AO3 News

Post Header

Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 6–12, 2016

Your support has brought us a long way so far (thank you!) and this year we hope to go even further. Here's some of what we're looking forward to in 2016:

The Archive of Our Own (AO3) will hit several milestones in the coming year: 1,000,000 registered users, 25 million comments on works, and 20 million page views in a single day. Currently the team is focusing on upgrades to our infrastructure, laying the foundation for more improvements.

The Transformative Works and Cultures academic journal is publishing two issues this year: "The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work" in March and a general issue in September, with a combined total of 25 fan studies essays.

Our fandom history wiki, Fanlore, is also on track to hit two huge milestones: 40,000 pages and 700,000 page edits. Join Fanlore and help write fannish history by sharing your own—add information about your favorite fandoms, ships, fanworks, and fan events.

Legal Advocacy will continue to fight to protect fandom and fanworks, filing briefs in courts and submitting policy recommendations to governments around the world in defense of fair use and transformative works, participating in discussions and conferences on copyright law, and answering questions from fans everywhere.

Donations from fans like you make all of this possible! With a donation of US$10 or more, you can join the OTW as a member; with US$50 or more, you can choose to receive an exclusive OTW thank you gift. Please help spread the word: reblog, retweet, share this post, and donate to the OTW today!


Post Header

Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 6–12, 2016

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) dedicates itself all year to the protection and preservation of fanworks and fan culture through its projects: Archive of Our Own (AO3), Fanlore, Legal Advocacy, Open Doors, and Transformative Works and Cultures. This week, we'll share what we've accomplished in 2015 thanks to your support, and what your donations can help us achieve in the future.

Infographic with OTW project statistics and 2016 budget information
Follow this link to access this infographic's contents in text form. Graph adapted from the 2016 OTW Budget.

Help our work grow even more this year by making a donation. If you give US$10 or more, you can become a member of the OTW, and for US$50 or more, you can choose an exclusive OTW thank you gift. Please help spread the word: reblog, retweet, share this post, and donate to the OTW today!


Post Header

2016-04-04 13:30:31 -0400

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


This month saw the publication of a special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, the OTW's academic journal. Volume 21, "The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work," was guest edited by Ika Willis, University of Wollongong. The essays in this special issue analyze "the relationships between Classical literature (and its afterlives) and contemporary fan work," as Willis's editorial notes. Putting out an academic journal is a mammoth task, and the Journal team do it three times a year. Articles are open access, so anyone can head over and dip into the articles.

After a seven-year run, Communications has concluded the OTW Fannews series. In its place, the committee has debuted a series called This Week in Fandom. Each Tuesday, TWIF will present a roundup of interesting happenings throughout all of fandom from the past week–everything from trending discussions to academia to exciting announcements to media articles on fandom and more. TWIF is new, so feedback on format and content, as well as potential stories and submissions, is very welcome!

The Web Strategy, Design & Development committee has been toiling away to get the new OTW site up and running. This month, the committee moved the website to its final hosting place and is working on doing the same for the Open Doors and Elections sites. Thanks to everyone for their patience with the beta site during the move!


Accessibility, Design & Technology have reported a great milestone this month: the Archive now has over 800,000 registered users! They have also successfully put out four releases. Of particular interest is an overhaul of the Skin Wizard, and the ability for gift exchange moderators to search sign-ups.

The Abuse team has received 400 tickets this month.

Tag Wrangling staff inducted a new class of volunteers, who have leapt into action to help keep up with the always-expanding volume of new tags and fandoms on the AO3.

Over at Open Doors, staff worked on manually importing the archive.


In March, Legal represented the OTW at the South by Southwest Interactive festival! Legal committee chair Betsy Rosenblatt presented on the panel "Copyright and Creators: 2026" about the future of copyright law. Legal staffer Heidi Tandy hosted a Fair Use and Transformative Works Meetup at the festival, followed by a gathering for all, including those without festival passes, at a local pub. The event featured some great opportunities for fans to interact with U.S. law- and policy-makers, as well as of course gathering and socializing with each other.

Legal also responded to a significant number of legal questions from fans, some of which came in via AO3 Support and others that came directly to Legal.


After publishing the prospective budget for 2016 at the beginning of the month, the Board of Directors met with a Chartered Professional Accountant and is working through their assessment of the OTW's finances. They've also started preparing for this year's tax filing.


From February 29 to March 27, Volunteers & Recruiting received 84 new requests, and completed 78, leaving us with 39 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below). They also welcomed two new staffers. Elections brought in a new Communications Specialist staffer this month as well.

New Committee Staff: Misty Fritz (Elections), Anna S. (Volunteers & Recruiting), Katrina Hueniken (Volunteers & Recruiting)
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: adustyspectacle, arahime, Astra, Bella Irvine, capitola, CB, Flynn J. M. Germain, godsamitdean, ImpossibleGirlWrangler, Ira Gladkova, lightofthewind, LittleMousling, lubabathegreat, M.A., mal_stoner, miaou, Miranda, Osono, Perilous Grey, PineTreePerson, Rachel Harris, RepressedLurker, ShadowRancher, Sofia, the-dreaming-hare, and Twera

Departing Committee Staff: Chrissy Sky (AO3 Documentation), 2 Support, 1 Internationalization & Outreach, and 1 Wiki
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Yenelie, radondoran, and 9 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: waywardson1978 and 2 others


Post Header

2016-03-24 17:02:11 -0400

Our spree of behind-the-scenes improvements continues with a whole host of gem- and test-related updates. We also have some exciting user-facing changes, too, like a major overhaul of our Skin Wizard and the ability for gift exchange moderators to search sign-ups.


  • Coders: Ariana, Cesy, de3sw2aq1, Elz, James, Sarken
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Cesy, Elz, Enigel, James, Naomi, Scott, Sarken
  • Testers: Alison Watson, CJ Record, Lady Oscar


Terms of Service Update

User Interface

  • [AO3-4408] - On Android Chrome, the list of pseuds on a user's Manage My Pseuds page overlapped the New Psued link, which made it impossible to follow. We've fixed it so Android Chrome users can once again use the link.
  • [AO3-4492] - The navigation options on users' Gifts pages were hidden behind the blurbs on some small screens. The Accepted and Refused Gifts options should now be visible regardless of screen size.
  • [AO3-4490] - It was previously possible to create a skin without a title. The title field is now required (and marked as such).
  • [AO3-4504] - To reduce the number of accidental clicks, we removed the Delete Work link from the top of creators' own works, and now only show it on the works' edit pages.
  • [AO3-4332] - On narrow screens, the filters were missing from the Unassigned Fandoms page our Tag Wrangling team uses. Now the filters are available in all screen sizes.

Caching and Performance

  • [AO3-4472] - Counting the total users, works, and fandoms on the Archive every time someone accessed the front page was a considerable performance hit to our database. We've started rounding and caching these numbers so it will put less strain on our servers.
  • [AO3-4496] - To improve performance, we've begun caching the number of chapters each work has, and only expiring the cache when a chapter is added or removed.
  • [AO3-4471] - Every time someone accessed a page on the Archive, we asked the database if there should be an announcement banner displaying on that page. Now we cache that information instead of pestering the database every time.
  • [AO3-4406] - We were making a lot of small database queries on the main page for each collection. Now we make one big one, which is better for performance.
  • [AO3-4497] - Every time someone viewed a work, we asked the database to find us the list of tags used on the work. Now we cache that list instead of asking the database every single time.


  • [AO3-4483] - The Open Doors mass importing tool would error when Open Doors archivists tried to import works in .txt format. We've fixed the encoding issue that caused this.
  • [AO3-4439] - We've done some work so the Translation team will be able to translate the confirmation email that users receive after submitting an Abuse report.
  • [AO3-4356] - Whenever Support and Translation needed to update the list of supported languages on the Support form, they had to ask the coders to update the list. Now Support and Translation can change the list themselves through the admin interface.
  • [AO3-4476] - We corrected a problem our Translation team encountered when testing out the process of translating kudos emails.
  • [AO3-4499] - Works imported by archivists which have a date other than today are now backdated so the work's Published and Completed dates are set to the creation and completion dates detected on the external work.
  • [AO3-2864] - Gift exchange moderators can now search the sign-ups for their challenge by pseud instead of having to manually find them in the alphabetic list, which can be very long for a large challenge.
  • [AO3-4501] - We've made it possible for creators and Open Doors archivists to add notes to works they are importing. We also moved the import form's option for overriding tags (and now notes!) to make it easier to find.
  • [AO3-4473] - The Skin Wizard, which allows users to easily customize the colors and fonts on the Archive, wasn't quite as magical as it could've been, so we made it work better and gave the form itself a facelift. We also made sure anyone who already created a skin with the old version of the wizard would be able to keep that skin.

Automated Tests

  • [AO3-4485] - There were duplicate automated tests for some of our admin features. We've gotten rid of the duplicates.
  • [AO3-4475] - There were some to-do items in our automated tests for comments, and we have now done them.
  • [AO3-4486] - One of our automated tests for importing works was a work in progress. Now it's complete.
  • [AO3-4484] - We improved the test for orphaning imported works.

Gem and Security Updates

  • [AO3-4445] - We upgraded the gem we use to display a nifty little ribbon that lets us know when we're on our staging and development environments instead of the real Archive.
  • [AO3-4457] - We upgraded a whole pile of gems.
  • [AO3-4459] - We updated the gem we use for parsing text when someone imports a work.
  • [AO3-4449] - We updated the gem that creates the pagination links throughout the site.
  • [AO3-4431] - We updated a gem that provides a service for our caching system.
  • [AO3-4444] - We updated a gem that some other gems use, even though we don't use it directly.
  • [AO3-4506] - We upgraded to Rails to ensure we have the latest security fixes.
  • [AO3-4507] - It was previously possible to use our collection form to submit malicious code. It is no longer possible.
  • [AO3-4508] - It was previously possible to leave kudos with a non-existent pseud, causing an error that would make the work inaccessible. That is no longer possible.
  • [AO3-4425] - We updated the gem we use for managing the order of things like chapters in works and works in series.
  • [AO3-4426] - We updated the gem used for importing works from other sites.
  • [AO3-4509] - We added a test that will let us know when we need to update a gem due to security issues.
  • [AO3-4513] - We updated a number of gems that we only use in our development and staging environments.
  • [AO3-4447] - We updated the gems that handle delayed tasks like updating a user's history.
  • [AO3-4460] - We updated the gems that are used to connect to our Elasticsearch cluster.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


Post Header

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


The OTW celebrated International Fanworks Day this month, with a whole week dedicated to events, games, posts and challenges leading up to the big day itself on February 15th. In total, the event included 6 guest posts, a Feedback Fest, a short fanworks challenge called IFDShare, numerous games and public chats, and multiple posts, including one that featured both OTW celebrations and other celebrations for IFD. Head on over to this roundup post to learn more.


Abuse handled 300 tickets this month. They remind users to keep their email addresses updated so that the team can make contact it makes their life easier, and helps keep AO3 running smoothly!

Over at Accessibility, Design & Technology, eight releases were deployed this month. While these mainly focused on improvements to behind-the-scenes functionality such as automated tests and gems, the hardworking coders and testers on the team also found time to make some minor layout adjustments.


The Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee has continued their beta test of the new OTW website and is working on migrating over content. Thanks for everyone's patience while things get settled.

From January 28 to February 28, Volunteers & Recruiting received 91 new requests, and completed 91, leaving them with 36 open requests. They worked with the Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee on the first round of recruitment on the new OTW website. During this round, they recruited for Elections Staff, Tag Wrangling Volunteers, and Volunteers & Recruiting Staff. They devoted time to committee projects including the final stages of the formal audit of org-wide tools access and a revision of training for new staff for their committee. They also fielded a request from a student to answer some questions about experiences with volunteer management within the OTW.

Translation have welcomed 26 new volunteers to the committee, including a new team for Filipino!

Finally, Journal is hard at work on production for the next issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, a guest-edited issue on Classics and fan studies that will come out in mid-March.


February 22-26, 2016 was Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, and OTW Legal invited fans to “Ask Us Anything” about fair use and fair dealing law. Fans asked several questions, and Legal answered in a public post on February 26. The team also answered individual fan queries throughout the month.

In addition, Legal submitted comments in response to a U.S. Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry regarding the anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the triennial rulemaking process associated with those rules. Legal argued that the process of seeking exemptions is unnecessarily chilling on noninfringing activities like fair use, and is unduly burdensome for parties, like the OTW, who have to obtain exemptions.

We’ve also seen the fruits of some of our advocacy work: at the very end of January, the U.S. Copyright Office released a White Paper discussing the legal framework for remixes, including fan remix. The White Paper extensively cited the OTW’s Green Paper submission, which Legal created with the help of many fans who shared their stories with us.

Now we need more stories: to respond to a European Union consultation on how “notice and takedown” is working worldwide, OTW Legal wants to collect stories from fans worldwide on how internet takedowns have impacted fans. Have you, or anyone you know, been the subject of a takedown notice? What did you do about it? How did it feel? Have you had a fanwork of your own, or one you love, taken down? Have you ever been concerned about “three strikes” rules or other potential consequences of posting fanworks? Tell us all about it!


This month, the Board has continued to work on sorting out various transition issues and on trying to find the best workflows to make sure everything get addressed in a timely fashion. Besides that, they have published the 2016 budget and have been working on rebuilding the Finance committee.


New Committee Chairs: Nary (Support)
New Committee Staff: Apollonie (Support), coaldustcanary (Support), Eugecapisce (Support), Felix Quinn (Support), Morgan (Support), SelenesLion (Support), ShotaSammy (Support), Taylor Clossin (Support), Veronica M (Support), 4 other Support
New Coder Volunteers: 1
New Translator Volunteers: Francine Dulay, Monika Liptáková, JanOda, Amy Lee, cageot, XxArt, Sayali Marathe, Fatima Ahmed, Idiosincrasy, Rana Kamal, Maliceuse and 14 others
Departing Committee Staff: James Baxter (Development & Membership), Jillian Jacobs (Development & Membership), Hele (Translation), ragingrainbow (Tag Wrangling), Jennifer Rose Hale (Communications), 1 other Communications, 2 AO3 Documentation
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Starry_Sun and 2 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 5


Post Header

2016-03-02 15:36:47 -0500

Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

A lot of work has been done behind the scenes since our last update! Today we bring to you our prospective budget for 2016, as promised. This budget is one of a number of steps we are taking as we continue to work toward a more formal financial setup for the OTW long term, with a particular eye to openness and sustainability.

The budget can be found on the OTW site. It was prepared taking into consideration project needs, committee requests and our regular expenses from past year, and covers all expected expenses necessary to keep the OTW running in 2016. It anticipates fundraising income (including income from drives and other fundraising sources) of US$303,750.00, which is consistent with recent years' income.

This budget also addresses the OTW's need to keep a reserve on hand for emergencies, such as a sudden need to replace a server, or other unexpected costs. To the extent that the OTW may face unexpected expenses during 2016, they will be paid from the OTW's reserve funds. With that in mind, we believe the most prudent course of action is to make sure we are able to raise enough money to cover our annual running costs (expected to be US$303,750 this year) without having to use our reserves, keeping those for emergencies and hardware investments.

With our current funds sitting at about US$436,000 we are in a comfortable position that allows us to prepare for our growing expenses. In the next few months we plan to keep improving our financial set up, including contracting a CPA and rebuilding our Finance Committee, as well as reevaluating our resource allocation and reserves for 2017 as needed.

Follow this link to access the OTW’s budget for 2016.


Post Header

2016-02-17 12:15:42 -0500

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 Support Staff and Translation volunteers.

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

  • Elections Staff - closing 24 February 2016 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling volunteers - closing after 50 applications or 24 February 2016 UTC
  • Volunteers & Recruiting Staff - closing 24 February 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.

  Elections Staff

The Elections Committee is responsible for running OTW Board elections. We ensure the fairness, timeliness, and confidentiality of the process. As a team, we 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 are currently looking for Candidate Liaisons to reach out to potential candidates and support them during the election, Communication Specialists to prepare our public news posts and internal announcements, Team Coordinators to organize our efforts and document procedures, and Voting Process Architects to run the election itself and preserve our data security. Applications are due 24 February 2016

Tag Wrangling

The Tag Wranglers are responsible for helping to keep the millions of tags on AO3 in some kind of order! Wranglers follow internal guidelines to choose the tags that appear in the filters and auto-complete, which link related works together. (This makes it easier to browse and search on the archive, whether that’s Steve/Tony with tentacles or g-rated Rose/Kanaya fluff.)

If you’re an experienced AO3 user who likes organizing, working in teams, or excuses to fact-check your favorite fandoms, you might enjoy tag wrangling! To join us, click through to the job description and application form.

Please note: due to (amazing!) interest in wrangling, we’re currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only. See the application for which fandoms are in need.Applications are limited to 50 and are due 24th of February 2016

Volunteers & Recruiting Staff

Volunteers & Recruiting staff guide and manage services, policies, recruitment and volunteer management for the entire organization; compose and maintain organization policy and training documentation; and communicate with other committees and workgroups in the Organization for Transformation Works on matters related to organization tools and staffing needs. Volunteers & Recruiting staff also serve as a neutral party for personnel-related issues. Applications are due 24th of February 2016

Apply at the volunteering page!



Post Header

2016-02-16 12:45:28 -0500

International Fanworks Day celebration, featuring fandom-themed emoji and representations of fanworks around the globe

Sadly, International Fanworks Day (IFD) has now come to an end, but here are a few details to share about the day's events.

1) Some outlets that covered IFD include:

  1. The Daily Fandom moved their Fanfic Friday series to February 15
  2. The Slash Report interviewed OTW Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt.
  3. The Crafting System interviewed OTW Communications Staffer Kirsten Korona

2) There are around 1000 fanworks recced at Feedback Fest, so check out those many comments! We also had a lot of contributions to our Short Fanworks Challenge! 282 works and counting were posted at AO3 as part of the #IFDShare challenge. Below are a few more fanworks from IFD:

From the chat room game players on February 14, here's their Lyrics Round Robin for "Hey Jude" fandom-style:

Hey dude, don't make it sad,
we're all here for our happy endings
Cause John can't take another Reichenbach Fall
Since BBC doesn't make it better

Hey dude, you can write fic,
You can keep the angst in its canon
'Cuz at the minute, feels hit you like bricks
And you know the characters won't get better

Anytime you feel the pain, hey Ciel, refrain
You know that Sam and Dean will come knocking
And we want all want to see our ship, make a cute quip
we've got our fanfics in a giant folder,
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah!

While this was the final result from the players on February 15 for "Thriller"

It's close to midnight and we're all reading fanfic in the dark
In Constantine, you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You miss fanzines, but tumblr helps you kind of sort of fake it
you find a fic the author hasn't updated for years
Your eyes fill with tears!

'Cause this is fandom, fandoms are life
And Tumblr's not gonna save 'ya from the feels about to strike
You know its fandom, fandom life
You're fighting for your OTP inside a Tumblr post, tonight

You hear a door slam and realise that someone heard you laugh
You try to remain silent and wonder when the feels will go away
You close your eyes and hope that no one sees you cry
but all the while you hear your feels creepin' up behind
You've already died and you don't really mind

3) Congratulations to our chat room game and Feedback Fest prize winners: duckbunny, adustyspectacle, Lilac/Luke, darkmoore, Sherian, and phidari!

4) Lastly, thank you to everyone who has responded to OTW Legal’s IFD activism challenge and given them information about fanwork takedowns. If you haven’t had a chance to send your fanwork takedown stories yet, please do—Legal will keep collecting them for several more weeks.

What’s next?

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week starts in a few days! From February 22-26, sites around the web will be talking about fair use and fair dealing, the copyright laws that make transformative works legal.

This year for Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, OTW's Legal Committee will be hosting a Virtual Q&A, and we want your questions! Ask OTW Legal anything about how the law relates to fandom and fanworks. Every question you were afraid to ask: now is the time to ask it! (With one exception: we can’t give you personal legal advice.)

So send your questions to OTW Legal and they’ll answer them in public posts next week.


Pages Navigation