The State of the Fandom?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by canadianguy, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. canadianguy

    canadianguy Active Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Just a couple of thoughts I had today at work...

    It should come as no surprise to any of us that other TF forums - places like ATT, for example, have seen more active days and that TFW2005 (and a few other places online) seem to be the main hub of discussion of late.

    A quick review of Google's stats for the newsgroup, in fact, show that ATT is
    currently at one of its lowest periods of activity for this time of year since 1994-1995, back in the "early BotCon" days. I think that's pretty significant - and kind of interesting, too. The concept of any kind of piece of online TF fandom
    being around for close to fifteen years is amazing in itself, and when
    one considers the heights of traffic that used to propagate there back
    in the day - 2000, for example, when ten thousand posts per month were
    customary - it's a little humbling (and exciting) to know that you're
    part of the oldest piece of organized TransFandom on the web (barring
    the original mailing list, in any case). When you think about it,
    isn't it amazing - that people were reading and posting there fourteen
    years ago? It's a cool sense of history and continuity, I think.

    At first I was a little sad about the fact that the group seems to
    have been suffering from what essentially amounted to slow attrition -
    the posting and traffic numbers have gone down steadily since 2001, as
    well, and posters seem to be vanishing left, right and centre of late
    - but then I thought about it a bit more and realized that maybe it's
    not all a bad thing, even though ATT's traffic in January 2007 was the lowest it's
    been at that time of year in eleven years. It does make sense, I
    suppose - the twenty-three and twenty-four year olds who hung out on
    this group in 1994, 1995 and 1996 or so are now in their mid thirties,
    with a host of "adult" responsibilities and concerns to occupy their
    time. That makes those of us who manage to balance everything in life
    and stuff spend time here that much more notable, I suppose.

    Our fandom has grown and changed and evolved to such a degree that
    we're simply too advanced and too multi-faceted to remain in one
    singular newsgroup. We struck out, in other words, and developed new
    areas of the Web to service different aspects of the fandom. The
    advent of awesome user-friendly message boards such as the this one has, I realize, played a key role in ATT's relegation from central meeting place to backwater hangout over the years, just as the advent of web-based RPGs like
    Warcraft and EverQuest have essentially killed the appeal and concept
    of TF MUSHes and the TF Wiki concept outmoded Stan Lui's original
    design, but I think that beyond that, growth of some kind was
    inevitable, and we couldn't all have remained there comfortably. I
    liken it to the concept of, in some far-flung future, our eventually
    outgrowing Earth and moving on to bigger and more exciting things -
    but the fact that ATT, ATTCM and other groups in its "family" have remained for some of us should speak well of its enduring place in the online canon regardless of what else develops. Isn't it neat to be a part of ofline TF fandom on a whole? The history contained here is fascinating!

    My questions to everyone here, I guess, are multi-part...

    1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?
    2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?
    3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?
    4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?
    5. To former ATTers - what made you leave? Do you still lurk?
    6. Does fanfic still play an active role in this fandom? What about MUSHing?

    Sorry for the rambling - this has just sort of been on my mind of
    late. Thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Joseph
    who wonders what happened to some of the "regulars" from pre-1997 days...
     
  2. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?

    A1. It hasn't reached it's prime yet

    2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?

    A2. Mostly news, but I love general discussions too.

    3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?

    3A. Very positive. What's not to love?

    4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?

    4A. Yes. However, I used to MUSH, but it took a lot of time, to do it right.

    5. To former ATTers - what made you leave? Do you still lurk?

    5A. Nothing made me leave, the WEB looks better. No, I don't lurk ATT.

    6. Does fanfic still play an active role in this fandom? What about MUSHing
    ?

    6A. Yes and see See 4A.
     
  3. Orion Paximus Prime

    Orion Paximus Prime Banned

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    1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?
    IMO it was when MP-01 images started to surface. Every board from TFW to siebertron, allspark, and Tfans was hopping during that time.

    2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?

    Toy news and discussion. I don't really care for any of the shows past BW so I'm "meh" about that, but the toys still harken back to my nostalgia bone so I love them.... mostly (i'm looking at you energon autobots :throw  )

    3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?

    By changes, do you mean message boards vs. places like ATT? Definitely changes for the better... If you mean the changing in the guard so to speak with older g1 fans getting replaced by A/E/C fans? I think it's good to keep discussion and the fandom from getting static, I mean there really is only so many times you can discuss RIB/FIR

    4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?

    I think until something better and new comes along, message boards are the chosen medium for all web discussion.

    I can't really comment on the rest, I never was at ATT too long and MUSHing was never something that interested me.
     
  4. Switchblade

    Switchblade Just a raggedy man

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    1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?
    This is a really personal thing, I think. Everyone has a different concept of the "golden age" of the fandom, and it generally corresponds to when they became part of it. For me, that era is back when the Alternators/Binaltechs were in their heyday. Back when we got a new test shot leaked every couple of months, and everyone got all excited about it. A lot of people would love it, and a lot would find something that Hasbro did wrong and complain about it, and then everybody would discuss it back and forth for months. I loved that period.

    2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?

    News and discussion. I went through my fanfiction phase years ago, before I got back into TFs.

    3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?

    Both, definitely. The movie is bringing in a lot of new people, and that's cool. But a lot of these new people seem - to me, at least - to just do a lot of complaining about Michael Bay and how the movie isn't G1. And that gets old.

    4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?

    What's wrong with with message boards? I never cared for Yahoo-style groups, and I really have no idea what a MUSH is all about. Message boards are convenient, organized, and an all-around great way for fans to talk to each other.

    5. To former ATTers - what made you leave? Do you still lurk?
    What the heck is ATT?

    6. Does fanfic still play an active role in this fandom? What about MUSHing?
    There seems to be a pretty sizable fanfiction board here, so I'd guess it's still pretty active. No idea about the mushy thing.
     
  5. Pimpimus Prime

    Pimpimus Prime (┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐) TFW2005 Supporter

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    It's not surprising that ATT is dieing. Newsgroups are old school. People joining the fandom now are not going to post there.. they're going to come to forums like TFW2005. Even someone like myself, who grew up on irc and newsgroups, needs a bit more stimulation than what they offer.
     
  6. thoughtcrime

    thoughtcrime Well-Known Member

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    1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?
    Now. We're at a point where even with people quitting left & right, there are enough old-timers like myself left to balance the number of Beast and AEC fans. We have regular contact with Hasbro (which we lacked during the Beast Era), we learned how to get patent photos before the factory leaks, kitbashes continue to improve, and some of us like Don F, Guido, etc have even found employment as a result of being fans.

    2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?

    Toy news and kitbashes. I love seeing new molds for the first time, hearing rumors about the new line, etc. And there are a lot of talented kitbashers out there.

    3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?

    Both. A lot of us are entering our 30s and moving on, and there's been a lot of new blood as well. There are good and bad fans on both ends of the age gap, so overall not a lot's really changed.

    4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?

    TF Discussion isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The line might crash & burn like G2 in a few years, but even then the fans will endure. I think web boards like this are here to stay, and I dont even know what a MUSH is.

    5. To former ATTers - what made you leave? Do you still lurk?
    I never posted there. I found the fans too hardcore and didn't like the format.

    6. Does fanfic still play an active role in this fandom? What about MUSHing?
    I don't really bother with fanfic so I can't comment on that. All I know is that its a lot less of a novelty then when I first jumped online and couldn't believe ppl wrote their own TF stories. And like I said, I don't even know what a MUSH is, so maybe I'm not hardcore enough to provide a weighted opinion.
     
  7. Alpha Prime

    Alpha Prime Ten Years Strong

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    -Ignore-My com is saying i have less than two letters about(go figure?) so this sentence is here so i can post my response. -ignore-
     
  8. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Comic Ink - Dublin, CA

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    1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?

    - In my opinion it will spike with the movie and then settle back down.

    2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?

    Availability! I remember when TF hunting meant grabbing Toy Shop magazine and praying the few TFs in there weren't already sold :)  Online has openned up the world to buyers who used to be relegated to hunting in magazines and the limitted selection at local toy shows :) 

    3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?

    Both, I miss surprises. It's hard not to know everything about the movie, and every toy upcoming for the next year including the exclusives for Botcon and whatnot.

    4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?

    Web boards are the future

    5. To former ATTers - what made you leave? Do you still lurk?

    I left AGES ago...made a few deals and got ripped off. Just never really felt like "home" to me anyway.

    6. Does fanfic still play an active role in this fandom? What about MUSHing?

    I'm a toy collector first and foremost. I don't have the attatchment to the official fiction that many others have so unofficial fiction is extremely unimportant to me....but I know others who thrive on it...for me though, it is entirely about the toys!
     
  9. Voiceroy

    Voiceroy Trans-fo-mahs!

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    > 1. When was online TF fandom, in your opinion, in its "prime"?

    Have no idea, but I would imagine it's steadily grown over the years. And with the movie coming out, it's about to explode.

    > 2. What aspects of online Transfandom are most important to you?
    Fanfic, for example?

    I haven't written fanfics in 15+ years. And after reading one bad fic too many I resolved to never read one again. Also, being a writer myself I don't ever want to be accused of stealing someone else's ideas.

    I enjoy the discussion and looking at collection and kitbash pics mostly.

    > 3. Do you view the changes to online TransFandom positive or negative
    - or both?

    Neutral on this one. But I definitely ignored the fan community altogether for a few years when the Beast Machines backlash crap hit the fan.

    > 4. Does online TF discussion have a viable future? Can we encourage traffic
    back in the direction of, say, Google Groups and MUSHing, or are web boards the future?

    Are you kidding me? The future will be realtime audio and/or video chat.


    > 5. To former ATTers - what made you leave? Do you still lurk?

    Stopped lurking in the late 90's. I hated the format, hated the constant spamming, hated the trolls.

    6. Does fanfic still play an active role in this fandom? What about MUSHing?

    I'm sure it does play a small role, but I don't participate in it. More power to those who enjoy such things.

    I used to post a lot at Axalon Underground after BW debuted. And then I started traveling for living and fell out of touch with fandom for about 4 years.
     
  10. Golobulus

    Golobulus heh heh heh

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    I'm missing the point here. Fandom, by it's nature, means a select group of people. You're never going to get a teaming of masses to discuss how much they love Transformers, and neither is any fandom, for that matter. Fandoms have their highs and lows, depending on what's going on with the subject matter.

    It's like the stock market, in a way. There's no set way in predicting how things will turn out.

    So why bother trying to figure it out.
     

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