AO3 News

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We're currently experiencing an influx of spammers who have been creating bogus works and collections to link to their fare. They've become highly adept at using Archive features, and they've been flooding our invite queue with throwaway email addresses to create new accounts. This keeps our Abuse team busy around the clock, deleting spam works as they pop up and trying to weed out obvious spam email addresses before invites are sent out every day. It also prolongs the wait time for everyone else who wants to join the Archive. Our wait list is inching ever closer to 20,000, meaning legitimate users have to wait almost three weeks to receive an invitation email.

As a short-term measure, we've decided to turn off the invite queue for a week, so we can relieve some of the burden on our Abuse team, discuss technical solutions to the problem, and implement a quick fix or two to help with the worst attacks.

If you are a current user, you can check your Invitations page to see if you have any old invites waiting to be sent to a friend or fellow fan.

We are sorry for the long wait times, and we're doing our best to come back soon and get invites out quicker to those currently waiting!

Update on October 23, 11:23 UTC: People who are currently waiting for an invitation should still receive an email while the queue is under review. If you think you should have received an invitation, please wait another day or two, check your spam folder or "Social" tab in Gmail, and use our look-up tool to see if you're still in the queue. If you're sure you should have received an invitation and didn't, you can contact our Support team.

Update on October 30, 23:08 UTC: Please refer to our post "Update: Invitation requests remain disabled for the time being" for the latest information regarding invitations.


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2017-10-21 17:43:04 -0400

We recently fixed MOBI downloads on Kindle, solved some miscellaneous bugs, and cleaned up some code around the site.


  • Coders: Elz, cosette, james_, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, james_, Sarken
  • Testers: Aline, bingeling, Lady Oscar, redsummernight


Works & Comments

  • [AO3-5202] - MOBI downloads were suddenly failing on Kindle devices, due to a tiny little typo that had slipped into our code unnoticed. Now that we've noticed it, you should be able to download MOBI files again.
  • [AO3-5199] - On October 5, we had to temporarily disable downloads when we mysteriously ran out of disk space. It turned out that was because our clean-up code was broken and we weren't deleting HTML files after generating them. We've fixed that.
  • [AO3-1259] - The option to remove yourself as the co-creator of a chapter was buried on the page for reordering a work's chapters. Now it's also in a much more sensible location: the chapter edit page. (And as a bonus, when you remove yourself as a co-creator, the byline on the chapter will actually update now!)
  • [AO3-5197] - Works with no content at all (near impossible to create, but sometimes databases do weird things) were causing word count errors, since the counter wasn't prepared for having nothing to count. It just counts to 0 now.
  • [AO3-5125] - We've added a Rake task to map imported works to their counterparts on the original archives. Now if we host the original domain, individual work links from the original site will redirect to the copy of the work on AO3, as they should.
  • [AO3-177] - Comments marked as spam were counted toward the total number of comments, even though they were hidden from view. We've made sure that wherever a comment count shows up, it now displays the number without spam.

Skins & Frontend

  • [AO3-4376] - We had CSS-related documentation in a few different places, laying out information for creating your own skins to style the Archive or the content of works. This information is now all in one place.
  • [AO3-4840] - Archive skins created with our Skin Wizard didn't properly style the Reindex Work button (visible to wranglers). Now they do!
  • [AO3-5183] - The admin page for approved site skins was timing out, so we made a small performance tweak and now it's greased lightning.
  • [AO3-4658] - The login page looked wonky on small screens and made it harder to log in on mobile devices. It's all pretty now!


  • [AO3-5201] - When accessing the Archive through our HTTP option (relevant when we switch to a secure default protocol for good), it was impossible to submit a page from the domain to Abuse. Now it is!
  • [AO3-4976] - In autocomplete fields, tags with ampersands (e.g. "Abbi & Ilana") would sometimes show up with a semicolon after the &, which looked untidy. We've tidied that up!
  • [AO3-4004] - Trying to use the tab button to navigate from certain autocomplete fields after entering a tag would jump you back to the top of the page in some browsers. You should now be able to reach the correct field.
  • [AO3-5082] - The test for removing oneself as a co-creator of a work or series would fail sometimes (but not always), making the test not very helpful. That's fixed now.
  • [AO3-5173] - There was some unused code lingering from a feature we had previously removed. It lingers no more.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, October 12-18, 2017

As our October 2017 fundraising drive comes to an end, we at the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) would like to thank each and every one of you who donated or spread the word. You've helped our projects grow stronger, and we couldn't be more grateful! We would also like to recognize the tireless efforts of all the volunteers who work behind the scenes to make these drives and all of the organization's work possible.

During this drive, we raised over US$137,000 from over 5500 individual donations representing more than 70 countries. To break that down a little more: 2,733 donations were from first-time donors, 1,243 new members are eligible to vote in next year's OTW Board election, and we will be shipping out 110 thank-you gifts in the next month!

Over the past week, you've received updated information regarding our budget, checked out a timeline of major events in OTW history, and been given a glimpse into our plans for the future. The OTW has been serving the interests of fans for ten years now, and we hope to continue that work and improve our projects and services in years to come. Keep an eye on our news outlets for information on how you can help us pursue that goal.

Once again, we'd like to express our incredible gratitude to everyone who helps to make this organization successful: thank you!

(Don't forget: although the drive has ended, we do accept donations year round.)

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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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, October 12-18, 2017

As we celebrate the past ten years of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), let's also take a moment to look towards the future. Thanks to your donations, there's a bright path ahead of us! Your continued support funds all our projects, from the Archive of Our Own (AO3) to the Fanlore wiki, from Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) to our Legal Advocacy team. Here's a taste of what you can expect from some of these projects soon:

The near future for AO3 includes continued expansion of site stability. Your donations have allowed us to hire contractors to help upgrade the Archive, and we will be continuing those infrastructure improvements. Keep an eye on our release notes for more information! The Archive will also continue to work with Open Doors to import and preserve at-risk fanwork archives, using a new and improved importing process.

Meanwhile, in addition to their everyday work helping fans with questions about fannish legal issues, Legal Advocacy is preparing once again to renew the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption for vidders in 2018.

Also in 2018, TWC will publish its historic tenth anniversary issue, which will bring the journal's total number of published essays to nearly 500! As part of the OTW's ten-year retrospective celebration, that TWC issue will focus on The Future of Fandom, illustrating how our networks of communities have evolved and will continue to do so. Keep an eye out for announcements about this issue on TWC's Tumblr and their website.

As we look to the future, 2027 might seem very far away. Untold numbers of fandoms will emerge between now and then, and untold numbers of fanworks will be created within those fandoms. But 2017 once seemed far away too, and yet here we are! We hope that in the coming decade we will be able to serve not only those of you who have been with us all along, but also all of the creators who may not even have discovered their first fandom yet. Here's to another ten years of new fans, new fandoms, new goals and new achievements!

We hope that you will continue to support the OTW and its projects for years to come. We have many things in store for the future, and we can't wait to share them all with you!

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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2017-10-12 13:48:34 -0400

With our latest deploys, we've ensured that common audio and video players still work after our pending move to HTTPS, added parent links to comment threads, removed a whole bunch of unused code, and took steps to prevent users from adding other people's works to anonymous or unrevealed collections.

Note: 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 frontend 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.


  • Coders: Ariana, Cesy Avon, cyrilcee, Dense Lancer, Elz, james_, redsummernight, Sammie Louise, Sarken, tuff
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, Elz, james_, redsummernight, Sarken
  • Testers: Alison Watson, Lady Oscar, mumble, natalia gomes, Sarken


Works & Comments

  • [AO3-5192] - Common audio and video players that support HTTPS will still be accessible after our switch to secure browsing! We have adjusted the protocol in current embeds and added a step to our sanitizer that takes care of posts going forward.
  • [AO3-5188] - When trying to download a work as an ePub, users would frequently be served .zip files or a page of gibberish instead. We found the cause for this (caching! it's always caching!) and rewrote part of our download code to address the issue. Downloads should be served more reliably now.
  • [AO3-5159] - Some PDF files were also failing to generate, so we removed a line of code to see if that would help. Fingers crossed!
  • [AO3-3704] - If a work was styled with a work skin, and a co-creator edited that work later, the skin would be stripped off (...gruesome), requiring another edit by the first creator to tack it back on. Now the work skin stays where it should be at all times.
  • [AO3-5016] - It was previously possible to add other users' works to one's own anonymous and/or unrevealed collection, effectively hiding them from their creators (and everyone else) in the worst case scenario. We now prevent this, and display a helpful error message to the collection owner when they try.
  • [AO3-5058] - When importing someone else's work (as an Open Doors archivist), the site would throw an ugly Error 500 if it couldn't detect the work creator's email address on the imported page. It now provides a helpful error message instead.
  • [AO3-5131] - Trying to delete more than one comment from the same user, on the same work, when both had replies, was not possible for some reason. Turns out they would have both turned into identical "deleted comment" placeholders, and our validation code didn't like that. It's more lenient now.
  • [AO3-5144] - In order to make comment navigation easier, comment replies now have a "Parent Thread" link that takes you to the first comment in the thread and allows you to see the whole thing. \o/

Misc. Issues

  • [AO3-5015] - The location of the our backup Support form (used in case of serious site issues) had changed, so we edited the link on our Support form to save the OTW website a redirect.
  • [AO3-5044] - When changing one's username, one first had to read a little warning message about the consequences of a name change. However, that warning was misleadingly worded and didn't provide enough information about the process. We have improved the message now.
  • [AO3-4440] - In our efforts to make the AO3 interface translatable, we prepared the email that goes out to people with works in imported collections for eventual translation.
  • [AO3-5165] - We added some cleanup when certain background tasks failed.
  • [AO3-5189] - After running into an import test failure because an image URL in the relevant Dreamwidth post had changed, we rewrote the test in question to use the DW journal and community we manage ourselves to test imports.
  • [AO3-5195] - Coveralls was giving us wildly erratic scores for our test coverage, so we switched to Codecov, which will hopefully analyze our coverage in a more reliable manner.
  • [AO3-5055] - We have added a license to our code repository on GitHub.
  • [AO3-5187] - When we moved the autocomplete to its own Redis instance in our last deploy, we forgot to change the config files we use for our development environments. They're now updated and our coders can code again!

Code Cleanup

  • [AO3-4796] - When we deployed Rails 4, it broke filtering a little bit, so we had to use a hack-y workaround to fix it. Now that we're on Rails 5, we've removed the hack and filtering still works.
  • [AO3-5012] - We found some old code for automatically generating tag sets for a challenge that was never actually fleshed out, so we just removed it, for neatness.
  • [AO3-5093] - We simplified and tidied up part of our abuse report code.
  • [AO3-5094] - We also removed an ancient hack for fixing an encoding issue with time zones. It had fixed itself over the years, apparently.
  • [AO3-5096] - There was another bit of ancient unused code for bookmarks of external works, so we removed that too.
  • [AO3-5087] - More ancient, unused code for importing works was squashed while we were at it.
  • [AO3-5088] - Same for a security patch that had become irrelevant in the four years since we added it.
  • [AO3-5085] - We also had some lingering code for locales, which is now gone as well.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, October 12-18, 2017

For ten years now, the Organization for Transformative Works' many projects have been pursuing our stated mission: "serv[ing] the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate." Your support over the past decade has allowed us to do some amazing work for you. Help us to continue, expand and improve our services by donating to the OTW today!

Our very first project, Legal Advocacy, was launched in 2007. The Legal team has spent the ten years since then working tirelessly on behalf of fandom by answering fans' legal questions, publishing informative posts, and adding the OTW's voice to major legal cases affecting fandom.

Next came Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), an open-source, peer-reviewed academic journal launched in September 2008 to showcase research and conversation about fannish topics. With essay topics ranging from digital fan labor to fanfiction in the 17th century, TWC has advanced the field of fan studies and expanded our understanding of fandom. In its lifetime, TWC has published nearly 200 articles, some of which have been cited dozens of times or more.

Launched in the same month as TWC, the Fanlore wiki aims to be a living history of fan traditions and communities, with articles dedicated to ships, works, zines, websites, and fan activities of all kinds. Check out Fanlore's new, completely redesigned front page, then try exploring the site—over 40,000 Fanlore articles have been created over the past decade, and more are added every day, so you never know what you might find!

In November 2009, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) opened to the public. It was created to be a place where fans could post their works without having to worry about censorship or financial constraints, and today it is home to over three million fanworks and counting! Running the Archive accounts for a significant portion of the OTW's budget, and it's your donations that make it possible.

Last but not least, Open Doors has been preserving at-risk fanworks and archives by bringing them to AO3 since 2009. To date, Open Doors has imported 47 fanwork archives from many different fandoms, safeguarding them for future fans to enjoy! Open Doors' Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP) also collaborates with the University of Iowa to save non-digital forms of fannish culture like zines, con materials, and letters between fans and studios or writers. The OTW has been working with the university's Special Collections department since June 2009, when the FCPP facilitated a donation of over 3,000 zines!

The OTW's projects have done some amazing work over the past ten years, and we need your help to continue, expand, and improve our efforts! We hope to be serving the interests of fans for the next decade and beyond. If you'd like to contribute and be a part of our mission, please make a donation today!

For more fun facts, here's a timeline of some major milestones in OTW's history:

Timeline of major OTW milestones
Follow this link to access this infographic's contents in text form.

To find out more about the Organization for Transformative Works, visit the OTW's website.


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OTW 2017 Budget Update

Earlier this year, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) published its budget for 2017. As December draws closer, we'd like to give you an update on our financial outlook for the rest of the year, and how our plans have progressed or changed since a few months ago.

Our Finance team is currently preparing for the OTW's first audit of financial statements, in what we expect will become a regular annual process going forward. Given the size of our organization and our donors' generosity, it's important for us to make sure that our bookkeeping and internal controls are as efficient and thorough as they can be. We're very grateful to have the stability and revenue required for this undertaking. Thanks to our donors for making this possible!

2017 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 72.2%. Open Doors: 0.5%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 1.1%. Fanlore: 1.8%. Legal Advocacy: 0.5% Con Outreach: 0.7%. Admin: 14.5%. Fundraising: 8.7%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$89,207.44 spent; US$134,838.35 left

  • US$89,207.44 spent so far out of US$224,045.79 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • As usual, the majority of the OTW's expenses—a projected 72% of this year's total—goes towards maintaining the AO3. This includes the bulk of our server expenses—both new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance fees—plus contractor work, website performance monitoring tools, various systems-related licences and training (access all program expenses).
  • We continue to work with coding contractors on structural improvements for the AO3, and there's been a lot of progress throughout this year, such as our much-needed Rails upgrade! Check out the Archive's latest release notes for information on our most recent deploys.


US$1,389.03 spent; US$4,299.83 left

  • US$1,389.03 spent so far out of US$5,688.85 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • 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$819.81 spent; US$2,579.93 left

  • US$819.81 spent so far out of US$3,399.74 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • TWC's expenses are its allotment of server costs, as well as the journal’s publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

US$402.25 spent; US$1,283.52 left

  • US$402.25 spent so far out of US$1,685.78 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • 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$0 spent; US$1,500.00 left

Con outreach

US$713.50 spent; US$1,300.00 left

  • US$713.50 spent so far out of US$2,013.50 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • Our convention outreach expenses consist of preparing and shipping promotional material related to the OTW and its projects for volunteers to share with other fans at conventions. This year we've done a meet-up during San Diego Comic-Con and a technical talk about the AO3's systems infrastructure at Nine Worlds (access all con outreach expenses).


US$12,669.94 spent; US$14,420.00 left

  • US$12,669.94 spent so far out of US$27,089.94 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for each donation; thank-you gifts purchase and shipping; and the tools used to host the OTW’s membership database and track communications with donors and potential donors (access all fundraising expenses).


US$10,893.98 spent; US$33,981.00 left

  • US$10,893.98 spent so far out of US$44,874.98 total this year, as of August 31, 2017.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, auditing services, as well as project management, communication and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2017 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 45.6%, October drive donations: 35.8%. Non-drive donations: 17.1%. Donations from matching programs: 1.5%.

  • 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 81% of our income in 2017. We also receive donations via employer matching programs and Amazon Smile.
  • The OTW Finance team is investigating options for a sustainable plan to invest the OTW's current reserves; our forecasted income should be enough to cover this year's expenses without requiring emergency withdrawals from our reserves.
  • US$191,014.11 so far (as of August 31, 2017) and US$321,531.62 projected until the end of the year.

US$191,014.11 donated; US$130,517.51 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 15 from 7PM to 9PM (what time is that in my timezone?). This post will be updated with a chatroom link a few hours before the appointed time. Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW’s updated budget for 2017 in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

The OTW is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects, including AO3, Fanlore, Open Doors, TWC, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan-run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on the OTW website.


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MTAC Banner

MTAC, an NCIS fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3). In this post:

Background explanation

MTAC is an archive for NCIS fanfiction, accepting works focusing on any character or pairing, including crossover with other fandoms. The moderator, Jessi created it in June 2006 and it has since amassed over 1000 works. Due to activity slowing since the site’s early years, Open Doors will be working with Jessi to import MTAC into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. We will begin importing works from MTAC to the AO3 after October.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on MTAC?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work. All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors. Please contact Open Doors with your MTAC pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

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

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your MTAC 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 MTAC 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. We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of MTAC 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 MTAC!

- The Open Doors team and Jessi


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