AO3 News

Spotlight on Journal: Twentieth Issue Celebration

Published: 2015-09-17 11:15:09 -0400

Banner by Ania of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on on Journal'

This month we're celebrating Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), the OTW's international peer-reviewed academic online journal focused on media studies which has published its 20th issue . Don't forget to join us on September 19th for our live chat.

Today we're taking a deeper look at TWC's history. Paul Booth and Lucy Bennett are TWC authors, frequently peer review for the journal, and have guest edited an issue together; Paul is also a TWC editorial board member. Amanda Odom is an author who has written two Symposium articles. All three were kind enough to answer some questions about their experiences with the journal and the field of fan studies.

The journal’s 20th issue is a major milestone. It’s been seven years since Volume 1 was published. Are you at all surprised that TWC is still going strong?

Paul: I am not at all surprised at the success of Transformative Works and Cultures. From its first issue, it has been putting out quality scholarship and rigorous academic work that has been a boon to fan studies (and fandom in general). I know that open publishing in the academic world – that is, publishing that does not reside behind paywalls and outmoded forms of siloed scholarship – is perceived in many quarters of academic life to be less valuable, but if anything TWC has proven the exact opposite. By publishing in a style that emulates fans themselves, by allowing anyone to access and learn from the journal, TWC has made fan scholarship more accessible to academics and to fans (and to aca-fans, and fan-academics, and fan-scholars, and scholar-fans, or whatever other appellations might be appropriate!). Fan studies has grown as a field precisely because of this open access – by offering insightful and grounded articles to people who might not normally consider themselves part of the “fan studies” academic discipline, TWC has actually opened up what it means to be an academic and what it means to do academic work in the 21st century. Transformative Works and Cultures has truly broadened the field and allows many people to access work that they might never have had the chance to do so before. They should be commended on their anniversary for all this important work! We all thrive because of TWC.

Lucy: Not at all! I think that the journal is an absolute testament to the vibrancy of the field right now. I feel that fan studies is at such an exciting moment in its development – new scholars are emerging and, quite importantly, the field is becoming more reflective towards itself, finding the gaps and omissions and attempting to bring them to our collective attention. The run of conferences this year (PCA [Popular Culture Association conference], SCMS [Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference], FSN [Fan Studies Network conference]) and the dialogue that flowed between them demonstrates the energy that has been building. I feel that TWC has developed in accordance with this, producing some incredible work, alongside very timely and important special issues. This encouragement for special issues in particular I feel has bolstered the energy and direction of the journal, in addition to its emphasis on the protection of fan work and sources – an extremely vital factor within fandom research.

Being an open access publication is also hugely important in the current academic climate, making this work more available and accessible to a more widespread readership. I think this is an extremely valuable asset of the journal.

I want to say too – I also think that the success of TWC has been hugely helped along by the strongly supportive editing practices of Kristina and Karen. As an author and also a guest editor, I can see how valuable their guidance is through the process. Their encouragement and support to new and established authors is the jewel of TWC.

So overall, I am not surprised at all that TWC is going strong. Reading the early issues, I had strong hopes for the journal and am very excited about the way it has developed and exceeded my initial anticipation.

Amanda: I would be very surprised if it were not. The film, comic, and gaming industries (to name a few) have been embracing more than ever fan cultures. We can see this in the types of films that are grossing highest at the box office over the last few years (including The Dark Knight, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, the Harry Potter series). We can look to fan-favorite directors like Joss Whedon and James Gunn (who himself started out working with a longstanding fandom favorite, the Troma team) who have been given the resources to make those top grossing films. We can see it in the increase of “mainstream” authors who started out as and or continue to be fanfiction writers. In fact, several non-academic periodicals are considering the place that fanfiction holds in modern media (The Washington Post, Wired, and Entertainment Weekly have all had articles on this in the last year). The fact that Alternate Universe (AU) scripts are increasingly popular (Star Wars and Once Upon a Time come to mind) is another indication of the fluidity of canon texts.

What with novels like Grey and Twilight, the reworking of Star Trek and Star Wars, and the new prestige of cons like SDCC and NYCC, these last few years have seen a more widespread mainstream media focus on transformative works and fan communities. Have you seen a related increase in the quantity and variety of papers submitted?

Paul: I have to admit that while fandom itself is becoming a more mainstream type of identity – more people are identifying as fans, and more people are proud of their fannish identity – I haven’t seen an increase in the quantity and variety of papers submitted. Of course, I only see a very small percentage of the papers anyway – just the ones that I’m asked to review and the ones for my special issue. So I don’t have a view of the entire scope of the submissions. The papers and articles that get published today are just as high quality as the ones from 2008, and especially the general issues represent a wide variety of content about transformative works. If anything, what I’ve seen more generally in fan scholarship is a critique and re-reading of this mainstreaming narrative. Authors like Kristina Busse, Matt Hills, and Suzanne Scott are complicating this “mainstream” identity and illustrating that only particular identities are becoming mainstream, and only particular types of fandoms become exalted. Although we may have moved past the dichotomous perception that “sports fans are normal while media fans are Othered,” I think there’s a long way to go before media fans (specifically non-white, female, transformative fans) are perceived as equally valid as other types of fans.

Lucy: I do think that to some degree this more widespread focus on fandom has attracted more scholars to fan studies in general, and thus to the journal. It is difficult for me to gauge this in terms of overall submissions, but as a reader of TWC, and a reviewer, I have observed a wider scope of material being studied and published on. I find the mainstream focus from the media quite exciting in terms of exploring what this landscape means, both for fan studies scholars and fans. I think that TWC has reflected this energy very well, but it always has done, since its early issues.

Amanda: The discussion points from previous journals remain vital and relevant today as they did when they were originally penned. Looking back to the first issue, I note, for example, there was an article on “Participatory democracy and Hillary Clinton’s marginalized fandom.”

Interestingly, the article "'Once more a kingly quest': Fan games and the classic adventure genre” from 2009 is of even more relevance, as the Kings Quest series is adding a new game and both Gabriel Knight and Grim Fandango have had anniversary remasters, and many retro or small press game companies have turned to Kickstarter and other crowdfund campaigns to bring fan and creator dreams to life.

The definition of fandom is diverse. The journal has continued to embrace this diversity by discussing music, sport, novels, comics, films, and games, and in the way that it has explored history, considered future trends, and examined fandom “in action” by exploring current conventions and groups. Themes of the participatory experience, the issue of ownership (of bodies, of text), and of the social community of fandom have been refined in the mainstream. As the fan participation continued to evolve, the journal has been able to examine many micro and macro elements of the field.

Wearing your reviewer’s hat, can you tell us what it is about a particular paper that not only really grabs your attention but also makes that paper an excellent fit for publication in the journal?

Paul: For me, the most exciting papers are the ones that take me in new directions in fan studies. I think the power of journals like Transformative Works and Cultures lies in the forward-looking work being done in the journal. It's pushing the field in new directions. A publishable paper has to be based in the literature but not so reliant on it that it just restates what was already found. It has to also demonstrate that the author has done his/her homework, that he/she knows the key works in that area of the field. As a field we’ve moved past just “Jenkins 1992” (although that is still important!): so much fan studies work has come out in just the last ten years that it’s important to recognize the key changes in the discipline. Of course, it’s also helpful that the field isn’t so large that this is an impossible task! But the key for me is always going to be finding original arguments. I love reviewing and staying at the forefront of the field – knowing what’s coming down the pipeline gives me a thrill.

Lucy: Personally, there are a number of areas that can excite me about a potential TWC paper. It can be a bold attempt at method, a strong argument, or just an exploration of an area that has not been covered extensively before. Studies that embrace literature that go beyond the usual vista can also be very compelling. I find the emphasis on transformative practices can attract some very dynamic studies, and those that cover new, or previously scantily examined, ground can really grab my attention at the outset.

Amanda: Any text should engage because it establishes an element of relevance to some larger picture. For fan studies, I love to examine connections between a text in specific and a greater genre, a genre and a readership, a readership and a community.

Can you tell us a little about the pre-production editing process? Does the editorial staff work hand-in-hand with the authors? In general, does a paper change much at all from submission to journal publication?

Paul: I can only speak to my own experiences with the journal: the articles I’ve published and the special issue that Lucy and I put together. In general the amount of changes that happens to an article can vary greatly from what was submitted and what sorts of revisions are necessary. The content revisions through peer review can be either laborious or minor; it really depends on how solid the paper is upon its initial submission. The first paper I submitted to the journal (for issue 9, “Fan/Remix Video,”) was extremely different from what was eventually published because of the exquisite peer review process. I got extraordinary feedback that helped the article become much stronger – but in the process it changed a lot! The other article I’ve published, in issue 18, didn’t require as much content revision. (This isn’t a comment about the peer reviewers or editors, who are consistently good; just a reflection of different articles written at different points in my career). Both articles as published were different than what were originally submitted – different and significantly better! This is one of the reasons I really enjoy peer reviewing articles: I find that my own writing has benefited so much from the quality peer reviews I’ve received, both in TWC and in most of the other journals I’ve published in, so I try to give back quality feedback in return.

Publishing a special issue has its own challenges and joys, of course – both Lucy and I worked more closely with the editors to provide feedback to the authors. I was able to follow the copy editing process more closely as well, and I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the copy edits. It would never fail that Lucy, myself, and the author of an article would read through the article numerous times, feel as though it was perfect, and then get back a paper with lots of red marks! The work of copyeditors often goes unheralded, but it is never unnoticed – or rather, you never notice because they’re that good.

Lucy: The editorial staff at TWC are there throughout with their guidance and help, which is an extremely valuable part of the process. The guest editing and publishing experience for me has consistently been very smooth, mainly due to the editorial staff working hand in hand with the guest editors. Yes, a paper can change considerably during the process, although it does differ from paper to paper. The peer review process for TWC, in which I have been involved for a few years as a reviewer, is always a constructive one, with the feedback designed to help the author make their paper as strong and robust as it can possibly be.

One thing that authors sometimes overlook is not forging and explicitly foregrounding an argument in the introduction that unfolds throughout the article, or omitting a sturdy method section – a significant omission, as the journal stresses the importance of explaining methodology, especially if fan sources are involved. Seeing the transformation that can occur when this is revised can be a wonderful experience. Other papers may need very minor corrections, but I would say, from my experience, that very few papers are not improved to some degree by comments and suggestions from the TWC peer review process.

Amanda: In my experience as an editor and as a writer, I think this greatly depends. In some cases, essays may come in that just “sing". They are well supported, relevant, and humming along with the theme of a particular issue, and these kinds of texts can be very exciting.

Sometimes, a researcher may be on to something but may have concerns about what should be explicitly defined or what needs to be developed or detailed based on the target audience or general purpose of the text. (Actually, with a journal that focuses so broadly on fandom communities, one has to be careful; some readers may be familiar with AU fanfiction but may be lost at Live Action Role Playing (LARPing).) Then, emails and correspondence can flow back and forth and suggestions, insights into interpretation, and sometimes sharing of research or resources occurs.

All three of you (Lucy, Paul, and Amanda) are journal authors. What is it about fan culture and media studies that really speak to your muse?

Paul: Oh, this is such a complex question! When I distill fan culture and media studies to what specifically attracts me to them, it’s the sheer impact of fandom on the world. I believe that fandom is one of the most important parts of our culture, and not just because (parts of) it has been mainstreamed in the past few years. We associate fans with media texts, especially in a journal like Transformative Works and Cultures, and there’s good reason for this. Fans are visible; they cosplay, they write fiction, they make videos. 130,000 attend Comic-con. Millions use Tumblr, Twitter, or Wattpadd to meet and talk about their favorite television shows, movies, books, etc.

This is undoubtedly important. People encounter almost 15 and a half hours of media per day, which means we spend more time experiencing media than we do dreaming. Is it any wonder that our favorite media is what we choose to concentrate on? Fandom is a visible representation of this interaction, and the way that fans critique the media and try to make it better (however that is defined) is a crucial part of our media lives. Fan studies, as a way to make sense of this action, and as a way of illustrating it to others, is equally crucial in demonstrating the impact of fans in our culture.

But fandom is about more than the media, and fans represent a much more universal feeling: of positive affect, of community, of engagement, or social change. We see fandom in religious rituals, we see fandom in campfire stories, we see fandom in political engagement. The emotional pattern of fandom can be extended to the most exciting and dramatic parts of our cultural life. Fan studies allows us to contextualize, historicize, and personalize the activities of fans today, and apply that to every other aspect of our life.

The best of fans represent the best of us.

(Please note, I’m not deliberately ignoring some of the more negative aspects of fans either—studying fan antagonism helps us see discord in other areas of cultural life as well. But fandom is such a positive experience for so many people, that’s what I find so refreshing and constantly generative of ideas).

Lucy: For me, I would say the elements of fan culture that fascinates me the most are the passion and power that can be found within – two areas that can often be interlinked surrounding the fan object and affect. I hugely enjoy attempting to unravel a fan culture in order to explore its key areas, and the notions that can provoke pleasure and conflict. There is so much that can be explored within fan studies – I find it hugely inspiring.

Amanda: I am a fan myself. I love Batman, Sandman, Silent Hill, Alien… I’m excited to read/watch texts from my favorite series, and I am lucky to have a profession that allows me to explore this further. I love reading about how people react to and in fan communities. I love seeing what artists come up with to expand, redefine, or deconstruct canons. Exploring text as transformation, one always feels one is in at the ground level, even when a core text is a five hundred years old or more.

Where do you see the journal in another 20 issues? Where do you see transformative works in another seven years?

Paul: Forecasting the future is fraught with failure. That being said, I would hope that TWC is still going strong and still publishing innovative work. I’d love to still be associated with it – I don’t see that changing anytime soon! And in seven years, I think transformative works will be just as cool, innovative, and invigorating as they are now. I suspect there’ll be a new queen of social media to share them on (Tumblr…your days are numbered) but they’ll still be awesome. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Lucy: I see it still going strong – perhaps even going to more issues per year, if that would be possible! In seven years transformative works could be hugely expanded by the changes in technology (and how these tools are responded to), and also perhaps by the further integration with objects of fandom themselves. Orlando Jones (who I interviewed in 2014 with Bertha Chin for an article in TWC Vol. 17) is a compelling example of how an individual with a fandom can richly (and also sometimes controversially) engage with their online networks and communities.

Amanda: Certainly, the academic fan (acafan) is not a new phenomenon; researchers have a tendency to explore what they feel is relevant and interesting as it relates to their fields of study.

Organizations such as the Fan Studies Network have been introducing new research based communities and publications similar to the Journal of Fandom Studies, so there is an expansion of the discussion, while institutions such as the University of Iowa are also helping to ensure fanzine history is preserved by establishing archives of fan publications for future researchers and fans.

As a part of the spectrum of fan study, the journal will continue to have a place in the discussion specifically because, as I noted, it allows for fluidity and diversity in its investigations.

As to where transformative works as a field of study or field of public interest will be, that is a very broad query. Classics, characters, tropes, etc. will continue to be reconfigured; I look forward to seeing what becomes the next new thing, and what becomes popular (again).

And finally, what moment are you most proud of in your association with TWC?

Paul: I am incredibly proud of all the work I do with TWC. I think the special issue on Fandom and Performance that Lucy and I edited was an amazing experience, and I learned so much from doing it. But I think I was the most proud when I got my first article into TWC. I’m not thrilled with it now (I don’t think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done), and I’m more proud of other things I’ve done since – but at the time, publishing in TWC was a major achievement for me; it was one of my academic goals. So while I think I’ve exceeded the quality of that article in more recent work, it remains one of my proudest moments to have been accepted to Transformative Works and Cultures.

Lucy: There are two moments that really stand out for me.

Firstly, getting my article printed with them! It was my first submission to any journal, and an article based on a chapter of my PhD thesis that focused on R.E.M. fandom. The article took two rounds of peer review, and I learnt so much during that time. I almost gave up at one point, but Kristina and Karen gave me further encouragement. And I did it, and have not looked back ever since. This process was invaluable to me and my future work. Seeing the article finally published was a very proud moment and delivered me a message I would recommend to others: keep going, and don’t give up!

Secondly, the special issue on performance and performativity in fandom (Vol. 18, 2015) that I edited with Paul was another very proud moment. The original editors dropped out, and we stepped in at a very late stage. We managed to pull together a fantastic range of authors and topics in a very short time. When I stood back and viewed the final version of the issue, I was so pleased by the breadth and quality of the work within. It is always such a privilege and joy to work with Paul, so it was also a very enjoyable process. Kristina and Karen are also incredibly supportive and helpful and I feel extremely proud of the authors in that special issue. I hope for many more opportunities to work with TWC and I look forward to another twenty issues at least!

Amanda: When I was asked to peer edit an article for the journal, I was personally proud to join the role of reviewer. However, I think knowing that Transformative Works and Cultures is at its 20th issue anniversary is the greatest cause for pride.


Releases 0.9.70 - 0.9.78: Change Log

Published: 2015-09-13 19:38:22 -0400

Despite the summer vacation and three staffers moving house, we still found time to deploy some improvements to our documentation and automated tests, and provide useful tools for other busy Archive teams.


  • Coders: Ariana, Elz, james_, Lal, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, james_, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: Elz, james_, Lady Oscar, Sam Johnsson, Sarken, Scott


Support and Issue Tracking

  • We are now able to record a history of changes made to user accounts to help with Support issues around account activation.
  • The tone of the automated response to Support requests was both overly casual and inappropriate for responding to users writing in to express dissatisfaction. It has been changed to something more formal and appropriate.
  • We recently switched our issue tracker from Google Code to JIRA, and we have updated the link on both our GitHub README and the Support form.
  • Our Support form has been updated to reflect the fact we now offer support in Tiếng Việt.
  • We've updated some comments in our automated tests to refer to issues on JIRA rather than Google Code.


  • We've added a new admin tool to make it easier for our Abuse team to keep track of Fannish Next of Kin arrangements.
  • It was previously very easy to provide a phony IP address when leaving a comment. We've changed the way IP addresses are recorded to prevent that.
  • We've added more servers to help with wrangling and processing emails.
  • We have made it easier to deploy code when the servers are busy, and improved the configuration of the development environments for our volunteers.
  • If you signed up for a prompt meme challenge and the moderator edited the settings to stop allowing a certain field (e.g. Warnings), you wouldn't be able to edit your sign-up. It is no longer possible for challenge moderators to change the allowed fields once sign-ups exist.
  • Fixed a bug whereby works on external sites whose urls ended with similar numbers (e.g. "foo/123" and "foo/1234") could not all be imported because the importer would find the longer URL when searching for the short one and refuse to import it.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


August 2015 Newsletter, Volume 94

Published: 2015-09-06 11:51:04 -0400

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


Accessibility, Design & Technology celebrated the AO3's first 15 million page-view day in August. They also partied hard over their new web development environments and started preparing their move to new servers that can better handle all the visitors! None of this could have been done without the hard work and commitment of the Systems team, and their joint staffer james_ especially.

Accessibility, Design & Technology has also been working on moving to a new issue tracker, now that Google Code has entered read-only mode, with a shutdown date scheduled for later this year. After exploring a number of options and cleaning up their current collection of bug reports and to-dos, the committee settled on JIRA as the best fit for its needs. They have finished moving all their remaining issues and expect to get settled in and start updating their documentation.

Accessibility, Design & Technology has also been working with Tag Wrangling to address issues stemming from wrangling bugs and server hiccups, as tag wranglers migrated wrangling and tag-related items over to the new bug tracker and helped test how the servers handle heavy wrangling loads. Accessibility, Design & Technology will also be helping Abuse by providing better tools for their work. They hope to deploy new code very soon that is aimed at dealing with commercial spam and keeping harassment at bay.


Together with our partners in the Re:Create Coalition, Legal has proposed two panels for the 2016 South by Southwest conference. Find out more about them (and upvote us!) here: Copyright & Creators: 2026 (featuring Legal Chair Betsy) and Fair Use Awakens: Classrooms/Libraries/Communities (featuring Betsy and Legal Staffer Heidi). You can also find out more about Heidi’s other proposed panels and suggestions.

In August, Legal helped several fans, from several countries, with legal questions about copyright law, plagiarism, and fair use. They also successfully corresponded with the maker of an unauthorized Android app for reading on AO3. The app maker agreed to change the name of the app and make it clear in all promotions that it is unauthorized and unrelated to the OTW and that the OTW doesn’t provide support for it. Legal also took action regarding another unauthorized widget for Android that used the AO3 trademark in a confusing manner. Please be aware that the AO3 does not have an official app.

South Africa is considering adopting a fair use provision in its copyright law. Fair use supporters are trying to make sure that the law actually protects fair use, and Legal is preparing to file a supporting comment. We need your help signal-boosting our request for stories from South African fans about how they’ve benefited from making and/or consuming fanworks. Please send your stories to our Legal committee. The last time we did this, for the US, the stories were amazing.

Journal is currently in production for its No. 20 issue, and hopes to begin training new production personnel soon from August's recruitment. Communications' media outreach team has been soliciting and organising guest posts for coming months. It also continued its efforts for the upcoming 20th issue celebration for Transformative Works and Cultures. Help us spread the word!

Translation received several dozen applications from potential future translators, and committee members are working incredibly hard processing translation samples, wrangling timezones, and interviewing applicants. Two new language teams have started work this month—Marathi and Slovenian!

Wiki was busy preparing for the kickoff of Stub September, and hopes that everyone will join in to help flesh out entries on Fanlore.


Abuse had over 500 tickets in August. Please be patient if it takes a bit of time for them to get back to you on a ticket!

Support is on track to receive approximately 680 tickets in August. Overall they're averaging 724 tickets a month this year, compared to 495 last year. Support has been managing with only eight staffers, so they're very happy to have six new volunteers currently in training!

Open Doors has been chugging away on in-progress archive imports and announced plans to work with the Seamus/Dean Forever Archive to bring it to AO3.

Tag Wrangling held an informal training chat to welcome the newest class of wranglers to the fold after finishing another round of recruitment. Additionally, they began holding discussions to update and improve the wrangling guidelines. Wranglers also assisted one another with tag translations and responded to several requests from Support as well as their twitter feed.

AO3 Documentation has three documents in the external betaing phase, which were recently sent to other committees for comments and edits.


Board has been in consultation, primarily with Legal, regarding potential changes to the OTW bylaws. At the August 8th meeting, Board voted to approve a change which would make it easier for Board members to be removed from office, when appropriate. Board is also considering a further change to the bylaws surrounding elections. In addition, the Board is considering making changes to the size of the Board. A few years ago, the Board complement was increased to 9 members in order to assist in shouldering the workload that came with the committee liaison system. Now that the OTW is moving towards phasing out the liaison system, Board is proposing to reduce the size of the board to 7 members once again. It is hoped that this will lead to contested elections taking place for the first time since 2011.

Plans and logistics for the 2015 Annual Meeting are in the process of being finalized with Board responding to requests from various committees.

Strategic Planning will be publishing the 3rd and semi-final version of the OTW strategic plan for internal review in the first week of September. This was the result of in-depth work with Volunteers & Recruiting, Internationalization & Outreach and Board.

Internationalization & Outreach worked on processing the internal feedback received on a plan that it developed to promote inclusivity and internationalization within the OTW. They also interviewed candidates and welcomed three new staffers to their team.

Development & Membership is finalizing drive posts, so they can get them off to our hardworking Translation volunteers. The drive will be held on October 7–13 this year. They are also hoping to have some good news on the merchandise store to share with you soon!

Elections posted an internal call for candidacy, with a deadline of September 11. Interested members can check out the elections timeline for more information. They also posted their Confidentiality Policy. The Elections Twitter account is now actively tweeting links to various resources on the Elections website.


Volunteers & Recruiting recruited for three roles in August: Journal Staff - Production Assistant, Journal Volunteers - Layout Editor, and Translation volunteers. Among the three roles, the team received 100 total applications! The OTW will be recruiting three more times before the end of the year—twice in September and once in October.

The committee said goodbye to two of its staffers and published an internal report for the second quarter of 2015. The committee is finalizing the Still Willing to Serve survey, which is sent to all current staff and workgroup volunteers to check in and confirm that they would like to remain in their current roles. Volunteers & Recruiting is also continuing to refine their workflow processes with a tool to track requests from others in the organization.

New Committee Chairs: Trey C (Translation), Claire P. Baker (AO3 Documentation)
New Committee Staff: Zsuzsa Gábor (Translation), Seamus Johnston (Systems), Laura Hancock (Internationalization & Outreach) and 1 other Internationalization & Outreach
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Amariel, Apollonie, Arc, Asante Simons, ashto, Charlie Hale, Chelsea Eidbo, chrishuyen, dungbombs, Effy, Em S, Emily D, eternaldissident, Hannah Overstreet, Jane, Jay, Katiana, LeaneGenova, Lisa Stempel, mechanicaljewel, Merchant, mustachenow, Onyi, originally, P-Ys, pearwaldorf, regentzilla, Schrodingerscat, Suicix, TheAlternativeSource, Violet, Viva Hoh, Wond3rland, Yasemin Celebi, Yrindor and 1 other
New Translator Volunteers: Tina, Nele Noppe, Mel and 1 other

Departing Committee Staff: LokiMoriarty (Abuse), Kalli (Legal), C. Ryan Smith (Volunteers & Recruiting), Anna Maraya (Volunteers & Recruiting), 2 other Abuse, 1 Support, 1 Tag Wrangling, 1 other Volunteers & Recruiting
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: BlackParadise, Matty Lynne and 12 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Celine, regenorakel, Charlotte, Agnieszka Barcik, Rizu and 6 others

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


The OTW Turns 8

Published: 2015-09-05 11:37:49 -0400

Banner by Rachel reading 8th Anniversary Celebration

Today the OTW turns 8 years old. The organization and its projects have accomplished a great deal during this time, all of which has been made possible with the donations of our supporters and the many hours of work from our thousands of volunteers over the years.

This month we'll see another milestone: Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) will be releasing its 20th issue. We hope that its readers, contributors, and our many visitors will take the time to help us celebrate!

We'll be wrapping up on September 19th, when we'll host a live chat with four contributors to TWC who have been involved with the publication from its early days. Edited to add: The transcript is now available

  • Lucy Busker is a writing professor at Parkland College in Illinois, USA. She was the founder and site maintainer of the original Fanfic Symposium, and the owner of the Fanfiction Critic's Association mailing list. Her recent interests include gender in children's media, including a strange fascination with her daughter's Barbie movies.
  • Cathy Cupitt has been an active member of fandom since the late 1980s, first writing fanfiction for Lotrips. She's been a writer, reccer and vidder in Stargate: Atlantis, Torchwood, Supernatural and Teen Wolf, among others. She has a Doctorate in Creative Arts, and is currently a Research Fellow for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
  • Amanda Odom has served as an instructor at several institutions, including the University of South Alabama, the United States Sports Academy, and Front Range Community College. She has also worked as an editor. She loves finding connections between the characters in comics, video games, books, and movies and the people who write and read them.
  • Dana Sterling has published a romance novel under a nom de plume, and teaches writing at Oklahoma State University's Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. She studied journalism, and previously spent 20 years as a reporter, editor and broadcaster. She has been a fan of comics, Star Wars, Stargate, and The Lord of the Rings among others.

The chat will be held in the OTW's Public Discussion Chatroom on September 19th from 14:00-16:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?)

We hope you'll join us! And if you have any questions about the event, leave them here.


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 Internationalization & Outreach Staff and Tag Wranglers.

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Journal Committee Staff: Production Assistant - closing 24 August 2015 UTC
  • Journal Committee Volunteer: Layout Editor - closing 24 August 2015 UTC
  • Translation Volunteer - closing 24 August 2015

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.

Journal Committee Staff: Production Assistant

The journal production assistant supports the production editor in overseeing academic documents through every stage of production. The production editor is responsible for creating and maintaining all documentation related to copyediting, layout, and proofreading, including detailed directions and style notes. The production editor sets, and to some extent enforces, each issue’s due dates, from preferred date for receipt of v1 copy to the editorial teams to the due dates for each step in production. The production editor ensures that copyright releases are correctly submitted and filed. The production editor assigns work to the copyeditors, layout personnel, and proofreaders and maintains deadlines. The production editor maintains OJS, which involves working with Systems to ensure it is upgraded. The production editor is in charge of the site's CSS. The production editor HTML tags documents. The production editor is in charge of doing the DOI deposit for each issue.

Applications are due 24 August 2015 UTC

Journal Committee Volunteer: Layout Editor

Transformative Works and Cultures is an international peer-reviewed Gold Open Access online publication about fan-related topics, promoting dialogue between the academic community and fan communities. Layout editors HTML tag Word documents to prepare the manuscript for online publication.

Applications are due 24 August 2015 UTC

Translation Volunteer

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

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

We really need volunteers who speak Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, European Portuguese, Hungarian, Japanese, Kiswahili, Korean, Marathi, Polish, Ukrainian, Swedish, Turkish and Vietnamese—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. More information can be found on the Translation Committee page.

Applications are due 24 August 2015 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


The Seamus/Dean Forever Archive is Coming to the AO3

Published: 2015-08-11 12:35:59 -0400

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

The Seamus/Dean Forever Archive, a Harry Potter fanworks archive devoted to the Seamus Finnigan/Dean Thomas pairing, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Seamus/Dean Forever Archive was a Harry Potter archive which was active from approximately 2002-2005. It held fanfiction and fanart focussing on the relationship between Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas.

Open Doors will be working with Miss Cora, the moderator, to import Seamus/Dean Forever into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, both its fanfiction and fanart will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages.

What does this mean for creators who had work on Seamus/Dean Forever?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your Seamus/Dean Forever works there, please contact Open Doors with your Seamus/Dean Forever pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won’t import your works. (Please include "Seamus/Dean Forever" in the subject heading.) For instructions on mass-adding works to the new collection on the AO3, Seamus/Dean Forever, please see the Open Doors website.

2. If you would NOT like your works moved, please contact Open Doors with your Seamus/Dean Forever pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (Please include "Seamus/Dean Forever" in the subject heading.) If you are happy for your works to be preserved but do not want your name attached to them any longer, please let us know, as we can add the works so that others can enjoy them, but not include your name or AO3 account.

3. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one to import your works yourself, please contact Open Doors with your Seamus/Dean Forever pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "Seamus/Dean Forever" in the subject heading.) For instructions on importing works and adding them to the Seamus/Dean Forever collection, please see the Open Doors website.

4. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one, as well as assistance importing your works, please contact Open Doors with your Seamus/Dean Forever pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "Seamus/Dean Forever" in the subject heading.) Once your account is set up, let us know your AO3 name, and we can transfer your works to you once imported.

5. All works imported on a creator’s behalf will be attributed with their name in the summary of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Seamus/Dean Forever fanwork(s), please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (Please include "Seamus/Dean Forever" in the subject heading.) If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's fantastic; if not, we will work with Cora to confirm your claims.

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 90 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ page, contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we'll respond as soon as we can.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Seamus/Dean Forever on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve Seamus/Dean Forever!

- The Open Doors team


On Archive of Our Own Mobile Apps

Published: 2015-08-07 12:06:05 -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'

An unofficial Archive of Our Own Android app was recently released to Google Play. As this release has brought the subject back into the spotlight, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the current state of official AO3 app development.

"Have you thought about making an app?" is one of our most frequently asked questions, but in mobile app development, there isn’t actually such a thing as "an" app. Apps need to be built for different mobile platforms -- Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile being the top three -- and for the many versions of those platforms still in use.

Before we could even start developing an app that would allow you to do anything more than browse unrestricted works, we would need to develop a public API -- definitely on our roadmap, but several major releases away. Then, we would need to build different, responsive user interfaces for both phone and tablet. What seems like a small, straightforward project evolves very quickly into something needing many resources, dedicated ones, with diverse skill-sets. While we have said in the past that we'd like to release a mobile AO3 app, the required resources just aren't available.

The coders who develop the Archive all do so on a volunteer basis, and give as much time as possible to support its growth -- but that time is limited, and fully consumed by the work needed to keep the Archive running smoothly. Either the team spends time continuing to improve the Archive, or developing an app -- there simply aren't enough volunteers to support both.

It’s not just the initial development that would be resource-intensive. An app would need to be maintained and continually updated to ensure it keeps working as new versions of each platform are released -- not to mention enhancing the app to include new and improved Archive features! And because an app would require long-term maintenance by a dedicated team, it’s not something we can reliably fund with donations.

But coding and testing resources don't even begin to scratch the surface of what would be needed to support an app! Resources would also be needed from the following teams:

  • Support would need to be staffed, trained, and equipped to help with any technical issues encountered on each platform,
  • Our Documentation team would have to create and continually update support documents for the app, and
  • The Translation team would have to translate and continually update the documentation to make the app accessible to non-English speakers.

Not only would this be more resources than we currently have available, it would also pull team members away from working in support of our roadmap.

Our team's goal is to keep the Archive available and accessible to as many people as possible. The best way we can do so is by focusing our efforts on building a single, responsive version of the Archive that works (and works well!) on as many devices as possible. We are eternally dedicated to ensuring that this includes devices of all shapes and sizes, and will continue to focus resources on enhancing the site's mobile responsiveness and usability for all. That means a standalone app just isn't possible at this point in the Archive's development.

To close on a security note, if a third-party app or website requests your AO3 login information, please proceed cautiously and be aware that you are providing this information at your own risk. While there are no current security concerns, please be sure to change your password if you believe your account may have been compromised at any time.


July 2015 Newsletter, Volume 93

Published: 2015-08-06 11:28:12 -0400

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


In July, the OTW was proud to join three new legal-focused coalitions. First, in early July we joined the Harry Potter Alliance's Fanworks Are Fair Use Project, a community of fan creators, readers, artists, and enthusiasts who are committed to the protection and preservation of fair use law.

Then, a few days later, we announced that we'd joined the Re:Create coalition—a group of organizations representing innovators, creators, and consumers united for balanced U.S. copyright policies, including robust fair use laws.

More recently, we've added our support to the Save The Link project, a global coalition opposed to policies that would allow governments to block hyperlinks or block sites based on where they link to—yet another set of ideas we've long believed in and are thrilled to support.


Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed a variety of small bug fixes in releases 0.9.65-0.9.69; worked with the Legal, Support, and Communications teams to research and respond to the unofficial Archive app recently released into the Google Play store; and identified and began testing new issue trackers to replace Google Code, which will be shutting down in a few months.

AO3 Documentation completed and uploaded three documents this month: the Posting and Editing FAQ, the Statistics FAQ, and a tutorial on "Posting a Work on AO3. They've also welcomed five new members to the Docs team.

Abuse handled over 300 tickets in July. They are currently working with Accessibility, Design & Technology to make it easier to identify and deal with anon trolls and harassment. They are also in the process of updating their documentation, which should make it easier to help deal with tickets. Meanwhile, Support's ticket count is averaging, for 2015, around 725 tickets a month. They've also signed on seven new staffers to help with the increasing workload.

Systems has been interviewing potential new recruits and are working on documentation. They're installing and setting up lots of new servers and development systems, namely for Open Doors and the AO3 coders. They've also been working on our offsite backup solutions to better protect the OTW's data.

Tag Wrangling implemented a new procedure for revising the wrangling guidelines, which should smooth out the process of keeping everything up to date. They also assisted Open Doors with tag mapping for upcoming archive imports, and held several wrangling parties in chat so everyone could work together and give each other advice on tricky tags. Wranglers also continued to assist each other with translations, and responded to several Support requests.


Legal corresponded with the creators of an unauthorized "AO3 App" for Android, whose product and promotion used the OTW's trademarks in a confusing manner. We are pleased that so many people love the AO3, but we don't want people to be confused! For more information about AO3's position on an app, please refer to this post.

Legal also responded to several queries from fans about fair use and fandom law and got help from Translation with a query in French.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Legal Chair Betsy was on a panel moderated by Legal staffer Heidi which discussed the evolution of fandom and fanworks and the laws that surround them. They were joined by panelists from Tumblr, Wattpad, Zefr, Supernatural Wiki, Chaotic Good, and the New Statesman. Video of the panel is now available.

Communications' Media Outreach subcommittee covered the San Diego Comic-Con "Fandom is my Fandom" panel. It also released a guest post with Donna Davies, creator of "Fanarchy," a documentary on fan films. Many more guest posts are being planned by the Media Outreach group, and they would welcome suggestions for future guest posts.

Communications has begun actively moderating the OTW News twitter account, and is still looking for suggestions for non-English-language fan accounts to follow. A moderator for the OTW's new Weibo account has been inducted and is currently completing training. The Weibo account should become active within the next six weeks. A new graphics volunteer has also been inducted and is currently completing training.

Communications is also working on the upcoming 20th issue celebration for Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC). A panel chat with contributors to TWC is planned for September 19th, focusing on the field of Fan Studies. If you have questions on the topic, please let us know!

Journal's next issue of TWC is on schedule. Editor Karen updated paperwork for TWC's listing in a compilation of Open Access journals.

Translation welcomed and trained several new volunteers as a result of June's Spotlight post, including two brand new teams: Japanese and Croatian!


Development & Membership welcomed one new staffer in July and said a fond farewell to four others as they continued work toward the upcoming October drive. They are currently developing a proposal to add a second payment processor (besides PayPal) to address international donor needs.

Elections came to a consensus regarding the extension of the voting period for OTW elections. The voting period will now be four days, spanning Friday to Monday. In addition the committee's confidentiality and neutrality policies were drafted, agreed upon, and sent to Legal for further review. They also finalized a social media policy and selected a Twitter team for their account.

Internationalization & Outreach has been taking internal feedback on a plan that it has developed to promote inclusivity and internationalization within the OTW. They also updated some internal documentation in preparation for their new recruits.

Strategic Planning will be publishing the final draft of our long-range plan for consideration and hopes to work out details of what implementation will look like at our October meeting with the Board. Strategic Planning has a few last-minute meetings with several committees regarding the timeline of certain goals.


Volunteers & Recruiting has been continuing to work on implementation of their new task tracking system with plans to go live in early August. They recruited for Tag Wrangling volunteers and Internationalization & Outreach staff in July and are presently planning for August recruiting. They have also started discussions for the annual Still Willing to Serve campaign for current staff and a number of end-of-year tasks.

New Committee Staff: OutToGarden (AO3 Documentation), Rebecca Sentance (AO3 Documentation), Robin Gaitan (AO3 Documentation), Kaitlin (Support), Wes (Support), Genie Este (Support), kiki-eng (Development & Membership), sveritas (Communications), 1 other AO3 Documentation staff, and 4 other Support staff
New Communications Volunteers: ElenaWho
New Translator Volunteers: Hana Yu, Tanya Lokot, EmptyLot, tezzin, AndreyVas, and 7 others

Departing Committee Staff: 1 Systems, and 4 Development & Membership
Departing Tester Volunteers: erialeduab
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 1
Departing Translator Volunteers: Karagodina Elena and 4 other Translators

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


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