The Web planet: How the changing Internet divided "Doctor Who" fan fiction writers

Leora Hadas

Abstract


This paper analyzes the debate that arose in online Doctor Who fandom surrounding the switch to moderated submissions for "A Teaspoon and an Open Mind," the fandom's main fan fiction archive. As has been the case with many classic texts of science fiction and fantasy, from The Lord of the Rings on, the new adaptation of the cult series Doctor Who was the cause of much tension and conflict within the fandom. It has opened up the franchise to a vast new audience unschooled in the fandom's ways or the ways of fandom at large, and the change in archive policy served as an arena where many of these tensions came to a head. An in-depth analysis of this debate leads to the argument that the cultural logics of fandom and of participatory culture might be more separate than they initially appear. Some fans wholly embrace the ideals of Web 2.0 and argue for the archive as a nonhierarchical, communal space where all content is equal regardless of what standards it might not meet. Yet while their rhetoric resembles the ideas of academia about the potential of fandom as an educational space, other, more veteran fans reject academia, instead using the discourse of private enterprise and property rights, more commonly associated with the producers of texts than with their fans and poachers, to argue for the rights of site moderators to regulate content.

Keywords


Adaptation; Archive; A Teaspoon and an Open Mind; Doctor Who; Fan fiction; Web 2.0

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