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Fanlore logo
Type of site
OwnerOrganization for Transformative Works
Users35,000 (registered)
LaunchedSeptember 2008 (2008-09) (Beta)
Written inMediaWiki

Fanlore is a wiki created to preserve the history of transformative works, as well as that of fans, and fandoms, with a focus on people and their activities rather than on fandom canon. The beta version of Fanlore launched in September 2008, and the wiki came out of beta in December 2010. As of June 2018, more than 45,000 pages have been created on Fanlore, with more than 780,000 edits made by more than 35,000 registered users.[1]

Fanlore's focus is for fans to document their understandings of and experiences in fandom, past and present. The intent of its parent group, the non-profit Organization for Transformative Works, is to preserve for future reference fandom occurrences, work done by fans, and their discussions and debates. The site's audiences include fans, journalists, academics, and people new to fandom.[1][2] Fanlore is run by the Fanlore Committee within the Organization for Transformative Works. Additional volunteers termed Gardeners have extra editing access on the site, and they monitor recent edits to make sure all contributions are properly integrated. These volunteers also answer questions and provide help to fan contributors.

Features and Culture[edit]

Fanlore's major content categories include Fan Activities, Fan Communities, People, Fandoms, Perspectives on Fans, a Glossary, Tropes & Genres, Fanworks and a Chronology.[2]

Fanlore is guided by the Plural Point of View (PPOV) policy,[3] which was discussed by one of the Organization for Transformative Works' founders, Francesca Coppa:

Fanlore is much much friendlier and more accepting and less confrontational than most wikis, which can be notoriously hostile places. We have a specific Plural Point of View philosophy and not just accept–but actively seek out–multiple viewpoints in all things.[4]

Many of the people who have been most active on Fanlore are older, more established fans interested in documenting fannish history prior to 2010, leading to a site with a particular focus on zines and fannish activities on LiveJournal.[4] Fanlore continues to solicit contributions from fans with different experiences.

The site hosts regular editing challenges, such as the annual April Showers event and has its own social media outlets.[5] The site's creation and development largely by female fans has also meant a focus on fan history that reflects women's activities in fannish spaces.[6]


In May 2015, Fanlore announced that the site had been chosen by the American Folklife Center, part of the U.S. Library of Congress, for archiving as part of the Digital Culture Web Archive. The head of the American Folklife Center, Nicole Saylor, explained in 2016 that the site was selected because: "[F]an fiction and other kinds of fan works were identified as significant because fandom enacts so many of the key elements of folklore and vernacular culture. As a result, there are a range of fandom-focused sites that were selected for the collection. We were also interested in harvesting sites where communities had worked to synthesize, organize and collect examples of practice."[7] The site's content was captured from October 7, 2010 to August 5, 2016.[8]

Entries on Fanlore have been used as a resource in a number of media articles and other discussions that feature fan terminology[9][10][11] fan activities,[12] the history of particular genres[13][14] fan discussions about their own culture,[15] statements about fanworks by canon creators,[16] documentation about individual fandoms and popular topics,[17] the development of modern fandom,[18] the history of former fan fiction authors,[19] lists of fandom communities,[20] representations of characters,[21] and the topics found in fanworks.[22]

Fanlore's archiving of images has been used in fandom-related media articles.[23][24] Fanlore also serves as a resource for discussions about the mission of its founding organization, the Organization for Transformative Works.[10][25]

Aside from the news media, Fanlore has been a resource to academics researching fans and fandom related topics. As of June 2018, Google Scholar showed 431 citations of the Fanlore wiki.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Fanlore". Organization for Transformative Works. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Brooks, Amber (May 15, 2017). "The Organization for Transformative Works: An Enthusiastic Community of Volunteers Preserves & Celebrates Fanworks". Digital Brands Inc.
  3. ^ "Fanlore:Plural Point of View". Fanlore. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Geek Feminism interviews the OTW's Francesca Coppa". Geek Feminism. September 23, 2009. Archived from the original on August 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "April Showers of Fannish History". Fanlore. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  6. ^ "What We Believe". Organization for Transformative Works. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Rebaza, Claudia (November 11, 2016). "OTW Guest Post: Nicole Saylor". Organization for Transformative Works. Archived from the original on February 10, 2018.
  8. ^ "Fanlore". Library of Congress. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Romano, Aja (June 7, 2017). "Canon, fanon, shipping and more: a glossary of the tricky terminology that makes up fan culture". Vox Media. Archived from the original on March 4, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Hill, Angela. "Fan fiction: A world where Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes could meet". The Mercury News. Archived from the original on May 9, 2017.
  11. ^ Tiffany, Kaitlyn (June 7, 2018). "Crowdsourced definitions of 'fan fiction' hint at a sprawling, formless genre". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017.
  12. ^ "Episode 20: The Elephant in the Room". Three Patch Podcast. March 1, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  13. ^ Watson, Zebbie (May 27, 2016). "Exploring the First Frontier Of Slash Fiction". Inverse.
  14. ^ Cranz, Alex. "The History of Femslash, the Tiny Fandom That's Taking Over the Universe". io9. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  15. ^ Reeve, Elspeth (May 10, 2016). "Fame Is Other People". The New Republic.
  16. ^ Ford, Anne (November 1, 2017). "Fellowship of the Fans". American Libraries. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017.
  17. ^ Hale-Stern, Kaila. "How To Find The Best Fanfiction On the Internet". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Reich, J.E. "Fanspeak: The Brief Origins Of Fanfiction". Tech Times. Archived from the original on May 14, 2018.
  19. ^ Weiss, Sabrina Rojas (January 13, 2016). "Everything You Need To Know About Cassandra Clare's Controversies". Refinery29.
  20. ^ Bancroft, Christine (February 27, 2013). "Into The Hive Mind: Sherlock Holmes And The Adventures Of The First Fandom". Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  21. ^ Hale-Stern, Kaila (July 15, 2011). "Sexy Snape In Love: Five Secondary Characters Who Dominate 'Harry Potter' Fan Fiction". The Awl. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Tual, Morgane (February 14, 2016). "Les " shippers ", des fans qui rêvent de couples fictionnels, d'eau de rose et de porno". Le Monde (in French). Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  23. ^ Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia (November 16, 2015). "'Hannibal' fans are publishing a 200-page anthology of fanfiction and art". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on September 4, 2017.
  24. ^ Feeney, Nolan (December 24, 2013). "How Fanzines Helped Put Doctor Who Fans in Charge of Doctor Who". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on July 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Logan, Megan (September 1, 2016). "The Power of Fanworks In Sci Fi, Fantasy Is Now Undeniable". Inverse.
  26. ^ "Fanlore". Google Scholar.