AO3 News

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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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As you might have noticed if you're following our Release Notes, we've been focusing on humdrum back-end updates for quite a while now. Words like "test coverage" and "strong parameters" have featured prominently in every change log for almost a year, and we haven't been able to focus on more visible features and fixes. However, progress is being made, and thanks to your donations we have the financial means to work with contractors for a good part of these updates!

Having worked with a few other contractors in the past, primarily on smaller fixes to our codebase, we now have a stellar team that's been by our side for much of our big Rails upgrade, and will hopefully stay on for a few more projects after that. \o/

However, it's important to note that being able to afford contractors doesn't mean that all the work gets done right away. (Alas.) Our small team of volunteer coders and testers still has to thoroughly review and test all code submissions, while still living up to their pesky "real life" commitments. Bugs can still take days to solve, whether the person elbow-deep in code is being paid or not. And unforeseen problems affecting site stability and security still take precedence above all else, tying up volunteer time. (This is also the reason major code updates have been delayed for so long: there's always another fire to put out!)

As a result, the slog through our outdated code will take a while longer, and progress will seem slow from the user side. We are currently on Rails 3.2 and our upgrade will take us to the latest version of Rails 5. (Anyone familiar with Rails knows that this is quite a bit of work.) And once we’re done with the Rails work, we need to upgrade Elasticsearch, which powers the Archive's search and filtering functionality. After that's all done, we'll take a little nap we can go back to more exciting and significantly more visible projects!

We want to thank you for bearing with us through it all, and for the donations that make it possible to outsource some of the workload involved in updating the Archive code. We can't always reply to comments here, and we can't respond to every tweet (even if the reaction gif is really funny), but we see you, and we appreciate you. Thanks for your support over all these years! <3

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Published:
2017-04-28 10:09:12 -0400
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AO3 3 million fanworks

Partial screenshot of the AO3 homepage showing 3 million fanworks

The Archive of Our Own is thrilled to announce that it is now home to 3 million fanworks! This amazing accomplishment could not have happened without the support and engagement of you, our incredible users.

A bit of history about the Archive:

  • The idea for a fan-owned archive was first suggested in May 2007
  • The Archive of Our Own went into closed beta almost a year and a half later, in October 2008
  • A little over a year after that, in November 2009, AO3 entered open beta, where anyone could request an invitation and make an account
  • Before open beta, there were 347 user accounts and 6598 fanworks from 674 fandoms
  • Two days after open beta started, there were 1076 user accounts and 9506 fanworks from 886 fandoms
  • The millionth fanwork was posted to AO3 on February 15, 2014, just under four and a half years after going into open beta
  • The two millionth fanwork was posted to AO3 on December 20, 2015, less than two years after reaching one million fanworks

And now, less than a year and a half after reaching 2 million fanworks, we're celebrating 3 million! The past decade has been an incredible journey, and the AO3 has grown more than we ever could have hoped back when it first started.

Help Us Celebrate

It's the people who make the Archive of Our Own what it is. Our more than 1 million registered users--and countless unregistered users--are some of the most enthusiastic and passionate folks around, giving so much of themselves in the works, comments, and kudos that they share. So we want to hear your stories. What does AO3 mean to you?

You can share your answer in a word. You can share it in an essay. In a drawing. A song. However you want to celebrate your experience, we want to know about it. Leave a comment or use the hashtag #myAO3 on social media so we can hear what you have to say.

Three million thank yous to everyone who helped the Archive get to where it is today!

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Published:
2016-10-04 15:49:39 -0400
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We will be deploying a major improvement to the potential matching code for challenges and gift exchanges shortly, and want to give a quick overview of how this could affect any exchanges you may currently be running.

  • If you have sent assignments out, no worries! The new code will not affect you at all.
  • If you have not run matching yet, please hold off on doing so until the new code is deployed! We will be announcing the code release here on AO3 News in the next three days.
  • If you are in the middle of making assignments -- that is, you have already run matching, but have not actually sent out your assignments -- you will need to do one of two things. Either:
    • Send out assignments before we deploy the new code, or
    • Wait until the new code is deployed, then re-run matching.

Please note that if you choose to wait until the new code is deployed, you will unfortunately lose the existing assignments, including any ones you may have edited by hand. You will still be able to re-run your matching, taking full advantage of the new improvements, and then re-do any manual edits that need to be made.

If you have invested a lot of time in hand-massaging assignments and do want to send your assignments out before we deploy, please contact Support by October 8 with the name of your collection and an estimate of when you expect to send out assignments. We would like to release this code, which will significantly improve matching, as soon as possible, while also trying to give everyone who is in the middle of assignments enough time to finish the process.

The changes we have made to the code are completely on the back end and will not only eliminate the (recently implemented) limit on potential matches, but will also make matching run much faster and more smoothly going forward! Thank you in advance for your support and assistance as we prepare to release this upgrade.

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Published:
2016-04-18 16:47:20 -0400
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We’re adding a new functionality to the Archive! To date, only work creators have been able to add their works to collections. With an upcoming code release, collection owners and maintainers will also be able to invite works to collections!

For Collection Owners & Maintainers

The new code will allow collection owners and maintainers to add works to their collections by visiting the work, selecting the 'Add To Collections' button at the bottom, and entering the name of the collection.

The Add To Collections button at the bottom of a work.

If the work's creator has chosen to automatically allow their works to be included in collections, then the work is added to the collection -- no further action needed!

A work with a blue flash message at the top indicating the work has been successfully added to a collection.

If the creator hasn't chosen to automatically allow their works to be included in collections, a request will be sent asking them to approve or deny the addition of their work to the collection.

After inviting a work to a collection, maintainers will be able to see its status in the collection's 'Manage Items' page. While the request is pending approval, the work will show under 'Invited'; once approved, the item will move to the 'Approved' section. If the item is rejected, it will show under 'Rejected'.

The Manage Items page of a collection. The Invited button is selected, showing that works listed are awaiting creator approval before inclusion.

For Work Creators

Work creators can fully control how to interact with this new feature. Checking the 'Automatically agree to your work being collected by others in the Archive' option in Preferences will allow works to be added to collections directly without approval. A notification will let you know when your work(s) have been added to collections.

The Collections, Challenges and Gifts user preferences.

If that preference is not checked, you will receive an email asking you to approve or deny the invitation.

An invitation email informing a work creator that a collection maintainer wants to include the work in their collection.

Please be aware that these approval request emails fully respect the 'Turn off emails from collections' setting. If collection emails are turned off, but you don't allow your works to be automatically added to collections, you will not receive approval request emails and will need to periodically check your 'Manage Collected Works' page to approve the addition of your works to collections. Similarly, if you have collection emails turned off and do allow your works to be automatically added to collections, you will not receive an email when one of your works is added to a collection.

Creators can review and respond to invitations through the 'Manage Collected Works' page. This page is linked in the approval request email, and is also available in the 'Collections' section of the Dashboard sidebar. From there, you can approve or reject invitations, and review previously approved or rejected invitations.

A user's Manage Collected Works page.

As always, if you have any questions or experience any problems, please contact our Support volunteers, who will be glad to help!

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Published:
2015-10-27 16:04:47 -0400
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The Archive currently offers a few ways to control how other people interact with your works: you can choose to only allow comments from signed-in users, or you can make your work only accessible to signed-in users to begin with.

However, to counter cases of severe harrassment on the Archive (including abusive comments from throw-away accounts created to circumvent the anon restrictions), we are now introducing a way for creators to review any comments before they appear on their works.

(Please note that this feature is undergoing testing, and all screen shots are approximate.)

What this means for creators

Once the feature is deployed, creators will be able to turn on comment moderation for new or existing works in the Privacy section of the posting and editing form.

The checkbox for enabling comment moderation on an individual work

Enabling comment moderation on a work will prevent new comments from appearing publicly unless they are approved by the creator. If the creator has comment notification emails enabled, they can access and review individual comments directly using the links at the bottom of the email. Creators can also review all comments on a work by accessing the work and following the "Unreviewed Comments (#)" link in the work's navigation.

The button-style Unreviewed Comments (2) link at the top of a work

Each unreviewed comment will have options to Approve or Delete. Note: Abuse personnel will have access to this page, so you can alert them to harrassing comments via the abuse report form without having to approve the comments first.

The Unreviewed Comments page for the Sliding Doors work, with a comment from a logged-in user and another from a logged out user. Both comments have Approve and Delete options.

Once approved, comments will be publicly available on the work. Approved comments cannot be unapproved, but they can be deleted. Comments posted by the work creator will be approved automatically.

Creators can also turn on comment moderation for multiple works at once with the mass editor, which can be accessed using "Edit Works" link on their dashboard.

What this means for commenters

The comment form will display a notice informing commenters if comment moderation is enabled on a given work.

The comment form with a message saying comment moderation is enabled on the work

Commenters will be able to enter their comment as normal. After the comment is submitted, a message will inform the commenter that the comment has been received and will not appear on the work until the creator approves it.

A message above the comment form letting the user know their comment has been received

Commenters will receive email copies of their comments if they have that preference enabled. They will be able to access their comment using the "Go to the thread" link included the email.

More improvements to come

Our Abuse team works hard to clean up abusive comments when they are reported and to take action against users involved in harassment, but they are limited in what they can do, particularly against users who are willing to go to the trouble of creating throw-away accounts. This change will enable creators to control comments on their own works, preventing abusive comments from ever being seen.

We will be introducing some further features to help users and our Abuse team deal with harassment and spam: allowing users to reject unwanted gifts, making it possible for Abuse to delete all of an account's works at once (to more efficiently remove spam), allowing Abuse to mark works as spam/not spam, and improvements to the Report Abuse form.

We hope these features will help the Archive be a safer place for users to enjoy posting and consuming fanworks.

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Here at AO3, we've been looking into getting some paid coding help for a few years, to work on projects that are larger or more time-consuming than our volunteers are able to tackle in their spare time, and also just to help with the backlog of work and offer some extra assistance. We had a contractor take on a few small projects last year, but to outsource work on major projects, you need to be able to form longer relationships.

Today we're excited to announce that thanks to user donations, we've been able to contract an experienced programmer for several months' worth of work! \o/ And she isn't just an experienced Ruby developer — she's a Ruby developer who has been working on the Archive since 2008! Since she's familiar with all the nooks and crannies of our infrastructure, it will be easy for her to jump right in on major projects, like the much-needed update to our searching and filtering code. After that, it's onwards to back-end improvements, code cleanup, and other long-awaited projects like site internationalization.

Our new contractor is starting work next week, and we'll have a preview of her work on the searching and filtering code soon! Thanks to all of you for the donations that have been keeping the site running and are now enabling us to make it even better.

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Published:
2015-09-05 11:37:49 -0400
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Banner by Rachel reading 8th Anniversary Celebration

Today the OTW turns 8 years old. The organization and its projects have accomplished a great deal during this time, all of which has been made possible with the donations of our supporters and the many hours of work from our thousands of volunteers over the years.

This month we'll see another milestone: Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) will be releasing its 20th issue. We hope that its readers, contributors, and our many visitors will take the time to help us celebrate!

We'll be wrapping up on September 19th, when we'll host a live chat with four contributors to TWC who have been involved with the publication from its early days. Edited to add: The transcript is now available

  • Lucy Busker is a writing professor at Parkland College in Illinois, USA. She was the founder and site maintainer of the original Fanfic Symposium, and the owner of the Fanfiction Critic's Association mailing list. Her recent interests include gender in children's media, including a strange fascination with her daughter's Barbie movies.
  • Cathy Cupitt has been an active member of fandom since the late 1980s, first writing fanfiction for Lotrips. She's been a writer, reccer and vidder in Stargate: Atlantis, Torchwood, Supernatural and Teen Wolf, among others. She has a Doctorate in Creative Arts, and is currently a Research Fellow for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
  • Amanda Odom has served as an instructor at several institutions, including the University of South Alabama, the United States Sports Academy, and Front Range Community College. She has also worked as an editor. She loves finding connections between the characters in comics, video games, books, and movies and the people who write and read them.
  • Dana Sterling has published a romance novel under a nom de plume, and teaches writing at Oklahoma State University's Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. She studied journalism, and previously spent 20 years as a reporter, editor and broadcaster. She has been a fan of comics, Star Wars, Stargate, and The Lord of the Rings among others.

The chat will be held in the OTW's Public Discussion Chatroom on September 19th from 14:00-16:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?)

We hope you'll join us! And if you have any questions about the event, leave them here.

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