FFVII Fanfiction

The Engineer
AO3 has modern things like custom tagging and filtering by tags. And their search engine got a huge update a month or two ago for filtering out content you don't want to see. And it's a lot easier to do custom edits and reading styles. And you can do things like download PDFs and E-Reader formats of fics. And comment easily on fics. It's just a way more modern website and is being actively updated.

FF.net is still in the days of "pick two genres and four characters from a drop-down list" and it still has crossovers in their own section. Yeah. It's just not up to modern internet standards anymore. Filtering for things you want to see/not see feels so clunky comparied to AO3. I barely use it anymore because finding things on it is so much more difficult then it is on AO3. And the few authors I still follow form my FF.net days are now all on AO3 too. For them, publishing on AO3 is much less of a headache then FF.net is.

I'll just put it this way, Adult content has never been my cup of tea. But it's so easy to make it all disappear on AO3 that I don't really care about it being on that site. And it is much easier to make everything I do want to see not get filtered out.
I find it varies fandom to fandom. FF7 you're pretty good for both, but FF.NET is better for feedback, a lot of AO3 users just drop kudos and vanish.

I try to look for good Resident Evil or DCEU fic, and get pages and pages of porn. Danganronpa is better on AO3 though.

Honestly prefer FF.NET'S system, although that could be just familiarity.
Tried using tags tonight to see if I could get it to work. It works well if you're looking for/don't want something specific, but people often tag things that aren't actually a big part of their story, and characters with similar names or alternate versions get swept in unless you're careful. How do you use it properly, Obsidian, if you don't mind me asking?
The Engineer
I usually don't filter by tags all that much as it can get unreliable. That and I'm often not looking for things that are too specific when I'm just browsing. Individual tags are great when I'm looking for specific stories I want to re-read since I usually have a good idea what the tags for specific stories are.

Tags are pretty great when a fandom is huge and has a lot of tags specific to that fandom. It saves me a huge, huge headache when looking though stuff like Harry Potter, Naruto, Final Fantasy VII, etc. Tags aren't as useful when a fandom is small.

What I do use (mostly in the Exclude section) is the Ratings, Warning and Categories section. Those get rid of the bulk of the Adult Content.

But what gets used the most is the "Search Within Results" box. It's probably the most useful way to filter tags and I highly recommend clicking on the blue question mark icon next to it as that shows you all the different ways you can use it. Probably the most useful takeaways from it is that adding a "*" to the end of a letter sequence will run a search for all tags that start with that letter sequence regardless of the way the tag ends. The other one is adding a "-" to the start of a tag will filter out everything with that tag.

IE: Typing "book*" into the "Search Within Results" box will return all the stories with the tags "book", "booking", "books", etc. It's one of the easier ways to get around the similar terms/names problem. Typing in "-"Character Death"" would filter out all the stories with the "Character Death" tag. And you can combine as many of these in the "Search Within Results" box as you like.

So I'll end up searching for stuff like this all in the same "Search Within Results" box: "headcanon magic* worldbuild* -"Alternate Universe"". Or... I'm looking for works that mainly consist of world building, have magic, but that are not Alternate Universe fics.

One of the big things to realize about tagging is that when the Author is tagging a work, AO3 will suggest tags to them based on what tag they are typing at the moment. So if a tag is used often enough, the system recognizes it as a "standard" tag and will suggest it to the author. If you type in the "Other Tags to Include" box, you'll see a list of "standard" tags that all start (or include) what you are typing. This is why in the above example, headcanon and world building are all one word; they're standard tags that the system recognizes and suggests to authors, thus helping more fics use those tags. All of which makes it easier in the long run to search for fics with similar tags.

While it's certainly not perfect, it does makes me cringe at how many things I can't search/filter for on FF.net that I search/filter for on AO3 without even thinking about it now.

Also, do take a look at Ao3's Unoffical Brower Tools page. There's some very useful userscripts on there, particularly the Floaty Text Box + Last Chapter Shortcut userscript...
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