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The “don’t generalize fans” Defense

Chiu on This
A short and regular opinion blast from Stephen Chiu

I may not be the best person to talk about this as there is something inherent inside of me that has made it hard to identify my own personal identity with groups. But this argument has come out again and again and again, so I thought I’d discuss it from my point of view.

Whenever a prominent figure in the esports space makes a remark about a group of fans or fans in general, regardless if they are a player, caster, export or other, they are always met with the very similar responses no matter the game or scene.

“Doesn’t (X Person) know that this isn’t every fan.”

“With a large group of people, there are going to be a lot of different opinions.”

“Stop generalizing fans.”

The problem I have with this is that I don’t get it. Yes, there are a lot of different types of people under the term “fans.” If you acknowledge that not all fans are like this, you must also acknowledge that there are a lot of fans who are. So why are people defending these fans’ actions when in a lot of cases they are lying, sending death threats, DDOSing or flaming someone? Is it because they are a larger part of the subset group known as “fans,” makes it all right?

There is the vocal minority argument, but has anyone actually just sat down and done the numbers on trash fans to regular fans? How big a percentage of the population is this vocal minority? 5, 10, 20 percent? The only people who’d have an idea are those prominent figures that get messaged every day on Twitter/Facebook/other social media by the hundreds of thousands to millions of fans.

Even if you assume that only 5 percent of fans are trash, then that’s 50,000 out of every million. 50,000 fans a day flaming you, harassing you, annoying you. Most people can’t handle this sort of treatment for half an hour. Just look at all the times Richard Lewis retweets one of his haters who then has some mental collapse.

Anyway, saying “Not all X fans are like this” is true. But there are fans that do flame and harass and send death threats. So when someone says X fans are terrible for Y reasons and you don’t do those things and you write something like “stop generalizing fans,” ask yourself if that addresses the point of the behavior of the fans who are terrible. Then ask yourself how defending them in such a way helps anyone.


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