** The fourth wall needs to come back up. I think this is the biggest point I want to make because I feel that fans have become too comfortable with interacting with creators/writers/actors via social media to the point of harassing them, mostly for validation of their own personal needs with a piece of media. This has led to a lot of fan expectations and fan demands and entitlement and lacking in boundaries which is bad enough, but furthermore this has led to an unfortunate case of how, perhaps not mainstream necessarily but how popularized fandom has become which has led to a whole lot of issues (re: purity culture, the push for not being "weird" or liking "weird things" and to just "be normal" because celebrities/actors are watching you, ridiculous hypotheticals to guilt-trip you, etc). I talked about purity culture in my previous post so I'm not going to rehash that, but this is why the breaking of the fourth wall has gradually damaged the functionality of the fandom community over the years, in my opinion. Fandom has always been about being weird, it's always been about embracing and celebrating your weirdness in a safe and controlled environment with other likeminded people who won't judge you for it. By breaking that fourth wall, by letting outsiders in and not understanding how the unspoken rules of fandom work, it has really created this hostile environment where people are actually afraid of sharing their likes with the community due to being ostracized and harassed by others who think you should act according to what is "morally/socially acceptable" or whatever. Like, no. Fuck that.
So, basically, bring back the fourth wall, reinstate the "whatever happens in fandom stays in fandom" motto again, and just let people be weird freely without consequence. Fandom doesn't need to be popularized, it doesn't need to go mainstream, and fans need to stay away from actors/writers/creators/etc because most of them don't know how to act.
** I wish there was a way of sharing fandom history with younger fans without the condescending tone that I've been seeing around. Yes, this has mostly been a response to a lot of them unfortunately being led into the “anti” mentality (which is very much interconnected with purity culture and is cult-like in their ideologies) and the need to educate them so they don't continue down a destructive path by mindlessly believing in the misinformation that is constantly spread, but those around that age range (teens and early twenties) think they know everything and that they know better than anyone else around them and hates when adults tell them what to do, and having adults in fandom telling them that they need to educate themselves on certain matters, even if it's important, isn't going to get them to do it. Yes, it's frustrating, but you cannot force that upon them if they're not willing to listen. Linking to fanlore.org can only do so much.
(Also, ageism? Not cool, from either side. Stop that.)
** Most “discourse” is just fandom wank disguised as something “profound” due to the language being used, or in most cases misused/overused by people wanting to elicit a certain reaction from others. I do think that there are important discussions to be had and interesting metas that can be created in fandom spaces, because I enjoy reading those, but sadly, again thanks to the endless void of social media, those get lost in a sea of pointless fandom drama posts that rarely are about creating and partaking in nuanced discussions and are just wanting to either get into fights with people or getting mad when people don't agree with their stances. Most online “discourse” is this, not just within fandom, and I think that word itself has lost all meaning at this point. There needs to be a better term, or at least a better distinction between what is an actual discussion happening versus whatever has been happening in these spaces.
** And lastly, I've talked about this many times before on my journal so not to sound like a broken record, but another improvement we need to have within the community itself are better platforms for fandom activity to thrive. Returning to the first point above, social media is a crux of the issue of how stagnant fandom has become across many different platforms, and none which really recapture that sense of community that it once had, especially since a lot of these social media platforms are run by corporations/companies who want to sell them something or monetize the content without understanding the community of people occupying those spaces, mainly because there is no one community since it's a mixture of everyone in a massive space that has no moderation. Places like LJ/DW/AO3, and possibly whichever forums that still exist out there, are the last remaining pieces of what a community in a controlled environment feels like. Perhaps the other option could be discord, but I've never really been there so I cannot say for certain what it's like in those servers (though I've known that some of them are very, well, exclusionary and I've heard more than some bad reports from individual servers that act like gossip forums more than anything else, which is unfortunate).
How to implement this though, I don't know. I'm not knowledgeable with creating a website and only vague on coding in general, and I know others have attempted this previously with little to no success. I just miss comment threads, I miss interacting with people that isn't just a passive like or reblog button, I miss squeeing with people excessively over something in long format comments. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's just a matter of figuring out the online world as it has been shifted and adjusting to it while also trying to recreated that sense of community and connection with others.
These are just my thoughts and observations. We might not have all the answers or solutions but I'm hoping that, somehow, fandom finds a way of making these things better, either soon or in the future.