AO3 News

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2014-05-03 15:19:54 -0400

This deploy includes code contributions by Ariana, Elz, Emily E, Nathan J. Xaxson, sarken, Scott, Tegan, and tuff_ghost and was tested by Emilie, james_, Lady Oscar, mumble, Michelle Dong, Priscilla D., Sammie J., sarken, and Scott. Extra special thanks again to Enigel for code review and merging, and to james_ for his work on automated code deploys to our testing environment!


  • Works
    • Previously, all users who had left kudos on a work were listed, requiring a lot of scrolling to get past them on popular works. Now only the first 50 names appear, followed by a link to expand the entire list.
    • After a recent code change, editing and then previewing a work previously gave a message erroneously claiming that a draft had been created and would be deleted in 30 days. This message now only appears in circumstances where a draft actually has been created (when first previewing a new work and when choosing "Save Without Posting").
    • Improvements to subscription notification emails for chapter updates to avoid redundant "Chapter" labels and include the chapter number.
    • Previously, works which were orphaned immediately after posting could end up in a subscription email, accidentally telling the author's subscribers of the new work. There is now a check in place when these emails are generated that will skip orphaned works.
    • In the posting form, the first item in the Archive Warnings and Category listings wasn't properly aligned with the other items in the list. This is now fixed.
    • The Edit Tags form had a "Save Without Posting" button when editing tags on an already-posted work, erroneously implying that it would be possible to save the work as a draft. The button has been removed.
    • Made changes to the form type for the Fandoms tag field in the posting form. We are aware of issues with screenreaders, e.g. JAWS, for some elements of the posting form, and will continue to work on improvements in that regard.
    • Made changes in a) the help text that appears when clicking on a work's icon block and b) the Category (Gen, F/M, M/M, etc.) help text available when posting or editing a work, to make their wording match.
    • We had previously removed the font specification for work text in PDF downloads to avoid an issue with Internet Explorer 9 that caused the text to show up in Batang under some circumstances. However, this change created issues with font usability for some people, so we have restored the font with fallbacks to avoid the bug.
    • The claim email sent to users whose works have been imported to AO3 by an Archivist referred to claiming "stories". This has now been changed to "works".
  • Bookmarks
    • Attempting to add a bookmark to a closed collection previously failed without an error message. Now it gives a suitable error message and allows the user to choose whether to create/update the bookmark without the collection.
    • The message on a bookmark pending collection moderator approval is now visible only to the bookmark's creator and properly disappears after the bookmark is approved.
    • Users viewing a work with JavaScript disabled no longer see a non-functional "Cancel Bookmark" button at the top of the work. Instead, there is a "Bookmark" button which will jump to the create bookmark form at the bottom of the work.
  • Accounts
    • Clarified the button labels and cleaned up some mark-up on the Request an Invite page.
    • Added help text to the account creation page with information about the requirements for usernames (e.g. no spaces, no special characters) and passwords.
    • The Terms of Service box on the account creation form listed the entire ToS, making the page very long and causing users to miss the "Yes, I have read the Terms of Service and agree to them" ticky box at the bottom. The ToS now appears in a shorter window with a scrollbar.
    • Made minor changes to the success message generated when changing one's username and added an "Are you sure?" confirmation popup.
  • Misc.
    • Tag Search results listings for tags with words in right-to-left languages had an issue with one of the parentheses around the (#) of works being misplaced. This is now fixed.
    • Removed calls to no-longer-existent JavaScript functions from the log-in page to prevent errors when running automated tests with JavaScript enabled.
    • Removed an unnecessary line from the code that creates our pop-up help boxes.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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2014-05-03 12:41:02 -0400

Image of Scales of Jutice's cover

First, a reminder that Open Doors will be holding the second of two public chats on Campfire (the online chat platform the OTW uses) for Yuletide participants on May 4, 1am UTC (what time is that in my timezone?).

Open Doors would like to thank everyone for coming to the last chat, hanging out, and asking questions! We have a few updates we would like to share:

  • Comment notifications will be turned OFF for all works affected by the Yuletide import. That means if we are importing comments for your works, you will NOT receive an e-mail notification for them. (There will still be e-mail notifications for newly-imported works themselves.)
  • Comments will be imported as backdated comments on the imported work, and will be signed but not linked to an AO3 account.
  • If you have already imported your works to the AO3 and we match its original Yuletide URLs to its AO3 URLs before the import takes places, those works will automatically be added to the appropriate Yuletide subcollection, so you will not need to do this. This will also prevent duplicates of the works from being imported, import comments from the original Yuletide archive onto the work you uploaded yourself, and ensure that the redirect leads to the correct story once the import takes place.

As a note, if you would like us to match your Yuletide URLs, please contact us before May 11, with the following information:
Work Title: URL:

With that settled, today we're focusing on Scales of Justice, a famous Starsky & Hutch zine dating from 1985. It featured original ink drawings, silk screen prints, and intricate calligraphy, and is considered, according to Fanlore, "one of the most beautiful fanzines ever created."

Silkscreen image from Scales of Jutice of Starsky's head in a puzzle piece and Hutch falling back into a wind tunnel

As part of Open Doors' Fan Culture Preservation Project, a copy of Scales of Justice will be permanently preserved as part of the University of Iowa's Special Collections.

Open Doors chair Michelle Dong notes: "I got to hold a copy in my hands, once. The art was lovely, and the colors still bright."

Inkwork image from Scales of Jutice of Hutch in a feathered cape and Starsky with his hand covering his face. Both of them are inside a giant eye whose iris edge has a row of runes ending in a dragon's head.

If you swoon the way we do over the possibility of being able to preserve and protect parts of our historical fan heritage and culture like Scales of Justice, please consider becoming a member of the OTW. Your support directly contributes to the continued existence of fanworks like Scales of Justice.


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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'

Along with the increase in donations the OTW received during our April drive, we also got new people in as members of the OTW! As a result, we wanted to provide an update on how you can stay in touch with the OTW, whether it's to contact us directly or just keep up on news from the OTW at large or its projects.

Official vs. Unofficial Accounts

Many people choose to subscribe to OTW news through either their social media accounts or through feed readers. There are some important differences to these choices, though, which can affect both the news you receive and how you can get in touch with us.

We list all our active accounts on the OTW homepage at However, sometimes fans have set up feeds, or even unofficial accounts, on the same platforms we use. Unofficial accounts sometimes make that status clear and sometimes they don't, but they generally have someone running them. On the other hand, feeds are like television broadcasts -- they are automated, the information only stays up temporarily, and you can't contact us from those accounts.

Official accounts are individually posted to by the Communications Committee, and we receive comments and questions submitted to the OTW through those accounts. So if you're in doubt, please check the account you're following compared to the accounts listed at the link above. If you're not subscribed to one of those, you are not following an official account.

Contacting Us

If you want to get in touch with us, you can also use our Contact Us page. If you're not sure who to direct your question to, try Communications, and if we don't have the answer we can send your message on to the OTW section that can help you.

The OTW can be contacted in all of the following languages: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish.

Finding Information

Another drawback to feed accounts is that due to the limited time that posts appear on them, they are not searchable. If you would like to find previous news posts from the OTW, you can visit our homepage and use the searchbox in the upper right corner.

Alternately, our OTW Pinboard account provides tagged, searchable bookmarks to all our news releases and posts on OTW News, as well as from Fanhackers and more recent news from AO3. The brief format of the site allows you to easily scan everything under a particular tag, such as all news from a particular project or anything put out by a particular committee.

Access to Our Accounts

We are aware that people are often blocked from accessing our sites, whether it's a social media account or the OTW website itself. This is one of the reasons why we maintain official accounts in multiple locations.

While for many these restrictions may be due to local blocks from a school or business, China's firewalls block Facebook, Twitter and Google domains, in favor of homegrown social networks Renren, Weibo, and search engine Baidu. In 2012, Russia accidentally censored all of LiveJournal by blocking LJ's IP address. Various other countries block one or another social media site or domain such as Turkey and Vietnam. However, sometimes firewalls allow filtering for specific topics and words rather than necessarily blocking entire websites.

If you are unable to follow us at one platform, hopefully another one of our sites will be available to you. We are always examining additional locations for official accounts in order to best reach fans, and you are welcome to send us suggestions. Although current staffing or workloads may prevent us from expanding in the near future, we will keep requests in mind as part of long-term planning.

Promoting us!

We've had a few questions recently about promotional graphics and other ways to promote the OTW. You can find those under our "How to help" section on our website. We'd like to review and add to what's there, so if you have any ideas about content you'd like to have available, particular sizes, etc., let us know!

And don't forget, you can always share the OTW video as well!



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2014-04-25 12:22:37 -0400

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

Just a reminder that Open Doors will be holding two public chats on Campfire (the online chat platform the OTW uses) for Yuletide participants. The first will be on April 26, 4pm UTC (what time is that in my timezone?)

Anyone who has questions about the process is welcome to join the Open Doors team at those chats, and we’ll do our best to answer you. We would also like to direct Yuletide participants to our announcement post as it has been updated with information about the import of comments. Please read the section beginning with Edited to say as we will NOT be able to add backdated comments to works after the import in May.

For those Yuletide participants who didn't want to wait for us to import your fic to AO3 for you, Open Doors would like to encourage you to add your works to the Yuletide subcollections they belong to. It's not required, but it'd be great to keep things together! And it would make our upcoming import of the old Yuletide archive run that much more smoothly. To add multiple fics to a collection at once, here's how:

  1. While logged into your account, hover over your pseud and select “My Works”.
  2. From that page, click “Edit Works” (to mass edit works).
    Select all the story titles that you want to transfer into a given collection. Click “Edit”.
  3. In the second section of this page is the option to “Add To Collections”. Type in "Yuletide" followed by the year (e.g., "Yuletide 2008") or "New Year's Resolution" followed by the year (e.g. "New Year's Resolution 2011") and it should be appear in the autofill. Note: Don’t change anything else, or it will overwrite what was originally on the story.)
  4. Click “Update All Works” at the bottom.

For a visual view of the above steps we have a few slides to help.

If you have questions, or want to know how Open Doors can help your archive, shoot us an email through our contact form.


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2014-04-24 14:40:42 -0400

This deploy includes code contributions by Ariana, Emily E., Lady Oscar, Nathan J. Xaxson, Sarken, and Scott and was tested by Ariana, Camilla M., Emilie, james_, Lady Oscar, mumble, Qem, Runt, and Sarken. Special thanks to Enigel for code review and merging, and to james_ for his work on automated code deploys to our testing environment!


  • Works
    • Previously, a work's language setting was not visible anywhere on the work. It now appears in the blurb in work listings, and as part of the meta-data at the top of a work. This should help users in finding works in a desired language, and also make it easier for a creator to tell if they have correctly set the language on their work.
    • The "Find gifts for:" search box at the top of a Gift Exchange's works page was giving an Error 500 regardless of what was entered. Now, it correctly searches the Gift Exchange for gifts for a particular user.
    • If an Archivist importing a work for someone else (e.g., as part of rescuing an at-risk archive) filled out the required Author Name and Author Email but failed to tick the "Import for others ONLY with permission" box the work would be imported as their own rather than with the proper author information. Attempting to do this now gives an error message.
    • In the meta-data box at the top of a work, textual information (e.g. the name of a collection the work was added to) was aligned differently than tag information (e.g. fandoms or characters), making some lines stick out. Everything is now aligned correctly.
    • Sometimes on smaller screens (such as mobile devices) the stats line at the top of a work (hits, kudos, comments, etc.) wrapped oddly, causing two labels to display side-by-side instead of in front of their respective numbers. This has been fixed.
  • Fun With(out) JavaScript
    • Attempting to delete a draft with the button on the Drafts listing didn't work without JavaScript. Now, it does.
    • It was previously impossible to delete a bookmark without JavaScript; this is now fixed.
    • It's now possible to delete challenge sign-ups (either your own, or as a challenge moderator) without JavaScript.
    • You can now delete work chapters without JavaScript enabled.
  • Special Character Extravaganza
    • < and > symbols in work, chapter, and series titles were appearing as the HTML codes "&lt;" and "&gt;" in various places; they should now show up properly.
    • Ampersands (&) in work titles were appearing as the HTML code "&amp;" on bookmarks and in the flash messages that appear when subscribing to or unsubscribing from the work. This is now fixed.
    • Ampersands (&) in series names were appearing as the HTML code "&amp;" in some places; they should now show up properly.
  • Misc.
    • Archive admins can send an email to all users or to a group of users, e.g. about important site updates. Previously, those email messages would go out without the subject entered by the admin. They now include the subject.
    • Gift notification emails used fic-centric language ("a gift story"). This has been changed to "a gift work".
    • Fixed a long-standing problem that collection header image URLs needed to be prefixed by "http://". The form will now accept URLs starting with just www.
    • The flash message that appears after subscribing to a work, creator, or series now contains a link to the user's Subscriptions page for convenience.
    • Help boxes were using "em" (emphasis) tags to set off text the user should input and the text that would be returned. They now use the more correct "kbd" tags for input and "samp" tags for output.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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2014-04-23 13:38:13 -0400

The OTW's Development & Membership Committee is working on a permanent OTW merchandise store. It’s our goal to give fans of the OTW and our projects (like AO3 and Fanlore) ways to show your love, give back to the organization, and get swag! When it’s ready, the merchandise store will be available online for anyone to buy without needing to become an OTW member.

So we need all of you to tell us what kinds of products you’d like to purchase! Would you wear a Fanlore t-shirt? Have you always wanted an AO3 kudos mug? What about an OTW umbrella or a poster with all our projects listed? Whether it's a product you want, or something you'd want on that item, the sky’s the limit!

You can leave comments here or, as always, drop us an email at devmem [at]

Check out the OTW’s new donation premiums!

Although the merchandise store isn't up and running yet, you can already get OTW swag by making a donation of US$50 or above. Even though our membership drive is over, you can donate at any time of year. Here’s a few of the reasons there’s no better time to become a member of the Organization for Transformative Works — new premium rewards for you to select!

Black tote bag with OTW logo in red Dark grey tumbler and straw with OTW logo in red

Red ballpoint pen with OTW logo in white

If you decide to become a recurring monthly contributor to the OTW, you can still get premiums! Email the Development & Membership committee and tell us which premium you want your recurring donations to count toward. When your monthly donations have reached the premium amount, we’ll send you cool stuff!

And thanks for supporting the OTW!


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2014-04-21 12:59:23 -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'

Our Content Policy workgroup has been at work on some FAQ updates and Terms of Service (ToS) changes for the Archive of Our Own which have now been approved by the OTW Board. This post begins a two-week open comment period so that AO3 users can leave feedback on these changes before they are added to the current ToS and FAQ pages.

The ToS changes are mainly small wording changes that reflect the way AO3 features have evolved from the time in which the document was originally drafted. There is one policy change that will not make a significant difference in our practices but may be of particular interest to users, which is our adoption of a DMCA policy similar to that of Wikipedia's. It takes fair use into account, but also provides us with more protection in case we are threatened by copyright trolls.

We will take feedback into account until April 28, 2014. If there are no further changes approved by the Board as a result of the feedback, the updates shown below will be added to our Terms of Service. We will also update our FAQ pages.

1) New DMCA Policy

In PDF format
In Rich text format

2) New Terms of Service Changes

In PDF format
In Rich text format

3) New ToS FAQ changes

In PDF format
In Rich text format

Q&A on the DMCA

What is the DMCA?

The DMCA is part of US copyright law, 17 U.S.C. §512. Compliance with the DMCA protects us from money damages in any case where someone posted infringing content on the Archive or Fanlore, as long as we took down that content when properly notified about it.

Our current rules will largely be unchanged, though our procedures will change somewhat. We will still decline to remove noninfrining, transformative works. We already ban copyright infringement, such as posting large, nontransformative chunks of a book, and for the Archive, Abuse already tells users to remove infringements. If they don’t comply, Abuse will disable access to the infringing work. A user who repeatedly posts infringing materials may have their account permanently suspended (terminated).

Why would the Archive want do this, if it is going to continue looking at fair use?

To put it briefly, having a DMCA policy makes it easier to shake off trolls. For copyright owners/businesses just interested in demanding thousands of dollars, it’s not worth sending us threatening letters if we have a DMCA policy, since we are protected against money damages.

Doesn’t the DMCA require websites to take down content regardless of fair use?

That’s how most providers, most of the time, implement it, because that’s the cheapest way to do it, and most providers don’t have ideological commitments to fair use that outweigh their desires to save money. Wikipedia, however, has a DMCA policy and a commitment to fair use, and follows the policy we propose. We believe that we can remain committed to fair use while providing a streamlined way to address true infringements.


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2014-04-21 05:29:08 -0400

This deploy includes code by Elz which was tested by Lady Oscar.

Following a crackdown by Chinese authorities on creators and hosting services of explicit fanworks, we are welcoming an increasing number of fans from China. In response to reports from our volunteer Tag Wranglers, we quickly fixed an issue affecting Chinese and Japanese tags.

We plan to further enhance our existing support for logographic scripts, and are currently looking into ways to provide word counts for works in Chinese and Japanese, among others. We will continue to work on making the Archive a safe haven for fan creators from all over the world!


  • Fixed an issue which prevented tags from being properly separated if they were delimited by commas in Chinese or Japanese scripts, i.e. U+FF0C ( ,) or U+3001 ( 、).

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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