Prior to the recording of each episode, my co-participants and I share fan texts with each other relevant to the theme(s) of our conversation. In some instances, I’ve made suggestions based on a brief email exchange without really knowing what specific aspect of the theme the co-participant would like to focus on + without sharing my own perspectives and priorities. In at least one case, possibly more, I made an incorrect assumption about what it was that the co-participant wanted to talk about. In this case, it was only our pre-recording meeting which cleared up the confusion where I asked the co-participant to disregard some of my fan text suggestions since they were no longer relevant.

Usually, I kick things off in terms of creating a shared Google document in which I add my fan text recommendations and encourage my co-participants to add their contributions to the document too. What I began doing in the last few episodes of the season was including short context notes besides each fan text suggestion. In these notes, I briefly described the content of the fan text, my own justification for including it, and what theme within it interested me specifically. This largely grew out of my increasingly untenable habit of suggesting an alarming number of fan texts in fits of enthusiasm/being ignorant of which fandoms my co-participant was familiar with. In the email accompanying this Google document, I’d tell co-participants to choose which fan text they’d like to focus on based on the context notes I’d provided.

In at least one instance, possibly more, my co-participant responded by not only including context notes of their own but also responding to my context notes with their opinions/reservations. I found this exercise extremely valuable when it came to our conversation in Episode 21 because even though I was largely new to the themes of sexual and gender diversity, I was more confident in bring up the themes my co-participant had indicated their interest in and was also aware which parts they were comfortable with and which they weren’t. In all future episodes, I think making context notes for each of my fan text recommendations would be extremely helpful. And if it encourages co-participants to include similar notes, it would make the direction of our interests and our conversation much clearer.