Nikki (nakeisha) wrote,
Nikki
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One True Pairing (OTP) Poll - Results

Thank you to all of you who took my most recent poll, and also for expanding on your choices in the comments - it made for some very interesting and educational reading.

On one hand, given the comments for my previous poll, together with bits and pieces I'd picked up around fandom, I wasn't surprised by the results. On the other hand, part of me still was (I know, logical as ever, Nikki).

When I first got involved with fandom, just over seven years ago, the term OTP meant:

I will only read and/or write about my pair together. The only exceptions are if the story is before they meet, or they are with another person when the story begins, and the story ends with them being together.

This didn't (and to me still doesn't) mean that they are the only viable pairing in the fandom and that anyone who doesn't like this pairing is wrong, simply that they are my pairing within the fandom.

And as both a reader and a writer this still holds true. And when it comes to another character before they get together, for me that stuff should mostly take place 'off-screen' so to speak. With my fandom pairings it's impossible to ignore the fact that they did have women in their lives, either as girl-friends or indeed wives, thus they can't always be completely ignored in stories. However, their place in the stories should be little more than a passing mention, or off-screen stuff; ditto in previous homosexual relationships. It won't stop me from reading the story completely if there is a lot of on-screen stuff, but I'll skip it, until I get to my pairing.

However, other than this kind of mention, then the only way I'll ever read about my OTP with anyone else is if I am doing any form of beta'ing for a friend, who has asked me to help her out. And I have done this for a handful of people.

This however is no longer the case for the majority of people.

It is safe to say, albeit based purely on the results of this poll, which obviously only constituted a tiny proportion of fandom (however, that's usually the case with polls) that the meaning of the term OTP has indeed changed. And not only has it changed, but there is no longer one meaning for it, it means different things to different people.

How people defined OTP also tended to differ, as I had expected, between being a reader or a writer. People were often less rigid in their definition when answering as a reader, than they were when answering as a writer. One reason, possibly the main reason, I believe this to be the case, is because I think we put more of ourselves into stories as writers, we are more involved with the stories at a deeper level, than we do when reading stories.



RESULTS

In all 116 people took the poll, broken down as follows:

I am taking this poll as:

A reader 29 (25.0%)

A writer 3 (2.6%)

Both 84 (72.4%)

The results of the poll overall for readers showed that the two top definitions of the term OTP were:

Forty six (39.7%) defined OTP as: A pairing about whom I am passionate and I don't really see either of them with anyone else. However, I can read about one of them with someone else, if one of my favourite authors has written the story, or there aren't new stories about them together.

Forty three (37.1%) defined OTP as: They are the pairing within the fandom that I prefer. However, I'm happy to read about one or both of them with other partners.

They were by far the two highest definitions. The other definitions were broken down as follows:

Fifteen (12.9%) defined OTP as: I will only read about my pair together. The only exceptions are if the story is before they meet, or they are with another person when the story begins, and the story ends with them being together.

Three (2.6%) defined OTP as: I will only read about the pair together. There are no circumstances under which I'd read about them with someone else.

Two (1.7%) defined OTP as: I will only read about my pair together. However I will sometimes read a threesome story about my pairing together with another character.

Seven (6.0%) chose 'Other' for their definition of OTP and expanded in comments.

Whereas when answered for a writer, there were three results that were all pretty close together.

Twenty eight (31.8%) defined OTP as: A pairing about whom I am passionate, and don't necessarily see them with anyone else. However, occasionally I want the challenge of writing about one of them with someone else.

Twenty three (26.1%) defined OTP as: I will only write about my pair together. The only exceptions are if the story is before they meet, or they are with another person when the story begins, and the story ends with them being together.

Twenty two (25.0%) defined OTP as: They are the pairing within the fandom that I prefer. However, I'm happy to write about one or both of them with other partners.

The other results were broken down as follows:

Six (6.8%) defined OTP as: I will only write about my pair together. However I will sometimes write a threesome story about my pairing together with another character.

Three (3.4%) defined OTP as: I will only write about the pair together. There are no circumstances under which I'd write about them with someone else.

Six (6.8%) chose 'Other' for their definition of OTP and expanded in comments.





WHY THE CHANGE?

It was mentioned by more than one person that the term OTP had extremely negative connotations in some fandoms, indeed it was used basically to deride any other pairing, i.e. this is 'the' only pair who you should read/write and anyone who wants another pairing is wrong and is unwelcome. I understand that it has got very nasty in a couple of fandoms, at least, which is a great shame. Therefore the term has really now become, at least in these fandoms (if it's used at all) to mean 'the pairing I prefer'.

Several people, both in this poll and the previous one, mentioned that rather than having a OTP they had a One True Character (OTC) to whom they were devoted, and that the most important thing was that he was part of the pairing.

A reason for the change in the definition, and one that I find quite probable (and it's something on which I have another meta post to finish) is the fact that fandom has moved from what were in effect one pairing shows (e.g. Starsky & Hutch, The Professionals, etc.) to multi-pairing shows (e.g. Buffy, NCIS). A lot of these fandoms do have a main pairing (often, but not always, slash), but it is no longer the only pairing. In fact in many shows it seems that every character is paired with just about everyone else in either a slash or het relationship. Thus, more people do have a OTC and will follow him/her throughout a variety of pairings.

As someone who does not read about one half of my pairing with anyone other than the other half of my pairing, I was interested to see just how many people do indeed do this, whilst still maintaining that their pair is their OTP. I know that for many the reasoning is that they'll read anything by certain authors, because they like their work so much and/or regard them as excellent writers. I can understand this rationale on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level, unless I am beta reading, and even then I have to at least care about the non-my-pairing person, I find it more difficult to understand. However, I have never been in the situation where one of my favourite authors has written outside of my OTP; thus it is possible, although I personally think unlikely, that if this happened I might be prepared to read the story.

Another reason given for reading outside of one's OTP is that in smaller fandoms/pairings, there is a limited amount of new stories being written, thus in order to get the fandom fix, people will read about half of their OTP with someone else. And maybe it is the multi-pairing in a fandom syndrome that has made this commoner than it ever used to be.

I also think that another reason, and this was raised by a couple of people as well, that some folk will read about half of their OTP with someone else, is to do with the 'I'll read yours if you'll read mine' pressure, that can be put on people. And not just in the deliberate sense, when it's actually said, but in the self-pressuring sense, when a someone has read several of your stories, even though the pairing isn't theirs, and you feel that you should reciprocate. I can identify with this feeling, as I've experienced it, and the 'guilt' that goes with not going off and reading their stories.





SUMMATION

The meaning of the term OTP has changed over the years, albeit more so when using it as a reader rather than a writer.

When a reader uses the term, it is far more likely that they mean either:

A pairing about whom I am passionate and I don't really see either of them with anyone else. However, I can read about one of them with someone else, if one of my favourite authors has written the story, or there aren't new stories about them together.

or

They are the pairing within the fandom that I prefer. However, I'm happy to read about one or both of them with other partners.

Than:

I will only read about my pair together. The only exceptions are if the story is before they meet, or they are with another person when the story begins, and the story ends with them being together.

Whereas when a writer uses the term, they can mean any of three definitions:

A pairing about whom I am passionate, and don't necessarily see them with anyone else. However, occasionally I want the challenge of writing about one of them with someone else.

or

I will only write about my pair together. The only exceptions are if the story is before they meet, or they are with another person when the story begins, and the story ends with them being together.

or

They are the pairing within the fandom that I prefer. However, I'm happy to write about one or both of them with other partners.

The world of fandom terminology gets more and more complex and confusing the longer I am involved in it.
Tags: media fandom : general, media fandom : meta, polls
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