AO3 is for all kinds of fanfic


And other fanworks, for that matter, but let’s talk about fic: When AO3 was proposed, it was in response to Strikethrough and other similar events. Livejournal deleted a lot of accounts without bothering to distinguish between actual pedophiles, survivor support groups, and 100% consensual fantasy fandom activities being done by adults with other adults (most of which involved RP accounts for 16-year-old Harry Potter characters anyway).

I helped write the first AO3 Terms of Service and set up the Abuse committee. AO3 was always intended to be welcoming to all kinds of fic, no matter how dirty, sick, socially unacceptable, bizarre, or out of fashion. During those initial TOS talks, we specifically discussed grotesque RPF snuff porn as the test case for something all of us on the committee found distasteful but would nonetheless defend because, by defending it, we created a space where all of our own favorite things were protected too.

Policing fic content is a slippery slope. Even if you only police the “worst” stuff, you create an environment where the more sensitive authors and no few of the ones “shipping to cope” are no longer comfortable posting at all. Attacking people for posting fic about rape/abuse/etc. is demanding that all survivors disclose. No amount of whining and backtracking will change this fact. It is a disgusting behavior that drives people from your fandoms and creates needless misery while adding nothing of value to the community.

If you want to kick certain kinds of content off of AO3, you do not belong on AO3 in the first place.




no but how much audacity and sheer entitlement do you have to have to tell people they need to stop posting their darkfic and porn fic and any other fic you don’t like to ao3 so you can have a safe space when ao3 was literally created as a safe space for writers to post their content without fear of it being randomly wiped out by pro-censorship assholes with an agenda like what has happened to plenty of other fic archives before?

“but a lot of us see ao3 as a safe space to get away from that kind of nasty content” – lol you can see the middle of a busy interstate as a safe space all you want too but that doesn’t mean that you get to walk into the road and scream at all the cars going by that they’re the ones infringing on your safe space either

ao3 is not, has never been, and will never be a site meant for nothing but children’s stories. you can “see it” like that as much as you want but there’s a difference between fiction and reality and that view of what ao3 is like is as fictional as the stories posted on it.

AO3 is a space for all kinds of content–that’s why there’s a rating system. That’s why there are tags. Use the tools you’re given, rather than whining that it doesn’t serve up the content you want tout suite.

People that try so hard to police other people’s work aren’t poor delicate flowers that just want a safe space, they are control freaks testing how many power do they have among others’ lives. So it’s useless to try and explain how AO3 tag system works, they don’t want to learn, they don’t have a real issue, because if they did they would actually LOOK at the tags. They just want to feel important and impose themselves on others.



The Vampire Chronicles + ao3 tags part 3



The Vampire Chronicles + ao3 tags part 1

How our Policy & Abuse and Support volunteers get in touch with you



We recently received reports about one or more Tumblr accounts posing as “AO3 consultants” and contacting other users about their works on the Archive. In those messages, users are asked to take down their works “due to reports of abuse” or else have their works deleted by AO3 admins.

These messages are in no way sanctioned by the AO3 Policy & Abuse committee, who will never contact users via social media. All messages you receive from our Support and Abuse teams will be signed by the volunteer contacting you, and will reference specific abuse reports, requests for technical support, or other matters pertaining to your account.

Please keep your email address up to date, as this is our only way of getting in touch with you. To check, follow these instructions for changing the email address associated with your account. (If you go to that page and don’t see a place to enter your password, that’s a known issue, sorry! You can work around it by following these steps to change your password.)

[mirrored from a post on the AO3 News blog]

So if I may hazard an educated guess: some antis are impersonating Ao3 staff to intimidate authors into deleting content the antis dislike. Stay classy.

Hey, remember me? The anon who was waiting to get an Ao3 account? I have one now! It’s Diana_De_Pointe_Du_Lac

Great! (This was you I think…) I see that you posted one thing! The Journey down Heaven and Hell’s road ooooh… I’m not in the Supernatural fandom but I bet there are ppl out there who have been waiting for VC/Supernatural crossover.

I believe @mntyaggrssn offered to beta for you, too, so… hook up with them if you want 😉






That thing you wrote that isn’t “good enough” to put up on the AO3. You can put it up there! The AO3 isn’t meant to be The World’s Classiest Showcase. It’s an archive. It exists because most other forms of hosting fannish work eventually degrade or disappear. Accounts get deleted. Websites shut down. The AO3 preserves those things.  Ten years from now you’ll be like, “Shit, there was this really great tag essay, but the person changed their Tumblr URL and then Tumblr closed up shop…” (look, even Tumblr will die eventually) and your only hope of finding it will be if the page was cached, or if somebody uploaded it to the AO3.

The AO3 exists to preserve ephemera as much as substantial works. You know how valuable it is for archaeologists to be able to read the graffiti on the walls of Pompeii? The little things, the notes, the headcanons, the notfics, the meta, the back-and-forths, are all important too.


Tumblr’s likely to die sooner than you expect, and suddenly – it’s owned by Yahoo. (Anyone remember, later Yahoo’s trying really really hard to squeeze money out of tumblr and it’s not working, for all the reasons discussed in  synec’s post and because a huge portion of its userbase is 13-18 years old and HAVE NO DIGITAL MONEY so can’t buy things online even if they wanted to.

There is no “worthy to be on AO3.” None. The early fics were often really well-written; it was a high-standards archive – not because “it strove for high standards” but because the only people who knew it existed, who cared about a new multifandom archive, were the ones who’d been around watching archives disappear for years; they were veteran fic writers who wanted a permanent place to share their stories. It took a long time for AO3 to have enough server capacity to allow open invites; in the early days, it was friend-of-a-friend for invite codes. (They wanted more people; they couldn’t handle a flood. So they handed out a few codes at a time)

We even talked about it while setting up the original terms of service – knowing that by saying, our standards are less restrictive than, less restrictive than LJ, we were going to eventually have HUGE amounts of really bad fic. got the nickname “pit of voles,” and AO3 was going to outdo that… eventually.

And. We wanted it ALL. All the reader-insert Mary Sue “date with hot dude” fic; all the “quiz to find out which power ranger you would be” fic; all the “band came to my home town and their bus broke down in front of my house and they needed a coffee and…” fic. And later, all the meta: the thinky character analyses; the “who’d be best on a first date” discussions; the “why the new movie sucked rocks and should never have been made because they ruined my favorite sidekick” rants.


AO3 is not about “the best of fandom;” it’s about “the truth of fandom.” And the truth is, fandom is not comprised of 90% well-written tightly-plotted carefully proofread fic. Fandom is comprised of people who love their favorite shows and books and characters and want to share that love with others.

AO3 are not the fanfic standards police. We’re the ones cheering for the “GLOWING BLUE SKELETON DICKS” tags.

Someday, some fandom archaeologist (and yes, there will be fandom archaeologists, isn’t that awesome?) will sift through the badfic, the quick drabbles, the Mary Sues, and write articles for peer-reviewed journals chronicling the complete collected works of some of the 21st century’s greatest authors and how you can see in THIS self-indulgent Protagonist/OC clusterfuck the origin of those characterization tactics and flow of prose that make your subsequent masterworks truly shine as beloved classics, and THIS short character drabble gives THAT story arc in your well-known later story an exceptional poignancy and depth if one considers it backstory.

Also that fandom archaeologist’s teenage daughter will think the self-indulgent Protagonist/OC clusterfuck is the best thing she’s ever read.