I definitely wouldn’t have ever downloaded anything from fansubs, or contributed to them in any way. But Coalgirls were arguably one of the more famous ones that I wouldn’t have downloaded from in the 2010s. This was the last post, written around this time in 2017:
It has been over a year since I last subbed anything, and as a result, my mental health has improved a ton. I’m sure you know, but I have paranoid personality disorder, which I may have actually developed from fansubbing. But whether it came from fansubbing, something else, or if I was just born with it, I’ve managed to get it under control over the last year by engaging in other activities and with other people.
I don’t want to re-agitate it with all the progress I’ve made, so I am going to officially drop any open project I still have. I apologize to those waiting patiently for me.
This has become a recurring theme here lately, but I’m really starting to tire of trolls, snarks, and shitposters. They’re not half as witty or funny as they think they are, and for each of them who do it for misplaced fun in a vain attempt to fill a void left by a lack of empathy, short attention spans, and inability to intelligently connect with others, there’s a victim who suffers quietly in the darkness.
This person did something, tirelessly, for free. Questionable copyright and legality aside, these fansub communities were for years the first and only exposure so many people had to anime, especially in the early days when official English subtitles and releases didn’t exist. This spawned entire conventions, merchandise exports, and eventually convinced distribution companies that there was a market for anime in the West beyond Astroboy, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon. We owe a debt of gratitude to these communities.
The fact others felt entitled not only to critique, but to make this volunteer’s life miserable, is pathetic on their part, and had real-world consequences.
But ever in search of a silver lining, I found one here too. The free speech these people erroneously invoke as justification to be free from consequences can just as easily be applied to writing Codes of Conduct. The mere mention of such a thing seems to scare these people away like kryptonite, which is a brilliant side effect.