AO3 News

A look at the Archive servers, then and now

Published: 2015-04-08 02:17:59 -0400

The Archive of Our Own started out as a pipe dream: What if we, the fans, actually owned the servers that house our fanworks? What if we got to write our own Terms of Service, and weren't dependent on for-profit companies to host our fannish spaces?

Defying the odds, the Archive of Our Own settled into its first set of servers in September 2009. A few months later, the initial framework for managing accounts, posting fics, and exchanging comments was considered ready for public testing: The AO3 entered its "open beta" phase, allowing anyone to sign up for an invitation and create an account.

The OTW's first servers (all two of them)

The Archive homepage when the site first went into open beta

In the last five years and change, we've seen the Archive grow in a way nobody even dreamed of when those servers were put in place. Today, we host over 1.5 million fanworks and count 7 million visitors every month. To accommodate this growth, we've been adding servers and improving our infrastructure along the way.

Three weeks ago, we reached an exciting new milestone in our history. The servers owned by the OTW moved into their very own rack (as opposed to each sharing a space with other servers across the colocation facility).

The outside of the OTW server rack: two rows of cabinets  All fifteen OTW servers in their rack
A close-up of the server rack and a bundle of wires

Now that our servers have a rack of their own, our tireless Systems volunteers are hard at work planning new server purchases to replace some of these old machines. All this has only been possible thanks to your generous donations to the OTW, and from the bottom of our excited hearts, we thank you!

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March 2015 Newsletter, Volume 89

Published: 2015-04-06 13:14:43 -0400

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

I. SERVER MOVE!

In the past month, Systems performed a large scale server relocation—including the servers for the AO3 and Fanlore—to our own shiny new server rack. The downtime lasted a few hours with site indexing taking an additional day. Systems also worked with tech support at a large university to prevent further DDOS attacks to the Archive, and assisted with the OTW's acquisition of the fandom.org domain name which now mirrors "TransformativeWorks.org."

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design and Technology deployed some minor bug fixes (Release 0.9.51: Change Log) early in March, followed by a variety of background changes necessary for future upgrades of Ruby and Rails (Release 0.9.53: Change Log).

Abuse received roughly 450 tickets in March. They've also inducted eleven new staffers! \o/ The Abuse team is working with Accessibility, Design and Technology on creating several new tools that will help both Abuse and our users. Support ended up receiving 738 tickets in February, and are well on their way to a similar count for March with 467 tickets so far.

Open Doors has been working with Accessibility, Design and Technology on a new importing process that they will be trying out with an archive next month. They have also been working on other in-progress archives, particularly the manual import for Chains: The Powerfic Archive. Proposed changes to their policy documentation are available for user feedback until April 13th.

Tag Wrangling worked with Accessibility, Design and Technology to coordinate wrangling around the server migration, assisted Support in responding to user tickets, and responded to several questions on Twitter.

AO3 Documentation has recently welcomed five new members to the team, who are already hard at work on drafting and editing FAQs and tutorials.

III. WHAT'S COMING

Journal's guest edited March 15 issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, Performance and Performativity, came out right on time, thanks to the stellar work of our production volunteers under the able leadership of staffer Rrain. The also guest edited June 15 issue, European Fans and European Fan Objects, is ready to finish up closer to its release date. The Journal team is currently working with authors to complete manuscripts for the September 15 general issue of TWC.

In March Legal responded to a larger than usual number of fan queries, including helping one fan find counsel to fight an overreaching challenge to a fanwork. They also worked with Communications on an educational/informational post about Tumblr takedowns.

Wiki is currently inducting three new committee members. Together with Accessibility, Design and Technology they have kicked off the annual April Showers event. An editing party was held on April 4th to help newcomers to Fanlore with their questions about creating entries.

Translation opened recruitment for volunteers, and received 58 applications! They've inducted 20 new translators and counting—current teams Brazilian Portuguese, Catalan, Dutch, European Portuguese, French, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Polish and Swedish have grown, and have formed a new team for Kiswahili!

IV. GOVERNANCE

After the resignation of the Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee chair for personal reasons, Board has been primarily focused on addressing the issues which are continuing to cause instability in that committee and the OTW website. Eylul has been placed as temporary chair. With the support of the rest of the Board, Eylul has been working hard to address the backlog of tickets and stabilize the committee.

In the past month, Board has also approved new staffers for a number of committees, and has discussed and approved various proposals, including the purchase of graphics design software by Accessibility, Design and Technology and a migration of CiviCRM to external hosting in anticipation of the next membership drive.

Development & Membership has been working hard to get everything ready for the membership drive on May 1-6. Its theme will be games. Development & Membership will be highlighting the OTW's good work through the use of game themes including Go, Sudoku and chess! Their new staffers have all been trained and are being hugely helpful.

Strategic Planning successfully finished the second draft of the OTW 2016-2019 strategic goals document! A three-week internal feedback period is scheduled to end April 10th, but they are considering extending it to make sure everyone who wants to has a chance to give input. They will be holding a second chat with volunteers and staff and have also contacted committee chairs and workgroup leads for team-specific feedback. All of this collection of feedback is working towards publishing the final draft of the plan in time for a tentative June 2015 implementation date.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting organized recruiting for Abuse, Strategic Planning, and Translation and is pleased to welcome so many new volunteers!

New Committee Chairs: sarken (Accessibility, Design & Technology)
New Committee Staff: thatwasjustadream (Communications), Katarina Harju (Abuse), Paris Tuggle (Abuse), Astrid Clemons (Abuse), Amalia Blondet (Abuse), Sofia (Abuse), Highlander_II (Wiki), SoyAlex (Wiki), 1 other Wiki staffers, 2 other Communications staffers and 6 other Abuse staffers
New Workgroup Members: Chrissy Sky (AO3 Documentation), Jocelin Potash (AO3 Documentation), KM Ruiz (AO3 Documentation), Calescent and 2 other AO3 Documentation
New Translator Volunteers: Ilona van der Vegt, Marta Gil Almirón, Sofia, Roser Agnes, Eva Mignini, Oriontsuki, badhand, Dutchie848 and 8 others

Departing Committee Chairs: moonmagicks (Web Strategy, Design & Development)
Departing Committee Staff: 1 Abuse staffer and 1 Communications staffer
Departing Workgroup Members: Lucy Pearson (AO3 Documentation) and 1 AO3 Documentation volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Taine and 4 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Daniela Kreimerman, bm1893 and 6 others

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

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Release 0.9.54: Change Log

Published: 2015-04-01 03:00:13 -0400

This release focuses on improving the tools Open Doors uses to mass import archives.

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, Elz, james_, Sarken
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_, Naomi, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: Alison W., Anika Kabit, Lady Oscar, Michelle D., Runt

Details

Importing

  • The Archive doesn't allow users to create warning tags, but importing a work labeled "Warning: Wombats" was leading to the creation of a "Wombats" warning tag. "Wombats" will now be added as an additional tag instead.
  • When Open Doors wanted to do mass imports of rescued archives, they either had to wait for a coder to create custom code for the import or import the entire archive by hand. Now they have a semi-automated method to speed up their work. \o/
  • Works imported by Open Doors are usually placed in a collection named after their original home, e.g. the 852 Prospect Archive collection. However, this had to be done one work at a time, which was very time consuming for large archives. Open Doors now has the ability to mass import works to a collection.
  • If the creator of a work imported by Open Doors used certain characters in their name, the work would be incorrectly attributed to the Open Doors archivist who imported it. Now it will be correctly attributed to the original creator.

Misc.

  • We recently introduced a feature to mark tags as favorites and list them on your home page, but some users were not sure where to find the favorite tags list. We have expanded the message that appears when you favorite a tag to explain that the favorites are listed on the home page.
  • The editing pane on the New Work form does not automatically save its contents; if you leave the page, disconnect from the internet, or if an error occurs in your browser or in the Archive, you will lose all the contents of the form. We have added a message to make it clearer to all users that they must not compose their work directly in the posting form, and should instead save it elsewhere and copy-paste it in.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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It's Time for April Showers!

Published: 2015-03-31 12:21:11 -0400

Banner by Sidhrat of the AO3 and Fanlore logos on wooden signs in a field that's being rained on.

In the month of April we hope you'll help us spruce up AO3 and Fanlore by posting forgotten works and dusting off neglected wiki entries.

We are proud to be able to offer an archive for fanworks at Archive of Our Own and we invite you to take the time to post both new works and old works that are languishing in ancient blogs or buried in your harddrive. Add them to AO3 so other fans can enjoy them! You can even backdate them to show their original creation date, and use our pseud system to preserve old fandom aliases.

If you're posting works, use the tag April Showers 2015 so that everyone can find them.

Or, if there's a fanwork already on the archive that you think more people should see, bookmark it and add it to our April Showers Recs collection.

We also recognise that fandom history is far more than just fanworks - Fanlore records decades of fannish activity, from the days before the internet all the way to current events shaping fandom. If you have old zines, or fond memories of a long-ago convention, write about them on Fanlore. If there's new drama in your fandom, or a new trend in fanart, write about those too! Fanlore is open to everyone, and we encourage everyone to edit it and add their own experiences. Fannish history is our history.

If you'd like to edit pages, but you aren't sure how, don't panic! There will be an editing party in the Fanlore chatroom on Saturday, April 4th at 16:00 UTC (when is that in my timezone?). Come and ask questions, familiarise yourself with Fanlore, or just chat with other editors.

There will be a second chat towards the end of the month - keep an eye on the Fanlore community on Dreamwidth for the exact date and time.

To help get you started, we're highlighting a different fandom every day via our twitter accounts; ao3org and fanlore_news. Follow us for a daily dose of fandom!

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Feedback Needed for Open Doors Content Policy

Published: 2015-03-30 13:14:43 -0400

Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

The OTW's Content Policy workgroup is responsible for drafting and updating language for our Terms of Service and other policies involving our projects.

Recently Content Policy has been working with the policy for our Open Doors project. The proposed changes reflect several years of experience with the Open Doors process, and are intended to make our policies simpler and easier for collection owners and Archive administrators to apply. They do not affect individual users.

Per OTW policy, today begins a 2 week comment period from users. The proposed changes are available for viewing in HTML, PDF and Word document formats.

Please leave comments or questions about the changes here. Once feedback has been gathered, Content Policy will use it to make further changes. They'll then seek Board approval for the new policy and make it public as part of the AO3 Terms of Service.

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Scheduled Downtime for AO3 and Fanlore

Published: 2015-03-18 14:37:57 -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'

AO3 and Fanlore users take note: both sites will be down for scheduled maintenance this Friday, 20th March. The maintenance will take place from 17:30 to approximately 20:45 UTC. What time is that for me?

Note that maintenance may also take slightly longer than expected, so there is no need to contact us if you cannot access the site at exactly 20:45 UTC.

For site status updates about AO3 and Fanlore please follow @AO3_Status and @fanlore_news on Twitter.

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Volunteer for the OTW & AO3

Published: 2015-03-16 12:24:33 -0400

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Abuse, Communications, and Wiki Staff and AO3 Documentation Volunteers. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Communications Staff: AD&T Liaison - [closing 23 March 2015 UTC]
  • Strategic Planning Staff - [closing 23 March 2015 UTC]
  • Translation Volunteers - [closing 23 March 2015 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.

Communications Staffer: AD&T Liaison

Communications staffers are responsible for the distribution of information internally to OTW personnel and externally to the general public, the media, fans, and other fannish organizations. Communications is also typically the first point of contact for someone interested in or wanting help from OTW.

The position of liaison to our Accessibility, Design and Technology (AD&T) Committee would be a good fit for someone who has an interest in the Archive of Our Own, would like to provide responses to users contacting us through our news platforms, would be interested in writing informational posts, and has about 5 hours of available time each week. If you would like to help us share news about AO3, this is the position for you!

Applications are due 23 March 2015 UTC

Strategic Planning Staff

The Strategic Planning Committee is looking for new staff members! We are looking for organized people interested in strategic planning, writing, and data processing, who are attracted to team environments. We're a professional, collaborative committee of people who believe in supporting each other through our work, and we want someone who is excited about the idea of being part of an environment of support, creativity, and critique. We are willing to train the right person in the OTW's processes, practices, and tools if you're willing to commit your time and energy to us!

Applications are due 23 March 2015 UTC

Translation Volunteers

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, Brazilian Portuguese, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, European Portuguese, Finnish, Hebrew, Korean, Swedish and Turkish—but help with other languages would be much appreciated. (Please note that our German team is not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples as part of the selection process.

Applications are due 23 March 2015 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!

Mirrored from an original post made at the OTW News Blog.

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Release 0.9.53: Change Log

Published: 2015-03-15 13:37:37 -0400

This release contains one bug fix and several background changes that will enable us to upgrade to newer versions of Ruby and Rails in the future.

Credits

  • Coders: james, Enigel, Sarken
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, Enigel, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mugenmine

Details

  • We've upgraded to a more recent version of Rails, the framework the Archive runs on.
  • To make our downloads compatible with as many systems as possible, we were using an application called iconv to clean up their metadata (e.g. a work titled "Un Niño" would have a download file named, for example, "Un Nino.epub"). However, iconv will not be supported in newer versions of Ruby, so we have switched to a new method of cleaning the metadata.
  • The YAML parser we previously used to read our configuration files (which control things like how many works are listed on a page) is not supported in newer versions of Ruby. We've now switched to Psych, which is the default parser in Ruby 1.9.2 and up.
  • Attempting to access the Edit page for a Tag Set containing more than 20 tags of a single type was giving an error page. Now it should work again.

Known Issues

The new code for generating MOBI/EPUB/PDF/HTML file names automatically transliterates languages that use non-Latin alphabets, e.g. Japanese or Russian. We can't control how work titles are transliterated, and since it's an automated process, some results will not be correct. Previously, however, titles composed entirely of non-Latin characters were blanked, leading to identical file names like "-.epub", so this is an improvement. The transliteration will only affect the file name and not the contents of the file itself. In particular, titles will still appear correctly in your e-reader or app!

See our Known Issues page for other current issues.

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