The tag line for Fanfiction.net is "Unleash your imagination" however it seems that a more appropriate comment would be "Unleash your imagination, but read this list of what you can and cannot write first." When I got into fanfiction there were still NC-17 stories on fanfic.net, I've been a member since December 2003 (although I have been reading longer then that). However, currently if you so much as imply that two characters are looking at each other in a suggestive manner someone sends an alert and your account is deleted. While I've yet to run into this problem, being a stickler for proper rating, I fear that anything rated higher then a K+ will be removed in an attempt to appease those easily offended.
Now they have added a feature so that the author can filter profanity in the reviews they recieve. That's right, authors have been given the power to decide which reviews they do or do not want. I find that to be ridiculous. If you put your story out there for people to read then you put it out there to be reviewed as well. It's one thing if you get a burn review and delete that but to have so much controll might go to a writer's head. Almost six year, 22 posted stories, 54,987 hits, and 425 reviews later only once did I deem worthy to remove one of the reviews I recieved. Somebody has to say something pretty damn offensive for me to delete it.
It has gotten to the point where people who want to read something other than your typical K-rated fluff stories go else where. Livejournal communities have sprung up all over for topics that have been unaccepted on the more "mainstream" type sites. Authors also tend to put their watered down versions of a story on fanfic.net and then go else where to post the actual version. That or they add an "email me for the other version" note after the disclaimer. Gee I wonder how many readers fanfic.net lost after that decision went into play.
Some stories do deserve harsh reviews and some reviews deserve to be removed. People can be mean and people can write stories that make you go "What the fuck did I just read?" (BTW thanks to the new filter, the thought I just put down can be censored) People really need to learn to use their own judgement. If you know that you don't like higher rated subject matter then don't read it and be surprised that you don't like it. I don't like slash stories so I make a point of not reading them. I have a friend who doesn't enjoy reading het, so she doesn't. See how easy that was?
Something else that I've noticed lately in the fanfic relem is people getting very uppity about AU stories and OOC situations. Lets break down the word FANFICTION. FAN being someone who enjoys a fandom FICTION being NOT REAL. Meaning that what we're writing here is not going to happen on the TV show (With the odd exception of Gilmore Girls, that entire April story line was like a bad fanfic story). If you like the characters to remain canon then write and read those ones. There are great search engines and search filters on most sites, use them.
So many readers and writers go to fanfiction because they want something different. Something that they weren't finding or getting enough of from their fandom. But we've managed to end up with readers who delight in getting accounts deleted, the power to controll what we want to be told about our stories, and general censorship. Writers who dare to unleash their imaginations, with their only concern being "Is this something that people will enjoy", end up with their account deleted because somebody didn't approve.
I love fanfiction. I remain loyal to fanfiction.net despite the changes, but I long for the days when fanfiction was still "new" and we foolishly made the assumption that everyone had the common sense. Silly us.