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Author Topic: which niche-but-infamous internet fandoms and phenomenons were you a part of?  (Read 2118 times)
strawberry
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« on: July 18, 2023 @735.60 »

strange fandoms, infamous memes, and internet lore that you can't trace the origins to: what internet phenomenons have you been a part of that you claim as a badge of honour?

i'll start. this is a fandom that i was in when i was 13, and it gets little explanation from it's actual members and is more infamous due to the outsiders who discovered it and blasted it for it's insane quantity and quality of cringe. i'm not sure how many of you were tumblr users in ~2013 and how far this specific subcommunity spread outside of it, but i was a part of the notorious... shudders, once-ler fandom.

when the 2012 lorax movie came out, a small community of internet weirdos became obsessed with the lead antagonist of the movie: the tall and lanky, goofy-assed once-ler. tumblr has always had it's multitude of strange "tumblr sexymen" that would gain attention, love, and dedicated fan content, and in the beginning the once-ler was just that. the character had a community of people who loved him and wanted to share that appreciation through regular fan shenanigans - fanart, stories, and gifs (i remember when all the fandom had was garbage gifs made from rips of cell-phone footage of the movie in theatres until someone got their hands on a blueray copy hahaha). i'm not entirely sure how it snowballed, but because there was no one to ship the once-ler with and not a lot of characters to dissect, we ran out of things to do fast. so, we did what any normal and civilized group of people would do - create our own once-ler characters to give further life to the feelings of love and obsession for this animated man.

these new once-ler characters were housed on blogs known as "ask blogs," where people could send in anonymous messages to get to know the characters as well as reblog each others' role-play prompts to further develop their stories and relationships. the list of ask blogs and once-ler-inspired characters grew, and the fandom developed lore and inside jokes, until eventually it became rivals with the homestuck fandom for being the cringiest (no hate on homestuck or the fandom, this was just the general consensus between the communities at the time lol).

the fandom, in internet history, is known for being cringey and oddly 18+ in its fancontent, because that's what always gains attention when someone tries to look for weird things about internet phenomenons. but as a once-ler fandom veteran, i'm here to share the beauty of what it really was to me lmao and how there was so much more to it.

there was such an abundance of creativity and individual expression within the community that inspired everyone so much. while the once-ler was the basis and mold of every ask-blog character, each askblog had their own very unique experiences, stories, lore, and relationships with other characters in the fandom, just like any other story one could create. there were story arcs and au's that the community all collectively agreed to be apart of at any given time (from zombie apocolypse au's to summer camp au's), fanart and music videos of each others favourite characters, and a sense of community and creative expansion that was felt as we reblogged posts from each other to create links to everyone, like a massive web that tied each character to each other. it was a family tree of...once-ler loving... freaks... yeah, whatever. the point is, it was a creative community effort that went FAR beyond the actual source material of the lorax itself. a couple hundred weirdos basically kept saying "yes, and" to every idea that popped up, and supported each others storytelling and ideas.

as absolutely ridiculous as it sounds, it was a formative experience in both my internet life and in my life as a creative. i was 13 at the time and got to create my first ever OC (er, based around the once-ler, but still), and developed creative writing skills that have help me every day in my current creative career. i made a bunch of weird and fun friends as the role-playing community expanded, learning how to collaborate with others and solidify my own character's personality and place in the world. and as the once-ler fandom died down, there was a collective agreement in the community for all of us to detach our characters from their once-ler origins and declare them as original characters to continue expanding their stories. BAH!

yes, it was a weird and cringey community, but embracing the cringe has been an important part of my web revival experience, so i wanted to share this part of internet history with you lovely people. if you're interested in going down a rabbit-hole of insane and beautiful fandom shenanigans, there is a masterlist of askblogs that contains all of the roleplayers of the fandom and yes, mine is listed in there, but there is no way i will ever share which one it was lol.

please share your own niche internet fandoms and experiences, i am so excited to hear about your stories and experiences and thank you so much for reading mine! hehe.
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2023 @768.75 »

I think my most "infamous" fandom was being into Homestuck when I was 14...? And I was on the front lines of Vriscourse because she was my favorite character at the time... I don't really have many interesting stories about it though  :ok:

I'm also fictionkin and I guess that's technically an infamous internet subculture but I've never been in kin discourse or anything.
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2023 @784.50 »

Great topic!

I really dislike cringe culture specially when its targeted at people having harmless fun. I appreciate you embracing the cringe and encourage everyone to do the same, there's nothing wrong with enjoying something even if its may look silly to outsiders, boohoo their loss!  :transport:

Let's see... I sort of participated in the brony upraise, if you can call it like that, I mean the moment when males online started realizing that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was a good show for all ages and genders. I always had more 'female coded' interests so it was normal for me to like mlp and be open about it but suddenly its stopped being a thing for mostly-female collectors only and became a wide spread... fandom? Thingy? People started being all "brony and proud" and that's nice, I got to enjoy the surplus of content that came with this and a bit of the liberation as well.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2023 @792.15 »

I was a witness to everything Tumblr has to offer, from dashcon to onceler AND grave-robbing witch. But just a witness, I wasn't really /involved/ in anything.

BUT

In the late 2000s/early 2010s, on pokemon forums, there was a really popular kind of fanfic. Basically, your OC/self-insert was a tv show host, and your favorite character/s were interviewed once a week, with questions the "public" (other forum users) would make. A hard rule was that not two simultaneously active threads could host the same characters.
(If someone recognizes me from this I'm leaving the forum istg)
SO. On my first forum, small-ish but decently sized, I eventually became friends with THE guy that had the Ash/Misty/May/Drew interview thread. Ash/Misty and May/Drew were THE pokemon ships of the time, so he had quite a bit of a crowd sending questions, and also praying for the thread to die so they could take over. Eventually the guy wrote my OC/self-insert in, like a side character, along with some other people that would then briefly become my online friend group but that isn't relevant.
And then one day, the guy gets tired of the thread and doesn't want to do it anymore. We make a plan: he uploads the latest chapter, the ending scene is him giving the host title over to me, he locks his thread, and within 15 seconds I make a new thread with a pre-written first chapter. Not against the rules, but really shady and people got mad at me over it. The first wave of questions were like "Ash ketchum, what is it like working for a LYING BASTARD SNAKE OF A PERSON" and "I'm worried about May. She wouldn't say that. May, are you okay? If you aren't treated right I will talk to the mods about it". The collective psychosis was insane and I was right there with them, making these characters from the pokemon anime defend me (and also my friends' OCs). Eventually the anger died out and only the people interested on it were left. I had a really good time! I wrote it until the day before the forum died, when I copied all of it to a word document and then asked a mod to delete the thread so no one would copy me (a thing that was done in those kinds of threads. Now the archivist in me wants to scream).
I move on to another pokemon forum, this time the biggest on the Spanish-speaking sphere. Within a month of lurking the fanfic topics, the Ash/Misty pairing opens up, the May/Drew one was long inactive (a new season had come out and people were more interested in the new shiny ship). So in like. Eight minutes. I manage to write a semi-decent (not) first chapter to snatch both pairings for my new thread, effectively making a fifth of the population of my new forum hate me because where the heck did this newbie come from. I get some "oh no, I wanted this thread!!" comments, some genuine questions for the characters, congratulations on my new interview show etc etc.
And three to five comments that have the same energy as YOU!!!!
Apparently me and my friend with the thread on the other forum were quite known on most of the hispanic pokemon forums for our strategy to let me keep his thread...... oops...........
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2023 @862.69 »

Oh, good lord. Hetalia is what immediately comes to mind. I have a "make pasta, not war" arm band, and cosplayed Romano at a convention, and everything.

Well, everything except for participating in the fandom online. I more so observed it from the outside, because I wasn't allowed to have an account on anything back then. I was still pretty young.

But VOLTRON... THAT one, I was online for, AND very active in. To this day, it lingers in my psyche, giving me trust issues with queer representation... I also still have multiple prints from 'cons, and lots of old fanart.

While I'm on the subject of the VLD fandom's toxicity... Just, for the record, the "glass cupcake incident" straight-up didn't happen. I would know. I was in the trenches. That rumor only surfaced after VLD ended. Basically, what I'm saying is that if you're going to roast the fandom for being toxic (as I often do), at least roast it for something that actually happened. (This particular piece of misinfo is my pet peeve.)
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2023 @870.97 »

Gah I miss the ask blog culture so much. Sure there are some here and there still, but the golden age of them is definitely long long gone.

I didn't engage with the Onceler fandom (although heard of it plenty!), but I was an avid ask-er in Hetalia and Attack on Titan fandoms. Which came to be infamous for their own reasons in time, so, I guess that would be it :D AoT especially had such a fun ask blog culture for a while, art asks with cool art, audio asks with nice voice acting, cosplay asks - and they were all interacting with each other in-character! I had an art ask blog too, but it never took off 'cause I was bad at interacting with other people and, truth be told, not that great or fast at drawing either. (I also vividly remember an 18+ voice ask blog which was exactly about you'd expect it to be. I was definitely too young to visit, but hey, when had that ever stopped anyone).

But overall I think most infamous Internet phenomenons really whooshed past me :< Does that one time when She-Ra (the reboot) fandom crashed AO3 because ND Stevenson said he secretly wrote a missing scene fanfic for his own show and everyone was determined to find out which one fic was the one count, or is that too niche?  :grin:
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2023 @877.38 »

But VOLTRON... THAT one, I was online for, AND very active in.

I came to this thread thinking that I somehow managed to avoid getting into any bad fandoms, but MAN you really gave me a blast from the past with this one. I think Voltron ship discourse was my first ever introduction to the whole pro vs. anti ship debacle, which is......... well, that's its own can of worms. *shudders*

Thankfully I wasn't super involved in any of the drama, but the arguments I saw from the sidelines were something else.

I'm also fictionkin and I guess that's technically an infamous internet subculture but I've never been in kin discourse or anything.

As someone who is also kin, I've found that I've managed to avoid any sort of drama just by virtue of the fact that I never really talk about it lol. I just quietly block doubles and other unpleasant folks and move on with my day :grin:
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2023 @881.41 »

The Dragon Age fandom. I was there for the tiddy fic drama, and the Anders-did-nothing-wrong defense squad, the discourse around mods making Sera bi, hating on Solas, and the whole trend of getting an url like <character>s-butt, <character>s-left-tiddy, etc.
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2023 @886.61 »

Gah I miss the ask blog culture so much. Sure there are some here and there still, but the golden age of them is definitely long long gone.

Aaah thank you so much for reminding me of this!!  :ozwomp: I had several ask blogs and it was so much fun indeed


As someone who is also kin, I've found that I've managed to avoid any sort of drama just by virtue of the fact that I never really talk about it lol.

Is there a lot of drama among the kin community? As an outsider, at least on tumblr, kin people appear to me as the target of bullying and drama from outsiders rather than the perpetrators.
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2023 @923.61 »

THE ONCE-LER FANDOM AND I AM SICK AND TIRED of people shitting on it. It was a "wholesome" fandom in the way that everyone knew it was a bit weird so it was like... "we are cringe but we are free". There was amazing art and amazing storylines I followed on people's blogs.

I was also in the Hetalia fandom but tbh, that one has many different pockets within it. I mostly followed fanwork about the Nordic five and didn't run into much questionable stuff.
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2023 @948.33 »

i don't usually get involved with infamous fandoms until long after their prime but my friends tend to get involved infamous online phenomenons in such a way that i don't even think its believable to people not in the know tbh. my connections to these are extremely tangential but one of my friends is a moderator on the tumblr sexyman wiki and friends with the owner, and another was a mod on the extremely infamous and now deleted urfaveisunfuckable tumblr blog. so you can imagine how absurd it was when these two things collided in the screenshot leak incident in october 2021, i don't really hear about the latter thing talked about much anymore mostly because i think some stuff came out afterwards that made it less funny and kind of weird to joke about and that sonicforrealjustice is just better at being a tumblr microcosm to laugh at
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2023 @953.29 »

i was the original owner of the undertale wiki (not exactly niche, but maybe infamous?) it was pretty neat being part of the fandom before the game exploded in popularity

this was also the first time i really interacted w/ people online that i didn't know other than like, reddit comments. i definitely had a kind of "all-business" attitude about things, in part because almost everyone else on the admin team was like older than me and i was shy.

fun facts:
- often when we used toby fox's tweets as citations for info (like whether sans or papyrus was the older brother), he'd delete them. it's unclear whether that was because of us or was a coincidence
- the only reason "the genocide route" has that name is that the first person to upload gameplay of that route on youtube decided to call it that
- this comment & the following few responding to the announcement that we made a manual of style is one of my favorite posts by anyone on the internet, i always break when trying to read it out loud lmao
- i put that i ran the wiki on my college applications. fandom activity CAN get you into college, jsyk
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2023 @329.13 »

Oh my word, I've been apart of so many fandoms, since I am Ancient (in internet terms apparently).

I definitely remember the Once-ler fandom. I like to tease that it gives me psychological damage, BUT honestly? If people are having harmless fun, I say have harmless fun! cringe is dead! hear hear!

At the same time, I also remember a lot of Loki ask blogs, since people were thirstin' for Tom Hiddleston.

Gah I miss the ask blog culture so much. Sure there are some here and there still, but the golden age of them is definitely long long gone.

Same! It's so strange, since I'm still on the tumblr dot com. There's new waves of people who are using the site, and the culture is definitely changing! I wanna believe that they'll figure out this relic of tumblr history and go back to doing it again at some point.

As for the fandoms I was in, I was into the brony sphere for a bit, and then I stopped when I went to a convention and fellow bronies were being Very Weird to me. Looking back on it, I do think it's cool that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic garnered attention from all genders and ages. But, there were a lot of interesting characters.

I know Undertale is considered Big and Popular now, but I was so knees deep into that fandom when it first came out. It took me years to shake off. I was obsessed with Sans Undertale, and made fanfic of Sans/Reader. (which is gone, I'm sorry friends. In a fit of embarrassment, I deleted it. I do sorta regret doing that.)
Also, it's very much an honour to meet you @akesi !!

I'm currently in a niche-but-infamous fandom called Welcome Home and I've been witnessing so many interesting rides that other fandom-mates are going down. It's honestly starting to be the one fandom that's just sorta annoying me, at this point. But I love Welcome Home too much to stop.  :tnt:
I've written so much fanfic and even made a shrine to the main character. My partner is begging me to stop. I cannot.  :ha:
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2023 @957.26 »

All of them...

Jk, but I have been in a LOT. Hetalia, Homestuck, Undertale, Danganronpa, etc. A good number of the annoying fanbases from 2012-2019! Once I lost a mutual because I accidentally mentioned Ensemble Stars, and I guess they weren't rockin' with the silly idol boys...(Literally messaged me like "Enstars...? :notgood: Bye..." And they were a nice mutual too, but gone just like that.) I usually try to keep cringe fandoms to myself because I don't care for the reputation and getting lumped in with the 9-year-olds, but I believe the source material is usually popular for a reason! 'cause it's good, or just a fun time! Yeah, Mystic Messenger is silly and isn't exactly a literary masterpiece, but it's still a fun game to enjoy. Cringe culture is dead, I shouldn't have to explain why I own all of Hetalia on DVD.

I'm never on the front lines of the fandoms, I usually just enjoy the source material and creative fanworks! Except Undertale... I was in the trenches on that one bro. First fandom I was in where I actually understood how the internet worked. Thank god I was too dumb when Hetalia was big. I would have terrorized entire galaxies, I was so annoying. I still have a lot of my Undertale fanart, and it's fun to see how far I've come! It's the reason I got back into art after not drawing for a long time. (Who else would draw my self-insert OCs?) I have a lot to thank infamous fandoms for, and I will continue to owe them a lot. I will never grow up.

"Do not kill the part of you that is cringe, kill the part that cringes." - Anon
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2023 @164.91 »

I don't know that I was in any of the "infamous" fandoms, but I secondhand experienced many due to being chronically online. The Onceler stuff and askblogs and especially "Superwholock" (a combination of Supernatural, Dr Who, and Sherlock fandoms for some reason) were all over my Tumblr dash. Somehow I managed to avoid seeing much Homestuck despite it being heavily associated with Tumblr. I ran an askblog as Teddie from Persona 4 for a little while but that fandom was so small that it petered out quickly.

Also, having been a furry when MLP Friendship is Magic was airing, many of my friends were bronies. I tried to watch the show and just didn't "get it", but I was never weirded out by it or anything. I guess already liking animal people kinda made me ambivalent about it  :tongue:

I pretty much agree with what most others are saying in that those kind of fandoms were sometimes a bit annoying but I'm glad they were having fun with what they enjoyed.
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"Hell is other people. But that’s only that side of the coin. The other side, which no one seems to mention, is also “Heaven is each other.” … Hell is separateness, uncommunicability, self-centeredness, lust for power, for riches, for fame. Heaven, on the other hand, is very simple—and very hard: caring about your fellow beings." -Jean-Paul Sartre
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