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Published:
2017-04-26 17:50:17 -0400
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We've sped up work posting, fixed an emergency issue with History and Marked for Later, and made about 30 other bug fixes and improvements. Oh, and the first step of our Rails update is done!

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, Cesy, cosette, cyrilcee, David Stump (Littlelines), dense lancer, james_, Matt Sears (Littlelines), Meepu, redsummernight, Sarken, Scott, Wendy Randquist (Littlelines), ticking instant
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, james_, Naomi, redsummernight, Sarken, Scott, ticking instant
  • Testers: Alison Watson, james_, Lady Oscar, mumble, redsummernight, Runt, Sammie Louise, Sarken

Special thanks to dense lancer and Meepu, who have contributed their first pull requests as AD&T volunteers and completed their training!

Details

Miscellaneous Backend Changes

  • [AO3-4858] - To speed up work posting, we've implemented an improved version of the count caching described in Issues With Posting Works (And What We're Doing to Solve Them).
  • [AO3-4950] - On March 31, the database table where we store History and Marked for Later information ran out of rows. This meant users were no longer able to mark works for later and any works they accessed were not added to their History. We've now migrated the table to use BIGINT for its primary key, which will let us add a lot more to the table. (It took just under six hours of downtime to update all the existing data in this table.)
  • [AO3-4814] - If you tried to use the Edit Series page to add a co-creator to a series, the page would say the series had been updated even though the co-creator wasn't added. We've fixed it so the co-creator is actually added now.
  • [AO3-4966] & [AO3-4967] - While we were upgrading to strong parameters, we created some new co-authoring bugs related to pseuds. Luckily, our testers found the bugs before they ever made it onto the live Archive, so we got them all fixed before anyone had a problem. Hooray for the Quality Assurance & Testing team!
  • [AO3-4884] - We've changed the way the invitation emails are coded so our Translation team will be able to translate the text.
  • [AO3-4875] - If one of your works was imported from an archive, and you claimed it using your AO3 account with a different email address, subsequent imports from other archives would not have your name on them and would instead list the archivist as the creator. We've told it to stop doing that -- works will now automatically be transferred to the account you previously used to claim.
  • [AO3-4548] - The Docs team wasn't able to reorder existing FAQ questions, which made it a pain to add new questions to the middle of an FAQ section. We've given them that ability and improved the way translated FAQs work, so English language questions that haven't been translated yet will no longer appear in the middle of translated sections.
  • [AO3-4957] - When we updated one of our gems, it installed another dependent gem that caused 502 errors when posting a work, comment, or anything else with a < character directly before a line break. We've downgraded the dependent gem and you should once again be able to >.<
  • [AO3-4979] - Due to a caching issue, saved versions of pages could potentially be served to users who weren't supposed to see them. We've made the cache stop doing that.

Miscellaneous Frontend Changes

  • [AO3-4617] - Entering incorrect login information resulted in an error message that said in part, "Please try again or follow the 'Forgot password?' link below." We've updated the error message to be a little more direct and just give people the link to reset their password.
  • [AO3-4938] - The OTW recently got a new mailing address, so we've updated the address provided on our DMCA Policy page.
  • [AO3-4964] - We've updated our Diversity Statement to remove a reference to the location of our servers.
  • [AO3-4493] - If you subscribed to a work or series with a very long title, the unsubscribe button on your Subscriptions page would sometimes run right off the side of the screen. We've made it so the text will wrap across lines instead of stretching horizontally.
  • [AO3-4451] - Our error pages were using some very old stylesheets, which meant they weren't displaying correctly on all screen sizes. Now they should look better on smaller screens, like phones and tablets.

Tags and Tag Sets

  • [AO3-4951] - The automated task that deletes unused tags didn't get updated when we implemented the tag count caching, so it hasn't been running. We've updated it and now it's cleaning up tags once again!
  • [AO3-4954] - Whenever a tag wrangler tried to return a tag to the unsorted tag bin, the Archive would throw a fit 500 error. Now the tag will be properly returned to the unsorted bin.
  • [AO3-4931] - There were lots of processes trying to update tag nomination, which we believe was because we were not finding tag nominations using an indexed field. We've started indexing tag nominations by tag name, which we think will help improve performance.
  • [AO3-4890] - If you tried to visit the URL for a tag set that didn't exist, you'd get a blue error message that said, "What Tag Set did you want to look at?" We've made it red, like a proper error message should be.
  • [AO3-4872] - We had several lines of tag set nomination code that would cause a 500 error when they were used for non-existent things. We've fixed it so they won't show up in our error logs and will instead give nicer error messages like, "What nominations did you want to work with?"
  • [AO3-1744] - If a tag wrangler tried to wrangle a tag to a non-canonical fandom, the fandom information would disappear and the Archive would lie and tell them the tag had been successfully updated. Now it correctly tells wranglers the update wasn't saved because the fandom needs to be canonical.

Automated Tests

  • [AO3-4853] - We improved the cache-busting on our comments to help ensure our tests for comment editing pass more reliably.
  • [AO3-4940] - There was a mistake in our tag set tests, so we've corrected it.
  • [AO3-4927] - We've added more test coverage for the locales controller.
  • [AO3-4878] - We increased the test coverage for the collection items controller.
  • [AO3-4921] - The challenge assignments controller now has 86% test coverage instead of 79%.
  • [AO3-4926] & [AO3-4685] - The inbox and invite request controllers now have 100% test coverage, yay!
  • [AO3-4939] - We had some tests related to comment timestamps that would fail whenever we had the bad luck of running them just before the clock ticked over from one minute to the next, e.g. if we ran the test at 22:00:58 instead of 22:00:02. We've added a gem that lets us set the time down to the second, so now we can make sure the test has a full minute to run.
  • [AO3-4968] - The 90s are long over, so we got rid of some of our cassettes and replaced them with stubbed HTTP requests.
  • [AO3-4969] - We removed a whole bunch of unused and outdated files that were necessary for a type of testing we no longer use.
  • [AO3-4702] - A long time (seven years!) ago, we drafted some feature tests for the various autocomplete fields on the Archive, but we couldn't use them because our Cucumber tests didn't work with JavaScript. Now that we can run tests with JavaScript, we finished up those autocomplete tests.
  • [AO3-4983] - We've started using multiple Redis servers in one of our testing environments so we can spot any problems when we start doing some work on Redis.

Rails Update

A whole bunch of our controllers (and a few models!) have been hitting the gym together to make sure they have strong parameters before we begin the next phase of our Rails upgrade:

Almost all of these strong parameters issues were coded by contractors. Thank you so much to the OTW donors who made it possible!

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Earlier this week, you learned about how the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) uses your donations. Here are some ways you can increase your impact when donating to the OTW!

Many companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google, will match your charitable donations. The OTW is a registered nonprofit in the United States, which means it's eligible for many corporate matching programs. If you're not sure whether this applies in your local area or for your company, ask your employer or tax advisor. You could double your giving power!

Have you seen some of our fun thank-you gifts and thought, "I’d love that, but I can’t afford a donation that large"? The good news is, we accept recurring donations. You can donate a smaller amount every week, month, two months—whatever fits your budget—and have those donations build towards one of our thank-you gifts! Just use the recurring donation page to donate, and then let us know which thank-you gift you would like your donations to count towards.

The OTW runs entirely on the support of people like you. (If you would like more information on how donations are spent, you can refer to our 2017 budget here.) Every donation helps, no matter how small, and we appreciate all your support. Please donate today!

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OTW April 2017 Membership Drive

At the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a lot has happened in the past few months. Here's a look at some of the many new and interesting things the OTW has been accomplishing thanks to your support.

Our Systems team have been busy bees this semester! The number of fanworks on the Archive of Our Own is growing, as is the number of users and visitors. We need more space to store those fanworks, and more bandwidth to serve everyone. We also need faster computers that can search through the works quickly and answer more queries at the same time. Your donations help Systems purchase the machines we need to keep our projects running for fans like you! You can find a breakdown of our expenses for 2017 below. (For more specific information on the OTW's finances, please refer to the 2017 budget.)

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 75.7%. Open Doors: 0.5%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 1.5%. Fanlore: 2.7%. Legal Advocacy: 1.2%. Con Outreach: 1.8%. Admin: 8.4%. Fundraising: 8.2%.

Several other teams have also been hard at work recently! The Legal committee has continued its work responding to fan questions and has filed amicus briefs in new cases, including Cross v. Facebook, “against overreaching right-of-publicity laws”. Meanwhile, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) reached 1 million registered users in October 2016 and is passing 3 million fanworks this month, another milestone!

Plus, Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 23, a special issue all about Sherlock Holmes fandom, guest edited by Roberta Pearson and Betsy Rosenblatt. The issue includes articles on fan art and gender disparities in the fandom, as well as reviews of Sherlock-themed books. It even has special cover art! Transformative Works and Cultures, like all of the OTW’s projects, relies on your donations to publish these academic articles for current and future researchers!

It’s your help that makes all of this possible. To add your support to the important work that these teams do, please donate today!

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Image with red ballot reading Organization for Transformative Works on first line, Elections news on line below, and Make Your Voice Heard on the last line with a check mark next to the text

The OTW Elections committee is pleased to announce that the timeline for the 2017 election has been posted!

There are some changes to the timeline this year. In order to avoid conflicts with other OTW events, the election has been moved to earlier in the year. This change started last year, with the election taking place in late September, and this year it's moving to August, where it should stay for the foreseeable future.

Specifically, this year's election will be held August 11-14.

This means that the deadline to become a member and be eligible to vote has also moved up. Like the election time, this date will be the same every year. The election membership deadline is now June 30. If you're interested in voting, please make sure your membership is active as of that date.

You can find out how to become a member on the Elections website, or if you're familiar with the process, you can donate here!

If you want to know more about the election process in general, you can check out the Elections Policies.

We’re looking forward to an active election season with ample communication between candidates and voters, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. Don’t forget to follow the Elections committee on Twitter and Tumblr to keep up to date with the latest news!

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Elections.

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Published:
2017-04-12 12:15:49 -0400
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OTW recruitment banner by Erin

Can you code in Python (or learn to do so)? Would you like to wrangle AO3 tags? Are you good at administrative tasks or working with people? The OTW is recruiting for new personnel!

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Abuse Staff and Elections Staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Elections Staff: Voting Process Architects - Closing 19 April 23:59 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling Volunteers - Closing after 50 applications or 19 April 23:59 UTC
  • Volunteers and Recruiting Staff - Closing 19 April 23:59 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.


Elections Staff: Voting Process Architects

Are you a coder/software engineer? Do you know Python, or can you learn it quickly? Do you want to help the OTW by making sure its elections are secure and accurate? Then come join the Elections team!

The Elections Committee is responsible for running OTW Board elections; we ensure the fairness, timeliness, and confidentiality of the process. We are currently looking for Voting Process Architects (coders) to monitor the election itself and run the results. Applicants must know or be able to learn Python and basic data security practices.

Applications are due 19 April 23:59 UTC.


Tag Wrangling Volunteers

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

If you’re an experienced AO3 user who likes organizing, working in teams, or excuses to fact-check your favorite fandoms, you might enjoy tag wrangling! To join us, please read Introduction to Tag Wrangling to find out more about what wranglers do, then access the job description and application form on the volunteering home page.

Please note: due to (amazing!) interest in wrangling, we’re currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only. See the application on the volunteering home page for which fandoms are in need.

Applications are due 19 April 23:59 UTC, or when we have received 50 applications (whichever comes first).


Volunteers & Recruiting Staff

Do you enjoy administration, writing documentation and training materials, or working with people? Volunteers & Recruiting has openings for new personnel to join our small team!

We serve as the managers of the volunteer program for the Organization for Transformation Works. Our tasks include the onboarding and retirement of all personnel, coordinating recruitment for new personnel, training on organization-wide tools through tutorials or requests for information, handling inter-personnel complaints in a confidential and impartial manner, and providing advice and other assistance to committees on documentation.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, check out our position description and apply to be Volunteering & Recruiting Staff!

Applications are due 19 April 23:59 UTC.


Apply at the volunteering page!

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Published:
2017-04-09 13:40:38 -0400
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Five things an OTW volunteer said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Madoc, who volunteers as a translator.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I’m part of Team Welsh, which is part of the Translation committee. What I do is translate any and all OTW content that is able to be translated to make it accessible to Welsh speakers. This can range from translating the website to translating Abuse and Support messages.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

Normally I wake up, have breakfast and translate for a good few hours before lunch, normally whilst listening to Welsh or Swedish radio. Right now, Team Welsh is going through a review so that more material online can be made available in Welsh, so my mornings are often spent spell-checking and rejigging some previous Welsh translations. Outside the review, the time is normally split between translating and having my nose stuck in a dictionary.

After that, I eat, then focus on my university work, writing notes and going to lectures. My evenings are either filled with dance lessons, choir or doing fannish things like writing fanfiction or knitting a fannish craft. I also find some time to teach myself Swedish!

What sorts of OTW content have you worked on?

Since Team Welsh is a new team and consists entirely of me, not much! I’ve worked mainly on translating the main site of the OTW, but I’m also available to assist with Welsh Abuse and Support queries.

I’m hoping that once Team Welsh gets a little bigger we’ll be able to handle bigger, more time sensitive things like news posts, and also be able to finish translating the main site and expanding to other OTW projects.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

As much as I love the feeling of contributing to the cause, the most fun thing to do is speaking to other translators. I’m a massive fan of any and all languages, and chatting to other translators is always a barrel of laughs. It also gives us an opportunity to commiserate over how weird English is as a second language -- the mishmash of different word etymologies makes English a very difficult language to learn!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I love to write fanfiction, but more than that I love to worldbuild! Making something robust out of scraps of canon is absolutely my favourite thing to do, be it creating an alien culture from scratch or adopting a minor character and fleshing them out. One of my favourite fanworks involved extending an alien conlang! (I never seem to get enough of languages, it seems!)

I also knit and make fannish toys and other crafts. Currently I’m the very proud owner of Kelas Parmak the Cardassian chameleon, two knitted Newt/Hermann dolls from Pacific Rim, Hedwig the snowy owl, and a yet-to-be finished patchwork blanket with several fannish patches already made for it.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

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Published:
2017-04-07 12:18:32 -0400
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Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages

I. NEW VOLUME OF TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS AND CULTURES

Transformative Works and Cultures published Volume Number 23: Sherlock Holmes, Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game, this month. It was guest edited by Roberta Pearson and Betsy Rosenblatt, it includes 19 articles, and it has special cover art by Laurie Fraser Manifold. Volume Number 24, Queer Female Fandom, will come out in June 2017.

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed 6 batches of code this month, 5 of which were summed up in the Change Log for Releases 0.9.181 - 0.9.185. Following this release, the Translation committee began translating several automated user emails to make AO3 more internationally friendly!

While users were running into site slowness and issues with posting and editing works for a while before, things came to a head on March 17 with a few hours of unplanned downtime. Our incident report explained all the details on the underlying problems and what solutions were devised.

Also, AO3 was unblocked by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine this month! Archive pages will once again be stored for people to peruse.

AO3 Documentation uploaded a new Comments and Kudos FAQ this month, as well as a new question to the Bookmarks FAQ. There's lots of great information in the FAQ, so if you're having trouble figuring out how to do something on AO3, be sure to check it out!

Lastly, Abuse received about 500 tickets this month.

III. COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH

Fanlore opened a brand new Tumblr blog! It joined our Fanlore Twitter account (one of our most popular social media accounts) just in time for April Showers. You can check out the full list of the OTW and AO3's social media accounts and news mirrors on our Where to Find Us page.

In March, Legal helped a number of fans with legal questions, including several with queries about their rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you have questions about how you can use the DMCA if your fanwork is posted without your consent, or about what to do if your fanwork is taken down in response to a DMCA takedown notice, OTW Legal is here to help, so contact them today!

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of the 27th of March, the OTW has 612 volunteers. ( We finally broke 600!) \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Lauren Hanna (Communications Co-Chair)
New Committee Staff: Genevieve Marshall (DevMem), 1 Abuse, 2 Fanlore
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Claire P. Baker, Morgan Drake, Mandy Gooch, Keri Klimchok, TC, Sarah Crocker, RebelRebel, SapphiraBlue, CharmPoint, Julianna, Emily Sherman, memorde, Gillian Webster, intheinterim, CaitieCat, EstelRaca, torisaurusrex, McBangle, Abigail Jyrkila, Tari, Noah Budgor, TamaraAnn, Newtype Kit, InterdictedKai, Nicky, Van W., Liselot, Slothful, and Jazz
New TWC Volunteers: 1

Departing Committee Chairs: Matty Bowers (Internationalization & Outreach Acting Chair)
Departing Committee Staff: Kathryn Soderholm (Internationalization & Outreach), Firey (AO3 Docs)
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 3 volunteers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 2 volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Issay, 5 Volunteers

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

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Least Expected header

Least Expected, a J.R.R. Tolkien slash fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

In order to preserve the fannish history of Tolkien fandom as best as possible, the Least Expected archive will be recovered from storage and preserved as a collection on the Archive of Our Own. Least Expected was the first Tolkien fanfiction archive that welcomed slash fanfic, and was associated with the email list tolkien_slash (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/tolkien_slash). It was active from September 1999 through February 2002, and many of the stories in its archive don't exist anywhere else.

Open Doors will be working with Amy Fortuna to import Least Expected into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own.

We will begin importing works from Least Expected to the AO3 after April.

What does this mean for creators who have/had work(s) on Least Expected?

We will send an import notification to the e-mail address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

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.

Please contact Open Doors with your Least Expected pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive.
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. If you have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great. If you don't, we will work with the moderator to confirm your claims.

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on:

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, 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 Least Expected on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask Fanlore for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve Least Expected!

- The Open Doors team and Amy Fortuna

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