When outsiders view fans, they often see a viciously immature, demanding, and obsessive bunch who turn their love of something into an obsession with which nobody can ever argue or criticize. These outsiders then reject the fans simply because they feel uncomfortable around the overzealous. They then form an image that for them represents the hardcore fan, an image they reject as someone to shun from normal interactions as an illusive undesirable basement-dweller.

Mega Man
As a fan of various series myself and as a moderator of the popular Facebook page 100,000 Strong for Bringing Back Mega Man Legends 3, alternatively known as GetMeOffTheMoon, I have witnessed various fan follies firsthand. Many of these follies occurred on the official Facebook page of Capcom, the company that owns Mega Man and made the unfortunate decision to cancel the Mega Man Legends 3 Project. The project was unlike anything ever attempted by any video game company--it actually involved fan input and interaction in the form of the Devroom, which received only a small amount of promotion from Capcom, including this video:

Take note towards the end, when it says that not participating and just sitting back and watching is also perfectly fine. Unfortunately, after claiming that the project "did not meet the criteria" while simultaneously failing to specify what said criteria were, Capcom cancelled it.
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Needless to say, the fans were angry. Suddenly Mega Man fans who desperately wanted the game began to reject Capcom in mass. All over its Facebook page were posts related to the cancellation, many of which included links to GetMeOffTheMoon. Capcom cemented their alienation of Mega Man fans by blaming them for the cancellation due to lack of participation on its European Twitter feed, becoming bullies in the eyes of fans. Most fans on GetMeOffTheMoon confess that they had no idea that the Devroom existed or that participation was mandatory (which stands in contraction to the previous video), so they most certainly felt slighted, making a company that they previously loved into one that they now hated and considered among the lowest of the low. Other recent moves by the company, such as the upcoming reboot of //Devil May Cry//, the release of //Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3//, and the placement of paid "downloadable" content on the actual game disc, have also served to hurt the company's image among fans.

Yet, at the same time, many angry fans managed to make themselves into the rejects through through sheer anger. Capcom makes many popular games besides Mega Man, such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil. Mega Man fans began to make anti-Capcom and pro-Mega Man posts, usually referring to Capcom as “Crapcom.” Trolls and non-Mega Man fans alike joined in, posting such gems as “in b4 megaman crybabies.” Suddenly Mega Man fans were stereotyped as believing themselves to be entitled to whatever they wanted.

GetMeOffTheMoon later responded by reprimanding those who made angry posts on Capcom’s page and its own. Fans had a reason to be angry, but harassing the company that rejected them only made the entirety of the fandom look bad, something that would only work against GetMeOffTheMoon's efforts. In fact, hardly anyone thought that they were entitled to a video game, but zealousness on the parts of the few affected people’s perceptions of the many. GetMeOffTheMoon holds the strict philosophy that working with Capcom and supporting Mega Man are the best ways to get the game back into production, but some fans disagree, choosing vehement, biting anger and rejection, hurting everyone's reputations. Fans rejected a controversial move on Capcom’s part and were in turn rejected by others for their sentiments, but that rejection only arose due to a relatively small segment of the fandom.

Sonic the Hedgehog
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Sonic the Hedgehog fans have had a similar plight. After the publication of the ambiguously named 2006 game Sonic the Hedgehog, the fandom cemented itself as a group of unappeasable whiners. Earlier, with the release of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 (and, to a much lesser extent, the relatively mediocre Sonic Heroes), some fans admitted to disliking the new 3D direction of the series, although the games were generally received positively. With the glitchy, poorly thought out messes that are Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog, both almost universally believed to be terrible games, the reputation of the Sonic series became tarnished, extending backward to the Adventure games and Heroes and forward to Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations despite the good sales and generally positive reception among those who actually bothered to play them.

Amid the retaliations to the disgruntled Mega Man fans, several trolls and annoyed Capcom fans made comments like “megaman fans are almost as bad as sonic fans.” During my recent research for my ethnography of Sonic fans, I received many responses to my survey on the Sonic Stadium that expressed hatred for the Sonic fandom, despite the responders themselves being a part of it simply by participating in the discussion about it.

The disgruntled Sonic fans have ruined the image of the fandom for everyone else, when, in fact, most of them are perfectly reasonable people. One even wrote an entire essay on deviantART defending modern Sonic games when he discovered a beautiful piece of fan art marred by the author's vehemently anti-modern Sonic comments attached to the piece. Some Sonic fans have become so blinded by the nostalgia of the old days of the series on the SEGA Genesis that seemingly nothing SEGA does now will ever please them. These fans have rejected SEGA, and other fans have rejected them.

The Sonic fandom is also notorious for including another type of rejected fan: those obsessed with the series to the point of awkwardly identifying with it sexually. This article explains some of the more extreme cases. Though these individuals make up a relatively small portion of the fandom, they are still responsible for hurting its reputation. Although many artists create good fan characters, many others create ones that are mere recolors, providing another embarrassment for normal fans.
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Image of Fans
Unfortunately, this video shows how many perceive Sonic fans:


Sonic fans are not alone. Here is the same pattern of video applied to male fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, or bronies:


And here is yet another similar image of bronies:


These are the images produced to represent the rejected fan: fat, male, and bearded. Somehow, these fans come to represent the entirety of a fandom to some perceptions, despite actual fans being far more varied; they are quite often thin or female (particularly in the case of My Little Pony), yet rejected fans all too often have this particular image applied to them. Consequently, few of the trolls I banned on GetMeOffTheMoon referred to the members of the community as 30 year old jobless virgins living in their mothers' basements. Despite fan art and fan fiction communities generally being female (which is even the case for many video game communities, like Sonic), this unattractive male has become the image of the generic fan. He embodies how others see fandoms they dislike. This wiki provides further explanation of the images of fans.

Conclusion
While rejected fans do make up a significant portion of any fandom, they lower the percption of that fandom to others and give trolls something to get their jollies from making fun of. Can fans fight this image and reveal their true nature to others? Yes, but only to those who bother to listen or learn to see fans as anything other than fat zealots.