7/18 Word Counts and Document Manager

17 Jul


  1. More accurate word counts for submitted stories and especially for Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. We will be re-calculating the word counts for all stories retroactively.  Please note that word count is at best an estimate since in some languages, a word is only defined while in context and cannot be easily calculated by a computer.
  2. Document shelf-life has been extended to 90 days from previous 60 days limit.

A quick look back at the inception and history of our Document Manager. When we first started, you can directly edit a story or chapter content live minus the document stage. So what happened?

After several years of monitoring and a lot of feedback we discovered this live-editing method introduced a very high rate of errors and often catastrophic human ones. As result of the findings, the Document Manager was born.

One can think of Documents as manuscripts or drafts and the Document Manager as the editing room holding all your drafts. We decided it was important to hammer the following points home to authors:

  1. Never perform live content edits to your published story.  Just like you don’t edit a published book on the shelf but rather a manuscript or draft. The same principle applies here to help separate the process of  “Editing” and “Publishing” which is often confused now-a-days due to the popularity of online blog type systems. Your stories are more important than blogs and you should treat them as such.
  2. Preview, Review and Edit before Publishing. In the old days, you can publish a file from your hard drive straight to a new live story and due to this missing self-review process, tons of human errors were made.

Document Manager vastly reduces the human error factor in the editing and publishing process and helps to introduce the idea to writers that editing is a distinct and important process separate from the publishing stage.

Tip: You can use the export to document (exp) feature to perform edits on your existing story chapter if you do not already have it in your doc manager.


Posted by on 07/17/2012 in stories


Tags: , ,

60 responses to “7/18 Word Counts and Document Manager

  1. ALT

    07/17/2012 at 11:47 pm

    Sounds great! And good points at the end; it really is a distinct, separate process and should be treated as such. Kudos!

  2. favonilla

    07/18/2012 at 12:09 am

    I actually really like Doc Manager, for the exact reasons given by Xing. Sure, it’s an extra couple of steps, both for publishing and later editing, but it gives my stories an extra layer of protection against my own carelessness.It’s not much extra work, for that level of peace of mind.

    Any writer who respects their readers would appreciate the importance of efficient editing, and understand why it needs to be a self-contained function.

    • Guest

      07/18/2012 at 12:39 am

      Well said. Some of my biggest errors come from correcting a small typo. Hit the backspace key one too many times, or highlight too much text and hit delete… that kind of thing. I always like to let any correction sit for at least a day and look at it again with fresh eyes.

  3. Anonymous

    07/18/2012 at 12:15 am

    Xing, are you planning on giving authors the option to remove or at least hide signed reviews?

    • Lisa

      07/18/2012 at 1:07 am

      Please don’t, oh my god.

    • ALT

      07/18/2012 at 3:57 am

      I doubt that would ever happen, as it is the reviews present on a story that allow readers to get a feel for a piece of writing before they go into read it. I always read some of the reviews when checking out a writer or story I haven’t read before. I don’t want to get a biased opinion because the authour removed any negative feedback.

    • alixe75

      07/18/2012 at 5:18 am

      I still think it is not a good idea. If some reviews are not but only flame or insults, it’s modération way which have to take place.

    • Jan

      07/18/2012 at 5:19 am

      Why would you want to remove or hide signed reviews, isn’t that a part of putting your stories online, to let people make comments on it, good or bad? Sometimes the ones that criticise the story can actually push you to do better, to improve yourself as a writer.

      Having said that, I can understand hiding the ones that personally attack you but as others have said, you can report them. But even this can be dealt with by the other writers.

      For example, in my fandom that I write in (it’s a small one, under 400 stories), one of our newest writers received one of these anonymous reviews, before we had the ability to reject it and another of our followers wrote a stinging reply back to that anon review, telling him/her just exactly what she thought of that reviewer in no uncertain terms and she wrote it in the review section so that everyone could see.

      We can and should support each other and regardless of how bad a person’s writing is, there is no need to be cruel. It actually says more about the person writing these types of reviews than it does about the writer.

      • Guest

        07/18/2012 at 3:38 pm

        I agree with those above me – please don’t allow writers to remove signed reviews. Some authors will remove even the slightest bit of criticism. If it’s abusive or against the TOS, report it. Otherwise, let it stand. Some of the reviews that mean the most to me are from readers who took the time to offer a real critique.

        I write for fun. Posting on FFN is a way for me to give back to fellow fans who have kept me entertained for years with their stories. Whether it’s a typo or someone pointing out a plot hole, it’s what helps me grow as a writer.

        Like ALT, I also check out reviews before I begin reading a new author. Negative comments aren’t always a bad thing – especially if the author is receptive to them and improves as a result.

        Now, I would love the option to edit a review I’ve submit, even with a limit of say 24 hours. I’ve had times where I write a review, hit send and double-check to make sure it posted…only to discover my clumsy fingers have struck again. 🙂

      • Blue-Inked Frost

        07/19/2012 at 4:51 am

        The problem with edited reviews is that reviewers could make abusive comments and quickly edit them out afterwards, but a 24-hour limit time on editing reviews might help with those little typos that always creep in!

    • ShikiKira

      07/18/2012 at 8:41 pm

      Have to agree that it’s a bad idea. Reporting flames and such might take forever, but it keeps authors from deleting reviews that are honest in their criticism. Even though it;s a bad idea, I wish the site will give us the option of deleting flames that are signed. I know I have one reviewer from when I first started out that tells me that I have to stick to writing only about canon.

      • Bienfait

        07/18/2012 at 10:55 pm

        ShikiKira, you can block that user from leaving reviews if they are giving you a hard time. There’s a “Block User” heading under Settings in your log-in section. If you block them, they can’t review except as a guest, and they can’t send you private messages either.

      • ShikiKira

        07/20/2012 at 1:08 pm

        I have block them, but the review they left is still there after two years. It actually just bothers me that someone would tell beginning author (at that time) that they can’t freely write about the fandoms unless they are in their canon world.

      • yemi hikari

        07/20/2012 at 7:12 pm

        While the review isn’t legitimate criticism it still constitutes criticism and not a flame. It crosses the line to flame territory when the person says something along the lines of “people who don’t write only about canon are sick” or “people who don’t write only about canon should die”. Yes, the review is stupid but they were in their full rights to say what they did.

      • ShikiKira

        07/20/2012 at 8:54 pm

        Yemi Hikari, fortunately they did not say that in the review, but they did say that to me after I messaged them for an explanation. I just wish I can have it deleted so that the memory of the flaming afterwards won’t come up whenever I feel like reading my all of my reviews.

    • yemi hikari

      07/20/2012 at 7:07 pm

      I’m going to have to ask why anyone would want to remove or hide reviews left on their stories. Any review that constitutes an actual flame is actually re-portable to the site admins. The site rules also clearly say “Respect the reviewers. Not all reviews will strictly praise the work. If someone rightfully criticizes a portion of the writing, take it as a compliment that the reviewer has opted to spend his/her valuable time to help improve your writing.”

      Allowing for this feature would allow certain writers who like to stick their thumbs in their ears when they receive even the smallest bit of critique to skirt the rule. Most of the people asking for this kind of change want it for the selfish reason of making their fanfic look better to the public eye. If published writers get major flack for trying to get negative critique removed from Amazon and blogs why shouldn’t the fanfic writers who do the same? If you want to be a writer in the public eye you need learn to take critique no matter how hard it is.

      And no… just because someone points out the flaws in your story or even online behaviors that doesn’t mean they are flaming you.

  4. Tune4Toons

    07/18/2012 at 12:53 am

    Xing, thank you so much for what you and your team have been doing! It’s really exciting being able to wonder what the next set of updates will be. I definitely like the additional 30 days for the Doc/DocX limit. I know I’m among the people who heavily rely on the Document Manager system, so the points were a plus.

    I do have one thought that came up. This is on Forums and Communities. Is it possible for there to be a way to give ownership of a forum or community to someone else? From time to time, there are plenty of old forums and communities that aren’t maintained since the original owners had left, and if it was possible to pass down ownership to a different user, then those forums and communities could still be maintained the way secondary moderators/staffers could not do themselves. But if you guys have a lot on your plate, I’ll just be looking forward to seeing what else gets updated.

    Again, thanks for the hard work you guys are doing!

    • Xing

      07/18/2012 at 1:02 am

      We have transferred forum ownership in the past. You need to email support. This can only be done if both parties agree.

  5. bobmin356

    07/18/2012 at 2:38 am

    This has me a little confused. Normally I make a very minor edit to my files before publishing them. Are you saying that we no longer have the ability to edit the uploaded files?

    • bobmin356

      07/18/2012 at 2:40 am

      Just to clarify my above post, the edit I make was inserting a horizontal line at the start and bottom of the file. I also sometimes end up having to adjust line spacing, especially when dealing with a large block of italicized text.

    • Xing

      07/18/2012 at 3:01 am

      Nothing has changed on the editing part. The post is about the history behind the current editing system.

      • bobmin356

        07/18/2012 at 3:39 am

        ok.. thanks. I need that editor for the occasional fix. 🙂

  6. Rediclufied

    07/18/2012 at 3:08 am

    I was just wondering, The word on Fan Fiction that you guys are Deleting stories and that sucks… But can you please have a Automatic Alert about you deleting that Fan Fiction to those who have that story on Alert and Favorites… So we know that, that particular story had been deleted and we don’t… spend days waiting for an update.

    • ALT

      07/18/2012 at 4:00 am

      Xing mentioned in the July 15th update that they do not purge any stories that are not breaking terms of use and the guidelines of the site. So any stories you are following that haven’t been updated in years are going to remain there for many years to come 😀 Any stories that are deleted would be offensive and against the rules of the website. When I follow stories, I often check on the homepage of the authour if they haven’t updated in a while to see if they left a note or memo in their profile mentioning anything.

      • yemi hikari

        07/20/2012 at 7:18 pm

        Still… an alert that the author deleted their own story would actually be nice. I went back to find a fanfic I really liked in my favorites to share with someone and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find the fanfic until I went and checked the persons account via a review I knew they left on one of my other stories. I sadly found they had deleted all their stories and abandoned their account. Also, if an author posts a new version or is going to be posting a new version they can keep an eye out for the new version.

  7. Felicity Taylor

    07/18/2012 at 3:59 am

    Thank you for extending the days on the Doc Manager, it’s a really great help. 😀

    I see that word counts are being re-calculated as of now, but today when I opened the Doc Manager to edit one of my files, it said that one of my files had only 1,000+ words when it should have been around 8,000. I was really surprised, thinking that I might have accidentally deleted/erased nearly all of its contents, but when I opened it, everything was just as they were when I last left it. Gave a little scare there, ahah.

    I understand that the word count system is merely an estimation, but that’s sort of underestimating it a bit too much. Stories are being recounted, so will this be fixed soon?

    • Xing

      07/18/2012 at 4:38 am

      Your word count will be auto-fixed in a few hours. Our hungry robots are digesting all the docs and stories as we speak but since there are millions to process, it will take a few hours perhaps a day to complete.

    • konarciq

      07/18/2012 at 4:42 am

      I uploaded a new short story this morning, that in MS Word had 832 words, and in my document manager here only 760! That’s the other way around from what it used to be, and I sure looked a little odd for a moment 😉 Now I wonder if my one and only 100,000+ story still stands at a count over 100,000…

      And I love it that the accessibility in docmanager is extended – thank you!

      • tiquatue

        07/18/2012 at 11:06 pm

        I think that both MSWord and OpenOffice inflate word count. I’m not exactly sure why, but there have been plenty of complaints about that during NaNoWriMo.

      • DC111

        07/19/2012 at 10:53 am

        That does seem the other way around! My stories’ word counts are always inflated in FFN’s manager compared to Microsoft Word. I have a 100k+ word story, and taking author notes into account, it is still apparently several thousand words longer on FFN than it is in Word.

      • yemi hikari

        07/20/2012 at 7:20 pm

        My typical case is finding that my fanfics are shorter then what the program I write in tells me.

  8. Cyth

    07/18/2012 at 4:17 am

    Yay! So happy about the extended shelf life to 90 days. Even after I post a story/chapter, I normally find errors – but it is normally after the 2 month mark (when I go back and just read through it) and I’m really happy I won’t have to reupload it anymore.

    Thanks for extending!

  9. PD31

    07/18/2012 at 7:35 am

    Just a minor point about editing a “live” file; I agree that editing should ideally be done before it’s uploaded but I often find when I re-read a chapter a day or so after uploading it that there’s a minor typo that spell-check misses and that I’ve missed (I read what I think I wrote, not what I actually did). I’d never make MAJOR changes to a published chapter but for the odd correction I don’t think it’s that big a deal to replace an existing chapter…

    • Izraill

      07/18/2012 at 8:53 pm

      PD31, you can still edit your published stories. Try it, there’s no rule against that, they’re just saying that is not correct, but you are in your right to edit as much as you want. Actually, I edited a whole chapter because I wrote it in script format, but then someine told me that wasn’t allowed, so I edited almost everything of it.

  10. GOP

    07/18/2012 at 7:56 am

    Regarding word counts, I’ve found that making formatting changes (adding a line divider, creating single line breaks, etc.) often has an effect on the number, usually increasing it. There have also been times where I’ve edited just a few words of text and the word count increases much more than the sum of any changes made. It would be nice to see the word count on and my Microsoft Word document a little more in sync if possible.

    As for the Document Manager, it’s interesting to hear the story of its development. I have to say that I like the system; anything that will help reduce human error is a good tool to have.

    • Xing

      07/18/2012 at 9:17 am

      The old system would inflate the word count quite a bit after some editing. With the new counting system we hope to reach the 10% margin where our word count would be within 10% of the word count you get within something like a word processor. Note that even the word count in word software are not entirely accurate.

  11. Izraill

    07/18/2012 at 9:05 am

    finally, something for the authors, thanks.
    Will we be able to reply reviews in the review page in the future? (the relplies don’t count as reviews, so the numbers wouldn’t be inflated)
    I would also like a translators section, you know, like the beta-reader section, that would be cool.

    I’ll be waiting for a lot of updates 🙂

    • Xing

      07/18/2012 at 9:19 am

      Yes, public non-PM based review replies would be made available soon. It would be a piece of a much larger upgrade.

      • ALT

        07/18/2012 at 11:57 am

        Oh my, I’m very excited now! Will this be available for anonymous reviews I receive as well? Because many ask great questions and make wonderful comments that I cannot respond to, as I dislike having review replies of any kind in my story (I try to keep my story notes below 100 words if I can as well, or omit them completely) and would like to be able to reply to those who provide reviews while not logged in or unable to log in.

      • Izraill

        07/18/2012 at 12:21 pm

        Great, som of us really want that update.

        ALT, I understand, my author notes have always over 500 words, and I never use them for replying to reviews, if I did there would be more notes than story.

      • Guest

        07/18/2012 at 3:23 pm

        Very cool! It looks like there are a lot of neat features coming to FFN. I’m looking forward to them. Thanks, Xing. 🙂

      • Cyth

        07/18/2012 at 6:22 pm

        If there is a public review reply, will the author of the story be able to take them down? I’ve seen a few instances where reviewers have attacked each other and I don’t think that it is fair to the author to have to have that up for everyone to see.

      • ALT

        07/18/2012 at 6:56 pm

        I would imagine that if there were a public review option made, it would be between the authour and the person who reviewed; not becoming like a forum or the comments here 🙂 From what it sounds like, it would be like review replying through the PM system… without the PM 😮 Hopefully, anyways. I’d hate to make my review section that terrifying to delve into, I have some rather intense readers with -very- different opinions 😛

      • Izraill

        07/18/2012 at 8:49 pm

        Cyth, I don’t think it works like the comments on fb or in this blog, I’ve seen the feature in other sites, and is usually limited to only one reply by the author, but I’m not sure how will the feature work in FFN/FP but I guess it will be similar to avoid filling the review page with discussions that should take place in the PM section.

      • yemi hikari

        07/20/2012 at 7:26 pm

        If it is like the reply system we see on the Harry Potter Fanfiction Archive that is popular then I am looking forward to it. One of the advantages of having that system over there is one gets to see how the writer handles critique and it is actually a deterrent to some people not to chew writers out for legitimate critique. For those who don’t, well… they’re kind of digging their own graves so to speak.

        Also, it means we can tell WHICH reviews we’ve already replied too.

  12. Actiongirl101

    07/18/2012 at 10:09 am

    The doc. Manager won’t upload the second chapter to my xover story called its a bird, no it’s a plane, no its a… Ghost? Or the first part of my story called Secret power! The stuff is saved but isn’t showing up on the website, shead some light on this please. 😦

  13. Dan Trigona

    07/18/2012 at 11:35 am

    One thing I’d like to see is being able to visit your store on the public site and it NOT inflate the actual reader count. Example: if the author is logged in and needs to see the story live, they don’t bump their reader/visitor counts up by 1.

    • ALT

      07/18/2012 at 6:57 pm

      There’s a live view you can get of your story while in the Story Manager section that doesn’t bump the counter up. It’s when you use the URL; it tracks the use of that, so the same person who might be reading refreshes, causing two hits instead of the normal one.

  14. Phantom Ou

    07/18/2012 at 2:16 pm

    Yes, thank you very much for the upgrades and the tips. We sincerely appreciate it.

  15. Selyann

    07/20/2012 at 9:53 am

    I’d like to ask a question about punctuation. When I submit my stories, all ?!’s get truncated and only the question marks remains; it would be the same with !?’s, since I’ve obviously checked. If I’m not wrong, it didn’t use to be like this a few years ago. It’s been this way for a while, and all this time I’ve been wondering why. Is there any specific reason? I understand that some people abuse punctuation and use multiple quotation marks, but ?!’s are present in at least some books that I own and sometimes it feels weird not being able to use them. Does it have to do with security? If it’s not a problem, I’d like to know the reason and also if there’s any chance that we’ll be able to use ?!’s and !?’s in the future.

  16. Bean

    07/20/2012 at 4:59 pm

    So, will there ever be a filter OUT option? The search function isn’t reliable when trying to filter out certain things, and I’d like there to be some sort of option fo filter out genres. Like Romance or Hurt/Comfort.

    • yemi hikari

      07/20/2012 at 7:30 pm

      Seconded! I try to find fanfics in the family genre between two characters and get a lot of fanfics where people are having families with each other and not having a sibling, parent or ecetera relationship.

  17. suburbanbanshee

    07/24/2012 at 5:34 pm

    A “word” is four characters. That’s how magazines pay for stories, and that’s how wordage has always been calculated for purposes of typing speed, etc.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    • Xing

      07/24/2012 at 6:21 pm

      A word is not 4 characters. That’s your pay word or more accurately, pay length in LATIN based languages.

  18. Zorra Reed

    08/15/2012 at 9:45 pm

    I’m new to twitter and this blog so I’m hoping I’m placing my suggestion in the correct place.

    I understand that many of the changes to the searches and sorting of stories has been done to accomidate moble devices and the like, however, I use my desktop 98% of the time to access and and would like to see a feature similar to the log-in’s remembered settings.

    I’d like to be able to go into my account and tell it to automaticly sort all catarogies by alfabet rather then popularity as the default, I’d like to set it to default English language stories only, I’d like it to default to the ALL selection for ratings. And I’d like it to continue doing this until I manually change it in my settings to do otherwise. I still want to keep the buttons that are already on the site letting me choose to search another way or in other languages, but when I log out and come back again I’d like to see my personal defaults. This would save a lot of extra clicking for me. I read a lot of catagories but seledum are they in the ‘popular’ crowd and there’s just a lot of extra clicking to filiter out the stuff that I don’t want to see to get to the stuff I do. I’ve been with the site since it’s second year of existance and I’ve been a subscribed member for years, I like most of the changes I see, but I’d still like to see more personal options in my settings.

    Also, the HR bar has not worked for ages when posting a story or adjusting the profiles. I can add it in the profile but it doesn’t show up and nothing will center once saved. Has this been fixed now that the ‘links’ are active again? Also, is there a way to make the links clicked in profiles open in a new window. I tried to right click and manually tell it to but that’s not an option.

    Thanks to anyone that responds to this post, constructively.

  19. Dan Trigona

    09/03/2012 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve noticed that the word count still has issues with artifically inflating word counts. I posted a chapter to “Blackfire’s Revenge” on Saturday and while the word count was accurate for the actual story, when I added via the online editor a horizontal line and about 70 words, the word count provided went up by over 200 words…Not cool!

    The reason is that while I tend to post fairly long “chapters” (10+ pages in Word), I don’t want to see artificially inflated counts by the FF counter.

  20. Pelahnar

    09/16/2012 at 5:43 pm

    So, I’ve never done this before, so I’m not sure this is where I should be commenting, but I have a question:

    Are there any plans for authors to be able to organize their stories into series?

  21. seej1

    06/07/2013 at 2:55 am

    This relates to the count for stories. I’ve been keeping a close watch on CSI and Stargate as my samples and noted that CSI seems to have days where hundreds of stories are added to the overall story count without there being much added in reality. Also they have about 21,000 pages of stories and Stargate seems to be about 3000 ahead yet is behind them in story count.

  22. Shinna

    09/15/2013 at 11:14 am

    Is there a way to view all of a story at once, as opposed to chapter-by-chapter? If not, how would go about suggesting this viewing format for the website? It would really helpful for those of us who have connection issues in between chapters and for people who like to print out stories to read.

  23. Shinna

    09/15/2013 at 11:17 am

    Is there a way to view all of a story at once, as opposed to chapter-by-chapter? If not, how would I go about suggesting this viewing format for the website? It would be really helpful for those of us who have connection issues in between chapters and for people who like to print out stories to read.


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