AO3 News

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Published:
2016-06-02 12:27:17 -0400
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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 Nary, who volunteers as a Support staffer and Tag Wrangler.

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

I volunteer as part of the AO3 Support team, which means that I handle questions that come in about the site and how it works, requests for new features, and problems when something is broken or not working the expected way.

The Support team works closely with many other committees -- Tag Wrangling when there's a problem with a tag; AD&T when there are issues with the site's performance; when bugs are found and fixed; and when new features are being developed; Abuse when addressing issues that fall under the Archive's Terms of Service; Documentation in order to help clarify the wording of the FAQs or other instructions on the site; Testing when we are trying to duplicate an issue a user is reporting; and Translation to handle requests for support that use languages apart from those spoken by members of the Support team.

I'm currently the liaison to the Tag Wrangling committee, which is handy because I'm also a tag wrangler, so I was already familiar with how the Tag Wrangling system works. Being the liaison means that I contact wranglers if a question comes in about a tag in one of their assigned fandoms, and relay their answer back to the user. If it's a question about a No Fandom tag, or a tag in a fandom that doesn't currently have a wrangler, I bring the question to the staff of the Tag Wrangling committee so that one of them can look into it.

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

I answer a lot of questions via email! We receive support tickets through our tracking system, our volunteers claim them, draft an answer, get the answer beta-read by another Support staffer, and if everything looks good, send it off. We try to do this as quickly as we can, although if it requires consultation with another committee or testing a problem to see if we can duplicate it, it can take longer. And sometimes we just get a large number of requests in a short period of time, and it takes longer to work through them all!

We have templates for answering common questions that we can make use of, which helps things go more quickly, but even then we try to make sure we're tailoring the reply to the user's exact problem. For instance, if someone asks about how to filter out particular tags from their search results, we will try to use the specific tags they asked about in our example, if possible.

So pretty much every day I answer a number of support requests, and beta other people's answers to try and catch any typos or mistakes before the answer is sent. I'd estimate I spend an average of 2 hours a day on Support, although some days I do less and some more. I fit in a bit of tag wrangling around that when I have a chance. I've had to scale back how much I can do there, and limit myself mostly to fairly small fandoms that don't get a lot of new tags every day!

I tend to keep the OTW's internal chat service open most of the time, so that I can receive any urgent messages or find out about developments as they happen. We've also been training some new volunteers for Support lately (yay!) so I try to be available to answer questions for them as they come up.

The Support Committee created a graph showing the number of requests they've gotten since 2011. It looks like the 500 per month benchmark lasted a long time but was left in the dust last year. Were you around to see this change?

I've been volunteering for Support for a little over two years, so I did see the increase happening, although it didn't feel that dramatic to me, because I hadn't seen how things worked when we had a much lower volume of requests.

http://www.transformativeworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2011-2015SupportTickets.png

As requests were increasing, several of our Support staffers became Board members, so we were faced with more support requests, with fewer volunteers available to answer them. We have had to find ways to deal with the increase, as a committee, while still trying to provide the same level of service to our users. The increase in requests for help reflects the growth of the Archive as a whole, and I'm glad that people are finding us and making use of the service we provide. I also believe that part of the increase is because when users find Support helpful, they're more likely to come to us again with any future questions or problems, which is great!

One big help has been moving to our new ticket tracking system, which has streamlined the process a lot. It makes it quite a bit faster to go through the process of draft -> beta -> send, and we don't need to manually paste in answers from users if they reply to us, because it will thread any replies within the same ticket.

Another solution, of course, has been working to recruit and train more volunteers, which is a great help in keeping on top of the workload!

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

By volunteering for Support, I've definitely learned things about how to use the Archive that I wasn't aware of before, even though I'd been a user of the site since 2009. For instance, I've become a lot more familiar with the searching and filtering options that are available, like how to exclude certain tags or make my searches more precise. Picking up new tips and tricks is always fun!

It's always especially satisfying when we can help someone with a tricky problem, too. I'm sure we've all had frustrating moments trying to get a website or piece of software to behave, and when you can get an answer from a real live human being that solves your problem, that's a great feeling. I'm happy to be able to provide that help to users.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I write fanfic, although I find that these days, when there are so many other demands on my time, I do best when I'm writing for an exchange -- having a deadline helps to motivate me, as does knowing that someone is counting on me to finish my story. So I participate in a handful of exchanges every year -- Yuletide and Jukebox for sure, and then a few others as time permits or interest strikes me. In 2016 so far I've participated in the Chocolate Box exchange and Smut Swap, for instance, and I'm planning to sign up for the Seeing Color exchange as well. I write in a wide variety of mostly-small fandoms, so multifandom exchanges are my favourite kind.

I'm also trying my hand at running an exchange on AO3 for the first time, called Three Worlds Travelers, for the Books of the Raksura series by Martha Wells. It's fairly small, but I'm very excited about it, because in any small fandom, new fic is always a cause for celebration! I had some experience running exchanges in the Song of Ice and Fire fandom years ago, but those were all run through LiveJournal, so it's been interesting to see first-hand all the features that AO3 offers to make the task simpler than it used to be. I'm sure it will make me more comfortable with answering the questions that we receive about collections and exchanges, too!


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. (If you have an AO3 support request though, please use the Support form, as that makes things easier on our volunteers!)

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Published:
2015-06-02 12:35:26 -0400
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banner by caitie of chat-related words and emoticons in chat bubbles'

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.

Unlike previous Open Chats, we're trying a new thing this year. This chat will be focused on the Posting and Editing forms! We'll have a walkthrough of tricks, methods, and known issues when adding your fannish creation to the Archive. Want some suggestions on how to add comments and notes beyond what the tags field will allow? Have a translation, or remix, or other creation inspired by an existing work? Are you posting to a challenge but never get it to work quite right? Are you wanting to post a work in a different language? Come find out how! (We'll still have a few staffers around to answer some general questions, too.)

We'll be available on Sunday, June 7, 16:00 UTC to 18:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?). If you can't make it to this one, keep an eye out for future chat announcements.

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

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 capacity. 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, 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.

We'd be happy to help you with any questions, and anything else you're having trouble doing or would like to try doing with the Archive. And if you miss us and have any questions, you can always send us a ticket!

Mirrored from an original post made at the OTW News Blog..

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Published:
2014-12-02 12:41:39 -0500
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banner by caitie of chat-related words and emoticons in chat bubbles'

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 Sunday, December 7, 00:00 UTC to 04:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?). Volunteers will be available to answer inquiries in English, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. If you can't make it to this one, keep an eye out for future chat announcements.

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.

Comment

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Published:
2014-10-18 12:36:52 -0400
Translations:
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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 Sunday, October 26, 17:00 UTC to 21:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?). Volunteers will be available to answer inquiries in Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. If you can't make it to this chat, another chat is planned for Sunday, December 7.

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.

Comment

Post Header

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.

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2014-06-22 15:29:27 -0400
Translations:
Tags:

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 Sunday, June 29, 13:00 UTC to June 30, 01:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?). Volunteers will be available to answer inquiries in Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. If you can't make it to this chat, keep an eye out for the next 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.

Comment

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Published:
2014-03-18 13:54:47 -0400
Tags:

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

Edited to add: The Support chat has ended, but if you still have questions click on the Support link at the bottom of all AO3 pages.

If you've been enjoying The Future of Fanworks chat series, we hope you'll be reading the Q&A posts coming this weekend with our legal panel. However, if you're all set for a live chat, we'll be having one of those too!

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.

They'll be available on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 1600-2200 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?. If you can't make it to this one, keep an eye out for the next 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.

Note: The post originally listed a date from last year. Our apologies for any confusion!

Comment

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Published:
2013-05-01 13:04:47 -0400
Tags:

Support chat is now over!

Hi! Support here, again! In fact, Support is always here--when you submit a ticket through the Support and Feedback form we'll respond as soon as possible to register your feature suggestion, pass your bug report on to our coders, or do our 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.

After receiving positive reviews of our previous chats in November and February, we're continuing on with Open Chat sessions with the Support Staff in our public chat room (the link will be made available on the day of the chat). We will be there this coming Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 16:00:00 UTC lasting through this Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 04:00:00 UTC. Members of Support will be available to interact with you one-on-one in live chat. See what time that is where you live. We are going to try to have future sessions at different times to make sure we eventually cover all time zones. If you can't make it to this one, keep an eye out for the next!

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, 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:

  • How do I use the new search and browse system to find a certain type of work?
  • 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?

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.

Comment


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