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Firstly, I'd like to welcome all the new users we're seeing daily! Glad to have you here! Please do familiarize yourself with the Terms of Service and Content Guidelines. This IS a moderated archive.

Hit Counter

As you've all seen, we have a new hit counter! As we go through things with the code, we've reached a point where any attempts at patching the old stuff creates much in the way of headaches. So, anything you see that is new? Is really new! Now, a few people have told me that their hits were reset to 0 at random. Why that happened, I don't know. It's not most of the stories, just some at random. If you're one of the users affected, please email me with your pen name and a link to the affected story. How I'll address it is to look up your individual stories within that subdomain in the database, as well as other stories added at approximately the same date/time. I'll make the adjustment according to the data I find.

Current Reading List

This has been updated to display the last time an author updated a story you're following. So, click your current reading list, and see who's updated!

Database Character Conversion

This is something you all need to read, please. When upgrading the database cores, the character set was changed to unicode. This is STANDARD for MySQL now. So, to prevent garbage and scrambling, I have to convert the character set within the tables to MATCH the database itself.

To do this, manta2g will set the archives to read only on Sunday, February 7 and Wednesday, February 10. The Sunday schedule for read only will be 8 hours, and on Wednesday will 4 hours. The reason to make it read only, is that I can do all this using some database tools, to where it should only take me about an hour for each big table set, and about 20 minutes for each smaller table set. There are 23 table sets to convert. The alternative is to dump all the data to me locally, convert it locally on my machine, and then upload it all. Which, for those of you around for the BIG crash of 2005, will take months of read only. I much prefer being able to do it this way. I've already tested both a small data set and a large data set. That's where I came up with times. The conversions worked great!

By making the archives read only for a period of some hours over probably 4 days (2 Sundays and 2 Wednesdays) where I do this total, it protects the data already here. I also then have the time to be able to check and make sure there is no truncation of data, as well as fix some of the very old wallotext.

I'll be doing all this by running a series of queries in a COPY of the tables to be updated (in a different database entirely), which will then be moved to the main database to go live after the conversion.

Story Votes

This is being rewritten entirely, to be supported by the new code. We've also decided that voting will no longer be anonymous. You will be required to login to leave a vote rate. We've had far too many instances where people decided they disliked a story pair (as an example) or a writer, and down-voted all their stories. I had NO way to track it back when it was malicious, as the function was truly anonymous.

When this function is restored, the voting system wide will be reset to 0. This is not something happening in the immediate future, but I did want to give people a heads up.

Dribs, Drabs and Doggy Tales

Current weekly prompt is here

Funding Status

Introducing, the donation kitty! For years, I disabled a direct button/link to donate, as for a very long time, there was fund raising via “let's push the panic button”. So I made it very low key for a long time. Understand that donations are NEVER required, but they sure do help! This is the first month in 2 years, where I've only had to pay monthly site expenses to where it only cost me $20.00 (it's usually an average of $140.00). I sincerely appreciate that, as it's been a very rough month for me. If you've used the kitty to donate, and want to be added to the supporter's page, please do email with your pen name, so I can do that.

Donation kitty has generated 12 donations in the last THREE DAYS!!! It bears saying again, I thank you all for your kind generosity. Truly! So does the rest of the staff!

Deletion notification

For Accounts

When deleting an account because the user is underage, a plagiarist, or whatever else would be a reason to delete one entirely, we do NOT send a notification.

For Stories

When deleting stories, this is done for non compliance with the ToS. Stories are HIDDEN long before they are deleted. The user is told there is an issue, and given 7 days to comply before the story is hidden. Upon hiding, the story is left for 30 or more days (it ends up being more when I have a heavy work load IRL) before it is deleted. If the issue is CORRECTED, the story is restored to public view.

Disposable email

Disposable emails are not checked, and we don’t allow registration with them. Upon finding an account registered with a disposable email address, it is deleted.

Blocking the site email addresses

There are times where staff does need to contact users. Your email addresses are not displayed, and I am not in the habit of making email “blasts” to the users. I may occasionally use the bulk email feature of the forum to email forum members when I post site news, but I tend not to do that as well.

Where we are encountering users that block us, when attempting to contact them, I find myself in the position of having to take draconian measures to get a response. So here is what will be done from this point. If, after REPEATED attempts, we find the staff email blocked, I'll have no choice but to hide that user's stories until he or she contacts us with an email address that can receive email from the site. I'm sorry I have to institute this, but it's the only thing I can think of to get response from those who refuse to respond, no matter WHAT way we try to message them.

Email address visibility

By default, the email address is hidden when you register. It will only display if you put it in the bio area of your profile. In the review boards, if you are asked for your email address when leaving one, you are NOT logged in. If you don’t want your email address visible there, input the word private INSTEAD of your email address.

Forum and archive

These are separate programs. Being separate programs, they also require SEPARATE registration. In other words, registering for one or the other does NOT register you for both.

Disabling anonymous reviews

As a matter of course, while the authors cannot choose this for themselves, anon reviews are enabled on a daily basis. If you don’t WANT to have this enabled, email at with a link to your profile, and a subject line of “disable anon reviews”. Bear in mind that when I do this, as this is controlled by the profile, ALL your stories will then require that a user be logged in to leave a review.

Please remember that the authors you read do like to hear from you! Leave them a review or two, and let them know how they're doing!


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Category adding

Is suspended for the time being, until chapter adding is updated.

For now, put your story in the appropriate misc category already there, with [fandom title] in the description. That way, once everything is all set for the new code, I'll know where to make the category and move the story.

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Guest raymareme

Why is the Harry Potter page all messed? I don't mean formatting. I mean that there is no content at all on the pages. I've tried going into the different categories linked but have come up with nothing. Not sure if its a glitch or you're doing an update...

Can we have a banner for pages that have updates happening?

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We've posted the news at the beginning of the archive, and here on the forum. The archive is being updated and is read-only until 5PM EST (GMT-5) today. While that's going on, we can't put a banner on the subdomains being updated, because it might interfere with the update. The point here is to not blow things up and have the archive down for months.

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Actually, I think as far as professionalism, AFF is heads above other sites where staff and admins actually interact with members, and respond to emails, posts and PMs.

However, we're not a for-profit publisher, and therefore, I think having a little fun is not a bad thing. Our authors get paid in reviews, and our readers get to enjoy some outstanding writing for free. That's pretty much my definition of fun, really.

As a site author, I love the kitties, and I love the sense of family here.

As a published author, this will always be my safe place to try something new, something I might not submit to an editor.

As a reader, I hope to discover many more amazing writers to delight me.

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I think the User actually meant the design not the Admins :).

While I do love cats, I don't think the new Logo or new design is an improvement. I was quite frankly shocked and wondered if for any reason you had to go back to some old design. I don't like the new Storypage layout either (with the Chapters on the side and nothing more than the page background). The previous design had structure, it gave each story a box and the brighter bachground infront of the beige looked better. Now it looks like a mere list.

But meh, I can live with that as long as I get to read. As long as the majority likes it I'm fine with almost anything.

So while opinions differ on the new design I still think you deserve thank you for all the hard work :)

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Not to be a pain in the ass, but are you serious about this design? I never liked it when I had to login to update my stories and it's bothered me since it started turning up when I opened a story, but to have it on the front page as well... is it at all possible to enable a site preference for signed-in users to toggle this version on/off over the previous? Or at least give us something that isn't one giant backdrop around story info/words, please? Like this forum page is a pretty good example of what looks right.

I'm also not exactly crazy about ratings being reset but I'm not going to fight it, it just sucks to lose the ratings I've amassed over the years. I don't think I'll be able to get most of them back without deleting and reposting my work and I'm not likely to take that route.

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First of all, the colors can be adjusted in the style sheet. I expect there will be further tweaking of it. As to the ratings, while we'd like to maintain them, it's not possible. Still looking at ways to get the aggregate exported and then imported in to a new table though. Just saying that it's not likely at this point in time to be able to do it. Although I'll never say never on that, because I thought I couldn't fix the extra lines after the database character conversion and was able to anyway.

Just remember, all of this, this rewrite is a complete work in progress. So there are many things that will be changing.

As to the NEED for any kind of change? It was definitely there. The scripting was incompatible to newer language cores, as we saw when I attempted to update to php 5.4.x. The database language core had a change in character set, which is what going read only for a limited time is about. I have to convert the text data from one character set to another. Further, without doing this conversion, and with the updates to language cores, it made the likelihood of a major database crash inevitable. So there are things that must be done, period. I'm not talking about cosmetics in this part either. Cosmetics are not a primary concern for me at this point in time. Integrity of the database, STABILITY of the database is what I'm working on, and is what my number one priority is at the moment. Once I have that taken care of, then other things can be focused on. manta2g does the coding. She is centralizing most everything, which is a GOOD thing. She is also making it so any of the archive scripting is compliant several versions AHEAD of the php version we're currently running. It makes the site run more efficiently. Again, the mechanics and stability are also HER priority at this point in time.

Cosmetics are always the very last thing.

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Logging in to update stories has always been necessary, so that hasn't actually changed. If you mean needing to click the Control Panel to update, that's been around for a while, too.

The database/archive and the forum are entirely separate entities, and what we can do on the forum isn't possible in the archive.

As far as toggling back to the previous, please understand that the archive code itself had to be rewritten because the previous code was incompatible with what we need to do to keep it from crashing altogether. The language was defunct. We tried to apply a routine forum update and the archive went down. It took sixteen straight hours of DG's work and fourteen straight hours of manta's work to get stories to appear again at all. Going back to the old format simply isn't an option.

I understand no one likes change, and I remember all the grumbling when we updated last time. Everyone hated the new logo, the layout, the colors, and half the staff. Give it a chance as it's fine-tuned, and keep in mind that we are doing this to keep the archive up and running, not to be annoying.

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Thank you both for the response. I'd rather have AFF up and running than not regardless of appearance, and all of the staff's work is much appreciated on that front, I apologize for coming off rude before.

What I meant about logging in was how the site would change from this to the current appearance whenever I'd access my author control panel.The former was always preferable. Now that the latter is the standard site-wide(aside from review pages) it'll just bug me for a while until I get used to it.

Edited by Diizoid
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We're looking at getting the lighter background behind text re-implemented, since it does give the chapter pages a better feel. (Given how many of those pages I review in a week, I won't argue that at all.) However, our coder, manta, is the one who can tell us if that's even possible.

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It's definitely possible, it's just a color setting in the stylesheet for that division. As I said, there are definite tweaks to be made on that end. But, right now, the code and whether or not it works, and the database and whether or not it's stable, are the priorities. Function first!

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For what it's worth I think the new cat theme is ghastly, and please, please, please, please, please go back to calling it hits, because cat pokes is just embarrassing. Also if you were going to mess around with the site, how was changing the colour scheme not the first priority? Because the yellow background was difficult enough to read before, now somehow it's worse. Please switch it to white, or at least back to the way it was, and save my eyesight.

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I'll reserve the right to disagree about the cat pokes being embarrassing, but as you can see from above, we're looking into the text field issue. But we can't go backwards, so please understand that. The old format broke too many things, and we're not going to risk losing the entire database over style issues.

The first priority was data preservation and accessibility. We're a fiction archive, and without the stories, we're not much of anything. That's still our focus: getting the rewrite tweaked and running smoothly, fixing any hiccups we find, and finishing the upgrades to the forum. Then we can take a breath and think about getting out color swatches and picking curtains.

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So you want to turn your site into a joke? Interesting choice, but jokes have a shelf life, and I'm going to pray that you get tired of cat pokes ASAP because it really is offensively bad.

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I'm taking time out from doing my taxes to answer this, only because I find it offensive that you think you, while hiding behind anonymity, have any right to make assumptions or to denigrate anything.

Humor is largely subjective, yes, but what makes you think that AFF must be so very serious? Are we an actual publisher's website, where people are asked to pay for the privilege of reading works? Are we selling you anything? No. We are a free to use fiction archive, and you are free to read elsewhere if you find a bit of levity so objectionable.

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Wow, it's one thing not to like something, but another to get so worked up about it.
Did you create the original Website and not tell us about it? If "Catpokes" are something to be offended about then I can imagine nothing one does would satisfy you. You can go ahead and not like something but don't make such a drama out of it, that's kinda offensively embarrassing :D

DG has been listening to ideas and she has been thinkig about and even implementing them. Because some member ask nicely. Even I wouldn't lift a finger for a User like you.

Just in case I driftet offtopic too much:
Thank you for the design adjustment. The box gives the site the structure and contrast I missed. Now the only thing that has to be fixed (which can wait honestly) is the Chapterbox dropping below the left menu the moment your Window gets smaller (100% zoom).

Edited by Avelynn
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I was able to zoom to 250% before anything odd happened. I also shrunk my browser window to approx 1/8 of my monitor, before any oddness happened. We're still tinkering with it though, to keep it from happening at all.

As to whether or not we pay attention to users, manta2g and I discuss NIGHTLY different suggestions and whatnot.

For example, as a result of what was said about a complete zero out of the ratings, manta has decided to go about it differently. Yes, there will be a zero of actual number of ratings at first, BUT, all stories will convert to the new script and tables with a good rating. The ratings will adjust organically as the stories get rated by the readers in the new system.

Avelynn, among others, commented on the missing contrast of the chapter read area, in that it was the same color as the sidebar. That was adjusted yesterday.

As I stated earlier, however, overall cosmetics (such as quick buttons for convenience and that sort of thing) are the last thing on a long list of things to do with this. Everything has to work FIRST before adding extra "bells and whistles".

There are some things that flat out will not happen, such as the title of an individual story showing in the address bar. To accomplish that, means we step backwards and decentralize again. Centralizing the bulk of the scripts makes for a healthier archive. Things we got away with for years in script operations, haven't been supported by the language cores for quite a few years. We got LUCKY that we didn't have worse issues than 1 day of white screen because of that. Understand that in the old code, there are STILL parts which are in php2, much in php3, and some in php4. PHP is up to version 7, so the code HAS to be brought up to date to function properly.

The character set conversion is also one of those things that HAS to be done. I've had to modify my approach slightly to account for database n00bs who were working in it before me, and "playing" with character sets. This SHOULD have been a straightforward conversion. If using multiple character sets hadn't happened, it WOULD have been a straightforward conversion. When these people decided to go back to the default character set from whatever it was they used before? They did not convert the actual data, simply the table properties. That doesn't work. To date, I've found at least SEVEN alternate character sets from the default, that were used between 2005 and 2006. I'm sure there are more. After I'm done with all of this? There will be only one character set, which is as it should be. Having all those different character sets in inserted data also causes database instability. By converting to what MySQL NOW requires for default, the database is stabilized.

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I actually like the cats, but not the new design of the latest story pages.

I now find it difficult to focus on reading the storynames, summary, and show name.

I really hope this will change again (for the better this time).

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