Writing MA dissertation on Nerdfighteria! Any ideas on the participatory nature of the channel?

Hi guys! I'm a bit stumped writing this paper- trying to prove that Nerdfighteria is a heterotopic space which moves beyond Henry Jenkin's original notion of participatory culture through the platform of YouTube.

1) Can anyone see how Nerdfighteria might fit into any of these categories?
“Heterotopias always presuppose a system of opening and closing that both isolates them and makes them penetrable. In general, the heterotopic site is not freely accessible like a public place. Either the entry is compulsory, as in the case of entering a barracks or a prison, or else the individual has to submit to rites and purifications. To get in one must have a certain permission and make certain gestures… There are others, on the contrary, that seem to be pure and simple openings, but that generally hide curious exclusions" (Foucault 7-8).

Can anyone think of any secret facets of Nerdfighteria only members can access? Critically speaking, do we need certain permission from someone to be a Nerdfighter? I know Nerdfighteria is an open community but are there barriers which stop specific members from entering/ being accepted into the community? I know the hand gestures come into play also with the notion of nerdfighteria as a heterotopia but need further evidence to prove my theory!

2) Where do you think authority lies in the community? With John and Hank or with the audience (and why)?

3) Do you think this space is public or private (or a bit of both)?

Any ideas would be extremely appreciated (I will also credit your comments in my paper!)



Best Answer


  • beepbop1011beepbop1011 International Space StationPosts: 634 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2016
    I thought what Nerdfighteria was like, but this one person kind of fu­cked the whole deal up for me today:

    Also, about whether the community is open or closed: it depends on the people in it, doesn't it? And that is one of the things that we cannot learn from things like the Nerdfighter census: whether we are welcoming or not.

    Though John and Hank do a pretty good job of keeping everything positive (when they aren't being completely sarcastic)
    by beepbop1011
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  • Hey Kyougokazumi! Luckily the deadline for my dissertation is 14th September (next Wednesday) so you're just on time! I totally agree with you, I have already discussed some of the things you have mentioned in my paper but I may also quote you if that's ok?
  • Hi Lucius1011,

    Thanks for the link to 'why I don't like this community' , although my dissertation is nearly wrapped up, I've been looking for the opinions of people who disagree with the Vlogbrothers (just to give the dissertation some depth and remove a some of my biased!).

    Yes the people in the community (as well as the leaders) determine how open or closed a community is- one of the 2015 census question was 'do you feel part of a community' which has helped to a certain extent but it would be nice to hear the opinions of Nerdfighters on this forum too!


  • kyougokazumikyougokazumi Osaka, JapanPosts: 11
    @natalie_bubbles thank you for your answer! Feel free to quote me if you feel like it, also feel free to correct my English if it's wrong (foreign languages problems, sorry).
    Glad I could be of any help!
    @lucius1011 Mostly, the openness of a community does depend on its members, but in case of people-centered communities, like Nerdfighteria, leaving the "founders" completely out of the equation does not seem appropriate. Even though they are not directly involved with the community as much as they once were, the brothers still set a tone to the whole thing, not just directly adressing the Nerdfighteria, but also creating a certain type of content and supporting a certain range (?) of ideas. So it seems to me that a community based on a person or a group of people is in a way a common project.
  • beepbop1011beepbop1011 International Space StationPosts: 634 ✭✭✭
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