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Q: How do you define plagiarism?

A: We take plagiarism seriously on FanficOverflow. It's unethical and against copyright law. Please note that providing disclaimers that it isn't yours or changing minor wordings does not exempt you from copyright unless you have the express written permission of the copyright holder. Citations are considered citations if enclosed in quotes with the proper author attribution. Citations are not citations if the entire story is copied (even with an author attribution). Copying another story word-for-word is considered plagiarism. On the other hand, stories with similar plot points and storylines are situations in which we would not act upon since it's not clear cut. Otherwise, every story about a boy wizard and his friends overcoming adversity while battling some evil force would be infringing some copyrighted work somewhere. Just do not copy other stories word for word. Users who post works by published authors (ie. you can find their book on Amazon) will be banned immediately.

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Q: Why aren't copied layouts, contests, or ideas taken down for plagiarism?

A: Layout code is non-copyrightable. Images used in layouts, on the other hand, are copyrightable and we do take those down for the copyright owners. Contests or ideas are vague and non-copyrightable unless there are word for word copies. You'll need to show us that you own the actual copyright as registered in the U.S. Copyright Office (or copyright office of your country) or patent as registered with the USPTO for us to take down your copyrighted idea. If someone writes a story with the idea of a boy wizard and his friends who go to the same school, it could be considered generic. If the writer mentions that the boy wizard in their story is the same wizard from a work by J.K. Rowling and even has the same name, then it's a tougher battle for that writer. Word for word copies we can verify easily.

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Q: Are copyrighted images also taken down?

A: Yes. We routinely take down copyrighted images as reported by the copyright owner.

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Q: I found a story here that was plagiarized. What do I do?

A: We advise that you contact the user who posted that story first. Oftentimes, it's an honest mistake and they will bring the story down themselves.

Otherwise, please contact Support and provide a link to your original story and the story posted on FanficOverflow so we can process this complaint much more quickly. We will remove their story from distribution on the site and warn the user. Repeated offenses by the user will result in a ban of their account from the site.

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Q: How do you define mature content?

A: Mature content is any content containing sexual or extremely violent situations. General rule is that if you would be uncomfortable reading the content with your parents, you should probably mark it as Rated.

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Q: Is there an area where I can chat more freely and has less restrictions than the tagbox?

A: Go to Chat under the Social section. Please read the Chat rules on that page before chatting.

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Q: Why should the language be kept clean in the tagbox?

There are many reasons for this but it is primarily because there are many minors here. Yes, we're aware that many of them are also offenders but just as many are not and they are legitimately here only to read fanfiction.

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Q: What do I need to know about Rated M stories?

A: Rated M is the rating designated for any stories with adult content. Any story containing any adult content must be marked as Rated M! Examples of adult content include having lewd or provocative images, crude or indecent language, or anything sexual in nature. As a general rule, anything above kissing and hugging should most likely be marked Rated M. I have also given the moderators the ability to mark any story as Rated M. I'll have to be very strict on this so please mark your stories. If you have to ask whether or not your story is Rated M, then it probably is so just mark it. You can mark a story as Rated M by editing your foreword and marking the Rated M checkbox.

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Q: What types of content will be removed from the site?

A: Stories with extreme depictions of rape and violence will be removed as reported by our users.

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Q: How do stories get featured?

A: Featured stories are chosen by votes given by other users. The story with the highest number of votes and has never been featured before will be chosen as the new featured story on a weekly basis.

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Q: What is karma for?

A: Karma can be used to purchase particular features such as advertising or a username change on FanficOverflow. You will also need at least 100 karma to gain the ability to upvote stories to be the next featured story. Think of it as AFF currency. The primary purpose of karma gain is to provide an incentive for users to interact with others.

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Q: Why isn't my karma going up? How do I increase it?

A: You can increase your karma by

  • Commenting on a story (not your own)
  • Commenting on a blog (not your own)
  • When a story you wrote gains a new subscriber
  • When a story you wrote gains a vote
To curb behavior that goes against the spirit of why the karma system was instituted, karma will now only increase if the comments made are on different stories within a 24 hour timeframe. When 24 hours have passed since first commenting on a story, comment karma can be gained from the same stories once again.

For example, to gain 10 points, you'll need to comment on 10 different stories in the same 24 hour time period. After 24 hours, you can comment on those stories again for karma. Maximum limits are also in place in 24 hour time intervals. The same restrictions are in place for blogs.

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Q: Why was the karma system invented?

A: Back when FanficOverflow was a smaller site, stories were rarely commented on and people didn't talk much. I thought up the karma system to give an incentive to users to at least be more sociable with each other. I even used the term "karma" to symbolize the hope that when people say good things to each other, the others say good things back. The system worked to some extent so I started giving more and more benefits to gaining karma points.

FanficOverflow is much bigger now and there certainly doesn't seem to be a lack of user activity anymore compared to the ghost town we once were. But it turned out later on that some users have an obsessive need to gain karma even back when karma was just meaningless points with few benefits.

Now with the introduction of the new advertising feature, I'm seeing new levels of karma farming that no longer serve the spirit of why the karma point system was invented which is why the FAQ was updated to reflect the new restrictions on karma increases.

Remember, if you are making genuine comments on stories about its content and quality and not some inane banter that the author might not care about, then you deserve the points that you earn.

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Q: Where can I change my user preferences?

A: You can find the user preferences link either in your account settings or on the front page.

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Q: Can I just prevent the tagbox from displaying?

A: Yes. You can change this in your user preferences.

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Q: How can I restrict access to my fanfics?

A: You can restrict access to your stories to only your friends by marking the checkbox for "Friends Only" when you create your story or edit your foreword. You can also block particular users if necessary.

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Q: How can I restrict access to my profile?

A: You can restrict access to your profile to only your friends by marking the checkbox for "Friends Only" in your profile settings. You can also block particular users if necessary.

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Q: How can I block another user from contacting me or from reading my content?

A: To block particular users, go to their profile and click the block button. This prevents them from being able to contact you in any way as well as render them unable to view your profile.

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Q: How do I deactivate my account?

A: You can deactivate your account in your profile settings which makes your stories, blogs, and profile completely inaccessible. Comments are not currently removable in this manner but you have the ability to delete them manually yourself. To reactivate your account, you can log back in.

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Q: How do I read stories offline?

A: To read stories without an Internet connection, go to the chapter you'd like to save for offline reading and click on the "Save Offline" button. To view the chapters you've saved, search for the Offline link at the top navigation bar and go to the offline section of the site. Ensure that you bookmark this section for future reference and simply visit the offline url to read your saved chapters whenever you have a limited Internet connection.

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Q: What are labels and how do I use them?

A: Labels are a way for you to categorize the stories you read or write. For example, if you have a list of favorite stories, just create a label called "Favorites", then go to the story foreword and label it as one of your Favorites up at the story header. To create a label, just look for the "Labels" link in the navigation then look for the "Create Label" button in the sidebar.

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Q: What is upvoting?

A: Upvoting a story is how stories get featured. Stories with the most votes at the end of the week will be featured on the front page.

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Q: Why do I need to have at least 100 karma points to vote on a story?

A: Since karma is an objective measure of how active your account has been, it prevents someone from making multiple shell accounts to vote on their own story.

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Q: Does voting cost karma points?

A: No, it does not. Your account just has to have at least that much to have the ability to vote.

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Q: How do I add new tags to my story?

A: View your story's foreword (not edit) while logged in and you'll be able to add and delete tags from there.

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Q: I just updated my story with a new chapter. Why isn't it showing up in any of its tags?

A: If your story is M Rated, your story will show up in the M Rated section of those tags.

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Q: How do I view the M Rated listings in the tag section?

A: You'll have to mark the checkbox in your profile settings that states: "I wish to view stories with mature themes and I am over 18".

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Q: The toolbar to edit my story isn't showing. How do I fix this?

A: You need to clear out your browser cache and ensure that it's the entire cache. If it's still not working, test it with a different browser on the same device. If it's working there, then it's most likely that you didn't clear the entirety of the cache.

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Q: Why are the chapter links in different colors?

A: Gray links indicate the chapter you have visited before. Blue links are chapters you haven't visited yet. Red links are chapters the author has chosen not to display (visible only to the author). The black link is the chapter you are currently viewing.

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Q: How do I upload a picture for my profile or story?

A: Due to bandwidth limitations, you can't directly upload a picture to our server. However, you can use a free image hosting service like Photobucket to upload your pictures to then paste the link to your picture into your profile or story. Make sure you use the "direct link" url as show in this example if you do decide to use Photobucket. If using a different image host, make sure you use their direct link as well.

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Q: How do I add video to my profile or story?

A: If you are trying to add video from YouTube, look for a button on the video labeled <Embed>. Clicking that button will then show the code that you will need to copy and paste to either your profile or story body. Make sure you are not using the old embed code ("Use old embed code" must be unchecked). If using a different video service, look for anything that says "Embed" and use that code to add the video to your story or profile.

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Q: How do I transfer my story to another user?

A: Edit your story's foreword and at the very bottom there is a link you can click to transfer the story to your co-author. You must first designate a co-author before you can transfer a story. Once a story is transferred, the co-author will become the primary author and you will no longer have any control over the story. If you would like to retain some control over the story, ask the new primary author to designate you as the co-author. Please note that story transfers costs karma points.

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Q: Why don't my views, subscriber numbers, and other statistics change right away?

A: Those statistics generally get updated every 24 hours to help decrease load on the server and increase page loading speed on the site.

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Q: When I try to log in, I get redirected to my profile but it still says "Guest" where my name should be. What can I do to login?

A: The logout times recorded in the cookies and sessions on your browsers might be outdated. Please clear out both the cookies and cache in your browsers if you are having problems logging in. In Firefox: Tools->Clear Recent History->Check mark "Cookies", "Cache", and "Active Logins"->Clear Now. In Internet Explorer: Tools->General tab->Browsing history section-> Delete button->Check mark "Cookies" and "Temporary Internet files" and uncheck "Preserve Favorites website data"->Delete.

If clearing your temporary files doesn't work, try switching over to a browser you don't normally use while viewing the site. This tends to work for the majority of users. The login issue is usually temporary until your usual browser clears its old files out.

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Q: How can I create a "you" story where the story automatically uses the visitor's name as they read it?

A: Type in the tag <you>you</you> in the parts of your story where you want the visitor's name to be used. Note that you can actually put whatever you want in between the <you> tags.

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Q: My story description doesn't show up in the listings even though I have one. How come?

A: The reason that happens is because there's usually a lot of invisible markup right before your description starts. This tends to happen if you have a lot of styling to your text or if you copy and pasted from MS Word. If you look at your editor toolbar, you'll see a button on the top left called "Source". Click that and you'll see all the hidden markup in your story. Why this is relevant is that in the listings pages, I only take the first few hundred characters or so and then discard the rest. If the first few hundred happen to be invisible markup text, then it will appear as if there was no description at all. What I would suggest you do is to either go to "Source" mode and move the actual description to the top or if you're good with HTML markup, just strip out the ones you don't need.

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Q: Are there any limits to the number of chapters in a story?

A: No, there are no chapter limits.

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Q: Are there any limits to the number of words used in a chapter?

A: No, there are no word or character limits.

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Q: Why can't I see fonts, colors, links, and other stylings when viewing stories?

A: You have reader mode enabled. Disable reader mode by clicking on the reader mode button when viewing the Foreword of a story.

Reader mode allows you to view stories without any of the stylings that the author used that may have rendered reading their stories impossible read.

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Q: Another user is causing a disturbance and is bothering other users. What do I do?

A: Please contact a moderator.

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Q: I believe one of your moderators is abusing power. What do I do?

A: Please contact a different moderator and let them know about the situation.

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Q: What makes FanficOverflow different?

A: We strive to cater to the needs of our authors and readers by providing you with various features not available anywhere else. We always listen closely to your suggestions and feedback and many of our features are the direct result from suggestions made by various users. For a full list of our features, please visit our About page.

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Q: What advantages will I get from joining?

A: Registering an account also allows you access to our socially vibrant and tight-knit community of friendly authors and readers willing to help you with your writings, interests, and other endeavors.

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Q: Where can I learn more about FanficOverflow?

A: To learn more about the origins of FanficOverflow and about the people who make it run, read the interview at timevault.

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Q: Can you post stories in any language?

A: You can post your stories in any language.

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Q: Aren't all forms of fanfiction illegal?

A: You've probably read this in a FAQ somewhere. While this is true to a point, much of the fanfiction on FanficOverflow is actually original work and not based on any published copyrighted material. For example, taking Harry Potter and writing a story about him within the Harry Potter universe could be considered as plagiarism by some. On the other hand, writing a story about a celebrity, one in which you created entirely by yourself, is perfectly legal.

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