AO3 News

Happy SysAdmin Day!

Published: 2012-07-27 11:04:27 -0400

Happy SysAdmin Day! Here at the OTW, we'd like to take the opportunity to say thank you to our fantastic Systems team!

Systems work tirelessly behind the scenes to make everything work smoothly for the whole organisation.

What you see

Screenshot of a tweet reading 'The #AO3 will have some planned downtime on Thursday 26 July for some software upgrades: http://bit.ly/MCE4Ur'

What Systems do

Maintain the servers for the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Transformativeworks.org, Transformative Works and Cultures, Open Doors, and our internal wiki; install server software; arrange the installation of new hardware; find solutions when Fanlore is hit by a wave of spam; optimise performance on the AO3; wake up in the middle of the night to fix things when our servers melt; maintain and administer web development environments for our trainee coders; research and consult on hardware purchases; answer endless technical questions so Communications can post and tell people what's happening; pull stats to help us understand more details about our projects; set up new software tools; and much, much more.

Because of Systems, fandom can own the servers!

Our Systems committee are super-duper awesome and make it possible for all our projects to exist! <3 THANK YOU for your awesome work and all that you do!

Go go Systems monkeys!

Image of awesome dancing monkey with caption 'Systems mokeys rule, oh yes'

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852 Prospect: Coming Soon

Published: 2012-07-26 03:27:45 -0400

Dear Sentinel fandom!

We're writing to let you know that the import of 852 Prospect into the Archive of Our Own (which we announced in May) has been postponed until sometime in August. Our apologies for the delay!

The import has been rescheduled because of recent performance issues on the Archive (which our coders are hard at work fixing). We're now waiting until the next code deploy before we import 852 Prospect, but Open Doors is still working to make sure it happens.

Thank you everyone for your patience, and if anyone has further questions, please don't hesitate to contact Open Doors.

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Spotlight on Support: AO3 ticket stats

Published: 2012-07-25 05:07:03 -0400

This is going to be a very boring post. It's going to be full of numbers, and graphs, those things that I may or may not have spent many years at school colouring in with lovely coloured pencil without understanding them much (because I was apparently too much of an innocent mind to turn them into rude, crude approximations of things not related to mathematics except in the most abstract sense), and yet, these will be very easy to understand numbers. I am not a statistician, nor are the levels of data I have access to very deep. What I am is a member of the Support Committee with a curiosity about the numbers and types of tickets that pass through our hands, and who decided to add up the numbers one day and turn them into graphs. That was last year, and somehow the lure of the bar chart means that I have continued to collate information through to where we are right now, having just finished the second quarter of 2012.

In this post, I'm going to summarise the types of tickets received, what categories they fall under, and the general trends we witness. But first, some explanation of the process.

Collecting The Numbers

I'm sure that the method I have used is going to come under some degree of criticism for being inefficient; however, our Support software, provided by 16bugs (see Sam's spotlight post for more information) was not designed for data export. This means that the only way to extract numbers of tickets is to do it manually. And by manually, I mean I go through the email duplicates of each ticket one by one, assigning them a category, then add up the numbers for each month and enter them into an Excel spreadsheet.

What this method is, for all its faults, is quick, which means that I can rapidly pull up a given time period to see what sort of tickets were received between those dates. These graphs were originally created as an informal overview of ticket stats (which is a position they remain in – production of these stats is not an official Support Committee duty). They are simply counts of the original tickets, what they are about, and when they were received. They are not a count of how quickly they were responded to, who responded to what, or what follow ups were conducted with the users.

Categories

I'm going to leave direct explanations of the categories until the sections for the respective quarters, as these change on a quarter-by-quarter basis. This is due to the simple fact that new features are added, which generates new issues, and old issues are resolved. For example, squid caching was not implemented until June of this year, so prior to that, it was not shown in the graphs because issues relating to it did not occur. Here I'll instead explain the process by which tickets are categorised.

If you've ever submitted a comment or query to Support you will notice that on our form is a drop down menu.

screenshot of menu options: Bug Report, Feedback/Suggestions, General/Other, Help Using the Archive, Languages/Translation, Tags

These categories are not the ones I have used to sort tickets. Since the categories in the menu are so few and so broad, I felt it necessary to granulate them further, and count tickets as they related to specific archive functions and features.

If a new category is created in my sorting, it's because an issue got a large number of tickets and wasn't a transient bug. For example, if a ticket is related to subscription emails, it is categorised under "Subscriptions", not "Email" because it is related to a specific Archive function (in this case subscriptions) that has an existing category. If it were related to invitation emails, it would go under "Accounts/Invitations/Login". However, if it's related to kudos batching, it goes under general "Emails", because there is no category for kudos.

The Stats

2011, In Brief

I won't linger on 2011 too much (see Q1 2012 for an explanation of categories), since this information was a little more awkwardly hacked together than for 2012 – by which time I had sorted out my process for quickly organising tickets.

bar chart with different colors for every month in 2011, representing absolute ticket numbers for each in 15 different categories
(full size)

Prior to August, tickets were collated by the Support Chair, using slightly different categories than I did. I attempted to meld the two sets of information as best I could to produce the above year overview.

What is easily and clearly visible is the spike in tickets in November, resulting from a change to the front-end presentation of the AO3. The biggest spike is split between Interface/CSS tickets and Feedback. While many of the tickets sorted under Feedback were directly related to the changes to the AO3's interface, they did not contain bug reports or requests for information, and therefore fell under the heading of Feedback.

Q1 2012

Categories for Q1 2012:

  • Error 502 - the 'server busy' messages
  • 1000 Works - queries related to why we have a 1000 work limit on the fandom landing pages
  • Activation/Invitation/Login - problems activating accounts, getting invitations, or logging in
  • Admin/Abuse - issues that need to be examined by Admin or Abuse teams
  • Bug Report - Reports of transient bugs that aren't separately categorised
  • Collection/Challenges/Prompts - any problems/queries about these
  • Downloads - errors, bugs, queries related to downloading
  • Feature Request - any 'can I have/I would like/will you implement' queries
  • Feedback - any complaints, or any positive feedback (alone with no other feature-related issue)
  • Help/Information - any questions about AO3/OTW in general, or how to use specific features
  • Interface/CSS/Display - problems/queries relating to how the archive appears on screen, i.e. interface
  • Imports - issues with importing from LiveJournal/Fanfiction.net/other
  • Open Doors - questions related to fics imported through OD
  • Search/Browse/Filter - Problem or queries about sorting through archive contents
  • Tag Wrangling - any tag related questions


bar chart with different colors for Jan, Feb, and Mar 2012, representing absolute ticket numbers for each in 14 different categories
(full size)

Possibly due to the fact that the holidays are still going on at the beginning of January (and thus, people have more time to spend on fandom sites) we saw more tickets in general than during the following two months.

Q2 2012

Categories added for Q2 2012:

  • Embedding – queries/problems with embedding media (images/audio/video) into Works pages
  • Bookmarks – queries/problems involving bookmarking
  • Caching – bug reports that are actually caching issues (e.g., reporting 0 works in a fandom as a bug – this is a caching issue, or appearing as logged in as another user). The kind of caching which causes these particular bugs was only implemented in June.
  • Email – email issues unrelated to other categories (e.g., kudos email batching)
  • Subscriptions – issues/queries to do with the subscribe feature


bar chart with different colors for Jan, Feb, and Mar 2012, representing absolute ticket numbers for each in 14 different categories
(full size)

To break down the invitations emails, in June we received 140 tickets related to Invitations.

  • How Do I Use This Invite: 22
  • Did Not Receive Invitation Email: 31
  • Fell Off Invite List (unaware of security changes): 41
  • (of those, who admitted to re-adding themselves: 6)
  • General Invite Queue Unhappiness: 10
  • Can I have An Invite?: 9
  • I Requested Invites, Where Are They?: 12
  • Paid Accounts: 3
  • My friend on FF.net needs an invite: 12
  • Need Invites for a Challenge: 5
  • Please Remove Me From Queue: 1

The remaining 37 tickets in that category were related to account activation or login issues.


bar chart with different colors for each week of June 2012, representing ticket numbers for each in 20 categories
(full size)

This graph shows how the tickets were distributed during the weeks that span the month of June. In week 23 (commencing 4th June) we received the greatest number of queries regarding invites, as this was the point at which the invitations queue started growing at the rate of nearly 1000 new additions per day (a rate since slowed to around 300-odd per day). This coincided with the point at which the AO3 servers started creaking under the strain of lots more visitors and a filtering system that was originally designed with a smaller user base in mind.

When squid caching was implemented to help ease the strain (around week 24) we saw an increased number of tickets related to this change. In week 25, when filtering was disabled, we began to see an increased number of tickets related to that. (Originally, the message was ill-worded, appearing to be an error message, rather than an admin message – this has since been altered, and tickets regarding the filtering being 'down' have disappeared.)

And This All Means...

I always have fun posting these stats to the support committee. Everyone already knows more-or-less how things have gone, but sometimes looking at the numbers surprises us. When I originally created them, one frequent question was "what's the most common ticket you get" to which we would generally reply "queries regarding the 1000 work limit". I was curious as to whether this was actually the case. As it turned out, Feature Requests came in more often. Questions about the 1000 Works came lower down the list.

If you are wondering how many tickets we answer altogether, I can tell you that at the time of writing there are no unanswered tickets in our support software (except for one bugged ticket, which we are attempting to resolve with 16 Bugs). Every single ticket we receive is read and personally answered by a member of our staff, usually within a day or two. So, the answer is: we answer all of them.


graph showing the number of tickets for each month from Jan 2011 (170) to May 2012 (590)
(full size)

This post by Support staffer Yshyn. If you find a bug, have a question about the site, or want to request a feature, you can submit a Support request.

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Planned Archive downtime: Server software upgrade

Published: 2012-07-23 07:07:30 -0400

The Archive of our Own will be down for planned maintenance for approximately 90 minutes from 07.00 UTC on Thursday 26 July (see what time this is in your timezone). We'll be upgrading our server software during this time (more details below for the curious!).

We'll keep users updated on our Twitter AO3_Status as the work progresses. Thanks for your patience while we complete this work!

Server software upgrades

This downtime will allow us to upgrade Nginx and MySQL on our servers. It's important for us to keep this software up-to-date in order to avoid bugs and get better performance.

Nginx is web server software which everyone's browser communicates with - when you come to the Archive and make a request for a work, Nginx does the job of communicating with the application and getting the data you wanted. It handles some information itself and passes requests on which are too complex for it.

MySQL is the database which handles all the persistent data in the Archive - that's things like works. We're updating this to a much more recent version of the software, which will bring us some performance gains. We're also moving from the Oracle branch to Percona, which will bring us some additional benefits: it should give better performance than Oracle, and will also give us some additional instrumentation to monitor the database and identify problem areas. In addition, we hope to draw on the support of the company who produce it (also called Percona).

Users shouldn't see any changes after this update. However, we wanted to keep this work separate from our recent RAM upgrade so that if any problems do arise, we will find it easier to identify the cause.

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Some of you might have noticed in Support tickets a link to something called "Trello" or might have noticed a new FAQ about "Internal Tools", but weren't sure what these things might be. Or you might've wondered if you're the only who's seen a bug or requested a new feature. Or you might just be curious about our code.

We'd like to introduce the three public tools that we've been using to track development information for the Archive. We've been using them for different lengths of time, but haven't really advertised them. In the spirit of transparency, we thought we'd present them to you! We're hoping these tools will make it easier for you to understand what's going on behind the scenes and what we're working on.

First up is our very organized friend, the Trello Feature Requests Board. He's a detail-oriented individual who loves hearing about where our users think the Archive should go and what features our coders should implement. He records all of the requests for new features or revisions of current features. Browsing his cards, you can see features and changes that have been proposed, ones that have are accepted for development and will be coded eventually, ones that are implemented, and even ones that aren't currently possible on the Archive. He even takes notes on coders' and users' thoughts on the various features. I should note that he might not have labeled some cards clearly, so it's always worth browsing around a little.

Next is the Google Code Issues Tracker. She is our best beta, keeping track of features that have been approved for development on Trello, as well as the bugs our coders, testers, and users have found (all 3200 and counting)! She's been working for us the longest, keeping a list of everything we've broken and everything we've fixed. She's got some categories you can search by, but you can also just search by keywords.

Finally, we have the otwarchive on Github. She's the one in charge of our actual code, where the Archive gets rewritten. She'll take notes if you've figured out how to fix something, and even let you copy out the whole Archive code to work with on your own server. She's also starting to collect notes about our development and design guidelines as the AD&T committee standardizes them for the version 1.0 release.

We have a FAQ with a few more questions and answers about Trello, Google Code and Github, as well as links to all three. You can access it here: Internal Tools FAQ. If you have any questions about any of these tools or about something on them, let us know at our Support form (which also will soon have links to these tools)!

- Sam J., AO3 Support

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Planned Archive downtime: RAM upgrade

Published: 2012-07-17 04:37:57 -0400

The Archive of our Own will be down for planned maintenance for approximately three hours from 15.00 UTC on Friday 20 July (see what time this is in your timezone). During this period we'll be installing some new RAM and performing some other maintenance (more details below for the curious!).

We'll keep users updated on our Twitter AO3_Status as the work progresses. Thanks for your patience while we complete this work!

New RAM

The Beast: cartoon style image of server
Our database server looking grumpy about having too little RAM!

We're doubling the RAM in our database server and in our two application servers. Increasing RAM will help our system cope with more users: for example, it will allow us to run more unicorn workers, which serve up the content you're trying to access. This should help site performance as the site expands.

You can imagine the unicorns lining up in the hall of RAM to fetch you things from the treasure trove of fanworks: if there aren't many unicorns, you have to wait till one can serve you, which sometimes means you get a 502 error. We can increase the number of unicorns to make things go faster for you, but if the hall is too small (there isn't enough RAM) then things get crowded and inefficient and everything slows down again. More RAM allows us to increase the number of unicorns without slowing things down. (For the interested, this more technical explanation of Unicorn isn't exactly the way things are set up on the AO3, but will give you an idea.)

New drives

We're also installing some new drives in our two oldest machines. Both these machines have room for six drives; currently they each have four installed. Information is mirrored on the drives so that if one goes down, the system continues to work. At the moment, one machine has a broken drive. We'll be replacing the broken drive, and at the same time adding two spares to both machines so that we have more backups if anything else breaks.

Our two original machines preparing to nom their new drives
Front end server: cartoon style image of serverSlave: cartoon style image of server

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My, how we've grown! A few AO3 stats

Published: 2012-07-16 12:09:58 -0400

We've been talking a lot recently about how much the AO3 has expanded over the last few months. One easy statistic for us to lay our hands on is the number of registered accounts, but this only represents a tiny portion of site activity. Our awesome sys-admin James_ has been doing some number crunching with our server logs to establish just how much we've grown, and provided us with the following stats (numbers for June not yet available). Thanks to hele for making them into pretty graphs!

Visitors to the AO3

Line graph showing the number of visitors to the AO3 per month, December 2010 to May 2012. The line progresses steadily upwards with a significant spike from 1,197,637 in April 2012 to 1,409,265 in May 2012.

The number of unique visitors to the site has increased almost every month since December 2010 (each unique IP address is counted as one visitor). There are a few points where the rate of increase gets more dramatic: there was a jump of 244,587 across December 2011 and January 2012, compared to one of 137,917 over the two months before that. This can probably be accounted for by the fact that during December and January, holiday challenges such as Yuletide bring more people to the site. This theory is borne out by the fact there was a slight dip in the number of visitors during February 2012, indicating that some of the extra traffic in the previous two months were 'drive by' visitors who didn't stick around.

May 2012 saw a steep increase in the number of visitors: there were 211,628 more visitors to the site than there had been the month before! The rapid increase in visitors was not without its price: this was the month of many 502 errors!

Traffic to the AO3

Line graph showing AO3 traffic in GB per month, December 2010 to May 2012. The line progresses steadily upwards with a significant spike from 2192 GB in April 2012 to  2758 GB in May 2012.

The increase in the number of visitors to the site has also been accompanied by an increase in overall site traffic (how much data we're serving up). Again, there's a significant spike during December/January. Interestingly, there's no dip in traffic for February 2012, showing that even though there were some 'one time' visitors over the holiday period, there were also plenty of people who stayed and continued to enjoy fanworks on the site.

The increase in traffic to the site clearly accelerated in 2012. Between January and May 2011 traffic increased by just 159.92 GB; the same period in 2012 saw an increase of 1,870.26 GB! In fact, with an increase of 566 GB during May 2012, that month alone saw almost as big a jump in traffic as the whole of the previous year (595.63GB)!

And the other stuff

With these kinds of numbers, it's not surprising that there've been a few bumps along the way. For information on how we're dealing with the growth in the site you can check out our posts on performance and growth and accounts and invitations.

Many thanks to our dedicated volunteers for their hard work dealing with the growth of the site, and to our fabulous users for their patience with our growing pains - and for creating the awesome fanworks so many people are flocking here to see!

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Survey Sunday #5: Using and Finding Things at the AO3

Published: 2012-07-16 09:36:37 -0400

Or, um, Survey Monday? Sorry the crosspost is a little late, folks!

About the answers

This week on Survey Sunday, as requested, we're releasing the first batch of AO3 related questions. These were:

  • Question 15. How useful do you find the Archive's tagging system?
  • I'd be very interested in the results for Questions 19 to 21, concerning kudos and comments on the Archive.
  • I'm very interested in the answers to 32 and 33 specifically, and to a slightly lesser extent, all of the opinion-based questions about individual AO3 functions. (15, 16, 22, 23, 24, etc.)

Today we'll be answering questions #10 to #17. These relate generally to how many people use the Archive and how they do so. All questions presented in this post are complete and include final numbers. Future posts will shed light on the ease-of-use of the different Archive features and other general opinions about the Archive.

The question requested in particular is "Question 15. How useful do you find the Archive’s tagging system?" so we're showing its results in the context of its section.

It's important to note that everybody who replied in Question #10 that they hadn't used the Archive would have skipped all the other questions related to the Archive, though this fact will be mentioned when relevant in the corresponding sections.

#10 -- Have you ever used the Archive of Our Own (AO3)? (n = 5794)

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Yes 5564 96.0%
No 230 4.0%
Answered question (n) 5794
Skipped question 192

Question #10 asked whether the respondent had ever used the AO3. 3.2% percent of the people who took this survey skipped this question.

Of those who answered, 4% said they didn't use it and 96% said they did. As the question did not distinguish between frequent users and someone who had been to the Archive once or twice, further questions were designed to shed more light on users' activity.

One thing to note about this result is that, as AO3 users received emails informing them of the Survey, unlike users from other OTW projects, we were likely to get a very high "Yes" rate on this question.

graph for question 10, description in the text above.

#11 -- Do you have an account at the Archive of Our Own? (n = 5555)

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Yes 4.583 82.5%
No 792 14.3%
I'm waiting for an invite 180 3.2%
Answered question (n) 5555
Skipped question 431

Question #11 also testifies to the influence of AO3 users finding the Survey through direct contact. This question asked how many respondents already have an AO3 account. 201 people skipped this question on purpose, and 230 skipped it automatically by answering 'no' on question #10.

A clear majority of respondents were account holders -- 82.5%. Only 3.2% of those answering were waiting for an invitation. Back in April, during the survey period, the AO3 invite list was around 5000, roughly a sixth of the current waitlist. This is, however, still a small response from that group.

The number of accounts at that time was around 42,000, meaning that at least 10% of AO3 account holders answered the Survey, compared to around 3% of those on the invite list. This difference in response suggests that either account holders are more likely to be aware of OTW news and events, or, more probably, that the proportion of respondents in this category is substantially larger because they were emailed individually about the survey.

graph for question 11, description in the text above.

#12 -- How efficient do you find the Archive's invitation system (invite queue or sending invites)?

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Very efficient 1227 25.9%
Somewhat efficient 1180 24.9%
No particular opinion 2029 42.8%
Inefficient 254 5.4%
Very inefficient 46 1.0%
Answered question (n) 4736
Skipped question 1250

Question #12 showed a growing skip rate as well, with 1,250 people (21%) of the people who took the survey, not offering an opinion about AO3's invite system -- these people encompass those who answered 'no' to #10 (230), people who answered they didn't have an account and weren't waiting for one in #11 (792 -- who also automatically bypassed this question) and people who just decided not to answer (228).

The highest response was the neutral 'no particular opinion' (2,029 or 42.8% of the people who responded). However, the invite system was at the time relatively favourably regarded with a 25.9% considering it 'very efficient', and another 24.9% considering it "Somewhat efficient." Only 5.4% felt it was "Inefficient" and a mere 1% considered it "Very Inefficient".

This opinion might be considerably different if more than 180 people answering the survey were currently in the invite queue or if the survey were run today, when nearly 30,000 invite requests are outstanding.

It may also have been different if the answer scale's positive and negative sides had been written with the exact same vocabulary -- the fact that one could not answer 'somewhat inefficient' may have pushed people holding more moderately negative opinions towards neutrality (not wanting to answer 'inefficient' outright) while one could answer 'somewhat efficient', attenuating the possible positive responses and thus encouraging them. The influence of the phrasing, however, can't be measured, and this is only one interpretation of its possible effect.

graph for question 12, description in the text above.

#13 -- What are you using the Archive for?

Answer options Response count Response percentage
For subscribing to creators/works 2654 47.9%
For viewing fanworks (e.g. fanfiction, fanart, audiofic...) 5279 95.2%
For bookmarking fanworks 2887 52.1%
For posting fanworks 3199 57.7%
For running challenges 110 2.0%
For participating in challenges 1018 18.4%
Other 168 3.0%
Answered question (n) 5543
Skipped question 458

Question #13 looked at what people were doing at the AO3. The number of skips dropped back to 7.4% of all respondents, only 228 of whom skipped this question directly (the other 230 had automatically bypassed the whole section by answering 'no' to question #10). 92.6% (5,543) of the people who took this survey answered this question in some manner, either choosing one or more options, choosing one or more options and writing in clarifying notes about them or other choice(s), or just writing in other choice(s).

95.2% of the people who answered said they used the Archive to 'view fanworks' -- perhaps predictably, by far the most popular choice. Only 57.7% said they post fanworks. 52.1% said they use it to bookmark fanworks, and 47.9% that they use it to subscribe to creators or works. 18.4% said they use it to participate in challenges, while only 2.0% said they use it to run challenges (mods generally being fewer than participants, this is not a surprise).

graph for question 13, description in the text above.

'Other' answers add up to 169 (some respondents wrote in more than one, and each action or feature mentioned is counted separately, so these are actually from 166 people). Of these other answers, 35.3% were 'download fanworks', 21.0% 'leave feedback of some kind' (comments or kudos or both), 15.6% 'to find fanworks', and 7.8% 'to calculate stats', either personal or general for both academic and personal enjoyment reasons. Still 20.4% (34) of these answers are grouped in a general 'other' category -- none were common enough to generate significant patterns. Some of the options include using the Reading History or Mark to Read Later features, using Collections rather than Challenges, following feeds, participating in the community, and tag wrangling.

graph for breakdown of the 'other' option of question 13, description in the text above.

#14 -- Have you ever used the Archive's search function?

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Yes 5161 93.3%
No 368 6.7%
Answered question (n) 5529
Skipped question 457

In Question #14 457 people (7.6% of the people who took this survey) skipped answering whether they had used the search function at AO3, only about 227 of whom skipped this question inentionally rather than automatically by answering 'no' to question #10.

Of the 5,529 who did answer, 93.3% said they had used the Archive's search function and 6.7% said they hadn't. Those who had were asked the following 3 questions -- #15, #16 and #17 -- and those who hadn't were made to skip directly to the questions about leaving feedback on the Archive (those questions will be analysed in a following post).

graph for question 14, description in the text above.

#15 -- How useful do you find the Archive's tagging system?

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Very useful 2569 49.8%
Somewhat useful 2004 38.9%
No particular opinion 189 3.7%
Of limited use 318 6.2%
Not useful 77 1.5%
Answered question (n) 5157
Skipped question 829

Question #15 asked about tags. Almost double (839 or 14%) the number of respondents skipped this question as the last -- these people include the 230 avoiding the entire set of questions by answering 'no' to question #10, the 368 people who said they hadn't 'used the Archive's search function' in #14, and 231 who simply decided not to answer.

The majority of people who did answer this question, 2,569 (49.8%), found tags very useful, with another 2,004 (38.9%) respondents finding them somewhat useful. This indicates that there is an overall positive opinion of the tag system in place, since 87.7% of the respondents find the tag system useful or very useful.

A 3.7% felt neutrally about it, while 318 (6.2%) found them 'of limited use' and 77 (1.5%) found them 'not useful'. Negative opinions thus add up to a 7.7% of respondents.

graph for question 15, description in the text above.

#16 -- How efficient is it to search and find works on the Archive?

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Very efficient 1260 24.4%
Somewhat efficient 2678 51.9%
No particular opinion 284 5.5%
Inefficient 717 13.9%
Very inefficient 216 4.2%
Answered question (n) 5155
Skipped question 831

Question #16 asked about the efficiency of finding works on the AO3. Around the same number of people skipped this question as the last, 831 (14%) -- which again can be divided into the 230 people who are bypassing the whole Archive section, the 368 who answered they hadn't 'used the Archive's search function' and 233 who skipped this question intentionally.

The majority of respondents found the search "Somewhat efficient" (51.9%) or "Very efficient" (24.4%), giving us a total of 89,9% of respondents who have a positive opinion of the Search function. On the other hand, 13.9% found it "Inefficient" and a 4.2% found it "Very inefficient", adding up to 18,1% who have a negative opinion. This is more than double the percentage of people who had a negative opinion of the tagging system.

5.5% of respondents expressed neutrality by choosing 'no particular opinion'.

As we've noted in the analysis of the answers to question #12, responses may have been different if the answer scale used the exact same vocabulary for its positive and negative sides -- the fact that one could not answer 'somewhat inefficient' may have pushed people holding more moderately negative opinions towards neutrality (not wanting to answer 'inefficient' outright) while one could, in fact, answer 'somewhat efficient', perhaps attenuating the possible positive responses and thus encouraging them. The influence of the phrasing, however, can't be measured, and this is only one interpretation of its possible effects.

graph for question 16, description in the text above.

#17 -- Did you find content in your fandom(s) on the Archive?

Answer options Response count Response percentage
Yes, always or most of the time 4201 81.5%
Only sometimes 634 12.3%
Same volume as anywhere else 250 4.9%
Rarely 67 1.3%
No, never 0 0.0%
Answered question (n) 5152
Skipped question 834

Question #17 addresses AO3 content, asking if users' fandoms were represented in the Archive's content. 834 people skipped this question (14%) -- this again gives us 236 people skipping this question intentionally, with the others skipping it automatically as a consequence of previous answers.

Not surprisingly, most people said 'Yes', with 4,201 (81.5%) finding content most of the time and only 634 (12.3%) finding it only sometimes. No one said they never found such content, and 250 (4.9%) said they found it in the same quantities as elsewhere. Only 67 (1.3%) said they rarely found their fandoms at the AO3.

These answers are logical if one considers that it would be unusual to keep using an archive when one was unable to use it for one of its main purposes. One important aspect we did not take into account, however, is multi-fannishness. That is, respondents might find many works in one of their fandoms, but few or none in their other fandom(s), and the question design did not allow them to differentiate this. Judging from the overall positive slant, we assume that multifannish people tended towards answering with their well-represented fandom(s) in mind rather than their underrepresented one(s).

graph for question 17, description in the text above.

As a final note for this section, we note that the number of people choosing not to answer (or 'skip') a question has mostly stayed constant through the analysed questions, being around 200.

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.

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