AO3 News

Release 0.9.18: Change Log

Published: 2014-08-28 17:09:45 -0400

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, hill, james_, Marie, sarken, Scott, Stephanie Smith
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, james_
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, sarken

Details

  • The experimental "Hide my work from search engines when possible." preference was not properly applying the necessary markers to individual works. Now it does.
  • When a user tried to access a page that didn't exist, we previously displayed an error message and redirected the user to a more general page. We now properly show the 404 error page with a helpful hint about what content couldn't be found.
  • When trying to remove the name from a collection, you'd get an ugly error 500; now a proper error message is displayed that asks you to enter a name.
  • Rewrote the live validation code used for various error messages across the site, e.g. if you click into and then out of a comment field without typing anything, to make it more maintainable. (This was deployed as Release 0.9.17.)
  • Optimized the code we use to make sure usernames and passwords have the proper length when creating a new account or changing the password.
  • The label and input on the bookmark filters are now properly associated in the HTML, which is important for accessibility.
  • Fixed some mark-up in our header and footer code in preparation for more work on site translation.
  • Some mark-up on the "New Tag" page (accessible to wranglers) was wonky; now it's not wonky anymore.
  • Fixed various broken bits in our automated testing suite.

Known Issues

We are currently dealing with indexing and caching issues which mean works might suddenly go "missing" from a tag listing, or a user's own works page. The work is still in the database, but the search index is intermittently losing track of it. Please bear with us as we work to solve these problems!

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Chat with Support (in multiple languages!)

Published: 2014-08-26 12:26:48 -0400

Banner by caitie with 'otw chat' at its center and emoticons and other symbols in word bubbles surrounding it.

AO3 Support staffers are the people who receive your tickets through the Support and Feedback form and try to respond as soon as possible to register your feature suggestion, pass your bug report on to our coders, or do their best to help you out with a problem. However, when it comes to explaining how to do things or why something doesn't seem to be working right, the formal back-and-forth emails of a Support request aren't always ideal.

So Support will be holding an Open Chat session in our public chat room.

They'll be available on Saturday, August 30, 13:00 UTC to 19:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?). Volunteers will be available to answer inquiries in Chinese, English, Finnish, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. If you can't make it to this chat, keep an eye out for the next time as Support will be doing other chats later this year.

If you're having a problem using the Archive, want help trying something new, or would like an explanation of one of our features, please drop in and talk to us in person!

Some guidelines from Support, just to keep things running smoothly

We don't have a fancy presentation or material prepared--there are plenty of FAQs, tutorials, and admin posts for that. The point of live chat is to talk with you, not at you. We're happy for you to drop in and say "hi", but it's even better if you drop in and say, "Hi, what's up with my work that won't show as complete even though it is?!"

As Support, our function is to help users with bugs and issues, and pass reports on to our Coders and Systems team, who actually keep the place running. This means that policy questions are way over our pay grade. (Just kidding--none of us get paid!) So, if you have questions or comments about AO3 or OTW policies, good or bad, Support Chat isn't the right place for them. If you do want to talk to someone about policy issues (meta on the Archive, philosophical issues with the tagging system, category change, etc.) we can direct you to the appropriate admin post or contact address so you can leave feedback directly for the people dealing with the area of your concern.

Additionally, if a question looks like it might violate a user's privacy to answer (if it needs an email address or other personal information, for example) we may not be willing to work with it in chat. In those cases, we'll redirect a user to the Support Form so we can communicate via email.

So, now that that's out of the way, what kind of things are we going to talk about?

Live chat is best for questions of a "How do I...?" or "Why does it...?" nature.

For example, you might have been wondering:

  • I'd like to run a challenge, but I'm not sure how to do what I want.
  • For that matter, where did my work submitted to an anonymous challenge go?!
  • I want to post using formatting the Rich Text Editor won't give me. How do I do it using a work skin?
  • I want to add a lot of my older works to the AO3 -- what would be the easiest way to do that?

We'd be happy to help you with any of these questions, and anything else you're having trouble doing or would like to try doing with the Archive.

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Release 0.9.16: Change Log

Published: 2014-08-12 17:17:41 -0400

Welcome to Release 0.9.16, in which we declare our frantic multi-part releases over, and go back to frantic one-part deploys (which doesn't really make much of a difference except for our Release Notes titles). In the past five months, we've fixed about 200 bugs and gone from eight pages of queued up code submissions down to one. \o/ With that done, we can now take the opportunity to look at our backlog of planned new features and enhancements and consider our strategy for the rest of the year. Onward!

Credits

  • Coders: james_, openendings, sarken, Scott, Stephanie Smith
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, sarken
  • Testers: Ariana, Lady Oscar, Runt, sarken, Scott

Details

  • Works & Subscriptions
    • We changed some elements of the "Edit Chapter" form to make the button layout, formatting, and behavior more like that of the "Edit Work" form.
    • Changed the message at the end of the kudos listing for works with more than 50 kudos to say "and 1 more user" or "and X more users" depending on whether there are one or more hidden kudos. (Previously the message said "and X more user(s)" in both cases.)
    • Using the "Subscribe" button on a multi-chaptered work no longer redirects the user to the first chapter.
    • Previously, unsubscribing from a work redirected the user to the last page visited, even if it was opened in another tab. Now, unsubscribing should not redirect the user.
  • Users & Accounts
    • Changing only the capitalization of a user name left the user with the original capitalization as their default pseud. It should now work normally, with the user name set to the new capitalization and no extra pseud created.
    • Submitting the "Edit My Profile" form will now bring the user to the Profile page to see the changes, rather than just leaving the form open.
    • We made some changes to the settings our administrators use to control account creation on the Archive. The buttons on the Archive front page will change to match the chosen settings: currently, new accounts require an invite, so the front page asks you to add yourself to our invite queue if you are not logged in.
  • Collections & Challenges
    • Because collection names cannot contain spaces, long names were failing to wrap properly, instead running out of the blurb and overlapping with other components of the page. They are now forced to wrap to stay within the blurb.
    • It was previously possible to open signups for a challenge with anomalous dates. Now, trying to save challenge settings with sign-ups open and an opening date in the future, a closing date in the past, or a closing date before the opening date, will give an error message.
  • Misc.
    • The "live validation" error messages that appear under many Archive form fields when too many or too few characters are entered were causing the other elements of the form to move up or down in a distracting way as they appeared and disappeared. The messages now appear overlaid on the form in popup rectangles, with the rest of the form staying put.
    • As a side-effect of a form layout change in our last update, the "All" and "None" buttons on the pages Tag Wranglers use to edit a tag's associations were selecting tags outside the button's section. This has now been fixed.
    • We added a colored ribbon to our Staging and Development environments to make it easier for our Testers and Coders to keep them straight from the actual Archive.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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Looking for Elections Volunteers & Translators

Published: 2014-08-11 12:49:23 -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'

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Elections volunteers and Web Developer staffers.

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

  • Elections Workgroup Volunteer: Voting Process Architect - closing 18 August 2014 UTC
  • Translation Volunteer - closing 18 August 2014 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, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Elections Workgroup Volunteers
The Elections Workgroup is responsible for running OTW Board elections. We ensure the fairness, timeliness, and confidentiality of the process. As a team we will update the elections process, communicate with members and other committees about the process, help candidates prepare for and carry out their tasks, and run the election itself.

We are looking for 1-3 Voter Process Architects to add to our ranks. Voting Process Architects are the primary resource in the creation, update, and verification of the committee and election procedures to minimize the risk of tampering. They advise the EO in best strategies to preserve voter and candidate privacy and the integrity of the voting process. All members of the workgroup also join in shared tasks and work together on projects.

Applications are due 18 August 2014 UTC

Translation Volunteers
Translators and translation betas help make the OTW and its projects accessible to a wider international audience. We work on translating all sorts of content throughout the OTW and its projects: site pages, news posts, Archive FAQs, AO3 Support tickets, and any inquiry that reaches a committee or volunteer group in languages they can’t translate themselves. Most of our work consists of translations from English to another language, though we also need to do the reverse in some occasions.

If you are fluent in one language (or more!) other than English, if you enjoy working collaboratively, if you like having flexible deadlines that you set yourself, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects and want to help it reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you! We have a pressing need for volunteers who speak Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Turkish — but any and all help with other languages would be much appreciated!

Applications are due 18 August 2014 UTC

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July 2014 Newsletter, Volume 82

Published: 2014-08-05 12:38:13 -0400

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

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

I. STEPPING OUT

As usual, there’s lots happening with Legal! On July 26, staffers Betsy and Heidi, together with Josh Wattles of deviantART, gave a well-attended presentation at San Diego Comic Con entitled “Fans, Love, and the Law.” We hope to be able to post a recording of the presentation in the future. Legal is continuing to work on the USPTO/NTIA copyright law Green Paper project, and has been participating in working group meetings as part of that process. They also took part in the USPTO Green Paper Roundtable in Los Angeles on July 29. Legal has responded to several legal queries from individual fans, and helped an individual fan who received a cease & desist request regarding fanworks. Finally, they’re working on a legal brief to be filed next month — we'll be letting everyone know more on that when they're able to make it public.

In another look at legal issues, Fanhackers chair Nele Noppe wrote a well-received post about the censorship problems faced by anime and manga fans.

Also, the Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee has temporarily halted anonymous commenting on the OTW website due to a major spam wave. We hope to see this restored soon.

II. OVER AT AO3

Accessibility, Design and Technology has squeezed three more code deploys into the last month and are wrapping up Release 0.9.15 with 110 closed issues in the bugtracker. In preparing for the next Release, they are now down to 25 pull requests (code submissions), and will focus on Quality Assurance & Testing recruitment and larger coding projects next.

Unfortunately, dealing with the day-to-day tasks of running the Archive (fixing bugs, planning code updates, monitoring performance and server stability, etc.) has left AD&T with little time to clean up and optimize old, crufty code. They've been in search of a Ruby on Rails freelancer to help out with specific coding and refactoring tasks, which will be important for adding new features and future-proofing the Archive for increased traffic, and have now found a contractor, Marie, they are very excited to be working with. Thanks go to Board and Legal for enabling AD&T to outsource a small amount of their workload, and to OTW's donors for contributing financially to the future of the Archive.

Support had 485 tickets and counting for the month of July, which is right in line with their new average. They also had an Open Chat at the end of June thanks to all of the Support and Translation staff and volunteers who volunteered their time. There are plans for another Open Chat at the end of August, with two more to follow later this year.

Tag Wrangling Staff has worked with Support on quite a few tickets and continued refining their training documentation. They've also made arrangements with Translation to request their services for tags or works that wranglers need help with, to help streamline non-English wrangling. Tag Wrangling welcomed another 28 new Tag Wrangling Volunteers from their June recruitment, making this class of 43 new wranglers the biggest yet. Congratulations to everyone for their progress in training thus far!

Abuse talked about a lot of different policies and what warnings mean this month. It's harder than it sounds! At the same time the committee dealt with about 200 reports of abuse from AO3 users.

AO3 Documentation just wrapped up some major internal workflow restructuring, and things are now merrily chugging along as they work on a bunch of FAQs.

III. PROJECT TIME

Journal is not resting on its laurels after the successful on-time release of its latest issue in June. They are prepping to go into production for the September issue and are wrangling content for the first two issues of 2015.

Wiki added 3 new staffers and 2 new gardeners as a result of recent recruitment efforts. They successfully closed several identity protection cases and continue to deal with various outside requests. They're also working on a DMCA policy with Legal and discussing a few future projects.

Development & Membership is in the process of brainstorming and concocting a scheme for year-round fundraising as well as moving forward with discussions about the OTW's visual identity.

Open Doors is still working on strengthening documentation and assisting with on-going manual imports.

Translation volunteers and staff started developing tools for language-specific translation training—very important, but a lot of work! They've been testing PhraseApp, a potential tool for Archive interface translation, and are cautiously optimistic. They're also preparing for a big volunteer recruitment next month, so if you've been thinking of volunteering, keep an eye on OTW News!

IV. GOVERNANCE

Through June and July, Board has been discussing their retreat. Board is very pleased with how the new office hours have been going and plans to continue office hours until at least the end of the term. Per best practices, transcripts are not being made public, but anything Board needs to discuss and/or vote on that's brought up in any director's office hours is either put onto the agenda for Open Session (1800 - 1900 UTC in Public Discussion on Saturdays) or voted on and put into the minutes for that week.

In July, Cat Meier, President of the Board, also began regular office hours on Wednesday/Thursdays from 23:59-02:00 UTC.

Strategic Planning is excited to announce that they are currently in the process of planning out Non-Profit 101 discussions, open to all OTW staff and volunteers. The purpose of these discussions will be to help educate the OTW as a whole about how non-profits are generally organized, structured, and run; how the OTW works as a non-profit; and how strategic planning fits into the picture, both in the non-profit world at large and specific to our organization. Also, starting in September, Strategic Planning will be going back to active committees that they spoke with more than six months ago to ask for updates in order to make sure they bring the most current information to the upcoming Board retreat.

They're also in the process of interviewing and surveying Legal, Finance, Category Change, Translation, Fan Video, and Journal, and they have reports for Support, Communications, Abuse, Development & Membership, and Internationalization & Outreach in progress.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting has been hard at work clearing a backlog of requested tasks, as well as keeping up with the new ones filed in July. They've brought the annual Still Willing to Serve Project forward a few months, and are also working some annual document revisions, including a project to revise induction/removal documentation. They've also formally welcomed the following:

New Committee Staff: Rachmel and 2 Other Wiki Staffers;
New Workgroup Members: briar_pipe (Elections), Trey C (Elections), Carli Anderson (Elections)
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: MichelleMS, Aderam, Meu, drashian, Penny S, ChelseaIBelieve, okdreaming, cannothink, White Hawk, Sylwia Reszczynska, Ania Kopertowska, Goose, covur, ryasdfghjkl, MissGloryAnne, Jenny McDevitt, kiii17, FallenAngel, spock74, astoryandasong, QueenAlkmene, Shivakshi Rana, Arithanas, Dai-kun, mefisto, Wade, Sammie Jarrett and 1 more;
New Translator Volunteers: 1.

And we say goodbye with thanks to:

Departing Committee Chairs: Natalie (Web Strategy Design & Development);
Departing Committee Staff: Natalie (Web Strategy Design & Development); Cynthia (Communications); Cece (Volunteers & Recruiting), tekla (Volunteers & Recruiting); 1 Translation Staffer; 1 Development & Membership Staffer; 2 Abuse Staffers; 1 Internationalization & Outreach Staffer;
Departing Workgroup Members: Claudia Rebaza (Elections).

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Release 0.9.15 (Part 9): Change Log

Published: 2014-07-28 23:53:14 -0400

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, Elz, Enigel, Sarken, Scott, Stephanie Smith
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Sarken

Details

  • Subscriptions
    • Users' subscription pages previously listed all subscriptions on a single page, regardless of subscription type. Now series, work, and user subscriptions can be listed separately, and the lists are sorted alphabetically and separated into pages of 20 items to improve performance for users with hundreds or thousands of subscriptions.
  • Tag Sets
    • When a user nominates tags for a tag set, we provide tooltips to let them know when they've nominated a tag that is brand new to the Archive or a tag that exists but is neither a canonical tag nor a synonym of one. Now we also provide tooltips so users will know when they have nominated a canonical tag, a synonym of a canonical tag, or a canonical character or relationship tag that doesn't match the fandom tag they've nominated.
    • The list of tags a user has nominated in a tag set received some minor cosmetic changes to make it neater and more consistent with other areas of the site.
    • When a challenge's tag set included a very long tag (e.g. "Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure - Stephen Colbert"), Firefox users were unable to see the full name of the tag on the challenge sign-up form. Now they can scroll horizontally to see the full tag.
    • It is now possible to delete a tag set nomination, clear all nominations for a tag set, or delete the tag set itself without having JavaScript enabled.
  • Challenges
    • The error message warning that required information was missing from a gift exchange or prompt meme sign-up previously did not specify which request(s) or offer(s) were missing information. Now a message will also appear above the specific request or offer with the problem.
    • Previously, it was impossible for the moderator of a prompt meme to delete the last prompt of a user's sign-up. Moderators can now remove the entire sign-up, making it easier to keep bogus prompts out of a challenge.
  • Misc.
    • When a creator removed the only work in a series by editing the work and choosing the "Remove" button, they were redirected to the now nonexistent series page, resulting in an error. This has been fixed to redirect the creator to their dashboard.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

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A word about userscripts and add-ons

Published: 2014-07-21 12:22:14 -0400

As you may already know, we collect links to userscripts and other third-party tools for use with the Archive in our Cool Stuff FAQ. It's a fairly hidden page, and we have plans to create a dedicated space for it, but until then, this is where you find links to scripts and add-ons like AO3 Savior.

Unfortunately, the most popular script repository (userscripts.org) has been down for a while and will probably not come back. As a result, some of our links are broken right now, and while some workarounds exist, we'd prefer to update our links to point to new, hopefully more stable locations.

EDIT (July 29, 2014): All previously broken links have been fixed.

If you've previously uploaded an AO3-related script to userscripts.org, you might want to consider Greasy Fork (review) to re-upload your script, or host it on GitHub, Pastebin or similar. If you do, please let us know through our Support form or as a comment on this post. We'll update the list as soon as we can!

We also have some new tools waiting to be added, and we'll be sure to highlight some nifty additions when we've made sure all links are working again. If you have built a tool that's not on the list yet, please feel free to let us know!

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AO3 Unlocked: Round-Up #1

Published: 2014-07-20 15:26:17 -0400

Banner (by Rachel) displaying the title 'AO3 Unlocked' with an open padlock in the background

We sometimes post little tips & tricks to our official Tumblr to highlight some of the many things you can do with your AO3 account, some of them a little more hidden than others. This is a round-up of some recent posts.

Mini-Tutorials

Other Tips & Tricks

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