Comment on Comment Period Open for AO3 Terms of Service Updates

  1. From other contexts/discussions elsewhere the whole GDPR process seems rather woolly and will require clarification (ongoing discussions, details kept for future reference...), and there will be the usual cases of 'too much information kept' and 'too little information kept.'
    Most people would have no issue with occasional 'please reconfirm and update your details and wish to remain involved/this is what information we keep' messages, and will accept that whatever system is imposed will let some anomalies and inappropriate activity through (and imposing 'too many hoops' to filter out various categories of people will lead to many more who are appropriate deciding they cannot be bothered to go through them).

    One question is - what are the numbers of 'young persons' contributing to AO3 and reading the stories thereon, and to what extent will they be primarily working on source material (TV, books, films etc) aimed at that age group? Can there be a 'young persons area' of AO3 (bearing in mind that some are 'sufficiently mature' earlier than others, the effects of curiosity etc) covering those fandoms?

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    1. Re your first question, we don't know.

      Re your second question, for the OTW, hosting a "young persons' area" would create privacy law challenges that the OTW would find it prohibitive to undertake - hence the policy of age-barring users who do not meet national or regional age requirements for information gathering. But archive warnings + ratings are designed to inform users about what material is and is not appropriate for readers who are under 18 but not age-barred, as well as readers who want to avoid adult material for legal or personal reasons.

      Also, since the OTW’s AO3 code is open-source, someone can take the tech backend and use it to create & host a stand-alone site with their own parameters.

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      1. It was a passing thought - and sometimes there are various ways of minimising problems and issues that arise - eg having far stricter boundaries for fanfic where there is likely to be a significant young person involvement.

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        1. That makes sense. Here, the main concern with having a young person's space would be data collection from young people, which is the root of the age-bar policy. But as always, thanks!

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          1. No system can be made foolproof - but issues can be minimised. Boundaries between categories are likely to vary between fandoms (as well as being slightly fuzzy anyway). The source material is normally of interest to particular age groups - and observation of the stories posted and comments thereon will indicate whether there are different groups (by age or category etc) which have to be catered for.

            There is probably a natural minimum age at which people are likely to become involved with fanfic (rather than official books etc), and people do mature at different ages (and may, whatever their age, use fanfic to understand particular issues etc). Perhaps some combination of 'do you wish to proceed' messages ('this contains both X and Y tags) would solve some issues.

            Probably the situation will become clearer when the system comes into operation.

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            1. Another aspect that may have to be considered - the Celebrities and Real People section.

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