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Published:
2016-09-11 12:11:25 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Alison Watson, who volunteers as a staffer for the Open Doors Committee

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

The OTW's mission is to provide access to and preserve the history of fanworks and fan culture, and the Open Doors committee is really central to that! In fact, our committee's own mission is specifically to protect and preserve at-risk fanworks of all kinds. We have two divisions -- the Fanculture Preservation Project (FCPP), which is all about preserving physical fanworks through our partnership with the University of Iowa Library, and the Online Archive Rescue Project, which is what I focus on.

The Online Archive Rescue Project is about preserving fanwork archives which are in danger of being lost because the archive's owner can't maintain them any longer. Sometimes this is because they don't have the resources to keep their website up any longer, sometimes it's because their archive software has degraded over time and it's no longer functional. More rarely it's because the mod has left fandom or passed away. Whatever the reason, we try to help, because we want people to be able to enjoy the works for as long as possible. I also think it's important to have a record of what fans have created, for ourselves as a community.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

It varies from week to week, depending on where we are on different stages of archive imports, and how much assistance we're providing the moderators. We're mostly facilitators, so lots of emailing and drafting things like documentation and announcement posts! Each Open Doors staffer takes point on one (or more) archive import projects, though as we work as a team we're able to answer queries if the on-point staffer isn't available.

So my week usually includes:

  • Discussing our process with moderators who want to move their archive
  • Emailing other committees to ask them for help with things like mapping tags from an archive to AO3 canonical tags, or translating announcements
  • replying to inquiries from people who have works on an archive that's being imported
  • drafting announcements and other posts so that people can find out about our imports
  • creating AO3 archivist accounts and collections
  • searching the AO3 to make sure that we don't import duplicate works
  • importing works on behalf of archivists
  • creating and updating Fanlore pages to preserve as much as we can about the original archives

What made you decide to volunteer?

I started in the OTW in 2009 as a Tag Wrangler, because a fandom friend was talking about it and it sounded fun -- I'm a librarian, so organisation is one of my things! My work as a wrangler led me to the AD&T Committee, and then when Tag Wrangling became an official committee, I was an inaugural member, and later a co-chair. After my experiences on the volunteer management side of things, I joined the Volunteers & Recruiting Committee, where I currently co-chair.

I studied preservation & digital preservation as part of my library degree and it wasn't hard to relate that to my fannish life. It horrifies me, how much of the internet, of our fandom history and our fanworks, we're losing. So when I found myself with some more time, I joined Open Doors to help prevent this as much as I could.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

I've made some great friends through the OTW -- I definitely find working with other volunteers motivating, even if sometimes the work itself is less fun! I've met a couple of people offline and I hope to get the opportunity to meet more people in future <3

Specifically about Open Doors, I enjoy importing works, even when it's something really different from what I'd read personally (or view, or otherwise access -- we're not limited to fanfiction in our imports) . I like knowing that someone out there is going to get the opportunity to love it, and often we get some great comments from people discovering older works. Seeing kudos emails on works we've preserved is great!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I tend to consider myself mainly a consumer of fannish products, because like most of us, I read a lot of fanfiction! On the creation side, years ago I made a couple of vids, but these days my output is more likely to be fancrafts (knitting and crocheting) than anything else. Although it's also work, I do consider volunteering for the OTW a fannish activity. Similarly, I co-run a small slash-focused con. A group of local fen meet up regularly and it's great to just sit around and chat about whatever with other fans!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts. And don't forget that as part of our Open Doors celebration on Sunday, September 18th from 17:00-19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone) we'll be doing a live chat to which you are all invited!

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Three X-Files fanfiction archives, The Basement, ScullySlash and The Spooky Awards, are being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Basement is an X-Files m/m slash archive, while the Scully Slash Archive is an X-Files femslash archive with stories primarily focused on Dana Scully but all female X-Files characters are welcome. Works from these archives were also displayed at Red Light District (R rated & above) and the Slipper Archive (PG-13 rated and lower), depending on their rating.

The Spooky Awards were an annual fan-run event to recognize excellence in X-Files fan fiction, and the winners were archived by year on their own site.

The archives are being moved to AO3 to ensure the stories are always available and so that authors may have complete control of their own works.

Open Doors will be working with the moderator, alice ttlg, to import these three archives into separate, searchable collections on the Archive of Our Own. Eventually the links going to the old sites will re-direct to the collections on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs.

We will begin importing works from The Basement, ScullySlash and the SpookyAwards to the AO3 collections in September 2016.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on The Basement, ScullySlash, or the Spooky Awards?

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. Open Doors will then set up the URL redirects, and we will permanently close down the site.

Please contact Open Doors with your The Basement, ScullySlash, or the Spooky Awards 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 The Basement, ScullySlash, and Spooky Awards 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 Basement, ScullySlash, and the Spooky Awards!

- The Open Doors team

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Published:
2016-09-07 13:11:14 -0400

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

I. ELECTIONS NEWS AND INFORMATION

Elections: It's the final stretch! The Election is so close we can taste it! As it approaches, you may have some questions. Well buddy, we've got some answers! The Elections Committee website has seen the relaunch of our FAQ - back and more informative than ever. And from our lovely candidates come their Q&As, all answered, posted, and available for public viewing.

At this point in time the Membership deadline has passed. Anyone who became a member between August 24, 2015 and August 23, 2016, inclusive of both dates will be eligible to vote in the 2016 Election.

Voting instructions are up for this year. We will be sending out an email linking to the voting instructions within the next week. We will post to the website once that has been sent; please watch for that post. Also, we'll be removing addresses that bounce, opt out, or mark that email as spam from our voter rolls, so those addresses will not be sent a ballot this year. Make sure you have whitelisted emails from transformativeworks.org and opavote.org to ensure you can receive a ballot this year!

The next candidate chat will be on September 10 from 22:00 UTC to 23:30 UTC. The format and platform have changed! We've talked a little more in depth about that at our shiny new Elections Tumblr account. For more updates, follow us there! Did we mention how shiny and new it is? We're quite proud.

It's not just the Elections committee that's busy; this month, Communications collaborated with Development and Membership on a mini voter drive ahead of the elections.

II. GOVERNANCE AND FINANCE

This month Board approved staff and chairs for a number of committees, premiums for the mini drive and the next membership drive and an emergency purchase for Systems. Board also dealt with some issues with the election timeline and a couple of external requests.

Finance has been contacting all committees to prepare an updated version of the organization's 2016 budget.

Strategic Planning has been hard at work including the newly formed Financial Committee in the current draft of the Plan. This involved meetings, emails, more meetings, and making new friends!

III. AT THE AO3

Abuse received about 400 tickets this past month.

Open Doors announced the upcoming import for two Harry Potter archives, HP Fandom and The Hex Files, worked on the announcement and import preparation for 4 other archives, and assisted with importing works on several other archives in progress.

AO3 Documentation has uploaded an updated Bookmarks FAQ and have several more on the go as usual.

Tag Wrangling helped Open Doors with 2 last-minute requests for tag mapping assistance, completed an interview request for a PhD Student, and restarted the AO3 Wrangling Project, in which wranglers clean up neglected small fandoms.

IV. RECRUITMENT AND PARTICIPATION

In the next couple of months the Abuse, AO3 Documentation and Communications committees will be recruiting new volunteers. Stay tuned for announcements from these committees, and if you're interested in participating in the day-to-day running of the Organization and its many projects, make sure you apply!

In September Communications will be celebrating Open Doors as part of OTW's 9th anniversary celebration. This will include a panel discussion with 3 librarians who work with fannish collections on September 18 from 17:00-19:00 UTC in the Public Discussion chat room. Please note the event may interfere with other meetings planned on Campfire at the same time.

V. TECHNICAL WIZARDRY

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed nine releases in August. Most of these were behind the scenes, but they also tackled a few issues relating to buttons, emails, URLs, and drives, and last but certainly not least, upgraded the version of Ruby!

New Webs staffers have finished training and are making great headway on their tasks. With the extra help, Webs has significantly cut down their response time for feature requests and bug reports. They have also implemented an on-call rotation, which (hopefully) will help reduce response time even more, and ensure that site updates can be run as soon as they are released.

This month, Systems is working with Open Doors to get archives moved over.

VI. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Legal: In July, Legal welcomed five new committee members! A warm welcome to Rebecca Katz, Elizabeth Townsend Gard, Stacey Lantagne, Ona Lu, and Nemopedia.

Highlights of this month's tasks included recruiting for the newly reformed Finance Committee.

As of the 28th of August, the OTW has 594 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Sammie Louise (AO3 Docs)
New Committee Staff:thegirlwiththemouseyhair (Legal), etownsendgard (Legal) and 1 other Legal staffer, 1 Translation staffer
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Captured_in_LSpace, Amy Shepard, coaldustcanary, Issay, Chiral, libraryphiliac, Hòa, Lana Garcia, shanmacca71, Suna Zekioglu, NarwhalsAreUnicornsToo, Lance, ugami, erinaconyx, Nrandom, Kate1098, Sweety_Mutant, flawsinthevoodoo, APgeeksout, Yoru, SnarkyLlama, Rosa V, Redner, lucylivesherlife, halfhuman2214, noiselesspatientspider, Kyaerie, Cerch, vulcan, zopponde, blondcockerel, thumbsplitter, momma2bugandbean, Shaeleigh, Sybylla, Aaron_Harris, Méme, CaptainXeno, django32, hurricanesmiles
New Translator Volunteers: Günay

Departing Committee Chairs: hele braustein (AO3 Docs)
Departing Committee Staff: Nerine Luna Cyran (Tag Wrangling, Abuse), Katrina Hueniken (Volcom), Nikki D (Abuse), Jeniouis (Webs) 1 Finance Staffer
Departing Communications Volunteers: Sidhrat
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Sashataakheru, Caitlin, Jesse, Estirose and 4 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Allons-y, rocksoundc, Nerine Luna Cyran, firebreathing, Rana Kamal, 5 others

A particular shout-out to our new tag wranglers. The committee reports that the new wranglers are doing an awesome job with training- 32 wranglers have already been granted wrangling permissions!

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Published:
2016-09-05 12:28:57 -0400
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OTW 9th anniversary

Today marks 9 years that the OTW launched, and we have some celebrations and activities planned this month to celebrate!

This September we will be putting the spotlight on our Open Doors project, discussing the importance of preserving fanworks and fannish history. This will include our Five Things series where we talk with OTW volunteers about the work they do for us. We'll also have a Guest Post with Versaphile, an archive owner whose sites have been imported into the AO3 by Open Doors.

In addition to the announcement about the Sinful Desire archive there will be several more announcements from Open Doors this month about archives that will be imported to AO3, so keep an eye out!

And on Sunday, September 18th from 17:00-19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone) we'll be doing a live chat to which you are all invited! Three librarians who work with popular culture, science fiction and fantasy collections, all of which include fanworks, will be available to answer questions about their work, their collections, and preserving fannish history.

Our panelists will be

The chat will be held in our Public Discussion chatroom.

For anyone who wants to find out more about the Open Doors project, please visit its website or catch up on news about their activities.

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Published:
2016-09-04 05:14:22 -0400
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We have whitelisted two new sites for vid embedding purposes (and removed a couple of others), made sure external services don't get stuck on the adult content warning when they're trying to reach a work, prettied things up a bit here and there, and squashed a handful of miscellaneous bugs.

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, dolleye, james, Sarken, tickinginstant
  • Code reviewers: james, Naomi, Priscilla, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: Alison, Lady Oscar, mumble

Details

Misc.

  • [AO3-4533] - Once upon a time, the Organization for Transformative Works website was somewhat unstable, so we had to temporarily host a donation page on the Archive. The OTW site is now much more reliable, so we've removed the temporary page and updated our Donate page with the new link and a reassurance that we will never link your financial information to your AO3 name.
  • [AO3-4516] - Most websites these days use the HTTPS protocol to make sure any communication they have with users' computers is secure. In order to switch the Archive to HTTPS, we have begun updating our code so our links no longer use absolute URLs like http://archiveofourown.org/works, but rather relative URLs like /works.
  • [AO3-3496] - It used to take so long for a work to be added to or removed from your Marked for Later list that it was easy to think it hadn't worked and you needed to click the button again. Unfortunately, that would just undo whatever action you originally intended to do. Now your Marked for Later list will be updated immediately, eliminating any confusion and just making things more convenient.
  • [AO3-4547] - Previously, even small updates to our notification banners (used to inform users about site-wide issues, or during OTW fundraising drives) would make the banner pop up again even if a logged-in user had already dismissed it. We have now added an option for admins to prevent this from happening.
  • [AO3-4585] - In very rare cases, trying to create a new account would bring up an 404 error page. We have put in a fix that will hopefully put an end to this.
  • [AO3-4597] - When a page on the Archive has many button-style links in a row, the buttons can sometimes wrap onto multiple lines (e.g. on narrow screens). Previously, there was no white space separating one row of links from the other, which looked bad and made the buttons harder to select on touch screens. This has been fixed!
  • [AO3-4628] - An encoding error was preventing Open Doors from importing works that had certain characters (like curly quotes) in metadata fields. This has been fixed!
  • [AO3-4564] - Our Ruby version has been upgraded from 2.1.9 to 2.2.5! Baby steps.
  • [AO3-4624] - We made a small update to our Rails install.
  • [AO3-4631] - When a bot tried to access a work with an R or E rating (or no rating), it was served the adult content warning rather than the work. That was annoying for sites like Pinboard and the Internet Archive, so now we're letting bots bypass the warning page.

Emails

  • [AO3-4420] - We've been working with the Translation committee to test some code for translating AO3 emails, and they found a problem with the way we coded plurals in kudos emails. We've fixed it now, so experimentation can resume!
  • [AO3-3947] - Even after setting the preference to turn off emails about gift works, users would still get those emails. Now they won't.
  • [AO3-4615] - A naked URL in the HTML version of our sign-up confirmation email was messing with the email's layout. We have now dressed up the link in the proper HTML.

Embeds

  • [AO3-4627] - We added Vidder Tube to our list of whitelisted domains, so you can embed vids into AO3 works.
  • [AO3-4335] - Same for the Internet Archive.
  • [AO3-4626] - Both Blip.tv and Viddler are now-defunct sites and have been removed from the whitelist.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Sinful Desires banner featuring Sam and Dean Winchester from 'Supernatural'

Sinful Desire, a Wincest and J2 Supernatural archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

Sinful Desire was started in April 2006, and 10 years later, is home to almost 4,500 stories and has over 3,500 members. However, the archive runs on an outdated version of eFiction, and spambots and other technical upkeep, as well as financial costs, make it difficult for spiffyartgirl, the site administrator, to continue maintaining Sinful Desire as is. To preserve the archive's works and allow it to continue to grow, Open Doors will be working with a migration team to import Sinful Desire into a separate, searchable collection with its own identity. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can continued to be found with their old URLs. We will begin importing works from Sinful Desire to the AO3 collection after September.

What does this mean for creators who have work on Sinful Desire?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

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

2. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one to import your works yourself, please contact Open Doors with your Sinful Desire pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "Sinful Desire" in the subject heading.) Please visit the Open Doors website for instructions on importing works to the Sinful Desire collection on the AO3.

3. 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 Sinful Desire pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "Sinful Desire" 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.

4. If you would NOT like your works moved, please contact Open Doors with your Sinful Desire pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (Please include "Sinful Desire" in the subject heading.) If you would not mind your works being preserved but do not want your name attached to them any longer, please let us know that too--we can orphan your works instead of leaving them behind to be deleted.

All works archived on a creator’s behalf will be attributed with the creator’s name in the byline of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. When all works have been accounted for, the Open Doors committee will set up the URL redirects.

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.

If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Sinful Desire account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (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 the Sinful Desire mod to confirm your claims.)

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 Sinful Desire 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 Sinful Desire!

- The Open Doors team

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Published:
2016-08-31 12:15:34 -0400
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Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

Are you interested in volunteering for the Organization for Transformative Works with Communications, Strategic Planning, or Volunteers & Recruiting?

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Finance Committee Staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Communications Committee Staff - Posting Specialist - closing 7 September 2016 UTC
  • Strategic Planning Staff - closing 7 September 2016 UTC
  • Volunteers & Recruiting staff - closing 7 September 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, 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 Committee Staff - Posting Specialist: The Communications Committee is the central information distributing arm of the OTW, 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, and serves all of the organization's committees and projects.

The Posting Specialist is responsible for scheduling and overseeing the posting of content to the OTW's main website as well as content that is cross-posted from the main blog to the Archive of Our Own.

Applications are due 7 September 2016

Strategic Planning Committee Staff: The Strategic Planning Committee is recruiting for new staff members! We are a close-knit and collaborative committee of people who are tasked with researching, developing, and supporting the implementation of the strategic plan. We are looking for organized people well-versed in problem-solving, survey design, and survey implementation with knowledge of or a background in nonprofit governance. A strong background in research and informational interviewing is a plus, but not a requirement. We welcome all perspectives and are actively interested in people with diverse views on fandom and the OTW!

Applications are due 7 September 2016

Volunteers & Recruiting Committee Staff: Volunteers & Recruiting staff guide and manage services, policies, recruitment and volunteer management for the entire organization; compose and maintain organization policy and training documentation; and communicate with other committees and workgroups in the Organization for Transformation Works on matters related to organization tools and staffing needs. Volunteers & Recruiting staff also serve as a neutral party for personnel-related issues.

Applications are due 7 September 2016

Apply at the volunteering page!

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OTW Elections 2016: are you ready? Monthly calendar for 2016 with the 23rd day marked.

It's almost election time! The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), the nonprofit behind the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Transformative Works and Cultures and other projects, will hold elections for its Board of Directors on September 23–26, 2016.

In order to vote, you need to be a member of the OTW by August 23, 2016. That means that you have to have made a donation of US$10 or more since September 23, 2015 AND have chosen the "membership" option. If you're unsure whether this applies to your donation, please contact our Development & Membership team.

If you participate in this Voter Registration Drive, we are offering a special thank-you gift: everyone who donates US$15 or more can receive a three-pack of special OTW election stickers. Don’t miss your chance to vote in this election. Donate today!

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