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You can call me Hal.

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Fanfic websites
I've been going cross-eyed this weekend working on my fanfic site. I'm switching from MT to WordPress (♥) and I've pretty much got all the fun stuff, ie WP config & hacks, done. Now I'm up for some tedious data entry before moving on to styling the thing. (If you go there, you'll just see the old site for now.)

I'm curious to know: What elements do you like in a fanfic site? I realize we're all pretty much used to reading on LJ these days, but think back to the days of yore. Or tell me what you did on your own site that you liked.

Right now, fandoms are categories and pairings are tags. I was able to wrap my head around the new taxonomy system enough to customize the tag display, so I can show only the pairings within a particular fandom. I've got the Recent Stories section and, of course, the Yearly Archives. Story summaries show fandom, pairing, rating, and wordcount. And I think I've even got the damn threaded comments working.

What makes a fic site useful and readable for you?

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After spending two solid days fixing links on PolyRecs, my instinct is to say "Oh, god, please don't change the file names."

Anyway, I don't generally have a preference for how a site is organized as long as it's a sensible and useful organization scheme. Sorting stories by word count or year? Not helpful, especially if I'm looking for a story by a specific title.

As long as I can browse by fandom and title, I'm pretty much happy.

301 redirect will take care of the links. :) Though that will be the most tedious part of all.

I really like to have a word-count ballpark before I click through, and I like having a feedback form on the page (rather than something connected to an email address).

I had to turn off the comment form on my current site due to insane spam but I'm hoping it will be better this time around; I've got three differnt spam-fighters installed.

*wry* Apropos of the filenames, I wound up leaving mine in default ?p=xx form, because I know I have a tendency to change the names of things. This, while not as pretty, leaves me with a stable link.

I have found that people seem to like my quick-comment script-let, which is basically a ticky box.

Personally I quite like being able to see connected stories all in one arc index. I also like a little teaser-text; a snippet from the story. That often helps me get a sense of the story's tone. Also, since the search box is already built in, it's a definite plus to keep; it helps when you remember maybe a word or two of a title.

I like your ticky box! Is that a plug-in?

Are you using OpenID for the LJ usericon thing? Or something different? I thought about OpenID but it sounded like it might be pretty slow.

Not having to endure white text on black background. Especially tiny white text. Thankfully Firefox comes to the rescue with it's No Style function. But before that, I was clicking back very quickly.

Good luck.

Yeah, that's pretty painful. Black on white with big text for me.

Some indication of size is good (wordcount, file size, something). A good enough summary to figure it if it's the story I vaguely remember or to lure me into something new. I like having a choice to look at warnings (there are range of warnings that act as good lures for me on stories I'd otherwise pass up). Beyond that I'm not terribly picky for personal sites.

I'm terrible about writing summaries; they're always one line like "Dean is sleeping". But I have the wordcount automated, so that's something. :)

Black text on a white background is very important, and something readable on the index pages really helps, too. I don't care about pairings so much, but each fandom in its own section and an idea of story length are two useful things. I also like to see a series have its own page (or section) where I can click on each chapter rather than have to click through ten chapters to get to Chapter 11.

Good thought about the series. I don't think I've got anything about 5 or 6 sections, but I'll make sure they're easily navigable.

The things I like when using fiction archives are the following pieces of information on the index page (i.e., with the titles):

fandom and pairing info (with allowances made for surprise no-tell-ums)
word count or file size
summary or other categorization (genre, etc) I actually prefer summaries over basic warnings. I don't tend to get traumatised over things happening like character death or bursting into song, but I do chose stories to read based on my mood (if I want humour or romance or angst).

That's what I use when deciding what to read. Everything else I don't so much care about, and word count or file size is optional because as soon as I click the story length I can see via my right-hand scroll bar how long the page is and decide if I have time to read it at the moment. But it is useful if the author or archivist chooses to include it.

I like being able to return to the home page from any interior page. I like being able to see how old or recent a story is, especially with authors whose work I read over years and fandoms.

I also like to have a section called 'stories Zort will love' which are expressly written for me.

You are a niche consumer! *g* Good suggestions, thank you. I'm pretty terrible with summaries and genre, but everything else I make an effort on.

can you give me a shot at how long it took you to switch your site over? And what level of technical ability one would need to achieve that?

Because I seriously have to do something about mine. Writing 80 fics a year = a website that needs to use search tags like yours does. And I'm wondering if this is something that's even feasible for me to do, or if I should just talk to somebody who knows what they're talking about (ie you) about paying them things.

Either way, I'm hoping to achieve some sort of positive change this summer, when i have a bunch of time free after school ends.

I'd be happy to help you out with getting it set up. Time-wise, I did spend all yesterday tweaking the WP setup but that's because I tweak stuff and hack it and am very anal about having having all kinds of weird stuff exactly so. Normal person setup would probably take a couple of hours. Then, the tedious data-entry, which would be all you. :) Design-wise, it could look like your existing site or you could get someone to do a fabulous design to integrate into WP. It's pretty much like doing a new LJ layout.

I can't wait to get this finished! It's so much more whizzy now! Only very ugly b/c I haven't figured out what I want it to look like yet. And I've only got 50 stories entered so far. It's times like these I wish I wrote less.

I've browsed through tons of fanfic sites and I'm usually okay with anything and everything. ^_^ Fandoms/pairings as well as word count and rating/warnings are a plus. ^o^b

What usually bothered me was color scheme (black background and red or white text or something like that). It kills my eyes.

I'm with you on the colour scheme. Why do people do that?

I like flexibility and search options. The more different ways I can look for fic that suits my whim, the better.

Readable is pretty basic -- bare-bones formatting, especially for the actual story files.

I like the bare-bones look too. Easier to read, def.

Things I like in a fanfic site:

1. The ability to browse by fandom and/or pairing or at least fic grouped by fandom & pairing
2. Story summaries or text snippets so that I have some idea if the fic is something I might like
3. Connected stories (sequels, a story arc, fic in a particular 'verse) listed together
4. A readable color scheme/style
5. Basic story warnings
6. Some indication of fic length and if it's a chaptered fic an indication if it's completed or a WIP
7. If the feedback option is something only connected to an email address I'll probably never use it.
8. Browsing by title is also nice when I'm looking for something specific.

All very sensible! Thank you. :)

What I like:

1. Dark text on a light background. Preferably black-on-white with a minimum of pictures and furbelows.

2. Fics not presented in frames. Frames make it difficult to save the piece to my HD (see below).

3. Page titles for every piece of fiction that reflects the title of the piece (and author, if possible). If every page on the site is labelled "Way Cool Fanfic Archive," I'm gonna curse you from here to eternity every time I hit SAVE and have to title the page myself.

4. Entire piece of fiction presented on one page, not in chapters on separate pages. If I have to make a folder to save the eighteen chapters of the fic and click "Next" and "Save" eighteen times each (not to mention if I have to title the pages!), I'm gonna curse you again.

Ooh, I'd thought about people printing but not saving. I wonder if I can figure out a way to provide a "save" link that would send the story and relevant info but without the nav and other cruft.

I don't want to be cursed by you. That would be scary.

One with a search engine where you don't need to fill in all the fields. The other day I was on a different fandom site where you couldn't search for "fluff, all ratings", you also had to have the pairing, title, author - totally useless.

That's just moronic. Wow.

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I would say you're right on the background, I get put off so many fics with over-formatted text. Either too small, or a bad colour scheme - it needs to be clear and readable, especially if it's a long fic.

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