|Synonyms:||disassociating creator name from a fanwork (without deleting it)|
|See also:||Archive of Our Own, Searching for Fanworks on the Internet, Sharing Deleted Fanworks; works by orphan account on AO3.|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The ability to orphan a fanwork is a feature offered by the Archive of Our Own (AO3), in which in a few clicks, a writer can permanently disassociate their name or pseud from a fanwork hosted at the archive. Thereafter, the writer's name associated with the fic will be "orphan_account" (or, if the writer so chooses, "[writer's pseud] orphan_account") -- and the writer will no longer be able to edit or otherwise modify the fic.
Orphaning a work at the AO3 can be seen as a reader-friendly alternative to completely deleting a work (from the archive or other locations on the Internet), as it allows readers who know the title of the fic to search for and find it, and includes the fic in search results at the AO3 for readers looking for specific tags, pairings, or other relevant criteria, but still lets the writer disassociate their (current) pseud from fic they no longer wish to be explicitly associated with for whatever reason.
As of January 2012 over 1200 stories have been orphaned on AO3.
From the Archive FAQ:
What is orphaning?
Orphaning is an alternative to deleting a work that you no longer want to be associated with. It permanently detaches the work from your account and re-attaches it to the specially created orphan_account. Please note that this is permanent and irreversible; you are giving up control over the work, including the ability to edit or delete it.
Orphaning is a way to remove your connection to your works without taking them away from fandom altogether. We hope this account will be used by people who wish (for whatever reasons) to retire from fandom but are willing to allow their works to remain in the Archive. Works orphaned in this way will be maintained by the Archive to be enjoyed by future fans; existing bookmarks and links will not break. This function means that users can continue to share their contributions to fandom while having their privacy respected.
What information is removed when a work is orphaned?
- Your name is removed from the author byline on the work and all its chapters.
- Your name is removed from any comments you have left on the work.
What options are available?
There are a number of orphaning options available. You can choose to:
- Orphan a single work - from the 'Edit' page for the work.
- Orphan all your works - from the 'My Preferences' page on My Home.
- Orphan all works posted under a specific Pseud - from the 'My Pseuds' page on My Home.
Once you have decided which work(s) you wish to orphan, you have two options:
- Use the default orphan pseud. The work will be transferred to the orphan_account and the default orphan_account pseud. The byline on the work will read 'orphan_account'.
- Make a copy of your pseud under the orphan account. The work will be transferred to the orphan_account, but a new pseud will be created with the same name as the pseud you used to author the work. As an example: if you authored the work using the pseud 'awesomefangirl', after orphaning the byline will read 'awesomefangirl [orphan_account]'. While the pseud will no longer link back to your account, if you have a very distinctive pseud this option might still allow a reader to identify you as the author.
Can I orphan a work which I have co-authored with someone else?
You have the choice of either removing yourself as a co-author, or orphaning your part of the work (with the same pseud options as above). Your co-author will not be affected and will remain a co-author of the work.
What happens if I want to orphan a single work in a series?
You can orphan the work normally, and the byline will be changed to reflect the new author name. Please note that the work will not be removed from the series - if you want it to be removed, you should do this before orphaning the work. If the work is kept as part of the series, the orphan_account will be listed as one of the authors of the series.
- "When it came to translating the unique concept of “orphaning”, the German team took the feedback on the English term into account. Some Archive users had expressed their unease with the negative connotation of the word “orphan”, and because of the flexibility of German verbs compared to English ones, we could pick a less negative compound verb. Instead of our initial favourite, the vivid verb “auswildern” (“release into the wilds”) we ultimately agreed on the more positive “freisetzen” (literally: “set free”)." From the Spotlight on Translation Volunteers "OTW news" post of 20 Nov 2011. (Accessed 11 Jan 2012)
- works by orphan account at the AO3 = 1241 as of 11 January 2012.
- Archive FAQ: Orphaning (Accessed 11 Jan 2012).