AO3 News

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Translation has been focused on recruitment this month: the committee received 50 applications, and will welcome 26 new volunteers, including three new languages: Hindi, Romanian and Welsh! They also conducted a survey of their teams to get to know more about internal issues they've faced, and updated their map on the OTW website showing where in the world you can find Translation members.

The Translation team makes sure that as many people around the world can engage with us as possible - every new language makes our work more accessible to a global audience.


Abuse tackled about 350 tickets so far this month, and are streamlining workflow by transitioning to a new ticket tracker.

Meanwhile, the busy folk at Accessibility, Design & Technology posted the change log for the last 11 releases, four of which were deployed in June. Since then, they've been hard at work doing code review and testing for release 0.9.140, which is slated to include several long-awaited challenge fixes.

Journal is gearing up to begin production for the September 15 issue, with a final flurry of editorial work being done, as well as updates of production documentation. Several team members are at the Fan Studies Network conference in the UK, where they are also doing some promotional work on TWC's behalf.

Open Doors completed the imports of several archives (Wesleyfanfiction.Net, The Prydonian, and Human Nature), updated their website, responded to a number of new requests from archivists, and worked on existing requests.

Tag Wrangling welcomed several new staff members this month and have been training them on procedures. The committee made some updates to the canonicals for the X-men movies and Tortall books fandoms in order to bring them in line with archive standards and make their organization more clear.


Early in the month, Legal submitted comments to the European Union in response to its Public Consultation on the Role of Publishers in the Copyright Value Chain and the Panorama Exception. OTW legal representatives argued that the creation of new copyright-type rights and enforcement mechanisms would create uncertainty, unfairness, and harm to creators and consumers of Internet content.

A bit later in June, the committee joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Professor Eric Goldman to submit comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The proposed rule would require sites that rely on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Safe Harbor—like the Archive of Our Own—to renew their DMCA eligibility status every three years. In Legal's response, it was argued that this proposed requirement could harm small service providers and expose providers to risk for small oversights.

Legal Chair Betsy participated in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. discussing the Internet’s role in new creative cultures and economies, and what technological advances mean for copyright law.

Legal can also report an excellent legal result in the case of Capitol Records v. Vimeo. Back in 2014, Legal joined a number of allies to file an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in that case. Among other things, the case considered what constitutes “red flag” knowledge of infringing material that would require the hosting service to remove the material even without receiving a takedown notice under the DMCA. OTW and our allies argued for a standard that would favor sites that host user generated content, to prevent the law from chilling fair use and other valuable speech. And we won! The court held that in order to prove that a service provider had “red flag” knowledge, it is not enough to show that a service provider employee saw a video that includes substantially all of a recording of recognizable copyrighted music. This is a victory for service providers, and also for vidders, who may make fair use of whole (or nearly-whole) songs. Here’s what our allies, the EFF, have to say about the result.

Finally, as always, Legal also responded to a number of fan queries.


New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Adri, Alecto Holmes, Alexandra926, Britt, Caitie, Caitlin, cat_eh, chas, Elf, mismoree, Aesyr, Gloria, goldstandard, Kezia Bryant, Kichi, lizard, Maddie, Mander, Nick 556, nocokenojoke, heypaula, Pent, Rianna Seven, Rocky, Sarah Jacobson, Sarar, Sobriquett, The_Plaid_Slytherin, veo_las_estrellas, wreck, tealeafer
New Translator Volunteers: Arahime & 17 others

Departing Committee Staff Emilie Karr (Tag Wrangling), thatwasjustadream (Communications), 2 Abuse staffers, 2 Wiki staffers, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting Staffers, 1 Support staffer
Departing Communications Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: SwaggyOrc
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 1
Departing Translator Volunteers: Lextiel, dea, 2 others

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


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2016-07-03 13:36:38 -0400

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Today, we are pleased to publish the OTW's 2015 Annual Report, available in PDF or html format. The report provides a summary of our activities during the past financial and calendar year, our financial statements for 2015, and our goals for 2016 and beyond. 2015 was a year of transition for the OTW, and we'd like to thank each of our members, donors, staff, and volunteers for their hard work and support.

You can view the OTW's previous eight reports for more information, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


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2016-07-02 12:29:51 -0400

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

Last week, Paramount and CBS released "guidelines" for fan films, and a lot of questions have been asked of us at OTW, including Support and Legal, as well as in other areas online, what this really means for creative fans.

The Guidelines do indeed seem limited to fan films and even from Paramount and CBS's perspective; they don't apply to crafts, fanvids, cosplay, fan fiction, fan games, fan art, or anything else. Of course we have no idea what Paramount and CBS’s plans are for the future, and historically Paramount has not always done the best job of understanding fan culture, but at this point there’s no indication that Paramount or CBS would have any interest in taking action against fan creations other than fan films, even though the guidelines themselves are phrased very broadly. For a long time, Paramount and CBS have stayed away from challenging most fan activities—especially noncommercial ones like the fanworks posted on the Archive of Our Own-and we have no reason to think that would change.

We should also add that the fan film guidelines that Paramount and CBS put out are not actually expressions of law. They're not even a contract between Paramount/CBS and any fan film-makers.

The guidelines lay out “guidelines for avoiding objections,” but an objection is a very different thing from a valid legal claim. The guidelines talk about, for example, restrictions on length, title, use of clips, use of reproductions, compensation for service, fundraising, and distribution. Their language on "amateurs" doesn't even have definitions, and if it did, the question of amateur-vs-professional status is not something the courts take into consideration when doing Fair Use analysis; two of the most high profile cases involve findings of fair use by the rap act 2 Live Crew, and Google - neither of whom would ever be considered "amateurs".

At present, US law is much more open to fan productions than Paramount and CBS would be. As Legal Staffer Heidi explained in a recent post on the FYEAHCOPYRIGHT Tumblr, the question of whether a fan film is legal will depend mostly on copyright fair use law, and fair use law takes several factors into account. These factors include whether the new work is distributed commercially, whether it transforms the meaning or purpose of the original, how much of the original it copies, and whether it substitutes in the market for the original work. No one of these factors will answer the question completely, and in fact many courts have found fair use in cases when (for example) a work was commercially distributed or even when it copied the entire original (as long as additional content was added, and transformative). So we can envision plenty of fan films—even commercial ones—that would qualify as legally permitted fair uses that would not meet Paramount and CBS’s “guidelines".

Therefore all the guidelines really signal is what Paramount and CBS would prefer from fan films—not what the law would allow. We are, of course, keeping an eye on this, but even if Paramount and/or CBS tried to extend guidelines to other kinds of fannish creativity, we would stand up for the authors and creators whose works we host, and we do not expect that we would be standing alone.


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Dave & Ken's Diner, a Starsky and Hutch fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

Open Doors will be working with LilyK to import Dave & Ken's Diner into a separate, searchable collection with its own identity. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanfiction currently in Dave & Ken's Diner will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs. We will begin importing works from Dave & Ken's Diner to the AO3 collection in July 2016.

What does this mean for creators who have work on Dave & Ken's Diner?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your Dave & Ken's Diner works there, please contact Open Doors with your Dave & Ken's Diner pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won’t import your works. (Please include "Dave & Ken's Diner" in the subject heading.)

For instructions on mass-adding works to the new collection on the AO3, Dave & Ken's Diner, please see the Open Doors website.

2. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one to import your works yourself, please contact Open Doors with your Dave & Ken's Diner pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "Dave & Ken's Diner" in the subject heading.)

For instructions on importing works and adding them to the Dave & Ken's Diner collection, please see the Open Doors website.

3. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one, as well as assistance importing your works, please contact Open Doors with your Dave & Ken's Diner pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "Dave & Ken's Diner" in the subject heading.)

Once your account is set up, let us know your AO3 name, and we can transfer your works to you once imported.

4. If you would NOT like your works moved, please contact Open Doors with your Dave & Ken's Diner pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (Please include "Dave & Ken's Diner" in the subject heading.)

If you would not mind your works 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 byline of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. When all works have been accounted for, the Open Doors committee will set up the URL redirects, and we will permanently close down the site.

All imported works will 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 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Dave & Ken's Diner account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's fantastic; if not, we will work with the Dave & Ken's Diner mod 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'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Dave & Ken's Diner on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve Dave & Ken's Diner!

- The Open Doors team


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2016-06-15 23:10:56 -0400

Over the last eleven releases, we've tackled nearly forty issues ranging from performance improvements to infrastructure upgrades to new features -- not to mention more than a few minor bug fixes and enhancements.


  • Coders: Ariana, Cesy, james, jkingsman, Lin, Naomi, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Cesy, Enigel, james, Naomi, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: CJ Record, Lady Oscar, Sammie, Sarken



  • [AO3-4536] - Guests would sometimes enter the wrong email address when leaving comments, and the rightful owner of that email address would ask us to make sure no one was able to use their email address on the Archive again. Now our site administrators can actually do that.
  • [AO3-2665] - We've implemented the changes announced in our post, "Maintainers Can Invite Works to Collections!" Surprisingly, these changes allow collection maintainers to invite works to their collections.

The Support Form

  • [AO3-4532] - Our Support team switched ticket tracking services, so we updated the form to work with the new service. This change includes removing the "Category" field, which wasn't particularly useful, and adding new fields for "Your name" and "Language," which will make it easier for Support to know how to address users and in what language to respond.
  • [AO3-2909] - There was some HTML showing in the subject line of all the emails our Support form sends to the Support team. This was ugly and made things harder to read, so we fixed it.
  • [AO3-4534] - The OTW website recently got a major overhaul (check it out -- the Webs team did great work!) that included moving AO3's back-up Support form. That meant the link on our main Support form no longer pointed to the right place, so we updated the link.
  • [AO3-4557] - We rewrote some of the text on our Support page to be a little less wordy.
  • [AO3-4569] - When we made changes to the Support form, Abuse reports stopped getting submitted to Abuse's ticket tracker. We fixed that ASAP, so the Abuse chair would no longer need to enter all the reports into the tracker manually.
  • [AO3-4570] - The new language field on the Support form was defaulting to Bahasa Indonesia, which is a lovely language, but not the one we meant to use. It now defaults to the site's default language, which is currently English.
  • [AO3-4568] - We removed some instructions from the Support form that were no longer necessary given the addition of a language option.

News Posts

  • [AO3-4535] - Translations used to be listed at the top of news posts with each language and news post title on a separate line. This was fine when we only had a few translations for each news post, but our awesome Translation team is huge now, and we sometimes have ten, fifteen, or even twenty translations for a post! We've switched to a comma-separated list of languages instead, which will take up much less room. We also moved the tags from the bottom of news posts to the top.
  • [AO3-4538] - Our news posts occasionally contained wide images that made the page scroll horizontally or display awkwardly on narrow screens. Now these images will shrink on small screens but continue to display at their actual size on large screens.
  • [AO3-4123] - To make sure news post translations were listed in alphabetical order by language, our Translation team used to have to post the translations in alphabetical order. We've helped them out a bit by automatically alphabetizing the list according to the languages' standard two-letter abbreviation.
  • [AO3-4522] - On the homepage, we have "Read more..." links for each news post. Having multiple links with the same text can be confusing for people who use a screenreader, so we clarified the text that screenreaders use.

Caching and Performance

  • [AO3-4512] - To improve performance, we've started caching the list of tags associated with each work.
  • [AO3-4510] - Some overenthusiastic caching meant the icon on a user's old comments wouldn't update when the user changed their icon. We've tempered the cache's enthusiasm somewhat and now the icons will eventually update.
  • [AO3-4230] - When a tag wrangler changed the capitalization, diacritics, or suffix of a tag, the tag on the work blurbs didn't always update. We've fixed the caching issue that caused this.
  • [AO3-4495] - We've started caching the number of bookmarks a work has to give the site a little performance boost.
  • [AO3-4401] - We were adding a lot of works to users' history pages at one time, and it was pushing the limits of our database. Now we add fewer works at a time to make the database happier.
  • [AO3-4581] - We've started caching the total number of unwrangled fandom, character, relationship, freeform, and unsorted tags on the Archive in order to improve the performance of various tag wrangling pages.


  • [AO3-4365] - We have joined the modern era and switched our doctype from XHTML to HTML5.
  • [AO3-4542] - Two of our gem updates from a previous release began causing an issue that prevented works and bookmark listings from updating, so we removed those changes for the time being.
  • [AO3-4543] - We upgraded the gem we use to communicate with internal services like Elasticsearch, which powers our searching and filtering code.
  • [AO3-4555] - We updated the software that allows our Translation team to work on the Archive.
  • [AO3-4427] - We upgraded the gem that controls our database.
  • [AO3-4563] - We upgraded our version of Ruby to 2.1.9.

Deploys and Automated Tests

  • [AO3-4545] - Whenever we deployed new code for testing, our test site would run around naked until a database administrator wrangled it back into its skin. We've corrected this behavior and our testing process now involves 100% less nudity.
  • [AO3-4527] - The continuous integration service that runs our automated tests was set up to send emails to our main coding discussion list. It was a lot of emails, so we switched it over to a secondary mailing list where it won't drown out our discussions.
  • [AO3-4450] - We added more automated tests for pseuds.
  • [AO3-4386] - We added automated tests for part of our tag set code.
  • [AO3-4528] - We had a brief scare in which we thought we found a code bug with the bylines of works imported by Open Doors archivists, but it turned out to be a caching issue. Still, we added automated tests to make sure we don't end up with a code bug there in the future.

Miscellaneous Bug Fixes

  • [AO3-4491] - When we deployed responsive layout changes earlier this year, the layout was somewhat lacking in margins. We hurriedly threw some tiny margins in to make up for the oversight, and now we've made them a little bigger and more consistent throughout the site.
  • [AO3-4525] - There was a little "-" loitering in the upper left of work pages. We didn't want it there, so we sent it on its way.
  • [AO3-4580] - Inviting a work to an anonymous or unrevealed collection would immediately make the work anonymous or unrevealed, hiding either the creator's name or the entire work from other users. Now the work won't be made anonymous or unrevealed unless the creator accepts the collection invitation.
  • [AO3-4500] - Sometimes works imported by Open Doors would be missing the creator's name, and this would break any RSS feeds that included the work. We've fixed the problem with the feeds, although we still need to track down why the creator name is sometimes missing.
  • [AO3-4523] - Fandom lists on users' dashboard pages were always showing both the "Expand Fandoms List" and "Collapse Fandoms List" links. We've fixed it so it only shows the relevant option.
  • [AO3-4561] - Our DMCA Policy page had links pointing to The links now point to the pages' new locations on
  • [AO3-4587] - When a work you've bookmarked is deleted by its creator, it leaves behind your bookmark notes and a little message saying the work has been deleted. Trying to edit or delete this sad shell of a bookmark resulted in a 404 error, but we've fixed that now.

Edited 23:41 UTC June 16, 2016: We also fixed AO3-4591, wherein a user could not delete their AO3 account if they had a bookmark of a work that had been deleted.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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2016-06-08 18:35:47 -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 Legal Committee Staff and Tag Wrangling staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Development & Membership Committee Staff - closing on 15 June 2016 UTC
  • Translation Committee Volunteers - closing on 15 June 2016 UTC
  • Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee Staff - closing on 15 June 2016 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.

Development & Membership Committee Staff

The Development & Membership committee (DevMem) coordinates the OTW's fundraising and membership-building activities. Our primary responsibility is coordinating our biannual fund drives. Our other responsibilities include designing a new convention outreach process, communicating with donors, researching implementation for an OTW merchandise store, and exploring new fundraising opportunities. If you have skills or interests in fundraising, membership database management, creating promotional OTW graphics, eCommerce, or customer service, consider applying to join our staff.

Applications are due 15 June 2016 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!

Translation Committee Volunteers

If you enjoy working collaboratively, if you're fluent in a language other than English, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

Translation volunteers help make the OTW and its projects accessible to a wider global audience. We work on translating content by the OTW and its projects from English to other languages, such as site pages, news posts, AO3 FAQs and AO3 Support emails. (However, we do not translate fanworks.)

We really need volunteers who speak Arabic, Croatian, Filipino, Greek, Japanese, Kiswahili, Korean, Marathi, Norwegian, Slovenian and Vietnamese—but help with other languages would be much appreciated.

(Please note that our Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish teams are not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples as part of the selection process.

More information about us can be found on the Translation committee page.

Apply at the volunteering page!

Applications are due 15 June 2016 UTC

Web Strategy, Design, & Development Committee Staff

Do you have experience with Wordpress and website management? Join the Web Strategy, Design, & Development committee!

Web Committee staff are responsible for the primary OTW web properties. You will participate in an on-call rotation with other staffers, design and implement new features and fixes for the websites, and help to determine priorities for future web development efforts.

Applications are due 15 June 2016 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


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This month saw some improvements to the way Support and Abuse work. Five new Support staffers have finished their training and are now taking tickets, which will improve turnaround times. Support has also switched ticket trackers, streamlining their processes significantly.

In a similar vein, Abuse has proposed changes to the AO3 abuse reporting system which would require anyone submitting a complaint to provide contact details. The Abuse team says that these changes will reduce duplicate reports, allow staffers to contact people to discuss complaint outcomes, and follow up for more information when necessary.


In May, Legal continued its work at the U.S. Copyright Office, helping shape U.S. Copyright policy. In recent months, we have submitted comments as part of the Copyright Office’s inquiry into various elements of the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This month, we followed up on those comments in person. Rebecca Tushnet participated on behalf of the OTW in two Copyright Office roundtables. The first took place in New York, and explored the notice-and-takedown framework in section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We reported on it at The second took place in Washington, D.C., and explored the process for obtaining exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions, like the “vidder’s exemption” that allows vidders to rip video from DVDs and Blu-Rays to make fanvids. Rebecca reported on the second roundtable on her blog.

At the very end of April, Legal filed a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel a trademark registration for the word “Fandom”, citing scores of examples that the word is a generic description of fans and fan activities and should not be owned exclusively by any single corporation or other entity.

Also in May, Legal Chair Betsy gave a presentation at Whedonopolis in Southern California about the OTW, fanworks, and law. And as usual, Legal responded to several queries for help and legal information from fans.


This month, Board has continued to work on improving the financial set up, as well as meeting with committees to discuss their progress and any setbacks they might be facing. Board also approved a Terms of Service change proposed by the Abuse team, collaborated with Communications on a news post, approved new staff for Elections, and discussed an external proposal they received.


New Committee Staff: Amy Shepard (Elections), Laura Brooks (Elections), Jessica Mosley (Elections), nellscarlet123 (Elections), and 1 other Election staff.
New Coder Volunteers: Jing
Departing Committee Staff: OutToGarden (AO3 Documentation), 1 AO3 Documentation staff, Seamus Johnston (Strategic Planning), 1 Communications staff, 1 Translation staff, 2 Abuse staff, 1 Legal staff, ShotaSammy (Support), Vanderloo (Support), Genie Este (Support), carolinux (Systems)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Myrifique, 2 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Jáchym, Evalangui, 4 others


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2016-06-02 12:27:17 -0400

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Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Nary, who volunteers as a Support staffer and Tag Wrangler.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I volunteer as part of the AO3 Support team, which means that I handle questions that come in about the site and how it works, requests for new features, and problems when something is broken or not working the expected way.

The Support team works closely with many other committees -- Tag Wrangling when there's a problem with a tag; AD&T when there are issues with the site's performance; when bugs are found and fixed; and when new features are being developed; Abuse when addressing issues that fall under the Archive's Terms of Service; Documentation in order to help clarify the wording of the FAQs or other instructions on the site; Testing when we are trying to duplicate an issue a user is reporting; and Translation to handle requests for support that use languages apart from those spoken by members of the Support team.

I'm currently the liaison to the Tag Wrangling committee, which is handy because I'm also a tag wrangler, so I was already familiar with how the Tag Wrangling system works. Being the liaison means that I contact wranglers if a question comes in about a tag in one of their assigned fandoms, and relay their answer back to the user. If it's a question about a No Fandom tag, or a tag in a fandom that doesn't currently have a wrangler, I bring the question to the staff of the Tag Wrangling committee so that one of them can look into it.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

I answer a lot of questions via email! We receive support tickets through our tracking system, our volunteers claim them, draft an answer, get the answer beta-read by another Support staffer, and if everything looks good, send it off. We try to do this as quickly as we can, although if it requires consultation with another committee or testing a problem to see if we can duplicate it, it can take longer. And sometimes we just get a large number of requests in a short period of time, and it takes longer to work through them all!

We have templates for answering common questions that we can make use of, which helps things go more quickly, but even then we try to make sure we're tailoring the reply to the user's exact problem. For instance, if someone asks about how to filter out particular tags from their search results, we will try to use the specific tags they asked about in our example, if possible.

So pretty much every day I answer a number of support requests, and beta other people's answers to try and catch any typos or mistakes before the answer is sent. I'd estimate I spend an average of 2 hours a day on Support, although some days I do less and some more. I fit in a bit of tag wrangling around that when I have a chance. I've had to scale back how much I can do there, and limit myself mostly to fairly small fandoms that don't get a lot of new tags every day!

I tend to keep the OTW's internal chat service open most of the time, so that I can receive any urgent messages or find out about developments as they happen. We've also been training some new volunteers for Support lately (yay!) so I try to be available to answer questions for them as they come up.

The Support Committee created a graph showing the number of requests they've gotten since 2011. It looks like the 500 per month benchmark lasted a long time but was left in the dust last year. Were you around to see this change?

I've been volunteering for Support for a little over two years, so I did see the increase happening, although it didn't feel that dramatic to me, because I hadn't seen how things worked when we had a much lower volume of requests.

As requests were increasing, several of our Support staffers became Board members, so we were faced with more support requests, with fewer volunteers available to answer them. We have had to find ways to deal with the increase, as a committee, while still trying to provide the same level of service to our users. The increase in requests for help reflects the growth of the Archive as a whole, and I'm glad that people are finding us and making use of the service we provide. I also believe that part of the increase is because when users find Support helpful, they're more likely to come to us again with any future questions or problems, which is great!

One big help has been moving to our new ticket tracking system, which has streamlined the process a lot. It makes it quite a bit faster to go through the process of draft -> beta -> send, and we don't need to manually paste in answers from users if they reply to us, because it will thread any replies within the same ticket.

Another solution, of course, has been working to recruit and train more volunteers, which is a great help in keeping on top of the workload!

What's the most fun thing for you about volunteering?

By volunteering for Support, I've definitely learned things about how to use the Archive that I wasn't aware of before, even though I'd been a user of the site since 2009. For instance, I've become a lot more familiar with the searching and filtering options that are available, like how to exclude certain tags or make my searches more precise. Picking up new tips and tricks is always fun!

It's always especially satisfying when we can help someone with a tricky problem, too. I'm sure we've all had frustrating moments trying to get a website or piece of software to behave, and when you can get an answer from a real live human being that solves your problem, that's a great feeling. I'm happy to be able to provide that help to users.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I write fanfic, although I find that these days, when there are so many other demands on my time, I do best when I'm writing for an exchange -- having a deadline helps to motivate me, as does knowing that someone is counting on me to finish my story. So I participate in a handful of exchanges every year -- Yuletide and Jukebox for sure, and then a few others as time permits or interest strikes me. In 2016 so far I've participated in the Chocolate Box exchange and Smut Swap, for instance, and I'm planning to sign up for the Seeing Color exchange as well. I write in a wide variety of mostly-small fandoms, so multifandom exchanges are my favourite kind.

I'm also trying my hand at running an exchange on AO3 for the first time, called Three Worlds Travelers, for the Books of the Raksura series by Martha Wells. It's fairly small, but I'm very excited about it, because in any small fandom, new fic is always a cause for celebration! I had some experience running exchanges in the Song of Ice and Fire fandom years ago, but those were all run through LiveJournal, so it's been interesting to see first-hand all the features that AO3 offers to make the task simpler than it used to be. I'm sure it will make me more comfortable with answering the questions that we receive about collections and exchanges, too!

Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. (If you have an AO3 support request though, please use the Support form, as that makes things easier on our volunteers!)


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