Star Wars Online: Gatekeeping from “unlikely” quarters 

Well, it seems the Star Wars Twittersphere is separating itself off into little factions yet again. This time it’s self-appointed “persons of influence” attempting to divide fans up by “when people first saw Star Wars“. Thank goodness most of my engagement with fans is via other outlets these days.

Anyone dictating to others on this issue, or for that matter denigrating someone’s individual experience of Star Wars, may want to consider if this is appropriate. The latest unprompted diatribe online against people who saw the film in 1977, comes the same week as impassioned pleas for Star Wars fans to get along better online. The fact that the source of such pleas operates from within a major network that has trolled and abused smaller fan-sites carries an unintentional irony.

To these eyes – and I’m an eighties kid who likes all eras of Star Wars movies and books- it can also be younger fans who seem to be gatekeeping older fans with tactics that border upon ageism. There can be harsh treatment of some older fans that disregards their perspective. Such ageism can go hand in hand with an agenda to promote their Star Wars sites/podcasts, fashion brand, awful t-shirts or to help hock their Patreon at the expense of others fan experience, or to gain the top spot at the “next big convention”. I think we all need to be conscious of the fact that these people are likely to be denigrating older fans to further their own ends as much as anything else.

If we are to have a genuinely diverse fan base then guess what? It needs to be diverse in all ways: so let’s see male and female representation in the fanbase, let’s see people who aren’t pals with the creatives given a say, let’s see persons of colour represented fairly within it, and oh yeah, let’s see fans both young and old represented. Frankly I see more and more implied discrimination on the basis of age – and that is just as reprehensible as any other form of discrimination.Let’s kick it off our timelines for good.

In the meantime if you are one of the “trendy” big time operators engaging in this conduct to try and oust older fans, don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Save the dream. Save the Rebellion.

Hit us up @PartisanCantina


  1. I’ve always gotten a sense that there is an inherent insecurity amongst pockets of SW fans. It is an insecurity that seems to be based (and I say this with no scientific or methodological proof, just observation) on the need to affirm one’s personal fandom as being relevant. It is as if such people, whom I truly feel bad for, need others to confirm that their thoughts – nay, their experience(s) – on Star Wars are valid beyond the subjective. We see this manifest in various phenomenon, notably on Twitter in the form of gatekeeping (which such individuals will deny) by dictating the enjoyment of SW through their lens. Rather than embracing the wide ranging experiential reality – that SW lends itself to all forms of enjoyment – one is otherwise committed to denying the enjoyment of others because of their own shortcomings and desires for affirmation. Again, this makes me feel sad because I wish there was a way to import on such individuals that they matter because they are persons with their own relevant passions, and that they need not project negativity to feel positive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Increasingly I have to force myself to screen out other views, focus on my own experience and try to write my personal, uninfluenced take on things. This has meant unfollowing people on Twitter, etc. who seek to shape and mould views of fans when it comes to content. Central to my enjoyment is to have informed dialogue with no preconceived outcomes; but also to clear a space to form my own views before considering others. As for dialogue and exchanges online, my experience is that the manner of engagement has been influenced and damaged by the type of megaphone diplomacy others are engaging in to exchange views on political matters and current affairs. This has been prevalent since November and the ratcheting up of the US Election. It doesn’t seem to be fading; if anything getting worse. Thankfully WordPress, which I’m new to, affords more breathing space to exchange views. A more civilised app, from a more civilised age…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am naive/clueless about all this splintering or where it comes from. I am not being obtuse, but I think about half the snide comments and subtweets go over my head, and frankly I wish they all did. I just legitimately do not understand how we can fight over something we all love. Why would anyone want to marginalise another person for– well, for anything, frankly. I have seen some downright rude behaviour from fans: clique behaviour, snippy and dismissive comments, blowing misunderstandings out of all proportion, flash mobs over real world social issues and in-universe character interpretation, and more. It’s really sad. I don’t care where you came from, where you are going, or why you love Star Wars. That we all love it is enough for me. I am fortunate to have met some wonderfully kind, creative, and welcoming fans. I just wish we could all act like friends instead of competitors in our Star Wars community and the rest of our fandoms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I agree entirely with these comments. There’s so much competitiveness between some of the fan “networks” and it’s not a competition. There needs to be a safe space to exchange views and to share love of content and ideas. I spend much less time on Twitter these days sadly as it’s become a forum that too often falls victim to the 140 character limit. I don’t know what the answer is; previously tried a good forum called Imzy in Beta format through Full of Sith podcast that was self regulated but it wasn’t developed further and ended up closing. We’ll get there in the end.


  3. Oh, so that’s what it was about! I saw bits and pieces on twitter and was like…what’s going on? But never figured out the origination.

    This is all baffling to me. Mostly because, well, it’s a movie. And people seem to forget that. I get it, it’s a great movie and I have a blog devoted to it and it changed my life…but when people get REALLY worked up, I take a step back because I can’t relate.

    But ageism? Really? This is the latest thing people are getting worked up about? It’s interesting because there were Prequels vs. Original factions when I first joined the Star Wars community – so I can only imagine what it’s like now with the TV shows, the movies, the comics, Disney vs. Lucas…it makes my head spin.

    IT’S JUST A MOVIE. Can’t we all enjoy it? Even different aspects of it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is some pretty exclusionary “catch all statements” that get thrown out there at times on Twitter and I think people need to take more care – I remember when you kinda had to hide your “Star Wars fan” side in the early 90s in school as you would have gotten bullied a bit for reading the books, etc. I used to take the dust covers off so people wouldn’t laugh at me. It makes me very reactionary when I see people saying things that could put others off engaging online, or not in the “cool club” online. They are everyone’s films and they are wonderful and first and foremost it should be about content and evaluation of it, not internecine rivalry between groups of fans. A content drive approach keeps fan-drama to a minimum and engagement constructive. There’s also a lot of one-upmanship between podcasting networks that I find really offputting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t it weird how Star Wars is cool now? I went through so much bullying because of my love for it. And now, I feel like the Star Wars community has turned the bullying they received internal at times, which just festers within the community.

        I haven’t listened to Star Wars podcasts in a while! Not since I had my child. I should start back up. Any recs?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! My favourite is Hyperspace Podblast – so good a short little half hour burst of Star Wars goodness. I also love Bright Tree Radio which is really fun and based on the books. Both shows are presented by couples which is an interesting take on things too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s