Filtering Tools

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Related terms: Warning, Rating, Blocklist
See also: Searching for Fanworks on the Internet, Keeping Track of Fanworks on the Internet
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In fandom there have been various software tools used to help people find things they want to see and avoid things they don't want to see. Fans have created tools, and the tools available have influenced fan culture.

Early days

  • Mailing lists were often split out into different lists for different fandoms, and even within a fandom for different types of fic or art - e.g. gen-only lists, slash-only lists, etc.
  • Usenet had many groups, and you could also choose which topics you followed within a group. Killfiles also date from this era.


  • LiveJournal had a range of tools, including blocking journals, "killfile" scripts to blacklist certain people, and community moderation tools. LiveJournal also had tags, so you could choose to view all the entries with a certain tag. Your friends page would still show all the entries, regardless of tag.


  • Dreamwidth added more tools, e.g. filtering out certain tags from your reading page, and being able to grant access without subscribing or vice versa, allowing you more control over what you do and don't see.

  • stories are divided by crossovers vs non-crossovers. Additional functions allow searching by keyword, by genre, by rating, or by character. Later on, a feature was added to allow authors to tag two characters in a pairing, but many older stories still lack this.
  • Scryer was created in 2014 by a user to aid in searching on FFN.
  • Flipper Fanfiction Recommendation Engine is an application released in 2018 which replaces FFN's native search functions with more robust search and filter options.


  • AO3 allows you to follow certain tags.
  • After many years of using boolean search operators to exclude tags, as of June 2018 AO3 users can now click tags in the new "Exclude" section of the filter sidebar to exclude anything with those tags from displaying in the results.
  • AO3 Savior is a script that allows you to hide all works with certain tags so that you don't see them at all when browsing.
  • AO3rdr functions as a bookmark manager and blacklist.
  • The site displays a warning every time a user tries to access a work tagged as "Explicit". Logged in users can deactivate the warning.
  • Built-in muting functionality was officially implemented in 2023.


  • Tumblr does allow blocking of blogs, but if the content is reblogged by a blog one follows the content will still show up.
  • post tagged #nsfw can be hidden from the user's dashboard if the option is activated in the user's account settings. This way, fanworks with adult themes won't be displayed. Tumblr also uses tag wrangling to show related terms to a tag, so people can tag their fanart and fanfiction published on Tumblr accordingly so people who look specifically for adult/explicit works can find them.
  • XKit was a great tool for filtering out things you didn't want to see, until the creator got bullied off Tumblr.
  • New XKit does a similar thing and much more.
  • Tumblr Savior can also be helpful for filtering. Posts that contain black listed tags won't show up on the dashboard, but these posts will still be visible when browsing other blogs.
  • Washboard is helpful for filtering and works on mobile.
  • tool summary post


  • Twitter allows filtering of post and users posting so called "sensitive media". If the option is activated in the user's account settings, preview images and gifs will be hidden by default and have to be activated to be seen.
  • accounts can be muted and blocked
  • muted words can be defined but posts still seem to show up anyway which can be seen when muting words used in automated spam accounts posted by bots

Related essays

See Also