So there's been a lot of discussion linked by thisweekmeta
about fandom and money, and I don't really want to write a whole thing but I will put together the stuff I wrote on out_there and silveradept's posts on the subject, and leave it in my own space for safekeeping/discussion/evisceration:
I think there's two very different things being conflated in the entire conversation on fandom and money: 1) asking your friends for financial help and 2) creating an actual commercial, capitalistic artistic space out of fannish works.
Stuff like gofundme or ko-fi fall into category #1. They're places that give you an easy way of asking your friends for help when you need it and if they are able to provide it. If those friends happen to be fandom friends, so be it-- but in my mind, that isn't really "monetizing fandom." It's not a commercial market, and of course it's also not a new phenomenon-- asking friends for help is what people do, and it's obviously not a problem (except in the sense that it's a huge fucking problem that so many people are unable to meet their basic needs because they live in countries run by massively wealthy robber barons and therefore have to ask their often equally poor friends for help so often.)
#2, though-- selling fanfic? Saying "you can't see this unless you pay $x"? That I'm not cool with, in the sense that I will refuse to participate in it if I ever see it. (And yes, I feel the same way about fanart and podfic.) The reason I feel so strongly anti-commercialization is pretty much the exact thesis that silveradept summed up their (vaguely pro-commercialization) post
with: "Fandom's history says it's not supposed to be a privileged-only space."
As far as I can tell, the reason that fandom currently is not a privileged-only space, or at least not compared to a lot of other spaces, is because it is a gift economy. When I think about commercial artistic spaces-- the original fiction industry in particular, but also music and visual art-- their defining trait is that, solely because of the nature of capitalism and art, the privileged have a better chance at success. People who can afford good-quality instruction and access to continuing mentorship are more likely to have the skills necessary to succeed. People who have families or spouses who are able and willing to support them making art full-time, and not worrying about the financial result, are more likely to be able to create products that end up making money. Commercial artistic spaces are unfair by their very nature.
It seems like a lot of people in this discussion are hearing "we don't want fandom to become a commercial space" and interpreting it as "we don't want people who are struggling to be able to make money." In reality, I think it's exactly the opposite. I can only speak for myself, of course, but I know that the reason I don't want to see fandom become a commercial space is because I don't want it to be yet another place where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the art gets more self-conscious and cowardly.
However-- I also don't really see commercialization happening to a degree which warrants concern. There are a lot of people talking about it, and I guess some people put up patron-only content on patreon, but for the most part, the existence of AO3, and the fact that it, y'know, just follows the law, means that fanfic becoming inaccessible to non-paying customers is not really something we have to worry about at this juncture. (Not that the AO3 is something to be taken for granted, because it is really, really not.)
Even if there are significant numbers of people thinking they "deserve" to be "paid for their labour" writing fanfiction (and with the scare quotes I mean to indicate that I have significant problems with the paradigm that leads to that language being used in the first place, but I don't think I have the brainpower to write about that right now) it just isn't going to happen. It's an untenble position economically; you can't realistically sell something that is already available in enormous quantities and of mind-bogglingly high quality for free. (...I think? I guess the fact that people (including me) still pay for software and operating systems indicates that you can convince people to pay for stuff they could get for free if you have enough advertising money and ability to create convenience behind the effort. But I don't think that's the case here. Or if you can offer a better product, which again, not the case.)
Anyway, my non-conclusion conclusion is: fandom is free, both -beer and -speech wise, and that's the way it should be.