Like conventions, the science fiction community is acknowledged as the starters of fanfiction with their love for Star Trek, Star Wars, and the like. For those not familiar with what fanfiction is, I'll fill you in. Fanfiction is a type of fictional writing created by a person from a specific fandom. They take characters from something they enjoy like movies, books, comics, anime, video games, etc. and place them in fictional situations. These fictional writings can range from funny and innocent to fluffy romances to dark and kinky. Some fans, probably ones interested in Asian pop culture or simply younger fans, probably think that fanfics are made for smut or slash pairings, but you can do whatever you want in fanfics, even nonsexual situations. They do exist!
Although fanfics started as an innocent hobby, sometimes lines are crossed and completely turn off other fans of that same fandom. Some fans believe there should be a line drawn for what is appropriate and what isn't, mostly when it involves Asian musicians/idols. I believe I saw the saying that "fanfics are for fictional characters, not real people". But make sure you don't send any Star Wars fanfics to George Lucas, he doesn't approve of that, but Stephanie Meyers is a bit "flattered" by them.
So, how do I feel about fanfiction? Honestly, it really all depends on the intent of the author and the content. I don't think I've seen many tributes in fanfiction, but I'm sure they exist somewhere like they do in fanart or poetry. Let's see what I can dig out of my brain through my experiences with fanfics in the anime and jrock world.
I admit that I read fanfics from time to time, not very often really. I'm quite picky, but it seems like it's easy to tell what seems like works of a delusional fan and an artistic one, if that makes sense. It's all in the style and content of the fanfic, which is why some fans in the scene could be against it. The dangerous territory lies when romance is involved and the writer changes the character's personalities completely. Perhaps they pair two characters together they like and leave out details, in short, living out their weird little fan fantasies with this pair. It's weirder when they're Mary Sues (fanfics that include the author as a character in the story). I'm sorry, dear, but no one wants to read about your character making out with the GazettE's Ruki, please keep that to yourself.
On the other hand, I've read some pretty good fanfics that have character pairings in them, with and without the graphic progression. Although, I've mostly been reading jrock fanfics which kinda lies in a grey area if you're unsure how you feel about real people in fanfictional situations. I see it as TV series or movie characters, since majority of jrockers go by their stage names and have a totally different persona than reality. For me, I'm not that bothered by it. There are, indeed, pairings I disapprove of and fanfics I dislike because I enjoy substance like a regular fictional story. Also, a pairing doesn't have to be prominent either. Anything outside of jrock/jpop in the yaoi nature, like kpop...I cannot read at all. It just weirds me out. Even seeing kpop boys displaying fanservice is very awkward to me. Perhaps it's the fact that I just associate such things with Japan.
As for whether the art of fanfiction is dying or not, I don't think it's going anywhere just yet. If you're in the jrock fandom, it might be a little overcrowded with Gazette fanfics, depending where you're reading, but there are still writers out there trying new stuff (like my friends and myself ^~). I just think the lack of jrock fanfics is just following the hallyu wave and fans have switched to do their kpop idols instead. *shudders*
For those who follow my writings, I'm gradually working on getting back into the groove. I just need to strategize how to put my plan into motion again. And for those who enjoy fanfics, whether it be reading, writing, or both, don't feel ashame about it. Keep doing what you're doing, but remember it's just fiction. Don't lose yourself too much!
If there's something you want me to answer, check out this post on how you can submit questions.