So I'm over on Equestria Daily yesterday, and they've got this discussion going where the fans have to think up their own episode ideas. And while a few people are taking it seriously and exploring new possibilities of the characters' personalities and the show's universe, most people are just coming up with the most disturbing self-gratifying shit. And without the slightest trace of irony, either.
I was warned about the unsavory side of the fanbase when I started watching the show, but I figured "Oh, I can just ignore that, it's no big deal." But they're everywhere. People who draw creepy explicit fan art. Or write vicious hate-fics. Or rant endlessly about how Twilight having wings is somehow a travesty to all mankind. Or have disturbing unhealthy obsessions with side characters. It all feels like they're feeding into the brony stereotype, not because they genuinely like the show that much, but as if they're just trying to say "Look at me! I'm a grown man who likes ponies! Isn't that weird? How does that make you feel?" It's like they're trolling the fanbase, and this is the image that most people have of the fans as a whole. It's made me sort of back off from the show as a whole, because I'm reluctant to discuss it with anyone if this is the caliber of people I have to talk to.
This isn't exclusive to FIM, either. I have the same problems with some of the other fandoms I'm a part of. I get squicked out looking at the Wreck-It Ralph Confessions blog on Tumblr thanks to weirdos saying they have a crush on Turbo or they want Vanellope to die a painful bloody death. I had to leave the Pokémon fandom for a while because of the constant whining that Ash was an idiot and Misty needed to come back and marry him. And god help me if I just want to search DeviantArt for a simple reference picture of Kim Possible.
I love to see people get passionate about the things they enjoy. I think it's great when any form of media can evoke that sort of joyous reaction in a person. But this goes beyond passionate. This is, like, certifiably passionate. And I feel like some people are doing it just to weird people out, and that's really discouraging.