AO3 News

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2017-07-13 12:45:31 -0400

OTW contested election banner

The Elections season is still in full swing! This post has links to the candidates' answers to your questions. More will be posted in the coming days.


There will be three public chats, all of which will last 90 minutes. Two of them will have three candidates in attendance, and the first chat will have all six–so each candidate will attend two chats total. Chats will take place in our public chatroom.

They are scheduled for:

During these chats, OTW members and volunteers will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions not already covered in their platforms, bios, and Q&A, as well as to ask individual questions of specific candidates. If anyone isn’t able to ask all their questions by the end of a given chat, they’ll have an hour to submit their questions via the Elections form; Elections staffers will submit the questions to candidates either at future chats or separately to be added to the chat transcript.

We hope that you can join us for one or all of these chats!


When we posted the Board candidates’ bios and platforms, we asked the public to submit additional questions for them. Once again, our sincere thanks to everyone who did so! We have been posting groups of questions as the candidates finished them, and the process is nearly complete. For the categories that have not yet been posted, the dates they will be posted are listed in parentheses.

The following is a list of the topics covered by the questions. Clicking on a topic will take you to the tag containing all the candidates’ answers on that topic.

To navigate answers by individual candidate, please use the links below:

To read all the posts regarding Q&A, simply select the 2017 Q&A tag.

Using Discord

On the login page, you’ll need to provide a screen name.

Once you enter the server, you’ll find a list of users on the right and a list of chat rooms on the left. Settings are available via the gear icon on the lower left, near your screen name; there you can choose, among other options, whether you prefer a dark or light chat room appearance.

There are three rooms available to chat attendees who are not candidates or Elections Committee staffers: general, candidate_chats, and open_chat.

  • General is where you’ll find a list of rules for the chats. Please read through these carefully before entering the other two rooms.
  • Candidate_chats is where the candidates will answer questions and debate amongst themselves. Only the candidates and moderator will be able to chat in this room.
  • Open_chat is where all attendees can participate and talk to each other. We ask that you try to stay on topics related to the election. A moderator will be in the room, so if you have a question for the candidates, you can signal the moderator with o/, the candidate’s name, and the question. Use o// if it’s a follow-up question to the current discussion.


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2017-07-12 13:48:32 -0400

OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

Do you have skills in report writing or copyediting? Or do you love Fanlore and fan history? Or, would you like to help wrangle tags on the AO3? The OTW is now recruiting for Communications Report Writers, Fanlore Gardeners, and Tag Wranglers!

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Communications Graphics Volunteers, Finance Committee Staff, Development & Membership Committee Staff, Support Committee Staff, and News Translation Volunteers.

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Communications Staff: Report Writers - Closing 19 July 23:59 UTC
  • Fanlore Gardeners - Closing 19 July 23:59 UTC
  • Tag Wranglers - Closing 19 July 23:59 UTC or after 50 applications

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 Staff: Report Writer

The Communications Committee is the central information distributing arm of the OTW, responsible for the distribution of information internally and externally. It 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 Report Writer is responsible for compiling, writing, and distributing both internal and external reports about Communications and Organization-wide activity, such as annual reports, statistics reports, and newsletters.

Applications are due 19 July 23:59 UTC

Fanlore Gardener

Do you like writing about fandom? Gardeners are editors who work on Fanlore and take additional responsibilities regarding the wiki's maintenance. In addition to adding content themselves, they make sure text isn't deleted indiscriminately and tidy up after other editors, to help new content better fit the wiki's guidelines. They can also participate in internal discussions about Fanlore events, policies and documentation. No technical experience is required—you just need to know and love Fanlore, both as a user and an editor. If that sounds like you, come and join us!

Applications are due 19 July 23:59 UTC

Tag Wranglers

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! To join us, click through to the job description and application form.

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 will be accepted until 19 July 23:59 UTC or after 50 applications have been received, whichever occurs first.

Apply at the volunteering page!


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2017-07-09 13:37:14 -0400

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 Rachel G., who volunteers as a graphics volunteer for the Communications Committee.

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

As a volunteer graphic designer for the Communications Committee I create graphics that are used across multiple platforms to promote OTW events and materials. I primarily work on graphics for OTW tumblr events such as the Fandom First Friday. These F3 graphics are used to announce the monthly theme of the tumblr multi-fandom discussions and posting events each month.

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

My work as a volunteer depends on the committee’s needs and/or the time of the month. Since I have a full time job as a designer at an ad agency, my OTW activities are generally constrained to the weekends. Communications has been great about giving me long lead times on projects so that my volunteer work doesn’t become overwhelming.

I spend most of my time working on the Fandom First Friday graphics. I usually spend an hour or two conceptualizing how to visually represent the F3 theme (sometimes longer for the more abstract themes) and then take a few more hours to putting together the final graphic on the weekend before each month's Fandom First Friday.

What is your favorite graphic that you've made?

I’ve enjoyed all of the F3 graphics that I’ve made over the years but there are so many that I’d be hard pressed to choose one. Instead, I'd say that my favorite graphics have to be the OTW anniversary graphics. I'm partial to the 8th anniversary graphic in particular.

(Editor's note: Rachel is also at work on content for our anniversary this year. Stay tuned for some fun announcements in September!)

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

Seeing things that I’ve created out in fandom and how people receive them has to be one of the most fun aspects. The creation process is pretty solitary for me so it is rewarding to know that my graphics are leading people to OTW events and discussions where they can interact with other fans.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I’m a huge fan of fanfiction and I’ve been engaging with fandom through it for the last 15+ years. As you can imagine I’ve been in and out of quite a few fandoms over the years (LoTR and Ronin Warriors were the start). I’ve used fanfic archives, Yahoo Groups, LiveJournal,, AO3, and tumblr among others so I know just how important what OTW does is for fandom. I’ve seen the good (even great), bad, and ugly that can from fandom and I still keep coming back for more. I can’t get enough of seeing and reading other fans' passion for the things that I love.

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.


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2017-07-07 12:46:23 -0400

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


Election season is upon us! The Elections committee was thrilled to announce the six candidates running this year for the three open spots on the OTW Board of Directors. The candidates are (in alphabetical order by given name):

  • Claire P. Baker
  • Danielle Strong
  • Erica Dulin
  • Gimena Calixto
  • Jessie Camboulives
  • Milena Popova

You can view the candidates' biographies and platforms on the Elections website. Also on the Elections website is the timeline of events for this election.

The voting period will be from August 11-14, 2017. If you were a member of the OTW (what does that mean?) as of June 30, 2017, then you are eligible to vote. That means that, if you began or renewed your membership anytime between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, then you are eligible to vote, even if your membership expires sometime between July 1, 2017, and August 11, 2017. Check out our voting instructions for more information about how the election will be held.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a question for the candidates to answer. It's great to see so many people invested in the future of the OTW. Be sure to follow @OTWElections on Twitter and otwelections on Tumblr for notifications of when new candidate answers are posted, as well as for information about upcoming live chats with candidates.


Accessibility, Design and Technology, with the help of several volunteers and staffers from other committees, has been testing the Archive's big upgrade to Rails 4.2. The testing is a very time-consuming process that involves manually trying out each and every feature and setting on the Archive, but it's nearing the end! Hopefully, Rails 4.2 will be deployed soon, and then work can start for the upgrade to Rails 5.0.

Tag Wrangling was excited to announce AO3's 25,000th canonical fandom, which was Brainstorm (1983)! What's your favourite small fandom? For updates about Tag Wrangling, as well as fun tags of the week, follow @ao3_wranglers on Twitter!

Open Doors had a busy June. They completed the imports of Due South Archive and The Hex Files and assisted a number of creators with claiming their works from these archives and others. They also announced the upcoming import of Hammer to Fall & Bang and Blame, with help from Communications and Translation. Special thanks to Tag Wrangling this month for their help with tag mapping recommendations for multiple archives and to the import wranglers for their help searching AO3 to prevent the importing of duplicate works from ScullySlash, Least Expected, and Daire’s Fanfic Refuge & HL Raven’s Nest.


Legal has been staying busy on the advocacy front! In June, they filed a submission to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) highlighting important issues for the upcoming negotiation of the NAFTA treaty. The filing advocated for an open and transparent negotiation process, and it emphasized the importance of including exceptions and limitations such as fair use in any provisions concerning intellectual property protection. Legal staffer Rebecca Tushnet followed up this submission by testifying before the USTR on June 27.

The OTW also participated in a large-scale action against proposed laws in New York State that would have vastly expanded New York rights of publicity in a way that would dramatically chill free speech about real people, including historical figures. We were joined by dozens of other nonprofits, trade associations, and professors, including many with whom we don’t often agree. The action was successful – New York rejected the legislation.

Legal also responded to a number of queries from fans, and they are also hard at work preparing for next month’s San Diego Comic Con. Stay tuned for more information soon, including panels that Legal personnel will be presenting at, and an event that all can attend!


TWC's Queer Female Fandom issue, the publication's 24th volume, came out on June 15. Thanks to the the editorial and production teams for all their hard work. Be sure to check out the issue for articles on Supergirl, yuri, racial dynamics in femslash, and more!

Lastly, Fanlore got a new main page this month! In addition to a new look, this update includes a weekly Featured Article. Want to nominate your favourite articles or vote on current nominations? Then check out the Featured Articles page on Fanlore.


As of the 27th of June, the OTW has 631 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: Judy Wen (Elections), Hazel Seanor (Elections), Arly Guevara (Strategic Planning), royrichard (Strategic Planning) and 2 Strategic Planning staffers

New AD&T Coder Volunteers: Nana

New Translator Volunteers: AdaVila, someplacelikebolivia, Ellisa_SS, nanabanana, ayerenne, steelwater, Audrey Lee

Departing Committee Chairs: briar_pipe (Elections)

Departing Committee Staff: 3 Abuse staffers, 1 AO3 Documentation staffer, 4 Support staffers

Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 7

Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 3

Departing Translation Volunteers: Amalia Blondet and 1 other

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


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Unknowable Room Header

Unknowable Room, a Harry Potter fanfiction and fan art archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Unknowable Room was a Harry Potter archive for fics and fanart focused primarily on Marauder-era works and Lily/James as a primary pairing. The site, founded in 2005 following one of's content purges, also hosted a forum, a Harry Potter wiki, and fic challenges.

Activity has now slowed since the site's early years, and the technical difficulties of maintaining a custom-coded archive have taken their toll. Unknowable Room moderators afterthree, ChristyCorr, Eos, Missers and Oxymora are grateful and excited to be working with Open Doors to import the site's fanworks to AO3!

Open Doors will be working with the current archivists to import Unknowable Room into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanart currently in the Unknowable Room will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs.

We will begin importing works from Unknowable Room to the AO3 after July.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on Unknowable Room?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

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 Unknowable Room pseud(s) and email 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. 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 no longer have access to the email account associated with your Unknowable Room 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 great; if not, we will work with the Unknowable Room mod 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, or contact the Open Doors committee.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Unknowable Room 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 Unknowable Room!

- The Open Doors team and afterthree, ChristyCorr, Eos, Missers and Oxymora


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Last year, Tag Wrangling adopted a stronger set of guidelines about tags with unclear meanings on the Archive of Our Own. In order to provide more accurate filtering/subscriptions for users and to decrease the server strain caused by unnecessary metatags, we now canonize tags in the most clear and unambiguous way possible. As we update tags to meet this guideline, we sometimes discover old canonicals that were created when the tag length limit was still 42 characters. We are adjusting or removing those now.

To make relationship tags unambiguous, we encourage anyone who previously tagged with one of the following ambiguous tags to consider putting the specific relationship intended instead:

  • OT3 - Relationship
  • OT4 - Relationship
  • OT5 - Relationship
  • OT6 - Relationship
  • OT7 - Relationship
  • Threesome - Relationship
  • Canon Relationship(s)
  • Ambiguous or Implied Relationship(s)
  • One-sided - Relationship
  • Marriage - Relationship
  • Established Relationship(s)
  • Friendship - Relationship
  • Team - Relationship
  • Various Relationships
  • Family Relationships

All of these tags are no longer canonical in the Relationships field, but they are still available in the Additional Tags/Freeforms field. In the Relationships field, you can use the '&' symbol between the characters' names to tag for Gen relationships, such as family, friendship, or teammates. The '&' symbol indicates that a relationship is platonic; the '/' symbol indicates that a relationship is sexual and/or romantic.

We understand that this removal primarily affects older works from when the 42 character limit was in place and before platonic relationships could be indicated with the '&' symbol. If you're part of an older fandom that used any of these tags, please spread the word that tagging options have increased and encourage your fellow fans to be more specific about which relationship they mean. We will also be reaching out to specific fandoms regarding some of these tags.

Thanks for your help and understanding as we strengthen AO3's tagging system!


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partial screenshot of the AO3 homepage showing 25000 fandoms with the AO3 logo above the text

Tag Wranglers are pleased to announce that we have reached the milestone of 25,000 fandoms on AO3! This comes shortly after we celebrated reaching 3 million fanworks in April and 1 million users back in October.

AO3 users have always been incredibly creative. Over the years, we've reached several fandom milestones:

  • 5,000 fandoms around New Year's Day, 2010
  • 10,000 fandoms in September, 2012
  • 15,000 fandoms in April, 2014
  • 20,000 fandoms in December, 2015

Are there any rare fandoms you love that you discovered on AO3?

Sharing 25,000 Fandoms with 1 Million People

With so many new fandoms, fanworks, and users joining us daily, now is a good time to explain what this growth can mean for users and Tag Wranglers.

Tags on AO3 are shared. If you use the same exact tag that someone else has used, your works will be included in the same filters. Tag Wranglers cannot separate works using the exact same tag. We can only wrangle tags, not works.

If you discover that your work is showing up under a different filter (tag) than you intended, you can edit the tag on your work to be clearer. For example, Penny Parker is a character on the TV show MacGyver. “Penny Parker” is also a common fan name for female Peter Parker, better known as Spider-Man. If you tag your work “Penny Parker”, it will end up in the filters for the MacGyver character, even if you were thinking of female Peter. To avoid this, you could alter your tag to “Penny Parker (girl!Peter)” or something similar. That would allow Tag Wranglers to merge it into Peter Parker’s tag filter instead.

(Obviously, Tag Wranglers can’t merge the plain “Penny Parker” tag directly with Peter’s. If we did that, all of the MacGyver’s “Penny Parker” works would show up in Peter Parker’s filters, and she would not have a filter of her own. This would cause problems for fans of both characters!)

If a tag is new to you, you might find it useful to check its filter before using it. You might find that the tag has a different meaning in a different fandom.

How To Make Tags Work For You

In the month of April this year, Tag Wranglers collectively wrangled approximately 497,000 tags. In May we wrangled well over half a million! Tag Wranglers work very hard to connect your tags; you can make our job easier by being clear about what you mean.

Here are some ideas you can try in order to make your own works or bookmarks appear in the filters you want. (Please don't comment on works to ask other users to do this - this is for your own works/bookmarks only!)

  • Autocomplete is your friend: If a fandom tag exists in the autocomplete for your fandom already, try including that tag. The tags that Tag Wranglers see are based on filterable fandoms listed on the work, so using a fandom tag from the autocomplete speeds up the time it takes to wrangle your tag and have it show up correctly.
  • Making a new fandom: If there is no fandom tag yet for your work, try including the medium, creator, or year the canon was first published in the tag. This speeds up the process of creating a new fandom tag, as we will have more information to use when researching what canon you mean! For books, it's especially important to include the author's name; for movies, the year. For other fandoms, usually the media type is enough, unless the title is very generic. For example, if you're posting for the TV show "Merlí", try adding "TV" after the title, like this: Merlí (TV).
  • Be kind to RPF fans: Try to avoid mixing up Actor RPF and fictional TV or movie fandoms in your tags. If you're posting Actor RPF, please use the RPF fandom tags. If an RPF fandom tag doesn't exist yet for that TV show or movie, make one by adding "RPF" to the end of the TV show or movie's existing tag name. Example: The Hunger Games (Movies) RPF. Please also try to avoid using the Actor RPF fandom tags if you're only working with fictional characters. This will help RPF fans easily find the works they want and will reduce the effort Tag Wranglers must use to find the right place for your tags.
  • Where does original work go? If you're posting a fannish-styled original work set in your own universe with your own characters, please try using the "Original Work" tag. (Furry fans, you can use that or the "Furry - Fandom" tag.) Please take care not to directly link to paypal, patreon, or commercial sites, as AO3 is a non-commercial site. (For further information, please consult the Terms of Service.)
  • Make characters unique: Try to use full names for characters. If a character has just one name, put the name of the fandom in parentheses after it. Example: Undyne (Undertale). This especially helps avoid any potential ambiguity issues and ensures that it will be easier to find your work. You may not think the chances of having a character named Undyne in another fandom is high, but this happens frequently.
  • Separate your / and & ships / is for romantic and/or sexual relationships. & is for platonic relationships only - ones that are neither sexual nor romantic. (Pre- and Post-Relationship are still /.) & was created for those Gen fans who don't want anything non-platonic in the ships they're searching for. You can help both Gen fans and shippers by carefully choosing the tag that matches your work!
  • Add cameos in the Additional Tags: If a fandom, character, or relationship is only a passing reference, you can choose to put the tag in the "Additional Tags" (Freeforms) category instead. This will keep your work from being sorted into the fandom, character, or relationship's filter, while still telling users what's in the work. Example: Hints of Jin Dong/Wang Kai in the "Additional Tags" field keeps Jin Dong/Wang Kai fans from being disappointed that a work only mentions their relationship briefly.

These suggestions are meant to help get your tags wrangled quicker and more accurately so that users have a great experience on AO3. You won’t need to edit any tags on past works or bookmarks unless they aren’t showing up in the filters you prefer.

However, these tagging suggestions don’t mean that you can’t continue to tag creatively for various topics! Tag Wranglers love clever tags, and sometimes we can even canonize the concepts. Magneto’s Terrible Fashion Sense is just one of many enjoyable tags that make us giggle.

If you have any questions or suggestions about wrangling, please consult the Tags FAQ. If that doesn't answer your question, the FAQ explains how to contact Tag Wranglers directly, or you can send short questions to us at our twitter account, ao3_wranglers.

Please don't leave comments on this post with questions or requests about specific tags. They won't be answered, since Tag Wranglers can't easily track requests from here. Please use the options listed above to contact us. Thanks!


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OTW contested election banner

Being a member of the Organization for Transformative Works means being able to vote for your Board. This helps affect how the OTW, and projects such as the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, and Transformative Works and Cultures, are run now and going forward. This year, our Board elections are from August 11th–14th, and to be eligible to vote, you need to be a member of the Organization for Transformative Works by June 30, 2017.

In order to become a member and be eligible to vote in this year’s election, you have to have made a donation of US$10 or more and chosen the “membership” option. If you're unsure whether this applies to your donation, please contact our Development & Membership team.

Please don’t miss your chance to vote in this election; become a member today!


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