Delicious fail and the Archive of Our Own

As the majority of fans have already noticed, AVOS, the new owners of delicious, launched the new version of the site today. Fans have also been quick to point out that the new site has lost a substantial amount of functionality, including some features particularly heavily used by fans, such as tags with a / in them, tag subscriptions, and networks. The new site is also incompatible with the scripts used by many fannish newsletter compilers. Since today was the site launch, we’re hopeful that many of these issues will soon be fixed (we’re certainly familiar with the idea of making lots of rapid changes after new code is released!). However, in the wake of all this, many fans are looking for a new fannish bookmarking service. Right now, the Archive of Our Own doesn’t have enough features to provide a delicious replacement, but we wanted to let you know what we do have and what we have planned for the future.

Bookmarking on the AO3

Registered users of the AO3 can use the site to create bookmarks, and as part of our forthcoming revamp of site CSS, coders Naomi and lim are making some improvements to the bookmarking form which should make it easier to use. At present, bookmarks offer the following functionality:

  • You can bookmark works hosted on the Archive directly from the Archive interface, and your bookmark will include the tags the author used (so you don’t have to re-enter fandom and pairing tags, for example).
  • You can bookmark works which aren’t hosted on the Archive (‘external works’). We have a bookmarklet which makes this easier – you can grab it from the external bookmarks page.
  • You can tag your bookmarks. Bookmark tags can be multiple words and can contain a range of punctuation, including slashes (they can’t contain commas, however, since this is what we use to separate bookmarks).
  • You can make a bookmark private or mark it as a rec.
  • You can filter all the bookmarks on the Archive by tag, and you can choose to search for just recs.
  • You can see how many other people bookmarked a link or work, and view their bookmarks.

We know that there are lots of improvements which are needed to make AO3 bookmarks really useful. Most importantly, there’s currently no way to filter your own bookmarks. We know this severely limits the usefulness of bookmarking on the AO3 – we’ve wanted bookmark filters since we launched, but it has proved tricky to achieve. The good news is that AD&T co-chair Elz has now done lots of work to lay the foundation for bookmark filtering – we hope we’ll be able to build on this work and launch the feature within the next few months.

Planned features for the AO3

We have a few features planned for the AO3 in the nearish future which will improve bookmarks and otherwise replace some of the functionality fans were using delicious for:

  • Bookmark filtering – as mentioned above, some of the work for this has already been done, so it’s finally on the horizon.
  • Improvements to anonymous posting and prompt memes – we know that a lot of kink memes rely on delicious to record and categorise prompts and fills. If you host a prompt meme on the AO3, then you can already filter and sort prompts and fills by tag or status. We’ve started work on true anonymous posting (where there’s no chance of anyone ever seeing the link between an anon work and your id unless you reveal it), which we hope will make the Archive a more attractive place for kink memes. We continue to work on the prompt meme code to make it even spiffier.

Longer term, we also have plans for other bookmarking features:

  • Ability to import bookmarks from other sites and to export to a file.
  • Recs post / newsletter feature so you can easily compile a list, add your comments and generate a nicely coded post.
  • More subscriptions features, so you can subscribe to a particular user’s tags, a particular rec list, etc.

Right now, the number one priority for our coders is improving site performance and stability (we’ll be posting separately about this in the next day or so.) Our coding team is small, so we can’t implement improvements right away, but bookmarks are definitely not forgotten. We’d love to know if you have ideas about how our bookmarks could be improved, or if there are particular areas you’d like us to prioritise – please leave your thoughts on this post!

If you feel passionate about bookmarks on the AO3 (or anything else about the site) we always welcome volunteers! If you already know how to code and feel moved to jump on board to revamp bookmarks, we’d love to have you! (We won’t make you wait around and work on other things!) If you want to learn to code with a view to contributing a tiny part, that’s also awesome. Finally, we are desperately in need of testers – no experience or special knowledge is required, just a willingness to bang on the site and check everything is working. If you’re interested in joining us, please contact our volunteers and recruitment committee and let them know what you’d like to do.

The delicious fail sucks, but we have faith in fandom’s power to find creative solutions – and we hope we can be part of it! So while we’re aware of and working on some of the fundamental limitations of our bookmarking system, we’re interested in hearing your ideas about the future: what new features would be most useful to you? What things would you like to be able to do that other bookmarking sites like Diigo and Pinboard don’t currently offer? All ideas welcome – let us know what you’re thinking!

Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

Archive of Our Own

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