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[sticky entry] Sticky: Schedule

Assignments are Out

Pinch hits
Dear Worldbuilder Letters
Beta Post

Requests summary on AO3
Google Doc of all requests

Countdown timer to due date

Exchange Schedule

Nominations close: Tues 24th Jan, 07:59 UTC
Sign ups close: Weds 1st Feb, 07:59 UTC
Assignments sent by: Sat 4th Feb, 07:59 UTC
Assignments due: Sat 1st Apr, 06:59 UTC
Works revealed: Sat 8th Apr, 06:59 UTC
Creators revealed: Sat 15th Apr, 06:59 UTC

All these times are the UTC equivalent of just before midnight Pacific time on the previous calendar day. Please note that the clocks will change in most countries in the weeks leading up to assignments being due.

Other Useful Links

Exchange Information
The tag set (or as a spreadsheet)

[sticky entry] Sticky: "Dear Worldbuilder" letters

Letters giving details of your requests/prompts/etc. are not required (requests will be visible throughout sign ups), but if you do write one, you can leave a link here so that other people can find it easily. Treats are very much encouraged in this exchange, and letters are often a good way for potential treaters to find potential treatees.

If you want to advertise your letter, leave a comment on this post with at least:

  • Your AO3 username
  • A link to your letter

And (optionally but helpfully):

  • Which fandoms you are requesting
  • Which types of fanwork you are open to receiving

If you wish, you can cut and paste the template below into your comment:

NB Please don't link to placeholder or locked letters here; if I spot any I will screen the comment in question until you message me to say that it's finished.
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Beta post

Use the comments of this post to offer your beta-ing services.

If you're offering, please specify at least:

  • which fandoms you can help with
  • the type of beta you can offer
  • anything you can't beta
  • how people can best contact you to ask for your help

If you're a creator needing help finding a beta, and there isn't anyone in the comments here offering what you need, please contact the mod in the first instance. Posting directly in the comments here asking for help may make it too obvious what your assignment is.
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Here is a Google Doc containing all the requests in the exchange, for your crtl-F-ing pleasure.

It is 126 pages long. Wow.

Happy Worldbuilding!
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Initial Pinch Hits

To claim, comment on this post with your AO3 username; all comments are screened. If you get it as an assignment, you got the pinch hit; if not but you see it's been claimed, then someone else got it instead, sorry. (But do consider treating!)

ETA: Only PH#1 outstanding now. All claimed; fantastic, thank you, everyone!

Pinch Hit #1 - Fandoms: Exalted, Miles from Tomorrowland, Transformers: Rescue Bots, Transformers: War for Cybertron/Exodus - Claimed! )

Pinch Hit #2 - Fandoms: A Song of Ice and Fire, Harry Potter (books), Rogue One - Claimed! )

Pinch Hit #3 - Fandoms: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, The Wicked + The Divine, Secret Wars, Bad Blood, Machineries of Empire, The Man in the High Castle, Star Trek: TNG, NASA Visions of the Future posters, Star Wars Sequel Trilogy - Claimed! )
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Assignments out

Assignments are on their way to your email, or you can check your AO3 assignments page.

(Thank you to the unmatchable participant for responding so promptly and being willing to extend their offers in several different directions.)

There are three initial pinch hits; details will be posted shortly.

ETA: Since everything ran so smoothly, assignments are out significantly earlier than expected; please be patient if you are currently looking at a locked/placeholder letter! (I would suggest waiting at least until the target time for assignments to definitely be out by, which was Friday night/Saturday morning depending on time zone, before worrying that it's not going to be updated.)
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Sign ups closed

Thanks to everyone who has signed up!

There is just one participant who has come out of the initial stages of the matching process without any potential recipients. I have sent the individual concerned an email to the address they have registered with AO3 with some suggestions of how we can proceed; please respond within 24 hours, or I will (very sadly) be forced to delete your sign up in order to allow things to proceed.

Once I hear back from this individual, or after 24 hours have elapsed with no contact, I'll go ahead and generate assignments, initial pinch hits, etc. so watch out for something in the next 24-48 hours.
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One hour left to sign up!

If you are still in the process of signing up, please reply to this post or ping me an email at worldbuildingmod@gmx.com with your AO3 username so I can keep an eye out for your sign up appearing. I can't hold the door open indefinitely but I will do my best to provide a little bit of wiggle room.

If you are still signing up, and you're aiming to provide detailed prompts*, then for what it's worth I would quite strongly suggest that to be sure of making it in time, you go down the route of linking to a placeholder letter and cut and pasting brief details of your strong DNWs into the Optional Details boxes, and then update the letter later.

*please note that prompts are not compulsory - Optional Details Are Optional applies in all directions, and in this exchange in particular many of the worldbuilding tags are essentially prompts by themselves
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24 hours left to sign up ...

Here's the sign up form.

And if you're still on the fence, here's the tag set to tempt you ...
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Sign ups are open!

Sign up here!

I will shortly put up a post for "Dear Worldbuilder" letters and update the sticky schedule post with useful links for the sign up period.
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The tag set!

The tag set is now in its final form, for better or worse; if there are any remaining mistakes, I am afraid we will be stuck with them. Thanks to everyone who contributed corrections, especially the eagle-eyed Morbane.

Three Marvel characters decided to take a wander through the tag set, as is customary: Maria Hill, Tony Stark, and Scott Summers. To keep them in the right places, you will find that they have gained some repetitive extra bits to their tags; these can be ignored from the point of view of using them for your requests/offers.

I have turned the tag set into a Google docs spreadsheet here. This may be more useful but may also contain mistakes; in the event of discrepancies, the tag set on AO3 should be taken as definitive because that's what sign ups and matching will be working on. If anyone has suggestions for improving the presentation/useability of the spreadsheet, I am open to them (or if anyone wants to make a nicer version, I will happily link to that instead).

For those who are interested, the final count is 233 fandoms, 1677 characters (so 1211 characters outside "No" and "Original") and a whopping 1463 worldbuilding tags.

Sign ups will open very shortly.

ETA: Don't forget to check the Uncategorized Fandom section. All of Harry Potter and Middle Earth are in there, along with quite a bit of Star Wars. And many other fine fandoms.
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The "No Characters" Guide

The updated version of the rules says:

The “No Characters” tag in a prompt means that the requester is leaving the use of characters up to their creator. It does not prohibit a creator from using characters.

Including "No Characters" in the tag set for each fandom is designed to improve the chances of people matching to other people who want to receive/create the type of works they themselves are interested in, since some types of worldbuilding fanworks do not include characters in the traditional sense, or at least do not focus on them.

Here's how this will work in practice:

No Characters and Requests )
No Characters and Offers )
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Nominations are now closed

There will be a short grace period: if you really were just about to hit Submit, honest, comment on this post within the next fifteen minutes with the details, and I'll add your noms manually. (Please don't rely on email for this, it seems to be having a flaky moment.) Time's up!

After that the only modifications made will be corrections. Please do take one last look in case there's anything I've missed. (I should pick up any missing "No Characters" and "Original Character(s)" tags when I make the spreadsheet later, but if I haven't spotted spelling mistakes and other similar things already, I'm unlikely to suddenly notice them now.)

Fingers crossed for sign ups opening within the next 12-24 hours.
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One hour left to nominate

It's a great tag set already, but there's still just time to squeeze in a few more things.
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A small snag

I have just discovered a bunch of "Worldbuilding: ..." tags which had somehow ended up defined as character tags.

I tried to remove these from the Characters section of the tag set to move to them to Relationships. However, because by this point AO3 already knew about those tags, and that they were very definitely character tags, they have all gained a " - Relationship" modifier to make them unique. This is potentially confusing at best. I am going to be coming up with slight renamings as a workaround, so please don't worry about your tags suddenly seeming to shift around slightly.

Some of these tags were for some flavour of Pokemon, and only disambiguated with "(Pokemon)". I failed to spot that when I was approving them and now they have lost their link to their fandom; I am half-guessing, half-remembering that they were for video games rather than anime but if you spot a slight variant on your tag has ended up in a fandom that wasn't what you intended, please say and I will put it in the right place.

ETA: All done. Please check that I haven't scrambled the intended meanings of your tags too badly. I am happy to make further changes but unfortunately they can't go back to exactly what they were. (NB I finally decided that Anthonius and Paulinus were character tags all along).
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12 hours to go ...

As of this point, the tag set contains 208 fandoms, 1519 characters and 1270 worldbuilding tags.

I have rejected the few remaining "Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling" tags but have added them manually to Wizarding World.

As we move into the final stages, please consider following the (still entirely optional) guide to getting your nominations approved quickly to help keep things moving overall; many of you are doing so - much appreciated. Also, there will be no further nominations clarification posts; I will be making judgement calls as and when I get to tags. If you are nominating anything you think might be in danger of being rejected, please provide information as you do so by commenting here or via email.

Finally, Divine Cities has recently gained worldbuilding tags, but Dinotopia and Haikyuu!! should now be considered to be in severe danger of not making it into the final tag set.
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Last Day for Nominations

Nominations will close in 24 hours from the time of this post.
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Nominations Clarifications #8

Please don't worry that this post is going up if you still have unapproved noms. There are a number of fandoms still awaiting attention, but they all at least look fairly straightforward. I have to go offline for a while now, so I have deliberately focused on the complicated bits:

Harry Potter

  • Everything that was previously in "Harry Potter (book series)" has been moved to "Harry Potter - Books Only" and "Harry Potter (book series)" removed. Please check that your nominations have survived this process unscathed! If you have incorrectly rejected nominations still outstanding, please get in touch.
  • Very minor, but "No Character" was rejected under Wizarding World because "No Characters" was already in. (Similar things have also happened in a few other fandoms, for what it's worth.)
  • I really can't decide what's the best thing to do with nominations under "Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling". That's a fandom in AO3's "Books and Literature" category, which would argue for the intention being to nominate for the books, but my take on HP fandom in general (which is possibly limited by the bits of it I know, I admit) is that it accepts everything as part of the same universe, so people nominating under this tag might well be meaning that everything is in scope, including Pottermore, the new play, the new film, etc. Anyone with a view as to which way I should jump, please do chime in. Better yet, if you're the original nominator, make your intentions clear by switching your nominations to either "Harry Potter - Books Only" (the limited version) or "Harry Potter - Wizarding World" (the every-napkin-JKR's-ever-scribbled-on version), depending on what you intended.


I have accepted the proposed divisions as nominated ("Gundam 00 & Anno Domini Gundam" and "Gundam SEED & Cosmic Era Gundam") because they seem sensible and fit with what the fandom's wiki tells me are essentially completely different timelines, but I am happy to rename them if there are strong arguments for it. These seem to have been sorted into sensible-looking places in the tag set, which to be honest I'm a bit confused by; I'm nowhere near as fandom-adjacent to Gundam as I am to Tolkien, but it has tagging issues visible from space. Have they recently been resolved?

Uncategorized Fandoms

Because of the way we're trying to organise things, many very popular fandoms are ending up in this "category" because we're not using AO3 canonical names for them (most often because the same worldbuilding spans what AO3 would consider multiple fandoms). Unfortunately, these fandoms will be stuck there permanently; putting these bespoke fandom tags into categories is not something I have the ability to do.

A bit more on AUs

The terminology around AUs seems to get more confusing all the time. To clarify:

This exchange is for worldbuilding based on the information available in canon. As such, setting change AUs/fusions/magical realism/etc. (where the main worldbuilding going on is about how the new element(s) involved affect the canon, not exploring the worldbuilding of the canon setting) are out of scope, though popular tropes for them can be nominated in the Original Work category - there's already a lot of soulmate stuff in there, for example - and popular targets for fusions such as His Dark Materials and Pacific Rim are in the tag set in their own rights.

On the other hand, some canons have AUs within them, most often canon-divergent (aka "What if?"/Elseworlds/etc.) but also sometimes other types (e.g. Xena's Uberverse). These are absolutely fine, and indeed can be nominated as their own fandoms if there is sufficient information provided about them to extrapolate worldbuilding from. (Examples already in the tag set include the Star Trek mirrorverse and Marvel Secret Wars Battleworlds.) They can also be nominated as worldbuilding tags (see, e.g. Shadowhunters (TV)).

Creating canon-divergent AUs in your fanworks for this exchange is absolutely fine, so long as your recipient hasn't DNW-ed them; I can easily imagine how this would be an interesting way to explore worldbuilding ideas. However, please don't use "what if?" type ideas for canon-divergent AUs as worldbuilding tags, unless that AU exists within the canon.

I hope that all makes sense but please do ask for further clarification if desired.


... And following on from that, given the nature of the "canon" here, I have in fact erred on the side of allowing in worldbuilding tags for this that could be construed as exactly the sort of AU I'm disallowing elsewhere (specifically: "fairy tale setting", "mermaids" and "underwater aliens"). If you're unhappy with any or all of those, please feel free to argue against them in the comments and if I'm convinced I'll take them back out again (and if they all go, the fandom will too); the one I'm least certain about is "fairy tale setting", for what it's worth.

General cleanup

Thanks for all the useful feedback so far. Please continue to keep an eye out for any issues in the tag set, such as duplicated or near-duplicated tags, dodgy-looking worldbuilding tags, fandoms which are missing "No Characters" and "Original Character(s)", or fandoms where your nominations have mysteriously disappeared.

Also, with the close of nominations imminent, please consider this a last call for responses to all previous clarification requests. Once we're into the final day of nominations (about 11 hours from now), I will start making my own judgement calls about whether or not to accept or reject the tags I'm currently uncertain about.
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Moddy's come to warn Harry Potter

In light of the continuing problems with nominations to "Harry Potter (book series)" being incorrectly automatically rejected*, I have manually added a new fandom to the tag set called "Harry Potter - Books Only" which you can nominate to instead. I will eventually move over all existing "Harry Potter (book series)" nominations into this new category, but please make new ones in the new category (or use it to resubmit your incorrectly rejected ones). Apologies for the inconvenience.

Also on Harry Potter, please try to avoid using the canonical "Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling" fandom tag as I am finding it difficult to interpret how wide a range of source material this is intended to encompass. (I can see several contradictory arguments; anyone who wants to discuss it in comments should feel free to ask as it may well help me clarify my thinking.) Any nominations still under the canonical tag when nominations close will probably end up in the broadest possible category ("Harry Potter - Wizarding World"), but I haven't yet decided for certain.

*This problem is entirely my fault for dealing with inconsistent capitalisation in a kludgey way early on in the nominations period. Sorry again.
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Update: no non-canonical AUs please

Complete setting change AUs/fusions/etc. are implicitly outside the scope of this exchange as the worldbuilding for them tends to go significantly beyond the idea of "extrapolating from canon" that the exchange is meant to be focused on. Those sorts of fanworks are very popular for good reason; they're just not what this exchange is for. Canonical AUs are fine, of course, as discussed earlier. (While we're here, may I recommend that those interested in AUs of all kinds take a look at [community profile] auexchange if they don't already know about it?)

However, it has come to my attention that I have approved worldbuilding tags in at least one fandom (Haikyuu!!) that do fall into this category. This is my bad; I did insufficient due diligence because this was one of the fandoms that had relationship tags instead of worldbuilding, and I was pleased to see that they had changed. These tags have now been removed. This leaves Haikyuu!! in the anomalous position of being an approved fandom with no worldbuilding tags. I will leave it in the tag set for now, but unless some valid tags are added, it will be removed at the close of nominations.

Another fandom in a similar situation was Bravely Default, which has a nearly identical set of worldbuilding tags to the out-of-scope ones submitted for Haikyuu!! I cannot find evidence for any of them being canon-based except for "Magic System", but please point me in the direction of the evidence I have missed, if I have, and I will reinstate the tags.

Please keep me informed of any other similar situations; I don't know every fandom by a long stretch, and I am generally assuming good faith on the part of nominators.

Also, I think I can now say that there is definitely a glitch affecting nominations for "Harry Potter (book series)" in particular, as described in the previous post. If you nominate tags and they appear to be rejected instantly, please send me a link to your nominations page to get it straightened out.

Nominations close in a little under 48 hours. Have fun!
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Nominations Clarifications #7

Any unexplained rejections are accidental!

I have rejected very few tags throughout the nominations process so far, and any that I have rejected, I have explained the reasoning for in a post like this one.

However, I have occasionally been hitting 500 errors and similar on AO3 while approving nominations, and it's always possible that I've just straight-up made hideous, hideous mistakes. (Confession time: I was only one click away from clearing all nominations from the tag set earlier today.) It has come to my attention that at least one nominator has had worldbuilding tags rejected that I certainly did not intend to reject; this is hopefully now fixed.

If you think the same might have happened to you, or tags you nominated have disappeared entirely, please comment on this post or email me at worldbuildingmod@gmx.com - if you can provide a link to your nominations page on AO3, that would really help. This would be in the format http://archiveofourown.org/tag_sets/1613/nominations/vwxyz where vwxyz is a string of numbers.

Fandoms with no worldbuilding tags

As you've hopefully seen, these have been moved to their own post here. Thanks to those who've already nominated worldbuilding tags for some fandoms and helped me remove them from the list. (If fandoms disappear from that list but have not yet appeared in the tag set, it's because there are other issues like disambiguation that I need a bit more time to sort out. But I'm taking them off that list as soon as I see worldbuilding tags appear.)

Fandom-specific questions

  • Captive Prince - "Worldbuilding: What Will the Neighbours Think?" - I'm a bit unclear on how this is a worldbuilding tag. Is it "neighbours" in the sense of next-door countries?
  • Dragon Age - there are some new nominations for All Media Types. The tag set already has Dragon Age (Video Games). Could the nominator confirm that they deliberately intend to create a broader category, or would they rather I folded their noms into the game category? (If I don't hear anything, I will assume that it is meant to be separate.)
  • Eagle of the Ninth - I'm still unsure about "Anthonius" and "Paulinus" as worldbuilding tags. If they're there mostly because the nominator ran out of character slots, I can create extra character tags if need be. In this particular instance, I will probably err on the side of allowing them in as-is if I don't hear anything, but some clarification would be appreciated.
  • Hunger Games - "Victor" is nominated as a character tag. Is this in the sense of "Original Victor" of a games we didn't see, or is there a character called Victor I'm unaware of?
  • Labyrinth - "The effect of humans on Labyrinth and the Goblin King" and "Effects of humans [...]" were both nominated; I went with "Effects".
  • Steven Universe - I moved the apostrophe in "Worldbuilding: Gem's Influence on Earth" to "Gems' Influence". If there's any reason why this was the wrong thing to do, let me know and I'll change it back.

Current progress

The tag set is currently at 166 fandoms, 1182 characters and 980 worldbuilding tags.

I am very keen to open sign ups as soon as possible after nominations close, and as such I am keen to avoid a prolonged tag set clean up phase. Please keep an eye on things as nominations continue, and if you spot any problems, let me know.

Finally, thanks for all the enthusiasm already on display!