AO3 News

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In our next release, we'll be rolling out two changes to comments on the Archive. The first change will provide both work creators and site admins with the ability to freeze comment threads. The second change will provide site admins options to restrict comments on news posts, much like creators can restrict comments on their works.

Comment freezing

Creators will soon be able to freeze comment threads on their works using the "Freeze Thread" button. Freezing a thread prevents new replies from being added to a comment or to any of its replies. It also prevents comments in the thread from being edited.

A comment with replies. Each comment has a Freeze Thread button.

Frozen comments will have a "Frozen" indicator and the "Reply" button will be hidden. An "Unfreeze Thread" option will allow creators to re-enable replies.

A comment with replies. The first reply and its replies are frozen and have a Frozen indicator, which looks like a pressed button. They also have Unfreeze Thread buttons.

Although "Freeze Thread" initially prevents replies to all comments in a thread, creators can use "Unfreeze Thread" to selectively re-enable replies for some comments in a thread.

Site admins will also be able to freeze comments on news posts, and the Policy & Abuse team will be able to freeze comments anywhere on the site.

News post comment settings

In August, we gave creators more control over who can comment on their works, enabling them to choose between allowing comments from anyone, restricting comments to registered users, or turning comments off completely.

Site admins will soon have the same options when creating and editing news posts. This will allow our teams to turn off comments on outdated news posts and prevent newer ones from being overwhelmed by spam (e.g. advertisements or, more commonly, short series of random letters left by bots).

If comments on a news post are turned off, or if you're logged out and comments are restricted to registered users, the comment form will be replaced with a message indicating which setting is in use.

If you can't comment on a news post, you are always welcome to contact Support with any feedback.

We hope both of these changes will help the users and volunteers who read, write, and receive comments on the Archive!

Edit, February 12, 21:20 UTC: Comments on this post had to be disabled due to off-topic discussions, trolling, and harassment.


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In the next few days, we'll be making a small change to the way images are displayed in fanworks. To make the Archive friendlier for smaller screens, we're updating the default display of images to ensure they won't be any wider than the full width of your screen.

Before and after: A work with the AO3 logo partially cut off on the right side, and with image resized so the full image fits on screen.

This change will apply to both new and existing works, and it's being done using CSS. That means it only affects how the image is displayed on the Archive -- the image files themselves are not being modified.

If you're an artist and you'd like to make it easier for others to view your art in a larger size, we recommend providing a link to the full size image. Our FAQ describes how to make a link with HTML, or you can use the link button on our rich text editor.

Art lovers who'd like to view an image at full size, your browser can probably help! The directions will vary depending on your device and browser, but generally, you can right-click (or your device's equivalent) on an image to open a menu, which should have an option for opening the image in another tab or copying the image's web address, which you can then visit. For more detailed instructions, we recommend going to your favorite search engine and searching for "open image in another window" and the name and version of your browser, operating system, or device.


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In the next few days, we will be adding a new option that allows work creators to turn off comments. The option will be available on the forms for posting or editing individual works as well as the form for updating multiple works at once, and we've done some minor rearranging of the forms to accommodate the new option.

What turning off comments does

Turning off comments will replace the comment form at the end of your work with a notice that says, "Sorry, this work doesn't allow comments."

If your work already has comments, all existing comments will remain accessible to you and anyone who can access your work. You will still be able to delete any unwanted comments or mark guest comments as spam.

Users who have left logged-in comments on your work will also still be able to delete their comments.

How to turn off comments on individual works

In the "Privacy" section of the posting and editing forms for individual works, you will find a set of options called "Who can comment on this work." It will have three options:

  • Registered users and guests can comment
  • Only registered users can comment (this is equivalent to the old "Disable anonymous commenting" option)
  • No one can comment

By default, it is set to "Registered users and guests can comment." To prevent anyone from commenting on your work, choose "No one can comment" and save your changes.

How to turn off comments on multiple works

If you'd like to change the comment settings for more than one work at a time, you can use the Edit Multiple Works page. (Please refer to "How do I edit multiple works at the same time?" for information on accessing this page and selecting works to edit.)

Once you've chosen the works you want to edit, locate the "Settings" section of the form. There will a set of options called "Who can comment on these works," and it will have four choices:

  • Keep current comment settings
  • Registered users and guests can comment
  • Only registered users can comment (this is equivalent to the old "Disable anonymous comments" option)
  • No one can comment

By default, it is set to "Keep current comment settings." To prevent anyone from commenting on the works you are editing, choose "No one can comment" and save your changes.

Other options for controlling comments on your works

Please check out our Comments and Kudos FAQ for more information on controlling comments on your works, including:

Update 15 August 06:22 UTC: These changes are now live!


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2020-04-19 20:12:14 -0400

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.


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.


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The Archive has seen a marked uptick in traffic during March, with weekly page views increasing from 262 million to 298 million in just two weeks. We expect this trend to continue, and in order to keep the site running, we need to take emergency measures. The quickest, most helpful change we can make is caching the works we serve to logged out users. Unfortunately, this means that starting immediately, logged out users may experience a delay in work updates, and hits from logged out users will no longer be included in works' hit counts.

Why is this happening?

The increased traffic is putting a strain on our database servers, which receive dozens of requests every time someone loads a work. (We plan to order new hardware to help with this strain, but first we need to finish some ongoing server maintenance and determine which hardware to order. Delivery and installation of servers ordinarily takes a few months, and there may be unexpected delays due to the pandemic.)

Serving cached copies of works to logged out users will drastically reduce the number of database requests we make. Caching means we don't have to ask the database for the latest information every time someone visits a certain page in a given period of time. Instead, one of our front end servers gives everyone the exact same copy of that page. After about an hour, that copy is updated.

What changes will I notice?

Starting immediately, you may notice the following changes:

  1. When a new chapter is posted, logged out users will only be able to access it by direct link until the cache updates, which will happen about once every 60 minutes. Other changes to the work (e.g., edits made by the creator or new comments or kudos that have been left) may also not be visible to logged out users until the cache is updated.
  2. Because work pages need to be identical for all logged out users, we've had to stop automatically filling in guests' names and emails on the comment form. (You can request an invitation and create an account if you'd like the form to remember you!)
  3. Logged out users will see the adult content warning on every work rated either Mature, Explicit, or Not Rated. This is temporary and will be fixed as soon as possible.
  4. New hits from logged out users will not be added to works' hit counts. (Existing hits will not be lost.) The code that increases hit counts lives on our application servers, so it will not run when the front end servers hand out cached copies of works.

(This section was updated at 00:25 UTC April 1.)

Will hit counts be fixed?

We are exploring options that will allow us to resume counting hits from logged out users, but it may take some time to find and implement a viable long term solution. We'll work as quickly as we can, but we ask for your patience -- our volunteers may need to prioritize additional performance improvements or their own wellbeing in these stressful times.

We will keep you updated on any significant progress or setbacks here on AO3 News and on our @AO3_Status Twitter feed.

Updated 11:00 UTC April 24: We have deployed new code that allowed us to resume counting hits from logged out users, along with some general changes to how hits are being measured.


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We're making a few behind-the-scenes changes to kudos to make sure the Archive can continue to handle the tremendous number of them (659 million and counting!) that users and guests have left over the years. Kudos will continue to work the same, but there will be a new check in the database to make extra certain duplicate kudos can't be left. This will result in a one-time drop in kudos on works that already have duplicates.

Previously, we relied on the kudos code to make sure a single user or guest could only leave kudos on a given work one time. This worked just fine in most cases, but sometimes a slow connection or quick double press of the kudos button could lead to multiple kudos being recorded.

We'll be adding a constraint at the database level that should prevent this from happening. However, this change will also make any existing duplicates invalid and remove them from the database. This means that if you have received multiple kudos from the same user or guest on one of your works, your kudos total will go down when we deploy this change. For example, if your work has three kudos from the same user, the total number of kudos on the work will drop by two.

We plan to make our changes on Monday, March 16, and we expect some brief downtime at the end. We can't predict for certain what time it will be, but we will do our best to give a heads up on the @AO3_Status Twitter before it happens.


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Did you know you can post and browse works in over 70 languages on the Archive? In fact, AO3 is home to roughly 400,000 fanworks in languages other than English, with more posted every day! To help everyone find works in their preferred language, we've made some small changes to posting and searching.

Previously, the "Choose a language" field on the posting form was set to English by default, which made it easy to accidentally post a non-English work with the language set to English.

To fix this, we've updated the "Choose a language" field so English is no longer the default. Instead, everyone will need to select the correct language when posting a new work. If you forget, don't worry -- we've also added a friendly error message to remind you.

We've also made it a little easier to search or filter for works based on language! While we provide a "Language" field on our various search and filter forms, sometimes it's not enough -- for example, if you want works in either Spanish or Italian.

A search like that used to require knowing some numerical codes unique to the Archive. Now you can use these standard language codes with the search operators described in our cheatsheet. For example, to find works tagged with "Friendship" in either Italian or Spanish, you would enter language_id: es OR language_id: it in the "Search within results" field on the work listing for the "Friendship" tag. (The old numerical codes will continue to work, so there's no need to update bookmarks or links.)

We hope these changes will make the Archive a bit better for everyone, regardless of which languages you use for creating and consuming fanworks. And as always, if you notice a work with the wrong language, you can contact our Policy & Abuse team and they will help correct any mislabeled works.


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2019-11-07 03:36:14 -0500

We're excited to announce we've recently added support for the <audio> and <video> HTML elements! With this change, you'll be able to use these tags to embed your self-hosted audio or video fanworks on AO3.

Unlike the Flash-based audio player we already offer, these new elements will work in all modern browsers, and they will continue to work even after Adobe ends support for Flash in 2020. (While we have no plans to remove Dewplayer at this time, we strongly recommend updating to the <audio> tag.)


There's still a lot of design, policy, and coding work to do before we can host audio and video files, so for now you'll need to upload your files to your own web space. Once you've done that, you can embed the file in your work with a small bit of HTML:

  • <audio src="AUDIO URL"></audio>
  • <video src="VIDEO URL"></video>

That's all it takes! Exactly how the resulting media player looks depends on the browser being used to access the work. We do, however, make sure that playback controls are available and adjust the width of videos using CSS to ensure big videos will fit on everyone's screens. We also make sure autoplay can't be enabled, and we add the preload attribute to gently suggest browsers save bandwidth by not loading the full file until you press play.

Complex examples

If you'd like to do something more complex, we support that as well. For example, you can include a poster for your video using the poster attribute (poster doesn't work for audio, but you can still include an image above your audio player):

<video src="VIDEO URL" poster="IMAGE URL"></video>

Because some older browsers don't support these elements, you can also include fallback text on either element to provide a download link:

<audio src="AUDIO URL">
  <p>Your browser doesn't support streaming with the HTML5 audio tag, but you can still <a href="URL">download this podfic</a>.</p>

Because different browsers support different file formats, you might want to use the <source> element to include multiple formats.

  <source src="WEBM VIDEO URL" type="video/webm">
  <source src="MP4 VIDEO URL" type="video/mp4">

If you'd like to include captions or subtitles to improve the accessibility of your media file, you can do that with the <track> element:

  <source src="VIDEO URL" type="video/mp4">
  <track src="SPANISH SUBTITLE URL" kind="subtitles" srclang="es" label="Spanish" default>
  <track src="ENGLISH SUBTITLE URL" kind="subtitles" srclang="en" label="English">

List of allowed tags and attributes

Here is a full list of the tags we've added support for and which attributes you can use on them.

<video> element

  • class attribute
  • dir attribute
  • height attribute
  • loop attribute
  • muted attribute
  • poster attribute
  • src attribute
  • title attribute
  • width attribute

<audio> element

  • class attribute
  • dir attribute
  • loop attribute
  • muted attribute
  • src attribute
  • title attribute

<track> element

  • default attribute
  • kind attribute
  • label attribute
  • src attribute
  • srclang attribute

<source> element

  • src attribute
  • type attribute

You can get more information on using these elements and their attributes in these articles from MDN:

Edit November 8 at 07:53 UTC: If your audio or video file isn't loading on the Archive, you probably need to enable Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) on your website. Your web host's documentation or support department should be able to help.


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