"This is a site populated by militant movie buffs: sad, pathetic little bastards living in their parents' basement downloading scripts and what they think is inside information about movies and actors they claim to despise yet can't stop discussing."A good fandom is successful by having a diverse community of people who share a mutual interest in the shared object of the fandom, but nevertheless remain mature and sensible enough to tolerate and respect differences of opinion. Most people in fandoms actually are like this. Then there's Fan Dumb. Fan Dumb is the underbelly, where Serious Business becomes obsession. They are the fans who claim to be the watchdogs of their fandom, but in reality, they're the dog in the manger. The key characteristics of a Fan Dumb tend to be someone with an over-developed sense of entitlement and/or victimization and (usually) an under-developed sense of humour or perspective about the subject of their fandom, coupled with an obsessive level of an interest and (frequently) some rather irrational views on the whole thing. They usually believe that the very fact that they are a fan of something either entitles them to special or exclusive treatment or that they are being persecuted by numerous different parties (the creator, the producers, other fans, the world at large, etc) because of their fandom. They are nearly always someone who has completely lost perspective on exactly how important or special the show, the fandom and their views on same is in the scheme of things, and don't understand why others don't feel the same as they do. As a result of all of this, they tend to view even polite or minor disagreement with them and their views as a personal attack, which often leads to them adopting an irrationally combative, defensive tone towards others in response; in discussion, they will usually resort to unrelated 'ad hominem' attacks on others and place value judgments on them, not their arguments — expect snide comments about race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. And any jokes made about the subject of the fandom (or them) will be responded to either with out-of-proportion offence or a humourless deconstruction of why the joke is 'inaccurate'. The end result of all this is someone who believes passionately that they're the champion elite of the fandom, guarding and preserving what makes it special, whilst ultimately contributing little of any actual value to the property or the fandom, even contributing to its ruining in the process. As a general rule of thumb, the phrase "True Fans" (or some variation thereof) being thrown around is an identifying signal that you're dealing with Fan Dumb, particularly if it's being self-applied; the subtext (or text), of course, is "I'm a True Fan, and you're not." Although a Fan Dumb often holds idiosyncratic views about the show and demonstrates a passionate interest in it, it is important to note that neither controversial views or intense interest are themselves indication of Fan Dumb; differing viewpoints are inevitable in a large gathering of people (and knee-jerk objection to a differing opinion simply because it's a differing opinion is often a good sign that you belong in Fan Dumb yourself), and most people join fandoms in the first place because they're passionate about something and they want to celebrate it with other people who find it special. Many people manage to hold contrary or passionately enthusiastic viewpoints whilst still remaining civil and decent; similarly, many dismissed as Fan Dumb hold views that, on the surface, are actually quite reasonable. The problem with Fan Dumb is not necessarily the level of interest or the viewpoint, but the way it is expressed; even a reasonable argument will sound insane if it's being screamed in someone's face. Taking these fans too seriously is usually a mistake. Although they tend to be louder than the rest of the fanbase combined, they are usually a decided minority in almost every fandom (though they often claim to be a majority). Fan Dumb also tends to suffer from an extreme case of Fan Myopia, regardless of what kind they are; in any variation, they are often intractably convinced that the views of "the fans" (or perhaps more accurately, their personal views, which they tend to confuse with the views of fandom as a whole) are both more widespread and more mainstream than in fact they are. If you're a producer, then pandering to them is usually a good way to make your show crash and burn. And to add insult to injury, they usually won't be very grateful that you were thinking about them, but will instead start whining about how you made the show crash and burn. See also Single-Issue Wonk. A specific example is Die for Our Ship. And do visit this JournalFen community, dedicated to collecting the most spectacular cases of Fan Dumb. Fan Dumb is a number one contributing factor to both Artist Disillusionment and Fan Disillusionment. Although often a minority, the shrill obnoxiousness of this kind of fan has nevertheless permeated enough people's impressions to construct the stereotype of the Straw Fan. Can be confused easily with a Troll, but, as a rule of thumb, bear in mind that a Fan Dumb is NOT a Troll. See also Unpleasable Fanbase and Broken Base for the massive versions of this. Compare with Viewers Are Morons. Contrast with Hate Dumb, although the two have been known to spawn one another. Sadly, every fandom has to and/or has had to deal with this and all of its variations...no matter how much they deny it and how much they wish this problem didn't exist. Trust us, these people even annoy the makers of the shows that you like as much as they annoy the rest of us. We admit that even TV Tropes has its problems with Fan Dumb of its own. Don't worry, Fan Dumb are usually just a Vocal Minority. Keep that in mind if you decide to put this as an example to any media or see this in any media here. Most of them, including yourself (unless you actually do fit this and you know if you are) are not complete and utter morons and just want to enjoy it like everyone else. And on the same flip of the coin, everyone (yes, including you) is probably guilty of at least one Fan Dumb moment at some point in their lives if they're being honest; the key thing is being able to recognize and acknowledge it and move on rather than getting locked near-permanently into that mindset. As a footnote, to a devoted member of the Hatedom, any form of Fandom appears like Fan Dumb. Fan Dumb and Hate Dumb are light and darkness in these regards in that one cannot exist without the other (and that in this case they're usually as equally bad as each other). In fact, the two can often fuel each other, with Hate Dumb causing normally rational fans to become overly defensive and engage in Fan Dumb, while Fan Dumb can transform reasonable critique into a whirlwind of hatred directed at the fandom itself, contributing to Hate Dumb. Please do not put this on a work's main page and sub-pages. The only exception is if it is invoked canonically as someone's character trait. In that case, mark it as such.
Common Fan Dumb variants include:
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This is, although not the only type of Fan Dumb by any means, probably the most classic example of it. S/he is Serious Business taken to the extreme. Nothing outside of the object of the fandom exists for this person, except perhaps the fandom itself. This means that they will attempt to discuss the object of their adoration every single chance they get, often attempting to twist or divert other discussions to this end, regardless of how awkward or nakedly inappropriate it is ("Yeah, it sucks that your father died; I felt exactly the same way when Captain Magnatron failed to defeat the Zargons in Episode 19"). This often leads them to grossly blow the actual significance of the work in a general context quite out of proportion... and, naturally, leads to nothing but contempt from those who aren't quite as committed to the show as they are, or who (gasp) aren't part of the fandom at all and are sick of — "don't they realise how important it is?" lectures. Naturally, any of the other listed types of Fan Dumb may find themselves ending up here. Unfortunately, this is the way the vast majority of fandom is portrayed in the media, which is why we have a trope specifically for that.The classic Fan Dumb variant, a fan whose life revolves around the show and nothing else.
The opposite of the Theocrat (see below), and often veering into Hate Dumb territory as well, these are fans who, above all else, prefer only the fanon explanations, or, even better, their own explanations of canon events and characters. Often found twisting a character's personality into a Draco in Leather Pants/Ron the Death Eater and saying that those should be the true characters, heaping scorn on the canon pairing and propagating Die for Our Ship, taking Word of Dante over Word of God and declaring the latter as a result of bad writing, erasing any and all clarifications of Plot Holes to fit their own personal canons, the list goes on and on.A fan who takes Death of the Author too far and ignores everything from Word of God.
The Character Lover
The Character Lover is identified through his or her fixation on a particular character appearing within the story rather than the story itself, which they then take to extremes. They often come in one of two variants:A fan whose mania revolves around a character or a few specific characters more than the work as a whole.
Chicken Little sees doom in every raindrop, and lives in perpetual terror that the sky is about to come crashing down on top of him. Whilst no show can claim to be entirely perfect and flawless, the Chicken Little is terrified that any misstep on the part of the producers will result in cancellation. While it is, in fact, possible for shows to get worse, Chicken Little responds to every proposed change, every teaser, every trailer and every bit of Kudzu Plot with paranoia. Chicken Little also has almost no hope for any spinoffs. Expect these guys to be screaming "This game/show/book is going to SUUUUUUCK!" or "This will single-handedly ruin the franchise forever!!!" A Chicken Little may also see any signs of slow down, fall in popularity, or decline in the size of the fan base (no matter how tiny the slowdowns or the declines are) as a sure sign that the show/work is doomed to fail and are often wondering how long will it be until support is completely killed off. While it is rare for a show to ever have a consistently steady increase in views or fans (other shows and works can also grab a fan's attention since people do like more than one thing), in the eyes of a Chicken Little, the loss of a few fans may as well be a death sentence. Often combined with The Old Timer. A variant exists in the form of the Bizarro Chicken Little, who operates under the belief that even the tiniest voice of criticism will reach the ears of the Powers That Be, who will immediately cancel the show in the belief that nobody likes it anymore. Ergo, all voices of criticism must be silenced with prejudice in order to keep the show on the air.A fan who's paranoid about their favorite show being ruined or cancelled.
This fan often seems to have no Willing Suspension of Disbelief, often leading him to criticize or refuse to accept plots, characters and themes that might be necessary or even essential for that show or genre to function. He often appears to be a member of a Periphery Demographic who cannot or does not wish to accept that the show is not actually aimed directly at him (if at all), and yet resents the fact that it is not actually aimed at him. Therefore, any complaints about how it's not aimed at him are legitimate complaints and considered "Weaknesses." If the work in question is aimed specifically at children, expect this kind of fan to pick out dubious evidence from the work as "proof" that it is actually for adults.A fan outside of the show's demographic who complains because the show isn't being directed at them.
These fans tend to spring up when the show goes from being a cult favorite to the mainstream. They are often prone to "I judge you if you like..." or "I judge people based on whether they have seen..." They tend to resent the influx of new fans as "plebeians" and "Johnny-come-latelys" who are infiltrating and bringing down the tone of their previously exclusive, niche little club. As an ego-stroking exercise, they might actually try to set themselves up as an elite and attract any lickspittles and mimics they can find; alternatively, expect to hear a lot of whining about how the show has "Sold Out" or "Gone Commercial", whether it's true or not.The cliche hipsters of a fandom.
Fandom Moral Guardian
This kind of fan is very concerned with the morality of their chosen series. While they may be part of the target audience themselves, the Fandom Moral Guardian focuses their attention on criticising adult- or teen-oriented books or programmes for being inappropriate for children, even though younger audiences clearly aren't what the creators had in mind. The Fandom Moral Guardian sees a lot of fiction in terms of black and white; there are "dark" works which can only be enjoyed by adults and there are "light" works which are only appropriate for children. However, if the creators of the latter category decide that they'd like to make their work even a little bit darker - maybe they want the work to age alongside its original audience or hope they'll have greater story opportunities - the Fandom Moral Guardian is convinced that the work is irretrievably shifted into the "dark" category, so they'll be there to complain about the creator "betraying" them and berate other fans for continuing to enjoy such immoral material. Accordingly, expect this type of fan to be a little bit oversensitive about tropes like What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?/Not For Kids and the Animation Age Ghetto.A self-appointed Moral Guardian who will scream about any sign of "dark" or mature themes in works, fanmade or otherwise.
Like the Elitist, the Highbrow fan is identifiable by an apparent belief that they are somehow superior to other fans or the public at large; in this case, however, their superiority stems from their (supposed) sophistication and intellectual prowess. Tends to come in one of three variants:A fan who is convinced that he is so much more sophisticated and intelligent than those around him.
This fan is someone who is quite a fan of the show...but only as long as it's cool to be so. This is somewhat the inverse of It's Popular, Now It Sucks, but it's mostly the inverse of He Panned It, Now He Sucks, since many of these fans only like it because a reviewer said something good about it, so clearly, it's gotta be good and if you disagree with them, The Complainer Is Always Wrong. Overlaps heavily with Praising Shows You Don't Watch. In some extreme cases, these fans have no will of their own, relying entirely on reviewers and sometimes Quality by Popular Vote. When the inverse happens and it becomes cool to hate it instead of like it (see Hate Dumb), these are the people who turn their backs on the fandom and deny having ever had anything to do with it.Someone who associates with a work, but only because it's cool or because a reviewer praised it, not because they actually like it.
Sometimes a fan's frustration towards the Fan Dumb goes full circle and creates its own Fan Dumb. A Litter-Bearer seems to hate his fellow fans to the extent that even valid criticism can be dismissed simply because it's coming from a fan and not an "approved" source like an outside critic. Convinced of the stupidity and utter worthlessness of their fellow fans, they begin to see things from such a skewed perspective that in their eyes, any disapproval from the fanbase just proves that the creator is right and the show is good. They tend to leap upon all complaints in the same fashion as the Misplaced Champion, only replacing the aggression with sneering condescension. In extreme cases, this can extend to the Litter-Bearer himself, who believes that if he, or any other fan, doesn't like the product, "it's fine the way it is and if we don't like it that's our problem". Litter-Bearers can often be identified by their liberal use of the word "we" in complaining about the fandom.Someone who thinks that other fans are brainless masses and not a valid source of opinion.
A fan who appears to have nothing in his heart but loathing towards the show... and yet still keeps coming back, often insisting on how loyal they are in the process. Often a fan who's been burned in the past, he nevertheless keeps hanging around purely to complain about how he's been burned. The Loyalist Complainer is very fond of announcing that he has been burned once too often by the show and will be leaving the fandom, and yet he never actually seems to leave. Despite the fact that he does nothing but complain about it, should anything threaten the show's existence (such as a cancellation threat), his will be among the loudest voice raised in protest of the cancellation. Basically, for those of you who have worked in a business or public service job, the Loyalist Complainer is, in summary, the type of customer who says they will not be coming back to do business with you, but comes back again and again. May be their Guilty Pleasure; in fact, they made proudly proclaim it as such in an effort to establish themselves as smarter than other fans.Someone who claims to be a fan despite having only negative comments for the work.
This fan is marked by an obsession with romantic relationships in a work that was never intended to be a romance. Related to the Culture Alien, they're the kind of person who, instead of criticizing the tacked-on romantic subplot, criticize the alien invasion for getting in the way of the sideplot, and when called on it they refuse to take "It's not a soap opera" for an answer. They will pitch a fit - possibly even flounce from fandom - if their One True Pairing is jossed. They may be a fanatical fan of one character or one pairing, or they may just have an uncontrollable desire to Pair the Spares - or just the entire goddamn cast with little logical reason. They take crack pairings seriously and will never shut up about it. Either way, there is no situation where romance is too frivolous, inappropriate, or downright creepy for them.A fan of romance to the exclusion of all else (in non-romance genres).
Similar to the Theocrat below, the Mad Scholar places too much emphasis on the overall importance of canon and the Word of God, and will dismiss Fanon as being unacceptable. Where they differ is that while the Theocrat only views that which Word of God has declared as being 'true', the Mad Scholar demands that everything in the story fits together neatly and that every loose end is tied up. They hate ambiguity and consequently demand that every single Noodle Incident, Cryptic Background Reference and throwaway In-Joke or backstory reference have an official Word of God explanation and / or eventually be shown on screen in precise detail no matter how redundant or boring this would be to watch, and complains loudly if it isn't. It's almost as if they're keeping detailed charts or spreadsheets of what's happening in the narrative and insists that everything be filled in. This fan can often be heard erroneously complaining about 'Plot Holes'; the difference is that while a genuine plot hole is a failure in story-logic that can be annoying and intrusive to the point where it ruins the work, what the Mad Scholar often complains about is either supposed to be ambiguous and left up to the reader's imagination without explanation, or is so mind-bogglingly unimportant to the overall narrative that it doesn't matter if it's not explained or shown. The typical stereotype of this fan is the person who can be found at conventions insistently demanding that the creator answer every single question he has about every arcane little detail of the story in detail, no matter how trivial or ridiculous.A fan who demands that every gap or ambiguity in canon be explained, even if it was supposed to be ambiguous.
This fan has an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, believing that certain works are aimed only towards members of his demographic. While it is true that certain works are, in fact, marketed towards specific demographics, the Mainstream Militant will insist that this means members of other demographics are not allowed to enjoy those works. He'll typically act as if those fans who fall outside the target demographic somehow "cheapen" his own enjoyment of those works. He will make it known loud and clear that such fans are undeserving, and will attempt to run them out of the fandom. Often Suffers Newbies Poorly.Someone who only sees fans as those within the demographic of the show and thinks that "outsiders" are not allowed to like the show.
The Old Timer has been around for a very long time, maybe even since the beginning, and they're not going to let you forget it. They have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, but it's based on how much time they've invested rather than money, or devotion. Because they've stuck with it over the years, they believe that they're far more important to the franchise than these kids and "Johnny-come-latelys" who have only just arrived, and resent the show changing in any way to include them. They view the franchise through a sharp Nostalgia Filter; the show is never as good as it used to be, and any criticisms raised of the show at / before this point will be viciously rebuffed. Long Runners especially will attract Old Timers who will resent and attempt to get rid of younger fans who had the misfortune of being born after they were. It can also happen to works that are no longer in production (classics) — but still manages to attract younger fans. Essentially, they're the grumpy old men of the fandom constantly complaining about the good old days and shouting at the "young whippersnappers" to "get off their lawn", saying that they're too young to deserve it. Very commonly they may be found complaining about something that back in their day was a problem...yet they complain at the lack of it now, acting like those adults who make better lives for their children yet say "back in my day we...and we liked it." Or alternatively, if a show (or media) tries to get some newer fans, they complain about people who are not true fans and act like a five year old upset that their newborn baby sibling is getting more attention than they are.A fan who feels entitled to special treatment because "I was here first!". Frequently suffers from Nostalgia Filter and They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
The Perfectionist is consumed with a particular means of enjoying the product; there is only one correct way to play this game, or listen to this music, or watch this film, and that's his way. Many times, the Perfectionist will claim an update makes a product inferior because it deviates from their accepted metagame, bonus points for products when the Metagame tended to be based around exploitation of glitches, shortcomings in the game engine, or exploiting loopholes in the rules. Very commonly they scorn newcomers for changing the present community and try to chase them out.A fan who has a preferred way to experience a work and doesn't enjoy it otherwise.
A fan who has an idealised vision of what the show should be and isn't going to let anything or anyone affect or change that vision... not even the show itself. They tend to react to any changes made in the show's format with hostility and suspicion. Although often a fan who's been burned by Adaptation Decay, Seasonal Rot, or obvious merchandise pandering gone wrong, some just simply don't like change and respond to it with pram-shaking tantrums. They usually also hate non-canon entries in a work simply for...well, not being canon.A fan who has a strict and unchangeable vision of the show and will react badly to any changes outside of this vision.
This fan thinks that money equals control; having pumped a crapload of money into merchandise related to the fandom, they believe that they now own the fandom and that all creative and executive decisions must be run through them first. This tends to translate to an insanely overdeveloped sense of entitlement; the producers must bow to his every wish, regardless of how impractical or impossible this would be. He is prone to gloating over / complaining about the amount of money he has invested the fandom, with the idea that no one has forced him or continues to force him to buy every single piece of merchandise apparently not occurring to him. Whenever exclusive sweepstakes or promotional events happen, you can bet your bottom that King Customer may be the first one complaining how it should be available to everyone, which may be justified in certain cases, but not for stuff like Collectors Editions or tours. This is the same type of person who will attempt to fight a speeding ticket with the line "My taxes pay your salary!"A fan who feels entitled to special treatment and priority because he owns lots of merchandise from the show.
The Snowflake Aversion
A fan who claims they're better because they're TOTALLY NOTHING LIKE all those other petty Fan Dumbs. Maybe a subversion if they actually are exactly like the buffoons in the fanbase; but the constant attention-begging can still get obnoxious even when the stay true to there word. Will go great lengths to express their superiority, to the point they may or may not only be there just to prove their one-of-a-kind amazing-ness.A fan who claims they're better because they're TOTALLY NOTHING LIKE all those other petty Fan Dumbs.
This fan might express what is a healthy amount of criticism... but ignores the chain of decay, middle management and all those who contribute to decision-making as an explanation to why things go poorly, instead preferring to focus their ire on an easily-named and recognized target regardless of what their involvement in this might have actually been. This target then becomes the subject of blame for all of the things that go wrong with the show, regardless of whether they can reasonably be blamed for it or not. Furthermore, any failings or missteps are subsequently treated not as human error or the kind of slip-ups that any creative may encounter from time to time, but evidence that their target is out to spite them personally. An extreme version of the Strawstuffer can risk becoming the Tinfoil Hatter, a more paranoid and tragic creature. Like the Strawstuffer, the Tinfoil Hatter ignores Creative Differences or apathy to figure out why things occur. However, they instead believe that everything they don't like is evidence that the creators are out to intentionally and personally attack them. Reasonably or not, they see slights and attacks everywhere, and blame everything on a vitriolic creator who has a personal vendetta against them. This extends to intentional deconstructions of their favourite plots and characters, Creator Breakdowns and characters (especially those the fan identifies with) presented as less than ideal or in an unconventional way. Tinfoilers are usually involved in Periphery Demographics and, more tellingly, Misaimed Fandoms.A fan who hates someone or something for ruining the show, despite it not being responsible.
A fan who takes Word of God to its logical extreme. While some fans take the Death of the Author and Fanon Discontinuity concepts too far and call out the creator for things in canon they don't like, some fans simply like to dabble in the occasional bit of Fanon Discontinuity or perhaps pen an Alternate Universe Fic. This is something which does not sit well with the Theocrat, who will demand that each and every "true fan" adhere to Word of God to the letter. Things such as expressing support for a non-canon couple or casually stating that you don't consider a statement a creator made at a convention about a plot point in the series finale to be part of your personal canon will get you stoned or burned at the stake by these fans, and if you dare write a fanfic that deviates from canon even a tiny bit, expect this fan to bombard you with flames in your review section or endlessly nitpick "what you got wrong", even if the fic itself is well-written and compelling. They might even go so far as to flame you for speculation on the series that later gets Jossed, demanding that you go back and delete your own posts if later story revelations contradict what you wrote.A fan who expects everyone to adhere to Word of God to the exact letter (even in media where canon is kept ambiguous).
"Fandom — love it or leave it!" Usually a supportive variant, this fan gets a bit too confrontational when it comes to criticism of the object of their fandom. Regardless of how mild or gentle the criticism. Regardless of how valid or reasonable the criticism. Regardless, in some cases, of how even the Word of God may agree with the criticism. They feel that anyone who considers a work flawed is nothing more than a Troll or a misguided fanboy and they need to be set straight and see the work is perfectly fine. The minute someone doesn't like something in a work or finds something in the work that bugs them, you can bet that the Misplaced Champion will show up like lightning and try their hardest to squash these criticisms simply because (in their mind) the work is just so good that there cannot be any legitimate criticism for it. The number one culprits of Complaining about People Not Liking the Show, tied with the Willfully Blind; a common line of argument is something along the lines of "why don't you go and watch something else if you hate [the show] so much?", even if the critic has made perfectly clear that they don't hate the show at all.A self-appointed guardian who will defend their precious work or fandom from any criticism and any "haters", even constructive criticism or fans who don't like a certain aspect.
This type of fan is someone who complains about a flaw or something in the work, only to, when it's remedied, find something else to complain about, pull one of the It Sucks cards on it, or, simply insist that the improved version or a sequel that fixes the flaws is "not a true entry" because it fixed the flaw(s). This form of Fan Dumb is so prevalent that it got its very own trope - see Unpleasable Fanbase. Especially commonly overlaps with the Old Timer.A fan who always finds something to complain about and is rarely content.
This fan refuses to see any faults in the object of his love at all, even if they're staring him right in the face. Tends to go beyond merely liking something to an irrational state of mind where, because he likes something, that means that it cannot possibly have any faults at all. They also will not realize how other people could possibly not like it, and will likewise tell them they're worthless for not finding it the best thing since sliced bread even though this mentality can lead to massive Hype Backlash. The Willfully Blind is fond of the Quality by Popular Vote and Reviews Are The Gospel lines of argument, often insistently referring to reviews, ratings or sales figures to support this assertion. If they encounter evidence of a flaw that even they cannot ignore, they are then prone to rationalize it away with the excuse that "it's still better than everything else" or "The rest will make up for it". When encountered here on TV Tropes, these tend to be fond of chalking any and all criticisms up to an alleged unpleasable fanbase, as if that automatically invalidates them.A fan who insists their favorite work is flawless and perfect and anyone else who says otherwise is WRONG.