sekritomg: (mew mew)
[personal profile] sekritomg
Inspired by this, things I still don't like about AO3 as compared to FFN:

- Lack of favorite authors/stories lists: This was far and away the best method for finding good fic and writers. I know AO3 had bookmarks but literally no one I know on AO3 uses bookmarks consistently in a way that makes it work for finding new content. Especially with the advent of Tumblr and decline in recs lists, this FFN feature would be really g.d. useful on AO3.

- Tagging systems: It's true that tagging can help you find content, but in some ways it does make it harder. Specifically, if you can tag your story literally anything, endlessly, then search features bring up all kinds of things you really don't want, because it's up to users to determine which tags are most relevant to their own story and without limitations many people go nuts. Instead, on AO3, you tend to get fics coming up in the S/K tag because S/K is mentioned offhandedly by another character in the story. Or like, Craig has one line in this fic, so the author tagged it with "Craig" and it now comes up in a search for "Craig" though Craig's not really in the story -- but like, if the author was limited to the number/kind of tags she could use, as on FFN, this would never happen, because only really central characters would have been prioritized in tagging.

- Lack of profile information readily accessible: Yes, it's annoying to have someone write, like, a 10-page novel about their fannish preferences and post a bunch of shout-outs and surveys in their profile, but in some senses that made the FFN more user-friendly, because it told you their fic was probably kind of shitty. The fact that AO3 hides this information behind a link I don't think anyone uses indicates that the site designers don't grasp the value in knowing a bit about the author before you read their work. Which, sure, maybe the work is more important than the author, but who wants to read something without context?

- Lack of communication tools: Direct messaging is a standard feature even on non-longform content sites like Tumblr and Twiter, so why the fuck can't AO3 get that? Also, I'm not saying the FFN forums were amazing or anything, but the fact that they existed was cool and I'm willing to bet some fannish communities were grown there. You might say, but wait, the fics themselves have a commenting system that replaces the need for a forum on AO3, but it doesn't, because the comment section still revolves around fics, whereas a forum is a more open-ended communication tool. In fact, I feel like the comment system on AO3 was designed to mimic the comment section on LJ, rather than the reviewing pages on FFN. And while I appreciate that you can get a dialogue going for other readers/passersby to peruse, trying to replace this LJ feature isn't necessarily going to work when the only content being hosted is fic. Part of that is that you could conceivably, on LJ, get into a discussion with a third party on a post written by someone else, but the AO3 commenting system remains a writer-reader exchange for the the most part, so blah blah blah ... mostly what I'm saying is, it's not the same, so they need another kind of communication system.

- The layout/formatting/accessibility: I still find their color scheme ugly, their font ugly and nearly unreadable, the sizes and shapes of things really confusing and not well-organized. I seem to be in a minority with this, but although FFN is also "ugly" it's ugly in a way that prioritizes reading, at least for me. Look at the same fic pulled up on my screen: AO3 v. FFN. Look at all of the garbage crowding the AO3 screenshot, and the fic itself doesn't even make it onto the monitor. Note that FFN has viewing options where you can change font, margin width, and so on, but AO3 just gives you an absurd amount of spacing, not just in your content-perusing preferences, but across the entire site. I'm aware that many people prefer reading on AO3, but this doesn't work for me and it never has.
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