While academics should have the freedom to engage critically with cultural texts, including online fan texts, I would also point out that, unlike authors of traditionally published works (that is, works published through academic or commercial presses), fan writers are often not protected from censure. Online fan spaces were created as safe zones for fans to engage in reading and writing that was otherwise unsanctioned, and as such, they have developed certain rules of engagement in order to both support and protect their participants.

Kelley, Brittany. 2016. ‘Toward a Goodwill Ethics of Online Research Methods’. Transformative Works and Cultures 22 (September). https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2016.0891.
On the academic study of fan communities…
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