Exchange Etiquette

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Related terms: AO3 Exchange, Exchange Fandom
See also: ODAO, DNW
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In Exchange fandom, Exchange Etiquette refers to both the formal and the informal rules of behavior expecting of good exchange participants in AO3 exchanges. Like many other aspects of exchange fandom, exchange etiquette primarily developed around Yuletide and the anon memes yuletide_coal and fail_fandomanon.

Common expectations include:

  • Not breaking anonymity before author reveals.
  • Not contacting your recip directly before author reveals.
  • Writing a recip's DNWs.
  • Commenting on your gifts.
  • Writing a complete fic (as opposed to a WIP)
  • Writing a new fic, or at least a fic you've never posted any part of before.[1]
  • Mentioning that you want one fandom, pairing, or freeform more than something else that might have been matched on.[2]
  • Rejecting a gift immediately for any reason than a DNW violation or extremely obvious inclusion of things that should be opt-in — for example, immediately rejecting a fic for bad SPAG would be seen as bad etiquette, but rejecting a fic immediately for containing a DNW or unrequested Nazi kink would be seen as fine by most participants. Typically recips who want to reject a gift are advised to wait six months or so after reveals, as by that point it's unlikely that the rejection will stir up any wank.[3]

On the Yuletide Discord server, Yuletide's exchange mod Morbane lists these common etiquette rules:

EXCHANGE-SPECIFIC ETIQUETTE

-Don't give away what you're writing or who you're writing for.

-Don't badmouth your recipient.

-Don't badmouth your creator.

-Your recipient could join at any time and logging is ALWAYS ON. They can also backread after an exchange!

-No fretting about lack of feedback in the first 48 hours that a fest or exchange's works are live.

-If a Hippo is advertising in the #general or #yuletide chats, please pause your conversation until they say you can talk again.[4]

References

  1. Opinions on this have varied, though! In this exchange on FFA in 2013, two nonnies came to the conclusion that it was fine to post "fragments" of an exchange fic in FFA's WIP thread, but more recent discussions in FFA's Bangs, Fests, and Exchanges threads have indicated that this is no longer acceptable, possibly because exchange fandom centers so solidly around FFA now.
  2. For example, this discussion.
  3. An example of this kind of advice can be seen in this FFA post, although it should be noted that this nonnie was later revealed to have received rosefox's polycon fic, so later wank leaned towards thinking the recip was justified to reject right away.
  4. Morbane, in the Yuletide Discord server's #faq channel, 11/24/2018. Quoted here with permission.