From Fancyclopedia 3
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A protofan is a science fiction lover who has the potential to become a fan but hasn't achieved contact enough to become a neofan.

Protofen are not made; they are born.

What draws someone into fandom isn't clearly understood, even after nearly 100 years, but it's clear that an interest in our favorite genre isn't necessarily enough to make someone interested in us.

Sadly, some protofans don't get to become fans because they've never heard about fandom (though that's rare nowadays), or they know about it but don't like what they hear, or some obstacle gets in the way. Sadder still are the protofen who think they've found fandom but have merely lodged in the Circle of Lassitude.

This is a fanspeak page. Please extend it by adding information about when and by whom it was coined, whether it’s still in use, etc.