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"It's kind of like a Wiki for fanfiction... but less well regulated."
Fanfiction.net is the biggest archive for FanFic anywhere, offering thousands upon thousands of stories, with a total length somewhere in the range of fifteen to twenty billion words. It's free. It's user-friendly. Most members have a love-hate relationship with it - while there are some authors who post there who are exceptionally talented, there are quite a few more authors who post there who... aren't.
Started in 1998 by webmaster Xing Li, it soon snowballed into something incredible. Its secret to success is its limited moderation and fully-automated system, meaning posting is very quick and easy and can be done by anyone. Pretty much the ultimate expression of Sturgeon's Law, the site has gotten an exaggerated but not entirely unfounded reputation for representing a lot of the worst excesses of fanfiction.
FF.Net has had such a strong influence on the fan community that it was almost solely responsible for making the Script Fic obsolete - it banned almost all fics written in this form. This was mostly due to quality concerns over people being extremely lazy in their writing from the format. It has also banned Real Person Fic due to the potential for libel suits, forcing the RPF communities elsewhere, such as to Live Journal.
Since 2002, it has banned MA and NC-17-rated material and opened up the site to minors (13 year olds). Live Journal became a haven where those against the vulgarity-ban fled, although AdultFanFiction.net was also born to provide a place to go. See The Other Wiki for details.
There is still a 'Mature' rating category, the tag of which still needs to be manually selected to view adult fics. For a number of years, writers insistent on posting MA and NC-17 material on FF.net despite the ban put their Lemon and Lime there instead. As enforcement was weak at best, ignorance and/or deliberate disregard of the TOS/Guidelines became almost an unspoken norm.
On June 2012, the admins ramped up their enforcement of TOS/guidelines. This included responding to reports of plagiarism, copyrighted material, non-stories, MA material incorrectly rated as M and resulted in the removal and suspension of thousands of stories/accounts which were allegedly in violation of the rules.
The action did not go down well with a small but vocal percentage of the community (estimated around 20,000 out of 2 million plus users). Key reasons for the outcry were complaints that there was no notice to change the "offending" material. (It should be noted however, that as stated the Terms of Service agreement for Fanfiction.net, "FanFiction.Net reserves the right to remove Content and User Submissions without prior notice.")
Other reasons for protest include the admins providing vague and unclear reasons for removal of stories, or sometimes no reason given at all. There were also a small number of cases of wrongful removal of stories which were compliant with the guidelines. Some authors who appealed the removal reported that these stories were reinstated with reviews intact on successful appeal.
As a fallout however, overall dissatisfaction with the service led to some of these protesting groups abandoning the site in favor of Archive of Our Own, Fic Wad, Yourfanfiction.com and other fanfic-hosting sites.
One interesting aspect of the site is that it simply is the reason that the Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls trope exists. While there has always been a decent female representation within fanfiction, this site really brought it to prominence. The vast majority of the members are, indeed, female and this has actually lead to sort of an inverse of the GIRL trope being used on the forums. Certainly, the male members using it as a social network tend to make a big deal out of their gender. The site is also popular as a social network, with a majority of the members signing up specifically for the forums. Much of the problem with the general quality comes from people that write stories without really caring due to either a sense of obligation or to get their name out there. Of course, this doesn't mean that there aren't many people who do want constructive feedback on their actual writing, but due to the very optimistic outlook of most members, it's not really the best place for it.
The site tends to attract quite a bit of Snark Bait, but like any other large community, that's just to be expected.
The nickname "Pit of Voles" comes from a Google-bombing campaign that succeeded for a while in making FanFiction.net the number 1 Google search result for that phrase. The aforementioned AdultFanFiction.net is known as the Uber-Pit. Currently, FanFiction.net is the second result for this phrase, with the urban dictionary definitions linking to FanFiction.net as both third and fourth. First? This article.
It also has a sister site, FictionPress. It hosts original fiction instead of fanfiction.
As of June 4th, 2012, the following 37 fandoms had at least 20,000 submissions on FanFiction.net .
Over 100,000 hits
- Glee: 72,857 hits
- Kingdom Hearts: 66,054 hits
- Bleach: 65,649 hits
- Supernatural: 62,167 hits
- Axis Powers Hetalia: 61,480 hits
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: 59,787 hits
- Pokémon: 50,509 hits
- The Lord of the Rings: 46,362 hits
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 44,262 hits
- Gundam Wing: 40,941 hits
- Fullmetal Alchemist: 39,991 hits
- Doctor Who: 37,736 hits
- Digimon: 37,146 hits
- Dragonball Z: 37,016 hits
- Final Fantasy VII: 36,734 hits
- Sailor Moon: 35,985 hits
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: 32,241 hits
- NCIS: 30,925 hits
- Death Note: 30,883 hits
- Teen Titans: 30,721 hits
- Wrestling: 30,129 hits
- Star Wars: 28,325 hits
- Percy Jackson and The Olympians: 26,217 hits
- CSI: 26,166 hits
- Stargate SG-1: 25,835 hits
- Sonic the Hedgehog: 25,541 hits
- Cardcaptor Sakura: 25,034 hits
- Yu Yu Hakusho: 23,914 hits
- Prince of Tennis: 20,878 hits
- The Legend of Zelda: 20,641 hits
- House: 20,503 hits
- Criminal Minds: 20,278 hits
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!: 20,121 hits
Honorable mentions: The X-Men franchise as a whole has well over 40,000 hits, but they are split between comics, movies and cartoons. Star Wars also has several smaller sections dedicated to various aspects of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which combine for a bit less than 4,000 more hits. The Stargate Verse would nearly double its count if you include both the spinoffs. The Star Trek franchise has a cumulative 28,000 or so hits, but it's spread between several shows and a film. And Final Fantasy actually breaks into the top five (~70,000 hits) if taken as a collective instead of individual games.
Stories that originated at FanFiction.net include:
- A Complete Turnabout
- A Dark Knight Over Sin City
- Calvin and Hobbes The Series
- Calvin at Camp
- Doom: Repercussions of Evil
- Dumbledores Army and The Year of Darkness
- Half Life Full Life Consequences
- Harry Potter and the Man of Unknown (first Harry Potter fic on the site, posted back in 1999)
- Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami
- Forbiden Fruit the Tempation of Edward Cullen
- My Immortal
- Naruto Veangance Revelaitons
- Azula Trilogy
- Mais Ramblings
- Chance Encounter
- The works of Sue Mary
- Little Helper, the oldest story still on the site.
- Of Darkness and Light
- Kira Is Justice
- Tales of Flame
- The Legend of Spyro a New Dawn
- Total Drama Comeback Series
- Urfbowd My Verson
- And, you know what, just go here for a more complete list; although it's not exclusive, a lot of them are from there.
- This disregards crossover fanfiction