AO3 News

March 2015 Newsletter, Volume 89

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Release 0.9.54: Change Log

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

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


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



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


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

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


It's Time for April Showers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Feedback Needed for Open Doors Content Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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


Scheduled Downtime for AO3 and Fanlore

Published: 2015-03-18 14:37:57 -0400

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

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

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

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


Volunteer for the OTW & AO3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communications Staffer: AD&T Liaison

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

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

Applications are due 23 March 2015 UTC

Strategic Planning Staff

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

Applications are due 23 March 2015 UTC

Translation Volunteers

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

If you are fluent in one language (or more!) other than English, if you enjoy working collaboratively, if you like having flexible deadlines, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help it reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you! We really need volunteers who speak Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, European Portuguese, Finnish, Hebrew, Korean, Swedish and Turkish—but help with other languages would be much appreciated. (Please note that our German team is not accepting new members at this time.)

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

Applications are due 23 March 2015 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!

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


Release 0.9.53: Change Log

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

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


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


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

Known Issues

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

See our Known Issues page for other current issues.


February 2015 Newsletter, Volume 88

Published: 2015-03-06 12:09:28 -0500

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


Legal submitted the comments in support of our Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption petition with the U.S. Copyright Office. This submission contained 93 pages of supporting content in appendices, and was part of the every-three-year process of renewing the exemption that makes it legal for fan video makers to break encryption on DVDs to create their work. This process will continue in coming months and, as always, these documents are available for fans to view on the OTW website.

Around the same time, OTW Legal joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation in filing an amicus brief seeking rehearing in the case of Davis v. Electronic Arts, a case that deals with the relationship between free expression and right-of-publicity law.

Legal also had a few projects relating to the information part of our advocacy mission. They created two educational posts on fair use and misconceptions about it for Fair Use Week, as well as another about the recent phenomenon of Tumblr account deletions. Legal also responded to a few media requests for interviews.

Legal's working with a number of organizations to prepare a letter to the U.S. Congress regarding copyright policy. And besides helping several individual fans with queries about the law and their fan projects, they helped the OTW purchase the domain name "".


Accessibility, Design and Technology started February with Release 0.9.46, which focused on resolving January's spam issues and allowed them to re-enable the Archive's invitation queue. They followed up with two more releases that included a variety of enhancements and bug fixes before finally wrapping up February releases with a brand new homepage and Favorite Tags feature, which were received with overwhelming positivity. 1,500 Favorite Tags were created in the first 12 hours alone!

The Archive also reached 17.5 million kudos during February and has now passed half a million registered users! If you don't have an account yet, here are some reasons you might want one. The @AO3_Status Twitter account also flew past the 25,000-follower mark with 27,000 and counting.

Support has been a little bit busy with 780 tickets in January, and received about 550 tickets in the first three weeks of February. Abuse received roughly 350 tickets in February. They have recruited for new members this month, and are currently in the process of sorting through their most recent applicants. Thanks to all that applied.

Tag Wrangling answered some questions from users on Twitter and helped Support respond to several tickets. Wranglers continued to help each other out by providing translations for tags in many different languages. Additionally, some new wrangling merit badges have been added to their just-for-fun collection on the OTW's internal documentation wiki.


Open Doors announced the moves to the AO3 of the and Table for Three archives. They also continued to work with moderators of pending and in progress archives. Content Policy finalized a proposal to revise the Open Doors terms of service with Open Doors.

Translation worked with Communications on International Fanworks Day, preparing several news post translations, and were happy to see the celebrations were a success! They have also been restructuring their glossaries and all language teams are working on discussing the new terms. Our team Portuguese has also split in two to better cover language variations, leading to new teams for European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. Translation also started testing a new committee-wide team chat tool, which has already provided improvements in their day-to-day communication.

Communications was hard at work last month preparing for International Fanworks Day events and publicity. Our staff has begun planning for April Showers so if you have any suggestions of older fandoms to highlight, please contact us.

Wiki is also planning for April Showers, and ideas for specific challenges were proposed in a chat held on February 21st. The Fanlore twitter account participated in International Fanworks Day by retweeting a number of IFDrabble submissions.

Fanhackers has been working to induct two new volunteers and is brainstorming ways to develop the fan studies bibliography into a more useful resource. Journal is hard at work on production for the March and June issues.


Development & Membership is excited to be training nine new staff members and are looking forward to the next drive which will happen on May 1-6. They are currently working on theme related issues and hope to have it nailed down soon.

Elections has been busy conducting a small-scale test for our preferred voting software option and writing reports about its functions and suitability. They’ve also started cleaning up the Elections website and writing instructions for how Elections team members can post there.

Strategic Planning just finished collating all feedback offered to them on the first draft of the OTW strategic plan, and are putting together a second draft. They plan to have a second review period, so once the new draft is released in March there will be another three-week discussion and feedback period.

Strategic Planning is in the process of training three new staffers and a new chair. They hope OTW volunteers and supporters alike feel able to come to them with any questions or feedback about the strategic planning process.

New board director Jessica Steiner began holding open office hours once a week. The OTW Board continues holding the open session of their weekly meeting in the OTW's Public Discussion chatroom although hours have been changing in the past month in an effort to accommodate the different timezones of its members. Board's meeting minutes are always available on the OTW website.


Volunteers & Recruiting prepared and opened recruitment for four roles this month, while inducting the new recruits from the previous round, including welcoming new staff of their own. They said farewell to departing personnel, answered questions about recruitment and volunteering, helped people with their access to tools, and provided feedback on proposals.

New Committee Staff: C. Ryan Smith (Volunteers & Recruiting, Development & Membership), 2 other Volunteers & Recruiting, Jillian Jacobs (Development & Membership), Nica Dobles (Development & Membership), DeeCharlotte (Development & Membership), Alex Carlin (Development & Membership) & Marian H. Dews (Development & Membership), 3 other Development & Membership, and 6 Translation staffers
New Communications Volunteers: Kat St Pete
New Translator Volunteers: Marta Cardoso, Noura, and 4 others

Departing Committee Staff: Meep (Support), Megan Cummings (Open Doors), Elliot Oberholtzer (Translation), Ehryn (Support), Jennifer Radecki (Communications)
Departing Workgroup Members: 1 AO3 Documentation volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Cassandra Chan
Departing Translator Volunteers: birggitt, Carpelia, Hirannis, DeeCharlotte, timetowakeup, and 5 others.

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


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