Story Classification

I have a problem. Or should I say, I’m dissatisfied with something. Story classification.

Currently, the site uses codes to classify stories, but this method has significant shortcomings in my view. It does not distinguish between main themes or story types from minor activities.

I want to create an additional classification system that focuses only on main story types or genres, for example: Science Fiction, Western, Horror etc… and of course each genres could have some sub-genres.

So far, I have no details about the supported genres, but I definitely want to make it in a way that stories can’t have more than one genre. Main genres will replace some story codes like Scifi, horror.

So, this is a call for suggestions of what genres to include in the new system, and if a genre definitely needs sub-genres, what they are. Try to keep in mind that a story can only have exactly ONE genre and ONE sub-genre.

What’s puzzling me the most is what genre can plain sex stories have? They’re about human relationships, so what genre would that be?

Also, I intend to create a flag for sex and non-sex stories. The ‘no-sex’ category is not adequate.

So with this new classification a story can be, for example, Science Fiction: Time Travel: sex story, or Science Fiction: End of Civilization: non-sex story.

With the sex/nosex flag, all stories currently on the site would be classified as sex stories and it’s up to each author to flip the flag if it is needed for their stories.

Currently posted stories would have no genre classification unless it’s something already expressed currently in the categories.

So, what do you think, should I or shouldn’t I?

Published by Lazeez

Owner and operator of

117 replies on “Story Classification”

  1. I say go for it! You may be opening a can of worms, but I hope not for the following reasons:

    1. As a reader, I would love to have a better mechanism for finding the kinds of stories I want to read at any given time. The codes give only haphazard results in story searches. You either have to get too broad and wade through a bunch of stuff you don’t want to read to find the few that you enjoy, or you get too specific and have to do several searches to find all the stories you ‘re looking for.

    2. As an author I would love to have a better way of attracting those readers who are looking for the kind of story I’ve published. I’ve been publishing here for more than two years and I still get ‘Why haven’t I seen your stuff before?’ type emails.

    Shakes Peer2B

  2. I think the story classification system idea is a good one.

    As far as sex stories go, I’d create a class just for sex stories and then get into specifics in the sub-genre. For example: Various types of incest, romantic, orgy, group sex etcetera.

    I do wonder if Time travel stories wouldn’t be a sub-genre of either science fiction or fantasy, depending on whether the person went backwards or forwards through time.

    One thing, and you explained it but I want to make sure that some codes WILL Remain even within the genre’s. I don’t want to go to a sci-fi story and end up reading a story full of scat or beastiality for example. Some codes will still be marked on the story, right? So that the reader, me, can pick which sci-fi story they want to read.


  3. If it is to be hierarchical system, i.e. divided into subcategories if needed, I’d rather think about e.g.

    Science Fiction > Time Travel (sex story)

    As to the categories: you can always steal, excuse me borrow ideas from other sites, such as Literotica, EWP (Browse by Genre),, or Free Novels Online, or even your own StoriesWiki. Or take a look at Wikipedia article Genre fiction. Of course, in some sites mentioned here (most of them?) there is no code system, so flat categories have to do for the whole story classification, and codes.

    I don’t think that the “genres” story codes should go. I know they would be redundant somewhat, but first it helps somewhat in search by category page, second it would be of use if the story contains for example fragments of other genre or sub-genre or aren’t easily categorized (like e.g. being both Fantasy and Horror, or both Science-Fiction and Fantasy, or containing fragments of).

    As to plain sex stories: if they are about first time, they should go to First Time category, if they are about romantic relationship, they should go to Romantic or Romance, some (but not all) could be fit I think under Erotic Couplings, and plain stroke stories could be under N/A (not applicable), PWP (Plot What Plot, or Porn Without Plot) or under dominating sex code category (like Incest, BDSM, Slut Wife,…)

    Shadowhawk, the reader

  4. I’m not sure how beneficial this is really going to be, because it is just one more way an author may confuse a reader.

    What if it is both sci-fi AND romance? How far are we going to take this? The problem with MORE codes is that there are MORE codes! All you have to do is look at a story code argument in a.s.s.d to see how bad it gets.

    You give the writer a chance to put a blurb in. That should be sufficient. If they can’t accurately describe their story in the space you give them, asking them to categorize their story is probably a lost cause.

    I can see it would make a search functionality a little better, but how many codes will you allow for genre per story?

    As Jefferson said, removing story codes would be disasterous. It’s hard enough for new writers to get the coding down pat (with so many options), but if there isn’t coding, a lot of authors will get flamed for a “romance/sex” story that has scat, or beastiality, etc. With all that you have recently done to make authors have an easier time getting valid feedback, please don’t open that can of worms. I am hoping you just were’t being very clear on that part, Lazeez.

    I’d like to see it in action before giving it a final vote, but I could live with it.


  5. I love the new classification idea, especially as it would allow much more direct access to my genre, which is Fg., a gay site,starts off with major categories like ‘Lesbian’ and then has the same series of sub-codes (about 12 or so) in each of the major categories. It makes finding the kind of story you want very easy, although nifty has a few other serious problems that make it otherwise hard to navigate. Maybe check this site out for some inspiration?

  6. I do agree that catergories may end up causing more problems than they solve. It’s hard to say what the effects will be. It may be that readers here have adjusted to the codes. A serious reader is going to look at both the description of the story and the codes given before deciding to read it. It is the author’s responsibility to communicate what the story is about in the description as well.

    As an author, I find I really prefer the codes over catergories. Even with a sub-catergory, narrowing a story down to a one-word or two-word genre is so often inaccurate. What if you want to write something that begins as a story about casual sex that blossoms into romance? It’s a pain in the butt if you’re an author, to get chewed out for something you have no control over. Or getting flakk for writing something a little too over the top for the prudish. I can tell you from personal experience that you can bold it and put it in capitals, but there are still people who won’t listen.

    Perhaps you should try a change of codes. For example, there’s a code for slow, but none for romance. Slow can imply a lot of things, but romance is specific. If someone is looking for something with romance, and they search by that code, they’ll find it. Without the author having to figure out how to narrow their stories down to a genre and a sub-genre.

  7. Pardon me. My apologies. There is technically a code for romance, but since it comes up as rom, it doesn’t grab the attention very well. Heck, that’s what I write, and I forgot about that code, so that might not be a good sign 😀

  8. Classifying most stories should not be that hard.

    1. Mystery historical/modern
    2. Fantasy — Pesonally when I think of fantasy I think of dragons, fairies, knights, and other type characters.
    3. Science fiction — involves aliens, robots, time travel, and other oddities
    4. Romance historical/modern (you could also put time travel here)
    5. Western
    6. Horror (I would include vampires, and werewolves and other such things here)
    7 Erotica (incest, beastality, BDSM, and other more hard core stories)
    8. True
    9. Fan Fiction (I would inlcude celebrity fiction under this)

    I’m not sure what you mean by “plain sex”, but you might could stick some of them under romance or erotica — depending on the contents of the story. Just have a sub-genere of Romance: erotica. And if needed have a sub-genere or Erotica: romance

    I know there are cross overs within the genres; however, you pick out the main genre and that’s the genre you place it under. Let’s say for instance, you have a story involving aliens where they were solving a murder. You could put that under mystery; however, aliens comes under sci-fi and, therefore, the story would go under sci-fi.

    I like the idea of the sex/no sex flags. But if the story is in progress, and there is going to be sex later on in the story; which flag will the author use? Or can the flag be changed later on? Frankly, with the “slow” code I see no problem with marking the story “sex” and not having to change the flag later on.

    And I’m with the others about keeping some of the codes for the stories. I like being able to glance at a code and know that the story contains something that I would not enjoy reading.

    Stormy Weather (Author)

  9. Stormy weather must be advised that in Australia “Fairies” are classed amongst the “Gay” community, I thought they fitted there too in the USA and Canada?
    Start with “SEX” and “NO SEX” as your main classification

  10. Lazeez,

    I suspect you might be biting off more than you can chew, and that’s saying a lot, considering that I consider you a master at what you’re doing.

    I’ll throw in my two cents now, and maybe add to it later if I feel I can contribute some worthwhile ideas.

    Like you and I suspect many, if not most, readers, it seems as if it’s getting tougher to identify a story the many. Part of the problem is that the site seems to have grown up, and there are some very good writers here now.

    I think it may be helpful to separate some categories, yet I’m not sure how I would do that. Of course this is only a generalization, but I think most readers are looking for either a good story or a stroke story. I do believe that it would help readers if right up front you direct them to either

    NOVELS, or

    You can either use your current 50K limit or you might do a search to find the one ‘bknk’ (formerly published novel) on the site with the least characters and use that as the standard. Anything under that would be a SHORT STORY.

    Sub-categories for each of those could then be

    NO SEX

    If I’m thinking right, those categories that you’re worried about wouldn’t really apply to short stories. Indeed, I suspect that the readers of these don’t care about Science Fiction, Western, Horror, etc, but are more interested the sex genre 🙂 such as INCEST, SLUT WIVES, BDSM, etc.

    You mention that you’re looking for feedback from authors, but I think the readers are the ones you’re trying to satisfy the most; maybe their feedback should be solicited, probably by one or more questionaires.

    The Purvv

  11. I wasn’t thinking of the gay “fairies” classificaton; but was thinking along the lines of the magical beings in fairy tales etc.

    Or am I missing something?

  12. I like the idea of revamping the codes very much. They are cumbersome and there is no priority given to the main ideas of the story in question. Every catagory has thew same weight.

    I also agree with the Pervv that the readers need to be first in input. We know what we write and the meaning of the tags used. A detailed story discription is our best way of letting the reader know what is inside.

  13. I think you should go for it. The current system is a little bulky and it almost seems like authors are selecting every single flag that even touches on the story instead of just the main ones. That would make things a lot easier to find the type of story you want to read.

  14. I LOVE it! Trying to pidgeon hole some of what I write into the catagories listed gives me a migraine at times. For You Momma was the worst, while an incest story per se it wasn’t like a normal one so what do you do with that?
    Some suggestions from me are;
    Fantasy Creatures (encompasses most non-human thingies [for the fairy coment fairys or faes are magical creatures :P])
    Cautionary(those with a moral or something to say)
    Straight Sex Story (nothing fancy just a normal sex story)
    Erotic and Non-Erotic Poetry
    Romance (those can be enitirely different that a normal story)
    For the non-sex stories how about simply nosex plot?
    Even with a neew system there are going to be problems trying to pidgeon hole some of the stuff written but hopefully this will help some of that.
    As for the sub catagories why not add a box other to it so the author can add something not on the list?

  15. I think it would be a great idea. However what might be best to consider is having a General Category to give the reader an idea of the type of stories listed there and some sub categories to further breakdown the list into more specific genres. For instance a “Loving Wives” General Section, with “Cheating Wives”, “Wimp/Cuckold”, “Romance”, “Revenge”, etc subcategories. Literotica has a big problem with readers going to the “Loving Wives” section and finding all the above lumped in together, which angers alot of readers. Anyway that is my suggestion.

  16. The main problem with any catagorizing system, is the honesty and willingness of the author to acurately post the tags that are pertinent to the story.

    A lot of authors already leave out some tags as to not give away hidden or surprise aspects of the story. Some authors leave out tags so that more people might read a story that might not with some unpopular tags. Some authors add tags as the story progresses, and more tags are appropriate at a later time.

    The only way to acurately tag a story, is for an independant reader/editor/reviewer to go over the story first and list all the tags for the story. Problem with this is that most stories are written over time, and not held to be submitted until the story is done.

    It all comes down to whomever decides on the tags to do an honest and complete job of it. “Ain’t never gonna happen, Boss!”

    Brogan Wayfarer

  17. Simple solution: Allow authors to bold or italicize primary/secondary codes.

    Here’s two examples of different hypothetical stories with the same codes: rom, rape, sci-fi

    Story 1: This story is all about the sci-fi. In it, two people fall in love, but out of the 30 chapters, one deals with attempted rape.

    It would be coded: sci-fi, rom, rape

    Story Two: A woman is graphically raped on Mars. At the end, she falls for the man who heals her.

    Codes:, sci-fi, rom, rape

    it doesn’t matter what order the codes are in, it’s the text formatting that determines the importance of the code.

    You could even allow multiple primary/secondary codes. This is particularly useful with longer stories.

    Take Al Steiner’s A Perfect World. Its current codes don’t do it justice anyway, but here they are: MF FF Mult ScFi orgy. More accurately, they might be sci-fi Mult MF FF orgy.

    Honestly, I hate genre organization everywhere I’ve seen it, especially Literotica. How do you categorize a story with incest, anal, group sex, etc, when you can only put a story into a single category? A Perfect World includes all of that, but none of them, and not even a Sci-fi nor any other category, would do the story justice.

  18. I’m not as hot on the idea as many of the other posters seem to be so far, but I will offer my best question/suggestion.

    Are there any site(s) already doing this successfully? If so, plagiarize their idea. Always best, btw, to plagiarize from at least two sources because then you can call it Research.

    If there is no site already doing it right, are there site(s) doing parts of it right?

    If you know of site(s) meeting either of the above — including suggestions from posters here — then provide a list of them and let us look at them too. Then we could provide possibly informed feedback of what we think of the ideas in actual use.

    As for what top level categories to have, why not apply the Book Store model? If this story was for sale in a large bookstore where would it be filed?

  19. Shakes Peer2B:

    “I’ve been publishing here for more than two years and I still get ‘Why haven’t I seen your stuff before?’ type emails.”

    This is probably a combination of a) stupid readers and b) unfriendly site regulations.

    a) I say that because if they check the new and updated pages every other day or so, there’s no reason to not see your stories.

    b) I say this because it’s true. If you takes a week’s vacation, when you come home you’ll have missed FIVE DAYS of updated stories with no way to see what you missed. Even Literotica can do better than that. God forbid if you’re gone for ten days or a fortnight – every story you were following could have ended and you’d have no idea.

    Especially on longer stories (but no less true for one shots), the amount of attention you get relies more on how you milk the system rather than how GOOD your story really is.

    Perfect example: After more than a year, John Wales just posted SIX new chapters of his story Time. Something like a megabyte of text – this was an update of several HUNDRED THOUSAND words.

    But he posted it all at once, instead of one chapter a day or even better, one chapter every two or three days. Because of this, his story will fall off the updates stories pages in 48 hours. So many people, including many of his fans, will NEVER NOTICE HE UPDATED. New readers will miss one of the best stories ever posted to SOL.

    Now look at Tom Land. He has probably 30 in-progress stories at any one time, and NO, that’s not an exaggeration. He posts new chapters for several stories several times a week.

    However, these “updates” are usually little more than a half-dozen paragraphs, 3 to 5 kilobytes if he’s feeling generous. It’s a rare day when something of his ISN’T on the first two pages of the updated stories list.

    What story will be seen by more people? The huge, quality update that was posted all at once, or the story that’s added to every other day, but only grows by a few hundred words at a time?

    Maybe paid users get more days, I can’t remember from the rare times years ago when I could afford it, but I can barely afford my internet connection these days. What I see is that free users are (unfairly) inconvenienced, but that’s nothing compared to the shafting writers like John Wales are getting.

  20. Why not keep in effect the codes that you are already using but set up a classification or ordering system. Such as Main Subject in all caps Bold: INCEST or DOCTOR, the second set or group could be in Italics lower case text, dad/dau or bdsm and a final or third classification could be in all lower case letters, beast or ws.
    I think this would allow more freedom in the search type but also in what a person is looking for in a story.

    Dark Darth

  21. I don’t like the idea of trying to force a story to be Sci-Fi or Fantasy.

    I say this because I have a story idea where there is quite literally both. There would be Star Trek level technology but also a magical equivalent to each and every scientific gizmo.

    How would I properly classify such story?

  22. What’s may be needed in my opinion are two main classification themes. The first is plot basis i.e. Rom, Sci Fi, Time Travel, War etc. The second is primary sexual orientation i.e. Multi, FF, Rom, MMF. Then you can add supplementary codes. This would allow the author to classify the stories main theme to “War & Rom” but still allow with MF, FF, rape, beast etc to enable reader’s to skip topics they don’t like.

  23. About sex/no-sex tag: Perhaps it would be better to grade the sex/no-sex tag more, like the MPAA ratings system or something simpler, e.g. like the story rating:
    N – No Sexual Content
    S – Mild Sexual Content
    X – Erotica – Heavy Sexual Content
    There is a question if the tag/rating should reflect the content of the story (so e.g. story about romantic relationship gets N) or the intent of the author; well, I guess you can always add the
    I – Implied (Mild) Sexual Content

    Multiple/Unusual Genres. There will always be the problem with categorizing stories which falls on the edge of or join two genres, like Fantasy+Science Fiction example (magic in high tech world, or magic/tech worlds existing separate like in Xanth or Proton/Phase stories of Piers Anthony). Problems with stories where genre is meant as suprise to the reader, like Romantic or Erotic Coupling stories which transforms into Fantasy, Magic/Urban Fantasy or Horror/Mythical (like werewolves) stories. Problems with stories which belongs to unusual genres or subgenres, like so called Urban Fantasy stories (e.g. “War for the Oaks” by Emma Bull, or Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher) with magic and/or magic creatures in current time/everyday world. Yet another problem would be (for designer(s)) to keep the genres and sub-genres generic enough, but also allowing to specify the kind of story.

    The idea for marking the primary, secondary etc. codes (ROM, ROM, ROM, Rom, Rom, Rom, rom, rom, rom 😉 is a good one, but it is still tags (codes) system. Sometimes it would be nicer to browse instead of search. Another disadvantage is that it requires additional work for authors, editors, admins or reviewers. And for readers to familiarize with new UI. Besides, I don’t think that it could be used to enhance searching… so it could be done in story description.

    The problem with unusual genres could be solved by allowing authors to define their own genre. Then the problem would be with readers reconizing the genre, and with avoiding misspelt genres and similar mistakes.

    Final question: who would do this for exising stories?

    Shadowhawk, the reader

  24. Firstly; to Brogan Wayfarer, whom would you get to read these stories and catagorize them? Hell, some of us had a devil of a time getting an editor that would work with some of our more touchy subjects! The people that do the site themselves are far to busy to read everything that comes into the site in one day. The best option is to let the authors themselves do it. Forgetting a certain story code is usually just that, we forgot or missed it on the page. For those that are not authors you don’t see the story code page we work with when we post, it’s huge and trying to put the square peg of our story into a round, neat hole of these catagories are a nightmare at times. Once in a while, I know I am guilty of this from time to time, we forget to put something in. Also, sometimes those codes are not quite right for what we have written, then what do you do? There are even a few codes here and there that you look at going WTF is that? and do I have a story that has that in it? I dunno cause I don’t even know what it is!

    It’s all complex for sure. Every so often new codes are added and then you have to go back to exhisting storys you have had posted for a while and correct the codes on them. It becomes a bit trying.

    In response to DB_Story; most site do catagorize things but there own way. Each seems to do it their own way to varying degrees of success. Best you can do is take a gander at a bunch and toss everything together, shake it up and work with it that way, making your own method. No matter what is done there are going to be people that don’t like it and feel it is too much/not enough/to complex/not complex enough… you get the picture. Look at the diversity of what is already posted for suggestions and you get the picture of how complex this is going to be. Some of what has been said I agree with some I don’t. (this is just an example so no yelling) Someone, Stormy Weather I think, suggestion vampire, werewolves and the like should be classified as horror. Right off the bat there would be yelling about that. Several stories on the site with those elements are far from horror and classifying them as such would cause all manner of an uproar. Why could not, for example, a vampire story be classified as a romance?

    For my suggestion on the matter why not just pick some very broad topics, IE romance, rough, dark creatures, etc. then work from there. Not every one is going be happy with it but find a streamline then build from there.

  25. KB here

    I say skip the genres. I mean, say you did historical, scifi/fan, romance & stroke. Washed Up would go in scifi for its time travel aspect, despite the fact that the majority of its plot is about life in another time — historical. Likewise, Shrink42’s Transformations series would go in Romance since it has the voy/exhib (public nudity) stuff with a plot, despite the fact that it’s actually about how using it can be a tool of psycho-therapy — scifi (yes, psychology is a science).

    Instead, just go with the idea of formatting the codes, maybe putting the overall genre/subgenre at the front. Also, put main codes in bold & “flags” (codes that occur rarely, maybe once or twice) in italics at the end. In this fashion, might code the one story I edit for about rings as “SCI/FAN, MC: MF, Mf, mF, mf, incest, mult; rape, violent.”

    At least do main themes and flags in some form. Lazlong’s John Carter and Frank Downey’s Dance of a Lifetime have codes I usually consider “no-go” such as MM and rape (respectively), yet I immensely enjoyed them. While I did find Frank’s tale on my own, it wasn’t until one author I edit for explained how the codes were actually involved did I look into the other — and ended up reading for the next 24+ hours straight! Other times, I’ve looked into tales coded to have themes I liked, but found THEY should have been flagged (even had to look twice in a couple instances to even find them).

    That’s my two cents — and maybe about an extra dollar for packaging (sorry for the long-windedness). Thanks for your great work, Lazeez!


  26. Story Classification by Genre;

    I’ve been working with a few other writers and editors on setting up another (and still offline) site for a while, but we’ve been dealing with exactly the same problems, genre and classification. However, we have a rather specific problem in that we are sponsored (read funded) by a commercial enterprise; because of this sponsorship, we’re dealing with corporate censorship. What we’re dealing with goes far beyond what I think you require, but I’ll try to explain with examples.

    To start with we have to work under certain restrictions, for instance we’ve been have asked us to hold the erotic content to a minimum – pg-13 was the term bandied about at one online meeting. However, we’ve been asked to have further classifications there as well.
    Romantic fiction; titillation/tease, romantic, mutual consent, etc. All force sex of any kind is to be discouraged and that includes non-consent of any kind; bondage, S&M;, rape, etc.
    Any form of ‘underage’ sex is to be highly discouraged, that includes teen sex, even between mutual consenting and same age partners! Paedophilia is strictly banned and not even to be considered.

    Also we’ve been asked to place certain codes in place to deal strictly with stages of violence,
    eg. light (or accidental) injuries, extreme injuries, bloodshed, maimings, etc.
    We’ve been asked to discourage ‘heavier’ forms of violence such as torture, murder, rape, snuff and anything of that ilk.

    Imaginative fiction codes were perhaps one of the worst stumbling blocks and we finally fell back on Isaak Asimov’s classifications with a few additions for clarification.
    Imaginative fiction; ‘Hard’ Science Fiction or S-F , which is based on staying within the bounds of the hard and fast rules of known physics and science and ‘bends’ few of those rules in any way, but remains consistent to the minor rule changes.
    Sci-Fi or speculative fiction, such as is used in ‘Star Wars’ and other television and movies. ie; general rules are followed, but who really cares what rules are bent or broken as long as it sounds and looks spectacular.
    And finally Fantasy, where the rule books are thrown away and the term ‘magic’ can be used to explain any change in the newly created ‘universe.’ This is where mythical creatures like werewolves, witches and warlocks reign and where fairies, dragons and unicorns come out to play.

    I hope some of this has helped in some way. Now, since the site I am working on is still in the ‘construction’ phase and since I have no desire to be involved with the recruitment of authors and also wish to retain my friendship with Lazeez and not ‘raid’ his stable of authors, I shall remain – Anonymous

  27. Lazeez,
    I’m not particulary against or for your idea; I just gave you an idea for what you’re going to be in for in trying to classify everything.

    As you can see from other comments, there are so many elements of classification that covering everything to authors and readers satisfaction is going to be a monumental task — not to mention impossible.

    Are you sure you want to give yourself this headache? =)

    As a rule, editors have the last say on what classification they place a story under, no matter what the author may say the story is; and that gets interesting when you realize that every editor has his/her own opinion of the definition of each classification.

    As someone said, if you want to keep the stories where they really should go, you’re probably going to have someone outside of the authors to make that decision and that’s going to be an added wait for the story to be up on-line; and then you may have many a disgruntled author who doesn’t agree with the choice. Also, you’ll probably end up with a back-log of stories that will add to all your fun.

    I’ve been to a couple of the other sites mentioned as a reader, and I’m not sure that their systems work any better than yours. Of course, I tend to browse rather than run searches, so I don’t know how that part works for them.

    In short, you’re not going to be able to satisfy everyone no matter what you do. So, come up with a plan and get some feedback on the specific plan; and do what you think is best for your site.

    You have the best site I have come across, which is the reason I decided to start posting my stories rather than leaving them unread in my files.

    Shakes Peer2B Even if you can’t afford a membership, you can still keep up with the stories in which you have an interest. Make a note of the author’s name and story title; and the chapter you just finished. And, then, bookmark the authors home-page on your computer, or click on “Authors” in the high-lighted box under “Home & Authors/Editors) and you’ll be able to find the author in the A-Z listings. When you click on their name it takes you to their home-page. I never noticed the listings limited for non-members on the home-pages, though they may have been.

  28. Um…you know, I think if we’re going to come to a good solution here, first we can’t have anyone lumping all authors together. By this I’m talking about what Brogan Wayfarer said. That is not true for everyone. I most certainly never purposefully leave out codes. I put in all the ones I know for certain are appropriate to the story, and although it rarely happens, I add later if something I didn’t anticipate comes up. And I imagine my fellow authors do much the same, or at least do their best if there’s a lot of content to their story.

    Rather than blog comments, I’d suggest a poll, one that’s open to everyone who comes to SOL. Come up with, say, 6-8 choices of how the system could be worked out (there are plenty of suggestions here) and then make sure it’s somewhere that everyone can see, so they can vote. Since this is supposed to be about how the readers find the work, if you give them a variety of reasonable options, it should help to pinpoint what, percisely, the problem is. Without assuming it’s simply due to every last author on SOL being dishonest.

  29. I’m a reader and future author with a few stories in various stages of development.

    Could some stories be crossposted to different genres? The previous mentioned “Perfect World” by Al Steiner is a good example of Sci-Fi and romance and etc…

    I remember a story called “Out Of Time” on ASSM that started in the modern world, had elements of Sci-Fi time travel to the past, and ended up in the Old West. Categories were Sci-Fi, Western, and Romance?

    The codes cover pretty well most of my decisions what to read. Yeah, I miss some decent stories and read some crummy ones. Way it goes. If the story is well-done I usually don’t care what category it is except for areas that are my squick. The codes overall are very good to keep me clear of squicks.

  30. If your plan is an additional system to further classify stories into general genres, while still retaining the current topical tags, I say go for it. However, if your plan is to replace the current system, then hell no!

    One of the reasons I subscribe to this site is the ease of identifying and searching for the topics I enjoy. Like in the pizza advertisement, if I want pepperoni and pineapple, I can get exactly that. Without this system, I’d need to read all the pepperoni stories in order to find those with pineapple in them.

    Someone mentioned’s system, with I must say, absolutely sucks. Granted, the genre’s are fine, but that’s pretty much it. If, say, someone is interested in mother/son incest, they have to browse all the stories in the “taboo” section in order to find what they’re looking for. Likewise, a story can be only in one category, without multiple tags like here. So, if you want a bdsm romance, you might find it in bdsm, or you might find it in romance. And then there’s always the person looking for a romance story, who comes across a bdsm tale – something they have no interest in at all.

    No, I like the current search capabilities here just as they are. The only improvement I’d consider would be to have a way of EXCLUDING certain search categories, much in the way does.

  31. I think putting a lot of stories into a single category is hard, without creating some overarching category that defeats the point. Check out the bookstores–despite having sci-fi, mystery, thriller, etc. sections, they’re still stuck with a large “fiction” category.

    Fortunately, since we’re talking bits and not physical books, a story could be filed under more than one category. But that’s a slippery slope back to the codes system that exists now.

    So what is the problem with codes? In my opinion, it’s because they’re doing two things. First, they’re being used for search/browse/classification. Second, they’re being used to warn readers of elements that they may not want to read about (e.g. “rape” codes). Perhaps there’s some way to separate these functions?

    I like the primary code, secondary code approach suggested by some other people. I won’t read a “rape” story if that’s the primary focus, but I can handle something like Frank Downey’s Dance of a Lifetime. The current code system makes it impossible to discriminate these two cases.

  32. Ah, that elusive, perfect classification system. That magic shot that will produce what only reading the story can now do. I don’t think it exists. That said, anything that will improve communicating what my stories are will help. I tend to run all over the map. In my current story, I have one chapter with a rape, another that has the description of it and many on the recovery of the girl who was raped. Out of 79 and growing. I put “rape” as one of the codes. Does that turn people off, thinking it’s a “rape” story? Probably. But I chose to lose readers rather than get whiny emails of how I tricked the poor innocent reader (on an adult site, mind you) into reading the word rape. The same with the “violent” code – a girl is beaten by her parents and the rape is pretty violent, too. But anyone who’s read the story knows it’s a tender love story. If I had a “not a clue” code for the main character, that would fit most of the first part. But not the latter part. The point is, I can’t put my stuff in a box. If I had to choose a class, it would be “Romantic”. All my stuff is, eventually. I know this site is worldwide, but here in the good old USA, the one with the most irritating whine wins. Personal responsibility is almost non-existent and is looked down upon as unfeeling where it does exist. Not letting the readers know what’s in the stories is going to make them upset. So, whatever classification system is chosen, it will need to take those who need us to think for them into account.

    The (politically incorrect) OLD FART

  33. It has been very interesting reading the comments posted here, and I think a lot of good things have been said since I last posted.

    I think you are really going to have to give us some better examples of what you are looking at doing, Lazeez. Without that, we are all really speculating on vapor-thoughts.

    I have really liked the ideas that had a highlighting of the main theme as a code. Something in bold is a good idea. I wouldn’t do bold/italic/normal, though. That would start to confuse folks again. Simply allow an author to tag items, and those that have more weight should be bolded.

    Like MWTB’s “Tired of Being a Nice Guy”. ws is one of the story codes, but it didn’t play a HUGE part in the story. It happened 2-3 times total, but by the time the story was done, I had forgotten about it being present in earlier chapters. It wasn’t a theme, it was a scene.

    I think that may be the central focus of what you are looking to accomplish. Themes and Scenes.

    A Theme code will be a major presence in the story. A story that is written around D/s, or incest, or a fantasy setting, is a Theme.

    A Scene code will be stuff that happens IN the story, but isn’t what the story is about.

    So, in the example that some have called into focus of Frank Downey’s “Dance of a Lifetime”, the MM rape scene was just that, a Scene. Was it core to the story? Actually, yes, it was. That scene was critical, and affected many chapters before and after it. Was MM sex a central Theme of the story? No.

    So, I think that is what we are boiling down to, here. Themes and Scenes.

    Though, I can still see grey areas cropping up, where authors will get in a bind. And the artistic liscense of “caution” should hopefully still be used.


  34. Okay, I’ve been going through reading most of the comments that have been left and have been struck with an idea that I want to throw out.

    Now, this idea would require authors to do quite a bit of work when posting a story and would probably require those doing the programming of the site to do even more work but it’s the best I can come up with. Just so you know, I don’t do much work with websites, what I’m about to propose may not be possible.

    Here it is:

    Let the reader choose how to pick the story they want. Something to the effect of what EWP has done by allowing the reader to pick how to search for a story.

    When an author posts a story, have him asked which story genre best describes the story: Fantasy, SciFi, Horror, Mystery etc.

    Have the author fill out all codes (MF, mF, Mf, FF, ff, Rape, beast, mag, rom, etc) that fit. It would have to be able to be changed later for those authors who want to keep some mystery or for those like me who may not know what’s going to happen later in the story.

    Keep in place the idea of “excluding” any story with certain tags on it. Allow the reader to put this in place simply by signing up for an account.

    Let’s see if I can describe this right. The reader goes to the search page. They are asked
    “Do you want to search by:
    Genre or
    Story codes”
    (You could also search by pairings if you wanted to do the work.)

    The reader picks and they are taken to another screen. For this example, we’ll say they picked “genre.” They would be asked which genre they would like. Once they’ve selected, maybe even selecting a sub genre such as “SciFi/Robots.” They would be asked to pick which story codes they would like to search for in the Robot stories on the site. By setting Exclusions, things the reader absolutly does NOT want, would be automatically left off.

    This could be taken further again by using an idea I saw from another author here and having the author pick the MAIN theme of the story and then minor themes in the story. Maybe seperate them by different fonts or bold/italics.

    This would give the author the choice of how to catergorize their story and also give the reader the most resources for finding the EXACT story he/she wants.

    On the other hand, the reader could pick to find a story by codes alone; Mf,Rape, Anal, and just go through ALL Stories that fit those codes no matter what genre the story is in.

    As I said, it would be a LOT of work for you, Lazeez but it would allow the reader to find almost EXACTLY what he/she is looking for.

    That’s it.

  35. The local library has an interesting system of classsification. Non fiction, and fiction. Non fiction is divided up rather easily thanks to mr. dewey decimal. Fiction low and behold though is groupd in wide and broad catagories, my library has a section for romance books, a section of combined fantasy/sci fi, and a mystery section as well, but in the end everything is sorted alphabetically. Forcing a author to write fiction into a specific genre defeats the whole point of fiction in the first place. The best idea I’ve heard so far is to make the important codes stand out, and to encourage authors to include all the codes applicable.
    I find the easiest way to do a search is by story code, and a listing by rating, with the highest rating at the top. The feedback rating system is a pretty good winnower of the good, the ok, and the bad.
    Keep up the good work, and don’t forget authors are readers too!

  36. Honestly of the sites I visit this is my favorite due to many reasons, one is because of the almost constant updates (some smaller sites go weeks without a single update), but the main one is the in-depth descriptions. The other sites I have visited barely touch the surface, only leaving one word descriptions like “literotica.”

    If you choose to do anything it should be some slight shuffling and adding newer categories, but thats about it, I am sure there are plenty of things that could be added or fixed but I cant see them. All have to say is dont go overboard with new classifications. Theres no reason to have 15 classifications for one topic (I know I am exagerrating) much like the half-assed attempt made by “literotica” to expand its class. list, not that i am trying to put down that site, as it is one of my preferred sites too.

    Anywho I’ve been reading here for more than 5 years, have read many great stories on this site and wish I could write like most of the authors. Keep it up Lazeez, anyway you change the site I will keep with it.

    BTW my only Question is… How would all the older stories be adjusted? If it is the authors that will do it, there are plenty that have not gone anywhere near the site in several years. That confuses me because if you do it yourself or have people help you then there will be plenty of authors who will be bothered with the way it was done, prefering them to be listed in another way.

    Thanks for your time,

  37. I can understand the confusion of some. I may not have given enough details for what I have in mind.

    First: The current categories system is staying put. I’m not replacing it with the new system. I’m complementing it with it. SOME of the current categories will be moved to the new system. Like ‘Poem’, ‘Science Fiction’, ‘History’. Those categories will be moved to the new system.

    One reason for the new system is the point that some of you touched on which is ‘what is the MAIN theme of the story?’

    A second reason is that I want some categories mutually exclusive. A story is either a sex story, or not. A story can be either True or not. Many authors still select ‘True’ & ‘Fantasy’ categories and some still select ‘no-sex’, anal, oral etc…

    I’ve made a small mockup of what I have in mind. You can find the mockup here:

    The two rows have two different possibilities on how to display the new info.

    So far the current set of ‘Genres’ that I have in mind are:

    1: Erotica (mostly for sex/stroke stories. The only genre that cannot be flagged as no-sex)
    2: Romantic (for love stories and can have sex in them too of course)
    2: Science Fiction
    3: True
    4: Fan Fiction
    5: Mystery
    6: Western
    7: Fantasy
    8: Horror
    9: Poem

    The system would be able to handle a no genre setting for legacy support of already posted stories that are not easily recognizable as belonging to any one genre. Authors would be able to go back and select a suitable genre for their stories and toggle the no-sex flag on or off.

    Initial selection of the applicable genres would be done with a script that detects existing codes and updates stories’ records accordingly. After that, any new stories would be classified by their authors when submitting. First the wizard would ask for the genre and then for the applicable codes and for the nosex flag.

    Sub genres would stay in the categories section.

    I realize that some stories cannot be easily and clearly classified as a belonging to a certain genre, and I realize that no system is ever going to be prefect to describe every story so accurately that the reader would never be confused or unsure, but we can try to get as close as possible.

    The combination of ‘Genre’, ‘Codes’ and ‘Description’ should be adequate enough to deal with the vast majority of stories.

    If there are other genres that I missed, please add them to the list. Later on, if there is some new genre that needs to be added to the site’s list, then the author who has the story requiring that genre can ask for the addition, just like codes currently.

  38. Lazeez,
    Now I see what you’re getting at; and it makes sense. And I don’t see anything wrong with the idea.

    BTW, I like the genre under the title of the story — the description box is cluttered enough with the other things that are already there.

  39. An interesting looking mock-up, Lazeez.

    As a reader, I don’t think it would help me in any appreciatable way. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see myself focusing on any of those particular genre codes. And I don’t the forcing of a story into one bucket. I see many sci-fi and/or romance stories also being strong romantic stories. And coding them romance may annoy some readers that think they should be in the other category.

    It sounds like the author of any new story would be forced to choose a genre, even if they felt that picking a single genre would be a disservice to their story. Should they just choose “Erotica” and leave it at that, if they feel they would otherwise to choose from multiple choices? Or, will you allow a story to not be categorized if that is what the author wishes?

    I think you should add “Historical” to your list of codes. There are quite a few stories that would fit in that category on the site, and those would otherwise have to be categorized poorly.

    I’m still not sold on this idea, but the implementation of it won’t hurt me, as a reader. As an aspiring writer, it makes me nervous that I may have to stick a story into a bucket I don’t like.

    It will also be interesting if you will run a series of stories through your intial conversion test, and let both authors and readers see how existing stories get coded. The results may help solidify this for myself and others. If half of the stories are considered badly coded by a general concensus, it may do more harm than good.

    Still keeping an open (if somewhat doubtful) mind.


  40. Frankly, a single level of classification is always going to fall short, no matter how the genres are defined. I really like the proposal of encoding story codes (the proposer suggested using fonts, eg bold, italics, etc.) in such a way that the reader can easily determine the relative importance of each of the codes. A story that has an incident with incest is significantly different than a story about incest, but we can’t distinguish this difference with the current coding system.

    Frankly, I prefer to use an ordered technique, rather than the limited technique of using fonts, since it would allow authors to clearly state that their story is:

    ROM->SciFi incest bro sis mf MF oral
    Incest->SciFi rom bro sis mf MF oral
    SciFi rom incest bro sis mf MF oral

    Three very different stories and obvious from the codes.

    Also it would permit the creative author to encode a time travel story that didn’t really have a SciFi aspect, for example, with the code:
    TimeTravel->ROM MF

    Using fonts is ok, as the technique would provide at least two levels of emphasis but I prefer the more general form of ordering by relative importance with the minor codes simply following the ordered codes.

    IMHO, authors are too creative to be boxed into single categories or genres. On the other hand, I tend to write romantic stories and it bugs the heck out of me that I can’t emphasize this in the story codes. So I like the idea of finding a method by which we can improve the way authors characterize their stories.

    Lawrence H David, author and reader

  41. Another big problem with catergories is that readers end up making assumptions. If, with the system SOL has now, the reader assumes something and is wrong, most of the time it’s because the author didn’t properly communicate using the tools given.

    However, with catergories, you’re narrowing down to a very specific thought. For example, someone might not like fantasy stories usually, so they would never look for stories of that catergory, even though there could very well be some there that they’d enjoy very much. Same for romance. Of any genre, people make the most assumptions about romance and people who don’t enjoy it tend to disregard it. By using catergories as such, you’re limiting the readers’ opportunities to try something new. A lot of people get very set in their ways when it comes to reading and won’t try different genres unless it happens by accident–like if they don’t know it was intended to be that genre to begin with.

    I’m sorry if that didn’t make any sense. I have a cold 🙁

  42. I would like an update as well, one thing that bothers me is that there are stories that are 8k in size and have EVERY type of classification mentioned, and then either you get a “codes mentioned will show up in future chapters” or nothing ever follows…

    I would like to see an ACCURATE indication of whats in each chapter.

    I know that will add more work for the authors though…

  43. Hmmmmm!

    The sample page looks good as does your list of generas, though I would add humor and maybe substitute “stroke” for erotica as this is a more common term. Also, non-genera could be added for those writers who feel that they can’t catagorize their stories. Writers should also be allowed to skip classification.

    Frankly, I like the idea of scaring readers from my stories. I write stories that do not neatly fit the coding system as exists. Certain codes imply genras because of long usage over the life of usenet.

    It would be nice to be able to better target my audience rather than scatter it to the wind and hope for the best. Scores for some of stories reflect readers who did not get what they expected (Read “She Giggled” expecting Frank McCoy but got a urban fanasty/science fiction mind game). If I could place stories into humor or horror or SF or whatever as a main THEME, and then maybe add highlights to major subjects (such as bold type), I might better aim the story to an audience who wants to read what I write.

  44. I’m sorry but I can’t see what all this is about, other than an attempt to force stories into rigid, and probably incorrect, categories. I have no problem with the story codes per se except that they don’t distinguish between major and minor action.

    What do the classifications mean? Your idea of what constitutes ‘romance’ will alomst certainly differ from mine. All we’ll end up with is a mish-mash of stories all classified as ‘romance’ and covering everything from brutal rape to Mills & Boon simply because the author intended them to be ‘romantic’.

    The point about existing classification systems is that they are external. Isn’t it the National Library of Congress or somebody like that who decide on Dewey numbers? If there’s going to be a formal classification system, then Lazeez, or a panel of authors and/or readers are going to have to be the arbiters not the authors.

    I also don’t understand some of the proposed classifications. For example, why is there one for ‘True’? It isn’t a theme, it’s a claim. Anyway, I haven’t read a ‘true’ story that is anything but the imaginings of the writer’s fevered imagination.

    And what about ‘fantasy’? Most so-called SF is fantasy, ie it has no science in it.

    What I really can’t understand is why the classifications have been chosen at all. They don’t seem to relate to the main purpose of SoL, which is SEX. Under the proposal about 99% of the site would come under ‘Erotica’ which seems to defeat the purpose of classification.

    If you must classify why not have realistic categories:
    – Incest
    – Romance (despite my reservations)
    – Old/Young (or May/December)
    – Genre (covers SF, fantasy, Weterns, Horror et al)
    – Sex (ie a story that’s only about sex)
    – ???????

    At this point I give up because there is no good way of classifying fiction – which is why there’s no Dewey Number on novels in your local library!

    Far better would be to have two categories of story code; one for the main activities and a second for minor activities.

    There, I’ve had my tuppence-worth. if you go ahead with the idea, I suspect that all my stories will be classified as Erotica -> Fantasy, or vice versa. Erotic Fantasy. That’s what I write. That’s what we all write.

  45. Let me summarize somewhat on what was said in the article and in the comments. And add my own comments, of course.

    There is a topic about how to mark the MAIN Theme of the story, i.e. MAIN Theme/Scenes aka. Primary/Secondary/Tertiary and “Accidental” codes differentiaition. Next is Browsing (the genres: hierarchical/flat structure) vs. Searching (tags/codes/categories) and improving searching (e.g. codes exclusion). There were mentioned problems with hard to categorize stories, coming up with good list of genres (general/specific genres, number of genres), fitting the stories into genres and categorizing existing stories. Finally there is issue of the Layout for the new features; very good idea about creating mockup.

    Removing codes or moving them to genre; mutually exclusive categories. Lazeez, I really don’t like the idea of removing the story codes, or even moving them to genre. The only exception is the sex/no-sex FLAG, perhaps also true/fiction. Filling the genres from the story codes is a very good idea, especially for “legacy” (i.e. existing) stories.

    The (good) idea about making some categories, or genre/categories or flag/categories combinations mutually exclusive should I think be solved rather in the User Interface for authors. For example selecting ‘true’ category grays out (makes unselectable, inactive) “fiction” codes/genres. Selecting ‘no-sex’ flag will make inactive sex scenes codes (categories) like ‘anal’, ‘orgy’ inactive.

    It could be done using some JavaScript I think, but there should be explanation (e.g. that no-sex flag excludes sex scenes codes, and that true excludes fiction categories; but what about dreams for example?) and server side checks for those using non-JavaScript (or non-DOM) browsers, or those having JavaScript turned off.

    Sidenote: I’d like to repeat concern about if the ‘no-sex’ flag should be about scenes or the intent. Do mentioning that wife dragged main character to bedroom (like in Volentrin “P.I. and Magic II”) requires ‘sex’ flag? Do mentioning (without describing it) an orgy?

    Layout (mockup) I agree with Stormy Weather that adding Genre to Description column could/would make it overcrowded. It contains now Description, in progress/change/inactive indicator (and other indicators like External Link), Codes (which really go together with description) and Posting Date. On the other hand Genre and Codes go (somewhat) together. I think though that the Genre name should be (at least for Premier Members) the link to the category/genre listing (see below on the discussion of searching vs. browsing). Perhaps it would be better to put the Genre (and what about subgenres: there aren’t present in the example) info justified to the bottom of the cell.

    Please add other ideas to the layout mockup: sex/no-sex flag of course, and perhaps marking Theme/Scenes aka. Primary/Secondary/Accidental (scenes) codes.

    Theme/Scene and/or Primary/Secondary/Accidental codes distinction idea. One question is how to mark them. The ideas include using fonts: bold for Primary and/or Theme codes, italic for Secondary or Accidental codes and normal font; capitalization: ALL CAPS, First letter, lower caps; sequence (more important/Themes codes first) and separators (like ‘;’, ‘->’, ‘>’); finally usning full expanded name like ‘Romantic’ vs. code shortcut like ‘rom’. Of course one can combine them, e.g. ‘Romantic, Humor; first, coll, mf, teen; ws, anal‘ for romantic relationship with great dose of humor, with scene (chapter) including watersports (easy to avoid without consequences to understanding the plot) and anal sex scene (but it is not the main theme, or even occurring code). Then there is a problem how to implement User Interface for authors to enter them, and related problem about legacy (existing) stories created before the introduction of this feature.

    Searching and Browsing; story codes exclusion. I’d like to point out again the distinction (somewhat blurred, I know) between Searching (cf. Google Search) vs. Browsing (cf. Google Catalog). Genres and sub-genres are good for browsing, while codes/categories/tags are good for search. People mentioned excluding the categories from Search (perhaps it is available for Premier Members?); I’d like to point out the 852 Prospect Search Engine (large “The Sentinel” TV Series fanfiction archive, including slash stories) for the example implementation.

    Genre list and N/A Genre There always will be stories which would be hard to categorize; see for example “Coffee with Dad” by Girl Friday (at ASSTR, there is no this story at SOL, though the author is present there) if it was for example not a True story. There are stories where authors wants to keep the genre surprise (for example ‘Fantasy’ which turns out to be ‘Sci-Fi’, Romance which turns out to be Mystery, Drama, Mystical/Horror/Supernatural). And, to repeat once more, there are stories which join (successfully) more than one Theme genre, and all equally important (think for example Shadowrun universe for Science Fiction+Fantasy stories).

    As to the story list. I think that the Romantic (Romance?) is for stories where main theme is romantic relationship, and building such relationship; perhaps there should be Erotic Couplings genre for sex stories with plot (which are not stroke stories). Compare for example Eon or Lawrence Davis stories vs. Shrink24 stories vs. Shakes Peer2B stories: fit them all under the Romantic genre?

    Shadowhawk, the reader
    (out of ideas for now; and there is late)

  46. I don’t see anything wrong with your genre idea. I don’t see it as a big improvement, but it seems sound to me.

    I like the idea of secondary codes, or maybe warnings.

    But if you want to add a feature to the site that would be really helpful, look to I’d love to see links “readers who liked this story also liked the following stories:…”


  47. As a reader and as an author I’d have to say don’t do it. Or at least don’t change it the way you’re planning too.

    Authors can already let readers know what kind of story they’ve posted, both threw codes and by giving a descriptions. Also many stories could easily be put in to different genres. Trying to narrow some stories to just one genre and one sub-genre would be difficult at best. This is even more difficult if the story is part of a story universe. They could easily be different genres even though they are in the same universe.

    As an author I know it would be very difficult to classify the story I’ve been working on as it does cross many genres. If I want people to read my story it’s my responsability to give it an acurate discription as possible. So if people can’t find my story it’s my fault. If I’m limited in my description, and codes, I’m limited in my readers.

    As a reader, I can already find the kind of story I want to read by using the codes. If I want a specific type of story I click it and search for it. Then I read the description and the other codes to see if I want to read it. I’ve done it and have been mostly happy with the results. The only problems I’ve had as a reader is that some stories don’t have descriptions and the limitations of not being a paid member.

    The story limit I can live with as I can’t afford to change it but many times I get stories with no description. I generally don’t read stories I don’t know anything about so that wastes my search. If you changed anything I’d like to be able to exclude items from searches. I’d also like to be able to search by description. That would give me and others a greater chance to find what we want to read without getting things we don’t want.

  48. I don’t do codes or story descriptions well. I use few codes. slow, mf

    I would like a reader to know that I don’t write explicit or graphic sex scenes (because I don’t do them well). And most often that the story line is very slow.

    A story I just finished had as a major element the main character’s struggle with sexual feelings and his closeness with his sister and mother; but I don’t consider it an INCEST story. Dealing with the feelings and the consequences were a bigger part than the sex. The story took place in the fifties-early sixties, but isn’t really historical. Understanding the fifties helps frame the behavior of the characters. He struggles with the clash of cultures of the Kiowa and the WASP, since he was in both cultures, but I don’t think the story is about interracial sex.

    My main characters struggle with sex and relationships. He screws up a lot and gets hurt. He hurts others. I try to keep them only one order of magnitude above realistic; maybe a little like I think we wish we could have had it if we had been incredible lucky. I have no idea how to code that. After twenty-five stories, I don’t try too much.

    I’m not trying to attract readers as much as keep them from wasting too much of their time. I tried to put a truthful profile to warn the reader of the types of stories I try to write.

    I’m not much help. I gave up on coding and went minimalist.


  49. Okay, I’m the one who suggested the bold/italic codes, and I still stand by them, because, simply, I see no use use for these categories.

    The codes system works, mostly. The category system does NOT. To me, using the codes AND categories is really just forcing an additional, unnecessary code into the mix.

    I like the system as it is right now. The only problem is that all the codes have the same emphasis. A MM MF story could be all gay with one het scene or all straight with one gay scene. MF MM is a LOT more informative.

    What is a Genre/Category listing going to tell me that the codes don’t now? Take Frank Downey’s Rewind. Sure, it’s Sci-Fi or Time Travel. But is that really an accurate category? He doesn’t hop around in time, he doesn’t make great lengths to change the future, etc. It’s really more of a Teen or Rom story that happens to include a single instance of Time Travel. Does that make it historical then?

    The reason codes work is because they -don’t- pigeonhole a story into a single category.

    Maybe instead of categorizing the stories you should categorize the codes. Look at categories.php. Authors could emphasize codes from each section as they relate to the story.

    Here are Dance of a Lifetime’s codes: MF mf mF MM Mult slow rom 1st teen cons rape violent safe oral anal pett creampie

    Here they are with possible emphasis: MF mf mF MM Mult slow rom 1st teen cons rape violent safe oral anal pett creampie

    Someone else mentioned the possibility of scene and theme emphasis. That could work too: MF mf mF MM Mult slow rom 1st teen cons rape violent safe oral anal pett creampie

    You know what would also work? The option to code chapters. In ALL of Dance of a Lifetime, there’s ONE MM scene. It’s vague, but integral to the plotk but MM sex is not a theme of the story. Does the STORY deserve that code? Not really. Does the chapter? Absolutely.

    With CSS/javascript mouseover effects, you could just roll over a chapter on the story index to see the special codes. The STORY codes could more accurately reflect the themes of the story, with the chapter codes filling the differential information for those chapters that vary from the norm.

    DOL’s story codes would be: mf Mult slow rom 1st teen safe cons oral anal pett

    The individual chapters could have also have the rape violent safe creampie anal MF mF MM codes as necessary.

    Sometimes it might be hard to really get to the truth of the matter when you’re trying to summarize or code a story, and being able to emphasize some codes over others might help with that. However, if you can’t get the point of your story across to your readers between the summary and the codes, is lumping it into a generic category really going to help all that much?

  50. From ElSol

    Point 1 — You can’t get rid of the codes themselves.

    They are the number 1 tool for readers to avoid squicks.

    Story Categorization is a good idea, but readers will beat writers up for it.

    “This isn’t Sci-fi… it’s X”.

    It’s a target because my idea of Sci-fi is one thing, and woe-betide what writer dares classify a story as sci-fi which doesn’t fit my idea.

    Case in point: The Fembot stories… I didn’t think they were ‘sci-fish’ enough so I wrote my own.

    Take a look at Literotica’s Loving Wives stories; it’s a cesspool of ‘This isn’t a Loving Wife story — 1 Bomb… This is the best Loving Wife story — 5…’

    That being said, I do believe like romance for internet erotica to be taken more seriously it needs to begin to assimiliate the other genres.



    In that sense, I believe we should follow the pre-established commercial literary genres.

    Sci-Fi, Romance, Mystery, Horror, Fiction (bleck),etc.

    Also their sub-genres, though Time-Travel the way it’s done commercially and erotically are very different.

    So for instance,

    Sci-fi (Robot)
    Sci-fi (Time-Travel)
    Sci-fi (Apocolyptic)
    Sci-fi (Hard Science)
    Sci-fi (Whatever that sub-genre is where people have computers in their heads and stuff).

    I like Stroke as the ‘This is meant to get you off!’… like my own ‘The Wolf Summers’.

    While it’s a coming of age story, it was always intended to be a plain-jane Stroke story.

    I like

    Light Stroke (or Erotica if you will *shiver*)


  51. If you put it to a vote with authors, and they had the option of categorizing their work to a single genre and NOT categorizing it, what would they choose?

    I think that is what you are ultimately asking, here. Or, how many authors will be comfortable fitting their story into a single genre bucket, for EVERY story they write.

    I suspect that many authors would be ok with it on some stories, but on others, would be hard pressed to accept that restriction.


  52. It is a good idea I know of another site that did this kind of thing. Before you start such a large project I would suggest you visit the other site, and maybe ask the site Admin a few questions about her themes. The site is Her site has all stories catagorized in specific themes and by story codes.

    Velocity is a very nice and helpful lady, I’m sure she could help you out greatly, tell her I sent ya.


  53. I really love the idea of being able to emphasize and de-emphasize story codes. When choosing the story codes, the author would be able to choose a priority or level of importance for the code – high priority, normal priority, or low priority. The default is normal priority, and the author would be able to adjust the priority.

    This would be extremely useful to me for two of my stories, “Johnny’s Girls”, which is about a harem of six girls with a small amount of mm sex, and “Alpha”, which is mostly about casual sex with a little bit of romance.

    Two of my stories would be classified as “harem”, but harem is probably too narrow of a theme to be a category.


  54. Before the support for the formatting based emphasis for codes using bold italic gets carried away, let me clarify one thing: It won’t be done. Ever.

    It’s too complicated to do properly, from nearly every point of view. Programatically, data storage, processing time, user usefulness and comprehension, author management and interface. It’s not feasible.

    It could be done on a static site, but on storiesonline where everything is generated on the fly and everything has to be in the database to be searchable and must be easily manipulatable by the authors without a chance of the inexperienced ones messing things up, it’s a nightmare to implement. Too much work and complexity for something that won’t be an exponential improvement.

    For those who insist on not having their stories pigeonholed into one bin, ask yourself this one question:

    If you went to the library looking for a story just like yours, where would you expect it to be?

    Is it really that hard?

    And again, the current codes/categories are staying, the new system is going to be an addition, not a replacement.

  55. Actually, most libraries divide their fiction section into just that: “fiction”. They put it in alphabetical order if they’re hardcover, stick ’em on little metal turny shelves if they’re paperbacks, and leave you to your own devices. And yet many people use the library. In fact, libraries do use a system of codes, though not quite elaborate, to help the reader find what they’re looking for. Much more than they use catergories.

    All a catergory is going to do is narrow down the choices for the readers, so that they never stumble upon something different. And the thing is, even if you go into a bookstore and go to the section with the genre you prefer to read, people don’t pick up a book simply because it’s from that genre. They want to know what it’s about first.

    You wanted our ideas and our honest opinions. I like this site the way it is now. So do many others. Stick in catergories, and it’s just no different from every other story site.
    Recently, recieved new management and a “make over”. The site is now a horrible color scheme that causes a great many people eyestrain and headaches. A lot of people complained about it, but they decided to just ignore it and leave the site as is. Now there are people who go to read somewhere that doesn’t give them mirgaines.

    If, in attempting to do something to make the readers more comfortable, you are also making the authors uncomfortable, you should stop and think. You wouldn’t even have readers if you didn’t have authors. If you’re just going to do this, regardless of how we feel about it, why did you even bother asking us?

  56. “If you’re just going to do this, regardless of how we feel about it, why did you even bother asking us?”

    Hear, hear. You encourage feedback on the new mail system then ignore those who disagree. You ask for comments on the new reviewing system then ignore those with different ideas. Now you ask again to hear what we think and tell us it’s you’re going to do whatever you want no matter what anyone says, and the alternative ideas will be ignored.

    You can’t tell us the emphasized codes can’t be done.

    Programatically – It can be done with simple CSS style sheets that you already employ sitewide.

    Data storage – At most it would add a few bytes per story storage requirements. Maybe a kilobyte or two to the style sheets.

    Processing time – If forum sites with hundreds of thousands of members can use BBcode which is far more proc intensive, adding some extra CSS is NOT going to bring SOL to a crawl.

    User usefulness – As opposed to say, generic categories that have proven track records on other sites of not having any appreciable end-user benefit? If a brother and sister have anal sex, is that Incest or Anal? What if the story is all about the ass, not the family relationship. If there’s panty sniffing does it go into Fetish instead?

    Comprehension – Take the “Recent Additions Displaying stories 1 through 10 of 12324” green bar. at the end if that bar, in small font, add this:

    Code Key:
    Primary Theme
    Minor Scene

    Author management – Author clicks check boxes on the code selection area. Then s/he uses drop menus that have the three options. Again, CSS (or DHTML or php) could be used so that the drop menu only appears for the codes the author has selected.

    The real truth is it would take effort to implement, not that “It’s not feasible.”

    And that’s fine. No one has said you HAD to do this. Would they be a lot of work up front to implement? Of course. But you’re offering to go out of your way to add a “feature” to the existing system that won’t help most readers OR authors. How were we supposed to know you don’t want to entertain ideas that might have an appreciable benefit?

    Both the readers and writers here are creative people. We think. We may even disagree, as intelligent people do from time to time. We’re not Yes Men. But if you’re going to do what you want anyway, why ask us at all?

    If you’re just looking for ways the site might become a smidgen more useful with only a modicum of effort, let the free users have a week’s worth of updated stories. Add RSS to the author’s blogs. Add an update page showing the most recently updated blogs. Allow stories to be sorted by publish/update dates, not just alphabetical order on the Author’s story pages. Fix the linkage so when I go from Heathen’s blog to his story page I see not

    SOL is a great place. I’m thoroughly addicted, and I know there are at least two paying members that are here because I told them what a great story site it is. But there are a whole host of things that could be improved if you’re really looking to make the site better, as opposed to keeping yourself occupied.

  57. This is what I see:

    1) Lazeez wants to make things a bit more organized.

    2) Lazeez is not taking away the codes he already has established.

    3) Lazeez is asking our opinions on what generes to use; not giving us a vote on whether or not he is going use generes.

    4) Authors are concerned about being able to choose which genre their story will fit under; and not being able to have their stories described accurately by choosing a genre.

    Lazeez, I have a couple of suggestions here that may or may not be workable — depending on what you have in mind for the changes.

    1) The author chooses the main genre his/her story fits — such as Romance and you allow them to choose one other genre their story might come under. And, then, allow them to choose descriptions, such as historical and time-travel, from the codes.

    2) The author chooses the main genre his/her story fits under — and then allow them to choose a couple of more genres from the code page.

    For the first suggestion you would simply need to check your codes and make sure there are codes that fit what is needed. You might even want to place these descriptions in a section of their own on the page.

    The 2nd suggestion would require that you have a genre section on the code page.

  58. Categories (genres) do add something: it is ability to browse like the Google Directory at least (which is useful), marking the MAIN Theme codes if not/until the Theme/General/Minor codes gets implemented. Once again please don’t move (remove) the codes, with the possible exception of making sex/no-sex (perhaps graded like rating additionally) flag, not a code, and maybe even not that. Codes (equivalent of tags) are very useful in searching; why remove something good and succesfull? If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Additionally they allow for stories which belong to more than one genre or subgenre being marked as such. (I wrote about mutually exclusive codes concern earlier.)

    Comparison with library and bookstores is not that relevant, because libraries and bookstores faces physical limitations: a book can be only (usually) in one place, one shelf, under one genre. Usually when one searches something in RL library, one uses one of the catalogs – equivalent of SOL story codes.

    List of genres, fitting the story to the genre – there always will be the problem with “fitting square pegs to round holes”. I have mentioned example of “Coffee with Dad” by Girl Friday; another example would be “Sacred Garden” by avatar302, which I found in Sci-Fi section on one site, in Fetish section in another, and could also be put under Supernatural genre. But it is not something not to overcome: other sites, libraries, bookstores somehow deal with that — with better or worse result. Perhaps if story could be put under more than one category, one being the “main” category…

    Primary Theme, General, Minor Scene. I also think that the obstacles are not unsurmountable. Nevertheless it would be quite a lot of work, so if you don’t feel like implementing it, we will understand. (On the other hand implementing categories/Genres system also would take large amount of work to do it properly).

    * User Interface and Comprehension: the idea about legend (explanation) is a good one, but I think if the Primary Theme code (in bold, perhaps capitalized and/or expanded to full name) comes first, then ordinary codes, and last Scenes (Accidental, minor) codes (in italic) it should be pretty easily understood. You can always put the explanation of the changes in News section.

    * Author Interface: I think that it would be better to either have the codes repeated for Theme and Ordinary codes, perhaps also for Scene codes, or somehow emulate multistate checkboxes. Another solution would be to use JavaScript to allow clicking on labels for codes checkboxes to cycle through ordinary/theme/scene/unchecked state (marked: rom [ ], rom [x], rom [x], rom [x], rom [ ]), while clicking on checkbox would check/uncheck it (optionally reverting to normal code). Another one would be to put radioboxes in addition to checkboxes (or radiobox where none can be selected) for Ordinary/Theme/Scene code. Yet another would be to use multiple choice select instead of checkboxes (it takes up much less space) for Theme and Scene codes. Well, it could be that Scene codes be added for CHAPTERS, but it would be even more work.

    * Data storage: I don’t know how it is implemented now. On the database side, if all codes are in one field (column), create two (one) additional column; if they are in separate table, add additional field for marking/flagging the code as Theme (Main, Primary), General (Secondary) or Scene (Accidental, Tertiary) code, or split the table into three tables. On the HTML side, if they are ordered, one can simplu use theme code, theme code, or theme code, theme code + some CSS.

    Well, the discussion drifted somewhat, and I can understand that you would want to return it to the track…

    (and this will be my last post in this topic about “formatting based emphasis for codes”)

  59. Lazeez,
    Sounds like a very good idea to me. To classify just stories with not much plot, make a “Stroke Stories” category.
    I think that this should be used with the story codes. That way if a story would fit into more than one category, it can be reflected.
    Good luck and take care,
    msboy8 (Wayne)

  60. From ElSol:

    To answer, Garylian’s question.

    No, I wouldn’t like to ‘label’ my stories.

    Some do follow the classical conception of literary genres; any sci-fi story I write is clearly sci-fi because that’s my first love.

    But on literotica, i see their categories and I’m immediately thinking ‘Well, what is this story… not a classic romance story, but not this, or that… oh yeah, ‘Miscellaneous’.

    Categories are more reader aides than author anythings…

    The question would more properly directed at them than us.

    I’m not going to think ‘category’ until it’s time to post.


  61. I say a resounding NO on this idea.

    Yes, the story code system has shortcomings, and maybe there is a solution to this, but this isn’t it.

    This will cause worse problems for me. What if I have a story that touches on multiple themes that cross multiple genres? What if a story has more than one sub-genre? You force me to classify it one way or the other, and I lose a bunch of readers that may otherwise want to read my story.

    Take my first posted story, Melissa’s Initiation. How would you classify it? It has a scene in the middle that suggests the supernatural. Ok, so it goes under that heading. Oops, major mind-control scene near the end! Damn, I was expecting more supernatural stuff.

    My suggestion would be to allow people to “weight” their story codes. For example, on ASSTR I have a story coded “cbt(mild)”. Or if a story focuses on the question of whether mind-control is really taking place, I can code it on ASSTR as “mc(?)”. Something similar here would be nice.

    — A Strange Geek

  62. Just a reminder that when Mr. Dewey had the same problem, we ended up with a decimal system [which should be adaptable here…].

  63. KB here,

    Okay, Lazeez isn’t going to do the weighted thing, especially using fonts. I can appreciate that; it’d be a heck of a job to insert!

    That doesn’t prevent you authors from voluntarily inserting a little blurb in your description: “Theme codes MF, rom, fan” or “Scene codes rape, vio”. This voluntary weighting won’t affect the search engine, but would help those who are looking through results lists.

    Oh, and of course, might want to just choose one or the other, so as not to use up your description space to repeat all your codes.


  64. Lazeez,

    Further thinking on the idea of a better system of classifying stories still does not leave me wanting to dispense with the codes. Instead I’d recommend keeping them, but adding a drop-down genre list for top level of classification. Categories can include:

    Science Fiction

  65. I’m going to lurk under the shadow of anonymity for this one, just FYI most librarys no longer use the dewey decimal system they use the Library of Congress system because it was more modern and less bulky and take it from someone that has to do alot of research both systems SUCK! Implementing that here would be the worst thing in the world you can do

  66. I am a reader who goes for the longer stories and the higher scores.

    The codes are very useful for short works.

    As the stories get longer, 300K+, it is more about the characters and plot and the codes are less important to me.

  67. I rather like the idea of three classifications of story length, as well. Short Story (under 100k), Novella (100k to 500k), Novel (500k+)
    The two (short or long) doesn’t really cover much differing ground as many 105k stories are not really anything like the content in novels, being simply long short stories.

    As far as general classifications, the Catch-all of Modern could cover much ground of stories that are not otherwise covered by categories like science fiction or horror, or what-have-you. At that point, the reader will be seeking for a specific content type within the story (incest, anal, wife, etc).

  68. Adventure
    Alternate Reality
    Child Models
    Foreign Language
    Science Fiction
    True and Real Life

    These are the themes at the other site I mentioned in my last post. You should contact Velocity for more information, I’m sure she would be more than happy to help you. If you do contact her, seriously let her know I sent you.


  69. Theme/Scene codes – description is good place to put them. But it takes care only about selecting the results, not about finding (or not finding) the story because of the codes.

    Interface for authors – drop down list with the list of genres (combo box, i.e. HTML select statement) plus if there would be subgenres next drop down list with subgenres which gets filled after selecting the genre. It would need some JavaScript, though. Optionally there could be “add new genre” to chose, and then text inpot field to enter the new genre name (like in MP3 genre tag, in ID3v1.1).

    List of genres. Length classification (Short Story, Novella, Novel; I would also add Flash) is somewhat orthogonal to genre. As for the info, there is Size column. As for searching, perhaps Premier Members have “Sort by size” option in search and Categories search, and/or option to select the story size range.

    I’d like to have genres complementing the codes, not replacing even a tiny fragment of them, for hard to classified stories, stories joining more than one genre etc. As to the genre list: it is hard work, balance between being general enough (to have list of genres short, perhaps < = 25; and to make classification easier on writers/ editors/ reviewers/ whoever would be able to (re)assign stories to genre) and specific enough (to allow readers choose what they want to read; to allow readers put the story in proper category). I'd like to add to the lists (or remind) the following categories: * Poems / Poetry (easy to classify)
    * Flash (very short stories, not easy to classify otherwise)
    * Supernatural (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, superheros, perhaps also mind control but not hypnosis; those stories which most certainly are not Horror)
    * Stroke / Erotica / PWP (Plot What Plot or Porn Without Plot; Stroke is I think easiest recognizable)
    * Drama (quite generic genre)
    * Growing Up (?) (well, I don’t have good name for all that lot of “coming of age” stories)
    * Dominance (includes hypnosis, BDSM, Mdom/Fdom, might control etc.; main theme is dominance or behavior related to it)
    * Political Fiction (subgenre of Science Fiction)
    * N/A / {blank} / Miscelaneus / Multiple (for those had/impossible to classify; N/A = Not Applicable)

    Yeah, I know it is quite a mishmash of genres… but this always be a problem, even with subgenres, about genres being mix of generic ones (for stories that don’t fit under narrow genre) and specific ones (for easily categorizable stories).

    There always be hard to classify stories. For example, is “Rewind” TimeTravel story, or Romantic one? It is quite half one, half the other. How to classify “Genie Chronicles”, “Sacred Garden” and “Lupine Dreams”? Supernatural? Magic? What about Morgan stories?

    Leaving you with those questions

    Shadowhawk, the reader

  70. Lazeez,

    I like the idea of categorizing stories by length. However, I would include “In Progress” as one of those “length” categories.

    There is a reasoning behind that thought. An author might could very well have a story that after it’s first post it’s as long as a short story. Later updates might cause the length of that story to be the length of a Novella and finally Novel.

    Besides the nine categories you listed:
    1: Erotica (mostly for sex/stroke stories. The only genre that cannot be flagged as no-sex)
    2: Romantic (for love stories and can have sex in them too of course)
    2: Science Fiction
    3: True
    4: Fan Fiction
    5: Mystery
    6: Western
    7: Fantasy
    8: Horror
    9: Poem
    Besides the “No-Genre/Multiple genre” I would only add Historical.

    I would like to know if it would be possible to list the various “Universes” on one page. Not all the stories that all of them contain but just the “header” number of stories and number of authors.


  71. As a reader, I don’t have a problem with the codes currently being used. I get the picture from the list provided.

    My only request of the authors (or their editors) would be to place the codes in the order of importance THEY feel best describes the story.

    If you, the author, thinks the story is a romance, put that code at the beginning of the list. If you think the most important theme in your story is the “water sports scene” put that in the first position.

    I don’t see a big problem in situations where the first couple of codes are ordered differently than I would have listed them. After all, is it all that big of a deal if the story is listed as a Romance story, set in the far distant future, or a Science Fiction story with loving mushy sugary sweet relationships blossoming around every corner.

    Just try to list the codes in order of importance.

    However, I still find the story synopsis to be more useful in determining if I read it or not.

  72. I think the main problem is that stories has to be categorized in multiple dimensions (for lack of better words).

    – settings (everyday, historic, fantasy, sci-fi, 14th century)
    – story type (no-sex, slow, stroke)
    – mood (romantic, domination, rape…)
    – participants (m,f,M,F, and any combination)
    – sexual acts (oral, anal, ws, scat…)

    I belive a well thought through classification system list up all the necessary dimensions and lets authors add their own tags.

    Every story (or even chapter) should be allowed to have multiple tags in each dimension.

    Then let people choose which codes must be present and absent(!) .. ie.
    “+scifi +Mffff +stroke -ws -scat -animal -rape”

    Those are hard queries (for the database) but gives the user the ultimate freedom to search.

  73. I find that your system works pretty good in the breakdown of catagories and genre.

    Most stories I read or prefer are over 100kb long thereby having a huge possibility to cover multiple genres and several catagories.

    Also every one has diferent beliefs and morals so who is to say what is good, bad, or needs warnings.

    The codes work well as long as they are correct, but sometimes thier are so many in one story.

    As far as sex/no sex, most of the ones I have read contain sex but acually the sex takes away from the stories quality because it becomes redundent or repetative(boring) and I find myself skimming past it to get back to the real story.

    In the long run you will have so many codes and catagories and genres the reader would have to type in or check off every one of there desired codes to find what they are looking for just to get the words “SORRY NO MATCH”

    I say try it out if its not too difficult to do or to reverse see if you like it and if it works. If your happy with it, its all great. If no you can always change it back. you wont know unless you try.

  74. What’s all this brouhaha? … Brouhaha? … Brouhaha – HaHa – HaHa (Firesign Theater)

    Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one. And a lot of them stink.

    Lazeez, you set up a pilot front page for a short period and then the real page was different than before. I don’t know if you got any complaints, but I have noticed the downloads are a lot higher these days than previously. 800 downloads a week isn’t going to get you near the top 20; it used to get you in the top 5. And that was less than a year ago.

    You had a blog about changing the reviewing system. A few days later, it was replaced with one stating there was a new system in place. It was a vast improvement over what had previously been available, and has been a valuable “search” tool for me in finding something to read. And a lot of people who correspond with me regularly and have opinions about what they read have signed up and are pumping out reviews.

    It’s not going to kill any of us to come up with a “genre” for our stories. We have a description section that allows us to say what we want. I notice in DoaL that Frank has to mention the rape is only in one chapter but it’s an integral part of the story. I’d like to be able to order the codes. If there’s a way you could set it up so we could insert a number (1, 2 or 3) instead of a check next to each code, you could list the 1s first, 2s next, etc. The things the author thinks are important would be listed first, those that might turn someone off could be at the end. If a search for “WS” could list all those stories with a 1 in the box first, then the 2s, that would help the guy who is looking for that kind of story.

    You can come up with a length of story category but you’re going to need to have a findable table near the search button. People aren’t going to know that a short story is under 25K, a novel is over 500. If people are that interested in length, I suggest you just have tabs for various lengths – under 25, over 500, etc.

    As long as you’re going to make searching easier, how about a search by score? Highest at the top. The same with downloads. Yes, I know you have short lists available on the front page. But some of us have read through all of them that appeal to us.

    And you definitely want a “go to” tab so I don’t have to hit “next” five times to get to what I want (that’s what I just did to find M1ke Hunt in the reviews section).

    Lazeez, you aren’t stupid. I’ve questioned things before and you’ve been responsive. Either telling me you weren’t going to do something and justifying it or by making a change. Or that you were working on it. You think things out and they seem to work out OK. I think the key here is IMPROVE rather than CHANGE. You’ve got something that works. Since you’ve got human authors and human readers involved, it isn’t perfect. And it never will be. If you can add a little something that doesn’t make it so complicated that people just go elsewhere, go for it.

    The OLD FART

  75. As a reader and a writer I don’t have any complaints about the current system. I have always had good results finding what I’m looking for using the category search function

    One suggestion posted here I liked was from one of the anonymous posters who suggested that codes be categorized by importance to the story.

    That’s about all I have to say.


  76. I didn’t read many of the other comments and so I guess I’m not really discussing this. One that I did peek at mentioned “borrowing” something from Literotica.

    I hope you don’t. That place is the worst mess I’ve ever seen for trying to find something to read.

    As far as classifications go, I don’t know about other authors, but I hate being classified. It hurts, expecially if the classifier isn’t careful around your short hairs.

    Maybe I didn’t understand what you were suggesting, but from what I thought I understood, I tried to figure out where I could Pigeon Hole “NanoVirus.”

    In fact, that might be my main reservation. Maybe I wouldn’t care to be Pigeon Holed. It might hurt more than Classification.


  77. I say use the new classification because it make it easier if somebody was looking for a certain theme like westerns or bestality or mind control. So It definitely sounds good.

  78. Lazeez:

    I think you need two ‘genres’ in addition to the ones you listed.

    First is Time Travel. I do NOT think Time Travel should be a subgenre. For one thing, because it’s so prevalent. For another thing, because it’s not necessarily scifi. Doing It All Over isn’t science fiction, it’s ‘magic’. (Rewind isn’t scifi, either.)

    Second genre? Coming-of-Age. How else would you classify, as the *main* genre, mind you, something like Summer Camp? In fact, Naked High (when I get back to it :-)) I’d put under Coming-of-Age as a primary genre. Unless you made Naked In School a genre of its own :-). There’s a *lot* of stuff on here where I’d say the main genre is Coming-of-age.

    As for the idea, let me say that I like it. Most especially for longer stories. Since Dance of a Lifetime has been discussed here, I can use that as an example. The story’s got sixty-eight codes, and they’re all applicable, and that’s with there not even being a code for ice dancing :-). But DoaL is a *romance*. Everything else is a code, not a theme. And, yes, if there were a way to code individual chapters, I would use it and DoaL would be the prime example.

    –Frank Downey

  79. Greetings my friend,

    I can see the need to change the story codes, but am really glad I don’t have to decide what they should be.
    On my short stories, “Stroke Fiction” would probably suit them all, but on my two serials… wow. Where do you begin. The longer the story, (IMO) the less sex, yet the sex is an important aspect. Sub genres? That might do it, but I would definitely put a section for Novels.
    Romance is fine but even in the romantic department, people play games and the question is are they outside of the normal sex games regular people play?
    In many of the longer stories, age plays a key role. Unless the characters are of the same age, this is a major section on its own.
    It’s a massive task you have assigned yourself and I would suggest a small trustworthy committee to help you identify those areas that will help guide people to the stories they want.


  80. Too many folks want a category system designed for their particular interest. I don’t have a clue where mine (cheating wives) will work a new system, but I’ll find a way to fit into it. Do what you want to, Lazeez.


  81. Have you looked at “tags” in

    An entirely new approach would be to let readers enter a list of tags for every story they read. Then you would count up the tags that each story receives. When someone searches for stories with a particular tag, the stories can be presented in order by those which have been most often given that tag by other readers.

    This takes the author (who is, after all, only one person) out of the equation. Tags will accumulate based on how the readers – collectively – feel about the story.


  82. I don’t think authors would appreciate others classifying their stories. I would find it very offensive.

    In my opinion, it is still the author’s story.

    No publishing it is fair; changing it isn’t.

    I would hate to see a good author lost and unfortunately, authors are fickle and emotional about their writing. They are writing here for free.

    The last suggestion to take the author out of the equation; takes some authors off the site.


  83. Correction above: Not publishing it is fair.


    While it is my story; it is Lazeez’s site and he can organize it anyway he thinks is best. I appreciate that if I don’t like his policies; I can pull my stories.


  84. Forgive me if this has been said already – there are a ton of comments. You’ve obviously hit upon something good…

    I think the Sex / No Sex flag is a good idea, but something that should be defined better. There are a number of stories where the sex is graphic, but sparse and integral to the storyline. Perhaps instead of sex / no sex, you could go with a No Sex / Some Sex / Graphic Sex flag.

    The number and type to be determined by someone much smarter than I…

    Sure, it’s not really a flag in the programmatic sense, but you’re using a relational database anyway :).

  85. KB here

    Trying to stick strictly to subject here & make suggestions for the genres. Hmm, actually, I’ll just think up as many subgenres as I can & let you decide on how to organize any you wish to keep.

    01. Time Travel (physical and other-body)

    02. Period (set in any era/locale at least a generation in past)

    03. What-If Worlds (Earths where history followed a different path than we know. Usually set “now”.)

    04. Future (from “now” when some major invention/reform comes about to space empires) — includes hi-tech scifi and “reforms” like NIS

    05. End of World (set post-apocalyptic or trying to prevnt world-wide catastrophe)

    06. Military/Political Struggle

    07. Legal Thrillers (any John Grishams out there?)

    08. Socio-politics (modern tale about certain ethnic/economic situations)

    09. Spy Thriller

    10. Cyber/Techno Thriller (chasing down hackers or combatting implications of real-world tech)

    11. Legal Thrillers (any John Grishams out there?)

    12. Race the Clock (trying to prevent some tragedy, usually personal)

    13. On the Lam (evading authorities or powerful agencies like the mob)

    14. Murder Mystery

    15. Pyschological Thriller

    16. Fantastic Horror (from mythic creatures to lab creations to your Jason & freddy types)

    17. High Fantasy (your legendary settings, dragons & elves & the like)

    18. Power Fantasy (modern magic, like genies, gods, books or ufos granting powers) — includes superhero types

    19. Mind Control (part of 16, or on its own?)

    20. Fan Fiction (anything based on established characters by other writers, usually popular media)

    21. Celebrity Fiction (story about metting your favorite actor/ singer/ model/ etc)

    22. True

    23. Poem

    24. Flash (combine with Poem into “Artistic Work”?)

    25. Humor/Satire

    26. Romantic Comedy

    27. Coming of Age

    28. Lost Love (sad endings or second chances)

    29. Ethical Crisis (anything focusing on making choices and their ramifications): from “which girl will I wed” to incest, cheating, pedo, etc.

    30. Overcoming Adversity (surviving destitution, rape, AIDS, abuse, etc)

    31. Lucky Breaks (urban sex legends & Penthouse Forum letters)

    32. One Night Stands

    33. Miscellaneous/NA

    That pretty much dries me out (and just as well, I suppose). Do want to add my vote to the idea of modifying the sex/no-sex flag, either make it a three-way “flag” (no-sex/some sex/graphic sex) or add a second flag (plot-driven/sex-driven).


  86. KB here

    Whoops — made a change as I wrote it and just now caught it. #19 Mind Control was supposed to be refered back to 18, not 16.

  87. FWIW, I don’t really read too much by genre. I look first at score. I’ll read almost anything (less my personal squicks) rated 9 or above. If several of the story codes are ‘right up my alley’, or the author’s blurb grabs me, I’ll read anything over about 8.4.

    To the best of my knowledge almost every classification scheme of any type (not just literary) has a host of items that do not fit neatly. Many of these are unimportant, but there are usually important cases that don’t fit and often their importance is due to the very characteristics that cause them not to fit into the classification scheme.

    All of which is to say: categorize if you must, but please don’t abandon story codes. My own preference would be to just consider GENRE as a category for a number of story codes, along with other categories such as used on the category search page.

    Perhaps a solution to the original problem – to “distinguish between main themes or story types from minor activities” – would be to distinguish between PRIMARY story codes (per ‘category’) and SECONDARY codes. E.G., a story about teenage neighbors in the post-apocalypse 23rd century who fall in love and develop their relationships while she experiences and recovers from a rapist who tied her up and he is trying to extricate himself from being blackmailed by his aunt (who has a robot lover) into ‘kinky’ sex with her bridge club would be PRIMARY(mf, romantic) SECONDARY(Mf, rape, bondage, mF+, blackmail, Fdom, spank, scifi:robot, scifi:EndOfCivilization, etc.)

  88. Alright, decision time.

    I’m going ahead with the new system. It will be an optional one. Optional as in, any author that doesn’t want to select a story type for their stories, they don’t have to.

    The new system will take quite a while to be done. I asked this early because I’m revamping the submission wizard (which may take months to get done properly) and I needed to decide whether to build the new one with support for story types.

    When it’s first done, the supported story types will be:

    1: Erotica
    2: Romantic
    2: Science Fiction
    3: True
    4: Fan Fiction
    5: Mystery
    6: Western
    7: Fantasy
    8: Horror
    9: Humor
    10: Drama
    11: Time Travel
    12: Poem

    After the system is implemented, new types can be added on valid demand.

  89. As usual, another great idea that would vastly improve SOL, for both readers and writers.

    I say go for it. You might also set a flag for fiction and non-fiction at some level of the tree.

    As for the genre names, a simple walkthru of the average book store would give you the main genres of fiction. Adventre, Western, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance, Historical, etc. I think you’re better off to keep it simple with main genres only, and not get into multiple levels of sub-genres. Let the story codes do that work. That’s just me though. Stick with Sex/no-sex > Genre-tree.

    On a side note, would readers be offered top 5/10/20 lists according to genres? That might be cool.

    Anyway, that’s my 3 or 4 cents.


  90. As a reader at SOL, the thing that I most miss is the ability to search for stories in an open fashion.

    The bdsmlibrary advanced search allows you (the reader) to mark categories as Yes, No or Maybe.

    This really adds to the usfulness of the existing categories.

    The search results are more in tune with what I might feel like reading..

  91. Lazeez, what about sex/no-sex flag? Would it be implemented?

    What about characteristic to the stories of erotica genres, frequent on SOL, like “Growing Up” aka. “Coming of Age”, or distinguishing between “Erotica” and “Stroke” genres?

    Well, the post generated certainly many comments…


  92. Beating Off Bob says:

    As an author, I think a general story classification scheme, supported by codes would work. For example I write stories primarily about Incest or Young Love. Within those basic categories I code for humor, age of principals, and the specific activities that take place. “General Sex” stories could be classified as “Adult relationships” with codes describing the activities. “Teen Relationships” “Lesbian Relationships” “Horror” and so on could create the general categories you’re talking about, and then the reader can choose the KIND of story within that category that matches his or her kink or interest by using the codes.

    As a reader, trying to choose a story to try out, I usually look at the author first, then the teaser and then the codes and then the score. Then I make a decision as to whether to give it a whirl or not. General classifications would take me where I’m most likely to find something I like, and then I can do the rest by using codes.

    One thing I’d note is that I get mail from readers fairly often that says they don’t normally read a story that was coded the way one of mine was, but because they have read my stories before and liked them, they’ll take a chance. And, once I find an author I like to read, I go to his/her pages and start bookmarking stories I want to read in the future. That is a system I love as a reader.

    Thanks for all you do.

  93. Lazeez,
    a lot of good comments and differing views.

    I can only add that as someone who also posts his stories on Literotica, I’ve noticed that certain of their ‘sections’ are ghettos; a story posted in those sections will have far fewer people seeing it than in others.

    That’s why I post some of mine in sections where they belong, but the classification isn’t quite as accurate as another would be, just to avoid the ‘ghetto-ization’ of the story.

  94. Idea for story submitting interface:

    1. Single choice field, either input radio button, or the select/option field (drop down box) for choosing the Genre from specified list (the list probably taken from database). It also adds the code related to the genre (UI: selects and optionally makes immutable appropriate checkbox in codes section), if there exists such code.

    2. ‘no-sex’ checkbox for marking the story as containing no sex scenes (if this would be implemented). Also (optionally) adds/checks the ‘no-sex’ code, and removes (makes unchecked and disabled) sex related codes like ‘anal’ or ‘orgy’.

    3. Empty text field where author can enter proposed Genre for the story. The backend side of this needs careful thinking over; on the database side it could be additional field empty by default. Webmaster should be noted about new genre proposition. Author should be informed (email?) of decision: proposed genre denied, proposed genre accepted, replacement genre suggested.

    Shadowhawk, reader.

  95. Probably the easiest way to sugest a new Genre for a story would be to make a comment to that effect when submitting it.

    The story sugestion mechanism could possibly be programed to suggest more stories in Genre’s that are not as popular as others.

    I am interested in seing how this will work in practice.

    Knight Ranger

  96. A clarification:

    The new system is not something that will be implemented soon. It is fairly far into the future. Implementing it requires extensive modifications to a large section of the site.

    I’m currently in the process of revamping a great deal of the site’s underlying architecture. Stuff that nobody sees mostly, but has great effect on the site’s current and future performance and scalability. Some pages’ performance has been already boosted by about 50%.

    One of the biggest tasks that I have committed myself to is reworking the submission wizard. The interface is being reworked to support previews, revisions and shortcuts. Currently, there is no way for authors to check if they made mistakes in their submissions and there is no way to revise anything before the story/chapter passes through moderation; that will be changed.

    The submission wizard may look simple on the surface but is made up of a large collection of code (currently the second largest piece of code on the front end of the site after the library) and requires a lot of time and effort to implement the new features. The wizard alone is at least 2 to 3 months away.

    So what has been discussed up to now will have effect in 6 months to a year. During that time, many of the small details may change and as I design it, I may come up with more than what has been discussed here if there is a need or maybe less. I don’t even know yet.

  97. From unstablxxx…

    As an author with 16 stories on the site, I can honestly say that this is the only site I post on precisely because of the ease of the submission wizard and the clarity of the categories.

    Although I’ll continue to post here through whatever changes Lazeez decides to make, the one thing that I want to make perfectly clear is that we all (authors and readers alike) owe him a big ‘Thank You’ for maintaining this outlet for our creativity and/or sexuality. His continuing efforts to improve the site must be applauded.

    Without Lazeez, I’m sure that none of my stories would have received the attention they’ve gotten.

    So, thanks, Lazeez!

  98. Ok, it looks like it’s time to toss my two cents into the cookie jar. First if i say the same thing as others sorry. That train wreck of comments above was too long to read all of.

    As an avid reader of multiple media and genre i can see several things wrong both with the current categories as well as several comments that i saw posted here. i will outline below.

    1. Lazeez is talking about adding Genre tags to the story while removing catagory tags that are made redundant. most of the current category tags are not catagory they are warning tags to give you an idea of what is inside and should not be used in classifing the content.

    2. Genre is not the same as codes posted to help you avoid what you do not wish to read.

    3. If you treat this as a library you start with 2 tags. Fiction, Non-Fiction. if i am not mistaken one or both of those are listed in the current category tags. eg True Story.

    4. From there you break it down into generalities. From what i managed to read through on the blog comments it looks as if ppl want it broken down so minutely that there will be too many sub genre. Instead what would probably work better would be a combination of the 2 systems.

    5. Generalities would be something along the following lines.
    General Fiction

    6. You then can reuse the specifics of the subgeneralities (not sure if it’s a word but it is now)

    7. After you have selected Primary, General, Sub then you can filter codes as you can now with the category search.
    eg. in the case of aftermath
    Primary: Fiction
    General: Scifi/Fant
    Sub: Erotica
    Warning Codes: MF Mf Ff cons reluc violent bi group toys
    (for those of you that noticed i did pull the scifi code from the codes cause it is covered in general)

    Ok i guess that’s enough outa me i’m sure i started rambling but i hope i got my point accross well enough. as i prolly won’t look back in on this if anyone wanted to toss comments my way my email is

  99. now this is a pretty decent idea and while i have not read through all the replys so i dont know if its been suggested but my suggestion for you is
    keep the story codes but have them have a MAIN genre and a SUB genre then assorted codes to describe the rest of it such as. SciFi -> MindControl -> mF FF Multi Romance Haram. personaly that seems like a better arrangement to me if you wish to msg me for more details

  100. Lazeez, the idea has merit. there are so many stories now, that a better classification system will be very helpful. We can think like in a regular library, where books are classified in specific defined ways, but when you pick it up of course, that is ALL you know about the book. With Story Codes the contemplative reader is so much better off. It is Historical Fiction, for example. The story codes are, as you rightly suggested, like teasers saying “there is some of THIS and some of THAT in this book of historical fiction. You are right that the main story classification would then be left out of the story codes.

    Not sure I agree with ‘anonymous’ who said to create a class just for sex stories, after all that is the over-arching classification for storiesonline; nearly every story has some sex in it, and even the ones that don’t are often pretty ‘sexy’.

    You are going to have to mess around with subcategories. I think SciFi is a great example. Magic, for one, is not sci-fi, but some authors put them together. Under Sci-Fi as a major classification, you could have galactic (‘Scout’), earth-bound near future (such as ‘Zenith’ and many of Al Steiner’s stories), sci-fi sex (the ‘Bimbo’ series), time travel.

    The story codes remain important, mainly because, for me, there are types of content that I prefer not to ‘stumble’ across.


  101. Whoops. Just read Stormy Weather’s comments. May not be so simple, Eh? I am glad it is not up to me to develop trial categories…

    And what about Eon’s comment? I am not an author, only an editor, so I do not know: is there a problem with changing a story’s codes after you get a bit into the writing of it?


  102. I use my own classification the following
    age group of main character (c=child b g m f M F with an aprox age if given in the story or relevent in {})and a single letter expressing character (D dominant B bully S submissive etc)
    followed by tne same for second main character I can but seldom add other characters
    eg Tom Brown and Flashman is BP(12)mB(18) P is Plucky
    This does not help with the senario or the sexual element but this note is long enough

  103. Okay. I sometimes have a story that would fit in more than one category. Usually there is a dominant theme (story=plot, duh!). So that determines which category I post it under.

    I think the idea of ‘ordering’ content tags has merit. I’ve posted stories under ‘incest’ that really aren’t because they involve step-relationships, though the idea is the same. Maybe a new category to address this type of theme is needed. Or else a content tag to that effect?

  104. I abhor the plethora of categories listed with soem stories. especially as they are often written in a code which is ambiguous unless one has a readily available look-up table.
    Either choose half-a-dozen clear categories or just allow the author 30/40/50 words to describe the piece in their own words.

  105. Lazeez,

    I think the code system you have now works perfectly!

    IMO, all you need to do is create some new story codes in your existing code database to cover the new genres.

    I.e., you could add a new sub-category of codes for GENRE, like you have categories of AGE/GENDER, LEVEL OF CONSENT, SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS, etc.

    Then all the check boxes in GENRE could be SF, Western, Romance, Horror, Conventional Erotica, Historical, etc.

    That way, a writer could check off which genre (or multiple genres if appropriate) the story fits. And a writer could suggest a new genre just as easily as a writer can suggest a new story code.

    –Hungry Guy

  106. How about you settle on some basic categories. One; The author picks a category for his story.
    Two: He adds maybe five sliding scale “flavors” to it that could encompass other categories that his story overlaps.
    Three: And some flavor scales that the public can vote on.

    As an example: Story: “A Tale” , By “Eager Pen”,
    One: Romance
    Two: SciFi 2
    Fantasy 4
    Three: SciFi 9
    Fantasy 2

    This lets you and the author initial category choice and lets the public vote where else it should go or be sorted by.

  107. Hey, Red Trooper here.

    Why not make it simple. have categories: S/M, Incest, Juvinile, Gay, Transexual, General (basic), and Experimental.

    And subs: Historical, Mystery, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Humor, Thriller, and Drama (present day.)

  108. the problem I have with the classification system is that it is covering too much of the story. I would like the scenes to each have their own categorization. I don’t want to read about 8 people in 64 combinations and 52 relationships doing 24 kinds of things. I’d rather see such a story classified something like: MF het pett, Mf father daughter no sex, mf bro sis, ff oral, … That way I could find stories that have the scenes I want to read. If I only want MF oral, and I don’t want to wade through a story to find out that the M and F did the BD part, and the ff did the oral, I will be frustrated.

  109. To be perfectly honest, I think the existing codes are just fine, I can find exactly what I want using the ones already in existance. It is most likely your own personal preference that has led to you dissatisfaction.

    I post my stories on other sites as well as this one, univerally, they are not so particular with their coding so, are less easy to navigate around.

    It might help if the author gave a better precis of their story to descride what the reader might expect. But that relies on the authors ability to be objective about theit pet baby.

    Which ever way you decide to go, I shall continue to write and post here, it is by far, the best story provider on the whole net.


  110. Greetings

    First Lazeez, thanx for a great site.

    One set of classification would be helpful – Violence!

    The general violence level in the entire narrative – Just something simple rated: G, R, X

    My concen is that my stories have fairly violent interludes with the battles, etc. but the sex is consensual for the most part.

    I tend to think of the current “viol” code as involving forced sex.

    Another thought, in the area of warning codes – I have a rape(with some mitigation) scene in Atlantis that takes place in the midst of a 100 chapter story yet the code says “rape”.

    I’m OK with warning off the person with a squick but I wish there was a way to indicate a severity or mitigation or something.

    Oh well not a huge deal generally. I’m happy with the presentation of my stories and looking forward to teh new year here at SOL

    Thanx again


  111. I would like to see a no class, forinstance- no/incest or no/scat or no/interracial etc. That would save me a lot of time in avoiding the things I detest.

  112. Hi, here are my two cents:
    I think the current system is quite good already. The broad main categories offered on other sites do not give sufficient information. One thing to improve would be the weighting of story codes. That is, dividing between main codes and minor codes. If, for instance, a romantic time-travel serial of 300+ pages contains one single incestual scene and one instance of mild bestiality, then the main codes should be “romance” and “time-travel”, with alerts to minor incest and bestiality. And the main themes could be restricted to just two or three codes.

  113. As a reader I really like this site because it does not force stories into a single narrow category like does.

    Of the ideas above, I prefer the ones that allow the author to indicate main themes via formatting (bold).

    If you really must indicate a “genre”, please do not make them mutually exclusive. Many stories are time travel and historical, fantasy and romantic. Many writer’s stories are centered around one theme, but include others, and I want to know all of what they choose to reveal.

  114. The proposed scoring & rating changes are/were ingenious, & their cancellation is absurd.

    I NEVER use the current score/rating system (either to judge what to read, or to ‘comment’) because it’s patently ridiculous. Theodore Sturgeon’s infamous-but-oh-so-true dictum that ‘90% of ANYTHING is crap’ applies even more-so to attempted artistic endeavors, & every single one I noted was 9+ before stopping paying any attention to scores entirely. Some might say, ‘treat 9.5, or even 9.7, as a 5’; but the judgment of scorers who rate EVERYTHING as 9+ isn’t to be trusted. Of the 1000s I’ve read, ever, only a dozen or maybe a baker’s-dozen at most, would be 9+ out of 10–only 20% or so would even qualify as ‘author’ vs ‘writer’. Don’t get me wrong, many of my all-time favorite stories/writers wouldn’t be, ALLTOGETHER, scored above a 6 or 7! though they’re still quite engaging, entertaining, &/or intriguing. This is NOT being ‘harsh’, or ‘unsupportive’!, rather the opposite!–EVERYONE, readers & writers both, benefit from truthful & honest review.

    Then I read of Lazeez’ superb plan to correct scoring to a mean!, INGENIOUS! Not only that, but he plans to combine this far more true-scoring with a practical, pragmatic rating system! WITH THE 2 COMBINED, at last, something usable, sensible & shrewd. Also, as-is is good, ‘kiss’ principle definitely applies–the proposed scoring & rating system & that’s it. [A truly honest, real-world, authentic mean would be 4-, though realistically the most I could hope for would be a 5 mean, I could live with–& more importantly have some RESPEST for–the proposed mean of 6.]

    Even though SOL supposedly exists primarily for the sake of READERS, not writers; I understand that you must cater to those submitting material, so I don’t blame you for the cancellation–but to those who threatened to withdraw, I call you: “COWARD”!; obviously not really wanting to improve & rather coast along in a cushy world-view of your own ego’s making. Those threatening to leave because of honest scoring & rating, along with those who whine & wheedle about their ratings on the current asinine scoring system, aren’t worth reading anyway–& if you could get by without ’em I’d say ‘good riddance’.

    Lazeez, I salute you, & thank you, for the attempt. I have a great deal of respect for you because of it.


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