The OTW launched the Symposium blog in 2010 to give fans and academics a place to publish meta together, and to signal-boost great ideas and info on fans that weren't finding an audience. This year, we've revamped the blog into the shiny Fanhackers.
More insightful and relevant academic, fannish and other meta is being created now than ever before, but a lot of these useful ideas never get beyond the borders of wherever they were published. Academic meta on fans remains hard to access — it's often locked in expensive books and journals, or written in needlessly complicated and inaccessible language. Fannish meta is scattered all around the internet. Activists working on topics like copyright and open culture often publish ideas that are incredibly relevant to fans, but many of those ideas never reach fannish spaces. We have so much info, and yet so much of it goes to waste.
Fanhackers is a small project with big dreams. We want to experiment with new ways to get info on fans from wherever it is to whoever needs it, in a way that really makes a difference. That means sharing the good ideas in formats that people are actually likely to read, like short quotes with the key parts from long books or articles. It also means sharing the good ideas in places where people are actually likely to stumble across them — like Tumblr, Twitter, Pinboard, LiveJournal or Dreamwidth — instead of locking them up on separate websites. It also means making sure that people who need help finding an inaccessible resource like an expensive academic paper have a place to get help. Because Fanhackers is very much an experimental project, we can try things out at will to see what works and what doesn't, which is a pretty liberating way to work.
Fanhackers started out small, but it's already been a far busier first month than we expected. And there's so much around the corner: expanding onto Twitter, translating quotes and short posts from meta in Japanese (and hopefully other languages), publishing a tagged and sorted bibliography of academic works on fans to make those even easier to find, and exploring all the great things in the newest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, to name just a few.
Fanhackers and Transformative Works and Cultures proudly honour the OTW's commitment to encourage and share fannish and academic analysis of fan culture. We love fandom, and everything it stands for — to help us continue Fanhackers and other labours of love, please donate today!