How To Deal With Anti-Fans

You're frolicking on the Internet when suddenly, you discover one of them. They might have posted a YouTube video, or made a post on a forum, or written a long and lengthy blog post. It's the dreaded anti-fan, that person who seems to have nothing better to do than to complain about and criticize the thing you love most.

Here are my suggestions for dealing with anti-fans, coming from the perspective of someone who has been an anti-fan, as well as a fan of works with anti-fans.

Ask them to elaborate on why they don't like it, if they haven't already.

If you're dealing with the kind of person who spouts "clever" things like "X SUCKS Y IS BETTER" or "I HATE X!", ask them to explain exactly what's wrong with it (politely, of course).

Similarly, if you see someone say that a character is a Mary Sue, instead of making assumptions as to the person's motivation for disliking the character, ask xir to elaborate and explain just why xe thinks the character is a Mary Sue.

If you're successful, you'll get these people to use their critical thinking skills instead of shouting soundbites. If it doesn't work, ignore these peanut gallery patrons and move on.

If you can't respond to the anti-fan without resorting to personal insults or attacks on their sexuality, keep your mouth shut.

Do not call someone "uncultured" for not liking your favorite book. Do not accuse someone of being gay if they don't think the character you drool over is as hot as you think he is. Do not tell them that they have "no life." (Who are you to judge what constitutes a "real" life, anyway?)

If you plan to write a defense, make sure it's well thought-out and reasoned.

A "defense" that basically amounts to "nuh-uh, it isn't so because I say so!" or "if you don't like it, don't read it!" are knee-jerk defenses that rarely, if ever actually refute the criticism in question. If you want to refute it, stop and think about why it isn't necessarily so, and explain the line of reasoning that makes you see things this way.

Do not insult people simply for disliking the work.

Not everyone is going to like everything you like. No matter how brilliant you think something is, someone is going to think it's the worst piece of tripe ever created. That's okay. Move on.

Read what the anti-fans say.

I don't mean the people who post things like "TWILIGHT SUCKS EDWARD IS A FAIRY." I mean the people who write reasoned arguments for not liking the work in question, like this one. Maybe you won't agree with what they have to say, but I often find that critics and anti-fans raise extremely valid points. Furthermore, I can accept that a work has flaws and still enjoy it. There has been the occasional case when I've been completely turned off of a work - but here's the thing: there are so many more things to check out that it's really not that much of a loss!

Alternatively, don't read what anti-fans say.

If reading criticism of your favorite work makes your blood boil and your eyeballs shake, just don't read it. Keep enjoying whatever it is you enjoy, and let the anti-fans vent their spleens. Everyone will be happy.

Take a deep breath and get some perspective.

Is it really going to matter if some guy on the Internet thinks a book is horrible in a year? Will your favorite work just disappear from the face of the planet just because some people said they didn't like it? No. Try shifting your focus to something that you're pretty sure will matter later on instead, or at the very least something you will enjoy more than arguing with a poo-flinging chimpanzee.

Remember that there are many ways of enjoying something, and criticism is one of them.

Some people enjoy works just by reading, watching, and playing straight through them, but for many people criticizing and analyzing a work is a large part of how they derive enjoyment from it, and that's okay. I am not just saying this just as an anti-fan, but also as a fan who has watched Internet critics rip apart my dearest and most beloved things.

Remember that some people are just really observant.

One thing I get from a some people is "WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PICK EVERYTHING APART AND ANALYZE IT TO DEATH?", the implication being that I just sit there and deliberately look for flaws. In fact, I don't have to "look for" most of the things I notice; they practically jump out and scream at me. Don't assume that just because someone is pointing out the flaws in something means they sat down with the express intent to dissect the work.

If it goes beyond criticism to violent rhetoric against real people or minority/marginalized groups, report/flag it and move on.

For example, if you see a comment or video on YouTube saying that Justin Bieber should die, flag it. Do not engage the person who posted it. Just flag it and move on.

You might also be interested in:
How To Be A Completely Revolting Fan
How To Be A Good Anti-Fan

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