to achieve and so people can do a little work on making their intentions clearer if that's something that matters to them.
posted by nadawi at 11:26 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't really participated there yet, and frankly, this coming up at all makes me hesitant to start. I'd assumed that the negative comments were a lot worse than what I've seen, but the examples look less like 'this is bad and you should feel bad,' and more like, 'this is bad,' and people taking that personally. Maybe I'm just used to people hating the things I love, but I don't take it as a personal insult when someone doesn't share my tastes. Ideally, I see it as an opportunity to explain why I like what I do, and for them to explain why they don't. If they're not explicitly insulting me, I'm not going to assume that was the intent. Take that, passive aggressors!

All things being equal, I put more weight on the perspective of someone who appreciates something than I do on someone who doesn't, but there's plenty of room for perspectives all over the spectrum. I'd like to be able to say, "I didn't like this because [reason]," and have an enthusiast explain to me why they disagree.

And I like being on the other end of that, too. I love having the chance to defend my tastes (the defensible ones, anyway) to detractors. In fact, that's probably the main reason I like talking about the things I enjoy. To describe what I think is so great about it.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:38 AM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


we recognize each other and remember past participation.

I just wanted to give this a thumbs up because I think it's so important. I believe more and more that trust gained over time in a community that is generally civil to each other carries over to those times in positive and community building ways even when we disagree, and sometimes strongly. I try to remember that (to varying degrees of success) when entering into a discussion that trust is earned, regardless of the sub-site, and sometimes participants are new to each other, even if they've been around in other places for awhile.

Listening as a newcomer to a discussion before being critical in overly harsh or blunt ways is for some reason harder to do with a faster paced internet culture that feels more anonymous, but it's one of the virtues from the "old world" that I think is still worth extolling every once in awhile. I'm more of the opinion that things get solved better if we go about asking whether or not my comments will be received well in a context of trust or working hard to build trust, rather than me making my own soapbox because the internet is viewed more like getting handed a microphone on open-mic night. Even when (and perhaps especially when) talking about the merits of movies and shows that people are emotionally invested in.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:49 AM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have occasionally gone into a FanFare thread to mention reasons why I don't like a show, but only in one thread for that show. I think going into a thread every week to reiterate that you don't like a show would be weird and rude, especially as mentioned above if it's the same criticisms over and over, and kinda seems like trolling.
posted by Librarypt at 12:37 PM on June 2, 2015


One thing's for certain: love-ins are boring and stultify conversation.

Lazy ones, sure. But there's still good discussion to be had in an analysis of something even if you loved it. Discussion about metaphor, perhaps, or talking about callbacks or ways an event was foreshadowed.

Which is really the same thing with criticism. Just slagging something is dull. Slagging something and implying the problem with it is because it's trying to appeal to lower quality viewers is dull with a side of insulting. Discussing the ways something failed to stick the landing or problematic aspects of it isn't the same thing, I would assert.
posted by phearlez at 12:53 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Certain threads on fanfare have made me wonder if there are just certain sorts of online space that I've not experienced personally, that some users are expecting fanfare to be - a space for *fans*, somewhere where the default attitude should be that you love the show. I didn't personally expect this to be what fanfare was about, that people would need it to be some sort of safe space, almost. I've picked the up in the GoT threads and it's genuinely surprised me.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:58 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Being a fan does not preclude critical discussion or analysis. That's part of what being in fandom is about! I mean, anyone who takes a look at, say, MCU fandom's response to Age of Ultron on Tumblr could see that. I consider myself part of the fandoms of some of the shows/movies I post in Fanfare threads about, and that doesn't mean I'm leaving strictly fawning "I loved it!" reactions there. I save the squee (and the tl;dr) for my personal journal and Tumblr tags; I try to engage in a deeper discussion or leave a substantive comment on Fanfare.
posted by yasaman at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, yeah, I'd consider myself a fan of the shows I come to fanfare for, there's just occasionally an element that feels more fanboyfare, idk
posted by ominous_paws at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2015


Maybe I'm just the easily impressionable type but all the negative comments about episodes I enjoyed make me think about the episode in a new light, and agree it wasn't that good. Now that's yet one more negative feeling on top of giant piles of negative feelings about the 10 horrible situations I just read about on Metafilter. I've been noticing them a lot lately and it kind of bums me out. If I didn't like something I just leave it alone, because why ruin it for someone else? I guess I can't argue that people should keep their negative opinions to themselves, but it makes me question what the point is for me. I liked watching Better Call Saul with you guys because while we were thinking about lots of different ways to think about the show, there wasn't a lot of "This would be better if it were more predictable/cliche" which is the negative comment pattern I've been noticing.
posted by bleep at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2015


One thing's for certain: love-ins are boring and stultify conversation

I don't find it boring talking to people I love.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Love #1 quidnunc kid!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:00 PM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be honest I'm not really very interested in the things that people don't like, but I am interested in the things they're enthusiastic about even (or especially) if those are things I don't, myself, enjoy. There seems to be a belief in certain parts of the internet that if you can call something out for "plot holes" on the one hand or *furrows brow* "problematic elements" on the other that you'll get points. Which, presumably, mean prizes. I'm much more interested in people who rummage around in the things that they watch and enthusiastically make connections and come up with bright ideas, so I'll tend to engage with discussions of things that encourage that (so, Better Call Saul, Fury Road, Hannibal and sometimes Doctor Who, though those threads often seem to turn into gripefests).

If I don't have fun with something, I'll drop it quickly, sometimes halfway through an episode. I watched a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it was on BBC2 all those years ago. I couldn't tell you which ones as I hated it: the arch dialogue drove me mad (Whedon's dialogue for Age of Ultron reminded me of how much I hated it, actually), and it appeared to me to be a series about pretty people who kill ugly people, because ugly and evil are the same thing. Huge numbers of people disagree with me on this, a number of whom have gone on to make things that I enjoy very much, and I accept that they're probably right because they're so numerous. As long as I don't have to watch the series, I'll stay out of their discussions.

I'm one of those people who likes things but really avoids fandom as much as possible. Fandom seems to think it's more interesting and important than the cultural artifacts it attaches itself to, and I'm not sure that that's true.
posted by Grangousier at 3:03 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Love #1 quidnunc kid!

My love is cheap, and plentiful! And almost entirely free of noxious pathogens! Act now, before supplies run ou-- oh hang on I just ran out. Shit. Sorry.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:07 PM on June 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe I'm just the easily impressionable type but all the negative comments about episodes I enjoyed make me think about the episode in a new light, and agree it wasn't that good. Now that's yet one more negative feeling on top of giant piles of negative feelings about the 10 horrible situations I just read about on Metafilter. I've been noticing them a lot lately and it kind of bums me out.

I know this is a bit "stop hitting yourself," but, like, if reading criticism ruins your enjoyment of things, stop reading criticism.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:13 PM on June 2, 2015


Because it's not always like that, and when it's not like that, it's interesting.
posted by bleep at 3:31 PM on June 2, 2015


The good, the bad, and the meh.
posted by clavdivs at 3:43 PM on June 2, 2015


When I see criticism, I usually see sandwiches.

Something Good (bread)
Something critical or negative about show and/or episode(fixin's)
But then again, I love this show (bread)


Personally i've seen more than a few posts where the bread basically seemed slapped on just so it wouldn't get deleted or come off as a total hatepost, but it was mostly "this is bad and if you like it you're part of the problem" sort of stuff.

A fig leaf, so to speak.

There's some stuff that's just been funny to watch melt down like last man on earth where it didn't feel mean spirited or my-opinion-is-the-only-true-path, but there's definitely other stuff where i have gotten the "my opinion is the only true way and if you disagree it's because of your blind spots"(or whatever similar point).

Yea, it pisses me off... But i feel like it doesn't happen that often? And it's not like people get shut down for arguing with that.

It annoys me, but i don't think it's an endemic problem.
posted by emptythought at 3:49 PM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I said this already in last week's GoT FanFare thread but there are times I think people can get so deep into hating on a thing that they start making things up to hate that aren't even there. I saw this in certain GoT posts on the Blue too, where people were all "ya well how come they don't show them pooping then", and it's like, probably because it's a pretty rare thing that a poo is a significant emotional experience, and also Tywin got shot while sitting on the shitter so there. It totally doesn't change the fact that it can be considered lazy to have so much rape on the show, totally valid criticism there, but come on.
Or once ages ago there was a comment about GRRM writing about "eel pie" and how silly that is, despite the fact it's an actual thing that exists in the real world.

Another one I find seems to bring this out is Joss Whedon. There was a comment the other day that just threw out that his work was misogynist and then got back to whatever point was being made, and I mean, maybe he's not the ideal feminist or whatever but his stuff shows a hatred of women? I mean, Buffy? Really? OK, I guess, but I might need some elaboration there. Or that Cabin in the Woods shows that he completely doesn't understand horror as a genre. I thought he nailed it, and as much as I love horror movies, it is undeniably a genre with a lot of schlock and generally bad movies (in a conventional sense) among its classics.

I mean there's plenty of completely valid stuff to hate without creating stuff that's not there, folks.

This comment is a bit of a mess I know but yeah, digitalprimate, I get you.
posted by Hoopo at 4:00 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


People are going to get worked up about things, is what happens. I'd bet that a fair amount of stuff the mods deal with on Metafilter proper is from people who have as much real connection to the issue of the thread as they do to whatever bit of entertainment is posted about on Fanfare. It's not really a good or bad thing, but as Fanfare ages on it's going to start looking increasingly like regular ol' Metafilter threads, with the corresponding spike in body humours and such.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:23 PM on June 2, 2015


I'll never understand the existence of hate-watching.

I hate; therefore I don't watch.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:05 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Let's come back to this if there are ever posts on FanFare reviewing Nickelback albums.
posted by juiceCake at 11:21 PM on June 2, 2015


Wait...Firefly was cancelled?
posted by clavdivs at 3:36 AM on June 3, 2015


IT'S ON HIATUS.
posted by Etrigan at 4:12 AM on June 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'll never understand the existence of hate-watching.

Clearly you have never watched Smash.
posted by lalex at 5:00 AM on June 3, 2015


Gordon Rams...enough said.
posted by clavdivs at 5:01 AM on June 3, 2015


There seems to be a belief in certain parts of the internet that if you can call something out for "plot holes" on the one hand or *furrows brow* "problematic elements" on the other that you'll get points. Which, presumably, mean prizes.

Could you point me to where one applies for these physical objects as awards? Because otherwise it just seems like you've made an effort here to find the shittiest possible way to describe other people having different conversational goals than yourself.
posted by phearlez at 6:55 AM on June 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


There was a comment the other day that just threw out that his work was misogynist and then got back to whatever point was being made, and I mean, maybe he's not the ideal feminist or whatever but his stuff shows a hatred of women? I mean, Buffy? Really? OK, I guess, but I might need some elaboration there.

Joss Whedon's sexism is an interesting intra-geek woman discussion these days, actually; it's likely that it's obscure by design, as my experience of it is it's been fairly productive and an excellent place to engage in self- as well as cultural-analysis. I was shifted firmly from "buh wuh?" to "awwwww, fuck, I guess there are issues... damnit!" over the past few years. If this is actually a question instead of a "they said Whedon was sexist so IGNORE THAT!" categorical dismissal, Jenny Trout's Big Damn Buffy Rewatch is one of the more interesting ongoing dissections of Buffy by someone who, like me, is a big Buffy fan. She hasn't added on more of the topics she's done and unfortunately she doesn't tag consistently, but I might pull together a definitive list. She's near the end of Season Two now. (She also did a read and analyze of 50 Shades of Gray and I think Twilight? But both of those are hate-reads, so have a different flavor to them. Her Buffy and Merlin stuff is love-watch-analyses.)

A lot of the critiques of his body of work have to do with the growing critiques of racism/ableism/homophobia within the "strong female role model" trope that reflect geek feminism becoming more intentionally intersectional (and reflects growing influence of Black feminism though sadly many Black feminists are still marginalized even within this context) and is addressing the "Smurfette" mode which said "strong female characters" are now isolated within. I find googling "Whedon feminist critique" brings up a variety of pages for further exploration if you're interested in details.

Personally, I love a good critique of something I love, so I've been really enjoying the wide variety of perspectives on Whedon's oeuvre and how he's changing over time. I think in depth critique is a matter of taste most of the time, but MetaFilter seems kind of build for it, as we have never met a bean we didn't want to slice thin and place on a slide. The point of these analyses for me is 1) they're fun, 2) I learn shit, and 3) the gradual improvement of imperfect human interactions through analysis of complicated artistic works. If anyone is offering cookies in addition, I'm down for some; I'll bring the milk.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:32 PM on June 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


here are times I think people can get so deep into hating on a thing that they start making things up to hate that aren't even there. I saw this in certain GoT posts on the Blue too, where people were all "ya well how come they don't show them pooping then", and it's like, probably because it's a pretty rare thing that a poo is a significant emotional experience, and also Tywin got shot while sitting on the shitter so there

Look. I am a fan of GRRM. I am so much of a fan that I think I am maybe one of the top five Mefites in terms of knowledgeability of the series. And let me tell you, as a fan, that actually GRRM includes, in the books, a lot of significant fecal reference. There is illness shit and poison shit and foul stench shit. People who are saying 'where is the realism shit' aren't making up things to be mad about. They are accurately noting a problem. And none of us are saying this because we hate on it, because I promise, the way to hate things is not to read books so long that they struggle with the boundaries of how large a printed book can physically be.
posted by corb at 2:32 PM on June 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


. I am so much of a fan that I think I am maybe one of the top five Mefites in terms of knowledgeability of the series.

Okay, so how do we organize a trivia contest? (Don't think I would make the top five but it would be an honor just to compete!)
posted by Drinky Die at 3:24 PM on June 3, 2015


Wait...Firefly was cancelled?
IT'S ON HIATUS.
Netflix, please. Please.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:51 PM on June 3, 2015


Okay, so how do we organize a trivia contest? (Don't think I would make the top five but it would be an honor just to compete!)

WITH BEER? The public, uh, needs to know.
posted by corb at 4:11 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jeopardy is coming.
posted by clavdivs at 4:46 PM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


WITH BEER? The public, uh, needs to know.

Fearsomely strong cider, clearly.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:04 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, so how do we organize a trivia contest? (Don't think I would make the top five but it would be an honor just to compete!)

I'm probably in the bottom 5 for knowledge but I still think I could do well in Kayless or Khaleesi?
posted by juiceCake at 11:18 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Look. I am a fan of GRRM. I am so much of a fan that I think I am maybe one of the top five Mefites in terms of knowledgeability of the series. And let me tell you, as a fan, that actually GRRM includes, in the books, a lot of significant fecal reference. There is illness shit and poison shit and foul stench shit. People who are saying 'where is the realism shit' aren't making up things to be mad about. They are accurately noting a problem


I haven't read the books but this heavily-favorited comment near the beginning of the thread does not appear to my eyes to be noting a problem with the omission of important poo details from GRRM's books. I'm certainly not dismissing the very valid concerns people have with GRRM throwing rape around like it's the best thing to ever happen to the fantasy genre, which absolutely belong in a thread about exactly that. Or, well, almost any discussion of any episode of GoT where rape happens or discussion of GoT in general. My complaint is that it is comments like "poo is real too, where's the poo" (which this comment very much is) can turn a conversation into an impenetrable hate-fest
posted by Hoopo at 3:45 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are both legitimate, interesting criticisms of GoT and garbage, throwaway, snide and just plain incorrect snark about GoT. In the same threads.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've found fanfare to be incredibly enjoyable and positive, but it just might be the shows I follow. Criticism doesn't bother me, as long as it's more than just "this sucks" or "I hate this show."
posted by drezdn at 5:00 AM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


One thing's for certain: love-ins are boring and stultify conversation.

Basically every single first-airing Mad Men thread is a 300+ comment love-in and they are typically hilarious and wonderful joys to read. God I'm going to miss that show.

I do occasionally find FanFare is skewing so negative that it threatens to sour my enjoyment of a show (usually the cause seems to be a prolific commenter or two that has just given up on a show and needs to stop watching/stop commenting but hasn't yet), but I just take a break from Fanfare (at least for that show) for a while and let myself enjoy the thing uncritically for a while.
posted by mstokes650 at 2:48 PM on June 5, 2015


I definitely have noted this tendency in FanFare threads. I think it's due to the standard one-room MeFi problem/reality, but jacked up because the subsite is explicitly all about discussion and because we're talking about things that you, by nature, feel passionately about if you're commenting.

By which I mean, the room can quickly turn to a kind of consensus on What Is Wrong With the Show and now We All Are Talking About How Wrong the Show Is. Certainly there's truth to these criticisms, always are, but it can be draining to think about posting a comment that is about things you like when you feel like you're going to get 5 people jumping in and explaining how that thing you like is actually tainted by What Is Wrong With the Show.

Not to say that the people jumping in are wrong, certainly. There is really no wrong when it comes to these things (except see some MM:FR reviews that really seem like they missed major pieces of the movie).

I have also noticed the common tendency to start finding lots of other things wrong with a show once you've decided that the show is tainted. I definitely have seen this in GoT threads. So now that the show is Bad, a commenter is now noticing all these other things that are Bad too, that they just hadn't noticed before.

And this tendency is boosted by the Obama effect — once you liked it but now you don't because of Sins, so now you feel Hurt by the show. I Trusted You And Now You Serve Me This Shit Sandwich makes for a particularly vitriolic flavor of criticism.

I'm not sure how to manage this! Threaded comments would help probably but I know that that's Not Metafilter. Maybe it's not a big problem, but I do think it's worth keeping an eye on, similarly to how it seems we keep an eye on jilted ex-Obama lovers who jump at any chance to attack him. Maybe it's just endemic to media discussions and we have to learn to roll with it. Maybe it's a "everybody needs a hug" kind of message that's along the lines of "There's someone in this room that loves this show."
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:11 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The day Metafilter can't be surly, negative, nit-picky, and inconsistent is the day it asdpp8P(*UPjlk2u98YhdlkjahsoitOIY@U, and that's a fact.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:15 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I try to comment on the parts that I like, even if I dislike the show/film overall and want to criticize part of it. The only show I really hated on was Last Man on Earth, and yeah it would have been hard for someone to gather the strength to show their love for the show in those threads, but I think people would have been respectful. (Or were respectful? Can't remember if anyone ever actually did that.)

My biggest problem with FanFare is people commenting when they haven't even SEEN the film or episode in question, especially when those comments are negative.
posted by dogwalker at 9:15 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


My biggest problem with FanFare is people commenting when they haven't even SEEN the film or episode in question

You know, that bugs the shit out of me too and I'm gonna start flagging 'em and god what may happen.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have definitely dropped into GOT threads to rage-vent. My bad, I keep getting sucked back in because there are lots of things about the show that I really like, but then it's like I get selective amnesia about what I don't like until it smacks me in the face. I probably won't comment in GOT threads anymore because I don't like to be that person who drops in and says "this sucks!" I'd rather let people who can be more substantive make their case. I don't do the hate-watch thing so getting this angry over a show I'm voluntarily watching is kind of a new thing for me.
posted by supercrayon at 11:32 PM on June 5, 2015


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