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Published:
2009-11-15 06:05:26 -0500
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Open Beta - how it's going!

We're now in the second day of Open Beta for the Archive of Our Own! It's been a crazy weekend! Here are a few updates on how it's all going.

First of all, some of you will have noticed that we did experience some site downtime between roughly 6:00 UTC and 7:45 UTC. Sorry about this! The good news is that this was not caused by excessive volume on our servers, but by a bug which caused a server process to hang. Happily this was very easy to fix - the outage only went on so long because it happened to strike at a moment when all our Systems people were unavailable. (Our Systems team are beyond awesome, but they are few in number and sometimes they have to eat and sleep!) We're working on a more permanent fix for this bug.

Our site downtime was a timely reminder that we need a better way to communicate quickly with users when the site goes down. From now on we'll be posting to AO3_Status on Twitter with any status updates. You can subscribe to us on Twitter, follow the RSS feed, or just check the Twitter page directly to stay informed about site status.

That short hiccup aside, things have been going GREAT so far. The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that invitations have been issued a bit faster than the queue estimate suggests. This is because the queue estimates the time your invitation will go out based on the number set to be issued automatically. We've been issuing batches manually to give the process a headstart, and we've actually issued them slightly faster than we planned. This is because even at peak usage times, the servers have been coping really well with the extra load. (As mentioned above, the problems they did experience were caused by a bug, not the usage volume.) We're really happy that we've been able to bring in lots of new users right away!

Depending on how things go in the next 12 hours, we will probably issue one or two more batches of invitations to addresses in the queue manually. After that, batches of invitations will be issued automatically on a daily basis, although we'll be monitoring the site carefully to be sure that everything is as it should be.

A few statistics for your interest:

Number of shareable invitation codes issued to existing account holders: 451
Number of invitations issued to addresses from the queue: 958
Total invitations issued: 1410
Total unused invitations out there: 663

Number of accounts before Open Beta: 347
Number of accounts at present: 1076
Potential number of accounts: 1707
Accounts created during Open Beta: 747
Percent invitation uptake: 62%
Percent increase in accounts: 315%

Number of works before Open Beta: 6598
Number of works at present: 9506
Works created during Open Beta: 2908
Percent increase in works: 144%

Number of fandoms represented before Open Beta: 674
Number of fandoms represented at present: 886
New fandoms created: 212
Percent increase in fandoms: 131%

 

You can see from the above that the site has already expanded massively! We're over the moon that it is holding up so well, and we're very excited about seeing the variety of fandom represented. Remember, we welcome fans from all corners of fandom. If you don't see your fandom represented in the Archive at the moment, then it just means you might get to be the person to add it! You don't have to wait for us to add a tag for your fandom, just enter it manually and we'll take care of it!

Since the site is still in Beta, there are still bugs floating around and many more improvements planned. We're happy to be receiving lots of feedback through our Support and Feedback form. Our amazing Support team is doing a sterling job responding to the support requests and general feedback that's come through already. So far, we've received 200 support requests and have responded to approximately 150 of them. We've also helped with a few problems in our Support Chatroom. Please feel free to drop in there and chat with us!

You can find more information about the Archive of Our Own and Open Beta under our posts Announcing Open Beta, Open Beta is here! and Archive Open Beta News and FAQs.

This Open Beta launch is the culmination of more than two years of work by a whole host of people: the coders and systems people who built the Archive itself, the host of people managing design and documentation, the dedicated testers who worked out the bugs, those who raised funding and organised volunteers, those who wrote policies and worked out the legal issues, translators, tag wranglers, support people and many many more. It's also the fruit of the amazing support of fandom. We're pleased and proud that it is going so well - thank you to everyone!

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Published:
2009-11-14 11:10:22 -0500
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We're now eight hours into Open Beta for the Archive of Our Own, and we're really excited to see people signing up and using the Archive. So far, we've seen new 493 accounts created, and our new users have added more than 1500 new works in over 150 fandoms! Our lovely front-end coder and support volunteer Cesy has been tracking our progress with some beautiful graphs: New users and fandoms since Open Beta and New works since Open Beta.

If you have questions about what Open Beta is and how to get an account, please check out our Announcing Open Beta post \0/

Open Beta is still beta, and as such the site still has a few kinks. We really value the feedback that our new users have been giving us, and our lovely Support team are working hard to respond to queries as fast as possible. In order to keep our users informed, we'd like to highlight a few of the more common issues and questions here:

Invitation queue


If you sign up via our invitation queue and have trouble entering your email address, check there aren't any extra spaces before or after it. This has been causing a few problems with our validation - it's a bug that will be fixed very soon.

If you joined the invitation queue and when you check back it says you're not in the queue, then please check your spam for your invitation email. If it hasn't shown up, then submit a support request and we'll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Invitation codes


If you receive an invitation via email, you can just click on the link to get to the sign-up page and your code will be entered automatically.

If you are an existing user of the Archive and you'd like to give a code to a friend, then you need to give them an invitation link, not just the raw code. You can choose to send them an email via 'Invitations' on your user home, and this will happen automatically. If you want to share a code without sending an email, then go to 'Manage invitations' and you'll see an option to 'Copy and use' your existing codes. Click on this to copy the invitations link - it's this that you need to share with people.

Account names


The Archive of Our Own allows you to post under various pseuds. However, these are linked to your account name, and this name will be displayed publicly on the site. Therefore, ensure your user name is one you don't mind other people seeing! Please also take care entering it, as it's difficult to change once it's been created.

We'll be improving the information text on the account creation page shortly to make this clearer - sorry to those of you who were confused.

Problems with special characters


We are experiencing some problems with special characters such as em-dashes (the long 'double hyphen'), umlauts and accents. In some cases, these characters will cause posts or imports to be cut off. If this happens to you, a workaround at present is to use the raw html coding for the special character (see this list of html entities for reference). We're working hard to put in a proper fix as soon as possible. (We hope it won't discourage posting in languages other than English in the meantime - we're excited to see works in Czech, German, French and Spanish already!)

We'll keep updating our Known Issues page on the Archive of Our Own with any further bugs that arise, and you may also find the Archive FAQ helpful. We'll also be posting regular Archive News Posts on the AO3 (mirrored on the OTW News blog and mirrors) to keep everyone up-to-date on new developments.

 

Despite a few inevitable bugs, Open Beta has been going really well! The shiny AO3 servers (owned by fandom, y'all!) are holding up really well under the vigorous workout they're receiving, and we're totally jazzed to see people using and enjoying the Archive. Thanks so much to everyone who got us here! <3

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Published:
2009-11-14 00:00:02 -0500

This means that you can now request an invitation! Get all the details and answers to your questions in our Open Beta information post.

Thank you to everyone in fandom who made this possible! We're incredibly grateful to everyone who got us this far – all the OTW staffers in their many roles, those of you who supported us with your donations, and fandom at large for being awesome.

FANDOM OWNS THE SERVERS, GUYS! Come and join the party!

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Published:
2009-11-13 00:05:27 -0500
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The Archive of Our Own Open Beta launch: Saturday 14th November (see the world clock for the launch time in your timezone).

We're thrilled to announce that the Archive Of Our Own will enter Open Beta on Saturday! *\0/*

Now that we're in Open Beta, we're ready to start expanding our user numbers so that fandom can use the Archive for real!

Open Beta - your questions answered!

How do I get an invitation for the Archive?
You can get an invitation in two ways:

  • You can add your email address to the invitation queue (opens Saturday 14th November see world clock for the launch time in your timezone). We'll send out invitations to addresses on the queue on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on how many new accounts we can support at a given time. This way, you won't have to know someone who already has an account in order to have a chance of getting one.

  • Users who have an account on the Archive will be given a certain number of invitations to hand out to their friends. We know that people like to share the fannish glee and to build their networks on new sites, and we want to give people a chance to do that. Extra invitation codes will be issued to users periodically depending on how many new users the site can manage.

When will the invitation queue open?
The invitation queue will open on Saturday 14th November - world clock for the launch time in your timezone. Our launch post will let you know the link for the queue, and we'll begin issuing accounts to addresses in the queue right away!

We know that many of you in North America will still be asleep when the queue opens - since fandom is international, it was inevitable that this would be the case for someone. We've timed it this way so that as many of our staffers as possible can be around to provide support. We also anticipate that there will be more users from North America, so we wanted to give folks from elsewhere a chance to get on board before the queue gets out of control.

If you are unable to join the queue because of the timing, a friend can add your email address to the queue for you.

How long will it take for me to get an account?
If you've requested an invitation code, you can check where you are in the queue. Just enter your email address on the invitations page, and you'll receive an estimate of when you will receive your invitation, based on the rate at which we're sending out invitations and the number you are in the queue. Exactly how many invitations we can send out per day will depend on how well the site responds to the extra users.

I already have an account. How do I give an invitation to someone else?
On your user homepage (which you can get to by clicking 'My Home' when you're logged in), you'll see a new tab called 'Invitations'. You can manage all your invitations here, and if you've run out then you can request some more.

To send an invitation to someone, just enter their email address and select the invitation you'd like to use. They'll be sent an automated email. You'll be able to keep track of which invitations have been used on your 'Manage Invitations' page.

What can I do if I have questions or need help?
If you have questions about the general process, feel free to leave a comment on this post and we'll get back to you as quickly as possible. (So that everyone can share in the same discussion and see one another's questions, we're disabling comments everywhere except the main OTW blog. Please hop over there to comment!)

If you have questions about the Archive, then you might find the answer in our Frequently Asked Questions. You can also check out Known Issues to see if you've hit a bug we're already working on.

If your question isn't answered in the FAQ then please submit a support request and our support team will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Finally, during the first few days of Open Beta, we'll be offering live support through our Support Chatroom. We'll keep this staffed as much as possible - OTW staffers can be identified by the OTW on the end of their names. Of course, non staffers should also feel free to help one another out - if you can answer someone else's question, then don't feel shy!

I have Opinions about the Archive. What should I do?
The Archive is by fans, for fans and we love to hear your feedback! Open Beta is still a work in progress, and we'll be adding new features, fixing bugs and making enhancements in response to your feedback. Send us your comments via the Support and Feedback form.

If you'd like to be more involved, we always welcome volunteers. No previous experience required!

The Archive of Our Own is for all fans - please spread the word in your fandoms near and far, and come and join the party!

This post is also available in Deutsch, Español, Français and Suomi.

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Published:
2009-11-09 21:18:34 -0500
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11pm to 1:10 am for me but I was pretty wired so getting tired certainly wasn’t an issue. We’re all pretty wired, this weekend was the Open Beta deploy. The code is in and it hasn’t broken anything (yet) so this was our last Open Beta planning session. We care a lot and it was reflected in the passionate discussion about timing (when do we launch, when do we tell people things - see below), scale up (how many people can we take and how fast - we don’t know but we’re going to find out… cautiously!) and method of distributing invitations (invitation queue signup versus giving invite codes to existing users - we favour the invitation queue signup because it is democratic). *grins* We’ve actually been having variations on this discussion since May but it’s taken on a whole new dimension of urgency.

  • Deploy Schedule: the AO3 has been updated to revision 1692 (Release 0.7.1) and is looking pretty fine. Release Notes are up if you want the details and the next deploy is in two weeks.
    • Collections & Challenges: [info - personal] astolat has been working on phase one which is core stuff to enable us to import works and authors into a ‘Collections’ skeleton for Yuletide.
    • Deleting chapters with comments: Right now if you do this you lose the comments, we’re putting something together that will give you the choice of moving the comments to a different chapter or deleting them.
  • Open Beta: ‘Mid November’ = Next weekend. OMG! It’s been creeping up on us for a while and we think we’re finally ready. What this means is we’ll be poking the AO3 during the week and if we don’t see anything alarming (we totally reserve the right to pull the plug if we hit a nasty surprise) we’ll do a number of things:
    • Communicate: We’ll put up a post with exact details one day before we launch so people know when we’re turning the invitation queue on.
      • We are conscious the timing may disadvantage some people and we've tried to pick a time that is as fair as possible. I understand we can't possibly meet everyone's needs, and for that I am sorry. I do want to assure you the people who made this decision are from a variety of places in the world and this isn't a decision we take lightly.
      • The post will go to all the OTW mirrors at the same time (Web, DW, LJ etc.), so no need to mercilessly refresh the AO3 ;)
      • If you are unable to join the queue because of the timing, a friend can add your email address to the queue for you.
    • Launch: We’ll turn on the invitation queue and make an announcement on all mirrors. This will make a link on the front page visible; it will read ‘SIGN UP NOW’ and it takes you to a page where you can enter an email address.
      • Invitation codes: we will issue a small number of invitation codes to Closed Beta users in recognition of the constant feedback, the helpful suggestions, and the patience with funky code and constant redesign.
      • Invitation queue: we will make the invitation queue location available to members of the OTW (past and present) for 24 hours prior to publishing it publicly in recognition of the people who may not have been able to give their time, but supported the organisation as a whole to make this day possible. We do not expect this to clog the queue.
    • Add users: We'll monitor performance as a result of the first round of invitations being taken up and we'll make decisions about how many to add and how fast to add them based on what we see.
    • Hyperventilate: (that’s one of my tasks)
  • Stuff coming up: Open Beta!

If there are things you want to do/say - feel free to share either in comments, or by volunteering, or whatever medium you're comfortable with. You are invited to this party :)

Previous posts on Dreamwidth (by[info - personal] samvara the 2009 committee chair) and the Organization for Transformative Works website (by the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee)

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Published:
2009-11-07 16:44:49 -0500
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Welcome to Revision 1692, up from 1585. This is a small release and mostly contains the Invitations code, a lot of translatability, IE7 optimising and various fixes.

Our next deploy will probably be in two weeks and contain groundwork code for Collections and Challenges.

Highlights

  • We have a new front page! Again! This should look better on small screens and with variable font sizes.
  • Invitations code is in - it will continue to be polished so when we launch Open Beta feedback is welcomed.
  • First Login help page created

Known Issues

See Known Issues page

Next Projects

  • Open Beta
  • Ongoing work on Collections & Challenges (Yuletide pilot)
  • Ongoing work on optimising for IE7
  • Performance - fast page loading, fast searching etc.

Release Details

Bugs

  • Fixed some issues with the importer
  • Fixed autocomplete drop downs on Post Work form
  • Fixed tag links on View All Series page
  • Fixed inability to display nested lists in post work and news posts
  • Fixed error messages and form breaking for Title and Location fields in Edit Profile
  • Fixed problem with not seeing changes in Preview when editing a chapter
  • Fixed problem with searching then sorting by Author and Title
  • Fixed synonyms showing up on 'fandoms' page
  • Fixed problem with validation while creating an account using OpenID

New Things

  • Added Invitations code
  • Added special help for new users on first login \o/
  • Added more translation strings - this is not visible to users but is a significant piece of work.
  • Added 'back to the top' link for works and chapters
  • Added 'Languages/Translation' option to Support form
  • Added 'help' file to search filters
  • Added 'Languages' link to Site Map

Changes

  • Changed display of filters for Category and Rating to radio buttons - they revert to tickyboxes after use (click 'Filter Works') to allow you to unselect it.
  • Changed comment text entry box to resize with page
  • Changed success message on 'forgot password' page to be more meaningful
  • Changed text on Support page to be more meaningful
  • Changed limit on Notes field to 5,000 characters
  • Changed browser title bar to show meaningful information while viewing chapters
  • Changed allowed html lists - they should be up to date now
  • More IE7 optimising :)

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Published:
2009-11-01 16:47:43 -0500
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Sunday 7am! I chaired AND wrote up the minutes this week *is grown up* I'm kinda seeing the next two weeks as the calm before the storm. We want to get everything as polished as possible, create as little new work as we can and concentrate on making sure we're ready for Open Beta. We've put time into building up the Support team, getting in as many critical fixes as possible, building the Invitations code, making the FAQ more comprehensible, making the News Posts so we can communicate and I'm feeling weirdly erm... not flat, but not in an energy spike right at this moment - it's probably because I don't have anything specific to stress about... yet *grins*

  • Deploy schedule: Deploy to Beta still on for 8th November (Release 0.7.1) - it was going to just be the invitations code originally but we've snuck in a bunch of fixes too.
    • Fixes: link in TOS, lots of IE7 stuff including nested bulleted list styling for meeeeee (yay [info - personal] cesy!), some Importer fixes, increase of character limit on Notes field, autocomplete on tags, html link in emails from admin comments and MORE.
    • Invitations: Works! My first invite queue invite emails turned up - it's down to 25 on Test (we've used up all our secondary, tertiary and err quaternary? email addresses faking up an invite queue) - which is exciting!
  • Open Beta: Mid November.
  • Stuff coming up:
    • Allowed html: we're cleaning up the help on this to make sure they are all consistent (works, notes, summary, comments etc.)
    • Permalinks: we've a very reasonable request for them on works and we think it's a good idea.
  • WANTED:
    • JS Coder: We need a person with JavaScript skills. We need you for IE7 optimising and in general. We can offer a community of passionate coders, the fannish level of engagement of your choice and an opportunity to lose valuable sleeping hours in good company - what's not to love!

OTW-All-Org Meeting

Monday 7am! I was kindly allowed to steal the first slot so I could report for AD&T then drift in and out as I made breakfast and dressed for work. I want some sort of permanent internet connection implanted so badly.

The Board has welcomed two new members, had an election, a fundraising drive and a baby. Hah, no-one multi-tasks like these women. Web are cross-training and documenting (activities dear to my heart), VolCom are doing admin and preparing for 2010 and looking for people, Translations are looking into international outreach *loves*, Systems are SO BUSY! Open Doors gave out 41 Archive invites and screencapped ~60 websites as part of finding new homes for Geocities users and archivists. *moment of silence for the animated gifs* Legal is waiting on a ruling on our DMCA proposal and Journal is 'chugging along, getting ready for No. 4' which in no way describes their awesome. Finance is handing over from Susan to our incoming Treasurer Sheila (who says 'we're just cruising along, being...you know...financial. \$/'). Elections didn't get to run an election but we have two, count em TWO new Board members as does Docs... well, two new members. Docs doesn't have a private Board that I'm aware of although they are a stealthy, ninja committee who are everywhere so who knows?. DevMem are justifiably proud of the results of the fundraising drive and are busy planning for the future *loves* I kind of need a lolcat to appropriately celebrate them. Comm is continuing to spreads words - mine as well, it's ever so slightly intimidating :p

  • People wanted: *puts on OTW Committee Chair hat* the OTW needs people, particularly the Volunteers Committee (VolCom) and the Wikimittee; Translations and Finance would also love to welcome new volunteers. Some of our people have been serving on committees for two years now, we have knowledge and skills we'd love to share - and we need ongoing support to keep the committees rolling. If you've got skills, or passion (because we can teach the skills!) we'd love to hear from you.

If there are things you want to do/say - feel free to share either in comments, or by volunteering, or by messaging or whatever medium you're comfortable with. You are invited to this party :)

Previous posts on Dreamwidth (by[info - personal] samvara the 2009 committee chair) and the Organization for Transformative Works website (by the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee)

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Published:
2009-10-25 20:57:35 -0400
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Sat 11pm meeting. I was sick and slept instead but had peppered the agenda with comments and the latest schedule updates (hopefully coherent ones) and sent out a plea for someone to chair the meeting. The lovely [info - personal] bingeling came to my rescue and stalking the transcript after says they don't need me at all :p

  • Deploy schedule: Next deploy to Beta currently scheduled for 8th November (Release 0.7.1). Also I gotta stop saying 'push it back' when talking scheduling because it doesn't mean the same thing to all of us and I should know better :(
    • Admin News Post comment email: the link in the email doesn't work, we've put the underscore back in the right place for this deploy.
    • AO3 Logo: Temporary logo is on Test. Official Logo competition deferred until we can recruit someone to run it. Heh, the front page in Test is currently displaying: "Latest work: This is a story with very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very verylong title" *loves on testers*
    • Autocomplete: Stopped working for the Post New form when entering tags. We've got a fix for that - it's on Test - and can I just say [info - personal] rustler is awesome :)
    • Invitations: the code is on Test (yay [info - personal] elz!) , it can do all sorts of things. I turned the invitations queue on and off, entered some email addresses into the queue, checked my predicted invite time and bounced around excitedly. I also issued invite codes to my user account, sent them to other testers and generally poked things. It still needs some enhancements (this is the first version of a whole new feature and a big piece of work) but we're very happy with it so far.
  • Open Beta: Mid November. We think we can squeeze the planned stability period (where you deploy code then stare at it and wait for it to explode) down to one week . We wanted two but that was when we were doing one deploy containing EVERYTHING rather than splitting it into 0.7.0 (on Beta now) and 0.7.1 (coming to Beta soon).
  • Test Team: Are amazing! A piece of work we do after a code deploy is to go through all the issues and confirm that the changes got deployed and are working as expected. That means they do all the testing/verification they did on Test again on Beta (except without creating junk data). There were 89 in total (there were 90 but one fix failed testing) and we're already down to only 39 waiting for verification.
  • Stuff coming up:
    • Admin Stats! Yes, I know I'm the only one who cares but OMG I care a lot! *cradles the JQuery plugin tenderly*
    • Languages: We're at the point where we can talk to the Translation team about what languages to add so that people can specify what language they are posting in.
    • Notes: *grins* Yes, you may have 5k character Notes, we're extending the limit.
    • Task Queue: We're conscious that one of the first things you do with a shiny new account is import your back catalogue of works, this hasn't been a problem in Closed Beta because we add people in such small amounts. Performance testing suggests the AO3 can handle quite a lot before it slows down but we're looking at ways to make this not an issue. Long term we'll probably set up a task queue so you can start importing and it will import when it can if it can't straight away.

If there are things you want to do/say - feel free to share either in comments, or by volunteering, or by messaging or whatever medium you're comfortable with. You are invited to this party :)

Previous posts on Dreamwidth (by[info - personal] samvara the 2009 committee chair) and the Organization for Transformative Works website (by the AD&T committee)

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