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Request for comments

Okay, the parentals want me to be doing something, so I decided I'd do the fanfic site thing I've always thought about. (Basically, a big multiple-fandom archive, a tad like Fanfiction.net but much less assholeish and friendlier to users.) So I have a question for anybody who reads fanfic online:

What annoys you about fanfic sites, and how do you suggest it be fixed?

This has a lot of smaller questions mixed in:
  1. How much metadata should be attached to each story? What, exactly, should be included? How should it be searched?
  2. Should the site try to help you find good stories? How should it do that?
  3. Should it hide stories you've already read? If it's keeping track of this information, what other useful purposes could it be put to?
  4. What sort of registration system is needed?
  5. What kind of formatting should be accepted for story uploads? Plain text only? Markdown? BBCode? Some other simple markup? Full HTML? Word processor formats (hopefully not)?
Right now I'm looking for ideas on what it should do, not technical advice—I'm not at the implementation stage yet.

Post your thoughts, then pass this on to anybody you can think of who's involved in any fandom. The more opinions the better.

EDIT: That list is a bunch of specific things I'm wondering about, but what I really want are general ideas about almost anything related to the question. Please feel free to comment on other issues.


( Read 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
It's been awhile since I've gone to a fanfiction site, but here ya go:

1. I have the cwdb and LJ's tag functions in mind for this. If a piece is a lemon crossover with a threesome pairing (FFM or whatever) - TAG IT. Not only could one possibly search via these tags, but it'll also mark stories out so you have some idea of what you're getting yourself into.

2. Hrm. Going along with the tags, possibly there could be a function that tries to find stories with similar tag combinations as the stories you've read. But apart from that, as I'm not sure how that would implement out... it'd be interesting if the site could say "If you like this author, this author has these stories on their own list if you want to read those..."

3. No. But see above for possibilities using past histories.

4. Hrm... what sort of registration systems? Which ones were you considering? I'd have two categories, personally; if you're using the site just to read stuff, or if you're an author. (Though if there are lemons and such on the site - hrm, I dunno. But it's a start, at least.)

5. BBCode or plaintext if possible. BBCode's not that difficult of a markup to learn (if you use any forums at all, you've used it, pretty much). Full HTML is something I'd use, but....

....speaking of fanstuffs, I should get to writing. ^^;
Apr. 8th, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)
  1. I have the del.icio.us tagging scheme in mind, rather than the fixed-list scheme used for the cwdb. Please, for the sake of all that is good, use some kind of stemming approach for relating similar-but-maybe-misspelled tags
  2. Searching for similarness is hard, and rewarding.
  3. No. Tagging the 'viewed' stories using a:visited would be good. Tagging 'favourite' stories is also good, kinda looking like social-bookmarking at that point.
  4. OpenID
  5. Some standard for markup which can group stories into sections is important. Some way of storing the "current reading position" would be important.
Apr. 8th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
2) It would be nice if stories were graded according to some sort of readability criteria, so that those which are more easily read get higher rankings than those which are difficult to read. Things such as proper (locale specific) spelling, sensible use of whitespace, and punctuation all come quickly to mind. Relatedly, allowing users to get a readability score on their story, and feedback about how to improve their score, would be useful.

5) I would stay away from full HTML, because that gives users a lot of power which would be all too easy for them to abuse. A specialized subset of HTML could maybe be used, but if you're going to go to the trouble of defining such a thing, you may as well just use BBCode.

If I may extend the scope of 5 a bit, I think it would be nice allow the option of viewing stories as PDF, particularly for printing. I'm not certain what kind of difference that would make to the selection of a formatting system, if you even feel like doing that at all.
Apr. 8th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
Please do extend the scope. I meant the five questions to be starting points if one couldn't think of anything, not specific questions to be answered.
( Read 4 comments — Leave a comment )