Frequently Asked Questions


What does the Favorites Tracker do?
How do I Get Started?
Why do you need my email address?
What is the difference between a username and a userid?
How do I find my MuggleNet Fan Fiction User ID?
How do I find my FanFiction.Net UserID?
What fan fiction sites are supported?
How do I add a story?
How do I remove a story?
How do I add a MuggleNet Fan Fiction Story?
How do I add a Harry Potter Fan Fiction Story?
How do I add a fanfiction.net story?
How do I add a FanficAuthors story?
How do I add a Trylasotar story?
How do I add a Sugar Quill Story?
How do I add a Shur'tugal Fan Fiction story?
How do I find my PortKey.Org User ID?
How do I find the id of a PortKey.Org story?
How does it work?
How much does this cost?
How are the statistics computed?
Why aren't my fanfiction.net favorites showing up?
How is the "score" computed?
Who can I contact for help, to report bugs, or to make suggestions?

What does the Favorites Tracker do?

The Favorites Tracker is a utility that provides a centralized way to find out when new chapters are added to stories on multiple fan fiction sites. The Favorites Tracker keeps track of how many chapters there are in the stories you are interested in and how many chapters you have read. That way it can let you know which stories have unread chapters in them. It does this by highlighting those stories in green and moving them to the top of the favorites. The Favorites Tracker can also email you when new chapters are added to stories you are following. The Favorites Tracker updates all of its chapters counts every half hour to make sure that the information you are seeing is always up to date. To find out how to get started, please see the Getting Started section.

How do I Get Started?

To use this site, you first need to create an account. When you are creating your account, enter the userids or pennames for the Fan Fiction sites that you already have an account for. If you don't have an account on a Fan Fiction Site that you would like to track storys for, don't worry. Having an account allows you to keep the Favorites List here synchronized with your favorites lists at particular fan fiction sites and is not required.

Once you have created an account, you can start adding stories by going to Manage Favorites. To add a story, you need to figure out what its story id is. There are multiple sections below explaining how to do this for each fanfiction site. Once you know the story id for the story, enter it into the "StoryID" box in the section in Manage Favorites for the fan fiction site the story is in. There are some fan fiction sites where stories cannot be added this way. Instead, in the section for the site in Manage Favorites there is a link that takes you to a page where you can add stories using the Title and Author.

It is important to note that you do not need to manually add the favorites that are in your favorites lists on other fan fiction sites. If you have entered your username/userid for a site, your favorites there are automatically imported. When you add or delete stories from your favorites list on a fan fiction site that change will automatically take place here as well.

Why do you need my email address?

Well actually, I don't. However, if you lose or forget your user name or password, the password recovery system can email your username and a new password to you if you enter your email address. That just makes the process much easier so that I don't have to personally deal with every single lost password request. However, you can choose not to enter one or to enter a fake one. I will not sell or give away any email addresses I receive nor will I send unsolicited mails to you. The only time the email address would ever be used is if you request a new password.

What is the difference between a username and a userid?

The difference between a username and a userid is that a username is something human readable like "jeff" while a userid is competely numeric, something like 184726. Usernames are much easier to remember and are what you use to log in with. The userid is what is actually used by the fan fiction sites to uniquely identify who you are. You may be able to change your username, but you cannot change your userid. For some sites, the Favorites Tracker can figure out what your userid is based on your username. On those sites you just need to enter your username when importing favorites. Otherwise you need to figure out what your userid is and enter that if you want to import favorites. There are sections below that describe how to figure out what your userid is for each of the different sites.

How do I find my MuggleNet Fan Fiction User ID?

First of all, you only need to enter your MuggleNet Fan Fiction User ID if you have a MuggleNet Fan Fiction account that you want to import favorites from. Here is the easiest way I have found to find out your MuggleNet User ID:
  1. Go to http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/ and log in using the "Log In" choice on the left.
  2. Open a random story (any one will do). One way to do this is to click "Recently Added" on the left and then click on the story at the top. The story you choose will be temporarily added to your favorites.
  3. Click on the "Add to Favorites" link near the top of the page. Remember the name of this story because we'll need to remove it from your favorites later.
  4. You should now be at a page showing the details of all of your favorites. Now, look at the web address (URL) of the page being displayed. You may need to adjust the size of your web browser so that you can see the whole thing. The URL is highlighted in yellow in the following screen shot.


    This URL should be something of the form http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/viewuser.php?action=favstor&uid=someNumber&sid=someOtherNumber. In the example shown, it is http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/viewuser.php?action=favstor&uid=12481&sid=19755. The number after "uid=" in the URL is your MuggleNet Fan Fiction User ID. So for this example the MuggleNet Fan Fiction User ID is 12481.
  5. Now, we need to go and remove the extra item we added to your Favorites List. To do this, click on "Your Account" on the left. Then select "Manage Favorites" from the choices. Now, find the story we added in the list of Favorites shown and click the "Remove" link next to it.

How do I find my FanFiction.Net UserID?

First of all, you only need to find your FanFiction.Net UserID if you want the Favorites Tracker to show your FanFiction.Net favorites. If you don't have an account there you can skip this.

Finding out your FanFiction.Net UserID is very easy. Go to http://www.fanfiction.net/ and log into your account. When you do this you get to a screen that looks something like this:


Your FanFiction.Net UserID is on this screen. In the screenshot above it is highlighted in yellow. It actually appears in two places: in the upper left-hand corner to the left of the Logout button and under "Account Settings" above your PenName.

What fan fiction sites are supported?

How do I add a story?

In general, there are two ways to add a story. The first way is to add the story directly, and the second is to import all of the stories on a favorites list on a remote site.

To add a story directly, you need to know the storyID for the story in the site it is on. Some of the later sections in this FAQ discuss how to find this. Once you know the story id, go to "Manage Favorites," find the section for the site the story is in, enter the story id there, and push "Add."

For some of the sites (in particular MNFF, HPFF, and fanfiction.net) you can import all of your stories in a favorites list on that site into the system. To do this, for some sites you need your Penname (or username) and for other sites you need the user id. The difference between a username and a userid is that a username is something human readable like "jeff" while a userid is competely numeric, something like 184726. Whether you need your username or userid depends on the site. You need a username for harrypotterfanfiction.com and a userid for MuggleNet Fan Fiction and fanfiction.net. Some of the other sections discuss how to figure out what your username or userid is for each site. Once you know the username/userid you want to import favorites from, go to "Manage Favorites" and find the section for the site that the username/userid is for. Then enter the username/userid in the "Import Favorites" section and push the Import button. To make life a bit easier, and for efficiency reasons, the system remembers all of the usernames and userids you import favorites from. If you have already imported favorites and want to do so again you can just choose the username/userid from the list and push "Import."

How do I remove a story?

Stories can be removed in the "Manage Favorites" page. Just click the tab for the site the story is and then click the remove button next to the story. If you remove a story, the story will also be removed from any lists the story is in.

How do I add a MuggleNet Fan Fiction Story?

To add a MNFF Story, first you need to figure out what the story id of the story is. To do this, open the page with the first chapter of the story inside of MuggleNet Fan Fiction. It is very important that you go to the first chapter and not some other chapter. Now look at the URL (address) of the page you are looking at. It should be something like http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/viewstory.php?sid=x&i=1. The value of x is the story id. For example, if the URL is http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/viewstory.php?sid=327323&i=1, the story id is 327323.

Now that you know the story id, go to "Manage Favorites" inside of the Favorites Tracker and find the box with the information about MuggleNet Fan Fiction. Inside that box, there is a form that you use to add stories to track that are not in your MuggleNet Fan Fiction favorites. Enter the story id into that form and push "Add."

How do I add a Harry Potter Fan Fiction Story?

To add a HPFF Story, first you need to figure out what the story id of the story is. To do this, first open the page with the first chapter of the story inside of HarryPotterFanFiction.com. It is very important that you go to the first chapter and not some other chapter. Now look at the URL (address) of the page you are looking at. It should be something like http://www.fanfictionworld.net/hparchive/viewstory.php?sid=x&i=1. The value of x is the story id. For example, if the URL is http://www.fanfictionworld.net/hparchive/viewstory.php?sid=327323&i=1, the story id is 327323.

Now that you know the story id, go to "Manage Favorites" inside of the Favorites Tracker and find the box with the information about MuggleNet Fan Fiction stories. Inside that box, there is a form that you use to add stories to track that are not in your HarryPotterFanFiction.com favorites. Enter the story id into that form and push "Add."

How do I add a fanfiction.net Story?

To add a fanfiction.net story, first you need to figure out what the story id of the story is. To do this, first open the story inside of fanfiction.net. Go to the page the has the first chapter of the story on it. The story id is labeled and near the upper-right corner of the page. Now that you know the story id, go to "Manage Favorites" inside of the Favorites Tracker and find the box with the information about fanfiction.net stories. Inside that box, there is a form that you use to add stories to track that are not in your fanfiction.net favorites. Enter the story id into that form and push "Add."

How do I add a fanficauthors.net story?

FanficAuthors stories are indexed by their URL. Navigate to the page that has the summary of the story and a list of all its chapters, and copy the URL for that page into the "story ID" box. For single-chapter stories, you may have to use the "Back to:" link at the top of the chapter page. The URL will look something like

http://authorname.fanficauthors.net/Story_Name/index.php

(obviously authorname and Story_Name will vary).

How do I add a Trylasotar story?

Trylasotar stories are indexed by their URL. Navigate to the page that has the summary of the story and a list of all its chapters, and copy the URL for that page into the "story ID" box. For single-chapter stories, you may have to use the "Back to:" link at the top of the chapter page. The URL will look something like

http://authorname.trycanta.com/fics/Story_Name/

(obviously authorname and Story_Name will vary).

Once you have that URL, go to "Manage Favorites", click the tab for Trylasotar stories, enter the URL in the form that appears and click "Add".

How do I add a Sugar Quill Story?

There are two ways to add a Sugar Quill Story to track. The first way you can use if you know the story id for the story you want to track. This is pretty easy to find. You first open the story in The Sugar Quill. Now, look at the URL of the page that is currently loaded. It should be something like http://www.sugarquill.net/read.php?storyid=x&chapno=y. The story id is x. For example, if the url was http://www.sugarquill.net/read.php?storyid=28342&chapno=1, 28342 is the storyid. Once you know the story id, go the "Manage Favorites" and find the section about The Sugar Quill. In there, there is a form where you can enter the story id and push "Add."

If you don't want to go to the trouble of figuring out what the story id is, in the Sugar Quill section of Manage Favorites there is a link to a form where you can choose a story based on the Title and Author. This is often easier, but the form takes a bit of time to load since it has to make a list of every story in the Sugar Quill site.

How do I add a Shur'tugal Fan Fiction story?

To add a Shur'tugal Story not in your MNFF Favorites, first you need to figure out what the story id of the story is. To do this, open the page with the first chapter of the story inside of Shur'tugal Fan Fiction. It is very important that you go to the first chapter and not some other chapter. Now look at the URL (address) of the page you are looking at. It should be something like http://fanfiction.shurtugal.com/viewstory.php?sid=x&i=1. The value of x is the story id. For example, if the URL is http://fanfiction.shurtugal.com/viewstory.php?sid=327323&i=1, the story id is 327323.

Now that you know the story id, go to "Manage Favorites" inside of the Favorites Tracker and find the box with the information about Shur'tugal Fan Fiction. Inside that box, there is a form that you use to add stories to track. Enter the story id into that form and push "Add."

How do I find my PortKey.Org User ID?

In portkey.org, go to "Control Panel." Under "Your User Stats," your User Id is shown in the second row.

How do I find the id of a PortKey.Org story?

Look at the URL of the story. In portkey.org, the URL can have one of two forms: http://fanfiction.portkey.org/story/storyId/chapterNumber or http://fanfiction.portkey.org/index.php?act=read&storyid=storyid&SomeOtherStuff. Use the story id in the URL of the story.

How does it work?

The Favorites Tracker works by maintaining a list of stories being tracked by all of its users in a MySQL database. Every half hour, it contacts the fanfiction sites in order to figure out how many chapters there are in each of the stories it is tracking. The Favorites Tracker also has a list of stories that you are tracking and how many chapters you have read in each one of them. When you go to "View my Favorites", the number of chapters you have read is compared to the number of chapters that the Favorites Tracker thinks are in each story. If there are unread chapters, that entry is highlighted in green.

Perhaps the most complicated part of the Favorites Tracker is the way that it figures out the number of chapters in a particular story. For sites where you have an account, it loads your favorites page and extracts the number of chapters in each story in your favorites list from there. For stories that are not in one of your favorites lists, it has to actually load the page with the story on it and look though the HTML to figure out the number of chapters in that story. This process is rather slow and is done in the background.

How much does this cost?

There is no charge. This just happens to be a tool that I created for myself that other people find interesting. I don't incur any additional costs for making this available to the general public. It is running off of a computer in my apartment over my DSL connection. However, if you really want to give me money I won't object.

How are the statistics computed?

For the most part, the statistics are computed in the way you would expect. The following table explains what each statistic means:

StatisticDescription
Num. Users The total number of users.
Stories Tracked The number of stories being tracked by users. Each story is only counted once.
Stories/User Average number of stories per user. Only users with at least one story are counted.

It is worth noting that Num. Users is a bit misleading, since many people create an account and never visit this site again.

Why aren't my fanfiction.net favorites showing up?

The favorites in your favorites list in fanfiction.net account are loaded into the Favorite Tracker from your permanent url, which is http://www.fanfiction.net/u/youruserid/. Unfortunately, when you add favorites within fanfiction.net, that page is not updated immediately. In fact, it can take up to 15 minutes for that page to reflect the changes. There is really nothing that I can do about this since the Favorites Tracker cannot actually log into your fanfiction.net account. To help with this problem, it is possible to track fanfiction.net stories which are not in your fanfiction.net favorites list. To do this, go to Manage Favorites, enter the storyid of the story you want to track in the FanFiction.Net section, and click "Add."

How is the "score" computed?

The score for some story x is computed as follows:
Let avgRating be the average rating of x (note: The rating is stored internally as an integer between 1 and 10)
Let ratingStddev be the standard deviation of the rating of x
Let count be the number of users who are tracking story x
Let maxCount be the maximum number of users that are tracking any story.

score = (avgRating-ratingStddev) * .50 + (10*count/maxCount) * .50
So the score is more or less a weighted average of the average rating and the number of users tracking the story. For those of you familiar with statistics, the probability of the actual value of something being in the range avg +/- stdev is 95%. I chose to use "avg-sttdev" since it's the lower end of that range. That is "avg - stddev" is the lower end of the range of values that the "actual" rating can be said to be within with 95% confidence.

Personally, I like this formula (although I may be slightly biased since I created it). But I think it makes sense. The highest possible score is 10, which would be achieved if there was some story that was given a rating of 5 stars by everyone with it in their favorites list and also had the maximum user count.

The main place the score is used is for the default storting in the All Stories page. This makes the stories that are "better" be closer to the top. You can also use the score as a field when you are creating an AutoList.

Who can I contact for help, to report bugs, or to make suggestions?

You can contact me, Jeff, using this form. I am always anxious to hear feedback about what things you like and what things you don't like. If there is any particular fan fiction site which you would like to see supported, let me know and I'll see what I can do. Also, please let me know if anything happens while you are using this site that you don't expect.