By Rachel Barenblat
Fanlore is a wiki for, about, and by fans. Our aim is to preserve the many-threaded history of fandom. Here’s how we describe ourselves:
Fanlore is a multi-authored website that any fan can easily contribute to. We want to record both the history and current state of our fan communities – fan works, fan activities, fan terminology, individual fans and fannish-related events. Because Fanlore is based on wiki software, you may edit pages to contribute your own experience, knowledge, and perspective on your community’s activities, its members and histories, and the material it has produced. (Source: About Fanlore.)
We have a set of Guiding principles & aims which includes things like:
Fan communities – their practices, products and passions – both past and present, are worthy of both preservation and celebration.
Each fannish voice is valid and valuable; there is no single “truth” or history to fandom, but rather, each perspective contributes to & demonstrates a rich and diverse heritage.
We treasure the unique fannish style of scholarship: self-reflective, articulate, analytic, personal, passionate and tolerant, and also accessible to a diverse audience.
Fanlore operates on a Plural Point of View policy, which holds that all interpretations and experiences are of interest and deserve to be written down. Unlike Wikipedia, we’re not looking for a mythical neutral point of view; we’d rather have a many-voiced spectrum of opinion.
Fanlore aims to create a historical record of fandom. If something is part of your fannish experience, and if it’s important to you, then we want to hear about it — whether it’s on a subject which is already well-covered (Stargate Atlantis’ John Sheppard, e.g.) or something which doesn’t yet have its own page or isn’t yet mentioned at all.
Fanlore is stewarded by the wiki committee, a group of wiki gardeners (wiki users who keep a careful eye on the wiki and help fix typos and wiki code formatting as a gardener might gently prune or fertilize a garden), and a group of wiki administrators. Probably our biggest challenge is getting the word out to people who aren’t already intimately involved with the OTW’s projects. As of this writing, the wiki contains 14,549 articles written by 3,161 registered users — but we want more! In service of that goal, we host challenges on the Fanlore Dreamwidth community every two weeks, and we’re working on reaching out to those who aren’t yet contributing to the wiki in several ways…including this blog post, which is meant to be informational and also invitational. Basically: we want YOU!
Although the committee oversees the development of the wiki, the content in Fanlore comes from individuals who see a gap in coverage on a topic and are inspired to fill the gap themselves. In recent months, Fanlore editors have been hard at work on crafting 8000+ articles documenting print zines and doujinshi. One editor has been adding lots of filk information, while another has been developing the Merlin pages. And of course, many of those who edit Fanlore also enjoy reading what others have written. After the main page, the most popular pages are The Draco Trilogy, a page exploring incest in fannish sources and fannish creations, and pages about Merlin (BBC) and White Collar.
If you’re interested, check out the Portal which contains links to an Intro to Fanlore FAQ, tips for wiki editing, links to the Fanlore chatroom and Fanlore Dreamwidth community, and more. Join us in writing our history together.