AO3 News

July 2014 Newsletter, Volume 82

Published: 2014-08-05 12:38:13 -0400

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.


As usual, there’s lots happening with Legal! On July 26, staffers Betsy and Heidi, together with Josh Wattles of deviantART, gave a well-attended presentation at San Diego Comic Con entitled “Fans, Love, and the Law.” We hope to be able to post a recording of the presentation in the future. Legal is continuing to work on the USPTO/NTIA copyright law Green Paper project, and has been participating in working group meetings as part of that process. They also took part in the USPTO Green Paper Roundtable in Los Angeles on July 29. Legal has responded to several legal queries from individual fans, and helped an individual fan who received a cease & desist request regarding fanworks. Finally, they’re working on a legal brief to be filed next month — we'll be letting everyone know more on that when they're able to make it public.

In another look at legal issues, Fanhackers chair Nele Noppe wrote a well-received post about the censorship problems faced by anime and manga fans.

Also, the Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee has temporarily halted anonymous commenting on the OTW website due to a major spam wave. We hope to see this restored soon.


Accessibility, Design and Technology has squeezed three more code deploys into the last month and are wrapping up Release 0.9.15 with 110 closed issues in the bugtracker. In preparing for the next Release, they are now down to 25 pull requests (code submissions), and will focus on Quality Assurance & Testing recruitment and larger coding projects next.

Unfortunately, dealing with the day-to-day tasks of running the Archive (fixing bugs, planning code updates, monitoring performance and server stability, etc.) has left AD&T with little time to clean up and optimize old, crufty code. They've been in search of a Ruby on Rails freelancer to help out with specific coding and refactoring tasks, which will be important for adding new features and future-proofing the Archive for increased traffic, and have now found a contractor, Marie, they are very excited to be working with. Thanks go to Board and Legal for enabling AD&T to outsource a small amount of their workload, and to OTW's donors for contributing financially to the future of the Archive.

Support had 485 tickets and counting for the month of July, which is right in line with their new average. They also had an Open Chat at the end of June thanks to all of the Support and Translation staff and volunteers who volunteered their time. There are plans for another Open Chat at the end of August, with two more to follow later this year.

Tag Wrangling Staff has worked with Support on quite a few tickets and continued refining their training documentation. They've also made arrangements with Translation to request their services for tags or works that wranglers need help with, to help streamline non-English wrangling. Tag Wrangling welcomed another 28 new Tag Wrangling Volunteers from their June recruitment, making this class of 43 new wranglers the biggest yet. Congratulations to everyone for their progress in training thus far!

Abuse talked about a lot of different policies and what warnings mean this month. It's harder than it sounds! At the same time the committee dealt with about 200 reports of abuse from AO3 users.

AO3 Documentation just wrapped up some major internal workflow restructuring, and things are now merrily chugging along as they work on a bunch of FAQs.


Journal is not resting on its laurels after the successful on-time release of its latest issue in June. They are prepping to go into production for the September issue and are wrangling content for the first two issues of 2015.

Wiki added 3 new staffers and 2 new gardeners as a result of recent recruitment efforts. They successfully closed several identity protection cases and continue to deal with various outside requests. They're also working on a DMCA policy with Legal and discussing a few future projects.

Development & Membership is in the process of brainstorming and concocting a scheme for year-round fundraising as well as moving forward with discussions about the OTW's visual identity.

Open Doors is still working on strengthening documentation and assisting with on-going manual imports.

Translation volunteers and staff started developing tools for language-specific translation training—very important, but a lot of work! They've been testing PhraseApp, a potential tool for Archive interface translation, and are cautiously optimistic. They're also preparing for a big volunteer recruitment next month, so if you've been thinking of volunteering, keep an eye on OTW News!


Through June and July, Board has been discussing their retreat. Board is very pleased with how the new office hours have been going and plans to continue office hours until at least the end of the term. Per best practices, transcripts are not being made public, but anything Board needs to discuss and/or vote on that's brought up in any director's office hours is either put onto the agenda for Open Session (1800 - 1900 UTC in Public Discussion on Saturdays) or voted on and put into the minutes for that week.

In July, Cat Meier, President of the Board, also began regular office hours on Wednesday/Thursdays from 23:59-02:00 UTC.

Strategic Planning is excited to announce that they are currently in the process of planning out Non-Profit 101 discussions, open to all OTW staff and volunteers. The purpose of these discussions will be to help educate the OTW as a whole about how non-profits are generally organized, structured, and run; how the OTW works as a non-profit; and how strategic planning fits into the picture, both in the non-profit world at large and specific to our organization. Also, starting in September, Strategic Planning will be going back to active committees that they spoke with more than six months ago to ask for updates in order to make sure they bring the most current information to the upcoming Board retreat.

They're also in the process of interviewing and surveying Legal, Finance, Category Change, Translation, Fan Video, and Journal, and they have reports for Support, Communications, Abuse, Development & Membership, and Internationalization & Outreach in progress.


Volunteers & Recruiting has been hard at work clearing a backlog of requested tasks, as well as keeping up with the new ones filed in July. They've brought the annual Still Willing to Serve Project forward a few months, and are also working some annual document revisions, including a project to revise induction/removal documentation. They've also formally welcomed the following:

New Committee Staff: Rachmel and 2 Other Wiki Staffers;
New Workgroup Members: briar_pipe (Elections), Trey C (Elections), Carli Anderson (Elections)
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: MichelleMS, Aderam, Meu, drashian, Penny S, ChelseaIBelieve, okdreaming, cannothink, White Hawk, Sylwia Reszczynska, Ania Kopertowska, Goose, covur, ryasdfghjkl, MissGloryAnne, Jenny McDevitt, kiii17, FallenAngel, spock74, astoryandasong, QueenAlkmene, Shivakshi Rana, Arithanas, Dai-kun, mefisto, Wade, Sammie Jarrett and 1 more;
New Translator Volunteers: 1.

And we say goodbye with thanks to:

Departing Committee Chairs: Natalie (Web Strategy Design & Development);
Departing Committee Staff: Natalie (Web Strategy Design & Development); Cynthia (Communications); Cece (Volunteers & Recruiting), tekla (Volunteers & Recruiting); 1 Translation Staffer; 1 Development & Membership Staffer; 2 Abuse Staffers; 1 Internationalization & Outreach Staffer;
Departing Workgroup Members: Claudia Rebaza (Elections).


Release 0.9.15 (Part 9): Change Log

Published: 2014-07-28 23:53:14 -0400


  • Coders: Ariana, Elz, Enigel, Sarken, Scott, Stephanie Smith
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Sarken


  • Subscriptions
    • Users' subscription pages previously listed all subscriptions on a single page, regardless of subscription type. Now series, work, and user subscriptions can be listed separately, and the lists are sorted alphabetically and separated into pages of 20 items to improve performance for users with hundreds or thousands of subscriptions.
  • Tag Sets
    • When a user nominates tags for a tag set, we provide tooltips to let them know when they've nominated a tag that is brand new to the Archive or a tag that exists but is neither a canonical tag nor a synonym of one. Now we also provide tooltips so users will know when they have nominated a canonical tag, a synonym of a canonical tag, or a canonical character or relationship tag that doesn't match the fandom tag they've nominated.
    • The list of tags a user has nominated in a tag set received some minor cosmetic changes to make it neater and more consistent with other areas of the site.
    • When a challenge's tag set included a very long tag (e.g. "Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure - Stephen Colbert"), Firefox users were unable to see the full name of the tag on the challenge sign-up form. Now they can scroll horizontally to see the full tag.
    • It is now possible to delete a tag set nomination, clear all nominations for a tag set, or delete the tag set itself without having JavaScript enabled.
  • Challenges
    • The error message warning that required information was missing from a gift exchange or prompt meme sign-up previously did not specify which request(s) or offer(s) were missing information. Now a message will also appear above the specific request or offer with the problem.
    • Previously, it was impossible for the moderator of a prompt meme to delete the last prompt of a user's sign-up. Moderators can now remove the entire sign-up, making it easier to keep bogus prompts out of a challenge.
  • Misc.
    • When a creator removed the only work in a series by editing the work and choosing the "Remove" button, they were redirected to the now nonexistent series page, resulting in an error. This has been fixed to redirect the creator to their dashboard.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


A word about userscripts and add-ons

Published: 2014-07-21 12:22:14 -0400

As you may already know, we collect links to userscripts and other third-party tools for use with the Archive in our Cool Stuff FAQ. It's a fairly hidden page, and we have plans to create a dedicated space for it, but until then, this is where you find links to scripts and add-ons like AO3 Savior.

Unfortunately, the most popular script repository ( has been down for a while and will probably not come back. As a result, some of our links are broken right now, and while some workarounds exist, we'd prefer to update our links to point to new, hopefully more stable locations.

EDIT (July 29, 2014): All previously broken links have been fixed.

If you've previously uploaded an AO3-related script to, you might want to consider Greasy Fork (review) to re-upload your script, or host it on GitHub, Pastebin or similar. If you do, please let us know through our Support form or as a comment on this post. We'll update the list as soon as we can!

We also have some new tools waiting to be added, and we'll be sure to highlight some nifty additions when we've made sure all links are working again. If you have built a tool that's not on the list yet, please feel free to let us know!


AO3 Unlocked: Round-Up #1

Published: 2014-07-20 15:26:17 -0400

Banner (by Rachel) displaying the title 'AO3 Unlocked' with an open padlock in the background

We sometimes post little tips & tricks to our official Tumblr to highlight some of the many things you can do with your AO3 account, some of them a little more hidden than others. This is a round-up of some recent posts.


Other Tips & Tricks


Volunteer Recruitment for Web Developers and Elections

Published: 2014-07-14 13:11:44 -0400

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Tag Wranglers and Wiki Staff.

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

  • Elections Workgroup Volunteer: Candidate Liaison - closing 21 July 2014 UTC
  • Elections Workgroup Volunteer: Communication Specialist - closing 21 July 2014 UTC
  • Elections Workgroup Volunteer: Voting Process Architect - closing 21 July 2014 UTC
  • Web Strategy, Design & Development Staffer: Web Developer - closing 21 July 2014 UTC

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. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

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.

Elections Workgroup Volunteers The Elections Workgroup is responsible for running OTW Board elections. We ensure the fairness, timeliness, and confidentiality of the process. As a team we will update the elections process, communicate with members and other committees about the process, help candidates prepare for and carry out their tasks, and run the election itself.

We have 3 specializations available, though all members of the workgroup will join in shared tasks and work together on projects. If none of the specializations perfectly match your abilities but you still think you could be an asset to the workgroup, please pick the closest match and explain in the optional details section.

Applications are due 21 July 2014 UTC

Web Developer Do you have experience with Drupal and website management? Join our team of Web Developers! Web Developers are responsible for improvements to and maintenance of the primary OTW web properties. You will participate in an on-call rotation with other Web Developers, design and implement new features and fixes for the websites, and help to determine priorities for future web development efforts.

Applications are due 21 July 2014 UTC


Release 0.9.15 (Part 8): Change Log

Published: 2014-07-13 12:45:00 -0400


  • Coders: Enigel, james_, sarken, Scott, Stephanie Smith
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_, sarken
  • Testers: Ariana, Enigel, Etharei, james_, Lady Oscar, mumble


Important: We've been battling problems with our indexing process, which updates the search index for works and bookmarks when things are posted, updated, or otherwise changed in significant ways. While no actual data has been lost, we've been receiving reports of works or bookmarks not showing up where they should (e.g. work listings) or only after long delays.

As of this deploy, we've made some changes that should update the work index immediately upon a change, and refresh the bookmark index in batches (currently, once every 24 hours). This should help keep bookmark lists from being completely out of order, but does mean that some updates still won't show right away. We're working on more permanent improvements!

  • Works & Tags
    • Previously, "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" was selected by default in the posting form. We removed the default selection, to prevent unintended warning combinations when selecting additional warnings.
    • We also made sure the tag says "Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings" everywhere else on the site, e.g. in the Sort & Filter sidebar. (We switched from "Author" to be more inclusive of non-text fanworks.)
    • Following a link to a deleted chapter would throw an error if the work it belonged to had also been deleted. Now it redirects either to the main Works index (with an error message), or to the work's first chapter if the work still exists.
    • Added a missing CSS class to the HTML mark-up for tag pages.
    • Cleaned up duplicate indexes in our database.
  • Collections & Tag Sets
    • A few years ago, we set up static pages for Collections to battle heavy load on our servers, e.g. during Yuletide reveal. Now that we regularly handle a lot more traffic than in 2011, the code for static versions of Collections has been removed.
    • An unapproved work would appear on a moderated Collection's dashboard (but not actually in the work listing) if it was also added to an unmoderated collection. This has been fixed.
    • When editing a work in an unmoderated collection to add it to another, moderated collection, there would be no message to the work creator that the work still needed to be approved by the collection mod. This has been fixed.
    • A user's Assignments page had a button that would allow them to send an email to their recipient as the Collection maintainer. This has been removed.
    • In Tag Sets with Ratings, Warnings, or Categories, the respective options (e.g. F/F, F/M, Gen) would be listed without any commas between them. This has been fixed.
    • On Tag Set nominations pages, the hover text for the ?! icon on unreviewed tags claimed they could be edited even after nominations were closed. It now just says they still need to be reviewed.
    • Cleaned up several HTML mark-up problems on Tag Set pages.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


Heads up about a change to the posting form!

Published: 2014-07-09 07:12:01 -0400

Our upcoming code deploy will include a change to the default setting for Archive Warnings when posting a new work. Warnings are added to a work by selecting the relevant checkboxes in the "Archive Warnings" section of the form, either when creating or editing a work.

It is mandatory to choose at least one of the options, even if it's just to indicate that you do not wish to warn. Currently, the checkbox "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" is checked by default, allowing users who do not want to use warnings to skip straight to subsequent sections of the form. Unfortunately, this means that users who want to add warnings (or indicate that no warnings apply) must also remember to de-select "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings." Because this isn't entirely obvious, a lot of works were unintentionally set to both "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" and "No Archive Warnings Apply".

After our code update, however, "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" will no longer be checked by default, requiring users to actively select it (or another option) in order to proceed. We hope this change will encourage creators to interact more meaningfully with the Archive warnings field, and ensure "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" is only ever applied to a fanwork deliberately.

Please note that other combinations that are seemingly contradictory are actually allowed by our Terms of Service. For example, you can tick both "Underage" and "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" if you want to warn for situations involving characters under 18, but not for other aspects of the work. You are always free to include more details about the content of your work in the Additional Tags, or in your Notes.

For more information about our Archive Warnings, please check the Warnings and Archive Warnings section of the ToS.


June 2014 Newsletter, Volume 81

Published: 2014-07-05 13:14:30 -0400

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.


On June 8, Fanlore reached the 30,000 article milestone with a post by Sparcicle on Nox et Lumos! The Wiki committee last celebrated a milestone in February when it reached the 500,000th edit on the site. Many thanks to all the gardeners and editors who have made this kind of progress possible!


Legal has welcomed three new staffers, Diane Girard, Elizabeth Gray and Kalli, who bring diverse expertise to the committee. Legal has had another active month as they have continued to represent the OTW in the USPTO and NTIA’s multi-stakeholder process for improving the DMCA notice and takedown procedure. As part of that process, Legal has participated in several working group meetings and conference calls. Legal has also created two posts about legal issues of interest to fans, one on fair use and the other on the U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling in the “Free Sherlock” case. As always, Legal welcomes your questions!

Open Doors has been tying up loose ends from the Yuletide archive import, and is working on preparing two other archives for a manual import.

Journal's issue No. 16, a guest-edited issue on material fan culture, came out bang on time. Thanks to the editorial and production team members for their great work, particularly Rrain Prior for her work as production editor. The next issue comes out on September 15. Co-chair Karen Hellekson will be attending Worldcon and is giving a talk on Doctor Who fan videos there.


With the help of their new recruits, the Abuse Committee has successfully closed over 150 reports in the last month! Many of these were long-standing and complicated issues requiring cross-committee work and internal policy debates. As of now, the Abuse Committee only has about 30 pending reports. Because of this, their response time and productivity have dramatically improved. Meanwhile Content Policy made a few FAQ tweaks to address some common questions.

Accessibility, Design and Technology is continuing to work through our backlog of bug fixes, with five deploys and 52 issues closed in our bug tracker in June alone. AD&T were looking at a pile of almost 200 pull requests (code submissions) at one point earlier this year, some of which were over two years old, and they're now down to under 50! This has been a very satisfying and very exhausting process for the committee and our coders. They're now looking forward to digging into bigger projects and making plans for the rest of the year once more of the code mountain has been defeated.

Support held another chat to assist AO3 users, and in conjunction with Translation, was able to do so in multiple languages. Support's chair, Sam, extended thanks to all the longtime Support staffers who have made both their daily work and special events possible.

Tag Wrangling has had a month of working together on many, many tag-related Support tickets, and AD&T's latest code push included some excellent tag-related fixes. Tag Wrangling got a great response to their latest recruitment and is welcoming in the new volunteers. The Wrangling Staff hosted some staff-led training sessions for new and current wranglers in June. They were a rousing success and more are being planned for the future.


Development & Membership is undergoing a leadership transition. The committee is saying goodbye to long-time chair Kristen Murphy, who is taking on a more silent role in premiums and CiviCRM support, but is appreciative of all that she brought to the OTW and everything she taught her staff. DevMem has begun working with other committees to start up the Visual Identity Group, which will focus on the OTW's visual branding. Meanwhile, convention outreach is undergoing an overhaul, with a current focus on Nine Worlds and Loncon.

Strategic Planning is in the process of surveying Legal, Finance, Category Change, Translation, Fan Video, Journal, and Fanhackers, and is making good progress on the reports for Support, Communications, Abuse, DevMem, and I&O. Their two newest staffers have finished their training and are starting to take lead on their own surveying projects! They have also started the succession planning process for committee chair, Hana, and are working on developing procedures for chair training.

Translation has welcomed 8 new staffers. With this increase in staff, they are working on strengthening internal procedures and making progress on new projects and ideas. Last month they were able to release the OTW video with subtitles in 16 languages! Huge thanks to all of the language teams who put in so much work on this project.


Volunteers & Recruiting has been recruiting for Tag Wrangling Volunteers and Wiki Committee Staff in June resulting in a slew of new names around the OTW!

New Committee Staff: Kiri Van Santen (Communications), MyraM (Communications) Katarina Harju (Translation), LilyC (Translation) Elizabeth Gray (Legal), Kalli (Legal), Girard (Legal), 2 other Communications Staffers, 1 Internationalization & Outreach Staffer, and 6 other Translation Staffers

New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: sarken, Night, Allons-y, Jamie Marie, bbcatemysoul, Elizabeth H, cadkitten, starrwinter, BearHatter, Gesundheit, Fredericks, justlikeheaven, Katarina Harju, defe, and 1 other Tag Wrangler volunteer
New Translator Volunteers: Anne-Katrin Koch and 3 others

Departing Committee Chairs: Kristen Murphy (Development & Membership)
Departing Committee Staff: 6 Abuse staffers; 1 Translation staffer
Departing Workgroup Members: 2 AO3 Documentation volunteers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: KeevaCaereni and 2 others


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