FanFiction.Net vs. Archive of Our Own

Updated on February 14, 2017

FanFiction.Net vs. Archive of Our Own: A Comparison of Two Fan Fiction Archives

Fan fiction is a widely popular hobby on the internet today. While fan fiction has been around for decades, earlier shared in fanzines or passed-around, type-written stories, since the 1990s there has been an explosion of fan fiction websites and archives on-line. People share their fan fiction stories through internet mailing lists, journaling and social media networks like LiveJournal and Tumblr, and also through archive websites. These archives can be small and focused on specific fandoms, such as Twilight, Star Trek or Harry Potter, or they can be large and all-encompassing, open to almost any and all kinds of fan fiction.

Two of the largest and most well-known multi-fandom archives today are FanFiction.Net and Archive of Our Own. In this article, I will give a brief introduction to both as well as a comparison of their features, usability and critcisms. You'll also have a chance, if you use either/both archives, to sound off on your opinions as to which one better suits your needs. There are certainly pros and cons to both archives, yet for a fan fiction author who wants to preserve his or her work and present it to a wider audience, using one - or both - of these archives may be worthwhile.

Are You Familiar With These Fan Fiction Archives? - Please note: No cursing/foul language allowed in comments! If you swear, your comment will not be posted!

How familiar are you with FanFiction.Net and Archive of Our Own?

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FanFiction.Net's front page
FanFiction.Net's front page


The internet's largest fan fiction archive.

FanFiction.Net (FFN) was launched October 15, 1998 by Los Angeles computer programmer Xing Li. Xing Li was not himself heavily involved in fandom, but hosted the site on a server connected to his place of employment where it was considered a test of the server's functionality.

FanFiction.Net quickly rose in popularity, being one of the few archives at the time open to just about any kind of fandom, not just a single specific universe, anime or TV series. Originally the archive was open to anyone over the age of 18 who wished to register for an account, and allowed any storing rating, from general audiences ("G") to explicit adult ("NC-17"). Stories about celebrities including musicians, actors and sports players (ie, Real Person Fiction) were allowed along with those stories written about television series, fictional books, comics, anime and movies.

Eventually the website needed to employ advertising in order to keep the server running due to increasing demand and use. However, registered members could pay for a premium account if they did not want to see ads and have access to other special functions. This function was not heavily embraced by users and eventually abandoned in favor of advertising support only.As the archive grew in popularity and size, certain types of content were officially banned and other changes implemented. In 2002, NC-17 rated stories were no longer allowed (although enforcement of this policy is up to users reporting stories; there are still many explicit-content fictions to be found on the site.) Real person/celebrity fiction was disallowed in 2003. Other topics such as songfic, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, and non-fiction lists have also been banned through the years, although again enforcement is spotty at best. The site has also disallowed fan-fiction based on certain works after receiving requests from their creators, including authors such as Anne Rice, P. N. Elrod, Laurell K. Hamilton, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Raymond Feist and Terry Goodkind.

The age limit for site registration is now 13. As of 2010, the site had over 2.2 million users and stories posted in over 30 languages. Its largest fandom as of the end of 2011 was Harry Potter, with over 570,000 stories posted in that category alone. Naruto was the second most popular fandom, with over 290,000 stories. FanFiction.Net also features active forums for users to discuss their fandoms, Communities of moderated, hand-selected fiction, and a list of beta readers available to help authors improve their work. The site now has a mobile version and RSS feeds one can subscribe to, in order to see the latest works in particular fandoms.

In 2012 there was a widespread purge of adult content from the site, which had widespread impact throughout fanfiction communities online.

Where to learn more about FanFiction.Net:

* FanFiction.Net - FanHistory (features lengthy timeline through 2010 of events in FanFiction.Net's history)

* FanFiction.Net - Wikipedia

* FanFiction.Net - Fanlore

Criticisms of FanFiction.Net

FanFiction.Net may be the largest fan fiction archive on the internet, but it's not everyone's favorite site by a long shot. These are some of the common criticisms of the site.

  1. Difficulty finding quality fiction amidst all of the dreck. As Sturgeon's Law proposes, 90% of everything is crap - and that means there is an AWFUL lot of crap on FanFiction.Net. Indeed, the site has long been known as "The Pit of Voles", derided as the home of some of the worst of the worst that fan fiction has to offer. Lack of proper spelling and punctuation, poor characterization, childish plotting and blatant Mary Sues - to many, this is what FanFiction.Net represents.
  2. Limitations on allowed content. As the site grew to astronomical proportions and needed to start accepting advertising to stay afloat, it is not surprising that it had to start restricting content in order to be acceptable to non-adult oriented advertisers. Yet that means that the site is technically useless to fan-fiction authors who write about subjects or include content that is no longer allowed, such as bandfic or adult fan-fiction. For many years, however, writers of adult fan-fiction have kept posting their stories on, as enforcement of these policies was poor at best. This has changed in May of 2012, as a widespread purge of adult-content stories has begun, angering many users of the site. Statistics on Fanlore suggest that over 17,000 Harry Potter stories alone were deleted during this purge, along with thousands in other top fandoms.
  3. Sorting multiple-character/relationship fiction is difficult. FanFiction.Net only allows one to sort/filter fiction within a fandom by two characters (Kirk and Spock in "Star Trek"). What if you are looking for stories featuring more characters or complicated relationships (yes, people do write Kirk/Spock/Uhura poly relationships, or perhaps love triangles such as Kirk/Uhura and Uhura/Spock). With AO3's freeform tag system, it is much easier to label and look for such stories.Update! As of March 15, 2013, now allows four characters to be assigned to a story, not just two.
  4. Annoying advertising. Some users find the full page ads one must skip over or wait to load on FanFiction.Net extremely annoying - particularly those on slower internet connections.
  5. Disinterest in punishing/banning plagiarist authors and plagiarism. Plagiarism can be a major problem in fan-fiction, as some think that because "all fan fiction is stealing" that it is perfectly fine to steal another's words and claim them as their own. That can be a fan fiction author stealing content word-for-word from a published author's work, or from another fan fiction author (often times only changing characters' names and minor details, to publish a story in a different fandom.) When such incidents have occurred on FanFiction.Net, they have generally been ignored by the site administrators.

Screenshot of the AO3 homepage
Screenshot of the AO3 homepage

Archive of Our Own

Noncommercial and Nonprofit.

Archive of Our Own (AO3) first launched in beta-testing on November 14, 2009. The archive is a project of the Organization for Transformative Works, a non-profit organization which promotes the legitimate and transformative nature of fan works including fan fiction, fan vids and fan art.

It was originally proposed in 2007, in part as a reaction against the recently-launched archive FanLib. FanLib faced deep criticism by the media fandom community at the time for its corporate sponsorship and funding and apparent lack of understanding of how fan communities truly operated. At the time, many older, smaller fan fiction archives were disappearing as free hosting sites popular in the 1990s and early 2000s were disappearing or going out of business.

AO3 has grown slowly, as one requires an invite code to join (if you request one, it can take anywhere from a month to upwards of 5-6 months to receive one, according to recent reports.) The archive is now the home of the large, annual small-fandom fest Yuletide, which is how many members of AO3 have gotten accounts there by signing up to take part in the exchange. Some of the features and highlights of AO3 include:

* Open to all kinds of fandoms, including Real Person Fiction

* Open to all ratings of fan-fiction, from general audiences to adult. Content which is not allowed includes text of or links to "child pornography (images of real children); warez, cracks, hacks or other executable files and their associated utilities; trade secrets, restricted technologies, or classified information; or if it consists entirely of actual instruction manuals, technical data, recipes, or other non-fanwork content, including non-fanwork creative work". (Site Terms of Service.) Other policies are in place to disallow harassment or threats against real people, whether other users or people named in fictional stories.

* As of February 2013, the archive now allows users to host meta fandom writings as well as fiction.

* Ability to lock story visibility to other AO3 members only, to minimize search engine inclusion (some authors don't want their stories showing up in general Google searches.)* Allowance of certain fandoms (include Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles") and story types (including songfic) which have been banned from FanFiction.Net.

* Ability to link various pseudonyms and names under one account, and to also "orphan" stories to remove your name from them

* A complex tagging system so that stories can be searched by theme (romance, hurt/comfort), trope (Steampunk AU, Aliens made them do it) or whatever an author may choose

* Backdating system, useful if one is trying to organize all of her fanfiction chronologically

* Ability to import stories from other URLs

* Collections and challenges

* A "Kudos" button to show that you read a story and enjoyed it, without having to leave written feedback

* Ability to add new fandoms if not already listed, without having to wait for a site administrator to add them

* A warning system for common fannish triggers and controversial subjects - which an author can choose or choose not to use

As of January 2012, Archive of Our Own featured approximately 8,300 fandoms, 290,000 archived works and 33,500 users. The most popular fandoms at that time include Stargate (18,300 stories), Harry Potter (17,900 stories) and Supernatural (14,300).The minimum age for registering for an account is 13.

Links to learn more:

* Archive of Our Own - Fanlore

* Archive of Our Own - FanHistory

* Organization for Transformative Works - Wikipedia

Criticisms of Archive of Our Own

The following are some of the criticisms which have been made by some of Archive of Our Own as a fan-fiction archive. While the site has been embraced by many, there are those who are not as thrilled with the archive or have had issues with it in the past.

  1. Too heavily focused on media fandom. The archive administrative team has been accused on numerous occasions of having little understanding of how other fanfiction communities operate, such as music and anime fandoms. Everything from the site's design to category structure reflects a Western media fandom bias, particularly that of LiveJournal media fandom. As such, many outside of Western media fandoms do not feel welcomed contributing to the site nor feel like their specific community issues and needs are being addressed.
  2. No ability to sort out crossovers from non-crossover stories. Crossover stories, involving characters from multiple fannish sources in one story, are quite popular among many fanfiction readers and writers. However, some readers do not care for crossovers in general or at all, and AO3 doesn't have an easy way to filter crossover stories out of the listings returned for a particular fandom. In comparison, FanFiction.Net has a completely separate section of their website for crossover fiction only, so it's easier to find (or not find) such stories as you wish.
  3. Frequent downtime/slow server response. As the site's userbase has grown, some have reported increasing errors and downtime when trying to access the site. This has become particularly troublesome around the end of May/early June 2012, perhaps linked to the sudden surge of interest in Avengers fandom as well as the mature-content purge at This has lead some to wonder if the archive can really keep running on its current hardware, software, and financial donations to OTW alone.
  4. The tagging system is a mess. Writers are allowed to use however many different tags as they want to on their stories and there is very little structure to the tagging system. Even within a single fandom, one character may have their name "tagged" in multiple different ways - making it difficult to easily filter only for stories featuring them. The archive does employ a team of Tag Wranglers whose sole task is to link together related tags to be more searchable. (For instance, if I search for the tag "vampire AU", 9 different tags are currently returned for me to sort through including "vampire AU, "'verse: Vampire AU" "vampire!AU" and "sherlock bbc john watson holmes vampire au".) However, as the archive grows and grows, keeping up with all of the freeform, user-generated tags can become difficult - and some tag wranglers have expressed frustration with the system and how their committee has been handled. It doesn't help when you have some authors tagging everything and anything possible to an almost laughable extent. Do we really need to know that many details about a story before reading it? Are these things people will actually want to search based upon?
  5. Lack of community/readers don't comment and review. Many authors seem to view AO3 as a convenient "storage bin" for all of their old works, dropping stories there but rarely reading others' works. Many fan communities even with large numbers of stories on AO3 are far more active elsewhere, such as on LiveJournal communities or smaller, fandom-focused websites. With the "Kudos" button feature, readers are less likely to leave actual feedback or interact with authors, since they can just hit "Kudos" to show that they read and at least moderately enjoyed a story.
  6. Hard to keep up with what's new in a particular fandom. With backdating, sometimes it's hard to just find what are the newest stories posted in a particular fandom. However, rss feed subscriptions have recently been introduced, allowing interested readers to subscribe to not just favorite authors but favorite fandoms as well.
  7. No filter "out" options, period. Many users have expressed annoyance that there is no way to search on AO3 to "filter out" unwanted tags, characters, or types of fiction. For instance, if a Harry Potter fan didn't want to read about any stories heavily featuring Severus Snape, or slash as a tag, you can't do that. In very large fandoms this makes searching for stories a person actually wants to read rather difficult, particularly as there is also a 1,000 work cap on search results. Now that the archive allows for the hosting of meta posts and they are mixed in with the fiction, more users are annoyed by this inability to filter out the types of content they do not want to read.
  8. Too much adult content/no way to filter out adult summaries and titles. While some appreciate the freedom of AO3's accepting of gen to mature/explicit content, not everyone is happy about it. Some feel as though AO3 has become little more than a "smut dump" (see comments at bottom of this page), with certain fandom's categories completely predominated by sexually explicit material. This is why some wish there was an easy way to filter out content - both stories themselves and story titles/tags/summaries - if undesirable or intended for adults only.
  9. Increasingly long wait for an invite code. On June 11, 2012, Lucy Pearson posted on the OTW news site that there are currently over 17,000 requests in the queue for invitation codes. However, since the beginning of 2013 it appears that the wait time for invite codes has decreased considerably; it may take only a week or less currently to get access to a user account.
  10. Coding problems from the ground up/three years and the site is still in beta. Some have begun to wonder if the site will ever "officially" launch and get current coding and hardware issues sorted out. In a June 2012 Dreamwidth post, "branchandroot" said: "When a platform is so ----ed up that the only way to make it run is to take out the navigation, then it's time to think real hard about who's been driving development."

Readers Share Their Opinions

You've read the basic information, examined some of the pros and cons of each, now it's time to leave your opinion. Which fan fiction archive do you prefer, and why? NOTE: All comments are subject to approval and any comments using foul or abusive language will be immediately deleted.

Which Archive Do You Think Is Better?
Archive of Our Own
I use but also two other sites like Wattpad and quotev. is one of my favorite sites as its a lot more organized than AO3. I tried to use AO3 after my sister introduced me to it but I stopped after a few hours. There are some great stories on AO3 but I found it hard to find some of my preferred fics like OC, pairings and Noncrossovers. The tags and the way you can't look at only noncrossover fics or crossover fic really bugged me as it took me a lot of time to find just one fic that suited my tastes. Like I said there are a lot of good fics on AO3 and I think that if the website was altered so it became easier to search for particular fics it would be great. - Yoon
I have been using both archives for a while, both as a reader and writer, but I have started to increasingly prefer AO3. Most prominent downsides of FFnet: 1. M-rated fiction is now excluded from the default search. Since most of my stories are cautiously M-rated, I have seen a big drop in readers since that happened. I still have a large number of old followers and get more reviews than on AO3, but I don't get many new readers. I think the AO3 lack of reviews has a lot to do with the smaller readership in general, and this disadvantage will disappear over time. 2. The search function. FFnets search function is terrible. You can only search for fandom, character, and rating. On AO3, you can search for that plus any tag you can think of. More than that, if you like a story with a certain tag, you just click on it and get more like that. I don't know why people claim the search function on FFnet is better. Do they not know how the search function on AO3 works? 3. The backend. I hate the FFnet backend ever since I started posting on AO3 and realized what I was missing. Read a story, find a typo, click on the chapter and edit it instantly. On FFnet, you have to jump through hoops to log in, navigate through the increasingly opaque options, export the chapter, edit it, replace the original chapter. Then you find another typo... In addition, they have for some reason disabled links on the profile, so that it has become impossible to provide links to translations of my stories. 4. Nonsensical reasons for deleting stuff. FFnet deleted one of my stories because I answered reviews at the end of the chapter. We are talking about 22 page long chapters with maybe 1/2 page review answers at the end. It was their policy, so I grudgingly opened a forum where I posted the review answers and started a nice discussion with readers about my stories. That was fun until they deleted that too, without any warning or explanation. I lost hundreds of posts from readers that way. I then migrated to my own homepage with comments, but now I can no longer provide the link to that (see above). I have started to think FFnet hates successful M-rated writers. Downsides of AO3: It is still small. It is sometimes down/still beta. It's almost exclusively English and a bit Russian and Chinese. Since I write most of my stories in another language, I had to cajole my readers from FFnet to follow me to AO3. They did, most of all because they can now download my stories to their e-reader. I think AO3 will grow out of its problems, while FFnet will only get worse. It is obvious that the moderators on FFnet have no interest in improving the site, on the contrary. If they want to change it to a forum for 13 year olds and younger (because that's the default T and less rating of stories they show if you don't specifically look for others!), that's their choice, but they are going to lose me as a reader and writer. - Minerva4242
I dislike them both. makes dramatic changes that affect readers and writers without any warning or consideration for its userbase, and it's true that it's full of absolutely terrible stories. AO3 is ugly-bordering-on-hideous and gives me a headache with the tagging mess. I prefer by the slightest margin, but my favorite archives remain the well-maintained niche archives that exist for specific fandoms or ships. - anonymous
I've used for as long as I can rememeber, but I'm still relatively new to Ao3. I think I can honestly say that ffnet is better. Transitioning between Ao3 and ffnet just shows how different certain things about these two sites are. When I first started using Ao3, I had no idea how to properly search for the exact fics I wanted. Yes, the tagging system was a complete mess, and the stories posted were completely full of random tags concerning useless things and summaries that were about 7-8 words long. The lack of cencorship was refreshing, considering the suffocation that's put in place in ffnet, but it was a little hard to navigate between those that were PWP and those that were legitimate stories. But the download option is useful, as well as the kudos button-even if it sometimes just leads towards no reviews/comments being posted. The way it looks on the mobile is still absolutely terrible, something that's always discouraged me when I want to casually read a fanfiction. Ffnet on the otherhand is much easier to navagate, with the crossover categories and the filters. Sure, there might be crap story afyer crap story, but there are a lot of goodones that make up for it. Sexual content is supposedly 'banned' but other than all that happened with the purge, the enforcement of this was shaky, and a lot of the stories on the site are still full of explicit content. It's all up to the readers I suppose. - Gyver
Personally, I like to use AO3 in order to publish my fan fiction. Yes, all the tagging may be a mess, and my fanfics might be a victim of that too. I agree that there should be a way to filter out certain characters or tags, and that the site should come out of beta soon. However, THE FOUR SYMBOL INDICATOR IS VERY USEFUL IF YOU KNOW WHAT THE SYMBOLS MEAN- YOU CAN GO GOOGLE IT. The tagging is also useful when you need a quick way to glance at the content of the story. I also like being able to read adult content at times. Plus, when you get things on your inbox, the name of the work is listed next to the comment. If you have an account, you can also change your site skin so different colors and other such things. Another thing I like about AO3 is that replies are replies, not reviews. Finally, I ALSO REALLY LIKE THE NOTES SECTION ON AO3, someone mentioned in some other comment that AO3 has a larger sense of community than FF.N and I think that this is one way of doing it. It also lets the author communicate with readers in a way that they might not necessarily be able to within the fan fiction. One of the many things I do not like about FF.N is the aesthetic- the black, white, and specks of blue interface is very bland and bores me and drives me away from some potentially good fan fiction. I also do not like the content itself on FF.N when I am actually able to focus on the work itself. Indeed, I find works with improper spelling and grammar, the use of text language and other acronyms, which really, really, REALLY annoys me. One thing that I think both sites need is the ability to change the fonts, because sometimes staring at the same font for hours on end can make my brain tired. Another comment mentioned how people are seeming to hide behind usernames and profile pictures, but I don't see why this is a problem... it's not like we are all supposed to know each other so intimately, this isn't Facebook or Twitter. As an author, why would I want to know if so-and-so was interested in the "plot what plot/ porn without plot" tag? It doesn't make sense to me. Plus, I enjoy being able to express what fandoms I like by just a quick glance at my profile. - Joline
These are the only two choices?!?!? (Um... sorry about all of the gratuitously unnecessary punctuation.) I guess if it's between those two, I'd have to say, but the Fire and Ice Archive is vastly superior to either. - anonymous
I actually prefer While the writing is worse, I can't stand the way ao3 is formatted on my phone. Also publishing on ao3 is a pain in the a** I would copy and paste my work into the box and then find that I would have to format it all over again. I find the tagging system useful, but it's a little out of control sometimes and I haven't entirely figured out what the symbols next to the title of the doc mean. One thing I do like about ao3 is how easy it is to analyze reader activity on your work. Wish it was a little less complicated on Ao3 also requires a little more tech knowledge than the average person. has its flaws, but it's easier to filter the work and the communities are nice for finding good quality fics. - Julia
I actually really like the tagging system on ao3, although it is difficult to filter out things you don't want to see. However, if you know what you *do* want to see, it's way easier to find it on ao3 than It really just depends on what you're looking for. - Anonymous
If Archive of Our Own was less biased to Western fandom, then it would be completely superior. - anonymous
I started out on ffn reading naruto fanfic, and switching to hetalia. I was there for the great purge of 2012. It was a sad time for readers because many of the authors were leaving in frustration of their fanfics getting deleted. Than I was introduced to One Direction and Larry Stylinson in particular. There were NO fanfics or really crappy ones on ffn, my friend told me the good ones were on ao3. After 5 days, my invite was working. I found everything to be great on ao3. More fanfics, alot of them were well written. I liked that there seemed to be more fandoms too. My authors liked to add fan art/ pictures to their fics which is a plus for ao3. Also, the download option is great for when I'm near the limit of data on my phone. - Lynn
I can say, quite the interesting article. I myself have used and enjoyed both sites. I can say Ao3 has the potential over If the tag and filter system was cleared up, and perhaps added a pm option this would become a near perfect avenue for fanfiction. The only reason that I really even use anymore is because of the massive volume of stories of fandoms I enjoy that haven't caught on much on Ao3 (adventure time, Invader zim, mostly old cartoons). However the quality of what is there on Ao3 is much better, unlike how you must wade through the quite frankly shit on fanfiction to find those truly gold stories. Ao3 needs to catch itself up but I have a feeling that in time things will improve. - thefansfan
It seems on both sides people support SO3. To me, it doesn't matter. I am a writer. I want to write books. But I'm being smart and posting on both sites. Well, I will be. I'm waiting on my invite from SO3. That is strange to me. If they accept anybody, why do they have an invite system instead of a sign-up system? And it sounds like SO3 has been in beta for over 2yrs. That tells me something is not being done right there. I am currently using FF.NET and I'm getting views, but no real reviews since the last post. I should think that is a good thing since I want to write great stories while minimizing my mistakes but... I also don't have anyone favoriting my post, no followers. That isn't my beef with FF.NET though. My beef is that they don't have a comment section, they have a review section. And when people were leaving comments in the review section my replies counted as reviews. Also, it's hard for me to read anything. I don't like to sit around reading a screen. I much rather prefer a book. Whenever I read something online (Like this article and many of it's comments) I copy and paste it on my TEXTTOWAV and watch the words go by as I listen to it, studying the copy so I can learn and improve. Or do something else online while I listen to it. I don't have the option to copy and paste on FF.NET, but I do with SO3. Another beef! I am a writer. I'm building an audience before I publish my first book and yet I can't post links to my sites on FF.NET. Sure, I can post links to social media, but not my author site so people can sign up for my email list. Another thing. I added a picture to my story, but it keeps alternating. It keeps going from the image I uploaded to my profile image. Just today I checked the story I am currently working on and the image I uploaded for the story was gone. I had to re-upload it. There is one thing good I can say about FF.NET, I can respect someone who stands up to their users and say no to adult content. I probably would have written Fan Fiction about my favorite shows as a kid if Fan Fiction wasn't associated with explicate or sexual content. It's that bad name that has kept me from reading it, writing it or even caring whenever I go by it. And it wasn't just the sexual content. I heard how poorly written Fan Fiction is and the very creepy and messed up creativity from people I do not want to get to know. As I reading through the terms and what not and the rules and guidelines about posting, they expect you to edit your stuff and they outlaw things I don't want to see. I'm cool with that. I just wish they'd actually enforce it. A few years ago when I was considering writing Fan Fiction my first stop was FanFiction.Net. After reading two different stories, I found that I couldn't get through either of them because of the content. I mean I am the guy who never has read 50 Shades of Grey, never will read it. And it makes me cry that they actually made a movie of it. Not actual tears, BUT INSIDE!!! Anyway, will never watch that movie. I hate Harry Potter. I could and would never want to get through those books and I could barely make it through the first movie. Hmm, I see why people don't want to mess with my writing. On another note, I don't have any respect for.... SO3. Sorry forgot the name for a sec. Their content may be better, but the things they allow turn me away. Sex is unappealing to me. I want to view a raw story. Stories with action, adventure, and yes even romance, but when you take romance and make it erotic count me out. I've noticed that many of the people who support SO3 are and quote "anonymous". People hiding their names because they don't want people to know they support that kind of stuff. But I think you know it's wrong, you know it's wrong in your heart but you haven't accepted it yet. And until you do you don't want people to know you are confused. Sorry to get a little preachy there. I do enjoy my Bible and I wasn't even a Christian two years ago when I was considering FF.NET. You if want to debate or talk religion my email is closing this now, I am going to use both, but in a decision I would choose FanFiction.Net because they support more of the values I support than SO3. SO3 may have better stories, but if I wanted to read something great I'll buy an ebook in the same genre I like by an author who is unknown. The difference, I'm not getting the same crap you would get from Fan Fiction. It's a story distorted into someone else's version. I really can't understand why anyone would want to steal it. Unless they intend to take it and publish it on Amazon. Sorry for the long post. I can't help it. One thing came to mind after the other. It really can't be helped because after all, I am a writer. - The Orlando Gray
I use both. I definitely think loading your work on is easier but I actually feel there's more community on ao3. I also feel the quality of work is better on ao3. I find it very hard to find good writing on - Kit
Okay, I joined a couple of years ago and it was quite recently that I discovered Archive of our own. The advantages are clearly the tagging system and the complex filter options. The lack of censorship is both advantage and disadvantage. You can post (practically) anything, and you are even given filter options such as "underage" or "rape/non-con" ( for example blocks these searches) and search for these themes specifically. You also have the option of searching for one-chapters, so basically PWPs. on the other hand has longer stories, more motivated authors (due to the review option?) and since you can sort the stories by number of favourites you can easily distinguish the better from the worse FFs. The site however has banned some well written and complex FF with adult content that was crucial for the story. In conclusion: Ao3 is great for adult content and for some stories that authors have put on this site to flee from the purge, but if I want to read long, good (well, as good as FF can be) stories, I'd go to every day. - anonymous
I use both Ao3 and ffnet. I've been on ffnet for over twelve years now and I quite enjoy it because of the diversity and the fandoms I'm apart of, but ffnet has its drawbacks as well. Like people going around flaming others in story reviews and we can't delete the flaming reviews unless they're the non-member written ones. Ffnet isn't all that moderated. I don't know how moderated ao3 is, but I do love the tagging system and how we can make actual author notes at the beginning and end of the chapters. If it came down to me wanting reviews I’d stick with ffnet but if I wanted more organization, ao3 is where I go. - Hina
Of course. I recently joined both, and honestly? While AO3 does admittedly have better quality fanfictions as an average, FFN.Net is much better for both readers and users. Posting stories and chapters is much easier. You get more reviews, more feedback. FFN.Net is cleaner, easier, and more convenient. I think many of those who chose AO3 are correct that FFN.Net does often have writers who aren't very good at what they do, but I also do not hesitate to insist that after experiencing the difficulties posting for the authors and in general how unorganized AO3 is, I have no choice but to choose FFN.Net. And besides, FFN.Net fiction wouldn't be so bad if you AO3 people hadn't completely ditched the many good writers of FFN.Net and now snub us just because we're bigger. You want FFN.Net to have better stories? Then why don't you start posting your stories on FFN.Net instead of just complaining, hmm? - anonymous
I first discovered fan fiction on, and for quite a while, I used that website. However, once I found AO3, I can honestly say that I wouldn't look back at with a second glance. AO3 has so much better quality of writing, and is actually legible. has fanfics that sound like they've been witten by fifth graders. As for the content and tags, I think that once AO3 launches its official site, that could be resolved. I wouldn't mind the wait, since I'm perfectly happy with the site I have right now. - amnaxo
I'd say I'm actually a bit neutral on this one. Fanfiction is overall, I think, a better-designed site, and I can't say I don't LOVE the PM features and how it doesn't count author replies as reviews. However, I like how AO3 doesn't automatically filter crossovers from regular fanfiction because my stories are so much easier to find and read. Also loving the tags-seriously, it's a much better way to find what you're looking for without having to specify eighteen hundred million things like on Fanfiction. I'd say that if AO3 gets a PM feature, figures out that annoying Kudos thing (and the comments omg please stop counting my replies as comments), and generally just makes the system design slightly better, it will dominate the fanfiction community. But for now I'm going to have to say Fanfiction wins. - anonymous was the first site I used to read fanfics and had been using it for years. Even though I have experience with it once I found ao3 I completely abandoned it. I only ever use if I can't find any good fics for a certain fandom now. I just found it difficult to sort through what I wanted on - Anonymous
I currently prefer FF. I use AO3, but I'm not as impressed with it's overall system as I am with the FF system. Still, I browse through both. - anonymous
On a couple of the AO3 criticisms, 1) The wait time for an invite has been down to a DAY or less for over a year now, for the most part. (Occasionally it stretches up to two days if there's a run on them.) 2. You CAN filter things out, although it's not yet exactly intuitive. It's been mentioned in a few of their newsposts and there's a tumblr that shows how at filter-me-ao3, which I think is something of a godsend. - Noonie
I have been a writer on FFn for about two years and I can say, I believe I would actually stick to FFn without even using AO3. I mean, the cons to AO3 is just WAY worse than FFn. Believe me, FFn is the site to go for hands down (or hooves if you are a brony, like me). - anonymous
I greatly prefer Archive of our own to I find the archive to be much more "user friendly" and I appriciate the freedom of speech. I will also comment that the title of "Smut Dump" is entirely false. "Smut" writers were banned from, so they go to the Archive. If you are uncomfortable with "smut," then just stay on, it's been banned there, after all. - InsinuateJealousy
I was introduced to fanfiction through and I still use it as my primary source, though I'm starting to use ao3 a bit. has a lot more stories and a larger community. Despite all the "banned" content on, there's a ton of it floating around. Also, it's easier to find quality stories because you can search by 'favorites' or 'reviews'. While I've noticed the quality of ao3 stories is more consistent, the tagging system really confuses me. Also, since ao3 is a relatively new site, there are a lot less stories and I have trouble finding anything I want to read in some of my fandoms. - anonymous
I is ONLY better because of the number of views and reviews you can get there, the stat view and the PM-ing. I can't get half as many views on AO3, I don't like that my comments to reviews count as comments themselves, and I don't like that you can't necessarily "favorite" a story. But if I could get as many views, and PM people I would be perfectly content. AO3 would win, hands down. AO3 actually allows mature content and even so, I have a hard time finding mature content myself! So i have no idea why people complain about the sexual content or whatever. - anonymous
Well, I have to go with FF for a lot of reasons. One, I myself write a lot of fanfiction and the best part about it for me and what really keeps me going is getting a review. There is no way to actually know what the reader liked and didn't like or what they suggest if you only have to push a button. I understand that AO3 is just starting out, but they need to adapt to the needs of viewers. Which brings me to my second point; because AO3 is new, it has a smaller base of fandoms and not a lot of fanfictiong written in general. I am a big fan of anime, but there is barely any on AO3 and that's really disappointing to me. The site needs to adapt to other cultures and the person who wrote this was right when she said that outsiders are feeling left out. I know that FF has flaws too, but nothing is perfect and people are just going to have to deal with that. I like FF better and probably always will, but everyone has their own opinions and I think people should respect that. - anonymous
I use both for reading but I only write on fanfiction. I think both have their pros and cons.Personally, I feel fanfiction has a more involved community which I enjoy, but AO3 generally has less bad quality stories and more specific tags if I am looking for a certain tag. - anonymous
I think I'll stay with At least one can in fact FIND things...For example, I wanted plain Angel fandom and only got xovers -.- I don't like xovers and I certainly don't like xovers being xovers just to have as many pairings as possible. Though I have to admit that the category option (slash, het etc.) And the relationship option are really useful. People who don't like slash don't stumble into slash stories and start taking and slashers don't have to search for ages. Another thing I quite like, is that many old and abandoned fandoms are reappearing (like Highlander: The Series) and even updated. That's really one of the perks of AO3. Nonetheless,the fact that people seemingly just read fics and leave neither comment,not kudos, is really disheartening. Why would I want to put my stories on a page where One doesn't get feedback at all? There are stories with thousands of clicks and no feedback at all. Hell, even the worst fics on get some kind of response.I'll stay With,but only because there's no real alternative and it's easier Than Searching the whole inet for a story. I think ao3will turn into amore sophisticated version of adultff over time. - anonymous
Thing is, has a larger population than any other fan fiction site. If you want your story to get the most exposure, you would get it on The problem is that now that they've done away with adult fan fiction, that's a real problem because this is the kind of fiction a lot of people want to write and read. For this reason I think it wasn't a good move on the part of to eliminate adult fiction. It's just silly. whatever you personally think about adult fiction, that was a significant portion of what people want. - anonymous
I've been with both sites since they began and is certainly the easier of the two to use. The random tagging status of AO3 feels more like tumblr than a professional site, and the the article is right that AO3 fosters less of a community aspect, in that, my works on that have hundreds of reviews, can have absolutely nothing on AO3, and as a writer, my big thing is reviews. Kudos don't mean anything to me in terms of understanding what someone did or didn't like, and I want to get feedback from the audience. As for the banned stuff on, no one enforces anything, but that makes it better, and the searching is so much easier!!! The idea that... there's a lot of crap, well, there's a lot of crap all over the internet, but is easy to search through the mess, especially with the advanced search options. Oh, and the few times I've been attacked by trolling, has come and shut down the troll account, so I love that. - anonymous
Simply because while Ao3 is better for more mature stuff(smut or graphic violence) it takes a long time to sort through all the crap fanfiction is better for crossovers and searching specific stuff although there are a distinct too many vampire harry stories and not enough werewolf harry in my opinion - anonymous
As both a reader and an author I prefer, mainly because I find it's easier to get readers on AO3 is so small in comparison. Basically on AO3 if your fic is ANYTHING but Harry Potter, Supernatural, or the 'flavor of the month' you're not going to get read. I'm currently writing in the Elder Scrolls fandom. While it is a small fandom on there are still nearing 6K fics on the site, which means there are more readers. On AO3, at my last glance, there was barely over two hundred. I have one kudos on my main story on AO3, yet I have thousands of reviews and hundreds of favorites and reviews on, plus all my other stories are getting attention too. That and when I joined AO3 I browsed a bit, and was appalled by the sheer amount of smut/MA fic. If it was a drinking game for a shot for how many MA fics I'd find on the first page of a fandom I'd be on the floor by the end of the first page of the first fic. Nearly every fic in EVERY fandom seems to be smut. I get it. You MA writers were banned from, but still... The smut writing had a decent amount of kudos all, and yet the diamond in the rough non-smut fic would be largely ignored, leaving me to believe that the place is merely a hive of pervs looking to see some action with their favorite characters. On top of it the sheer thought of FILTERING such adult themes something to be laughed upon. It literally feels like the MA writers that were banned/had their stories removed from ran over there to do their own thing. My main fic, being non smut in nature and rather more of an attempt on an 'epic', seems to be the only non smut TES fic on the site, a bad beginning to what is a great and old fandom on the site. In last thoughts, for anyone looking to begin writing fanfiction, reading fanfiction, or merely curious, choose Or even use the TV Tropes Fanfic Recs page, the 10% that aren't shit are listed there, suggested by tropers and readers who know their fic. If you don't want to brave TV Tropes just sort by review, the best quality fics will usually have the best reviews, so it's always a good place to start. - anonymous
I use both, but mostly FFnet. The tag system is good on AO3 when you want to search something really specific, but the lack of "without" option is really bugging me, you can't exclude characters, categories or rating. In most fandom there are actually many more fanfics on FFnet. I agree there is a lot of crap, but it's kinda easier to sort it. And I prefer FFnet presentation, it seems more attractive with the picture on the left side. - Edweis
I suppose since I started on I'm slightly biased, but I feel that it's generally easier to use, and easier to find things (and not find other things, if you take my meaning). But there are a lot of unique and convenient features to AO3, so it just depends on what works for you, I suppose. Overall though, I will likely remain a faithful user of - anonymous
I really like the ability to download fics and read them offline. It is very convenient for me, because I don't have wi-fi at my house. AO3 all the way! :) - Rachel
It was a tough one. I feel like it's much harder to actually find fanfics on Ao3. I can't filter out stories in languages I don't understand or crossover stories. However, as I tend to read fics on my iPod when the internet is turned off, the 'Show Entire Work' function is inexplicably helpful to me. But I guess overall feels like a much more solid, working website. I think that once the tweaks are ironed out of Ao3 and it comes out of Beta, it'll be a much more useful tool. - anonymous
I use both sites, and though my AO3 fics have the advantage of letting me post art with them, my version of the same story has gotten much more feedback and views in comparison. A lot of the content depends on the fandom and the age range of those within it, but with, it's much easier to remove the chaff from the quality works. I'm sure that AO3 will improve with time, but for now I await the ability to block certain tags. One can only take some much poorly written slash after all. - nvzblgrrl
I started fanfic reading on ffn so I suppose that makes me biased, however I find it SO much easier to find things on FFN over Ao3. That is the only reason really. If the search/tag system on Ao3 was re-hauled, taking good things from Twisting the hellmouth, FFN, and a plethora of other sites, then Ao3 could be great. As is though, it's a huge pain in the bum. - anonymous
After 10 years on, I first thought I wouldn't switch to AO3. But 2 years ago I got an account, because I wanted to comment and then I uploaded there as well. In the last 6 months I got more reviews on AO3 and found nearly all stories I wanted to read there too. I think I will abandon ffnet in 2015. - anonymous
I do use AO3 but if I'm searching for something FF.Net wins hands down. I can FIND what I'm looking for, easily. I don't get rubbish that I don't want in most cases (except for people who tag something with say a slash pairing but have a Mary sue character). A lot of people claim the quality is better at AO3 but really it depends on where you are looking for stuff and the bigger it gets the more rubbish we will find. - anonymous
Although I find that has a lot of amazing fanfictions on, I do find it's true that there is loads of (no offence) crap on there. Overall, I'm going to stick with Archive of Our Own. Despite the tagging system (it's a mess), I prefer it. When you upload things to AO3, it's a lot clearer on how you do it, and it's amazingly simple to edit works on there. On the other hand, it is extremely confusing when it comes to uploading and editing fics. Also, the Kudos function on AO3 is a lot quicker and more efficient than on, where you have to leave written feedback. - anonymous
I have to side with FF.N. I've been on it a few years now, mostly reading and writing for various video games, and have very little to complain about and much to praise.That being said, the amount of junk is truly astounding. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to tell someone that they should be using you're, not your, and sure as Skyrim not youre, then... well, I'd have allot of dollars. But after a while you do get pretty good at sorting out the trash, and I know I've found more than enough diamonds to make the work worth-while.The other complaint I wish to sound is the lack of feature to sort out what you don't want. I've nearly always been the odd one out in pairing preference, and if I see the ship Alistair/f!Cousland (Dragon Age) one more time my head may very well explode. But AO3 is, if anything, worse in that respect. Which brings us to my first and HUGE problem with AO3, which is the tag system.The first time I saw one of those horrid thirty-tag long lists, I ran whimpering home to my beautiful little FF.N. Do they really need to list every single character to make an appearance in the story? And is it necessary to tag 'blood and gore', 'bloodletting', 'bloodlust', and 'gore'? The story's messy, I got it Now if you would stop repeating yourself and let me take a look at the summary...And whoa! back up for a second, 13 is the minimum age? 13? As in, 13-year-olds wandering around Archive? Okay, y'know, FF isn't the cleanest site but it has a decent filter. I really don't like the idea of a kid still writing Hedwig fics stumbling on the kind of Harry Potter stories they have over there.Any way, this is really long and my cat just knocked over a glass of water, so I should wrap this up. I have a ton of other complaints I could throw at AO3, but I won't at the moment. I will note that 1) the rating system is confusing and really gives me no idea what to expect from the fic, other than whether it's het or slash or femslash, 2) the design of the site is messy, 3) the way they tackle crossovers is just waaaaay outta whack, and 4) it offers no way to connect other fans, like the forums on FF. I have huge respect for Archive of Our Own, the people who keep it going, and the authors who write there, but I have no doubt of mind that FanFiction is the place for me. - anonymous
I have an account on both sites, while even a year ago I was getting many more hits on, I find that number to be down drow drastically, while the same story is getting increased activity on AO3. Also I get many more comments on AO3 and it is much easier to communicate with my readers, including those that don't comment, but read other people comments. - Renne Michaels
I've been considering joining Archive of our Own, but after reading the pros and cons, I think I'll stick to FF. - anonymous
I have been with for years now and it used to be my main source of fanfiction. Now all that has changed. While I still do go on, the overall quality of work on AO3 has me blown away. While there are still less than glamorous works on AO3, the worst ones I've seen are parody ones which are pretty much MEANT to be bad. AO3 makes it much easier to look for a couple. There's even a "relationships" search function which automatically makes the searching way easier than on While you can still click the characters' names that you want to read in a relationship, it doesn't necessarily guarantee that those two will be together in many fics. In fact, if your pair is not popular they will probably just be main characters or paired with someone else. I've seen a recent thing where they have something like [character.a, character.b] as pairings, but there's still no search function available for pairings. Also, AO3 has a far prettier layout and while it's less compact than it gives you time to take everything in before deciding if you want to read it or not. Tags could also be helpful for seeing what type of fanfic it could be. I personally don't search through tags, I search by relationship so the tag search thing is not a problem for me. Overall, AO3 has better quality work and I'm able to find everything easier and better than in And, by the way if you don't want to see adult content, simply change the rating to something else other than "Explicit". It's not that hard to filter sexual content out. - anonymous
I have been a user of FF for 8 years, and have usually found what I wanted. But I do have to say that Archive has less crappy badly written stories. Yet it lacks in epic stories, which FF has many of! On a use to use basis, I frequent FF more. - anonymous
I say that Archive if Our Own has the potential, very great potential, to be the better fanfiction archive. Ah, if only the technical issues, the problems with weird and exotic tags, the little-to-no-feedback could be solved in a year or so. I'm using FanFiction for the moment, since it's simply huge, gets lots of traffic and therefore there's more chance of readers and feedback to feed my fragile ego. I know I will upload my stories on Archive of Our Own as well, one of these days. - anonymous
I'd have to say simply because it's so easy to use. Sure, AO3 has nifty search terms, but I find that it's often inconvenient due to unwanted stories. Again, it all boils down to how easy I can navigate to the stories I want. On, I've seen many horrible stories, but also some real hidden gems that were actually novel length. I gotta agree with everyone else... AO3's tagging system is atrocious. - anonymous
After the purge, I switched to AO3. I found it easier to publish and read on this site. It has it's faults but it's still beta. Once they figure out their kinks, it'll be great. When you start censoring people, I'm out. Take the hint - anonymous
FFn is simpler, more navigable and you get better and more frequent feedback.I've tried AO3 and while the interface is pretty, it's confusing and difficult to navigate. It feels like an idealistic endeavor with no structural backbone to support it. That's like opening an airport where it's "free to land" but not investing in an air traffic crew. I wish them luck, but I don't see myself moving from FFn anytime soon. - anonymous
I find AO3 much more convenient for searching works, and the ability to view multi-chaps as one page is a godsend when your internet connection is as patchy as mine. Also better overall quantity of fics (at least it was before the mass-imports after the purge). - anonymous
I love the way is organised, it's really easy to find/narrow stories in the fandoms I want. I love that I can download AO3 stories as epubs. I read a lot of fanfic on my cellphone and often my internet will crap out in the middle of a story. This way I don't have to worry :) - anonymous
I just recently started using AO3 after being on for years, and I already like AO3 more. The layout is prettier, there are way more options for tagging genres, characters, and themes, and I just learned that I can include images in my works. Being a perfectionist, I especially love how much easier it is to edit works on AO3 when I find a typo. I lost a story to the purge on, which annoyed me a lot. For one thing, no warning was given to edit before the story was removed. For another, I lost years of story stats data and comments which disappeared with the story. As for the wait time for an AO3 invite code, they seem to have got that under control. I received my invite last month within a couple of days of requesting it. I plan to continue maintaining archives on both sites, but I definitely prefer AO3. - anonymous
FFnet all the way. Got an account!!! Better than AO3 - anonymous
AO3 has a more pleasant interface to me and I like the multiple ways you can choose to view a story (eg. in chapters or as one whole). Being able to download stories in a variety of formats from the site is also incredibly helpful and one of my favourite features. Plus a bit of smut is always nice ;) - anonymous
AO3 seems promising yet not enough, tag system is wonderful but messy. Besides I don't like websites where "you have to wait to register", so no. I'm with FFnet. - anonymous
I say AO3 is better. If you do not like the MA content, simply type in "E for everyone" or "General" or "Teen" ANYTHING other than "Explicit" in the search bar! DUH. But does give you way more reviews and views. -.- - anonymous
As much as I hate the crap stories on FF, I hate that I can't filter things out on AO3. - anonymous
I'd say they are both fairly evenly matched. FF.NET has more stories and is easier to search, but the overall quality of stories is better and their download feature is brilliant, too. - anonymous
I'll vote FF for two main reasons: it's way easier to navigate, and people actually review on FF. As a writer, I like getting constructive criticism and words of praise from readers. Let's me know how I'm doing, and I can't get that on AO3. Plus, AO3 is just horrible to navigate. Too much time and effort has to go into sifting through the poorly assigned tags and actually finding what you're interested in. The MA purge on FF sort of bothers me, but I haven't any of my stories or any other favorite stories of mine get removed for the content. Many people still freely write the genre on the site and haven't gotten whacked for it yet. Maybe we're just lucky, and I'll agree that at least with AO3 there's no need to fear the possible reporting of your stories. But if I want to read something other than smut, AO3 doesn't really offer much in that respect. I'd have to run over to FF anyway to read something decent that's lower than an M rating. All in all, I don't even see AO3 surpassing FF any time soon, if at all. FF is the go-to website for fan fiction, and there are plenty of other websites that you can search for that post fan fiction and that have a better tagging system than AO3 does. So I'll stick to where I started, thank you very much. - anonymous
I honestly love It's been my fanfiction site to go to for years, but I can't help it. I love the tagging system. If I want a story with a certain theme or element, it's almost impossible to find in, but on AO3, I just enter it in the tags search. To be fair, it could certainly be cleaned up a bit, but it's still my preferred when I'm in the mood for something specific. Also, a lot easier to sort through when the crap filter is more like 50% instead of 90%. - anonymous
Sturgeon's Law applies to both sites. Even if A03 has an advantage currently, that will all go away once it freely allows people to join. The character tags on A03 aren't very helpful and it can take time to find the exact tag you want. If you don't want to post your stuff on ffnet I guarantee you that you just need to do a Google search and you'll find other lesser known archives that have a better tagging system. Some of them even allow MA content. Speaking of which, I don't mind the fact that MA content isn't allowed on FFnet. That's what AFFnet has always been for, as well as bandfic and other things not allowed. It's actually free to use as well if your over eighteen and has a much cleaner look. And then there is the fact there is no feedback either. - anonymous
As a reader, I moved completely away from because AO3 is so much more flexible and fun to use. The AO3 tagging system adds diversity to my search results and gives me the freedom to find fix based on either a relationship or a keyword. For example, I might just want to find all the wingfic in the SGA category, regardless of character or romantic bent. On, and this may have changed since I last used it, I kept getting the same hits 99% of the time and that is just really boring for someone like me who spends most of their nights surfing the web for good fiction to read. - anonymous
When I heard about the purgings, I tried getting in to Ao3 and still haven't received an invitation, but I do use it to read fan fiction. Honestly I think the only thing it has over FFnet is freedom of smutfics. Everything else is messy and hard to navigate. FFnet is extremely organized in the sense that you know where to find what you're looking for, and most of my favorite stories I've found on there. Seriously, if they'd just figure out that most fanfiction readers are out for smut, they'd get way more "business" so to speak. And they really should find a way to get rid of poorly written stories, but I'm afraid that if they do that, they'll also then know how to find all my smuts and delete them :C - anonymous
I only recently got a Ao3 account - and I'm loving it a lot more than the account that I have had for two or three years! I only had to wait two days to get my account! Okay, so I'll cut to the chase now - why is Ao3 so much better than Well for one, the quality of the fics on Ao3 is so much better!, it seems, is mostly comprised of stories by teenaged girls (and don't take that as an insult - I'm one myself) who don't seem to care about the plot, and write boring, bland, tactless and repetitive smut. And yes, while I do enjoy smut a lot - I write it myself - they all just sound like they are repeating what someone else a couple of fics down has written. Another issue that I have with is the lack of care the majority of authors put into their grammar etc. It just seems a real shame, especially because it turns me off fics immediately. And finally, Ao3 has a tagging system. It's easy to find stories with your favourite kinks/pairings/etc., without having to go through tonnes of other fics to find that one gem with everything you want. I haven't been on my account in a long time, and chances are, I'll be getting rid of it very soon. Now that I have an Ao3 account, I'm having a lot more fun writing fanfics, and for a greater audience, too - which brings me to my concluding point: you get a lot more hits on Ao3 than you do on - a godsend, especially to a beginning writer like myself. - anonymous, hands down. AO3 is a chore to navigate. I can't believe it's still in friggin' beta! The people who run it are incompetent. - anonymous
AO3 hands down. Tags, and no censorship. - anonymous
I appreciate both archives for the reasons already listed here. Where one falters, the other excels, and I can always find something good on either site. It may take some looking (because of the masses of stories in FFN's case or the crazy mess that is AO3's), but they both have something to keep me going back. If I had to pick a side (which I do), I'll have to say FFN, just because that's where I really got started on fanfiction. - anonymous
While AO3 is still a bit of a mess, it has far more opportunities for growth and is still friendlier to authors and readers. I hope that the spread of AO3 as the default publishing source for fanfic authors will help draw attention to its quirks and more effort will be put into fixing them. - Zdiddle because it is better organized. AO3 is like trying to navigate the ocean through a rip tide! No organization at all.Also I totally disagree with AO3's policy of allowing RPF. And it really is a "smut haven". I don't mind adult content, but there's so little else on AO3.The quality thing is a non-issue. There is garbage on both sites. There is also quality on both sites. With fan fiction you are always going to get a quantity of both kinds of works because the writers are often more enthusiastic than is faster to navigate, easier to search, and I'm more willing to comment there. I don't comment on what I read on AO3 as a rule. And yes, I'd agree that AO3 is more just somewhere where writers stash their stories, but they don't read others' stories there. Nor do new readers who are non-writers and casually browsing for stuff on a particular, fandom, often go over to AO3. They will look at don't see AO3 succeeding in the long run without advertising. So I think it's just a matter of time (and not that much time either) before it crashes and burns. - anonymous
Archive of Our Own is better. It has a more clear structure and the filter system is much more efficient. Also the less restrictions are clearly a pro.For me as a mostly rather reader than writer it is the better source and FFnet seems like a mess - anonymous
As a writer, I can definitely say: still works better for me than AO3 for one reason and one reason only - the lack of a kudos button. I hate "like" buttons that discourage actual commentary and review. I've gotten the most amazing and wonderful reviews from the most thoughtful people in the fandoms I write for. I wouldn't trade those for a kudos button. Sure, you can argue that if those reviews were so thoughtful and fantastic they would have been written anyway - but I know how tempting it is to take the easy way out when it's offered. I wouldn't risk that. - anonymous
I've used for years now, and recently discovered AO3. I found that for reading purposes AO3 is way better because there are higher quality stories, and it is easier to search. I find that the tag helps when I want to find stories with specific subjects. and AO3 both have issues with purging the mature content stories and are in a rock and a hard place.'s purge upset many users, a lot of them go to to write their mature stories, the same kind that were purged. Some then found new places to go such as tumblr, livejournal, deviantart, and AO3. Others just waited until the purge ended.'s changing on what they will and will not allow has made many deter from it or look else where to also gain notice for their works. Even though had the larger audience the better quality of writing is what has made me recently open up and enjoy AO3 a lot more. The wait time for AO3 is much quicker being in 1-2 days now that the rush isn't there. If your looking for quality then AO3 is your better bet. Even with the more people on's site, doesn't mean you will get reviews on your work anymore. After all one has to wade through a lot of bad stuff to eventually find a decent story. My best idea for you all go to many different places be versatile. The more place your story is in the better it will get noticed. Try sites like, AO3, livejournal, tumbr, deviantart, and others like them. Don't limit yourself there are many options you just have to venture out to find them. - anonymous
Fanfiction.netao3 has a lot of potential, but with the beta version still active, it often leaves me unable to select which criteria I'd like to read about. As I read Harry Potter, one of the largest fandoms on ao3, this makes finding even one story that suits me nearly impossible. In addition, I really wish that there was a way to filter stories out on ao3. is also lacking in this area, but on ao3, we can't even filter out the crossovers, which is awful. I still actively check ao3 in hopes that its many issues will be resolved and that it will come out the victor, but so far, this hasn't happened. I've been reading fanfics since about 2003 and, as such, have tried many different sites. I've found that even with its problems here and there, has yet to be beaten (in my book, at least). - anonymous
I was inducted into fan fic through, but I have long since outgrown it and embraced Archive Of Our Own. It had a much better literacy right, I've found. - anonymous
I have been reading on for the well over 2 years and written just ONE story. But I hated the upload hassles, and I dont really want to have to re-upload a page just to fix one spelling error. That has actually put me off uploading any more stories. I only recently discovered AO3 when a FF writer mentioned it in her profile. I have another friend who applied to AO3 5 months ago and his due date for an invitation is Sept (2012) so he hopes to get an invite soon. I did enjoy the stories that i read on AO3. Some were new and others were copied from FFnet.Since I have not written anything for AO3, nor have I even requested an invite, I will have to say that I prefer FFnet - but only because I have been there for so long - and am a lot more familiar with that platform. - TeacherSerenia
I use to use ff before I found ao3, then I used them both for a while, now I pretty much only use ao3. The writing is better and its so much easyer to find the kind of story I'm looking for. - anonymous
FFn stories archive is really bigger. I like the interface, it's user-friendly. Of course there are bad stories, but anyone with some experience knows how to get good ones - there are communities for this kind of stuff, talking about nice fics.And, also, there is the fact, not commonly mentioned, that FFn has stories of all languages. Speaking as a writer/reader of fics in portuguese, I know that FFn is the best source of stories in my language (yes, we have some fansites in my country, but the trashy fics are generally into it). AO3 does not have many fics not in english as I wanted.And I wont even mention that tag mess. Eh. - anonymous
I prefer AO3, and one of the reasons being the interface/design of the site. - anonymous
I have been both a reader and writer on there and have always had a great experience. I love how they focus primarily on book, tv shows, etc. fandoms and not real life people or music fandoms. I also love their sorting system which is easy to use. - Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm
I started out on FF, but since joining AO3, I haven't looked back. I used to have to have to sort everything by reviews just to get to the decent stuff on FF, but on AO3 I can just look through and know I will find gems. Plus, I love the tagging system. I don't know why people say it's hard to navigate - I actually think it's better laid-out, overall, than FF. Even visually, AO3 looks fresh and new, while FF just leaves me going bleh at the old-fashioned theme. To the people complaining there aren't enough of some fandoms - join up! Post your stuff there! Encourage others to do the same! - anonymous is better than Archive of Our Own. It's easier to use, and I like the design: simple. For the stories, even though many say that is full of crap stories, I know many of them are good too. You just have to know which one to read ( there's a sign, I learn it after years..><). For AO3, I really dislike their 'tagging situation.’ Everything is a mess.. I can't search one story to another! I think some of their stories are bad — worse than So I guess I will use - anonymous
I love being able to go to history and go to the last story I've finished, especially if you can't remember the title. - anonymous
I prefer Fanfiction. Sure, the purge of M-rated fics and the increasing amount of really inexperienced writers out there gets on my nerves, but hey, it's much more convenient than AO3. The filter to sort out stories (eg. language) is so much more useful, and the tag situation in AO3 is no joke. If there are a lot of badly written stories, one can just pick out the good ones. Plus, if you want your story to get more feedback, FF is the way to go. AO3's kudos button makes the reader lazier to review, like said above. I've tried both, but I think I like FF better for now. Maybe I'll migrate to AO3 when the system improves and more people start going there. - anonymous
I much prefer AO3. The quality of writing is generally a lot better, definitely. It only took 1 day to get my invite code! - anonymous
I am on FanFiction (Search the name) and I prefer it to Archive of our own.1. I have just recently found AO3 and I hate the whole tag thing, On FF it's easy to search up what programme you want with the browse bar but on AO3 you have to search for it and then you have to choose what you don't want (it takes ages)2. People say that FF is full of childish stories (It's not) It's full of romantic/hurt/comfort/ stories (Wee bit of passionate sex) It's not full of that porn lets hash it out sort of stuff you get on AO3 3. You get better reviews on FF...I don't think you even get reviews on AO34. When you sign up for FF you get on really fast and you don't need an invite Right now when you are reading this you may think I'm a young child but some of the things I write on FF is wise beyond my years (Have a look) - anonymous
AO3 definitely. I don't have any problems finding whatever I want on AO3 and the story quality of what you find on is abysmal. I can't read something with no substance and that's all I find on - anonymous
I prefer, even since the purge I have cut explicit parts from my stories and posted them on deviantART and posted the URL in the authors notes available at the beginning and end of every chapter, so people can read passionate sex scenes and brutal battles there. I also am getting pissed waiting for my AO3 invite and their lack of a filter. Plus I enjoy reviews and the sense of community that offers. - anonymous
Ao3 allows for so much more than FF. Of course, it's not perfect but the overall quality of the works on ao3 seems higher. Yes, the tag system is confusing but it is much easier to search for exact things you want (i.e. a certain kink.) The only downside is that the community is smaller and just about nobody reviews. - anonymous
I prefer FanFiction.Net much more than I do AO3, since it's a lot more easier to find what you're looking for. As for design, I actually like it's plainess, it doesn't get you distracted from the website's point. Plus, you can large/ minimize the letters to your likeness and it is a simple, nice website and is very orgenized while in AO3 I feel like I'm lost. - anonymous
I (very slightly) prefer AO3, but FF is also great. In general, I wish that AO3 could incorporate some of the better features from FF into its search system in particular. - anonymous
After reading about both platforms and having experience with both aswell, I still settle for Despite all the criticism and its purge against MA-rated stuff, I still thinnk its the better side. The community is really huge(poeple are reviewing at least), there's a lot to read(also good stuff, not only stupid at least in my fandom) and lastly the layout of the side is simply better than that of AO3. Its easier to navigate through the site and find what you're looking for and its certainly better that you can't combine tag-titles endlessly. Still I have to admit both sites aren't perfect, but if changed its opinion on MA-rated fanfics, it would be definitely the best site for me. - anonymous
I've used FF for a long time but AO3 is more open to things. - anonymous
I find that AO3's site is very unorganized. FFN might not be thje most beautiful site in existance, but it's much easier to use. I've also seen a lot of people say that its full of bad fic- it isn't. I've come across very few of those types of fics in all my many years on FFN, and if you know where to look, you can avoid any that do pop up. is also more supportive- you actually, y'know, get reviews. - anonymous
While I use FFN for most things involving fanfiction, AO3 supports second person, while FFN doesn't. My current major fandom is Homestuck, which relies heavily upon second person for narration. This is a big reason why the majority of Homestuck fics are on AO3. If you're not in the Homestuck fandom, I suggest using FFN- it's more likely to get your fics read. - anonymous
I'm currently on the waiting list for AO3 so can only comment on being an active FFN user and browsing AO3 as a guest. I think AO3 should really work on getting a review system as I like to leave my thoughts on stories I've read, particularly if they were really good or need some extra work. I haven't read much on AO3 as I've only recently heard of it, and while it's argued that this site has more quality than quantity, finding a great writer on FFN isn't that difficult. Usually, great writers will congregate together and they'll have a list of favourite stories and writers which will give you access to other people with quality work. I'm staying on FFN as I like the UI and their latest inclusion of images. Also, I don't really write above the M category. - anonymous
Archive of Our Own features much better content then on FF. I used for a long time and only recently started to use Ao3 but I have found that the actual stories on Ao3 are much better than those on It holds too much bad fanfiction that has a lot of hits because it's so horrible. I have had no problem with Ao3's tagging system and the layout is so much nicer. Not tagging explicit content is the fault of the author, not the website, as well as the tags. Limiting tags could hinder other writers, because a lot of the time the tags are important for finding a story on that particular topic. - anonymous
I've been posted on FFN for over a decade now. And IMO its been generally getting better in terms of organization, searches, user-friendliness. I can see the people behind the site working to improve it. The original ban of NC-17 fic led to the introduction of a searchable ratings system with an M option (which basically reversed the ban). The current pure is bound to be annoying, but the last one introduced improvements.The article mentions failure to punish plagiarists as a con of ffn, and inclusion of works based off of Anne Rice and other professional authors who have specifically requested that people NOT use their work in fanfic as a plus of AoOO. Frankly the latter sort of plagiarism bothers me more. In my personal experience, I've had two stories at ffn where it was brought to my attention that another writer had lifted some material, in both cases I contacted the other writer, asked them to give proper credit for my ideas, as much credit as I give the pros when I write fanfic, and my request was honored both times. The tag situation at AoOO is insane, some of the tags/warnings people come up with are really amusing, ex: "Powers used for Purposes Not Intended" meaning superpowers as sex toys, but the tags are useless. You can't screen with them when everyone makes up their own, cute tags are funny but the meaning is vague, characters need multiple tags to indicate one character (are you looking for Conner Kent, Kon-El, Kon or Superboy?) The list of tags can be longer than the summary of the story, and frequently tell the reader more about the story than the summary (too much, by the time you're done warning everyone about everything you've probably spelled out the end of your story) To be useful the tags need standardization, simplified and searchable. - anonymous
AO3. Because of allowing the adult content. - anonymous
It is hard to say completely which site is better than the other as they both have good and bad point. I have been using for a number of year and you can find some brilliant stories on there, although you have to be able to overlook some very ridiculous bad grammar and spelling, but it does seem more long term than AO3. Although the same could be said for AO3, there some excellent stories but the site also has it's faults. However, in recent months I have started to use AO3 more often, as it's quality IS much better, but it is slow at times, as well as hard to navigate, not to mention it is a lot small in size. Therefore, overall I think FF.Net is the better option, at least until AO3 grows more in size. - anonymous
I started on and only recently found out about AO3. Maybe it's just because it's new and shiny to me, but I prefer AO3. One of the problems with is the exceedingly high amount of really bad fics that must be sorted through to find the good ones. I've just found that pretty much everything (that I've read at least) on AO3 is better quality. Though the tagging system does have problems, I like how there's another way besides the summary to see what the fic is going to be about or contain. If AO3 had's search engine then it would be very close to perfect. - anonymous
Regarding quality, the reason FF.Net has so much bad quality fics is that it's been there longer. I don't see any quality control measures over at AO3 at the moment so what's stopping it going the same way? That said, I do like the freedom that AO3 allows, to add new fandoms and tags that wasn't there already, but with that has to come moderation, though sorting through tags can be a bit of a pain. For now, I think I will still have to say I refer FF.Net - anonymous
AOB grants users greater control over their own works, and presents a simplified search system. Do I want to read about "Gothic Romance" or "Zany Antics," today? I can search those and am guaranteed a tag. While the excessive tagging can be problematic, that is more the fault of overzealous users than the site, itself.FF pisses me off to no end because it pretends to be sympathetic to the anti-smut vendetta. Modern fan fiction arose specifically out of the desire to see two characters bang who normally wouldn't. Do I want to read all the filth people put out there? Not particularly, but it's an ignorant decision to simply ax everything someone out there finds offensive. Fan fiction is for the pleasure of the fan writing it, not some eleven year-old faking their age.Also, this article is spot-on in its guess on the voluminous bag of crap fiction present on Maybe it's the wait-time to join AOB that scares off everyone too impatient to find a good beta. Certainly, hands-down, I'm an AOB fan. - anonymous
I started using in early October of last year, and I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I was just made aware of the the 'purge' of M rated stories last week. Since then, I have noticed some stories disappearing, and archive sizes decreasing. Just yesterday, I decided to check out AO3, and while there are significantly less stories than on FFN, I have found a few good ones, and (almost) figured out how to navigate the site. But, it does take a LONG time to load, and several times the site has given me an error message because they don't have enough servers to take all the traffic they are getting due to the ban on FFN. Overall, I must say that FFN is still my favorite, although if they continue to remove stories, that could change quickly. - anonymous
AO3. It's ours, we control it and aren't beholden to advertisers or other sites' TOS.I like being able to mark things to read later and finding new fic by looking at the bookmarks of friends or author's I like. AO3 also makes downloading fic to read on mobile devices a snap, every fic automatically has options to download in mobi/epub/pdf/html format - as someone who reads a lot of fic on their iPhone, I love this feature.I've never been a big reader, I did try about 12 years ago but was put off by consistent page load speeds of 0.1kb/s (yes, I was on dial-up, but man, private archives were so much faster. and things tended to stay on private archives longer than on *points to rpf and adult fic*). - anonymous
I like the concept of AO3 in theory, but I prefer's structure... It's easier to navigate and use, and has a lot of interesting features...'s like a one-stop shop, and in many respects I'd say it's more professional because of its restrictions... I also think that is more geared towards writing itself than AO3 is, which seems more geared towards general creation... and I've also discovered that if the quality's any better on AO3 it's only because there are less stories on it (which is another thing I don't like about AO3... practically no one's on it). As bad as some of's stories may be, there are also a lot of good ones, and I'm glad's there to give young writers a chance to express themselves and improve. - anonymous
Personally I prefer AO3 because I write/read Homestuck fanfiction. On script style things are not allowed and text-chat is not allowed either. But for Homestuck a good majority (And by that I mean the entirety of the original work) is based on instant messaging services. And then a good number of the characters substitute letters with numbers etc. that eats. AO3 allows all of these so its better to read it there, along with the fact that I can edit the text colour so it makes it much easier to read when you're used to the canon.And doesn't allow fic in 2nd person, which is a lot of what I write simply because it's easier for me than 1st or 3rd so all in all I much prefer AO3 to for my specific fandom. - anonymous
Feedback is extremely important to a writer's growth. As Neil Gaiman has often said, the best way to get better at/more comfortable with writing is to WRITE, regardless of whether what you're writing will ever be published, and feedback from people who do a lot of reading is one of the best assists that an aspiring writer can have. Essentially, if you don't have eagle-eyed readers helping to point out your grammatical mistakes or irrational plot twists, it is very difficult for you to grow as a writer. Certainly, most feedback on ffn is "Loved it, write more" or something to that extent, whether or not the story deserves it, but writers that show some spark tend to draw more thoughtful, helpful reviewers. Because ffn has such an easy and widely-used review system and because AO3 all but dismisses the importance of critique, I have to come down on ffn's side despite its numerous flaws. - anonymous
The main reason that I prefer AO3 is that I usually download fics to read on my Kindle. AO3 allows readers to download complete works, whereas on I have to go chapter by chapter copy and pasting into a word document. I know that there are programs that you can find to make downloading easier, but they aren't actually offered by and they don't seem to work on my ancient Macbook. Copy and Pasting hundreds of chapters into a word doc is far more time-consuming that I'm willing to put in, so I've been using AO3 a lot more lately simply due to the convenience of device transfer. I don't find the tagging system to be particularly challenging, once you learn a few tricks to help in searches. I may miss out on things because of tags, and I do think the tagging can get a bit ridiculous, but that is on the writers, not the site. Perhaps the site can give better directions to the writers or have a list of tags that the writers can choose from, with the option of adding their own tags, but in the end, if a writer wants to readers to find their fic, they really should have tags that are easily searchable. - anonymous is much more user friendly, and less confusing then the tagging system of Archive of Our Own. - anonymous
In terms of writing my own fanfic, I like better because I get more feedback on my stories. It can feel really sad/discouraging when very few people review on AO3. So the response to my fanfic is nice. But in terms of finding stories to *read*, I prefer AO3. I know there's dreck on both sites, but I find a lot more stories I actually want to read on AO3. And I love the sorting system on there. You really can search for a lot of different things, and it makes it better. With, it's really hard to search for particular themes, and there are so many stories that it's clear they put zero effort into it whatsoever. Also, I like reading mature stories. That aren't necessarily PWP or anything like that, but that have more mature themes than are technically "allowed" on - anonymous
I write for (waiting for AO3) and for me, I almost like Archive more just for the quality of the story. At the same time, you don't get limited by 1000 stories and can search better on So technically, I'm going to have to side with FF, but if Archive would just get a little better with searching and make commenting better, it would win hands down. - anonymous
I think AO3 has (in the fandoms I'm interested in, at least), higher-quality work. It's true that it took me a bit to figure out how to efficiently search for what I wanted. However, now that I have I love their sorting system. The advanced search options make it easy to find exactly what you want.There's also something about AO3 that makes authors more deliberate in their actions - I've yet to see one story prefaced by "Yeah this is a crappy story i wrot during math class dont hate me to hard lolololol!!1!" which I see all. the. time. on . Too many people don't care how awful their work is, they just want someone to acknowledge their existence. I feel like early on there was a spirit of fostering new fanfic writers that led to writers finding beta-readers and improving. I don't see that am much anymore, and I have on AO3. So, in short. AO3 is my go-to when I'd like to read fanfic without slapping a hand over my eyes and peeking through my fingers (as if that would help me sift through the shlock. It never helps). - anonymous
AO3 has better quality control; however, the search function barely works. The search function works much better, and it's not that difficult to find good fanfiction on with a bit of effort. Also, there seems to be an overload of E (explict) rated fics in some fandoms of AO3. - anonymous
I started out on, and it will always be "home" to me, but the policy changes made it impossible for me to stay without fear of meeting the wrath of the mods eventually. There are things that i don't like about AO3, and certain features that I would love to see implemented (such as a better, more efficient search system) but I must say it is far superior. OTW is doing incredibly things for those that participate in fandom, and they are working hard to bring AO3 up to better and better standards. The site isn't going to be perfect right out of the gate, and it will take a while for them to implement everything that needs to be adjusted, but it's getting there. The thing I appreciate most is that AO3 offers authors SO much freedom when it comes to their works. I could never go somewhere and stay there comfortably if it didn't allow every author to express themselves in whatever way they saw fit. - anonymous
FFN. I've been to AO3 and it is a huge mess, eye-straining UI, really weird filters and now they ask account holders to donate to the site to become 'real members'. Seriously? I'm comfortable with FFN due to its simplicity, traffic and user-friendly UI. Besides, it doesn't do any aggressive SEO unlike some websites. Before the crunch of 2007, schools had learning programmes for fan fiction with FFN being the centrepiece. That is something to behold. - anonymous is great site for when you're first getting in to fanfic, but, unfortunately, the quality of work reflects this. It's fledgling author's writing at a fledgling level. (Seriously. The pure amount of Mary Sue and unintentional badfic. D:) AO3 tends to offer a higher caliber of fic, and, personally, I love their tagging system. I also love the variety of media that can be posted. I can find my podfics, fanart, and fanfic all on the same site. Do I wish they would quit it with the down time? Yes. But, in the end, the site is worth it. - anonymous
I use both, but mostly FFnet. The tag system is good on AO3 when you want to search something really specific, but the lack of "without" option is really bugging me, you can't exclude characters, categories or rating. In most fandom there are actually many more fanfics on FFnet. I agree there is a lot of crap, but it's kinda easier to sort it. And I prefer FFnet presentation, it seems more attractive with the picture on the left side. - Edweis
AO3 is just better than FFnet in every way. I used FFNet predominantly when I was first starting out as a fanfic author at about age 12. At that point, my work was honestly disgusting. It was rife with grammatical and spelling errors, my characterization of canon characters was poor at best, and I used OC after OC to provide numerous, ridiculously overpowered Mary Sues.Unfortunately, though I've grown out of that hideous stage in the past three years, many people who have been writing for decades longer than me have not, and continue to write on FFnet.I love Harry Potter fanfiction, but seeing the stuff on FFnet is often upsetting simply due to how awfully out of character virtually every written one is, and how "romantic" canon character/OC fic is glorified when most of the time those OCs are little more than thoughtless self-inserts, just like I used to write when I was 12.For excited feedback and lots of reviews when one is starting out, is good. I still post to the website regularly 'cause I had a fair following. But for an honest opinion of whether a work is good or bad, or for looking for works of other people to READ, I just can't trust the site - it's too childish and too routed in writing that I've grown out of. - anonymous
Well, I'd actually publish stories and read fandom in A03 if I knew how to use paragraph tags and have time to sort through Ao3's system. I think I'll stay in for now. - anon
I've been using FF for years, and I have to say it's frankly annoying. There are way too many poorly written stories to sort through and I've found, after using AO3 for a while now, that I prefer it by far. I've simply had a better experience with the pairings I like and it's been easier to find good fanfiction. Not that I don't still go to FF for some variety, but overall I much prefer AO3. Also, the formatting is easier on the eyes, I ADORE the tagging system because it's funny and generally more informative then FF has ever been, and I love the kudos and download buttons. - anonymous
I have fallen in love with AO3, and that was well-earned love, since I spent months on the waiting list before I got my account. I love the editing feature, the history of prior-read fics, the tagging system (you just have to check periodically for new or retagged works), and the kudos system. Some people say the kudos system only shows a vague interest in a work, but seeing a kudos from someone on a work of my own makes me really happy; reviews are lovely, but kudos can brighten up a day too. - anonymous
FF wins in the side of forums and community exchange, plus its mobile version works like a dream in my not-smartphone simple phone with an interent conection. And you can upload an image to as a cover to every story.AO3 wins everything else. My invitation was sent the same day I asked for it, and the tags are not a mess at all, they work heavlenly, finally you can go for very minor characters or stuff like that.Plus you forgot a very important deal, FF doesnt allow post-publishin editing in your work, while AO3 does, that`s a huge deal. FF platform sucks, you have to upload everything first in a different section,go to managin, choosing, it`s too much, AO3 makes everything simpler. - anonymous
Both have good an bad points depending on user interest. AO3 is more western styled but feature more structurally sound writing than has more topics and language choices available for writers however the enforcement of the rules is done on a as they please bases most of the time with no warning. For many writers that would mean lost of all their work. AO3 is still new so hopefully they'll learn from some of mistakes. - anonymous
Although review turnover is considerably smaller and reader numbers smaller, I am (more or less) assured of better quality fics. I am still wary with their rating system especially with the confusing mature, explicit, etc category which really do not have that large a difference. Although I have been with for 8 years, AO3 has higher quality fics as a whole and it doesn't hurt that their mobile version is better (functionality) and their mobi and epub download system makes it easier to red stories in tablets offline (which I abuse very much). - anonymous
For me, AO3 is where I am, and probably where I am going to stay until I find some place better. Some people say the tag system in Ao3 is messy, I find it charming, this might be because the most searching that I ever do is filthering pairings or genres within fandoms, I like the thrill of the chase in finding something cool. What makes the tags worthwhile though, despite their length and digression, is because after one look I know more about the story than I would from just a regular summary found on This is simply because some people are absolutely terrible at writing summaries, but have good ideas, and that mass of raw material in the tags is really telling -- after I learned how to crack it, of course. Most days it's still hit an miss though (especially in the larger fandoms, such as SPN), and ye old annoyances still pop up in places, what with the cliques and bad characterization. What I like most though is that all of this information is out in the open and the author gets to decide exactly how they're going to do it. Without having to conform to the tired old genres, there is quite a bit more freedom to write something from your heart, instead of writing something to fit in a box. Not to mention that the info on the bottom is too well blended and I hardly take the time to read it anyways. And when it comes to the ridiculously long wait to get an invite, I applaud that, because it adds a layer of security to the system and helps keep the quality up. However many people really do dump all of their works there, just to have it all in one place I suppose (they do call it archive for a reason) and the number of repeating authors is slim. From experience in using the tag system, you can recognise a dump and avoid it better than you every would on That's my five bits. TL;DR: The tags on Ao3 are distinctive and superior. - anonymous
I was on FF.N for 10 years, before switching primarily to AO3 in 2009. I prefer AO3, because of the consideration paid to warnings, the fact that the staff actually respond to complaints, the capacity to change the color scheme (as someone who gets migraines from dark text on bright backgrounds, this is incredibly important), and the ease of filtering. You CAN filter out tags, by the way... it's not completely straightforward, but in the open search you include a -"tag you want to ignore". As with most boolean searches, this works to remove items with those tags from your search.And: while AO3 can definitely stand to improve, from being there over three years I actually trust them to make the improvements they say they will, even if it's slower than I'd prefer. - anonymous
AO3. The tagging system allows a user to disregard random "tumblr-type" tags in favor of more useful ones; the search function is very flexible; the fact that you need an invite code has (I think) kept at a minimum the influx of word vomit one is inundated with on FF. AO3 has a surprising number of languages represented in the works posted and I hope that will increase as time goes by. As for the point about it "focusing" on Western media fandom, it is run by a predominantly Western organization, filled with works by predominantly English-language writers. If the focus is to change, the change will be up to those posting works. - anonymous
I prefer AO3. I can read fanfictions with multiple pairings that I like. And the writing is somewhat better. I went on FF.Net a few days ago to read something that AO3 only had few stories on and I left after trying to read two, just horrific. Though does have a better filter system it doesn't cater well to multiple pairing stories and trying to read a series of 'verse is difficult. If AO3 further develops their user range and filtering system it would be perfect - anonymous
Archive of Our Own - because they writing is usually of a better quality or at least these writers know how to use spell check. Even on-shots are fully rounded stories and not snapshots of writer's undeveloped dream scape LOL With that being said, the filter is a mess and the tagging system is to loaded with crazy tagsFanFiction - has a better filter system, however the beta's don't edit the work or encourage the writers to do so either. It is very distracting reading a fanfiction and literally editing as you go. - anonymous
I am a reader, not a writer, and have used both archives. I greatly prefer AO3 and I will not use unless there have been multiple external reviews and it is the ONLY repository for the work. The three things that differentiate AO3 from FFN for me are the search functions, the uncensored content and the ability to download ePub documents. Being able to select a fandom and then search for pairings, ratings and then sort by Kudos or Comments is outstanding. I read everything from G to NC17 and abhor censorship. Finally, I am frequently out of internet contact, so being able to download content into an eReader is essential for my fanfic enjoyment. - anonymous
As a reader, I definitely like Archive of Our Own a lot better. I discovered fanfiction through, and for a long time that's where I read the majority of fanfiction. The thing is, about 90% of the fic on there seems to be written by preschoolers; it's badly written, often has no decent plot (if there even is a plot), a lot of it is blatantly Mary-Suish - in a lot of cases the canon characters are so deformed they become Mary-Sues themselves - and a lot of the writers on there spend more writing space responding to reviewers, complaining about negative reviews and begging for more (positive) reviews. Additionally, a lot of the stories that are actually worth reading are banned because the content is "too mature", while there is no blatant sexuality or gore in it - so much so that I'm starting to wonder what exactly FFN means by mature - a story actually worth reading?Since I've discovered AO3, I get the largest part of my fanfiction fix on there - once you are used to the search system it's actually quite easy to navigate, and for me the large amount of tags actually make it easy to pick the ones that best suit my tastes. So for me, it's AO3 all the way! - anonymous was easier to sort through and the tagging system was much better but if only one in every 1000 stories archives is actually worth reading then what's the point?There's too much childish fiction on the site with bad grammar, bad spelling, plagiarised stories, and repetitive plot lines. For work that isn't even creative at the least it's not worth the time spent searching anymore.AO3 has much more tasteful work...while there are mature stories discretion is advised and kids who violate that are making their own decisions. - anonymous has become a site for ten year olds. They have begun to delete stories that have large amount of following because of the rating. Why are those kids going to the M stories anyway? I understand safety for children online, but if they keep deleting tastefully done fics, with actual plot, then they are going to lose a lot of people. - anonymous
AO3 still has some way to go, but I love it and barely do any reading on anymore. Two pro and con you forgot, though :- unlike, AO3 doesn't have a langage filter. (That's right, not only english speaking people read and write fantic !) That means that finding the few fics in french there is on the AO3 is almost impossible, and for now I'm not hosting my fics over there, they are staying on AO3 has thus wonderful "download" feature, expecially usefull for looong works, that allows you to download the whole story in one click (even if there is many chapters) in your file format of choice, making it very easy to put the long fics on kindle and readers. I love it ! - They also have a "to read later" button, I find myself using it a lot. :) - anonymous
I like AO3 because people can't delete constructive criticism if you're not logged in, and if users have their way when you're logged in too. It seems silly to me to even have a review function if a writer can pick and chose which reviews they look at. No wonder most of the stories in are so horrible. People there only want reviews so they can show off how many people "love" their stories. - anonymous
I fall firmly on the side of AO3. Not only does it have a better over all quality of fanwork, it also allows you to post things besides fan fiction, like vids, fanart or podfic. They also have a really neat feature where you can link stories inspired by other stories, so if you are doing a remix or a podfic, people can find it through the original story or find the story that inspired it. - anonymous

Other Multi-Fandom Archives on the Internet If Neither FFN or AO3 Is for You

These are not the only two large, multi-fandom archives on the internet today. Some other sites you might wish to explore include the following:

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Nicole Pellegrini

    Any Final Thoughts on Fan Fiction Archives?

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        an 6 weeks ago

        As a reader, I prefer AO3 by a long shot. i have been reading fanfics from both sites for over a decade and I have better experiences with AO3. FFN has so much bad fanfics. I cannot stand the bad grammar, horrible plot, cliches and no character development. This was all fine when I was young and new to the world of fanfics. but now, it just irks me. I have to get out of the story before I read a 100 words.

        On the other hand, I like the tagging system on AO3 because I can literally search for certain content online without any trouble. Also, it gives me warnings if I want to avoid certain content because I am not delving into that anytime soon. Yes it is mostly smut and focused on male homosexual couples. As a fujoshi (if you don't know, look it up), I like the offerings of those content. Along with it, I can read a story with actual plots. It offers the best of both worlds.

        However, I would have to say FFN does offer advantages. I do like the crossover system offered in this website. It is literally impossible to go through all of this in AO3.

        Also, it has more anime fanfic which may be important for some. When I was young, I was obsessed with anime so I too started with FFN but veered away from them in my later years. With AO3, I am exposed to many different fandoms I was unfamiliar with which would mean I am not entirely focused on animes and mangas. Still I like to go back to FFN to read some anime fanfics every once in a while.

        But because it provides more anime fanfic, I also noticed many of the users are younger. This would mean that the writers do not have as much experience writing fanfics which means no character development, mary sues, cliches, no plot development, bad grammar and bad spelling.

        I do like that FFN has more fanfics on older media. Whenever I want to read something about an anime from a decade ago, I do go to FFN to read some even if there are not as much new fanfics on that media anymore. I go to FFN every couple months so I do notice the 1 or 2 new fanfics on that media. Navigating between the 2 websites is pretty easy so i do not have much complaints.

        However, the last thing that irked me and made me go full on AO3 was the purge at FFN. One day, I noticed all my favorite fanfics somehow disappeared. I loved those stories. I favorited and bookmarked those stories. Then one day, they were all gone. No matter how much I searched, they were not there. So many good fanfics which may have been considered mature content but did not have smut were just gone. Forever. To this day, I am haunted by the paths those stories could have been taken if they were not deleted. I would rather prefer to know the authors lost inspiration and abandoned the story rather than knowing they were deleted and it took too much work to rewrite the whole thing so they abandoned it.

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        Lily 2 months ago

        I'm a writer/reader of fanfiction and have used both FFN and AO3, and for some recent years I was leaning towards AO3 but now I'm leaning back towards FFN. Reasons being that 1. AO3 has no filtering out option and a lot of the content are smut/triggering stuff and I don't even want to read the tags let alone read them so I'm left scrolling down quickly to hide from them 2. AO3 is too Westernized so FFN's culture suits me more I guess 3.The pairing tag. I suppose since FF is so old the fandom folk tend to use, for example, the AxB tag and means it as AxB whereas in AO3 you could see he AxB tag and not know if it's actually AxB or BxA (I know a lot of people who get upset over this)

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        Anonymous 4 months ago

        I've found Ao3's content to be somewhat higher quality than a lot of the crummy fics that I have to wade through on FFN, but Ao3 doesn't always have enough fics for small/old/inactive/not really popular fandoms that FFN sometimes does have.

        Ao3's tagging system is also really helpful for finding fic with characters/pairings/themes that I want to enjoy or avoiding things I want to avoid at all costs, FFN's tagging/search system is really limited in comparison and a lot of stuff I would have been otherwise interested in or otherwise avoided slips through the cracks.

        Ao3's lack of restrictions on sexual content is nice too since I don't have to worry about a fic crossing too deeply into sexual territory and I'll admit I like reading smut every now and then.

        I still use both because for as much as Ao3 has good content, smut that's less likely to be taken down and a helpful tagging/search system, FFN has sheer volume to sift through for the occasional gem.

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        fdfs 7 months ago

        I have noticed that Quality of fanfic on Archive of our own is definitely superior but one of my biggest complaints is every single fanfic in there except for Game of thrones Fandom is male x male pairing. I don't want pairing in my Fanfic and even if i do, i definitely dont want male on male action. I am not even kidding, almost the fanfics in most of the fandoms are gay fanfics. I dont have anything against gay people, but i dont want that in my fic, thank you very much.

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        S-36 8 months ago

        With my house MD obsession i found and loved it.

        I devoured almost every story on it and well latter I decided to look for another site for different stories and found archive of our own.

        In the first one is easier to find crossovers for example if I want to check House and grays Anatomy, House and Sherlock or House and Tony Stark.

        Also the stories are sweeter and dare to Soften House much more. They are more flexible to turn him into a more caring and nicer guy.

        Fan Fiction.Net has a much more variety of Fluff, it's more heart melting the way he is portrayed on those stories.

        In Archive almost all are about BDSM though they are more careful with That theme than in Fan Fiction to not cross the line towards abuse.

        The ones who write on archive BDSM do it very carefully meanwhile in the other ends up looking disturbing with a bad after taste.

        But there are more fluffy romance romance writers.

        I guess i slightly prefer but I check archive a lot as well

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        Anonymous 8 months ago

        I use both FFN and AO3, both as a reader and as a writer. I honestly prefer AO3 however. First off, as a writer, I tend to not only get more views, but I get more people who either want me to continue, or explain that they like what I have done so far. With FFN, this doesn't happen. Not to mention I can review a story on AO3 and the author can reply. I also find that uploading to AO3 is much easier, as is editing. I also really like the tag system. And yes, there are some problems I have with not being able to filter out tags or get more adult-oriented works that pop up than what I like, I also find it so much easier when looking for a specific author, work or tag. I'm able to find what I want, I can find the ships I'm looking for, even the characters. I also like the way that you can look for a certain amount of words. This is my opinion, but I honestly find myself hardly using FFN, and I seem to much prefer AO3.

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        Alys 9 months ago

        I post on both FFN and AO3, and I'm now leaning towards AO3 but each has its pros and cons.

        On FFN, I like that the hits show me which chapters were read and how many chapters. AO3 only shows me how many visits to the story were made, so someone could have clicked on my first chapter and gone "Nah", and stopped reading, and another might have been enthralled and read all 40 chapters at one shot, but each would register as 1 hit.

        But the reviews I've received on FFN so far have been crap. On AO3 I've found readers are far more generous with their comments. Some of the discussions we have in the comments thread are very satisfying, and can also be read and contributed to by others. On FFN no one sees my replies to readers or our discussion, and I find that detracts from the sense of community.

        FFN loses for allowing only four characters in the tags. AO3 allows an infinite number of characters and relationships, and wins hands down here.

        AO3 also allows me to post other media, especially my art. So all in all, I enjoy being on AO3 much more.

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        Anonymous 10 months ago

        Well, FFN has a mobile app now, and you can download any story you want. It's all cool, and I like that it has a large community as well. You can get decent exposure there.

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        Anon 10 months ago

        Actually, just some input, you can now 'ignore' tags/select tags you DON'T want to see. In the 'additional tags' part of the Sort&Filter bar, you can add a minus sign (-) to whatever tag you don't want to see, for example -Explicit. More info about this can be found on:

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        Anon 10 months ago

        Personally, I like AO3 by a long shot. I was first introduced to fanfiction by FFN, like many others. I was actually introduced to AO3 last among the usual archives, but I found that it was far better in my opinion over the other archives. You can now filter out mature material, though not completely. You can pick a certain 'tag', such as General, Teen and Up, Mature, and Explicit. The tagging can indeed get messy, but I personally do not mind the tags as they have connected similar tags to one another and helped make it much easier to navigate. And one of my issues about FFN is the aesthetic of the page. The colors are very plain and the text is generally small. AO3 has added a feature where you can use skins to change the look of your page and/or your work, which I find useful since my eyes are rather unresponsive if the colors are too contrasting. Also, something that I have seen multiple times and I definitely agree to is the sense of community in AO3 being better than that of FFN. I also must write here that the quality of works is much better in AO3, though there are still bad quality works. However, compared to FFN, the works of AO3 are better in average.

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        Me 10 months ago

        FFN is a lot more user friendly. Sometimes a lack of options results in a simpler but more enjoyable experience.

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        Anony mouse 12 months ago

        I generally prefer FFN. It was the first site I really used ans I still prefer their filtering methods over AO3's, which I find messy. FFN's biggest limitations is their restrictions on people which I do think are pretty bad - but on the other hand we have AO3 where even now, you have to request to join and then it can take months from there...

        Bad-quality fanfics is an issue everywhere not just FFN - I do find that you can sort some of it on FFN by looking at favorites/ follows/ reviews but it is far from perfect (and it doesn't help that lots of people enjoy "bad" stories or devices like Mary Sues).

        All in all, I think we're still missing a site that "has it all" (and I think it unlikely that it will ever exist on a grand scale) but both AO3 and FFN have their strong points where people lean towards the site that fits their wishes best.

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        Aly 13 months ago

        If anyone still wants to know how to filter out results on AO3: (& specifically crossovers:

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        James Stewart 14 months ago

        Awesome to see an author updating their articles even if they are few years old. Good on you on, though some of the link to other fanfic archives are now dead, may want to update that list otherwise great article. I personally use both because really i think its required to get all the stories, honestly if exclusions were available to AO3 i think it would be far superiour as a reader over ffnet

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        Arashi 18 months ago

        I've used both. :)

        I've found that, from my experience AO3 is nicer.

        I used Fanfiction in my early days of writing, and while I enjoyed writing fanfics, I just found the layout dull, and not as suitable in comparison to AO3 for usage with phones.

        I can't afford a PC/laptop so I've gotten used to using notes on my phone. I've also preferred AO3 for its cute little features; it's more of a community, letting guests and users leave kudos and comments instead of favourites and reviews. You can talk with the author and thank them and they will reply and thank you as well. You can also gift work, and I think that's cute as well. I do enjoy the skins the most though, I read in the dark sometimes, and by setting a dark background it doesn't hurt my eyes. I've found that searching for stories isn't particularly troublesome as I've always found what I wanted.

        I do have to say though, it's true that is more popular. You'll probably get more feedback there. That's just my experience though.

        It all comes down to preferences, and parts of me just link up to AO3 better. :)

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        Hemelse 19 months ago

        Look, guys, I don't know where do you get that FFNet's sysadmins are completely disinteres in sorting plagiarism. I write in Spanish, and thus, a lot more challeging to prove plagiarism in languages the admins don't read, and I've always gotten a satisfyingly fast responde. The thing is, you CAN'T just say that "this is plagiarism of so and so story by Jane Doe user"; the admins manage a much greater archives so you NEED to make things easier for them.

        I always get an excerpt of the plagiariser's story, and a LINK to and THE SAME excerpt of the original story.

        Heck, you can even do this for translation plagiarism (person translates work without author's consent and claims work is theirs), which was the bane of the Spanish Harry Potter fandom for a while, and I never had any problems taking down bad stories. (That said, secretphoenix879 used to be a PROLIFIC Spanish-to-English Yu-Gi-Oh! plagiariser but then the admins nuked her account).

        In this case, what you MUST do is take an excerpt from the plagiariser's story, then the SAME excerpt from the original story, THEN do yout OWN translation, THEN run the original excerpt by Google Translate.

        And there is no written rule that you can't do a report for more than one story. I've found that when you write a report for a story, but include other stories that are plagiarised, the sysadmins close the account. Favourites, stories, all gone. Good riddance.

        IT's just that people doesn't use common sense. It's a BIG archive, make it EASY for the admins. I wonder how many reports they get that they can't go through them at all?

      • profile image

        sarah 2 years ago

        I used for years, but it's a lot of trawling. If you like sonething/less popular, your ability to find quality takes a steep, steep nosedive. It's best for crossovers and has a bit more for obscure fandoms, quality notwithstanding. For older fandoms, it contains the "seminal" works as well.

        Ao3, while definitely 18+, has a far superior system and quality point once you learn the system. To be fair, not everyone cares to learn exactly what they should probably filter --- also many pairings are tagged as such when they're actually gen/platonic in order to draw in the shippers. There's also no priority filter --- designating primary ships would be a v. Helpful feature. I almost quit the site before I learned how to filter content, but it's been great since then. And the quality point on FF consequentially becomes more of a shock the longer I go w/out sifting through it.

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        Mimi 3 years ago is good for stories based on anime/manga/movies/books.

        AO3 is good for stories based on lives of real people- bands/actors/and so on...

        There's also wattpad and fictionpress for creative writing with lots of good stories :D

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        Elle 3 years ago

        I think AO3 is better at offering more quality fics, but it's discouraging when you find out just because your fic doesn't have sex & or romance in it, it's just not gonna get near as many hits, kudos & comments. AO3 seems to be at least 80% pure romance & smut. Don't get me wrong, my utterly sexless work on Ao3 has gotten several good reviews & a few real fans & I'm having a blast writing again, but I can't help but be miffed when I see another work about the same characters & plot get hundreds more hits than mine & the only difference being theirs has explicit sex in it while mine doesn't.

        I'm not knocking smut here, I've read it on occasion but my main focus in fandom isn't shipping so being a non-ship writer on AO3 can be a lonely life. I'm now thinking of heading back over to fanfiction & posting my stuff there.

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        PendulumDeath 4 years ago

        I prefer AO3 over FF, and not just because of the adult content, but also because I can read fics even when I'm not connected to the Internet ( you can easily download them ). I read on both sites, but I can't be bothered to post anything on FF because I'd have to censor some parts or completely remove some chapters and that doesn't sit well with me. There are some mature stories that aren't just porn without plot, but if you start removing the key parts of such a fic, then you're simply censoring yourself for the sake of posting it on a site, and that's not something I wish to do. I don't mind the lack of reviews on AO3, especially since the fandom I'm writing for isn't even that big, but the Kudos button is nice, so that's enough. I also find it really hard to edit fics on FF, or maybe I'm doing something wrong, I don'y know, but AO3 is much easier to use and I simply adore the interface.

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        rebeca-agoiztabuenca 4 years ago

        You can easily dowload any story from AO3, while now in they don't allow you to select and copy the content of every chapter to save the story in Word for your personal use. It's also easier to find the kind of fanfiction you want in AO3, which have many more searching options. And the content of the story can be just as explicit as the reader wish, thus the warnings.Hovewer in you can find a higher amount of stories by far, and the readers are more used to leave reviews for the author. The feedback is better. I believe that a question of time, though. AO3 is booming quickly, and is suffering a slow but decisive decline since the last couple of years.

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        anonymous 4 years ago

        I've had an account with since 2001 and by 2010 I virtually stopped going there preferring LJ or any place to read fanfiction because of the abundance of complete shit on that site. I stayed on after the original purges for loyalty sake but it just became to much. Some of my favorite authors who actually wrote worthwhile fanfiction were leaving because of the loss of stories (trust me, when they originally did the purges they lost stories that weren't even NC-17 or M rated, wiped some stories of comments completely due to one belligerent review and they're servers were also lagging when they began putting advertising up).When I found AO3 it was a godsend for me because I found authors who had left and new ones. The quality of fanfiction is much higher, I have no problems with the tagging system and adore the the community because a lot of community is connected with Tumblr.The lagging, server issues and adding new content are just AO3 evolving which I am completely comfortable to wait for it be fine tuned while enjoying their content. It will pass like's fine tuning days and as long as AO3 keeps to their mission statement then I will be supporting it over for years to come.

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        Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

        Wow, this is quite the impressive lens. There's tons of well researched info on here. I've spent a lot of time on FFnet as a reader and writer, but have only read one story on AO3. It takes an incredible amount of time to truly become familiar with either site outside of just one fandom.

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        anonymous 4 years ago

        I use both sites for reading, writing, and initiating discussions with other authors. My experience has been the opposite of many who have commented here. I do not feel the least bit lost on AO3 and I find it easier to get from one place to another there. I have also received at least ten times the written reviews on AO3 as after being warned by users of both sites that AO3 readers do not review. I love that has private messaging and that Ao3 has automatic downloads. As far as finding quality work, what has worked best for me has been to look at the subscriptions, favorites, and bookmarks of an author I respect. It really grows from there, and it seems a little ridiculous to me to rely as heavily as some folks do on tag searches to find what they want. But that's just me and I get it. I enjoy reading variety within my fandoms. When I go skipping around, Ao3 has the higher proportion of well-written fics.

      • PhilVardy profile image

        PhilVardy 4 years ago

        I love discovering a Realm of the Internet I've never previously heard of!! thanks :)

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        anonymous 4 years ago is older and a lot more popular, so I go on there to post my works. So far, on AO3, the stories I've read are fine grammatically. The adult content on there versus the adult content still stuck on are equally bad.As for reading, I read on both. AO3 is still relatively new so I can't find a lot of stuff on there, but most of what I do find is good enough. As for, there's a significantly greater percentage of bad stories, but the good stories are very good - and simply due to the huge amount of stories on, even a small fraction of the good stories outnumber those on AO3. There's a lot more sifting to do to find them, though. I'm pretty sure that AO3 is just so much cleaner of poorly written fanfiction because a majority of authors (that is, the terrible ones) haven't found it yet. Once it becomes more popular it will clog up just like

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        I like many others did use since a young age and would generally only read fic's on that site, but now after finding Archive of Our Own/ AO3 I rarely read works via other than updates from long standing fics. I find AO3 easier to navigate and easier to read from. Personally i also think there is a lot less shit on the site compared to the quantity of crap on I still submit to both websites but I no longer read or search on instead preferring AO3. While some dislike the tagging system on AO3, I much prefer it as it does not stop certain types of fics being easily found, unlike on where it is to generic to search for things such as rape.

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I use both sites pretty regularly. However. While I use most of my reading on, when I want some adult entertainment reading...I go to AO3. And when they did that recent purge, I almost left permanently. At that point I was reading a lot of "Harry Potter Characters read the books" type of deal, and suddenly all my fav authors get their stories taken off. Then I started to notice that most of the NARUTO (most popular anime for fanfics) stories started to go down the drain. Why the heck should I stay on a site the doesn't promote spell-check on a regular basis? At least the "Smut AO3" has great writing in it. While the tags are tricky, when you want a specific story, and you get a page full of awesomeness? Most tags require patience. When you don't have the patience to find a good, well-written story that caters to your ideas...Well then, sorry. While now I use a lot of different sites to find what I am looking for, will always have a spot in my heart. But when all the good stories seem to be LJ? And you want them on your E-book reader? I will always turn to AO3. As most LJ writers seem to post here. Never disregard something just because the "tags are too tuff, i want something simpple." That just leads to badly written stories and a few good ones splattered on. For all you ff fans that disregard AO3 just because of the difficulty of the tags, I beg of you to give it a little patience and some good will. After all, soon, your fandom may be deleted of its best stories and then you have to go to another FORUM to read them, then the forum closes and then you are stuck with no way of getting those great stories.Also, I hate writing reviews. It's a long-drawn out process. Most of the BAD authors want one, but I am someone that can't criticize without making it flamey. Why should I make a flamey review when the author is just going to diregard it? If its a super great story and its not completed and I want to subscribe for updates-then I make a short but sweet statement like "More soon please" or "AWESOME! PWEASE UPDATE!!". Leaving Kudos? Well at first I had no idea what the Kudos was for, but now...Yes. Something I can click that says, "OMGSUPERMEGAFOXYAWESOMEHOT! I LOVE IT! UPDATE MORE STUFF LIKE THIS!" Most authors hate my short reviews. Well sorry, I rather just leave a kudos. RPFing? It took my soul. I (and probably many a fangirl) hoped for a certain actor/tress to be with a certain actor/tress. But for years I had no idea that there were fans that WROTE ABOUT IT. and Posted it. Somewhere. If you say that RPF fics are bad for AO3 then you have certainly never fantasized about an actor/tress. Main thing about this? I will always start with, but sooner or later, I will head and stay in AO3 for days at a time. If you think one is better than the other, then you are living in a fantasy. FANFICS FOR DA WIN!!

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I use both sites, as a writer and a reader. I will say that there are two features of AO3 that are incredibly important to me. The first is that you can set your own style for the page. This is good for me, as I read primarily at night. Who knew that changing the background to a pale gray or tan would reduce eyestrain and headache? I can honestly say that it did for me.The second (and it is mentioned, but not emphasized in this article) is that the tags allow you to be very specific in what you're looking for. You can search, for instance, for fics that generally include... well, pick a tag - let's use Harry Potter. You can then narrow it by character, relationship, AU (i.e. Independent!Harry), circumstance (i.e. Time Travel).... I can narrow down 12,000+ listings to the 40 or 50 that I actually want to read. And that's just by adding additional tags to the search! On FFN, I'd have to hope that someone made a Community (or make one myself) in order to have a good list of similar story types.And, by the way, there is an easy way to search for just crossovers. Just pick one fandom (i.e. Harry Potter), and then add a second fandom tag (Fullmetal Alchemist, perhaps?). Thousands of HP stories become 15 HP/FMA crossovers. Further filter by language setting (English), decide I only want complete stories, and we have eleven. Easy!

      • Aja103654 profile image

        Aja103654 5 years ago

        I can't really choose either since I have not checked out AO3 that much. Also, loads of stories in FFnet are crap and it's getting harder and harder to find only the best and well written stories. Plus there's so much slash pairings and Yaoi compared to hetero pairings which I prefer. AO3 looked complicated to me, as well. Thank you so much for this article!

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        Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

        @TeacherSerenia: I'm not on FF.N any longer (I left after the first adult content purge in 2002 on principle). I do have an AO3 account but prefer not to link my fan-writing account to my general on-line ID. I'll send you a private message, however.

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        TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

        So out of curiosity - can I ask what your profile name is on FF net and what genre of stories you write, read or favourite? I prefer reading JAG, Stargate SG1 and BATB stories.

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        Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 5 years ago

        Great lens idea! Something I can really get behind :) I love because of their simple structure and the fact that people easily review stories.Li Li

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I think FFN is much surperior, and unless you're in the Glee fandom, or like anime, there's a lot of amazing stories out there for you to read. And, let's face it, AO3 is a disaster right now. Maybe once it finally gets out of beta, it'll be better, but it's borderline unusable right now. Don't even get me started on the tags. They make me want to disembowel myself with a blunt teaspoon. It's a disaster, and there's so much tagging and stupid tags, and variation on tags, and it's just really ____ed up. And AO3 is really ugly. FFn's simplicity is oft complained about, but I think complex site's with lots of bright graphics and such are distracting to the story.There's also quite a bit more community at FFN. You actually get, y'know, reviews. I know you AO3 people must think they're just myths, but they exist over at, if you don't like either, Livejournal is a good alternative!

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I never had any idea sites like this were out there. Though I don't do it much, I do creative writing exercises involving my favorite characters (Conan, James Bond, etc.). I'll have to check out both sites and decide on one. Thanks.

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I've used both sites, and I really don't get AO3's structure. When you click on a tag, you have to sort through a bunch of stuff you don't want, and it's a pain to deal with overall. Although at times it's quite useful, I generally dislike the tag system. With, I find it much easier to find what I'm looking for. Also, in regards to what some have said about the quality, I honestly don't think it's that bad. Sure, there are fics with bad grammar and spelling- but not everyone is a great writer, and it seems to me that a lot of people don't respect that enough. Also, I haven't found this to happen exceedingly often. There was one instance of an author spelling the main character's name five different ways- all of them wrong. This is just my opinion of course, but I'm not really against the purge. I have found way too many misclassified fanfics, and as a fourteen year old, I don't think it's right to find an extremely graphic sex scene under a T rating. I'd like to preserve my innocence, thank you. It would have been alright if they had kept the MA rating, and just kept it separate from the rest.

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        JoshK47 5 years ago

        I can't say I've actually ever been to AO3 - I have a few pieces up on from back in the day, but that was years ago. Very nice lens!

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        The truth is that I prefer AO3 despite several drawbacks, I feel a comfort to read. The interface is friendly and the typography of the text is beautiful, I think the fact that it has the possibility of Kudos, is great and encouraged to comment, despite all claims to the contrary. And I can download the pdf format of the fic to keep it in a folder! It's great, that and to allow the MA rating, although some people seem inaccurate. Where does it go then? It's a fanfic! No more censorship. Just I wish the site was more orderly, and there were more fics in Spanish, but that I must wait.

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        2 things that are worth mentioning. 1-comepleted fics. for me, i've noticed that more fics on AO3 are finished over the other thing for me is the download option. i just got an ereader, and its the best for fanfiction, but only if i can get it on there. :]

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        Lots of information here which is great. I used to use a while back and was very happy with it until I got a virus which has slowed down my computer for years. I have used AO3 more recently and I like it except for the unavailability issues mentioned. I have avoided snce the virus incident but I would like to return if that kind of problem is gone. I'm not surehow to safely find out however. Anyway I have issues with both sites so for now I have to go to alternative sites (like LiveJournal for instance). Thank you for the article

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I can't stand FFnet, stopped using it six years ago, removed all my fic and won't touch anything posted on it. Apart from the eye-watering bad writing on the site, the reason I read or write fanfiction at all is because I appreciate how creativity flourishes in spite of external controls, so when a pack of highhanded and self-entitled authoritarians try to control what gets posted, it defeats the purpose and what little enjoyment might be had out of that steaming pile. The censorship and purging actually started years ago.

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        A word of warning about FicWad -- the owner hasn't been around to fix many of the errors that are developing and the forums are full of spammers. So use at your own risk.

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I read from both but only have fic posted on LJ. My preference is for AO3. The silly purging on FFnet and the very childish, 'review or I won't post' peeves me off royally. Initially it seemed as if AO3 might be harder to navigate but as you use it you should find it very user friendly, My one complaint about AO3 is the frequently very slow loading of the fandom pages, the stories come up fairly quickly when you click on them. I assume it is because of the high volume of transfers they are getting right now both from FFnet and 852 Prospect. Hopefully it will ease up in a month or so aftewr all the stories are transferred.

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        AmyCat 5 years ago

        You raise some good points, pro and con, about both sites. Several of the criticisms of my preferred site, AO3, are valid... but given the responsiveness of the AO3 staff, I'm optimistic about the biggest one (inability to set searches to *exclude* as well as *include* tags or ratings) eventually being addressed. Nothing I've heard or seen leads me to think the folks have much interest in pleasing fans... as witness this latest "purge".THanks for a great article!

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        Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

        @anonymous: Thanks for your comments - I will add some more details to the criticisms of AO3 about this. I know it's become a popular place for people to post their "kink meme" stories, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear a lot of adult content is moving there after the recent FF.N crackdown.

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        Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

        @anonymous: @Leila - yes, I am continuing to update this page as site changes roll out (both on FF.N and AO3). It seems as though the recent crackdown on Mature content at FF.N has brought a lot of people to this page looking for more information to compare them both, so I am trying to work on updating as best as I can. Thanks for reading!

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        This is cool. I like how you laid everything out. I admit to being very familiar with ffnet but found AO3 rather confusing while trying to navigate a few months back. I was surprised by how current your information is and was looking for when you posted this but couldn't find the date. Is this just something that is under constant construction as the sites roll out new policies?

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        @anonymous: Unfortunately, I find this to be true. Some of the descriptions for the stories should be screened. They are very hard core, and I wish like they would make the Explicit and Mature rated works only visible if you elected to see them.

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        anonymous 5 years ago

        I find both sites perfectly functional personally. I must say AO3 has recently become, at least for some fandoms, nothing more than a smut dump. I don't really see any quality increase in the fics either. If AO3 actually allowed for the ability to filter out a tag it'd be much more pleasant. Not everybody wants to read about an author's homosexual pedophilia incest fanfic filled to the brim with absolutely creepy kinks and personally don't even want to read the description of said fic. The fact that said fics are even allowed on the site is kinda iffy if you were to ask me.

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        Nicole Pellegrini 6 years ago from New Jersey

        @mythphile: Hey Greekgeek! Glad to see another fandom person here. (I write fanfic under a different name but have been active on and elsewhere for ages.) I definitely agree that both of the archives serve different purposes and audiences; I used to post to but since a lot of my fiction is more adult-oriented, I had to take it down once the site's policies changed. And even though I have my own fic site and archive my stories on fandom-specific websites, I've found cross-posting to AO3 has certainly brought in a new audience for my work. My biggest issue with the site these days is the tagging system and how unwieldy it is, particularly in fandoms with a lot of characters and pairings that haven't been "tag-wrangled" yet.I definitely do more browsing for fic on AO3 these days than elsewhere, but I do have a lot of lingering concerns about the site architecture and how well it's designed for future growth and expansion. I just hope their means aren't exhausted by their lofty goals.

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        Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

        They've wound up serving different purposes. Many of us hoped AO3 would be the answer to the problems of ffnet (almost wrote ficwad there, gack), but it introduced a host of new problems. Searching and the lack of community are the biggest ones, although the migration of most of my fandom to DW and some to Tumblr has the spillover effect that people are commenting a little more on AO3 where we'll see it. On the other hand, AO3 makes challenge communities and exchanges so much easier, and I am really grateful to be able to integrate my own illustrations and reader-submitted fanart right into the story -- or, heck, share my fanart!AO3's download and reader functions make it easier for those who have migrated to tablets (they are really helpful if one has minor vision issues). I like AO3 better. But in practice, I get more reedback on ffnet. So I cross-post.