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GSSU logo of the letters on a white background with the two S letters as bent male figures

In this post:

Background explanation

Bettina, the GSSU (German Speaking Slashers United) moderator, created the archive in 2000 to complement the Querstrich mailing list. While this mailing list still exists, the German-speaking fannish contingent it serves has migrated to other channels like LiveJournal/Dreamwidth, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Due to this and low posting activity in the last few years, Bettina announced in 2012 that she would be closing the archive. Realising this was a difficult decision for her, and wanting to help preserve an important part of German-Speaking Fandom's history, Open Doors readily agreed to preserve the works on the Archive of Our Own.

In its new home, GSSU will be a separate, searchable collection with its own identity for all of the fan fiction housed on the original archive. We will begin importing works from the GSSU to the AO3 collection in November 2013.

What does this mean for creators who have work on GSSU?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your GSSU works there yourself (or would like to do so!), please contact Open Doors or gssuarchivist at gmail dot com with your GSSU pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won’t import your stories. (We can also e-mail you instructions for bulk-adding stories to the new collection on the AO3:

2. If you don’t have an AO3 account but would like one to import your stories yourself, please contact Open Doors or gssuarchivist at gmail dot com with your GSSU pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (We can e-mail further instructions for importing stories and adding them to the new collection on the AO3:

3. If you would NOT like your works moved, please contact Open Doors or gssuarchivist at gmail dot com with your GSSU pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (If you would not mind them being preserved but do not want your name attached to them any longer, please let us know that too; we can orphan your works instead of leaving them behind to be deleted.)

All works imported on a creator’s behalf will be attributed with their name in the summary of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work.

All imported works will initially be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. (Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose.) After 3 months, unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your works on GSSU, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the stories elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the GSSU archivist to confirm your claims.)

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ page, contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we'll respond as soon as we can.

We're also planning to hold two public chats on Campfire (the online chat platform the OTW uses): 19 October 2013 at 10:00:00 UTC, and 26 October 2013 at 16:00:00 UTC (click the links to see when the chats are held in your timezone). You can access OTW's public discussion chatroom using this link.

Anyone who has questions about the process is welcome to join the Open Doors team at those chats, and we’ll do our best to answer you. We'd also love it if fans could stop by to reminisce and help us preserve the story of GSSU and the history of German-Speaking Fandom on Fanlore--no wiki editing skills needed! Of course, if you would like to edit on your own, your contributions would be very welcome. <3 (New to wiki editing? No worries, just visit this page.)

We're delighted to help preserve this slice of German-speaking fandom history, and proudly welcome the German Speaking Slashers United archive to the AO3!

- The Open Doors team


The following post was written by Lesann, a staffer in our Development & Membership Committee

Twice a year, during drive time, OTW does its best to remind supporters and (hopefully) future supporters of what the organization is working on, how it is cutting edge and important. In order to do this, staffers in OTW interview the heads of different OTW projects. This time, I had the privilege of speaking with the editors of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), the OTW's academic journal.

In one of our emails back and forth, content editor Kristina Busse said, "we really just do our work to bring out 3 full journals with 5-10 full peer reviewed essays, 5-10 symposium pieces, and a couple of book reviews on average each." It struck me, upon reading this tongue-in-cheek comment just how much volunteer work that means for herself and the entire journal team.

Three full journal issues a year, with five to ten peer reviewed essays each, would be no small feat even in an academically supported environment, where a university press is supporting the process and there is a built-in community of available peer-reviewers. What the team for TWC manages, is to overcome the lack of established academic infrastructure and consistently provide a respected journal of superlative quality. That is huge.

Like the OTW's other projects, TWC is free to everyone. There is no requirement of subscription, payment, or any type of contribution to consume the journal pieces, and perhaps even transform aspects of them. Like all OTW volunteers, everyone who works for the journal contributes their time and skills for free: from the editorial staff and production staff to the academic peer reviewers, who assure the journal’s reputation within the field.

An academic journal that is free to any and all readers is a rare thing. To give some idea of how valuable a resource TWC is, a similar academic journal on fan studies charges individual subscribers $105 USD a year, a typical price for a 12-month subscription to a peer-reviewed journal in the field. Libraries also benefit by having TWC as a part of their holdings (but not an additional cost in their journal budget).

Even with all the hours of donated time, there are some financial costs associated with producing TWC. In an earlier post we mentioned the Web hosting costs for the server that houses the journal. Because TWC is online only, it also requires a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for each of its articles. Editor Karen Hellekson describes DOIs as "insurance against switching infrastructures." A DOI, as explained by the MIT library site, "identifies an individual article (like a serial number) such that a permanent URL can be created." In other words, should TWC ever need to move to a new online platform, having a DOI subscription will save hours upon hours of volunteer time, as well as prevent interested readers from being unable to find the content they seek. The OTW pays an annual subscription fee of $275 for this service, plus a $1 fee for the DOI of each individual journal article.

Transformative Works and Cultures strives to provide fresh and thought-provoking material for fans and non-fans alike. The next two issues, scheduled for March and June 2014, will focus on fan labor and fan materiality, respectively — both topics to which many fans can relate.

To help support the production of original, open-access fan scholarship, please consider making a donation today. Thank you!

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


Fanlore, the wiki project maintained by the Organization for Transformative Works, is a living record of all things fannish. The wiki has recently passed the milestone of 25,000 articles and has received over 19 million views!

Documenting our history, communities, events, practices, and works in a wiki is invaluable in welcoming new members into fandom, and in preserving our events and traditions for future generations of fans. Just a few of the contributions Fanlore welcomes include:

* Memories
* Definitions and trivia
* Discussions
* Memes
* Links to fandom resources
* Overviews of fandom history
* Examples of fanworks, fansites, fan gatherings, and groups.

We're always looking for content from every fandom, everywhere: there is no limit to the creativity of fans throughout the world, and we would all be thrilled to read about the fan history you've experienced.

For those wanting to discover the site, you can look over the sitemap, choose a random page, or sign up to its "new page" feed. At Fanlore, the possibilities are endless and community is key!

If you want to help edit Fanlore, create an account today. If you're already familiar with Fanlore and want to take your passion and commitment to fan history to the next level, you could consider becoming a Fanlore Gardener.

Like all of the OTW's projects, Fanlore relies on financial support from fans. If you enjoy using Fanlore, please consider making a donation.

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


October Membership Drive: Hardware and Hosting Costs

Published: 2013-10-05 15:01:46 -0400

As yesterday's post discussed, the OTW has many ongoing costs that allow us to do the variety of work needed to keep our projects running. One of our largest expenses is for hardware and hosting.

Our most costly project, the Archive of Our Own, accounts for many of our hardware and hosting expenses, although these expenses affect other OTW areas as well since our projects overlap in terms of what they use. The following information, which our Systems Committee provided to the OTW Board earlier this year, gives an overview of some recent and upcoming expenses.

Project Growth

The Archive is growing at around 100,000 page views per day per week, and the number of pages served is roughly doubling every 10 months. With our previous equipment, we lacked the redundancy to take significant machines out of service for routine maintenance. Additionally, we needed servers for infrastructure such as backups and email, and for rendering works as pdf, epub and so forth, so we have been undertaking new expenses to correct this.

The following purchases have been made in the past few months.

Phase 1: A new server for test and infrastructure at a capital cost of $13,882; also a temporary new virtual server at an estimated expense of $20 a month to build and test the configuration for the new incoming email server we’ll bring up after Phase 2. We are also doubling our bandwidth at a cost of $3,000 a year; due to our rapid growth we cannot predict when upgrades are needed, but the need could arise suddenly as it did in 2012.

Upcoming Costs

Just over a month ago, the Archive passed its 200,000th registered user. Since then we have added over 13,000 account holders with many more times that number accessing the Archive daily. These are additional expenses we will be undertaking in the following months.

Phase 2: We need a new machine to run virtual machines (including Fanlore and our incoming email server) and to replace our NAS (network attached storage server), enabling us to move the previous NAS to a third datacenter. This will provide us with limited geographic redundancy and decrease our risk of losing access in the event of natural disasters or network interruptions. This will be a capital expense of $11,568 with an additional $1,200 per year.

Phase 3: A separate rack in our datacenter is needed. We plan to buy a second system which would be capable of holding the Archive database and running it as the production system -— a capability we currently lack. We will additionally buy two new servers that generate pages for the Archive. This is a capital expense of $39,915 and an additional $10,920 ongoing per year.

Phase 4: We need a new dev system to allow developers who do not have home systems capable of developing for the OTW to do so on our own systems. This would be a capital expense of $13,882.

In total, to buy all the equipment listed in Phases 1-4 we would need to spend about $73,948 and an additional $18,384 a year with around $500 in shipping costs. These prices are based on current quotations and are therefore subject to change.

Support the OTW!

As you can see from the above, there are significant costs in providing our services. But along with our growing costs we have been getting increasing contributions from fans. This is where you come in!

All our projects are entirely funded by donations to the Organization for Transformative Works: we don't run ads on any of our sites or charge people to use them. If the OTW's projects make your fandom experience a little better and you have some money to spare, please donate to the OTW to help keep us thriving! A donation of US$10 confers membership in the OTW and the right to vote in organizational elections. At higher donation levels there are some awesome thank-you gifts to choose from.

Thank you to all our donors, past, present and future! We appreciate your support!

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


October Membership Drive: OTW Expenses, Large and Small

Published: 2013-10-04 12:13:59 -0400

Since it was founded six years ago, the OTW has developed several major projects which have affected the fandom experience of thousands of people. The AO3 alone has over 200,000 registered users, and around 300,000 unique visitors a day. Some of those users are also utilizing archives preserved by Open Doors, and many more visit Fanlore or read and reference content from TWC's fourteen issues. Both the OTW and individual fans also depend on advice provided by OTW's Legal Advocacy project.

As our projects continue to grow in terms of questions answered, pageviews served, and new features developed, our costs continue to grow as well. Earlier this year we gave a detailed breakdown of the AO3's expenses. In this post, we'd like to share some details about the expenses of running other projects and the OTW as a whole.

Communication and storage costs

Some of our volunteers work on specific projects such as the AO3 or Fanlore, while others provide services to the whole organization, such as fundraising or human resource management. Because the OTW only exists online, we save money on office space, furniture, and some utility and telecom costs, while our volunteers provide their own equipment. But they still require software and online platforms to interact, preserve privacy, develop information, and keep records. These costs are rolled into the OTW's overall expenses and affect all of our projects.

$110 per month for Basecamp and Campfire provides the OTW with the following needed services:

* Committee meeting spaces with variable permission settings
* Spaces for meeting with the public in 'open houses'
* Searchable transcription storage
* Creation and storage of group-editable documents
* Committee-level file storage
* Planning software
* Group calendars
* Archived messaging software for cross-committee information sharing and discussion
* In-house contact directory
* Committee-level and all-organization level activity dashboards

$40 per month pays for an internal server that houses the following software and platforms:

* A wiki that organizes all our internal documentation
* Our committee mailing lists
* Ticketing software used by our Systems Committee to keep track of problems submitted
* Our volunteer database
* Our password vault (for individual staffer, committee, and cross-committee level accounts)

Project Expenses

The Archive of Our Own is housed on servers that are owned by the OTW. Servers themselves are a one-off cost, but they involve monthly fees for colocation, and over time the hardware has to be replaced or added to. Our other projects use hosted servers for which we pay a monthly Web hosting fee. Every year there are changes. For example, in 2012 Fanlore added more disk space and the OTW website transitioned to a specialized Drupal hosting service.

$179.80 per month provides Web hosting and support for the following:

* The main OTW website
* Our Elections website
* The Open Doors website
* Our Journal website
* Our Fanhackers site
* Our fundraising database

A separate post to come will discuss hardware and hosting expenses which affect several projects, but particularly the Archive of Our Own.

Helping volunteers

Finally, there's one big cost which isn't included here: volunteer time. Whether it's designing, inducting and training, coding, planning, testing, paying bills, doing taxes, developing documentation, or answering questions and providing information, we are run by volunteers. They give many hours of their time to support the OTW and support its users. Their work is priceless. <3

However, the tools they need to do that work do have costs. Here are some examples:

* $167 per month covers the directors & officers insurance the OTW has to carry as required by law.
* $54.41 per month pays for a post office box and mail forwarding service.
* $43 per month covers software that organizes our finances.
* $40 per month pays for a remote scanner service to deposit checks directly to our bank.
* $2.08 per month pays for postage and office supplies for general administrative work (mailing insurance applications, bill payments, etc.).

There are also one-time expenses, such as $99 for screencasting software that our Volunteers & Recruiting Committee will use to create tutorials to train our staff and volunteers.

Support the OTW!

As you can see from the above, it costs both small and large amounts of money to keep the OTW organized and running. These costs will increase in years to come as more users become aware of our services and vendor costs go up (for example, a new U.S. postage hike has been proposed). But you can help get us there!

All our projects are entirely funded by donations: we don't run ads on any of our sites or charge people to use them. If the OTW's projects make your fandom experience better and you have a little money to spare, please donate to help keep us thriving! A donation of US$10 confers membership in the OTW and the right to vote in organizational elections. At higher donation levels there are some awesome thank-you gifts to choose from.

Thank you to all our donors, past, present and future! We appreciate your support!

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


Your Personal Fandom Stories Are Urgently Needed!

Published: 2013-10-03 18:23:51 -0400

The OTW's Legal Advocacy project has stood up for fans' rights to create and share, helping individual fans with legal questions and making fans' collective voices heard in court cases.

Recently, our Legal Committee asked for fans to help by providing either media stories or personal stories of takedown requests and actions that have made fans hesitant to create or share fanworks.

Your help is needed again! The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) are seeking public comments on copyright policy issues, including the legal framework for the creation of remixes. The window for these submissions is short -- they must be in by October 14, so we need to act now.

The Legal Committee is thus looking for stories of how fandom has helped fans in day-to-day life. We need you to share your individual stories with concrete examples. For example, perhaps being in fandom has helped you to learn a language, helped you in school, or helped you improve skills that you use elsewhere — skills such as writing, video editing, coding websites, audio editing, or anything else. We don't need personal information from you, but the more specific the story, the better.

Our attorneys will use your stories to explain to these agencies, which are likely to propose new legislation about copyright, why any change in copyright law should favor freedom to make transformative works. We succeeded before with the DMCA remix exemptions, but only because we were able to share specific stories from vidders. Now we need stories of all kinds.

We also need them soon! Please provide us with your stories by October 10, as our team needs time to work with them before the submission deadline of the 14th.

To submit your story, please use the Legal Committee's contact form.

And if the OTW's legal advocacy work is important to you, please consider making a donation to support our ongoing efforts. Thank you!


Sometimes fanworks vanish from the Web when they weren't intended to. Hosting services shut down; software becomes obsolete; archivists pass away or simply find that they no longer have the time or money to keep up their sites. Any of these occurrences can result in the loss of thousands of fanworks. The OTW's Open Doors project is a resource to help fans prevent such losses.

Open Doors works with fannish archivists to import fanworks from endangered archives into the Archive of Our Own. Approximately 11,600 works have been imported to date. Some archives can be imported automatically, but in most cases the Open Doors staff assist archive mods to manually import their archives into the the AO3. Manual importing involves creating an AO3 collection for the archive, contacting as many fanwork creators as possible, and then importing the works and editing them to indicate their original creators. These archives can be large or small — we’ve worked with designated archivists to import small collections of works of deceased fans, and we've worked with archives containing over 5,000 works. The process of manual importing can be time-consuming, but we think it’s worth it!

Open Doors has completed imports for three archives so far. The Foresmutters Project, an archive of early Star Trek slash that is also mirrored on OTW servers, has been migrated to a forever home on the AO3 where it is more accessible. The Smallville Slash Archive and 852 Prospect, an archive for The Sentinel fanfiction, have been imported as well. We also imported Kista and Demeter, two early Star Trek novels, which were first hosted on OTW servers as scanned PDFs. This involved using optical character recognition to turn the PDFs into editable text and then, in the case of Demeter, painstakingly comparing the results to a print copy of the original 304-page zine to correct any errors in the electronic copy.

Imports currently in progress include The Good Omens Library; GSSU - German Speaking Slashers United; the Dannell Lites Collection, a memorial archive consisting chiefly of DC and Marvel comics fanfiction; the Leah Adezio Archive, a memorial archive consisting chiefly of DC Comics fanfiction and fanart, and original comics; and Stargatefan, an archive of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis gen fanfiction and fanart.

We also have several archives stored as backups in case of failing hardware, software, and/or hosting issues, and are working with the mods to manually import them or to keep them safe until automated import code is available.

To inquire about preserving an archive, please contact the Open Doors committee. And to support our ongoing preservation efforts, please donate to the OTW today! Your support will help to ensure that the fanworks you love will be around for future generations of fans to enjoy.

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


OTW Recruitment

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Support staffers. The chairs are reviewing applications and should be contacting people within the next two weeks.

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Strategic Planning Staff - Deadline: 7 October 2013
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology (AD&T) Coding Volunteer - Closing after 20 applications
  • Tag Wrangling volunteer - Closing after 50 applications

We also have one role still open for additional technical staff

  • Web Developer Staff

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Strategic Planning Staff
The Strategic Planning Committee is looking for a staff member! We need someone interested in strategic planning, writing, and data processing who is willing to jump in with both feet. We're a professional, collaborative committee of people who believe in supporting each other through our work, and we want someone who is excited about the idea of being part of an environment of support, creativity, and critique. We are willing to train the right person in the OTW's processes, practices, and tools if you're willing to commit your time and energy to us!

Applications for this role will be accepted until 7 October 2013.

Accessibility, Design & Technology (AD&T) Coding Volunteer
The Accessibility, Design, & Technology committee is the guiding body that coordinates software design and development on behalf of the Organization for Transformative Works. AD&T is committed to developing high quality, accessible products that support the goals of the OTW while having a good time and providing opportunities for professional and personal growth for its members.

The main project currently occupying the committee is the creation and ongoing maintenance of the Archive of Our Own, a free, Open Source website currently supporting over 200,000 registered users and weathering 38 million page views a week.

We are looking for experienced coders to join our team of volunteers and help us fix bugs and improve existing features.

Applications for this role will be closed after we have received 20.

Tag Wrangling volunteers The Tag Wranglers are responsible for keeping the hundreds of thousands of tags on AO3 in some kind of order! We choose which form of a fandom title appears on the Media pages, as well as all the character, relationship, and additional tags which appear in the filters and the auto-complete, and we link tags together to make all the works and bookmarks on the archive easier to browse and search (so that users can find exactly what they’re looking for, whether that’s Steve/Tony with tentacles or g-rated Rose/Kanaya fluff).

If you like organizing, bringing order to chaos, excuses to fact-check your favorite fandom canons, or you just get a kick out of seeing all the wacky and wonderful terms fans come up with, you might enjoy tag wrangling! To join our team, click through to the job description and application form.

Please note: due to (amazing!) interest in wrangling volunteering, we’re currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only. See the application within for which fandoms are in need.

Applications will be closed after we have received 50.

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


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