Positive Fandom

We love fandom.

As individuals, we each have media and communities that have shaped us in some way. As an organization, our work draws from and depends on these vibrant communities of fans living out the best parts of their favorite stories. In the Harry Potter Alliance’s first decade, we’ve been lucky enough to see all of this up close. From long-forgotten forums to hallowed convention halls, the spaces we share have been home to immeasurable creativity, enthusiasm, and love. But - as with all things - our community has faced its share of obstacles. We believe that - as our namesake once put it - we have something worth fighting for. We want our community and all others like it to be safe, constructive, positive spaces and we think our vision is possible. Getting there will take hard work, commitment, and constant introspection, but we’re up to the task and know you are, too. That’s why we created the Positive Fandom Guidelines. The following guidelines are the result of rigorous collaboration. After composing the first draft, we shared them with our volunteers, partners, and members, welcoming the community’s diverse voices. We set out to make them as clear and concise as we could while still covering the big stuff. We hope these guidelines will be the beginning of many conversations and invite you to join the movement by signing once you’ve read them. Your signature means you’re committed to making these guidelines a part of your daily fandom life; they don’t mean you have to be perfect, but that you will strive to do your best and keep growing. Every signature brings us one step closer to making positive fandom a reality.

Positive Fandom: Community Guidelines

1. I will be kind.

2. I will remember there are many ways to be a fan. Fandom is home to endless perspectives on and interpretations of a common material. When I disagree with a particular interpretation, I will do so respectfully and with the intention to discuss, not to win. Unironic enthusiasm means different things to different people; I will not tease or judge another fan for being too passionate about their fandom. If someone is different from me, I will celebrate their place in our community.

3. I will make our community a welcoming space. I will do my best to make sure everyone feels invited and included, both online and in person. I will remember what it was like when I was a new fan and will do my best to help new fans find their way. Safe spaces require constant vigilance. I will respect other people’s boundaries. I will practice and encourage conscious, positive behavior and speak out against malice, negativity, and abuse. I will prioritize the comfort of victims and the community over that of abusers.

4. I will imagine people complexly. I will remember that everyone I meet is a human being as susceptible to misunderstandings and errors as I am. I will remember that I do not always have the full story or know what a person is thinking and that others do not know the same about me. I will remember that this is true even for the most visible members of a community and that idolization and demonization are both forms of dehumanization. I will be conscious of my influence - whether it comes from age, experience, or following - and how it impacts my interactions with others. I will remember that groups are made up of unique individuals.

5. I will respect and celebrate diversity. Because I know that diversity makes our community stronger, I will be conscious of my own privilege and how my words and actions impact others. I will respect others’ unique lived experiences and work to amplify their voices instead of speaking over them. I will remember my experiences are not universal and many different perspectives can be valid at once.

6. I will learn. There is always room to grow, so I will be a lifelong learner and be open to new information, ideas, and experiences. As I am learning, I will remember that none of us are perfect - it’s okay to make mistakes. When I do make a mistake, I will remember that apologies are healthy, not something to be ashamed of. It is important that my apologies be sincere and mark personal growth.

7. I will teach. To work towards a world where everyone can grow, I will share my knowledge and insight when I am able. When I see others make mistakes, I will remember that teaching with kindness is the best way to help them learn.

8. I will give others the opportunity to grow. We are all learning and unlearning at different paces, and not everybody has access to the same resources at the same time. Before writing others off, I will remember that it took time and forgiveness to get to where I am today and I am not at the end of my journey. I will acknowledge that people are always growing, and views they have expressed in the past might not represent their current views.

9. I will practice self-care. I will remember that caring for myself is as important as caring for others. I understand that it is acceptable to remove myself from situations that make me feel uncomfortable, unhealthy, or unsafe, and I will respect when others do the same. I will remember that it is okay to reach out for help when needed.

10. I will remember to be awesome.