Fanboys will be fanboys…

I’m sure you have run into them before. You know, the zealous fanatics who defend their favourite band/genre/game/hobby against any and all criticism and consider criticism to be a personal attack. You may have even caught yourself doing this and wondered what the hell were your brains doing during the argument. Because being a fanboy isn’t just defending the things you like, it’s doing so blindly without thinking it over. But why does this happen? We can’t just assume that all fanboys are mentally handicapped, because I’m sure everyone has seen people they know aren’t retards turn into fanboys at some point or another. And if you ever caught yourself being fanboyish, that right there invalidates the last assumption. Because you aren’t stupid, since you are reading this. Huzzah, logic!

You see, fanboys are people who have become personally involved and emotionally attached to something they love. Which is normal. But what isn’t normal is criticism triggering the above mentioned fanatic in them, turning perfectly sane individuals into rabid fanboys. This is why: When you criticise something and say I don’t like this and this, it should be done better and until it is, this is incomplete/unplayable/a pile of shit, you are basically saying this isn’t good enough for me. And because you took the time to criticise it, it (usually) means it’s something you’d be interested in if it were better/different. An individual for whom the criticised subject is a part of their life will understand this as you saying they are wasting their time on something inferior. Which means that you saying something is crap will be understood as you saying the people liking it are too stupid to realise it’s crap. And it will thus be considered as a personal attack. We all know how personal attacks (especially on the interwebs) can send people spiraling into a blind fury of self-righteousness. And thus, the fanboy is born. Valiantly defending the object he loves and cherishes from what he believes to be an attack on it, as well as himself.

But most of the time it isn’t an attack at all. It’s simply a wish of someone who is (usually) passionate about that sort of things, expressed in the way of critique as helpful instructions on what the creator should change or fix. I’d wager criticism for the sake of hurting someone is scarce, though it does exist. Most notably in the troll, who is the polar opposite of a fanboy. The reasoning in the paragraph above does not apply in the cases of fighting trolls (BURN THEM!), where a fanboyish attitude is somewhat justified if you want to engage with them on their level, although not sensible. And it doesn’t apply to the creators themselves, as they can’t feel or react any differently when facing criticism of their creation, although remaining as objective as they can is always prefered.

The lesson learned here is that different people have different tastes. If someone says something is shit, that doesn’t mean you should think it’s shit. If someone who thinks of himself as the universal measure of shitiness says you are wasting your time, ignore him, because he is a moron. And remember, if someone is criticising something it means they are being helpful and trying to improve whatever they are commenting on. Not every complaint is a personal attack on the creator, even less so on the fan. Before responding to them, use your brains and think things through.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play Deathspank.

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4 thoughts on “Fanboys will be fanboys…

  1. You never know when you might trigger someone’s inner “fanboy” with a random comment. The worst part is when you realize they’re giving in to their passion there’s really no easy way to dissuade the conversation.

    I’m rather curious was spurred this topic and would love to know more. :D

    • Aye, another thing to keep in mind is that people read text online as they want to read it. I.e;

      “What a wonderful day” could be interpreted as; “What a shitty day and btw you suck”.

    • Spuxy, that can happen in pretty much any sort of communication and isn’t something that only happens on the internetz. :)

      @Thrangis: It’s nothing juicy, but it’s still weird. I was watching a documentary on how Life of Brian (Monty Python movie) stirred up so much controversy. And at one occasion John Cleese says that the film didn’t insult any religion, it insulted people’s views of the religions and they took it personally. The basis for religion and the individuals interpretation are two vastly different things, especially because interpreting religion is intentionally a completely subjective matter.

      This then got me thinking about “faith” in games and other entertainment and art. People believe that what they are enjoying is good, and will continue to be good. Then comes along someone and criticises it. People may think that he is criticising them and the fact that they are enjoying whatever they love. But the person will actually be criticising the subject only, with (most often) no intention of taking a jab at the public and therefore the fans have no right to take it personally.

      Sorry if it seemed a bit long-winded and roundabout-ish but I haven’t given it as much thought as I should have. :P

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