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"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."
As long as it is still the same basic story and keeps all the best bits and characters intact, then it doesn't matter too much that Bob's bald, Alice dies in a train wreck instead of a car crash, the football game ended with a different score, and they cut the watermelon scene, right? It's a bit of a shame they screwed that bit up, but really, it's not as if the entire work is Ruined FOREVER, right?
...or so you would be told by many, many a fan.
For some people, the very act of adaptation is decay. A film version of something should be a direct word-for-word transcription, with utmost care that the sets, costumes and people be reproduced in every detail. If a character who wears a homburg in the original now wears a fedora, that will be enough to ruin the character, and therefore ruin the film. It will be all you will hear about from these fans on message boards, with them going on at length to explain how his homburg visually defined his entire personality in a way that a fedora never could.
And don't you dare suggest that in changing it they made it better. If certain fans take the Chicken Little approach and announce that the sky is falling, it's mainly an expression of their fears that the writing staff don't care much about the source material (particularly if it's not mainstream-friendly).
This also happens a lot with translations. People can become religiously attached (sometimes quite literally, in the case of texts like The Bible) to one translation of a work, and when a new translation comes out condemn it as a travesty, accusing it of distorting and cheapening the meaning of the original, whether or not the new translation is more a literally accurate rendering.
This trope is not only used for adaptations and translations. It is also applicable to ongoing series where a significant change is made between seasons. The trope can be explained in terms of prospect theory, where fans are much more averse to losing any aspects of the original, compared to the enjoyment gained from any "improvements".
But sometimes the fans who complain may be right. When producers make drastic changes just for the heck of it, it can get rid of any redeeming qualities the property had. An established franchise making drastic changes usually heralds the beginning of a Dork Age, or worse, Deader Than Disco.
See also Translation Style Choices, New Sound Album, Replacement Scrappy, Ruined FOREVER, Network Decay and Fanon Discontinuity. Contrast Woolseyism. May overlap with They Don't Make Them Like They Used To. On the opposite end of the spectrum is It's the Same, Now It Sucks. A general trend of Unpleasable/Broken Base forever plagues It's the Same, Now It Sucks and They Changed It, Now It Sucks. Sometimes a result of Ability Over Appearance.
Note: This article lists examples which take place within fandoms of a work or series of works; not one's personal opinion as to whether a change is for the worse. Also, the focus is on over-reaction over minor changes or opinions expressed about changes before any evidence of general quality is presented. After all, sometimes changes are genuinely for the worse.
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