AO3 News

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


Release 0.9.15 (Part 7): Change Log

Published: 2014-07-01 12:33:37 -0400


  • Coders: james_, Lady Oscar, sarken
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_
  • Testers: Ariana, Enigel, james_, Lady Oscar, Runt

This deploy includes some updates to the Terms of Service FAQ. The question "May I post someone else's fanworks, giving them credit?" has been updated and the question "What about character playlists or fanmixes?" was added.


  • Works
    • We have created a clearer and more detailed description of orphaning to be shown on the Orphan Works confirmation page. Hopefully this will make it less likely for users to orphan works in error.
    • .MOBI downloads of single and multi-chaptered works had different margin sizes. We have corrected this issue, and all works should have the same size margin.
    • When a user without any posted works looked at their Statistics page a message was displayed listing the types of information that would be displayed for any future works, including download statistics. Download statistics are not something we track, so that information has been removed.
  • Front-End Fixes
    • There was some incorrect HTML on the Sign-Ups page of challenges. Requests/Offers buttons are now properly coded as list items.
    • We also made some HTML changes to the Statistics page that won't alter anything visibly but which will bring it into line with our standard front end design.
    • Hovering over the ?! or ✔ or ✖ icons on the 'My Nominations' page shows a tooltip explaining what each respective icon means. The background color behind the text is now blue, in keeping with our standard informational messages, rather than yellow, which would indicate a warning message.
    • Previously, when a user viewed their nominations for a Tag Set, the "Status" message on the page always claimed that it was possible to edit or delete the nominations. Once a Tag Set is closed for nominations, however, the nominator can no longer edit or delete. The message will now change to accurately reflect the current state of the Tag Set.
    • There was some unnecessary HTML on the Works and Bookmarks index pages that created an empty navigation element. It has been removed.
    • Work blurbs on user and Collection Dashboard pages were getting extra padding between the title/author line and the fandom tag(s). They should now look the same as the blurbs on work listing pages.
    • There was a redundant reference and an unused selector in our stylesheets; both have been removed.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


Release 0.9.15 (Part 6): Change Log

Published: 2014-06-27 16:16:13 -0400


  • Coders: Enigel, Lady Oscar, sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, sarken
  • Testers: Ariana, Emilie, highlander_ii, Lady Oscar, mumble, Runt, sarken


  • Works & Bookmarks
    • Trying to access and save changes to a multi-chapter draft with notes (!) would cause an error 500. This is fixed now, with thanks to the intrepid user who helped us figure this out!
    • In the posting/editing form, the autocomplete fields were not properly associated with their labels (e.g. Fandoms, Characters, Collections/Challenges, etc.), making it almost impossible to use the form with screenreaders. This is now fixed.
    • In the posting/editing form, the autocomplete fields for tags would not find certain tags with quotes or parentheses in them (e.g. typing Bucky wouldn't suggest James "Bucky" Barnes). Those tags should now show up for the appropriate searches.
    • In HTML tables with the <caption> element, the caption was hidden by CSS, but created a huge gap above the table. Table captions are now displayed, and the gap was fixed.
    • After we added horizontal scrolling for large images, some users were reporting vertical scrollbars on some works. This should now be fixed.
    • In your History and Marked for Later list, deleted works would leave behind a "(Deleted work)" blurb, with no way to remove it from your list. You can now remove it.
    • When adding tags to a bookmark, commas in Chinese and Japanese scripts were not parsed as tag separators, leading to one long, smushed-together tag. This has been fixed.
  • Collections & Challenges
    • It wasn't possible to delete a collection without JavaScript enabled. Now it is!
    • The sign-up summary for challenges was just a blank page when the challenge included no tags at all (e.g. just relied on written descriptions of the prompts). We now show a note when no tags are present to build a summary from.
  • Misc.
    • Tag use counts sometimes get out of sync; we've added a button that allows wranglers to fix the count if they run into such a tag.
    • We updated the Bootstrap drop-down plugin used for the main navigation.
    • We "humanized" code elements used in error messages across the site by adding spaces and switching from uppercase to lowercase. Things like, "We couldn't save this UserInviteRequest" should be much more readable now.
    • Cleaned up the HTML mark-up for pagination links (e.g. Previous | 1 | 2 | Next) across the site.
    • Updated the support form to have the correct limit on summary length (100 characters).

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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 Translation Staff and Communications Chair Track Staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Wiki Committee Staff - Closing 30 June 2014 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling Volunteer - Closing 30 June 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.

Wiki Committee Staff The Wiki Committee supervises Fanlore: we provide direction, write policies and help documents, promote the wiki, organise and support Gardeners, communicate with users, and keep the site running. We handle requests for support and complaints from users and do our best to help the Fanlore community grow.

If you like Fanlore and are interested in helping the site improve, you could consider joining the Wiki committee. Applications are due 30 June 2014 UTC

Tag Wrangling Volunteers Tag Wrangling Volunteers are responsible for keeping the hundreds of thousands of tags on AO3 in some kind of order! Based on internal guidelines, we choose which form a tag takes in the filters and auto-complete, and we link tags together to make 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’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 due 30 June UTC


Chat with Support (in multiple languages!)

Published: 2014-06-22 15:29:27 -0400

Banner by caitie with 'otw chat' at its center and emoticons and other symbols in word bubbles surrounding it.

AO3 Support staffers are the people who receive your tickets through the Support and Feedback form and try to respond as soon as possible to register your feature suggestion, pass your bug report on to our coders, or do their best to help you out with a problem. However, when it comes to explaining how to do things or why something doesn't seem to be working right, the formal back-and-forth emails of a Support request aren't always ideal.

So Support will be holding an Open Chat session in our public chat room. They'll be available on Sunday, June 29, 13:00 UTC to June 30, 01:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?). Volunteers will be available to answer inquiries in Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. If you can't make it to this chat, keep an eye out for the next as Support will be doing other chats later this year.

If you're having a problem using the Archive, want help trying something new, or would like an explanation of one of our features, please drop in and talk to us in person!

Some guidelines from Support, just to keep things running smoothly

We don't have a fancy presentation or material prepared--there are plenty of FAQs, tutorials, and admin posts for that. The point of live chat is to talk with you, not at you. We're happy for you to drop in and say "hi", but it's even better if you drop in and say, "Hi, what's up with my work that won't show as complete even though it is?!"

As Support, our function is to help users with bugs and issues, and pass reports on to our Coders and Systems team, who actually keep the place running. This means that policy questions are way over our pay grade. (Just kidding--none of us get paid!) So, if you have questions or comments about AO3 or OTW policies, good or bad, Support Chat isn't the right place for them. If you do want to talk to someone about policy issues (meta on the Archive, philosophical issues with the tagging system, category change, etc.) we can direct you to the appropriate admin post or contact address so you can leave feedback directly for the people dealing with the area of your concern.

Additionally, if a question looks like it might violate a user's privacy to answer (if it needs an email address or other personal information, for example) we may not be willing to work with it in chat. In those cases, we'll redirect a user to the Support Form so we can communicate via email.

So, now that that's out of the way, what kind of things are we going to talk about?

Live chat is best for questions of a "How do I...?" or "Why does it...?" nature.

For example, you might have been wondering:

  • I'd like to run a challenge, but I'm not sure how to do what I want.
  • For that matter, where did my work submitted to an anonymous challenge go?!
  • I want to post using formatting the Rich Text Editor won't give me. How do I do it using a work skin?
  • I want to add a lot of my older works to the AO3 -- what would be the easiest way to do that?

We'd be happy to help you with any of these questions, and anything else you're having trouble doing or would like to try doing with the Archive.


OTW Video with 16 times the goodness!

Published: 2014-06-21 15:30:56 -0400

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'

The OTW released a video in April that provides an overview of our work and gives non-fans an introduction to fannish works. Our translation volunteers have now produced captions for the video in the following languages: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

To enable subtitles in your language of choice on the video below, click on the "CC" button next to the volume and HD options.

All these subtitles are also available on the video we have hosted on YouTube. Just click on the rectangular Captions/CC button in the lower right hand corner of the video and select the language.

If you wish to download a copy of the video with your preferred subtitles, use the links below:

Special thanks to all the volunteer translators who worked on this project!

Our Translation team would also love to have this video narrated in as many languages as possible! Can you help? If you're fluent in a language (or more!) other than English and are willing to help record the voiceover track, please contact us. We'd be thrilled to work with you!


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