Fandom

Why I Stopped Writing For Fandom.com

Back in May of 2016, I started writing for Fandom.com, a website created by the people who run Wikia, the nerd version of Wikipedia. It all started when I saw an advertisement looking for people to write articles. I signed up, thinking "why the hell not?" and soon I was contacted and asked to start writing articles. I was one of the people who got in at the beta-testing level where there was not a whole lot of editorial control on content. I couldn't write anything overly dark or dirty, but it allowed me to write comedic articles about some of my favorite things.During my time there I had six articles that ended up being featured there. My most popular article was about Pokemon Go. Last summer they even sent me to San Francisco to see the Wikia operations and learn more about their future vision. It afforded me a chance to get to know some of the other Fandom writers, as well as lead editor Nick Nunziata. Nick absolutely loved the type of stuff I was putting out and it was seldom that he would cut material from the articles I would submit for review.Since Fandom was an SEO driven website, he knew that my material was out of the mainstream, but he loved it anyway. Then around early 2017, the editorial team changed at Fandom. There was an editorial shift. Fandom was trying to follow the model of a million other click-bait "fan sites" out there. The types of articles that were going out there were the typical "We want this...", "5 Things you..." and other such content. I tried my best to follow suit, but more often than not, I found that my creative drive was being restrained more and more often. Then there were the edits. I had articles that were totally rewritten or had huge chunks cut out because an editor thought it was too racy or inappropriate. One article, in particular, was completely rewritten and the second part of the article was totally scrapped. I was never provided an explanation.That's also when I started noticing that some of my past articles and removed a number of the photo captions. If this was due to a change in format or because someone was scrubbing some of the racier jokes, I don't know.I think the last straw for me was when the Wonder Woman movie was coming out. I pitched an idea for an article titled "You've Come a Long Way, Wonder Woman" which would look back at how Wonder Woman was portrayed in the comics from the 40's until now. It was going to be an empowering piece that showed her progress to an advertisement for bondage to a positive female role model. They nixed that idea saying that it was "too controversial" and then asked me to do a "5" list about her worst villains since those types of articles generate a lot of traffic. I was annoyed, but I still went through and did it. As the last act of rebellion, I put a bit of my idea in that 5 list, identifying the worst villain Wonder Woman ever faced was "The Patriarchy" and talked a bit about how she was treated as a woman in the comics. Surprisingly, they loved it and the article popped. That's when the editor came back to me and asked if I could write the original article I had intended. I told her that I'd look into it and get back to them, but I was completely done.It was about that time that Nick Nunziata reached out and asked me if I wanted to write for his new venture, Trouble City. I jumped at the opportunity because he was offering me the chance to write about what I wanted to write about with little to no editorial interference. This is what I wanted to do, and so I moved on over there and have been writing exclusively for Trouble City ever since.I look back and check on what Fandom is doing these days, and they are moving forward with their own vision. They're writing the types of articles that will draw in readers and generate ad revenue for the website. Most of the featured articles are written by Fandom staff and sponsored by some company or another. Outside of that, they link to other entertainment sites more frequently than not. I could be wrong, but it appears that the number of non-staff pieces is dwindling. On the one hand that's kind of sad because there were a lot of people who liked the idea that Fandom was supposed to be a by-the-fans-for-the-fans kind of websites. On the other hand, it's okay, because save for a handful of very talented writers, the rest of the stuff coming out of there was crap. Most of the said writers of talent? They've moved over to Trouble City, so if you liked them you can find them there along with me.That said, I don't have any ill will toward Fandom. They're just doing their thing. They are a for-profit company, and part of their business model is capitalizing on the open source model. Why pay staff to do all the dirty work when they have an endless sea of fans willing to create and populate wikis on various subjects? I figured that sooner or later staff writers could just pick a topic and go to whatever wiki they need for the information. It's actually a very brilliant way to do it. I still contribute to the Marvel Comics wiki on a daily basis. Because I believe in the encyclopedic value of the site even though I feel the advertising model a bit exploitative.That said, I learned a lot from my time there and I wish them well in their future endeavors. Honestly, as I sat down and listened to various seminars in San Francisco last summer, I realized that sooner or later I would not be a fit with where they were going.Anyway, if you want to check out the articles I have written for Fandom.com in their original form click here. However, I plan on archiving my articles on nickperon.com (completely uncensored) so check back for that. If you haven't seen my stuff at Trouble City, well you can find them here.