AO3 News

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2015-07-08 13:42:55 -0400

Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

For years, we at the OTW have been fighting for copyright laws that make room for fans to express themselves through fanworks. We haven't been alone in this fight: over the years, we've partnered with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Library Association, and others to argue that the law should encourage a wide range of creation and expression, including the fair use of material created by others.

Now, we're officially coming together with a network of organizations that believe, like we do, that U.S. copyright law should reflect the diversity of the creators, innovators, and consumers who make, use, remake, and reuse creative expression; that U.S. copyright law should not stand in the way of free expression worldwide; and that fair use is a vital component of a balanced copyright law. In March, we joined members of this group in sending a letter to the U.S. Congress encouraging balanced copyright policies -- and we're very happy to continue that work with a great group of partners.

“Fanworks serve a unique and important role in our society and must be protected. Fair use is a critical right that permits the public to use portions of copyrighted material without permission, under certain circumstances, from the copyright owner. Whether it be an adapted story with our favorite characters or an app for our phones, fair use makes creativity and innovation possible. Re:Create is excited to welcome OTW to the coalition and we look forward to all that we will accomplish together,” said Tina Pelkey, a spokesperson for Re:Create.

Find out more about the Re:Create coalition and its work at its site, and watch this space for news of coalition activities and opportunities.


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2015-07-06 12:34:42 -0400

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


At the tail end of May, Rebecca Tushnet, Tisha Turk, and Francesca Coppa, together with partners from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and New Media Rights, presented our case at the U.S. Copyright Office’s hearings on renewal and expansion of the fan video exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions. They asked the Copyright Office to expand the current exemption by permitting non-commercial fan video makers to rip Blu-Ray discs. Following the hearing, the groups submitted a written response to the Copyright Office's follow-up questions.

Also, as part of Legal’s advocacy and education missions, the OTW has teamed with the Harry Potter Alliance’s Fanworks Are Fair Use project. This project brings together fans, creators, and fanwork appreciators to focus on U.S. copyright law and public perception of fanworks. Its aims are very much in line with the OTW’s mission to protect fanworks from legal challenge and support fans and fanworks. You can find out more about the project at

Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt and staffer Heidi Tandy will be presenting at a San Diego Comic Con panel entitled “Fandom is Our Fandom,” talking about the evolution of fanworks’ relationship with law and public consciousness. The panel will be Thursday, July 9 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in Room 14A. Heidi will also be moderating the Harry Potter/Wizarding World Fandom panel on Sunday, July 12 and you can find out more about the Fanworks Are Fair Use project at both. For those who will be at San Diego Comic Con, we hope to see you there!

Legal also worked with fan group Whedonopolis to keep the term “Fandom” in the public domain, following Whedonopolis’s application to register the term “Fandom Charities Inc.” as a U.S. trademark. Whedonopolis agreed not to try to claim any exclusivity over the term “Fandom.” That’s a result all fans can be happy about.


Accessibility, Design & Technology had one small release in June and has been hard at work upgrading the Archive's programming language from Ruby 1.9.3 to Ruby 2.0 — a process which involves the awesome Quality Assurance & Testing subcommittee manually testing each of the Archive's many features.

Open Doors recruited in June and is extremely excited to welcome 4 new staffers. With help from Accessibility, Design & Technology, they’ve been wrapping up the import of the Henneth Annûn Story Archive, and will be working on helping other mods progress more quickly using their new import process.

Systems ordered the first of this year's new servers, to be installed soon to give the Archive a bit of breathing room. They are also looking forward to interviewing some prospective new Systems personnel from the recent recruitment opening.

AO3 Documentation is now a committee. The team continues to work steadily through their list of FAQs, with the extra-long Posting and Editing FAQ almost ready for uploading after a long review period. They've also been focused on recruitment and are looking forward to working with new additions to the group.

In Tag Wrangling news, wranglers helped each other by holding several chat sessions to share tech tips, giving some wranglers advanced training, and continuing to translate the ever-growing number of non-English tags on the AO3. On the technical side, the committee worked on testing the wrangulator for the upcoming upgrade of Ruby on Rails and turned the wrangulator off temporarily to wrangle some large, particularly server-intensive tags. Staff clarified the workflow for wranglers by adding a flowchart for wrangling original characters, and a wrangler created a very useful client-side browser script to make it easier for busy wranglers to see where they need to focus their efforts. Tag Wrangling also worked to make tagging information more public: Staff were interviewed by a journalist for an article on tagging, assisted the AO3 Documentation committee with suggestions for the tagging portion of the Posting and Editing FAQ, and responded to user queries via Support and the ao3_wranglers twitter account.


Journal's 19th issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, a guest-edited issue on European fans and fandoms, came out right on time, and they are working on the next two issues right now. They recently asked fans to help with their requests for content, and they are also looking for suggestions about how to celebrate the release of their 20th issue in September!

Wiki held June Bloom, an event to encourage fans to start the pages they always wanted to see on Fanlore. To help new posters, they held an editing party on June 13th. June Bloom led to the creation of many new Fanlore accounts and pages, though the majority of changes continue to be made by a few core contributors. The Wiki team has moved their primary task tracking to Trello, and is continuing to trial a system of having two staff members on call to respond to new issues more quickly.

Communications wrapped work on the OTW's 2014 Annual Report, which was distributed on June 25. Communications is looking for fannish accounts to follow on social media, particularly on Twitter and Tumblr. If you know of a great account that shares fannish content, especially about non-English fandoms, leave a comment here or let us know through the Communications contact form.

Communications also worked with Translation to create a Spotlight on Translation post, which led to some great emails from fans to the committee. Translation is working with Accessibility, Design & Technology, Support, and Abuse on splitting the 'Portuguese' language listing for AO3 works into 'Brazilian Portuguese' and 'European Portuguese,' after several user requests to that effect. They've also started working on translating static content for the Elections website.


Due to various outside commitments by Board members at this time of year, Board has had to reschedule several meetings recently, and is in the process of working out its schedule for this quarter. Plans for the OTW 2015 Retreat are moving ahead. This year it will be held from October 2nd to October 4th in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to the Treasurer, Board has invited several committees to send two members each: Legal, Volunteers & Recruiting, Strategic Planning, Development & Membership, and Internationalization & Outreach. The focus of this year's retreat will be on making progress with implementation of the Strategic Plan, and improving the OTW's financial health, including setting the 2016 budget.

Strategic Planning is nearly finished with the third and final draft of the OTW 2016-2019 strategic plan. Their main focus has been on its structure and finalizing the timeline so large-scale goals don’t overlap one another. They are also working with the Board to determine an implementation date to best fit their needs.

Development & Membership is gearing up for the OTW's next membership drive. The fundraising goal will be US$175,000, which is US$5,000 more than the OTW made last October. They also met with Elections to discuss the dates of the drive and the elections and they how they will mesh.

Elections saw their committee size double with six new recruits who are currently completing their training. The newbies jumped right in during an important month where Elections ran a mock election to determine the viability of a potential software. It went splendidly, and the committee thanks all who participated, and offers a hearty handshake to those who sent them feedback! Translation also guided Elections staffers through making its website more international-user-friendly.

Internationalization & Outreach prepared a tentative plan for internal review to more thoroughly promote inclusivity and the internationalization of the OTW. They will be soliciting feedback from OTW volunteers soon as well as recruiting new ones for the committee.


Volunteers & Recruiting has continued to train their awesome new staffers, and are very close to implementing a new ticket tracking system to better streamline their workflow. They also wrapped up inductions from the last round of recruiting, and announced recruitment dates for the coming quarter.

New Committee Chairs: Janita Burgess (Communications), Amy Lowell (Development & Membership)
New Committee Staff: Amalia Blondet (AO3 Documentation & Translation), Claire P. Baker (AO3 Documentation), Jocelin Potash (AO3 Documentation), ltfoxyee (AO3 Documentation), Sammie Jarrett (AO3 Documentation), l1n (Elections), kaytrea (Elections), Noah Feeman (Open Doors), Kathleen Lietzau (Open Doors), Libby Camp (Open Doors), 6 other AO3 Documentation, 4 other Elections and 1 other Open Doors

Departing Committee Chairs: Claudia Rebaza (Communications)
Departing Committee Staff: Sparrow Rubin (Support), Cheyenne Bingham (Support), 1 other Translation
Departing Tester Volunteers: erialeduab
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Pslasher, Marie_L, Firefly_Ca, Animem and 3 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 1

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


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Banner by Erin of an OTW logo beamed by a spotlight over the words Open Doors

The Hermit Library, a Blake’s 7 fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3). In this post:

Background explanation

The Hermit Library is a Blake's 7 fanfiction and fan art archive hosted at the site. Founded and run by printzine publisher and author Judith Proctor in 2000, it was among the earliest multi-author archives in the fandom, and was for some years the largest online B7 archive. It includes many stories and novels which first appeared in zines, particularly those published or agented by Judith.

During an outage of in 2014, a fan by the name of Aralias contacted Judith to find out whether the site was gone forever or could be resurrected. Although the site did return, Aralias was anxious to ensure the fics hosted on Hermit would never be lost again, and asked if they could be imported onto AO3, where they would be safe (and searchable by pairing at last!). Judith agreed. She was also keen to move the rest of the content (including zine reviews, the Sevenclopia and Gareth Thomas’s complete career history) onto either Fanlore or another archive and then close the site.

Open Doors will be working with Judith Proctor and Aralias to import the Hermit Library into a separate, searchable collection with its own identity. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs. We will begin importing works from the Hermit Library to the AO3 collection in July.

What does this mean for creators who have work on the Hermit Library?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your Hermit Library works there, please contact the moderators (hermitlibrary.archivist [at] with your Hermit Library pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won’t import your works. For instructions on mass-adding works to the new collection on the AO3, Hermit Library, please see the Open Doors website.

2. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one to import your works yourself, please contact the moderators (hermitlibrary.archivist [at] with your Hermit Library pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. For instructions on importing works and adding them to the Hermit Library collection, please see the Open Doors website.

3. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one, as well as assistance importing your works, please contact the moderators (hermitlibrary.archivist [at] with your Hermit Library pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. Once your account is set up, let us know your AO3 name, and we can transfer your works to you once imported.

4. If you would NOT like your works moved, please contact the moderators (hermitlibrary.archivist [at] with your Hermit Library pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them.

If you would not mind your works being preserved but do not want your name attached to them any longer, please let us know that too--we can orphan your works instead of leaving them behind to be deleted.

All works archived on a creator’s behalf will be attributed with the creator’s name in the summary of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. When all works have been accounted for, the Open Doors committee will set up the URL redirects, and and the original Library will be permanently closed.

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.

If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Hermit Library account, please contact the moderators (hermitlibrary.archivist [at] for assistance in verifying your identity. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, please include this!)

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ page, contact the moderators (hermitlibrary.archivist [at] or the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we'll respond as soon as we can.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of the Hermit Library and 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 Hermit Library!

- The Open Doors team


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2015-07-01 04:03:36 -0400

The Archive is now using a newer, shinier version of the Ruby language.


  • Coders: james_
  • Code reviewers: Elz, Ariana
  • Testers: Claire B, Debris, james_, Lady Oscar, Mei, melannen, Michelle Dong, mugenmine, Nerine Luna Cyran, Phoenixacid, Sammie J, Scott, Qem


The Archive was using version 1.9.3 of the Ruby programming language, which is no longer supported. To ensure that the Archive remains sustainable and secure, we have upgraded to Ruby 2.0, and we will be upgrading to even more recent versions of Ruby (and other software!) in the near future.

We'd like to offer a special thank you to our testers, who worked tirelessly to check that all the Archive's features continue to work normally after this update.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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Spotlight on OTW Translation – 140 translators translated over 1,500,000 words in 2,000 documents and 22 languages so far

Why is Translation an important part of the OTW?

Our role in the OTW is to bring official content from the OTW's projects and committees to fans worldwide. We translate news posts, help pages, site content, emails and comments so that people who don't speak English can have access to all the work that the rest of the OTW does.

The OTW is made up of over 500 volunteers from all over the world working in various committees—by necessity, in order to get us all working together, a lot of the OTW's day-to-day work and output is in English. Translation's job is to stay in touch with committees that publish content so that we can get the word out in several other languages, too.

(We don't translate fanworks, by the way! Major kudos to everyone who does, but translation-wise, we have our hands full with official OTW content, including AO3 FAQs and news.)

How many languages can you translate into? How many of you are there?

22 languages—Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Kiswahili, Korean, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

We're 147 volunteers, counting both translators and staff coordinators—translators work in language teams of various sizes, from the huge 17-person German team to our newest team, Kiswahili, with only one translator so far!

What is your favorite part of the work in the Translation committee?

We translate a lot of different things, and we are a very diverse group, so everyone has their own favorites, but a lot of us really like the immediate reward of helping users directly by collaborating with the Abuse and Support teams and answering comments in news posts.

One of the best things about working in Translation is that it's a very fun and lively group, too—with such a huge team, we have just about every fandom and interest covered, so you're just as likely to find people discussing knitting as pole-dancing in our chatrooms, from having feelings about the latest One Piece to meltdowns over Faking It. In our midst we have ficwriters, fanartists, podficcers, fan video makers, fansubbers, gif makers, reccers, meta writers, challenge moderators, and more! (We also talk about translation occasionally.)

If I were interested in the Translation committee, how could I get involved?

Get in touch with us! We're always happy to hear from potential new translators. If you'd like to know more about how we work, you can also check out our page on the OTW website.

World map showing the concentration of OTW Translation members. Countries with more members are shaded darker. Only members who were willing to appear on the map have been included. Map shows nationality or residence status, depending on what each volunteer chose to use. From higher to lower numbers, the countries are: Italy (11), Germany (9), Brazil (5), France (5), Finland (4), Netherlands (4), Spain (4), United States (4), Argentina (3), Belgium (3), Poland (3), Portugal (3), Sweden (3), Switzerland (3), United Kingdom (3), Australia (2), Denmark (2), Egypt (2), Hungary (2), Indonesia (2), Mexico (2), Russian Federation (2), Canada (1), China (1), Costa Rica (1), Czech Republic (1), Kenya (1), Republic of Korea (1), Malaysia (1), Peru (1), Turkey (1) and Viet Nam (1).

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


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Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

The Archive of Our Own has a number of social media accounts to keep you informed. However, with all the different channels available these days, it can be hard to know where to turn. Here's a brief summary of the official AO3 channels and what you can expect from each.

Need help?

For questions or comments about the Archive, please contact us via the AO3 support form, which provides a direct line to our Support staff. The link can also be found at the bottom of all AO3 pages, under "Technical Support and Feedback".

Although we have made an effort to respond to people contacting us through the AO3's social media accounts in the past, there are numerous problems with doing so. Some channels limit us in how much information we can put into a reply, and others are too public to share sensitive account data. As a result, we'll be concentrating all our support efforts on the official contact form.

Support is able to assist users in multiple languages, thanks to help from our Translation committee! You can send your questions in العربية, Bahasa Indonesia, català, čeština, dansk, Deutsch, English, español, français, 한국어, italiano, magyar, Nederlands, polski, português brasileiro, português europeu, Русский, suomi, svenska, and 中文.

Please keep in mind that our Support team is staffed entirely by volunteers, so response times can vary. If you've included an email address in your message, they will get back to you!

Stay informed!

If you don't have questions and would just like to keep up with the latest Archive news, you can follow us on Twitter and Tumblr:

  • @AO3_Status provides real-time status updates about downtime and other site issues.
  • @ao3org and the AO3 News Tumblr share the latest Archive news, including information about site changes.
  • @AO3_wranglers tweets the latest updates about changes to Archive tags.

(You can also stay up-to-date with our sister projects and our parent organization, the Organization for Transformative Works, through the OTW's other accounts.)


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2015-06-15 22:12:04 -0400

We've made a few minor bug fixes and enhancements and cleaned up some old code.


  • Coders: Ariana, james_, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, james_, Sarken
  • Testers: Ariana, briar_pipe, Lady Oscar, mugenmine, Nerine Luna Cyran


  • In some situations, the mass importer Open Doors uses for at-risk archives would incorrectly report that a work had already been imported. We've modified how the mass importer checks a work's import status to prevent this from happening.
  • On the posting form, using an Archive URL beginning with https to cite a related work would result in an error message. Now you can successfully use AO3 URLs beginning with either http or https.
  • Fandom names were indented slightly on challenge prompts and external work blurbs. Now they line up correctly with the title.
  • All tag wrangling pages included an "Unsorted Tags (#)" link, which meant that every time a wrangler loaded a wrangling page, we were counting all the bookmark tags that had yet to be marked as Fandom, Relationship, Character, or Additional Tags. Because this is bad for performance, we moved the link so it will only be included on pages where it is necessary.
  • We had code for emailing co-creators when edits were made to their work. However, we weren't using this code, so we have removed it.
  • The Content Policy workgroup recently proposed changes to the Open Doors Terms of Service. The changes have now been incorporated into our Terms of Service page.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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2015-06-15 12:31:46 -0400

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Elections and Open Doors Staff. Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • AO3 Documentation Staff - closing 22 June 2015 UTC
  • Communications Staff: Weibo Site Moderator - closing 22 June 2015 UTC
  • Support Staff - closing 22 June 2015 UTC
  • Systems Staff - closing 22 June 2015 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 volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org 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.

AO3 Documentation Staff: AO3 Documentation is the committee that writes and updates AO3 FAQs and tutorials. We're looking for people who love the Archive of Our Own and who have experience with writing and proofreading user help documentation. If you enjoy helping your fellow fans learn how the AO3 works, please click through to read the full details and apply to join the Docs team! Applications are due 22 June 2015 UTC

Communications Staff: Weibo Site Moderator: Communications staffers are responsible for the distribution of information internally to OTW personnel and externally to the general public, the media, fans, and other fannish organizations. Communications is also typically the first point of contact for someone interested in or wanting help from OTW.

The position of Weibo Site Moderator would be a good fit for someone who is fluent in Mandarin and English, has experience as a moderator, is familiar with using Weibo, and has about 4-5 hours of available time each week. If you would like to help us do outreach to Chinese language fandom communities, this is the position for you! Applications are due 22 June 2015 UTC

Support Staff: 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. Applications are due 22 June 2015 UTC

Systems Staff: The Systems Committee is dedicated to supporting, troubleshooting, and expanding the technological infrastructure that underlies the OTW’s many projects. Systems staff members manage many day-to-day aspects of Linux system administration, such as Email Server administration, DNS updates, Apache management, and user/group rights and permissions. Committee members also tackle larger projects like virtual machine installation and configuration, researching better ways to manage our infrastructure, optimizing, and planning for the future.

We are seeking individuals who have some experience in remote Linux administration. A focus in one of the following areas is greatly desired: Email Server administration, Routing/Networking, Configuration Management (such as Chef, Puppet, Salt, Ansible, or CFengine), Virtual Machine configuration and management with VirtualBox, VMWare, or Xen, and/or MySQL database administration. However expertise in all areas is not required, and training will be provided. Applications are due 22 June 2015 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


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