Worldbuilding Exchange

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Gift Exchange
Name: Worldbuilding Exchange
Date(s): 2017 - 2022
Runs: January - March
Moderator(s): worldbuildingmod
Type: "OR" matching: character and worldbuilding tags;
fanfiction, fanart, and in-universe meta
Scope: worldbuilding
Fandom: multifandom
URL: AO3 collection
DW community
Successor exchange on Dreamwidth
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Worldbuilding Exchange is for worldbuilding-focused fanworks (both fic and art). It first ran in 2017, with matching done through AO3, where the collection is archived. The exchange runs from January–March. The final round ran in 2022.[1] However, a different mod stepped up to continue the exchange as a spiritual successor under the same name.[2]

For main gifts, participants were expected to create one fanwork, which could be any of the following (depending on the requests they matched to): a story at least 1000 words long; a finished piece of art with a total size of 400K+ pixels; or at least 1000 words of in-universe meta (e.g. "fictional encyclopedia entries, newspaper articles, propaganda pamphlets, textbooks, etc. etc.").[1]

For the purposes of this exchange, "worldbuilding" will be defined as any exploration of how a fictional world works beyond the information presented in canon. This includes (but is not limited to) more detailed extrapolation of information presented in canon, filling in gaps in the canon backstory, attempts to reconcile apparent contradictions in canon information, exploring the perspectives on canon events of characters implied to exist but not considered within the canon, etc. — from "Exchange Information, Rules, Guidelines, etc.", posted Jan. 17th, 2017

In addition to nominating characters for each fandom, people were required to nominate "worldbuilding tags". (Because of the limitations of the AO3 matching algorithm, these were nominated in the Relationship field; as a result, pairing nominations were not possible.) For their assignments, participants were then matched on one or more character tag and one or more worldbuilding tag (i.e. "OR" matching).

Treats are encouraged, and may be added to the AO3 collection any time up until creators are revealed. Creators do not have to be signed up for the exchange to give treats.[3]

The organisers of the original Worldbuilding Exchange, which ran from 2017 to 2022, have since retired their event. These exchanges can all be found in this AO3 collection. From 2023 onwards, new organisers are running a successor event which can be found here on AO3.


In the 2017 exchange, a total of 75 works were created, covering 48 fandoms.

2017 requests/prompts on AO3, in a google doc


In the 2018 exchange, 72 works were created, covering 56 fandoms.

2018 requests/prompts on AO3, in a google doc


In the 2019 exchange, 88 works were created, covering 60 fandoms.

2019 requests/prompts on AO3, in a google doc


In the 2020 exchange, 100 works were created, covering 73 fandoms.

2020 requests/prompts on AO3.


In the 2021 exchange, 114 works were created, covering 79 fandoms.

2021 requests/prompts on AO3.


In the 2022 exchange, which was the last one with the old organisers, 76 works were created, covering 59 fandoms.

2022 requests/prompts on AO3.


In the 2023 exchange, which was the first one with the new organisers, 114 works were created, covering 88 fandoms.

2023 requests/prompts on AO3.


The 2024 exchange is open for signups until 28th February 2024.


  1. ^ The announcement that the 2022 round would be the final one appeared in the post "2022 schedule and an announcement" (30 December 2021).
  2. ^ "Absolutely thrilled to be able to announce that worldbuilding_exchange will be running next year, picking up where worldbuildingex left off." (Nov. 9th, 2022).
  3. ^ Treats policy in the 2017 exchange; treats policy in the 2018 exchange.