All the best Stucky writers have been up and deleting their blogs/AO3 pages/all online references to their work lately, like they're ashamed of their fanfic and don't want anyone in the "real world" to see it after they've moved on. You're not planning on ghosting us anytime soon, right? I don't think my heart could take it.
No, my Anonymous friend, I’m not planning on deleting anything, and can’t imagine I’d ever delete my stuff off AO3. But as much as I appreciate the praise embedded in your question, I have to respond to the rest of it because it makes me very uncomfortable.
I’m sure you didn’t intend to be, but I feel it’s desperately unkind to label these fandom authors—who have given us so much joy and laughter and angst and tears and hours of reading pleasure, asking nothing in return but a comment here and there—as being ashamed. Given the timing of this ask and your mention of the real world, I can’t help but infer that you’re alluding to a particular author which, if you are, is tremendously unkind, given how much they’ve given us over the years, including a warning so we could download and keep their stories.
There’s a lot of reasons why someone might leave fandom, and a lot of reasons people might prefer to leave no trace behind, and they’re not about shame. People move on, people change, people’s lives go in different and new directions, things happen in people’s lives that send them away from fandom, or away from writing, and there will be as many reasons for that as there are people who move on. To use myself as an example: years ago I walked away from my old fandom for very personal, non-fandom related reasons, and I deleted everything simply because it hurt too much to leave it (some fics on a fandom specific archive survived because I’d lost the password and email). It had nothing, nothing, to do with shame.
Making the jump from fandom author to published author is another reason someone might remove their fics or fandom blogs, because I can imagine many reasons why someone in that position wouldn’t want their real name to be linked to their fandom works. I’ll never be in that position (I’ve negative desire to be a published author), I know next to nothing about publishing, but off the top of my head: contractual, agreement short of contractual, an intention to revisit plot or story, desire for clear demarcation between your writing lives, or the fact that, however much we might wish it otherwise, in some authorial and media circles fanfiction is still a thing to be mocked—if there’s an inextricable link between your real name and your fandom works, you could very well be inviting those works to some day be used against you. The only way to break that inextricable link would be to remove the works completely.
In the end none of those reasons matter. It doesn’t matter why. A fandom author’s reasons for removing their work, or deleting their blog, or wanting to ensure their real world identity can’t, or can no longer, be linked to their fandom identity are completely irrelevant. They are none of our business. And to label these authors, these people (because they are people, with full rich lives and identities outside of the fandom sliver we see), who’ve given so much to fandom, as ashamed of their fandom past is terrible.
Losing stories you love is sad, it’s heartwrenching—I know, there’s stories gone from AO3 that I’ll miss forever, but I still remember them, how they made me feel and why I loved them. So please, my dear Anonymous, focus on that. Remember that. Remember everything these authors have given you, every minute of joy, and be kinder.