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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.