AO3 News

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2009-12-01 11:58:40 -0500

Welcome to Release Revision 1789, up from 1762. This is a fairly small release, with a few bugfixes and the first round of code for Collections and Challenges \0/


Collections and Challenges! This release includes the first set of code which will be needed for Collections. Most of the changes are not visible ones: we've put in some of the behind-the-scenes code which will be necessary for importing from other Archives (we'll be using this to rescue stories of Yuletide past from the decaying Yuletide site, all being well).

Known Issues

Please see our Known Issues page.

Next projects

We're focusing on Collections and Challenges from now up until Christmas, in order to be sure that everything is tickety-boo for Yuletide. We're also looking to make some improvements to how the site displays in IE7.

Release details


Fix for "Post Comment" not actually posting comment on first click

Fix for problem with cast tags with non-canonical characters in pairing - this should fix the problem which was causing some people to get 500 errors on their profile pages.

Fix for wonky display on some tag pages

Fix for a problem with sorting filtered results

Fix for an error which occurred when filtering bookmarks by tag

New things

Added feature: importing works for other users (not available for use yet)

Added feature: redirect to imported stories from their original URLs

Added feature: allow users to opt out of notifications of imported stories, and to opt out of having stories uploaded in the future.


Removed old code for 'Communities' (now replaced by 'Collections')

Updated warnings help popup to make it a bit clearer

Increased number of works which can be imported at once.

Code for import/story parser refactored and improved

Made some edits to help popups on the works form.


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2009-11-23 17:07:15 -0500

7am Sunday to about 9:30 (sorry to everyone in Europe/UK who were at that meeting and thank you for all the highly productive not sleeping you are doing). We had a rather large number of issues to work through – mostly design questions collated from all the Support and Feedback we’ve received plus some Tag wrangler questions.

  • Deploy Schedule: Release is on Beta now and it’s mighty fine if I do say so myself. The amount of coding and fixes that got created since we launched Open Beta is remarkable and they all got tested in time! The next deploy date is subject to change but will be within the next two weeks and will contain some of the code for Collections & Challenges (and a couple of fixes, if I put the kibosh on them I'll get pilloried :p).
  • Open Beta: Still ticking along nicely.
    • Code: we’ve fixed a lot of the most urgent problems and are quietly working on designs for half a dozen of the less urgent ones. The longer term changes will be for early 2010 though, we’ve only got 5 weeks left of 2009.
    • Invite schedule: we slowed to automatically issuing 30/day so as to give Support a chance to catch up (in preparation for bringing in Yuletide authors) and we’ll leave it on that for the week of 22nd – 29th Nov then re-evaluate again.
  • Stuff coming up:
    • Yuletide: importing the Yuletide user table and inviting those users. I’m with [info - personal] astolat on this one *runs around in terrified circles*
    • Passwords: we’ll add password validation for people updating their email addresses
    • Tag display: a maximum of 12 tags display on the works blurb, we’ll increase this and add a 'more...' option to display all
    • Chapter numbering: we’ll give people the option of overriding the automatic numbering for those who write prologues and epilogues

If there are things you want to do/say – feel free to share either in comments, or by volunteering, or whatever medium you’re comfortable with. You are invited to this party :)

Previous posts on Dreamwidth (by[info - personal] samvara the 2009 committee chair) and the Organization for Transformative Works website (by the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee)


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2009-11-22 18:23:49 -0500

Welcome to Release, Revision 1762, up from 1697. This is a bug-fixing release and as such is mostly composed of minor changes.

Our next deploy will probably be at some random time in the near future (where the future is measured in days or possibly a week) and will contain groundwork code for Collections and Challenges \o/


  • Em-dash bug entirely fixed for "post new," and largely fixed in the importer.
  • Dreamwidth import has been fixed.
  • New works no longer default to "Chapter 1/?"
  • When editing works, metadata no longer randomly disappears.
  • Password resetting now works properly.

Known Issues

See Known Issues page

Next Projects

  • Ongoing work on Collections & Challenges (Yuletide pilot)
  • Ongoing work on optimising for IE7
  • Performance - fast page loading, fast searching etc.

Release Details


  • Fix for Dreamwidth importing
  • Fix for stories getting cut off at em dashes (may not work for all imported stories - encoding issues, sigh - but should work for everything pasted into the form)
  • Fix for chapter and tag information not being properly displayed on preview and/or not being discarded when you cancel your edits
  • Fix for story backdating and changing the publication date of a story
  • Fix for font size in center tags
  • Fix for inability to reassign invitations
  • Fix for general wonkiness of work form in Chrome and Safari
  • Fix for broken tag links involving slashes, periods and/or ampersands
  • Fix for stories being imported without dates
  • Fix for need to click button twice to post a comment
  • Fix for first login and password reset reminders not going away
  • Improved toggling of pretty much everything on the work form, including the notes tickyboxes
  • Better handling of invalid tag errors
  • Some IE7 fixes: better display of work headers and tag underlines
  • Fix for difficulties creating an account using OpenID
  • Fix for some email addresses being improperly registered in the queue

New Things

  • Added automatic responses when you submit a support request
  • Some love for admins: making it easier to track down lost invitations
  • Some love for tag wranglers: increased readability on various pages, better clearing out of zombie tags that aren't attached to anything
  • A link to the "reorder series" page has been added to "edit series."
  • Added ability to turn the first login page on and off in Preferences
  • Added some clarification about warnings and tags to first login


  • We now include filter items that only apply to one story
  • Changed the "Pairings is Invalid" error message to provide clearer information
  • Some Bookmarks refinements: the form now defaults to your default pseud, and the "bookmark external work" form has been prettied up some.
  • Clarified how to enter work headers while importing


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2009-11-18 21:01:37 -0500

Please note these are live updating google charts so they take a moment to load - on the other hand - up to date stats!

ETA Updated with static images stored on flickr.

invitations_-_archive_of_our_own 2009 11 28 09:00 UTC works_created 2009 11 28 09:00 UTC works_created_per_user 2009 11 28 09:00 UTC users_&_fandoms_created 2009 11 28 09:00 UTC new_works_and_users 2009 11 28 09:00 UTC


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2009-11-17 15:36:26 -0500

OMG we did it people! It's almost exactly 2.5 years (17th May 2007) since a certain someone said we should build an Archive of Our Own and I am so proud of us!

We didn’t have a meeting this week unless you count staying logged into the chatroom continuously from Friday afternoon to Monday morning (I lie, I left to sleep occasionally). We *did* have a number of passionate discussions which revolved around performance, squee, bugs, more squee, support, and you know, squee.

Fun things (some of them) I have done in the last 5 days.

  • Ticked a tickybox marked “Invite from queue enabled ” and clicked ‘Update’
  • Entered ‘50’ into a field marked “Number of people to invite:” and clicked ‘Invite from queue’ I did that a lot! My apologies to people kicking the queue during the times I was asleep in Australia, we decided it would be easier if one person managed invite issuing.
  • Posted a few times
  • Sleep - still building up to that :p

AO3 Launch Update: [info - personal] zooey_glass masterfully summarised the launch in her fabulous post Open Beta - How the party's going! and we’ve set up an AO3_Status on Twitter to let people know what’s going on in the (hopefully extremely rare) event of an outage.

AO3 Invitation update: We were issueing 30-50 per hour for a fair amount of the weekend. We're now switching to letting the automated job issue about 50 per day. We'll re-evaluate this on the coming weekend.

Stats as of Wed 18th 1:00 am UTC for the curious :)

  • Number of shareable invitation codes issued to account holders: 531
    Number of invitations issued to addresses from the queue: 1305
    Total invitations issued: 1757Total unused invitations out there: 520
    Number of accounts before Open Beta: 347
    Number of accounts at present: 1663
    Potential number of accounts: 2104
    Accounts created during Open Beta: 1316
    Percent invitation uptake: 79%
    Percent increase in accounts: 379%

  • Number of works before Open Beta: 6598
    Number of works at present: 13502
    Works created during Open Beta: 6904
    Percent increase in works: 205%

  • Number of fandoms represented before Open Beta: 674
    Number of fandoms represented at present: 1104
    New fandoms created: 430
    Percent increase in fandoms:164%

AO3 Help:[info - personal] zvi  has generously contributed a fabulous explanation of how the tagging wuzzle system works and in that vein I have bookmarked some other great posts I have seen. Comment and let me know if you see, or would like to contribute something. We're conscious we need to do more of this so if you have an urge to write 'help using the AO3' documentation we're keen on recruiting you. We'll do this regardless (the writing, not the recruiting although we like doing that too) but we love new people and welcome fresh views.

AO3 Support: We're doing our best to respond to everyone and we're delighted people are talking to us - we're also getting a lot of requests so please, be patient with us if we don't respond immediately.

Deploy Schedule:We have a mini-release called Release  (heh,  'mini', it has 29 items so far) of fixes to some of the most commonly reported problems. We'd like to deploy it this weekend but we're making changes to the Post Work form so if it doesn't test clean we'll delay until it does.

If there are things you want to do/say - feel free to share either in comments, or by volunteering, or whatever medium you're comfortable with. You are invited to this party :)

Previous posts on Dreamwidth (by[info - personal] samvara the 2009 committee chair) and the Organization for Transformative Works website (by the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee)


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2009-11-17 14:31:24 -0500

The information in this news post is out of date. It is being kept for archival purposes. The Tag Wrangling Committee is working on new documentation that represents the current state of tags. You can view our current wrangling guidelines for more accurate information.

Zvi, in a moment of inspiration has written up a fabulous explanation of how Tags Wuzzles work and has generously offered to let us post it.


Tags Wuzzles explained

Tags are mysterious deep voodoo a mix of freeform (everyone picks their own) and controlled vocabulary (everyone picks from a list of pre-existing tags). They are not being handled like any tags anywhere else in computing that I am aware of. So, just, forget what you know from or blogging or the library card catalogue. Start with a blank slate.

In fact, instead of calling them tags, we shall call them wuzzles. Just to make it clearer that wuzzles are different from all other tags.

Okay, first of all, you should know that all of the fields in the Story Tags Wuzzles box are wuzzles (Story Wuzzle box illustration), not just the field labeled Tags Wuzzles. So fandom names are wuzzles and character names are wuzzles and warnings are wuzzles and angst (if you put it in the Tags Wuzzles field) is a wuzzle.

Screenshot of the Post Form with Wuzzels identified

You can write anything you feel like down as a wuzzle. You could write dirty socks or a boy named sue or antidisestablishmentarianism. You could write wuzzle as a wuzzle.

However, behind the scenes, there are Tag Wuzzle Wranglers, who are automagically in a labor intensive, thoughtful, solomonesque process, trying to bring the wuzzles together, so that even though I write Star Trek: AOS as a fandom wuzzle, and you write Star Trek XI as a fandom wuzzle, and StarFleetAdmiral writes Star Trek Reboot as a fandom wuzzle, when ExampleTheFan clicks on the fandom wuzzle Star Trek (2009), they get shown all three of our stories.

This is (a) pretty doable for TV shows and characters (Wranglers check Wikipedia and official sources to find out the official name) and (b) highest priority for fandoms and characters, because those wuzzles are the ones that everyone uses. There are elaborate rules describing how they pick one wuzzle [Star Trek (2009)] as the canonical wuzzle (canonical here refers to the archive software and what shows up on filters and in certain URLs) and make the other wuzzles (Star Trek XI, etc.) synonym wuzzles.

But why are some of the wuzzles not in the filters or the tag wuzzle cloud? Well, the Tag Wuzzle wuzzles are a slightly lower priority for wrangling in the first place. Also, it's harder for the Wranglers to decipher exactly what you meant by a weird wuzzle like a boy named sue. Also, also, even when it's clear what something means (like cunnilingus, which is pretty unambiguous) it's not always  clear what other wuzzles it should go with (should rimming, cunnilingus, and fellatio all get wrangled together as oral sex? or should they be separate?) So if nobody has yet wrangled a wuzzle (which, in addition to figuring out if it is like these other wuzzles, also includes important responsibilities like making sure the correct spelling is the official wuzzle, and making sure that even if the fandom and a character have the same name e.g. Buffy/Buffy, they are separated in the database), then you get the unwrangled wuzzle message:

This tag belongs to the Tag Category.

This tag has not been marked common and can't be filtered on (yet).

Basically, the wuzzles are not automated and depend on human volunteers to do what needs doing, and the volunteers can't do everything at once, in the first part, and have to make actual decisions in the second part.

Also, also, also, they realised that they needed to make a way for a wuzzle to be a subset of another wuzzle, like Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC need to be sub-wuzzles of Popslash, so that if you click on the Popslash wuzzle you get both of those, but if you click on *NSYNC, you don't get Backstreet but the code for this was tricksy, so that’s not built yet.

And there is yet a third sort of wuzzle that they need, the ambiguous wuzzle. This is so that if someone labels their story bandslash, the archive can stay completely agnostic as to whether this means six degrees of Pete Wentz or any professional musicians at all. Code for that has not been written either.

Which still leaves the more normally ambiguous wuzzles, to wit: is badassery the equivalent of kicksass, and other existential wuzzle wrangling musings.

If you think your wuzzle has been wrangled the wrong way, send a support request! The Wranglers are doing their best, but your story may be the first time they have ever heard of your fandom, or the first time they've ever read the word you're using as a wuzzle, or they may just have thought about what you wrote differently than how you meant it. Once upon a time, safer sex and unsafe sex were wrangled together, because they were both about sex. I pointed out that they mean the opposite of each other, and now they are separate (but, sadly, unwrangled) wuzzles. Don't forget, if you're not sure what wuzzles to use, you can add them later or change them to something else once you figure it out.


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2009-11-15 06:05:26 -0500

Open Beta - how it's going!

We're now in the second day of Open Beta for the Archive of Our Own! It's been a crazy weekend! Here are a few updates on how it's all going.

First of all, some of you will have noticed that we did experience some site downtime between roughly 6:00 UTC and 7:45 UTC. Sorry about this! The good news is that this was not caused by excessive volume on our servers, but by a bug which caused a server process to hang. Happily this was very easy to fix - the outage only went on so long because it happened to strike at a moment when all our Systems people were unavailable. (Our Systems team are beyond awesome, but they are few in number and sometimes they have to eat and sleep!) We're working on a more permanent fix for this bug.

Our site downtime was a timely reminder that we need a better way to communicate quickly with users when the site goes down. From now on we'll be posting to AO3_Status on Twitter with any status updates. You can subscribe to us on Twitter, follow the RSS feed, or just check the Twitter page directly to stay informed about site status.

That short hiccup aside, things have been going GREAT so far. The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that invitations have been issued a bit faster than the queue estimate suggests. This is because the queue estimates the time your invitation will go out based on the number set to be issued automatically. We've been issuing batches manually to give the process a headstart, and we've actually issued them slightly faster than we planned. This is because even at peak usage times, the servers have been coping really well with the extra load. (As mentioned above, the problems they did experience were caused by a bug, not the usage volume.) We're really happy that we've been able to bring in lots of new users right away!

Depending on how things go in the next 12 hours, we will probably issue one or two more batches of invitations to addresses in the queue manually. After that, batches of invitations will be issued automatically on a daily basis, although we'll be monitoring the site carefully to be sure that everything is as it should be.

A few statistics for your interest:

Number of shareable invitation codes issued to existing account holders: 451
Number of invitations issued to addresses from the queue: 958
Total invitations issued: 1410
Total unused invitations out there: 663

Number of accounts before Open Beta: 347
Number of accounts at present: 1076
Potential number of accounts: 1707
Accounts created during Open Beta: 747
Percent invitation uptake: 62%
Percent increase in accounts: 315%

Number of works before Open Beta: 6598
Number of works at present: 9506
Works created during Open Beta: 2908
Percent increase in works: 144%

Number of fandoms represented before Open Beta: 674
Number of fandoms represented at present: 886
New fandoms created: 212
Percent increase in fandoms: 131%


You can see from the above that the site has already expanded massively! We're over the moon that it is holding up so well, and we're very excited about seeing the variety of fandom represented. Remember, we welcome fans from all corners of fandom. If you don't see your fandom represented in the Archive at the moment, then it just means you might get to be the person to add it! You don't have to wait for us to add a tag for your fandom, just enter it manually and we'll take care of it!

Since the site is still in Beta, there are still bugs floating around and many more improvements planned. We're happy to be receiving lots of feedback through our Support and Feedback form. Our amazing Support team is doing a sterling job responding to the support requests and general feedback that's come through already. So far, we've received 200 support requests and have responded to approximately 150 of them. We've also helped with a few problems in our Support Chatroom. Please feel free to drop in there and chat with us!

You can find more information about the Archive of Our Own and Open Beta under our posts Announcing Open Beta, Open Beta is here! and Archive Open Beta News and FAQs.

This Open Beta launch is the culmination of more than two years of work by a whole host of people: the coders and systems people who built the Archive itself, the host of people managing design and documentation, the dedicated testers who worked out the bugs, those who raised funding and organised volunteers, those who wrote policies and worked out the legal issues, translators, tag wranglers, support people and many many more. It's also the fruit of the amazing support of fandom. We're pleased and proud that it is going so well - thank you to everyone!


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2009-11-14 11:10:22 -0500

We're now eight hours into Open Beta for the Archive of Our Own, and we're really excited to see people signing up and using the Archive. So far, we've seen new 493 accounts created, and our new users have added more than 1500 new works in over 150 fandoms! Our lovely front-end coder and support volunteer Cesy has been tracking our progress with some beautiful graphs: New users and fandoms since Open Beta and New works since Open Beta.

If you have questions about what Open Beta is and how to get an account, please check out our Announcing Open Beta post \0/

Open Beta is still beta, and as such the site still has a few kinks. We really value the feedback that our new users have been giving us, and our lovely Support team are working hard to respond to queries as fast as possible. In order to keep our users informed, we'd like to highlight a few of the more common issues and questions here:

Invitation queue

If you sign up via our invitation queue and have trouble entering your email address, check there aren't any extra spaces before or after it. This has been causing a few problems with our validation - it's a bug that will be fixed very soon.

If you joined the invitation queue and when you check back it says you're not in the queue, then please check your spam for your invitation email. If it hasn't shown up, then submit a support request and we'll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Invitation codes

If you receive an invitation via email, you can just click on the link to get to the sign-up page and your code will be entered automatically.

If you are an existing user of the Archive and you'd like to give a code to a friend, then you need to give them an invitation link, not just the raw code. You can choose to send them an email via 'Invitations' on your user home, and this will happen automatically. If you want to share a code without sending an email, then go to 'Manage invitations' and you'll see an option to 'Copy and use' your existing codes. Click on this to copy the invitations link - it's this that you need to share with people.

Account names

The Archive of Our Own allows you to post under various pseuds. However, these are linked to your account name, and this name will be displayed publicly on the site. Therefore, ensure your user name is one you don't mind other people seeing! Please also take care entering it, as it's difficult to change once it's been created.

We'll be improving the information text on the account creation page shortly to make this clearer - sorry to those of you who were confused.

Problems with special characters

We are experiencing some problems with special characters such as em-dashes (the long 'double hyphen'), umlauts and accents. In some cases, these characters will cause posts or imports to be cut off. If this happens to you, a workaround at present is to use the raw html coding for the special character (see this list of html entities for reference). We're working hard to put in a proper fix as soon as possible. (We hope it won't discourage posting in languages other than English in the meantime - we're excited to see works in Czech, German, French and Spanish already!)

We'll keep updating our Known Issues page on the Archive of Our Own with any further bugs that arise, and you may also find the Archive FAQ helpful. We'll also be posting regular Archive News Posts on the AO3 (mirrored on the OTW News blog and mirrors) to keep everyone up-to-date on new developments.


Despite a few inevitable bugs, Open Beta has been going really well! The shiny AO3 servers (owned by fandom, y'all!) are holding up really well under the vigorous workout they're receiving, and we're totally jazzed to see people using and enjoying the Archive. Thanks so much to everyone who got us here! <3


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