Now for a follow up on the Online Fandom blogpost, because Ryan M. Milner, the author of the article based on his master thesis about Fallout fans and Bethsoft, came to the Bethsoft Fallout 3 forum to add this:
Hey everyone. I’m Ryan M. Milner (though themilner’s fine too). I’m a Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas in the United States and the one who wrote my master’s thesis about these very forums. I posted a bit about it here. It’s been surreal to see people I’ve quoted suddenly quoting me. The six months I spent lurking in these forums (September-February to be exact) were a treat. Great points on both sides of the issues and, more importantly to my research interests, great insight into fan/producer and fan/fan interaction during a time of controversy and deep interaction.
I’d love to discuss anything I found in detail with anyone who’s interested. Also, if you’d like a PDF of my (excessively long?) thesis, I’d be happy to oblige. Just get in touch and we’ll arrange an email. The thoughts of the participants of this forum (both producer and fan) would be very helpful as I continue to explore these issues, revising my research into published work in other places.
Thank you all for your intensely poignant discussion of issues important to fans of all kinds of media texts. I’m convinced that what everyone’s doing here (and across the other Fallout fansites) could be important far beyond Fallout 3.[…]
I can think of a few other groups of digital-game fans who are committed and passionate as the Fallout base, but a very few. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t fans of the defunct MMO, Uru, go into Second Life and create an Uru island in that space? That’s dedication. I’m sure other people have their own examples, but I think the Fallout fanbase is unique because Fallout 1 and 2 were so fantastic that they got a lot of people very excited, and then circumstances after 1 and 2 left them in limbo (well, a limbo with the occasional slap in the face called Tactics or Brotherhood of Steel). It’d be like if Star Trek ended after its three seasons, and then, despite many promises of future glory, only came out with two Lifetime movies after that. I think then we’d see a very committed, and very angry, fanbase.
So yeah, totally a subculture all its own. I can’t wait to see where this story goes after Fallout 3.
I’ve read the master thesis and it’s excellent, he really captured well how communication and discourse are handled inside the forum, and brings a very revealing and lucid look into gaming fans and gaming producers.