Until now, that permissive approach has worked well for most AO3 users. Over the past few months, this fic has enraged users, become a target of ridicule and harassment, and been the subject of so many abuse reports filed by members of the AO3 community that moderators reportedly stopped accepting complaints about it.
And it is all of those things. Yet the fic has become impossible for many AO3 users to ignore thanks to a unique quirk: Its author has linked it to more than 1, site tags and counting. But for the site to function, tags still need to be useful for. Now, imagine looking at AO3 on your phone, trying to scroll past this wall of tags to get to the next fic on the.
Nearly all of them are tags that other people actually use to navigate AO3 and find fics of interest to them.
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And because STWW has become so extensive and uses so many tags, its description has created a massive visual and infrastructural disruption for users across the platform. Guides to how to block the fic have cropped up.
But the usefulness of these options is limited. Site skins only work for logged-in users. Virtual is an Asia-based writer of Chinese descent; internet sleuths have alleged that they are a year-old long-time member of fandom. Their defiance has generated sustained furor over the fic. The fic is a million words long, after all, and you can fit a lot of accurately tagged topics into a million words.
The internet’s most beloved fanfiction site is undergoing a reckoning
Virtual also remained steadfast when I pointed out that their fic was breaking the site for disabled users, stressing that the onus should be on AO3 — not them — to make enforceable site changes. Throughoutduring sustained discussions across social media about structural racism and other toxic elements in fandom, AO3 users repeatedly requested that the site add basic features that could help users avoid involuntarily engaging with fics they found toxic or harmful.
You can warn readers about other controversial fic content, like character deaths, non-consensual scenarios, and underage characters.
Among these wide-ranging discussions, one of the most frequent requests was for a function to block or hide individual users and their works — a function that would incidentally be incredibly handy in the case of a single author building a giant wall of tags.
But its notoriety and the groundswell of calls to take action against it feel like a watershed moment for AO3 and its community. And things look promising. In response to a request for comment, a spokesman for the Organization for Transformative Works OTWthe nonprofit that runs AO3, hinted to Vox in an that changes could be on the way:.
These exact concepts met tremendous resistance last year when many fans argued that such an approach would make the community safer and more inclusive, and that change was necessary. But when people suggest the same thing based on racist works and users, suddenly everything is about freedom of speech and how banning is bad.
Insfiring you, one dirty bts fic at a time.
Virtual may have achieved that magical poof simply by promising to keep expanding the of fandoms they tag their fic into indefinitely, until they get bored or AO3 changes its policies. This all leaves me feeling strangely poignant — both frustrated and hopeful for the future of the AO3 community.
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