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Last year, Tag Wrangling adopted a stronger set of guidelines about tags with unclear meanings on the Archive of Our Own. In order to provide more accurate filtering/subscriptions for users and to decrease the server strain caused by unnecessary metatags, we now canonize tags in the most clear and unambiguous way possible. As we update tags to meet this guideline, we sometimes discover old canonicals that were created when the tag length limit was still 42 characters. We are adjusting or removing those now.

To make relationship tags unambiguous, we encourage anyone who previously tagged with one of the following ambiguous tags to consider putting the specific relationship intended instead:

  • OT3 - Relationship
  • OT4 - Relationship
  • OT5 - Relationship
  • OT6 - Relationship
  • OT7 - Relationship
  • Threesome - Relationship
  • Canon Relationship(s)
  • Ambiguous or Implied Relationship(s)
  • One-sided - Relationship
  • Marriage - Relationship
  • Established Relationship(s)
  • Friendship - Relationship
  • Team - Relationship
  • Various Relationships
  • Family Relationships

All of these tags are no longer canonical in the Relationships field, but they are still available in the Additional Tags/Freeforms field. In the Relationships field, you can use the '&' symbol between the characters' names to tag for Gen relationships, such as family, friendship, or teammates. The '&' symbol indicates that a relationship is platonic; the '/' symbol indicates that a relationship is sexual and/or romantic.

We understand that this removal primarily affects older works from when the 42 character limit was in place and before platonic relationships could be indicated with the '&' symbol. If you're part of an older fandom that used any of these tags, please spread the word that tagging options have increased and encourage your fellow fans to be more specific about which relationship they mean. We will also be reaching out to specific fandoms regarding some of these tags.

Thanks for your help and understanding as we strengthen AO3's tagging system!