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Synonyms: Recommendation
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.[1]

While such reviews could be negative, the majority were positive, and functioned as recs pages do today, as a guide for fanfic readers.

Rec Pages

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[2] and the first of these review posts appeared in February 1997.[3] 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,[4] and posted 17 recs in 1997, for X-files and The Sentinel.[5]

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. [6] [7] 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[8]), 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

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

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[9] ; others post new recs only on the bookmarking sites.[10]


Like most other things in fandom, recs and reccing is not without its controversies and conflicts.

Some subjects:

  • venue
  • status of the reccer/issues with BNFdom
  • format
  • motivation
  • lack of variety
  • possibility of hurt feelings by those left off a rec list


Not all fans appreciate the visibility and attention a rec provides.

A 2008 comment:

If you have a Livejournal with a few dozen friends, it's perfectly okay to link to someone's story and go, "This is the coolest story EVAH. I heart it so much. It's so full of win. Go read!"


If you're a big name fan who also has a very high-profile blog, or you're a professional journalist for a major magazine who thinks that mentioning the titles of some neat fanfic would be a cool thing to do, or if the subject of fanfic comes up on a major web site with tons of traffic and you're talking about fic you like in the comments of an article ... ask. And think twice, and three times, about recommending a specific story. You do not want to give too much publicity to a fanfic, particularly one that's not yours.

I'm surprised by the number of people who should know better and yet still point their spotlight at a fan without asking. If in question, ask the fanfic author if they're comfortable with mention of their story in that setting. [11]

Meta/Further Reading



  • Foresmutters Project, Where a dust-up about headers was perceived as privileging/recommending, leading to wank (1999)






Large Group Rec Sites

Prominent Individual Reccers


  1. ^ Bryan Ogawa in Fan-fic Reviews, posted 28 Sept 1996 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
  2. ^ Lunacy. DAILY REPORTS - 1997 (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  3. ^ Lunacy. The History Of Xena Fan Ficton On The Net in Whoosh! #25, October 1998. (Accessed 23 February 2009)
  4. ^ "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)
  5. ^ recommendations 1997 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
  6. ^ Wayback Machine Link to a copy of the recs page from December 2, 1998. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  7. ^ Wayback Machine Link to a copy of the dreambook guestbook. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  8. ^ Moved from Rachael Sabotini's website at mediafans, to rachael-recs on Livejournal in May 2005, and now on starting January 2006 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
  9. ^ See the rec-room-bot, feed journal for cupidsbow's rec_room, created 6 July 2007 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
  10. ^ See Changed Formats- recs now on Delicious, the final post on Rachael Sabotini's recs lj, posted 10 Sept 2007 (Accessed 1 March 2009)
  11. ^ from Fanfiction: The Invisible Writing On the Wall by Leva Cygnet