Old Fansite Culture
Fansite culture was a unique experience. As mentioned in Why This Site Exists, fansites were multi-purpose and often were a mix of personal interaction and opinions, news, dedicated spaces to their favourite pokemon, and widespread creative efforts both in website creation, design, writing, art, and animation.
Fansite culture had a lot of good. Most fansites promoted and had articles of how to be creative, how to be inspired, how to create original content. Many also taught basic HTML and provided website templates for ease of entry into the community.
Nine times out of ten, webmasters were friendly, open, and happy to talk to anyone who came across the site and decided to view and stay. Quickly could one find themselves acquainted with people all across the world who shared the same interests. Websites often hosted their own forums and art boards where people could find genuine tips, critiques, help, and learn about how to create better.
The bar for entry in fansites was (seemingly) low - and this was fantastic. More and more fansites popped up every day - with enthusiastic and bright-eyed webmasters happy to type, design, and enter into the community.
I'm doing my best to not see the past with rose-tinted glasses. It is easy to overlook the drama, as it occurs in every fandom space. You would experience the good nine times out of ten. I mean this- in my four years of webmaster-ing when i was of the ages 9-12, I never experienced drama or negative interactions. But alas, not everyone was as lucky.
With hundreds of thousands of people visiting the most popular fansites every day, there were always bound to be annoying, unpleasant, and generally bad people also visiting the same sites that were surrounded in positivity.
Many fansites encountered simple trolls. From the era of 1337-speak, many webmasters would find their chat boxes, forums, comments, and more filled with messages of "your site sucks" (always unwarranted), and "I'm Gonna Hax U" (not kidding about this spelling or wording.) These types of comments were all over, and while they were always just a simple troll, many webmasters would write entire pages on their sites being upset with these people.
Aside from petty trolls and spam, a lot of fansites ran into drama surrounding originality and "copying". In an article of a fansite who's webmaster was once a friend, "Be your own person", and "Stop Copying Me". You would often find "wall of shame" pages and posts from webmasters about how other sites and people copied their content. While some were valid, many were not.
Affiliates have always been another topic of discourse within the fansite community. Everyone wants to affiliate with big, interesting, fun sites. However... this often lead to some popular fansites developing near-narcissistic levels of entitlement around who they affiliated with and when. Some sites would spark drama for labelling specific sites as "junior" or "baby" affiliates, and their larger affiliated sites with "top" or "best" affiliate status. I'm sure you can see how this is very demeaning and put a lot of people on edge about said sites.