They started as essentially an Ascended Meme; it's all the fault of Lady Norbert's Tumblr followers. In autumn 2012, a group of them decided to call her the "Empress of Fandom." She jokingly responded by drafting the Knights' code of conduct, which went unexpectedly viral; it stopped being a joke and became an actual online movement when she realized there was a need for such a thing. Now boasting over 200 active members, they espouse the joint purposes of getting excited about things they love and stopping cyberbullies in their tracks.
Because Tumblr permits anonymous messaging between parties, there has been something of an epidemic of people hiding behind this anonymity to send hate-filled messages to others. The Knights of Fandom not only pledge to never do this to anyone themselves, they also consider it their duty to reduce the suffering caused by those who do. Sometimes they involve themselves, as they see fit, in related crusades both on and off of Tumblr, harnessing the power of their own creativity to make the world a better place.
As of April 2016, the Knighthood has officially begun to mobilize offline as well as on, and conduct anti-bullying panels at conventions. The momentum is gathering slowly, but the reception by con-goers has been very positive.
Although the Knighthood is based on Tumblr and considers that website their 'official' home, membership is open to anyone with an internet presence. Tumblr users are able to join simply by following the account and/or reblogging the membership pledge; Facebook users can just like and follow the Facebook page, and Twitter users can do likewise on the Twitter account. Others need only contact the account to find out how to proceed with joining.
The Knights of Fandom exhibit the following:
- Authority in Name Only: The Knight-Commander technically has no authority. She's just another schlub on the internet, albeit one with extremely good intentions. Anyone who follows her most likely does so out of either affection and/or agreement with the cause.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: While the Knighthood did have the somewhat silly origins described above, the large majority of its members joined later, out of a genuine desire to do something about the rampant anon hate.
- Beware the Nice Ones/Beware the Silly Ones: In the same vein as Good Is Not Soft.
- Blue Is Heroic: The shield is blue and white. This is partly because that's the color scheme of Tumblr, but it was also a deliberate invocation of this trope.
- The Champion: The group's membership pledge calls each one of them "a champion of the internet."
- Color Motif: The Knighthood's representative colors are blue and white.
- For Happiness: They just want everyone to be able to go online and have fun without having to put up with anon hate.
- Good Feels Good: The only reward they ever seek.
- Good Is Not Soft: These are nice people. But they will stand up for what they believe.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: When they send uplifting messages to victims of anon hate, the Knights often keep their own identities anonymous as well, rather than seek the gratitude of the people they're helping.
- Heroic Vow: To do their best to make sure no one feels alone. Also to be silly. The full text of the pledge is here.
- Hope Bringer: What they ultimately hope to accomplish. They're out to save the world using fandom as their primary vehicle, to bring hope and happiness to those who need it.
- Insistent Terminology: The anons who spread hate are called "Grey Faces" by the Knights. This refers to the fact that anonymous messages used to be accompanied by greyish silhouettes in place of an actual user icon. Anonymous messages are now instead accompanied by images of a greyish sphere wearing sunglasses, but the term "Grey Faces" remains.
- Just Ignore It: In a way. At a minimum, Knights of Fandom are asked to do nothing at all. The only outright rule for being a Knight is that anyone who goes by that title shall not hurt others. To quote from the introductory tweet:All we ask of anyone who wants to be a part of this movement is that you don't use the power of the internet to spread hatred, especially anonymous hatred. There's enough of that. You don't have to help make things better; just please don't make them worse.
- Knight in Shining Armor: The idea behind the way they organized.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": They call themselves exactly this, since in between looking out for other people they also indulge their passions for art, literature, film, and other fandoms.
- Leitmotif: "Brave" by Josh Groban (specifically, the version performed by rostered Knight Peter Hollens) is the group's theme song. Lady Norbert says that the continued valor of her Knights is what gives her a reason to be brave when she needs it.
- Mama Bear: They literally got started because Lady Norbert - who is known as "the Adoptive Mother of the Internet" for a reason - got fed up with seeing her "kids" on the receiving end of anonymous bullying and decided it was time to do something about it.
- Nice Guy: They're meant to be an entire unit of these.
- Nice to the Waiter: They encourage this as part of their modus operandi - the idea is to treat everyone with, at the very least, basic decency and respect, regardless of their station in life.
- The Power of Friendship: They try to combat cyberbullying with this. Some of the bullied have turned around and joined the group, so in a way, it does work.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: After a fashion.
- Rousing Speech: These are periodically thrown out to remind the Knights how much their efforts are appreciated.
- Self-Proclaimed Knight: Well, technically just one, who then proclaimed all the others.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Struggling to maintain the ideal in the face of a cynical internet.
- Small Steps Hero: The Knights are encouraged to reach out on their own to people who need help - not just with bullying, but with all manner of problems - with the idea being that 'if each of us does a little, we can do a lot.'
- Team Mom/A Mother to Her People: Lady Norbert, as Knight-Commander, holds this position. Several of the Knights refer to her as Mom, Empress-Mother, or occasionally Mhysa.
- True Companions: In the spirit of a medieval knighthood.
- Visual Pun: The Knighthood's coat of arms is a shield divided into blue and white quadrants. One of the white quadrants houses a red hand-held fan, meant to represent fandom.
- We Help the Helpless: There's a dose of this in their raison d'etre, as many of the more relentlessly tormented souls they approach feel quite helpless (occasionally even suicidal).
- What You Are in the Dark: Because of the allowance of anonymity on the site, there is no way to confirm that the Knights keep their promise never to send anon hate. The membership pledge is wholly unenforcable; it falls to the individual Knights themselves to uphold their vows.