ame-kage replied to your post “What’s a BNF?”
Why is BNF considered a pejorative?
notimpossiblejustabitunlikely replied to your post “What’s a BNF?”
You don’t have the ego problems that usually lead to it being used as a pejorative, so embrace it!
I feel these comments go together somehow….:D
BNF can be used pejoratively to imply that the person in question is putting on airs, getting above themselves, or being arrogant/egotistical; it can also subtly refer to someone who is not above encouraging bad behavior on the part of their followers. Some BNFs in the early days of LJ, and really reaching as far back as the old usenet days, could have some pretty problematic behaviors that inspired this perception. People who have large readerships now still sometimes get tarred with that brush, whether they engage in those behaviors or not — and sometimes if they engage in perfectly normal behavior that reads to outsiders like egotism because of the context it’s in. I honestly think most BNFs don’t have the BNF Problem, their awkwardness is just magnified by the size of their readership.
For example, most people online form friendships, and often form small inner communities of friends with shared in-jokes, catchphrases, and general experiences. That’s normal human behavior, having friends, having a circle of friends. But when you’re a BNF, and people want to enter your circle of friends because you have prestige or the attention of a lot of people or for whatever reason, that person’s totally normal friendships can look to outsiders like a clique or even a conspiracy. I’ve been accused of having a clique; no, what I have is friends. If a BNF is quiet because they’re shy, it can be seen as aloofness; if they have a disagreement with someone, it can be seen as an attack. Because of an external perception, that I have a clique and I’m king of it (which is laughably untrue), I can be seen as one of “those” BNFs, the kind who gathers followers and then holds merciless sway over them.
The stakes are just higher — you get more attention, your work gets more attention, and when you make a mistake, you suffer for it far longer than someone else might. That’s just how it rolls; you take the good with the bad.
The truth is I’m a klutz who routinely falls over while doing yoga, I’m socially awkward enough in person that I have very few brickspace close friends, and I do what I can to get along in life, the same as everyone else. Nobody is universally liked, and of course I don’t enjoy being disliked, but I’m willing to deal with that for the pleasure the rest of my online interactions bring me.
I think it’s not just that disagreements can look like attacks - what I’ve seen draw a lot of grumbling about BNFdom is when a fan with a big following posts a disagreement which results in their followers piling onto the person being disagreed with. (Sometimes there has been a call to action which was intended as rhetorical, and would have just been rhetorical had someone with fewer fans made it.)
It’s something that’s hard to discuss, because - in my experience - the folks who have the potential to cause this sort of thing feel it’s unfair to pin other people’s behavior on them. Which is true, to an extent! But whether or not someone is a textbook BNF or just popular and friendly, the extra fallout that can come from the attention they give to a person or cause is definitely a thing that affects how people perceive them.