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You may be looking for, a 1995-2005 anime fiction archive.

Name: aka and FFN
Date(s): October 15, 1998–present
Founder: Xing Li
Type: Fan Fiction Archive
Fandom: Multifandom
Ffnet logo.gif
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Contents is the largest fanfiction archive on the internet. It is a multifandom archive and includes several thousand fandoms with several hundred new stories being uploaded daily.[1]

FictionPress is its sister site and is an archive for original fiction and poems.

The domain name was registered on September 18, 1998. [2] The site was publicly launched on October 15, 1999.

FanFiction.Net was created by Xing Li while he was a student at University of California, Los Angeles. The original servers for the site were connected to his then-employer. This employer "recouped part of the cost in order to use it as a test for how well their servers worked." [3]

When these costs rose to over $2000 a month, Xing Li's employer wanted compensation. Xing Li tried to cover these costs with paid memberships, something that was a failure. Later, he accepted money from advertising. (need cite)


FF.Net has features beyond story archiving that provide tools for readers and writers, some simply useful, others giving the site a social side that lets fans connect. The site allows readers to assemble lists of their favorite stories and authors, which function as public bookmarks and rec lists, similar to Delicious social bookmarking. It has also convenient story and author alert features to keep up with new chapters of WIPs and new stories from particular authors. Users can also collect stories in community lists based on the interests of the community maintainers, a function often similar to thematic lists which makes it easier for readers to deal with the large number of stories, especially in popular fandoms. Another useful feature is the stats page, where users can see how many people opened their story and where these readers come from.

FF.Net also allows readers to post reviews on stories, a community building feature that other automated archives lacked at the time when FFN was first established. FF.Net also has a public message board system, an online dictionary and beta reader services.

Despite its huge popularity, large user base and wide ranging fandom representation, has a reputation for being indiscriminate in story quality among members of many different fannish circles. Large portions of LiveJournal-based fandom, mailing list-based fandom, the Television Without Pity forums, and Godawful Fan Fiction have all been known to look askance at the site. Because of this reputation, FFN is sometimes referred to as "the Pit of Voles"[4], "The Pit", or other derogatory nicknames. There even exists a hate community for the archive, established after a change of ToS in 2004.[5]

However, FF.Net's absence of quality control is viewed by many as a benefit; it gives everyone a chance to express themselves. Unlike moderated archives, FF.Net does not employ any active means of assessing story quality. Its guidelines do require basic spell-checking and grammar quality, but the site does not enforce these requirements in any comprehensive way.

Many feel that FF.Net is under-appreciated among the fan community:
"And contrary to the prejudices held by the outspoken LJ lot, not everything on FFN is shit. Most of it, sure, but I developed a keen sense of judging a story by its summary and never had the problem of accidentally reading badfic. Sure, you'll usually have to slog through pages of trash before finding the good stuff, but there are jewels on FFN and I was frequently annoyed by how fic that deserved attention didn't get it because people convinced themselves that only idiots posted to the pit.

I know that there are people who have legitimate issues with FFN and their policies. That's fair enough. I know that there are people who are on AO3 mainly because of the politics behind it - in which case, rock on! But then there is the crowd that won't go near FFN because it's allegedly a simmering pool of fourteen year olds and all the fic is shit, and that - that is patently untrue and incredibly annoying. FFN has a much bigger and much older archive than AO3, it is easier to navigate and - this is an important part - it's got open registration. The only time I can remember FFN being somehow hostile towards its users would be when it moved to ban smut and some other genres of questionably prosaic nature.

To return to the lady introducing the muggles: I wanted very badly to ask the reason why she was so studiously avoiding FFN. Not linking fic there could be coincidence, but talking about AO3 but not even acknowledging where AO3 came from (FFN's smut ban, as an extension of Strikethrough) - that's a boycott, and I'd go as far as to say that it is unfair to the very muggles she sought to invite to the club. Because dear madams: You're missing out if you never go to The Pit."[6]

Pairings were added as a filtering option in October 2013. (Previously, you could mark a fic with characters, but there was no way to distinguish between pairings and non-pairings of those characters.)[7]

History Timelines

Past Moderators

a FanFiction.Net staff get-together in December 2000: Xing Li (the founder) is either wearing a lei and on Santa Claus' right, or the person in the back. [8] Laura Hale is right above him. The other members are unidentified.

Types of Fandoms

Total number of fandoms by media type in 2010[10]
Total number of fics by media type in 2010[11]

FF.Net is popular with fans from many different communities including anime fandom and media fandom. The top ten most popular fandoms by story count as of 2013 are:[12]

Harry Potter alone accounts for nearly 14% of all the fics on FF.Net, with Naruto and Twilight making up 7% and 4% respectively.[13]

Anime/Manga: Naruto is the largest fandom in the anime category, but dozens of other popular anime series have sections with at least several thousand fics. Hence, while anime makes up only 19% of the fandoms on FF.Net, it accounts for 31% of the fic.

Books: FF.Net users can specify whether they are writing for the book or movie version of a canon, but each fandom only appears in the index page for one media type. 80% of the fics in the book category are for Harry Potter, Twilight, and Lord of the Rings.

Cartoons: Avatar: The Last Airbender and Teen Titans have particularly large sections.[14]

Comics: Most of the comics fics are for US superhero comics, many of which also have separate sections for cartoons or live action movies. Some less mainstream comics also have large sections: The Jhonen Vasquez (author of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac) section accounts for about 5% of comics fic.

Games: The Games category includes a wide variety of computer, video, and role playing games, but the majority of the fics are from games like the Final Fantasy franchise and Kingdom Hearts, which are associated with anime fandom.

Misc: The Wrestling section is the largest.[15] The Misc category also houses a variety of crossover sections and things like radio dramas and mythology.

Movies: FF.Net lists many fandoms under their book format, so the movie category is relatively small. Some of the bigger fandoms in it are major franchises like Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and High School Musical. Some older or less famous movies like Newsies and Labyrinth also have large sections. Films from outside the US are not well represented.

Plays/Musicals: RENT fic makes up 40% of this category, Wicked fic another 21%. Most of the fandoms are for Broadway productions, but Shakespeare also has a large section.

TV: No one fandom predominates in the TV section. There are similar numbers of fics for a wide variety of mainstream American TV shows. As of November 2013, there were over 18,000 fics for each of the following shows (in descending order): Glee, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, NCIS, Vampire Diaries, Stargate SG-1, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Minds, House, M.D., Bones, and Stargate Atlantis.[16] Some British TV shows also have large sections: Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Merlin. Series from other countries, including fan-favorite Canadian series such as due South, popular Asian dramas, and tokusatsu, are not especially well represented, considering the size of their fandoms outside of FF.Net. Anime is in a separate section.


The bulk of the fics on FF.Net are in English. In early 2010, the Harry Potter section had approximately 440,000 works in it. These break down by language as follows:[17]

  • 80% - English
  • 6% - Spanish
  • 6% - French
  • 3% - Portuguese
  • 3% - German
  • 1% - Other
    • >100 works - Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Indonesian, Chinese, and Finnish
    • >10 works - Danish, Turkish, Czech, Norwegian, Hebrew, Catalan, and Filipino
    • 0-10 works - Greek, Japanese, Romanaian, Bulgarian, Korean, Croatian, Scandinavian, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Latin

Naruto shows a similar pattern: around 85% of the fic is in English and only a handful of stories are in Japanese.

Membership Size

Three months after the site's debut, there were 407 stories archived, 249 registered authors, and 76 categories. [18]Six months after its debut, Xing Li posted that 1,115 fanfics had been archived by 477 authors. [19] Three months later, there were 2388 fanfics archived by 1103 registered authors. [20]

Introduction Posts: 1998

From a September 1998 post to, a few weeks before FanFiction.Net opened:
Hi, Some of you probably know me as the webmaster of the "The Definitive Xfiles Source" Website ( but most of you have no clue. Well, I have just acquired the rights to and being the devoted xfiles fan I am, Xfiles will be THE FEATURE. =)

The site will be 100% ColdFusion for those techies out there. In another words, it will be FULLY automated. Ranking, Search, Submission, Editing, etc just to name a few. I'm working overtime to have the site open to the web community by November 8th.. (Just in time for the new Xfiles season ;-p) I would like to make it THE best possible fanfiction portal on the net and to do so I would love to hear some comments/suggestions from all the writers here on this newsgroup to what functions you would like to have. Your input is very critical and will help to shape the site. Thanks for your time...

Xing: Webmaster/CGI Programmer for The Definitive Xfiles Source and [21]
From a November 1998 post to
Hi everyone, I'm very happy to announce that is now officially open!!!!!! And we have done it 3 weeks ahead of projected finish date.

While everyone trick-or-treated we were hard at working debugging the site =) Here is what the site has to offer:

1) 100% automated system for readers and especially for authors 2) Author profile with advanced security tracking to ensure that no one else can submit under another person's acct. 3) Dynamic rating system for all the stories 4) Author has the option to not release their email address. 5) Top20 fanfiction feature based on the rating system. 6) Author can modify/delete any of their stories and much much more...

As far as we know this is the first and only fully automated fanfiction website where there is no waiting period for any and all changes/submissions. Everyone here at is damn proud of our accomplishment. Actually, it's only the two of us... =) Well, enough of my talk..go see it for yourselves....Any and all comments are welcomed.. Xing

Some Comments to Its Introduction

From some X-Files fans:
[Nascent]: This is a nice idea and the webpage is well-designed. It has features that I'd like to see Gossamer acquire, including self-archiving. However, the advertising makes me VERY nervous. Xing, are you getting clickthru payback on those banners? Because if you are, you may be jeopardizing fanfic's nonprofit status. Until this is clarified, I'd encourage authors not to archive here. Nascent
[Xing Li]: We are currently addressing Nascent's concern and we have put up a msg on our homepage to reflect our commitment. Please send any and all comments to my email address. Thanks... Xing
[Imajiru]: While I believe that Xing's concept of providing a central archive for multi-fandom fiction is a wonderful thought, and I commend her (?) for her efforts and obvious hard work in setting it up, there are several reasons why I will NOT archive my fiction there, and will discourage others from archiving there as well. First of all, in response to the issue of the banner advertising used on the site, Xing says:

>we have put up a msg on our homepage to reflect our commitment.

The aforementioned message states that "The ad space you see above is used to cover the costs of the server." --To me, this is still a dicey concept, in that revenues are being raised AT ALL. Most of the fan fiction archivists I know pay for their web space out of their own pockets -- or at the very most, solicit donations from within fandom to keep the archives going. A flat-out link exchange (you show my banner, I show yours) is one thing, but the idea of mixing commercial revenues with fan fiction... just makes me acutely uneasy.

Also: The author's registration page states that by registering, you agree to the following: "You give the nonexclusive rights to publish your material and the right to reject any material submitted." Excuse me... publish WHERE? On this web page? On other web pages? In fanzines? On a CD-ROM? This is entirely too nebulous for my comfort, and I'm not about to agree to these terms.

(Not to mention, the statement about getting permission from collaborating authors COULD be interpreted to mean the Powers That Be who wrote the show in the first place, and I don't think that's going to happen...)

Someone else I know mentioned that the inclusion of Star Wars in the categories is an EXTREMELY bad idea, because the Powers That Be in SW fandom are notorious for being AGAINST fanfic in any form... Fanfic is a grey area, and exists only because no one has yet squashed it. Maybe we could win a court battle, if it ever came to that, but... who among us has the kind of money it'd take to pay the lawyers? I'm leery of ANYthing that draws too much attention to fan fiction, and this site seems to be designed to do exactly that.

And finally -- what's with the cookies? The main purpose of using cookies is to track visitors to a site, and frankly, I don't want to be tracked. I have my browser set to warn before accepting a cookie, and I rarely choose to accept them, and this is not one of those times.

...Lest this e-mail be seen as a blanket condemnation of the site: The ability for the author to self-archive their work is a wonderful thing, the potential for browsing works from multiple fandom and for searching through fic and rating fic are very well-done. And the overall concept, of creating a central 'home' for fan fiction on the net, is a laudable one; for one thing, it could provide a place for fanfics that would otherwise go unnoticed, in smaller fandoms than our own. BUT... I've been an XF fan for too long; I'm paranoid. I've watched FOX shut down too many websites -- none of them fanfic, *not yet*, but that could be only a matter of time. There are just too many things about this site, as it stands, that make me feel too uneasy to want to be a part of it.

Sorry, Xing; it's a lovely idea, and I wish I could be more positive about it, but the way things look now, I just can't. Imajiru [22]
[Mirage]: Wow, nice site. Glad to see you took down the $$$ banners, though. Face it, the money for your server is going to come out of your own pocket. Zines are another thing, since they're underground and people barely break even on them anyway.

I don't think it's the first automated place, though. It looks alot like Same sort of instant upload and archiving with search features. But better designed. :-)

Hey, you know maybe or and Gossamer Project people should team would certainly reduce a lot of work for the poor Gossamer archivists.
[Xing]: I'm correct when I said that is the first real-time automated and fanfiction archive system. The good folks over at have an automated system but it only runs periodically which kinds of defeats the whole purpose of having an automated system. You be the judge. =)
[Maie]: A FAQ forum would be a very good idea. Some users who read the R&G/ToS may not understand some of the terms and which topics they refer (e.g. interactive stories such as suggestions for the next chapter) and may not understand what they're agreeing too when they click the "I have read and agreed to these terms" button. Also do you have an email I could contact you with? I can't seem to get a response from the support team :(

Some 1999 Updates by Xing Li

[April 19, 1999]:
Hi! Current Stats - 1,115 Fanfics Archived, 477 Authors, 110 Links: As you can tell by the stats, is growing a very healthy pace. Readership is up 50% from 2 weeks ago! Archive your fanfics on and expand your audience reach. I just want to remind everyone to be constructive in terms of their reviews/comments of fanfics on the site. I have came across a few reviews that was pretty harsh. The author/fanfic might be worthy of the lashing but it would be more constructive to say why it "sucked" rather attacking the author by the ways of, "What the hell were you thinking?", "You plagiarist!", "Lame", etc. This so called "plagiarist" was in fact innocent. Every author tries to write the best entertaining story possible and readers should show their gratitude by displaying some restraint in terms of personal attacks when reviewing fanfics on =)

Again, if you have any suggestions for the site just email me and I will do my best to meet your desires. Remember that your input shapes the future of

I'm still looking for new entries for "Writer's Corner". Got a essay on the subject of fanfiction? Then email me the essay I will archive it! Until next time, adios! Xing [23]
[July 28, 1999]:
Hola fellow fanfic fanatics!

It has been a while since my last posting and here is a list of all the changes/additions to

1) New Java ChatRoom!! Enough said. hehe
2) Full-Text search! You can now search within ALL the archived fanfics. Very powerful tool I must say.
3) Moved to a new server so every page will now be MUCH faster!
4) Reorganized the Top20s so entries with more reviews will be ranked higher.
5) Streamlined navigation menu. Now everything is within reach. =)

I would like to take this moment and let everyone know that we are currently looking for creative editors who can spicy up the content on Here are the perks that comes with the job:

1) Real world experience. It's not often you get to work on a website with 360,000 (more than a third of a million) hits per month and growing. Great for anyone's resume.
2) Pride: You be helping to shape/secure the future of fanfiction.
3) Totally voluntary environment that promotes creativity. We are not slave drivers. ;-)
4) You personal email address

FanFiction.Net is totally non-profit so no one gets paid a dime but I'm sure the experience to be gained is priceless. =) Until next time...

Xing aka Diego Montoya, ICQ: 3643686[24]

A Quick Peek into 2000

A fan did a tally of some available fic in December 2000:
They have collected more fanfics for Emergency (15) than for The Dukes of Hazzard (7).

There are two Taxi fanfics, and two Muppets Tonight stories.

There are 125 Next Generation fanfics, but 521 Scarecrow and Mrs. King fanfics.

They have 12 Law and Order fanfics (one of them a crossover with a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire fanfic), but 49 Caroline in the City stories.

There are six fanfics for The Twilight Zone, but 785 for Star Trek: Voyager.

They have as many Full House fanfics (2) as they have Bewitched or Wishbone.

There are 34 West Win fanfics, 38 Sliders fanfics, and 71 Laverne and Shirley ones, but no Three's Company or Happy Days ones.

They have more 21 Jump Street fanfics (6) than they have Simon and Simon (5) or Team Knight Rider (3).

They have 96 Due South fanfics, but only one Northern Exposure. There are, though, 72 Moonlighting fanfics.

178 Dawson's Creek fanfics, but 390 Power Rangers. 89 Profiler, 56 Quantum Leap.

Why these breakdowns? Why have these particular shows drawn so many writers to What is this this "Higher Ground" show that has 1063 fanfics? [25]
Another fan adds:
No no no, what's scary is that there are over 10,000 Harry Potter fics,

while there are only 17 Discworld fics.

Also, there are exactly 18 Minesweeper fics. [26]


Over the years in operation, FanFiction.Net was the center of many controversies: some include copyright issues, control of content, service instability, and profit.


One issue is FanFiction.Net's profit. See: A look at some fandom based money numbers; Archive, post at Fanthropology, June 27, 2007


FanFiction.Net suffered from frequent downtimes. Sometimes these downtimes lasted for a week or more. There were frequent posts to many Usenet groups over the years which asked for more information [27], and commiseration from other fans.

One such downtime was in July 2003: "July 8th, 2003 - FanFiction.Net is currently in the process of acquiring server parts for a scheduled system-wide upgrade in 2 weeks. We are hoping this upgrade will significantly reduce or remove the "server is too busy" message during peak traffic hours." Two comments from fans regarding this downtime: "It was up but it's down again. :p Anyone care to start a betting pool? The person who guesses closes to the actual time is back up and stable wins." And "Perhaps with this upgrade they will become more stable?...time will tell.." [28]

These long times became advantages for other fanfiction archive sites, as desperate and bored fans, explored other sites and expanded their interests. FictionAlley was one such benefiter. From an exchange in October 2001:
[NAPPA]: Does any one have addresses for good HP fanfiction. I am specially looking for Lily/James love/hate and Harry/Harmione stories. I have gone on the but they are down for so long sometimes it makes me positively crazy. Please help me............ [Heidi]: At FictionAlley, we've set up a new page with ways to search by author, ship, lead characters and summaries - we will be adding full text searching this week. I know it's shameless promotion (but we are noncommercial, so there's that) - visit the Page O'Links (which I personally call FicAll)... [29]


FanFiction.Net is notorious for occasional breakdowns when a part of its users are unable to access certain features of the site. These breakdowns were termed "Glitches" by on-site forum communities. At times, the circumstances in which a glitch would appear are strange:

  • A public announcement about an older glitch, now fixed.
  • A completed "successful database upgrade".
  • An uninformative staff service announcement with typos.

Most glitches are not announced and take up to two weeks to fix. They are rarely fixed over the weekend and continue till the next week.

Glitches affect different parts of the site. Depending on severity, they may involve:

  • The statistics feature: fanfic writers would see they have zero readers, but still receive reviews.
FanFiction.Net goes into read-only mode.
  • Beta Readers: members cannot browse for beta readers, and get a "FanFiction.Net Error Type 1" window.[30]
  • Site content: story chapters, reviews and forum posts submitted after the glitch started would flash, appear and disappear during page reloads. Forum communities know it as "the post eating glitch".
  • Story submission: writers cannot post new chapters or stories in certain categories. It was called a "type 2 error" by site staff in March, 2011, and lasted since March 18 till March 31. Tech savvy members found a way around this glitch.[31]
  • Login area: members are unable to login. The site goes into read-only mode. Most recently, it happened from April 9 to April 10, 2011.

Formatting Problems

The uploading software of FF.Net strips stories of certain elements, such as hyperlinks, indentations or double spacing. This forces fans to create creative line breaks, such as repeated pairing acronyms. Other fans post tutorials for inserting the desired characters into the text.[32] In 2004, the site was criticized for eating words and making whole sentences disappear in uploaded chapters due to bugs in the site's QuickEdit word processor. Since then, the editing software has been updated several times and renamed to Document Manager.

In 2007, FanFiction.Net's document manager did not allow creative separators. Only the site-default horizontal line was accepted as a separation technique between parts of a chapter.

Changes in software up to 2010 applied only to works submitted after a certain date. The changes also used to impose restrictions such as removing square brackets and asterisks from stories and summaries. As a result, older stories could have different, more varied formatting (classic with indentations instead of block) and bigger character sets. In 2009, FFN even imposed a technical ban on repeating numbers in reviews. This caused confusion as numbers like 100 and 1000 would show up as 10.

This has changed in 2010 when the editor became less restrictive. Special characters like the asterisk were allowed again and the review issue was resolved. Also, 2010 was the first time a change in editing software affected older works. Stories using indentations were reformatted into block style, misshaping some of them[33]. Certain characters such as square brackets ] disappeared from all story summaries while they remained visible in the author's login area.

In 2011, FanFiction.Net kept updating the hyperlink filter, with mixed results. Links to the site's forums were not automatically deleted from messages and reviews, while informal references to the site such as FanFiction.Net became impossible, with text being changed to include a full hyperlink to the main page.

Staff Problems

FanFiction.Net is considered understaffed by many users who try to reach member support but fail to receive any replies to a query. This is influenced by the amount of traffic the domain receives daily, including requests for new categories, inserting canon characters and questions about the site and abuse reports. Another image of the workload was the ticket-based support system in January 2005. Support answered every question sent, but the queue was two months on average. James is the only known staff member, who responds to emails and deals with abuse reports.

Xing Li, the site's owner, has apparently not been seen or heard from in years.

See: What Everyone Should Know About (2001) [34]

Content Guidelines

See: Content Guidelines [35]

2001 RPF Ban

Once upon a time, FF.Net allowed fanfiction about real people. In June 2001, there were more than 5,000 'N Sync stories on the site. In September 2002, an announcement was made disallowing Reality TV RPF (along with the NC-17 fic, see below) as of April 12, 2003. Actor RPF had never been allowed on the site. [36]

"Many months ago FanFiction.Net introduced a form of ban for real-person based stories (RPS): actor fiction. After evaluating that ban and receiving many responses as a result of that ruling, it has been decided that we need to extend the rule to all real-person stories to keep it consistent. The affected categories are:
All Music Groups
Misc >> Sports
TV Shows >> Big Brother, Survivor, Who's Line is it anyway?....
Please note that all the stories effected by the ruling above have not been removed. They will be retained until October 12th, 2002. If the changes apply to you, please login and use the backup feature to create a personal copy on your local computer."[37]

However; as early as 2008-2009, RPF experienced a hidden resurgence. The fics, mostly J-Pop and K-Pop, are posted in the Screenplays subcategory. Unlike the rest of the site, where English dominates most categories, these undercover RPF fics are more likely to be in a language other than English. Indonesian fics number around 1,400 (almost all of them RPF) compared with 1,300 fics (mixed, mostly non-RPF) written in English.[38]

Recently (July 2011), actions have been taken by a few Indonesian authors to rectify this problem by notifying RPF writers of their violation of rules, posting examples of 'right' fics in the Screenplays subcategory, and notifying the support staff. The actions are met with fierce resistance from established RPF authors. However, a few RPF writers relented and, as of writing, had begun deleting their RPF. [citation needed]

The ban has never been 100% effective, and it is easy to find RPF hiding in plain sight in various fictional fandom categories.[39]

The Purge of NC-17 Content: 2002 and 2012

In the beginning, Xing Li and the site actively courted fans from many Usenet groups, including alt.startrek.creative.erotica. [40]

Prior to September 2002, the site used a pop-up to prompt readers to say whether they were over 17 or not. [41] On September 12, 2002, FanFiction.Net banned and removed material that was rated NC-17.

A second purge occurred on June 4, 2012.

Both purges shook fandom, and much discussion ensued regarding rights and responsibilities of archives, rights of fans to be able to write and post what they liked, and more.

Both purges also created fiction influxes into other archives.

See more at FanFiction.Net's NC-17 Purges: 2002 and 2012.

2010 Forum Purge

On the night of November 25, 2010, FanFiction.Net purged its forums, deleting threads not updated for 9 months. This was announced less than 10 hours before an automated engine mauled through forums by creation date. During the night after Thanksgiving, while most of the site's chiefly American population slept and was away from a computer, over 60,000 forums were affected. As a result, 22 million posts (66% of all posts ever made) were deleted during the purge. Instead of "reducing clutter", the intent posted on the front page, the event resulted in thousands of completely empty forums with no archive or backlog of any sort. Important forum discussion, sentimental and cultural value formed in forums since they were introduced in 2005 was lost. Only forum subscription statistics showed there used to be content.[42]When the purge completed, 90% of the General forums were empty.[43] The site took no action about forums with no posts prior to the purge. It completely changed the way users viewed their forums, from a safe heaven, to something entirely temporary.[44]

On the same day, the site announced purging Personal Messages. This process took more than two days to finish, and some users were able to feverishly back up their old correspondence. After the event, users expected better service, or another type of compensation, but received none. The site is yet to keep its promise made on November 26 to bring mobile forums "in a few days"[45] [46]

The original announcement:
News: November 26th, 2010 -- Please note at 1AM US Pacific (PST) time, we will perform several matainance actions which will result in the temporary downtime of forum posting for about 30 minutes.

We will also at this time introduce an auto-delete feature of removing PM message with send timestamp of older than 9 months. The 9 months freshness limit will be enforced for both PM messages and forum topics to ensure fast response time for these systems. For perspective, there are 17 million pm messages currently in the system and we need a self-cleaning system to move forward.

Lastly, both forums and pm/private messaging feature will come to the mobile site within a couple of days. [47]
One fan's response:
Since the previous six-month period for forums was, in fact, an error, and the last untouched date in forums was February 20, 2010 which is nine months away, they fixed the announcement from the 25th and are using the same filter on your personal messages.

FanFiction.Net introduced an inbox feature in the middle of 2009, June 14th (if the timer didn't mess up), so we could see all our personal messages (PMs) on one page without a fuss. It was a very convenient feature for those of us keen on keeping the actual email tidy, and it let everyone keep track of PM conversation easily. The problem is that FFN created a false sense of security. "You no longer have to save your messages because we save them for you" or something like that. Now, that security is lifted and replaced with shock. Literate Union members petitioned to the administration for more time to preserve personal conversation history. Personal messages, like other types of personal stuff are an emotional and often important part of fandom history. It's rare to see someone not care about their old doodles and exchanges with other fans. This is their past, and a bit of nostalgia is usually present. Erasing these messages would be taking away something fans value and love. First lessons in writing, gaining new friends in the writing world and many other cherishable moments disappear if FFN deems them too old for the site.

It's what makes fandom history so difficult to document. You might care about not repeating mistakes you've done in the past, but if the admin doesn't care, good luck and F U. What's interesting is that they're using the scissors on everyone on the site like some communist state: "Your hair must be this short to continue." If you're out of server space, get rid of trollfics, pay attention to plagiarist requests and, for goodness sakes, weed your own backyard. You don't bomb a city to make a parking lot. Besides, if FFN doesn't fail anytime soon (their domain registration expires in September 2011), they'll soon be out of server space again. Unless they're expecting the number of new members to drop, so they never again have a greater amount of PMs archived, the ordeal is pointless. Though, if they hired a consultancy firm to get easy fix solutions, they must know what they're doing.

And the amount of discontent it's going to cause. I don't know about you, but I've spent an hour backing up my PMs this morning. Tomorrow, I'm going to find the reviews I've sent throughout my stay on the site. Heavens forbid the site decides to flip off old reviews or stories, but one can't be too careful in this situation.

One thing for sure, I'm staying on FFN. They might not have done something agreeable this time, but this doesn't compare with ownership wars or emotional mod fights that happen in other archives I'd rather not name.

Edit: It's 9:30 AM GMT+0, and I've lost 20 PMs. 9:45, the number increases to 50. In two minutes the number of deleted PMs goes up from 1178353 to 1204467. [48]

2004 Script-Format Ban

"FanFiction.Net" banned script format on July 27, 2004.

July 27th -- FanFiction.Net Content Guidelines have been updated to reduce the apparent confusion of two rules:

1. Chat and script format are the same. We have not allowed chat/script format for years.

2. Choose your adventure and second person/you based are interactive entries. We do not accept interactive stories.
A fan's comment:
Sure, as always, members have said "FFN has changed, and we're not going to post there anymore," but the collective "we" was a silly generalisation that had no effect, and the site grew. Just as it did in 2002 and 2010.

Now, this is where the factuality ends. You probably may want to know where the idea of the "ban" comes from. The site was different in 2004 and admins were closer to its users, so communication was more open and easier to get the juice from the top. There was a group called The Author Alliance, later referred to as The Alliance... back in the day. They were notorious for flaming and later removal of stories on the site. One of the 13 core members...I don't recall the name (could have been Super Solus, ReactionX or someone else) researched that script format (then allowed) as used in practice on FFN was no different from chat format, as used in IRC, IM (not allowed since the guidelines were created). Basically, before the announcement, members would contest that their work is scripted, not a roleplay session from online chatrooms. It was a common excuse, which caused bickering between opposing camps. Once the announcement, supposedly, based on that member's research, has been made, the site put a big fat cross on everything in similar formats. Three lines of script/chat in the author's note got your story down. Two lines, I'm guessing, could be considered as someone being daft with punctuation rather than a format issue.

The announcement set things straight very nicely, and the site made a big purge. For example, Sonic the Hedgehog lost some 30% of its weight in August. Dropping from over 5000 stories to about 3400. Stunning. Now, I actually wonder what the announcement entailed in theory. If chat = script, and chat was banned since the first guidelines (last months of 1998), script format was also banned. Then again, if it was banned, why was there arguing and unremoved stories? Why was Sonic the Hedgehog allowed to have 30% of its bulk being against the rules? It's really an interesting record when nearly a third of an archive is in violation of one rule, while you have numerous rules up. [49]

2005 Ban on Choose Your Own Adventure Fic/Self-Insertion Fic/Reader-Insert/2nd Person Point of View Fic

There are two prime reasons that 2nd person (you) based fics are not allowed.

The first, and most important reason is because it can be considered a form of child porn. Say, for example, you're reading a "You based fic" that goes along just fine for a few chapters, but then comes to a part with a lemon (sex scene), that story is having someone run their hands down your buddy, exploring your more intimate attributes, removing your clothes, laying you down, you get the idea, yes? Now lets say that you're 13 years old reading this story. The person responsible for writing said story is now guilty of child porn, and if an angry parent found out they could not only sue the site itself but also prosecute the writer and have them labeled as a sex offender for the rest of their life.

The other reason that Second person (you based) fics are not allowed is because they are often used for interactive stories. As in people send in reviews asking the author to write what they want, rather than going off of the actual authors own "imagination". [50]


2005 Songfic Ban

Because of copyright worries Songfic was banned in 2005.

From FanFiction.Net's site on April 28, 2005:
In addition, FanFiction.Net would like to address a growing problem. For whatever reason, some writers feel it's okay to copy-n-paste musical lyrics they have not written into their fiction. If you did not write it, do not post it. This has always been our policy. Please remove these entries immediately to avoid account closure.

One theory:

These issues involved Cease and Desist letters sent by the MPAA, alleging trademark infringement on the part of sites for using their ratings system. The other issue involved German record labels sending Cease and Desist letters to sites containing lyrics. These letters requested remuneration for every song which had the lyrics listed. While no fan fiction sites were targeted, a number of archives, including FanFiction.Net, pulled all songfics in order to ensure they would not be subjected to fines. [51]

German intellectual property organizations demanded from $1000 to $5000 remuneration per lyric they owned rights to found on unlicensed domains. [citation needed]

Fans comment:

I dunno, I think that's reasonable, especially after reading some people's songfics. =/ A lot of people don't give credit where it's due. Not only that, many songfics are pretty bad anyway. Just stick to an original story instead of using someone else's words, ya know? [52]
Yeah, song fics this doesn't seem to bother me at all :lol: [53]
I'm not a big songfic fan, but it strikes me as a bit hypocritical that a site that is based off writing about things that are NOT by you all of a sudden cracks down in this manner. Couldn't they at least have put a warning first? Like: "If you are going to use song lyrics, please include the musical artist in the disclaimer." Or something.[54]
A disclaimer is always a good thing, though. I'm just surprised that some "authors" don't credit the artist. Then again, here we are downloading free songs off engines like Kazaa and Napster (or at least we used to). [55]
That makes me really mad. I often use songs as a source of inspiration. As long as no one tries to steal credit for the lyrics, should allow them to be used. The next time I use a song for inspiration, I just won't include it in my final draft, but doesn't that seem like I'm not giving credit to the artist? [56]
Morbid voice: I wonder what they're going to take from us next. [57]
The one problem I see is that stands to lose 1/4th of their writers with a move like this. A lot of good authors (who might've done a songfic in their early careers) could get banned for this. The site could collapse with these writers gone. Many could form their own fanficiton website to compete with (like Mediaminer and Freedom of Speech Fiction). [58]
"Words. That's what. They're going to take our words."

That's what the people running FF.Net are doing. In 2002, they deleted every NC-17 story on their site, probably in response to some irresponsible soccer moms who didn't bother monitoring what their kids did online and complained about the "pornographic" material. Most NC-17 stories --- the well-written ones, at least --- are not by any means pornographic. They lean more in the direction of erotica, sensual and romantic.

And now . . . in 2005 . . . they're going to delete the accounts of anyone who uses songs in their stories unless they delete those stories. 2002 was just the beginning. So far, their pattern is to get rid of certain types of fan fiction simply on account of a few punks who can't be bothered to write decent sex stories or give credit to the original artists whose songs they appropriated for their stories. I repeat, this is just the beginning. They are sliding down the long, slippery slope into Nazi-style tyranny.

My solution: Petition them. Our 1st Amendment rights give us the power to protest unfair practices of institutions and FF.Net is an institution that is currently engaging in unfair practices. Petition them. Show them that we aren't just going to capitulate to their every whim. [59]
I poured my heart and soul into these. Like hell I'm taking them down. [60]
If they keep banning stuff, I am starting my own fanfic site. [61]

Conflict, Defamation, and Flaming

FanFiction.Net has long tried to reduce user complaints caused by their peers' aggressive behaviour. Users are now able to report signed reviews for abuse and block unwanted users from contacting them.

However, the site removed "libel" as a forbidden practice from their ToS in 2008, and would not endorse petition movements such as letting writers delete offensive signed reviews on their own.[62] The staff took an idle stance during the flame war concerning The Author Alliance in 2004, when several thousand stories were removed in Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokemon fandoms, a deed Xing Li noticed in the site's article on AllExperts.[63] It refused to delete the account of Flame Rising in 2008, a site-wide flamer, who hosted a 700,000 post flamer forum, The Fireplace. As of 2010, the site takes no action against The Literate Union despite phone calls to the site's parent company to delete the LU members.Citation Needed


Estimating the user base of is difficult since people use their accounts in different ways and many accounts are completely inactive. FFN Statistics is a group project that attempts to collect and analyze account statistics gathered from the archive. The blog is a project of the Literate Union [64]

They collected account data and produced a table which shows that while had ~2.2 million accounts at the end of 2009 and is growing—gaining more accounts than are deleted each year—that growth rate has slowed in recent years.[65]

Specific Specifics

Meta/Further Reading


  1. Numbers based on freifraufischer's data (Accessed 6 December 2008)
  2. Whois.
  3. The Archivists
  4. . According to the pottersues FAQ the term was coined in January 2002 in this blog post; Archive Link by Mooncalf/tsukikoushi when the site decreased its minimum age requirement from 18 to 13 as well as banning the NC-17 (MA) rating. (Accessed 2 November 2008)
  5. Anti on LiveJournal (Accessed 15 September 2009)
  6. dated Nov 29, 2013;reference link.
  7. Forum thread from October 13, 2013 discussing the recent update.
  8. "Xing Li, the site founder, is the Asian guy in the back" -- Xing Li --- "Xing Li, the site founder, is the young man on Santa's right." -- The Archivists
  9. Fandoms, the Internet, and Harry Potter: An interview with Flourish Klink, co-founder of FictionAlley and CMS lecturer (2013)
  10. These figures are based on the index pages as of February 22, 2010.
  11. These figures are based on the index pages as of February 22, 2010. Percentages may be skewed by large fandoms like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight having both their book and movie forms listed under books.
  12. These figures are based on the index pages as of 29 November 2013. The top four places remain unchanged since 2011, but Yu-Gi-Oh, Lord of the Rings, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have fallen off the top-ten list completely, to be replaced by Glee, Hetalia: Axis Powers, and Pokémon. See Top 20 Fandoms of 2010: Table 4 (Accessed February 19, 2011). As of 2013, story counts for the top ten are as follows: Harry Potter (665K), Naruto (348K), Twilight (214K), Inuyasha (111K), Glee (100.0K), Hetalia - Axis Powers (96.0K), Supernatural (88K), Bleach (75.6K), Kingdom Hearts (70.4K), Pokémon (67.1K).
  13. All figures in the Types of Fandoms section are compiled from viewing the site as at February 2010.
  14. As of 29 November 2013, the top five cartoon fandoms were Avatar: Last Airbender (37.2K stories), Teen Titans (35.4K), Transformers/Beast Wars (23.1K), Danny Phantom (16.8K), and My Little Pony (16.8K). Cartoons index page.
  15. As of 29 November 2013, Wrestling had 35K stories, almost twice as many as the second largest category, "Misc. Books" (19K). Misc index page.
  16. TV shows by popularity (Accessed 29 November 2013.) As of November 2010, there were over 12,000 fics for each of the following shows (in descending order): Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Stargate SG-1, NCIS, House, M.D., Stargate Atlantis, Gilmore Girls, Bones, Glee, One Tree Hill, and Smallville. TV shows by popularity (Acessed 2010-11-23)
  17. These figures were generated on February 23, 2010. The number of fics visible when viewing the fandom doesn't match the total listed on the index page, and new works are constantly uploaded, so the totals and percentages are approximate. Language names are taken from the FF.Net dropdown.
  18. WWW.FANFICTION.NET UPDATE! Jan 20,1999, post by Xing Li at, January 19, 1999
  19. WWW.FANFICTION.NET Update for April 19, 1999; archive link, post by Xing Li at on April 19, 1999, also posted to alt.startrek.creative.erotica; archive link
  20. WWW.FANFICTION.NET UPDATE FOR 7/28/1999!, post at rec.arts.horror.written
  21. Xfiles and's the connection? =), post by Xing Li, September 24, 1998
  22. These are many of the same arguments made about FanLib about ten years later.
  23. WWW.FANFICTION.NET Update for April 19, 1999; archive link, post by Xing Li at on April 19, 1999, Also posted to alt.startrek.creative.erotica; archive link
  24. WWW.FANFICTION.NET UPDATE FOR 7/28/1999!, post at rec.arts.horror.written
  25. OT: I LOVE , a comment at, December 20, 2000
  26. OT: I LOVE , a comment at, December 20, 2000
  27. "'s unexpected outage continues. Our best estimates indicate it could be down until the 8th-9th of August, depending on the exact nature of the problem." -- a repost on rec.arts.anime of an official FFN message, dated August 1, 2001
  28. both messages from still down... at
  29. goog fanfiction sites other than
  30. Solution to Story Updates (Accessed 10 April 2011)
  31. FanFiction.Net Error Type 2 Workaround(Accessed 10 April 2011)
  32. Symbol Solution by Toboe LoneWolf on Geocities. (Accessed 15 September 2009) via Wayback.
  33. Misshapen Story (Accessed February 19, 2011)
  34. a reminder: always keep in mind the source and context
  35. accessed July 18, 2011
  36. See Talk Page Discussion referring to email correspondence from the time.
  37. One of the many FanFiction.Net Petitions; reference link. See also Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Choice?; reference link.
  38. On July 18, 2011, filtering the Screenplays category to Indonesian returns 1,335 results out of 2,515 in total.
  39. A look at the Supernatural category on July 18, 2011 showed a J2 story on the first page of results.
  40. [April 19, 1999]: "Archive your fanfics on and expand your audience reach.... Again, if you have any suggestions for the site just email me and I will do my best to meet your desires. Remember that your input shapes the future of Until next time, adios! Xing" -- alt.startrek.creative.erotica; archive link
  41. "To even GET to the adult stuff, there's at least three controls that have to be passed through, a box to pull down to even see the listing of works higher than PG-13, then a pop up warning box, then then fic itself, which most responsible authors... put their own warnings." -- NC-17 Petition (Was: Re: Join the protest of; archive link, post at, September 13, 2002
  42. Empty forum with Subscribers (Accessed February 19, 2011)
  43. Empty General Forums (Accessed February 19, 2011)
  44. Reaction to the Forum Purge (Accessed February 19, 2011)
  45. FanFiction.Net Front Page (Accessed February 19, 2011)
  46. FanFiction.Net Got Hacked? With typos?!, posted January 13, 2011, Kelviniana, Archived version
  47. Personal Messages to be Purged on FanFiction.Net, posted November 26, 2010, archived by Kelviniana, Archived version
  48. Personal Messages to be Purged on FanFiction.Net, posted November 26, 2010, Kelviniana, Archived version
  49. Script format ban on FanFiction.Net - Kelviniana, Archived version
  50. The F.A.Q. -Frequently Asked Questions- Cornucopia - Critics United Forum, Archived version, July 5, 2012
  51. at PB Works, Archived version
  52. comment by Celestial Maiden at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  53. comment by DiamondDustPixie at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  54. comment by tulleskirt at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  55. comment by Celestial Maiden at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  56. comment by Daphne at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  57. comment by NetherPhoenix at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  58. comment by RySenkari at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  59. comment by NetherPhoenix at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  60. comment by SuNnYDaZe at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  61. comment by The Only Way Out at bans songfics, April 28, 2005
  62. Forums » Writers Anonymous » Petition: Deleting signed reviews (Accessed 11 Aug 2010)
  63. AllExperts > Encyclopedia FanFiction.Net (Accessed 11 Aug 2010)
  64. Welcome (Accessed November 21, 2010)
  65. FanFiction.Net users (Accessed November 21, 2010)
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