|See also:||masterlist, anti-rec, review, pimp, Category:Recommendation Sites|
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A rec is a recommendation, generally made by an unrelated third-party who has read the fanfic (or watched the video, or viewed the art) and found it to be worth bringing to the attention of other fans. The word is commonly used as both a noun (a reccer makes recs) and verb (one recs a good fic to their friends).
Recs are usually positive, emphasizing the favored aspects of the fanwork, though they may mention warnings or other caveats, and they may give the work a rating or ranking (e.g. "recommended" or "highly recommended.") A discussion of a fanwork that is more critical may be called a review instead. Reccing the work of a friend is commonly referred to as pimping.
This activity of pre-selecting fanworks is an important service to the fan community, and prolific reccers can be as well-known as creators of fanworks. Many communities are dedicated to reccing as well.
Multiple recs in a given location are sometimes called rec lists or rec pages.
Rec lists may be divided by fandom, category (slash, gen, or het), or subject matter (crack, AU, first time, etc.) Rec lists are a common starting point for new members of a fandom who are looking for good fics to read. In large fandoms, where it is impractical to keep track of all newly-posted fics, readers may choose to read exclusively from rec lists. The maintainer of a rec list may be an individual, a group of fans, or a community.
Though the term "rec" appears to be relatively recent, the concept is old. Fanfic reviews predate modern recs. The first fanwork reviews might be those found in letterzines, some of which inspired the first fanwork awards.
Online, the word "review" has long had divergent meanings in fandom, and one of those meanings is equivalent to the modern "rec," as defined in a September, 1996 post to RAAF:
- Another thing with reviews is that there is more than one type of review.
- There are what are called C&C (comments and corrections) on the FFML.[...] Secondly, there are "movie review" reviews. "If you liked the Kimagure Orange Road, go read _Kimagure Orange College_--one of the finest fanfiction continuations of an anime series to date." [...] The second is meant for the reader, and not the writer, as a guide: "What should I read? What's worthy of my time?" In a sense, what the writer thinks of the review isn't very relevant, except as another voice recommending (or not recommending) the reading of a work, and one that is suspect, since people are often less objective about their own work than the work of others.
While such reviews could be negative, the majority were positive, and functioned as recs pages do today, as a guide for fanfic readers.
Among the early rec pages on the web were Lunacy's Fan Fiction Reviews in Xena fandom; its daily review posts from May 1997 are still archived at its current URL and the first of these review posts appeared in February 1997. Torch's recs page, one of the early multi-fandom recs lists (and perhaps one of the first to explicitly state it was "recommendations" rather than reviews?), was created on October 16, 1997, and posted 17 recs in 1997, for X-files and The Sentinel.
Many of the early rec pages had guest books for visitors to leave their own recs. One example is Jan & June's Slash Recommendations page, started on February 8, 1998, with the earliest recs in the associated guest book starting just a day later.   Another early online reccer, Rachael Sabotini, started in response to the Duncan character bashing going on on the ROG-L mailing list. In April 1998 she posted a recommendations list of Duncan-centric stories, ones she felt were light on Duncan!bashing. The site expanded to encompass other fandoms and changed sites and formats), but the original dreambook guestbook is still working, referencing recs from early in 1998.
- For information about rec pages see Category:Recommendation Sites
Rec lists are a collection of links, usually with summary, sometimes sorted by tropes or categories. The personal opinion/review part is often missing. Rec lists are quite common on Tumblr and they have mostly replaced recommendation pages.
Sample Rec Lists
- Rodney's Miserable Childhood Masterlist, Archived version (Stargate: Atlantis)
- Post-Trinity Phenomenon (Stargate Atlantis)
- The Fic Filter (Panfandom)
- The Fic List (Panfandom)
- Meg Loves a Good Bottom (Due South, The Sentinel, Highlander, The Man from U.N.C.L.E)
LiveJournal and Delicious
In the 2000s, as much of fandom migrated to LiveJournal, so did rec lists, and as of 2009 most of the major reccers (group and individual) can be found there (though some still maintain their own pages as well.) Starting around 2006, many reccers also began using delicious and other social bookmarking services, which (being designed for sharing links) are an ideal format for recs. Some reccers use scripts or feeds to also post the recs to their livejournals ; others post new recs only on the bookmarking sites.
Like most other things in fandom, recs and reccing is not without its controversies and conflicts.
- status of the reccer/issues with BNFdom
- lack of variety
- possibility of hurt feelings by those left off a rec list
- Foresmutters Project, Where a dust-up about headers was perceived as privileging/recommending, leading to wank (1999)
- I know all the best people, Archived version by Destina Fortunato. A few little things that bother me when I am surfing the multitudes of recs pages across various fandoms. (June 2001)
- the point of recs is not just, 'here's a story that somebody likes'; archive link page 1; page 2 (2003)
- Meta on Reccing, Archived version by kiki-eng. About re-reccing, rec sets, and recs as a service vs. recs as fanworks. (January 2012)
- Crack Van - A Multifandom Reccing Community on LiveJournal
- Epic Recs - multifandom reccing community on LiveJournal
- Fancake - A multifandom reccing community where anyone can rec in that month's theme on Dreamwidth
- Find me a fanwork! on Imzy
- Het Reccers - multifandom reccing community for het fanworks on LiveJournal
- Recs @ Livejournal - Multifandom Recommendations
- Recs Rainbow - noticeboard community for reccers
- buffyversetop5 - Seasonal community for fanwork recs for all Joss Whedon fandoms
Large Group Rec Sites
Prominent Individual Reccers
- thefourthvine - multifandom reccer
- norah - multifandom reccer
- Nestra and shrift run Polyamorous Recommendations
- Justcat's Slash Resource Site
- The Slash Slut's Recs
- Sandy Herrold's All Jewels Have Flaws
- Becky's Fleeting Fancies
- Lunacy's Fan Fiction Reviews
- Bright Knight: Amy's Forever Knight Fanfiction Recommendation of the Month (monthly since 1999)
- Bryan Ogawa in Fan-fic Reviews, posted 28 Sept 1996 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
- Lunacy. DAILY REPORTS - 1997 (Accessed October 11, 2008)
- Lunacy. The History Of Xena Fan Ficton On The Net in Whoosh! #25, October 1998. (Accessed 23 February 2009)
- "Page created on October 16, 1997; latest update on March 17, 2005. Page moved to ari's place on May 30, 1998." Torch. recommendations. (Accessed 1 March 2009)
- recommendations 1997 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
- Wayback Machine Link to a copy of the recs page from December 2, 1998. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
- Wayback Machine Link to a copy of the dreambook guestbook. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
- Moved from Rachael Sabotini's website at mediafans, to rachael-recs on Livejournal in May 2005, and now on Delicious.com starting January 2006 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
- See the rec-room-bot, feed journal for cupidsbow's rec_room, created 6 July 2007 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
- See Changed Formats- recs now on Delicious, the final post on Rachael Sabotini's recs lj, posted 10 Sept 2007 (Accessed 1 March 2009)