I have such weird feelings about shipping in the dsmp fandom. Like, first of all, I'm just not big into shipping in general. I don't tend to enjoy really ship-heavy fics. And the dsmp fandom is for the most part not very ship-centric, unlike other fandoms, which I appreciate. However, complications do often pop up.
For one, shipping does still happen. And it's like. On one hand yeah I understand it. I get that the dsmp characters are not 1:1 the irl streamer, and I understand the comparison that can be made in that it's like shipping movie characters, not actors. But then there's like. The fact that these characters are so heavily based off the irl people. Sometimes to the point where they have traits specifically of those streamers-- like c!Wilbur having cc!Wilbur's taste issues. Like, sometimes it feels like the depictions are pulling a lot from the streamers rather than the characters, and when shipping gets involved that can... start feeling weird. On the other hand, some of the ccs are pretty explicit in what they're trying to do. c!Ranboo and c!Tubbo are married, and the homoerotic tension between c!Wilbur and c!Quackity (especially from c!Wilbur's end) is undeniable. So we've got the ccs seeming to encourage shipping here... but it just feels so grey. Because again, a lot of these dynamics are rooted in the streamers themselves and their irl dynamics. cc!Tubbo and cc!Ranboo's friendship doesn't seem to contrast their characters' relationship, and cc!Wilbur often jokingly flirts with cc!Quackity. So when the characters have such similar dynamics to the irl people, and the characters dynamics are depicted in a romantic light... It can feel weird.
And like. To that I don't have an answer. No magical solution. No judgement call. Make tntduo /r or /p or whatever you want. Go crazy, go stupid. I just am constantly flip-flopping on my feelings about those things.
Beyond that, while the fic landscape of the dsmp fandom is rooted in gen fic and a lack of shipping in theory. In practice... I've talked about this before, but some fics that are plastered with platonic labels are written... in a very non-platonic way. The prose is very romantic or even sexually coded, and that can be extremely uncomfortable. And the real kicker is that opening up a fic is always a game of russian roulette because the authors have labeled everything as gen and platonic and probably even think that's what they're writing. So like. Every time I click on a crimeboys fic, there's this sense of dread of "are they actually gonna be written as friends or brothers or... am I gonna get five paragraphs of flowery prose about how soft and fragile and cute Tommy looks and how tenderly Wilbur touches him and the feel of Wilbur's gentle hands and the smell of Tommy's hair and how Tommy completes Wilbur and etc."
It's honestly kind of gotten to the point where... I have an easier time finding more firmly gen fics in other fandoms. Because they're more clearly and accurately labeled in other fandoms. If I go looking for atla gen fics, I'm gonna find atla gen fics that aren't drenched in shippy prose. I'm gonna find atla fics that run the spectrum from being tagged as m/f or m/m or f/f, to gen fics with tags that signal whether there are any elements that could be read as shippy or if any characters will be shipped and just not the focus or if there will be absolutely 0 shipping-like content. And I feel like I can trust all of those explanatory tags because they're rarely untrue-- they almost always accurately describe the language and framing being used. But I cannot bring myself to trust dsmp fic tags in the same way. Because often they're just... wrong. Often it feels like with dsmp fics the tags are there as a way to deflect or as a get out of jail free card-- no, my fic can't be shippy, see, I labeled it as gen and platonic.
And when combined with my personal distaste for mischaracterization, my general pickiness, and the abundance of fics that handle some aspects of canon (suicidality, abuse, mental illness, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, etc.) very poorly... I just don't enjoy looking for good fics anymore. I feel uncomfortable and tense, waiting for the other shoe to drop constantly. I do not feel eager or excited to start a new fic unless it's from an author whose works I've read before and whom I trust.
And that is absolutely a personal problem and a me issue but. Idk it's just odd isn't it? Ironic in a way? That what should be a fandom that should be prime territory for me and my gen fic loving ass is. Actually one of the few fandoms that I genuinely don't have fun/dislike sifting through for fics.