Fandom Tags: Now with More Articles!

Good news for users browsing fandoms on the AO3 — alphabetizing titles by articles such as “the” or “das” or “los” is now a thing of the past!

With this latest AO3 release, the Fandom names on the media pages now will sort alphabetically regardless of articles. Previously, the code that generated pages like the Theater Fandoms page sorted by the first letter of the canonical fandom tag name. Because we wanted the tags to be sorted alphabetically, we had to remove articles from the names of the fandom, unless the fandom name was only two words or otherwise was confusing without the article. Needless to say, we’ve been seeking a solution to this for some time, but required something internationally compatible that wouldn’t strain our servers.

This deploy gives wranglers the ability to set a “sort name” on canonical fandom tags that is separate from the “display name”. So we can now have fandom names such as “The Crucible – Miller” display the article, but be sorted under “C”.

The deploy also ran an automated process on our existing fandom tags that should have automatically changed the sort name for tags starting with: a, an, the, la, les, un, une, des, die, das, il, el, las, los, der, and den. In some cases, this auto-corrected some fandom names incorrectly (“Die Hard (1998)” sorting under “H”, for example).

This still leaves a large number of tags that need to be manually adjusted, as they had an article removed to allow proper sorting under the old system. The Tag Wranglers are working through the fandom tags, restoring articles where the fandom name should have one, and fixing any incorrect changes. It will not be an instant process, given there are over 11,000 canonical fandom tags on the Archive, so we ask for your patience if it takes us a while to fix your particular fandom.

In the meantime, if you have questions you can ask here or send a question to our Support team, who’ll pass it on to the Wranglers. The Tag Wrangling Committee also has a Twitter account at ao3_wranglers for all sorts of tag-related discussion.

2 thoughts to “Fandom Tags: Now with More Articles!”

  1. Very glad to see that The Losers is now in the Ls where it belongs!

    Recommend that you fix the leading punctuation problem too

    ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (should sort with the Ts)
    (500) Days of Summer (should sort with the 5s)

    I hope you have language-specific sort rules, or where the heck would you put the ß?

    1. Removing the leading punctuation is a great idea, we’ll definitely be doing that, thank you!

      The Archive has an automatic alphabetical sort already, which can handle most accented Latin alphabet characters and extras (though it glitches a bit when they’re the leading character; we can fix that now, too). In this system, ß is sorted as “ss”. It’s not yet set up to handle other scripts (such as Cyrillic or Japanese characters). That functionality is planned eventually; until we get it we are generally sticking to Latin alphabet canonical tags.

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