Fandom Berserk Button

aka: Nerd Rage

In every community for every series, there are common mistakes. Someone could use the wrong spelling of a character's name, or think that the title referred to the main character, or insist on spreading a rumor about the plot until everyone believes it.

To certain fans, this can get annoying. Enough that people that continue to perpetuate it are treated with the same respect as a Troll, although many times they merely made an honest mistake. As the following examples demonstrate, however, many other times the purists are not railing against mistakes, but against things which are not technically wrong, such as dub names, simply because they happened to dislike the alternate adaptation.

See Also: Cowboy Bebop at His Computer, Fandom Heresy, I Am Not Shazam, Internet Backdraft, Refrain from Assuming, Serious Business, and Flame Bait.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • There's sometimes confusion about whether it's Watchmen or "The Watchmen". This provoked a lot of fan-rage when the movie came out, especially because "watchmen" was an Arc Word in the comic, and became the name of a superhero team in the movie. (In the comic, Captain Metropolis's team is called "The Crimebusters")
  • Spider-Man's title gets this a lot. As Friends helpfully explains:
    Phoebe: "Why isn't it 'Spiderman'? You know, like Goldman, Silverman?"
    Chandler: "Because it's not his last name."
    Phoebe: "It isn't?"
    Chandler: "No, it's not like he's Phil Spiderman. He's a SPIDER MAN. You know, like 'Goldman' is a last name, but there's no 'Gold-man'."
    • It should be noted that in this scene it is a matter of pronunciation (Phoebe wonders why it isn't pronounced "Spiderm'n" in the way "Silverman" is pronounced "Silverm'n"), not of spelling the name with or without a hyphen (it also would have applied e. g. to the names "Superman" and "Batman"). However, most Spider-Man fans, taking the cue from Stan Lee, will complain if you spell the name of the hero as one hyphen-less word. In fact, Stan Lee added the hyphen to set Spidey apart from Superman et al. This isn't helped by the fact that "Spiderman" is the actual name of the official newspaper comic.
  • This sometimes happens regarding Lex Luthor's name in Superman media, particularly Justice League Unlimited. A talk show host interviewing Luthor, who happens to be running for President at the time, pronounces it Luther, while in another episode Superman gets it right by forcing the 'thor' part.
  • Making character calls about the modern versions of DC superheroes by using evidence from before Crisis on Infinite Earths (unless you're talking about a large number of specific characters who died during/weren't rewritten by the event) is a great way to get everyone on the forum to laugh their asses off. Also, mixing up which of said rewritten characters had their pasts completely wiped, which ones were rebooted in a modern setting, and which ones had their continuity subjected to Broad Strokes, and how broad those strokes are for each character and each past event, will earn you just as much ridicule. Yes, keeping up with comic continuity is widely known to be a bitch, but this is widely considered basic knowledge that comes right after figuring out which characters belong to Marvel and which to DC.
  • In general for DC comics, mixing up characters. Many different people have gone by the same superhero, though in general movies and cartoons stick to one character (for example Dick Grayson is almost always Robin).
  • Batman has Ra's Al Ghul. His name was originally meant to be pronounced 'Raesh', this from Denny O'Neil who did his research (his daughter asked her college professor). In Batman Begins it's pronounced 'Rahs' or 'Roz'. Pronouncing it in any way other than 'Raesh' will attract much ire from the fans. Nolan was (falsely) accused of racism for allegedly making everyone deliberately mispronounce the name because he didn't want the original Arabic pronounciation in his movie.
    • This is lampshaded in Batman Beyond, where Terry pronounces Ra's as 'Rahs' only to be corrected by Talia.
  • In any incarnation of the X-Men, misspelling "Rogue" as "Rouge".
  • In regards to Mirage Comics-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or the early IDW issues), asking why all of the Turtles are wearing red, or "why they're all Raph", or any indication that their original bandana color is weird and foreign.
    • Likewise, mixing up the Turtles' names, or calling something that's not even one of their names ("Galileo", "Yoda", etc.)
    • One's preference for or against Venus, the female Turtle from the short-lived live-action series, is also a way to set off loaded guns in any given room/board of Turtles fans.
    • Raph and Mikey tend to get their shortened names spelled wrong - as "Ralph" and "Mickey".
  • For Wonder Woman fans, WW or the Amazons being depicted as Straw Feminists. Also, the Amazons getting massacred, yet again. The lack of adaptations involving Wonder Woman is an incredibly sore topic since at least the mid 90s. It doesn't help that every other hero - from Green Lantern to the Flash - seem to be getting adaptations.
  • A general one for DC Comics fans, but a major one for fans of the character himself is to call Aquaman useless.
  • "So why doesn't Batman just kill The Joker?" This has been such a sticky subject for fans that comic writers and even the Batman: Arkham Series has adapted this topic.
    • Similarly, "isn't Batman just as crazy as his villains?"
  • For fans of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, featuring Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, particularly old-school fans of Carl Barks' work: Referring to the comics as "DuckTales comics" or primarily associating characters like Scrooge, Gyro or the Beagle Boys with DuckTales is a sure recipe for a fan rant.
  • Want to piss off Marvel Comics fans, especially Ant-Man fans? Call Hank Pym a wifebeater. Given how grossly such a statement oversimplifies the incident in question and the fact that neither the writers nor the Hate Dumb ever shut up about it, this is rather understandable.
    • Similar to the Aquaman example above, saying that Ant-Man is a loser with lame powers is a good way to piss Marvel fans off. The guy has spent over 30 years proving that he's badass enough to be an Avenger and "Ant-Man sucks" jokes stopped being funny to fans 20 years ago.

    Computing 
  • Calling a Mac a "MAC" will earn you the ire of Apple fans and network engineers.note  Same with calling the iPod "IPOD," "I-POD," or "Ipod."
    • Apple never made a product called the "iTouch" what you're looking for is "iPod Touch". Call it the former and any Apple fan will be ready to correct you.
    • In an episode of House, "Coma Guy" (a man who had been in, well, a coma for a long time) once picked up Wilson's and said "What's this? It says Ip-Odd."
    • Don't call the company "Mac" or say "Mac" when you meant to say "Apple" (Ex: Calling an Apple Store "The Mac Store"). The Mac is a product of a company called Apple.
  • Among programmers, making a Perl/PERL/PEARL/Pearl/perl mistakenote  can lead to someone losing all credibility. In general, the capitalization thing for computer language names can get sticky. Especially for older languages, which had a tendency to start life as all caps abbreviations and then become mixed case in later standardization efforts. LISP ("LISt Processing") and FORTRAN ("FORmula TRANslating System") are now just Lisp and Fortran.
    • Claiming to be proficient in the 'C/C++ language' is a good way to persuade other developers that you have no more than a passing familiarity with at least one of the two. While the languages are legitimately similar, they exhibit very different styles, tend not to get used in the same areas, and have one heck of a Fandom Rivalry.
  • The editor of one early (late 1970s) British computer magazine persistently claimed that the difference between compilers and interpreters was "academic", even in the face of corrections from knowledgeable readers, until one month he learned the hard way just how wrong he was, by wasting three pages of the mag on a worthless hex-dump of the workspace of a BASIC interpreter. The mag didn't last very much longer after that issue.
  • Any real-life incident where a tech support person gets a call that starts out with "We bought the internet from you", "Is this the internet?", "I think I need to reboot the internet", "I deleted the internet" will lead to vicious mocking. Ditto referring to "the hard drive" when you meant the whole computer (as in "Should I take my hard drive for repairs?") Similarly if asked which browser they're using someone replies with the name of the ISP.
    • Or worse, the opposite. If the customer, when asked who their ISP is, responds with "Internet Explorer" you know it's going to be a very long day.
    • For a very long while, customers repeatedly referred to the computer "tower" (that is, the computer itself) as the "modem".
  • If you wish to communicate with people in the Free Software Foundation, or Debian users, make sure to call the use of the Linux kernel with the GNU userland tools: GNU/Linux. Most people don't care, but there are a few that are very serious about it.
    • Be very careful about who you talk to. Most other distros' users will get a bit irritated with you if you call the overall operating system GNU/Linux. Some Debian users do too. For further clarification this goes back to a very old argument between Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman over who should get credit for free operating systems.
    • For some people this is enough of an annoyance that there have been serious proposals to actually excise the GNU userland tools from some mainstream distros, notably Gentoo. In practice doing this would be a lot of work just to introduce a bunch of compatibility problems, but at least people would shut up about it.
  • Call Microcomputers such as the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and the Amiga "PCs" in front of Microcomputer fans.
  • It's the Xbox. It's just one word, normally capitalized. Not XBox, XBOX, X-box, X-Box, or xBox. The name comes from Direct X; When Microsoft was creating it, it was codenamed the Direct X Box, or DirectXbox, and when they were trying to come up with a cool name for it, someone realized "Why don't we just use it as it is?"
  • Google's smartphone OS is called Android, not Droid. (Droid is a hardware branding for Android-based devices from Verizon Wireless)
    • If you have friends who are Android enthusiasts, do not mention that your phone isn't rootednote  or you'll be dismissed as being tech-illiterate. You might get away with it if you're a Google employee, but in all other cases, prepare the heatproof shields.
  • The basis of the GUI on Unix and similar operating systems (with the exception of Mac OS X, which can use it but primarily uses Quartz) is the X Window System, X, or X11 (after what has been the current major version for some timenote ; the Mac implementation is known as X11.app, for example), not X Windows.
  • The argument between binary-based definitions of "kilobyte", "megabyte" and "gigabyte" (etc.) and those arguing for decimal-based versions. Computers use binary (base-2), so powers of 2 (e.g. 1024 = 2^10) are a more natural fit than powers of 10 (e.g. 1000 = 10^3). As a result, the definition of a 1024 (not 1000) byte "kilo"-byte and a 1024*1024 (not 1000*1000) byte "mega"-byte became commonly-accepted (if not entirely universal). However, some argue that such use of the prefixes is nonstandard, and in 1996 the SI standardised on 1000-based definitions, using the alternate "kibibyte", "mebibyte", "gibibyte", etc. for the 1024-based versions. Others have argued that this went against existing convention, and the argument goes on...
  • Find a new thread with no replies on a forum, any forum, and reply "First." Regardless of that thread's original topic, it will decay into a thread dedicated to insulting you and reminding you it isn't 4Chan.
    • This will even get you flamed to oblivion on 4Chan, who equate it to a "bump"note 
  • Similar to the above example, slapping "Le" in front of a meme on any website that isn't Reddit and you will drive the other users into a frenzy of insults, rage, and mockery.
    • Now on Reddit, the users will descend into the same when you use "Le".
  • Referring to the Nook, the e-reader device Barnes & Noble manufacture, as a "Kindle", the rival device made by Amazon, is a perennial one for its employees. Same applies to calling an Android tablet an "iPad".

    Fanfiction 
  • Having a non-British character refer to their mother as "Mum" will anger a lot of people as well the inverse (e.g. seeing "Mom" in a Harry Potter fanfic)
  • Spelling a major character's name wrong is probably the worst sin a fanfiction can make according to some people and can ruin a well-written story.
  • Crossing over a franchise into ponies with a fanfic is a pretty good way to end up with some flak at some point or another from a rabid fan. Sometimes even the mention of the show can cause a flamewar to erupt, if you aren't careful.
  • Don't base customs of any institution set in another country or world on how things are in your own country. For example, summer vacation in Japan is much shorter than in America and does not coincide with the interlude between school years. The latter takes place exclusively within March, and graduation ceremonies are held in April.
    • This holds also true for holidays and traditions associated with it. July 4th isn't a holiday in the UK and Germany's thanksgiving is on a different date and celebrated differently and so on.

    Fashion 

    Films — Animated 
  • Just go on any board where anyone is talking about Coraline and refer to it as a Tim Burton movie... But arguably not their fault, considering that all of the advertising proclaimed "From Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas", which many people also think Burton directed, but he actually only produced and worked on the story for.
  • Mistaking a CGI Disney film like Wreck-It Ralph or Bolt for a Disney-Pixar film is not wise around animation fans.
    • Also, do NOT refer to Pixar films as "Disney films" around Pixar fans. Their movies are considered a separate group of movies from Disney's.
    • In particular, Planes is a spinoff created by Disney Toon Studios (mostly known for their direct-to-video sequels, prequels and midquels) and is not a Pixar movie - but it doesn't stop many people from mistakenly blaming Pixar for it.
  • Anastasia is not a Disney movie.
    • Though there is a Disney character named Anastasia.
  • Call a Don Bluth movie a Disney movie when there are Don Bluth fans around. You'll be sure to irk someone. Granted, Bluth did work at Disney for a time in the '70s (and he also worked on the Disney short The Small One).
  • Calling all animated films as only for little kids is sure to spark some kind of backlash, as plenty of animated films are rather mature. It is a medium, not a genre after all. Calling The Lion King a little kid's film that nobody should cry at is a surefire way to elicit a reaction along the lines of "Have you even seen the film?".
  • Don't call Elsa from Frozen "Princess Elsa". Aside from the beginning of the film where she is a princess (though never referred to as such), she is referred to as Queen Elsa, and making the mistake of calling her "Princess" will cause backlash.
    • Don't call her a villain either. Yes, she was originally written as one and maybe some of her actions are questionable, even if they're accidents, but the fandom will not take kindly to Elsa being called a villain.
    • Confusing her with Rosalina isn't a good idea either.
    • An easy way to get a rise out of Frozen fans is to say Anna is a ripoff of Rapunzel and Disney can't design female characters anymore. Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6 faces similar debates.
    • Merely suggesting that you think Hans isn't all that bad, or at least has redeemable qualities, will send many members of the fandom into a tizzy. This has caused quite a rift between his fans and the rest of the Frozen fandom.
  • Kung Fu Panda fans can get pretty heated over shipping Po and Tigress and are likely to rip you a new one if you dare say you don't support the pairing.
    • Stating an opinion on who you thought the best Big Bad was is also not recommended.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From the Star Wars fandom:
    • The weapons used by Jedi and Sith in the Star Wars movies are called lightsabersnote , not laser swords, not laser blades, and certainly not "lightsabres".
    • On that note, do not call Darth Vader "Dark" Vader unless you want to earn the ire of fans.
    • If you post to forums, it's adviseable to avoid spelling the name of Chewbacca's species, the Wookiees, with only one one e.
    • Never call Star Wars "Star Trek".
  • James Cameron's Avatar:
    • An "avatar" is a transgenic half-breed telepathically controlled by a human. Go to any collective forum for this movie and call any one person in the film Avatar, or call the Na'vi "Avatars", or ask what this has to do with Avatar: The Last Airbender, and chances are you'll get a front row seat to a Flame War. The same goes for referring to the Na'vi (meaning The People) as 'Na'vis' (technically, 'the Na'vi' is Department of Redundancy Department if you go by a literal translation, but ignored for practicality since it also refers to them in a species context). Other mangling of names cause annoyance, such as 'Navi', 'Ney'tiri'/'Neyti'ri' or other omissions or addition of apostrophes. Calling ikran/toruk 'dragons' will cause a lot of annoyance, especially since if you don't want to use the actual name, there are even convenient English versions, and can be considered particularly egregious due to the obvious fact that they are not.
      • Presumably they also wouldn't like it if you pointed out that an avatar is a virtual representation (in this context, not the Hindu one). A corporeal representation... is called a waldo, after an early example in a Robert A. Heinlein story. That wouldn't look nearly as cool on the poster over the Na'vi eyes, though.
    • Examples other than words include the depressingly common complete misunderstanding of what tsaheylu is (likely perpetuated by a certain flash animation). Other misconceptions include some people who claim that either the floating mountains can't exist, claim that Pandora's magnetic field would kill a human, or that there is no oxygen on Pandora.
  • Mission: Impossible fans are completely divided from each other, and if you ever bring up the subject of Jim Phelps, you will never hear the end of it.
  • Godzilla fans are funny. Though they aren't likely to flame you for the names you use, the use of Japanese names is sort of a status symbol. So a "real" fan calls Godzilla "Gojira" or "Goji" for short. This gets silly when the name in question was actually in English, but the fans insist on spelling it the way it's pronounced in Japan (Spacegodzilla vs. Supeisugojira, or the Super X vs. the Supaa X [or Supaa Ekusu).
    • Refer to Mecha-Godzilla as "Kiryu" in front of American fans. It will cause a huge debate about which one is which (There were several Mecha-Godzillas, and only one of them was nicknamed Kiryu), which will only be made worse by fans who despise the name Kiryu and prefer Mecha-Godzilla.
      • Even worse is when you refer to Mechagodzilla in general as a "cyborg". Only two of the four Mechagodzilla versions have been cyborgs, those being MG'75 and Kiryu, and even then only Kiryu is a true cyborg (that being a machine with organic components, like Kiryu is, whilst MG'75 is a robot with it's control systems implanted into a organic body). Likewise, calling the Heisei-era Mechagodzilla "Super-Mechagodzilla" is another way to get corrected ("Super-Mechagodzilla", for clarification, is only used to reffer to the combined form of Heisei Mechagodzilla and Garuda, and not applicable to just MG alone). Reffering to a particular Mechagodzilla incorrectly (eg: "Mechagodzilla 2" instead of "Heisei Mechagodzilla", or "Mechagodzilla 3" instead of "Kiryu") is also a good way to get the fans on you.
    • Even among the more tolerant fans who allow American pronunciations, that mutant iguana from '98 is Zilla, now that the Japanese movies have used him. Before that, he was G.I.N.O.
      • Saying that Godzilla (2014) is a remake of the 1998 film doesn't sit well with Godzilla fans. Same thing goes for when journalists or critics say that the '98 film was "the last Godzilla film" until this one, out of apparent ignorance of Godzilla Final Wars and the rest of the Millennium series.
      • Calling the Shodai-Jira (that being the Zilla from G'98) by the name "Ameri-Goji", "American Godzilla" or, if you really want to piss them off, just "Godzilla" is sure to net you a fair amount of correction. Especially now, since the names "Ameri-Goji" and "American Godzilla" are being applied to the Legendary Pictures version, and not Zilla. And calling Shodai-Jira by the name "Godzilla" will net you quite a bit of reminders of the legally official name change that happened in the early 2000's, when Tri-Star lost the rights to Godzilla. However, calling him "Godzilla-USA" is not considered drastically wrong, since that washis name in Godzilla: Generations, a Toho-produced Dreamcast game that was released the same year the "remake" was.
    • What makes this all particularly odd is that "Gojira", with correct Japanese pronunciation, sounds more like "God-zill-a" than "Go-jeer-a".
  • Smith, the main villain in the second and third Matrix films, is an Agent only in the first movie, and his entire existence in the second and third revolves entirely around the fact that he is not an Agent anymore. Some in the Matrix community will unplug you if you call him an Agent in the context of the latter two films.
  • To the fanbase of the Underworld series of movies, particularly every single person who knows anything about mythology, it is Lycanthrope. The term "Lycan" is a clear shortening of the scientific name for the disease/curse (or rather the real world symptoms that mimic it), designed to be a slang insult to the species (at least until the prequel, at which point they tossed out their own sense).
  • Granted, fans of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tend to be a bit more tolerant than most, because they know that it's not exactly faithful to the source material (which isn't faithful to its own source material, either, so we can be forgiving). However, there are some no-nos even here, chiefly in character name spelling. It's Dorian Gray, not Darien Grey or any other permutation. It's Jekyll, not Jekall or Jekil or (heaven forbid) Jekkie.
  • Referring to Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as "Dracula's Theme" around either music fans or horror franchise fans will make you seem like a moron. It hasn't even been used in a Dracula movie. Although it has been used in some cuts of the 1925 Phantom of the Opera and in The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
  • Using the suffix -ception to imply a thing inside a thing inside a thing is certain to get you a scolding if you go into the bad parts of the Inception fandom. Or pretty much anywhere- that meme's been tired for a while now.
    • In the film, Inception is used for the idea of planting a thought in someones head, not the dream inside a dream inside a dream.
  • Tim Burton created a giant case of Broken Base with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Just mention that movie to fans of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and watch the fireworks. Even among those who like both movies, don't even try to say that Johnny Depp made a better Willy Wonka (especially if you're talking to the first film's star Gene Wilder, who does not care for the Depp version). The other side of the spectrum is generally a bit calmer and more reasonable, but the Burton movie is not a remake and most certainly NOT a ripoff - and don't you dare call it that. The scriptwriter hadn't even seen the old movie, and it was a fresh adaptation of the original novel (albeit with a few of the same departures from the book). And if you aren't aware that there was a novel you will be laughed at by both sections of the fandom. Then there are the literary purists that claim the book is the only true way to experience the story. All in all, this is one heck of a mess.
  • Go up to a fan of The Wild Wild West and tell him/her you thought The Movie was fantastic. But make sure to put your affairs in order first.
  • If there's one way to annoy any Back to the Future fan, it's getting the date that Marty and Doc travelled to in the future in Part II wrong, which is October 21st, 2015. This isn't fans being petty, rather the result of an Urban Legend of Zelda that has gotten ridiculously out-of-hand. Once real-life history got into the decade of the 2010s, pretty much every year there has been a picture claiming that that particular day is the day they went to in the future (with the date being photoshopped to the current date). This has been taken Up to Eleven with Tumblr pages such as these, which are dedicated to photoshopping the date every single day. And people STILL fall for it.
  • In some circles of fans, referring to the main character of Pirates of the Caribbean as Jack Sparrow rather than CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow will net you an angry chew out and a lengthy lecture.
  • As Lily James, who portrays the title character in Cinderella, learned the hard way when tweeting about the film's Japanese premiere, even if you're in Japan, it's "Cinderella", not "Shinderera".

    History 
  • Simplifying basically any event in history for whatever means will usually get you flamed by history enthusiasts, especially those in the know. Expect the flames to be white-hot if you have an agenda behind giving half-informed history info as "fact."
  • Confusing any of the major Central-and-South American empires with one another will probably result in a history aficionado doing their best impression of the infamous "tearing the still-beating heart from the chest" blood ritual on you.
  • When talking about Scottish history to a learned person, do not bring up Braveheart in any context other than a negative one. Then everyone can have a nice eye-rolling session and move on with the discussion.
  • Don't deny the Holocaust happened. Just don't do it. People will hate you, and they'll be right to hate you.
  • Also, do not claim World War Two was won by your country only and the other Allies were just a sideshow, no matter what country you live in. This berserk button keeps being pushed by Americans and Russians alike, but Russians and other post-Soviets have it worse: The USSR was first allied with the Third Reich since 1939, conquered half of Central Europe, before being forced to switch sides in 1941, and fighting against the Reich for the remainder of the war. It should be emphasized that the Eastern Front became the largest meat grinder in history of war.
  • Say either British North America or the United States won the war of 1812 and you'll start a complete havoc between history buffs attacking you for simplifying the event and from sensitive patriotic folks unwilling to accept that their country lost the conflict. If you're really eager to anger some people, insinuate that it (or any part of the American Revolutionary War) was nothing more than a proxy war between Britain and France and the arguing will go nuclear.
  • US history, 1860-1865 (from the secession of South Carolina to Appomattox). By now you can probably get away with calling it "the American Civil War" and be fairly confident that anyone who "corrects" you is a nutjob or pretending to be (alternatives include "The War Between the States" which, while pro-Confederate, is semi-neutral and "The War of Northern Aggression" and "Treason in Defence of Slavery", which are unabashedly partisan). If you say that it was about slavery (or, alternatively, that it was about "States' Rights"), you should still be prepared for arguments even a century and a half later.

    Literature 
  • In one series of Harry Turtledove books (known, alternatively, as TL-191 or the Southern Victory series), a Confederacy that survives into the 20th century is taken over by the dictator Jake Featherston, who is a Hitler analog. For some reason, people insist on misspelling it as "Featherstone". This really pisses off fans, but what really got people mad was when the misspelling appeared on the freakin' dustjacket of one of the books.
  • Referring to any of the books of the Inheritance Cycle as a "brick" can actually get you in trouble with the staff in some quarters. But in other places, even on fansites, the staff call them "bricks" too, but used as a term of affection rather than, well, ridicule and scorn.
    • Because of this, haters of the series refer to them as 'bricks' wherever possible.
  • Older Than Radio: In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Victor Frankenstein constructs and brings to life his Creature or, if you prefer, Monster. The Creature itself is never named. Thanks to many films, comics and stage plays running the whole gamut of quality, people have been using the term "Frankenstein" to refer to his Creature (and being criticized for it) since the 19th century.
    • To the point that using "Frankenstein" without clarifying immediately makes people think that you're erroneously referring to the monster! For example, Monster High got called out on this when it first came out and still does, even though Frankie is the child of Doctor Frankenstein.
  • Some fans of that lady who wrote the Pern books are rather grumpy about "McCaffery", probably because her last name is "McCaffrey".
  • Similarly, some fans of J. R. R. Tolkien are grumpy about spelling his surname "Tolkein" or pronouncing it 'Tol-kin', 'Tol-kyen' or 'Tolky-yen' rather than "Tol-Keen". And even spelling "Middle-earth" as "Middle-Earth" in extreme cases.
    • Referring to The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy.
    • Whenever someone mispronounces Smaug's name, usually gets this reaction. The correct way is "sm-ow-g", not "smog". Ditto Sauron (first syllable rhymes with "sour," not "soar") or any proper name beginning with the letter C (always a hard-c or "k" sound, never a soft-c or "s" sound), e.g. Cirdan, Celebrimbor, etc.
    • Whatever you do, do not suggest you enjoyed the movies better, or that you don't like the more florid prose and poetic dialogue Tolkien used. Absolutely don't mention that you only read the books after seeing the movies, and fear for your life if you mention that you've only seen the movies. Perhaps it's best if you say nothing at all of the movies, Peregrin Took.
  • Many of the fans of the Warrior Cats series will scream (or at least groan) should you make the mistake of not capitalizing the word "Clan". There are four Clans (five if you count SkyClan). The main characters are in ThunderClan. Their ancestors are StarClan. And don't you dare suggest otherwise. Perhaps justified in that this is pounded into your brain for over twenty books, and not bothering with grammar rules automatically gets you labeled as an idiot on the major forum.
    • Not to mention capitalizing the second part of a cat's name, it's Firestar, not Fire"Star"
    • Tread carefully aroumd Hollyleaf and Ashfur.
  • In the world of Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark, if your snarknote  happens to be a boojum, "you will softly and suddenly vanish away, and never be met with again." Not "softly and silently". This did cause arguments way back then, with one fan, Snarkophilius Snobbs, becoming infamous for persisting with this misquote.
    • In the presence of hardcore Carrollians, never refer to the Hatter as the Mad Hatter, or to the Jabberwock as the Jabberwocky.
    • Even more than the above, though, for the love of life don't claim Carroll was a pedophile, repressed or otherwise. Or on drugs. Given the nature of most Carrollians, though, you're less likely to get flamed and more likely to be firmly sat down for a Wall of Text essay on how whichever myth you claimed as truth came to be, and a healthy helping of evidence debunking it.
    • The above also applies to J.M. Barrie, who has been on the record as Not A Pedophile since around the time of his death.
  • Harry Potter fandom is large and diverse enough that almost anything is acceptable in some circles, but in general the following rules hold:
    • Electric technology at Hogwarts isn't permissible in any dose. Things that work electronically, like anything that runs on batteries, do not work. Things that work mechanically, such as Harry's watch, do work.
    • Hermione's name is Hermione. Unless you're Grawp or Viktor. There are absolutely no other exceptions. "Hermy" is an elf from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • The eponymous entity in the Cthulhu Mythos has a name that will never have an agreed pronunciation (especially since Lovecraft himself used no fewer than three different pronunciations depending on when you asked him, and even then he insisted that these were merely about as close as a human mouth could get to the real pronunciation), and each pronunciation has a following that will ridicule and shun those who pronounce it differently.
    • Even worse are the discussions in fandom what the Elder Sign looks like - a star or a tree. Problem is that in different stories it is described as either. Mocked in the musical A Shoggoth On The Roof where in the opening a fight breaks out over this question. 'Star!' - 'Tree!' - 'Star!' - 'Tree!'...
  • P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves is a valet, not a butler. Not that you can exactly be blamed for making the mistake, since it even occurs on book jackets.
  • Ahem, sparkly vampires in Twilight.
    • Unless you're on a fan site (or at least somewhere that has fans to back you up) it's probably for the best that you don't mention being a fan of the series due to its very vocal Hatedom and fan haters. Even if you're not an obsessive fangirl/fanboy, a good chunk of haters will view you as one.
    • Insulting the franchise, whether or not it's opinion-based, is Nutty Madam's berserk button. She will flip if anything critical is said against it and will fire back any insults she can. Calling out Stephen King is what made her infamous on YouTube.
  • While not likely to get you flamed, referring to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series as "Game of Thrones" (the title of the HBO show based on the series which takes its name from the first book) is a good indicator of what kind of fan you are.
    • Also, don't refer to Asha as Yara unless you want to be laughed at.
    • Jon as John. Robb as Rob. Grey Wind as Greywind. Shaggydog as Shaggy Dog. Dany as Danny or Dani. Daenerys as Danaerys.
      • Calling Daenerys "Khaleesi" like it's her name rather than her title.
  • Don Rumata from Hard to Be a God is not a Progressor, and don't refer to him as a Progressor in the presence of Strugatsky Brothers fan.
  • In general: Whenever a popular book gets a movie based off it. Saying the movie is better than the book will often anger fans of the original book.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, even mentioning Mandalorians as having a philosophical point is a good way of inducing vitriolic backlash (or terrible debates) in some circles. Also, saying anything negative about Timothy Zahn is considered absolute Fandom Heresy, and will get you blacklisted faster than you can say "Mara Jade".
  • Any fan of The Hunger Games will not take kindly to comparisons with Battle Royale. Likewise, don't make the mistake of referring to Catching Fire and Mockingjay as Hunger Games 2 and Hunger Games 3, or calling Peeta Mellark Peter! And for the sake of whatever you hold holy, DON'T. COMPARE. IT. TO. TWILIGHT.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Saying "Wrestling's all fake" like it makes you far more insightful. That cat has been out of the bag for a long time now and it isn't the point at all any more than suggesting you shouldn't watch TV shows or books that are in the fiction section.
    • Some fans will get seriously upset at the use of the word "fake" because it implies that (especially to the minds of impressionable children) that nothing you see is real, that people don't get legitimately injured, that the things wrestlers do aren't potentially dangerous to those who don't know what they're doing, and that there isn't a tremendous amount of skill in what they do. They tend to prefer the terms "scripted", in that match results are known beforehand and "staged", in that both/all of the wrestlers in the ring are performers working together to put on an entertaining show, rather than competitors. In some circles, even the word "scripted" is a berserk button, as the large majority of wrestling promotions don't use scripts and the large majority that do are farm leagues working with rookies who have not yet learned to improvise.
  • Claiming that wrestlers "just know how to fall" or otherwise don't get injured. Fans that are aware of the concept of selling and can probably tell you about a number of real injuries to occur.
  • For the love of Foley, if you don't watch wrestling, don't describe John Cena or Hulk Hogan as your favorite wrestlers.
  • Claiming every wrestler is on steroids is not advised. It's true that the WWE favors large, muscular men, but not every wrestler works a style or look that favors insane musculature, and not all of those who do use steroids.
  • Wrestlers aren't all drug addicts, and those cases of real addiction are more tragic than anything. It's part of the price they pay with their bodies for the work they do and the lengths they go to for entertainment.
  • Don't make fun of the concept of tights. Seriously. Not even the briefs. Don't.
  • Around Lucha Libre fans, don't make fun of the concept of masks. Seriously. Don't.
  • 90 percent of the time, you will receive a negative reaction if you say try to defend Kelly Kelly. Especially if you compare her to Trish Stratus.
  • A number of wrestling fans believe that Natalya Neidhart is Bret Hart's daughter. If you try to make this claim on a message board or some other place filled with wrestling fans, you'll most likely get reminded that she's actually his niece (hence their different last names), and that her actual father is Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • D&D has demons and devils. Many, many fans commonly mistake the two (which isn't really helped by the fact that the earliest editions just had demons, but no devils) and nearly just as many are really anal about fans who can't get it right. And when you throw in the fact that the most common kind of both demons and devils have more specific names (Tanar'ri and Baatezu respectively), it all just gets very messy, very fast. Plus other kinds like obyrith and archdevils that more pure-blooded fans know about.
    • Part of this comes from the fact that, in many versions of the game, demons and devils DO have objective differences based on Alignment: while both are always Evil, Demons are characterized as always Chaotic, Devils are always Lawful. This extends to other celestial beings like Angels, Archons, Devas, Asuras, etc., where it is less defined.
    • Furthermore, if you don't want to start an edition war, do not use past and present tenses to describe changes between 3.5 and 4th edition, e.g., "there is no lawful evil alignment anymore". And please, for the love of Pelor, DO NOT claim that one edition is objectively better unless you want to get flamed to the Nine Hells and back.
    • Misspelling "rogue" as "rouge" will get you flamed in most online fora.
    • Every edition of the game has had a major revision about halfway through in order to, depending on who you ask, fix balance issues or sell more books. The revision of third edition is officially called 3.5. The revision of second edition ("Player's Options") is frequently called 2.5 and that's no big deal. However, calling the revision of fourth edition ("Essentials") "4.5" is a berserk button among fans of that edition.
    • Since the rise of the OSR (Old School Renaissance/Revival) breathing a word about liking 4th Edition will get your ass handed to you.
  • Paranoia. Even in the game world itself, referring to The Computer as "the Computer" or, worse, "the computer" can get you executed. "Friend Computer" will do.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Demon is an acceptable vernacular, though the preferred word is Daemon. Lord help you if you get the A and the E confused.
    • Space Marines armies aren't "pretty much all the same". There are myriad differences between the named codices, much less the various ways the plain Space Marines codex is interpreted by both players and in-universe Marine leaders.
    • Every army in Codex: Space Marines isn't "pretty much Ultramarines". Depending on who you ask this is either Ultramarines propaganda, or egregious and atrocious canon manipulation by Matt Ward.
    • The Ultramarines themselves are polarizing. Even before Ward changed the fluff to make them the "default" loyalist army they were scorned by non-Ultramarine players because they were GW's poster boy army. However Ward's comments that every Space Marine chapter secretly looked up to the Ultramarines and beheld their primarch Roboute Guilliman as their "spiritual liege" whom they all aspired to emulate really set the Ultramarines hate to a new level. Bringing up the Ultramarines won't get you into trouble in and of itself, but mentioning the title "spiritual liege" will. Especially from a Space Wolves, Black Templars, Imperial Fists or Blood Angels player; who hold their primarchs in equally high regard.
    • Matt Ward himself is a lightning rod that will get you at least a warning on just about any 40k forum; the name itself is all but guaranteed to start a flame war.
    • Robin Cruddace less so, but he is still fairly reviled.
    • Blood Angels and Dark Angels are very different armies; do not confuse them.
      • On a similar note, one of the fastest way of pissing off a Blood Angels fan is by saying "You painted your Blood Ravens wrong".
    • Do not call an individual unit selected from Codex: Black Templars a singular "Black Templar". You can call them by their unit names when all else fails. You can also call them an Initiate or a Crusader.
    • They're Orks. "Orcs & Goblins" are in the other Warhammer game (see below). The K is important, especially to Ork players, who have been known to hound people til they leave a forum for making this mistake.
    • Do not call armies fielded from Codex: Space Marines "vanilla" or "generic" Space Marines without knowing your opponent really well. Many Space Marine players take offense to both terms.
      • In this specific case it's context-sensitive. In terms of building your army you can safely say "vanilla", but in terms of fielding your army the Codex is anything but.
      • This has largely crossed into dead horse territory with the 6th edition codex folding many chapters into the book and creating "Chapter Tactics". Now it's very common to ask a Space Marines player what chapter he's representing since the chapter tactics are a very important part of the metagame. Add in the litany of supplements released for chapters (Iron Hands, Imperial Fists, etc.) and pretty much nobody gets slapped with the "vanilla" label...except the Smurfs.
    • Ultramarines players, for the most part, hate being called "Smurfs". The Smurf moniker came about because of the blue armor Ultramarines wear, and the fact that Ultramarines are over-represented in fluff, artwork and special characters since they are the flagship Space Marines chapter. A simple look through the 6th Edition codex reveals five special characters for the Ultras, while no other chapter has more than 2.
    • Most non-Ultramarine players dislike the chapter to some extent, running the gamut from "a little" to "blind seething hatred". Current "most hated" GW developer Matt Ward claims them as his army and (seems to) favor them in codices and rules, while rewriting fluff he doesn't like and (allegedly) saddling armies he doesn't like with noncompetitive codices (like the Sisters of Battle). This all feeds the vitriol the chapter gets in fan communities.
    • Don't use "Real Warhammer" or "Original Warhammer" to indicate that you mean Warhammer to a 40k player. Also don't call it just "Warhammer" and assume they know what you mean. 40k-exclusive players consider 40k Real Warhammer. The accepted terms of distinction are "Fantasy" and "40k". You can also call Fantasy "Classic". Also bear in mind, a considerable population plays both.
  • Warhammer
    • This one is often overlooked, but don't called Dwarfs "Dwarves." The former is the plural in Warhammer Fantasy, the latter is the plural in The Lord of the Rings.
    • Hilariously, Tolkien actually admitted in his lifetime that he wanted the pluralization to be 'dwarfs', but thanks to his editor erroneously seeing it as an error, it was changed to Dwarves, which Tolkien then kept as 'a private piece of bad grammar'. (He would have preferred 'dwarrows' anyway.)
    • Similar to the above, don't call 40k "Real" Warhammer in front of a fantasy player. To a Fantasy-only player, this is the "Real" Warhammer. There are many things they do not like about 40k and vice versa. Just about the only term you can use to a Fantasy player is "40k". "Fantasy", "Regular" and "Classic" are all accepted terms when referring to this game. Also bear in mind, a good number of people play both.
      • The official terms used in all published materials are simply "Warhammer" and "Warhammer 40,000" - to many purists with a bent for officialdom any term like "real", "original", "fantasy" or "classic" is inappropriate (though "40k" works as a shorthand) - it's not "Warhammer Fantasy", it's just "Warhammer", because that's what it says in the books Sigmar be damned! The book of the third edition of the game (1987-1992) did have a strapline added - "Warhammer: The Game of Fantasy Battles" (the first edition of 40k was released alongside Warhammer 3rd edition, so this was probably to help distinguish them), but no other edition has ever carried this line. As such there was a brief period during the late eighties and early nineties when the official term was "Warhammer Fantasy Battle", but that has not been the case for two decades.
  • BattleTech Clan fans don't like it when you call the Timber Wolf and Summoner their Inner Sphere names MadCat and Thor. Less you want to be called a "Freebirth Stravag".
  • Saying you prefer Traditional Format is a bad idea at Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments
  • Never ask a WARMACHINE player if they're playing Warhammer. Just...don't.

    Theatre 
  • Mention to any member of The Phantom of the Opera "phandom" how much you loved the 2004 movie version, and you're likely to get both flamed and spammed with YouTube links to "better performances".
    • On a related note, saying the story is set in 1870 is a good way to get a long talk about the Franco-Prussian War, the Commune of Paris, and Critical Research Failure in general.
    • Additionally, any mention of complete and total love for the sequel Love Never Dies will get you ostracized and/or ridiculed.
  • Les Misérables:
    • Inspector Javert is not just a villain.
    • In some circles, serious love for Éponine will earn you the ire of fans who assume you only like her because of her place in the love triangle and because you're probably a teenage girl.
    • And God help those who haven't read the book and aren't intending to - many fans see reading Hugo's thousand-page tome as the only true way to experience the story, and will tell you so until you agree with them.
    • You saw The Movie and thought, contrary to all the hate piled on him, that Russell Crowe did not in fact ruin the whole experience? Stay on your guard.
    • Similar to the above example, it's probably not a good idea to express fondness for Nick Jonas as Marius in the 25th anniversary concert.
    • Enjolras' flippant comment in the book and 2012 movie notwithstanding, the story does not take place during the French Revolution. The barricade scenes are during the June Rebellion, over forty years after the French Revolution.
  • Saying anything positive about Andrew Lloyd Webber at all is guaranteed to get you flamed to death by someone.
    • Conversely, saying anything negative about Stephen Sondheim will produce the same effect, probably from the exact same people.
  • Claiming that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon didn't write all those plays. It's excusable if you suggest that John Fletcher collaborated on a few of them, though.
  • Saying that you're a fan of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street having only seen the movie. Or worse, not realising that it is anything other than a movie.
    • Also, the main characters' names are spelt "Sweeney Todd" (three E's, two D's) and "Lovett" (not Lovet, Lovette, Lovatt etc). This is incredibly common online, and drives some fans to Epiphany-level rage.
  • For the love of all that is holy, make sure you know what board you're on before you announce your favorite Elphaba in the Wicked fandom. The wrong answer in the wrong place will see you incinerated in a flash.

    Science 
  • Unless you are specifically aiming to torpedo your credibility, don't dismiss the Theory of Evolution as "just a theory", oversimplify it as "survival of the fittest", or ask "If humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?" as if you have single-handedly posed The Question That Will Once And For All Destroy Darwinism.note 
    • Additionally, don't confuse the Theory of Evolution with the Big Bang, or any theories about the origins of life, neither of which it has anything to do with directly. Also, evolution in Pokémon has nothing to do with real evolution except the name (it's really more like metamorphosis/an organism's life cycle). Certain extremists have been railing on this one for a long time.
  • In general, lack of knowledge on what constitutes a thesis, a hypothesis, a theorem, a theory, and a law gets you immediately mocked in any related discussion.
  • When you enter any online science discussion, take note of the most widely quoted sources and experts and refrain from questioning them unless you want your opinion to be dismissed out of hand, even if you have legitimate grouses.
  • Some physicists and mathematicians HATE when you mispronounce "Euler", and saying it as "you-ler"note  will earn you the ire from anyone who generally knows who he was.
  • Most physicists despise the term "God Particle" often used by the media to refer to the Higgs Boson, not the least because it gets certain religious types upset for no good reason.note 
  • Do NOT speak seriously of the Nibiru conspiracy theory when there are astronomers around, or even astronomy enthusiasts.
  • Also, don't claim that the Sun will explode, go supernova – or worse, nova – around astronomers. It's a red giant, and it's not an explosion, it's a slow burn. The Sun is not anywhere close to massive enough to go supernova, while a nova is a different thing altogether that only occurs to stars that have already collapsed into white dwarfs.
  • Don't call astronomers "astrologers". And please don't ask them if they can tell your fortune.
  • Never ask an archaeologist if they dig up dinosaur bones. That's paleontologists.
  • Be careful when talking about languages and language policies around sociolinguists. Considering there have been entire separationist groups based on language issues, it's not too surprising many sociolinguists are really sensitive (and may take major offense if you're not careful) to this kind of thing.
  • If you're going to argue with a scientist about a subject that has some controversy attached (global warming, evolution, vaccinations...) then you'd better do your homework. Trying to compare the work done by real scientists with the writings of a random person on a conspiracy website will not go over well. Scientists will and have refused to debate people who have no qualifications to challenge scientific theories but claim to have knowledge in the field that matches or exceeds that of someone who has dedicated their life to studying it.
  • Generally speaking, people in the "softer" sciences don't like it if you imply that their field isn't true science.
  • Ancient Aliens.
  • Many people refuse to accept the notion that Pluto is no longer a planet, especially since it hasn't been destroyed like Alderaan.
  • Paleobiology fans will NOT react well if you say that pterosaurs and dinosaurs are one and the same.
  • Never use a Virus Misnomer around microbiologists. They'll be quick to point out which diseases are viral, bacterial, or parasitic in nature. Especially because confusing a bacterium for a virus physiologically would be like confusing a bear with a flea.

    Toys 
  • Transformers:
    • There was an IRC chat back in the mid 90s where the admin would kickban any user who referred a particular character by any name other than "Dezaras". "Deathsaurus" was forbidden, "Deaths-R-Us" was right out, and "Death Czarus?" Well, you know the drill.
    • So who's the blue robot, Frenzy or Rumble? This question, when ask, will prompt other fans either saying "You had to go there, didn't you?" or straight-out causing flame wars.
    • The issue of third-party Transformers toys have become this and have effectively split the fandom into two camps; the one that sees them as being on the same level of dollar store knock-offs (despite costing vastly more and being of infinitely higher quality), one that believes they are the only way of getting fan favorite characters/alt modes since Hasbro/Takara doesn't care about adult fans (The Generations/Masterpiece line and recent G1 reissues not withstanding).
  • As Gabe discovered, LEGO fans are all too ready to point out that the plural of LEGO is LEGO.
    • Funnily enough, this rule gets broken in the first LEGO Island game when DJ Radio delivers the headline "LEGOs in SPACE!".note 
    • The company that makes them used to specifically make the point on the packaging that they should be called "LEGO bricks or toys" and not "LEGOs". They were worried about their trademark becoming genericized, as happened to, say, aspirin, escalator, and linoleum.
    • Just try referring to either of the original villains from LEGO Adventurers as "Sam Sinister" and watch the Flame Wars erupt.note 
    • Try calling Legends of Chima a rip-off of ThunderCats (2011) in the presence of the former's fans. Expect them to spit on you for assuming so simply because the main protagonists and their races in both series look similar. On the opposite end, ThunderCats fans will refuse to believe that it isn't a rip-off, primarily because of it being released on the heels of the latter's cancellation.
  • Calling Toa or Matoran "BIONICLEs" will result in a massive Internet Backdraft. Pluralizing the title will get you obliterated.
    • Also, there is a reason why BIONICLE is not under the LEGO section in this folder. Do not refer to BIONICLE as "that LEGO story" or otherwise try and imply that it is "just a story used to sell toys".
  • Some ball-jointed doll owners get in quite a tizzy over Monster High dolls.
  • My Little Pony:
    • Stallions have always existed in the series, with the only exception being G3 (2003-2009). Despite this people often say that the franchise, especially G1, is female only and it pisses fans off.

    Universities & Colleges 
  • Auburn University's sports teams are the Tigers, not the Eagles or the War Eagles. "War Eagle" is a cheer that Auburn uses, and the name of its fight song, but it has nothing to do with the team itself. The school itself even has a webpage pointing this out, and explains the Urban Legends and other stories about where the term is believed to have come from.
  • Fans of Stanford University's sports teams will not hesitate to loudly and frequently remind you that their team is the Stanford Cardinal, not the Cardinals. That is, they are Cardinal, the shade of red, not Cardinals, the birds (or Catholic leaders). Gods help you if you suggest that their mascot is a cardinal. note 
  • It's Johns Hopkins University. As in, both words end in the letter s. Not "John Hopkins", and definitely not "John Hopkin." The founder's parents decided to name him "Johns" (after his mother's family name) rather than "John." It's led to over a century of irritated students and alumni correcting people who can't possibly believe that it would be "Johns", even people who really should know better (like long-time Baltimore residents). Also, while the medical school is the most famous part of Hopkins, it offers areas of study as varied as any other top research university. Assuming that everyone who attends Hopkins is studying to become a doctor is a great way to irritate the majority who are not.
    • Similarly, pronouncing the H in "Amherst, Massachusetts" will mark you as an outsider to any Amherst student or townie. Also, assuming that an Amherst College student means UMass when s/he says s/he went to "Amherst" will not endear you to him/her.
  • Do not refer to Maize as yellow in the context of the University of Michigan's color. Likewise, do not refer to Rutgers' scarlet or Harvard's and Alabama's crimson as red.

    Visual Novels 
  • Say that visual novels are just video games and aren't unique enough to be considered a different medium. Some fans will just shrug and move on, but most will rip your throat out.
    • However, there are VN fans who resent being categorized as different because it means they're "not real games", so it ends up being a case of Internet Backdraft either way.
  • Go ahead and say that Apollo is better than Phoenix on a Ace Attorney forum. Or the other way around for that matter. You'll get a front seat to a flamewar between Phoenix and Apollo fans.
    • Likewise, saying that your favorite game in the series is any other then the first or third ones will get you completely torn apart with rage by people who are insistent that their opinion is the only valid one.
    • Don't even bother saying whether you think Phoenix is gay or straight. Same goes for Edgeworth. Changes are that you're talking to someone who completely disagrees and will make this known.
      • On this point, talking about ships AT ALL will get you a flame war with Ace Attorney. Especially saying that you don't like Phoenix/Edgeworth or Phoenix/Maya.
    • Don't go onto a forum and say you did not find the last cases of the games (1-5, 2-4, 3-5, 4-4, and 5-5) to be that great. People will kill you, except maybe 4-4... unless you managed to gain the attention of an Apollo Fan.
  • Don't tell any Key Visual Arts fan that the characters are lolis. Don't even comment that they look like kids — unless the character is specifically pointed out in canon to look young, like Ayu or Kud — and especially don't say that their canon ages are "just a number tacked on so you don't get arrested". In keeping with the aforementioned Artistic Age, all the haremettes are in high school, often late high school, and so are the protagonists. The fans are really tired of hearing it.
  • Expressing squick and revulsion at Katawa Shoujo for featuring a Themed Harem of Disabled Love Interests. No, it's not a Dead Baby Comedy, even if the source material (a set of joke character designs which the game strongly departed from) is, and the thought that it has to be is in itself pretty offensive, considering that viewing disabled people as nonsexual beings and anyone who would be interested in them as predatory is a major problem in society as it is.
  • With the exception of Carnival Phantasm, Fate/Zero (and now the Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works series by the same studio) and the Kara no Kyoukai movies, never mention any of the Nasuverse anime, especially Shingetsudan Tsukihime.
  • DRAMAtical Murder: Unless you have a death wish, do not bring up the topic of Mink's route and whether or not Aoba was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. No matter which side of the argument you're on, it won't be pretty. This has lessened since the release of re:connect, which expanded upon Mink's character and motivations, but his route is still very controversial.
    • Another one is the 'you fuck the dog!' joke. Newer fans (and non-fans) will probably laugh, but longtime fans will send death glares your way. Some fans find it especially frustrating because a number of people outside of the fandom have taken the joke seriously and think that the visual novel actually contains bestiality note .
    • Saying something along the lines of "I've been playing this thing for several hours now, where's all the yaoi sex?" will get you worse glares. DRAM Atical Murder is a BL game, but there aren't any explicit scenes until the latter half of the story (near the ending in most routes), so needless to say, they aren't a major part of the game. A lot of people start playing purely to watch the H-scenes, completely ignoring the actual plotline and dumbing down the characters, to the ire of fans.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors fans get pretty annoyed when people call the game the "video game version of Saw", which is a rather bad berserk button to have when this is pretty much what every professional reviewer who reviewed the game said. Hardcore fans however will point out that "999 is much more original than Saw" and that "if you actually pay attention to the game's entire plot, it's actually nothing like Saw". In actual fact, the game was heavily inspired, not by Saw, but by Eastern horror movies, in which the theme is less about sadistic people inducing violence, and more about sadisticly inducing fear. The theme of the game, going through a game involving puzzle filled rooms, has been compared to Saw, but as fans are quick to point out, the actual puzzles and entire set up for why they exist in the first place is nothing like it. The same goes for its sequel Virtue's Last Reward.
    • Also, please don't say in front of 999/VLR that you find the plot incredibly unrealistic and therefore bad. You'll get a huge speech about how everything is actually given an actual real life, scientific/theoretical, well explained explanation and that if you think the plot's unrealistic it means you mustn't have paid any attention to these parts. Not to mention that saying you find the plot "poorly put together", or that the writers "didn't care", is a BAD no-no, since fans will be quick to point out that everything slots together so well and folds so neatly into place that writing such a complex plot would take amazing levels of care and attention to detail.
  • Dumbing down Higurashi: When They Cry by describing it as the "killer lolis" series is a thorn in the side of many fans. Talking about how you only like the gorn and horror aspects, ignoring the tragedy behind it all, is even worse.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Big Bad Xykon has to deal not just with random members of the community, but even characters in the comic spelling his name wrong (with a Z). He can even tell when you misspell it in a speech balloon. And he will kill you for it.
    • Not a name-related issue, but speculating on the comic's frequent Schedule Slip on the fora is grounds for having your post locked and receiving an infraction.
  • On the fora of Looking for Group, anyone ignorant enough to post anything even hinting that they think the comic is a World of Warcraft story happening in Azeroth will get beaten up, crucified, eaten and shot, in that order. Despite the fact that the comic started as a Warcraft parody (though only for a very brief period) and incredibly obviously took significant inspiration from the games.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: The third girl from the photo is not Jones, and she is not related to Gamma in any way. Fans continued to speculate to the contrary, even though Tom Jossed those theories, within hours of their first proposal, then put a note to that effect below the comic. At one point, a forum regular who should have known better suggested that this speculation should be a ban-worthy offense. This specific line of Wild Mass Guessing seems to have stopped now that it's been unambiguously confirmed in-comic that the photo girl and Jones are different people.
  • Dreamkeepers fans are usually pretty torn when it comes to pronouncing Namah's name. Some people say NAA-MUH, while others believe it to be NAY-MUH and refuse to back down in their opinions.
  • Las Lindas author Soul Kat has a big Berserk Button related to this trope due to so many people screwing up Davin Preacher's name, instead calling him Devin.
  • Loldwell.com features a number of comic strips themed around different iterations of the concept: 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Try telling your Homestuck friend that you skipped the intermission because it was boring and pointless. Go on. Try it. (Hint: it becomes very important later on.)
  • Heartcore's author has had a very bad history with the website Fireball20XL and its webmaster, Bryon "Psyguy" Beaubien. If you try to defend him in the presence of her and/or her fans, start praying, though it will help you not.
  • It's not a good idea to bring up Sonichu, especially in the context of original characters, unless you want to start a flame war with both Sonic and Pokémon fans.

    Web Original 
  • Don't speculate on the Homestar Runner wiki. Don't forget to sign your posts. And for your own sake, if you don't want a month long banning, NEVER mention their Schedule Slip.
  • Do not talk about Mallard Fillmore at The Comics Curmudgeon. As in, you'll be banned for it because it only ever causes arguments.
  • At TFWiki.net the quickest and easiest way to prevent anyone from caring about your opinion is to object to the use of humorous image captions.
  • Being mistaken about the origin of the Slender Man. No, it was not originally a Creepypasta, although many Creepypastas involving him have been written since his creation. No, Marble Hornets did not create him, though they are the primary reason as to his popularity,note  and neither did Slender. The Slender Man was created in Something Awful forum thread.
    • There is a very real possibility of Marble Hornets fans hunting you down to bash you over the head with a lump of concrete if you say anything along the lines of "I love Masky, he's my favorite creepypasta!" Masky is not from a creepypasta, his identity is no longer mysterious, and you will be laughed at if you think it is. Ditto referring to proxies anywhere in the mythos as "Maskies" or thinking that fellow Marble Hornets character Hoody is from a 'pasta either.
    • For that matter, calling Hoody or Masky "proxies" will get you treated to a nice lengthy explanation of how the term wasn't used in Marble Hornets and neither should be considered as such. Your best bet is to only use the term "proxy" when talking about Everyman HYBRID (Be sure to spell it right or you will get flamed for this, too.) or Tribe Twelve.
  • Some YouTube rhythm gaming videos use music that is coincidentally available in the AudioSwap gallery. Just try and mention AudioSwap in the comments.
  • If you join the SCP Foundation, do yourself a favor and peruse the site (which, admittedly, is very large) for a while before putting up new SCP entries; while certain community standards are arguably too high or too picky, anything that's flagrantly awful just as a piece of "creative writing", never mind the tone of the site, will typically get long, line-by-line breakdowns of everything you did wrong. Repeat offenses (or shotgunning multiple horrid entries at once) may or may not get you kicked off the site, depending on your personal attitude. For really entertaining discussions, however, just try to say how SCP-173 is a rip-off of the Weeping Angels, or why your impossibly amazing self-insert humanoid SCP/Researcher deserves to be all over the site, or how this new thing would really actually easily be able to kill SCP-682. Enjoy your time as a D-class.
    • Also, don't call it "SPC". That stands for "Shark-Punching Center".
    • Don't mention Dr. Bright around SCP fans on LiveJournal, InsaneJournal, or DreamWidth—reactions will range from white-hot rage to tired resignation about what his writer did to get so many people angry.
  • One of the variants of "Rule #1 of Tumblr"—as if taking a page from Fight Club—is to never mention Tumblr outside of Tumblr itself. Though Tumblr is fairly well-known at this point, making this "rule" a Discredited Meme.
    • Also, tread very carefully when tagging your posts—people tracking those tags will probably get on your case if you say bad things about the subjects of the tags. This can catch some users off-guard as some use tags as blog organization and may not be aware that what they're doing is stirring up an Internet Backdraft. (A way to avoid this is to stuff the first five tags with nonsense tags then put the relevant tags after those; if a particular tag is the 6th or higher tag on a post, the post will not appear when searching for that tag.)
  • Fans of Demo Reel do not like to be reminded of The Review Must Go On and by extension, the post-un-cancellation Nostalgia Critic videos.
  • Asking "what if Operation Sealion had been successful" or even mentioning the "Unmentionable Sea Mammal" in a non-ironic way on AlternateHistory.com is sure to end in much banging of heads against walls in frustration at the prospect of having to explain to yet another noob just why it could not, under any circumstances, have worked.
  • For RWBY, calling the main characters "Red", "White", "Black", and "Yellow" is something you should never do. Their names are "Ruby", "Weiss", "Blake", and "Yang".

     Other 
  • Lolicon. Bring it up around members of the Lolita Fashion subculture, and hope to escape alive and unscathed.
  • Saying or implying that a roller coaster is dangerous will earn you a rebuke from any coaster enthusiast who happens to hear you. Yes, your car really is 10,000 times more dangerous than the coaster.
  • Referring to science fiction not as "SF" but as Sci-Fi will brand you as a complete mundane. Someone who would be lost at a con, probably looks down his nose at zines, and wouldn't know real fanac if he fell over it. (Or at the very least, pronounce it "skiffy").
    • Though admittedly the above is mostly restricted to the purist of the pure.
    • At the 1977 Worldcon, Gary Kurtz said "We hope that [Star Wars] will lead to many more sci-fi films...." Two thousand fans went "BOOOOOOO!", as Robert Silverberg gently explained "You aren't supposed to say that."
    • Much worse would be considering franchises like Star Trek or Star Wars as "hard" Sci-Fi, when in reality they're the softest of the soft, and Sci-Fi/SF fans will let you have it with both barrels for it. Let alone actually EQUATING SF fandom with "Star Trek" fandom or "Star Wars" fandom. It happens.
  • If you are visiting Victoria, the capital of the province of British Columbia, you are on Vancouver Island, not "Victoria Island". The city of Vancouver is not located on this island (they are just named for the same guy). Mildly confusing to an outsider, but not actually any harder than, say, Kansas City being in Missouri. Yet this frequent tourist error has become the bane of many a BC tourism worker.
    • While you're on the island, swing by Mount Washington and ask if it was named after a certain U.S. president. It's an honest mistake, but in reality it was named after Rear Admiral John Washington and you'd better believe you'll be corrected.
    • Some folks in B.C. are also rather sensitive about the renaming of the Queen Charlotte Islands to "Haida Gwaii" in 2010. Just mention an opinion on it (for or against the name change; it really doesn't matter), and brace for an argument.
  • When speaking or writing English using pretentious plurals can bring you a lot of grief. Viruses being pluralized to viri, for instance, is incorrect as "virus" is of neuter, not masculine, gender and moreover, viruses is commonly acknowledged as the correct plural. Because most words in English, whether borrowed or not, have a simple plural case of -s, even you are using the technically correct plural (by the grammar of the root languagenote ); like Forum/Fora, Octopus/Octopodes, Cherub/Cherubim you risk sounding deliberately obtuse or desperate to show you have a education. Either way you can expect someone to be annoyed.
  • Practitioners of Middle Eastern dance forms vary in their reaction to the appellation "belly dance". Some will jump down your throat over the "misnomer". (Just quoting, Rocky!) Others have given up trying, or value the recognition factor more. See the Dead Horse Derby.
    • What will really bring down wrath from all, without exception, is implying that their art form is to be identified with, similar to, derived from or in any way connected with stripping. Just don't, on pain of pain. "Exotic dance" is best avoided for that reason.
  • Followers of Leon Trotsky react badly to being called "Trotskyites". It's "TrotskyISTS".
  • Mention that sharing art (e.g. from Pixiv) without permission is okay, and you'll get a huge mouthful from the artist community for disrespecting copyright. Mention that it's not okay, and you'll incur the wrath of those who feel that artists are way too sensitive about how their art is promoted.
  • Aficionados of the pre-1980 Volkswagen Type 2 do not take kindly to it being called a "van." It's the Bus, thankyouverymuch.
  • Try calling the Willis Tower by that name around Chicagoans. It is still the Sears Tower, thank you.
  • Something really fun to do, if you're wearing a helmet and a sports cup, is to tell someone who just got a piercing or tattoo or some such body modification, "Oh, but you looked so pretty/handsome."
  • It's Or-uh-gun, nor Ory-gone. It's the Will-AM-ette River, not the WILL-am-ette River. Not every Oregonian is from Portland, and Portland is not, not, not Seattle. Also, be careful when mentioning Portlandia— some Portlanders may love it, some may hate it, and some may feel it falls under N-Word Privileges.
    • Similarly, the de facto official pronunciation of Nevada (as practiced by the state legislature and most locals) is "Neh-VA-duh," with the A in the second syllable pronounced like that in "bad," and locals will get quite irate if it's pronounced "Nuh-VAH-duh," as is common among outsiders. Etymologically, both are wrong: the name comes from the Spanish "nevada" meaning "snow-covered" (after the Sierra Nevada mountains), which is pronounced "neh-VAH-dah."
    • And for people in Kentucky, Louisville can be pronounced as "Loo-a-vull" "Lool-vull" or "Loo-ee-vill" (although the latter will give away that you're not from the area), but if you pronounce the "S", you will receive death glares.
      • On the flip side, The "S" in St. Louis IS pronounced. Calling it "St. Louie" will immediately brand you as an outsider.
    • There are ten cities called Prescott in the United States, two in Canada, and one in the UK (two if you count the one spelled with only one T). Of them, all are pronounced "press-caught"... EXCEPT for Prescott, Arizona, which is pronounced "press-kit" after the Civil War-era author from which the city takes its name. Pronounce it wrong and mark yourself immediately as an out-of-towner.
  • Mentioning that San Francisco is in "northern California" will earn the ire of anyone who lives in the northernmost third of California. However, people elsewhere define "central California" differently (for them San Francisco is north of it) and also see it as a sub-section of "northern California". Also, as far as the American federal court system is concerned, Los Angeles is in the Central District of California and San Francisco in the Northern (San Diego has the Southern District and Sacramento the Eastern).
  • Getting someone's race, ethnic group, or even nationality wrong can cause problems if you do it to the wrong person. Even mistaking a Canadian for an American or vice versa, where the difference is next to impossible for someone not from North America to recognize, can land you in a fight or an argument.
  • Don't confuse magazines for clips in front of a firearm enthusiast. That rectangular box that's filled with cartridges that slides into the bottom of a pistol? That's called a magazine, not a clip. Any spring loaded apparatus that feeds ammunition into the gun's chamber is a magazine. Clips do not have springs and do not feed the rounds directly into the gun. Most clips are used to load rounds into magazines, some clips are fed into a gun's chamber and are ejected one all the rounds are fired. Most gun enthusiasts have heard the whole magazine/clip thing at least once and will be ready to give you a long lecture on the differences between the two if you dare get them wrong.
  • Bashing a show simply because it aired on a network or block after most considered it Jumped the Shark or underwent Network Decay, without judging it by it's own merits, is a good way to ignite entire countries on fire from the shows Fandom.
  • You know that puzzle where you put numbers in squares? It's pronounced "Sudoku", not "Suduko".
  • Lawyers (as one might expect) have a few of these, and (also as you might expect) a lot of these are even language-based:
    • For American administrative lawyers, the primary statute about the work of federal administrative agencies is the "Administrative Procedure Act." Note that it is not the "Administrative Procedures Act."
    • For American securities lawyers, the statute passed in 1934 regulating the buying and selling of securities on the open market is the "Securities Exchange Act." It is not the "Securities and Exchange Act", even though the administrative agency tasked with enforcing the statute is the "Securities and Exchange Commission." (It can also be called the "Exchange Act" or the "(19)34 Act".)
  • Pinball has its fair share:
    • The greatest offensive statement to a pinhead is to say that video games are better. Virtual pinball gets a free pass, however. The animosity from video games displacing pinball machines at arcades continues to run pretty deep, even after arcades have become niche.
    • Another is to claim that Gottlieb (from the mid-80s and onwards), Data East, or SEGA is your favorite manufacturer. The true way consists strictly of Bally-Williams, Stern, Jersey Jack, and whatever new startup has appeared since 2012. Even then, there is plenty of in-fighting among them, and directly stating ANY particular company is the best will cause flame wars.
    • Saying anything positive about Popeye Saves The Earth will create quite the backlash. This machine is so infamous among pinball fans that it's memetically bad, the pinball counterpart to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). The same goes for South Park, but this is not quite as extreme as it's consistently a hit with people who don't normally play pinball, and the pinheads grudgingly accept that.
    • Inversely, saying anything negative about Medieval Madness, The Twilight Zone, Monster Bash, or AC/DC (the Limited and Premium Editions, at least) may get you kicked out of some communities.
    • Any mention of pinball diminishing in cultural relevance will bring forth outspoken fans who believe that pinball is beginning another Golden Age. It IS increasing in popularity, but it hasn't taken the world by storm.
    • Finally, averted when people say pinball is simply batting a ball with flippers and trying not to lose—the top players and most fans agree with this statement because it is technically true: With the exception of games that run on timers (such as James Bond 007 or Safe Cracker), you can theoretically outscore anyone, even without knowing the rules, as long as you don't lose.
  • People in Arkansas hate when people pronounce their state's name as Ar-Kansas. They got so fed up with it that they actual made it illegal.
  • Similarly, pronouncing the S on the end of Illinois.

Alternative Title(s):

Bannondorf, Gannon Banned, Nerd Rage, Pedantic Fan Rage