Sites of participation: Wiki fandom and the case of Lostpedia

  • Jason Mittell Middlebury College
Keywords: Fan community, Television, TV


This essay explores the award-winning fan site Lostpedia to examine how the wiki platform enables fan engagement, structures participation, and distinguishes between various forms of content, including canon, fanon, and parody. I write as a participant-observer, with extensive experience as a Lostpedia reader and editor. The article uses the "digital breadcrumbs" of wikis to trace the history of fan creativity, participation, game play, and debates within a shared site of community fan engagement. Using the Lostpedia site as a case study of fan praxis, the article highlights how issues like competing fandoms, copyright, and modes of discourse become manifest via the user-generated content of a fan wiki.

Author Biography

Jason Mittell, Middlebury College
Jason Mittell teaches American Studies and Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College. He is the author of Genre & Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture (Routledge, 2004), Television & American Culture (Oxford UP, 2009), numerous essays in journals and anthologies, and the blog Just TV. He is currently writing a digital book on narrative complexity in contemporary American television.