Atalanta (lothy) wrote,
Atalanta
lothy

A guide to using ficsearch communities, groups and forums

I frequently post searches either to find specific fics I remember, or to ask for recs for particular themes or pairings. These communities are incredibly useful resources and I love them.

I decided a guide to using these kinds of places might be useful.


  1. Find the right community for your search. Some ficsearching places are fairly broad, encompassing all of a particular fandom, but others are far more specific, limited to particular pairings, characters or ratings. Importantly, some are limited to searches for particular fics, and others to requests for recs. If there is more than one eligible community, opt for the one with the most members.

    Here is a fairly comprehensive list of ficsearching communities:


    (If you know of any others, please do tell me and I'll add them to the list.)

    Sometimes you may also be able to post in communities that aren't specifically for ficsearches - but check first to make sure that it is not forbidden. Also, if you have a reasonably large f-list you can of course post searches on your own journal.


  2. Check that you aren't duplicating a recent search. Just glance through recent entries, or perhaps tags, and check that you aren't about to ask for something that somebody else already asked for two days ago.


  3. Read the rules. Some groups have particular ways that you should post your request, for instance requiring a certain type of heading, or asking that you tag your posts. Also, as I mentioned before, some places only take certain types of searches and will delete any that don't fit in with the rules. In the communities I watch, I frequently see people accidentally breaking the rules, and it tends to irritate the mods - never a good thing!


  4. Think about what you write in the header. This is particularly important in a forum or Yahoo group, where people may decide whether to read a request based purely on what the heading says. If possible, make a simple statement of what you want - for instance, "Harry/Snape de-aging fics". If your request is too complicated to sum up quickly, however, don't even try. You don't want to make your header too long.


  5. Be polite, and use proper English. Don't use netspeak, don't shout (i.e. use excess capitals), and don't write all in lower case. Proofread after you've written your request to make sure it makes sense and you haven't made any spelling mistakes. And above all, say please and thank you. After all, people are going to be helping you out.


  6. Make important parts stand out. Bolding important words or sentences can work wonderfully - but don't go overboard. Bold too much and it loses its impact, and can even become difficult to read. Also, proper lists (with each entry starting a new line) look far more effective than huge paragraphs full of commas.


  7. State clearly what you want, and what you don't want. If you don't want to read Buffy/Angel fics, then say that. If you don't want any adult-rated content, then make that clear too. Don't, however, start bashing a particular 'ship or type of fic.


  8. Don't use fandom words without explanation, especially lesser-known ones. Not everyone knows what "Snarry" is, or that "Severitus" is a name for fics where Snape is Harry's father. As someone who constantly dabbles in new fandoms, I find it immensely frustrating when I don't understand the words used.


  9. Where applicable, provide examples. Examples of possible types of plots can both narrow down what you want, and help to jerk people's memories. For example, if you would like to see Harry as a parent, then you might like to suggest de-aging fics, or mpreg, or future fics where he and Ginny have children, or time travel fics where he adopts a younger version of someone he knows...


  10. Where possible, mention fics that you have already read. Obviously you won't always remember them, but sometimes you will, and you won't want to have them recced to you again. Also, try to either link to the fics or mention where people can find them, as many people use ficsearching posts as a way to find good fics to read themselves.


  11. Don't spoil anybody. If you are looking for a particular story, and one of the things you remember about it is spoilerish, either don't post it (if you remember enough other things about it), or make sure that you mark it as a spoiler.


  12. Sometimes, you might like to contact relevant newsletters about your search. It's only really worth bothering with this if you're asking for recs on a reasonably rare topic where you're not sure if many people will be able to help you, or if you're posting somewhere where there aren't that many members. Different newsletters have different rules about including fic searches - some don't take them at all, some only include very unusual ones, and some (generally ones for small fandoms, or which are character/pairing specific) include any they hear about.


  13. Say thank you to anyone who helps you. It's just courtesy, and it also increases the likelihood of you getting more recs. Occasionally on forums I've posted some recs, only to have the requester's next post say "Any more?" without thanking me - and I then I generally don't actually want to give them any more.


  14. Answer other people's requests where possible. There's no point in having a ficsearch comm if nobody actually answers any requests, is there?



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