Metamob

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Contents

Introduction

A Metamob is an organic phenomenon of widespread attacks against a person or group for their perceived wrongs against fandom (at large or specific members of it). A metamob generally springs forth out of discussion or events that gets linked through the LiveJournal community metafandom. Accusations of Fail often lead to mobbing.

While the participants in any given metamob may vary greatly, it often contains many from the group of people who regularly follow metafandom, who attack people who do things they do not like or hold unpopular fannish opinions. Each mob tends to have one or two outspoken individuals (which will vary from incident to incident), who lead the charge and act as unofficial spokespeople for their position of indignation and outrage.

You can generally tell when a metamob has formed because there will be at least ten angry posts about a particular subject, or individual, linked in one or two days worth of metafandom link compilations. While the metamob may or may not form around things that take place off LiveJournal, the mob responds almost entirely on LiveJournal to the events. The mob brings with it a lot of neck-craners who are there to watch, or parrot the position of the main mob members in order to go along with what appears to be the popular--and thereby only correct--position. This can bring in a lot of additional traffic to the attacked person's blogs and websites, where they are often unable to cope with the attention. As a result they may shut down comments, close sites, delete journals, or leave fandom participation entirely--which is often the exact objective the mob has in mind.

Unlike fandom wank, the metamob tends to think itself with high regard, and that they are working towards a higher purpose of educating people about their position, fighting against prejudice, behavior "dangerous" to fandom as a whole, or trying to serve the greater good of the fan community. Even in situations where their initial position or supposed "facts" are found to be incomplete or incorrect, often by that point the damage has been done to the target of the mob.

Characteristics

The metamob is not defined by participants as a mob. The definition of metamob tends to be defined by those who have been subjects of what they perceive as a mob. Despite the lack of agreed-upon definition regarding whether the metamob actually exists, the collective tends to have many characteristics which make it easy to define.

  • The movement is generally LiveJournal-centric with smaller proportional representation across WordPress and blogspot contributors who tend to be affiliated with science fiction fandom.
  • The movement starts out by having one or two key individuals post about a situation, informing people about an event taking place.
  • Friends of the original poster visit links provided by the original posters and weigh in on the situation in the comments of both sections.
  • Friends of the friends of the original post continue to link to the offensive post and comment in reply to the offensive post because of peer pressure, their principles and a moral imperative.
  • The situation gets more intense when the person who was linked to as causing offense responds in a way which those critiquing the original behavior define as inappropriate.
  • The above cycle repeats, getting more intense in each iteration and as more people participate. At this stage, there is frequently open trolling.
  • Posts about the offensive material are featured on metafandom.
  • The offensive behavior on the part of the individual and those responding to it is socially problematic for many people who participate on fandom wank. Unlike other situations where fandom stupidity takes place, a metamob situation tends to not be referenced on fandom wank.
  • People who disagree with those who are offended are scared to post their opinions, lest they receive similar treatment. Criticism of the group think tends to be FLocked.
  • Unlike fandom wank, a metamob engages in behavior that could be considered troll like that would lead them to being banned from fandom wank.
  • Will compare people they do not like to 4chan in order to try to paint them as badly as possible, with the cum of the Internet.

Historical Definitions

This section needs more information.

History

The use of this term was popularized in 2007 after members of metafandom engaged in several prolonged attack periods and when it looked like metafandom administrators were linking to posts with the goal of fostering more mob like behavior, rather than trying to provide multiple perspectives with the posts they included. The term gained greater usage in 2008 when this behavior was repeated in regards to posts about the Organization for Transformative Works, Fan History, racism and sexism.

Examples

  • In the spring of 2007, a metamob reacted violently against the fan-fiction archive FanLib, which was considered by some to be a threatening commercialization of fandom.
  • In January 2009, perhaps the largest metamob attack to date began, which became known as Race Fail 2009. The subject of the mob in this instance were several professional science fiction authors who were considered to be racist by their works and then by their reactions to criticism by active members of metafandom. Unlike previous mob attacks which happened and died out in a week or two's time, Race Fail 2009 continued on into March and April with literally hundreds of postings devoted to the subject, and pages upon pages of comment threads. In May, the mob changed focus and it was renamed mammoth!fail.
  • In July 2009, a metamob began to rally across LiveJournal over fanzines being sold on ebay by doctor_beth2000, who had a storefront on ebay for these purposes for many years. Accusations were made by one person that she was selling fiction and fanart "stolen, printed and put in a cheap binder with fanart without the knowledge or permission of the writer or artist". This accusation spread rapidly until it was pointed out that the vast majority of what she was selling were in fact genuine old fanzines, not reproductions or net-printouts (and those which were unauthorized copies were removed from her listings, doctor_beth2000 claiming she had purchased them in a large lot at MediaWest, not knowing their history or origin). Meanwhile, fans were being urged to report fanzine sellers on ebay directly to ebay or the copyright holders for copyright violations, authors were raging in their journals about this violation of fannish etiquette and declaring how no one had the right to print out and sell their fiction.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] There were continued arguments and discussions over the legalities of fanzines in the aftermath of this mobbing.
Banner used to advertise participation in Ogi Ogas' fan fic survey
  • At the end of August 2009, a metamob spread rapidly through fandom on LiveJournal in regards to a fanfiction readers & writers survey being promoted by Ogi Ogas.[8] While originally advertised and promoted as a "Cognitive Neuroscience" study of fan fiction, the 70-question survey was riddled with problematic language and leading questions which confused, offended, and outraged many fans on LiveJournal.[9],[10] The research did not appear to meet IBR standards on numerous levels and the FAQ for the survey[11] did not reveal that the true purpose of the "research" was for a book to be titled "RULE 34: WHAT NETPORN TEACHES US ABOUT THE BRAIN"[12] On August 31, 2009, a new post by Ogi announced that the survey was taken down,[13] although it could still be accessed by those who tried the original link.[14]

External Links

See also

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