AO3 News

Post Header

AO3 logo wearing a party hat, with the words '1 Million Celebration'

The Organization for Transformative Works is thrilled to announce another milestone for the Archive of Our Own: one million registered users!

one million users

The Archive of Our Own was conceived based on a desire to have a fan-controlled space where fanworks could be hosted without commercial influence or content restrictions. It took two and a half years to go from that initial idea to Open Beta, but on November 14th, 2009, members of the public began opening accounts on AO3. The archive began to grow, and the milestones began piling up. We hit the incredible one million fanworks milestone on February 15th, 2014, and instituted the first annual International Fanworks Day on February 15th, 2015, in celebration.

When the Archive reached its two million fanworks milestone, we celebrated the dedication of all our users, registered and not, who inspire us to volunteer and help keep the OTW's projects going. Now that we've reached one million registered users, we want to celebrate and thank them in particular--the creators sharing fanworks, moderators hosting challenges and exchanges, readers curating collections, and commenters encouraging everyone to keep up the good work. Without your support and creativity, none of this would be possible. Without users, there would be no Archive of Our Own, and we appreciate all of the passion and hard work you share with us every day.

There's a lot of excitement to come here at the Archive, so keep visiting to see what's happening next. Thank you again for all of your support, and we hope you continue to enjoy the Archive!


Post Header

2016-10-30 17:20:42 -0400

We fixed a couple of bugs, cleaned up some code, and also added a whole lot of Cucumber tests to our suite. Mmm, veggies!


  • Coders: Ariana, bingeling, james, Sarken, tickinginstant
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, james, Naomi, Sarken
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Rebecca Sentance, Runt, Sarken


Bug Fixes

  • [AO3-3213] - Certain combinations of letters and characters in user-entered tags, such as "a.k.a." would lead to errors when trying to look at work listings for that tag. It was also impossible for wranglers to fix those, so a database admin had to step in. Now these can be wrangled just like any other tags!
  • [AO3-4375] - When logging in for the first time, new users are greeted with a small banner offering tips & tricks about Archive features and options. Our Docs team has now updated and clarified much of this information, and added links to our ever-expanding FAQ. (Hint: Tick the "Turn the new user help banner back on." option in your Preferences to access this content.)
  • [AO3-1654] - Deleting comments in a long thread could render undisplayed comments inaccessible. Now, you can properly access the rest of the thread.
  • [AO3-4663] - We added a meta tag to our layout which forces Internet Explorer to display pages in EdgeHTML mode, the highest standards mode supported by IE.
  • [AO3-4700] - We fixed a problem with the status badges in our README and switched the image links to a new service which provides a crisper look.

Automated Tests

  • [AO3-4684] - We use a little tool that tells us if our code is sufficiently covered by test cases. This release updates the necessary gems to improve the tool's accuracy.
  • [AO3-4677] - We also added coverage monitoring to the service we use for deploying new code to our Test Archive.
  • [AO3-4695] - Increased our fandoms-related test coverage.
  • [AO3-4694] - Increased our invitations-related test coverage.
  • [AO3-4690] - Increased our tags-related test coverage.
  • [AO3-4675] - Increased test coverage for our internal API.
  • [AO3-4673] - Increased test coverage for skins-related activities.
  • [AO3-4678] - 99 lines of tests on the wall, 99 lines of tests! Take one away -- actually, add 99 lines, which in this case cover tag wrangling procedures -- 15,289,462,899 lines of tests on the wall!
  • [AO3-4688] - In a continuing theme, we increased our gift exchange test coverage.
  • [AO3-4680] - Ditto, for AO3 admin activities.
  • [AO3-4670] - And even more admin activities.
  • [AO3-4679] - This one's for test cases relating to the invitation queue.
  • [AO3-4672] - AO3 admins can add languages to the Archive database, which will then appear in the language drop-down when posting a new work, for example. We added a test for this!
  • [AO3-4671] - There's now also a test for deleting or orphaning multiple works at once. "How are they not at 120% test coverage at this point???" I hear you ask. But apparently we are not.


  • [AO3-4646] - Updated the gem we use for parsing HTML in user-entered text.
  • [AO3-4697] - There were a lot of files that included old database tasks we weren't using anymore. Got rid of those! \o/
  • [AO3-4674] - We also cleaned up instances of devmode code that wasn't used anymore.
  • [AO3-4662] - Same for some outdated API code.
  • [AO3-4653] - Added some code to reduce the number of errors logged when tags are changed.
  • [AO3-4643] - This fix removes spurious errors logged when a subscription is deleted before the batch containing its notification is sent.
  • [AO3-4660] - This one is aimed at reducing errors we saw when works weren't being properly re-indexed.
  • [AO3-4645] - Sometimes, notifications weren't sent when works were added to a collection (due to a miscommunication between database records and mailers). We added code to address these errors.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


Post Header

2016-10-26 12:37:16 -0400

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

Can you code, write documentation or organize things? The Organization for Transformative Works is looking for AO3 Documentation staff, AD&T Coding volunteers, and Tag Wrangling volunteers!

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Translation volunteers and Communications staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • AO3 Documentation Staff - closing 2 November 2016 UTC
  • AD&T Coding Volunteers - closing 2 November 2016 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling volunteers - closing 2 November 2016 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, please check back in 2017 for our next openings.

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.

AO3 Documentation Committee Staff

AO3 Documentation is the committee that writes and updates AO3 FAQs, tutorials, and more. We're looking for people who love the Archive of Our Own and who have experience with writing and proofreading user help documentation. If you enjoy helping your fellow fans learn how the AO3 works, apply to join the Docs team!

Applications are due 2 November 2016 UTC

Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee Coding Volunteers

The Accessibility, Design, & Technology committee coordinates design and development of the software that powers the Archive of Our Own. It is currently seeking experienced Ruby on Rails developers to enhance features, fix bugs, and write tests; however, self-motivated devs with prior experience in a server-side language who are interested in learning Ruby are also welcome to apply!

If you don't have the time to commit to formally volunteering for the OTW, we gratefully accept bug fixes from anyone on GitHub! Please check out our contributing guidelines before submitting a pull request.

Applications are due 2 November 2016 UTC

Tag Wrangling Committee Volunteers

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

If you’re an experienced AO3 user who likes organizing, working in teams, or excuses to fact-check your favorite fandoms, you might enjoy tag wrangling!

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

Applications are due 2 November 2016 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


Post Header

Due South Archive (DSA) a due South fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Due South Archive (DSA) was opened in 1994, and accepted all types of due South fanfiction. To preserve access to the stories for new (and old!) due South fans, the archive will be moved to the AO3.

Open Doors will be working with Speranza, the current archivist, to import the Due South Archive into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. We will begin importing works from the Due South Archive to the AO3 collection after November 2016.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on Due South Archive?

All works archived on the behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. Before we import, we'll do our best to check the AO3 for an existing copy. If we find one, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

Please contact Open Doors with your Due South Archive pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), if:

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

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

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

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

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Due South Archive 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 the Due South Archive!

- The Open Doors team


Post Header

OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Our October 2016 drive is now complete, and all of us at the Organization for Transformative Works would like to thank you for your participation and generosity. Together, we raised US$139,159.45 from 5518 individual donations!

Each and every participant in this drive has helped us continue to thrive as an organization, which means our projects and teams will keep growing and we’ll be able to do more outreach. Your participation has strengthened our community, allowing us to serve you better.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our returning members, who make what we do possible, and we are proud to welcome over 1200 new members to the OTW. We’re truly grateful to everyone who supports us, whether by donating, signal-boosting, volunteering, or encouraging our work. You’ve got our kudos!

Kudos growth graph on AO3, from zero in 2010 to over 60 million as of September 2016.
Growth graph for works and comments created each year on AO3, starting from zero in 2008 to over 500,000 works and 9.5 million comments this year alone.

(And don’t forget: even though the drive is over, you can contribute to the OTW at any time!)


Post Header

OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

The OTW Legal team works every day in defense of fandom's right to create fanworks. They work to prevent unfair takedowns and lawsuits against fans, to secure exemptions that protect fans’ rights, and to participate in cases that may have an impact on fandom. To support our legal advocacy work, please make a donation.

Our Legal team also helps fans by answering their questions about fair use and their rights as content creators, and by publishing posts about new legal developments. They speak at panels about remix culture, what constitutes fair use, and how fan culture can help all content creators find their voices and gain more skills.

The OTW Legal team works primarily in the United States, although they're branching out to defend fair use principles in other parts of the world as well, including Europe, South Africa, and Australia. If you live in the US, Legal may have helped you if:

  • You cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands)
  • You make fan video (Paramount/CBS Fan Film “Guidelines”)
  • You’ve used the word "fandom" (Petition to cancel "FANDOM" trademark)
  • You write RPF (Davis v. Electronic Arts)
  • You’ve ever made a remix (Petition to grant DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixes)

Work that Legal Advocacy has done this year related to different types of fan activity: cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands), writing (Davis v. Electronic Arts, petition to cancel

You can find out more about their work by visiting the Legal page on our website and support their advocacy by donating today!


Post Header

OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Have you ever wondered where the fanworks on AO3 are stored? Ever wanted to take a peek behind the scenes? The Organization for Transformative Works, the nonprofit behind the Archive of Our Own, Open Doors, Fanlore and Transformative Works and Cultures, owns the servers that run nonstop to host our projects. With your support, we can maintain and upgrade our servers as our projects grow and expand every year.

We're here to archive your creations, and we take the duty of preserving your fanworks seriously. By owning our own servers, we avoid being subject to other companies' terms of service and potential censorship. Without our servers, none of this would be possible!

As our community and our projects keep expanding, our servers need the capacity to keep up with the volume:

Our servers
Our servers run code, send notifications, store fanworks, wrangle tags and serve pages to visitors. Common server costs: $40,200 in yearly hosting fees, $37,420 for two database servers and about $4,000 for a general purpose server—the first two of which the OTW spent this year.
AO3 currently has around 1 million members, over 2.5 million fanworks, 134 million weekly page views (43% growth over last year) and 10 million monthly unique visitors (18% growth over last year).

Adapted from the OTW 2016 budget.

We need to make sure our servers are up to date and able to handle these demands so that pages load quickly. To help keep the AO3's servers up and running and the OTW's projects thriving, please make a donation today!


Post Header

2016-10-09 17:41:43 -0400

This release includes several bug fixes concerning gift exchanges, the usual handful of miscellaneous improvements, and a much improved challenge matching process!

We have drastically sped up gift exchange matching by reducing the number of database queries involved in the process. Through the magic of hash mapping, caching, batching, indexing, and pre-processing, we've made matching at least five to ten times faster, depending on your challenge settings -- and we've eliminated the recently-implemented constraints that were causing difficulties for challenges that relied on hand-matching. Note that you won't notice any difference when putting your challenge together -- all these changes only affect back-end processes.

We think that all gift exchanges will benefit from the new code, but some challenges will see especially noticeable improvements. This includes single-fandom exchanges as well as fanwork fests that let participants offer and request fic, art, podfic, etc. through Additional Tags.

(Shoutout to tickinginstant for not only making these changes, but for doing it as a drive-by contributor through our GitHub presence. Many, many thanks! ♥)


  • Coders: james, Naomi, Sarken, tickinginstant
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, james, Naomi, Sarken
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, Naomi, Sarken



  • [AO3-4635] - We vastly improved the way challenge matches are calculated, which should ensure a much smoother experience for gift exchange mods and participants. Additionally, we now have much better automated test coverage for this feature.
  • [AO3-4505] - In the challenge settings, gift exchange mods can set a message to be sent to all participants with their assignment. Previously, line breaks in that message would not be preserved in the emails. Now they are!
  • [AO3-4652] - When a challenge assignment didn't include a rating -- either because rating wasn't an option on the sign-up form or because the recipient had not chosen a rating -- assignment emails included a line saying "Rating: Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings." This managed to be both inaccurate and unnecessary, so we removed it. Now ratings will only appear in assignment emails if your recipient has specified a rating.
  • [AO3-4654] - The assignment emails weren't properly listing all tag types (Rating, Warning, Relationship, etc.) that had been set to "Any" in the matched participant's sign-up. Fixed!
  • [AO3-4656] - In further assignment email bugs, a link to the user's Assignments page was mislabeled as "your archive dashboard"; this is now properly labeled.
  • [AO3-4657] - Challenge assignment emails included an ugly "Sent at sent_at" mishap in the footer. Now the line displays the actual time the message was sent.
  • [AO3-4655] - The "Optional Tags:" line in challenge sign-up blurbs was rather misaligned and has been nudged into its proper position now.


  • [AO3-4664] - We fixed a security issue regarding pseuds that could occur when commenting, bookmarking, signing up for a challenge, posting a chapter, or nominating a tag.
  • [AO3-4343] - The automated response to Support form submissions also included the "Sent at sent_at" line in the footer. Not anymore! In fact, it's been fixed for all emails where this problem occurred. \o/
  • [AO3-4616] - One of our automated tests would sometimes fail for no discernible reason. A reason has been found and now it shouldn't fail anymore. (Rule #1: It's always caching. Rule #2: It's always caching.)
  • [AO3-4651] - We limit the number of abuse reports about any given work on the Archive, as even one message will make sure the Abuse team investigates the case. This feature came loose in our last deploy, however. Now it's working again!

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


Pages Navigation