Question @people who were already actively reading fic back in the 90′s early 2000′s etc.:

Since I have a preference for older fandoms I keep ending up on older fic archives too, but I’m personally really more of an AO3-generation type person since I literally only started reading fic back in 2013 and ao3 is where I read my first stories..

SO on ao3 fic length/’size’ gets measured in WORDCOUNT (which.. makes sense to me and is something I can sort of work with to make an approximation of how long something is gonna take me to read etc.)

BUT on older fic archives I tend to see things get measured by.. idek what exactly? but? you end up with fic sizes like “55K” or.. “200K” and.. to me ‘K’ means thousand? but they most definitely do not mean 200 thousand WORDS, so..

is it FILESIZE?? like.. 200 KB if you save it as a textfile??? or?? what.. just.. W H A T ?

I’m pretty sure it’s file size because that mattered with dial-up. I think 4K roughly corresponds to 1000 words.

I’ve never felt… so old…. in my life

wait till the children find out we had to split up our “long” stories into parts because the way you got fanfic was through a mailing list and was rude to send a whole long story in one email. (and by “long” I mean like 20,000 words. that would be split up into five or six parts.)

because… what if you sent someone a long story and their email inbox got COMPLETELY FULL. then they’d miss other important emails. that was a thing that could happen. TRUE FANDOM HISTORY FACTS

*xxx * means bold!
_xxx_ means italic!
//xxx// means thoughts or song lyrics!

True, all of the above is true! The first fanfic I ever wrote was split into four emails and sent out to an email list. In fact, for a few years I composed fanfic *in my email at work* because I had no computer at home and no better place on my work computer to store it.

And eventually, you got good at gauging the length of the stories by the K size too.  Like, this story’s only 5, 10K, okay, that’s a fast read, I can get through that in my internet time before school in the morning.  But if it was a story that was something along the lines of 5 separate parts/files, and each file was listed as 90K?  Save that one for the weekend…or copy/paste it to another file to read offline so you don’t end up spending hours on dial-up and then getting yelled at by your parents when the next phone bill comes in.  That or just print out the story, stick it in a binder, so when you’re reading it in class it actually looks like you’re working…

This was more common with the fic archives of the time as compared to the e-mail lists.  And, at least with the specific archive I’m thinking of, all of those stories had to be uploaded and posted as a text file, which was hell on the formatting too, iirc. 


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