Critics United

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Forum · Message Board
Name: Critics United
Date(s): 2010-
Moderators/List Maintainers: Our Members (2010-2014)
Founder(s): DarkSacredJewelXoX and Gaaras1Girl
URL: here; WebCite
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Critics United is a fan group on FanFiction.Net created by some fans who "... were tired of all the poorly written rule breaking fics that were swarming the site, overshadowing writing that was allowed to be posted." [1]

They do not have the power personally to delete fic, only to report those who don't follow the rules: [2], making them volunteer fandom police: at best -- white knighters and worse -- tattletales.

Their official tag is: "Critics United: a place for reviewers to gather and talk, exchange tales and support each other as we all try and help the authors of the site."

Similar Groups

Also see The Literate Union. A similar group of fans were those at FanDomination.Net, see FanDomination.Net Content Control and Weeding Guidelines.

A similar watchdog group on the lookout for offensive fanworks was Warriors for Innocence.

Involvement in the 2012 Adult Fiction Ban

Some fans blamed this group for the purge of adult fiction from FanFiction.Net. See FanFiction.Net Ban on Adult Fiction.

A fan in June 2012 posted:
It's been suggested that part of the reason behind the purge were the mass-reports coming from a trollish community on FanFiction that felt they have the right to judge which stories do and do not belong on the site. Unfortunately, they are not alone. My Fatal Fanfiction story-a Fatal Frame parody revolving around the recent purge-was targeted by them. Apparently the short prologue with references to the characters, story, and setting of the game was enough for them to declare my story an original work. They have since demanded I change it or remove it, threatened me, they've reported my story, and they keep leaving those kind of reviews. They have a very self-important view of themselves, and rest-assured they will cause the deletion of a lot of stories who don't deserve it. And the one who reported my story to them? An author with a grudge... This group is called Critics United... [3]
From another fan in June 2012:
Oh lord, Critics United. I've had a run in with them. They're a bunch of self-righteous twat weasels. I've personally wondered if they've had anything to do with the unsavory changes on FF.Net. I wouldn't be surprised if they created a stink big enough to harass the admins into action. [4]
Another fan in June 2012 posts that "Critics United" may not necessarily the reason for the NC-17 fiction purge, but that they didn't help matters any:
Even if CU isn't responsible directly for the purge and sudden changes, FFN has been a madhouse for years and blows too hot and cold for me. The admin really needs to learn to listen to their users. Obv emails and messages don't work, so walking out might. [5]

Some Posts by "Critics United"

From a June 9, 2012 post:

Critics United provides a support structure to site members who were already concritting on their own and advising people their work has violated a rule.

We all have our favorite fandoms we like to read. If a member sees a violator, they will review and at least tell the writer their story is in violation and why.

We do not report their story at this time. The review is merely a warning because there are writers who *haven't * read the rules or simply didn't understand them. Now, if the writer reacts negatively, like cussing us out or telling us to f*ck off, or just outright ignores that first review, then we will bring it to the attention of the group. Each member either chooses to review the story or just report it. The reason for this is there are writers who think that first warning review is a joke or some sort of flame. Usually, when they get more reviews emphasizing the same thing, their story is in violation, they will basically say, 'Ooops, sorry about that!' and then ask how to fix the story so they *don't* lose it.

Then, if we can, we will offer suggestions on how to fix the story. In the event of a writer blowing off the warning, then we will continue reporting the story until it is removed. Now, it takes time for the site admins to investigate all abuse reports. That gives the writer time to think and go about changing their story. If they don't make the effort to make it compliant within the site rules then obviously the site admins will see the violation and delete their story.

We're hoping the recent purge doesn't mean that the site admins have stopped investigating. The time it takes for the admins to investigate is a saving grace. We'd rather stop reporting a story if a writer is willing to get over their anger enough to focus on saving their work.

Nowhere in this process are we bullying a writer. We *NEVER* report unless a writer reacts negatively or completely ignores our review. Most of us give the writer a couple of weeks before bringing them to the group, plenty of time for any busy individual to get our review. To bully someone we'd have to force them into doing what we want. If a story is being deleted then obviously we *didn't* get them to do what we wanted, did we?

The choices from the beginning are entirely up to the writer. Contrary to popular belief, we don't just report stories without notifying the writer in some way shape or form. Never have, never will We have strict standards and procedures we have followed since this group was formed.

We kept in mind that we did *NOT* want to target writers or harass or bully them in any way. If we did that, we'd certainly be going after every story on a writer's account. Our policy is only one story at a time. We feel that if the writer loses one story, they should still have a chance to save their others. Also, if we reported all their stories they could lose their entire account and that would not be fair to them either.

We discourage our members to not go after old fics. If it's more than a year old, we don't bother with it, especially if the user profile hasn't been updated in at least that long. There are plenty of newer stories in violation and it's important to show the writers what they're doing wrong so they can fix things to be compliant within the site rules. [6]

FAQs and Questions and Answers

From June 6, 2012:

These are some of the frequently asked questions CU has gotten over the course of our existence.

Hopefully this will be able to answer your questions you may have after finding out about us.

1. Why was Critics United formed?

It was founded in 2010 when myself, DarkSacredJewelXoX and the mod Gaaras1Girl were getting tired of trying to find good stories, but due to the huge amount of Truth or Dare, script format, FaceBook fics, etc. We both were critics and were already used to getting the angry authors who didn't want to hear that their story was against the rules. After stumbling upon another author, who once was a mod here, we began sending each other stories that were breaking the rules. After brainstorming the idea, the forum was made and the search for members began. We were tired of all the poorly written rule breaking fics that were swarming the site, overshadowing writing that was allowed to be posted.

2. Why doesn't CU warn the author before reporting their story?

We do warn the author first. One member from CU will find a story and review it. Many authors are willing to fix it and admit that they didn't read the rules. Others lash out, others tell us they won't change it, and some just ignore us and continue posting the same way. One of those three things has to happen before other CU members are informed. The story isn't reported until it's clear that the author will not fix it.

3. Why is CU deleting stories?

No site member has the power to delete stories. We can only report them. The administrators of the site are the ones who make the final call.

4. Can't you be nicer in your reviews?

Not all of us leave harsh reviews. Some review according to the situation, not just copy and paste the same review. Some members do have copy and paste reviews for some types of violations. It makes it less personal and more detached. It must also be taken into account that an author has most likely lashed out at a member and at that point, we don't feel the need to be as kind in reviews. Even then, the only reviews you will see from us here in the forum is from rule breakers or those in the Help Topics.

We still have stories that we give constructive criticism on that have no reason to be in the forum. There are also the "Review Request V2.5", "The CU help desk - Q&A thread', and "Not all Critiques are Bad " topics which further prove that CU isn't simply about getting rid of violating fics.

5. Do CU members leave anonymous reviews?

No CU member leaves anonymous reviews. It is unfair to leave a review that may leave the author with questions and not leave a way for them to get in touch with the author who wrote the review.

6. Why does CU leave reviews calling stories "sh*t fics" or other names?

It is the reviewer's own personal opinion of the story. We have rendered cursing from reviews, but that doesn't mean an author isn't entitled to their opinion that a story is crap. Reviewers aren't required to be nice in their reviews and CU members are not told how they should review a story. Each has their own personal style, some being harsher than others. The term "sh*tfic coined long before CU was even an idea.

7. Why is CU reporting stories just because they have bad grammar or aren't good enough?

That is a myth. We only report rule breaking stories; however, poor grammar, punctuation etc. is reportable. Sometimes we'll point out grammar errors, but first and foremost is the rule violation. If the grammar is so bad that a first grader could do better, it's likely a trollfic and will get reported for that.

8. Why does CU gang up on an author?

Sometimes it takes another person telling the author that they are in violation before they are willing to change it. Our goal is for the author to fix their story (if possible), not to report it into oblivion. Sometimes it flusters the author, sometimes it gets their attention and they change it.

9. A lot of people don't like Critics United. Doesn't that bother you?

No it doesn't. If we didn't have thick skin, we would have stopped reporting and warning authors a long time ago. After dealing with authors and seeing a trend in responses, it's very easy to let things roll off our backs.

10. Why doesn't CU just report a story and not review them?

It is completely unfair to come onto the site and find your story has been removed and you have no idea why. Every author has the right to know they are in violation and be given the opportunity to fix it. CU provides that opportunity. There are many independent critics and other movements who do not warn people that their story is getting reported. We do and when it's removed, the author knows exactly why it happened.

11. Is CU reporting MA stories?

We used to report very few. There was confusion and self interpretation of what could be considered MA. CU has reported bestiality stories and stories when scenes that were clearly too mature for the site. Other than that, due to confusion about what 'M' could contain, we did not report MA fics.

We weren't involved with the mass deletion of MA stories in June because of the fact so few were brought in. However, the site adminis made it clear on the update that stories with sex scenes or scenes depicted too violent won't be tolerated:

Fiction MA rated content which can contain adult/explicit content on the site. http://www.FanFiction.Net only accepts content in the Fiction K through Fiction M range. Fiction M can contain adult language, themes and suggestions. Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature is considered Fiction MA and has not been allowed on the site since 2002.

12. There are tons of stories like mine, so everybody does it! Why are you picking on me?

We're not singling anyone out. We just happened to find your story. As for the 'tons' of similar stories, we don't have that many members and have real lives. Most of us don't go out 'looking' for violators. If you know of stories just like yours, the other writers might appreciate you giving them a heads up their story is violating the site rules. Unless you want us to tell them?

13. Why do you do this?

Each member has their reasons, but just about all of us love our fanfiction. We love reading and/or writing it. We all know that this site is the best for fanfiction. However we got tired of the rapidly increasing amount of violations. We each decided to do something to help solve a worsening problem. We could've easily ignored things and just continued looking for good stories to read, but felt if we didn't at least try, who will.

14. But the site admins should be policing the site for violations, what makes you think you can do their job?

We aren't trying to do their jobs. The site admins asked all of us when we signed up for our accounts to police ourselves. The site admins would have to hire a huge staff to patrol this site. They are only making enough money off of advertising fees to cover costs, but it isn't enough to pay for the amount of people needed to check through the hundreds of thousands of archived stories for violations. They would have to charge members a fee to use the site to cover the cost of hiring someone to do that.

15. Do you guys ever disagree on how your group should work?

That's how we worked out our methods. We argued and figured out what worked best that would make everyone happy and still be within the site rules. That's why some members are harsh reviewers and others are not. We don't all work the same and the group has to accommodate that.

16. Have you ever seen a really good story deleted because of a rule violation, or do you just go after the ones you don't like?

Yes. There have been some violators that were actually pretty good we reported in our early days that we had to watch get deleted. Those stories are part of the reason why we came up with solutions to most rule violations that we will share with writers who really want to save their stories.

17. Does CU work outside of the rules?

No. Enforcing the rules of every website any of us frequent is not the life goal or focus of every member.

18. Does CU work in collaboration with any other forum?

CU works independent to any other movement or forum. Any forum or person claiming we collaborate with them is just looking for attention. each forum of critics has their own way of handling stories and although we sometimes visit each other's forums, we are not working together.

19. Is CU reporting stories for being yaoi or yuri?

No we aren't. A story won't be removed because it's a same sex pairing and none of us have a vendetta against same sex pairings, although some of us do not read it. The reason a yaoi or yuri story is removed is because it most likely has a lemon in it, not because it has same sex pairings. [7]


  1. The F.A.Q. -Frequently Asked Questions- Cornucopia - Critics United Forum, Archived version
  2. "No site member has the power to delete stories. We can only report them." -- The F.A.Q. -Frequently Asked Questions- Cornucopia - Critics United Forum, Archived version
  3. A new group to be on the lookout for... - FanFiction.Net Rants, Archived version, post by jessioriginal, June 8, 2012
  4. A new group to be on the lookout for... - FanFiction.Net Rants, Archived version, post by okami_no_yume, June 8, 2012
  5. A new group to be on the lookout for... - FanFiction.Net Rants, Archived version, post by simon alexander, June 8, 2012
  6. The F.A.Q. -Frequently Asked Questions- Cornucopia - Critics United Forum, Archived version
  7. The F.A.Q. -Frequently Asked Questions- Cornucopia - Critics United Forum, Archived version