BNF is an acronym for "Big Name Fan." It was initially used by CINCGREEN and the term was borrowed from Sharyn McCrumb and her books Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool, both of which were books about science-fiction fandom. Essays at The Green Sink are occasionally peppered with the term.
In its original usage in science-fiction fandom, a BNF was a science-fiction fan who:
- was important,
- had influence,
- was well known, or
- had a solid reputation.
The short form definition of the term was a fan who became well known throughout science-fiction fandom for something he or she produced, did, or said.
CINCGREEN however, used the term in a slightly different way. Among SF fans, BNF is essentially a laudatory term, usually granted to fans who through their fanworks have made the fandom a much better place. CINCGREEN used "BNF" as a negative term, referring to the insularity of long-time well-known Daria fans. He consider those fans as having a negative impact on the fandom as a whole—fans willing to use their accumulated good will to keep the fandom from considering new ideas or ways of doing things.
A few Daria fans still use (or at least understand) the term, but it is not known if the phrase will become common currency. CINCGREEN states that any fan who would claim to be a BNF isn't one. BNF is not a title self-proclaimed, but one granted by others.