Introducing Fanhackers, a directory of informative things about fans

The Journal committee is proud to announce that Fanhackers, the shinier and more experimental new incarnation of the Symposium blog, is now open for business!

Short version

Fanhackers is a place for fans, academics, activists, and anyone else with an interest in info on fans to share and discover new ideas. It’s is a group blog where you can do the following things:

  • Post, search and discuss good fannish or academic meta about fans. Tl;dr allowed. This is the old Symposium blog, but much easier to post to.
  • Post and answer requests for copies of inaccessible academic papers that you need.
  • Post and explore quotes from long, hard to find, or otherwise hard-to-read works on fans. Just the really good bits, no tl;dr allowed.
  • Post and follow links to resources on fans, tools for writing and research, and news that may be of interest to people who like info and analysis on fans.

Read more about Fanhackers and the other functionality we’re planning on the About page. You can keep track via the WordPress mirror, the Tumblr mirror, Twitter, the DW and LJ feeds, or the RSS and e-mail subscription options detailed here.

Longer version

Making sure reliable info on fans gets made and reaches the right people has always been a priority for the OTW. The OTW blog reports regularly on important news that fans may want to know about. Fanlore is a place for fans to preserve their own history in their own words. The legal advocacy team works tirelessly to get correct info on fans to activists and governmental organizations whose actions can have an impact on fans. The fan video and multimedia project has prepared a range of practical and educational resources for and about vidders, and so on.

The Journal committee has been especially concerned with creating good info and getting it out there. Among other things, we made a whole new open access academic journal about fans, we helped get the vidding bibliography off the ground and are working to expand it into a broader resource on all things fan studies, and we made the Symposium blog as a place for fans and academics to share meta in a less formal setting.

We can and need to do better than that, though. There’s never been this much insightful and relevant academic, fannish and other meta on fans being created. However, a lot of the useful ideas from inside that meta never get beyond the borders of wherever they were published and don’t reach the people who want or need to hear them. Academic meta on fans remains hard to access because it’s often locked in expensive books and journals, or written in often needlessly complicated and inaccessible language. Fannish meta is scattered all around the internet. Activists working on topics like copyright and open culture often publish ideas that are incredibly relevant to fans, but many of those ideas never reach fannish spaces. We have so much info, and yet so much of it goes to waste.

Fanhackers wants to experiment with new ways of making sure that info on fans reaches the people who need it – not just when they know the info exists and are actively looking for it, but also when they have no idea yet that there’s something about fans that they need to know.

We want to make sure that everyone who’s looking for good info or analysis on fans can find what they need as quickly and as cheaply as possible, whether they need fannish or academic meta, a particular piece of information, or help. We want to make sure that fans and academics can cooperate and share their info, meta, publishing tools, and research tools, so that the wealth of work and experience that we already have is put to better use. We want to make sure that academic meta on fans is published in usable and useful ways, openly and in formats that make it easy to share and improve the info, so that fans can access what’s being said about them and academics can see their hard work put to use by many people. We want to make sure that anyone can discover what info on fans is already out there, so that all that work can get built upon rather than duplicated. And we want a place to talk about all the important, amusing, and informative things about fans that we stumble across.

Fanhackers is a space for us to experiment with how we can make those things happen. We’ll be changing and adding functionality as we figure out what works. Please drop by, browse around, share the info you have, and tell us how we can make this more useful and enjoyable.