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Why is there a stigma against the Sonic community

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For as long as I’ve been a Sonic fan, I’ve seen countless outsiders dismiss the Sonic fanbase as people that make fetish porn and deviantart OC’s, or blind fanboys that will defend anything with Sonic’s name on it . I never understood why there was such a stigma against people that like Sonic. There’s so much talented people in this community that make ROM hacks, fangames, art, music, and mods that it makes me wonder why there’s such a negative perception of us.

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In the early days of fandom, while most others kept relatively quiet, the Sonic fandom was always loud, so it ended up as a frequent target (I mean, the game reputations at the time didn't help, this was 2005-2008, but this is looking at the fandom specifically). Nowadays this is considered the norm for most fandoms, so the popular target tends to be whatever is popular at that moment. 

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I've been around long enough to remember when there was no stigma to being a Sonic fan, or at least not more of a stigma than that typical of being a fan of anything else that's "kiddy" (basially some people might have given a side eye to a person over the age of 15 being into Sonic, but then he would do the same to a person being into Mario or Zelda. Remember, this was before it became evident that MANY people born in the 1980's and later would largely prove unable to let go of their childhood interests. It wasn't like today when a 35 year old wearing a Ninja Turtles shirt doesn't even raise an eyebrow).

Here is my take on what happened; the earliest seeds to the stigma were sown sometime in the early-mid 00's, around the time of Sonic Heroes, since this is when the popular notion of "Sonic games have lost their touch" first appeared. Basically, the original stigma wasn't aimed at the fans but rather at the games themselves. That's how I remember it anyway. If I told someone that I was a Sonic fan in 2004 I wouldn't meet reactions like "You must be some kind of weirdo" but was more likely to be met with something like "Well aren't you a trooper" for clinging on to a falling franchise. The REAL stigma came about around the time of Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06. Those were the games that not only cemented Sonic as a downright BAD franchise, but also as an ungodly CRINGY franchise. Shadow and 06 were mocked to hell for their confused and embarassing attempts at being serious and edgy. And so at this point a notion arose; that anyone who was in to something as weird as the Sonic series was bound to be weird him/herself. This is when the stereotypes of Sonic fans being autistic and/or sexually deviant set themselves in stone. And yes, of course weirdo Sonic fans did exist (Chris-chan being the obvious example) and yes obviously a lot of porn was being produced. But honestly, none of that was exclusive to the Sonic fanbase. It was just that the Sonic fanbase had become one of the few fanbases out there that was regularly made fun of because of it. Basically people looked between their fingers when it came to Mario or Zelda porn but, like I said, people had already decided that Sonic fans were weirdos and so it became easy to examplify this notion by bringing up the porn. And the fact that so many of the later games continued to recieve critical backlash created a notion that anyone who was an honest fan of those games had to be either "special" in some way or were willing to look past the actual gameplay of the games since they were drawn to the series for other, weirder reasons (usually either a psychotic obession with the Sonic universe or just plain old sexual perversion).

And honestly that's pretty much were we still are today. Sonic fans are weirdos, deviants and pathetic because the Sonic franchise is weird and deviant and pathetic. And terrible games like Sonic Boom: RoL sure isn't doing anything to push back against that notion...

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To be fair, there was a time when searching anything Sonic on Google Images would spawn some weird things in the results, such as pictures made in MS Paint of an obese Amy in a diaper, or pregnant characters with a dissection that lets you see the baby inside... and almost always those were results from Deviantart.

That happend, sadly... I can't remember when it was, but probably around when Sonic X aired, in fact there were also badly edited screenshots of Sonic X (still in MS Paint) where part of the characters were recolored and those were called original characters. I don't know if any of you have ever seen those, unfortunatelly I have seen some of them...

Those were likely made by some kids and not all the Sonic fans were like that, in fact it was probably just a minority, but that stuff came out in Google's results so people noticed them and made fun of them. Today a lot of things have changed, both people and Google/social networks, so it's a lot harder to see stuff like that unless you specifically search for them (and I'm sure that most people wouldn't search for that type of stuff, at least I hope), and even if you search for them Google will likely give you some popular results and keep the weird stuff away.

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The petty infighting and hypocrisy in the fandom doesn’t help either.

Really gets me a lot of people are not only saying the exact same shit that was said all the way back in 2006, but they willingly (and with full knowledge of their actions) make exceptions to things that fall under the same qualities of what they bicker against.

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1 hour ago, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

The petty infighting and hypocrisy in the fandom doesn’t help either.

Really gets me a lot of people are not only saying the exact same shit that was said all the way back in 2006, but they willingly (and with full knowledge of their actions) make exceptions to things that fall under the same qualities of what they bicker against.

I think this is something that isn't said enough. You can see a lot of unnecessary fights between Sonic fans, non-fans or fans of other franchises on social media and this is the kind of stuff that gives fuel to the haters. 

"Oh, you don't see the Sonic games as I see?! Well, you are an idiot."

"You don't like the modern games?! You are the reason of why we can't get nice things."

"You don't like the classic games?! Stay with your modern garbage then."

"You don't like this Sonic game?! Stop watching Gaming Grumps!!!!!!!!!"

"You don't support this character?! Blocked."

The Sonic fandom produces amazing things together and gets undeserved hate, but the heavily defensive tone from the most hardcore part of the fanbase towards opinions they don't like doesn't help too. As someone said, "be the change you want to see in the world".

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11 minutes ago, Cayenne said:

I think this is something that isn't said enough. You can see a lot of unnecessary fights between Sonic fans, non-fans or fans of other franchises on social media and this is the kind of stuff that gives fuel to the haters. 

"Oh, you don't see the Sonic games as I see?! Well, you are an idiot."

"You don't like the modern games?! You are the reason of why we can't get nice things."

"You don't like the classic games?! Stay with your modern garbage then."

"You don't like this Sonic game?! Stop watching Gaming Grumps!!!!!!!!!"

"You don't support this character?! Blocked."

The Sonic fandom produces amazing things together and gets undeserved hate, but the heavily defensive tone from the most hardcore part of the fanbase towards opinions they don't like doesn't help too. As someone said, "be the change you want to see in the world".

I agree this infighting is destroying fandoms, most notably the SW fandom. I think the best attitude is to love your favorites and be respectful of others who have favs in the Sonic Universe. For instance, someone may love 06, and doesn’t mean those who hated the flaws of 06 need to go Mammoth Mogul on that fan. There is room for spectrum of fandom, and I hope everyone can feel free to voice their likes and dislikes, while being understanding that what you dislike someone may like. 

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Yes it was very silly of ign to say sonic was never good when they praised sonic mania sa2 and sonic colors and when it said they just want to big the cat now that was just gross yes there are some people who make really gross sonic fan art I’m scared for life from 2 babies and 1 fox but those are a few bad apples because the sonic fandom can make some beautiful artwork and great fan games and mods and they people seem to judge the whole fandom on those people

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TBF I've seen just about every bad thing people say about the Sonic Fandom firsthand, but it's par for the course with a fandom so big.

The only stereotype that I have a problem with is the thing about Sonic fans never being satisfied and changing their minds on what they want, because its obviously different people who want totally different things, not one person contradicting themselves. Some people dont realize how divided the fandom is.

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Because half the time Sonic fans are more interested in getting a W in their personal slapfights with other Sonic fans then they are in if there are actually Sonic games to play for people outside the fandom to enjoy. It's the same reason that the Transformers fanbase was similarly looked at.

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6 hours ago, Kuzu said:

The advent of social media gives people a much louder voice than they had before, so all of the stupid gets put on full display nowadays. 

I like what one person said, “it use to be everyone in a village knew there was a village idiot, that the idiot could not be trusted, but now the village idiot has a polished social media, blog, and channels to lead people astray.” 

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I think Eyepatch Wolf explains it fairly well.

As for my own take on this well I do think its really because a lot of its negative aspects have been brought out to light. I think a good portion comes from the negative stigma furries have already. That and whenever a bad egg appears they become infamous and people use it as their general view of the Sonic fanbase. I think part of it also comes from how much fans took the series seriously, especially during the Adventure era that most people would be like "wuh?"

I do believe there's a ton of factors involved but that's the general thing from what I can tell.

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I think expectations have become too perfectionist. Sonic is a franchise that is gonna have hits and misses, its not impervious to criticism. I tend to error on optimism, to step back from expecting the Game of the Year, and instead enjoy the new Sonic content, story, and advancement of characters.   

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Yes a lot of people make a over the top explanation of why there are some terrible fan art and say that’s the fandom and that’s the problem simple I just anore the few bad fan art and the weird Christian sonic and just focus on the good stuff  

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Sega does not need a break. As I am sure a lot of older fans here know and as someone who has/was a Sega fan from their start and sonics start that Sega creates most its issues themself. Do you know why Sega is no longer in the console market? They basically destroyed themselves with things they did in the early 90s. Many 3d sonic games turn out bad or have horrid controls. Why? Cause Sega rushes the games out the gate just to be able to say they put out a game and cause at this point they know most fans will support the series regardless more often than not. But for the stigma on the fanbase it is cause to a point Tornado said. Many just want the win for whatever argument they are in atm. That plus your talking about a series that shifts mechanics on a whim. Going from open world Sonic adventure to a straight path driven sa2 to team based in heroes, wisp, team power ups, multiple things you can name off. To some fans not happy with how the seriese stories go. Some dont like stories, some hate humans, its just insane. And as many said a lot of fandoms do this these days but Sonic is up there near the top of being one of the more hostile toxic ones. Not all series generate that much (I.e Wakfu,ace combat,)

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2 hours ago, Meta77 said:

Sega does not need a break. As I am sure a lot of older fans here know and as someone who has/was a Sega fan from their start and sonics start that Sega creates most its issues themself. Do you know why Sega is no longer in the console market? They basically destroyed themselves with things they did in the early 90s. Many 3d sonic games turn out bad or have horrid controls. Why? Cause Sega rushes the games out the gate just to be able to say they put out a game and cause at this point they know most fans will support the series regardless more often than not. But for the stigma on the fanbase it is cause to a point Tornado said. Many just want the win for whatever argument they are in atm. That plus your talking about a series that shifts mechanics on a whim. Going from open world Sonic adventure to a straight path driven sa2 to team based in heroes, wisp, team power ups, multiple things you can name off. To some fans not happy with how the seriese stories go. Some dont like stories, some hate humans, its just insane. And as many said a lot of fandoms do this these days but Sonic is up there near the top of being one of the more hostile toxic ones. Not all series generate that much (I.e Wakfu,ace combat,)

Sonic Adventure amd Sonic Adventure 2 were huge hits. SEGA can do it again, but it eill be different because those ganes were unique. 

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2 hours ago, Meta77 said:

Sega does not need a break. As I am sure a lot of older fans here know and as someone who has/was a Sega fan from their start and sonics start that Sega creates most its issues themself. Do you know why Sega is no longer in the console market? They basically destroyed themselves with things they did in the early 90s. Many 3d sonic games turn out bad or have horrid controls. Why? Cause Sega rushes the games out the gate just to be able to say they put out a game and cause at this point they know most fans will support the series regardless more often than not. But for the stigma on the fanbase it is cause to a point Tornado said. Many just want the win for whatever argument they are in atm. That plus your talking about a series that shifts mechanics on a whim. Going from open world Sonic adventure to a straight path driven sa2 to team based in heroes, wisp, team power ups, multiple things you can name off. To some fans not happy with how the seriese stories go. Some dont like stories, some hate humans, its just insane. And as many said a lot of fandoms do this these days but Sonic is up there near the top of being one of the more hostile toxic ones. Not all series generate that much (I.e Wakfu,ace combat,)

Sonic Adventure amd Sonic Adventure 2 were huge hits. SEGA can do it again, but it eill be different because those ganes were unique. 

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I think it's just because the Sonic fandom has never been able to shake the reputation it gained back in the 2000's. Back then fetish art, fanboy rants, and crappy OCs were made by a small but vocal minority, leading to most people assuming that this was the norm for the fandom. It didn't help that stuff like Sonichu and SammyClassicSonicFan went viral. The fandom has gotten better, and a lot of people see that, but the reputation of the fandom was tarnished by the bad games and toxic fanboys.

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Stereotypes, which were born from real issues, caused majority of the people to view Sonic fandom as twisted and perverted etc. frankly in a negative light. It didn't help when the fandom itself were in the midst of a civil flame war with each other. I haven't followed the series fanbase ever since the downfall of official Sega forums so idk how things are nowadays but I guess as the world moves forward, so does the Sonic fanbase.

Or I might be seriously wrong and people are still arguing about 20 year old games or something.

But another things is that majority of Sonic games are viewed as children games and that simply causes an reflection on most of people. It was the same deal with Bronies back in the day. You have a cartoon series aimed for children, girls mostly, but there's a fanbase that consists of teenage and adult males. People just view it as weird because it's not part of the generally accepted norm.

To me everyone are allowed to like whatever they want but they shouldn't push their views on others. Besides if you're a fan of something you have to be prepared to face criticism as there will always be someone who doesn't share your view.

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I could be wrong on this, but the stigma could have initially been against the franchise itself.  Sonic was conceived of to be a cooler alternative to other game mascots, for some moment of the late 1980s and early 1990s that was viable for an anthropmorphic animal to do, but with Sonic's success it got kicked right into overdrive, and it was already getting lampooned well within the 1990s.  Meanwhile, gaming marched on.  Initially, Sonic was actually pitched as the edgelord hero for edgelord gamers to latch onto because somewhere, someone was complaining.  After DoomDuke NukemMortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto , etc etc etc, that all looked really, really stupid.  Sonic was neither conceptually nor technically cutting-edge past his debut era on the Genesis.  Sonic after that had become the symbol of an embarrassing fad.  Moreover, even in its heyday, the Sonic series was picking up a noticeably large and not necessarily good supporting cast, courtesy of the DIC shows and especially the Archie series, that in turn especially because of Ken Penders.

People who stayed Sonic fans, for all of those reasons, probably had already started to look like quaint relics by the turn of the millennium, and during that era of Sonic Heroes when SEGA felt a need to utilize almost all of the characters it had access to, fan characters became really noticeable and this, in turn, had a way of displaying the ineptitude of some fans.  The moment it all really changed for the fandom was the release of Shadow the Hedgehog and then Sonic 2006.  Up until then, the notion that the Sonic series owes most of its clout and fandom to a calculated marketing campaign that screamed at audiences how cool it was until they bought it, was widely held, but not with much disdain compared to many other such things from the 1980s and 1990s.  But after those two big failures to make the series look more badass than ever before, the series became the face of manufactured and unwarranted hype, making its remaining fans look like useful idiots.

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