|See also:||Kink, Meme, Prompt, Fill|
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Fans post prompts, which can range from the very vague to so exact they are nearly story outlines, and other fans fill the request by responding with custom-made fan works, usually fanfic, but sometimes with fan art.
Most kink memes will have content that meets either or both fannish definitions of kink, and not all fills are sexually explicit. The anonymous nature of the meme permits both prompters and fillers to have fewer inhibitions in making and filling requests, and may be a way for new fans to feel more comfortable about participating. 
Fills are not always short. Even though the structure favors commentfic-length fic, some very long stories have been written, which requires posting in multiple parts. Pairing: Pendragon/Merlin was begun on the kinkme_merlin meme in 24 parts and was moved to a consolidated set of posts on a related journal by the mod when it was finished. Many fills start out as WIPs, and many of those are abandoned and remain unfinished. Fans may use the tracking features of Livejournal to monitor when new parts to their favorite stories are posted.
Some fans do claim their work, either immediately or after the run of a particular meme, but much work remains forever anonymous. Some fans have raised concerns about the large amount of fic that is only ever posted in comments on Livejournal communities and never archived elsewhere. Other fans prefer the culture of anonymity that a kink meme fosters and use sites like delicious to organize their favorite fills for future reference. Some kink memes have their own official delicious lists that allow readers to search by pairing, kink or character, and to find unfilled prompts.
Popularity of new fandoms can often be gauged by how fast a kink meme shows up for the fandom. 
Kink memes began in 2007 in anime fandom and spread like wildfire. The earliest kink meme was started by ketsumetsu in Bleach fandom on May 7 or 8; the post was rewritten and dated July 1, but the first comment, a request, was dated May 8. Within a few weeks the idea had already spread to several other anime and video game fandoms, plus a Spanish-language Harry Potter community. By October 2007, evergrnterrace started compiling a huge masterlist of kink memes, mostly anime fandom.
Many of the memes in that masterlist were hosted in one post of an LJ community or LJ user's personal account, rather than having a dedicated LJ comm, as many later kink memes did. A good example is The Phoenix Wright Kink Meme, based on the series of Japanese games. It had its first post on 0ctober 31 2007 and has been running continually ever since, billing itself as the longest running kink meme on the internet. As of 2015 it was on its 28th part. Its first six years were hosted on a personal LJ account, only moving in 2013 to a dedicated comm on Dreamwidth.
There appears to have been some wank surrounding the moderation of the first kink meme; not only did ketsumetsu update their post with references to entitled commenters, but also a later Bleach meme opened their first round with "The Bleach Anonymous Kink Meme finally has a permanent home! Now without wankerific mods who take the internet srsly!", though this could be a reference to another Bleach kink mod in the interim who failed to live up to expectations. In 2013, someone on fail_fandomanon commented,
It is safe to say that for this meme, at least the first several pages of it, are all Lys and her lj friends because while it was a public post, this wasn't cross-posted to fic comms or Bleach comms to drum up participation. I point that out only because it's interesting that such a fandom zeitgeist like this just popped up totally organically in someone's lj who was nerding out with their friends...this is also the reason it, and many of the other proto-kinkmemes were hosted in individual's ljs before they became more of an anon-comm thing. And the main reason this one got shut down with the angry message up top that there is now. I think once people caught on to the fun, tons of kinkmeme's popped up with varying levels of participation, quality, and moderation. Lys just wasn't interested in moderating a sprawling, long-running meme like the one hers turned into and because it was anon, people were dicks about the lack of moderation so she shut it down.
A Change in How Kink is ViewedA fan remembers the days before kink memes and how the writing and acceptance of kink has changed:
Having written slash pre-kinkmeme and post-kinkmeme, I can tell you one thing that’s changed: writers used to be mainly inhibited by fear that their story might be too outrageous. Now that everyone is able to post outrageously kinky things as Anons, people have instead become more inhibited by the unprecedented number of complaints that are leveled by other fans with the privilege of going Anon.
Here’s a true story, which illustrates how pre-kinkmeme fandom could inhibit a writer: Back in 2002, I wrote a scene that included snowballing. I showed it to two friends, and both said, “Ew, gross.” I thought, “Oh, whoops, my bad, too kinky.” And so I left it out of the final draft.
Cut to nine years later, when I read the Sherlock kinkmeme for the first time. I was flabbergasted, in the best way possible. “Jesus,” I thought, “not only do these Anons want snowballing, they want rimming, they want fisting, spanking, pissing, medfet, DP, tentacles, they want John coming on Sherlock’s face, they want Lestrade coming on Sherlock’s face, they want Moriarty coming on Sherlock’s face…” … Back in those days, it was a much bigger deal to criticize things you didn’t like in fic, because you didn’t want to be That Fan, who pissed in everyone’s cornflakes. Very few fandoms had fics in the triple digits, so most slash readers would hope that a lousy writer got better over time, rather than criticize her and risk scaring her away entirely.Now that readers can go Anon, complaints are more common (though I wouldn’t go so far as to say ubiquitous). Maybe you’re on the rant post and you see someone sound off about “all these stupid fics where Sherlock wants to have sex with John ‘as an experiment.’” What you might miss is the response to that post, where another Anon says, “Actually, I like experiment!sex. I think it’s fun and silly and awesome.” 
Kink memes have been linked to imbroglios and wankwhen fans raise concerns about prompts or fills containing offensive content: "I don't care that kink memes 'aren't politically correct!'. There is a difference between a kink and showing your actual real life racism/sexism/whatever. If there's a problem specific to this meme- like, say, treatment of Uhura- use some damn common sense and think that hey, whether *you* feel it's fair or not, it's a touchy subject for people and maybe you should consider your prompts about her character differently than other characters."  There is a belief among many fans that kink memes have different rules, that nothing should stand in the way of freely requesting kinks by any definition of the word. Other fans believe that pointing out and discussing requests or fills that they think reinforce harmful racist stereotypes is not something that a kink meme should be exempt from. 
Many kink memes have begun to restrict what types of prompts may be posted, even banning some kinks that are very popular in fandom. For example, a Hawaii Five-0 kink meme has banned any mention of incest in prompts, despite the fact that two of the four main characters are related.
- List of Kink Memes on Fanlore
- Kink Memes FTW posted by evergrnterrace is an alphabetized list of kink memes on various journaling services. Last updated December 17, 2008
- 4theloveofkink "LJ Kink Meme Listings and Database powered by user submissions" LiveJournal community. (plus Dreamwidth version.) 2009 - present
- Kink Meme entry @ TV Tropes
- Kink Finders, a multifandom Fic Finding community on Dreamwidth devoted to helping requesters find stories in various fandoms that include the (traditional or narrative) kinks they're looking for
- Thinky Thoughts: Kinkin' and Pimpin!, posted by vulgarweed on October 30, 2009, accessed January 12, 2010; WebCite.
- Tell me about your problems! post by brownbetty, posted May 9, 2011, accessed May 13, 2011
- Sherlockkink profile showing the community was started the day after the Sherlock Holmes (2009) movie premiered, accessed January 12, 2010
- The clampkink_meme credits the idea for kink memes to ketsumetsu. FIRST ROUND OF THE CLAMP ANONYMOUS KINK MEME., posted May 25, 2007. Accessed January 5, 2014.
- ketsumetsu. BLEACH KINK MEME, PORNOPALOOZA, LiveJournal post dated 1 July 2007. Accessed January 5, 2014.
- ketsumetsu. Bleach Kink Meme Archive. LiveJournal post May 11, 2007. Accessed January 5, 2014.
- First post of the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme on LiveJournal, dated October 31 2007
- The kink meme banner, which reads: "Phoenix Wright Kink Meme, the longest runnning on the internet, since 2007!"
- The Phoenix Wright Kink meme on Dreamwidth.
- bleachanonkink. The Bleach Anonymous Kink Meme, posted March 6, 2008. Accessed January 5, 2014.
- December 21, 2013 comment] in fail_fandomanon. Accessed January 5, 2014.
- Berlynn Wohl's Awesome Slash Tutorial For Cool People, December 21, 2011
- Fandom, its kicking, sparkly pony and the right of reasonable protest, posted by jazzypom on September 15, 2009, accessed January 12, 2010; WebCite.
- Ok, so., mod post on kink meme for Star Trek (2009), accessed January 12, 2010
- Comment discussion in a post regarding the Holmes/Watson kink meme on Livejournal, accessed May 14, 2010; WebCite.