AO3 News

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Since May 3rd, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) — the nonprofit behind AO3, Fanlore, and other projects — has been dealing with malicious attacks aimed at the organization and its volunteers. We wanted to share with you some of what's been happening, as well as what we're doing to contain it, and how it may affect our response times to your inquiries and our workload in general. Above all, we need to ask for your patience, because these are complicated times for all of us at the OTW.

An unknown attacker has been sending our volunteers threatening emails with illegal child sexual abuse material (CSAM), which has been reported to several law enforcement authorities.

These attacks have not affected AO3 user accounts or accounts on any other OTW projects, or OTW donor data. At this time we have no reason to believe that emails or other private user data whatsoever associated with AO3 or any of our other projects have been exposed to any external bad actors.

We've already alerted the relevant authorities, and we're seeking legal advice on how best to proceed. Protecting our volunteers and safeguarding this investigation is our top priority right now, which means we've shut down a number of internal tools necessary to do our work effectively. This was done to better protect our volunteers from further threats.

As a consequence of this, changes and announcements that had been planned for the next few weeks are likely to be delayed. You can expect delays in response times for all OTW teams. Please note:

  • AO3 Tag Wrangling's planned changes for Dream SMP fandoms will be delayed. New tags will not be wrangled until a later time.
  • AO3 Support, Open Doors, and Policy & Abuse responses are all likely to take much longer than usual. The same applies to Fanlore teams.
  • Responses to queries sent to OTW Legal, including DMCA Takedown Notices, may be delayed.
  • OTW donation gifts may be delayed.
  • OTW recruitment is suspended until further notice.
  • The OTW's social media posting schedule will be reduced for most outlets.

There have been no changes to the following:

  • The OTW election timeline will remain unchanged.
  • AO3 invitations for new users are being sent out normally.

Please be patient with us at this time. We are trying our best to keep our projects running as smoothly as possible while also keeping our volunteers — without whom none of these projects would exist — safe. Thank you so much for your understanding and support.

(One final note: we've disabled comments on all our news posts for the time being for security reasons. If you need to get in touch with us, please use the Support and Feedback form, but bear in mind that responses will likely be delayed.)

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The Organization for Transformative Works' Elections committee is pleased to announce that the timeline for the 2022 election for new members of the Board of Directors has been posted!

This year’s election will be held August 12-15. This means that the deadline for volunteers to declare their candidacy is June 17.

As usual, the election membership deadline is June 30. If you're interested in voting, please make sure your membership is active as of that date. Please note that your donation receipt will be dated in US Eastern Time, so if your donation is listed after 19:59 on June 30, 2022 on the receipt, you won't be eligible to vote. If you are unsure whether your donation was made before the deadline, please contact our Development and Membership Committee by using the contact form on our website and selecting "Is my membership current/Am I eligible to vote?".

You can find out how to become a member on the Elections website, or if you’re familiar with the process, you can donate here!

If you want to know more about the election process in general, you can check out the Elections Policies.

We’re looking forward to an active election season with ample communication between candidates and voters, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. Don’t forget to follow the Elections committee on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news!

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Elections.

Comments on this post will close 2 weeks after the end of election season, September 6th, 2022.


The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2022-04-27 17:07:08 UTC
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From mid-February through mid-April, we did a whole bunch of necessary but largely unnoticeable work like updating Rails, reducing the number of unhelpful errors in Resque, and tweaking our automated tests and GitHub workflow. We also included a few bug fixes and one (1) performance improvement, because what's an update without those?

Credits

  • Coders: bird, Elz, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant, weeklies
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Testers: james_, Jennifer Davis, lydia-theda, Maine, Nary, Paula, Priscilla, redsummernight, Qem, Ridicully, Runt, Sammie Louise, Sarken, Taylor Clossin, Teyke

Details

0.9.314

Assorted bug fixes and improvements, February 18.

  • [AO3-5392] - When you posted a backdated work between the hours of midnight and 04:00 UTC, the work would use the actual posting date in the upper right of its blurb (as seen on your works pages, tag listings, etc.) instead of the backdated date. We already fixed this issue for newly-created works (AO3-6190). This time, we made changes so that creators of affected existing works can fix the issue themselves by setting a new backdated date.
  • [AO3-6230] - Admins who can search users can now do so by user ID.
  • [AO3-6271] - We fixed the alignment of the blurb icons and work titles in the "Is it later?" section of the homepage.
  • [AO3-4530] - In the main menu, links would become unclickable when you were already on the page in question. That's usually fine, but we changed it to have links always stay links anyway, to prevent problematic caching behavior.
  • [AO3-3852] - When you filtered a works or bookmarks page, it sometimes caused the Works or Bookmarks link in the main navigation's Browse menu to turn into plain text. We've fixed it so it will always be a link.
  • [AO3-5717] - It was previously possible to make the expected chapter count lower than actual chapter count. We now always check how many posted chapters there actually are when displaying how done an ongoing work is.
  • [AO3-6292] - We renamed the new gift preference to "Allow anyone to gift me works" and updated the related text that appears on challenge sign-up forms.
  • [AO3-6116] - For better performance, we now cache fandom, work, and bookmarked item counts for collections.
  • [AO3-5063] - The works count in a collection sidebar was wrong if a work belonged to two subcollections or to the parent collection and a subcollection. It will now only count the work once, not once for each collection it appears in.
  • [AO3-6293] - When a tag is changed, we start a background process to update the caches for works using that tag. However, this background process sometimes happens so quickly that it cannot find newly created tags in the database yet. It would cause errors cluttering up our logs and wasn't necessary anyway, because new tags have no existing works! So we skipped the background process in that case.
  • [AO3-6295] - While it is possible to reply to a comment left by a deleted account, the system shouldn't then try to send a notification to the nonexistent user, because that will only end in tears/errors. We no longer try to send emails in this case.
  • [AO3-6296] - We had intermittent errors when loading external works in our automated tests, so we switched to faking the responses from the external URLs to make our tests more robust.
  • [AO3-6287] - The code scanning service we used shut down, so we switched to GitHub Actions for running Brakeman.
  • [AO3-4488] - Many of our automated tests use VCR for caching remote websites so we don't need to fetch them afresh every time. However, a few of these were out of date and causing issues, so a refresh was in order.
  • [AO3-6299] - Our error-monitoring service was running in our automated test environment, slowing things down. We've stopped running it and sped things up.
  • [AO3-6228] - Once upon a time, automatically reconnecting to the database and retrying a command after a timeout seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a good way to end up with half-completed tasks, so we've stopped doing that.

0.9.315

Rails timezone change to UTC, February 24.

  • [AO3-6300] - We changed the timezone Rails uses from U.S. Eastern to UTC, to match the timezone used by our servers' operating system.

0.9.316

Update to Rails 6, April 3.

  • [AO3-6085], [AO3-6002] - We updated Rails from 5.2 to 6.0.
  • [AO3-6275] - We fixed the plural rules for Serbian.
  • [AO3-5819] - When we review pull requests on GitHub, we use labels to keep track of our progress (is it the coder's or the reviewer's turn to respond?) and whether the changes need special attention (is there a database migration or a one-off task we need to run if we merge this pull request?). We now use GitHub Actions to automatically add or remove some labels.
  • [AO3-5968] - When we created chapters in our automated tests, they were created as drafts unless we specified they should be posted, which was silly because we usually want to test posted chapters, not drafts. We've switched it so our test chapters are posted by default.

0.9.317

Bug fixes for pseud icons, April 12.

  • [AO3-6322] - We deleted some unused JavaScript files from our code repository. 🗑
  • [AO3-6316] - Users with invalid pseud icons (file type not allowed, alt text or comment too long) couldn't request a password reset or be suspended by an admin. This only affected a small group of users, which have received an email about the issue, so they could solve the problem on their end. From our end, the solution was to remove the invalid icon or text after the deadline given in the email.
  • [AO3-3293] - If you deleted the icon for one of your pseuds, or changed it to a different format, your existing comments would show a broken image. We've made it so your new icon (or the placeholder) will show.

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Pony Fiction Archive Banner

Pony Fiction Archive, a My Little Pony fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Pony Fiction Archive was the first dedicated My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction archive, and contains works from the very early days of the fandom that aren't available elsewhere. The PFA's goal has always been to keep these works available to future readers, but evolving web standards guarantee that at some point the PFA would not be able to stay online. Importing the PFA to the Archive of Our Own ensures this slice of fandom history will remain available indefinitely.

The purpose of the Open Doors Committee’s Online Archive Rescue Project is to assist moderators of archives to incorporate the fanworks from those archives into the Archive of Our Own. Open Doors works with moderators to import their archives when the moderators lack the funds, time, or other resources to continue to maintain their archives independently. It is extremely important to Open Doors that we work in collaboration with moderators who want to import their archives and that we fully credit creators, giving them as much control as possible over their fanworks. Open Doors will be working with RBDash47 to import the Pony Fiction Archive into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanfiction currently in the Pony Fiction Archive will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. Eventually, links to the old site will redirect to the collection on AO3, which can be searched and filtered in order to locate individual imported works.

We will begin importing works from the Pony Fiction Archive to the AO3 after April.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on the Pony Fiction Archive?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

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

Please contact Open Doors with your Pony Fiction Archive pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

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

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Pony Fiction Archive account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the Pony Fiction Archive mod to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on:

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, or contact the Open Doors committee.

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

We're excited to be able to help preserve the Pony Fiction Archive!

- The Open Doors team and RBDash47

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Published:
2022-04-20 16:57:42 UTC
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Juliane Cassidy, who volunteers on our Strategic Planning Committee.

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

I volunteer with the Strategic Planning Committee. We draft the strategic plan, a document of goals that will guide the OTW over a three year period. Working with committees throughout the organization, we select goals that will help make the OTW stronger internally and more impactful with fans, volunteers, academics, and more. In the three years between plans, we help committees complete the steps within the strategic plan so the OTW can reach our goals.

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

Right now, we are drafting the next strategic plan, and a week will usually involve a meeting with the rest of the team to check in on our progress and plan next steps. Throughout the week, I might have tasks like research, talking with other committees, drafting sections of the plan, or editing.

What made you decide to volunteer?

When I first started volunteering, I was working in nonprofits, so I was very familiar with creating strategic plans. I also was an avid fanfic reader on AO3. When I logged on one day and saw the recruitment ad, it felt like a good fit. I was not really aware of all the amazing work the OTW was doing beyond AO3 at that time, and it has been wonderful to learn more about all the ways the OTW supports its mission.

What has been your biggest challenge doing work for the OTW?

I’ve always loved the brainstorming and ideas that can come from a group of people, but prior to working with the OTW, I had only ever done that in person and synchronously. The communication styles are vastly different in a volunteer-run organization that has volunteers spread throughout the world. Learning how to connect with members of my committee and other volunteers across the organization, figuring out the best communication styles, and how to collaborate so that everyone can contribute was a challenge, and definitely one I’m still working on.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I’ve written a few fics here and there, but mostly I’m reading fanfiction. While I am in school, fanfic is about the only reading I can stand to do outside of schoolwork and I always have half a dozen fics saved on my e-reader. I also cosplay and have done a lot of Disney, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and period drama cosplays over the years.


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 the comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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WWFSML, a pro wrestling slash fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

WWFSML was a mailing list that closed in 2020 with the shutdown of Yahoo Groups. The moderator, Missy, reached out to Open Doors to preserve the fanfiction posted to the group.

The purpose of the Open Doors Committee’s Online Archive Rescue Project is to assist moderators of archives to incorporate the fanworks from those archives into the Archive of Our Own. Open Doors works with moderators to import their archives when the moderators lack the funds, time, or other resources to continue to maintain their archives independently. It is extremely important to Open Doors that we work in collaboration with moderators who want to import their archives and that we fully credit creators, giving them as much control as possible over their fanworks. Open Doors will be working with Missy to import WWFSML into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own.

We will begin importing works from WWFSML to the AO3 after April.

What does this mean for creators who had work(s) on WWFSML?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

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

Please contact Open Doors with your WWFSML pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

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

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your WWFSML account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the WWFSML mod to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, or contact the Open Doors committee.

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

We're excited to be able to help preserve WWFSML!

- The Open Doors team and Missy

Commenting on this post will be disabled in 14 days, on 18 April 2022. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this import after that date, please contact Open Doors.

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Published:
2022-04-13 17:06:06 UTC
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OTW recruitment banner by Blair

Would you like to help your fellow fans use the AO3? Are you fluent in Spanish or Russian? Do you have experience with organizational governance? Would you like to help translate OTW/AO3 news posts? Are you a fan studies academic? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

We're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Support Volunteer - closing 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC or after 50 applications are received
  • Strategic Planning Volunteer - closing 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC
  • News Translation Volunteer - closing 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Review Editor - closing 20 April 2022 at 23:59 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 our email address 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.

Support Volunteers

If you've spent time figuring out how to make the Archive dance (or are willing to press the button to see what happens), are patient in the face of strange questions, can self-motivate, and are interested in helping your fellow fans, we would love to hear from you! The Support team is responsible for handling the feedback and requests for assistance we receive from users of the Archive. We answer users’ questions, help to resolve problems they’re experiencing, and pass on information to and from coders, testers, tag wranglers and other teams involved with the Archive. We are especially looking for volunteers who are fluent in Spanish or Russian, in addition to English, helping to provide support to our growing overseas userbase!

Applications will close 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC or after 50 applications are received.

Strategic Planning Volunteers

The Strategic Planning Committee is recruiting new volunteers! We are a close-knit and collaborative committee of people who are tasked with researching, developing, and supporting the implementation of the strategic plan for the Organization for Transformative Works. We are looking for organized people well-versed in writing and project management, with experience in goal management and feedback response. Added knowledge of data analysis and leading focus groups are highly appreciated but not a requirement. We welcome all perspectives and are actively interested in people with diverse views on Fandom and the OTW!

Applications will close 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC.

News Translation Volunteers

Would you like to help translate OTW/AO3 news posts? We are looking for volunteers of native or near-native fluency in their target languages, who can translate or beta news posts within five-day deadlines. If you enjoy working collaboratively, if you're fluent in a language other than English, if you're passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

We particularly need people for Arabic, Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Kyrgyz, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Marathi, Persian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, and Welsh — but help with other languages would be much appreciated.

(Please note that our Afrikaans, Catalan, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, European Portuguese, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese teams are not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples and will be invited to a chatroom interview as part of the selection process. More information about us can be found on the Translation committee page.

Applications will close 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC.

TWC Committee Review Editor

Transformative Works and Cultures is an international peer-reviewed Gold Open Access online publication about fan-related topics, promoting dialogue between the academic community and fan communities.

TWC review editors choose fan studies books for contributors to review and manage the timely assignment, revision, and completion of reviews.

TWC prefers two review editors to work together, so self-selected teams of two are encouraged to apply together; but single applications are of course welcome.

Applications will close 20 April 2022 at 23:59 UTC.

Apply at the volunteering page!

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The Organization for Transformative Works' April membership drive is over and we are delighted to say that we exceeded our fundraising target of US$40,000, with a final total of US$275,724.51 donated by 7,528 people in 84 countries. We are particularly pleased that 5,810 donors chose to renew or begin OTW membership.

Thank you so much to everybody in our global community who shared, posted about, or donated during the drive. Your support underpins our ongoing mission: to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture, in all its myriad forms. We’re glad that this is as important to you as it is to us.

And if you're just now hearing about the drive - don't worry! The OTW accepts donations all year round, and all of our membership perks and thank-you gifts are available whenever you donate.

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