Through all my time on the internet I was left with a big mystery surrounding the fandom groups. Some fandoms became absolutely hated and received opposition from non-fandom members (furry, brony, Star Trek, and Homestuck to name a few). It originally baffled me when I heard people shun, attempt to humiliate, or bash the many fandoms out there and the many people in them. I became even more baffled at how this could happen when I studied the recent brony phenomenon. Bronies are generally peaceful around each other, make friends easy with other bronies, and the majority seem fine around non-bronies. Haters, anti-bronies, and trolls would generally come by and harass these people (and myself included). Even then, the majority of bronies seem to remain strong, and even more curiously, dumbstruck at the opposition they get on a weekly basis. My research into this subject took a dip into psychology and history, and I hope I finally found the answer to my question.
Why do some fandoms generally become hated and the members stereotyped? Note: I am going to use the brony fandom as an example and test subject as it is pretty recent yet has been out for a while to grab some attention.
Throughout my studies I've discovered that when a fandom becomes increasingly popular, it garners more haters. Now haters will appear with ANYTHING, but in some cases there are reasons behind this. To figure out the answer behind the 'antis' (anti-bronies, anti-furries, etc), we need to delve a little into their story. Many anti-bronies I've come across have a story behind them which usually deals with how they've met a rather annoying brony/group of bronies or have had a bad experience with one or a group of them. Despite the obvious generalizations and stereotyping, I want to point out the usefulness in their story:
1. We can assume there are at least some annoying bronies out there.
2. We can assume the annoying bronies mess with non-bronies. These interactions seem to occur around non-bronies.
3. The interactions based around these encounters involve 'brony nazis' telling the person to watch the show, 'become' a brony, etc. Bronies that do this are reported to never stop talking about the show or keep urging people to watch it (sometimes constantly and even after the person already watched it). This extremism is related to say, a little kid wanting to tell you how much they love Transformers and can't stop talking about the show and their favorite characters.
This left a couple burning questions in my mind. First and foremost, are the bronies that do this...kids or just really immature? Secondly, is there anything in the fandom that influences this behavior or is it just more noticeable because they go under the title of brony? Thirdly, is popularity involved somehow in other ways? I'm going to give you what I believe to be the best answers for these questions.
1. Yes, the 'ponyfags' aka brony nazis are almost always 13 and under. This is relatively believable and accurate with the research I've done. A high majority of ponyfags I've surveyed were kids; most of them 13 and under (a few were 14-16).
2. This is a complicated question with multiple answers. There are many 'causes', so to speak, for the behavior. For one, it seems this 'brony nazi' attitude comes partly from the many messages of "Love and Tolerance" and "Join the Herd", all of which were image jokes thought up on sites like 4chan. I never take anything from 4chan seriously and I hope you, the reader, never do. This attitude then seems to be compounded with the expectation of haters to begin with. They KNOW people will not like them for watching a "little girls show" and think the irony of it is cool. This is a version of trolling, as it is negative attention seeking. I also imagine this to be somewhat influenced by them going under a fandom title. It draws far more negative attention when a brony internet kid spams a server or forum with pony images than a non-brony one. Finally, the fact that they are mainly annoying internet kids to begin with seems to add to the already high pile of reasons of the behavior.
3. This question remained very distant from me until recently when PewdiePie became extremely popular in a matter of months. His fandom, the bro-army, is probably the fastest growing fandom ever next to the brony fandom and may even have stolen first place as we speak. Pewdie's fandom is described as being very obnoxious, full of kids, etc. The claims I hear about the bro-army are VERY similar to the ones I've heard about bronies. This struck me with a rather peculiar question: Is popularity involved in the annoyance factor? I believe so for many reasons other than just the bro-army example. When the furry fandom became noticed, it followed the same trend you see with the bronies today. Then it hit me, does popularity contribute annoying, obnoxious kids to the fandoms? My answer: Yes, they VERY much do. Every fanbase in existence has it's share of these kids but the most popular ones get a VERY large slice of the pie. Popularity generates annoying kids, which in turn, generates hate for said fandom members.
Now you may be asking, so what do we do about this? You may/may not like the answer. My answer is how we deal with any annoying kid on the internet: we ignore them, no matter what they choose to title themselves under. Giving them attention is feeding the trolls. This is the easiest thing to do for everyone, honestly. The only other solution comes from the fandom members themselves. I'd advise all bronies, furries, etc who know these kinds of people to confront them and explain how to not 'act the way they do'. Yes, I'm telling bronies and other fandom members to influence those kids to either:
A. Change their attitudes/profiles (removing [BRONY] from their names, etc.)
B. Convince them to leave the fandom.
A may sound harder but it is, in fact, the easiest. Kids are EASILY influenced by higher-ups, which in this case, would be the older, more mature fandom members. I have done it myself with a few already after finishing my research on this subject and I hope now I can finally get back to finishing my "Fighting 5" cast of characters.
The internet kids are the hidden source of the problem.