[Excerpted from eyebrowofdoom’s full post]
I think the gift economy of fandom goes both ways: the fanworks are a gratuitous gift that cannot be demanded from a place of entitlement; but a positive audience response is also a gratuitous gift that cannot be demanded from a place of entitlement.
I don’t feel entitled to a positive audience response. I do feel entitled to be treated like a fellow person, and not like a fic-dispensing machine that will refund a kudos in recompense for the unliked portion of a story.
I think a gift economy is diminished when readers treat their feedback as a payment to the fan creator for a satisfactory fanwork, to be withdrawn when a fanwork disappoints, rather than readers treating their feedback as a way of participating in the fandom community. I thought we were trying to create connections, not transactions.
Again, a kudos is a single mouse click. In terms of effort, it’s the equivalent of a smile. “I wish I could take back that smile!” makes it clearer, possibly, why I see wanting to un-kudos as an ungracious sentiment.
It’s true there are circumstances, like a story being offensive, where graciousness isn’t deserved. But the Flamingo at hand referred to “that awkward moment” not “that offended moment.” And recent Flamingos variously complained about WIPs updating too slowly or developing in ways that disappointed readers, stories being OOC, stories featuring too much sex or too little sex. That’s the context that made me feel the “un-kudos” Flamingo was about the reader seeing their kudos as dropping a quarter into a busker’s cup and not getting their two bits worth, and wanting it back.