Yes, it’s true. And it seems that many people do not know this.
When you bookmark something on AO3, you can choose to add tags or comments, but these are not private! The author can see these!
So don’t be rude! Don’t be an ass and leave something in your bookmarks that you wouldn’t tell the author.
to add a few more
but then there’s this???
If you, as a reader wants to put some critical remarks on your bookmark, please make the bookmark private.
Seeing those comments really hurts writers.
Fanfiction is not the same as professional writing and shouldn’t be treated as such. A lot of writers are just writing to relieve stress or for fun, and if they don’t specifically ask for criticism assume that your critiques and negative ‘reviews’ are unwanted. The content you are seeing is free, remember that.
Imo this is the same as if someone loaned you their notebook with their writing in it, even if you didn’t like it would you leave a review because ‘they let you see it so’? It’s very easy to not leave negative comments or critiques when they aren’t asked for, or at least make them private.
why would you bookmark something you don’t want to read again