AO3 News

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If you've been following our release notes, you know that we have been working towards full HTTPS support on the Archive for a while now. Today, we're happy to announce that beginning on October 4th, all connections to the Archive will use HTTPS by default.

If you use a modern browser, you won't have to do anything -- we'll just flip a (virtual) switch to enforce a secure connection between your browser and our servers. As a result, all AO3 pages will display a lock symbol and/or a friendly little https:// in the address bar of your browser. Old http:// links to the Archive will automatically redirect to the secure version.

For users who might have trouble accessing secure websites, we will continue to provide HTTP access to the Archive -- via -- for as long as necessary. (You might still run into the odd HTTPS link on the site, for example when downloading a work as a PDF, MOBI, or EPUB file.)

We don't expect any downtime during this transition, and you shouldn't notice any changes. Just to be on the safe side, we will monitor our servers and firewalls and might temporarily revert back to HTTP mode should we notice any problems.

Please keep an eye on the @AO3_Status Twitter account for more updates as we get closer to the switch.

Happy (secure) browsing!

Edit 09:24 UTC on 05 October, 2017: The update to embedded media files has been completed, but attempts to move the Archive to HTTPS were unsuccessful. HTTP will remain the default for a little while longer, and we'll update you via our Twitter account when we're ready to try again.

Edit 19:16 UTC on 12 October, 2017: We successfully made the switch to HTTPS for a few days; however, the extra strain from encrypting all traffic proved too much for our servers at peak times. Until we have installed additional servers (coming soon!), HTTP will remain the default protocol. (Of course, you can still elect to use a secure connection, e.g. via a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere.) Please follow @AO3_Status on Twitter for futher updates.

Edit 22:15 UTC on 14 October 2017: We have implemented the caching needed to reduce server strain and are currently back on the secure protocol by default. We believe we'll be able to remain on HTTPS, but if it proves too much, we will switch back until our new frontend servers arrive.

Edit 18:28 UTC on 19 March 2018: We have successfully installed our new frontend servers and are now permanently enforcing HTTPS on the Archive. \o/ We still provide HTTP access via


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2017-09-30 15:25:00 -0400

A lot has happened since our last set of release notes! We've upgraded from Rails 4.2 to Rails 5.1, grappled with login issues, rewritten several bits of code to speed up tag sets and wrangling pages, and fixed a bunch of lingering bugs.


  • Coders: Ariana, cosette, Elz, james_, MaxwellsDaemon, redsummernight, Sammie Louise, Sarken, ticking instant, tuff, Wendy Randquist (Littlelines), Zorac
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, james_, redsummernight, Sarken
  • Testers: alamerysl, Alison Watson, Ariana, briar_pipe, Elz, GoldenFalls, james_, Julianna, Katherine, Lady Oscar, magnus, McBangle, Memé, Morgan D, mumble, redsummernight, Rosa V, Runt, Sammie Louise, Sarken

Special thanks to MaxwellsDaemon, who contributed his first pull request as an AD&T volunteer and has completed his training! \o/



  • [AO3-5033] - We upgraded from Rails 4.2. to Rails 5.0 and then spent some time rejoicing (and fixing all the little problems we found in testing).
  • [AO3-5034] - After that, we worked on getting us to Rails 5.1, which is the version the Archive is now running on. There was even more rejoicing! \o/
  • [AO3-5036] - We also updated our Ruby version to 2.3.4.
  • [AO3-5157] - Our logs were causing disk space to fill up quickly, oops. We've changed some settings and made the logs leaner, so that won't be an issue anymore.
  • [AO3-5181] - The Nokogiri gem, which is used for extracting HTML from other sites to import works (among other things), was upgraded to version 2.3.0.
  • [AO3-4952] - We moved the autocomplete data to its own Redis instance.

Login Extravaganza

  • [AO3-5153] - We fixed an existing issue with the login form, which allowed us to re-enable full-page caching.
  • [AO3-5158] - For this to work properly, we also re-enabled a feature that keeps your cookies in sync so the caching system knows when you're logged in. Neat!
  • [AO3-5171] - Due to a Rails bug outside of our control, people were sometimes getting logged out while trying to leave kudos or a comment, creating a bookmark, or otherwise submitting a form. As a temporary stopgap, we extended the lifespan of our session cookie to 2 weeks, which should help users stay logged in despite the bug.
  • [AO3-5160] - After our Rails upgrade, the bug was causing ugly errors, dumping users on a blank page when they were trying to submit forms, and clogging our error logs. We added a special error page to catch these cases and advise users to try refreshing or logging in again.
  • [AO3-5169] - When running into this bug while trying to leave kudos (for example, on a work still open in a tab from days ago), nothing happened - no kudos would be given, and no error message would show up. We added the error message here as well, suggesting to refresh and try again.

Works & Comments

  • [AO3-5163] - After our Rails 5 upgrade, incomplete works were suddenly showing up in listings of complete works. After some head-scratching, that bug got resolved fairly quickly.
  • [AO3-5149] - There was an issue with ePub downloads not opening in iBooks and Calibre due to some faulty code in the file. That's fixed now. (Current issues with ePub files are unrelated and being addressed!)
  • [AO3-5042] - In downloaded works, the links for the work creator(s) and the link to leave a comment on the work were broken. We made them absolute instead of relative (and then kicked our servers several times to make the fix stick), so now you should be able to click the link and tell the creator(s) you enjoyed their work! It's the right thing to do.
  • [AO3-3300] - Adding a new chapter with the "Post" button after previewing would cause the total chapter number to be set to "?" -- it now preserves the correct chapter number.
  • [AO3-2556] - When deleting a comment with replies, a placeholder would stick around so the replies were still, you know, replying to something. However, deleting the replies would not make that placeholder go away. Now it vanishes, as you'd expect!

Tags & Tag Sets

  • [AO3-5105] - The way we counted how many times a tag had been used was causing undue stress on our servers, so we made that less stressful for everyone involved.
  • [AO3-5178] - Saving a tag set (e.g. when approving nominations for a challenge) would take an absurdly long time, which was apparently due to some suboptimal code which we rewrote to be more on the optimal side. It's now considerably faster!
  • [AO3-5176] - We added an index to tag nominations in our database, but it turned out we needed another one for character tags to streamline things more. Done!
  • [AO3-5156] - We also greatly improved the performance of some tag-related queries.

Collections & Challenges

  • [AO3-5091] - Claiming a prompt in a prompt meme challenge and then deleting your account would make the Claims page error for the challenge mods. /o\ We now display a "claimed by deleted user" placeholder on the page instead.
  • [AO3-4748] - On the Unposted Claims page of a prompt meme challenge, the claimed date was hidden beneath the collection icon. It is now aligned properly.
  • [AO3-5050] - The page listing all collections created by a user had an incomplete page title that was inconsistent with our other page title formats. It now says "USERNAME - Collections", which is much better.


  • [AO3-5138] - Trying to reference a non-existent AO3 News post when uploading a translated version (i.e. by putting in an incorrect post ID instead of selecting one of the given options) would lead to an error 500. The interface now preserves all other information that was put in and displays a helpful error message.
  • [AO3-5148] - Filtering your inbox (e.g. only showing unread messages) and replying to a comment from the page would lead to an error 500 (while the comment would still post). Now it'll do the thing without throwing a tantrum.
  • [AO3-5164] - The little form field that lets you check for your place in the invitation queue had become non-responsive. Now it'll let you know how long you'll have to wait for that invite again.
  • [AO3-4533] - The alt text for our main logo was overly verbose, causing problems for screenreaders. It now just says "Archive of Our Own", as it should.
  • [AO3-4729] - We had previously implemented a limit for how many times a work can be reported to our Abuse team, and have now added the same limit for profile pages, i.e. users.
  • [AO3-5146] - In the Reversi skin, the link text in some of our admin banners was too light and the Close button had a weird white center. That's all taken care of now.
  • [AO3-5011] - We've rejigged the top of our FAQ page to make it look a little neater.
  • [AO3-5103] - DeviantArt started using https links for their images, causing our import test to fail. We adjusted the test, making it not fail anymore.
  • [AO3-5170] - Then DeviantArt changed their image URLs again, breaking our test again. HILARIOUS, DA. Anyway, it's fixed now, so come at us, bro.
  • [AO3-3958] - We also added a test to check if titles containing &, >, or < are properly displayed when editing a work and series.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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2017-09-28 11:48:04 -0400

Choose Books, Buy Books, Support the OTW

The Organization for Transformative Works is celebrating its 10th anniversary because thousands of fans have supported it through donations over the years. And while direct donations are the most helpful form of support (which can be made at any time of the year) there are other ways to help. You can:

  • check with your workplace to see if they'll do corporate matching of donations
  • if you use Amazon in the U.S. for purchases, sign up to Amazon Smile and select the OTW as your charity of choice.

(There are even automatic redirect apps you can install on Chrome or Firefox so you won't have to remember to sign in to Smile).

But probably the most fun way is to purchase one or both books whose royalties support the OTW! Below, three of the OTW's founding members -- Kristina Busse, Karen Hellekson, and Francesca Coppa -- from our Transformative Works & Cultures committee discuss the books they edited: The Fanfiction Reader: Folk Tales for the Digital Age and The Fan Fiction Studies Reader.

What do you see as the unique appeal of the book you worked on?

Kristina: A big problem for any young discipline is the lack of shared knowledge. In early fan studies essays -- all the way into the mid-2000s -- everyone had to explain terms and describe the community, often at the expense of more in depth and differentiated arguments. Karen and I envisioned our 2006 collection Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet as a way to move forward the conversation by starting from a shared place: our introduction offered a definitional framework and theoretical context, and Francesca's "A Short History of Fandom" narrated a version of our fannish history that most of us contributing to the issue recognized as our own.

Likewise, Transformative Works and Cultures asks our contributors to build upon existing fan studies research that is assumed to be shared and known. At the same time, many of the essays that build this foundation and are regularly cited are difficult to find. In The Fan Fiction Studies Reader, we collected in one place some of the most often referenced essays and scholars. We framed these texts with extensive essays to explain their place in fan studies' history while also pointing toward more current research that expands upon these earlier works.

Francesca: The Fanfiction Reader literally is a unique book -- it's the first collection of fanfiction stories published AS fanfiction (that is, not filed off like 50 Shades of Gray or written about works in the public domain, like fic in the Jane Austen-verse.) It's OUR sort of fanfiction: fanfiction of currently active franchises like Star Wars, Doctor Who, MCU, etc.

It's also very much an OTW project in that it furthers two aspects of the mission that have been part of OTW's agenda from the start: strengthening our legal rights around fanfiction by exercising the muscle of fair use -- the book argues that the stories within it are transformative works, and so legal to professionally publish in this particular context -- and helping to legitimize fanfiction as an art form in terms of making it easier to study (because the book is first and foremost intended for classroom use.) Bonus agenda: the book will hopefully keep random students from trolling the internet looking for fanfic because they were assigned to do so and possibly bothering or othering fans (as happened in the Berkeley case not too long ago.) It also gives instructors a series of teachable stories to use in classroom assignments.

Kristina and Karen's book The Fan Fiction Studies Readercollects essays from over the last forty years that have been important to fan studies and the study of fanfic in particular -- never again will people have to start with "What is fan fiction?" like nobody's ever written about fanfiction before. In fact, there's an amazing body of work out there, and in this reader we collect some of the most important pieces in one place, essays by people like Joanna Russ, Henry Jenkins, Constance Penley...

Karen: Francesca is right: The Fan Fiction Studies Reader brings together, in one place, many of the texts foundational to fan studies. Editing this book was so much fun: we couldn't get everything we wanted (because EXPENSIVE and LENGTH), but we got enough to create a book that fan studies acafans (and not just fan fiction acafans, despite the book's title) can use in classes. The essays in the book can be shuffled around to create any number of organizational structures. Any class that uses this book plus Francesca's book would have the synergy of the theoretical and the primary.

What part of the book do you find yourself most often quoting to others?

Karen: The introduction. I get excited about each of the sections we created within the book, with its particular focus and with its particular scholars (and headnotes for each section link the essays together to show why each selection is important in the field of fan studies, and how awesome is it that it is a field!), but the intro really lays it all out and shows the big picture. I just lent the book to a friend of mine who is completely new to fan fiction and fan studies, and I told him to read the intro. It should answer the basic question "what is fan fiction [or any fan text], and why is it important?," but it should also provide a background to fans who are coming at it from the other end: they are embedded in the fan world, but they want to know how academic discourse deals, and fan fic meta deal, with the field.

Francesca: I've been excerpting passages from the book on my Tumblr and I'm kind of shocked, but one of them has gotten something like 20,000+ likes/reblogs. It's this bit here, from the introduction to Brancher's great Lord of the Rings fic, "They Say of the Elves":

While many people think fanfiction is about inserting sex into texts (like Tolkien’s) where it doesn’t belong, Brancher sees it differently: “I was desperate to read about sex that included great friendship; I was repurposing Tolkien’s text in order to do that. It wasn’t that friendship needed to be sexualized, it was that erotica needed to be … friendship-ized.” Many fanfiction writers write about sex in conjunction with beloved texts and characters not because they think those texts are incomplete, but because they’re looking for stories where sex is profound and meaningful. This is part of what makes fan fiction different from pornography: unlike pornography, fanfic features characters we already care deeply about, and who tend to already have long-standing and complex relationships with each other. It’s a genre of sexual subjectification: the very opposite of objectification. It’s benefits with friendship.

This passage has obviously struck a chord, and it's because I think fans agree that -- even at our most "porny," certainly at our most explicit and masturbatory -- we are still relating to the characters in the story as fully-rounded human subjects. Not for nothing is the worst insult in fandom that a story is about "any two guys" (ATG) -- even in a PWP, where the story is nothing but sex, we bring our past history of and with character to bear; we're choosing to read a story about THAT person as opposed to any other John or Jane.

Do you think the books are of most interest to fans or non-fans?

Karen: Nonfans, I think. We compiled the volume with both audiences in mind, but we published with Iowa University Press, which markets to an academic audience. It's not like you'll see this book available for purchase at a science fiction or media con! The structure of the book is designed to help academics create a fan studies type of class. It provides a useful theoretical background, with foundational texts that will never, ever go awry. Fans who are particularly interested in meta, as well as fans who are pursuing MAs or PhDs and who are looking for a fan studies project, will find this book essential.

And I have to admit that part of it was me and Kristina reviewing submissions to the fan studies/media studies journal we coedit, Transformative Works and Cultures. Now when we say rhetorically of authors, "Why haven't you read X and Y?," there's no excuse: it's all in a single handy volume.

Francesca: I say it in the acknowledgments: The Fanfiction Reader is not for fandom per se, because fandom doesn’t need a reader: fandom has all the fic in the world and all the meta besides! But I think the book is a useful introduction to our sort of fandom for new audiences and especially for students. More and more people are discovering fandom through school, and so fans should have some say in how we're presented there.

What would you recommend to instructors thinking of using your books in the classroom?

Karen: I would recommend that they take the "fan fiction" part as a metaphor. Really "fan fiction" could be replaced with "fan art" or "fan manips" or "fan GIFs" or "fan Tumblrs" or "fan Twitter feeds," or whatever. Although it would go very well with Francesca's volume, the wide, wide Internet might provide useful, current primary-source examples that both support and challenge the book's themes and organization. And that's what we want: we want people to say, "Well, but what about THIS?" Indeed! Yes! What about it? Instructors could use our book to organize a class about fan studies and fan artifacts; but they could also use it to challenge the foundational ideas that we lay out. And we say, BRING IT.

Kristina Teaching fan studies and fan fiction is fundamentally different from reading and enjoying it -- or even from contributing to it. Whereas within fandom (and among fellow acafans) we can expect a certain fannish osmosis, our students may have very little shared fannish or academic background. That's where the editorial framework in both books become really important: we create context that allows students to situate and understand the stories and essays. In turn, the essays create a basis to understand more current research and the stories familiarize students with a range of fannish genres, modes, and tropes.

Francesca: Right, I agree with Kristina. I chose really big mainstream Western fandoms for The Fanfiction Reader because you can't count on students having the kind of shared experiences and ways of looking at texts that you get from being in fandom even for a short time: nowadays, I can't depend on students even having read the Harry Potter novels or seen Star Wars. So as with other literary studies, you have to understand that you're joining a community and a conversation that's been going on before you got there: The Fanfiction Reader is an attempt to open up just a few of the millions of doors that lead into that conversation. And some people will think, "Interesting!" and move on, and some people will want to walk through that door and join us in here.

What would you love to have people remember about the book?

Karen: A great thing about working in fan studies is that people spontaneously e-mail you with remarks like, "OMG I thought I was the only person who considered this stuff valuable! And you edited this book!" So I want people to remember that not only is fan engagement valuable, but it is constitutive of fandom -- fundamental, essential. Fans talking to each other = fandom. This book is part of that. By editing this book, we sought to make the conversation transparent and overt, so anyone can join in, be it outside academic or current fan, because it's all about engagement.

Kristina: The books are both selections, shaped by such random things as the length of the essays/stories and by our own interests and awareness. They are meant to whet the taste for more, to invite the reader to continue in directions that interest them. The books are a celebration of fan fiction and fan studies, a starting point. Just like engaging with any show, film, or book, the gaps are where things happen -- more stories, more discussion, more research -- a big collective work-in-progress!

Francesca: I want people to see that fanfiction is legal -- a transformative fair use that can be published and sold in certain contexts -- and also that it's an art.

You can purchase both books at most online booksellers, (or for an extra donation bump, through Amazon Smile!)

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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a little piece of gundam wing header soul circuit header

a little piece of gundam wing, a Gundam Wing fanfiction and fanart archive and soul circuit, a Koko Wa Greenwood fanfiction archive, are being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

A little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit were started in the summer of 2001 due to the archivist's desire to collect the works of her favorite Gundam Wing and Koko Wa Greenwood fanfiction authors in one place. For 16 years, the fiction of over 100 authors were a part of of the archive, as well as numerous fanarts. The archives are now closing for financial reasons.

Open Doors will be working with Dacia to import a little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit into separate, searchable collections on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanart currently in a little piece of gundam wing or soul circuit will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. 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 a little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit to the AO3 after September 2017.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on a little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit?

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. Open Doors will then set up the URL redirects, and we will permanently close down the site.

Please contact Open Doors with your a little piece of gundam wing or soul circuit 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 archives
  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 a little piece of gundam wing or soul circuit 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 a little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit 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, contact 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 a little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit 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 a little piece of gundam wing and soul circuit!

- The Open Doors team


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2017-09-25 11:43:32 -0400

OTW 10th anniversary history

POST UPDATE: The trivia contest is now CLOSED.. Congratulations to our winners, Ashley Q, BelaBelissima, CIL78, Courtney, Crayonsurpapier, Cyn, Destiny, IsabelClover, Kostia, Jill, Livi, Liviania, Mark R., Nrandom, Oxymora, Penelope, rhps_brad_fan, soshisenshi, Syrenian, TaterPie, Vita_Sine_Fantasy_Mors_Est

We received 175 entries and 90 of those had all 5 correct answers. For those curious about what they were, here are some links:

1 – The U.S. Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (a Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary )

2 – and German Speaking Slashers United

3 – Either or both of these two challenges:

"Pick a page - stub or not! - of a fandom, character, relationship, trope, person, or anything else at Fanlore. Add five details to it, large or small - bullet-point lists or full paragraphs, whatever you can think of!"

"As the observation of Women’s History Month in many parts of the world wraps up, why not give one last hurrah to the amazing women in our favourite canons? Tell us all about your fannish experiences with women characters — the women themselves, the relationships they’re in (het, lesbian, canonical, fannish, whatever!), the fanworks they star in — whatever you can think of! Stub out pages, or add a sprinkle of information on an existing page."

4 - November 18

5 - Volume 9 and Ian Roberts

Thanks to everyone who took part, and also for the many good wishes included with those entries. We're glad you had fun finding the answers. We have our final 2 chat events to celebrate our anniversary this weekend so we hope to see you there!

You just might, especially if you have good search-fu!

This is how it will work:

  1. Answer the five questions we have listed below. Only one entry per person
  2. Submit those answers to our Communications Committee. (Put "OTW Trivia" in the Subject line)
  3. Let us know what name or pseudonym you'd prefer we use when we announce the winners.
  4. We can't guarantee you'll receive a particular prize, but you can include your top 3 choices in order of preference.

Please do NOT post your answers in a comment.

In 72 hours we will be reviewing all the submissions and randomly selecting 10 winners from all the correct responses we receive. If we do not receive enough correct responses to qualify for the prizes we will include entries with 4 correct answers, or 3 correct answers, etc. until we have 21 winners.

Winners will be notified by email and have 72 hours to provide us with a mailing address for us to send their prize to. We will ship internationally, so everyone can participate. But if we do not hear back from you within that 3 day time frame we will be randomly choosing another winner in your place. (Please check your spam folders!)

What are the prizes?

For our 10th anniversary we will have 10 prizes. Four of these prizes were generously donated to us for this event by author Tamora Pierce! These are autographed hardback copies of her Song of the Lioness series. You will be able to choose from Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, or Lioness Rampant.

In addition we have:

  1. A Season 3 DVD set of Supernatural autographed by Ghostfacers, Travis Wester and A.J. Buckley (NTSC format)
  2. An OTW logo pen
  3. A copy of the book The First 28 Years of Monty Python
  4. A copy of the book Buffy the Vampire Slayer Watcher's Guide Volume 1
  5. 2 OTW stickers and a temporary tattoo for each of our projects
  6. A large totebag advertising the services of wizard detective, Harry Dresden (in black, 51 by 40 centimeters/20 inches by 16 inches)

But there's more! Since we made our anniversary announcement the folks at First Second Books got in touch with us and offered an additional 11 prizes. These are graphic novels and they will ship them directly to the winners. The titles are:

  1. Castle in the Stars, by Alex Alice
  2. Spill Zone, by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland
  3. Cast No Shadow, by Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa
  4. Compass South, by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock
  5. Pashmina, by Nidhi Chanani
  6. Foiled, by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro
  7. Shattered Warrior, by Sharon Shinn and Molly Ostertag
  8. Tetris, by Box Brown
  9. Spinning, by Tillie Walden
  10. Exquisite Corpse, by Penelope Bagieu
  11. The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang

Ready to play? Here are your questions:

  1. In 2014 Naomi Novik testified for the OTW before who (specifically) about why fair use was important to fans?
  2. So far, among the archives Open Doors has imported into the AO3 have been two specifically for non-English fanworks. What are they called?
  3. What challenge did Fanlore issue to visitors and users in March 2011?
  4. On what day in 2009 was the first AO3 News post made that shared stats with graphs about the site's growth?
  5. In what issue of Transformative Works and Cultures did an article appear about the history of the anime music video in Western fandom, and who was the author?

This post will be updated when the contest is closed, and we'll announce the winners. Good luck!

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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Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Henry Jenkins is one of the best known media scholars studying fandom. His 1992 book Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture has been read all over the world, and is seen as one of the foundational texts of the fan studies field. When we asked if he'd do this month's guest post for our 10th anniversary, he replied "It's an honor to be asked to perform this role." Henry talks with us about fans, students, and fandom.

Textual Poachers continues to be widely read by students and those curious about fans and fandom, but you’ve written a dozen books since and many more articles. What do you think has changed the most about fandom from your early days as both a researcher and as a participant?

In terms of fandom, the impact of digital media has been decisive: expanding the scope of fandom, including greater connections between fans around the world; accelerating the speed of fan response in terms of being able to react in real time to our favorite programs; creating a space where fan works are much more visible to the culture at large (for better and for worse); allowing people to find their way into fandom at a much younger age; and increasing the impact of fan activists in seeking to assert their voice in response to canceled programs. (One has to look no further than the dramatic reversal of fortune for Timeless this past spring).

In terms of the academic study of fandom, we've seen the emergence of an entire subfield of research, which has its own conference and professional organization, its own journals (including Transformative Works and Cultures), its own publishing lines, its own courses, etc. In the next year or so, there will be at least four major academic anthologies devoted to mapping the field of fandom studies, reflecting the emergence of a new generation of researchers and representing innovations on so many fronts, but especially in terms of fandom studies finally coming to grips with race issues.

You have been involved in many projects focusing on fans and their interactions with texts and the entertainment industries. What perspectives have you drawn from those experiences that you would most like to share with fans?

Today's media consumers have expectations of meaningful participation, and the media industries also recognize that they have to create space and place value on the audience's active participation in the media landscape. But there are widespread disagreements about what we might call the terms of our participation, and those disputes are going to be some of the key battles over the first few decades of the 21st century.

The OTW is on the front lines of those struggles, representing fans as they struggle against the intellectual property regimes of major studios or as they confront various commercial strategies of incorporation. We collectively need to keep asking ourselves "What do we want?" and use our collective power to stand firm against compromises that might do violence to our traditions and practices. Fandom is worth fighting for.

You have also been an educator for decades. What have you found most intriguing about working with students interested in fandom?

When I started teaching about fandom, few if any of my students knew anything about fan fiction or other fan practices. Today, pretty much every entering undergraduate knows something about fandom, many have read fan fiction, most know someone who has written it.

When I teach my graduate seminar specifically on fandom, all of the students are "aca-fans," finding ways to reconcile their fan identities with their PhD research interests. This last time, the vast majority of my students came from outside the United States, especially from Asia, but also Europe and Latin America, and I love hearing their experiences coming of age as a fan and getting their perspective on core debates within the field.

How did you first hear about the OTW and what do you see its role as?

News of the OTW bubbled up from many directions at once, most likely through my associations with Escapade, but also through an academic colleague whose partner at the time was involved. I was so excited to hear about the emergence of this fan advocacy network which brought together fannish lawyers willing to help protect our fair use rights as fans; fan scholars publishing their work through a peer-reviewed journal; fan programmers using their skills in support of the community; and of course, an archive where fans controlled what happened to their own works without the interference of web 2.0 interests. Each of these things is important on its own terms, but taken together, this organization has been a transformative force, in all senses of the words, for fans and their rights to participate.

You are on the editorial board of Transformative Works and Cultures and, along with Sangita Shresthova, guest edited its 10th issue. What was the most rewarding part to you of having edited that issue?

Transformative Works and Cultures has one of the most robust and yet supportive peer-review systems I have ever encountered at an academic journal. I tell my students that it is a great place to get their first publications because they will get so much constructive feedback and will receive so much help in refining their essays for publication. And I love the fact that it is open source and freely accessible to non-academics via the web.

Our work on the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) and other forms of fan activism led us down a path towards investigating the political lives of American youth, which resulted in our most recent book, By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism. We write there about the HPA as a model of fan activism, but we also write about Invisible Children, Dreamers, and American Muslims, and found some similar themes across all of these groups. A key concept for us, "the civic imagination," was inspired early on by J.K. Rowling's phrase, "Imagine Better," which the HPA had picked up on and was using. My collaborators and I are now editing a casebook on popular culture and the civic imagination exploring how activist groups around the world are appropriating and remixing popular culture to help frame their messages. Some of these are fan groups, but many are not, yet I doubt I would have been as attentive of these developments if I was not following fandom as closely as I am.

What fandom things have inspired you the most, either currently or at different points in your life?

I never cease to be amazed by the way that fandom provides a learning space for so many people and in so many different ways. Early on, I had been interested in the ways fandom provided mentorship into writing, video editing, and other creative processes, with beta-reading and fan mentorship held up as a rich example of a peer-to-peer learning system.

Years ago, fandom played a key role in helping more women enter cyberspace, overcoming what policy makers were describing as a gendered digital divide. And fandom provided a safe space for people to work through shifts in gender and sexual politics across the 1980s and 1990s, helping women in particular to express their sexual fantasies and become open to alternatives otherwise closed to them. Fandom in this sense functions as something like a feminist consciousness raising group.

Fandom has also been a leadership academy, helping women to acquire entrepreneurial and activist skills which have expanded their voice and influence within the culture. And fandom is performing these functions at an earlier age as online fandom allows high school students to find their way into the larger community. Fandom doesn't fit everyone's needs, and these ideals are not always fully realized in practice, but through the years I've known so many people who have grown and learned through their fannish experiences. And for many of them, the OTW is giving them a chance to deploy these personal and professional skills to give something back to their community.

Catch up on earlier guest 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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2017-09-18 12:47:51 -0400

Shortly after we upgraded the Archive to Rails 4.2, users began reporting they were being redirected to the login page when submitting forms (e.g. bookmarking a work, or posting a comment). Our coders were unable to find the cause of this problem and hoped it would resolve itself when we upgraded to Rails 5.1.

Unfortunately, the upgrade did not fix the issue, and further research has revealed this is a bug within Rails itself. The bug mainly -- but not only -- affects iPhone Safari users, and is most likely to happen when submitting a form after closing and re-opening your browser, or after leaving a page open for a number of days.

There's currently no official fix for this issue, but you may be able to work around it by using your browser's "Back" button and submitting the form again. We'll also be implementing a temporary workaround on our end by making session cookies last two weeks. This means it is very important to log out of your account if you are using a public computer. If you simply close the browser and leave, you will still be logged in and the next person to use the computer will be able to access your account.

Once an official fix becomes available, we will apply it as soon as possible. There's no word on when this will be, but in the meantime, we'll keep looking for workarounds.

Update, 23 September 2017: If you have JavaScript disabled in your browser and were getting Session Expired errors when trying to log in, the problem should now be fixed!


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OTW 10th anniversary history

Many of you may be new to the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) while a few of you have been following our progress since we launched in 2007. Either way, we hope there are things you've been discovering about us this month. As our next big anniversary won't be for a while though, here are 25 things about our organization you can find out right now!

  1. Our Legal Advocacy team was the first OTW project to launch as they worked on incorporating us as a non-profit in 2007. The OTW's website went live and the first OTW newsletter was posted on December 11, 2007.
  2. One of the OTW's first donations came in August 2007 from Cory Doctorow, who wrote that December: "This is such a good idea. When Naomi [Novik, OTW co-founder] described it at the WorldCon at a panel that we were on together, I wrote her a check on the spot for $500 to fund the org. I hope she cashes it now that they've formally announced."
  3. Our volunteer records go back to 2007. We have 6 volunteers who have been working with the OTW since then.
  4. Our first membership drive was held from March 1-18, 2008. We raised $11,142 from 396 donations. The drive was announced with LOLcats.
  5. The first code for AO3 was completed on March 25, 2008.
  6. An early bit of press coverage for the OTW in August 2008 focused on the history of vidding.
  7. The Legal Advocacy team's longest running project has been a continual effort to maintain exemptions for fan video makers to break copy protection on visual content they use. They first submitted documents for this in December 2008, and have continued petitioning for these exemptions every three years, achieving decisions in our favor in 2009, 2012, and 2015. They are currently preparing for the next round in 2018. (Here's a way that you can tell the U.S. Congress to make these decisions permanent!)
  8. Most of the oldest pages on Fanlore are about individual fans. The oldest fandom page is Die Hard, which was created on August 4, 2008.
  9. OTW's projects launched within 9 months of one another: Transformative Works and Cultures on September 15, 2008, Fanlore on September 29, 2008, the Archive of Our Own (in limited beta) on October 3, 2008, and the Vidding History Project on February 16, 2009. Open Doors announced its Fan Culture Preservation Project on June 18, 2009 with a donated collection of over 3,000 fanzines.
  10. The OTW's first Board election was in October 2009.
  11. This was the first look at the AO3's servers a few months before the public beta in November 2009.
  12. Many of our volunteers have served in at least two different positions, either concurrently or in succession. Some volunteers really like variety! 8 of them have served in 5 committees or more since they began volunteering.
  13. The average donation the OTW received during our last membership drive was $25.90. The $25 average has remained consistent since our first drive.
  14. Archive of Our Own has had several front page redesigns. The first was on November 7, 2009. The last was on February 25, 2015 when the Favorite Tags feature was added.
  15. Open Doors got its website on May 16, 2011 and began archive imports to AO3 when its import tool was ready on February 26, 2012. The first archive they worked on is the Smallville Slash Archive.
  16. The average page on Fanlore has been edited 5.34 times. The most revised entry was the Proposed Zines link. Fourth on the list is the Blanket Permission to Podfic, which is also the longest page on Fanlore.
  17. Our Legal Committee offers advice for fans, usually one-on-one, but also publicly about broader concerns. Their earliest post of this kind concerned a contest being held at San Diego Comic Con and other fan events in July 2012.
  18. Some people know that the February 15th date for International Fanworks Day is tied to the date AO3 passed 1 million fanworks. What may not be known is that it was also the day that Fanlore passed 500,000 edits and the same month that the first OTW-supported book was published by the Transformative Works and Cultures editors, making February 2014 one of our most significant dates.
  19. Besides the many milestones for user accounts, fandoms, and fanworks, the AO3 marked another one in April 2015 when its servers moved into their own rack at the server facility.
  20. We get donations from over 70 countries during most membership drives. In April 2017, the top 10 countries that donors have come from were the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, and Finland.
  21. In the month of July 2017 we had over 11 million different IP addresses accessing the Archive, and we showed them around 17,000 pages a minute. But each day the AO3 sends over half a million emails, or nearly 16 million emails per month to its over 1 million registered users.
  22. The OTW's "About Fandom" Playlist includes interviews of and presentations made by OTW personnel. These make for handy explainers to friends and fellow fans!
  23. AO3 tag wranglers sometimes hold chat parties to entertain each other while they work. In July 2017, they wrangled around 610,000 tags in a single month.
  24. The OTW organizes its work through committees and these have changed many times over the years. Our Volunteers & Recruiting Committee reports that our largest committee is Tag Wrangling, with 304 people, and our smallest committee is Systems, with only 7 people. Overall we have over 600 volunteers in 22 timezones.
  25. Transformative Works and Cultures has had 10 general issues and 15 special topic issues, and their articles have been cited hundreds of times over the past decade. They just published their 25th issue this month.


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