Fans’ Rules Of Engagement With Creators

While dealing with creators, fans should:

Be respectful. Whether it’s positive feedback, criticism, or a combination of the two, fans should choose their words carefully. Don’t lash out at someone in anger, no matter how tempting it might be. (I’ve made this mistake.) Refrain from using profanity or other demeaning language. Never threaten anyone with harm.

Be constructive with their criticism. Asking questions is fine but it should be to further your understanding, not to try to “trap” the creator or to annoy that person. Don’t be obtuse. Too many fans aren’t as interested in sincere engagement as they are in trying to be obnoxious. Keep your comments focused instead of lobbing one accusation after another.

Remember creators are not out to hurt your feelings and therefore you shouldn’t be out to hurt theirs. No filmmaker or author or artist gets up in the morning and says, “Ah, how shall I make people angry today?” If you didn’t like a book or movie, or even if you found some aspects of it offensive, you might take it personally but to assume the creator did it only to hurt YOU–one of 5 billion people on the planet–is nuts. But many fans act as though that’s the case, which justifies in their mind making that creator “hurt” in retaliation.

Be patient and understanding. Some creators, especially actors, have millions of followers. They are busy people and cannot respond personally to every question or tag or other attempts to get attention.

Avoid tagging creators to drag them into fan arguments. Ugh, I hate this. Fans do not need validation from anyone to settle scores or to promote some pet cause.

Do their research. Don’t attack a screenwriter for a casting decision or how a scene was shot: it’s not their department. Figure out first whether or not that individual would have a say in those decisions. Also, don’t assume a creator will always agree with you on any host of things.

Never assume anything about that person if you don’t know.

Remember once a decision’s made, the creator has to commit to it.

Remember that while you are paying to see a movie or buy merchandise or whatever it is, that act does not grant you ownership.

Know that nothing’s keeping you in the door. If you find you don’t enjoy something anymore, find something else that makes you happy instead.

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