Fanfiction communities, like any other fandom, have their own set of standards. While technically, all fanfiction is free to just do whatever it wants (hell, all fiction in general is, too), there are a number of topics and tropes that cause revulsion and anger amongst these communities. The revulsion can range from forgivable (most beginning writers are given a free pass for this so long as they aren't particularly mean-spirited) to sending whole communities up in arms (which will sometimes result in being banned as a particularly light sentence).
Also worthy of note is that many cases of traditional canon defilement actually are canonical, but in those cases, it's always when a Promoted Fanboy gets to Run The Asylum and just abuses editorial fiat. It takes quite a lot more for them to really get this term thrown at them, but it generally tends to sting a lot more, since their influence will (usually) affect future stories as well. Please note that it isn't Canon Defilement if the original creative crew is responsible; it's just good old Seasonal Rot/Creator Breakdown.
An incomplete list of things that are generally known to cause this:
- Canonical Character Derailment in general (often referred to as Out of Character or OOC).
- Radical Backstory alterations, whether it be as part of the Possession Sue process or to set them up as a heel so they can Die for Our Ship.
- Changing their personality in ways that majorly conflict with their established mannerisms (again, for either Possession Sue or Die for Our Ship). This especially includes Chickification or Ukefication.
- (Regularly) Disregarding their capabilities or giving completely new and unlikely ones in order to facilitate the plot.
- Related to the Character Derailment is the creation of Mary Sue in any of its incarnations. In order for Mary Sue to exist, the character doesn't serve the story and instead makes the story serve them (whether it be out of reverence or contempt). After that, the usual Mary Sue story can play out, basically turning the canon into little more than window dressing for the Wish-Fulfillment of the author.
- Disregarding established 'Verse laws in order to facilitate the plot without offering any satisfying explanation as to why.
- Literal Rape in any form tends to throw FanFic communities up in arms, especially the gratuitous kind. (excluding perhaps, instances of rape that took place in the actual canon).
There are other things that a good portion of fanbases add to this list, but that many other people really like (or at least think it adds to the story) and are willing to defend:
- This is a common accusation leveled at Alternate Universe Fics and especially the highly-contested High School AU. The latter especially tends towards being little more than the writer playing out their personal fantasies while trying to appeal to readers with a vestigial connection to a canon.
- Although it should be pointed out that in canons where time travel, alternate universes, and the like are canonical, there is little to no controversy over Alternate Universe Fics. This is especially true in relation to fandoms that skew old, such as Star Trek (or at least Trek before 2009), where there are few High School AU stories because most writers are in their thirties or older.
- Major Genre Shifts. note
- Sailor Earth, in general, is often viewed as this.
- The breaking up of Official Couples for any reason, whether paving the way for Fan Preferred Couples, Crack Pairings, or Relationship Sues.
- The great Slash Fic debate, along with the Lemon debate. The former has heavy ties with the Character Derailment argument.
- Alternate Character Interpretation is sometimes even viewed as Canon Defilement. Typically, whenever you lodge a complaint at a fanfic for interpreting the characters a different way, expect to typically be ignored or seen as nothing other than a Jerkass or Troll. Sometimes, people often cry Canon Defilement at this merely to say "My interpretation for this character is better than your interpretation."
- Elsewhere Fic can also be considered Canon Defilement, again, be careful with throwing this around.
- Fanfics built around "What If?" scenarios (e.g., assuming that the characters decided to Take a Third Option) are, once again, sometimes viewed as Canon Defilement.
- Very Special Episode or Glurge fanfic set in a canon that can't support the weight of the difficult subjects being dealt with, due to internal logic, tone, or both. This tends to be extra Flame Bait, because bad handling of these sorts of issues can be personally hurtful to lots of fans. However, allegorical stories which use Does This Remind You of Anything?, G-Rated Drugs and other such subtext to discuss these issues are often very well received. (Or, at least, they are well-received compared to when someone just straight-up gives Optimus Prime an eating disorder, or forces Twilight Sparkle to choose between an abortion and her pro-life Christianity.) Doing this for Refuge in Audacity comedy purposes also tends to get a pass.
- Some people view Self-Fanservice as Canon Defilement. This largely depends on the person. And the character.
- Incest in any type can also be seen as Canon Defilement to some people, except if Canon feature these types of relationships.
It is important to note that Canon Defilement does have a subjective side to it. Sometimes, one person's Canon Defilement is another person's fanfiction idea — and criticisms about it being Canon Defilement sometimes get responded to with a big ignore.
This generally comes about because the author either didn't know better or perhaps just didn't care. Sometimes it's played for humor, but with something like this it can be hard to tell...
In addition, there have been more than a few cases of intentional canon defilement; usually for the purposes of satire, parody, or other humor (the joke frequently being some variation on "X done in the style of Y"). For an excellent example, see Saturday Morning Watchmen.
Contrast Acceptable Breaks from Canon.