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Broken Base

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"The only question I
Ever thought was hard
Is 'Do I like Kirk
Or do I like Picard?'"
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "White and Nerdy"

A Broken Base is a civil war among fans of a particular franchise. Almost every franchise has at least some internal conflict among its fanbase, but a truly broken base is characterized by a sustained and exceptionally vicious conflict between two or more large, vocal, and entrenched factions with little or no middle ground to be found between them.

Common causes of a broken base include shipping wars, a large and vocal Periphery Demographic whose priorities are at odds with the main demographic, or a divisive character, sequel, adaptation, or remake.

Contrast Fandom Heresy for a fandom opinion that is near-unanimous to the point where it tends to silence any dissent.

Unrelated to Broken Pedestal.


Important Note:

When adding examples, please keep in mind that all four of the following criteria must be met to qualify. Minor disagreements don't count.

  • It is a sustained conflict. This is something that has fans debating a work or subject for a long time after release. Upcoming works cannot be this since such conflicts are considered to be short-lived by definition. Such examples can be placed under Tainted by the Preview. To qualify, a conflict should last for at least six months after the release of a work or episode; any shorter and it's probably just your average fan disagreement.
  • It is a vicious conflict. Bringing up the subject will likely result in a huge debate among fans, if not an outright Flame War.invoked
  • It has at least two large factions. It cannot merely be a Vocal Minority against a Silent Majority; each side must have a noticeable number of supporters. In addition, the fanbase must be large enough to support the factions. An obscure work is less likely to have a broken base than a very famous one or a broad subject.
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  • It is divisive. To qualify, most fans must hold a strong opinion on the subject, with very little middle ground. It must inspire passionate and sustained reactions with very few involved holding no opinion, choosing to stay neutral, or trying to Take a Third Option in regards to the conflict.

Also, be careful when adding examples along the line of "Is this homophobic/racist/sexist/transphobic, or are people just overreacting?" These examples are often used to accuse a work of being bigoted while bypassing Unfortunate Implications' requirement for a reliable source.

Examples with their own subpages:

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    Fan Works 
  • In Total Drama fanfic Total Drama: Cody's Redemption: The story as a whole to the Total Drama community as a whole. It has an outspoken and loyal fanbase, but it should be noted that quite a large number of critics have sighted it as an example of bad storytelling.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku! has an in-universe example in Lex Luthor. On one hand, he was a terrifying supervillain, the epitome of Corrupt Corporate Executive, and tried to take over the world multiple times. But he seemed to pull a Heel–Face Turn later in life and became an incredibly successful U.S. president who ended World War III, slashed poverty across the globe, and made countless technological advancements. Scholars aren't sure if his turn to goodness was valid or if he should be forgiven for his previous actions.

  • Doctor Strange: The casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One has been divisive. While many are glad to have a powerful character be portrayed by a female actor, especially one as accomplished as Swinton, others are upset that the original Tibetan version wasn't used, mostly because the MCU had yet to feature a heroic Asian person in the films.note  Co-writer C. Robert Cargill's comments on it being done to prevent the movie from being Banned in China due to a potential positive portrayal of a Tibetan character (which the studio itself later denied) added more controversy, because China, which is a huge market for Marvel, is not on good terms with Tibet. Cargill also didn't help things by accusing all the people upset over it of being "social justice warriors", though he later backpedaled on it and said everyone absolutely has the right to have issues with it.
  • Love, Simon: While the majority of people agree that Abby had a right to be upset with Simon, as he could've told her about Martin's blackmail after he came out to her, thus ending his lies and her being used and forced to endure Martin's presence, fans are more divided on whether Nick's anger is justified. Does he have a right to be mad at his childhood friend for keeping him away from his crush for a few weeks due to blackmail or is he just being petty for abandoning Simon when he needs him? Most people agree, however, that Leah was unnecessarily harsh for abandoning Simon for not liking her back and genuinely believing she liked Nick.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming:
    • The fact that Tony Stark is the one making Spider-Man's suit upgrades — an element which was already a bit divisive following Civil War — has caused a bit of a stir among the fans. Some don't like it, as they feel it cheapens Peter's status as an independent Teen Genius who was never anyone's sidekick in the comics, and they feel that the story's focus on Iron Man comes at Peter's expense. Others defend the idea as being consistent with the idea that Peter is operating on limited resources (as seen in Civil War with his initial costume), and note that Peter originally came up with most of the suit's functions and innovations himself (such as the webbing and the adjusting eye lenses), whereas Stark just made them smaller and with more efficient material, and it's also refreshing in emphasizing a new tactical side to Spider-Man's crimefighting rather than the brawling and swinging approach shown in previous films which just focused on Peter's superpowers rather than his battle smarts.
    • Iron Man being involved in the film at all. Some love the fact that he has a supporting role to help showcase the connectivity between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and show that the characters are indeed interacting between films, again after Phase 2 was criticized for featuring very little of this. Also, it's the first time that a Spider-Man film features a second superhero. Others are more split, feeling that Marvel is shoehorning Iron Man in too much to bank on his Wolverine Publicity and that Spider-Man should be allowed to stand on his own in his first solo film in the MCU, and doing otherwise takes that away from him.
    • A contingent of the film's critics feel that the refusal to at least briefly mention Uncle Ben and the lesson and overall motivation Peter got from his death removes substance from Peter's character; at worst, the film giving him Destructive Saviour tendencies in his eagerness to prove himself to Tony Stark and the Avengers may feel out of character from his appearance in Civil War, given what (we assumed) happened offscreen. While Stark urges him to be a better hero in response, the connection of the power/responsibility theme to Peter's greatest failure, causing Uncle Ben's death, is missed. Others are just glad to have an arc for the character that doesn't fall back on that part of the backstory, making the film feel fresher compared to the previous Amazing reboot.
    • The famous scene where Peter gets trapped under rubble, a scene clearly inspired by If This Be My Destiny, one of the most famous storylines in Spider-Man history. The division is between people who think it's an amazing scene, probably the best in the entire film, and those who think it completely felt flat on its face. Fans commend it for the reference to the comics and for Holland's acting, who totally sold Peter's state of mind in that scene: a 15 year old child who thinks is going to die and panics accordingly. Detractors, however, think that the scene wasn't thematically earned, and failed to capture what made the scene great in the comics (this last part ties in directly with the previous entry about the absence of the power/responsibility theme—Peter originally lifted the rubble to reach Aunt May's lifesaving medication, thinking that he couldn't fail her like he did Uncle Ben—since they think the whole "If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't have it" line doesn't fit the concept of Spider-Man, whether from the comics or from Homecoming itself, and thus is not deemed a good thematic substitute).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: The biggest argument among fans is whether the X-Men should join the MCU, a debate that has been around since the franchise's inception and has heated up in light of the Disney-Fox merger. Those supporting their inclusion argue that incorporating the X-Men would allow them to have more fantastical adventures and comics-accurate costumes instead of having everything be grounded and gritty as seen in the Fox's movies. On the other hand, some have pointed out that the oppressed minority metaphor wouldn't work in the MCU when there are other superpowered heroes present who don't experience the same prejudice as the mutants. Then there are concerns that the X-Men will be tonally watered down to fit within the much more family-friendly MCU with R-Rated fare like Deadpool getting downplayed or shunted off.


  • 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: Being updated yearly since 2003 has led to the inclusion of recent movies which many readers believe haven't been out long enough to be included in the book. They often get removed the very next year for lacking lasting impact, too.
  • Alex Rider: The fanbase was split over whether or not the climax of Ark Angel, where Alex goes into space, was too fantastic to be believable or not. Author Anthony Horowitz admitted a few years after the book's publication that even he wasn't sure which side of the divide he was on, as he was worried it might not be credible (and the series is well-known for Showing Its Work), but he decided to go with it because the alternative Earth-based conclusions to the plot weren't interesting enough.
  • Harry Potter: J. K. Rowling declaring Dumbledore to be gay shortly after the release of the final book is something that everyone in the fanbase has an opinion on, and to this day is a hot topic among the base. The two main camps are those who feel that the character's orientation is fairly well-supported in the text, with the Word of God being merely a confirmation of something that a close reading could have already revealed, versus those who feel that it's either a cheap way for Rowling to drum up conversation about a closed book or to quiet complaints about a lack of gay representation in the series or both.

As niche as pinball is, it has its share of disagreements and dispute that will likely never be resolved peacefully.
  • The quality of Stern's machines as compared to Williams and Bally. There are those who insist that the Williams and Bally games of the 90's were pinball perfected and that Stern's machines are devoid of heart and of low manufacturing quality. There are those who say that Stern is just as good as the best pinball companies of the past. And there are a few, most notably Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, who say Stern stands heads and shoulders above the best Williams and Bally had to offer. This mostly falls in line with when someone got into pinball, namely what machines they started playing in (though there are definitely exceptions, such as Robertson). The rise of more competitors, like Jersey Jack Pinball, Heighway Pinball, and Spooky Pinball has dissolved this conflict into something tangled and unrecognizable, as no one seems clear on where these new manufacturers stand as far as Stern vs. Bally-Williams is concerned.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula is a polarizing machine due to its focus on competitive multiplayer and its rewarding of expert-level play, with not much else. It creates a greater divisive response than any other machine when brought into a competition, even among top-level players.
  • Dot-matrix displays vs. monitors. As of the mid-2010's, pinball is in a transitional phase due to the cheapening costs of monitors. There are some who say that a monitor can do everything a DMD can do but better, and it attracts passers-by better when the machine is out in public. And there are some who say that they're unimpressed with what has been done with monitors so far and prefer the retro look a dot-matrix display has. Dutch Pinball seems to sit squarely in the middle: The Big Lebowski, their debut game, has a monitor, but with visuals displayed in dots like a dot-matrix display. Spooky Pinball seems to have also taken up this middle area.
  • Incandescent lights vs. LEDs. Some people prefer the warm yellowish glow of incandescent lights and how they fade in and out, whereas others prefer the brighter LEDs and how they're cheaper, longer-lasting, consume less power, and come in every imaginable color (and some can even change color). This dispute has only intensified not only because LEDs have become an industry standard (even the Medieval Madness remake uses LEDs, whereas the original used incandescents), but because the United States, where most pinball machines are created and manufactured, is required to halt incandescent production by 2020.
  • Modding vs. non-modding. Some people prefer their pinball machines to look like how they were when they were made, and some want to add more stuff onto them. This is mostly a non-issue among what people should do with their machines, but it pops up mainly in regards to modded machines being re-sold: Some people get very upset if a machine they intended to buy turns out to be modded.
  • The pricing of the remake for Spider-Man (Stern), at US$8,000. The original release cost US$3,500. Some are saying that this is an acceptable price because of the improved durability, new artwork, inflation since 2007, and increased demand for pinball since 2007. Some are saying that a price increase this big is unacceptable. And some are assuming Stern is pricing based on the used market (the original version, if in a decent condition, always sells for higher than it was originally worth) and are worried about the prices of future releases.
  • Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons has created flame wars all over the Internet on two fronts: The first is its thoroughly sexist artwork, featuring the buxom daughter of a farmer and men all over the playfield gawking at her. There are some people who are disgusted and revolted at this artwork (men and women alike), and there are people who love it. The other front is its price: It is a Palette Swap of a machine from 40 years ago (Continental, to be precise), meaning it has a simple layout, simple rules, and is electronically simple inside, but at US$6,500, is more expensive than modern-looking games with modern gameplay and audio.
  • Playing for points vs. playing for content. Before the 1980's, this was a non-issue, as pinball machines had no plot to begin with, but starting with Black Knight, pinball now had stories, challenges to be overcome, villains to be defeated, and days to be saved. The matter of contention here comes from how people want to play pinball: Some just want to go for the highest score possible, and some want to get to the end of the story and see everything the machine has to offer, which are not always the same thing. In fact, due to the risk of getting a Game Over before you get to the end, playing for score and playing for story are rarely the same thing.
  • Electromechanical machines vs. solid-state machines. During the late 70's, advances in computer technology allowed pinball machines to have computer processors and memory storage inside, allowing for pre-recorded audio, digital displays, and more complex rules. This put a wedge among pinball fans that exists to this day due to the starkly different ways pinball machines play based on their electronic components. That being said, the divide has somewhat melted away over the decades, with only the hardest of the hardcore refusing to accept both kinds.
  • Flownote  vs. stop-and-shootnote . There are plenty of pinball fans who swear by one and are quick to dismiss the other, due to how their contrasting gameplay styles—fast action vs. slow aiming—require very different kinds of thinking. This extends to creators too: Steve Ritchie makes almost nothing but flow games, and Pat Lawlor makes near-exclusively stop-and-shoot games, though said rivalry exists strictly with the fans. The two of them get along pretty well.
  • For much of the Turn of the Millennium, there were many fans who demanded unlicensed themes, as they felt pinball was suffering from The Problem with Licensed Games (for a variety of suspected reasons). Finally, in The New '10s, unlicensed themes started coming out, with releases like the aforementioned Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons, plus Full Throttle, America's Most Haunted, and Dialed In. When said unlicensed machines were not as mind-blowingly awesome as these fans had hoped they would be (albeit they still have their merits, especially with America's Most Haunted), the Hype Backlash soon overtook the call for unlicensed machines. Now there is a group calling for a lot of unlicensed themes and a group who argue that the manufacturers should go back to what they were doing before.

  • National Football League: The NFL began seriously attempting to reduce the number of concussions in The New '10s with increased emphasis on player safety. CTE scans were made for any serious blows to the head, those who showed concussion symptoms were kept out of the game for longer, and helmet-to-helmet hits, as well as tackles leading with the head, were made against the rules. The rule changes have been divisive among fans of American Football, with some seeing this as a good way to reduce the dangers of an already dangerous sport, with others saying it makes the game slower and less exciting to watch, referring to the NFL as "the No Fun League."
  • At the 2018 Gymnastics World Championships, Simone Biles won the women's individual all-around despite falling twice (once on her vault landing, and once off the balance beam). Fans were divided on the matter: some insisted that no one should be able to win a major competition with two falls, while others felt that if she could overcome the fall deductions to still get a winning score, she deserved the victory.
  • The addition of the Designated Hitternote  in one of Baseball's two major leagues caused (and still causes) divisions among fans. Some appreciate the increased chances for the ball to be put into play by the hitter, while others decry the loss of a strategic element in deciding whether to replace a pitcher.

  • Hero Factory vs BIONICLE, since the former is a replacement for the latter.
    • As far as their basic story concepts and plotlines go, at least. The Hero Factory sets seem to have been received well enough, especially the 2.0 figures.
    • And, oh, on a larger scale, there is the pro-Bionicle/Hero Factory and anti-Bionicle/Hero Factory "debate". Certain older members of the LEGO community seem to utterly hate these essentially action figure lines (and sometimes the people that like them as well), while their fans just want to be left alone to enjoy what they like.
    • With regards to the BIONICLE story, there is that ever-resurfacing argument over which "era" was best. Nostalgic fans tend to view the original saga-trilogy of 2001-2002-2003 as the most defining age, while others insist that the quasi-spiritualism made it cheesy, the stereotyped characters made it uninspired and the Strictly Formula plots just made it stagnate.

      The 2004 Metru Nui era is when the biggest They Changed It, Now It Sucks! shift took place — from a tropical island with lovable tribal people to a futuristic, high-tech city where angst and corruption abounded. The revelation that this was meant to be the "true" theme of BIONICLE turned many people away, but others liked it for its sudden avalanche of world-building and for the story being a bit more character-driven. 2005 isn't that popular, though.

      The post-2005 story is both hailed and hated for its dark tone, focus on intense sci-fi action and the tension-filled atmosphere, likewise for its subversive nature regarding some worn-out clichés of past years (which was often invoked by the characters in-story).

      Also, the latent Earth Drift tendencies of the later stories, organic characters replacing the biomechanical ones, is a heavily frowned-upon aspect for the older fans. Though, whether they remember or not, this has been part of the story since the beginning that just got more focus as the mysteries unveiled. Meanwhile, fan fiction writers at least now had semi-canon grounds for doing all kinds of things with these new, organic characters.
      • Related to the last point, the writer-enforced No Hugging, No Kissing rule is a frequently argued-over topic of the fandom.
    • Toy-wise, there was always someone complaining that the diminishing of action features made the figures boring, often going as far as to say "dumbed down", but others liked the improved articulation and the easier, faster construction.
    • Of the franchise's two main multi-console licensed games, the second, BIONICLE Heroes divides the fandom. On one hand, it's praised for its scope, straightforwardness, varied environments, the characters' unique special abilities, for being a decent time-killer, and for not being as horrible as the first. On the other, it's hated for not following canon, turning the characters into jokes completely unrelated to how they're featured in the story, and for being far too easy and monotone. That said, the DS version is warmly received.
    • Another recurring topic of interest is the way the Big Bad was eventually defeated — shoving his head into an oncoming planetoid. Some are adamant that's it's ironic in its simplicity, for finishing off such a developed villain notorious for his inextricable plans in such a casual way, others say it was just plain anticlimactic, too sudden and mundane, and not near worth waiting 9+ years for.
    • There are, of course, the web serials, which either granted the writer Greg Farshtey the all-too-needed freedom to explore and develop the universe without the bounds of having to promote toys, or just gave him an excuse to write his own tacked-together crowd-pleasing fanfiction into canon material, and kill off whichever character he found challenging to make interesting. Heck, Greg's writing in general seems to have strongly divided the fandom in the later years, with some hailing him as the only person worthy of ever touching the property, and others condemning him for wrecking the universe.
    • The art of Stuart Sayger, who did the artwork for the '06-'07 comics and for a story in one of the later graphic novels, seems to have an equal share of lovers and loathers, as some greeted his style as a welcome and refreshing new take on the BIONICLE world, but others felt it was too different, and unsuitable for the theme's complex, robotic character designs. One thing they all agree on is that it was rarely ever not Off-Model.
    • One of the most divisive sets is the titan-sized Toa Mata Nui. Fans (those that could get it at least) are of two minds about the figure. Some see it as one of the best large-size sets of the whole franchise, with a unique and complicated construction, and praise it for giving Mata Nui the sword he had in The Movie. Others regard it as a sub-par follow-up to the previous year's well-received titan Takanuva, with a poor design, messy color scheme, bad proportions, and hate it for being wildly Off-Model (even the sword) and for not fitting into the established scale of the figures. One thing they all like, though, is that it has a golden Mask of Life.
    • Prior to the news of the line resurfacing in 2015, there was another break between those fans that wanted to bring the franchise back and those who thought it would have been a bad idea. Much of the former crowd has been made up of Fan Dumb, with the "anti-revivalists" often being more reasonable in their position, as they realized that, with all the similar but newer LEGO Themes (Hero Factory, Ninjago, Legends of Chima) adopting a much more Lighter and Softer approach, BIONICLE's darker and complex story would probably only suffer if it was really brought back. Part of what made this break so big is that a lot of the "pro" fans misinterpreted the other side's position, thinking that they didn't want to have BIONICLE back, period. After the first rumors about the series' return started appearing, the arguments mostly ceased.
    • The Hero Factory mini-movie Invasion from Below has caused an interesting fandom break: generally, many BIONICLE fans have maintained that the animations and promos done by Ghost VFX and Advance were the "true" way of telling a story, and when these companies were announced as the episode's creators, they cheered that Hero Factory might finally rise up to its predecessor. After the episode aired, some now claim that they should never try to expand their influence to LEGO media outside of short promos with minimal or no dialogue. The episode itself was met with very mixed reception, it's either the best or worst episode of the series.
    • The original BIONICLE DVD movies redesigned the characters drastically to make them look more biomechanical, accurate to the backstory in which they have many organic parts. The fourth film and basically all other media depicted them just as the toys, basically as robots. Fans are split over which is more "right" — most old-school fans who watched the old animations and played the games claim that giving them organic properties is stupid because mechanical robots are cooler, whereas fans who followed the story more closely attack this notion. The designs of the original movies also divide the fans purely by aesthetic merit — some love them for making the characters feel more "alive", others hate them for often looking nothing like the toys, and because they barely have any recognizable LEGO parts on them.
    • Fans of LEGO action figures tend to be divided on whether the standard building system used in older lines or the balljoint-based "CCBS" introduced in 2011 is better. A lot of people do use a combination of both, but there are "extremists" on both sides, with the highly vocal Gen-1 BIONICLE purists who hate CCBS due to its smoother, blockier pieces deserving a special mention.
  • The My Little Pony toys have a completely different set of issues from the cartoon adaptations. G2 gets the most hate, due to the fact the toys look nothing like any other MLP toy-line before or since. G4 gets a small amount of hate too, both from fans of My Little Pony toys and the typical fan of the source cartoon, due to Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy. Although a lot of hate of the G4 toys is because Princess Celestia is pink (which was resolved when Cadance was introduced at the end of Season 2.)

The correct answer is The Sisko.
No, Janeway!
*sigh* Here We Go Again!
But what about Archer?
You mean Archer? Or that Archer?
Whatever! The point is, Chris Pine's Kirk is clearly the superior Kirk!
*Chirping Crickets*
Get him!


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