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FanFiction.Net is the largest fan fiction archive on the Internet.

The Archivists

FanFiction.Net get together in 2000. Xing Li, the site founder, is the young man on Santa's right.

Xing Li was founder and owner of FanFiction.Net. He is currently based out of Los Angeles, California. He came from the X-Files fandom but otherwise has very little fandom experience and is not directly involved in fandom.


FanFiction.Net was created by Xing, while he was a student at University of California, Los Angeles. The site was originally hosted on a server connected to where he worked. His employer recouped part of the cost in order to use it as a test for how well their servers worked. The costs became increasingly large and his employer wanted compensation for part of those costs as costs rose to over $2,000 a month. FanFiction.Net tried paid accounts, which met with much user resistance. The site eventual switched to advertisements to pay for itself.

For additional information on funding, A look at some fandom based money numbers located off site.


FanFiction.Net members are able to use a variety of on-site services besides the core fanwork submissions and reader feedback-reviews. Users may interact with each other in public FanFiction.Net Forums, participate in communities. Writer-oriented communication is held via the review reply feature and Personal Messaging (PM). Experienced writers can choose to support their fandom by becoming Beta Readers. Applicable cellphone owners have access to a mobile FanFiction.Net version.

Support staff may be approached for inquiries to include new fandoms or missing fandom elements (canon characters, medium adaptations).


Main article FanFiction.Net Timeline.



Main article FanFiction.Net in 2000.

  • 2000 was the year of FanFiction.Net. The site reached a point where it is an archive utilized by many fan fiction archives as their primary source. People began the referring to feedback as reviews. Discussion about quantity of feedback turned to number of reviews. Some fan fiction communities seemed to be populated by fan fiction novices obsessed with the quantity of reviews.
  • Early 2000, the earliest Draco and Ginny fics were posted at FanFiction.Net In the Harry Potter archive. These early stories were not well received, as many people believed the pairing was unlikely as it had no basis in the novels.
  • In "2000/2001, they were running at least 4 enterprise-level servers (three "file" servers, one database server); nowadays it's probably a massive server farm. They're definitely paying by the byte traffic-wise, that's one of the issues when you get up to the level of service they have to be at." [2]
  • November 2000 saw concern about FanFiction.Net's review alert feature. Writers were in disarray while review notifications were unavailable, evidence to FanFiction.Net's importance in their fannish experience and communication with readers.


Main article FanFiction.Net in 2001.


Main article FanFiction.Net in 2002.

  • FanFiction.Net banned all fan fiction rated NC-17 from their site. This left parts of the fannish community in turmoil as the fan fiction community has never been a cohesive group with a single group understanding. FanFiction.Net’s policy change said NC-17 was banned, but the site took no action in defining what the difference between material rated R and NC-17 was until changing their rating scheme.[14]
  • On April 21, the MST3K section of FanFiction.Net was removed. Reactions were mixed. Various MSTing websites popped up around the internet as a result, and the MST3K prose authors made their permanent home at the MST3K Fanfiction Page, where they have resided until Yahoo! closed the Geocities project in 2009.
  • In 2002, there was a debate on FanFiction.Net regarding if slash stories should be in their own category. [15] No such decision is taken by FanFiction.Net staff.



  • Starting in May 2004 a group of concerned authors calling themselves the The Author Alliance reported thousands of fictions in multiple FanFiction.Net archives due to alleged infringement of Terms of Service in said stories, which were later removed from the online depository.[17]
  • On August 18, 2004, the LiveJournal anti-FanFiction.Net community anti_ffdotnet was created. [18]
  • On September 14, 2004, FanFiction.Net introduced C2 Communities.
  • Notice on front page: "October 30th, 2004 -- A tripped circuit breaker caused a site-wide outage between 6 and 8 PM PST. We have resolved this issue and will make preventive upgrades early next week." [19]
  • November 2004, FanFiction.Net bans script format "to prevent confusion" between chat and script formats, the first having been outlawed much earlier. A mass deletion of scripted works follows.
  • Notice on front page: "November 10th 2004 -- QuickEdit within Document Manager has been upgraded to version 2.0 and the easy editing feature has been ported to the Settings page. Users no longer need to tinker with html when editing profiles. As result of the changes, text for many profiles will be displayed without line breaks. We encourage all members to visit the Settings page and update their profiles using the new formatting tool." [20]
  • Notice on front page: "November 18th, 2004 -- FanFiction.Net will operate in read-only mode, with submission and reviewing features disabled, between 12AM Sunday (11/21) and 12AM Tuesday (11/23) Pacific Standard Time. We will use the 48 hour window to complete an extensive upgrade of our publishing engine." [21]
  • Notice on front page: "November 21st, 2004 -- Planned website upgrade has started. Reviewing, registration, and login/submission features have been disabled until further notice. Please be patient with us as this process will take at least 48 hours to complete." [22]
  • Notice on front page: "November 23rd, 2004</font> -- Thanks to everyone for their patience as FanFiction.Net underwent the largest technical upgrade since inception. We are now ready to unveil the fruit of our labor. Embracing the world. For the first time ever, FanFiction.Net is proud to announce full language compatibility to almost all languages on the planet. Before today, non-english language submission and display support had been at best very weak and at worst unusable. We encourage all writers that have previously submitted non-english entries to update their story content, using the edit/replace feature, to assure full compatibility. With any significant upgrade, there will be unforseen problems. If you experience trouble with garbled text or strange characters after submission please email the actual file used in the upload process to" [23]
  • Notice on front page: "November 24th, 2004 -- We have confirmed a serious bug which corrupted many entries dated pre-2003 during our last upgrade. A recovery process has started to resolve this issue. Upload access will be disabled until recovery completes. " [24]
  • Notice on front page: "November 27th, 2004 -- We have restored submission access. Happy Holidays!" [25]
  • Notice on front page: "December 3rd, 2004 -- "Backup" feature has been upgraded to "Backup / Export". The new feature allows a writer to export the text of published chapters into Document Manager for editing. Please login for details." [26]
  • Notice on front page: December 31st, 2004 -- Have a Happy New Year! With 2005 around the corner, FanFiction.Net would like to thank everyone for their support in the past year.
Over the next 3 weeks, we will be gradually rolling out a new version of the site. Work has already begun though most of the critical changes will be under-the-hood and out of sight. The 4th iteration of FanFiction.Net will pave the way for future additions.
If 2004 was the year of stability, 2005 would be the year of renewal.[27][citation dead link]


  • In January, 2005, FanFiction.Net created a ticket-based member service platform. Every call for support, called a ticket, was put in a queue depending on topic and severity. The queue was as long as two months. Tickets responded to by staff were often inaccessible due to system instability. The site reverted to email-based support in September, 2006, scrapping the platform.
  • Notice on front page: "January 13th, 2005 -- Major Maintenance Alert: Between 4AM and 12PM Friday, Jan 14th, 2005 US Pacific Time, FanFiction.Net will be performing a time consuming task of relocation our servers to a new hosting facility. During this service window, all web and email services will be off-line. We apologize in advance for the down time but it is something we cannot avoid. The improved facility affords us new opportunities for growth in terms of space and bandwidth."
  • Notice on front page: "January 16th, 2005 -- As result of our weekend relocation, email alerts have been backlogged and we are trying to send them out as fast as possible. Please be patient as all alert emails will be delivered within 24 hours."
  • Notice on front page: "January 19th, 2005 -- Unrelated software issues with two servers resulted in site down-time earlier today. Normally FanFiction.Net can sustain multiple server failures. Unfortunately for us, the 2 failed servers were part of the same cluster group. We are planning to install triple redundancy for the failed system to prevent such incidents in the future."
  • Notice on front page: "January 24th, 2005 -- Our support ticket interface is currently down for repair. In the meantime, please send new category requests to "
  • In April 2005, several German record labels sent cease and desist letters to German websites. [28][29][30] The letters demanded the removal of all song lyrics from their sites and asked for €1600,57 remuneration for every song which had the lyrics listed. In response to this, several archives like FanFiction.Net disallowed SongFic in order to be liable to similar threats.
  • On December 15, 2005, FanFiction.Net introduced the Personal Messaging (PM) feature. It was also possible to receive a copy of own Personal Messages.
  • On December 29, 2005, FanFiction.Net introduced the Review Reply function.
  • moderator Octavarius invaded the Sly Cooper fandom. [citation needed]


  • In January, 2006, FanFiction.Net introduced story and author alerts, so readers could receive update notifications.
  • In June, Wize, a member of FanFiction.Net and a participant in the site's chat room dating back to 2000, had a virtual get together of members from that time period. [31][citation dead link] He managed to find some 32 past members who registered. He found another five members who refused to join because they had moved beyond it. Most members had stopped writing fan fiction, had moved to original fiction and were generally non-fannish.
  • Also in June, the 250,000th Harry Potter fan fiction was added to FanFiction.Net.
  • Fanfiction.Net reintroduced the forum feature.


  • In July 2007, FanFiction.Net's server had periods which resulted in pages taking a long time to load.
  • By July 2007, FanFiction.Net was using Varnish. [32]


  • April 23 - A Newgrounds spam group called the "Barney Bunch" spammed many archives. Some users from the Pokemon fandom started a resistance movement against them.
  • Notice on front page: "September 16, 2008 - A new abuse email address ( is listed on the homepage, as well as an email for category suggestions and character lists ("
  • Notice on front page: "December 19, 2008 -- A discrepancy between the actual number of Community subscribers and the value displayed has been fixed."[33]
  • "December 18, 2008 -- Category selection interface has been restored to the search engine and we have fixed a problem with the dictionary not returning results."[34]


  • This year the domain added posting throttles to prevent spamming. Users had to wait a specific amount of time between submitting reviews and forum posts. Account activation timers were added, so it became impossible for new members to upload an avatar or create a profile page for a specified amount of time after joining.
  • Notice on front page: "March 5, 2009 -- A new "Plays/Musicals" top-level category has been created in response to growing interest. All play/musical related sections from the "Misc" category have been relocated to the new home. Due to this update, some category specific links have changed. Reader Traffic feature has been extended to both forums and communities. Respective administrators can login and visit the traffic area for access to these two new features. Forum/Community traffic data collection started in February of 2009. Please note we have updated the website Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Translations of the two documents in both Spanish and German have been provided with French versions forthcoming. We have resolved an issue which affected Reader Traffic access and collection on the first day of every new month and a problem which caused timed-out errors for large file uploads in the Document Manager. " [35]
  • Notice on front page: "March 15, 2009 -- In response to popular request, members will now be able to sort favorite stories, and stories on their alert list by last update date in the administration section." [36]
  • In March 2009, FanFiction.Net changed their Terms of Service. [37] This was viewed in fandom as being done in response to Fan History's FanFictionNetBot and FanLib's allowing users to easily export their stories on FanFiction.Net to a site off FanFiction.Net.
  • Notice on front page: "March 25, 2009 -- Upgrades for both Traffic and Document Manager servers have been completed as planned. The new feature unveiling is now rescheduled for Friday, March 27th." [38]
  • Notice on front page: "March 19, 2009 -- We will be peforming the following site upgrades over the next 7 days. Expect short-term growing pains while we sort out any lingering issues as result of the improvements. We ask uses to report any broken links or errors during this time." [39]
  • Notice on front page: "March 29, 2009 -- We have just launched full browsing support for Crossover archives. Please send any and all feedback to our support email. Our goal is to ensure crossover writers are treated as first-class citizens. Search engine and Community support for crossovers will be ready within the week." [40]
  • On April 6, 2009, FanFiction.Net was down for several hours in the morning.[41]
  • Notice on front page: "April 17, 2009 -- Document Manager has been upgraded to support faster and larger user uploads. Plain text (.txt) file support has been improved. Please note we do not recommend submitting stories as html (.html) files." [42]
  • Notice on front page: "April 29, 2009 -- We have just launched a redesigned Private Messaging (PM) system. In addition to email delivery, messages between site members are also accessible through an "Inbox" in the login area. Please note the new PM system is threaded meaning replies/conversations to the same subject is grouped together. In order to reduce inbox clutter, we highly recommend all users to utilize the threaded feature and to always use the reply link to respond to PMs. " [43]
  • Notice on front page: "May 3, 2009 -- Readers can now toggle a "light" or a "dark" theme for the story pages. The dark theme can offer enhanced eye comfort when reading for an extended period of time. May 2, 2009 -- In addition to story font size, style, and alignment, readers now have a new customizable option: line height/spacing. Readers can increase/decrease the spacing between sentences to satisfy every personal preference to enhance reading comfort." [44]
  • Notice on front page: "May 5, 2009 -- Members now have the option to remove messages from their Private Messaging (PM) Inbox. Please note the old review reply feature has been replaced by the new messaging system." [45]
  • On June 21, 2009, FanFiction.Net experienced downtime in the morning. The period of connectivity problems lasted about an hour.
  • On June 25, 2009, FanFiction.Net experienced downtime in the afternoon and the connectivity problems persisted into the following day.
  • From around August 9 to August 11, 2009, FanFiction.Net experienced downtime.[46]
  • On August 23, 2009, FanFiction.Net corrected titles and/or relocating some existing sections:
  • On September 6th, 2009, Nature9000 and InTheDarknessIsTheLight got married. The two authors met on on March 20th, 2009. This marked the first or one of the few couples to meet through and marry.
  • On September 5, 2009, FanFiction.Net experienced some intermittent downtime.
  • On October 10, 2009, FanFiction.Net experienced some downtime.
  • On November 19, 2009, FanFiction.Net announced that they "will be rolling out a siginificant new addition to FanFiction.Net and perform some critical upgrades to our backend system over the next two weeks". It also noted: "We have modified the Justin section to include display of crossover stories. In addition, we have limited the range of filterable categories to the top 100 sorted by archive size. Please note that by default the Just In will display the last 50 stories from all available (unfiltered) categories."


  • Fanfiction.Net experienced difficulties with reporting site statistics as servers failed in the beginning of the year. Notice on the front page on January 11: "As result of a misconfigured internal upgrade, 1/4th of our members experienced broken real-time stats for part of Jan 9th, all of Jan 10th, and part of Jan 11th. We have resolved this issue and have installed safeguards to prevent recurrence."
  • On February 21, 2010, Fanfiction.Net experienced downtime.
  • In February, 2010, The Literate Union, a community on FanFiction.Net, caused a stir in the Twilight archive by reporting fanworks that abused ToS and Content Guidelines, thus implementing the removal of many popular stories. A dispute with the fandom ensued on grounds of the NC-17 ban when the most popular stories were threatened with deletion. Twilight award sites spurred to explain the situation as fans were uninformed about reasons behind removals.[47] Fans started petitions to avenge stories deleted due to ToS infringement and sent numerous protest letters to Fanfiction.Net staff. Petitions disguised as stories were posted on the site despite outside discouragement.[48] The outrage diminished as the administration continued purging the section, deleting all non-story petitions in the process.[49][50]. FictionPress LLC, the site's parent company was approached via phone on the matter to ban The LU members to prevent further deletions, but the effort brought no result.[51] The total number of fictions deleted during the cleansing remained unknown, with only a part documented by fans. Eventually, the official list of fanfics deleted reached 1000.[52]
  • On May 25, 2010, Fanfiction.Net put forward a cellular phone version of the site: "For all the cell surfers, mobile poets, and all the creative minds stuck in a terribly exciting lecture/corporate meeting, we are very happy to fill your voids with FanFiction.Net Mobile at Please help us spread the word and test the new service. Email feedback/issues to"
  • On April 21, 2010, Fanfiction.Net created the option to instantly unsubscribe from all forums. Notice on the front page: "Members now have a one-click method of unsubscribing from all previously subscribed forums and/or forum topics. The unsubscribe all link is accessible via the "subscription" links at the top of forum pages and as part of future forum alert emails."
  • On June 11, 2010, Fanfiction.Net fixed the server reliability issues to improve real-time statistics. Notice on the front page: "We have completed an upgrade that will significantly improve the reliability of our Traffic/Statistic feature. Prior to this update, traffic data can be affected when a server went offline. Now, the traffic recording system can sustain multiple server failures and stilll function as designed."
  • Despite the update, statistics came offline from midday (GMT+0) 27th till 30th of June.[53] During the time, Fanfiction.Net experienced a bandwidth shortage.
  • From noon (GMT+0) July 15, 2010 to July 21, 2010, new material became inaccessible as the domain ran in read only mode without prior warning. Stories, reviews and forum posts randomly disappeared and reappeared on FanFiction.Net. Forum topics created from July 15, 2010 showed the following error message: "Topic/thread does not exist for this forum." The search function was also defunct. Message upon running a query: "Search Feature Down. The search engine is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again in a few minutes." The disability was synchronous across the globe, and users experienced browsing difficulties at the same time. As malfunctions subsided by 4 PM (GMT+0), July 21, login was "impossible because of new upgrades being installed."
  • From September, 2010, Fanfiction.Net had a forum glitch: recent posts would show negative times like "posted -248 seconds ago" along with regular "posted 5 seconds ago".[54] Posts made two and three days earlier both shared "2 days ago".
  • On October 25, 2010, Fanfiction.Net was inaccessible for several hours. Message on the front page: "October 25th, 2010 -- At 1:30AM US PST we will disable login access for approximately 20 minutes. During this time we will perform scheduled upgrade of one our backend systems."
  • From November 4 till November 8, 2010, Fanfiction.Net experienced connection faults. Connection would reset while uploading chapters, editing text online and posting in forums, and would not appear on the site. Story and profile stats malfunctioned during the time.[55]
  • On November 22, 2010, FanFiction.Net created an auto-save function for reviews and personal messages. It was to prevent accidental loss of text, especially when the site would log a user out 72 hours after the last log in while writing a message. Message on the front page: "We have completed an auto-save feature for both review and pm posting pages that will eliminate many headaches caused by accidental closing of windows while writing up lengthy reviews/pms. We will save the review/pm you are typing and auto-resume when you return to the same review/pm page. Note the auto-save feature will only work with the latest browsers: Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari. Please help us test this feature and send feedbacks to"

Past moderators

Current moderators

Most of the fan based staff was gone by 2002. The active fandom based staff have not heard from Xing since 2004 or so. It appears that there are new staffers, most probably paid and not necessarily active in fandom. They have appeared on comments on posts on Fandom Wank about FanFiction.Net. [56][citation dead link] Currently, user support queries are replied by one staff member, James. Due to his language when replying to support inquiries, he was initially thought to be both a hoax, and affiliated with The Literate Union.[57][58][59] However, others have reported he has been dealing with FanFiction.Net's correspondence long before February 2010.[60]

Current users

As of July 3, 2010, FanFiction.Net had registered 2,430,878 user accounts.[61] 22% or 535,000 of them had participated in fandom at least once in 2010.[62] See FanFiction.Net users for a list of users with articles on Fan History. This will not be a complete list.

Archive size

Main article FanFiction.Net (archive size).

Story totals from random fandoms on competing archives including FanFiction.Net as of June 13, 2007.
Comparing references on BlogPulse to FictionAlley.Org, Sugar Quill and FanFiction.Net in the last half of 2006

As of July 1 2010, FanFiction.Net has over 6,101,707 registered user submissions.[63] However, the number given to every registered submission (story ID) was questioned in its ability to determine the real archive size since the year 2000.[64] Only 53% of registered submissions are available to the public, with the remaining 47% deleted. As of June 25th, 2010, there are 3,213,946 accessible fanworks on FanFiction.Net.[65]

FanFiction.Net is home to 5259 fandoms, dating July 15, 2010.

Quality control

Main article Quality Control.

An abuse report window.

FanFiction.Net originally had no quality controls. Later, after many user complaints, the site created minimal quality standards regarding formatting, grammar and spelling. Additionally, the site created a set of rules, namely, Community Etiquette and Content Guidelines. Before the creation of forums, they were known as Writer's Etiquette and Guidelines. The quality standards were always enforced by anonymous possible abuse reports similar to the review feature in outlook, categorized according to the affected rule. The action was colloquially known as reporting. Unlike claims of plagiarism, the formulation of which was phrased out in ToS, abuse reports did not have any hints how to write them other than doing so in English.

See also

External links




  • A newbie's guide to fanfic lingo. (2002, March 5). Toronto Star, p. D04.
  • Bhatti, S. (2001, May 20). The Fresno Bee, p. E6.
  • Casimir, J. (2002, November 1). For the love of.... The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 1, 2002, from
  • Chatterton, S. (2000, October 27). The Daily Website: The Independent (London), p. 18.
  • FanFiction.Net at AllExperts
  • Flench, C. E. (1999). Young adult authors on the Internet (Publication No. 0731-4388). Book Report. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. IR539995)
  • Li, Xing. Personal e-mail correspondence. Date: October 12, 2000.
  • Lyon, A. (2001, January 4). Literary teens flock to The Fresno Bee, p. E10.
  • Mahue, L. (2002, March 5). Writers create own sequels. Toronto Star, p. D04.
  • O'Connell, P. L. (2005, April 18). Please Don't Call It A G-Rated Dispute. The New York Times, pp. Section C, 8.
  • xcacophony:
  • Yearwood, E. (2002, February 14). Not content to simply daydream, an increasing number of young music fans are writing their favourite celebrities into unauthorized fictional stories which are posted on the net. Canadian Press Newswire. Retrieved September 27, 2002, from

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