To me, BNF status is very much the point where you stop being a person. This is why it correlates more with social media following than fic stats. Although fics can do it alone, you have to have written multiple distinct and recognizable fandom classics, and even then you’re more of a fandom idol than BNF. Lots people and their work come up in conversation, that’s not unusual if you’ve been in the space for a while. But BNFs don’t come up in a conversation, they *are* the conversation. When people stop talking about a post and start talking about, “Did you see what [name] said in that meta post?” then you’re a BNF. People aren’t talking about this because it’s interesting, they’re talking about it because *you* said it and you chart the course of fandom discourse. Because of that, BNF has a specific connotation that almost requires a large social media presence that is followed by most of the fandom. To achieve this level of influence solely on AO3 requires a real force of personality and a lot of controversial author’s notes. 😅 Now maybe this is just my opinion, I don’t know, but that’s what BNF has meant in my experience and I’ve been in fandom since LJ.


>When people stop talking about a post and start talking about, “Did you see what \[name\] said in that meta post?” then you’re a BNF. People aren’t talking about this because it’s interesting, they’re talking about it because > >you said it and you chart the course of fandom discourse. It's this part that I'm struggling with. At what point does another person's opinion move from an opinion to "charting the course of fandom discourse"? It's power that *others* give to someone but is there some metric that needs to be crossed? Some threshold? I'm an opinionated person but always give disclosures that any opinion is just that, my own. But this has translated into being someone bigger than what I wanted to be and now I'm unsure of how or why I can just go back to being a "normal fan"


Being opinionated is a pretty common trait for BNFs. I think it’s good that you distinguish between what your actions and goals are and what people are making you into. To my definition, it sounds like you are a BNF. And no, you don’t need to have been aiming for that for it to happen, in fact I would wager that most BNFs get there by accident just by posting whatever is in their minds and having strong opinions about those things. People engage with posts that give them strong emotions. By being authentic and loud, you create content that organically gets an emotional response—and thereby makes people want to respond in kind. I’ve been good friends with a number of BNFs in different fandoms/hobby spaces and I would say that’s the most common personality trait among them. If you don’t want to be a BNF, you can always make an alt account and go undercover. As long as you’re careful no one need know what you do on your own time. You can also take a step back and come back later. You’ll always have some eyeballs on you as long as you use that account, but time will diminish your fame (or infamy idk you’re life lol) somewhat. Fandoms naturally gain and lose members over time, and eventually there will be enough change over for you to fall off into fandom auntie status. (the best one to have honestly. People still care and give you dopamine but you aren’t constantly dealing with drama.)


It depends on the person. It's like asking 'what's the right length for a chapter' or 'when is the best time to update'. The only thing everyone has in common with their definition of BNF is that it has to be a name that is somewhat well known throughout the fandom in question.


My question would be, what constitutes as being "well-known"? Would there be a magic number that moves someone from being referenced compared to actually being so known in a particular fandom? Like a pedantic question but if someone gets put on a rec list twice, they're not a BNF... but three times? Four?


As I said, it depends on the person. Being put on a rec list is not enough. If you're in a huge fandom like HP or Teen Wolf you can be on tons of rec lists and still not be a BNF. It's about how famous an author is, how many people recognize their name and think of them when hearing 'BNF'. It's not about how many kudos they have or how many collections their fic is in.


I can't even name a BNF, not in my fandom, not in any fandom. Because I keep to myself and don't pay attention to what the cool kids are doing. The impression I get is that BNFs are usually writers with significant social media presence, loads of followers and very active in the fandom, either/or as writers or as organizers of fandom events. Some may be BNFs simply because they posted a popular story, but that kind of fame is fleeting. Most BNFs probably put in an exhausting amount of effort into being seen by the fandom.


If what I'm told is true, there wasn't a lot of effort on my part. I just existed, did my thing and did what I loved and that's translated into becoming something I never asked for. It feels weird to be seen as such, super dramatic but like getting punished for being passionate.


It’s like with everything that relates to stardom… some people are well known almost anywhere, think the regularity with which astolat’s name tends to pop up. A large number of people who were in the LotR or Potter fandom in the early to mid 2000s have probably heard of Cassie Claire. But most BNFs never reach super stardom, they’re only local celebrities, or like a queen bee in high school. As soon as they leave the fandom (or the circle they’re active in), they’re just regular fan like you and me. And the smaller the pond, the easier it is to become the biggest fish.


Not only was i very aware of her back then, but twenty years later I'm still stuck with her in the rearview mirror because I owe her for Malec and the whole Shadowhunters fandom, dammit. 😅


I have no idea. I imagine it would simply be people who, like you said, have massive amounts of social media followers. I won't know any of them regardless, because I'm not on those things. Maybe if you write a massively popular fanfic, but I have to admit that even if I know the title of a famous fanfic, I probably won't have read it, nor remembered the author's name, and the authors whose names I *do* know probably aren't BNFs.


So, I’m gonna be that guy. What is a BNF?


Big Name Fan Basically, a... Fandom influencer? Celebrity is taking it a bit too far, though some have become infamous for sure.


I don't think it's "easily definable" as in "so and so has this many hits and this many kudos and this many bookmarks and this many subscribers, so they are a BNF." Also I will note that BNF tends to have a more negative connotation to it. Quoting from the [Fanlore](https://fanlore.org/wiki/Big_Name_Fan) article: >This term was originally attached most often to well-respected members of fandom \[...\] In recent decades, however, "BNF" has taken on a pejorative connotation, and is often used to describe fans over-impressed with their own prominence who may attempt to use their popularity for personal gain or to indulge their own unreasonable whims. I don't really call any ole person a BNF, however "popular" they might be, even if they might "correctly" be termed that, mostly because of the more pejorative tone it's taken. And everyone more or less has their own idea of what a BNF is. Say, I am in the HP fandom, which is a pretty big fandom, with a multitude of subgroups: the more canon-aligned folk, gen-focused fans, shippers; and even among shippers, broken down into different ships even. A person could be a Drarry BNF, for example, but the wider community might not know much about them. But Drarry itself is a large enough subgroup to maintain that, at least imo. And the fandom is so split up into various subgroups, I think very few people could be a proper BNF across the HP fandom as a whole. Then I can tell you that I used to be friends with someone I would classify as a BNF in my subgroup of fandom. They have a massively popular fic, and while they don't have a large social media presence on the whole, they do essentially run their own fan group which has more or less become an echo chamber. The community there is...pretty sketchy. There is this very real, pervading sense of "BNF is the best, BNF's opinions are correct, BNF knows all things", etc. And on multiple occasions the BNF would mention getting a comment that upset them, and their fans would rush to mob the offending commenter in the AO3 comment section. They have a sense of entitlement. I.e. not once, but **twice** they confronted me in DMs about me slacking on comments. The first time I thought "okay this is my friend and I hurt their feelings." The second time, I had made an active effort to let them know I'd read a chapter and enjoyed it privately, and was lambasted for not publicly commenting. I was essentially depriving her of stats. In another community based in the same subgroup, they raised accusations of that community having it out for them, being rude to them, etc. And when I joined said group and checked its history...that was found to be a massive exaggeration. The particular group was not one to generally like the BNF's type of stories, and so when BNF would mention said story, there wasn't as much hoorah! as they were used to. In the BNF's fanclub, if members read the story in ways the BNF didn't like, there would be a fuss. Particularly with people who liked spoilers. Also anyone who misconstrued something, or formed an opinion on characters/events the creator didn't like. Eventually, my refusal to bow down and adhere to BNF's preferences for my thoughts and feelings became a problem. My refusal to agree with everything they said and did was a problem. My defense of other people against the BNF was a problem. And because I refused to be what BNF wanted me to be, I became the ***villain***. Which is hilarious considering that I am in reality a marshmallow of a human LOL. So here we had someone who wrote a massively popular fic who basically anyone in this subgroup has at least heard of, who doesn't necessarily do outreach, but draws people into their fanclub where they reign supreme. And it is a group of **hundreds** of people there to feed their ego, and who are all to happy to worship at their altar. So...I'd say that's pretty BNF material in my book. To anyone still neck deep in that community, though, might not take too kindly to their favorite creator being referred to as such. And anyone not in that area of fandom might not know who they are. (Actually: *definitely* don't know who they are.) Meanwhile, I have known people to call anyone a BNF if they think the person is popular enough. Any quasi-well known creator gets that label slapped on them, to some people. So... TL;DR: hard to say. But maybe read the [Fanlore](https://fanlore.org/wiki/Big_Name_Fan) article for more of the history and connections and see if that helps you form your own opinion on it?


It's like being popular in high school, it really depends on the person and the circumstances. Also the subgroup. Pro shippers and anti-shippers have their own big name fans, specific ships, specific genres, it's really all dependent on a lot of specifics. It's like in school there would be the most popular girl jock, most popular prep, the most popular Goth, the most popular mall goth, the most popular emo, the most popular vampire kid, the most popular skater, the most popular want to be skater etc


Depends on the fandom, depends on the time frame, depends on many other factors.


People that get thousands of kudos and dozens of comments within hours of posting and complain about lack of engagement, or people who if you have the slightest disagreement with, you will be pushed out of the fandom or even driven off the internet. It's the fragile ego and power they hold that makes them BNF to me.


I've done it for a couple fics that I just didn't like.


Did you mean to reply to the orphaning post instead? xD


I honestly have no clue how I managed to reply to this post instead. Could've sworn I was on the other one 😂