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2016-11-17 12:50:17 -0500

5 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 Rrain Prior, who volunteers as a staffer with our Journal Committee.

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

As the production editor for Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) I shepherd OTW's academic journal from accepted submissions to finished product, including organising copyediting, proofreading and layout, and troubleshooting anything that comes up along the way.

The journal is one of the main projects that the OTW undertakes, providing an established and respected venue for fan studies. It's also a pioneer in terms of online-only and open access academic journals, which I think really exemplifies the values and goals of OTW as a whole.

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

I'm not sure there's any such thing as a typical week for me! The journal publishes two to three times a year, with each issue about a two-month process on the production end of things. During a production window, in any given week I might be:

  • collecting copyright releases from authors
  • running down source locations (online items are notoriously migratory)
  • entering proofreading corrections
  • confirming names and figures for articles
  • finding alternate sources for YouTube videos
  • tweaking layout code to make elements in articles appear properly
  • corresponding with copyediting, proofreading or layout volunteers to wrangle scheduling

All of this is done with the ultimate goal of making sure every issue of TWC is published on time. And so far, with 22 issues under our belts, we've been on time with every single one.

One thing is consistent, no matter what I might be tackling: there is always a lot of email! In between issues, my week might involve correcting links in previous articles, corresponding with authors about corrections, or diving into one of our ongoing projects such as ensuring that every image has correct alt text. Sometimes, once in a while, I might even have a week off.

Is there a favorite issue of Transformative Works and Cultures that you've worked on?

Favourites are so hard to choose, especially since I've worked on every issue! As a fannish butterfly, every issue has something that I've been really excited about. I think, though, that my favourite would have to be what was also the most technologically challenging issue: our "Fan/Remix Video" issue from 2012, guest edited by Francesca Coppa and Julie Levin Russo.

Nearly every article in the issue incorporated video clips in some way, which really highlighted the flexibility of an online-only journal. Working with videos is sometimes the hardest part of laying out an issue of TWC, but it was really worth it to make this happen.

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

The best thing is the people I work with, hands down. Karen and Kristina (editors of TWC) are amazing to work with and have taught me so much, and all of our volunteers are both incredibly hardworking and really a pleasure to work with. But I have to admit there are other perks to doing what I do, too. Getting to be the first person to read some of these articles? Yes, please! I'm also the kind of person who quite enjoys both wrangling the big picture and digging into the small details of things, which probably means I'm in exactly the right job.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I'm a fanfic writer from way back. Way, way back. Not quite to zine-only era, but definitely back to usenet era. That's always been my joy and my primary fannish activity, through several fandoms. I've also been an RPer (both pen-and-paper and later online) since I was a teenager. Comic-book fan, voracious reader, gamer, and all-around pan-media consumer and transformer. It would not be a stretch to say that most of my life is fannish in some way.

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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Newsletter AO3 header


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!


Once again, the AO3 gets a little bigger. This month, Open Doors announced three new imports, The Quidditch Pitch, Tü 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.


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.


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.


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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AO3 logo wearing a party hat, with the words '1 Million Celebration'

The Organization for Transformative Works is thrilled to announce another milestone for the Archive of Our Own: one million registered users!

one million users

The Archive of Our Own was conceived based on a desire to have a fan-controlled space where fanworks could be hosted without commercial influence or content restrictions. It took two and a half years to go from that initial idea to Open Beta, but on November 14th, 2009, members of the public began opening accounts on AO3. The archive began to grow, and the milestones began piling up. We hit the incredible one million fanworks milestone on February 15th, 2014, and instituted the first annual International Fanworks Day on February 15th, 2015, in celebration.

When the Archive reached its two million fanworks milestone, we celebrated the dedication of all our users, registered and not, who inspire us to volunteer and help keep the OTW's projects going. Now that we've reached one million registered users, we want to celebrate and thank them in particular--the creators sharing fanworks, moderators hosting challenges and exchanges, readers curating collections, and commenters encouraging everyone to keep up the good work. Without your support and creativity, none of this would be possible. Without users, there would be no Archive of Our Own, and we appreciate all of the passion and hard work you share with us every day.

There's a lot of excitement to come here at the Archive, so keep visiting to see what's happening next. Thank you again for all of your support, and we hope you continue to enjoy the Archive!


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2016-10-30 17:20:42 -0400

We fixed a couple of bugs, cleaned up some code, and also added a whole lot of Cucumber tests to our suite. Mmm, veggies!


  • Coders: Ariana, bingeling, james, Sarken, tickinginstant
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, james, Naomi, Sarken
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Rebecca Sentance, Runt, Sarken


Bug Fixes

  • [AO3-3213] - Certain combinations of letters and characters in user-entered tags, such as "a.k.a." would lead to errors when trying to look at work listings for that tag. It was also impossible for wranglers to fix those, so a database admin had to step in. Now these can be wrangled just like any other tags!
  • [AO3-4375] - When logging in for the first time, new users are greeted with a small banner offering tips & tricks about Archive features and options. Our Docs team has now updated and clarified much of this information, and added links to our ever-expanding FAQ. (Hint: Tick the "Turn the new user help banner back on." option in your Preferences to access this content.)
  • [AO3-1654] - Deleting comments in a long thread could render undisplayed comments inaccessible. Now, you can properly access the rest of the thread.
  • [AO3-4663] - We added a meta tag to our layout which forces Internet Explorer to display pages in EdgeHTML mode, the highest standards mode supported by IE.
  • [AO3-4700] - We fixed a problem with the status badges in our README and switched the image links to a new service which provides a crisper look.

Automated Tests

  • [AO3-4684] - We use a little tool that tells us if our code is sufficiently covered by test cases. This release updates the necessary gems to improve the tool's accuracy.
  • [AO3-4677] - We also added coverage monitoring to the service we use for deploying new code to our Test Archive.
  • [AO3-4695] - Increased our fandoms-related test coverage.
  • [AO3-4694] - Increased our invitations-related test coverage.
  • [AO3-4690] - Increased our tags-related test coverage.
  • [AO3-4675] - Increased test coverage for our internal API.
  • [AO3-4673] - Increased test coverage for skins-related activities.
  • [AO3-4678] - 99 lines of tests on the wall, 99 lines of tests! Take one away -- actually, add 99 lines, which in this case cover tag wrangling procedures -- 15,289,462,899 lines of tests on the wall!
  • [AO3-4688] - In a continuing theme, we increased our gift exchange test coverage.
  • [AO3-4680] - Ditto, for AO3 admin activities.
  • [AO3-4670] - And even more admin activities.
  • [AO3-4679] - This one's for test cases relating to the invitation queue.
  • [AO3-4672] - AO3 admins can add languages to the Archive database, which will then appear in the language drop-down when posting a new work, for example. We added a test for this!
  • [AO3-4671] - There's now also a test for deleting or orphaning multiple works at once. "How are they not at 120% test coverage at this point???" I hear you ask. But apparently we are not.


  • [AO3-4646] - Updated the gem we use for parsing HTML in user-entered text.
  • [AO3-4697] - There were a lot of files that included old database tasks we weren't using anymore. Got rid of those! \o/
  • [AO3-4674] - We also cleaned up instances of devmode code that wasn't used anymore.
  • [AO3-4662] - Same for some outdated API code.
  • [AO3-4653] - Added some code to reduce the number of errors logged when tags are changed.
  • [AO3-4643] - This fix removes spurious errors logged when a subscription is deleted before the batch containing its notification is sent.
  • [AO3-4660] - This one is aimed at reducing errors we saw when works weren't being properly re-indexed.
  • [AO3-4645] - Sometimes, notifications weren't sent when works were added to a collection (due to a miscommunication between database records and mailers). We added code to address these errors.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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2016-10-26 12:37:16 -0400

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

Can you code, write documentation or organize things? The Organization for Transformative Works is looking for AO3 Documentation staff, AD&T Coding volunteers, and Tag Wrangling volunteers!

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Translation volunteers and Communications staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • AO3 Documentation Staff - closing 2 November 2016 UTC
  • AD&T Coding Volunteers - closing 2 November 2016 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling volunteers - closing 2 November 2016 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, please check back in 2017 for our next openings.

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.

AO3 Documentation Committee Staff

AO3 Documentation is the committee that writes and updates AO3 FAQs, tutorials, and more. We're looking for people who love the Archive of Our Own and who have experience with writing and proofreading user help documentation. If you enjoy helping your fellow fans learn how the AO3 works, apply to join the Docs team!

Applications are due 2 November 2016 UTC

Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee Coding Volunteers

The Accessibility, Design, & Technology committee coordinates design and development of the software that powers the Archive of Our Own. It is currently seeking experienced Ruby on Rails developers to enhance features, fix bugs, and write tests; however, self-motivated devs with prior experience in a server-side language who are interested in learning Ruby are also welcome to apply!

If you don't have the time to commit to formally volunteering for the OTW, we gratefully accept bug fixes from anyone on GitHub! Please check out our contributing guidelines before submitting a pull request.

Applications are due 2 November 2016 UTC

Tag Wrangling Committee Volunteers

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!

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 are due 2 November 2016 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


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Due South Archive (DSA) a due South fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Due South Archive (DSA) was opened in 1994, and accepted all types of due South fanfiction. To preserve access to the stories for new (and old!) due South fans, the archive will be moved to the AO3.

Open Doors will be working with Speranza, the current archivist, to import the Due South Archive into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. We will begin importing works from the Due South Archive to the AO3 collection after November 2016.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on Due South Archive?

All works archived on the behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. Before we import, we'll do our best to check the AO3 for an existing copy. If we find one, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

Please contact Open Doors with your Due South Archive pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. If you have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great. If you don't, we will work with the moderator to confirm your claims.

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we'll respond as soon as we can.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Due South Archive on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve the Due South Archive!

- The Open Doors team


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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Our October 2016 drive is now complete, and all of us at the Organization for Transformative Works would like to thank you for your participation and generosity. Together, we raised US$139,159.45 from 5518 individual donations!

Each and every participant in this drive has helped us continue to thrive as an organization, which means our projects and teams will keep growing and we’ll be able to do more outreach. Your participation has strengthened our community, allowing us to serve you better.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our returning members, who make what we do possible, and we are proud to welcome over 1200 new members to the OTW. We’re truly grateful to everyone who supports us, whether by donating, signal-boosting, volunteering, or encouraging our work. You’ve got our kudos!

Kudos growth graph on AO3, from zero in 2010 to over 60 million as of September 2016.
Growth graph for works and comments created each year on AO3, starting from zero in 2008 to over 500,000 works and 9.5 million comments this year alone.

(And don’t forget: even though the drive is over, you can contribute to the OTW at any time!)


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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

The OTW Legal team works every day in defense of fandom's right to create fanworks. They work to prevent unfair takedowns and lawsuits against fans, to secure exemptions that protect fans’ rights, and to participate in cases that may have an impact on fandom. To support our legal advocacy work, please make a donation.

Our Legal team also helps fans by answering their questions about fair use and their rights as content creators, and by publishing posts about new legal developments. They speak at panels about remix culture, what constitutes fair use, and how fan culture can help all content creators find their voices and gain more skills.

The OTW Legal team works primarily in the United States, although they're branching out to defend fair use principles in other parts of the world as well, including Europe, South Africa, and Australia. If you live in the US, Legal may have helped you if:

  • You cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands)
  • You make fan video (Paramount/CBS Fan Film “Guidelines”)
  • You’ve used the word "fandom" (Petition to cancel "FANDOM" trademark)
  • You write RPF (Davis v. Electronic Arts)
  • You’ve ever made a remix (Petition to grant DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixes)

Work that Legal Advocacy has done this year related to different types of fan activity: cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands), writing (Davis v. Electronic Arts, petition to cancel

You can find out more about their work by visiting the Legal page on our website and support their advocacy by donating today!


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