This Week in Fandom, Volume 100

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, a huge thank you to everyone for helping this series reach 100 volumes. When TWIF was started, we had no idea whether we’d get this far. It’s been awesome to see the series grow and read all the comments from people who enjoy it. Here’s to many more volumes to come!

The big story in fandom continues to be the Tumblr Purge. Tumblr’s new community guidelines went into effect yesterday, banning all sexually explicit image and video content, including fan art. After all the backlash against these guidelines when they were first announced, Tumblr’s staff account posted an update to clarify some aspects of the changes. Warning: This post contains image examples of what Tumblr now considers acceptable depictions of nudity, which are probably NSFW. In an incredibly ironic turn of events, the post was then apparently flagged as a violation of the new community guidelines. So it would seem that things have a ways to go before they’re running smoothly again.

Overall, though, Tumblr is still standing, albeit with some unfortunate results. According to an article on the subject from Polygon, many users are still planning to keep using the site: “While plenty of users are crying out in panic, it’s very clear from a quick glance at the memes and posts across Tumblr dashboards that the average person intends to stick around.” That statement does contrast with users who have been organizing efforts to find each other on other platforms, ostensibly with the intention of leaving Tumblr. There are no numbers available for the log off protest, but those organizing it seem optimistic about its effects.

It’s still unclear what the future holds for Tumblr. Are you staying, or have you decided to go elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!

In other news, the company called Fandom has purchased Curse Media from Twitch, according to GameRevolution. For those of you who are not gamers, this means that Wikia, which is owned by Fandom, will be combined with Gamepedia. According to a Kotaku article on the subject, this acquisition is limited to Curse’s website lineup. (None of the articles mention game add-on managers.)

Some people are uncertain about this merger, according to GameRevolution:

Many Wikia communities voiced their fears in response to this news, with a sense of disenfranchisement from the staff of Fandom being the most common theme. Since 2017, some communities have discussed migrating from Wikia, Fandom’s lead wiki site, citing similar discrepancies in particular with Fandom’s use of ads.

According to a blog post by Fandom, the details of the merger will be solidified in early 2019.

Lastly, Kotaku has published its 2018 State of Fandom year in review. The article mentions issues of fandom clout, the Tumblr purge, the state of Wikia, and, oddly, Bowsette. it’s an interesting read, despite its limited breadth.

This Week in Fandom
  1. Meg commented:

    I’m personally leaving for Dreamwidth, not really because of the porn ban but because I’ve always disliked the Twitter-ness of Tumblr’s structure, and this gave me the last push in the right direction. There is a lot of implied competition for follower counts and reblogs and likes which have always been kind of off-putting to me. Like others have mentioned, the reblog feature makes it really difficult to track down the original works/posts of the bloggers you are following, and it can be a little isolating. Things are calmer in Dreamwidth, people seem friendlier, you can actually get to the stuff you care about instead of ten copies of the same thing on your dash. I’m guessing that most people will still stay on Tumblr though, especially younger people

  2. Calysta Rose commented:

    I’m essentially leaving tumblr. Several of my posts, all completely non-adult but that did mention some form of queerness, got flagged. There was no nudity, or even bad language, but gay, queer, lesbian…those seem to trigger the flag. As expected, sex workers and queers are getting hit first. People of Color were already under intense pressure from the thriving nazi population that tumblr made negative efforts to control.

  3. Green commented:

    I’m probably leaving. Dreamwidth feels like an old friend I’m catching up with again.

  4. Sarah commented:

    I’m staying on tumblr for now but I also expanded to other sites. So far I have dreamwidth but I’m also going to see about pillowfort. I don’t trust that tumblr will not delete my blog because they flagged a truly amazing amount as nsfw despite missing the actual nsfw stuff I had.

  5. ravewulf commented:

    I’ll be staying for at least a few more months while I clear out my Drafts which has 12K reblogs saved up. At the same time I am working on getting my Pillowfort up and running while observing the trends for where fandom might head next. A lot of NSFW artists have moved to Twitter as at least a stop-gap until a better blogging platform is established as “the new Tumblr.”

  6. Vorpalgirl commented:

    Yeah I have no idea if I have had anything flagged, and I ostensibly SHOULDN’T, because I literally never ever reblogged or posted anything that was visually sexually explicit or featured the kind of nudity that is now officially banned (I tried to cultivate a main blog that was 100% visually “SFW” by USAmerican standards, so my followers wouldn’t have to worry about a boss or parent peaking over a shoulder, kthx)…buuuut I’ve seen people’s PURELY text-based posts, talking about “my gay uncle who died of AIDS” etc, completely innocent topics, get “flagged” under this bot, so like…I don’t trust it one iota. Not even for my “SFW” content, and ESPECIALLY not for any of my queer/LGBT+ labeled content, since apparently terms like “gay” and “lesbian” and “bisexual” and “queer” are all ~naughty words~ now. And like. I had a LOT of queer/LGBT+ content, seeing as, you know, I’m queer ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and support the queer and LGBT+ communities! Therefore, needless to say, I don’t feel safe on there anymore, even though I’m not actually violating the policies they currently say they have!

    So like, I’m pretty much jumping ship for everything except my RP blogs (which…there really just isn’t another format like tumblr’s for RP, sadly), especially considering I HATE the way it became clear they weren’t just being overzealous about LGBT+ content, or lying about how the policy was going to be implemented (e.g. “oh no, art is excluded, and it’s only ‘female-presenting nipples’, ‘human genitalia’ and human/human sex acts you can’t show photos of” – nope, it keeps getting flagged even if it’s drawn and people have been banned for e.g. Transfomers porn WHICH HAS NO HUMAN GENITALIA INVOLVED)…

    … they were, quite literally, trying to prevent posts with tags/keywords related to the incoming purge from gaining traction. Seriously. They repeatedly blanked-out or prevented search of terms/tags like “tumblrpocalypse” “tumblr purge” and the like. (This is covered on Fanlore’s article about the NSFW purge, actually, people recorded it as it happened).

    And now!! Now, we have at least a couple of popular blogs like thebibliosphere (Joy Demorra’s blog) who had their “look for me on other platforms here…” posts DISAPPEAR from people’s view (people have let her and others know this, they’ve posted about it, that’s how I know).

    Like. Literally, they are trying to gaslight us about the reaction to their policy changes/policy implementation. They are trying to prevent people on their platform from discussing certain aspects of it, clearly in an attempt to PR the hell out of it, and clearly, in part, to keep users more in the dark about what these changes actually inevitably will mean for their communities (since a LOT of tumblr’s users who’re late 20s or up in age, remember Strikethrough/Boldthrough and other Fandom Purges and Fandom Space Collapses all too well and have been attempting to inform the younger userbase of such).

    OH AND

    And they also blocked the Wayback Machine from archiving PUBLIC tumblr posts, even though it wasn’t, as of early December, blocked at all.

    They don’t give a flying frick about us, our content, our history, our safety in some cases (many individuals in the LGBT+ and sex worker communities NEED a safe space they can anonymously communicate in without censorship thx), all they care about is managing their PR and attempting to profit off of OUR content and social interactions (let’s be real: SESTA/FOSTA and child porn and the removal from the app store is being blamed for part of this, and it may well have lit the fire under them, but given it’s owned now by Verizon, it’s VERY likely that they’re thinking most of the advertisers they pump onto people’s dashboards, which is a good part of why LJ back in the day was so quick to freak out over alleged “inappropriate” content on their services, which, it turns out, was all being reported based entirely based on keywords alone and was being reported by an anti-LGBT anti-porn anti-sex conservative group, sooo)


    Anyway, yeah, except for RP (which I never did in any smut scenarios anyway) I can’t really see myself wanting to use it on the level I have been for much longer. I’m going to be backing my stuff up as best I can and settling in on Dreamwidth and Pillowfort and maybe a few boards and such.

    tbh I wish we had a tumblr-like service for roleplayers though :\ something that allowed things like side-blogs, subpages (for things like “muse profiles” and “rules/guidelines” posts etc) and reblogs/long-form back and forth exchanges, which are all things that are perfect for people doing roleplay of either original or fannish characters, you know?

  7. Unicron commented:

    I’m leaving for Pillowfort and Dreamwidth. Honestly the only reason I made a tumblr in the first palce was to see friends blogs hidden by safe search. Plus I always hated tumblr for a variety of reasons so it just gave me a good reason to pull the plug for good

  8. Vanna commented:

    I already deleted my Tumblr account, but my main concern is that the future of fandom lies in colonizing another random social media platform and use it for awkwardly sharing poorly organized fannish content until another purge comes. What I’d really like to see is a website 100% dedicated to host visual arts, with a nice tagging system, like AO3 is for fanfiction. An actual art gallery, where new content doesn’t bury old posts in an endless scroll, something like y!Gallery used to be (but maybe not ONLY for yaoi/slash), or like deviantART but with NSFW content.