It’s starting to come to my attention that some people don’t know how to filter out fics on AO3, and they should because it makes fic-searching so much easier. Search within results is the best. If you click the question mark next to it, it’s described as:
Searches all the fields associated with a work in the database, including summary, notes and tags, but not the full work text.
It also goes into more specifics and other uses, but to filter out fics, all you need is a dash and then quotes around a term. For example, one I always use:
-“major character death”
That’s it! I never accidentally get hooked a fic, only to have my heart ripped out when I realize I missed the character death tag! To add more just put a space in between them.
I just saw a post showing an extension you can use to block out searches, and I just needed to share this method with people, because getting another extension is not necessary. It’s an option of course, but if you don’t mind copy/pasting a list of unwanted tags when you search AO3, you can do this without an extension. It’s especially great for me, because I read most fic on my phone, where sadly there are no extensions.
Now go on and read more easily :D
Signal boosting! The ‘Search within results’ field is a true life saver.
Keep in mind, though, it’s a straight up string search, so it doesn’t use the tag architecture. So if, for instance, you don’t want to see any Frostiron and you put in -“Loki/Tony Stark”, it won’t automatically pick up synonyms for the tag and such, so a fic someone tagged ‘Tony Stark/Loki’ or variants will still pop up,
Oh, and if the bit you want to exclude has spaces, make sure to put those quotes around it, otherwise you’ll, for instance, exclude anything with ‘Loki/Tony’, but also accidentally exclude anything which doesn’t have ‘Stark’ in it. Basically, because if you put in -Loki/Tony Stark, you’re saying exclude Loki/Tony, but include Stark. So you’ll probably miss out on some Tony-free fics.
Another fun ‘Search Within Results’ tip?
You can pop in there stuff like word count:100-1000, word count:<5000, word count:>10000. Seriously wonderful if you’re in the mood for a certain length of fic.