My friends, the time has come to reminisce on the days of Wattpad past [POLL]

Hello, dear friends. Many of you may be aware that Wattpad in the past few years rolled out a brand new ranking system, prioritizing tags (I believe) and it would seem, changing the algorithm by which stories are ranked, shown, and discovered.

However, I know that the system was different when I first joined Wattpad, and I’m sure there have been different systems in the past. I’d love to hear your feedback on what search/ranking systems you think were the best, and how easily you were able to get discovered on those systems.

If you don’t mind…I’ve created a poll.

Also, feel free to share thoughts on the current system. (If you want to discuss its glitches there’s already a thread created to track the fixing of known issues, though. You can find that thread here)

What discoverability/search/ranking system do you prefer?

  • Current System
  • Former System
  • Older System (specify in comments)

0 voters

How easy was it or is it to get discovered during the time of your favorite system?

  • Super easy!
  • It required work, but not too much.
  • Unsure
  • It required a lot of work/effort
  • Impossible, regardless of work/effort.

0 voters

Drop your thoughts in the discussion below!

No discussion yet? Le gasp!

I’d like to drop by to say what I’ve said many times already, which is that you can’t possibly underestimate how much tag rankings helped the discoverability of small subgroups that previously fell within large genres.

Specifically, I’m talking fanfiction. For those who don’t read or write it, I can understand that you wouldn’t have seen this (and sadly for me might not care), but I remember the days when the fanfiction genre was dominated by One Direction fanfics and other similar things. I remember that my community, which reads and writes Pokémon fanfiction and had all but zero interest in One Direction, started a petition to get Wattpad to make a separate genre for Real Person Fanfic (based on celebrities) vs traditional fanfic (based on tv shows, books, video games, etc.). All because we were invisible. You could scroll for miles and never find a book from the one fandom you actually wanted to read. And we were far from being the only fandom to feel that way.

With tags, we can now click on the name of ANY FANDOM WE WANT and get a great big list of stories that are actually what we’re looking for! Fanfiction is one of the genres on Wattpad with the largest amount of stories in it and also, I’d argue, one with the most diversity that you just couldn’t even sift through previously.

I’ve heard plenty of arguments from people who hate the new system and want to go back to the old way, but it seems like a lot of them are people who happened to benefit from the old way. And from my perspective, a lot of authors were benefitting at the cost of other authors who were equally or even more deserving. And at the cost of the readers as well because if you really wanted something to read, you would pick something you could find, even if it made you a lot less happy than the hidden book would have.

I realize you’re asking about the algorithm as well as the tag changes, but, well, I honestly don’t even know how the old one was working because, as I mentioned previously, neither me nor any other person I knew of in my entire community ever got into the hot list at all. We didn’t care about it. We totally ignored it because the entire thing was hopeless. Would we have gotten more exposure if we had ranked in Fanfiction vs ranking in the “pokemon” tag now? Maybe? But I have no way of knowing because it would never happen. Honest truth.


I find this interesting, because the new system (when I was back on my old fanfic account) didn’t help the discoverability of any of the fanfic stories to my knowledge. Instead they stagnated and I had to rely on my close knit group of friends/readers.

I do know that the lists are now chock full of fanfiction, so maybe that’s why they’re easier to find. Now that everything is basically merged together, fanfiction is flooding the search results. You can’t get away from it. O.O

I don’t know exactly how the old system worked but it was far easier to get discovered and when I used promotional tips found in books and such they actually worked. I miss those days, honestly. It’s near impossible to find things to read now, but that’s just my experience.

Well, I did also answer your second question with “it requires a lot of work”. Even with the current system it does, yes, but as far as I’ve seen it’s much better than “impossible” which is what I found when I first started.

It did benefit me, but mainly because it was easier to find what I was interested in reading. It could’ve used some refinement for sure, but right now the system feels like a hopeless rollercoaster.

What kinds of stories are you interested in if you don’t mind me asking?

Interesting. Sorry you found the old system impossible. I find the new one rather impossible at the moment. It’s been blind luck so far.

Back then, Star Wars Fanfic. Currently, Science Fiction/Dystopian/Crime/Mystery (I tend to read more within the first three genres, though) Some Literary Fiction too

You were able to easily find Star Wars fanfic way back when? Did you have some secret I didn’t know about? lol I definitely don’t remember seeing any until recently, even though that’s the sort of thing I would have been interested in reading.

Oh yeah, I just went to the FanFiction genre and added the tag #starwars and sometimes #clonewars or #clones

I found a TON of it. Built a little fan community of my own. My old fanfic books had at least 500-1k reads within a year until the system change.

But… that’s after there were tags then? I’m talking about the days before tags even existed. Unless I’m losing my mind…

Ohhh, you’re talking about a much older system. I’m talking about the system previous to the current one (where you have rankings in tags instead of genre, etc.) They did the shift like…1-2 years ago? Before that you could add tags but they only refined your search.

Ok, if you’re talking about that, you’re talking about a much smaller change than I am, which I probably didn’t even count as much of anything. I’ve been here seven years, and I’m talking about way back in 2012.


Okay, that explains it. I’m talking about the system in 2015. There was another (for me) major system shift a little while back where they emphasized tags and now it’s really hard to find things.

Ranking system was never what helped me with discovery, in fact there were times I wondered if it made it harder if like … * cough, a How To Train Your Dragon Fanfic! is ranked in the same category as an original fiction set in a dystopia.

I know I keep harping on that, but still.

By contrast I had books before the new algorithm that got upwards of 300-800 reads. So there is a difference.

Found a PM of mine from 4 years ago related to the petition I mentioned. Might be interesting. :slight_smile:

"I believe that separating the two categories would be beneficial to writers of Real Person fiction because they would have a more clearly defined category for their works. I also believe that they might get a little bit less hate from those members of the community who are annoyed by what they consider their domination of the fanfiction category and who unfortunately do not always have the best way of expressing that considerately.

The writers of other fanfiction would enjoy having less competition from some of the Real Person fandoms that are incredibly popular, such as One Direction. This would give their stories a better chance to win a spot on the hot list. More than that, however, I think that they would benefit from a new surge of readers who are interested in fanfiction that is not of the Real Person variety. By this, I am talking about readers who currently believe that there is no other fanfiction on Wattpad or who do not know where to find it but would read it if they could easily find it in its own category.

I also believe that both Real Person fiction and other fanfiction would both benefit if the fanfiction category was cleared of any books that truly belong to neither category, which ties into the third item on the Clear-i-fic-ation petition."

It’s true, fanfiction does a lot better than original fiction. Course now every search is flooded with it too.

1 Like

Interesting, I was never aware of this. I always did SW Fanfic.

You have me going back through old updates from Wattpad to try to get my timeline straight! lol

You’re talking about this change? Or one more recent?

Looks right