My time on https://kbin.social/m/scifi teaches me that the dangers of an ‘all or nothing’ scifi community still exist. I’m not going to call out specific examples because I don’t want anyone to feel judged. Digging through the comments on the threads/microblogs – the pattern starts to emerge.
I’m not anyone’s dad, so do what you want. The dangers of the scifi community demanding ‘all or nothing’ have real implications for scifi creators who may easily say: ‘He’s always been an all or nothing type of fella and since he can’t have it all he gets nothing.’ Mature communities develop successful creators, every ‘successful person origin story’ includes the moments where a leader believed in their greatness.
Behind every creator is a universe of jobs – “Content creation, project management, editing, marketing, self-promotion – most creators do it all on their own. Producing content is a treadmill. Stepping off has consequences. Because platforms reward creators who post consistently, they’re often forced to pump out new content daily in order to compete.” That model is unsustainable in a genre like scifi. Science fiction is thoughtful, forward-thinking, and genuine. It takes time to tell stories with depth and authenticity.
Treating scifi creators as ‘performers who love to be heckled’ is both incorrect and destructive. What do you gain when you trash scifi actors online? What purpose is served when you drag scifi directors for ‘not being enough?’ Do you think those actors, directors, and creatives go ‘oh wow, thanks for all that negative feedback – I’mma go back to my workshop and do something to make you even happier!’?
My background of dysfunction and abuse lets me answer that last question with authority: Nuh-uh! Creators don’t thrive when you beat them down like J.K. Simmons in Whiplash. If anything, they leave and go do something else. Many an intellectual feast was destroyed by the ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’ crowd. Congratulations, you proved that you can criticize people until they break – enjoy the scifi equivalent of a TV dinner.
I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll keep saying it – Scifi is both a genre and a community. To survive and thrive as a community, we should take advantage of maturity models to become community that develops our genre. When we develop our genre, we get the scifi we want, we get to say ‘we acted out of caring instead of self-serving motives.’
I’ll close by saying this – I’ve purposefully left certain alternative viewpoints out of this essay. If your only takeaway is to say ‘yeah, but why didn’t you say …’ congratulations, you both missed my point and proved it. Enjoy the scifi equivalent of a TV dinner.