AO3 News

Post Header

Organization for Transformative Works: 2018 Budget Update

Earlier in the year, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) published its 2018 budget. With the end of the year drawing closer, we’d like to release an update on our financial activity for the remainder of the year, and how our plans have altered or progressed.

Our Finance team continues to track the OTW’s financial activity, prepare financial statements and reports, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations. We’ve worked to improve and document our processes, help the OTW plan its financial future, and are close to concluding the annual audit of our 2017 financial statements.

Without further ado, here’s our updated budget for 2018 (download the budget spreadsheet for more information):

2018 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 73.9%. Open Doors: 0.3%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 1.7%. Fanlore: 2.2%. Legal Advocacy: 0.7%. Con Outreach: <0.1%. Admin: 13.5%. Fundraising: 7.7%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$176,374.10 spent; US$88,927.82 left

  • US$176,374.10 spent so far out of US$265,301.92 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • 73.9% of the OTW's expenses go towards maintaining the AO3. This includes the bulk of our server expenses—both new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance—website performance monitoring tools and various systems-related licences (access all program expenses).
  • This year, we implemented a significant server overhaul costing about US$115,000. This overhaul focused on new database servers for AO3 works, comments, and activities, as well as a new server rack for them to live on. The new servers also increased our monthly colocation expenses, while the old machines are being repurposed as application servers, which generate the Archive's pages and serve them to users.
  • Previously, US$100,000 was budgeted for contractor services. However, testing, fixing bugs, and tweaking behavior for our Elasticsearch update took considerably longer than expected, giving us less time than we'd hoped to merge code written by contractors into our code base this year. Therefore, we chose not to contract out any more projects and focus on deploying the code we'd already paid for and that had been submitted by our volunteers.

Fanlore

US$5,277.80 spent; US$2,612.97 left

  • US$5,277.80 spent so far out of US$7,890.77 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchase, maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to related licenses and Fanlore web domains (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)

US$2,520.54 spent; US$3,420.99 left

  • US$2,520.54 spent so far out of US$5,941.53 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures’ expenses are its allotment of server costs, as well as the journal’s publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).
  • This year, hosting of the TWC issues will be moved offsite to a company that specializes in handling the open source software used by the journal, for an annual cost of US$1,500. There is also US$1,000 budgeted for travel to speak at the 2018 Fan Studies conference.

Open Doors

US$540.72 spent; US$468.42 left

  • US$540.72 spent so far out of US$1,009.14 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • This year’s expenses for Open Doors are hosting, backup and domain costs for archives imported by Open Doors (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

US$2,670.02 spent; US$0 left

  • US$2,670.02 spent so far out of US$2,670.02 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • Legal’s expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses for conferences and hearings. US$1,500 was spent in January to file a WIPO Dispute fee because someone else registered a domain address too similar to AO3’s. (access all program expenses).

Con Outreach

US$50.00 spent; US$0 left

  • US$50.00 spent so far out of US$50.00 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • The OTW passed out flyers at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con (access all program expenses).

Fundraising

US$13,446.80 spent; US$14,100.00 left

  • US$13,446.80 spent so far out of US$27,546.80 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for each donation; thank-you gift purchases and shipping; and the tools used to host the OTW’s membership database and track communications with donors and potential donors (access fundraising expenses).

Administration

US$39,285.43 spent; US$9,313.15 left

  • US$39,285.43 spent so far out of US$48,598.58 total this year, as of August 31, 2018.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, and annual financial statement audits, as well as communication and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2018 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 36.5%. October drive donations: 36.4%. Non-drive donations: 22.4%. Donations from matching programs: 4.2%. Interest income: 0.1%. Royalties: 0.4%

  • The OTW is entirely supported by your donations—thank you for your generosity!
  • We receive most of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together should account for about 73% of our income in 2018. We also receive donations via employer matching programs, royalties, Amazon Smile, and PayPal Giving Fund, which administers donations from programs like Humble Bundle. If you'd like to support us while making purchases on those websites, please select the Organization for Transformative Works as your charity of choice!
  • Given your generosity in previous years, we have a healthy amount in reserves, which we plan to keep in store for a rainy day. Thanks to this, we can explore alternative revenue sources to supplement your donations. The Finance team and the OTW board have decided on a conservative investment portfolio for a small portion of our funds to start with, which will place the initial investment at as low a risk as possible. This move is long overdue, and we're currently working on creating a solid policy regarding investment and usage of our reserves in place.
  • The reserves also help bolster us in years when we're planning larger than usual purchases. As mentioned earlier, we have already replaced our old server hardware, and had to withdraw money from reserves to aid in the purchase of servers. However, with the revenue from the rest of the year, which includes the October drive, the net amount used from reserves should be US$30,000.
  • US$213,449.59 received so far (as of August 31, 2018) and US$356,775.34 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$213,499.59 donated; US$143,275.75 left

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the budget or the OTW's finances, please contact the Finance committee. We will also be hosting an open chat to answer any questions you may have. This chat will take place in our public chatroom on October 14th from 6 to 7PM UTC (what time is that in my timezone?).

Here is the link to the chatroom. Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW’s updated budget for 2018 in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

Comment

Post Header

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

I. Happy Anniversary!

There were two major anniversaries this September. The first one was the 11th anniversary of the founding of the OTW. Communications celebrated this with some fun graphics and a scavenger hunt trivia contest where people searched for information about the OTW's projects over the past year. Congratulations to MemeKon, who won the contest and will be receiving a copy of Check, Please! Year 2.

The other anniversary was that of Transformative Works and Cultures. The TWC committee published the 10th anniversary issue of the scholarly journal, Volume 28: The Future of Fandom. Just in time for this release, the journal got a shiny new server. Thanks to everyone for your patience while we settle into our new home and fix a couple issues.

II. At the AO3

It's been a month of behind-the-scenes work at the AO3. Accessibility, Design & Technology is busy preparing for upcoming changes later in the year. Systems added some new Archive servers. And Open Doors is pleased to announce the completion of the import of the Pretty Lights collection.

In front-end news, AO3 Documentation added a new FAQ about Tag Sets.

Support received 1,084 tickets during September, 50% below the monthly average. A shout-out to Translation, who helps with roughly 10% of all Support tickets! By contrast, Policy & Abuse received around 5,700 tickets this month, though approximately 4,900 of them were spam. Lastly, Tag Wrangling wrangled and raked about 218,190 tags during August (September totals available in the next newsletter).

III. Legal Advocacy

Legal has been hard at work this month helping fans who are concerned about proposed copyright legislation in the European Union. In addition to responding to many questions from fans, they also published two news posts about the legislation. The first post explained the legislation, including Article 11 and Article 13, and why it was unfriendly to fans. The second post, made after a vote on the wording of the legislation, explained how AO3 and other fandom-heavy sites might be affected if it becomes law.

IV. It's All About the Peeps

As of 28 September the OTW has 679 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Ori (Translation), Kate Flanagan (Fanlore)
New Committee Staff: Tuba Terry (Systems), Elizabeth Chicken (Systems), Wyatt Parsons (Systems), Rachel Bussert (Systems), and 2 other Systems staffers; Isabella Ruffalo (Open Doors), Pete Hicks (Open Doors), telescopicpoems (Open Doors), Kate Flanagan (Open Doors), and 2 other Open Doors staffers; ioana and 1 other Translation staffer
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Afi, Beth Boisvert, cageot, Cait Sidh, Cecilia, Chrome, confxzzled, EmpressKat, Felicia W., Haley O'Neill, Hope, JackalMidnight, Kaylie, lovemelikesunday, Mayari, Miss Saucy, NatashaK, nctuwu, Novile, OneSweetMelody, Renquise, sapphire2309, sopor, speakingmermish, sybaritick, TarryKnight, Tori Estel, Vasileios Pasialiokis, waveridden, waywardtrekkie, Zip
New Translation Volunteers: 1 volunteer

Departing Committee Chairs: Lauren Hanna (Communications)
Departing Committee Staff: Molly S (AO3 Documentation), and 1 other AO3 Documentation staffer, afterandalasia (Policy & Abuse) and 1 other Policy & Abuse staffer, 1 Strategic Planning staffer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 2babyturtles and 1 other volunteer
Departing Translation Volunteers: Anna Morbach, monnwilk, Nakamura, nanabanana

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


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.

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2018-10-07 11:30:29 -0400
Tags:

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 Lex deLeon, who volunteers as a Support staffer and tag wrangler, and was recently elected to the OTW's Board of Directors.

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

As a member of the Support and Tag Wrangling teams, I feel I provide two different aspects of user to volunteer interaction with the Archive. As a tag wrangler, I take loose ideas that people use to describe their stories in the Character, Relationship or Additional Tags fields on their works and make them synonymous with common tags that many people use for searching. There are far too many examples for this, but it is basically like taking fandom ideas and making them make sense to someone who isn't in fandom. The thought process can be the same at times! There can be a lot of research associated with this, especially when someone likes to use fanon specific nicknames. It is a largely invisible, but invaluable task.

As a member of the Support team, I reply to tickets that are sent in by users of the site. This may be as simple as "I can't log in", which is a common complaint to any site with login capability. Those of you out there who have suffered this, you are not alone! Or it could be more complex questions, such as "how do I post a new work". It is always important to me to respond with the utmost of professionalism and respect, as I was once one of those users who didn't know a slash (/) from an ampersand (&). Hint: the first means a romantic or sexual relationship, the second means friendship or platonic.

Overall, I feel my work in the OTW is something that allows me to contribute in a generally positive way to the larger fandom communities that are out there.

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

Generally, any work as a volunteer starts the same way -- caffeine. I will openly admit to being a thorough and unashamed addict, whether it be coffee or energy drinks. Then I will typically peruse new tags that have come in and send them to the appropriate locations as needed. On Support days, I will begin by selecting a ticket which I am comfortable tackling given my level of energy or time -- if a ticket is one which I know will require an hour of research or time, I will not begin working on it when I have ten minutes free. Much of my work as a volunteer is essentially time and resource (read: my own energy levels) management.

My father taught me a crucial lesson as a child: the only normal day was yesterday. Being willing and able to accept this kind of variability has been a huge help to my work as a volunteer.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I had wanted to volunteer for a while but had never happened upon the application at the right time. One day, I came to the Archive to peruse new femslash and saw it -- a shining beacon of a new News post, heralding "Volunteers needed!" I applied and the rest, as they say, was history. The mission of the OTW at large aligns with what I believe we as a fannish culture at large should be striving for -- not just a space for us to post out stories and pictures and videos, but a place that actively strives to protect our rights to do so.

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

Of all of the things I have learned and experienced during my time volunteering, the most rewarding thing has been discovering that I am not alone. I am not the only one who sees this rare ship, I am not the only one who sees the need for this fight, and I am not the only one who thinks that Certain Female Characters Were Robbed! While this is something I have also received from my other friends who do not volunteer, it is not always easy to yell into the void of my own fannish tumblr. I wish to discuss these things, to work out my thoughts and find a cohesive narrative from the frequently broken and half baked ideas that we are presented with from canon. The friendships I have made, and the relationships I have forged are ones which I hope are ones which stay with me for a long time.

Other than that, I'd have to say learning about new fandoms. I have SO MANY NEW SHIPS.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I have been writing since roughly 1992, though almost all of my early work is gone. I have never stopped writing, though I have taken hiatuses over the years for personal reasons. I have spent countless hours perusing fan manipulations, fan mixes, fan vids -- but my heart remains with fanfic. Whether reading or writing, that is where my main focus has always been.

I've drifted between fandoms over the years -- oh, the fond memories I have of the long dead Popular mailing list! -- though I do have to admit all of my fandoms have one thing in common. It is a failing, perhaps, or a strength. All of my fandoms have invariably been femslash. It has become a running joke amongst my friends, though additionally an advertisement, that I will invariably know of or be in the fandom for a lot of fandoms that have femslash.

Of everything I do in fandom, remembering what has come before and continuing to work toward allowing others the space and freedom to explore their own fannish tendencies is the thing I am most proud of. It is akin to the classic quote frequently misattributed to Voltaire but which is from Evelyn Beatrice Hall: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."


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. 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.

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2018-09-27 00:42:26 -0400
Tags:

OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

Do you know MySQL and want to rescue at risk fan archives? Would you like to assist AO3 users by resolving complaints? Do you have experience copyediting or proofreading academic journals? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

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

  • Open Doors Technical Volunteer - closing 03 October 23:59 UTC
  • Policy & Abuse Staff - closing 03 October 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Copyeditor Volunteer - closing 03 October 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Proofreader Volunteer- closing 03 October 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.


Open Doors Technical Volunteer

Do you know MySQL and want to rescue at risk fan archives?

The Open Doors project receives many requests to rescue fan sites which are at risk of disappearing because their owners can no longer maintain them. The sites we import to Archive Of Our Own range from database-driven archives based on common software packages like eFiction and Automated Archive, to hand-coded HTML sites that are over twenty years old!

As a technical volunteer for Open Doors, you will process the contents of legacy sites to do the following:

  • analyse the original data to find all the content and metadata needed for the import
  • remove spam, legacy navigation and personal information from HTML files
  • convert tags to official AO3 tags as specified by the Tag Wrangling team
  • ensure chapters are correctly combined into complete works
  • resolve duplicates, such as works already imported to AO3 by their creators or previous imports
  • convert the cleaned data to MySQL tables in a standard format that can be ingested automatically into the Archive

As the person responsible for ensuring that all the content from the original site is correctly imported to AO3, you will have an excellent eye for detail and an ability to work independently within the rules of Open Doors. You will also liaise regularly in chat with other Open Doors staff, keeping them up to date with your progress on your assigned tasks.

Applications are due 03 October 2018


Policy & Abuse Staff

The Policy & Abuse Committee is dedicated to helping users deal with the various situations that may arise. We also handle any complaints that come in about content uploaded to the Archive of Our Own. The team determines if complaints are about legitimate violations of the Terms of Service, and what to do about them if they are; our major goals are to adhere to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case completely confidential. We work closely with other AO3 related committees such as Support and Content.

We are seeking people who can keep in close contact, be patient in rephrasing explanations, make and document decisions, cooperate within and outside of their team, and ask for help when it's needed. Staffers need to be able to handle complex and sometimes-disturbing content, and must be able to commit a sufficient amount of time to the team on a regular basis.

Policy & Abuse staffers are required to spend at least five hours a week handling committee work, though it often tends to be more. Please be sure you can handle the workload before applying.

Applications are due 03 October 2018


TWC Copyeditor Volunteer

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. Copyeditors professionally copyedit submissions for Transformative Works and Cultures according to Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) 17, Merriam-Webster online, and the TWC style guide. Applicants may be given a brief test.

Applications are due 03 October 2018


TWC Proofreader Volunteer

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. Proofreader carefully proofreads final online HTML-tagged manuscripts for online publication, using Chicago Manual of Style 17 (CMOS), Merriam-Webster online, and TWC's style sheet. Applicants may be given a brief test.

Applications are due 03 October 2018


Apply at the volunteering page!

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2018-09-18 12:15:20 -0400
Tags:

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

We've written before in this space about Articles 11 and 13 -- fan-unfriendly legal proposals in the EU. On September 12, the European Parliament voted in favor of those proposals. Is it bad? Yes. Is it the end of the story? No. Is it going to change the AO3? Probably not. What can you do about it? Read on.

Articles 11 and 13 impose new requirements on sites that host user content, like the AO3, Tumblr, YouTube, and the like. In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects these sites from some kinds of copyright liability, so that the sites aren't responsible for infringing content posted by their users unless the sites know it's there and that it's infringing. That's why most sites have "notice and takedown" policies: if they're warned about infringing content, they have to take it down -- and they're allowed to take fair use into consideration when they decide whether or not to take a work down. Articles 11 and 13 put the burden of preventing infringement on sites, rather than users, and make some very incorrect assumptions about the ability of algorithms to identify what uses infringe and what uses are non-infringing fair uses.

Why are these Articles bad for fans? They make sites liable for infringing material that their users post. They also create new copyright-like rights for press publications, and they make sites liable for "snippets" of press publications that their users post. These rules expect that instead of waiting to be warned about infringing material, sites would have to put in filters that prevent the uploading of infringing material. There is no exception for user-generated content, and as we've seen in other settings, the sort of algorithms that upload filters would have to use are notoriously over-inclusive. That means that the filters would often not be able to tell the difference between transformative fanworks (which generally don't infringe, often because of fair use and related principles) and piracy (which does infringe).

The language that was passed on September 12 contains nonprofit exceptions, as well as exceptions for small businesses. Based on these exceptions, the AO3 would not have to engage in filtering -- so nothing is likely to change around here! -- but other sites that fans use, like Tumblr, YouTube, and Wattpad, will be affected. And despite the exceptions, nonprofit sites (like the AO3) and small businesses that use commercial cloud-based services like AWS (Amazon) or Google’s Cloud for storage could still face massive increases in the cost to stay online, get server space, etc. It's impossible to predict the impact on sites like Goodreads and Pinterest. YouTube has posted a statement on the problems posed by the law, and it looks like they're going to keep fighting against the worst possibilities for its implementation.

So this is bad news. But it's also not the end of the story!

The Articles are not law yet. There are still opportunities to fight them. They go up for a final vote in January, and there are opportunities for change between now and then. If the Articles do pass in January, the process of "national implementation" would then begin: each country in the EU would begin to make its own laws based on the Articles. Every country's laws might implement the Articles quite differently -- some good, some bad. There will be battles over specific wording in every country.

So if you’re a citizen or resident of an EU country, reach out to your MEPs. This chart shows how each party voted. The SaveYourInternet site has an interactive tool that shows how MEPs in each country voted, and how to contact yours. This page explains how to see how your particular MEPs voted. If they voted against Article 13, contact them to thank them for doing the right thing! If they voted for it, tell them why they made the wrong choice and should change their mind when the January vote happens. Explain to them how this law will impact you personally; tell your story. Get involved with a national organization that is fighting against this law, and one that’s ready to push back against it in the courts – especially where it can curtail free speech, which is a fundamental right held by all EU residents.

As our friends at FYeahCopyright put it: "Pushing against this Directive doesn’t mean you support piracy or counterfeiting of creative works like films, books or photographs. It means, though, that you want creativity, science, communications and education to thrive online, just as they have for almost thirty years."

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2018-09-10 12:02:41 -0400
Tags:

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

I. 2018 Elections Success!

Congratulations to our newest Board members - Lex de Leon and Natalia Gruber were elected to the Board of Directors and will formally begin their term on October 1, 2018.

Key to the success of the 2018 Elections was the hard work of the Elections committee, in collaboration with the Communications, Development & Membership, Translation, Volunteers & Recruiting, and Webs committees. The 2018 Election saw an increase in voter participation with 14.6% of the potential voters casting a ballot, an increase from 12.7% of voters in 2017. Elections would like to thank all four excellent candidates, everyone who participated in the candidate chats and Q&As, and everyone who voted in the election!

II. AT THE AO3

After July’s major upgrade to AO3’s search engine, Accessibility, Design and Technology spent August deploying two releases, 0.9.219 and 0.9.220, which contained a variety of fixes and enhancements across the board. Also in August, users alerted the OTW to an issue where AO3 MOBI files were suddenly unable to be sent to Kindle devices and apps. AD&T was able to contact Amazon and eventually get them to resolve the issue. Thanks to users for flagging the issue and helping make sure Amazon was aware!

In August, Policy and Abuse received approximately 1000 tickets this month and Support received approximately 900 tickets, down from last month’s 1600. Both committees have recently added new recruits to assist with ticket volume.

III. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of the 26th of August the OTW has 679 volunteers. \o/

Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Directors: Natalia Gruber, Lex deLeon
New Committee Staff: donshin, ewink, ExpatGirl, Judy Wen, Makari Crow, Marmosette, Molly S, Rakel, Rania, Scylle, Sijing Xie, Syb, WomanonFyre (all AO3 Documentation staff) and 2 other AO3 Documentation Staff, MalMuses and 1 other Finance staff
New Translator Volunteers: bixenboye, lunabreaker, Rin and 20 other translators

Departing Committee Staff: Gesundheit (Tag Wrangling), Katie L (Support), 1 Strategic Planning Staff
Departing Fanlore Volunteers: danifellis
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Gesundheit, GhostJ and 5 other Wranglers
Departing Translation Volunteers: alive, Diya Basu, Francine Dulay, and 3 other translators

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


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.

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2018-09-09 12:04:53 -0400
Tags:

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 Megan Diane, who volunteers as a staffer in our Volunteers & Recruiting Committee.

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

I am a volunteer for the OTW Volunteers & Recruiting Committee. The OTW is completely volunteer run, and those volunteers need training, access to tools, and support. I like to think of Volunteers & Recruiting as one of the backbone committees of the OTW; we help provide infrastructure for current volunteers, onboard new volunteers, and thank any volunteers who leave us.

I also volunteer for the AO3 Policy & Abuse team, which helps answer complaints received about content on the Archive. It’s definitely a unique experience being involved in both inward and outer facing committees for the OTW.

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

Every week is different. When we recruit, I’m busy organizing applications, creating contacts, answering any queries, as well as managing the database and websites we use. Recruitment can be a really hectic time, and there have been times where I get upwards of 40 emails in a few hours! There are also a lot of small tasks that have to be done for any volunteer whether they be incoming, outgoing, or current. If we aren’t recruiting, I’m usually helping with larger projects like our yearly Still Willing To Serve surveys, implementation of new OTW-wide tools, or discussing volunteer or staff needs with other OTW committees.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I fell in love with the Archive first, and after doing a bit more research fell in love with the OTW itself. It’s a great organization for fandom that not only supports the Archive but rescues fic through Open Doors, lobbies governments through Legal, and supports academic work through Transformative Works and Cultures. I wanted to help make the organization as successful as possible, as well as maybe try to make a small mark on Fandom.

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

Definitely the community here. Not only do we get to be part of larger fandom, but the OTW has its own unique culture; everyone here is so passionate about our larger vision. I’ve picked up several new fandoms since I’ve volunteered, as well as made some really good online friends!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I enjoy reading and writing fanfiction, and have been teaching myself editing via Photoshop. I’ve been involved in a lot of different fandom oriented discords and discussion groups as well. I’ve been able to attend a few local conventions and liveshows from podcasts I follow...eventually I’d like to make it bigger conventions! I’ve recently started enjoying cosplay -- though mainly closet cosplays!


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. 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.

Comment

Post Header

Published:
2018-09-08 10:42:22 -0400
Tags:

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

Back in July, fans and allies helped convince the European Parliament to schedule a vote rather than automatically approving some fan-unfriendly proposals. Now it is time to act! The European Parliament will be voting on these proposals in a few days. The short version of "what can I do" is: Contact your MEP now. For the longer version, and a discussion of why these proposals matter to fans, read on!

What Are Articles 11 and 13, and Why are They Bad for Fans?

Fandom loves and thrives on the Internet, and the Internet loves and thrives on fandom! So much of what makes fan communities and fan creativity work so well are the same things that make the Internet what it is: people sharing their transformative creations and linking to things that drive their interests. We post vids, gifs, fics, filks, and so many other wonderful, creative things! We link to news stories about our favorite shows, writers, performers, and trends! We use these things to find ourselves and communicate with people all around the world.

The proposals under consideration--Articles 11 and 13 of the Proposal for a Directive on Copyrights in the Digital Single Market--could make all of these things harder to do. Both proposals would govern how the EU approaches copyright on the internet. Article 11, often called the "link tax" or "ancillary copyright," would effectively make it infringing for websites to use quotes or snippets to link to copyrighted press publications. Article 13, often called the "censorship machine," has to do with when websites are liable for material posted by their users, and whether and when websites have an obligation to filter user-posted content to prevent users from posting infringing material.

These provisions would not make fanworks illegal, but they could make fanworks harder to post and find. The precise language of these proposals is still being debated, so it's hard to predict exactly what sites would be included, and what they would make those sites do. But if they pass, they will definitely require some sites to prevent some kinds of linking and to engage in mandatory content filtering. Some versions of the proposals are worse than others. For example, in some proposals, nonprofit entities like the OTW/AO3 would be exempt from filtering obligations. In others, the rules would take into account the nature of the works hosted, but not take into account a site’s nonprofit status. Regardless, commercial sites like YouTube and Tumblr will likely see new obligations if these Articles pass. To find out even more about these proposals, we recommend reading this Reddit AMA that a few top European intellectual property professors did in June, and the Copyright 4 Creativity Coalition’s CopyBuzz post about the most recent "compromise" proposal.

What does that mean for fans? Non-commercial transformative fanworks would still be legal to create, post and view, but they could easily get caught in mandatory algorithmic filters and never even make it to the Internet. Limitations on how sites can contain links to press publications can make it harder for fans to find fannish information and content. Rules that impose liability on websites for their users' materials could easily shut some platforms down and prevent new ones from arising. So while these provisions are about Internet platforms, they could make it harder to find and post (non-infringing) fanworks online.

What can fans do?

Between now and the September 12 vote, your voice matters!

For Europeans, that means that the best thing you can do right now is to Contact your MEP and let them know that this matters to you! Let them know that you don’t want websites to be liable for material posted by their users. Let them know that you don’t want algorithms and machines to be filtering internet content for infringement--machines that won’t understand fair use, fair dealing, and transformative free expression. Let them know that Articles 11 and 13 would be bad for European creators, who depend on being able to find and post transformative works.

For people outside Europe, there is (alas!) much less to do--petitions and calls (etc.) to MEPs from outside the EU aren't helpful at this stage--but please signal-boost this issue on your social networks so that Europeans know to get involved.

OTW Legal will keep fighting for fan-friendly laws on the internet and around the world. But right now, your voice is the one that matters!

Comment


Pages Navigation