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This article is about the wiki. You may be looking for the multimedia zine Fanlore or the glossary term Fanlore.
Name: Fanlore
Owner/Maintainer: Organization for Transformative Works
Dates: 2008 – present
Topic: Fandom
Dreamwidth Community
the current Fanlore logo
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Fanlore, this site, is a multi-authored site for, about and by fans and fan communities that create and consume fanworks. It uses a wiki model, based on MediaWiki software. Fanlore is a project of the Organization for Transformative Works. The site was soft-launched in September 2008 to a beta version[1] and came out of beta in December 2010.[2]

a very early screenshot of the main page, this one from October 2, 2008
A Fanlore flyer, created for a zine fandom con. The art is by Gayle F. (alternate version). Spock comes to the conclusion: "Fanlore: It's logical!"[note 1]

The wiki itself appears to have been set up in June 2008,[note 2] and the first article to be created on Fanlore was probably Die Hard on August 4.[3] The Fanlore launch was publicly announced on September 29, 2008.[4]

By October 2, 2008, the wiki had 386 articles, 4157 edits by 236 registered users.[5]

The Idea Behind Creating Fanlore

The initial inspiration for creating Fanlore may have come a month before the post that started the ball rolling for the OTW. On April 17, 2007, Speranza made a post about discovering inaccurate information about Due South on the Fan History Wiki and asked, "Does anyone know who's driving that bus? Is that anything we ought to get behind or should we just, like, back away slowly from the wreck of misinformation?"[6] Cathexys, astolat, and others discussed the possibility of starting an alternative wiki in the comments to the post.[7]

Or, the origins might lie earlier; a fandom wikipedia was proposed as early as March 2006 by Hope,[8] who started the Supernatural Wiki three months later and then chaired the first OTW Wiki Committee the following year. Anatsuno, who also later ended up volunteering for the first Wiki committee, responded to Hope's initial post with "do it, do it, do it."[9] The Fan History Wiki was not started until more than a month later. The mid-2000s may well have been just the period when wikis in general became a popular fan activity. Fans were certainly talking about preserving fannish history around that time; a fan in 2006 posted,

I've actually noticed an increased conciousness [sic] about fandom history lately in my discussions with various people. I think it's a sense that fandom, especially in the age of easy information - and easy deletion - needs to preserve its history. Though oddly, I hear about it often mentioned in the negative - about preserving the history of negative events. Which makes me wonder if there's indeed a cautionary element to it.[10]

In any case, once the founders of what would become the OTW started to consider projects beyond just the Archive of Our Own, they decided to start a wiki that would preserve fannish history and fannish lore—hence the name Fanlore.[11]

Fannish Activity

Editing a fan wiki is as much a fannish activity as any other activity in fandom. Fixing links and tagging pages with categories can hit the same buttons as playing Mahjong solitaire and people who enjoy making recs, comprehensive lists of fannish stuff or fandom primers have the opportunity to go wild and connect everything with everything, which makes it also a rich playground for people who love fannish history and puzzles because every piece added helps to get to the bigger picture. Editing can sometimes seem like a solitary activity (and it can be, if you want it to be), but there is always something going on on the talk pages where editors try to figure out where to put the puzzle pieces, what to do with a page and how to improve it, or solve disputes by consensus. Although the editing history of a page and each change is recorded in the history section of a page, casual visitors often have no idea who wrote what. That gives editors a certain level of anonymity which can be appealing to lurkers who may not make bold public entries in their blogs, but who know a lot about what happened when and where and who like to contribute that knowledge.

As with all wikis, Fanlore depends on the contributions, large and small, of its users: In 2011, a fan wrote:

I love, love, love the way Fanlore is set up, with room for everyone to have their say, so no one feels like they have to somehow incorporate everything into a neutral whole - because man, how could you? But yeah, it does require that people actually step up and add their view of things.[12]

One of the biggest challenges Fanlore has had, even from the beginning, is emphasizing that all fans can have a voice in it, that all points of view are respected, and that the info on the wiki is not there because of a some over-arching plan by nameless "others," but because individual volunteers took the time and interest to add their opinions, experiences, and knowledge about what they are familiar with. One all-too common statement:

I don't like what is on the wiki about my favorite thing but I don't have the time or interest to fix it; someone else should do that.[note 3]

Editing Projects

Some editors have their own self-chosen projects.

a Fandom Secrets image, for the comments attached to this "secret," refer to this Fandom Secrets post

Most notable so far is the zine project which was begun by two fans in the summer of 2009.[note 4] This project's goal is the documentation of all media fanzines and the things associated with media zine era fandom. As a result, thousands of pages have been created. Many more images have also been added in an attempt to explain and give context to these pages. It is one way to preserve a unique history and to provide future generations of fans a chance to know what media fandom was like in times before the internet.

Other projects include the creation of a comprehensive resource for Mary Renault fandom,[note 5] for Forever Knight fandom, a record of one editor's love for everything Merlin/Arthur, and documenting the history of fan conventions and vidding. The "must document it all" approach of some of the projects has inspired other editors to try something similar—for example for Digimon Doujinshi, Final Fantasy Doujinshi and ItaSasu Doujinshi—and hopefully it will inspire even more editor projects in other fandoms and for other topics.

Beginning in early 2018, FanloreProjects were launched so that multiple editors could formally work together as a team to improve Fanlore's documentation of various topics (like a specific fandom or trope) or types of tasks (like categorizing uncategorized files). An up-to-date list of all existing FanloreProjects can be found in the Fanlore Projects category and the FanloreProjects About page. Anyone is welcome to both start their own FanloreProjects and join existing ones! Refer to Help:Starting a FanloreProject for step-by-step guidance on creating a FanloreProject, or simply add your name to the member list of a FanloreProject and start making edits to participate in it.

Fanlore Committee

Main page: Organization for Transformative Works/Fanlore

Fanlore is supervised by the Fanlore Committee (formerly called the Wiki Committee[note 6]), who provide direction, write policies and help documents, promote the wiki, support Gardeners in their work on Fanlore, and communicate with users via the Fanlore Dreamwidth community, Tumblr, and Twitter. Oversight of the technical aspects of running Fanlore is handled jointly by the Fanlore Committee and the Systems Committee.

Originally, Fanlore's Gardeners operated independently of the committee and were not considered official volunteers with the Organization for Transformative Works. This changed in 2016, when Gardeners were adopted as OTW volunteers and began to work more collaboratively with Fanlore Committee staff. Later, the "staff" role was split into two roles, Policy & Admin volunteers and Social Media & Outreach volunteers, and the additional role of Fanlore graphic designers was added.

Site History

main page in 2012, with the original default skin
main page in 2009, when the site was in beta

The plan to start a wiki was in place by September 2007 (see the announcement post), but work began on it in December when the first Wiki Committee was formed. A name was chosen by June 2008.[11] It was soft-launched in September 2008 to a beta version[1] and by October 9 had over one thousand articles. It came out of beta in December 2010.[2] The 20,000 article milestone was passed around June 2012 and the 25,000 milestone on 18 June 2013.[13][14]

Some of Fanlore's policies had already been written when the wiki launched in 2008, but a few key features were missing or needed revision. Fanlore:Pre-1995 Fan Name Use was created in 2009. Policies created in 2010 include Fanlore:Intro to Fanlore FAQ, Fanlore:Capitalization, Fanlore:Fandom as a Category, and Fanlore:Image Policy. Every revision and addition necessitated a discussion with the users; thus, Fanlore policies took a fairly long time to write. The image policy has proved controversial in some corners of fandom.

The category structure was also substantially revised after the site launched. Originally, the wiki committee set up the wiki with a basic structure of six top-level categories (Fan Activities, Fan Communities, People, Perspectives on Fans, Glossary, and Fanworks, although pre-soft-launch wiki edits indicate that these were not the original names of the categories). These six are still present, though more levels have been added and moved around.

Instead of using categories to group pages about a single fandom, the wiki committee planned to make heavy use of the subpage functionality. Subpages are created by including a slash in the title—everything after the slash is the subpage name. However, the system proved unwieldy, especially for complex fandoms with multiple subfandoms like Star Trek. Another issue was that subpages made titles of pages about shipping extremely hard to interpret. For example, the original location for the page about fannish interest in Severus Snape was at Harry Potter/Severus Snape; meanwhile the Harry/Snape slash page was at Harry Potter/Harry/Snape. Fandom categories were added in April 2010.[15]

Post fandom-category category modifications include the addition of date categories, Tropes & Genres, Memes, subcategories for Fanworks, more Fan Activities, Fandoms by Canon Type, and more categories for shipping. Category changes were driven largely by site growth (what types of fannish topics proved popular to write about) as well as the wisdom of experience.

The "original" logo/header from Fanlore's original WordPress skin (2008-2020)

Fanlore had the same logo from the wiki's inception in 2008 until 2020, when the logo was redesigned. The logo used a green and blue theme with a hand-drawn style; it also sometimes appeared superimposed on a piece of notebook paper.

On June 30, 2020 the logo was redesigned to more closely resemble those of the other Organization for Transformative Works projects; the updated design featured a book and a magnifying glass, intended to represent Fanlore's mission of "examining and preserving fannish history".[16] The font used was Vesper Regular.

Fanlore's redesigned logo, designed by Amyl

Fanlore Graphics

Fan Comments


By 2010, Fanlore links began appearing in many LJ and forum posts, mainly by fans who were trying to explain a fannish term, a trope or even provide information about a zine. Many fanzine sellers are using Fanlore links to help fellow fans determine tables of contents and the visual quality of the zine they are considering buying.


Thanks everyone for telling me about the history of Jane and the Pros fandom. I just looked up Mel Keegan in and learnt something new:— the meaning of "Filing Off Serial Numbers"! [17]


Best feature of Fanlore ever: All those definitions of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie WTFBBQ type pairing names and all of the wacky genre/trope terms I've never heard before....Second best feature of Fanlore ever: Long, long, long lists of zines for cheesy 80s crime shows. Also, links to publishers' websites, publishers who are mostly still happy to sell me zines for cheesy 80s crime shows. And they say livejournal era whippersnappers don't appreciate zines![18]


There's a fan wiki called which documents all aspects of fandom (fics, fan art, fan sites, pretty much any fandom presence online). I have added an entry for Human Target (feel free to update/correct it)...It is a wiki about fandom itself rather than the focus of it and it seems to be setting itself up as a place to find out about various fandoms, a resource for fans and industry types alike.[19]


over the past few evenings i've been adding links to the fanlore version of nova's a/b slash list. it wasn't actually posted by me, either - some enthusiastic wranglers, including mrs potato head who has done most of the b7 stuff, found it and posted it for me (after asking), which is so lovely. we all know how crazy i am about fanlore, but it's worth reiterating how pleased i am that people bother to collate all this information.... knowledge sharing for no other reason than that it gives you pleasure to record things in a clear and useful way, and to know that it may be helpful to someone else at some point, is just so cool. i mean - that's kind of what fandom is like in general, but i think fanlore is a particularly good example of awesomeness.[20]


Many thanks to all the zine-era Kirk/Spock fans who have put in so much time and effort to document K/S zines on! Someone is selling her zine collection and I was able to make informed choices about what I want- I searched by title on Fanlore and was able to find out which of my favorite fanartists and authors had pieces in the zines being sold, as well as the general reception of the zine in fandom at that time. Yes, I used letters of comment written in the 1980s to decide which K/S zines I should buy in 2016. I love K/S fandom so much, and I love the Fanlore contributors too![21]

General squee:


Oh man, every time I visit fanlore I get lost for hours! [22]


Oh my God, that fanlore page is PURE GLORY. In return for that link please have all the kittens in the universe.[23]

Other fans value Fanlore for helping them discover new facts about the fandoms they love.


"Oh fandom is such a wonderful thing! I also recently discovered via the fanlore wiki that there were not one but TWO fanzines containing poetry by Deforest Kelley. It is now my mission to track these things down!!![24]


Found an e-zine for TOS Spock/McCoy! (thank you fanlore) I did a fistpump, I will admit it.[25]

And, on occasion, they love Fanlore for helping them rediscover old facts about the things they love:


First, has anyone heard of the wiki fanlore? It's much like TV Tropes but more dedicated to the history of fandom as we know it. Good for a read (or a dozen). Plus, I found references to the Gossamer Project, an X-Files fanfiction database, probably the largest one I have ever come across, and one of my first sites for fanfiction, even before I found! [26]

Fans also find a deep satisfaction in tracking down information about their fannish obsessions and gathering it one accessible place for all to see and enjoy:


I hope by doing the fanlore article newbies will stumble across it and get involved. At the least, I enjoy collecting the links and information and seeing it all in one place![27]

And some fans see the value in simply preserving fannish culture, and the memories of fans, before they disappear:


When I think about the Fanlore pages and the stories that were saved from being lost forever I darn near get shivers.[28]


Isn't that lovely to have one's presence in fandom remembered by those still in it? How even lovelier that you have years later, newer fans even asking about individuals. Though not without controversy, I suppose that is the upside of efforts such as Fanlore and other places that are endeavoring to keep memories exactly like that alive for those who come afterwards.[29]


The LoC Connection (TLC), it has its own Fanlore page, and it's substantial. They even cite a post I did about the the newsletter, from a long-deleted LJ under another name. In all my fandom efforts, I thought TLC would be the one most likely lost to obscurity, since each issue was anywhere from eight to twenty colored pages with a staple in the corner. No cover, no binding, no artwork. But, obviously, those who contribute to its page on Fanlore have images of the actual issues, and quote whatever they feel is apt information from some of those issues. In other places on Fanlore, I've seen myself quoted with comments I've made on whatever particular subject matter. Now, I've heard that there is a Fandom Preservation Project at Texas A&M University, and fanzines are being scanned in, with permission. So, one thing is certain, and that's that anything I (and thousands of others) have done in fandom, is highly unlikely to ever "die" or otherwise be unavailable. That's pretty cool.[30]

[2018]: also I love that my dash is full of WHO WILL RECORD OUR HISTORY posts while Fanlore is over here waving desperately. No social media platform is responsible for recording your history! Not the ones you're leaving nor the ones you're migrating to.[31]

Others recognize the value of being visible to one another, of recognizing the value of what we do as fans for fans:


The OTW newsletter today made me so happy, and a little verklempt too. The Fanlore section is as utterly divine as [is] that vid. I see what you did there, Fanlore Committee, and what you did was merely say, "I saw what you did there," to all of us who make Fanlore. Lovely. And very much appreciated even if I am too busy to edit Fanlore at the moment.[32]


And that's why I'd argue that participating in something like FanLore is a good idea. Because if the people who feel that fandom marginalizes them go in there and say "no, here we are and we're part of fandom" I really doubt anyone is going to disagree with them.[33]

Some general comments:


I love fanlore, and I definitely wish it had more content. I'd love it to be the kind of website you could kill hours on, like tvtropes.[34]


I don't visit often, but I must say their SGA page is nice and the Starsky and Hutch one is epic. (Though I haven't actually read the entire Starsky and Hutch page, it's seriously impressive.) I tend to forget it exists, so maybe others do too?... It's extremely informative; I don't see how they could've done a better job.[35]


I love fanlore and if you happen to share a fandom with me, I'd love to help. I really got fascinated by it sometime last year, looking at various old fandoms' letterzines, but I find that the amount of information available is really uneven depending on the fandom. There's some fandoms which I know are really varied and huge and rich, but which have very meager and skewed information on fanlore.[36]


Some fans were skeptical about the idea of a fandom-specific wiki:


Who uses a wiki to document our history, anyway? And moreover, why? I think it's a bit self-indulgent and silly. We KNOW our own history already. A wiki seems so irrelevant.[37]

Other fans find Fanlore irritating or useless because it doesn't highlight the things they are interested in, or themselves:


No offense to anyone, but, you know, I really couldn't be less interested in Fanlore, its wiki, etc. History of fandom? What if my participations and contributions aren't listed in there - does it invalidate them? And heck, they probably wouldn't be anyway, because I don't write, vid, make manips, or do deep meta. I run communities and post media. Not earthshattering, no. But that really seems to slip below the radar with these groups. If a fangirl squees in the forest and there's no wiki entry about it, did it make a sound?[38]

[2018]: I sea[r]ched "my name at Fanlore this week". With the exception of a Star Trek Voyager filk to the tune of the theme from Gilligan’s Island having won an annual alt.startrek.creative award during the heyday of Usenet, I seem to have disappeared with the print fanzine era. That’s what comes of hosting your work yourself to the exclusion of and AO3, I guess. Of course if it really mattered to me I would have looked before now.[39]


...i do think it's something of a catch 22 - i'm not really interested in going unless it has info about my fandom; i don't need to add anything if there's inf about my fandom. doctor who - interestingly - was mentioned in someone's comment above as a fandom that the commenter DOESNT want more information on, but fascinatingly there's almost nothing on fanlore besides zine listings. that fandom is almost entirely un-documented. and i was in it for many years, but only on a fringe bit, so... i've helped write an extensive doctor/master page. that's the bit i know about. but i can't describe doctor who fandom - though i could ADD to a longer page. if there was intriguing stuff to look up and find out more about.. i could help. but there's so little! whereas i keep adding ot the blake's 7 content because mrs potato head and other high-volume editors have done loads of it for me. and some of it i know to be wrong - thus, i correct it. blake has a pretty good presence on fanlore, and it IS fascinating, and very useful. partly because it's THE source on the net to talk about fanzines, and i never needed or wanted to do that in doctor who fandom.[40]

The domination of media fans, lack of diversity, and not enough outreach and engagement with fandom are also common points of criticism:


"Fanlore is, as it stands, a chronicle of the fannish experience of an extremely small subset of media fans. Have you seen the current incarnation of the Who page? The Harry Potter page? Compare that to the Due South page or the Sentinel page. Though the fandom sizes of Doctor Who and Harry Potter remain enormous, no one is working on them. And I think that is self-perpetuating.[41]


Fanlore is a fantastic resource, your one stop shopping spot to link people to when they ask fannish questions. However, I think its track record of engagement with the wider fan communities is horrible. For someone like me, who can dive in and figure out how to make pages, edit, conform to the very much unwritten rules of style for the place, it's an okay experience. For someone less self-teaching in nature, it's got walls a mile high around it. fanlore gets very low traffic and is almost completely ignored by most of the "elites" at the site itself. On a bright note, it looks like some tutorials are in the works.[42]


I've been considering whether I have time & energy to dive into Fanlore and add stuff that... I suspect nobody but me notices or cares about. (...) A lot of non-fic fandom is languishing at Fanlore. Gamer fandom, in particular, I notice, 'cos I've been part of that for (eeep!) more than thirty years. (...) But I'm not sure what to do with the wiki. It's... big. And mostly empty, in the areas of fandom that are most dear to me. (...) I do understand that Fanlore was put together by people who are mostly media fen, mostly fic-fen, and therefore it mostly relates to media & fic history and lore. And not because that's what it's intended to be, but because that's where its founders have expertise. And that it's open to all the rest of fandom... but the patterns are defined by media/fic terms, and it's sometimes hard to figure out how to categorize something else.[43]

[2015]: doesn't have enough information about more modern fandoms, especially the ones that skew younger. I think the most prolific contributers aren't a very diverse bunch, which is the problem.[44]


I've no idea how to actually promote Fanlore and tempt someone else to add to it. =/ [45]


Fanlore... is an interesting thing. On the one hand, I like that it's primary focus is documenting days of fandoms past, particularly up until about 2007-8ish. Hell, if it wasn't for Fanlore, I wouldn't have known something like Starsky & Hutch had as big of a fandom following it did. Or the fact that someone else was right up there with Ms.Scribe in terms of sockpuppet manipulation. And some interesting tidbits from the early days of Star Wars fandom (just look up the Duncan Sisters. If they even tried to voice their unfavorable-borderline-misogynistic opinions of Princess Leia today, they'd be chased out of the fandom faster than you can say 'utinii'). But I do wish there was a bit more for modern era fandoms (that aren't Supernatural, Sherlock, Doctor Who, or Teen Wolf). But given how, for lack of a better term, chaotic things are in the Tumblr era (i.e. hard to follow conversations, changing URLs, et al), I don't blame people for not wanting to even try to keep up. I do think they need to advertise it a little more. Most people I know don't know it exists, and some of these folks use AO3. Maybe if you started dropping hints or just talking about it off-the-record, without really saying 'Hey, could you help me edit it', maybe someone might see it, get interested, and start editing? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, after all.[46]

Another common complaint since the earliest days is a lack of communication.


Communication. I think it isn’t happening enough. Or if it’s happening, it’s happening in the wrong places.[47]


I get that the OTW right now is focused on getting the AO3 off the ground, and on some other, er, higher profile projects in the wider world. I also think the TWC journal has taken the time of a lot of people who would be naturals at Fanlore writing.

But when the Fanlore comm is full of ideas and suggestions and discussion, and gets all kinds of comments on posts, but from Fanlore itself, silence--I get very disheartened. And when I think of how futile it is trying to get people interested by tucking away a comm on Dreamwidth and no where else, I get more disheartened.[48]

[2009]: I keep getting bored of editing fanlore for the usual reasons of lack of interactivity. I love editing Wikipedia, but you usually get hoards of people coming by and messing with anything you write there. It's a much more rewarding process, but it takes such a huge critical mass.[49]


You know, this is why I go through periodic Fanlore burnouts. There's very little in the way of supportive comments, and what feels like a lot of criticism. Get ignored when you ask for help, but someone will make a comment about a page *one person* worked on being "a mess." Bah. Maybe it's time for another break. /wank[50]

For some fans, Fanlore is just not interesting:


Sounds interesting, but not really my cup of tea, except as keeping track of folks like Andy Blake or MsScribe, and that doesn't seem its thing.[51]


I'd find it more interesting if all the updated articles weren't mostly fanzines I don't care about." [34]


Image Policy

The Wiki and Legal Committees, with feedback from Fanlore users,[note 7] spent a year working on the image policy. Its completion marked the end of the beta period, December 2010.

The image policy was intended to address two concerns—copyright issues and whether sexually explicit images were allowed—but the copyright aspect has remained the main bone of contention, specifically, Fanlore's fair use of fan art. The Wiki Committee attempted to balance competing interests—the org's principles that fanworks are transformative and that chronicling fanworks on the wiki is legitimate commentary and constitutes fair use vs. fannish understandings about the "unauthorized" reproduction of fanart. On the one hand, U.S. fair use law is an important element of the OTW's mission to defend the legality of fanworks, and Fanlore's policy (which holds that reproduction of some fanart on the wiki is fair use) is intended to support the OTW's legal advocacy work. On the other hand, many corners of fandom consider reposting fanworks without permission to be absolutely unacceptable, even if those reproductions are in the service of chronicling fannish culture and fannish creativity.

Because the Wiki Committee did not report anything substantive between April and October about their progress on writing the policy,[note 8] people were also concerned about the delay. Fanartist ratcreature was particularly frustrated with the image policy,[note 9] but when she complained to the Fanlore Dreamwidth community about the Wiki Committee's lack of transparency,[52] a Board member froze replies and posted to say ratcreature's post was not appropriate for the forum.[note 10] ratcreature subsequently stopped contributing to Fanlore.

The debate was reopened in 2013 in the comments to an AO3 announcement concerning meta hosting.[53]

Fannish Views of Fanlore's Image Policy

In 2010 Ratcreature wrote:

I'm not thrilled with the wiki committee. When it comes to fanart it still values legalistic arguments with technical requirements for "fair use" over the near universal convention in fandom that you do not distribute someone's fanworks in public venues against the fan's explicit wishes.[54]

Other fans question why fanzine art in particular should even be documented or preserved on Fanlore saying:

Not really sure why articles about zines need to be illustrated at all, TBH. Maybe like, one picture for "typical style of cover art from this era" or "this was the first zine to include sexually explicit fanart" or whatever. But it mostly seems to be "here are all the pretty pictures we were able to find connected with this one.[55]

In response other fans have pointed out that documenting the history and existence of each fanzine is important:

[Why document each fanzine?] so that people who've never seen a zine before can know what they look like. so that zine fans can see themselves represented, see the history they remember, and see the history they missed. so that people can instantly figure out which zine called "Captain's Log" or "Crystal Rose" or "Sexy Mpreg Panther" the article is actually talking about. Because zine editors weren't always so original when naming their zines. so that the articles can discuss certain individual pieces of art and how fans reacted to them at the time and how they influenced later art, without assuming every reader has their own copy of that art.[55]

And others have pointed out that, particularly when it comes to fanzine art which is inaccessible and subject to loss and damage and decay, that the wiki needs to include a wider range of fan art:

One of the reasons to include some of the interior art is so that the interior artists get representation. Not every artist graced fanzine covers and if we want to talk about a specific artist, it helps to have some example of their styles. Fanzines were for 30 years the only way fan artists had to share their work (besides an occasional art show). Since the only way to get the interior art examples is to manually scan them (because most zine artists don't have websites), and access to the zines is iffy, there will be a lot of overlap and ...over-scanning?. But I don't think anyone here is arguing that only cover artists deserve to be discussed on Fanlore. The issue is how to get examples for all the artists when most of the examples are locked in a box molding away. Also, for many of the zines we have no idea what is in them until someone adds the info to Fanlore. So we have no idea whose art is sitting inside those boxes, let alone which images to choose. It was an analog world back then and it will take time to move the 'data' over to the digital world.[56]

And finally, some fanzine artists and publishers themselves have weighed in on the topic of whether their fanzine fan art deserves to be represented on Fanlore and whether this representation can be legitimately classified as educational:

Concerning art in fanzines: in essence, art created for zines is meant to be seen by as many as possible; it's already been published, so it's not like art from a private collections. For that matter, museum art is frequently reproduced in programs, catalogues, etc. And including art in educational settings such as is as essential as including quotations in reviewing an author's writings. So, my short answer is "yes," reproducing the art from fanzines is not only legitimate usage, but necessary that these wonderful (and the not so wonderful) images be preserved. I'd just as soon some of my early attempts at illustration disappear, but then no one would know how much I improved over the years...”[57]

Even while fans discuss the pros and cons of including fan art on Fanlore, some fan artists embrace Fanlore's fair use policy. For example, many fanzine artists have, over the years, lost copies of their fan art and are thrilled to discover it again:

When I saw my page I was stunned and then teary. I sold, lost or gave away most of my fan art over the years and thought I’d never see it again. And here it is bringing back so many memories of people I knew and places I’ve been. Thank you."[58]

More recent digital artists agree:

This gifset I made which inspired this fantastic story HAS IT’S OWN FANLORE PAGE. I’m seriously so happy (and surprised) right now.[59]

Yay!! I love when fandom things are appreciated! It hasn't happened very often, but I did stumble upon my illustration I did for 'The Student Prince' on and it just made my day.[60]

Conflict With the Fan History Wiki

The Fan History Wiki (2006-2012) was a for-profit wiki around which much controversy swirled. When the OTW announced the intention of establishing Fanlore as a place for collecting fannish lore and history, Laura Hale, creator of the Fan History Wiki, was openly skeptical.[61] See Fan History Wiki for more information.

Fan Comments about Fanlore and Fan History Wiki


In fact, I don't particularly enjoy populating wikis, because you have to be all reasonable and shit, and cannot write with the sarcastic flair that I prefer, but I joined the OTW wiki project anyway (Fanlore). Because it beats the everliving crap out of anything Laura Hale could produce! And because I am burdened with a dutifulness gene. However, I resisted the urge to copy/pasta from the parallel Wikipedia pages (although in many cases it would be appropriate), and in so doing realized that there are a lot of details that go into any one source text. And this is the reason I can never remember the location of my keys. Also, when writing a character's biography, there really is no way to say, "Well, he watches porn, but not in the healthy, sex-positive way you would prefer, or even an ordinary, trashy way; rather, he is a creepy pornwatcher, and I think one time we saw him beating off to footage of Bigfoot." Anyway, I couldn't just put that up there in a wiki without laughing my head off, and I'm pretty sure it does not conform to the neutral/polyphonic guidelines for wiki-writing. But if anybody else wants to write that into the entry, feel free.[62]

Fanlore as a Reference

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanlore articles are often used as references by journalists and academics writing about fandom.

Media Mentions

Academic Citations


As of October 4, 2023, Fanlore has 64,173 articles and 93,047 files which have undergone 1,320,310 edits by 109,389 registered users.[note 11]

The twenty most viewed articles* on the wiki, as of February 15, 2014, were:[63]

Article Views
The Draco Trilogy 53,491
Incest 37,801
Fanfiction 36,781
Merlin (TV series) 32,891
White Collar 30,415
Merlin/Arthur 28,706
Slash 27,147
Sherlock (TV series) 26,519
RPF 23,590
List of Finder Communities 23,421
The Vampire Diaries ‎22,896
Hurt/Comfort 22,219
Harry/Draco 20,022
Archive of Our Own 20,002
Mpreg 19,851
SurveyFail 18,942
What to Do About Harry Potter Porn 18,922
Slavefic 18,744
Stargate Atlantis 18,567
Leverage 18,321

In April 2016, the 20 most visited pages were:

Article Views
Main Page ‏‎ 353,334
The Draco Trilogy ‏‎ 57,358
Fanfiction ‏‎ 47,142
Incest ‏‎ 39,758
Slash ‏‎ 39,619
Merlin (TV series) ‏‎ 35,358
RPF ‏‎ 33,411
White Collar ‏‎ 31,897
Sherlock (TV series) ‏‎ 31,430
Merlin/Arthur ‏‎ 31,286
Hurt/Comfort ‏‎ 28,217
Archive of Our Own ‏‎ 27,096
FanFiction.Net ‏‎ 25,082
List of Finder Communities ‏‎ 24,758
The Vampire Diaries (novels) ‏‎ 24,372
Harry/Draco ‏‎ 23,797
Fanart ‏‎ 23,468
Mpreg ‏‎ 23,130
Alpha/Beta/Omega ‏‎ 22,495
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. ‏‎ 22,009

For more statistics, see Special:Statistics. For general information about Fanlore, see Fanlore:About.

*The logging of "Most Viewed Pages" had been deprecated in Media Wiki 1.25 and statistic details are no longer accessible[64]


  1. ^ a b svmadelyn: Welcome to Fanlore!, posted 28 September 2008 to LiveJournal. (accessed 3 November 2011)
  2. ^ a b rbarenblat. Fanlore is out of beta!, posted 16 December 2010 to Dreamwidth. (accessed 3 November 2011)
  3. ^ 09:21, 4 August 2008 edit by user:Hope
  4. ^ Welcome to Fanlore!, posted September 29, 2008 to the OTW website (accessed August 21, 2017).
  5. ^ Wayback
  6. ^ cesperanza. Arrrrgh: Things I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO DO THIS MONTH, 17 April 2007. (accessed 11 November 2011)
  7. ^ thread started by cathexys, 17 April 2007
  8. ^ angstslashhope. This IS my homework... (dreamwidth copy), posted to livejournal 27 March 2006. (accessed 22 November 2012)
  9. ^ anatsuno. 2006-03-27 comment. Dreamwidth copy of a LiveJournal post. (Accessed 3 January 2015.)
  10. ^ a comment on June 20, 2006 by dragonscholar at Fanthropology on LiveJournal.[1]
  11. ^ a b otw-news. Looking for Wiki beta volunteers, posted to LiveJournal 24 June 2008.
  12. ^ Arduinna, May 4, 2011
  13. ^ User:Mrs. Potato Head. 20,000 articles (accessed 20 November 2012)
  14. ^ fanlore: Thanks for taking part! (accessed 4 July 2013)
  15. ^ Fandom as a Category v2 Posted, Archived version, posted to dreamwidth Apr. 21st, 2010.
  16. ^ Introducing: a new look for Fanlore! via Tumblr. Published June 30, 2020 (Accessed June 30, 2020).
  17. ^ 31.1.2011, comment in the prosfinder LJ community by starlite876, , accessed 24.1.2011.
  18. ^ Franzi (2010-07-13). "Fanlore, Tag Wrangling, and Zines". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. also available at her Dreamwidth blog
  19. ^ 16.12.2010, untitled post by tree979, accessed 24.11.2011.
  20. ^ by Aralias at looking for blake, posted January 25, 2014
  21. ^ darksnowfalling.tumblr, March 2016
  22. ^ 12.10.2010, comment by cymbalism219, accessed 24.1.2011.
  23. ^ 25.9.2010, comment in the best-enemies LJ community by reajeasa, accessed 24.1.2011.
  24. ^ 16.1.2011, comment by caitri, accessed 24.11.2011.
  25. ^ 28.6.2010, oh look, a post. by verselle, accessed 24.11.2011.
  26. ^ 22.3.2011, Two Random Things by redknightales, accessed 24.11.2011.
  27. ^ 22.9.2011, comment by green-rat, accessed 24.11.2011.
  28. ^ 12.10.2011, OTW by melagan, accessed 24.11.2011.
  29. ^ 22.8.2009, comment by romanse1, accessed 24.11.2011.
  30. ^ 2013 comments by Charlotte Frost at Contemplating (Im)Mortality
  31. ^ Elizabeth Minkel, Twitter (December 3, 2018)
  32. ^ 31.10.2011, They did it! by facetofcathy, accessed 24.11.2011.
  33. ^ 11.10.2008, comment by telesilla, accessed 24.11.2011
  34. ^ a b 2015 comment by anonymous at Fandom Secrets
  35. ^ 2015 comment by elaminator at Fandom Secrets
  36. ^ 2015 comment by intrigueing at Fandom Secrets
  37. ^ 10.10.2008, comment by laerwen, accessed 24.11.2011
  38. ^ 10.10.2008, I am a fangirl. Where do I get my credentials? by txvoodoo, accessed 24.11.2011
  39. ^ Paul Gadzikowski, I searched my name at Fanlore this week. (February 18, 2018)
  40. ^ 2015 comment by aralias at Fandom Secrets
  41. ^ 7.4.2009, don't stop believing, hold on to that feeling by nextian, accessed 24.11.2011
  42. ^ 8.9.2009, Geek Feminism Link and OTW Musings by facetofcathy, accessed 24.11.2011
  43. ^ 6.4.2009, I forgot to post yesterday. by elfwreck, accessed 24.11.2011
  44. ^ 2015 comment by intrigueing at Fandom Secrets
  45. ^ 2015 comment by solticisekf at Fandom Secrets
  46. ^ 2015 comment by mek at Fandom Secrets
  47. ^ 10.12.2009, From the open ID/anonymous thread, melina on behalf of michelle, accessed 24.11.2011
  48. ^ 21.12.2009, comment on Fanlore log. by facetofcathy, accessed 24.11.2011
  49. ^ 30.12.2009, comment by franzeska, accessed 24.11.2011
  50. ^ 14.11.2011, (no subject) by anenko, accessed 24.11.2011
  51. ^ 2015 comment by lb lee at Fandom Secrets
  52. ^ ratcreature. communication/development of policies, 18 August 2010
  53. ^ See 18 Feb 2013 comment thread in "OTW Board Approves Meta Hosting on the AO3". See also the discussion on fail fandomanon, starting on 23 February 2013.
  54. ^ So, Fanlore posted its new image policy... posted October 21, 2010, accessed November 12, 2011
  55. ^ a b comment in why articles about zines need to be illustrated at all thread in fail-fandomanon dated March 2, 2013; WebCite.
  56. ^ comment in why articles about zines need to be illustrated at all thread in fail-fandomanon dated March 5, 2013; WebCite.
  57. ^ Source: Vel Jaeger, private e-mail correspondence to Morgan Dawn dated April 16, 2013 (quoted at her request).
  58. ^ Marilyn Cole in private correspondence dated September 23, 2010, quoted with permission.
  59. ^ agentooq-blog (previously superheroesandsuperhusbands and agentbartoned) tumblr post dated October 3, 2012 available on the links of the "older blog". 2013-05-06. Archived from the original on 2013-05-06. and "new blog". 2021-09-02. Archived from the original on 2021-09-02.
  60. ^ reni_m commenting in an untitled post, Dated April 7, 2011.
  61. ^ See comment thread started by hector_rashbaum in otw_news post titled "An Introduction to the Organization for Transformative Works". 28 September 2007. (accessed 11 November 2011)
  62. ^ comment by vehemently at her journal, September 28, 2008
  63. ^ Fanlore: Special: Popular pages (accessed 25 April 2012)
  64. ^ MediaWiki 1.25 Release Notes


  1. ^ The Stardate is the date the events from the Star Trek reboot movie take place.
  2. ^ The Main Page was created June 3, 2008
  3. ^ for an example of "someone else should take care of that" -- see roots of con-crit of fic, comments in October 14, 2008 post
  4. ^ one of these fans comments: When I stumbled upon Fanlore in July 2009, all I was planning to do was to add some zines to it in a single fandom. I swear! That's it! But as I did, I was reminded that those zines didn't exist in a vacuum, and that zines touched upon all sorts of other stuff -- cons, flyers, writing contests, awards, production techniques, glossary terms, and were the basis for all sorts of fannish things today. The whole world of pre-internet media fandom became something I wanted to help document. There are bits and pieces of fannish history here and there, but nothing that really ties things together. I thought the best place to do that was on a welcoming wiki where fans could pool their knowledge. And to get the ball rolling? Start writing about media zines, ALL media zines. Not only would this preserve the fanworks themselves, but it would branch out and show, in a much clearer way, how everything fit together, what fans talked about, what they expected from each other, how they viewed their rights as fans, the difficulties fans faced, and how they communicated and created in a world they really cared about. None of it any different that what fans have always been doing, of course, but in a different medium, one before computers." Mrs. Potato Head, Fanlore Journal on Dreamwidth, posted September 4, 2011
  5. ^ As of November 2011 there were more pages for The Charioteer fan fiction than for Harry Potter fanfiction.
  6. ^ Renamed in November 2016. See Updates from the Fanlore committee, archived, posted to Dreamwidth on 15 November 2016.
  7. ^ See the Dreamwidth discussions: Draft of Image Policy for Discussion, 23 April 2010. Image templates and Image Policy FAQ, 21 October 2010. Image policy FAQ revisions, 3 November 2010. Image policy clarifications, 23 November 2010. Some tweaks were made the following year in response to privacy issues related to explicit art: admin post: image policy, identity protection, editorial procedures on October 3, 2011
  8. ^ The first draft was posted 23 April 2010 and met with considerable resistance -- Draft of Image Policy for Discussion. The second draft was posted 21 October 2010: Image templates and Image Policy FAQ. The time in between was spent investigating technical shortcuts (none found), waiting for input from other committees, and rewriting into an FAQ format following Board recommendations. At one point, the Board also told Wiki to rewrite all of its existing policies in an FAQ format, and time was lost debating how to not have to do that.
  9. ^ see her August 23, 2010 post disgruntled ratcreature is disgruntled
  10. ^ astolat. Board Post, 18 August 2010. To be fair, astolat responded after receiving cries for help from stressed-out Wiki Committee members. The Fanlore Dreamwidth community does not have explicit policies on what is and is not appropriate to post.[2]
  11. ^ Alas, a high and growing proportion of these users are spambots, but Fanlore has a number of gardeners (17 as of November 3, 2011) who, with great satisfaction, block them and delete their edits.