Tropes listed in the Wiki Tropes index are being discussed at the Trope Repair Shop. Click the link here to join the discussion.
"This is a site populated by militant movie buffs: sad, pathetic little bastards living in their parents' basement downloading scripts and what they think is inside information about movies and actors they claim to despise yet can't stop discussing."
A good fandom is successful by having a diverse community of people who share a mutual interest in the shared object of the fandom, but nevertheless remain mature and sensible enough to tolerate and respect differences of opinion. Thankfully, most people in fandoms are actually like this (for the most part at least).
Then there's Fan Dumb. Fan Dumb is the underbelly, where Serious Business becomes obsession.
The key characteristics of a Fan Dumb tend to be people with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and/or victimization, and (usually) an underdeveloped sense of humor or perspective about the subject of their fandom, coupled with an obsessive level of interest and (frequently) some rather irrational views on the whole thing. Finally, we can also mix this with the inability to distinguish fact from opinion and/or disagreement from hatred that so many people on the internet seem to be suffering from these days (despite these lessons typically being instilled in kindergarten). They usually believe that the very fact that they are fans of something somehow entitles them to special or exclusive treatment, or that they are being persecuted by numerous different parties (the creator, the producers, other fans, the world at large, etc.) because of their fandom.
They are nearly always people who have completely lost perspective on exactly how important or special the franchise, the fandom and their views on same is in the scheme of things, and don't understand why others don't feel the same as they do. As such, they tend to view even polite or minor disagreement with them and their views as a personal attack, which often leads to them adopting an irrationally combative, defensive tone towards others in response; in discussion, they will usually resort to unrelated ad hominem attacks on others and place value judgments on them, not their arguments expect snide comments about race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. (the correct response to such insults is to mute/block the offender and go elsewhere). And any jokes made about the subject of the fandom (or them) will be responded to either with out-of-proportion offense (often peppered with plenty of F-bombing) or a humorless deconstruction of why the joke is "inaccurate". Particularly nasty examples may invite others to fight them or insinuate that they are too cowardly to say anything in person, make threats of violence, "doxx" the other party (that is, publish their contact info online without their consent), or (on occasion) actually engage in violent or threatening behavior in person.
The end result of all these people believe passionately that they're the champion elites of the fandom, guarding and preserving what makes it special, whilst ultimately contributing little of any actual value to the property or the fandom, even contributing to its ruining in the process. As a general rule of thumb, the phrase "True Fans" (or some variation thereof) being thrown around is often a red flag that you're dealing with Fan Dumb, particularly if it's being self-applied; the subtext (or text), of course, is "I'm a True Fan, and you're not."
Although a Fan Dumb often holds idiosyncratic views about the franchise and demonstrates a passionate interest in it, it is important to note that neither controversial views nor intense interest are necessarily an indication of Fan Dumb in and of themselves. Differing viewpoints are inevitable in a large gathering of people (and knee-jerk objection to a differing opinion simply because it's a differing opinion is often a good sign that you belong in Fan Dumb yourself), and most people join fandoms in the first place because they're passionate about something and they want to celebrate it with other people who find it special. Many people manage to hold contrary or passionately enthusiastic viewpoints whilst still remaining civil and decent; similarly, many dismissed as Fan Dumb hold views that, on the surface, are actually quite reasonable. The problem with Fan Dumb is not necessarily the level of interest or the viewpoint, but the way it is expressed; even a reasonable argument will sound insane if it's being screamed in someone's face.
Taking these fans too seriously is a mistake. Although they tend to be louder than the rest of the fanbase combined, they are a decided minority in almost every fandom (though they often claim to be a majority). Fan Dumb also tends to suffer from an extreme case of Fan Myopia, regardless of what kind they are; in any variation, they are often intractably convinced that the views of "the fans" (or more accurately, their personal views that they've confused with the majority's views) are both more widespread and more mainstream than they are. If you're a producer, pandering to them is usually a good way to make your franchise crash and burn. And to add insult to injury, they usually won't be very grateful that you were thinking about them, but will instead start whining about how you made the franchise crash and burn.
See also Single-Issue Wonk. A specific example is Die for Our Ship. Fan Dumb is a number one contributing factor to both Artist Disillusionment and Fan Disillusionment. Although often a minority, the shrill obnoxiousness of this kind of fan has nevertheless permeated enough people's impressions to construct the stereotype of the Straw Fan. Can be confused easily with a Troll, but, as a rule of thumb, bear in mind that a Fan Dumb is NOT a Troll. See also Unpleasable Fanbase and Broken Base for the massive versions of this.
Compare with Viewers Are Morons. Contrast with Hate Dumb, although the two have been known to spawn one another. Not to be confused with the Web Comic of the same name, the first page of which can be found here.
Sadly, every fandom has to deal with this and all of its variations, no matter how much they deny it and how much they wish this problem didn't exist. Trust us, these people even annoy the creators of the things that you like as much as they annoy the rest of us. We admit that even TV Tropes has its problems with Fan Dumb of its own. Don't worry, Fan Dumb are usually just a Vocal Minority. Keep that in mind if you decide to put this as an example to any media or see this in any media here. Most fans of a thing, including yourself (unless you actually do fit this (and you know if you do)), are not complete and utter morons and just want to enjoy it like everyone else. And on the same flip of the coin, everyone (yes, including you) has probably been guilty of at least one Fan Dumb moment at some point in their lives if they're being honest; the key thing is being grown-up enough to be able to recognize, acknowledge, and correct your mistake, then move on rather than getting locked near-permanently into that mindset.
As a footnote, to a devoted member of the Hatedom, any form of Fandom appears like Fan Dumb. Fan Dumb and Hate Dumb are light and darkness in these regards in that one cannot exist without the other. In fact, the two can often fuel each other, with Hate Dumb causing normally rational fans to become overly defensive and engage in Fan Dumb behavior, while Fan Dumb can transform reasonable critique into a whirlwind of hatred directed at the fandom itself, contributing to Hate Dumb behavior.
Please do not put this on a work's main page and sub-pages. The only exception is if it is invoked canonically as a character trait someone has. In that case, mark it as such.
Common Fan Dumb variants include:
open/close all folders
Fans who take Death of the Author too far, ignoring everything from Word of God to the point of refusing to accept official canon.
The opposite of the Theocrat
(see below), and often veering into Hate Dumb
territory as well, these are fans who, above all else, prefer only
explanations, or, even better, their own explanations of canon events and characters, and take this attitude too far. Often found twisting a character's personality into a Draco in Leather Pants
/Ron the Death Eater
and saying that those should be the true characters, heaping scorn on the canon pairing
and propagating Die for Our Ship
, taking Word of Dante
over Word of God
and declaring the latter as a result of writing pitfalls
, erasing any and all clarifications of Plot Holes
to fit their own personal canons, the list goes on and on. Ironically/hypocritically, while this type of fan will stubbornly challenge and reject anything the author says, they'll usually react with anger and offence if anyone (even other fans with their own fanon explanations) dares question their
Fans who care more about how successful a particular work is than its actual substantive content and behave as though they have a personal financial stake in its success.
Although fans like the Beancounter
have always been around in one form or another, they have become especially visible in the latter half of The New '10s
, particularly on the Internet. Succinctly, the Beancounter is a fan who is obsessed not with the substance of a story or the cleverness of a plot nor the quality of a performance or anything actually involved in the creation
of the subject of their fandom, but rather with how much money
it makes. The Beancounter is fixated on box office numbers, television ratings and chart positions (and almost always in relation to the most popular and - crucially - commercially successful things around; if it isn't in the mainstream and making big money, it might as well not exist in the Beancounter's mind) and tends to talk about the things they enjoy in terms that sound better suited to a corporate boardroom or shareholders' meeting than any fan venue. While the business side of the entertainment industry is often interesting to explore, the Beancounter (who never has any actual financial stake in the success of what they're following) takes it more seriously than they probably should, referring to pieces of art exclusively as "properties" or "IP", praising actors for their status as "draws" rather than their talent as performers and citing nebulous ideas like "lack of franchise potential" as a legitimate criticism of a piece of art, seldom having more than a surface level appreciation for the art itself. Beancounters will point to the amount of money a work has made in response to virtually any criticism it receives and accuse said critics of jealousy of their target's success; at the extreme end, Beancounters will get into earnest arguments about which
gigantic corporation should have a monopoly on particular characters or series (the question of whether or not gigantic corporations should
have a monopoly on said characters or series is ignored) and even defend corrupt or dishonest business practices on the basis that the corporate entity carrying them out owns the thing they like.
Fans whose mania revolves around a character or a few specific characters more than the work as a whole.
The Character Lovers are identified through their fixation on a particular character appearing within the story rather than the story itself, which they then take to extremes. They often come in one of two variants:
- Mad Bride/Groom: This fan is more a fan of a specific character than the franchise, with the series largely being a vehicle to enjoy them. Their attachment to the character could be an actual crush (in which case, expect them to write fanfiction that ships them with an Author Avatar) but it could also just be the concept of a favourite character, taken up to eleven. These people often take this to the extent that they refuse to follow the franchise if/when their favourite character is left out of it. The lack of this character's involvement in the series or characterization going off in another direction than expected often turns this fan into a more personalized version of the Tinfoiler; in this case, according to the Mad Bride/Groom, the producers are doing what they do because they have a personal vendetta against this character, rather than because they're unable to fit them into the story (there are a few cases where the creator actually hated the character, but "they're unable to fit them into the story" is far more likely). Tellingly, the fans often have a rather idealized, if not distorted, view of the character that they adore. Shippers are heavily associated with these sorts of fans; this can become doubly worrisome if the character they like is involved with another character with whom the fan actually identifies directly, or if they become involved in a Love Triangle. Contrast with (and sometimes rivals to) the Hate Monger. One should ask the Mad Bride/Groom to compare the amount of screentime they want of their crush to the amount the central protagonist already gets (unless their crush is the central protagonist, in which case you should point out that any character would quickly become dull in a vacuum), and also point out that the producers would then get numerous other complaints from the Mad Brides/Grooms of all the other characters. For their own sake, it should also be pointed out to them that people who display this degree of affection for real-life people tend to get restraining orders placed upon them.
- Mad Protector: When Mad Brides/Grooms get a bit too overprotective, they take tips from the Hate Dumb. They like a character and spew bile at any other characters they perceive to be mean or doing horrible things to the character. It doesn't matter if the "meanies did mean or horrible things because it makes sense in the story, they're just doing their job as villains, their actions weren't even that bad, or even if theyre retaliating for something mean that was done to them what matters is "how dare that character be mean to my baby!" And so begins the Mad Protectors hatred to those "meanies," putting them into a disliked list, demonizing and maybe even becoming Hate Mongers for that meanie, on the basis that they are so mean to the character they love. Sometimes, if the meanie is just exceptionally mean and universally hated, this might not look like not quite a Fan Dumb. Most of the time, though, they love to attack "meanies" with their own reasons to be mean. They also tend to write Accusation Fics and are quick to label a character they perceive as mean as a Karma Houdini.
- Insane Avatar: Fans who associate themselves with a single character and hates any who criticize that character. These fans will idolize, nay, see themselves as a character from something they love. Everything associated with said character is something they would or should do. Everyone who has a slightly different opinion other than that the character in question is "awesome" is wrong. "Those people cannot understand why [Character X] does those things! How could they?! Only I understand them!" is a common mantra for this fan, who will also reduce all sorts of questions to "What Would X Do?" This fan will also fight tooth and nail when defending any ships this character is in. The Insane Avatar should be asked one simple question: "Why on Earth should we all be forced to place character X on such a high pedestal solely because you have so much in common with them? Fact and opinion are not the same thing."
Fans who are paranoid about their favorite franchise being ruined or cancelled.
Chicken Littles see doom in every raindrop, and live in perpetual terror that the sky is about to come crashing down on top of them. Whilst no franchise can claim to be entirely perfect and flawless, the Chicken Little is terrified that any misstep on the part of the producers will inevitably result in cancellation
. While it is, in fact, possible for franchises to get worse
, Chicken Little responds to every proposed change, every teaser, every trailer
, and every bit of Kudzu Plot
with paranoia. Chicken Little also has almost no hope for any spinoffs. Expect these guys to scream, "This film/game/show/book/etc. will SUUUUUUCK!
" or "This will singlehandedly ruin the franchise forever!!!
" A Chicken Little may also see any signs of slowing down, fall in popularity, or decline in the size of the fanbase, however tiny, as a sure sign that the work is doomed to fail and are often wondering how long it will be until support is completely killed off. While it is rare for a franchise ever to have a consistently steady increase in views or fans (other franchises can also grab a fan's attention since people do like more than one thing), in the eyes of a Chicken Little, the loss of a few fans may as well be a death sentence. Often combined with the Old-Timer. This person is paranoid
, plain and simple. When you point this out to them, make sure to mention the fact that franchises never get canceled for things as minor as what Chicken Little is getting so anxious over, and in fact it takes something much bigger.
A variant exists in the form of the Bizarro Chicken Little, who operates under the belief that even the tiniest voice of criticism will reach the ears of the Powers That Be, who will immediately cancel the franchise in the belief that nobody likes it anymore. Ergo, all voices of criticism must be silenced with prejudice in order to keep the franchise on the air.
Fans outside the franchise's demographic who complain because the franchise isn't being directed at them.
These fans often seem to have no Willing Suspension of Disbelief
, often leading them to criticize or refuse to accept plots, characters and themes that might be necessary or even essential for that franchise or genre to function
. They often appear to be members of a Periphery Demographic
who cannot or do not wish to accept that the franchise is not actually aimed directly at them (if at all), and yet resent the fact that it is not actually aimed at them. Therefore, any complaints about how it's not
aimed at them are legitimate complaints and considered "weaknesses." If the work in question is aimed specifically at children, expect this kind of fan to pick out dubious evidence from the work (Parental Bonus
, for example) as "proof" that it is actually
Fans who want a work to take a Darker and Edgier turn despite their idea of "dark and edgy" being exceedingly juvenile.
The opposite of the Fandom Moral Guardian. These fans demand that a work go Darker and Edgier
, even when it would be to the detriment of the work, and treat their favourites (especially
when they are explicitly and obviously aimed at younger audiences) as being much darker and more "mature" than they actually are. Furthermore, their idea of a darker turn is usually exceedingly puerile, devoid of nuance, and overall sophomoric and immature. Instead of more complex and difficult themes, they would be far
happier with juvenile anti-PC humor
, gratuitous violence and bloodshed
, oversexualization and adolescent-level depictions of sexuality
, and overwrought melodrama and blind pessimism and nihilism
. In short, they don't actually want a truly Darker and Edgier
work, they want one that caters to their own underdeveloped, childish tastes. In practice, they are most commonly the purveyors of cringeworthy fanfics and fanart; if you spot a fanwork that has the above characteristics
, you're probably witnessing one of these in action. Overly edgy and one-dimensional OCs
are another dead giveaway; on the rare occasions where they make themselves known to the creators, they're probably complaining about the "kiddification" of a work or trying to insinuate that it hasn't been keeping up with the times (in spite of the fact that most of their suggestions will instantly date a work
if taken seriously). On This Very Wiki
, if you ever see an example of something not-so-scary being listed on Nightmare Fuel
or an act that was heinous by story standards, but not by broader standards being cited as a Moral Event Horizon
(and, before the overhaul, the character in question being cited as a Complete Monster
), and it's not from someone with a legitimate phobia
of the thing in question, it's usually an Edgelord trying to make their favourite work seem edgier and therefore, in their eyes, better. The Hate Dumb
counterpart is the Negative Nelly, who hates the work for not being dark enough and probably shares the Edgelord's immature ideas of what a dark work is.
The cliché hipsters of a fandom.
These fans tend to spring up when the franchise goes from being a cult favorite to the mainstream. They present themselves in contrast to these 'mainstream' fans, and look down on fans who did not like it when it was niche. They are often prone to "I judge you if you like..." or "I judge people based on whether they have seen..." They tend to resent the influx of new fans as "plebeians" and "Johnny-come-latelys" who are infiltrating and bringing down the tone of their previously exclusive, niche little club. As an ego-stroking exercise
, they might actually try to set themselves up as an elite and attract any lickspittles and mimics
they can find; alternatively, expect to hear a lot of whining about how the franchise has "Sold Out" or "Gone Commercial"
, whether it's true or false. Ask this person why on Earth their enjoyment of a franchise should be affected by the fact that some guy 2,000 miles away is also enjoying the franchise but without being of group X.
Fandom Moral Guardian
Self-appointed Moral Guardians who will scream about any sign of "dark" or mature themes in works, fan-made or otherwise.
These kinds of fans are very concerned with the moral influence of their chosen series. While they may be part of the target audience themselves, the Fandom Moral Guardian focuses their attention on criticizing adult- or teen-oriented books or programs for being inappropriate for children
, even though younger audiences clearly aren't what the creators had in mind. The Fandom Moral Guardian sees a lot of fiction in terms of black and white
; there are "dark" works that only adults can enjoy and there are "light" works which are only appropriate for children. However, if creators working in the latter category decide that they'd like to make their work even a little bit darker
maybe they want the work to age alongside its original audience or hope they'll have greater story opportunities the Fandom Moral Guardian is convinced that the work is irretrievably shifted into the "dark" category, so they'll be there to complain about the creator "betraying" them
and berate other fans for continuing to enjoy such immoral material
. Accordingly, expect this type of fan to be a little bit oversensitive about tropes like What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?
/It's Not for Kids?
and the Animation Age Ghetto
. They also tend to react negatively to Dark Fics
of any kind, and may even complain about dark fan works based on equally dark source material.
Fans who are convinced that they are so much more sophisticated and intelligent than those around them.
Like the Elitist, you can identify Highbrow fans by an apparent belief that they are somehow superior to other fans or the public at large; in this case, however, their superiority stems from their (supposed) sophistication and intellectual prowess. Tends to come in one of three variants:
- Toxic Genius: Fans who seem to believe that the fact that other people are disagreeing with their strongly held opinions is not because they have different but equally strongly held opinions, but because they're just so much smarter than they are that they can't recognize their correctness. The operative term is usually "you just don't get it" (i.e."you're much stupider than I am and thus can't see why this franchise is amazing/dreadful"), couched in as patronizing and condescending a fashion as possible. This variant can also be found engaging in slightly pretentious (and often wildly off-mark) analysis of the franchise. Many times the Toxic Geniuses are often shown as being single-character-interpreters blind to Alternate Character Interpretation, believing that only their interpretation of the character is correct. (Seen especially in character-heavy works like books, film, and some video games.) Likewise, they will not allow anyone to view the character any differently.
- Toxic Visionary: Like the Genius, the Toxic Visionaries use their perceived intelligence as a weapon ... except they think they're smarter than the creators. Self-proclaimed (if falsely-humble) experts on everything, the Visionaries are given to long discussions about how the creators clearly don't understand their own work as much as they do, often peppered with phrases such as "I don't like the direction [the creator] is taking in [insert work here], "I'm not an expert on [X], but..." and even, in sufficiently bare-faced examples, outright coming out and saying "I could have written it better," said completely without irony. They can usually be found picking over the work for nonexistent Subtext, earnestly trying to settle questions the creators would rather leave unanswered and overestimating the significance of "hard" fandom as a whole.
- Toxic Missionary: This one has an idea of True Art as a method of education, and not necessarily an entertaining one. The Toxic Missionaries may criticize the frothier parts of the franchise for detracting from the all-important message. Their version of Complaining About People Not Liking the Show is that their franchise ought to make people feel uncomfortable, at least on first impression; it's a pill they should take along with the mindless entertainment they seem to prefer. Admittedly, many an Author Tract is trying to produce missionaries to spread its message, but Toxic Missionaries can be seen even in fanbases of franchises with no apparent Writer on Board. Like the Toxic Visionary, these latter cases are all-too-often guilty of seeing things that aren't there, and are often guilty of over-subscribing to the idea that they should stick it to "The Man." As such, they hate the Rule-Abiding Rebel with a passion and live in constant terror of their favourite franchise being perceived as one, fairly or otherwise. Very frequently overlaps with the Edgelord.
Someone who associates with a work, but only because it's cool or because a reviewer praised it, not because they actually
A fan of the franchise, but only as long as it's cool to be so. This is somewhat the inverse of It's Popular, Now It Sucks!
, but it's mostly the inverse of He Panned It, Now He Sucks!
, since many of these fans only like it because a reviewer said something good about it, so clearly, it must be good and if you disagree with them
, The Complainer Is Always Wrong
. Overlaps heavily
with Praising Shows You Don't Watch
. In some extreme cases, these fans have no will of their own, relying entirely
on reviewers and sometimes Quality by Popular Vote
. When the inverse happens and it becomes cool to hate
it instead of like it (see Hate Dumb
), these are the people who turn their backs on the fandom and deny having ever had anything to do with it.
A fan who hypes up and vehemently defends a work that isn't out yet.
These guys really love a work. The problem is that it hasn't been released. Often, it hasn't even been finished. These people are basing their fandom on previews, teasers, and miscellaneous information floating around about the unreleased project; from it, they have constructed a picture of something they love intensely. They won't let anyone get in the way of this love — even if scepticism is warrantedwhy?
, these people will attack you for thinking the finished product might turn out to be something else than the perfect thing they're imagining. They'll often go on review sites to rate unreleased works 10/10, and complain if they're not allowed to do that. Fans like this are somewhat common for crowdfunded works, as many backers feel invested in the work because they've contributed to it financially and are following its development. Many Hype Maniacs are impatient and will react with anger if the work is delayed, even if the creator had a good reason for doing it. Needless to say, the Hype Maniac mentality can cause some serious Hype Aversion
and/or Hype Backlash
Once the work is out, there are two likely outcomes for a Hype Maniac: The first is that that they suffer Hype Backlash themself — maybe the work truly was disappointing, or maybe the Hype Maniac's expectations were so high that practically anything would leave them unsatisfied. The fan may learn their lesson for the next hyped-up work, but don't hold your breath. The other option is that the Hype Maniac keeps insisting that the work is perfect, turning into the Willfully Blind type of Fan Dumb.
A fan who gets mad at people for not knowing about the work or certain aspects of it.
The Ignorance-Basher is a fan who has a bad case of Fan Myopia
, that is, they expect everyone to know everything about their favourite work. In addition, when they come across someone who doesn't know the work exists, or isn't familiar with a certain character/meme/episode/etc, they get boiling mad.
A common trait of the Monomaniac (see below), though not all Ignorance-Bashers are Monomaniacs. Ignorance-Bashers may also be Elitists or Old-Timers if they bash people's ignorance of earlier instalments, or Memeists if they bash people's ignorance of memes, and are especially prone to No True Scotsman type arguments (e.g. "If you haven't seen all the episodes, you can't really be a fan!"), never mind the fact that watching all the episodes/reading all the books/whatever can take time, especially if it's a long-running franchise.
If an Ignorance-Basher comes across someone who's never heard of their favourite work, expect them to accuse the unfortunate second person of "living under a rock".
A fan who thinks that fans are brainless masses and not a valid source of opinion.
Sometimes a fan's frustration towards the Fan Dumb goes full circle and creates its own Fan Dumb
. A Litter-Bearer seems to hate his fellow fans
to the extent that even valid criticism can be dismissed simply because it's coming from a fan and not an "approved" source like an outside critic. Convinced of the stupidity and utter worthlessness of their fellow fans, they begin to see things from such a skewed perspective that in their eyes, any disapproval from the fanbase just proves that the creator is right and the franchise is good. They tend to leap upon all complaints in the same fashion as the Undesired Champion, only replacing the aggression with sneering condescension. In extreme cases, this can extend to the Litter-Bearer himself, who believes that if they, or any other fan, doesn't like the product, "it's fine the way it is, and if we don't like it, that's our
problem." Litter-Bearers can often be identified by their liberal use of the word "we" in complaining about the fandom.
Someone who claims to be a fan despite having only negative comments for the work.
A fan who appears to have nothing in their heart but loathing towards the franchise, and yet still keeps coming back, often proclaiming their Undying Loyalty
to it in the process. Often a fan who's been burned in the past, they nevertheless keep hanging around purely to complain about how they've been burned. The Loyalist Complainer is very fond of announcing that they have been burned once too often by the franchise and will be leaving the fandom, and yet they never actually seem to leave. Despite the fact that they just complain nonstop about it, should anything threaten the franchise's existence (such as a cancellation threat), theirs will be among the loudest voices raised in protest of the cancellation. Basically, if you've worked in a business or public-service job, the Loyalist Complainer is, in summary, the type of customer who says they will not be coming back to do business with you, but yet comes back again and again while declaring their loyalty. May be their Guilty Pleasure
; in fact, they may proudly proclaim it as such in an effort to establish themselves as smarter than other fans.
A fan of romance to the exclusion of all else (in non-romance genres).
This fan is marked by an obsession with romantic relationships in a work that was never intended to be a romance. Related to the Culture Alien, they're the kind of person who, instead of criticizing the tacked-on romantic subplot, criticize the alien invasion for getting in the way of the B plot, and when called on it they refuse to take "It's not a soap opera" for an answer. They will pitch a fit possibly even flounce from fandom
if their One True Pairing
. If their favorite pairing is same-sex, they may well launch a campaign for "LGBT representation" that is suspiciously narrowly focused on "make that one pairing with the two hot actors canon", and if they do not succeed they will accuse the creators of homophobia and/or queerbaiting
regardless of authorial intent. They may be a fanatical fan of one character or one pairing, or they may just have an uncontrollable desire to Pair the Spares
or just the entire cast with little logical reason. They take crack pairings
seriously and will never shut up about it. Either way, there is no situation where romance is too frivolous, inappropriate, or downright creepy
A fan who demands that every gap or ambiguity in canon be explained, even if it was supposed to be ambiguous.
Similar to the Theocrat below, the Mad Scholar places too much emphasis on the overall importance of Canon
and the Word of God
, and will dismiss Fanon
as being unacceptable. Where they differ is that while the Theocrat only views that which Word of God
has declared as being "true", the Mad Scholar demands that everything in the story fits together neatly and that every loose end is tied up. They hate ambiguity and consequently demand that every single Noodle Incident
, Cryptic Background Reference
, Ambiguous Situation
, and throwaway In-Joke
or backstory reference have an official Word of God
explanation and/or eventually be shown onscreen in precise detail, however redundant or boring this would be to watch, and complains loudly if it isn't. It's almost as if they're keeping detailed charts or spreadsheets of what's happening in the narrative and insists that everything be filled in. This fan can often be heard erroneously complaining about Plot Holes
; the difference is that while a genuine plot hole is a failure in story-logic that can be annoying and intrusive to the point where it ruins the work, what the Mad Scholar often complains about is either supposed
to be ambiguous and left up to the reader's imagination without explanation, or is so mind-bogglingly trivial to the overall narrative that it doesn't matter
if it's not explained or shown. The typical stereotype of this fan is the person who can be found at conventions insistently demanding that the creator answer every single question they have about every arcane little detail of the story in detail, no matter how trivial or ridiculous.
Someone who only sees fans as those within the demographic of the franchise and thinks that "outsiders" are not
This fan has an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, believing that certain works are aimed only
towards members of their demographic. While it is true that certain works are, in fact, marketed towards specific demographics, the Mainstream Militant will insist that this means members of other demographics
are not allowed to enjoy those works. They'll typically act as if those fans who fall outside the target demographic somehow "cheapen" their own enjoyment of those works. They may fear that the existence of a Periphery Demographic
will "taint" the direction of the work, and that the writers will bring undesired changes to cater to the periphery. They will make it known loud and clear that such fans are undeserving, and will attempt to run them out of the fandom.
allowed to like the franchise.
A fan who frequently overuses memes to obnoxious and childish levels
Every work and fandom has its own share of in-jokes and memes
. In small doses and at the right time, memes can be considered amusing and even clever. The Memeist, however, overuses memes to such a degree that it becomes horribly obnoxious and may even drive potential fans away. Memeists often care more about the memes associated with the work than the work itself, often resurrecting old memes that are out of date by several years in order to create groan-worthy new ones (usually deliberately
if they're intended to be shitposts or dank memes). They are also considerably more immature and crass than other fans and are easily angered when their predictable attempts at humor are met with a negative response. Additionally, they may make references to a certain meme in comment sections or forum threads whenever the character or episode featured in the meme crops up, regardless of context. Thankfully, they tend to congregate on meme and shitposting/dank meme pages on social media and largely avoid interaction with the parent fanbases, which makes them fairly easy to avoid even if they are still very irritating. They also seldom last long on bigger pages and groups; more mature fans are likely to give chilly-at-best receptions that quickly turn into "dude, fuck off, you're annoying", while mods are quick to put a stop to excessive memeposting to avoid attracting more of them. If you have ever seen a pinned post from a mod or admin stating that they are going to start cracking down on memes and/or will stop tolerating shitposts, dank memes, and other deliberate low-quality meme content altogether, it is almost definitely because these types got out of hand.
The classic Fan Dumb variant: a fan whose entire life revolves around the franchise and nothing else.
Although not the only type of Fan Dumb by any means, this is probably the most classic example of it. The Monomaniac is Serious Business
taken to the extreme. Nothing
outside of the object of the fandom exists for this person, except perhaps the fandom itself. This means that they will attempt to discuss the object of their adoration every single chance they get, often attempting to twist or divert other discussions to this end, regardless of how awkward or nakedly inappropriate this is ("Yeah, it sucks that your father died; I felt exactly the same way when Captain Magnatron failed to defeat the Zargons in Episode 19"). This often leads them to exaggerate the actual significance of the work in a general context and then some
... and, naturally, leads to nothing but contempt from those who aren't quite as committed to the franchise as they are, or who (gasp
) aren't part of the fandom at all and are sick of "don't they realize how important
it is?" lectures. Naturally, any of the other listed types of Fan Dumb may find themselves ending up here. Unfortunately, this is how the vast majority of fandom is portrayed in the media, which is why we have a trope specifically for that
The Old-Timer has been around for a very long time, maybe even since the beginning, and they won't let you forget it. They have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement based on how much time they've invested, rather than money or devotion. Because they've stuck with it over the years, they believe that they're far more important to the franchise than these kids and "Johnny-come-latelys" who have only just arrived, and resent the franchise changing in any way to include them. They view the franchise through a sharp Nostalgia Filter
; the franchise is never as good as it used to be
, and any criticisms raised of the franchise at/before this point will be viciously rebuffed. Long-Runners
especially will attract Old-Timers who will resent and attempt to get rid of younger fans who had the misfortune of liking the thing after the Oldtimer did. It can also happen to works that are no longer in production (classics) but still manages to attract younger fans
. Essentially, they're the grumpy old men
of the fandom, constantly complaining about the good old days and shouting at the "young whippersnappers" to "get off their lawn", saying that they're too young to deserve it. Very commonly they may be found complaining about something that back in their day was a problem ... yet they complain at the lack of it now, acting like those adults who make better lives for their children yet say "back in my day we [did unpleasant action X] and we liked it." Or alternatively, if a franchise (or medium) tries to get some newer fans, they complain about people who are not true fans
and act like a five-year-old upset that their newborn baby sibling is getting more attention than they are. When dealing with these kinds of fans, point out to them that they and the members of their group are old
, and that a franchise that isn't able to recruit new fans to replace the members who leave will die.
A fan who feels entitled to special treatment because "I was here first!" Frequently suffers from Nostalgia Filter and They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
A fan who has a preferred way to experience a work and doesn't enjoy it otherwise.
A fan who has a strict and unchangeable vision of the franchise and will react badly to any changes outside of this vision.
A fan who has an idealised vision of what the franchise should be and refuses to let anything or anyone affect or change that vision ... not even the franchise itself
. They tend to react to any changes made in the franchise's format with hostility
and suspicion. Although often a fan who's been burned one time too many by Adaptation Decay
, Seasonal Rot
, or obvious merchandise pandering gone wrong
, some just simply don't like change and respond to it with pram-shaking tantrums. They usually also hate non-canon entries in a work simply for ... well, not being canon.
- A subspecies of the Purist is the Imperialist. This fan is normally found around works that were translated from another language (Usually things from Japan - as these are most commonly found around Japanese localisations). The tropes Woolseyism, Superlative Dubbing, and Cultural Translation do not exist to these people, as any changes made to the script, even if it's to avoid something being Lost in Translation or a Dub Induced Plothole, is a Macekre. Expect these people to frequently cry "bad translation" and "Memes for Memes sake" when something is localised, and assume for them to cry "Blind Idiot" Translation when the translation is actually accurate and faithful to the original, just not a word-for-word translation. A frequent source of Mis-blamed. If any change is made, even if it is to comply with local laws to even allow the work to be marketed there legit in the first place, it is because the company assumes Viewers Are Morons. Puns that would otherwise go far over the heads of viewers who aren't familiar with that language and changed to something they would be familiar with? Viewers Are Morons. In spite of their extreme insistence of cultural purity in translations, expect many Imperialists to actually be somewhat blind to how different cultures truly are, and are only familiar with an idealised version from the limited insight they have. A frequent example is viewers complaining at changes to the script while expressing Squick at works that originate from countries with a lower age of consent or less liberal views.
- Sub Purists typically chastise others for watching a work in a dubbed format, while Dub Purists typically chastise others for watching a work in a subtitled format.
A fan who doesn't respect creators' right to pursue romantic relationships in their personal lives as they please.
Celebrities are people too, and are entitled to pursue romantic relationships in their personal lives as they please, right? Not according to this fan. The Relationship Police has an idea of what the creator's love life should look like, and will not allow them to deviate from that. If the creator does deviate from their "plan" and find a love interest they don't approve of, they will often form Hate Dumbs
against the love interest
, and possibly turn against the creator. There are two common varieties:
- Mad Romantics take their Celebrity Crushes too far. They feel possessive of their idol, typically because they contribute to the idol's success and/or feel involved in the idol's life due to following them on social media. Such a fan will then feel betrayed when their one-way relationship is shattered by the idol, who most likely doesn't even know the fan exists. If the idol gets an actual love interest, expect this fan to loathe the poor guy/gal for "stealing" the idol away from the fan. The somewhat less insane Mad Romantics realize that they'd never get their idol anyway, but are still upset with the love interest for ruining their relationship fantasies. In extreme cases, these fan will become Loony Fans — crazies who may resort to stalking, suicide threats, actual suicide attempts, death threats, or even murder. Mad Romantics are common among fans of Teen Idol or Pop Idol personalities. Musicians, actors and athletes in general may also get such fans.
- While writing an Actor Shipping fic might be considered harmless (if weird) fun, Mad Actor Shippers keep insisting that two creators should get together in real life just because they have good chemistry on screen, have done some good collaborations, or in some cases just have similar styles. To these fans, it doesn't matter if the creators don't get along in real life at all, are already in relationships with someone else, or the desired ship isn't even compatible with their sexual orientation. Like the Mad Romantics, Mad Actor Shippers tend to hate the creator's love interest for "ruining" a relationship that almost certainly wouldn't have happened anyway.
- Some Mad Romantics may go even further and begin drawing (or writing) Rule 34 pieces of their favourite actors and actresses in real life, or from the universes of their favourite works. If the actors or creators in question happen to see the work and disapprove of it or even ask them to stop on a public forum (usually social media), this may drive the Mad Romantic into an all-out strop, declaring that they somehow have the right to essentially be creepy even if real world people don't feel comfortable with it, usually veiled behind some thin justification as to why such an act is okay in their mind.
This fan thinks that money equals control; having pumped a crapload of money into merchandise related to the fandom, they believe that they now own the fandom and that all creative and executive decisions must be run through them first. This tends to translate to an insanely overdeveloped sense of entitlement; the producers must bow to his every wish, regardless of how impractical or impossible this would be. He or she is prone to gloating over/complaining about the amount of money s/he has invested in the fandom, with the idea that nobody forced or continues to force him/her to buy every single piece of merchandise apparently not occurring to him/her. Whenever exclusive sweepstakes or promotional events happen, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Royal Customer may be the first one complaining how it should be available to everyone, which may be justified in certain cases, but not for stuff like Collector's Editions or tours. This is the same type of person who will attempt to fight a speeding ticket with the line "My taxes pay your salary!"
A fan who feels entitled to special treatment and priority because he or she owns lots of merchandise from the franchise.
A fan who hates someone or something for ruining the franchise, despite it not being responsible.
This fan might express what is a healthy amount of criticism ... but ignores the chain of decay, middle management and all those who contribute to decision-making
as an explanation to why things go poorly, instead preferring to focus their ire on an easily named and recognized target regardless of what their involvement in this might have actually been. Common choices of targets include Misblamed
creators and creators' love interests
. This target then becomes the subject of blame for all of the things that go wrong with the franchise, whether they can reasonably be blamed for it or not
. Furthermore, any genuine failings or missteps from the subject of the Strawstuffer's ire are subsequently treated not as human error or the kind of slip-ups that any creator may encounter from time to time, but evidence that their target is out to spite them personally. This is the type of person who will yell at a retail clerk for an item being out of stock or not being on sale that week; it's directed at the wrong person, since the clerk has no control over what's on sale or how many items are ordered.
An extreme version of the Strawstuffer can risk becoming the Tinfoil Hatter, a more paranoid and tragic creature. Like the Strawstuffer, the Tinfoil Hatter ignores Creative Differences or apathy to figure out why things occur. However, they instead believe that everything they don't like is evidence that the creators are out to attack them personally and deliberately. They see slights and attacks everywhere, and blame everything on a vitriolic creator who has a personal vendetta against her/him. This extends to intentional deconstructions of their favourite plots and characters, Creator Breakdowns and characters (especially those the fan identifies with) presented as less than ideal or in an unconventional way. Tinfoil Hatters are usually involved in Periphery Demographics and, more tellingly, Misaimed Fandoms.
A fan who expects everyone to adhere to Word of God to the exact letter (even in media where canon is kept ambiguous).
A fan who takes Word of God
to its logical extreme. While some fans take the Death of the Author
and Fanon Discontinuity
concepts too far and call out the creator for things in canon they don't like, some fans simply like to dabble in the occasional bit of Fanon Discontinuity
or perhaps pen an Alternate Universe Fic
. This is something which does not sit well with the Theocrat, who will demand that all "true fans" adhere to Word of God
to the letter. Things such as expressing support for a non-canon couple
or casually stating that you don't consider a statement a creator made at a convention about a plot point in the series finale to be part of your personal canon will get you stoned or burned at the stake by these fans, and if you dare write a fanfic that deviates from canon even a tiny bit, expect this fan to bombard you with flames in your review section or endlessly nitpick "what you got wrong", even if the fic itself is well-written and compelling. God help you if they catch you writing a Fix Fic
, even if you're changing something that was genuinely stupid in canon — in that case, the Theocrat may overlap with the Willfully Blind and/or Litter-Bearer. They might even go so far as to flame you for speculation on the series that later gets Jossed
, demanding that you go back and delete your own posts if later story revelations contradict what you wrote.
- A more extreme case of this is when the Theocrat insists that all "true fans" must agree with the creator's political views, especially if the work in question is political in nature and the creator expresses strong political views in public. Such Theocrat has the urge to exclude fans of a work who favor a different political party from the creator's political affiliation.
Self-appointed guardians who will defend their precious work or fandom from
"Fandom love it or leave it!" Usually a supportive variant, these fans get a bit too confrontational when it comes to criticism of the object of their fandom. However mild or gentle the criticism. However valid or reasonable the criticism. Regardless, in some cases, of how even the Word of God
may agree with the criticism. They feel that anyone who considers their object of affection flawed is nothing more than a Troll
or a misguided fanboy, and needs to be set straight and see the work is perfectly fine. The minute someone doesn't like something in a work or finds something in the work that bugs them, you can bet that the Undesired Champion will show up like lightning and try their hardest to squash these criticisms, simply because (in their mind) the work is just so good that there cannot be any legitimate criticism for it. When one brings up any
type of critique, constructive or not, expect the Champion to step in and justify
anything seen as "Flaws", and act as if everyone else simply needs to be persuaded to like it. Even if sometimes, things may be done on purpose
, they will defend it as masterfully done. The number one culprits of Complaining About People Not Liking the Show
, tied with the Willfully Blind; a common line of argument is something along the lines of "why don't you go and watch something else if you hate [the franchise] so much?", even if the critic has made perfectly clear that they don't
hate the franchise at all
. They may treat any criticism of a work as if it were a nasty personal attack on its creator. If a new installment in a series involves any sort of change, you can also expect them to respond to any
criticism of the changes (however reasonable) with accusations of closed-mindedness, and if the change is extremely polarizing or receives a widespread negative reception, they will almost always chalk it up to an Unpleasable Fanbase
and blame "fairweather fans" or "traitors", or try to find some way to paint them as a Vocal Minority
no matter how widespread the sentiment may be. If an eventual Creator Backlash
occurs and the creator agrees with the detractors, these types will still
defend the changes, and will either use this as evidence that the fanbase is so toxic and abusive that the creators are afraid of them and are being held hostage, or may even turn on the creators for "kowtowing to a vocal minority" or "compromising their values". In their mind, there is no
such thing as realizing that you made a mistake or acknowledging that something didn't come out right - if you come to agree with fans about a poorly-received change, it can only
be because you needed to save face or because you were so tired of dealing with entitled fans that you figured it was easier to just say they were right than continue to hold to your "true" feelings.
- An offshoot of this is the Reputation Defender. These types come out whenever a creator is accused of any sort of misconduct, and they will make it clear that the creator is immaculate and the people who turned on them are the only ones at fault. Everything is unsubstantiated, overblown, an outright falsehood, or a difference of opinion. The barrier of proof for them to accept that the allegations are legitimate is extraordinarily (and often insurmountably) high, and they are just as likely to move the goalposts, if not outright deny reality. Any sort of statement backing the allegations or airing related personal grievances or dirty laundry from other creators is also likely to be attacked - if they're not traitors abandoning their colleague, they're cynical, disingenuous clout-chasers making a calculated career move for a few likes, shares, and retweets. Any sort of explanation from the accused party will be treated as the absolute truth and the be-all, end-all of discussion - no matter how flimsy (or objectively untrue) the explanation or hollow and insincere the apology, it will be accepted with open arms, and anyone who dares criticize it or tries to pick holes in it will be attacked. Nastier examples are likely to harass accusers over private messages, and particularly nasty examples may doxx them or lead harassment campaigns, or may even accost them in person.
any criticism and any "haters", even constructive criticism or fans who don't like a certain aspect.
A fan who
This type of fan is someone who complains about a flaw or something in the work. But, once the flaw is fixed, the Unpleasable Fan finds something else to complain about, pull one of the It Sucks
cards on it, or simply insist that the improved version or a sequel that fixes the flaws is "not a true entry" because
it fixed the flaws. This form of Fan Dumb is so prevalent that it got its very own trope see Unpleasable Fanbase
. Especially commonly overlaps with the Old-Timer
always finds something to complain about and is rarely content.
Fans who frequently and passionately engage in Fandom Rivalry, using the thing they like as a weapon against the thing they hate by bitterly attacking and belittling fans of a competing franchise.
These fans love something to such a powerful extreme that they constantly feel that it's threatened by a franchise competing against it
. Thus, they feel they must
defend it at all costs, even if it means starting a war. Even if the other franchise has a friendly rivalry
with it (and even if the two franchises overlap in some way), the two franchises being compared with each other at all is simply too much for the warmonger. They will go out of their way to bash the competing franchise and attack its fans, using their passionate love for a certain franchise as a weapon by citing how much more successful/popular/well-reviewed/enduring it is in comparison (they will then hypocritically take offense to being fired back at by the opposing fandom). They will also push away any fans that happen to like both the franchise they like and the competing one simultaneously, because they regard that as betrayal.
Fans who insist their favorite work is flawless and perfect and anyone who says otherwise is WRONG.
These fans refuse to see any faults in the object of their love at all, even if they're staring them right in the face. Tends to go beyond merely liking something to an irrational state of mind where their appreciation of it means that it cannot possibly have any faults at all. They will also not realize how other people could possibly not like it
, and will likewise tell them they're worthless
for not finding it the best thing since sliced bread even though this mentality can lead to massive Hype Backlash
(and later Hype Aversion
). The Willfully Blind are fond of the Quality by Popular Vote
and Reviews Are the Gospel
lines of argument, often insistently referring to reviews, ratings or sales figures to support this assertion. If they encounter evidence of a flaw that even they cannot ignore, they are then likely to rationalize it with the excuse that "It's still better than [optionally, ninety percent
of] everything else" or "The rest will make up for it." When encountered here on TV Tropes
, these people tend to be fond of attributing any and all criticisms to an alleged Unpleasable Fanbase
, as if that automatically invalidates them.
Please do not add examples to work pages, this merely defines the term.