- Angela Abar wrestles with destiny in ‘Watchmen’ episode 8 Sunday 9:05 PM
- Guy who runs Trump Organization Twitter account caught hyping up own tweet Sunday 4:51 PM
- People found out how tall Olaf is–and now ‘Frozen’ is terrifying Sunday 3:41 PM
- Rapper Juice WRLD dead at 21 Sunday 3:02 PM
- Embody Andrew Yang, fight other presidential candidates in video game Sunday 2:33 PM
- Ariana Grande spoke with TikTok teen who looks exactly like her Sunday 1:00 PM
- Beyoncé accused of paying dancers ‘low rates’ Sunday 11:58 AM
- Timmy Thick blasted for saying the N-word in comeback video Sunday 9:11 AM
- Netflix’s ‘The Confession Killer’ is a devastating and well-built portrait of a con artist Sunday 8:00 AM
- Swipe This! I’m ashamed to tell anyone about my online shopping habit Sunday 6:00 AM
- UPS facing backlash for thanking police after employee killed in shootout Saturday 5:02 PM
- Sanders campaign fires staffer after anti-Semitic, homophobic tweets surface Saturday 3:13 PM
- Brother Nature was attacked, says everyone just watched with phones out Saturday 2:45 PM
- Ryan Reynolds’ gin company hires Peloton wife for ad Saturday 1:24 PM
- Ex-vegan YouTuber accused of fraud after following meat-only diet Saturday 1:11 PM
Fanfiction finds a place in Time’s 50 Best Websites of 2013
Fanfiction community Archive of Our Own (AO3) scores some major mainstream recognition.
Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2013 features some old favourites (SoundCloud, Feedly) along with more esoteric sites like Everything Is Terrible. But for one online subculture, a spot on the 50 Best list was another step towards mainstream recognition.
Yes, for the first time, a fanfiction archive has made it onto the list.
Compared to multi-million dollar behemoths like Wattpad (where Sony once paid someone to post “official” One Direction fanfiction), Archive of our Own might seem like a relatively small fanfic site. However, while some say “small”, others might describe it as elite. Although there are no quality-based entry requirements to post on AO3, you do need an invite code to sign up for an account. And for whatever reason, AO3 generally seems to attract a crowd of talented, mature fan artists, writers, and podficcers.
Fifty Shades of Grey may be the mainstream face of fanfiction, but it hasn’t done much to dispel the image of fanfic as being “mommy porn”, or just poorly-written in general. Which isn’t to say that lots of fanfiction isn’t erotica — just that you could easily do a lot better than the strangely banal antics of Anastasia Steele and her amoral sugar-daddy. And that’s where Archive of our Own comes in.
As we pointed out in our guide to finding the the good (fanfiction) porn, AO3 is the best place to go if you’ve just finished watching, say, Breaking Bad, and you want to know what its fandom thinks is the best fanfic on offer. You can sort search results by hit count, “kudos” (similar to Facebook “Likes”), or comments, as well as a variety of character and ratings-based criteria. So if you want to make sure you only get G-rated search results for Monsters Inc. stories to read to your kid, that’s cool too. The search engine and tag-wrangling for AO3 is better than the ones you’ll find on plenty of more “serious” websites.
As Lev Grossman put it in Time:
“Archive of Our Own makes it easy: it’s the most carefully curated, sanely organized, easily browsable and searchable nonprofit collection of fan fiction on the Web, and it serves all fandoms equally, from The A-Team to Zachary Quinto and beyond.”
As a community-run project, AO3 is a real success story. Run by volunteers and primarily funded by donations, its users are loyal enough that they managed to raise $16,000 in a fanfic auction last week. Now rated alongside sites like Mental Floss and TED-ed on Time’s 50 Best list, AO3’s users will surely be glad to see the archive receive the recognition it deserves.
Image via nupao/DeviantArt
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor