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Name: FictionAlley
Date(s): 2001-present
Fandom: Harry Potter
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screenshot of the main page; the images are the entry to different parts of the site

Fiction Alley is an archive for Harry Potter fan fiction that is divided into four different so-called houses: Schnoogle for novel-length stories of all genres, TheDarkArts for stories with darker themes like angst, AstronomyTower for romance fanfic and Riddikulus for humourous stories. Each house is associated with a color of one of the houses from the book series: Schnoogle has a green theme, TheDarkArts is blue, the AstronomyTower is red, and Riddikulus is yellow.

It also has an extensive set of forums for discussion of the characters, locations and individual books and movies as they came out, called Fiction Alley Park. The Park is notable among fandom forums for content requirements: members are only allowed to make "one liner" posts in a few specified places, correct capitalization is expected and spelling and grammar must be readable. These requirements allowed the site to claim educational motivations for the forums which aided the site in gaining non-profit status.


One of its founders is Heidi Tandy [1] who registered the domain name on July 4, 2001. [2]

One early staff member was Flourish Klink; she joined FictionAlley at the age of thirteen. [3]


FictionAlley was formed in the summer of 2001 to be a "community in which no person would be unreasonably censored or senselessly banned"[4] as a response to Cassandra Claire's deletion from See Draco Sinister.

  • On August 2003, they uploaded their 20,000th fic/chapter. [5]
  • In 2004, FictionAlley was incorporated as a non-profit in the USA. [6]
  • In July 2006, there were 10,000+ authors and over 30,000 fics. [7]

Leveraged FanFiction.Net's Downtime

FictionAlley cleverly capitalized on FanFiction.Net's persistent and extensive downtime in 2001 to entice readers to its newly-opened site.

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)... [8]

A 2004 Comments About Submissions, and Adult Content

Heidi8, FictionAlley's founder, commented at 'Elite' archives?, a post discussing fiction archives and their policies:

Actually, we also check for "originality" [as well decent grammar and spelling] and need a fic to have 75% original content before we host it and that's mostly to prevent things like what happened last week, when someone submitted the script from Beauty & the Beast with only character name changes. Now, I'm not saying that putting HP characters into other universes is inherently bad - I did it myself with Pride & Prejudice, and I've included a lot of lines from Emma in my fic Guileless, for the CCC challenge, but if we allowed people to upload things without having that "original to the submitter" marker, we'd end up hosting a lot of those "search & replace" scripts. As it is, we allow people to use the plot and a lot of dialogue, as long as they change enough to hit that 3/4 mark.

We have been criticized over the years for being too harsh, for not being harsh enough, for allowing Mary Sues, for not banning silly romances and "uncanonical" things like "Remy" and "Siri" and snogs between Harry and Draco and the like, so we're used to not being able to please everyone, but we were the *first* archive in the fandom to have any minimum standards for grammar & spelling, while not placing restrictions on plot. When we started FA, the only archives in the fandom were ffn (which was down for most of the summer of 2001 (which is one of the reasons why FA was founded in the first place)) and Sugarquill, which placed restrictions of plot and characterization on the authors they hosted - I think that given their current structure, they probably qualify as an invitation-only site, which is very different from the structure on FA, and possibly closer to the way DA is now (and I notice I'm no longer hosted there; should probably pop over and ask the mods why).

Also, when we started, we were closer to Skyehawke in that when an author's fic was submitted and had reasonably good grammar & spelling, we'd upload the rest of that fic regardless of the SPaG. But that grew into an untenable situation, as people had one chapter beta read, and then gave up, which is why you'll see a lot of the fics from 2001 and early 2002 with dialogue punctuation, use of "Hermoine" and other misspellings, etc. We don't do that any more, and haven't in almost two years, but we got a lot of grief when we changed to require reasonable SPaG in all chapters.

When it comes to canon coherence, if you slap an AU label on something, we'll let you get away with anything, But the original inspiration for the requirement came from me seeing a fic where James, Sirius, Remus, Severus, Lucius and Tom Riddle were all the same year.

Basically, we needed a way to try and cause authors to be familiar with the text of the books, either by reading or listening to them, themselves, or using the Lexicon or another resource as a guide. It's not hard, and it helps to weed out the I WROTE THIS FIC IN 4 MINUTES IN MATH CLASSSS WHILE HIGH ON MOUNTAIN DEW WHEEEEEEEEEE submissions.

The original plan had been to have the NC17 stories archived separately from the rest of FA. FA was technically planned in June/early-July 2001, launched in mid-July with Schnoogle, and the rest of the fic houses at the end of July. We had *always* planned to take ArtisticAlley live in the Spring, and also launch an NC17 archive then. And yes, FFN was hosting NC17 fics, so there didn't seem to be a real rush to create the NC17 section.

The reason for keeping them separate was that a number of our mods, including Flourish, Colin, Rex, Starling, Priscilie, Mack, Phil, etc., were under 18, and we thought it would be too difficult to keep them from being exposed to the NC17 stories, and still host them on the site, in part because Flourish and Colin were so active in the (then entirely manual) uploading process that summer and fall. When Stacey (Phatgirlfics, now Phatphatkitty) came on in the early fall, it was with the expectation that she and Gwendolyn Grace would work to create the NC17 version of FA - "Arrowtick Alley" was the original name plan.

But in the Spring, various Veelas talked with Stacey about the archive, and there were some machinations there which I didn't know about until after the fact, and Stacey asked us to bring Kissaki (machiavelian) on to FA so she could learn the ropes, with an expectation of starting an NC17 archive in 2002 that would be a sister site to FA. Stacey had a falling-out with FA in August of 2002 and quit working with FA then, but Kissaki was still part of FA, and that September, when FFN went down in their lie-filled "commemoration of 9/11" gesture, which was really done so they could tuck away the NC17 stories [9], Kissaki, along with a number of FA staffers (including some people who are still on staff for both sites) started work on

So basically, was created as an FA sistersite, and we still do think of it that way. It was founded on similar principles, by many of the same people, and with a similar structure. And given the way domain names and passwords work on the internet, and the way the sites are hosted, it's sort of working well this way. At least, I hope to think so...

A 2007 Recap of FictionAlley's History

What is FictionAlley?

FictionAlley was founded in the summer of 2001 by a dozen Harry Potter fans - mostly fanfic writers and artists. FictionAlley was created to archive all Harry Potter fanfic, regardless of the SHIP, as long as the story met a reasonable standard for grammar and spelling, and did not merit an "adults only" rating. All of the founding mods desired a community in which no person would be unreasonably censored or senselessly banned - a place where people could state their ideas and engage in spirited and thought-provoking debates, discussions, and analysis. FictionAlley also created a beta reader exchange and writing discussion boards, which rapidly grew into FictionAlley Park. The Park hosts over one million discussion posts and over a million reviews from nearly 60,000 registered users on topics ranging from analysis of individual characters and scenes from the Harry Potter books and films to the development of original writing.


In 2003, FictionAlley launched a new chat room for its users, expanded the educational mission of the site, and supported Nimbus - 2003: A Harry Potter Symposium, that was held July 17 - 20, 2003 in Orlando, Florida. In 2004, FA introduced The Knight Bus, a section for the posting of "real life" events for fandomers, and began a revamp of the fic hosting system. In April 2004, FictionAlley was nominated for a WEBBY Award and in the fall of 2004, FictionAlley was granted 501(c)(3) status by the US IRS as an educational entity. In the spring of 2005, FictionAlley was nominated for a Prix Ars Electronica award; the Prix Ars is considered the Nobel Prize of web awards. During July, 2005, in connection with the release of Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, FA joined with other sites in organizing line parties at bookstores around the world. In 2006, FictionAlley launched HarryPotterWiki, the first wiki to blend information about the Harry Potter book series' characters, places, magic and things, with fan theories, stories, art, vids and music. FA has also launched SpellCast a podcast that focuses on fan-events and fan creativity. To let us know about a particularly creative fan or group of fans, email us at FictionAlley has also been a regular sponsor of events at Harry Potter conferences, conventions and symposia around the world. In October, 2005, FA sponsored art and story booths at The Witching Hour, as well as a "trial" of Severus Snape at Accio in the United Kingdom; in November, 2005, FA worked with other sites to organize showings of Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire at IMAX theaters around the world. In 2006, FA sponsored the Common Room and an art/fic booth at Lumos, the first Harry Potter symposium on the West Coast

2007 will find FictionAlley virtually traveling the world, as the host and sponsor of Artists & Authors Night at Phoenix Rising , May 17-21 in New Orleans, then as a sponsor of Sectus in London in July, 2007, and of Prophecy 2007 in Toronto, Canada, August 2-5, 2007. [10]

A 2011 Description FictionAlley

In 2011, one of FictionAlley's founders gave an extensive interview at Slashcast. Some excerpts are below:

Heidi: Well, I was one of the dozen or so people who founded it. Back in, oh god, February or March of 2001, Harry Potter for Grownups decided to stop allowing discussion of fanfic on the main list, and split off into three lists. Before that you could discuss pretty much any Harry Potter-relate topic on the main list. So, at that point, fanfiction was splintered off into another list. There were a lot of Yahoo groups for fanfic at that point. At that point, Yahoo Groups were a place to archive your fic...

Because it was free, and if you wanted webspace that wasn't anywhere that was completely ad-riddled, like GeoCities, then you needed to basically use a Yahoo group. And was fine, and a lot of people put their stuff there, but they had some massive amounts of downtime in the spring of 2001. And there were server issues and things like that, and people just couldn't upload their stories when they wanted to, or edit it when they wanted to, so like being on a Yahoo group, you had a little bit more control. But even a Yahoo group, because even of the limitation of the size- of the number of files and the size of the files, and the way it was moderated and things like that, nobody really felt like that was a permanent solution. So there was talk all through the spring about setting up a website that would host fanfiction. So we took control of our own place, and we started uploading stories all through the month of July, launched it with the novels-focus section, Schnoogle, almost exactly ten years ago this week. And about two or three weeks later, the other – once that had basically been tested and it was working, we set up another three sites to host – Riddikulus, for humorous fics, Astronomy Tower for anything that was romantic, because the trope at that point was that every character went up to the Astronomy Tower to snog somebody else... And The Dark Arts for anything that was dramatic or angsty or mysterious – basically it was the catch-all category. And then we went live with FictionAlley Park, also in August of 2001, and it was getting a lot of traffic basically from the very start...

Well, one of the unique things FictionAlley was doing was we would host fics no matter what the ship, or no matter who the character. All it had to do was take place in the Wizarding world, or in an AU of the Wizarding world. And that was something that no site other than was doing

Emma: Oh, that's right, because the Sugar Quill was around at that time as well, wasn't it?

Heidi: Yeah, they had gone live February or March, maybe January, possibly earlier, and there were other sites. There was a girl named Eliza Dyonus Snape [?], and she would archive stories that were Snape-centric as long as they were het or gen and PG rated. And there were other people who would put together lists or even host stories on their own webspace, that were ship-specific or character-specific. But like I said, we didn't really have a fantastic Google search engine back then, I mean, Google existed, but it wasn't that great, so it was hard to find things unless everything was in the same place. And you know, that was also the early days of LiveJournal. That really wasn't thought of at that point as a place to archive your stories, although it was certainly a place to talk about them

Emma: Right, and I also remember the importance of it – I was in a different fandom at that time, but I remember the importance of archives then, and just being able to find things. And if you had something that you were looking for, that was even remotely, let's say, controversial, and if you were looking - the fandom I was in, chan was a big thing, um or RPF was just almost unallowed at the time, and so at the time there were mailing lists where people would say, you know, "you can't have this; you can't have that," and it's very different from the culture we have today, which I would say is mostly livejournal based, and really everything goes. And we've almost gone completely in the other direction, where before, you know, there were these archives and lists that were very specific about what was allowed and what was not, and now you're [not even really allowed to] criticize somebody else's ideas about what should be in fic. It's fascinating, what's happened in the last couple of years.

Heidi: It is, and if you go back through some of the posts on fictionalley from, um, I think 2004, we had a couple of the long time FictionAlley users who decided that we shouldn't be hosting any fics that contained bestiality, intergenerational ships, or underaged ships. Basically we got into a debate with some of the users who wanted us to bad all of these things because they felt it was unbecoming for their stories to be hosted on a site that hosted such illicit and atrocious topics. Obviously we took the American Library Association position that, as long as a story had an accurate summery, you know, the same way that books should have their content summarized on a flyleaf or on the back so that people know what a story is about in vague terms, that we weren't going to ban any topics or any discussions as concepts from FictionAlley, you know, we were going to continue our position of hosting everything, you know, as long as the grammar and spelling was reasonably okay. There's probably 250 posts on that thread, just it's a really interesting sort of slice of discussion within fandom circa that time. [11]

Opening Posts: Introductions

From July 6, 2001, the first post to the sites Yahoo Group was by Heidi8:
Welcome to all of you - you writers of novel-length fics (or fic arcs, which can count too)

We've set this list up as an informational place, where you can learn more about - which we hope will be the central Harry Potter fanfiction site. We're still in the process of setting up the backend and the site's policies, so we probably won't have answers to all your questions yet...but things are moving along among the SchnoogleMods.

"Schnooglemods? What's that?"

Well, here's the situation. FictionAlley is going to be the OverSight for the archive - and there are going to be 4 houses - one for novel-length fics (, and (most probably) one for romance, one for humor and one for darkfics (mystery, romance, etc.) - the other 3 houses will not be "novel-length fics", though.

We've looked over sites from other fandoms, like the Star Wars site at, for organizational inspiration, we're perfecting our HTML and database skills and we're putting together a menu of excellent resources and treats for the readers and writers.

Schnoogle is going to be the first of the FictionAlley sites to go up - we have an ideal soft launch date in the next week or so (: crosses fingers) and the other houses should launch shortly thereafter. If everything goes as we hope, at least a skeletal version of FictionAlley should be ready to go up on Harry's 21t Birthday.

At the moment, we're trying to keep the number of authors low, so we can get everything up & working with a limited number of fics - and we are going to have technical standards (minimum length of chapters, minimum length of completed fics, requested spell-checking and Lexicon-checking (in other words, spell the words the way they are in the book wherever possible)) since at least in the immediate future, all the fic-uploading we do will be by hand.

We're still working on the exact policies, and will post them here shortly.

FictionAlley should be at least 83% fun - yes, everyone will likely get the occasional UnFun flame, but on any given day, visiting FictionAlley should not be something that stresses you out :)

Happy to see you here!

Heidi [12]
One of the first posts to the forum was Cassandra Claire:
One: I'm Cassandra Claire, I've got a trilogy of "Draco stories" in the works, starting with Draco Dormiens, continuing on through Draco Sinister, and finishing up with Draco Veritas, in which I kill all my characters to prevent myself from writing yet another sequel and blowing the whole 'trilogy' concept.

Two: Um, "Cassandra Claire" is fine. Pen name comes from Jane Austen's "The Beautiful Cassandra."

People tend to call me Cassie or Cass, although I don't particularly like Cass. *glares pointedly at Simon.*

Nice to see you all here!

Cassie [13]

Some Historical Screenshots

Who's Who: 2007

Who's Who at FictionAlley:

FictionAlley is operated by FAWC, a Minnesota nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3).

As of September 1, 2006, the members of the board are Heidi Tandy (President), Paul Kippes, Jason Fraser, Sara Goetz and Robert Standring. Paul Kippes serves as Interim Treasurer and Merin Bears serves as Secretary.

The day-to-day operations on FictionAlley are handled by a wonderful team of devoted volunteers who read, code and upload stories and moderate the boards in the Park. The Park moderators are listed here; if you have any questions about an individual board or forum, please contact one of the mods for that forum.

Fics submitted to FictionAlley are processed by the fic intake team; once an author has submitted ten fics without having any returned as because of NC-17 content or significant spelling and/or grammar issues can apply for queue bypass status. If you're interested in being a part of FA's Fic Intake Team, this quiz is for you.

All new members of FictionAlley are welcomed to the site by our E-Mentors; we have a team of about 45 E-Mentors from almost a dozen countries.

Since the summer of 2002, a revolving board of Nifflers has recommended fanfics that are particularly interesting, well written, and/or creatively characterized. [14]


  • Schnoogle - hosts all novel length fanfiction
  • The Dark Arts -
  • Astronomy Tower
  • Riddikulus
  • Artistic Alley
  • Fiction Alley Park - the message board community
  • HP Ink Pot - hosts essays written on the fandom
  • Harry Potter Wiki


From a March 2003 post:
Dear Park Denizens:

Last spring, FictionAlley implemented an innovative program to help newbies grow accustomed to life in and around the Park. Almost a year and thirteen thousand newly registered members later, the FictionAlley eMentors program has grown to include thirty happy bouncy-schnoogly eMentors, showering lots of loff and care on all who register on our site.

Some of our eMentors' RL situations have changed... and although we'll hate to see them go, we must look towards the future (towards Nimbus - 2003 and the release of OotP!) It is time to replenish our supply of eMentors!

If you're an oldbie (in other words, if you've been a registered user for over three months from the time the application is due) and would like to be an eMentor, take a look at the application at the bottom of this post. Then, cut & paste the answers into an email, put your User Name and the word "EMENTOR" in the subject, and send the email to

Note: If you've accrued more than one point for ToU violations in the past four months, you'll have to wait for the next round of eMentor selections.

You don't have to answer every question correctly - but at least 75% have to be correct. Remember - all the answers are on FA (including the Point Me! page, FAQ and Newbie's Guide), and if you're really an oldbie, you should know them, or at least know where to go for the answers. If you don't know the answers, you're probably still a newbie and we loff you and you should wait a few more months before

you apply to be an eMentor. [15]


It has come to the attention of the officers and directors of FictionAlley that allegations as to improper citation of sources have been made against fics posted by Heidi, Cassandra Claire and Ebony.

Such allegations have to be taken seriously, and, accordingly, the authors and the mods have been given time to consider the allegations, and for the authors to edit the fics concerned. As Cassandra Claire had already decided to delete her fics for unrelated reasons they will not be restored; the other authors are or are in the process of editing, and revised versions either have been or will be posted in due course.

FictionAlley's TOS provide for a formal complaints procedure to be made to the ombudsbeing at for any concerns which Parkies have about site administration. Please make use of this channel in the event of any concerns which you may have about the site and its adminstration. [16]


  1. from fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World
  2. Who Is
  3. The Radical Idea that Children are People (June 10, 2009)
  4. A Bit About FictionAlley. (Accessed 08 May 2011.)
  5. untitled post, August 6, 2003
  6. Yay! We're a 501(c)(3); WebCite, October 27, 2004
  7. FictionAlley is turning Five!
  8. goog fanfiction sites other than
  9. see's NC-17 purge
  10. A Bit About FictionAlley; WebCite
  11. Slashcast Insider Interview with Heidi8
  12. "A new era in Harry Potter fanfiction has arrived," Heidi said egomaniacally, at FictionAlley Writers and Artists Yahoo Groups}}
  13. Re: [FictionAlleyWriters Re: Intro / "Pen Name" question : Cassandra Calire], July 6, 2001
  14. A Bit About FictionAlley; WebCite
  15. So you want to be an eMentor?, March 11, 2003
  16. Statement from the Administrators; [ WebCite]; FictionAlleyPark, August 19, 2006