Archive FAQ > AO3 Internal Tools

What are these Trello, Google Code, and Github things you mention?

These are the sites AO3 volunteers use to help track and document bugs, feature requests, and code.

It is very important to keep in mind that these tools are mainly used for internal documentation by Archive staff. While we are happy for any user to search, browse and vote, these have not been written with the users in mind; you may encounter restricted links, shorthands and information that aren’t immediately understandable to you, such as internal ticket numbers.

Why are you making these public?

Google Code and Github have always been open to the public; Trello is a site we only recently started trying out.

Viewable by the public, however, doesn't mean that the public can both find it or know what we're using them for. We decided to add clearer links to them and some public documentation on their use in order to make them a bit more accessible and to increase the transparency of the org's work. We also hope to make it clearer to people who might like to submit code what we're working on and how they can do that.

Why are you using three different sites, and why these three and not this other site(s)?

These are the sites we use, both for legacy reasons -- transferring all the internal documentation accumulated in the meantime is a significant effort that would require many work-hours -- and because the current volunteers have decided they suit their needs. Don't hesitate to send in suggestions to the Support team if you have them, but don't be offended if there's no immediate or future change.

Do I have to check these sites before sending something to Support?

Nope! One of the traits the OTW is striving for is greater transparency, hence providing publication and access to these tools, rather than using a locked internal method. It is completely your choice how much you want to interact with them. If you’re comfortable commenting on these forms, great! If not, send Support a ticket and we’ll make sure it’s noted for you in the right place.

What is Trello?

Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards.

The Archive of Our Own uses a Trello board to keep track of Feature Requests. All Requests are added as a Trello “Card”. Users can vote for requests that are already on the Board and keep track of the status of their favorite requests.

What are Feature Requests?

Feature Requests are simply suggestions for new functionality. If the functionality is already supposed to be there but isn't working, then you've instead encountered a bug.

How can I submit a Feature Request?

If you have an entirely new idea or a variation of an existing Feature Request, you can send it in via the Support Form for the Archive. Or, if your desired feature is already noted on the Board, you can vote on it from its Trello Card.

We do understand that some people don’t want to open an account or prefer to remain anonymous; you can submit your opinion about an existing request using the Archive support form and the Support Team will add your vote and suggestions via a comment to the relevant Card.

What happens after I submit my Feature Request?

Support will add your ideas and suggestions to the Feature Request Board. If it is an entirely new idea, a new Trello “Card” will be created for it. If the suggestion has been made before, a comment will be added to the existing card with additional contextual information for the coders (another user has requested the same feature, internal ticket number for later consults should they prove necessary, and any suggestions that differ from the original request). Our support team will also answer your email and let you know that they added your idea to the list.

Who decides which requests get approved or rejected?

The Accessibility, Design, & Technology (AD&T) committee is the guiding body that coordinates all software design and development. AD&T will discuss the submitted feature requests to plan if and when they can be implemented, based on a range of issues including user demand, the difficulty of the proposed change, and the way it fits into other Archive developments. Often the decision will be based on what feedback we get, especially if there are two feature requests that contradict each other. However, it's important to keep in mind that some things that might sound easy are in fact very complicated to implement, while other changes can be made relatively painlessly.

Archive feature enhancements are subject to coder availability and knowledge. Since all our coders are volunteers we cannot make any guarantees or promises, but we will always try our best to improve the Archive's functionality for our users.

Rejected feature requests will be indicated in Trello as 'Rejected'. However, they will not be deleted, to permit possible future reassessment.

What use is the Feature Request board to me?

You can browse through existing requests, determine if the feature you want is already on there, and vote on the suggestions that you would like to see. You can also see if a feature has been approved and will come up in one of the future updates, or if an idea has been rejected, and why, and subscribe to feature request cards that interest you.

How do I search or filter to find a Feature Request?

On the right side of the window you will see a sidebar with information about the board's members, the latest activity, and two buttons: “Options” and "Search and Filter Cards". Clicking the latter button will bring up a wide range of search and filter options. You can either check a category or label and then read through the cards in that category, or you can search for a specific word or phrase. Please be aware that only the titles of the Cards will be searched, and you may have to try different keywords to find what you're looking for (for example, if the "private messaging" feature you want doesn't come up by searching for "PM", try "message" or "messaging").

How can I vote on a Feature Request?

To vote on a Feature Request, you will need a Trello account. Once you have one:

1) Click on the Feature Request's Card.
2) On the right side of the Card, click on the button “Vote”. The button will show a green checkmark and the counter at top of the card will read: "X votes (with you)".

If you change your mind you can always go back and click the vote button again to take your vote off the card. The green checkmark will vanish, and the counter will read: "X votes".

How can I subscribe to a Feature Request?

To subscribe to a Feature Request, you will need a Trello account. Once you have one:

1) Click on the Feature Request's Card.
2) On the right side of the Card, click on the button “Subscribe”. The button will show a green checkmark.

If you change your mind you can always go back and click the subscribe button again to unsubscribe from the card. The green checkmark will vanish.

How do I set up an account on Trello?

Go to our Trello Board and on the top right click the green “Sign up” button. You can either sign up with a Google account, or you can create a new Trello account using any non-Google mail address. You will need to provide your name (you can use an alias if you prefer), a valid email address and a password.

You will receive an email from Trello to verify your address and activate your account. After clicking on that link you will automatically be logged in and sent to the Trello welcome board. To go to the Feature Requests Board, click the above link to our Board again. Now you can vote on your favorite Requests.

How can I find the Feature Request Board again?

1) Log in.
2) Go to the Feature Request Board .
3) Click the button “Options” on the right side
4) Choose “Pin to Header Menu”.

From now on you will find the Feature Request Board linked under "Boards" in the header Menu in your account. You can unpin it to make it go away.

I sent in a Feature Request but it’s not on Trello. Why?

If Support recently answered your request and said that it was added, it should be there. Try searching for different keywords or browse through the cards in the category your request should be in. Suggestions are often similar, and, if they are, they will be added to an already existing request with the alternative suggestions listed in a comment.

Requests made before 2012 may not be listed on the board. Many have already been discussed and marked as approved or rejected. To see if a previous suggestion was approved you can search our Google Code project.

If you have a question about your request, you can either submit a new Support request or answer the previous e-mail response you had from the Support staffer responding to your request.

What is Google Code?

The Archive of Our Own project is using an issue tracker database hosted on Google to keep track of issues relating to the archive code. Issues are reported by programmers as they write and test their code, by QA testers as part of their work, and by Support for anything reported by users. The information here is used to compile the Known Issues page on the Archive, but usually contains much more in-depth coding and testing information, including links to Github as issues are fixed. Feature requests are added to GCode once they're approved for development on Trello.

How do I determine whether something has already been reported in GCode?

As with all things Google, GCode has a very powerful internal search that will allow you to search by keyword. You can also start typing in "Roadmap" or "Component" into the "Search [issues] for" box to see a list of specific tags our coders and testers use to categorize issues. Some parts of the Archive have changed names over the years, so you many have to try several different related terms.

How do I add more information to an existing bug?

If you are logged in to a Google account, you can click on an issue number and directly comment, including adding screenshots. If you do not have or do not wish to use a Google account, you can send Support a feedback ticket about the bug and they'll make sure it's added! (If you do so, please include the GCode ticket number so we can find the right issue.)

How do I report a new issue?

If you find a new bug, please send it in via the Support Form on the Archive. They'll search through to make sure it's not duplicated under a different name and add it to GCode.

I see an issue I'm concerned about. How do I tell when it changes?

When you pull up a ticket to read, there's an empty star at the top left of the title bar. Click on this star and GCode will email you at the address attached to your Google account. Unfortunately, if you don't have a Google account, you'll not be able to receive automated updates, but you can bookmark the issue page and check back in occasionally.

What is Github?

GitHub is a web-based hosting service for software development projects that use the Git revision control system. It's designed to allow independent collaboration on projects while allowing a project host to quickly track and review proposed code changes.

What can I find there?

This contains a copy of the newest version of the Archive code - in fact, it will usually be newer than what's actually on the site, as we code and test new features before deploying them. In addition, you'll see outstanding code changes that have yet to be merged, as well as some of specific coding policies at https://github.com/otwcode/otwarchive/wiki/_pages

Do you welcome independent code contributions?

Yes, we do! You are welcome to fork our code to your own Github account and work on it, then submit a pull request. Senior coders will review it that it provides a functionality or fix we need, meets site code guidelines, and won't break anything. If it needs changes, they'll comment with what needs to be adjusted; otherwise, your code will be merged, and you'll be credited in the next Release Notes. If you're not sure if you have the time to commit as a volunteer but have the skills to code, please feel welcome to contribute this way!

Why do we use both Github and Google Code?

Quite simply, our tech teams feel that Github has more powerful and flexible functionality for tracking code revisions, but GCode's issues tracking is slightly more robust.