Recently, we added a number of articles about specific stories on Fan History. Many of these stories were hosted on Geocities. We wanted a record that these stories existed because they are likely to disappear. It gave an idea as to what was happening in smaller fandoms not hosted on FanFiction.Net, in real person fic communities and elsewhere. Many of the fandoms on Geocities more closely paralelled what was happening on Yahoo!Groups than FanFiction.Net or LiveJournal. It was important to get that out there.
But we’ve opened Pandora’s Box. We’ve got all these story pages that we didn’t have before. After we did that, we added a bunch of stories about Inuyasha. We had the database. It was an interesting experiment to try to add those articles. We were showing some love towards another archive. (We love to do that. If you’re in fandom and are looking for a way to promote yourself on Fan History, let us know.) The articles represented another perspective outside of FanFiction.Net and LiveJournal. It seemed all good.
It would be really easy to add articles about a lot of other stories on other archives. We could e-mail fan fiction archivists and ask them if they would be interested in having articles about the stories they have hosted on Fan History. We could ask individual authors if they could put together an excel file that lists all their stories. If we wanted to work towards our goal of getting to a million articles, this would be one way to get there a lot faster.
Except, you know, over thinking happens. Do those pages have value? (Maybe.) Are most stories able to help people get an idea of possible trends in fandom? (You’d need to look at 10 to 100 articles to really know. Maybe. Hard to tell.) Would this be useful for smaller fandoms where it isn’t as centralized and readers may not be as aware of other places to find stories? (Yes. Definitely.) Would this be useful to larger fandoms in the same way? (Not really, no.) Wouldn’t this duplicate what we already have started with FanworksFinder? (Kind of. But FanworksFinder doesn’t work. And what about stories that no longer exist? Where is the dating?) Could it almost become like Yahoo!Answers or fic finding mailing lists where people can easily hunt for stories? (Yes. If done right. Likely not though until Fan History’s audience reached a critical mass.) Wouldn’t it remove some of the neutrality issues of the wiki if we did this and allowed reviews of stories on the wiki? (Yes. Hugely scary issue.) Would we piss off a lot of people in fandom by linking and discussing their stories with out permission? (Probably. Maybe. Somewhat. Bound to happen. Scary to think about.) Would people find this useful in terms of promoting their own work? (Yes. If person articles are any indication, lots of people would find them useful.)
There are just so many good arguments both ways. We’d love feedback from the community regarding this issue as we go forward.