AO3 News

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We're pleased to announce that, in the coming days, we'll be rolling out the first part of our blocking and muting features: the ability to block specific logged-in users from commenting on your works and replying to your comments.

Blocking and Muting: A Refresher

We'll be implementing two sets of features to help users curate their own experiences and add a layer of protection against harassment, without making it harder for people to create and interact with content on the Archive:

  • Blocking, which will prevent certain users from interacting with you.
  • Muting, which will exclude content by certain users from your personal Archive experience.

Because applying these concepts to all of the Archive's numerous and often interconnected features at once would be a massive undertaking, we're taking a gradual approach that will allow you to block and mute users in some areas while we continue to work on others.

Blocking Part 1: Comments

The Blocked Users page describes what blocking does and allows you to block additional users via a small form. It also lists users you have blocked and provides an option to unblock them.

With this first release, we're focusing on blocking comments from logged-in users. When you block a user, they will no longer be able to comment on your works or reply to comments you've left on news posts or other creators' works. They will also be unable to edit existing comments or replies they've left you.

The block will persist even if the blocked user changes their name.

You can block a user by pressing the "Block" button on their profile, dashboard, or comments. Users you've previously blocked can be unblocked from these locations as well.

You can also block a user by entering their name on the new Blocked Users page, accessible by following the "Blocked Users" link on your preferences page.

The Blocked Users page lists all of the users you've blocked. Other users will not be able to see who you've blocked -- the only people with access to your list of blocked users will be you and site admins with certain access levels.

If you suspect someone you've blocked is still commenting on your works or replying to your comments elsewhere on the Archive, contact the Policy & Abuse team.

Please note that if you block a user with whom you've co-created works, your blocked co-creator will still be able to comment on works you've co-created. However, they will not be able to reply directly to your comments on those works.

Muting: An Update

We're working on a similar interface for muting logged-in users, but in the meantime, you can mute users, works, series, or external works by creating a site skin and using the following CSS:

  • .user-000 { display: none !important; } to hide all of a user's works, series, and bookmarks from work and bookmark listings and search results, as well as any logged-in comments the user has left on works or news posts. Replace 000 with the ID of the user whose works you want to hide. A user's ID is a series of numbers that can be found on the user's profile in the "My user ID is" section. A user's ID does not change if the user changes their name.
  • .work-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific work from work and bookmark listings and search results. Replace 000 with the ID of the work you want to hide. The work ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the work URL. The ID comes immediately after /works/, e.g. /works/000/chapters/123.
  • .series-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific series from bookmark listings and search results, as well as users' series pages. Replace 000 with the ID of the series you want to hide. The series ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the series URL. The ID comes immediately after /series/, e.g. /series/000.
  • .external-work-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific external work from bookmark listings and search results. Replace 000 with the ID of the external work you want to hide. (Note that there may be multiple copies of a given external work, each with a different ID.) The external work ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the external work URL. The ID comes immediately after /external_work/, e.g. /external_work/000.

To hide multiple items, you can separate the selectors with a comma: .work-000, .work-149319, .user-000000 { display: none !important; }

Other Options

In addition to the upcoming blocking and muting features, there are a variety of existing ways to control your Archive experience.

Our Unofficial Browser Tools FAQ lists some third-party scripts that let you filter out unwanted content, and here are some built-in options for managing various features:

We're always working on more options like this, so be sure to check back regularly -- we announce most major changes here at AO3 News shortly before they're released. You can also follow @AO3_Status on Twitter or ao3org on Tumblr to stay up to date.

Update 20:59 UTC 10 June 2022: These changes have now been deployed.

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In the next few days, we'll be rolling out a new preference to give users more control over who can give them gift works. This change is an important step in our ongoing work to give users more options to control their experience on the Archive and limit unwanted interactions.

The preference will be called "Allow others to give me gift works outside gift exchanges and prompt memes."

When this preference is enabled, any AO3 user will be able to give you a work. That's the current behavior on the Archive, and it will be the default behavior for all existing users.

When the preference is disabled, the only users who will be able to give you works are users who have either been assigned to create a fanwork for you in a gift exchange or claimed one of your non-anonymous prompts in a prompt meme. In other words, if you absolutely do not want to receive gifts from anyone, you can disable this preference and avoid signing up for challenges.

The preference will be disabled by default for accounts created after the roll out. (We'd usually disable any new preferences by default, but allowing gifts is necessary to avoid interfering with ongoing challenges.)

If a user has the preference disabled and you attempt to give them an unrequested gift, you will receive an error message telling you the user does not allow gifts.

The preference only applies to new gifts, so you will still be able to edit any existing gifts without removing the recipient.

Your Gifts page will remain accessible regardless of whether you've enabled or disabled the preference. You will still be able to refuse existing or new gifts.

Wait, what?

  • If you're an existing AO3 user, nothing will change unless you update your preferences.
  • If you never want to receive gift works, you can uncheck "Allow others to give me gift works outside gift exchanges and prompt memes" on your preferences page and avoid signing up for any challenges.

We'll update this post to let you know when the changes have been deployed.

Update 10:10 UTC 6 February 2022: These changes have now been deployed.

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In the coming days, we'll be rolling out a code change that limits the total number of fandom, character, relationship, and additional tags that can be added to a work. This limit of 75 tags will apply to both new and existing works, but no tags will be automatically removed from existing works.

Why place a limit on tags?

Having a limit on tags will:

  • help keep work blurbs to a reasonable length, improving the experience of navigating work listings, and
  • encourage creators to tag for the most important elements of their works, improving the quality of search results.

Why 75 tags?

We looked at all the works on the Archive and determined that:

  • the average number of tags per work is 17,
  • the most common number of tags per work is 11, and
  • less than 0.5% of works have more than 75 tags.

A limit of 75 total fandom, character, relationship, and additional tags per work will provide the vast majority of creators with enough space to describe the content of their works while also keeping work blurbs to a manageable size.

Why don't ratings, categories, and warnings count toward the limit?

Ratings, categories, and warnings already have limits of their own. A work can only have one rating, and the number of categories and warnings a work can have is limited by the number of options provided on the posting form.

What should I do if I notice someone's work has more than 75 total fandom, character, relationship, and additional tags?

Nothing! Works that exceed the tag limit do not violate the Terms of Service and should not be reported to the Policy & Abuse team or the Support team.

What happens to previously posted works with more than 75 total fandom, character, relationship, and additional tags?

Nothing! The work will keep all of its tags.

However, if the work creator wants to edit the work or add a chapter, they will have to remove some of their fandom, character, relationship, and/or additional tags before they can save their changes. (An error message will tell the creator exactly how many tags must be removed.)

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In our next release, we'll be rolling out two changes to comments on the Archive. The first change will provide both work creators and site admins with the ability to freeze comment threads. The second change will provide site admins options to restrict comments on news posts, much like creators can restrict comments on their works.

Comment freezing

Creators will soon be able to freeze comment threads on their works using the "Freeze Thread" button. Freezing a thread prevents new replies from being added to a comment or to any of its replies. It also prevents comments in the thread from being edited.

A comment with replies. Each comment has a Freeze Thread button.

Frozen comments will have a "Frozen" indicator and the "Reply" button will be hidden. An "Unfreeze Thread" option will allow creators to re-enable replies.

A comment with replies. The first reply and its replies are frozen and have a Frozen indicator, which looks like a pressed button. They also have Unfreeze Thread buttons.

Although "Freeze Thread" initially prevents replies to all comments in a thread, creators can use "Unfreeze Thread" to selectively re-enable replies for some comments in a thread.

Site admins will also be able to freeze comments on news posts, and the Policy & Abuse team will be able to freeze comments anywhere on the site.

News post comment settings

In August, we gave creators more control over who can comment on their works, enabling them to choose between allowing comments from anyone, restricting comments to registered users, or turning comments off completely.

Site admins will soon have the same options when creating and editing news posts. This will allow our teams to turn off comments on outdated news posts and prevent newer ones from being overwhelmed by spam (e.g. advertisements or, more commonly, short series of random letters left by bots).

If comments on a news post are turned off, or if you're logged out and comments are restricted to registered users, the comment form will be replaced with a message indicating which setting is in use.

If you can't comment on a news post, you are always welcome to contact Support with any feedback.

We hope both of these changes will help the users and volunteers who read, write, and receive comments on the Archive!

Edit, February 12, 21:20 UTC: Comments on this post had to be disabled due to off-topic discussions, trolling, and harassment.

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In the next few days, we'll be making a small change to the way images are displayed in fanworks. To make the Archive friendlier for smaller screens, we're updating the default display of images to ensure they won't be any wider than the full width of your screen.

Before and after: A work with the AO3 logo partially cut off on the right side, and with image resized so the full image fits on screen.

This change will apply to both new and existing works, and it's being done using CSS. That means it only affects how the image is displayed on the Archive -- the image files themselves are not being modified.

If you're an artist and you'd like to make it easier for others to view your art in a larger size, we recommend providing a link to the full size image. Our FAQ describes how to make a link with HTML, or you can use the link button on our rich text editor.

Art lovers who'd like to view an image at full size, your browser can probably help! The directions will vary depending on your device and browser, but generally, you can right-click (or your device's equivalent) on an image to open a menu, which should have an option for opening the image in another tab or copying the image's web address, which you can then visit. For more detailed instructions, we recommend going to your favorite search engine and searching for "open image in another window" and the name and version of your browser, operating system, or device.

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In the next few days, we will be adding a new option that allows work creators to turn off comments. The option will be available on the forms for posting or editing individual works as well as the form for updating multiple works at once, and we've done some minor rearranging of the forms to accommodate the new option.

What turning off comments does

Turning off comments will replace the comment form at the end of your work with a notice that says, "Sorry, this work doesn't allow comments."

If your work already has comments, all existing comments will remain accessible to you and anyone who can access your work. You will still be able to delete any unwanted comments or mark guest comments as spam.

Users who have left logged-in comments on your work will also still be able to delete their comments.

How to turn off comments on individual works

In the "Privacy" section of the posting and editing forms for individual works, you will find a set of options called "Who can comment on this work." It will have three options:

  • Registered users and guests can comment
  • Only registered users can comment (this is equivalent to the old "Disable anonymous commenting" option)
  • No one can comment

By default, it is set to "Registered users and guests can comment." To prevent anyone from commenting on your work, choose "No one can comment" and save your changes.

How to turn off comments on multiple works

If you'd like to change the comment settings for more than one work at a time, you can use the Edit Multiple Works page. (Please refer to "How do I edit multiple works at the same time?" for information on accessing this page and selecting works to edit.)

Once you've chosen the works you want to edit, locate the "Settings" section of the form. There will a set of options called "Who can comment on these works," and it will have four choices:

  • Keep current comment settings
  • Registered users and guests can comment
  • Only registered users can comment (this is equivalent to the old "Disable anonymous comments" option)
  • No one can comment

By default, it is set to "Keep current comment settings." To prevent anyone from commenting on the works you are editing, choose "No one can comment" and save your changes.

Other options for controlling comments on your works

Please check out our Comments and Kudos FAQ for more information on controlling comments on your works, including:

Update 15 August 06:22 UTC: These changes are now live!

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Published:
2020-04-20 00:12:14 UTC
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Several weeks ago, we took emergency measures to help the Archive handle an influx of traffic. These measures successfully reduced our database load, but left us unable to add any hits from logged out users to works' hit counts. We'll be able to resume counting these hits in the next few days, although there will be some changes to hit count behavior -- and one frequently requested feature we've been able to add thanks to these changes.

How hit counts will work going forward

Previously, a work's hit count only increased if:

  • you were not logged in as one of the work's creators, and
  • you visited a single-chapter work, a multi-chapter work in entire work mode, or the first chapter of a multi-chapter work in chapter-by-chapter mode, and
  • your IP address did not match that of the visitor right before you.

This meant hits weren't counted if you followed a direct link to a later chapter, e.g. from a subscription email, or if you were a work's sole dedicated follower who returned to it day after day.

The revised code will increase the work's hit count if:

  • you are not logged in as one of the work's creators, and
  • you visit a single-chapter work, a multi-chapter work in entire work mode, or any chapter of a multi-chapter work in chapter-by-chapter mode, and
  • your IP address has not visited the work in the last 24 hours.

This means a work's hit count will still only increase by one regardless of whether you visit one chapter or fifty, but it will no longer matter if you start on the first chapter or the tenth, or if someone else accessed the work between your daily visits.

As always, hit counts are updated approximately every half an hour to avoid placing unnecessary strain on our servers, although caching means it may take an hour for the new total to appear for logged out users.

Privacy

We don't want to hold on to your data any longer than absolutely necessary, so IP addresses used to calculate hits will be removed from our system within 48 hours of being collected.

However, the new code is JavaScript based, so you can disable JavaScript in your browser settings or by using a browser extension if you have any privacy concerns. (As always, our Privacy Policy has more information on what data we collect and how we use it.)

Hit count preferences

The preferences allowing logged in users to control the display of hit counts have been buggy or non-functional for years now, and the problem has only gotten worse as we've increased the amount of caching we do.

Therefore, we'll be removing the following preferences when the new hit count code is deployed:

  • Don't show me any hit counts
  • Don't show me hits on my works
  • Don't show other people hits on my works

If you'd prefer to avoid seeing hit counts after these preferences are removed, you can hide them with a site skin.

If you're not already using a site skin:

  1. Log in.
  2. Go to the Public Site Skins page.
  3. Choose "Create Site Skin" to go to the Create Site Skin page.
  4. Fill in the "Title" field with a unique title, e.g. "[Your username's] skin for hiding hits."
  5. In the large "CSS" field, enter the following: .stats .hits, .statistics .hits { display: none; }
  6. Press "Submit" to save your skin.
  7. Press "Use" to apply the skin.

If you're already using a public site skin like Reversi:

  1. Follow steps 1-5 from the instructions above.
  2. Press the "Advanced" section's "Show ↓" button to reveal more options.
  3. Press "Add parent skin" to add two new fields to the form, directly over the button. One field will be filled in with the number "1" and the other field will be blank.
  4. In the blank field, enter the name of the public site skin you are currently using. The autocomplete will help you find it.
  5. Press "Submit" to save your skin.
  6. Press "Use" to apply the skin.

If you're using a site skin that isn't public, you can try adding the code from these instructions directly to the skin, but it may need some adjustments depending on the other styles in your skin.

Latest chapter links

Now that going directly to any chapter of a work will increase its hit count, we've updated work blurbs to include a link that will take you from any work listing directly to the work's most recently posted chapter.

A work blurb showing the first 2 in Chapters: 2/2 is now the latest chapter link.

On multi-chapter works, the first number in the "Chapters" information at the bottom of the blurb will now be a link to that chapter, making it that much easier to get to the latest installment of your favorite work in progress.

We expect to roll out these changes in the next few days, once we've completed testing and coordinated our volunteers' schedules. We'll give a heads up on the @AO3_Status Twitter account shortly before we begin and add an update to this post once the changes are live.

Updated 08:30 UTC April 22: The changes in this post have now been deployed.

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The Archive has seen a marked uptick in traffic during March, with weekly page views increasing from 262 million to 298 million in just two weeks. We expect this trend to continue, and in order to keep the site running, we need to take emergency measures. The quickest, most helpful change we can make is caching the works we serve to logged out users. Unfortunately, this means that starting immediately, logged out users may experience a delay in work updates, and hits from logged out users will no longer be included in works' hit counts.

Why is this happening?

The increased traffic is putting a strain on our database servers, which receive dozens of requests every time someone loads a work. (We plan to order new hardware to help with this strain, but first we need to finish some ongoing server maintenance and determine which hardware to order. Delivery and installation of servers ordinarily takes a few months, and there may be unexpected delays due to the pandemic.)

Serving cached copies of works to logged out users will drastically reduce the number of database requests we make. Caching means we don't have to ask the database for the latest information every time someone visits a certain page in a given period of time. Instead, one of our front end servers gives everyone the exact same copy of that page. After about an hour, that copy is updated.

What changes will I notice?

Starting immediately, you may notice the following changes:

  1. When a new chapter is posted, logged out users will only be able to access it by direct link until the cache updates, which will happen about once every 60 minutes. Other changes to the work (e.g., edits made by the creator or new comments or kudos that have been left) may also not be visible to logged out users until the cache is updated.
  2. Because work pages need to be identical for all logged out users, we've had to stop automatically filling in guests' names and emails on the comment form. (You can request an invitation and create an account if you'd like the form to remember you!)
  3. Logged out users will see the adult content warning on every work rated either Mature, Explicit, or Not Rated. This is temporary and will be fixed as soon as possible.
  4. New hits from logged out users will not be added to works' hit counts. (Existing hits will not be lost.) The code that increases hit counts lives on our application servers, so it will not run when the front end servers hand out cached copies of works.

(This section was updated at 00:25 UTC April 1.)

Will hit counts be fixed?

We are exploring options that will allow us to resume counting hits from logged out users, but it may take some time to find and implement a viable long term solution. We'll work as quickly as we can, but we ask for your patience -- our volunteers may need to prioritize additional performance improvements or their own wellbeing in these stressful times.

We will keep you updated on any significant progress or setbacks here on AO3 News and on our @AO3_Status Twitter feed.

Updated 11:00 UTC April 24: We have deployed new code that allowed us to resume counting hits from logged out users, along with some general changes to how hits are being measured.

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