• Member Since 24th Sep, 2015
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Oliver


Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

More Blog Posts347

  • 8 weeks
    Lame Pun Collection

    So I decided to trawl conversation logs for throwaway lines I spout on occasion. Because otherwise I’d forget them entirely, and some of them are actually good ideas. Granted, most of them are stupid puns… But I like puns, and I’m still not sure why you’re supposed to cringe at them.

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    10 comments · 431 views
  • 8 weeks
    Rational Magic

    I basically improvised most of this lecture from memory when talking with DannyJ yesterday, but then I thought, why not blog this, should at least be food for thought. It’s not directly pony-relevant, more like a general topic of discussion which one needs to meditate on when writing fantasy – but that includes ponyfic, so you might be interested.

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    24 comments · 542 views
  • 16 weeks
    A series of unexpected observations

    So I’ve been reading things.

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    15 comments · 596 views
  • 25 weeks
    Read This

    Still alive.

    Barely.

    In the meantime, if anyone is curious about why am I having such a hard time writing, you can read DannyJ’s review of Season 9.

    I’m still busy living that mess down, you see.

    10 comments · 529 views
  • 59 weeks
    In other news...

    No, I’m not dead.

    Ok, maybe a little.

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    10 comments · 466 views
Feb
25th
2021

A series of unexpected observations · 4:07pm February 25th

So I’ve been reading things.

1. One of them is actually the story of Mary and Rika’s adventures that is the one that happens after the next one after Equestria, so you probably see the problem.

That is, I’ve been so disgusted with pony canon, that in an effort to shake it off, I started branching out into others. This resulted in two projects currently stewing in development hell that might eventually see the light of day.1 Hardly surprising after reading something like ten million words or so.

2. Rumors of my life are, nevertheless, greatly exaggerated.

So to convince people I’m still not dead2 I’m going to offer you some observations collected from this endeavor, because seriously, where else would people ever want to read what I say. Discuss?

Quality vs. Length

3. Once it crosses the threshold of a short story, which is a whole different ball of wax.

Assuming incomplete works – and the majority of fan works are incomplete – quality of a fanfiction story3 weakly correlates to length. That is, a longer story is a little more likely, but not guaranteed, to be good. The reason for this is rather simple: a story that is good is encouraged, and the author continues writing it. Then they stumble into a roadblock or real life and drop it anyway, but most stories are abandoned because they aren’t popular enough to motivate the author to continue.

At the same time, the very thickest doorstoppers are usually bad: they tend to get that long because the author doesn’t care about encouragement at all, and writes purely to satisfy their own need without caring for limits, common sense, or propriety.

4. Which is far from obvious or really expected!
5. Fimfiction is the only one I know where negative ratings are allowed, and that creates its own dynamic.

This might also factor into the previously observed correlation between story rating and quality,4 since on every platform where stories are rated, they are rated with no accounting for their age. They accumulate upvotes5 as they get older, and they increase in length at the same rate – and don’t forget that most platforms offer an option to see recently updated stories.

Bad Story Tropes

6. For example, Sakura-replacing SI transmigrator in Naruto. This is more common overall. Among the longer stories, though, there’s not enough of these to even say it happens “usually.”

Story length follows a power law curve. Things colloquially seen as tropes of bad fanfiction for a given fandom6 are established primarily in stories that never reach the 100k word mark and never get much of anywhere.

As a result, if you confine your reading to stories of at least a certain length, you’re unlikely to observe the same trends as someone who reads anything that comes their way.

Disassociation

7. That is, someone reincarnating in another world.

SI-OC transmigrator7 (or in ponyfic, HiE) stories have a much higher incidence of mental disassociation in the protagonist than any other kind. If you’re specifically looking for stories of this kind, you’ll find a lot of this, and it will be more severe than in examples from any other piece of fiction you’re likely to casually read. I am not entirely sure why that is, though I have two hypotheses:

  1. The protagonist shares little context with the rest of the world and simply needs someone to talk to that does to provide exposition.
  2. The root of this sort of fiction is in wanting to be someone else to start with, so the authors already think in terms of dissociation.

American Bias

I’ve seen a lot of this in my reading, but the most shocking example is that panic attacks and therapists are a surer sign of an American author than the use of imperial measurements or tipping in an anime story. The more the culture being portrayed is different from modern US, the more obvious it will be.

8. Love, including certain physiological signs of being in love, is learned behavior. Why not panic?

It turns out that panic attacks occur in 11% of the population in the US as opposed to 3% (!) in Europe. I am not sure if this is an actual higher incidence of this ailment, or simply higher willingness to recognize an experience as a panic attack, or what,8 but it appears that people whose native language isn’t English don’t think they are a thing, as a rule. Even in a situation where one would be warranted. Similarly, an American author will invariably assume that psychotherapy is available, should be available if it isn’t available, and always helps. Assumptions that are not exactly shared the world over.

But mostly this is about panic attacks.

Woobie

Any woobie tendencies in canon are amplified and exaggerated in fanon. Often, ridiculously so.

If someone in canon has a history of being shunned, in fanon they are regularly beaten. If someone is bullied on screen, fanon escalates to torture. If getting that to happen requires handing out idiot balls by the truckload, they will be handed out. This applies to many other traits, including those not belonging to the protagonists, but woobie protagonists express this effect the strongest.

Scootalove and Scootabuse stories are the most prominent example in ponyfic, but shonen anime series with a protagonist that has any woobie traits suffer from this a lot, and Worm fandom basically consists entirely of that.

Shipping

Never mind that absolutely everyone is gay, and more often than not, simultaneously. That’s par for the course, really. The one interesting fact is that shipping is extemporal.

That is, this situation is very common:

  • In canon, two characters coexist in close proximity, but do not interact or express any interest in each other.
  • Deep into the story, something happens to make shipping them viable, like a throwaway joke, and the ship becomes popular.
  • In fanon they will be shipped the moment they first appear, even if the stations of canon are followed, but the incident that causes them to interact at all is still far in the future, or even entirely avoided.

Other forms of character development also propagate backwards in time in this manner, but shipping goes faster than any of them.

Conclusion

What conclusion? This is just a list of things I thought about.

Report Oliver · 596 views · #fandom research
Comments ( 15 )

Similarly, an American author will invariably assume that psychotherapy is available, should be available if it isn’t available, and always helps.

Which, given the state of mental health treatment in the US, begs the question of how such an assumption could have come about.

5461496

My only guess is “marketing,” to be honest.

It turns out that panic attacks occur in 11% of the population in the US as opposed to 3% (!) in Europe.

You are surprised by this? Have you met America?

Reading another story of Admiral Biscuit's recently, I had a realization that his pony-human interactions are always extremely nice. If the dimensional portal to Equestria ever actually opened up in America it would inevitably become the site of a mass shooting or two, and pony murder by bigoted fanatics that think they're demons or something would be common.

5461531

You are surprised by this? Have you met America?

Not in person, no. Fortunately.

If the dimensional portal to Equestria ever actually opened up in America it would inevitably become the site of a mass shooting or two, and pony murder by bigoted fanatics that think they’re demons or something would be common.

I would think this actually depends a lot on the specific location where the portal opens. Downtown in a major city might result in nothing more than a few raised eyebrows and humans avoiding ponies like they’re a scam, or something.

SI-OC transmigrator7 (or in ponyfic, HiE) stories

That's an odd way of spelling 'isekai'.

5461550

Isekai is an intersecting, but distinct category, because it includes people transported into another world as well, and excludes people who are reincarnated in the body of a canon character. To whom this observation also applies.

5461536

I would think this actually depends a lot on the specific location where the portal opens.

I think it's lovely that you have no clue how fervently xenophobic hatred is encouraged in this country, or how willing delusional people are to travel thousands of miles in order to act on that hatred.

5461572

How would I have any clue with the amount of PR it has? :twilightsmile:

5461582
:rainbowlaugh: True, dat!

It turns out that panic attacks occur in 11% of the population in the US as opposed to 3% (!) in Europe. I am not sure if this is an actual higher incidence of this ailment, or simply higher willingness to recognize an experience as a panic attack

Hard to speak for the rest of Europe, but I always had a feeling that Americans are overly dramatic and panic about pretty much everything.

Any woobie tendencies in canon are amplified and exaggerated in fanon. Often, ridiculously so.

I'm stealing this for Laws of the New Column.

Some of these I already knew about, especially woobie magnification. Others do surprise me. The bit on national bias is quite eye-opening. Good to hear from you again, especially with such fascinating insights.

5461531
I just want an Equestria-enriched Long Earth, dang it.

5461804
There's something strangely hilarious about picturing the US as the Flower Trio of the global community. Though it does make the nuclear stockpile even more worrisome.
"A bent stem on one of the zinnias? Well, two can play at that game..."

5462468
Oh, the horror! *nukes go brrrr*

5462468

I just want an Equestria-enriched Long Earth, dang it.

I wouldn't say no to that...

5461552
I've personally run into more "Reincarnated as a sibling of a canon character, or at least in close proximity," But yea, I agree that a distinction from isekai where the MC is essentially teleported into the new world as themself. Though it seems Isekai is sorta blending in (in published works at least), with people waking up in a in-story character's body. (Bookworm, Villianess, etc).
TBF, Reincarnation doesn't really seem to be a commonly used genre term.

Well, just a list of things you thought about it might have been, but thank you for sharing it. :)

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