AO3 News

AO3 Reaches 1 Million Fanworks

Published: 2014-02-15 08:06:07 -0500

AO3 logo wearing a party hat amidst confetti with text of '1 Million Celebration'

Today the Archive of Our Own passed the 1 million fanworks mark!

On November 14, 2009, the AO3 entered open beta. Two days into the launch, AO3 News shared the following statistics:

"Total invitations issued: 1410
Number of accounts before Open Beta: 347
Number of accounts at present: 1076
Number of works before Open Beta: 6598
Number of works at present: 9506
Number of fandoms represented before Open Beta: 674
Number of fandoms represented at present: 886"

And now, just four years and two months later, AO3 has over 1 million works representing 14,353 fandoms! The site has over 270,000 registered users (with at least 1 million unregistered users visiting each day) and is still growing. AO3 currently issues 750 invitations a day, so if you’re not already registered, now is a great time to join the Archive.

What does this mean?

AO3’s rapid growth shows the ever-increasing number of fans creating and sharing fanworks online. This site is still relatively young, joining a long line of fanwork archives, from those created to host a single fan’s work to the many dedicated to individual fandoms, characters and relationships; particular topics or genres; specific languages or countries; or formats and connected fandoms. We want to honor and celebrate the millions of fanworks that have come before those found at AO3 as well.

The sheer number of visitors to AO3 also represents the importance of fanworks to the everyday life of millions of people internationally. Whether fans are creating, commenting, sharing or viewing, they engage in fannish activities every single day — something that’s never more clear than when the Archive can’t be accessed! We will continue to work hard to keep your fanworks available for a long time to come.

Finally, the Archive is one of a very small number of open-source projects founded and largely staffed by women, another contribution fans have made to the internet as a whole. Many women who were not previously involved in technology have learned new skills in the name of fannish activities, and the AO3 is proud to stand as a shining example of this growth.

Help us celebrate!

As part of our celebration today, what could be more fitting than more fanworks? If you’d like to create a fanwork today and connect it to our milestone, tag it with “AO3 1 Million”.

Even if you’re not posting a new work, you can still join in by sharing your favorite works. If you have a Twitter or Tumblr account, you can use the “Share” button on your favorite works and tag your posts or tweets “ao3million”. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could get this important milestone to trend?)

And if you aren't already following us, don't forget to join us on Twitter at ao3org or Tumblr at AO3 News! One of our volunteers, Rachel G., has made the following graphics for you to snag and repost to let everyone know that you are an AO3 user who is celebrating today.

The future of the Archive

So what does the future hold? Well, that’s entirely up to you! The Archive would be empty without the fans who post their works or interact with the works of others, and it wouldn’t exist without the hard work of fans who volunteer to develop features, organize tags, respond to users, and keep an eye on performance. We all owe those volunteers, past and present, enormous thanks for giving us this site to use.

We would also like to thank our fellow fans who have contributed financially to AO3’s parent organization, the Organization for Transformative Works, in order to fund its development and keep the treats flowing to fans around the world.

If you value the AO3 and are able to help support it, please bring a gift to today's virtual party celebrating this milestone. And if you can't, we hope you'll spread the word to those who can.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach this exciting day! We couldn’t have done it without you.

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Site Stats: A Look at 2013 and Beyond, Part 2

Published: 2014-02-14 22:16:59 -0500

In our last post, we talked about trends in posting, commenting, and bookmarking activity, as well as page view numbers in 2013. We now want to look at some geographical stats and browser usage. As before, raw data is available in spreadsheet form:

» AO3 Stats - 2013 (on Google Drive)

 

More international usage!

Sadly, it requires a bit of work to generate usable chunks of data from our massive server logs, so we only started keeping track of some international stats last year - with the help of our aforementioned server monitoring tool, New Relic. We aim to improve our data this year, and will be able to provide a closer look at trends in international usage farther into 2014.

One metric we can use to compare site usage between different countries is the number of "average sessions" over a period of time. A session starts when someone (i.e. an IP address) opens an Archive page, and ends after five minutes (unless that same IP address keeps browsing the Archive). If several people visit the Archive at the same time, that's a number of "simultaneous sessions", and we can track of how many of these we have, on average, at any given time.

Partial screenshot showing world map interface in New Relic. The US are tinted a dark blue, indicating heaviest site usage. Almost all other countries across the world are a lighter blue. Only a few countries in Africa are white, indicating no data.
Image: World map showing countries with recorded site usage in blue. Screenshot was taken on July 17, 2013.

At the end of July, we stacked up our Top 20 countries by comparing how many average simultaneous sessions we had from each country during the preceding three months.

Country Average Sessions
United States 6,510.00
United Kingdom 1,130.00
Canada 809.00
Australia 556.00
Germany 348.00
France 171.00
Sweden 134.00
Italy 123.00
Russian Federation 98.60
Finland 97.10
Netherlands 93.00
Philippines 92.50
Singapore 86.80
New Zealand 85.80
Brazil 78.20
Poland 77.30
Mexico 70.30
Spain 69.90
Ireland 64.80
Denmark 58.20

On average, roughly 6,500 people from the United States were browsing the Archive at the same time, and roughly 90 people from the Philippines. As our traffic increased during the year, we noted growing numbers for each country as well. All data is available in the 'countries' tab in the AO3 Stats spreadsheet.

We've also noticed a slight uptick in Support tickets in languages other than English. With the help of our Translation volunteers, we've replied to requests in Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and French last year. You can always find our list of officially available Support languages at the top of our contact form!

One of our next code deploys will include changes to the FAQ system that will make it possible to offer translated versions of our FAQs. We're very excited to roll out this feature, and will post more information about language features on the Archive closer to the deploy date.

 

More mobile browsing!

Chrome on Windows remains the most popular browser among our users, by a wide margin. However, it's immediately followed by Safari on iPhone, which is in turn followed by a number of other mobile platforms among the usual suspects, Firefox and Internet Explorer. From user feedback (and our own Archive use!) we know that browsing the AO3 on phones or tablets is becoming increasingly popular. (Some numbers can be found in the 'browsers' tab in the AO3 Stats spreadsheet.)

While we do our best to make the Archive accessible and easy on the eyes on smaller screens, we frequently receive requests for a dedicated AO3 app. We've explained why we won't be able to offer iOS and Android apps anytime soon and continue to follow up on the topic in relevant posts on our Tumblr. In short: designing, coding, and maintaining even one app (and providing ongoing tech support for that app) is an incredible time commitment, and we've already got our hands quite full with the Archive website.

We have several improvements to our download feature coming up, and will continue to provide EPUB and MOBI versions of all fanworks on the Archive. Just use an e-reader app (such as iBooks or Aldiko) to organize and access your downloaded files, and you'll always have things to read even when you're offline!

 

More changes under the hood!

2013 was the year of many "invisible" efforts to keep the Archive stable and easier to maintain going forward. We spent a lot of time getting all our code adjusted for our big Ruby on Rails upgrade, and even more time updating, fixing, and improving our automated tests for use with Travis-CI over the year. All in all, we closed 300 issues in our public bug tracker. Together with our Systems team, we installed new servers and made changes to our server architecture in preparation for bigger and better things in 2014.

Unseen to AO3 users, we spent several weeks reviewing our internal knowledge base (removing nearly half of the 350 wiki pages for being outdated), organizing pertinent documentation and training materials, and making sure all our shared spaces for discussion and collaboration were in order and archived items were easy to find. Yay!

 

This concludes our look back; more posts about exciting celebrations will follow shortly! Many, many heartfelt thanks to everyone who has left comments of encouragement and support either here or on Tumblr or Twitter. As always, if you have any questions or comments, just let us know!

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January 2014 Newsletter, Volume 76

Published: 2014-02-03 16:00:20 -0500

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

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

I. FOCUSING ON COPYRIGHT

While some of our committees and staff were able to take a bit of a holiday break over the past month, others have been pretty busy with OTW work. This was particularly obvious with our Legal Committee.

In December, Legal filed an amicus brief in the U.S. case of Lenz v. Universal, a long-running case involving Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down notices. Our brief, written by the Stanford Fair Use project and joined by Public Knowledge and the International Documentary Association, argued that the law should be read to punish rightsholders who issue takedown notices without first considering whether a particular use constitutes fair use. Legal also reported on the outcome of the "Free Sherlock" case

Speaking of DMCA take-down notices, Legal has dealt with an increasing number of requests that the Archive of Our Own take-down particular fanworks.

In addition, Legal staffer Rebecca Tushnet testified before two U.S. government agencies on behalf of the OTW. Those agencies are considering possible proposals for new U.S. copyright legislation. Rebecca’s testimony reflected the public comments the OTW made to those bodies in November. A video of her testimony is available (scroll down to "Legal Framework for Remixes”; Rebecca's opening remarks start about 33 minutes into that video).

Legal has also had several public projects in January: (1) Working with Communications to create several posts for Copyright Week; (2) Naomi Novik's testimony before the U.S. Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; (3) Working with the EFF and Public Knowledge to craft and file an amicus brief (PDF) in the case of DISH Network v. ABC, currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The DISH case is the latest development in the battle over DISH's "Hopper" DVR, and Legal argued (among other things) that any infringement analysis should be configured to take into account when a user is engaged in fair use.

Legal also has a lot of pending projects, including preparing a submission to the European Commission in response to its call for comments concerning possible EU copyright reform, which they expect to submit in early February.

II. LOVE AND HOLIDAY CHEER

Visitors to the AO3 have likely been aware of all the work being done by Accessibility, Design and Technology and Support. Support had the second busiest month on record in December 2013, with 556 unique tickets received! Kudos to our phenomenal staffers for blowing through these, and to all the staff they consulted with on other committees.

AD&T deployed Release 0.9.12 a few days before Christmas. Many, many thanks to senior coders Elz and Enigel who wrapped up a ton of server work aimed at site stability and performance improvements.

AD&T finished 2013 with 300 closed bug reports, over 600 new Tumblr followers and several thousand new Twitter followers, an established love/hate relationship with our test suite software, and one huge Rails upgrade.

AD&T is currently working on their first deploy of 2014, which will include a critical performance fix, a few importing and archiving fixes, and a long overdue upgrade of our Rich Text Editor. After that, they are planning to deploy a significant rewrite of our bookmarking backend, which should help alleviate some of AO3's current problems. Many thanks to AD&T/Systems staffer james_ for his diligence in keeping the servers running. Those servers are at capacity right now, and we have to take the Archive offline almost daily to give them a few minutes of rest. We're looking forward to new servers and shiny code improvements soon. Coding volunteer Stephanie has been hard at work reviewing our backlog and spreadsheeting all the things that have yet to be reviewed, tested, and deployed.

AD&T also posted Site Stats: A Look at 2013 and Beyond, Part 1 and an accompanying spreadsheet, for the data nerds among us.

Tag Wrangling is still limited in when and how much they can wrangle; they're avoiding making changes to tags on lots of works as much as possible to avoid extra strain on the AO3 servers. Behind the scenes, the committee is currently inducting new staff members and improving documentation to smooth the welcoming process.

Abuse has also been busy! They've had roughly 120 tickets come in so far this month. Please keep in mind that Abuse thoroughly investigates each and every report that comes in, so it might take a while before they can respond. Also just a reminder, please don't send in multiple tickets or ask everyone you know to report the same issue. Instead of speeding things up, this actually slows the process down! One ticket is all we need to start an investigation. Of course, if you have new information to share, please do send it in.

III. GOVERNANCE

Strategic Planning released a report on the Survey Workgroup. The next scheduled Strategic Planning reports are on the Wiki Committee and Fanlore team, the Grants Committee, and the Systems Committee. They hope to release those in early 2014. They are also in the process of surveying Web, Internationalization and Outreach, Abuse, and Communications.

Development & Membership reported on our fundraising promotion with Smart Pop Books, which ended on December 31. This resulted in OTW supporters purchasing 157 printed books and 47 ebooks through the affiliate link, raising a total of US$322.30 for the OTW. Thank you all for your support! DevMem is currently reviewing applications and interviewing candidates for staff positions.

IV. KEEPING THINGS RUNNING

Systems has been working hard both on the upgraded Archive machines, and transitioning internal OTW systems off of our remaining Linode server onto our own virtual machines.

Open Doors has been humming along on current archive importing projects, and had two successful zine collection donations to the Fan Culture Preservation Project. This month they began working with a fan on another Fan Culture Preservation Project donation, and are very excited about a few importing fixes and features in the next deploy to AO3. You can read more about Open Doors in their spotlight post which went out in January.

Journal is preparing to go to copyedit in January for its two guest-edited issues to kick off 2014 (March and June).

Communications has begun posting news to the OTW's LinkedIn account, so anyone who would like to keep up with us there, or who has listed OTW volunteer work in their profile, is encouraged to follow us. Communications is also busy planning celebration activities for AO3's forthcoming 1 millionth fanwork milestone which will be announced in coming weeks as plans are finalized.

Translation started January in full swing, undertaking meetings, documentation work, and translation assignments. They’re interviewing several potential new staffers and have begun talks with Tag Wrangling staff about setting up official procedures for collaboration, as well as with Development & Membership on outreach ideas for the upcoming membership drive.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting welcomed new chairs into their roles, as well as inducting some additional staff for committees. Anna Genoese was inducted to the Board and Ira Gladkova and Kristen Murphy ended their three year terms.

In December, in addition to answering tickets from current personnel, Volunteers & Recruiting worked to retire departing staffers and volunteers. VolCom also began the retirement of the Survey Workgroup project and would like to say a final thank you to all the members of Survey Workgroup, past and present, for their work on the report released in 2013.

New Directors: Anna Genoese
New Committee Chairs: briar_pipe (Tag Wrangling), Qem (Tag Wrangling), Hana Lee (Strategic Planning), Priscilla Del Cima (Translation)
New Committee Staff: vtn (Tag Wrangling), JanOda (Tag Wrangling), Elanya (Tag Wrangling), very (Tag Wrangling), Sumeria (Tag Wrangling), Elizabeth Young (Tag Wrangling), Supergreak (Tag Wrangling) & 1 other Tag Wrangling staff, Curtis Jefferson (Volunteers & Recruiting)
New Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers: 1

Departing Directors: Ira Gladkova, Kristen Murphy
Departing Committee Chairs: Matty Lynne (Support), Anna Genoese (Strategic Planning), Andrea Horbinski (Internationalization & Outreach)
Departing Committee Staff: Anna Genoese (Strategic Planning), Andrea Horbinski (Internationalization & Outreach), 3 (Communications), bookgazing (Volunteers & Recruiting), bethbethbeth (Abuse), Joanne (Abuse), Evelyn Browne (Grants), Alison Watson (Tag Wrangling), Adam Compton (Systems) and 1 Abuse, 1 AD&T QA, 3 Accessiblity, 3 Support, 1 Fan Video, 1 Finance, 1 I&O, 1 Open Doors, 2 Web.
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: Ronan Klyne, Mark Bowers, look_closer, dharma_slut, Becky Mezz, estirose & 42 others
Departing Open Doors Volunteers: 1
Departing Survey Workgroup Volunteers: 7 volunteers, Claudia Rebaza, Betsy Rosenblatt, Lady Oscar, Sole G., Tari
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Wendymarlowe, Adrienne Gorney, Alisha Miller, Alison Watson, antisock, cake, charliebravowhiskey, Elke Tanzer, Gills, gnine, Lee, wantstothrill, Snow, snowynight, Sydni, viennajones, Jet, Lee and 24 others
Departing Translation Volunteers: 3 Translation volunteers
Departing Workgroup Members: 2 Content Policy volunteers, 2 Elections volunteers, theorangenectarine (AO3 Docs), Wereleopard58 (AO3 Docs) and 8 other AO3 Documentation volunteers

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Site Stats: A Look at 2013 and Beyond, Part 1

Published: 2014-01-27 18:38:38 -0500

2013 was another record year for the Archive of Our Own in terms of site growth and traffic increases, and we'd like to highlight some figures in this post (and the following). All raw data used for these charts is available in spreadsheet form, if you want to crunch the numbers or create some graphs yourself.

» AO3 Stats - 2013 (on Google Drive)

 

More works! More kudos! More everything!

We started the year 2009 with 182 users and a little over 2,000 works, a few of which probably said something like, "dskjdlj test test," or variations thereof. The Archive code was still being written by a small group of volunteers, who created a framework for posting, browsing, and commenting on fannish works entirely from scratch. It was considered stable enough for the general public in November 2009, when we kicked off our Open Beta phase. By January 2010, we had over 4,200 users and 36,500 works.

In 2013, we went from about 103,000 accounts to 247,000, and we passed the quarter-million mark earlier this month. (Excitement!) Roughly 416,000 new works were posted to the Archive last year, which is almost half of all our current works. (And for those reaching for the calculator right now, that's about 1,140 new works per day, on average.)

The really staggering increases, however, happened where users were interacting with each other: leaving kudos, talking in the comments, adding works to their bookmarks and recs.

 

Month-by-month growth of kudos, bookmarks, comments, works, and users for the year 2013. The high numbers and steeper increases for kudos, bookmarks, and comments dominate the chart, with the lines for works and users seemingly crawling along the bottom. All numbers can be found in the 'works & users' tab in the linked Google Drive spreadsheet.

 

We went from roughly 2 million comments in our database to almost 5.5 million, and from 10 million kudos to 28 million. (That number is one of the reasons we can't offer a feature that would give you a list of all works you've left kudos on: there's just too much data to make those calculations for each individual user while keeping the servers happy.)

What really took off in 2013 were bookmarks: 1.8 million at the beginning of 2013, almost 7 million by the end.

As it turned out, our search index code was not prepared for this amount of data at this level of user activity, and slowly broke down towards the end of last year. We are currently rewriting the relevant part of our code, making use of new tools at our disposal, for a more streamlined indexing process.

To better illustrate trends in all these numbers, here's a chart showing relative bookmark, kudos, comment, user, and work growth in 2013. (Increases are shown in percent: for example, going from 50 works to 100 would be a 100% increase, and going from 100 comments to 150 would be a 50% increase.)

 

Month-by-month relative growth of bookmarks, kudos, comments, works, and users for the year 2013 (in percent, starting on January 1, 2013). Bookmarks show the steepest increase (277%), users the lowest (77%). Kudos and comments show an almost identical growth, even though they differ in absolute numbers. All numbers can be found in the 'works & users' tab in the linked Google Drive spreadsheet.

 

Over the last twelve months, kudos and comment numbers almost doubled (both increasing by roughly 190 percent), while the number of bookmarks almost tripled (280% percent increase).

One last stat we looked at were average feedback numbers per work, given the total number of works.

 

Month-by-month growth in the average number of kudos/comments/bookmarks per work. The numbers were calculated for every month, based on data in the 'works & users' tab in the linked Google Drive spreadsheet.

 

As you can see, these numbers also went up over the year. We started out with 3.6 comments, 3.4 bookmarks, and 18 kudos per work, on average. This was followed by a relatively slow increase in works, and a much steeper increase in feedback numbers. By the end of 2013, we registered 5.8 comments, 7.3 bookmarks, and 30 kudos per work. (Of course, all these are averages across almost a million works, so a relative handful of very widely-read works in popular fandoms will drive up the numbers by quite a bit.)

 

More traffic!

One way to measure site activity is by looking at works and comments, another is through reports from our server monitoring tool, New Relic. Among many other things, it keeps track of how many pages were generated and served to our users at any given time.

We started the last year with 27.6 million page views in the first week of January 2013, which comes out to roughly 3.9 million page views a day, or 2,700 page views a minute. That's on average, of course. Sundays will be much busier than any weekday, and there are peak times and slower periods throughout the day.

In the first week of January 2014, we counted 49.5 million page views. At this rate, a Sunday with 7 million page views isn't a rarity anymore. That's an average of 4,800 pages served to users every minute.

The following graph shows this increase in page views, focusing on 2013 specifically: The first week of January represents our zero point, and the growth is charted from there.

 

Increase in weekly page views during 2013, starting at the first week of January 2013, and ending at the first week of January 2014. Every Monday-Sunday period is represented by a dot, and the dots gently meander upwards, with a steeper increase towards the end of the year. Numbers are available in the linked Google Drive spreadsheet.

 

The pattern we witnessed in 2012/2013 - increased traffic in December, with a considerable peak in the first week of January, followed by a brief lull - also held in 2013/2014.

Even though we're only hosting text-based works right now, this much site usage still generates a fair amount of traffic to and from the database. By the end of 2013, we were moving 10 Terabytes of data every month.

As mentioned before, all these numbers (and more!) are available in spreadsheet form:

» AO3 Stats - 2013 (on Google Drive)

 

This concludes our first post! The next one will follow at the beginning of February and include looks at international site usage (spoiler: we are everywhere!) and browser preferences (spoiler: a lot of people browse from phones and tablets). If you have any questions or have created any additional charts, let us know!

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What's up with the recent downtimes?

Published: 2014-01-23 16:26:51 -0500

If you're a regular Archive visitor or if you follow our AO3_Status Twitter account, you may have noticed that we've experienced a number of short downtime incidents over the last few weeks. Here's a brief explanation of what's happening and what we're doing to fix things.

The issue

Every now and then, the volume of traffic we get and the amount of data we're hosting starts to hit the ceiling of what our existing infrastructure can support. We try to plan ahead and start making improvements in advance, but sometimes things simply catch up to us a little too quickly, which is what's happening now.

The good news is that we do have fixes in the works: we've ordered some new servers, and we hope to have them up and running soon. We're making plans to upgrade our database system to a cluster setup that will handle failures better and support more traffic; however, this will take a little longer. And we're working on a number of significant code fixes to improve bottlenecks and reduce server load - we hope to have the first of those out within the next two weeks.

One area that's affected are the number of hits, kudos, comments, and bookmarks on works, so you may see delays in those updating, which will also result in slightly inaccurate search and sort results. Issues with the "Date Updated" sorting on bookmark pages will persist until a larger code rewrite has been deployed.

Behind the scenes

We apologize to everyone who's been affected by these sudden outages, and we'll do our best to minimize the disruption as we work on making things better! We do have an all-volunteer staff, so while we try to respond to server problems quickly, sometimes they happen when we're all either at work or asleep, so we can't always fix things as soon as we'd like to.

While we appreciate how patient and supportive most Archive users are, please keep in mind that tweets and support requests go to real people who may find threats of violence or repeated expletives aimed at them upsetting. Definitely let us know about problems, but try to keep it to language you wouldn't mind seeing in your own inbox, and please understand if we can't predict immediately how long a sudden downtime might take.

The future

Ultimately, we need to keep growing and making things work better because more and more people are using AO3 each year, and that's something to be excited about. December and January tend to bring a lot of activity to the site - holiday gift exchanges are posted or revealed, people are on vacation, and a number of fandoms have new source material.

We're looking forward to seeing all the new fanworks that people create this year, and we'll do our best to keep up with you! And if you're able to donate or volunteer your time, that's a huge help, and we're always thrilled to hear from you.

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Help the OTW Grow! Volunteer Today

Published: 2014-01-20 12:16:18 -0500

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

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:
  • Development & Membership Committee Staffer - 27 January 2014
  • Translation Committee Staffer - 27 January 2014
  • Communications Committee: AD&T Liaison - open until filled

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.

Development & Membership Committee Staffer
The Development & Membership committee (DevMem) coordinates the OTW's fundraising and membership-building activities. Our work includes planning membership drives, designing a convention outreach process, answering questions from donors, and exploring new fundraising opportunities. If you have skills and interests in fundraising, writing or designing promotional content, or customer service, consider applying to join our staff.
Applications are due 27 January 2014

Translation Committee Staffer
The Translation Committee coordinates localization efforts across the OTW: the translation of site pages, news posts, Archive FAQs, AO3 Support tickets, and any inquiry that reaches a committee or volunteer group in languages they can’t translate themselves. While volunteers do the actual text translation and editing, staff helps them by keeping track of priorities, deadlines and pending tasks; assigning work; talking and working with other committees to arrange tools for the volunteers; uploading translated documents; writing training and procedures documentation; and many other tasks involved in managing a wide, diverse and very active volunteer pool.

If you enjoy teamwork, if you like organizing, writing documentation and working with people, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

Applications are due 27 January 2014

Communications Committee: 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 AD&T liaison requires an individual with an interest in technical writing to help maintain that area of our communications and outreach strategy. If you are interested in the behind-the-scenes development of an open-source project, and would like to help us create and share news about the AO3, this is the position for you!
Applications will be accepted until the role is filled.

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AO3 Mail Bag: PM Feature

Published: 2013-12-31 20:51:21 -0500

Random Letter #2: How can I contact other users? Do you have a PM feature?

This is a question we get asked a lot, and we're always sorry to say that no, you can't message someone privately on the Archive yet. The feature is listed on our Roadmap, but it'll be a while yet before we can offer PMs.

On the one hand, we want to carefully consider how the new messages would fit into the current inbox layout and which features are needed right from the start to ensure user privacy and prevent abuse. We also need to optimize our mail server settings and code to handle even more emails (we currently send out around 880,000 emails per week) without getting blocked by spam filters.

On the other hand, we want to sit down with our Abuse and Support teams to come up with rules and policies to handle, for example, reports of harassment through private messages. We will also draw on their expertise in designing the feature, as they are the ones who most interact with our users.

Until we have built-in messaging, we recommend including some kind of contact information in your profile (the link to a user's profile can be found right at the top of the Dashboard / Works / Bookmarks / Gifts etc. links at the left):

If you're logged in and looking at your own profile, you will see a "Edit My Profile" button at the bottom. Once clicked, you can add links and information to your "About Me" section: your Twitter account, your Tumblr, your Dreamwidth, or anything else you feel comfortable sharing. Keep in mind that this information will be visible to everyone, not just logged-in AO3 users.

If you have any more questions, let us know via a Support ticket!

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Release Notes for Release 0.9.12

Published: 2013-12-21 09:00:28 -0500

Welcome to Release 0.9.12! Cecilia, Elz, Emily E., Enigel, James_, Karangunii, Sarken, Scott, Stephanie, and tuff_ghost, contributed code to this release, which was tested by our awesome testing team: Camilla, Enigel, JanOda, Lady Oscar, MilenaDaniels, mumble, Runt, Sarken, and Sumeria.

This is our last deploy of this year, and we sincerely thank everyone who contributed to this or previous releases, in whatever small or big ways. Every line of code, every minute of testing, every supportive cheer helps this project prosper.

A look back at growth stats for this year will be posted in January, for all fans of hard data and color-coded charts. The Accessibility, Design & Technology team will take a short break over the holidays, but will stand by for any emergencies. We have big plans for 2014 and will share any news with you as we start new adventures. See you next year!

Highlights!

Backend improvements and server work

We've had an interesting couple of months, with growing traffic and increased server load, eventually leading to a collapse of our search index. You can find details about this in our updated news post, Site slowness and other currently known issues. We've been doing a lot of server maintenance in the past few weeks to tweak things, correct some settings, and generally make sure that the site will be running more smoothly. A million thanks to our all-volunteer Systems team, and especially sysadmin James_, for all their hard work! ♥

One issue we've consistently run into is with the code that refreshes the search index for works and bookmarks. This happens, for example, when a tag is edited by our wrangling team to reflect a new tag relationship or a new character name. Since we have a lot of works and bookmarks, updating the index to reflect all changes was taking a lot of time. More often than not, one re-index run wasn't even done when a new one was started.

This deploy includes a code change in how we handle these re-indexing tasks. They are now run by a tool called Resque, which we already use for many other tasks on the site that involve a queue (e.g. all subscription notifications going out at a certain time). This change allows us to monitor the re-indexing process and throw more power at it if necessary.

We are hopeful that this change will alleviate some of our problems during the traffic-heavy holidays, but we will also continue to look into further improvements both in our code as well as our server settings.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

Release Details

Bug fixes

  • Works & Bookmarks
    • Work and bookmark re-indexing is now being queued and run in the background using Resque, making it more robust and less of a strain on the servers.
    • Backdating wasn't working correctly when posting a work without previewing first. This has now been fixed.
    • Unposted drafts (created when previewing) had no revision date, causing errors in several places on the Archive, such as item management pages for collections. We fixed this recently, and are making the fix permanent now.
    • The "Works (#)" button on user dashboards (below the five most recent works) had accidentally vanished in a previous deploy. We have now restored it and also added "Works (#)" and "Bookmarks (#)" buttons to collection dashboards for consistency.
    • The "↑ Top" button on a work page was forcing a full page refresh; it now just jumps you back to the top of the work as intended.
    • The gifts page now displays gifts a user has received in order from most recent to oldest.
    • Searches with slashes in them (i.e. all relationship tags) were giving Error 500 after a recent Elasticsearch update. We fixed this problem shortly after being alerted to it; this deploy makes the fix permanent.
  • Downloads
    • PDF and MOBI downloads were broken; we quickly fixed them after the last deploy and are making the fix permanent in this one.
    • Trying to download a MOBI file directly from a Kindle device would frequently lead to errors; we have changed the MIME type of our MOBI files so the Kindle browser can handle it correctly. (Due to another issue, multi-chapter works may need to be downloaded twice to get a functioning file.)
  • Tag Wrangling
    • If a tag wrangler ticked the "Turn off emails about comments" option in their account preferences, they would also no longer receive comment notifications from tag discussions. They will now always receive such comments.
    • Updating an unsorted tag from a page other than the first would redirect you back to page 1; this no longer happens.
    • There was a small display issue with autocomplete fields on tag editing pages; this is now fixed.
  • Misc.
    • The account creation page advised newly signed-up users to contact Support if the activation email hadn't arrived within two hours. We adjusted the time to 24 hours to account for clogged mail queues or issues with some email providers, which are delaying email delivery.
    • Our maintenance page (sometimes used for downtime during a deploy) was promising new features after the downtime; this wasn't always true, so we removed the line.
    • On our Invite Requests page, we were only displaying the number of people already in the queue. We have added the number of invites we automatically send out every day, which currently makes for a wait time of 24 hours or less.
    • On our Public Skins page, the skin descriptions were frequently one unbroken line, forcing sideways scrolling. In user inboxes, comments containing long unbroken words were also breaking the page. We have now added a fix that forces linebreaks. (In some browsers the lines won't be wrapped in the inbox; in that case a scrollbar at the bottom of the comment list should make it possible to read anyway.)

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