|See also:||noromo, notp, ship war, shipper, anti-anti, Puriteen, Purity Culture in Fandom, Anti-fandom|
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Anti-shipper is a fannish term that has been around since X-Files fandom in the 1990s, but has taken on different meanings in different contexts. It generally refers to someone who opposes shipping or a certain pairing, which can be for various reasons. "Anti" is a related term that can indicate opposition to topics including or other than shipping.
History & Use
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy fandom in the early 2000s featured regular use of the term "Anti," but this term was applied broadly. The word anti often preceded a character name, narrative arc or ship, to illustrate a fans dislike of that character, narrative or ship. It was also applied to fans engaged in anti-shipping behaviours (possibly as an insult), but these fans do not appear to have self identified as antis.
Despite this, some of the arguments made by anti-shippers were very similar to moral arguments made on Tumblr over a decade later. Fans who opposed the pairing of Buffy/Angel often claimed that pairing was paedophilic, because Angel was 250 year old vampire and Buffy was 15/16 in season 1. Fans who opposed the pairing of Buffy/Spike often pointed to their violent interactions in canon and the abusive nature of the pairing.
Anti-Ship Art and Groups on DeviantArt
DeviantArt had clubs and other groups dedicated to ship hate and used the label of Anti.
Starting in 2008, in Invader Zim fandom the Anti-ZADR-Club hosted contests to create Anti-ZADR art, each with a unique theme, such as Jhonen Vasquez (creator of Invader Zim) reacting to it. Another such group was anti-knuxouge, founded in 2004. There were many anti groups in the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom, such as Anti-Couple clubs A-F, Anti-Couple clubs G-P, Anti-Couple clubs Q-Z, etc.
Anti-ship art often showed the two characters of a pairing being revolted by each other, one being frightened of the other, or both of them engaged in violent acts against each other. Anti-ship stamps were also popular.
There were also groups founded against certain types of ships in general rather than specific pairings. One group founded September 15, 2010 is titled Anti-Incest and has the motto: "Family is family, nothing more." This group was affiliated with a now-defunct group called Hetero-Pairings, which may or may not have been anti-yaoi. There were many anti-yaoi groups on DeviantArt. Many were fandom-specific, but others were more general, such as AntiYaoiFangirls, Down With Yaoi, or YaoiHatersFC, group "For artists above and against stereotyped art such as - yaoi, yuri, slash, hentai, mpreg, lolicon, and similar genres".
People against a certain ship would sometimes refer to themselves as Anti(Shipname). For instance, one anti-Shadamy stamp from 2010 has the description: "If your an Anti Shadamy then hope this pleases you". Another anti-Shadamy stamp posted in 2012 says to fav "if you're an anti Shadamy"
Another concept on DeviantArt was the "anti-couple", pairing that contradicted another pairing and is posed as an alternative to it. For instance, The-Anti-Sonamy-Fans shared art of Sonally (Sonic x Sally) and Shadamy (Shadow x Amy), which are both anti-couples to Sonamy (Sonic x Amy) because they pair Sonic and Amy with other characters.
A post from 2006 about "couple extremists" also complains of "anti people" and says they are both causing fandoms to "turn sour".
Use on 2010s Tumblr
Beginning circa 2016 in Tumblr and DreamWidth fandom, anti-shipper (or just an anti) has been used to describe fans who disapprove of a ship and its shippers due to the ship being considered problematic or morally wrong. This can include incest, non-con, and pedophilic ships, among other generally "unhealthy" ships. The opposite of an anti is an anti-anti, sometimes also called a pro-shipper for simplicities sake.
Fail_Fandomanon was discussing the phenomenon as early as October 2015, but the term itself may have appeared later. See the Fail_Fandomanon wiki entry. Closely tied to the concept of anti-shipper are "purity wank" and purity culture; see AO3 Content Discussion (2016).
Tumblr user wrangletangle relates the origin of Tumblr anti-shippers to the long-standing Tumblr etiquette of "don't tag your hate":
The “anti” problem arose because Tumblr has no functional community structure, meaning people started using the tags themselves to replace the communities from back on LJ. In that context, tagging a negative post with the tags that apply was making the posts show up in the only viable community structure, which was a violation of LJ etiquette (where communities were self-selecting and moderated). This was exacerbated by the lack of functional cut tags, so everything was all completely visible, and you had to scroll past every post in its entirety. The culture of “don’t post anti in the tag” was a social concept developed to deal with Tumblr’s non-functionality for fandom purposes.
In March 2017 an anon on Fail_Fandomanon elaborated on this origin story, explaining that the antishippers were told go to their own anti[ship] tag, which they did, and where they only interacted with like-minded people and therefore ended up radicalizing each other.
In February 2018 tumblr user and anti-antishipper freedom-of-fanfic argued that anti is a self-designation. A reblogger commented, "I’ve seen people describe themselves as 'an anti' in the meaning 'I am against pedophilic/incestuous ships and I will actively argue against their right to exist on the internet'."
Beliefs and Comments
Though all anti-shippers hold their own variable beliefs, in general anti-shippers from this context believe that "fiction does affect reality," and want to see certain types of content removed from website(s) or at least heavily hidden. This is in direct opposition with anti-antis, who believe fiction does not directly affect reality and that all ships are equally valid. For example, an anti may see the contentious furry fandom discourse surrounding baby-furs as something that needs monitoring. They may see artists who draw it as clear-cut pedophiles, and some may even believe baby fur art should be considered against the rules on sites such as Furaffinity and InkBunny, where such art is common and allowed. This is because they would see this type of art as harmful, and believe it directly aids in grooming children into believing NSFW of babies is okay, or that getting off on babies is okay. However, an anti-anti would disagree completely, believing that kink art of baby furries is acceptable, especially if the artists claims they create the art for "coping reasons."
Some anti-shippers create callout posts directed at artists who make art of or ship characters considered problematic, leading to many anti-antis to say that all anti-shippers are pro-harassment and doxxing. However, some surveys directed towards anti-shippers have responses from anti-shippers also disliking such behavior (see Discourse Demographics Survey (Voltron), where 57% of anti-shipper stated they discouraged harassment). Despite this, for many anti-antis anyone who self-labels as an anti-shipper is assumed to automatically be pro-harassment, and any support or perceived support of anti-shipper rhetoric seen as "harmful."
When a fan of HLVRAI named Metrix-86 was discovered to have a secret Twitter where he drew shota and non-con of the characters, he ended up with two written callout posts and a video essay on YouTube outing his actions. As a result, his art on Tumblr (and likely his ask box) received negative attention. Then, another example is SethPup, a popular furry who also had a secret Twitter, where he drew his fursona having sex with real puppies. He also had a callout post.
Anti-shippers see merit in callout posts, believing they help shame the behaviors that they see as deplorable and harmful to fandom communities or the world at large. Callout posts not only make others aware of an artist's actions, but sometimes also cause them to move off-site or go into hiding under a different name, giving the appearance of success for anti-shippers. However, a pro-shipper would see these "problematic" artists as defendable and sympathetic, with the act of making callout posts deplorable and akin to harassment. Pro-shippers also argue that harassing artists with problematic tastes and ships actually does little to help the community, and that in reality all that ends up happening is someone is harassed, with little positive affect.
Though there are a number of popular anti-anti blogs who speak out against harassment for any reason, there are also anti-anti blogs that are, ironically, run only as receipt blogs and callout post blogs for anti-shippers. For example, one anti-shipper named bendyhatespaedos made it their goal to dox pedophiles on Tumblr. At a time, this included doxxing minors as young as 12 for shipping children together, which bendyhatespaedos did not deny. Bendy's argument was that "pedophilia is pedophilia, no matter how you stylize it," though they stated they no longer doxxed children. Anti-antis responded by harassing and making fun of bendyhatespaedos, told them to delete their blog, and said that they should utilize the authorities rather than take matters into their own hands.
Another example is of a 2020 occurrence between a 26 year old pro-shipper named MariAkutsu and a 13 year old anti-shipper named Kalmintz on Twitter. Mari had uploaded a NSFW fanfic of the children's cartoon Glitch Techs, and only indicated that it was a smutfic with the tag lemons, a phrase not many younger fandom members may know the meaning of. Kal ended up opening the fanfic and realizing it was NSFW too late. Being a minor and uncomfortable with an untagged smutfic that featured aged-up children close to her own age, she spoke out against it. The author, Mari, would then go on to make a 500 page long callout post for the 13 year old. This may be one of the largest pro-shipping vs. anti-shipping issues to occur within the Glitch Tech fandom, and a good example of how even pro-shippers are not except from the behavior they usually abhor in anti-shippers.
Based on some of the back-and-forth from the "Anti Asshole Anti Archive" on Tumblr (since deleted), some members of both ideologies have been considered in poor taste and guilty of behavior considered to be harassment, despite both movements attempting to appear more "morally correct" than the other. For example, bendyhatespaedos was considered an "asshole anti" for doxxing a 12 year old. However, further up in the Asshole Anti Archive, the OP acknowledges that an anti-anti had begun posting explicit gore, maggots, and disturbing images on anti-shipper posts, which would have ultimately been seen by children.
Some argue that fans use the term "anti" derogatorily in order to shut down any discussion of morality in fanworks. For example, an anti with this belief would see a stray pro-shipping comment on a discussion about pedophilic ships as being used to ignore the issues of grooming in fandom, simply waving them off as being an "anti," acting as the "fandom police," or pro-censorship. Some antis may even believe that, broadly, pro-shippers themselves are pedophiles who are in defense of grooming.
The understanding of what an anti and an anti-anti are, and how modern fandom treats the discussion, vary across people and age. For example, a minor in the fandom may have different opinions on the issue than an adult. While some minors may be disturbed by pro-shipper art that features children (especially if drawn/written by adults), other minors may be pro-shippers themselves and see nothing wrong with it. Others may only object if such art is made explicit, but see general art as fine. Opinions from the Tumblr tag for "anti" and "anti shipper" are below.
Just so those “anti-anti” types who claim to be the real allies know, as a minor I have always felt so, so wary around you. You remind me so much of creepy people, especially men, who I have met IRL, and your attitude toward my objections about the work you produce (especially stuff involving adults and children and noncon) is flippant, disrespectful, and just plain shitty. If you’re a grown adult and think that consuming content that outright romaticizes p**ophilia is okay, take a long and hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re facilitating a culture that tried to groom me.Weaver-z, a minor, Jul 12, 2020
A friendly reminderPro-shipper Flies-for-brains, Jul 14, 2020
FICTION IS FICTION. FICTION IS FICTION. Fiction is FICTION. Fiction is Fiction. It’s not real. These fictional characters you fight tooth and nail for ARENT REAL.People can write and consume whatever they want because: it’s NOT REAL.
the reason we bring up our trauma when it comes to ‘shipping discourse’ is because we want people to realize just how fuckin serious what they’re doing is. ‘it’s just fiction!!1!’ no, it’s just just fiction, it’s the romanticization/fetishization of childhood trauma that’s created for the sole purpose of getting off to.Weirdcourse, Jan 15, 2020
Hoaxes about Anti-Shipper Violence
There have been at least two hoaxes directed at pinning anti-shippers as physically violent. The first hoax was a part of an actual violet act, but the subsequential fallout of the event spread untrue and uncredited theories. In 2017, an Undertale fanartist attending a con in Taiwan was gifted cookies by a stranger. The cookies turned out to have needles in them, and the artist was injured but lived, having not swallowed the needles. Though the artist has never actually stated anything about the motive of the stranger, and nothing came out of it in terms of police intervention, a rumor was spread online that it had been an anti-shipper who did it. This was because the artist in question shipped Chara and Sans from Undertale, a ship many anti-shippers abhor. Even in 2017, many of those who discussed the event understood that the claims of the assailant being an anti-shipper were unconfirmed. Despite this, people continued to perpetuate the idea that it was an anti-shipper without proof, and the theory still persists, unfounded.
While the "fan's" motives are not 100% confirmed, people are assuming that the motive was hatred of a ship the artist draws. I have not looked into this myself so if anyone can confirm, that would be great, but I have heard that the artist draws Sans/Frisk art. I do not know the nature of this art (one person I've seen said that Frisk is aged up, but, again, that's not something I can confirm), but I have seen some people react violently online to ships of this nature, so I would not be surprised if that was the reason.BabyCharmanderK, both confirming it was only a rumor but spreading the rumor regardless. May 11, 2017
The second hoax was directed at the Voltron fandom. A hoax spread that someone had sent the Voltron team cupcakes full of glass because their ship wasn't canon. There is little to no info on this hoax, and no news articles whatsoever, leaving most discussion of it within social media circles like Tumblr, Twitter, and Voltron's fandom wiki. What the non-canon ship was is unclear, leaving this hoax vague on whether or not it's about anti-shippers or pro-shippers. Depending on the ship it could be either, as some ships were disliked by anti-shippers while others were disliked by pro-shippers (see Voltron Controversies). Thus, who the hoax was about may depend on the perception of the viewer. The hoax resurfaced in 2021 due to someone on Twitter comparing MCYT's fans to Voltron fans. Even in 2020 and 2021, people still believe the hoax.
Pretty much the voltron fandom put glass in cupcakes and fed it to the dream works crew. It was a mess. I don't know all the details, but I do know that it was just one of many attacks. It you look it up, you should be able to find more information. Satmarie, 10/29/2020
my favorite twitter lie is the "glass cupcake voltron cupcakes" where theres just not any sources on it ever happening apparently lolTayGLisurfriend, Apr 2, 2021
Examples of pairings where anti-shippers have been active:
- Reylo from Star Wars: The Force Awakens - claims that it promotes domestic abuse and incest, though no blood relations have been confirmed by canon.[note 1]
- Kylux from Star Wars: The Force Awakens - claims that it promotes unhealthy darkfic and is racist due to shafting of an M/M ship between two men of color, Finn/Poe
- Sheith and any Shaladin pairings (ex: Shiro/Pidge, Shiro/Lance) from Voltron: Legendary Defender - claims that they promote pedophilia, though the showrunners themselves have avoided discussing character ages or have been inconsistent. After the release of later seasons, Sheith was attacked for also being incest (although they are not blood-related, flashbacks show Shiro taking a sort of older brother-figure role towards Keith)
- Chara/Sans from Undertale - claims that it promotes pedophilia (even in fanworks where Chara is aged up)
- Otabek Altin/Yuri Plisetsky from Yuri!!! on Ice - claims that it promotes pedophilia even though one character is 15-16 (by the end of the series) and the other is 18
- Arusigawa Juri/Kaoru Miki from Revolutionary Girl Utena - claims it's queer erasure (though many shippers do not deny Juri's attraction to women or her canon feelings for Takatsuki Shiori)
- Nino/Jaffar from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword - claims it promotes pedophilia due to a few years' age difference and Nino's innocent nature and youthful appearance.
- Any pairings involving Elise and Sakura from Fire Emblem Fates - claims they promote pedophilia despite Sakura and Elise being teenagers as well as legal marrying age by the standards of the game's setting
- Corrin/Xander - claims it promotes incest despite the two only being foster siblings and sharing no blood
- Berkut/Rinea from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia - claims it promotes domestic abuse due to Berkut going insane from demonic possession and shattering their formerly healthy and loving relationship.
- Any Byleth/student pairing from Fire Emblem: Three Houses - claims it promotes pedophilia and grooming due to Byleth having been a professor for any given house during part one, despite the fact that they cannot properly get together with any of their prospect lovers until after the final battle, which takes place after a years-long timeskip in which Byleth is no longer their actual teacher and the students are in their 20s.
- Balthus von Albrecht/Lysithea von Ordelia - claims it promotes pedophilia due to their large age gap. Like Byleth's marriages, characters who reach their highest support level do not properly get together until after the endgame.
- Simon Blackquill/Athena Cykes from Ace Attorney - claims it promotes pedophilia due to Simon having known Athena as a preteen child.
- Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski - claims it promotes pedophilia, and is racist due to shafting the main character, who is a man of color, Scott McCall
- Eren Jaeger/Levi Ackerman - claims it promotes pedophilia (15/30+) and abuse due to a scene where Levi physically assaults Eren
- Yoon Bum/Sangwoo from Killing Stalking - claims it promotes rape and abuse, due to Sangwoo doing exactly all of that to Yoon Bum
- BLMatsu (matsucest) from Osomatsu-san - claims it promotes incest due to being incest
- Elsa/Anna from Frozen - claims it promotes incest due to being incest
- Dipper Pines/Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls - claims it promotes incest due to being incest
- Sebastian Michaelis/Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler - claims it promotes pedophilia (Sebastian is over 100 years old, Ciel is 12-13)
- Pearl/Mayor Dewey from Steven Universe - claims it is lesbian erasure due to Pearl's lesbian-coding
- Hiro Himada/Tadashi Himada from Big Hero 6 - claims it promotes incest due to being incest
- Rick/Morty from Rick and Morty - claims it promotes incest and pedophilia (Rick is 70, Morty is 14)
- Snape/Harry and Snape/Hermione from Harry Potter - claims it promotes pedophilia
- Katsuki Bakugou/Midoriya Izuku from Boku no Hero Academia - claims that it promotes abuse apologism due to Bakugou's history of bullying Midoriya, although their relationship has since developed into a mutually beneficial rivalry.
- Remrom (Remus/Roman) from Sanders Sides - claims it promotes incest due to the characters being sibling-coded, and that it promotes rape/abuse and pedophilia due to the younger demographic of the fanbase.
- Beetlejuice/Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice - claims it promotes pedophilia due to Lydia having no canon age but being portrayed as a teenager
Meta either by anti-shippers or aligning with anti-shipper ideology.
- The Problem With “Fiction ≠ Reality”, a comprehensive Google doc by an anti-shipper.
- This Grown Adult Made A 500 Page Callout On A 13-Year-Old, video essay of an anti-anti vs. anti-shipper event by an anti-shipper. (December 2020)
- A note to all “pro shippers”, short piece by "an adult who is a victim of CSA influenced by fictional material" (April 2020)
- i dont trust posts like "some teens think adults shouldnt be in fandom but adult women are the most prolific fanfic writers/fanartists", short meta piece from Twitter (July 2021)
- They made a thread on why proshippers are a cult that targets children and nuerodivergents, post by a pro-shipper, but screenshots are antishipper meta. (July 2021)
- back at it again, anti-shipper meta by a kink blogger. (October 2020)
- Do Not Interact, a practice online of requesting that people of certain circles do not interact. "Proshippers DNI" is common.
Meta either by anti-antis or aligning with anti-anti ideology.
- early? example in Teen Wolf fandom: post by knottingwolves, with addition by plushstiel - outrage against moral policing of incest ships, with bonus argument that Sterek is worse because fandom doesn't acknowledge that it is problematic (March 2014)
- tumblr thread started by buckyballbearing - "prioritizing fictional characters over the needs of real women" (August 2016) (see I See A Lot Of Posts Going Around (Suppressing Women's Sexuality))
- What she says: I hate antis; What she really means... by reysistantis (October 31, 2016)
- Towards a working definition of “anti” Towards a working definition of “anti”, Archived version by shinelikethunder (December 14, 2016)
- antishipping as the cool new trend, or: why are most antis under 25 years old?, freedom-of-fanfic (June 2017)
- Could you talk some more about how current antis relate back to the LJ social justice scene and when the morph from debating fanworks to dissing people happened?; archive link, freedom-of-fanfic (July 2017)
- But I’m going to go more into how tumblr’s very structure led to a ‘race to the bottom’ sort of enacting of punishment via social justice, freedom-of-fanfic (July 2017)
- I wanted to address an ask you answered a few days ago about violence in m/m vs. f/f, a Tumblr thread (2017)
- klancers4sh3ith's Twitter page dedicated to the inner workings of the Voltron: Legendary Defender anti contingent. (August 2018)
- Toxic Fandom: When Criticism and Entitlement Go Too Far on geekdad.com. (October 2018)
- responses to the question would you say that "antis" are a predominant US phenomenon? compiled by Tumblr user fiction-is-not-reality2
- dynamicsymmetry: "There are a number of reasons why I'm very insistent on people not dismissing this movement in fandom as "only" fandom. It isn't going to stay confined to fandom. It's a worldview, and it's a poisonous and dangerous one.", Archived version (Sept 2019)
- fandom history lesson, Archived version; this will probably give you flashbacks but it's worth it to remind ourselves where we've been & where we still are, Archived version; A must-read. Before any younger or new members to fandom censure us for being "too permissive", or tar us with the same brush as literal criminals, this is why older (years/experience) fans are the way we are., Archived version (October 2020)
Longer discussions between several people across various ideologies.
- SHIP WARS: A Simple Guide for Fandom Tumblr post by shinykari, with arguments in the reblogs (February 3, 2016)
- Calling all fandom historians and academics, Archived version at fail_fandomanon (December 11, 2016)
- Usage of the term on alt.tv.x-files on 11.08.96 in the discussion Scully and Pendrell? by Angela D. Troiani
- Discussion on Stranger Things December 2004. References to "antis on the WB forum", and later anti-Cordy fans.
- Evilistas been refered to as anti-redemptionists here and the site Big Bad Forever self identifies as anti-redemptionist here
- Spike Anti-Redemptionistas on Dreambook. Comments include fan saying "I'm not anti B/A", and another fan referencing the"anti-Spuffy" page they created. Comments from 2002.
- Comment by verbalgirl77 on Babble Board thread "Leather Pants and Other Cures for Fandom Diseases." May 18, 2003, accessed June 22, 2019.
- Shipper/Board Wars.. Is one coming? comment by Dawny, July 2003.
- Anti shippings collection in moli456's favourites
- Anti Shadamy by Chichalovescandy, June 12, 2010
- Anti-Shadamy by xXAngelTheHedgehogXx, January 19, 2012
- We hate couple extremists! by AntiCoupleExtremists, December 4, 2006
- Either because there's a canon age gap between the characters, or because the fan created a fanwork depicting an age gap with one character underage, or because the fan created a fanwork in which one character arguably looked underage maybe, or because the shipper is an adult whereas the characters are canonically teens, or because the shipper is an adult whereas the characters were canonically teens at some point...
- For example: "pedophilic ships exist. for example gravity falls: shipping mabel with pacifica is fine. they are both 12 and as long as no one posts any nsfw thats fine. however, shipping mabel pines with gruncle stan is pedophilic and people who do are pedophiles." comment by odetcyou, archived, on 29 August 2016.
- "jaytim is a perfectly fine ship. it doesn’t involve pedophilia or anything. jason is 21 and tim is 17 if im not wrong. even if there is a slight age gap doesnt mean that its pedophilia, okay? ive seen many people being mistaken over this and it’s not pedophilia. what is pedophilia is shipping bruce/batkids." tumblr post by frostedemma, 27 August 2016, with commentary in the reblogs. archived.
- old wiki; dreamwidth backup
- wrangletangle. Yes, you can tag your dark or triggery work on AO3 with the characters and ships that are in it, archived, posted to Tumblr 26 September 2016. 1,829 notes as of 19 October 2016.
- "2017-03-07 comment".
- PSA: ‘antis’ named themselves. please stop accusing everyone else of naming them., Archived version reblogged by into-september, Feb 15th, 2018
- theassholeantiarchive, Tumblr. (Accessed 10/6/2020)
- This Grown Adult Made A 500 Page Callout On A 13-Year-Old, YouTube. Dec 30, 2020 (Accessed 6/2/2021)
- Note: My fiancé is an anti-shipper and tends to be suspicious of the intentions of anyone defending art of children shipped with adults. To them, it looks like grooming under another name. (Patchlamb, 10/5/2020)
- The Tumblr Needle Cookie Story, YouTube. Apr 1, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
- A fan literally tried to murder a fanartist over... a ship?, Reddit. May 11, 2017 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
- “mcyt has the worst fandom” the voltron fandom served the dreamworks, Twitter. Jan 23, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
- i'm seeing a lot of mcyt slander, Twitter. May 9, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
- Who want another season in Voltron?????, Voltron Fandom Wiki. 10/27/2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
- my favorite twitter lie is the "glass cupcake voltron cupcakes", Twitter. Apr 2, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
- See Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint.
- archived, with 9,516 notes as of 27 August 2016
- Anonymous asked: would you say that "antis" are a predominant US phenomenon? compiled by fiction-is-not-reality2, dated 2019-06-30, accessed 2019-07-25, archive.org version
- archived, with 10,340 notes as of 27 August 2016.