Shipping. Another term for pairing up two characters in a story romantically or platonically. You mention that world and people either squeal with delight as they open their 50 page dissertation on why this couple is the best, why it works and why you should ship it too. The other folks just scream and run in the opposite way, bearing marks from shipping wars of the past. Then you have the regular people who may just enjoy a certain couple but that's it, they don't really make a fuss one way or the other. Now I'm not here to tell you how to solve the hot bed issues of shipping wars in your community one way or the other. Well okay I might say a little something but I'm here mainly just to talk about how I deal with shipping.
Let's first get the big one out of the way, the big problem with shipping in fan communities. Simply put, okay maybe not simply put but the big issue with shipping is that people take it way too seriously. Like really, there is no reason to be investing this much of your life into the life of two fictional characters! At all. Have fun with it, sure but to openly get into huge heated arguments with others, to flame people who don't share your opinion or demean them in any shape or fashion is nine levels of stupid. You are really putting the fanatic into fan and I've seen some fanatics (Hello fellow sports fans). First off, having differing opinions is always good. If we all agreed on everything, things would sure be pretty boring around here! Second, there is nothing wrong at all with people liking a different couple from you. They have their reasons for it, maybe they are valid reasons, maybe they are just reasons. They like it and you need to accept it. Besides there are more productive ways to enjoy shipping than just arguing about it and making life miserable for the rest of us.
As for me, I don't really engage in shipping wars within the fan communities. I did a little when I was young and dumb (as we all were once upon a time) but as I've gotten older, I got past that nonsense and have also engaged less and less with fan communities as a whole. That is a discussion for another time to be honest. I will confess to being a shipper. Oh I ship a ton of couples but I'm one of the quiet shippers. I won't go around beating a drum for a certain couple. If I like them that badly, I'll just go write fanfiction.
Yes fanfiction. I know some of you are also running away, screaming in the other direction, bearing the mental scars from some truly awful fanfiction that you came across. Look, we've all been there. I don't pretend like my fanfics are a national treasure or anything but I do write them for fun. I find couples I enjoy and I decide to write fanfiction about them. If I had a lick of drawing talent whatsoever, I'm darn sure I'd draw that too. Since I totally suck at drawing, I stick to fanfiction. Folks can express their love for their favorite couple in various ways. You might find it odd that some people would write stories about their favorite couple but if it's not hurting you, why give them grief about it?
Honestly at times I feel folks have just forgotten what it means to have fun with something. Now I will acknowledge that some people really do enjoy debating with others and arguing their point. There is no problem with that but when discussion turns into heated arguments, which leads to the aforementioned circle of frustration, then you got an issue.
I guess I would enjoy it more if instead of getting into wars about shipping, folks would use that energy into more productive ways of enjoying their favorite couple. Write some fanfiction (who cares if it's bad, we gotta start somewhere), drawing fanart, writing a song, making a video, just something productive that doesn't involve you tearing each other apart and giving shippers a bad name. I'm tired of seeing bad behavior from fans when it comes to shipping. Darnit folks, take a chill pill and go do something productive to promote your favorite couple. You will be doing everyone a favor too. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some fanfiction I've been meaning to write!