AO3 News

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I. NEW SERVER PURCHASE: BETTER FASTER STRONGER!

This month Systems determined which of several quotes to move forward with and purchased a new server to give OTW more space after holding together mail with sticks and strings. This has been a process with much deliberation and planning involved, and sets up the OTW to improve functionality, especially now that we have over a million AO3 users to serve!

II. AT THE AO3

Abuse has received about 350 tickets this month. A reminder: Abuse staff only need one ticket to start investigating. Encouraging people to send in multiple tickets about the same case only slows things down!

Accessibility, Design & Technology (AD&T) began recruiting new coding volunteers at the end of October. A dozen new recruits are currently working through set up and training, and we're looking forward to welcoming more at the beginning of the new year.

In addition to recruiting and training new volunteers, AD&T has been hard at work fixing bugs and increasing automated test coverage ahead of updating Rails. The most recent release also includes tools that will allow tag wranglers and Support staffers to fix some common issues without help from a database admin. The small number of AD&T staffers with database access and training has been creating a bottleneck for a while now, so in addition to these tools, the committee is also in the process of training more long-time staffers to work on database issues.

AO3 Documentation have uploaded a new Profile FAQ, which also replaces the old Icons FAQ. The committee has also welcomed ten new members to their team and are currently training them in their workflows.

In addition to a Five Things post, Communications also posted in celebration of the AO3 reaching one million registered users, a milestone that squeaked through on the last day of October.

This month, Tag Wrangling recruited both new wranglers and new tag wrangling staff— a warm welcome to all! They also worked closely with Open Doors on the tags for a very large and complicated archive import, and a group of wrangling volunteers have now been specially trained to work with and assist Open Doors on the import process. In addition, they made several small changes to the Wrangling Guidelines, mostly to update examples, and one larger update that affected 10 guidelines, bringing them into compliance with new procedures for handling ambiguous tags that were adopted in August.

III. READINGS AND WRITINGS

Journal is busy pushing through the very last articles for the first two issues of 2017, which go into production in January. In addition, several Journal team members have volunteered to do metadata entry for TWC at the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Systems have been working with Journal on getting a second iteration of OJS installed, and working with Open Doors on several projects, including transferring five domains to the AO3.

Open Doors completed the Warp 5 Complex and Dave and Ken's Diner import, answered tickets related to in-progress archives, and worked on improvements to the temporary import sites they use.

Thank you also to Finance, Systems, and Board for also helping Open Doors renew and transfer some domains, extend hosting for some in-progress archives, and set up redirects on completed imports! So much of the work done by the OTW is collaborative, with different committees sharing expertise and capacity to get the job done.

IV. LEGAL AND GOVERNANCE

Board welcomed the two newly elected members as full Board members on November 1. In order to help familiarize them with all committees and their chairs, check-in chats were held with several chairs throughout this month.

In these last couple months, Elections has begun to take stock of how the 2016 Election went. Elections posted statistics about the election on the website, showing the increased voter turnout this year. They also collected feedback from the candidates and several of the committees.

Finance has been working on the organization's new Chart of Accounts this month, and on consolidating payment methods. They are also working on various tasks related to financial document storage, investment planning, and insurance.

It was a relatively quiet month for our Legal team this November. They responded to several user queries about copyright law and fanworks, including a couple from fans whose fanworks had been copied by others. Legal also responded to a cease & desist letter related to the AO3.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting:

As of the 27th of November, the OTW has 592 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: SoyAlex (Wiki), Carly (AO3 Documentation), Red (AO3 Documentation), telescopicpoems (AO3 Documentation), VSSAKJ (AO3 Documentation), Taylor Ann (Elections), 6 other AO3 Documentation staff, 1 other Wiki staff
New Coder Volunteers: Linny1990, Nico, ArtOfCode, saraolives, ooh, potatoesque & 6 others
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Chanel Tilghman, Kamika, Rea, seimaisin, Vociferocity, Sephira, KatrinaJG, GoldenFalls, elizabethclaire, Deeps, Anushka J., Hilda Teo, Squashedrosie, Adrienne Raw, Zenaxia, theeone, Mickanick, 55555, Manya, G.D. Franco, 1 volunteer
New Translator Volunteers: ncastro, Anya Z.

Departing Committee Staff: Hele Braunstein (Support), Jessica Mosley (Elections), Asante Simons (AO3 Docs), 3 Elections Staff, 2 Internationalization & Outreach Staff, 2 Development & Membership Staff
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 1 Volunteer
Departing Translator Volunteers: Kshitija Agrawal, 2 others

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

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I. OCTOBER MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

The membership drive is always a massive collaborative effort, and this year's was no exception. Our Development and Membership committee worked with Communications and Translation to produce three drive posts, each in a total of 23 languages! Many thanks to all the amazing volunteers who made this drive possible, and a big thank you to everyone who donated and signal boosted!

The grand total raised? US$139,159.45 from 5518 individual donations!

II. AT THE AO3

Once again, the AO3 gets a little bigger. This month, Open Doors announced three new imports, The Quidditch Pitch, Türkfanfiction.net and Due South Archive.

And, if you're working on a challenge, you have Accessibility, Design & Technology to thank for the new and improved matching system. AD&T had just the one deploy in October, but the major improvements to challenge matching were big news.

Tag Wrangling have been making AO3 improvements too: they have been continuing work on the ongoing process of updating existing tags to be compliant with guideline changes, including updating relationship canonicals using "Other Characters" to "Other(s)". Tag Wranglers also continued to work with Open Doors volunteers on tag mapping projects to help with archive importing. It's these seemingly small changes and iterations that keep the AO3 in good working order.

III. LEGAL WORK FOR OCTOBER

In October, OTW Legal spoke up for fans in Singapore—we submitted a Comment to the Singaporean government in response to the nation’s Public Consultation on proposed changes to its copyright regime. Our comment covered a lot of topics, including fair use, technological protection measures, copyright duration, attribution rights for authors, and what to do when copyright owners can’t be identified. We also responded to a number of user queries including some about fair use and some in connection with the October membership drive.

IV. OTW WORK BY THE NUMBERS

Support is still going strong at around 900 tickets a month, and the committee will likely beat last year's total number of tickets by the end of October. Thankfully, they have five new eager folks coming on to the team to help answer tickets in a timely manner.

Abuse has received 500+ tickets this month and their new recruits have started training; their help with the growing number of tickets will be much appreciated.

Our Finance committee is all about the numbers, all of the time! They have a new co-chair, the brilliant Yuechiang Luo, and the committee as a whole is liaising with the Board about a new payment request process. They've also created a page for Finance on the OTW website, so you can get to know the committee's work a little better.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of the 28th of October, the OTW has 567 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Directors: Kristina Busse, Priscilla Del Cima.
New Committee Chairs: Yuechiang Luo (Finance), puckling (Systems), Matthew Vernon (Systems), Matty Bowers (Acting I&O Chair), Priscilla Del Cima (Acting Wiki Chair), Araise Solace (Elections)
New Committee Staff: Wania A (Strategic Planning), Lisa Schmidt (Strategic Planning), and 1 other Strategic Planning staffers, Amy Shimizu (Abuse), Svea (Abuse) & EllenW (Abuse) & CB (Abuse) & 3 other Abuse, Aalea (Support), Princess_Sachiko (Support), & 3 other Support, Rachel Pearl Bracker (Communications), Sarah Loch (Communications), Karen R. (Communications), & 1 other Communications staffer
New Translator Volunteers
: TheReadingAce, Motheomar, Isabel Berg, vorkosigan, Ha Thi Ngoc Huyen, Sara N., Natalia Gruber, Alexis Amarth, 6 Volunteers

Departing Committee Chairs: Amanda Furrow (Systems), Karen Johnson (Systems), kiki-eng (Internationalization & Outreach), jsparc (Wiki), Tiyire (Wiki)
Departing Committee Staff: kiki-eng (DevMem), Laura Groeneveld (Support)
Departing Communications Volunteers: Robyn, 2 Volunteers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Itachi, Nana, Allons-y, Lydiacatfish, Elijah, and 41 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 1 volunteer

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

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I. ELECTIONS

The 2016 OTW Board Election was held and the results have been posted! Congratulations to the new Board members, Kristina Busse and Priscilla Del Cima! They will begin their terms on November 1st. We wish them nothing but good things during their service.

Thank you to the candidates and everyone who participated, particularly those who attended the two candidate chats in their new format. Elections also wants to thank all the committees that made this possible; it was a true team effort.

Next year's election is currently planned for August, which is intended as its new permanent home.

Should the process ever see any other changes, we'll always be sure to keep you updated through the Elections website, on the OTW Elections Tumblr account, the OTW Elections Twitter account, and in this newsletter.

II. AT THE AO3

This month, Open Doors announced two new imports (The Basement, ScullySlash, and the Spooky Awards and Sinful Desire) and the project was highlighted in the OTW anniversary festivities. Much appreciation to the Communications team for organizing an interview with Versaphile (mod of several imported archives), an interview with Open Doors staffer Alison Watson, and a live chat with panelists from the three biggest academic fandom collections: University of Iowa (our partner in the Fan Culture Preservation Project), Texas A&M University, and Bowling Green University. We'd also like to thank Translation for their fast turnarounds as usual!

This was also the first month Open Doors internally recruited tag wranglers to help us with pre-import searching (to minimize duplicates for an import), and they did an amazing job searching almost 9,000 works for the Warp 5 Complex and The Hex Files archives. Many, many thanks to Tag Wrangling for continuing to help us map tags for all upcoming Open Doors imports!

Speaking of Tag Wrangling, two new guidelines were adopted as part of the team's ongoing metatag reduction project; one concerning how ambiguous canonical tags should be handled, and the second regarding character-specific tags in the Alternate Universe tree.

Due to the recent guideline updates, wranglers in many fandoms have been reexamining their existing canonical tags, and discovering that a large number are out of date. Several fandoms will be seeing tags updated to be guideline-compliant over the next few months. This will mostly involve adding disambiguations to ambiguous tags, but may also involve formatting changes to character or relationship tags, as well as reductions in metatagging in the freeforms.

III. UNDER THE HOOD AND BEHIND THE SCENES

Abuse received about 500 tickets this month! The team is currently switching to a new ticket tool, and the Abuse form has been updated.

Communications celebrated the OTW's anniversary with a public chat featuring three experts in curation and preservation of fannish history.

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed several batches of code (summarized in the Release Notes for 0.9.154 - 0.9.158 and 0.9.159 - 0.9.163), including changes to the Abuse report form, more invisible improvements and several substantial bug fixes. The team has also added some more documentation to our GitHub presence, to invite more contributions from coders outside the OTW. Accessibility, Design & Technology has been working with one such contributor on an exciting improvement for gift exchanges, which is currently being tested and should hopefully go live soon.

As for the most exciting news of all, the team has found a fantastic contractor whom they are looking to task with upgrading the Archive's version of Rails (the web development framework the AO3 is built on), which has been urgently due for an update for a while. It's a comprehensive, fiddly project, and we're glad to be able to outsource a large chunk of the work involved. Thank you to the Board, Legal, Finance, and all the OTW donors who make this possible!

Throughout September, Webs has worked to resolve and refine several visual and practical features across transformativeworks.org. They're in the midst of minimising loading times, creating a new and improved board minutes display, and other internal improvements.

Journal came out bang on time with issue No. 22 of Transformative Works and Cultures! The team also has most of the table of contents set for one of the two guest-edited issues for the first half of 2017, and contents of the other special issue are almost ready. They have a special issue call for papers out for a 2018 issue, and they hope to add another soon.

Development & Membership has been hard at work preparing for the October drive, writing posts and emails, making infographics, choosing new thank you gifts and making changes to our donation forms. The drive starts on October 13, so keep an eye out!

IV. GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL

Finance has published the 2016 budget update! More internal work is being done to make sure that the OTW's finances are running smoothly.

In September, OTW Legal partnered with our ally Public Knowledge to file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Lenz v. Universal. This continues our work on the long-running case, which concerns the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice-and-takedown system. Under that system, copyright owners can ask Internet hosts (like the Archive of Our Own) to take down works that infringe copyright. But before doing so, the copyright owners have to state their belief that the work is actually infringing—for example, that the work isn’t fair use.

Last year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that before sending a takedown notice, copyright owners need to form a belief that the work is not fair use, but they held that a “subjective good faith belief” is enough. Although this ruling was a step in the right direction, the OTW believes that the court set the standard too low. So in this brief, Legal argued that the Supreme Court should examine that standard. They argued that allowing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to stand would chill freedom of expression on the Internet and invite censorship by allowing copyright owners to send DMCA takedown notices without adequately considering or understanding the actual law of fair use.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of September 27, the OTW has 580 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below:

New Committee Staff: sveritas (Finance), Cesy (Finance), and 2 other Finance staffers, 1 Translation staffer, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting, Sandra Strauch (Communications)
New Coder Volunteers: Carlos Martín
New Translator Volunteers: Zane Valule

Departing Committee Staff: Jeniouis (Webs), billiethepoet (Strategic Planning), ashleyhasahat (Communications), 1 AO3 Documentation staffer, 1 Webs
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Kits, defe and 5 other volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Carmen, Chintan, Noura, and 3 other volunteers

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

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I. OTW LEGAL DEFENDING FANDOM

In July, Legal worked with several allies to file an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. In the brief, we argued that copyright law should not be expanded to include garment designs. The case is about cheerleading uniforms, but some have argued that it could have an impact on cosplay. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the OTW strongly believes that cosplay and other fan costuming and building pursuits will still be allowed under the law, but this brief sends an important message about the value of fan creativity surrounding apparel and industrial design.

Early in the month, Legal wrote about CBS/Paramount’s new “Fan Film Guidelines”. As usual, in July Legal also responded to several queries from fans, many of which concerned those guidelines. The guidelines were also a big topic of discussion at San Diego Comic Con, where Legal Chair Betsy presented on a panel entitled “Comic Book Law School 303: New Revelations.” The panel discussed fair use, fan films, fanart, and other “hot” topics. Also at San Diego Comic Con, OTW allies the Re:Create Coalition unveiled “A Day in the Life of Fair Use: A Different Kind of Superhero at Comic-Con,” showing a few ways that copyright fair use makes events like Comic Con possible.

July also saw the culmination of some work that Legal has been doing for the past few months, with help from students at American University Washington College of Law’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic. We successfully petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel trademark registration of the word "fandom" for entertainment services. Just one more success in our effort to combat commercial appropriation of fandom and fan culture!

II. IMPROVING ACCESS TO OTW CONTENT

Journal has gone into production for the Transformative Works and Cultures September 15 issue, which is going to be a big one, with lots of great essays. TWC was also accepted into the Directory of Open Access Journals, which is great news, because the DOAJ shares their journals' metadata with a number of aggregators. That means that students or faculty who search for fan studies articles in libraries will be more likely to find content published in Transformative Works and Cultures!

Translation gained a new co-chair this month, SunnyB, who's spent the last couple of months in chair track training. They've also been collaborating with Elections and have started translating content for the upcoming Board elections in September. Translation also helped AO3 Support answer a total of 37 tickets last month, which is an all-time high!

Webs has been busy welcoming new members, and is hard at work setting up training materials, guiding new staff, and working on documentation. The influx of new staff has enabled them to begin setting up an on-call rotation to give everyone a chance to participate as well as have some days off.

III. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed 4 releases in July, addressing a wide range of issues. While a number of these fixes were invisible and behind the scenes (rearranging servers, fixing database and test issues, updates to committee tools, keeping the Archive running smoothly), they also made some fixes to challenges and tackled a caching bug. The committee also started working with Development & Membership on changes for drives, and with Abuse on changes to the Abuse form. Abuse received around 400 tickets in July. They are hard at work moving to a new ticketing software which should help us deal with tickets much more efficiently.

AO3 Documentation uploaded two documents—a revised Your Account FAQ and the Unofficial Browser Tools which replaces the old Cool Stuff FAQ. They also added a new question to the Pseuds FAQ.

Open Doors announced the import of two archives (Dave & Ken's Diner, a Starsky & Hutch archive, and Warp 5 Complex, a Star Trek: Enterprise archive), and have been managing tickets related to these imports in addition to preparing for other upcoming archives.

Tag Wrangling compiled and posted the First Principles of Wrangling, with the goal of having these principles easily accessible so as to both help wranglers understand how to implement edge cases in the guidelines, and also let AO3 users see what the general ideas underpinning the Wrangling Guidelines are. The committee also put together a glossary of common terms used in wrangling for our volunteers, and made a small update to the guidelines for how tags related to kinks are handled.

In addition, Tag Wrangling worked with Open Doors to handle tag mapping requests for six incoming archives, and requested two minor changes to the wrangling interface from Accessibility, Design & Technology, which have been implemented.

IV. GOVERNANCE

After a long period of inactivity the Finance Committee has been rebooted. They have a huge to-do list ahead and are only just getting started but are hoping to recruit for new members in early August. So if you know anyone who might have the skills to help out, please send them our way!

Board kept busy with the normal flow of approvals for staff, proposals and legal filings. They also amended the bylaws to make Elections' job for the forthcoming elections easier and the election process harder to be abused. They also set up a schedule for upcoming voice chat meetings, and approved new server purchases.

Board assisted the team reviving the Finance Committee in getting their work started. The team's dedication and effort in tackling this complicated job has already started showing positive results. Strategic Planning also had a productive July fine tuning implementation for the next plan and completing edits on the plan itself.

Development & Membership has been happy to welcome on eight new staffers as they try out a new ticketing tool and a more organized task tracking system. The team is in the early stages of preparation for the October drive.

Elections's new timeline is in place, and they announced the candidates on July 31! Here are some more important dates:

  • The membership deadline is August 23. Any member who donated between October 7, 2015 and August 23, 2016, including both those days, is eligible to vote in this year's election
  • The election will be held from September 23–26.

The committee also has opened an Elections Committee Tumblr account which will have announcements and explanations for how the election works, and they're encouraging interested Tumblr users to follow the account. They also have a new communication platform, which they'll be using for the upcoming candidate chats, hoping to allow for more participation by attending members.

The OTW's bylaws have been updated with two requests from Elections: sitting Board members will need to wait until the year after their term expires before standing for election again, and new changes to the bylaws will only impact elections that are at least 90 days away.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 28 June to 28 July, Volunteers & Recruiting received 87 new requests, and completed 81. Some highlights of this month's tasks included opening recruitment for Tag Wrangling volunteers and receiving 65 applicants, and renaming two committees: Web Strategy, Design, and Development to "Webs," and Financial to "Finance." As of the 28th of July, the OTW has 582 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: SunnyB (Translation)
New Committee Staff: Richard Haupt (Development & Membership), Kat Heiden (Development & Membership), Mandee Wilcox (Development & Membership), Kris Weldon (Development & Membership), TCD (Development & Membership), and 3 other Development & Membership staffers, Jeniouis (Webs), brioche (Webs), Joseph Marques (Webs), kellyprogramsthings (Webs), Lexis_Blake (Webs), dolleye (Webs), zephyruszzz (Webs), and 1 other Webs staffer, alamerysl (Finance), Priscilla Del Cima (Finance), and 1 other Finance staffer, Ona Lu (Legal), Stacey Lantagne (Legal), and 1 other Legal staffer
New Translator Volunteers: Kalliopi Siaka, zephyruszzz, Lana Garcia, SarkaS, Amsjur, Timi, georgiaodd, Chintan and 1 other volunteer

Departing Committee Staff: Sarah Remy (Communications), 1 Abuse staffer
Departing AO3 Documentation Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: RepressedLurker, Aesyr, and 4 other volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Ezra Gecko, Sayali Marathe, Nele Noppe, and 3 other volunteers

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

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I. TRANSLATION RECRUITMENT AND NEW LANGUAGES

Translation has been focused on recruitment this month: the committee received 50 applications, and will welcome 26 new volunteers, including three new languages: Hindi, Romanian and Welsh! They also conducted a survey of their teams to get to know more about internal issues they've faced, and updated their map on the OTW website showing where in the world you can find Translation members.

The Translation team makes sure that as many people around the world can engage with us as possible - every new language makes our work more accessible to a global audience.

II. BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE OTW

Abuse tackled about 350 tickets so far this month, and are streamlining workflow by transitioning to a new ticket tracker.

Meanwhile, the busy folk at Accessibility, Design & Technology posted the change log for the last 11 releases, four of which were deployed in June. Since then, they've been hard at work doing code review and testing for release 0.9.140, which is slated to include several long-awaited challenge fixes.

Journal is gearing up to begin production for the September 15 issue, with a final flurry of editorial work being done, as well as updates of production documentation. Several team members are at the Fan Studies Network conference in the UK, where they are also doing some promotional work on TWC's behalf.

Open Doors completed the imports of several archives (Wesleyfanfiction.Net, The Prydonian, and Human Nature), updated their website, responded to a number of new requests from archivists, and worked on existing requests.

Tag Wrangling welcomed several new staff members this month and have been training them on procedures. The committee made some updates to the canonicals for the X-men movies and Tortall books fandoms in order to bring them in line with archive standards and make their organization more clear.

III. LEGAL

Early in the month, Legal submitted comments to the European Union in response to its Public Consultation on the Role of Publishers in the Copyright Value Chain and the Panorama Exception. OTW legal representatives argued that the creation of new copyright-type rights and enforcement mechanisms would create uncertainty, unfairness, and harm to creators and consumers of Internet content.

A bit later in June, the committee joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Professor Eric Goldman to submit comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The proposed rule would require sites that rely on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Safe Harbor—like the Archive of Our Own—to renew their DMCA eligibility status every three years. In Legal's response, it was argued that this proposed requirement could harm small service providers and expose providers to risk for small oversights.

Legal Chair Betsy participated in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. discussing the Internet’s role in new creative cultures and economies, and what technological advances mean for copyright law.

Legal can also report an excellent legal result in the case of Capitol Records v. Vimeo. Back in 2014, Legal joined a number of allies to file an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in that case. Among other things, the case considered what constitutes “red flag” knowledge of infringing material that would require the hosting service to remove the material even without receiving a takedown notice under the DMCA. OTW and our allies argued for a standard that would favor sites that host user generated content, to prevent the law from chilling fair use and other valuable speech. And we won! The court held that in order to prove that a service provider had “red flag” knowledge, it is not enough to show that a service provider employee saw a video that includes substantially all of a recording of recognizable copyrighted music. This is a victory for service providers, and also for vidders, who may make fair use of whole (or nearly-whole) songs. Here’s what our allies, the EFF, have to say about the result.

Finally, as always, Legal also responded to a number of fan queries.

IV. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Adri, Alecto Holmes, Alexandra926, Britt, Caitie, Caitlin, cat_eh, chas, Elf, mismoree, Aesyr, Gloria, goldstandard, Kezia Bryant, Kichi, lizard, Maddie, Mander, Nick 556, nocokenojoke, heypaula, Pent, Rianna Seven, Rocky, Sarah Jacobson, Sarar, Sobriquett, The_Plaid_Slytherin, veo_las_estrellas, wreck, tealeafer
New Translator Volunteers: Arahime & 17 others

Departing Committee Staff Emilie Karr (Tag Wrangling), thatwasjustadream (Communications), 2 Abuse staffers, 2 Wiki staffers, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting Staffers, 1 Support staffer
Departing Communications Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: SwaggyOrc
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 1
Departing Translator Volunteers: Lextiel, dea, 2 others

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

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I. IMPROVEMENTS TO SUPPORT AND ABUSE PROCEDURES

This month saw some improvements to the way Support and Abuse work. Five new Support staffers have finished their training and are now taking tickets, which will improve turnaround times. Support has also switched ticket trackers, streamlining their processes significantly.

In a similar vein, Abuse has proposed changes to the AO3 abuse reporting system which would require anyone submitting a complaint to provide contact details. The Abuse team says that these changes will reduce duplicate reports, allow staffers to contact people to discuss complaint outcomes, and follow up for more information when necessary.

II. LEGAL HARD AT WORK

In May, Legal continued its work at the U.S. Copyright Office, helping shape U.S. Copyright policy. In recent months, we have submitted comments as part of the Copyright Office’s inquiry into various elements of the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This month, we followed up on those comments in person. Rebecca Tushnet participated on behalf of the OTW in two Copyright Office roundtables. The first took place in New York, and explored the notice-and-takedown framework in section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We reported on it at transformativeworks.org. The second took place in Washington, D.C., and explored the process for obtaining exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions, like the “vidder’s exemption” that allows vidders to rip video from DVDs and Blu-Rays to make fanvids. Rebecca reported on the second roundtable on her blog.

At the very end of April, Legal filed a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel a trademark registration for the word “Fandom”, citing scores of examples that the word is a generic description of fans and fan activities and should not be owned exclusively by any single corporation or other entity.

Also in May, Legal Chair Betsy gave a presentation at Whedonopolis in Southern California about the OTW, fanworks, and law. And as usual, Legal responded to several queries for help and legal information from fans.

III. GOVERNANCE

This month, Board has continued to work on improving the financial set up, as well as meeting with committees to discuss their progress and any setbacks they might be facing. Board also approved a Terms of Service change proposed by the Abuse team, collaborated with Communications on a news post, approved new staff for Elections, and discussed an external proposal they received.

IV. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

New Committee Staff: Amy Shepard (Elections), Laura Brooks (Elections), Jessica Mosley (Elections), nellscarlet123 (Elections), and 1 other Election staff.
New Coder Volunteers: Jing
Departing Committee Staff: OutToGarden (AO3 Documentation), 1 AO3 Documentation staff, Seamus Johnston (Strategic Planning), 1 Communications staff, 1 Translation staff, 2 Abuse staff, 1 Legal staff, ShotaSammy (Support), Vanderloo (Support), Genie Este (Support), carolinux (Systems)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Myrifique, 2 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Jáchym, Evalangui, 4 others

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I. DRIVE NEWS

Development & Membership held the OTW's April 2016 membership drive this month, raising just under US$100,000! Kudos to them, as well as to Communications, Translation, Web Strategy, Design & Development, and everyone else who worked on the drive.

And a big thank you to everyone who donated, signal boosted, and supported the drive. We couldn't have done it without you!

II. OTW PROJECTS

Board has filed taxes for 2015 and worked with the Strategic Planning Committee to finish the revision of the Strategic Plan.

Communications' Media Outreach team posted the first of a new Five Things an OTW Staffer/Volunteer Said series, which is replacing the old Spotlight series as a way to showcase what OTW personnel do. Stay tuned for more posts like this in the future.

The Wiki Committee upgraded Fanlore's MediaWiki software to version 1.26.2. This version includes new features and allows Fanlore to take advantage of upcoming security releases.

The Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee is happy to announce that the move to the new transformativeworks.org site is finally finished, and that the Open Doors and Elections sites have also been moved. Elections has been working to make sure navigation works smoothly on their new site, and Web Strategy, Design & Development is reviewing the main sitemap to make sure all content is up-to-date.

III. HARD WORK AT LEGAL

At the very end of March, the ever-busy Legal team submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office about the notice-and-takedown provisions in Section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The OTW argued that the law is far from perfect, but that it helps allow online creativity to thrive. The committee reminded the Copyright Office that many entities that rely on the DMCA, like the OTW's Archive of Our Own, are small and lack the resources to monitor user-provided content for infringement. They also highlighted the importance of preventing and punishing improper takedown notices, and discussed how the current system of counter-notification doesn’t do enough to protect fair use and free expression.

Early in the month, Legal Committee member Rebecca met in person with the European Union delegation in the U.S., and in mid-April, Legal submitted comments to the European Commission regarding the EU’s Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. They discussed the pros and cons of notice-and-takedown systems and the importance of making sure those systems don’t chill non-infringing speech. They also urged the Commission to recognize that significant innovation and creativity can come from the non-commercial sector, and not to make rules that only large businesses will be able to follow.

Later in the month, Legal joined allies in a letter to the U.S. Senate regarding the appointment of Dr. Carla Hayden as U.S. Librarian of Congress. They continue to work with allies to monitor and provide input to the Senate confirmation process.

Legal also responded to several law-related queries from fans. Internally, Legal is monitoring trademark activity concerning parties’ attempts to obtain exclusive trademark rights over the word “fandom,” and laying groundwork to oppose those attempts.

IV. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology have announced an upcoming Archive functionality that will allow collection owners to invite works to their collections. They successfully deployed releases 0.9.129-0.9.131 and began testing for release 0.9.132. The deploys included an emergency fix for an issue where work and bookmark listings weren't updating, as well as some much-needed changes to help Support and Abuse manage comments from logged-out users.

Open Doors began importing works from the WesleyFanfiction archive with the assistance of the site's moderator.

AO3's Tag Wranglers have been seeing a strong increase in newly canonized or renamed tags not updating properly in the filters, which can mean that some works do not appear properly under the tag. Coders are aware of the situation and are working towards a solution, but users are the best resource for finding these tags. Please submit a support ticket if you come across one!

V. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Legal bids a fond farewell to long-time committee member Iona. They look forward to the possibility of her returning to the committee when time allows.

Strategic Planning is very sad to see their staffer, Seamus, leave the committee, but they wish him well in all his future endeavors in Systems and in life!

Systems is very excited to welcome a new Project Manager, Puckling!

This month, Tag Wranglers inducted five new staff members.

Volunteers & Recruiting opened recruitment for 2 Elections staff positions, and worked with Strategic Planning and Board on revisions to the Strategic Plan.

New Committee Staff: Patrycja Zarzecka (Elections), Gesundheit (Tag Wrangling), Cryllia (Tag Wrangling), Schuyler (Tag Wrangling), alamerysl (Tag Wrangling), ChelseaIBelieve (Tag Wrangling), puckling (Systems), 1 Journal
New Coder Volunteers: 1
New Translator Volunteers: 1

Departing Committee Staff: dizmo (Tag Wrangling), cinnamonandtea (Support), Ilona van der Vegt (Abuse), Ehryn (Abuse) and 1 other Abuse staffer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: PineTreePerson and 6 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 2, Mierke

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Published:
2016-04-04 13:30:31 -0400
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Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

I. SHINY AND NEW

This month saw the publication of a special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, the OTW's academic journal. Volume 21, "The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work," was guest edited by Ika Willis, University of Wollongong. The essays in this special issue analyze "the relationships between Classical literature (and its afterlives) and contemporary fan work," as Willis's editorial notes. Putting out an academic journal is a mammoth task, and the Journal team do it three times a year. Articles are open access, so anyone can head over and dip into the articles.

After a seven-year run, Communications has concluded the OTW Fannews series. In its place, the committee has debuted a series called This Week in Fandom. Each Tuesday, TWIF will present a roundup of interesting happenings throughout all of fandom from the past week–everything from trending discussions to academia to exciting announcements to media articles on fandom and more. TWIF is new, so feedback on format and content, as well as potential stories and submissions, is very welcome!

The Web Strategy, Design & Development committee has been toiling away to get the new OTW site up and running. This month, the committee moved the website to its final hosting place and is working on doing the same for the Open Doors and Elections sites. Thanks to everyone for their patience with the beta site during the move!

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology have reported a great milestone this month: the Archive now has over 800,000 registered users! They have also successfully put out four releases. Of particular interest is an overhaul of the Skin Wizard, and the ability for gift exchange moderators to search sign-ups.

The Abuse team has received 400 tickets this month.

Tag Wrangling staff inducted a new class of volunteers, who have leapt into action to help keep up with the always-expanding volume of new tags and fandoms on the AO3.

Over at Open Doors, staff worked on manually importing the Hornblowerfic.com archive.

III. LEGAL ADVOCACY

In March, Legal represented the OTW at the South by Southwest Interactive festival! Legal committee chair Betsy Rosenblatt presented on the panel "Copyright and Creators: 2026" about the future of copyright law. Legal staffer Heidi Tandy hosted a Fair Use and Transformative Works Meetup at the festival, followed by a gathering for all, including those without festival passes, at a local pub. The event featured some great opportunities for fans to interact with U.S. law- and policy-makers, as well as of course gathering and socializing with each other.

Legal also responded to a significant number of legal questions from fans, some of which came in via AO3 Support and others that came directly to Legal.

IV. GOVERNANCE

After publishing the prospective budget for 2016 at the beginning of the month, the Board of Directors met with a Chartered Professional Accountant and is working through their assessment of the OTW's finances. They've also started preparing for this year's tax filing.

V. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From February 29 to March 27, Volunteers & Recruiting received 84 new requests, and completed 78, leaving us with 39 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below). They also welcomed two new staffers. Elections brought in a new Communications Specialist staffer this month as well.

New Committee Staff: Misty Fritz (Elections), Anna S. (Volunteers & Recruiting), Katrina Hueniken (Volunteers & Recruiting)
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: adustyspectacle, arahime, Astra, Bella Irvine, capitola, CB, Flynn J. M. Germain, godsamitdean, ImpossibleGirlWrangler, Ira Gladkova, lightofthewind, LittleMousling, lubabathegreat, M.A., mal_stoner, miaou, Miranda, Osono, Perilous Grey, PineTreePerson, Rachel Harris, RepressedLurker, ShadowRancher, Sofia, the-dreaming-hare, and Twera

Departing Committee Staff: Chrissy Sky (AO3 Documentation), 2 Support, 1 Internationalization & Outreach, and 1 Wiki
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Yenelie, radondoran, and 9 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: waywardson1978 and 2 others

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