|| Admins: past, present and future|
When I joined Avatar Wiki back in 2008, the site was very different than it is today. Admins were not elected by the community, but rather by the founder/bureaucrat at his discretion to address present needs. Anyone could self-nominate for the position, make a case of why they deserved it and wait for the founder's ruling, with no community consensus or input whatsoever. It is my belief that this procedure seeded the erroneous idea that admins belonged to a privileged group of selected few and by definition held extra rights/privileges or even clout. This eventually ushered behaviors that became the status quo of that time.
The site had little to no written policies, and admins even had an admin page where they would deliberate between themselves about what was dubbed "admin only business". New ideas and proposals were squashed right off the bat we rarely were we given a chance to make an argument or garner consensus. If an admin didn't like it, then he'd just say "No. Leave it be." This happened to me at least when I proposed the use of icons for nations and bending arts. To 888 it happened when he made the oh so heretical proposal of splitting up big articles. Being already an experienced admin at the DCAU Wiki, naturally, I had big issues with this sort of oppression and protested against this unwelcoming and deterring behavior. It eventually became a matter of sitewide discussion and many users rose to voice their dissent. Long story short, the infamous "Admins only" page was deleted and admins started being elected democratically. (Please note that I'm not taking credit for this—mine was a voice among many others).
Eventually, I became an admin because most of my work involved cleaning up images and tinkering with the CSS. So, admin tools were essential to expedite my work. Before that, I had to ask an admin to put coding onto the CSS, which was hardly ideal or practical. So, I became an admin because essentially I was doing janitorial tasks without a mop. I wasn't promoted because I was a role model, or popular, or adored, or had lots of "allies". I was promoted so that I could do what I already did, but more efficiently. Along with the other (some newly elected) admins, we made a point of trying to dilute the idea that admins were almighty-lay-down-the-rules leaders of the site, which was deeply rooted into the community. For most of the time, it seemed that this misconception had been defused. However, lately (and mainly in the recent adminship nominations) it seems that a lot of users still view adminship as a position to be respected and looked up to.
What are admins after all?
Admins are not leaders. They don't really make unilateral decisions so much as uphold community-reached-policies. They don't decide to delete pages on whims nor do they write policies out of whole cloth. And more importantly, admins do not work together in the strictest sense of the word. If anything the latest community discussions have showed us is that admins are users with different opinions and will argue to support their ideas. But in the end, their opinions and votes only count as one. Admins also do not collaborate to one same end—the only common goal they have is doing what's best for the community. But that's not exclusive to admins; that's a community goal. So, admins are merely those who enact the wishes of the majority.
Unfortunately, there are still users who put admins in a pedestal, and I fear we're coming full circle to where we first started, which was not a good place to be. Adminship is neither status recognition nor a reward for users who are responsible, mature or politically correct. And above all, adminship is certainly not a position of power. Maybe adminship is so coveted because users think adminship is power, but it really isn't. We delete unnecessary images, pages, comments, and fend off users who mean to disrupt the integrity of the site. Thus, in essence, not unlike janitors and bouncers, we do maintenance and enforce security, which is very different from ruling the site. Rulers are served; admins serve the community; admins are not rulers.
- "It's not necessary to be an admin to have a lasting and positive impact on the wiki"
- ―The 888th Avatar
- "To me adminship is a toolkit that allows you to more effectively clean things up, nothing more. In line with that, I see a good admin as -how often has this been said by now?- a good janitor. An admin isn't the "all powerful, the admin said it, so it must be right"-user. An admin is just a regular user, and a good admin is someone who understands that. The purpose of an admin is to serve the community, not lead it."
- ―Lady Lostris
"Fire the Canon: Impersonating a Pirate of the Internet Seas"
Please note that this article has two months of Internet field experiments and research behind it to ensure that the final product is indeed characteristic of the so-called 'fandumb'. For the purposes of being respectful to the various Avatar communities - but also, to a lesser extent, to protect my own name on these corners of the 'net - no community/websites/users will be mentioned. Please do not ask for them. The conduction of research began on 07/12/11 and ended on 14/12/12.
That's right. Run away. Run far away. You can see, quite easily, that this is another TAD shipping column. As well, before I start, I will apologize for the sporadic developments of my Demotivated series, but rest assured that unlike the creator of A:TAS, I will indeed go past Book I. And now, for the all-important disclaimer: The author is not advocating/supporting/opposing/anything that may be seen as similar any of the ships contained herein, and the purpose of this column is not to cast any "light" on any shipping but rather on the shippers themselves. As well, this column will mention several rather . . . mature ships. If you're liable to be squeamish, might I suggest you turn away now and either read the rest of the BSST or go watch some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which I understand is suitable for viewers like you. Thank you. Finally, no ships were harmed [much] during the making of this article, though the shippers definitely were. As well, I'd like to say special thanks to the annual Trolling Challenge, which lasts two weeks and occurs at a random point each year, for aiding me in solidifying the idea, specifically in the third level of challenge. This year, the challenge took place from the first of February to the Day of Saint Valentine, the theme being love/shipping, and it allowed me to overcome my hesitation to not only find the necessary fanworks but also post them. In other words, dank je TC for being as awe-inspiring and ridonkeylous as ever!
[clears throat] Welcome to this TAD shipping column. This will follow a scientific experiment set-up, considering the way in which it was researched. And so, ignoring the sticky "f" on my keyboard that is making this increasingly difficult and frustrating, it's time to begin, and begin we shall. I advise everyone to put on their serious faces and thinking caps.
Background: There are many small communities of Avatards gracing the Internet, and unsurprisingly the majority of them are shipping communities. Of course, a major argument for those who ship the canon is that they are most mature and can "take" the fact that their ships became canon, while those who still ship non-canon are immature and unable to accept the gold-standard and utterly correct canon. This is considered a great distinction between the almost-holy canonites [yes, it is a religion pun; deal with it] and the lowly non-canon scavengers refusing to see the truth.
Hypothesis: Those who ship the canon ships will respond more favorably to the troll and show themselves as more mature, while the non-canon shippers will be more likely to ban the troll more quickly and respond with flame or the like.
Materials and Methods: First, representative communities for different ships were found. The following criteria were considered key:
- The community had been around for at least a year.
- It advertised itself exclusively to deal with up to three ships, preferably only one to two.
- Its main page posts were 5% flame or less, including insulting other ships or parts of the fandumb, prior to the addition of the troll.
- It did not "insult" any other ship in either the title or description of the forum.
- It had a sizable number of members, which occasionally varied depending on the popularity of the ship, but the bare minimum across the board was fifty active at one time.
Please note that specifically multi-shipping communities [the best example would be the Kataang Forever forum, which harbors and welcomes every shipping known to Avatard] were not utilized for this experiment, as it would be difficult to discern exactly which shippers were being trolled and/or were responding to the trolling, and in what way. Each of these communities was visited over the course of the two months allotted for testing and trolled using one of three levels of trolling; all three methods were used on one or more communities for the ships described in the rest of the article. Flaming was not utilized initially unless there was no other way of getting oneself banned off of the site using the third level. The three levels of trolling, in descending order of disrespect, used were:
- (1) Introducing oneself as a proponent of the rival ship, mentioning it frequently.
- (2) Introducing oneself as a proponent of the rival ship, mentioning it frequently; stating repeatedly that the "home ship" - that shipped on the community itself - is incorrect for one of many reasons, using well-formulated arguments either written out by the troll or, more frequently, copy/pasted, usually verbatim, from the equivalent of a "respectable" source for the selected ship; and posting a thread for debate and discussion between the two ships, as well as suddenly hijacking other shipping threads.
- (3) Introducing oneself as a proponent of the rival ship, mentioning it frequently; stating repeatedly that the "home ship" - that shipped on the community itself - is incorrect for one of many reasons, using well-formulated arguments either written out by the troll or, more frequently, copy/pasted, usually verbatim, from the equivalent of a "respectable" source for the selected ship; posting a thread for debate and discussion between the two ships, as well as suddenly hijacking other shipping threads; blatantly adding [copy/pasted] fanfiction and fanart of the proper ship everywhere; and, if unable to get oneself banned, mild disrespect, but no flaming.
Utilizing these three levels, the troll would attempt as best she could to get herself banned off of the community, per the original idea for the challenge. To test, the following numbers were faithfully recorded as best as possible;
- the percent of flame posts, usually taken from the first ten to twenty posts.
- the percent of posts made the troll but deleted.
- the percent of responding users who attempted to debate decently.
- the time taken for an online moderator/administrator to contact the troll to warn her or something similar; friendly welcoming to the community and other kind messages do not count.
- the time taken to be banned from the community.
Of course, since there was only one tester, and an informal one at that, it's unlikely for the experiment to be wholly "correct", but nonetheless the bars of error do not extend that far, and the qualitative data can be as important.
Data: I know that the scientists reading this were expecting tables and graphs, cascades of them showing everything. Unfortunately, I can't do that, mostly seeing as (a) I don't have the time [if I had time to do graphics, this would be a demote] but more importantly because (b) the BSST won't support giant hotlinked it and (c) it would simply be boring. I doubt that that many people would dissect them and carefully study them, and I thought it would be better, considering my audience, to speak about both qualitative and quantitative in essay format. If anyone is desperately in the raw data, feel free to contact me; I have all of it. I apologize profusely for all who are disappointed. Disclaimer: The author is not calling anyone on Avatar Wiki stupid at all by not including quantitative, only noting that qualitative data tends to be more appreciated. Once again, I apologize for the scientists out there, and now let's get down to the data itself.
The author ranked together all of the data, not using a mathematical formula but rather looking at which ships consistently had "worse" scores. "Worse" in this regard would be more flame, more deleted posts, less debating users, less time taken to issue warnings, and less time taken to be banned. In those cases when banning could not be achieved, a high time period was given, as it is assumed any community would ban a vandal, unless they are simply poor communities. Inability to be banned applied only in the cases were it was clear the community had the capability and the willingness to ban and simply chose not to do so. The poor communities that had passed the initial test but which still proved "poor" were stripped from the data as outliers; however, communities that went against the grain of similar ship communities were not stripped out merely because they were different and in reality drove one of the major conclusions across the imaginary finish line more quickly than a cheetah in heat.
Time to drop the formal tone. I'm still TAD, after all, and this is no research paper. No, I can't stop shoving my useless metaphors down your throat. Besides, I think that was of the best I've crafted so far. But wait, one more paragraph of formal writing:
The ships tested in the survey were: Kataang, Zutara, Yukka, Tyzula and other yuri ships [placed in one category since there are few communities available for any one ship], Maiko, Taang, Zukaang and other yaoi ships, Sukka, Tokka, and misc. Utilizing all the data, it was found that, in order of "worst" and "least mature" shippers to "best" and "most mature", with ships that had similar amounts placed on one line*:
*Please note that this is about the shippers themselves and does not advocate any ship over any other.
- Zukaang and other yaoi
- Tyzula and other yuri
What does this apparently arbitrary list mean? To aid one in reading the list, Kataangists appear to be amongst the least mature, with Tyzulians about the most mature. Now to speak of qualitative data. Please note, for any of you scientists out there - any? Any at all? Am I talking to myself? . . . all righty then, I'll just shuffle off into that corner - that while the following is in first-person, the data was not at all biased towards the researcher's favorites. Working from the top down, here is the experience from a Kataang community, written at the time of the trolling and trimmed down to its relevant parts for this data survey [the trimming down took out no relevant observations, only things written when "bored", one might say].
All right, Valentine's Day, I can do something with this, Type III trolling. This community's pretty nice for ZetaBoard, and according to the ticker at one point a few months ago they had a bit over sixty on at once, fun times, fun times . . . There are a good eighteen or so on at the moment, but I can't tell if there's a mod. Not a lot of flame. One "bash Zutara" thread in their general chat, but that's all I can see other than making Zutarians the butt of their equivalent of a "stupid blonde" or "stupid Pole" joke, though that's to be expected . . . I just posted the very first thread, a few chapters of a fanfiction and an accompanying picture, and now I wait . . . There they are. Of the first ten replies, eight of them contain the word 'fag', the ninth one has told me to leave their little forum, and the tenth posted, "called the banhammer...u just w8..." Assuming they were meaning a mod, I silently waited a few minutes, then replied with a simple argument taken copypasta from that fanfiction user's page KFB showed me several months back. That received even more flame in response. And yet I haven't seen a single intelligent argument. Huh. Houston, we have a problem: Cha, no signs of intelligent life anywhere . . . okay, about fourteen minutes in, a mod has appeared online. Thread locked. And what's this? S/he sent me a warning message against posting "intentionally inflammatory content", and though I grant that I am trolling, I have not flamed at all yet. How can this mod claim that I am posting intentionally inflammatory content? Because I mentioned I was a Zutarian? My posts are being deleted as I type. I doubt this is due to my excellent trolling. I just posted another argument post on another thread I hijacked . . . Aha, a second message. I've been banned! It's a wrap! I need to find my Admiral Ackbar costume . . .
Here is a shortened one from a Zukaang/Jetko community.
I've welcomed myself as a homophobic Kataangist and Maikoist here to reclaim the world against the "dreaded" threat of Zukaang. They hesitantly accepted me at first, telling me that they didn't care if I was a Maikoist or not, but when I mentioned I was almost homophobic, they reacted much more poorly . . . I have started a thread complete with an important argument of why a homosexual shipping could never occur in Avatar and certainly not between Aang and Zuko - this one I typed myself, mind yu - and have received several attempts at a regular reply, a debate. Let's take it to the numbers, da da da! Of the first ten or so, four were flames, running the gambit from the usual one or two word reply to a fully-loaded uncomprehensible debate loaded with curse words, exclamation points, and all caps, which I would rather leave the Internet than read; two were warnings that fair treatment for all is necessary to run a good society, one of which was also accompanied by a warning; three were intelligent debates; and one was a rude .gif of a character from The Sound of Music running about in a field, waving her arms up, and requesting the recipient look at "all the [monkeyfeathers] I give". Ah, the Internet . . . The first mod to contact me asked me kindly to cease my talk against homosexuals and offered to direct me to some appropriate websites. Aha, another one! Well, well, well. The second one was much harsher and threatened to ban me but something about it makes me doubt he'll actually go through with the ban. Meh. Okay, moving on: After more and more of this variety of posting, I hosted a lively debate . . . Cha, I've been banned because one of the stipulations of the forum is that all are treated equally. I can see that. It's taken me a bit over an hour or so of more or less constant trolling for that. Nice, nice.
From a Zutara forum:
Wrote this myself. Very happy with the arguments, though a researcher must be unbiased. Don't let me down, Zutarians . . . good community, fills out all the little checkboxes and whatnot, does't leave one wanting, at least not very much . . . a tad too much fanart posted on text-based forum, but not bad, not bad at all . . . All right, signed up and posted. Let's see what happens. Hmmf, this forum looks like a tough cookie to crack. I mean, the other Zutara forums are pretty troll-resistant, but this . . . First ten count: Five intelligent debates, two slightly sour messages asking me why I was here, one flame message by an obviously noobish user that was quickly shot down, one .gif of Katara hugging Zuko from The Southern Raiders with the worst "Welcome" superimposed upon it, and one satirical, sarcastic flame that is colored blue, signifying sarcasm on some forums, an except of which ran as follows, minus the caps lock: "Oh no! A Kataang worshipper! Be gone, I cast you to Tartarus, you shalt not pass! Amass the armies of the Holy Zutara Empire, ad destroy the heathen! . . .
| Click "show" to continue reading!
. . . Kill it with fire and holy water! ... Oh wait, we don't have that. Loljk welcome aboard." . . . I'm surprised at the difference between this and the Kataang boards I visited. They're really nice, and their only complaint apparently is that I post far too much, and if I could post less, they would be totally happy or something. Wait, wait, wait, hold your bloody ostrich horses, here comes another troll! I suppose another Avatard took the trolling challenge. He posted - oh spirits, even I don't want to see that - some fanart that would be censored on dA to the point where one would need an account; I don't know what shipping it is, as I didn't look beyond seeing a flash of skin on the first picture, but from that glimpse I know it is a triple at least, or at least I think. The Zutarians are requesting he leave; he's doing TTC [Edit: 'TTC' is a common abbreviation for 'The Troll Challenge'] wrong if that's what he's trying. I don't like this one bit . . . He was just banned, about fourteen minutes after coming on, because he refused to stop adult content. I'm not sure if I should include that in my research, but since he wasn't adhering to my rules, I don't think I should. Besides, I have no idea who he was or why he went on a rampage . . . Finally banned. It took three days. Three. Count 'em. Can you believe that? Three days. I don't know what to do at this but wildly applaud the brilliant Zutarians who are clearly above trolling. Just amazing. I hope the Kataangists can do better. Come on!
Those who shipped Maiko and Yukka were right on par - with, naturally, an error bar slapped on the data -
From the Tyzulian forum, I sadly did not write such a log as I found myself unable to be banned, as I was unwilling - very unwilling - to actually "flame", as every good troll knows; it doesn't take a master troll to shout insults, after all. No, these Tyzulians simply . . . accommodated me. What am I supposed to say to that except nod at their power?
Here is, however, a short except from a small fanon community geared mostly to Maizula: Thank the spirits, I finally got banned. I was worried, since TTC is ending soon. It took me over a week of hardcore homophobic anti-Maizula pro-Maiko and Chanzula arguments filling up their, erm, comment boxes that I was at least kicked off the site by the seat of my pants, not that I know what in the world a 'seat of the pants' is. I hijacked every fanon I could, rating it down and publishing terrible reviews, and was only brought down after I accidentally on purpose insulted Bryke for making Maizula a reality or something like that.
Can one believe this? A week, and seemingly unbannable . . . for a troll ascending the ranks and nearly to master, that is a terrible record, to the point where I've "fallen" in rank amongst some of the trolling lists of the interwebz.
To recap, the overall scores led to the following list, in descending order of maturity of shippers:
- Zukaang and other yaoi
- Tyzula and other yuri
Please note that this isn't a hard and fast rule. I saw several exceptions during the survey and included them as much as I could without skewing the results, meaning I utilized the IQR formula in deciding which outliers to include. If you'd like to know about my sampling methods, feel free to ask. Really.
Analysis: The hypothesis was: Those who ship the canon ships will respond more favorably to the troll and show themselves as more mature, while the non-canon shippers will be more likely to ban the troll more quickly and respond with flame or the like.
The hypothesis was naturally proven incorrect; it was, in fact, blown out of the water, and I can't think of a single other word to describe it. Indeed, overall, it seemed as though how canon a ship was affected the results negatively, though not in all cases, as can be seen from the handy list put together back in the Data section, seeing as some ships such as Maiko and Yukka did show themselves to have more mature shippers, while the Kataangists are tied with the Taangists. Therefore, although there might appear to be some form of correlation, either positive or negative, it breaks down, with ships of every type visible throughout the levels. It has nothing to do, it seems, with how canon the ship, but with . . . something else.
Surprised, an explanation was sought, and it was discovered that potentially something was influencing the results beyond "the ship": The age of the shippers, something so simple and yet overlooked by many of the soldiers of the ship wars. As mentioned in "Ice Dodging", the majority of Zutarians were fourteen-sixteen or above at the time of Sozin's Comet, while the majority of Kataangists were fifteen or below, with some overlap. Perhaps this is due to seeing oneself - for the female fans at least - as Katara, then shipping her with whomever is one's preference age-wise, as it is unlikely for a sixteen-year-old to wish to realistically have a relationship with a twelve-year-old male. Could it be that the ages of the shippers influenced their maturity? It is an oft-referenced bit of knowledge that one matures as one ages, although a set does not necessarily point to a certain maturity. Then, does the shipping itself not matter . . . but the general age of the shippers? Amongst the great fandumb, one needs not go far into any "confessions" blog or forum thread without seeing a post like: "I think that I would able to ship Kataang if Aang was older (and taller)", "I can't see Aang or Toph with anyone. They're only twelve", or, more drastically over the entire issue of age, "When I started watching the show, I was Aang's age. Now that I'm older, it feels a little creepy to ship the younger characters together - they're kids. Jet and Zuko, however, are fair game. And I ship them hardcore", all of which actual posts, [and in fact I believe I referenced one of the three in "Ice Dodging"]. Perhaps a twelve-year-old or thirteen-year-old - at the time of the show, not anytime else - can easily and happily ship Kataang, while an older person might find it more difficult to imagine that a "mere" twelve-year-old can have such feelings. There is, after all, quite the possibility that they simply do not remember being twelve themselves, or - more likely - did go through the experiences of Aang, or Toph, another twelve-year-old on the team. As seen in the first two responses, the age of the characters appears to be putting several fans off, resulting in a lack of shipping, if not a throwaway ship. Taang, not only Zutara's favorite buddy ship, is also the consequence of a game of toss the twelve-year-olds together. The third response means that, for some, ships can change when the fan grows older, expecting the characters of the show to grow older as well, a natural human mentality. Thus, those mature shippers may have moved on from shipping "twelve-year-olds" to greener pastures, wherein they can consider themselves one of the characters, a major facet in shipping.
Many fans also have an issue with young men-older women relationships, seeing that those tend to be "against the norm". In media - and seeping into real life - there is an idea that the older man has to protect the young woman, while an older woman can only be a mother to the younger man, especially in younger relationships, like those of Avatar. Katara is seen as the "Team Mom" - she is even labeled as a prime example of such by TvTropes - and little twelve-year-old Aang in seen only as her young charge, unsure of what to do in the world, wandering about in confusion and generally making a fool of himself; in short, being a small child. Those who see him in that way appear to somehow ignore his character arc into maturity and still see him as the young boy who screamed "penguin" in his initial appearance. In the meantime, Zuko, the oldest one in the group, is seen as the "Team Dad", and his serious, much less goofy personality compared to Aang or Sokka naturally points to him as the male leader of sorts. He is, after all, the one to take them on field trip after field trip after field trip, the one to break up the fight between Toph and Bumi [see: comics], and the oldest, which automatically grants him maturity in the minds of many. Does age necessarily go hand in hand with maturity? Of course not. Is it nonetheless a useful meterstick of progress? To society, yes. Therefore, in the case of Kataang, shippers might consider it to be "disturbing" or "disgusting", more of Aang suffering from Oedipus complex or Katara being a pedophile than anything else, merely because of a two years' difference. There is also a common misconception, at least amongst Zutarians, that Mai is seventeen years of age. Naturally this does not only plague Zutarians, as it is a result of an unfortunate dialogue mishap, wherein it is stated that Mai was an only child for the first fifteen years of her life, while Tom-Tom is two, and two added to fifteen is seventeen. "Officially" Mai is fifteen, leaving one to wonder from whom she received a TARDIS. In modern society, at least in America, there is a tendency for one to imagine the younger woman with the older man, and subsequently Kataang cannot work, nor can Maiko. Others either do not give a monkeyfeather, know Mai's true age, or aren't aware of the age difference between Aang and Katara.
Fun fact: Did you know that in the original treatment of Avatar, everyone was supposed to be two years younger? Imagine that. If some have issues with a twelve-year-old and a fourteen-year-old now . . . then a ten-year-old and a twelve-year-old? Good luck. I don't even think Zutara would be viable at that point. Who else is glad they upped the ages?
Conclusion: The canonity of ship has little to do with how mature those who ship it are; rather, it appears to be instead a question of the general age of the shipper. Younger fans tend to ship younger characters, and older, older. One's sexual orientation and beliefs about romance can also shift one's shipping.
Respect all shippers. Most shippers on the Wiki are Kataangists [and Maikoists], and it can only be assumed that this has opened your eyes as much as it has mine. Though we are usually "mature" about our ships here, where would we have fallen on the test if a Zutarian/etc. troll appeared? Exactly.
In another three years or so I will conduct a similar experiment, and I will see . . . if the shippers matured; if the communities have since been abandoned; or if a new generation of Avatards have taken the gone one's place during the intervening years.
Meanwhile, I'll be kicking myself for not having done this during Sozin's Comet for comparison purposes . . .
Hey, Mai, mind if I borrow your TARDIS?
See you next time!
~The Avatar Demotivator
Ah, shipping. Everyone just loves seeing debates it, saying "Kataang won!" or "Zutara forever!" or whatever you want to say.
Of course – shipping romantically is beaten to death. So, today, I'd like to change up the shipping a little.
What about friendshipping?
Unlike romantic shipping – friendshipping is to bring any two people together in friendship, no romance involved.
I became involved with the idea of friendshipping thanks to my view in characters. As you know, Katara is my favorite character, and as you also know, she has been romantically shipped with basically every character in the show thanks to the way she can treat people (OMG she touched Zuko's scar! It must be luv 4eva!!!). I decided to take Katara shipping one level down and turned to friendshipping her – which produced my oneshot "From Enemies to Friends", about her and Ty Lee becoming friends after the War.
With the excess romance and debates over it thereof, perhaps today we can all take it down a step and show the good friendships that have developed, in addition to others that IMO can develop postwar, post-Promise, what have you:
NOTE: I can't fit every friendship, so I'll try and discuss what I can. If I miss anything you may have wanted to see, I apologize in advance.
"Canon" friendships (Friendships in place in the series):
One interesting friendship in play here. As if it wasn't obvious during the series, these two are quite opposite. However, despite that, they have held a long-standing, solid friendship, dating back to their days at the Royal Fire Academy for Girls. Despite how annoyed Mai can get with Ty Lee (See 208), these two girls are still close friends who care for each other. When we saw all of the Fire Nation team in 305, they got into a dispute, but this allowed Mai to finally open up. It was clear that they did get over it to remain friends, when their key moment came 10 episodes later – Ty Lee stood up for Mai as opposed to Azula after Mai betrayed the latter. Although distance likely divides these two now, I am sure they remain good friends now and always will – as evidenced when Mai hired Ty Lee and the rest of the Kyoshi Warriors to protect Zuko after numerous assassination attempts.
I would like to see how this one plays out mostly in the coming years, especially as these two eventually become brothers-in-law. Anyhow, these two didn't start well as friends – Sokka didn't trust Aang when released from the iceberg, and kicked him out of the SWT after believing him to be a spy. However, they then eventually do make friends – evidenced by Sokka agreeing to help him after Katara calms him in 103. However, in 116, we see their friendship hit a rough spot when Aang burns Katara by mistake. They do get past this, however – and their friendship grows well over time. These two seem to already treat each other like brothers as is in their talks throughout the series – however, I could see some rough spots between them if Aang and Katara get into arguments, as Sokka would be quick to support his sister. Nevertheless, they think of each other as a good friend – Aang comes along to ease up Sokka's nerves prior to the DoBS, and Sokka proves quite supportive of Aang, vocally rooting him on during the comet. I think as the Kataang ship blooms over time, we'll see Aang and Sokka stay good friends, and they'll be well-set when they do become brothers-in-law, "oogies" aside. This belief from me as Sokka will likely trust Aang and release any lingering reservations as Kataang reaches marriage.
Yes, I'm going here. The (in)famous Zuko and Katara. Well, as you know, for the longest time, they were enemies, just like the rest of Team Avatar was with Zuko. However, in 220, we got a possible breakthrough with these two when they were imprisoned in Ba Sing Se. They had a common pain which brought them together, the loss of their mothers. This led to Katara acting friendlier to Zuko and even offering to heal his scar (Which led to the much-discussed scar touch). However, hopes of a friendship were briefly destroyed when Zuko turned and attacked Katara and Aang alongside Azula.
Later, Katara wanted nothing to do with Zuko when he joined Team Avatar, threatening to kill him. However, then came the journey to find Yon Rha. After this successful journey, Katara finally releases all of her hostility to Zuko and welcomes him as a friend. At the end of the series, as Zuko fights his Agni Kai with Azula, he saves Katara's life when Azula decided to shoot lightning at Katara, for which Katara is thankful, naturally. As we can see, these two became good friends when all was said and done – however, it is clear why their widely-hoped romance didn't happen – their hearts were set elsewhere. They did conflict in The Promise, but if/when that matter is settled, I can see them remaining friends.
Now, onto my "fanon" friendship – another I can see forming post-series:
(Writer's note: I was originally planning for many of these, but my mind failed me.)
Okay, as some of you may know – especially those of you who read the one-shot I linked above – I believe these two can easily come together on friendly grounds postwar. Once again, these two have a common tough past – Katara losing her mother, and Ty Lee not having an "identity" in her family, which possibly may have also led to her feeling unloved, as who knows? Without feeling individual, she may have gone unnoticed in times of hurt as well.
Anyhow – I think that if they talk more, and more of their pasts shine through as they open up to one another – it will help them move closer. In the possible loss of family love, and given Katara's personality – I could see Ty Lee beginning to think of Katara as a sisterly figure, and Katara could very well return the favor as the friendship develops – caring highly for Ty Lee as they move closer. A person like Ty Lee is someone Katara does tend to care about – thus, in the future, the two girls may indeed become like family if their friendship comes together and develops enough.
So, questions? Comments? Let me know!