Could AO3 ‘wrapped’ be the next big thing for fanfiction readers in 2022?

Bruno Cooke December 1, 2022
Could AO3 ‘wrapped’ be the next big thing for fanfiction readers in 2022?
E-reader - Electronic Book technology 3d background with binary data flow. Image downloaded from Getty Images Creative.

Spotify rolled out its 2022 Wrapped feature on Wednesday, prompting some to reflect on the possibility of “wrapping” yearly fanfiction stats from Archive Of Our Own, or AO3.

AO3 is a nonprofit open-source repository for fanfiction and other fan-created works. Users contribute directly to the site.

It originated in 2008 and went into open beta mode in 2009. As of the end of November 2022, AO3 hosts more than 10 million unique works in over 54K fandoms.

Which begs the question: is there a way of generating a data compilation based on users’ AO3 reading habits, similar to Spotify Wrapped?

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Does AO3 have a ‘wrapped’ feature as standard in 2022?

No. While Spotify has its official Wrapped feature, and other music streaming services have either their equivalents or features that are similar, AO3 doesn’t currently have a “wrapped” function as standard.

But that hasn’t stopped individuals from generating their own “wrapped” compilations based on data sets they’ve analyzed themselves. 

“I made a AO3 ‘wrapped’ inspired by Spotify’s yearly Wrapped,” reads one user’s post on the Archive Of Our Own website.

“I analyzed my data from my 2020 AO3 history to make this, with year summaries and monthly summaries.” You can see their “wrapped” concept as a video or as a clickable version.

AO3 does not have a ‘wrapped’ feature yet, but if they introduce it, it could well be the next big thing for fanfiction readers.

One user claims to have made their own AO3 ‘wrapped’ software

“It has truly been a joy to see everyone enjoying AO3 wrapped this year,” wrote AO3 author Bot Hermione in December 2021, although they haven’t given any hint yet about whether or not they plan on re-engaging with the feature in 2022. 

You can read their summary of how others participated in their AO3 project via their website here.

“If you missed out on all the fun,” they added, “don’t despair. I’ll keep the local version available for download.” 

Bot Hermione launched their AO3 “wrapped” software last year. It has been available to download since December 14, 2021 via GitHub, for Windows or Mac. 

Note: GRV Media/The Focus cannot vouch for the software’s safety and security. Access it here, at your own risk. 

How does the user’s AO3 Wrapped software work?

Bot Hermione’s AO3 Wrapped software is, in their own words, a “brief, entertaining way for someone to look back at their history on Archive Of Our Own.” 

“The idea of this is quite obviously taken from Spotify Wrapped, which does the same thing but for a Spotify account.”

In their retrospective – a writeup that reflects on how the 2021 Wrapped season went – Bot Hermione includes large portions of code that they say went into the software. 

It worked by logging in as whichever user had chosen to use it; finding out how long their usage of the website was; “looping” through pages; pulling data relating to each piece of fanfiction from each page; breaking each loop as appropriate; and returning the statistics to the “front end,” i.e., the Bot Hermione website. 

E-reader – Electronic Book technology 3d background with binary data flow

But there isn’t an official way of getting a readout of your fanfiction reading habits yet

According to users posting in a Reddit forum on the subject of an official AO3 “wrapped” feature, there was a site that performed a similar task in January 2020, for users’ data in 2019.

“But it required putting in your AO3 credentials,” a user warns. “Pro tip: do NOT put passwords for one site into another site.”

And they added that, as far as they know, there is “no easy export for [AO3] data” for use in software that performs functions similar to Spotify’s Wrapped feature.

Of course, as with Spotify Wrapped, there may be things Internet users aren’t wholly willing to share, when it comes to their listening or reading habits. 

“Not even the AO3 algorithm should be able to know that much about me,” one Twitter user wrote in December last year. “I don’t even want to get to know ‘me’ like that.”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.