AO3 News

Release Notes 0.9.34: Change Log

Published: 2014-11-18 21:44:48 -0500

Credits

  • Coders: Lady Oscar, Sam Johnsson, sarken
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_
  • Testers: Anika Kabit, Lady Oscar, Runt, sarken

Details

  • Misc.
    • Previously, if the original version of an AO3 News post was accidentally designated as being a translation, it couldn't be set back, creating a situation in which the post would permanently vanish from the main feed. It's now possible to restore the setting.
    • On the External Bookmark page, required fields were not correctly marked as being required. All required fields are now denoted with an asterisk (*) and error messages have been updated to be inclusive of non-text fanworks.
    • We have added a link to the Troubleshooting: Common Problems When Logging In News Post from the error message that is generated upon a failed login attempt.
    • We have reduced the number of emails sent out during the AO3 signup process. After signing up, users will still receive an email with an activation link, but will not receive a success email after activating the account, as this email contained no new information.
  • Skins
    • While using the 'Reversi' Skin, it was previously impossible to read the 'You have already left kudos' message. This has been fixed.
    • We have also edited Reversi to make it easier to read the tooltip information displayed when viewing Tag Set nominations.
    • We have added a '.book' style to the Basic Formatting workskin. This style will indent the first line of each paragraph and remove the blank lines between paragraphs to give an appearance similar to the text in a standard printed book. You can read more about Work Skins in our Work Skins Tutorial.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Release 0.9.33: Change Log

Published: 2014-11-02 09:39:14 -0500

Credits

  • Coders: Emily, Enigel, james_, sarken
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Enigel, james_, Scott
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Runt, Scott

Details

  • The option to remove requests or offers while filling in a challenge sign-up wasn't working when there were required tag fields on the sign-up form. Now it works again.
  • There was some old bookmark code hanging around, not doing anything. Now it's gone.
  • The "Bookmark External Work" button was available to visitors on the bookmark listings for tags. Only logged-in users can create bookmarks, so we removed the button.
  • When browsing your subscriptions page on mobile devices with small screens, the links for accessing only series, user, or work subscriptions weren't working when tapped. Now they work.
  • The little tooltip pop-up for the header's search field (suggesting possible keywords and sort options) only worked for users navigating by mouse or trackpad. Now it will work for people using keyboards, screen readers, or touch screens as well. Additionally, now it only appears when the search field is selected, rather than popping up whenever the cursor is nearby.
  • We used an HTML attribute to label many things in various listings on the site -- for example, the titles of works. Unfortunately, some screen readers read the content of this attribute instead of the actual text, which made it sound like every work on the Archive was named "Title." We've removed this attribute from everywhere it could impact screenreaders in this way.
  • When an admin went to a user's dashboard, any restricted works the user had posted were hidden from the admin. Now the admin can access those works from the user's dashboard, just like regular logged-in users can.
  • We moved to an even stronger encryption method for safely storing passwords.
  • Previewing a work for the first time automatically creates a draft. However, subsequent previews don't update that draft unless the user explicitly chooses "Save Without Posting". We removed the message that implied otherwise. Remember, don't use our posting form as your only writing tool! Browsers can crash, things can go wrong, your draft might get eaten. Always have a backup somewhere else.
  • We considerably spruced up the README file used for displaying information about the AO3 software project on GitHub.com.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Releases 0.9.30 - 0.9.32: Change Log

Published: 2014-10-29 15:56:11 -0400

Credits

  • Coders: Elz, Lady Oscar, sarken
  • Code reviewers: james_, Scott
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Scott

Details

  • There was a "Bookmark" button on user dashboards, implying that you could bookmark another user, although no such functionality exists yet. We have removed the button and the "Coming soon!" page for now.
  • The log of admin activities (used primarily by Abuse personnel) was returning errors if a page contained an admin account that had been deleted. It now displays the activity with an "Admin deleted" note.
  • The log also wasn't accessible from the main Admin menu. Now it is!
  • We deployed a temporary donation page (put together by Development & Membership staffer Kristen!) for our October Drive, and made some edits halfway through the Drive week. Thank you all so much for your donations!
  • Relatedly, we reached our goal for the Drive after only two days and had to make some on-the-spot edits to our "progress bar" code to allow for stretch goals. Next year we'll be better prepared!

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Releases 0.9.27 - 0.9.29: Change Log

Published: 2014-10-10 18:49:41 -0400

Credits

  • Coders: james_, sarken
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Enigel, james_, Scott
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Runt

Details

  • Challenge sign-up forms used checkboxes instead of autocomplete unless there were more than 500 tag options for a given field (e.g. fandom). That many checkboxes was not user-friendly. Now it will switch to autocomplete when there are more than 20 tags.
  • Fixed a broken link on our site map.
  • Removed parts of the AO3 admin interface which were no longer required.
  • Fixed a bug that would prevent admins from accessing comments left on restricted (locked to AO3 users) works.
  • In the most recent version of Safari (7.1), the comment field would jump around when clicking into and out of it. This has been fixed!
  • In preparation for our Membership Drive, we added a new feature to the site-wide banners used for such occasions.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Release 0.9.26: Change Log

Published: 2014-10-06 17:35:19 -0400

Credits

  • Coders: Emily E, james_, Lady Oscar
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, james_
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Scott

Details

  • The Locales page now lists all locales that the Archive supports. (What's a locale?) Users can now suggest new locales, and Admins can edit or add existing locales from this page.
  • Previously when following incorrect links to AO3 News posts, pseuds, works, or tags, the Archive would redirect you to the next best page, e.g. the main works index, and display a brief message. Instead of redirecting, we now show an Error 404 page. This preserves the address (work, tag, etc.) you were trying to reach in the address bar, allowing you to fix a typo and try again, for example.
  • If for some reason your browser cookies for the AO3 get deleted or corrupted, you will be automatically logged out of the Archive and shown a page informing you of the action. (See our post, https://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/1277, for tips and tricks on dealing with log-in problems.)
  • We fixed and updated a number of our automated tests (which ensure that the Archive will still work as expected when we change or update code).
  • We also added and improved automated tests that cover administrative actions (such as posting a new AO3 News post, or managing invitations), moving us closer to 100% code coverage of those features!
  • The Technical Support and Feedback form has been updated to correctly list all the languages Support can answer questions in. The new ones are: català, čeština, magyar, and Русский.
  • We have updated a section of the Archive TOS FAQs. The final sentence of the "Can I archive original fiction" question has been changed to: "We presume that, by posting the work to the Archive, the creator is making a statement that they believe it's a fanwork. As such, unless the work doesn't meet some other criterion, it will be allowed to remain.". Previously, the final sentence read: "In general, when there is doubt as to whether a particular work counts as a fanwork, we will trust the judgment of the work's creator."

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Release 0.9.24: New FAQ code!

Published: 2014-09-29 17:06:34 -0400

Credits

  • Coders: Elz, james_, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Elz, Enigel, James
  • Testers: Camilla M, helebr, Lady Oscar, Mei, mumble, Priscilla, Ridicully

Extra special thanks to Scott for helming this project through sunshine and rain! ♥

Details

This code update includes many improvements to the Archive FAQ, our help section for new and experienced users alike. This part of the site grows and changes with the Archive, and will see even more improvements in future updates. For now, we offer these new features for your enjoyment:

  • You can now browse our FAQs in languages other than English! Since both the FAQs and their translations are a work in progress, only a few categories have translations right now. We'll be adding more during the coming months, and will update outdated information across all sections.
  • As soon as at least one FAQ category (e.g. Pseuds, Bookmarks, Comments, etc.) is available in a language, that language will show up in the dropdown menu at the top right of the main FAQ index. Only translated categories will be listed, so if you can't find the information you're looking for, please refer back to the English index. (Work in progress!)
  • There are now buttons on the main index to show all available questions ("Expand Categories") and to hide them all again ("Collapse Categories"), so you can skim the page or search for exactly the information you're interested in.
  • At the top of each category, you'll find a list of available questions, so you can quickly jump to just the answer you need.
  • The system now allows for direct links to each question/answer pair on a page (e.g. How do I subscribe to a work?), which wasn't fully supported before.
  • The new FAQs have "pretty" URLs, which means they don't just contain the id of the FAQ category (as in, /archive_faqs/17), but rather the title of the page (as in, /faq/orphaning).
  • Contrary to expectations in our original announcement, there will be no broken links. Old links (e.g. archiveofourown.org/archive_faqs/7) will automatically redirect to the new pages (e.g. Pseuds).
  • Our public wrangling guidelines, which were previously (and somewhat awkwardly) part of the FAQ section, have gotten their own home! You can consult these pages when in doubt about how to best format a new tag, or if you're wondering about specific wrangling concepts and policies.

Extra Credits

Our AO3 Documentation volunteers are working very hard to update the old, sometimes very outdated FAQs, and our many translators are working on translating them: either the new and improved documentation or, in some cases (when we have the volunteer power), some old documentation that might still be helpful, while waiting for it to be updated.

  • Documentation writers: AnneVictoire, C-chan, DekuDani, ltfoxyee, MadameHardy, Sammie, trickybonmot and 12 AO3 Documentation volunteers
  • Translators: Agnieszka Górniok, Amalia Blondet, ambersnake, Ana Carolina Nonato, Ana Solis, Aneta Sikora, Ania Kopertowska, Anne-Katrin Koch, Arithanas, Artmetica, balistener, birggitt, Blacktablet, Charlotte, ChristyCorr, Daniela Kreimerman, DeeCharlotte, Eilean, Eimry, Ely_Baby, Elysandra, Fatma Bahr, fluffygreenpillow, Gloria Monika (Rizu), Hayyu A (Alinka), headinthecloudsgirl, Jocelin Potash, John (rcmero), Karagodina Elena, Kaysa (Sarah K.), Konomon Freezlight, LilyC, Liselot, Luisa, M.Rios, Meep, MrBalkanophile, Nana, Nerine Luna, regenorakel, Ridicully, rocksound, soniclipstick (veriscence), SunnyB, Tatanka, tamat9, White Hawk, Yenelie, and 76 translators

Known Issues

When you pick a language from the dropdown menu to access available FAQs in your language, for example Spanish, the language information will be included in the URL, like faq/about?language_id=es. When you leave the FAQ section, e.g. by selecting the All Fandoms link in the header menu, this language information will follow you to that page. Since so far only the FAQ section is translated, however, there will be no other effect. When you continue browsing, the next page you visit will have the normal URL again.

See our Known Issues page for other current issues.

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September Release Notes: Invisible Code!

Published: 2014-09-28 19:31:13 -0400

We deployed several chunks of code this month that didn't get their own posts (mostly because we went right back to working on more code once we were done with those chunks /o\). It's been a busy month, and we have a lot of exciting stuff coming up. For now, have a brief summary of the stuff you didn't see.

New admin banners!

Credits

  • Coder: Sarken
  • Code reviewer: james_
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble

Details

This update went live on September 12; however, we haven't used our banner messages since then, so it's been a very invisible change. If we need to inform you about current site issues again, the blue boxes at the top of each page will be much easier to update and much prettier to look at from now on. Also, we have a little surprise planned for our upcoming Membership Drive, so watch this space!

New indexing code!

Credits

  • Coder: Elz
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_

Details

On September 18, we deployed the first part of our Big Search & Browse Upgrade of 2014, which we described in a little more detail in our Notes on Release 0.9.20 (look for the "Next Step" section). To prepare for the general overhaul, we added code to the site that takes all the data in our database and builds a new, improved, and stable index in Elasticsearch 1.3 (upgraded from 0.90). This is happening in the background, on a fresh install of Elasticsearch separate from our current setup. Special thanks to our Systems wizard james_ for all his hard work in this process!

The new search index will find its match in new and improved code for filtering works and bookmarks, to go live next month. The basic functionality will be mostly unchanged, but you can expect some improvements to your filtering experience and more reliable work and bookmark listings. \o/

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Release 0.9.20: Improvements to our search index code!

Published: 2014-09-09 16:43:05 -0400

Credits

  • Coder: Elz
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_
  • Testers: Ariana, Lady Oscar, mumble, Ridicully, sarken

Overview

With today's deploy we're making some changes to our search index code, which we hope will solve some ongoing problems with suddenly "missing" works or bookmarks and inaccurate work counts.

In order to improve consistency and reduce the load on our search engine, we'll be sending updates to it on a more controlled schedule. The trade-off is that it may take a couple of minutes for new works, chapters, and bookmarks to appear on listing pages (e.g. for a fandom tag or in a collection), but those pages will ultimately be more consistent and our systems should function more reliably.

You can read on for technical details!

The Problem

We use a software package called Elasticsearch for most of our search and filtering needs. It's a powerful system for organizing and presenting all the information in our database and allows for all sorts of custom searches and tag combinations. To keep our search results up to date for everyone using the Archive, we need to ensure that freshly-posted works, new comments and kudos, edited bookmarks, new tags, etc. all make it into our search index practically in real time.

As the volume of updates has grown considerably over the last couple of years, however, that's increased the time it takes to process those updates and slowed down the general functioning of the underlying system. That slowness has interacted badly with the way we cache data in our current code: works and bookmarks seem to occasionally appear and disappear from site listings and the counts you see on different pages and sidebars may be significantly different from one another.

That's understandably alarming to anyone who encounters it, and fixing it has been our top priority.

The First Step

We are making some major changes to our various "re-indexing" processes, which take every relevant change that happens to works/bookmarks/tags and update our massive search index accordingly:

  • Instead of going directly into Elasticsearch, all indexing tasks will now be added to a queue that can be processed in a more orderly fashion. (We were queueing some updates before, but not all of them.)
  • The queued updates will then be sent to the search engine in batches to reduce the number of requests, which should help with performance.
  • Cached pages get expired (i.e., updated to reflect new data) not when the database says so, but when Elasticsearch is ready.
  • Updates concerning hit counts, kudos, comments, and bookmarks on a work (i.e. "stats" data) will be processed more efficiently but less frequently.

As a result, work updates will take a minute to affect search results and work listings, and background changes to tags (e.g. two tags being linked together) will take a few minutes longer to be reflected in listings. Stats data (hits, kudos, etc.) will be added to the search index only once an hour. The upside of this is that listings should be more consistent across the site!

(Please note that this affects only searching, sorting, and filtering! The kudos count in a work blurb, for example, is based on the database total, so you may notice slight inconsistencies between those numbers and the order you see when sorting by kudos.)

The Next Step

We're hoping that these changes will help to solve the immediate problems that we're facing, but we're also continuing to work on long-term plans and improvements. We're currently preparing to upgrade our Elasticsearch cluster from version 0.90 to 1.3 (which has better performance and backup tools), switch our code to a better client, and make some changes to the way we index data to continue to make the system more efficient.

One big improvement will be in the way we index bookmarks. When we set up our current system, we had a much smaller number of bookmarks relative to other content on the site. The old Elasticsearch client we were using also had some limitations on its functionality, so we ended up indexing the data for bookmarked works together with each of their individual bookmarks, which meant that updates to the work meant updates to dozens or hundreds of bookmark records. That's been a serious problem when changes are made to tags, in particular, where a small change can potentially kick off a large cascade of re-indexes. It's also made it more difficult to keep up with regular changes to works, which led to problems with bookmark sorting by date. We're reorganizing that, using Elasticsearch's parent-child index structure, and we hope that this will also have positive long-term effects on performance.

Overall, we're continuing to learn and look for better solutions as the Archive grows. We apologize for the bumpy ride lately, and we hope that the latest set of changes will make things run more smoothly. We should have more improvements for you in the coming months, and in the meantime, we thank you for your patience!

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