Tbh I think the bigger problem on ao3 is with the way the tagging system is used, BY the people who post things. It’s a really good system but I think there’s some confusion about the purpose. Idk how to word this, but I wish people tagging their works would look at it from the perspective of people searching the archive, and tag with intent, I guess? If you’re tagging a fic with X character or ship, people searching those tags should get a satisfactory amount of that content in your fic. Idk


Idk it’s just frustrating when you’re looking for a fic ABOUT a certain ship or character, and there are 7426 tagged works because a lot of fics about Popular Pairing have them mentioned as being together, but there’s not any interaction or actual content of that ship but they’re tagged because they’re friends with Popular Characters and it’s a ship a lot of people like to include just to tie all the characters up in romantic relationships. (Cough cough wlw ships)

Oh yeah this is DEFINITELY an issue, and it’s a cultural thing that’s shifted over time. I like the idea of using the “pairing” tag for only the main pairing(s), and the regular tags for anything that makes an appearance.

some official guidance on it would be nice, but I’m not sure how much good it would do

I’ve seen some people used “background X/Y” to tag ships that are present but not focused on, which seems like a good solution to me. Allows people who are bothered by the mere mention of a ship to avoid it, while letting people who are actively seeking that ship know that this fic probably won’t have the content they want.


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