AO3 News

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2016-02-12 22:27:49 -0500

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I. Celebrating Fanworks

There have been some big milestones at the AO3 recently. The Archive recently reached the 2 millon fanworks mark. It took over four years to reach 1 million fanworks, and less than two years to add the second million. Also recently, Tag Wrangling canonized AO3's 20'000th fandom. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the Archive's success.

Plans have also been in the works for International Fanworks Day on February 15th. Join us for games, a short fanworks challenge, and Feedback Fest. Alternately, join in one of the many celebrations being held by others and tell us about it!


Our Accessibility, Design & Technology committee followed up the successful release of comment moderation in November with eight rapid-fire releases in December, making updates to the Rich Text Editor, challenges, and gifts, as well as behind-the-scenes fixes designed to improve overall Archive performance. In January, behind-the-scenes work continued with more performance improvements, Gem updates, and additions to the automated testing suite -- and we found time to announce and deploy layout improvements for different screen sizes, too!

Open Doors announced three more archive imports recently:, and The Prydonian and Human Nature archives. This is a busy start to 2016 after capping off 2015 with five archive imports.

Our Abuse committee ended the year with a total of 4550 tickets for 2015, up from 2750 in 2014. Our Support committee ended 2015 with 8328 tickets. That’s a 40% increase over 2014 and double 2012!

As a reminder, AO3 will not remove works solely because they portray characters or relationships in a bad light. Per our Terms of Service: "You understand that using the Archive may expose you to material that is offensive, triggering, erroneous, sexually explicit, indecent, blasphemous, objectionable, grammatically incorrect, or badly spelled."

III. Fanhackers and Legal Advocacy

Our Fanhackers committee has been restructured for better efficiency. It is no longer a discrete committee inside the OTW. Instead, the Fanhackers blog (and Tumblr) are now part of our Communications committee, and the Fan Studies Bibliography is now part of our Journal committee. The Fanhackers mission of making research about fans more useful and accessible will continue.

In December, our Legal committee submitted a comment in response to the European Commission's request for comments regarding online platforms, online intermediaries, and cloud computing. The OTW's comments emphasized the dangers of regulating based on the false assumption that all online platforms and intermediaries are large commercial entities like Google and eBay.

In January, a request was made asking fans for their stories about fanwork takedowns. Legal also helped make a public statement supporting fan film makers in the wake of a Paramount/CBS lawsuit against the makers of Axanar, a Star Trek fan film.


The resignation of Andrea Horbinski, Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae from the OTW's Board of Directors became effective on December 15th. After meeting with our Elections and Legal committees, newly elected Directors Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem announced that the remaining candidates from the November 2015 election would be appointed to the Board.

The Board is now hard at work. A draft of the 2016 budget is undergoing internal review for release as soon as possible. Minutes from Board meetings can be found on the minutes page, and future meeting times are listed on the new Board calendar page. (Note: Our website is currently being migrated to a new platform, so some links may malfunction for a little while. Thanks for your patience.)


Our Volunteers & Recruiting committee has kicked off recruitment for 2016.

New Directors: Matty Bowers (President), Alex Tischer (Secretary), Atiya Hakeem (Treasurer), Aline Carrão, Katarina Harju.
New Committee Chairs: Atiya Hakeem (Finance), Alex Tischer (Web Strategy, Design & Development (Acting)), Alison Watson (Volunteers & Recruiting), James Baxter (Web Strategy, Design & Development), Mahewa (Elections)
New Committee Staff: Katie (Accessibility, Design & Technology), 1 Journal, Nele Noppe (Communications), Gil (Web Strategy, Design, & Development), Atiya Hakeem (Development & Membership)
New Coder Volunteers: Cesy
New Translator Volunteers: Olya, Rose Hannah, and Chien
New Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers:

Departing Directors: Eylul Dogruel, Soledad Griffin, Andrea Horbinski, M.J. MacRae, Cat Meier, Jessica Steiner
Departing Committee Chairs: Soledad Griffin (I&O), Eylul Dogruel (Web Strategy, Design & Development (Acting)), Renay (Volunteers & Recruiting), Nele Noppe (Fanhackers), Daniel Lamson (Development & Membership), hele braunstein (Translation)
Departing Committee Staff: Xierroh (Translation), Amalia Blondet (AO3 Documentation & Translation), Katarina Harju (Translation), 1 Support, 1 Open Doors, 1 Wiki
Departing AO3 Documentation Volunteers: 1
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Selenay, Ciel, 1 other
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: Stephanie S.
Departing Strategic Planning Volunteers: 2
Departing Translator Volunteers: 7 others

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


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Feedback Fest speech bubble with multilanguage feedback phrases

International Fanworks Day is nearly here. To celebrate we are kicking off one of our planned events today, which is Feedback Fest!

How does it work?

We know you love fanworks, that's why you're here reading this! So get specific.

Leave a comment here recommending at least three fanworks, and say something about why you love these works and think others should check them out. You can also link to a rec post you've made elsewhere and tagged with #IFDFest. Remember that fan communities, newsletters, archives, and other resources are fanworks too so there are a lot of possibilities.

For everyone checking out the recced fanworks, don't forget to leave comments, likes, kudos or other love to those fan creators to help spread the squee.

But wait, there's more!

To celebrate AO3's recent milestone of 2 million fanworks, we'll be giving away either an AO3 Water Bottle or an OTW iron-on and sticker to two randomly chosen participants in Feedback Fest. Just start your comment here with a YES or NO so we'll know if you'd like a chance at the gifts. (We'll only be counting one entry per person).


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Banner by Erin of an OTW logo beamed by a spotlight over the words Open Doors

Open Doors is pleased to announce the completion of five archive import projects! Here on the AO3, not only will the original contents be preserved, but all of the archives can continue to grow.

Chains: The Powerfic Archive

Completed: 1 July 2015

Founded in 2000 and originally named Boys in Chains: the slave!fic archive, the Chains archive is a multi-fandom archive for both fiction and art, with a focus on works about relationships between people of different ranks or status. To reflect its openness to femslash, het, and gen, as well as slash, its name was changed to Chains: The Powerfic Archive during the import. Check it out at Chains: The Powerfic Archive! For more information on the archive, see the original Chains import announcement.

Henneth Annûn Story Archive (HASA)

Completed: 1 September 2015

HASA was a large archive of works inspired by the Tolkien Legendarium established in 2002. HASA was notable for including critical essays and fandom meta as well as fanfiction. This amazing collection can be found here: the Henneth Annûn Story Archive. For more information on the archive, see the original HASA import announcement. The Henneth Annun Research Center is still available at

This import featured the debut of a fantastic new tool for importing large archives, created by Open Doors' liaison from the Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee, Ariana!

Table for Three

Completed: 4 October 2015

Table for Three was founded in 2005 as a dedicated archive for the Harry Potter Trio Ship, featuring stories in which Harry, Hermione and Ron are involved with each other romantically. If you're looking for Ron/Hermione fic, Harry/Hermione fic or Harry/Ron fic, you'll find plenty of archives and collections to suit your tastes. If, on the other hand, you're looking for the three of them in a great writhing puppy pile, this is the place for you. The collection can be found at: Table for Three. For more information on the archive, see the original Table for Three import announcement.

The Hermit Library

Completed: 13 October 2015

The Hermit Library is a Blake's 7 fanfiction archive. It was among the earliest multi-creator archives in that fandom, as well as its largest for some years after its founding in 2000. Read more at the Hermit Library AO3 collection, or the original import announcement.

Seamus/Dean Forever

Completed: 2 November 2015

Dedicated to the Harry Potter fandom rare pairing of Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas, this archive was founded in 2002 and active through 2005. Featuring both fanfiction and fanart, the collection can be found at: Seamus/Dean Forever! For more information on the archive, see the original Seamus/Dean Forever import announcement.

A big THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who made these projects possible, and who continue to work to preserve at-risk fanworks.


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2016-01-25 20:43:38 -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'

The OTW Board of Directors has approved changes to the Archive of Our Own’s Terms of Service and Frequently Asked Questions. Proposed additions in bold; bracketed to be deleted.

This post marks the start of a two-week public comment period. Your comments and questions will be reviewed in order to evaluate whether further changes need to be made.

Thank you for your assistance.

III. Archive Privacy Policy

E. What we will do:

1. We may collect personally identifying information when you register for a user account with the Archive, visit any of the Archive sites, or use any of the Archive services. We may use third-party services to store, process, or transmit data, or perform other technical functions related to operating the site. These services may include spam detectors, backup services, icon hosting, and e-mail services. We endeavor to use only services with comprehensive privacy policies but cannot guarantee their performance. We or the services we use may store or process your personally identifying information in data centers which may be located in the United States or other countries.

2. We will use your e-mail address internally, and if you make it public on the site, anyone can access it and use it for any purpose. We may occasionally send e-mails to you from the Archive. We reserve the right to send you notice of complaints or violations [or suspensions] of the Terms of Service, as well as to reply to any e-mail message you send to the Archive.

3. We may retain:

a. the e-mail addresses of those who communicate with us via e-mail;
b. user-specific information about what pages users access or visit;
c. the IP address of each visitor to our sites;
d. any information that a person sends to OTW or Archive e-mail addresses (i.e., any e-mail to an administrator or other official address).


V. Assorted Policies

A. Collections, Challenges, and Exchanges

Archive users may create collections and encourage other users to submit fanworks to those collections. The collection maintainer can set any constraints they want on the collection, including rules about anonymous works (see A.4 below) but must otherwise follow the content policy (e.g., if the collection content is explicit, it should be marked as “explicit” or “choose not to rate”). The collection maintainer may be able to ask users for suggestions for new fanworks (“prompts”), collect prompts, match participants with prompts (including contacting them via the contact information provided to the Archive or to the collection maintainer), and show the prompts on the Archive, following the general rules governing works on the Archive. Where collection rules allow, prompts may be anonymous or limited-visibility, as detailed in A.4 and A.5 below.

A challenge maintainer can communicate with challenge participants. The challenge maintainer may have access to participants’ email addresses for this purpose.


Assorted Specialized Policies


What do you mean by "collections"?

Collections are groups of works collected together under one heading. Collections can be fic or art fests, exchanges, 'big bangs' matching artists, authors, and/or podficcers, or other types of creative challenges, as well as simple collections of fanworks chosen by the collection maintainer. Learn more about collections.

What information can the collection/challenge maintainer see about participants?

The maintainer can see prompts as well as the username and email address that participants use to sign up, in case the maintainer needs to communicate with participants.

What's the point of having separate rules for collections/challenges?

The rules are basically the same as for everything else on the Archive. This just allows another way to group fanworks by areas of interest. There is one important special rule: if the collection maintainer says in the rules that submissions are final, then you can't withdraw your contribution from the collection, though you can always orphan it. We put this rule in place to allow gift exchanges. Ordinarily, removing a fanwork from the Archive is sad, but it's up to you. But when you've added a fanwork as a gift, and possibly received a fanwork as a gift in return, we think it's fair to say that the other participants should continue to enjoy the benefit of your contribution. In those cases, orphaning allows you to sever your connection with the fanwork while not removing it from the collection. This policy was based on prior experience with the Yuletide Rare Fandoms gift exchange.

I think my fanwork would be perfect for a collection, but the maintainer won't add it to the collection!

Unless there's an independent violation of the Content Policy, we won't intervene in collection decisions, even if they are arbitrary, biased, or wrong. You may want to add tags to your fanwork that will be of interest to people who are fans of relevant collections.

How can I start a collection?

Please consult our Tutorials. Please note that participants may provide information to the maintainer for purposes of participating in a collection or challenge. Any use of this information other than to manage the collection or challenge is a violation of our Terms of Service and can result in the termination of the maintainer's account.

Other Changes


Can orphaning be reversed?

Usually not. [If you orphan a work inadvertently, or wish to rewrite it and repost under your name, and you can verify your identity as the author in a way we consider reliable enough, we may be able to reverse the orphaning. But orphaning may be irreversible in some cases,] Orphaning is irreversible in most cases, so please use this option carefully.

What if what I want to post isn’t similar to one of the examples listed in the Terms of Service FAQ?

In general, you can post any non-ephemeral, transformative content that is fannish in nature. If you have doubts about any particular examples and you don’t want to risk posting it, you can always contact our [Support] Abuse team to ask, using the [Support] Abuse form.


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The Prydonian header graphic

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The Prydonian, a Doctor Who fanfiction archive, and its subsite Human Nature, a Doctor Who RPF fanfiction archive, are being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Prydonian, a Doctor Who Fanfiction archive for fanworks focusing on the relationship between the Doctor and the Master, was created by Versaphile in 2008. A Doctor Who RPF subsite, Human Nature, was added in 2009.

Open Doors will be working with Versaphile to import The Prydonian and Human Nature into two separate, searchable collections with their own identities. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collections on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs. We will begin importing works from The Prydonian and Human Nature to the AO3 collection in January 2016.

What does this mean for creators who have work on The Prydonian and/or Human Nature?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your The Prydonian and/or Human Nature works there, please contact Open Doors with your The Prydonian and/or Human Nature pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won’t import your works. (Please include "The Prydonian" and/or "Human Nature" in the subject heading.) For instructions on mass-adding works to the new The Prydonian collection or the new Human Nature collection 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 The Prydonian and/or Human Nature pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "The Prydonian" and/or "Human Nature" in the subject heading.) For instructions on importing works and adding them to the new The Prydonian collection or the new Human Nature 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 The Prydonian and/or Human Nature pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "The Prydonian" and/or "Human Nature" 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 The Prydonian and/or Human Nature pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (Please include "The Prydonian" and/or "Human Nature" 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 archived on a creator’s behalf will be attributed with the creator’s name in the byline or the summary 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 The Prydonian and/or Human Nature 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 Versaphile to confirm your claims.)

If you still have questions...

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 The Prydonian and Human Nature 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 both The Prydonian and Human Nature!

- The Open Doors team


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2016-01-20 16:29:07 -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'

The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting! We're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Support Staff - closing 27 January 2016 UTC
  • Translation Volunteers - closing 27 January 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.

Support Staff
The Support team is responsible for handling the feedback and requests for assistance we receive from users of the Archive. We answer users’ questions, help to resolve problems they’re experiencing, and pass on information to and from coders, testers, tag wranglers and other teams involved with the Archive.

Applications are due 27 January 2016

Translation Volunteer
Translators and translation betas help make the OTW and its projects accessible to a wider international audience. We work on translating all sorts of content throughout the OTW and its projects: site pages, news posts, AO3 FAQs, AO3 Support tickets, and any inquiry that reaches a committee or volunteer group in languages they can’t translate themselves. Most of our work consists of translations from English to another language, though we also need to do the reverse on some occasions.

If you are fluent in one language (or more!) other than English, if you enjoy working collaboratively, if you like having flexible deadlines, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help it reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

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

(Please note that our Brazilian Portuguese, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish and Spanish 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 can be found on the Translation Committee page.

Applications are due 27 January 2016

Apply at the volunteering page!


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Banner created by Ania celebrating International Fanworks Day, featuring various fanworks including cosplay, text, and visual art.

As we mentioned last month, the OTW will be hosting events for International Fanworks Day again this year. On February 15th we'll be celebrating International Fanworks Day across all timezones. Below we have a few things listed that the OTW is sponsoring but we'd like you to let us know, in comments, about other events and activities you're aware of so that we can signal boost them.

  1. Feedback Fest: Everyone who creates and shares fanworks loves hearing from the people who enjoyed it, so we're hosting a Feedback Fest to celebrate the works that we love. Participate by leaving a comment to our Feedback Fest post between February 10-15 with either your recs or a link to your post elsewhere with your recs. Share what you love about fanworks while encouraging others to leave feedback, too. You may even win a gift!

  2. Short fanworks challenge: Get out your tablet, your laptop, or your phone and create a short fanwork on the following topic:

    What does your favorite character—or your favorite pairing—get fannish over? For example:

    • What happens when Hetalia's Axis Powers and Allied Forces compete in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?
    • Has Kermit the Frog ever cosplayed as Yoda?
    • What happens when the Avengers take a break from civil war and instead take an afternoon to fan squee over Hamilton?

    Post your haiku, drabble, drawble, short vid, audio work or other format on February 15th and tag it #IFDShare on tumblr, Facebook, Dreamwidth, or wherever you fan. And if you post it on Archive of Our Own, tag it with the International Fanworks Day 2016 tag.

    Keep it safe-for-work, and we may give you a signal boost!

  3. What Fanworks Mean to Me: In December, we sent out a call for essay contributions about what fanworks mean to you. We'll be distributing guest posts through OTW News between now and February 15 with some of the results. But if you missed your chance to participate, #IFDShare is also for meta! Let people know how you feel and help spread the International Fanworks Day celebrations.

  4. Fan Activism: OTW's Legal Committee has long worked to protect fanworks. They have recently asked for stories from fans worldwide on how notice and takedown is impacting fandom. 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 removed, or has a work you loved been removed? Please submit information you have by February 28. Help the OTW let governments around the globe know that fanworks are important to you!

  5. Games and Fan Chat: On February 15th itself we'll be hosting a chat in the OTW's Public Discussion chatroom through all timezones. Join us between 16:00 UTC 14 February and 06:00 UTC 16 February to share fanworks, or play games such as trivia contests or a Cards Against Humanity game. You might even win a prize!

Now that we've shown you ours, please show us your fandom's plans for IFD, either by commenting here or linking us to your post elsewhere!


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When we redesigned the Archive in 2011, most people were accessing the site on desktop devices, so we designed the layout and skin system with larger screens in mind. A lot has changed in the last four years, and the majority of our traffic now comes from small-screen devices like tablets and phones, so we're making some changes to our layout and skin system to reflect this new reality.

Currently, the Archive determines which layout you see based on how many pixels wide your browser window is. If you're browsing in a window that's 640 pixels or narrower, you see a single-column version of the layout. Otherwise, you see the default layout. However, our default layout was designed for larger screens, so if your browser width is between 640 and 1024 pixels, Dashboard pages with filters might not look their best:

A user's works page with the Dashboard, works, and filters arranged in three columns. The filters partially cut off due to screen size.

Soon we will be adding a new breakpoint to help anyone who has been seeing a slightly squished version of the Archive. The resulting layout will be a halfway point between the default and mobile layouts: the Dashboard will appear at the top of the main content, just below the main navigation, but the filters will still be on the right side of the page.

A user's works page with the Dashboard on the top and the main content and filters arranged in two columns.

We will also stop using pixels to define these breakpoints and instead switch to a relative unit known as ems. Em units are based on font size, and using them to set our breakpoints means the Archive layout will work better for anyone who has changed the default font size in their browser. For example, setting the font size to Very Large in Google Chrome cuts off the text in the filters and makes the work blurbs very narrow and long, even if you are looking at the Archive in a window that is 1024 pixels wide:

A user's works page with the browser font size set to Very Large and the Dashboard, main content, and filters arranged in three columns. The filters are almost completely hidden.

Once we add the new breakpoint, the Dashboard will appear at the top of the page, giving the filters and blurbs more room and making the page easier to browse:

A user's works page with the browser font size set to Very Large. The Dashbaord is now at the top of the page and the main content and filters are in two columns.

The new breakpoints of 42em and 62em will be available for use in skins, and any skins using the existing 640px breakpoint will automatically be converted to the new 42em setting.

These breakpoints don't correspond to the dimensions of any particular device -- there are too many devices for that to be a practical approach -- but are instead based on the point at which the Archive's default layout begins experiencing problems. We realize that's not ideal for skin makers who have chosen to remake the layout entirely, but it should be a positive change for the majority of skin users, and we're looking into adding customizable breakpoints in the future to allow you to target any and all devices you use to browse the Archive.

As always, if you have any questions or experience any problems, please contact our Support volunteers, who will be glad to help!


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