Minor Updates

23 Oct


  • Email subjects of alerts have been streamlined to minimize false-positives in some inbox spam filters. We may further tweak the email formats based on user feedback.
  • Forum moderators now have the ability to edit thread topics.
  • Pairing display in admin area will no longer scramble the ordering of certain pairings.
  • Faster browsing and searching for all.

Posted by on 10/23/2013 in Uncategorized


171 responses to “Minor Updates

  1. Spyridon

    10/23/2013 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for all the hard work, Xing. I do hope that you guys also release a series linker.

    :PS: Does anyone know how to preserve the reviews of a story as i want to delete my old WIP stories that I probably won’t finish but I want to save the reviews I got on it as they were the first stories I ever wrote.

    • fems

      10/23/2013 at 12:43 pm

      Yeah, I came to the blog precisely to reiterate my previous request to be able to create a series of stories, including links to prequels/sequels in stories. Now, you have to add an author’s note to make sure people know there’s another story linked to it and they have to go to your profile to find it. It would also save room in the summaries if people wouldn’t have to add “sequel to [story]”, because there could simply be a link to the series (where you can see all stories included) underneath the title or summary itself.

      • Erica

        10/23/2013 at 2:45 pm

        I really would like this, especially because of the saving room in the summaries. For any sequels, people have to PM me to find out, even if it’s already published. Author’s notes are usually ignored. I really like fems’ idea with the additional link.

      • fems

        10/23/2013 at 3:25 pm

        Erica, that’s why I always edit in an author’s note at the end of the original story upon publishing the sequel and I have header info in which I list pre/sequel (and if there isn’t anything, I add ‘none’ to be clear) in every story. Still, it would make it a lot easier for readers to find the linked stories, especially when it’s a series with more than a handful of stories because the more stories there are, the harder it will be to get the order right. You don’t want your readers to have to sift through your profile for all the stories in the series and read them in the correct order.

        My largest series has 7 stories (and is not done) and at the moment I only write in one fandom, so it’s not too difficult for readers to find them, but it can become a challenge when there’s over a dozen stories, the author writes in several fandoms and is quite prolific. Even ctrl+f has its limitations, after all.

    • tiquatue

      10/23/2013 at 2:11 pm

      Screencap each page is my solution. That’s what I did for my first few stories (which are no longer at fanfiction.

      I also second the call for a series linking solution.

    • Birdymain

      10/23/2013 at 2:20 pm

      That would be nice. I know of one series on that’s just impossible to put the series in order because there are so many of them.

    • fems

      10/23/2013 at 2:24 pm

      Oh, forgot about the reviews question: if you have the email alerts enabled don’t you still have all your emails with the reviews? Granted, some emails might be truncated because of the review’s length, but you’d probably still have the majority of them in your inbox and you could take screencaps from the longer ones.

    • seila

      10/23/2013 at 4:23 pm

      On a related note, it would be nice to not only pull reviews for safe keeping, but also be able to view reviews in descending order from the oldest, instead of just the latest.

      • knotothedrk

        10/23/2013 at 4:51 pm

        @ selia pertaining to the use of other sites…

        That’s exactly why I also use the AO3, so that people have other options to read my work, if they’d like the opportunity…that, and AO3 has some variation in the works, since some can’t be posted onto the FFN due to the rating and intended age demographic for the written work in question…but that’s why I use more than one place…

      • fems

        10/23/2013 at 5:20 pm

        Uh, can’t you just click on ‘last page’ and scroll down until you find the very first review? That takes about as much effort as clicking on a drop-down menu to choose ‘sort in descending order’ and wait for the page to refresh…

      • seila

        10/23/2013 at 6:16 pm

        knotothedrk – Yeah, I’ve seen lots of people post that the uncensored version is posted elsewhere, or give a list of places they wish to have their work distributed or withheld from. It feels pretty pathetic going elsewhere just to print how I like things though. . .

        fems – That is exactly what I do. It’s sometimes unwieldly though with all the up-down motion and constant backtracking because the reviews themselves are indeed meant to be read from top to bottom, but it’s indeed perfectly readable. But for keepsaking purposes, I’d personally want them listed in that order. Then so long as I was thinking about that, it occurred to me that it’d be just plain simpler to have the option of sorting oldest to newest.

    • Jordanna

      10/23/2013 at 9:59 pm

      Yes please. The ability to group stories in series is one of the two biggest things I’d like to see on FFN. (Along with the ability to have stories designated as gen/het/slash/etc., and filter them based on that designation.)

      As for saving reviews, I simply keep them in text files. I’ve been doing that for years.

      Still waiting to be able to turn off anti-copying on my stories… I do wish FFN was in as much of a hurry to do that as they were to push the (then-uncompleted) pairing mode feature.

    • hpstar202

      10/24/2013 at 2:15 am

      I would print the review to a document or screen shoot as they took away copy and paste.

      • Jordanna

        10/24/2013 at 5:19 am

        As far as I can see, copy/paste still works on review pages. (At the moment, anyway. Watch them take that away now too, when reviewers start yelling that they don’t want their opinions to be read anywhere but on the site. :Þ )

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/24/2013 at 6:18 pm

        LOL @Jordanna. To me, reviews are different. I posted with the understanding they’d be read publicly and if I wanted to express an opinion I didn’t want publicized, I could PM the author directly. So one way or another, the author would see the review.

  2. Zero Slash One

    10/23/2013 at 11:15 am

    So that’s why… No complaints here.

  3. guest

    10/23/2013 at 11:17 am

    Will this cause a delay in email alerts?

  4. Arthur Hansen

    10/23/2013 at 11:57 am

    I’m still trying to decide If I’m going to just move from This new ‘anti-copying’ draconian paranoia binge they are on is pushing me to move to any general archive and suggest that all of the writers I know move too.

    • Applejack-loves-apples

      10/23/2013 at 12:45 pm

      You do know they said in a previous update that the nocopy feature would be optional from writers to turn on and off, right?

      • Arthur Hansen

        10/23/2013 at 1:32 pm

        And it should have been turned off automatically before they give the author the power to turn it on individually.

        I’ve heard cries of ‘plagiarism’ and what not, but it’s still bullshit. It’s broken downloaders (so people can read the stories offline on their tablets/e-readers, it’s broken people’s ability use to text-to-voice readers (breaking things for people that are handicapped).

        What it has ‘fixed’ is to annoy people that were going to quote something in their reviews to point out typos and ‘fixed’ people plagiarizing (supposedly) from other stories.

        Which it really wouldn’t stop any ways.

        If the people at actually listened to their users, they would flip the switch so that its turned off by default and that (when it becomes available) the author can manually go in and change it so that they can ‘block’ people from copying it (and maybe make a default setting).

        They are deciding automatically for _me_ that I don’t want people to keep backups of their own of my stories.

      • Birdymain

        10/23/2013 at 1:43 pm

        Aw, I love how you worded it. Hopefully, we’ll stop being ignored and the admins will listen to the suggestion of having highlighting turned on by default.

        There are a lot of other sites to go to.

      • seila

        10/23/2013 at 4:27 pm

        Blunt and to the point, Arthur, and I applaud every bit of it.

      • hpstar202

        10/24/2013 at 12:46 am

        I agree there making a problem were there was not one. If they would just read reports. They solve the problem more than this nocopy ever would. If there really is a big problem with stealing stories. I know it might be on fictionpress but I never noticed it on fanfiction. There is no point to blocking flagfiction. People can copy stories just as easy just but printing to document it just is not as pretty. So how is this helping all it means now is I have to convert from want I print to PDF, text, or RTF in to ebook or kindle. There just making themselves seem like jerks. There not helping anyone. If people want it they can turn it on. There saying it should be the authors choice but are they not take that choice away from the author.

    • Ballroom

      10/23/2013 at 12:58 pm

      You all say you’re gonna leave, but you never do…

      Once you give it some time, you’ll realize you overreacted. Again. Like Applejack said, authors will be able to turn it on and off. It’s hardly a “draconian paranoia binge.” Lol.

      • knotothedrk

        10/23/2013 at 2:27 pm

        The thing is we’d rather not, because we love FFN…..but, it’s hard to stay when you’re being pushed away. Some of us have lurked/read/written/reviewed, here for nearly a decade or more…it’s a shame to lose all of that history now.

        There are other sites, and other homes, so I’m not overtly concerned…but it would be a shame if I had to stop reading here…

      • seila

        10/23/2013 at 4:39 pm

        I won’t be leaving the ff net anytime soon. This site makes a heck of a lot more sense than any other fanfiction site I’ve ever seen.

        But. Here’s what no copy has been doing for me. I never used used sites before; I’d look at them and cringe at their layouts, find summaries uninteresting because the focus is on the tags, not the story, and I would promptly leave. Now, if I find something on ff net that I like and is a hundred thousand plus words, I look to see if they’ve published it anywhere else so I can copy it because I frankly don’t want to be glued to my computer for the next day or three. Sure, I can print ff net’s pages. But the online reader format really isn’t made for printing. I don’t like second guessing if a paragraph ended with the page or not, and I like reading with two columns per page since it’s easier to track my place.

        The ff net is driving me away despite the fact that I will never leave until I grow tired of fanfic.

        And my preferences are very, very minor compared with many other users here with legit needs that rely on highlighting and CSS.

    • knotothedrk

      10/23/2013 at 2:35 pm

      I also use the A03, but there are other places too…so plenty of options.

    • Erica

      10/23/2013 at 2:48 pm

      Enough people have complained about it that the default might not be ‘on,’ like what happened to the pairing system, which was supposed to default all old stories with two people into pairing mode.

  5. demarisdreams

    10/23/2013 at 12:28 pm

    @Arthur Hansen good for you! I think FFN has forgotten that they are not the only player in the ball park….

  6. Trudes193

    10/23/2013 at 12:39 pm

    So when are we going to be able to copy and paste, because this is becoming irritating, and is discriminating against disabled people, as well as people who just want to print out stories.

  7. ElDani

    10/23/2013 at 12:49 pm

    Oh man. I was using the “Category: Harry Potter” or “Category 1/2: Harry Potter” in a filter to sort it to the proper fandom(s) and to know if the story was listed as a crossover. Not only did you recently merge the two lines “Category 1” and “Category 2” to “Categories”, but now you’ve apparently removed that completely.

    I haven’t received an email notifying me of a crossover update yet, but from all indications, it will now be impossible ot determine the presence of the crossover flag.

    This is the worst thing you could’ve done! Now it looks like I’ll have to disable email alerts entirely, because the only way left to reliably categorize chapter update notices is by checking the links of hundreds of stories per http for updates manually. I don’t mind writing the code, but it’s your server that will get thousands of additional hits per day from that.

    • Chwy

      10/23/2013 at 5:53 pm

      second that
      I have the same problem with my tags and I already changed all my filters to categories instead of Category 1 … and it is now impossible to say if the story is a crossover or not with a filter because the only thing different now is “&” and that can be part of the summary as well

      only alternative I can see would be to filter if it’s e.g. “Harry Potter &” or “& Harry Potter” I want to sort my notifications not spend forever with the filters…and I want to stay with notifications not a script or the like

      also nocopy is annoying – I read many fanfics in English and sometimes I would like to translate a word (copy & paste into dictionary) since English is not my native language or look up a place or character….

  8. HorusTheAvenger

    10/23/2013 at 12:59 pm

    Xing: Just wanted to express our gratitude for your listening and implementing the forum moderator thread topic change. It may seem like a small thing, but it is a great help. Many thanks for your hard work.

  9. Guest

    10/23/2013 at 1:46 pm

    Look, all you people complaining about the flagfic and no copy, are you sure that it’s simply an anti-plagiarism measure? What I mean is except for the complaints about not being able to use screen readers there has been comment upon comment of people using these things to read fanfic posted to offline. Anytime you read a story offline instead of online you are depriving of ad money – aka the money that pays for this site and Xing and his staff’s salaries to keep this site running. So I think the more you complain that you can no longer copy and paste a story unto a word doc to read offline or that you use flagfic to read stories on an e-reader the more likely that we will never get these things back.

    In short, I don’t think this decision is about plagiarism, I think it is about money.

    • Arthur Hansen

      10/23/2013 at 1:49 pm

      Because I don’t have always-on Internet everywhere I go? Some of us can’t afford nice high end smart phones to read stories on or tablets with 3G included.

      They added a feature with the promise to ‘turn it off’ when it should be turned off now and eventually the author can turn it on when they want.

      Promising to ‘fix’ a feature with the ability to turn it off is incredibly bad programming and PR.

    • Birdymain

      10/23/2013 at 2:00 pm

      I’m sorry. Money has absolutely nothing to do with this. The ads do keep the website running. But NO one is taking any money for this site. It’s not a career, it’s something fun to do or something to add to your resume. If they were taking any money for this site, it would be a copyright infringement and highly illegal.

      I doubt they even see or handle ANY money generated by the ads. It goes straight to the servers hosting the site.

    • knotothedrk

      10/23/2013 at 2:29 pm

      Well, see that’s half of my rant right there…they’ve not formally explained why they’ve done this. Right now, it’s all up to speculation.

      • zerodark9

        10/23/2013 at 4:46 pm

        I’d agree with the ad thing. But from what I understand, FF doesn’t have an issue with the downloading of the fics per se but rather the method used to pull the fics (from what I can understand its a bot of sorts). Of course I don’t know for sure just what I’ve seen on Flag (which in no way hosts the fics, it downloads them and creates a file for a person to download to their device).

      • knotothedrk

        10/23/2013 at 10:39 pm

        sadly, a lot of what FFN is doing doesn’t seem to make sense at the moment…

    • seila

      10/23/2013 at 4:46 pm

      You know, in order to copy all those pages for offline reading, you still had to visit the page to copy it first. Your point disagrees with reality, Guest.

      • Ruri

        10/23/2013 at 9:26 pm


        Also, if someone copies a fic to read it offline and then returns to the fic to leave a review (or add to favs or to the alert list), then that person would see the double of ads (and hence, help FF to get more money) that they would have seen if they had read the fic online and commented/added immediately.

    • AccioEye

      10/24/2013 at 12:42 am

      I actually agree that this move is fully related to money. The real problem comes down to the viability of the solution and the lack of foresight on better alternative solutions.

      First off, copy protection is very easily broken on browsers like Chrome and Firefox. It can be broken to the point that screen readers work. I should know as that is one way I follow fics.

      Next, apps like AdBlock will eliminate the Google ads windows thereby negating the ad revenue with or without copy protection. So between these first two points, copy protection isn’t really all that comprehensive of a solution. (Let’s face it … The first implementation of it was bypassed by removing the “nocopy” procedure call and reloading the page.)

      Next is the interference with FLAGFic. This actually did have a direct impact on revenue. All you needed was the URL for the story, which you could get from a Google search or forum, and then get all the chapters available for offline reading. Doing so had the same impact as AdBlock, but even more so as it created phantom traffic on the site that pure page hit metrics wouldn’t show. Looking at API hits from the FLAGFic servers would demonstrate the impact if it was indeed tracked to that level.

      However …

      The implementation could have been mutually beneficial. Even though the writers do not make money, the site must. Servers cost money. Developer time takes money. Hosting / bandwidth takes money. For a site to remain both popular and online, it must generate money. But a better solution could have been brought into play that kept everyone happy. Why not partner with FLAGFic and present the ebook download page with a FFnet wrapper – ad and all. Larger ads and “watch this short video from our sponsor” generate more than simple banners. Readers get their ebooks. FLAGFic continues to provide a great service. FFnet gets revenue to keep the site going.

      I have been doing system design and implementation for 20+ years now (airline, hotel, and foreign travel time limit my online access). In my career I have had spectacular successes, and spectacular failures. Anyone can win somewhat gracefully, but learning how to fail forward can be tricky. Listen to your readers. Recognize that there really can be a better way and implement it as quickly as you can. You save face in how you recover from a mistake. No one wins when that mistake is blatantly ignored and wished away.

      • konarciq

        10/24/2013 at 5:19 am

        “Anyone can win somewhat gracefully, but learning how to fail forward can be tricky. Listen to your readers. Recognize that there really can be a better way and implement it as quickly as you can. You save face in how you recover from a mistake. No one wins when that mistake is blatantly ignored and wished away.”

        Very well put. Thank you!

    • CJ (@danawhitaker)

      10/27/2013 at 9:48 pm

      That would actually make sense, when taken in context with the removed atom feeds so that I can no longer follow entire TV fandoms in my RSS feed list. I’ve been griping about that decision for months now and have never gotten any response from them as to whether they’ll be a fix. I didn’t even notice the anti-copying thing until tonight, when I was reading a story and wanted to paste a brilliant line of dialogue to a friend via IM. What a hassle.

      I agree, I think some of these moves are about money and forcing people to come to the site. Of course, they can’t force me to turn off my adblocker.

      PS: The new e-mail alerts no longer stand out at all in my mailbox, I miss [ ] around stuff because my eye would immediately be drawn to those when I came back to the computer or checked my tablet for a story update. I never once had an issue with Gmail filtering my mail to the junk pile, either.

  10. The Warty Hogg

    10/23/2013 at 1:59 pm

    Were I to post on FFN–which I do not due to a number of issues–I would be very unhappy if my stories were being copied to another site without my permission. Just for the record.

    The admins have been s l o w l y working their way through the backlog of abuse reports. Kudos to them. If they keep it, they will probably be caught up the first of the year and can react to violations more efficiently.

    • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

      10/23/2013 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you. I’ve said this elsewhere, but I posted fics to FF with the understanding people would read them there. I do not like the idea that people download them to read elsewhere, because it feels like theft. I do not personally archive people’s work. Instead, if I liked a story enough to re-read, I use the Favorites function on FF.

      That said, I do sympathize with the desire to read offline. I also care about the need to select text in order to have it spoken. But just as I disabled anonymous reviews when that feature was available, I will probably disable copying when that becomes an option. Yes, it likely will not deter thieves, but we still have locks on our doors and some of us carry weapons. Does that deter anyone? Not really. But it’s better than standing there and doing nothing.

      I always thought it was proper etiquette to get permission either to archive someone’s work on one’s own site or for personal use. Someone once asked, long ago, if they could archive an HP WIP I’d been working on to their archive of recommended fics. I was very honored and allowed it. But when I decided I no longer had the interest to finish the story, I took it offline and requested the webmistress take down the copy she was hosting. She did so, and it was fine.

      I guess I’m rather upset that no one has ever asked for permission to archive my work recently and then I hear of these downloading sites, which I didn’t know about because I don’t do it. It just feels like disrespect to me. And if the story is read offline, probably less likely I’ll get reviews, and I live for those.

      • lucka0021

        10/23/2013 at 8:49 pm

        I understand your concern as I wrote some stuff myself, however I have troubles being online on my phone as I can only use wifi connection and therefore I copied the stories as documents and saved them on my phone. I do not post them elsewhere nor I give the documents to anybody. If I like the story I review it and I, obviously, save only stories I like so I do not really see any problem with that.

      • Jordanna

        10/23/2013 at 9:48 pm

        If someone saves a copy of one of my stories on their computer, I just appreciate that they liked it enough to want to personally keep it. I *do* have a note in my headers requesting that people ask my permission to put a story on a different website. But keeping a private copy for themselves? By all means–especially if the person has the courtesy to give a review as well.

      • bienfait

        10/24/2013 at 3:36 am

        @Vicky – I’ve been in touch with the admin at flagfic, and he has advised me that writers can have their work blocked, by sending the URL of each story they want blocked to the support page on the site. (It doesn’t explain this anywhere on the site, as far as I can tell – I’ve emailed him back to point out this oversight and ask him to address it.)

        It’s a massive inconvenience as far as I can tell, because it would require the writer to let them know every time they posted a new story. I asked him to clarify whether they need to supply the separate chapter URLs for multi-chapter stories, and I’ll post the answer when I get it.

        I don’t have his permission to post his reply in detail, so I won’t, but I suggest any writers who have concerns contact the site direct and let him know –

        Perhaps if the writers let flagfic know what their concerns are, it might be possible to find a middle ground on this very divisive issue.

      • Birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 3:49 am


        That sounds like a wonderful I idea, but if really inconvenient.

        All of which is unnecessary until stops blocking flagfic or gets dialogue back about once again allowing them to operate the site for I’m liking Flagfic because they do ask permission to operate their site towards fandom sites and have taken support off when asked.

      • konarciq

        10/24/2013 at 5:25 am

        I agree with Jordanna. If anyone likes my fics enough to keep a copy on their computer or their phone, or to want to make a printed copy of it, they’re more than welcome to it.

        If they’d like to share their enjoyment of the story, they’re even welcome to post links to it. As long as they don’t publish the story itself elsewhere without my permission, it’s fine with me how people want to use it for their personal use.

      • CJ (@danawhitaker)

        10/27/2013 at 9:53 pm

        Excuse me? That’s like an author being angry because someone takes their book out of their living room and takes it with them to the bathtub, to the parking lot at school while they wait to pick up their kids, to the hair salon, etc. Get over yourself. I understand about not wanting your work archived on a public website without your consent, but you move well beyond that by wanting to control when and where people can read your stories. Even the best authors in the world don’t have that privilege. This is exactly what’s going wrong in the digital age in terms of copyright enforcement. Suddenly the people who create works think they have the right to tell the rest of us when and how we will consume it. This, to me, is especially ridiculous when you aren’t even selling your product, but posting it on a free website.

      • konarciq

        10/29/2013 at 6:24 pm

        LOL Well put!

  11. seila

    10/23/2013 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks, Xing.

  12. Higuchimon

    10/23/2013 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the updates, and I also like the idea of a way to connect series. It could be very useful in the future.

  13. Circa Mea Pectora

    10/23/2013 at 5:27 pm

    I would never use one of those downloading sites. There was a report going round a few months ago, round about when the Edward Snowden story broke, about the NSA monitoring them, and putting the IP of anyone who downloaded a story with what they thought was an anti-American bias onto a watchlist for terrorists.

    • Birdymain

      10/23/2013 at 6:03 pm

      What? O.o?? Did you just claim that they cared on us downloading fanfictions as terrorism???

      That is one of the more creative conspiracy theories I’ve heard.

      • Circa Mea Pectora

        10/23/2013 at 6:16 pm

        Yeah, you should hear the story about Ted Cruz’s ex-Stasi contacts…that one’s a beaut

        I do love a good conspiracy 😀

      • seila

        10/23/2013 at 6:19 pm

        Lol, really? Either the NSA is stooping to new lows or someone’s imagination was working overtime.

    • knotothedrk

      10/23/2013 at 6:21 pm

      oh good god…that’s a doosey….LOL…. it’s like, read anything from the NCIS section, and BAM, another terrorist theory…

  14. BiP

    10/23/2013 at 5:28 pm

    Please, the ‘anti-copying’ system is horrible.
    I don’t know english, I use an online translator (and this is terrible, I swear), I haven’t smart phones, tablet and/or e-reader with 3G included.
    I have the computer with internet in the office and I can’t read the stories at work, the lunch break isn’t long.
    With the ‘anti-copying’ I can not read the stories.

  15. bloodsong

    10/23/2013 at 7:08 pm

    where are you guys finding this information on ffnet deciding not to implement the grandfathered auto-pairing idea, and saying that highlighting/no-copying will be an author option?

    because i don’t see any of those things on the official blog postings, i’ve only seen people asking for them in the blog comments.

    • Birdymain

      10/23/2013 at 7:25 pm

      It’s in the blogs. If you didn’t see it you didn’t go far enough back.

      • bloodsong

        10/23/2013 at 9:07 pm

        i’m sorry, do you mean in the blog POSTS or in the blog COMMENTS? because between ‘pairing mode part 1’ and now, i don’t see a retraction of the plan to make all old two-character stories automatically paired.

        also, do you know a trick to finding owner/mod comments within the huge comment stacks?

        thanks, birdy.

      • Jordanna

        10/23/2013 at 9:51 pm

        If you want to find Xing’s replies to comments, try the “find on this page” feature in the toolbar of whatever browser you use, and search for his name.

      • Birdymain

        10/23/2013 at 10:25 pm

        Lol. I meant posts. And it’s a retraction because it was stated to go into effect in mode 2, which it didn’t. It’s not specifically said that I know of.

    • fems

      10/24/2013 at 2:53 am

      The copying/highlighting thing is hidden away under the blog post about languages.

  16. xraiderv1

    10/23/2013 at 7:43 pm

    new feature..when you have the mouse in the story scroll through the story.. we have a tooltip that says ‘story content’….which feels pretty patronizing, like we cant figure that out for ourselves…and it plants itself with unnerving accuracy right in the middle of a paragraph.

    • knotothedrk

      10/23/2013 at 8:03 pm


      i feel like an idiot, as if your patronizing me, so please, remove that little annoyance (read: big annoyance) please…it’s bad enough we have no copy/paste…but now I feel like you’re acting as if we don’t have any common sense.

    • Ruri

      10/23/2013 at 9:16 pm

      I’m seconding this, it’s pretty annoying and obtrusive when reading a story.

    • Birdymain

      10/24/2013 at 12:39 am

      Lol. I didn’t notice it till just now. Ya, that’s really annoying. Why is it even there anyway???

    • Endgames

      10/24/2013 at 9:51 am

      I would like to second (fourth?) the request for the removal of the “Story Content” tooltip. It was probably an unintentional addition, and it tends to get in the way of reading.


    • yemi hikari

      10/24/2013 at 4:02 pm

      Obviously I missed this one.

      • Cody

        10/24/2013 at 6:38 pm

        Is the “story content” tip gone now? I just read a fic and it did not pop up during my read.

  17. RK

    10/23/2013 at 7:50 pm

    I just noticed that all four characters are FINALLY visible on an author’s profile. This makes me so happy. Thank you, admins! 🙂

    • seila

      10/24/2013 at 6:49 pm

      They are! Awesome~

  18. lucka0021

    10/23/2013 at 7:53 pm

    Would it be possible to return the possibility to mark / copy the text? It helped greatly to see where I stopped if I needed to leave as well as copy the story for when I have no internet (airplane … ).Just wondering, but please reply.

  19. holmes4ever

    10/23/2013 at 8:02 pm

    I don’t like the streamlining of the emails. Please change it back. Why are you always changing things? Usually, it’s a feature that is not wanted.

    • guest

      10/23/2013 at 9:18 pm

      will it affect yahoo?

  20. june

    10/23/2013 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks for getting rid of the brackets in the email’s subject, however I liked seeing a new story’s fandom.

  21. Jordanna

    10/23/2013 at 10:03 pm

    I can’t say I’m really pleased with the change to the alert email headers. The way they were before made them stand out in my inbox as FFN emails. Now they look a bit more like things that are actual spam, IMO.

    • knotothedrk

      10/23/2013 at 10:46 pm

      I agree, i liked the old way better….

    • Birdymain

      10/24/2013 at 11:25 am

      I don’t really see the problem, the only real difference is that it doesn’t say New Chapter or New Story.

      I would like the new back, but it’s not a necessarily.

    • Danae

      10/24/2013 at 9:01 pm

      Dislike the new email alerts. I had filters set up for different categories and crossovers to go into different folders. None of them work anymore, and nothing I’ve tried to fix them works at all.

  22. Kensington

    10/24/2013 at 12:20 am

    The funny thing is, I don’t even read offline or save the files. I just use the highlight feature to read. Otherwise it strains the heck out of my eyes.

    I would greatly appreciate it to allow highlighting as a default. As it is, you’re simply convincing people to set up archives elsewhere.

    • Jordanna

      10/24/2013 at 12:51 am

      Would it help you at all to switch to the dark background/white text layout while reading? (Under the header on story pages, after the font options, click the little circle that’s half white and half black.)

      • birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 1:43 am

        Nope. Same problem happens, lose track.

      • yemi hikari

        10/24/2013 at 7:04 am

        Said feature only helps some readers unfortunatly.

    • hpstar202

      10/24/2013 at 12:54 am

      Your right I never used a downloader before they block my reading program. I have copy to word in order to print when I was going somewhere I did not want to take electronics like the beach to read while sitting in the sun but that’s it. I only copied them to word because I want the font bigger and so I could take of the heading and footing to save paper.

      • BiP

        10/24/2013 at 7:55 am

        You, I and many more, to save paper, I think.

  23. hpstar202

    10/24/2013 at 1:23 am

    Has anyone read fanfiction email to flagfiction. They did not say anything about why there doing this just said it is policy. What I want to know is what is going on and why. They are not answering our question and that annoying me as much as this nocopy is. OK I can understand make it an optional feature with off as default because some people want it. I don’t know what good its doing them but OK. This avoiding of the problem is not helping anyone. Why can’t they answer our question. I know people have said that people should ask before downloading but I do not see why. If there putting it on another site I completely agree with that but for downloading for personal use. I just don’t see it. The downloader is really not that different from printing to a document and no one ask to print things from the internet they just do. All the downloader is doing is print the story content to an online file than converting it into what ever you want to read the story in. It is really not going to hurt anything. They put a copyright page in and everything. Yes there are always going to be people who steal but one cannot live in fear. I know people say it not fear just precaution like locking the door but it not really effective enough to help anyone. It take all of one-two minute if that to by pass. Improving the abuse reporting would help more and more admins.

    • birdymain

      10/24/2013 at 2:01 am

      Well it answers that they were deliberately blocking flagfic and sprouted some bullshit just so people would stop asking them to contact the admin.

      Also avoiding actually answering Steve’s questions is pretty underhanded. It’s the same thing here, we’ve been asking for an explanation for the changes that have been going on. Seriously it’s not that hard to say. We don’t allow external documents to be created of fan fiction despite previous stances. Nocopy was turned on to stop plagiarism. We will have it turned on/off by default.

      I’m sorry, it’s like the admin’s are stupid. Which I know can’t be true. They run a very successful website that’s been around for over 10 years.

      • Ballroom

        10/24/2013 at 2:08 am

        Xing can control his site however he sees fit. He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. No other website is held to this standard. Lord knows I never get a response from Google or Itunes about their crazy updates! I don’t understand why people feel so entitled when it comes to ffnet. I think it’s because the average user is around 13, so they’re unfamiliar with how the world works. We’re lucky ffnet has a blog and a twitter account to keep us up-to-date. Not many websites inform their users ahead of time when there’s going to be maintenance.

      • birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 2:20 am

        Lol. That’s actually funny, I doubt the average is 13 year olds. I’m 23 by the way, being called a 13 year old is actually insulting just because we have discussions that you don’t agree with.

        What I don’t understand is people thinking that just because we ask questions and ask for answers we are automatically listed as thinking “entitled” to answers. I think I pointed this out before to another person. The blog is here for questions, ideas, complaints, etc. We wouldn’t be allowed to comment if they didn’t want it.

        If you don’t get a contact back from Google, you’re not looking in the right place. Any questions I’ve had for them have been answered before.

      • yemi hikari

        10/24/2013 at 7:17 am

        I wonder how many of the people speaking out against nocopy are not only adults but adults who have some kind of background in computer programing and/or have dealt with plagiarists and thus know full well that nocopy doesn’t work.

      • Birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 11:09 am

        A bigger number then I would have thought based on previous numbers.

      • Birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 11:10 am

        *previous posts

      • Guest

        10/24/2013 at 7:45 pm


        “Xing can control his site however he sees fit. He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. No other website is held to this standard. Lord knows I never get a response from Google or Itunes about their crazy updates!”

        You make a good point. I admit that I’ve stated my dislike for some of the changes to FFN, just as I have liked some of the new features. I’ve also given into kneejerk reactions and won’t deny it. 😉

        But you’re right. FanFiction and FictionPress are privately owned and operated sites. They provide us with a free service (and the best fanfic site on the web, imho) that runs remarkably smooth for its size and traffic. They don’t owe us anything. It’s good to remember that.

        It’s also a reminder that dissatisfied customers tend to be far more vocal than happy customers… only a tiny percentage of their user base posts on the blogs, so our opinions may not even reflect the bulk of average users.

        This seems like a good time to thank everyone behind the scenes who put up with us. My humble thanks, Xing and team!

    • Ballroom

      10/24/2013 at 2:03 am

      Authors have a right to post and remove their stories as they see fit. Flagfic takes away that right. Look at ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ She removed her fanfic so she could sell her book and now there’s multiple people posting her ‘Master of the Universe’ series everywhere for free. They think just because they credit her that it excuses their actions.

      I know that’s a risk you take whenever you post anything on the internet, but it’s refreshing to finally see some rights available to authors. So far, everything has been about catering to the readers. From your post, you’re clearing giving an opinion from a reader’s perspective. You sound really nice, but there are many readers who abuse any power given to them. It’s not about plagiarizing. If authors don’t want their stories downloaded then they shouldn’t be forced. Ultimately, ffnet is a fanfiction website. It was not meant to be printed off and read on the beach. You’re the one who sounds desperate and fearful, so don’t accuse other people about living in fear.

      • birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 2:09 am

        I’m just guessing, but I think they were more upset about the non existent answers to questions about things. I do wonder if the admins would have kept ignoring Flagfic if they didn’t have multiple people flooding their email with the question.

      • fems

        10/24/2013 at 3:18 am

        Well, to be fair, the author of FSoG never should have converted her fanfiction into supposedly ‘original’ work. She was and is using characters created by someone else and makes a profit off it. Just because she changed their names and unvamped them doesn’t mean they are suddenly hers.

        Most of the fanfic writers I know consider such a thing a big no-no, because they all respect the original show/book and its rightholder(s).

        So, basically, if she’s profiting from publishing her fanfiction then why shouldn’t people share her fanfiction for free, if only to highlight how she’s actually selling said fanfiction? If those people hadn’t published their unedited versions of her work then no one would have known or be able to prove that her ‘book’ is just glorified (and badly written) Twilight fanfiction.

        Anyway, as a fanfic writer myself, I don’t really mind it if people copy/download a version of my story for their personal use. I prefer to think of it as a compliment, as they obviously find it worth the trouble. However, I explicitly state in my disclaimer that I do not give permission to others to publish my stories on a different archive/website (and of course, that I don’t own the characters, make no profit off them etc). Now, can I be sure my readers do this? No, I can’t. Just like there are plenty of (e-)books, shows, movies and music that can be downloaded from the internet which allegedly prevents the rightsholder from making a profit.

      • birdymain

        10/24/2013 at 3:29 am

        Lol. That’s why I have a copy of her fanfiction. I’d never read either of the horribly written monstrosity except for a few snippets to see why it is so popular, but it’s the principle that matters.

        I still find it funny that she said it wasn’t fanfiction originally.

        But, I’ve seen some incredible fan fiction that wouldn’t take much to change it into an original story. I’ve also seen none of those authors straight copy the their story into original fiction. I do know of one author that changed a fanfiction to a book but the entire thing was also rewritten with the story basically being the same.

      • hpstar202

        10/24/2013 at 4:07 am

        I really do want answer and would like some feed back about what to do about my reading program. I am not desperate. If they do nothing, I will just keep doing what I am doing about the problem they have made. To be desperate would implies that I depend on an answer and I don’t. I would like one but don’t need one and I am more insulted at there attitude than afraid. Their running a site and want feed back but will not answer valid questions. that is immature.

        I feel bad about the story people are posting copies of but this nocopy and blocking flagfic would not have stop that problem there are to many way around it. I know some writes might not like people saving copies of there story but the thing is that it is going to happen either way. I know writes are also an important part of this site but not answering when ask for question does not help the writer. I also find it weird how everyone keeps acting like they do not expect things like saving and printing of a story. I would think they would expect things like that to happen to anything on the internet.

        I never said author do not have right they have every right to not want people to post there story without promotion on other site or after it is taken down. The in a violation of copyright and plagiarism as it is there story and whether they have published it or not it is their. that I agree with is wrong. the thing is though that a person has the right to saving thing from the internet just not post or sell in to someone else

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/24/2013 at 4:50 am

        See? You’re getting where I’m coming from. Sometimes, I think you’re the only one who really supports my minority position. Yes on the rights for authors.

        Thing is, I don’t know really how to explain. It’s not so much that I don’t want people to print/make an MP3/read comfortably. Those are perfectly reasonable wishes. But just because fanfic authors write out of passion and respect for the worlds and creators they take inspiration from doesn’t mean there’s no ownership of stories at all. And yeah, just because it’s possible to do something doesn’t always make it right. Like how someone can put their can of juice in the communal fridge and find it gone at lunchtime. The person who took it knew perfectly well it wasn’t theirs, but then the excuse is, “I didn’t see your name on it” or “Hey, if you didn’t want it stolen, you shouldn’t have put it in there.” Just because there is inherent risk in posting things online doesn’t mean it’s right to disregard what little intellectual property a fanfic author can claim. It’s the same way people quote e-mails or private messages without the consent of the person who wrote it. I think that’s rude, too.

        Are authors really living in fear when the reality is that there are people who do abuse their privileges? Yes, the majority of us are law-abiding, honest people who merely want to relax and enjoy ourselves with a good story, get a break from real life. But to just allow people to copy my fics is, IMO, akin to telling me to hold still and let someone kill me. Sure, struggling probably wouldn’t help in the end, but no prey animal just stands there and lets a predator eat them. Usually, they fight to the end, because once in a while, one of them gets lucky and survives. If I could be sure no one would disrespect me and my work by copying it and posting it elsewhere or heaven knows what, I’d be fine with enabling it. But the truth is that I can’t trust that people are so kind.

      • yemi hikari

        10/24/2013 at 7:13 am

        I think one of the reasons why people aren’t comprehending the situation is because the whole downloading it for e-book so you can read it on Kindle and such is a new thing and they think because it is provided for free on the net they should have the write to have free e-book copies. When it comes to actual published books e-book versions only exist if the writer and their publishers decide to have an e-book version. You don’t suddenly get an e-book version because you want it.

      • konarciq

        10/24/2013 at 4:55 pm

        Yemi: I think you’re right on one end, but not quite at the other. There is a distinct difference between published novels/e-books that are meant to make money for the author, and published fanfics for which it’s a major infringement of copyright if we’d be making money off it.

        Fanfic authors are not losing any money when their stories get copied onto an e-reader for private use. We may have some moral rights on those stories, but just copying them onto an e-reader or a Word document or printing them *for private use* is not hurting that moral right in any way, IMO.

      • bienfait

        10/24/2013 at 5:08 pm

        @Konarciq – I do feel that the writer should have the right to be told in advance, so they can have the chance to make an individual decision whether they feel comfortable with their stories being distributed via a channel they may not have previously heard of.

        I guess it comes down to the individual’s point of view, and whether the writer’s intellectual property rights should take precedence over the reader’s natural wish to have access offline to a piece of literary work they admire, which is not otherwise available.

        From a Fictionpress viewpoint, unapproved downloads of original work could be a major issue – if a writer decides to submit a work for professional publication (in a periodical or journal for example), the editor will generally require the story to be withdrawn from the website. If it’s been downloaded separately by users without the writer’s knowledge, that may be considered as violating the publishers’ right to exclusive publication. I have been in this situation, but it was on a site which didn’t allow downloads, so I didn’t have the worry of unauthorised copies of the story existing without my knowledge. I don’t know what the ramifications are if a writer wants to submit for publication a work which has been on Fictionpress, and which therefore might exist in download copies elsewhere.

        It’s a risk of publishing online, but the alternative is not publishing, which isn’t really satisfactory either.

      • konarciq

        10/24/2013 at 5:38 pm

        Bienfait: I’m totally with you when it comes to Fictionpress – with the tiny difference that IMHO, if you write something with the goal of one day getting it published professionally, you shouldn’t be putting it up on the internet at all…

        The situation with fanfiction simply is different. Why should we fanfic authors have any more rights than the authors of the shows/movies/books we’re deriving our inspiration from? We don’t ask *them* if they’re okay with us writing and publishing stories based on their ideas, do we? And *they* even have an official copyright on their work. We don’t – we merely have moral rights on it.

        So when *we* don’t ask the *real* owners if we can borrow their story premise, why should we expect or demand from our readers to tell us in advance when they merely want to copy our story for private reading offline? No matter what channel they use for it – be it copying by themselves, or through another website like flagfic (of which I wasn’t aware either until a few days ago).

        I suppose – as you say – it may simply be a different point of view. Personally I don’t care where and how people read my stories – I’m just happy when they do (and hopefully leave a review to tell me what they think about it). And that would be the same for me for Fictionpress (even if I don’t have anything there) as it is for fanfiction.

        As I said before: people who are so scared of getting their stuff plagiarized etc shouldn’t be publishing their stories on the internet. Period. 🙂

      • bienfait

        10/24/2013 at 6:58 pm

        @Konarciq –

        You raised this point: “IMHO, if you write something with the goal of one day getting it published professionally, you shouldn’t be putting it up on the internet at all… ”

        The writer may not originally have intended to get the story published. In my case (involving, I might add, a writing site that doesn’t allow access to external downloaders), I put up a story in order to get feedback on what was good about it, and what might be improved. One of the other members of that site, who is joint editor of a quarterly fiction periodical, then contacted me to ask if I’d consider submitting it to them for publication, as he felt it already met their editorial standard.

        After duly checking that they were legit, I decided to do so; and in order to comply with their conditions, I removed the story from the site.

        I agree, it’s not quite so likely a scenario on Fictionpress, but I can certainly imagine a writer, after receiving encouraging reviews, thinking, “Hmm, maybe I should do something more with this…” That’s their right as the owner of the work. Free and unacknowledged downloading from Fictionpress creates a very grey area for writers in that situation.

        As for ffnet – well, I doubt whether the author of “Fifty Shades of Grey” had any idea of publication when she first started posting it. An author – like anyone else – is entitled to reconsider her options.

      • hpstar202

        10/25/2013 at 2:19 am

        I do not read on fictionpress just on fanfiction and agree that both bienfait and konarciq make valid points about the gray areas for writers and coping. I have read a few stories on fanfiction were the author published there story. I like Pride and Prejudice and I have notice a few author that post there to get a feel of what people think of the story before publishing it as. One of the authors made a point of asking people not to post copies as she was going to publish but she seem to realize that people had copies and as long as they were not post she was ok. I thought that was logical and fair. I have not seen any copies posted and while I know people have copies. I made a copy cause I loved the story and did not want to wait for the printed copy that said I also plan on buying a copy of the book when it comes out. Asking people to not post copies on other sites seemed fare to me but your posting on the internet people coping is a change you take. as for ebook copies I agree with konarciq the author is not making money so saving it to ebook does not hurt you like it can people trying to make money. Also there are a lot of ways around this nocopy that are not even mention. I may not know them all but I know people who can find it or make it for me. I am an engineering student finding someone with that computer knowledge is not hard. All I have to do is ask my friends boyfriend and he can do it or my roommate. I just do not see why the site is make a big deal out of something that does not help. I agree that write have write and people should not post other people stuff without the permission but for private I do not see the problem.

      • konarciq

        10/29/2013 at 6:22 pm


        “The writer may not originally have intended to get the story published.”

        In my experience, editors simply don’t accept *anything* that has been previously published on the net. So if an author, after publishing a story on FictionPress or something, realizes the story is good enough for professional publishing… too bad. Better write something new.

        I can’t be the judge of Fifty Shades of Grey though – only know the name 🙂

  24. Gothic_Pheonix

    10/24/2013 at 1:57 am

    I don’t like the new email notice format because before it would state the fandom and title of the fanfic, making it easier to prioritize in my email
    Ex: [ New Story ] Glee: can you feel my heart, from letsgodon’twait

    It was easier to tell without going to the email itself. But now it’s this:
    Chapter: A New World Ch4 by Concolor44
    Or like this: Story: Intimate Strangers by blumoon
    I hope you switch back to the other format. I’ve never had problems with Gmail thinking these emails as spam and if they had it was easy to fix.

    I do like how you improved pairings and fast connections to the site. I hope you add Misty Day to the American Horror Story characters soon, since you have Zoe up.

  25. Jan

    10/24/2013 at 4:11 am

    Just wondering if anyone else is having problem with publishing a new story. when I click on “Select Category” either as a regular or crossover, it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t take me to the next screen.

    I have just emailed Support with the details.

    IE9, Vista

  26. Sparrow9612

    10/24/2013 at 10:16 am

    Can I make a small request? Can you remove the little pop-up box that says ‘story content?’ Every time I mouse over text it shows up, and is quite annoying.

  27. The Red Harlequin On The Luna

    10/24/2013 at 3:12 pm

    Yay! Its gone.~ Thank you very much. 🙂

  28. yemi hikari

    10/24/2013 at 4:00 pm

    What box?

    • Sparrow9612

      10/24/2013 at 4:15 pm

      I use Google Chrome, which does not allow highlighting of text. Instead, when the mouse clicker stops anywhere other than the very edges of the page, a little box fades in which says ‘story content.’ I don’t see the purpose of it, as anyone with a lonely brain cell would that what they are looking at is the contents of a story/fanfic.

      • Lillian

        10/24/2013 at 9:46 pm

        I wonder who asked for a story content box to be added. I don’t see how that thing would be helpful.

  29. bienfait

    10/24/2013 at 4:08 pm

    Steve at Flagfic has now added instructions for authors wanting to block their stories to the FAQ page on that site. He advises that separate chapters don’t have to be blocked individually – requesting one chapter to be blocked will ensure that all chapters of that story will be blocked.

    He’s also provided me with some further discussion points, and offers some interesting points and counter-questions; I don’t necessarily agree with his viewpoint, but I see where he’s coming from. As he has given me permission to quote the content of his email as long as the context is retained, I will throw it open for consideration. But please, guys, play nice.

    Quote begins:

    “I have added a section to the FAQ regarding blocking stories – your suggestion is a good one. The reason it hasn’t been there before is because it’s not actually a frequently asked question – over the past five years, there have only been six authors in total over that entire period who have contacted me objecting to their stories being downloaded, and many hundreds who have contacted me to thank me for the service. Many authors also pass those ebook files onto their own readers, or refer their readers to FLAG directly. With that said, recent events with ffnet may have more authors wondering about that question, so having such a section now seems like a good idea, even if it’s a rare question.

    You also mentioned that you don’t consider the process of requesting a block easy – do you have any suggestions for an alternative which would be better? I’m always open to new ideas, and if it’s something that makes sense I will likely be happy to implement it.

    My explanation was not intended to be disingenuous, and I apologise if you found it that way – I had assumed you would realise the perspective from which I was writing, and understand that by “most authors”, what I meant was “most authors I am aware of, plus applied logic” – obviously I cannot speak on behalf of every single author who has ever posted a story online; I’m only one person and cannot possibly know them all!

    For the sake of avoiding misunderstanding and to further clarify my previous statement, my reference to a “vast majority of authors” meant the vast majority of authors who are covered by one of the following points, and the statistical implication that the same or very similar proportion of likes / dislikes applies to fic-posting-authors in general.
    They have contacted me directly, via the FLAG website, or via Twitter;
    Another person has passed on feedback from the author, or about the author’s position on ebook downloads;
    They have ever mentioned the term ‘flagfic’ on Twitter (I check this most days);
    They have posted something online with the term ‘flagfic’, somewhere that Google can find it (I check this at least weekly);
    They have described their position on ebook downloads somewhere I have managed to find it.
    Logically, the subset of authors I *am* aware of is extremely likely to be proportionally representative of the everybody else who I am *not* aware of, so I feel that’s it’s reasonable to assume that most authors *overall* are happy with the service.

    You’re right that assuming the author would be OK with their work being read in this manner is something of a grey area, however I feel that the way that I’ve approached it is reasonable – a great example of a similar scenario is Google automatically indexing every website they can find, and making them available via their webcache service. It’s simply not practical to obtain the permission of everyone who ever published a website, and it’s likely that whoever published the site either wants it to be included in Google’s indexes, or is indifferent to its inclusion – so assuming implied consent is reasonable. When fiction is published online, the logical assumption is that the author wants their work to be read, and ebook files make it easier for readers of the story to do so.

    If odd copies of a story are floating around somewhere, that is the direct result of a user posting those copies somewhere – FLAG never makes ebook files publicly available, ever, via any means, without the direct and express permission of the author to do so. As I said in my previous email, FLAG makes it pretty clear that for a user to do so without the author’s permission is not on – a user turning the story into an ebook for their personal convenience is one thing, but republishing the work on another site crosses a very clear line.

    It’s also worth noting that disallowing downloads via FLAG does nothing to prevent users making copies of your work – it certainly removes a convenient avenue for doing so (and also annoys readers who make use of that facility), but users will always find a way to get the content the way they want, whether that’s via another downloader, copy / pasting the content, retyping it etc. – I’m even aware of a few creative people who have saved things as screenshots and compiled the result into a PDF file. At the end of the day, if they can read it, they can make a copy of it – if you don’t want this to happen at all, your best bet is to simply ask your readers not to. If you don’t trust your readers to comply with your request, then don’t post it on the internet – that’s a genie which unfortunately cannot be put back in the bottle; once something has been published online, the content is available to anyone with the capability to view it, and is vulnerable to whatever the viewer decides to do.

    Out of interest, would you be willing to give me some idea of why you object to your readers downloading your work as an ebook file via FLAG? If there’s a reason there that I may not have thought of, or might be unaware of, I would like to address this if I can. I operate FLAG the way I do based on my current understanding of the situation, and if there’s something I’ve missed that means I might not be getting the full picture, I’d like to rectify that.

    Hopefully this reply addresses the points you were concerned about in a way that you are satisfied with – please let me know if it does not, and I’ll do my best to rectify the situation.


    Quote ends

    • konarciq

      10/24/2013 at 4:43 pm

      Going by how I personally view the situation, I dare say I fully understand this Steve’s reasoning. And I have no trouble with his decisions and point of view either.

      In fact, in one of my fandoms we even have an e-fanfic pool running on the ffnet forum. With the idea that if reader X has taken the tedious trouble of copying an entire story for his ebook, reader Y doesn’t have to do the same job all over again, and we simply exchange those files amongst ourselves on request.
      This is being done openly on the fandom’s forum here on ffnet, where most of our authors frequently participate. So far, nobody has had a problem with it.

      Which I think would indicate the opinion in this fandom resembles this Steve’s findings.

      • bienfait

        10/24/2013 at 4:57 pm

        @Konarciq – True – but you should probably make allowance for the writers in your example being fully aware of the fact a priori – in other words, it’s not happening behind their backs without their knowledge.

        From where I stand, that makes a *big* difference.

      • konarciq

        10/24/2013 at 5:40 pm

        Yeah, maybe it does… Perhaps I should ask them?

    • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

      10/24/2013 at 5:53 pm

      I’m just going to be blunt. I believe the real issue, at least for me, is copyright, or control over distribution. I posted to FF because yes, I want my ideas to be seen and read. But there was also the implication that it’d be the only avenue in which the fics could be viewed. And maybe I would not be so upset about it if I’d been told by FF that they’d given permission to Flag and to be aware that the fics could be compiled into various other formats like ePub or PDF via this third-party site. The fact permission was granted in 2008 and nothing said about it shows a lack of transparency that is definitely alarming.

      It’s a good point Steve makes about people finding ways to get viewable content in formats they want, and as long as it’s just for themselves and not distributed to friends or other people, I’m okay with it. But it’s this idea that if I wanted other sites to have access to my fics, I’d have posted them there. Having to e-mail a list of links and then having to remember to e-mail every time I post a new story would be a pain. Can’t they block just the entire author page? Not that it really matters since FF blocked them, but in future? It just feels impolite and dishonest to not ask permission to archive or copy someone’s hard work, especially because it’s not like an author would ever be aware that a reader had a copy (or several) on various devices.

      Maybe readers don’t quite understand how attached an author can get to their writing, how creating something is an investment of self, if only because of the physical motions required to bring ideas into being. There’s a definite sense of ownership and I think a reasonable desire to control how our products are used. It seems as though readers think that because stories are free, they owe nothing to authors. But Flag and FF made the decision for me to make my fics available somewhere other than FF, and that is insulting. Just as authors have the right to request people not write fanfic for their worlds, fanfic authors have the right to expect their fics to only be available where they have posted them.

      • Guest

        10/24/2013 at 7:11 pm

        Vicky wrote:

        “I’m just going to be blunt. I believe the real issue, at least for me, is copyright, or control over distribution. I posted to FF because yes, I want my ideas to be seen and read. But there was also the implication that it’d be the only avenue in which the fics could be viewed. And maybe I would not be so upset about it if I’d been told by FF that they’d given permission to Flag and to be aware that the fics could be compiled into various other formats like ePub or PDF via this third-party site.”

        “But it’s this idea that if I wanted other sites to have access to my fics, I’d have posted them there.”

        Yes! My thoughts exactly. There is nothing in the documentation on FFN that mentions anything about permitting third party sites to download my work. One of the main reasons I post on FFN, in a addition to the clean, streamlined interface, is the ability to control my work. If I want to edit a chapter or fix a typo, I need only to log in and make the change. I can remove a story if I so decide. No waiting for the administrator to get around to it as often seen on fan sites.

        For me, it feels deceitful to have this happen behind my back. If readers could simply download a story in various formats from within the story itself, I would realize this is a feature and decide then if I want to post or not. But Flagfic and related sites have acted like parasites and attached themselves where they aren’t wanted.

      • yemi hikari

        10/24/2013 at 8:18 pm

        I actually don’t have problems with my readers converting my stories into e-book format so they can read offline. I always felt that was a kind of given as some stories can’t be read in one sitting and there are some you want to come back and read again because they are so good. If the reader is taking the time to copy and paste the story so they can read it in an e-book format they’re also likely to come back and review or at least pick up more of your stories. This is for individual use and thus constitutes fair use.

        This though is a third party site that has never had permission from the site admins to convert the stories into e-book. Sure, they have asked for permission but they have never had actual permission. They then take the stance that the writers should be sending them a list of their stories if they don’t want them converted to E-books. It should be the other way around, they should be the ones asking for permission as they are not doing it for individual use.

      • konarciq

        10/29/2013 at 6:15 pm


        Sorry for the late reaction, but for some reason I couldn’t log in during the weekend.

        Anyway, if you’re still going to read this, there are a few things I’d like to point out to you in regards to your previous post (24/10 at 5.53 pm).

        To put it just as bluntly: I think you need to face reality.

        First of all, the whole point of publishing something is *making it available to the public*. And the moment a story (or anything) is made available to the public, the author/owner loses his complete control over the way it’s used. Whether that is right or not, is hardly a question – it’s simply inherent to publishing something.

        Complete control can only be kept if the story is not – in any way – made available to the public. Just leaving it on your desk, or in the files of your computer – that’ll keep it safe.
        And putting your work up on the internet is quite the opposite: it means sharing it with practically the whole world. E.g. major loss of control for the author.

        But already printing it and sharing it with your best friends makes you lose some of the control. You can ask them to do this or not do that, and if they’re good friends, they’re likely to oblige you. But you can’t be entirely certain that they *will*. They, too, might take the story to read on a long train trip, and in the rush to get off leave it behind by accident. Which means someone else can get hold of it, who might either throw it in the trash, or read it himself and put it up on the internet, or read it to his kids, or…

        Published, professional authors don’t have that complete control either. There is no way they can dictate what we do with their books. Read them, or throw them away, or read them at the beach (with lots of sandgrains getting in between the pages), or use it as a paperweight, or tearing out a page or two. Imagine JK Rowling told us we’re only allowed to read Harry Potter in bed… She’d be laughed out of the house.

        Not to mention the fact that printing or downloading a story for personal use (e.g. to be able to read it elsewhere than on the computer screen) is far less damaging to a story than having it translated through Google. Dowloaded stories are at least the version the author wrote, but have you ever tried to read a Google translation of your work? It’s mangling a story, really! Yet that is perfectly accepted apparently. So why is printing a perfect copy of a story in its original version such a crime?

        So yeah, I think you need to face reality in the matter.
        You want complete control? Fine. But don’t publish your stuff on the internet then.
        You want to publish your stuff on the internet? Fine. But then you’ll have to accept a certain loss of control, and don’t make unreasonable demands as to where and how people read your work.

        The choice is up to you. For the nature of the internet is not likely to change any time soon.

    • Baby

      10/24/2013 at 5:55 pm

      So authors have to email him every time they want a story block from Flagfic? That doesn’t really seem fair since they didn’t agree to this to begin with. Half the authors probably don’t even know that site exists.

      It would be awesome if Flagfic and ffnet could work together and then authors would be able to enable or disable it from their user settings. But expecting an author to visit another site is ridiculous.

      But thanks for all that info. I think Flagfic is a really useful site, but I can understand why some writers wouldn’t like it. I’ve been on the forums where people offer to trade deleted stories. I believe that the authors deleted those stories for a reason and I find it sort of icky that people would trade it and even re-post it. They weren’t considering the author’s feelings, but I don’t think they meant any harm. They just want to keep a story alive. But I myself wouldn’t feel comfortable reading something I knew the author wanted to erase. I think some authors like sharing their stories, but there might be certain stories that they don’t want anyone to have permanent copies of.

      • yemi hikari

        10/24/2013 at 9:44 pm

        I believe that the authors deleted those stories for a reason and I find it sort of icky that people would trade it and even re-post it.

        Once something is posted to the net it is out there for good so if you don’t want your work being passed around you shouldn’t publish it on the net in the first place. It’s kind of like how if you don’t want to risk being plagiarized you don’t post your stuff online either and how you shouldn’t post something online if you plan on eventually publishing it for profit. A writer needs to think of those things before they publish something but unfortunately a lot of writers don’t. There is a reason this is not a black and white subject matter.

        Mind you, having the readers copy the story and save it for their personal use is different then a third party site copying in mass amounts.

      • hpstar202

        10/25/2013 at 3:10 am

        I think the working together idea is good. At this point fanfiction have blocked all the sites I know of. That said they are taking the choice away from author to allow it. Fanfiction could unblock flagfic on the terms of away for author to block there stories. They could have is so If authors don’t want third party site to download their story they can just click a button on fanfiction which will send an email request to block to flagfic. To my understanding setting up a code that generates an email saying so and so would like you to block this story from fanfiction from downloading is not hard. That would solve a lot of the problems I am hearing with a third party site.

    • Guest

      10/24/2013 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you, bienfait, for contacting Flagfic and following through. If they resume downloading stories from FFN, it looks like I will have to add contacting them to my list of things to do whenever I post a new story. I still strongly believe they should be required to get the author’s permission.

      I’ll have to make a note of all the other download sites and see if I can be removed from them. It continues to irk me the burden falls on me and not them.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/24/2013 at 11:02 pm

        Yes. I will have to contact the sites listed on Flag as alternative places to download to see about getting myself blocked. But I would like to chime in that I just contacted Flag and sent the URLs to all my fics. Steve was quite cordial and said he would ensure they were blocked. I also mentioned that I only heard of Flag because of the issue with FF. Tried to explain as I have done here why archiving without permission bugs me so. Steve also said Flag could be configured to block an entire author profile, at least for FF, should they reinstate permission to download.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/25/2013 at 12:35 am

        And now I’m annoyed. Just went to FanFictionDownloader to see about removing myself and I can’t contact them because guess what? They have a graphical captcha which is totally inaccessible to me with no audio alternative. So essentially, I don’t even have the option to contact them. I suppose someone else could contact them for me, but it doesn’t look as good as coming from the original person. And I really shouldn’t have to do this in this day and age, when the Internet has been widely available for over a decade. Never mind. Why am I even surprised? Off to check another place.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/25/2013 at 2:05 am

        Have posted to both FFDL and De-FFNet-izer’s public Google groups about getting my profile blocked. Don’t know if it’s possible, but at least, if I post publicly, there’s documentation to at least a small subset of my wishes. Still haven’t contacted the other FanFiction Downloader, but if I get desperate, I’ll ask someone to do me the favor.

      • Birdymain

        10/25/2013 at 2:19 am

        :\ If it really bothers you that much, why bother posting your stories online? There is no way to ensure that someone isn’t going to, or even hasn’t already, make a copy of your story beyond keeping it to yourself. Going through all this effort and getting so worked up over just seems so silly.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/25/2013 at 3:12 am

        Have already explained it several times. It’s a matter of lack of consideration and lack of consent. I would also point out that according to FF’s TOS, people who copy user submissions are breaking the agreement. The practice is not officially endorsed by FF, regardless of which authors okay it. Getting the content from other sites is also prohibited. Not, of course, that it matters, but it means these new features are probably permanent.

        Also, I do not take kindly to being called silly for caring a great deal about my work. It is hurtful and I daresay rather rude besides.

        Noticed these downloading sites started, according to their copyright dates, in ’08 and ’09. It is no wonder authors might not have known of them.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/25/2013 at 3:25 am

        For anyone interested, I am told Flag has a feature now to block author profiles on FF.Net. This way, we would just contact Steve to unblock if we ever changed our minds. I’m grateful, since it would save me having to remember every time I posted.

      • Birdymain

        10/25/2013 at 3:29 am

        Lol, I knew as soon as I posted it someone would be offended. I’m sorry you took it that way, it was in no way insulting towards you or anyone. If I wanted to be insulting I wouldn’t mince words and would have called you all stupid over the whole thing. Which I didn’t and won’t, I completely understand loving your written works. That’s why I find it silly. If you didn’t want your work ending up somewhere else it makes sense not to post it. It’s why I don’t post my stories on the web anymore. So I don’t understand why it would be so upsetting or surprising that copies are being made of fanfiction (fictionpress I would find to be a different situation). :/

      • tiquatue

        10/25/2013 at 12:00 pm

        @Andromakhe I’ve emailed fanfictiondownloader to remind them that they really need to add an audio component to their spam protection CAPTCHA. We’ll see what they do, but I did remind them that black letters on a dark gray background isn’t best practice in the first place.

        As far as people downloading my fic, I have a note on my profile spelling out what I do and don’t allow. I do agree with Andromakhe that it’s polite to ask an author for permission to download a story; heck, I even ask if I can put them in my showcase C2, which has puzzled a couple of writers as to why I asked. Ideally, an agreement between fanfiction/fictionpress and services like Flagfic or fanfictiondownloader could be beneficial to both sides. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve recently downloaded the stories written by a friend of mine who died a couple of years ago. If her family decides to take the stories down, then I have a copy of them to remember her by. (BTW, Xing, I still need an answer to that question: how can her family take the stories down, if they want to?)

        However, I know how easy it would be to abuse such an agreement. I’ve seen people posting plagiarized fan and original fiction for sale on amazon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing isn’t happening at eBay or Kindle or other e-book publishing sites–especially with fictionpress content. So, in that case, I can see why Xing has made the decision he has. Right now, he just has to come up with a way to accommodate those readers who have other text-to-speech programs than the one he touts.

      • konarciq

        10/29/2013 at 5:44 pm


        “I’ll have to make a note of all the other download sites and see if I can be removed from them. It continues to irk me the burden falls on me and not them.”

        You do realize that might turn into a full time job, don’t you? Not only do new sites pop up every now and then, there is also the problem of such download sites being available in all kinds of languages…

  30. yemi hikari

    10/24/2013 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you site admins for making the site uniform across the board when showing four characters. Please take care of the nocopy issue now.

  31. amy

    10/25/2013 at 12:52 am

    I prefer to have the subject line in the emails like they used to with [New Chapter] instead of just ‘Chapter’ now. Its easier to see and separate between all the other emails. These couple days I’ve actually bypassed the email alerts because it looked like every other email I get

    • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

      10/25/2013 at 2:04 pm

      Agreed. The brackets were neater. Even the e-mail content feels less organized without the “Category,” “Author,” “Link,” etc. If brackets are causing problems, maybe some other symbol that serves the same function.

  32. sugarysweet23

    10/25/2013 at 2:01 pm is NOT a downloading website. It’s a place to read stories via their website. If you want to download, you have to use a third party website like Flagfic, which the writers never agreed to. It would be different if there was a download button on ffnet like there is on AO3, but there isn’t. The stories are NOT meant to be downloaded. They never were.

    People want services that ffnet do not supply. As a result, they are abusing other people’s rights. Not everything is about plagiarism, (but I do see how this would help prevent it so I understand why we always end up back here).

    And calling authors silly *is* insulting. It’s terrible when people say “Oh, I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” and then they go straight back into the name-calling. Not surprisingly, it’s the same few people over and over. It’s giving readers a bad name. Not all readers behave that way. Most of them respect the efforts of other people. Most people know not to resort to insults when they’re issuing demands.

    Anyways, I’m glad to see more writers being vocal on this blog. We’re finally getting some fresh insight.

    • Birdymain (@Birdymain)

      10/25/2013 at 9:27 pm

      Lol. I am an author and reader so I understand both views of the side. But if you did read the second post you’d see why I said silly. It wasn’t insulting saying it’s silly. I’ll say it’s wrong expecting something different from the internet then everywhere else. Haven’t you heard, once it’s on the internet its never coming off? I said it was silly to get so upset over the whole thing. I’m sorry my opinion is different about getting upset over this.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/26/2013 at 4:09 am

        Well, the “permanent” nature of the Internet is a totally different issue from people archiving my writing without notice. If I had complete control and could have things exactly as I wanted, I’d want fics to be available like rentals. You know how you can check out a library book digitally for a set time? Say, two weeks or a month? I wouldn’t mind it if my fics were treated that way. Could be downloaded to mobile device or dedicated reader for up to a month, say, and then after that, the copy would vanish or otherwise not be viewable. Person would have to download it again if they want a different format than the Web. But it wouldn’t be limited to any set number of downloads, the way library books are. But I’m not sure such a system would really be enforceable. 😦

  33. yemihikari276

    10/25/2013 at 3:50 pm

    Why did you have to turn off the ability to comment anonymously? People don’t like having to create new accounts for things you know.

    • Birdymain (@Birdymain)

      10/25/2013 at 9:29 pm

      It’s waiting moderation all over again that’s got me. There’s also four different formats to sign on. You’re telling me you’re reading fanfiction and don’t have another account somewhere?

      • Birdymain (@Birdymain)

        10/25/2013 at 9:48 pm

        And clicking your name. Really? I have a twitter account just so that I can easily comment on sites around the web. Two clicks and I don’t usually have to type anything in to sign in.

      • Yemi Hikari

        10/26/2013 at 3:56 am

        I really don’t want a twitter account though, particularly since I already have a ton of other accounts I rarely if ever use.

      • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

        10/26/2013 at 4:15 am

        Yeah. My comments are being moderated. I feel discriminated against because it just happened today, but if it’s happening to other people, too, I guess not.

      • Birdymain (@Birdymain)

        10/26/2013 at 12:06 pm

        Criminy. Really? Come on, is this really necessary Xing? 😦 What happened to the one time approval?

        @Yemi I understand. Can’t count how many accounts I have out there.

    • knotothedrk

      10/25/2013 at 9:50 pm

      Yeah, I could see where that would get to be a problem…

      Personally, if I were Xing, I would take a breather, and carefully decide what to do next, besides implement all of these new features. If I were him, I’d put the no copy and highlight back, as well as deal with a few reports instead….I think he could use some time to freshen his mind a bit after all of these parring updates (while good, it must have taken a lot of work).

    • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

      10/26/2013 at 7:35 pm

      I know, right? I always commented with Twitter and when I changed my name on there, I had to wait for approval again, but that was understandable because I made a change to the account. But this time, I did nothing and it just suddenly came up that I was in the queue again. I’m doubly upset because I responded to Birdy’s post about offending someone with their “silly” comment and it’s not showing up. I don’t know whether to post it again or just wait. But since I can’t delete duplicates if I post again, I’ll just wait for now.

      Funny thing is those are the only comments that are still waiting for approval. The others I’ve posted showed up nearly instantaneously, even though it says they’re pending.

  34. Winterborn Bree

    10/25/2013 at 8:24 pm

    What was wrong with the email formats? I liked them how they were before. :/

    • knotothedrk

      10/25/2013 at 9:53 pm

      I agree…they were easier to read before, IMO.

    • Cody Burnett

      10/25/2013 at 9:57 pm

      @Winterborn Bree-I agree. The new e-mail seems more cluttered when I receive my alerts. I’ve also noticed that the font for the emails seem to change randomly.

  35. Cody Burnett

    10/25/2013 at 10:20 pm

    Is anyone else having a difficult time using the story filter? I try to input my search options and the drop down lists are not doing anything. I’m using the latest version of firefox.

  36. morgana07DW (@morgana07DW)

    10/25/2013 at 11:03 pm

    I used to see a pairing option when I listed characters. On my latest upload I didn’t see that even though there was supposed to be an update to the pairing choice or something? Is this no longer an option?

    • Vicky (@Andromakhe)

      10/26/2013 at 6:31 am

      It’s still an option. You just have to click to the right of a character’s name and select whether they are in a pairing and which one. Pairing A or Pairing B. Much more convenient than the previous way, where you had to add characters in a precise order.

  37. Birdymain (@Birdymain)

    10/26/2013 at 1:24 am

    I would like to request something to be added.

    A report system for reporting a user and/or user’s profile.

    And more importantly clear read rules on how a user should conduct themselves. Specifically when it comes to bullying on your site.

  38. rhyselash

    10/26/2013 at 1:46 am

    I have been a lurker/reader/author on FFN since 2001. During those years there were periods of time when I did not have reliable internet access, so I copy and pasted hundreds (possibly thousands) of stories and saved them to my computer for later reading. Removing (or making the default off, which is the same thing, really) the ability to copy and paste makes it so others in similar situations are forced to go to other sites. I will probably stick around as there are too many of my favorite stories and authors on FFN, but it will certainly deter new people from using the site.

    Also, while I understand the changes that have been made to the email system, it has completely voided all the filters I have in place to sort the alerts. Was removing key words (i,e. Crossover) really necessary to prevent story alerts from ending up as spam? Sometimes changes don’t really help or make things better.

    • Madara U

      10/29/2013 at 9:39 pm


      I have been a member and author here since 1998, and this is infuriating.

  39. Majid Hussain

    10/26/2013 at 4:33 pm

    this has annoyed people like my self who rely on assistive technologies because they no longer function because of your so called no copy protection. please, set the no copy feature to off as a default.

  40. Lon Wolfgood (@LonWolfgood)

    10/27/2013 at 3:26 pm

    Well, the unnecessary change in email subjects has messed up the labels and filters I have been carefully maintaining for years. Again.

    Please, stick to ONE STYLE of email subject. The previous ones were fine, easier to read, and less confusing.

    At least provide us with all the possible subjects, so we can change the filters AGAIN.

    I generally like all changes, but this one has baffled me and strikes me as a “meh, I’m bored, let’s change something dumb” type of thing.

  41. Rainbow-bunnii

    10/29/2013 at 12:32 pm

    I have a suggestion! I think at the top of our profiles it should say how many people follow or fave us! 🙂

    • Circa Mea Pectora

      10/31/2013 at 2:50 am

      That is a completely horrible idea! Imagine how a writer would feel if they hadn’t any followers…it would be devastating to their self-confidence. If you’re a writer, you should be damned well ashamed of yourself – just be happy if you’ve got followers, there’s no need to rub others’ noses in it if they haven’t

      As for any reader who can’t read a writer’s work without knowing if they’re popular – for heaven’s sake, what a waste of brain cells you must be. Can’t you judge a writer for yourself, without needing the approval of others?

      • Fems

        10/31/2013 at 3:50 am

        You do realize authors are already aware of how many people follow/favorite them, right? So, I don’t see how it would ‘devastate their confidence’. As a matter of fact, I’ve been expecting FFnet to add this ‘feature’ for a long time considering they felt the need to make the followers/favorites for stories public too. Speaking of which, I still think it should be clickable to give a list of members who have followed/favorited the story, much like authors can see for their own stories in their account. Otherwise, what’s the point of making the number public? We can see who reviews, so why not follows/favs?

  42. Geneveieve

    10/29/2013 at 3:03 pm

    I’m not getting any emails alerting me to any updates of stories that I’m following or emails alerting me that I have a PM on the fictionpress site. I’m running firefox if thats a factor

  43. Kaielan

    10/29/2013 at 9:32 pm

    Ever since this was put in, i haven’t received any updates of the fanfics i’ve been following even though i know that hey have been updated. I suppose this is not normal?

  44. Roscoson

    10/31/2013 at 5:06 pm

    This isn’t a good idea it has stopped all my alerts.


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