Recent Comments

Legion M logo
Suzanne Scott

You’re absolutely right, all fans are defacto “funders” of media content, so it’s the promise to not only direct fund (and thus potentially profit from) projects, but the tacit promise of having some tangible input into the creative process that makes initiatives like Legion M interesting to me. Currently, they seem to be both actively selling this, and stalling on delivering it in a meaningful way. So, you will see in many Q&As funders asking about when they might be able to submit scripts or actively shape content and the answer is typically “soon/we will let you know.” Alternately, they have run numerous “pitch elevator” contests, but I haven’t seen any actively commitment to produce this content. For my paper at SCMS in March I will be digging into the ways in which both the forward facing elements of Legion M (e.g. website, promo videos, events) and the personal messaging to fanancers shapes these expectations.

Welcome to Night Vale Tarot Deck by Jay Holloway "bonesnail"
Tanya Zuk

It is so nice for artists when companies embrace (and often canonize) their creativity. One of my favourite examples (which I’ve been working on lately) would be Kevin Tancharoen and his work in the Mortal Kombat franchise. In 2010, Tancharoen made a short film named ‘Mortal Kombat: Rebirth’, and put in on YouTube, which made the audience think it was a trailer for an actual movie. After receiving positive feedback for his work and vision of the MK universe, Tancharoen received permission by Warner Bros. to film a web series.

Legion M logo

This is a very interesting case presented here. The duality of fan/funder is a characteristic of the contemporary media landscape, and certainly not to be neglected. However, by reading about how initiatives like Legion M work, I surely have a few concerns about issues regarding decision-making and hierarchy in such communities. I also wonder if there are other cases of fan-ancing in which fans have a bigger say in the creative process. In any case, thank you for bringing this example up; it is quite useful for my research as well.

(1) Although Suzanne Scott (2015) uses the term ‘fan-ancing’ to refer to similar practices, I would like to use ‘fanding’ to describe the practice of funding works of fans (turned makers) that arose in hierarchy within a community.

dividends, you, and game shares
Tanya Zuk

This is quite an intriguing model. I am curious to see how it will develop if medium and big players (studios or artists) enter this scene either as shareholders or users of the model. Also, I am curious about its position when used with other services that could also keep a fraction of the earnings (like Humble Bundle does with video games).

You are definitely right about the need to investigate the relationships between these behaviors and Twitch’s literal architecture.

I think you also bring up an interesting point about the vagueness of bans and, more broadly, the vagueness of community guidelines. I’m inclined to think that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and now probably Twitch, intentionally create vague community guidelines that play into received notions of community without having to take an active role in deciding what happens on the platform (to do so cuts into the bottom line). Facebook has already demonstrated that it will relax it’s community guidelines so that it can enter new markets and, as you’ve noted, Twitch relies upon these players in order to bring in viewers and streamers.

-Dan Lark

Eric A James

I like this piece as a continuation of critiques about both internet echo chambers and the supposed “avoidability” of hate speech on social platforms. It becomes very clear when more official titles such as Twitch Partnership are involved that, while there is a mythology of limitless social space in sites such as Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, etc., flimsy rules systems offer hateful streamers a central place in the formation of the community and the new adaptations of the site technology. The vagueness surrounding bans for these players relates back to the formative role Twitch has allowed them to serve for the site in the past, a role which has empowered like-minded streamers to take the place of the ones who are actually banned. This is not to say that video game spectatorship does not have an extremely expressed willingness to tolerate (and oftentimes a great penchant for) misogyny and racism, but I think we must also investigate the relationship between hate and the literal architecture of Twitch.

Gacha-style card drawing in the game Love Live School Idol Festival
Lindsey Decker

Interesting post! I’d never come across this subset of videos.

It’s interesting to me how most of the affective work being done here relies on the voice — at least in the video you’ve chosen (though, as you point out, the editing also does some of that work). Have you found it more common for these videos to just use audio or do some of them also have the commentators’ faces (in a small box in the corner)? I wonder if that might have any effect on the popularity or effectiveness of the videos.

Tyler1 championship first esports toxicity
Lindsey Decker

This is quite a problem in esports — but, more generally in nearly all online spaces. There is something about the online space that shifts what offline would likely be microaggressions into aggressive behavior that can be sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist, etc. With this championship series, were the people in the same physical space, or was the space of the series a virtual space? I would be interested to know if player behavior changes when players are physically together rather than just virtually together (though I know that isn’t exactly the topic of your post!).

Also, though, have you heard about the recent gender controversy with pro Overwatch teams? There is an okay piece about it on Kotaku and it might be of interest: https://compete.kotaku.com/no-overwatch-league-team-signed-the-games-most-notable-1821968992.

Lindsey Decker

Yes — those labels are problematic, I know, particularly because they have been created and are generally assigned by people who consider themselves to be “hardcore” gamers. In terms of Minecraft, have you run across the HermitCraft server / group? I think they really fit with what you’re talking about here.