AO3 News

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Published:
2010-12-21 16:03:27 -0500
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Welcome to revision 3453, up from revision 3435! This release contains some minor bugfixes as well as a few nice feature enhancements! Thanks, as always, to the wonderful coders and testers who contributed to this release.

Highlights


Kudos improvements!

The new Kudos feature is very popular! However, a number of people found that they had accidentally added Kudos to their own works and felt a little bashful about it. In response to user feedback, you will no longer be able to add Kudos to your own works. Additionally, existing self-applied Kudos have been removed.

In other Kudos news, we've also added notification of Kudos being given for your works. You will receive these notifications so long as you have comment notifications turned on in your Preferences. You will also be able to search for stories by number of Kudos.

Improved Fandom Index Pages!

Fandom index pages have been redesigned with the addition of handy alphabetical jump links to help you find your place in the listing more quickly.

Admin Post Translations

This release also adds an improved system for the translation of Admin Posts, no longer requiring manual linking to the translated versions. Non-English posts will not show up in the RSS feed, but you will be able to subscribe via RSS to posts in the language(s) of your choice.

Non-English admin posts will be automatically linked from the English version, and will show up under the url for the language in question, e.g. the German posts will be at http://archiveofourown.org/languages/de/admin_posts. To get the rss feed, simply append .rss to the relevant url: http://archiveofourown.org/languages/de/admin_posts.rss.

Note: Change to Search Function

For performance reasons, you will no longer be able to search on the full text of works content. Summaries and notes are still searchable.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page.

Release details


Features



  • Improvements for fandom index pages (sorted alphabetically, with quick jump links)

  • List of fandoms in collections and challenges can now be filtered by media type

  • Added ability to search for stories by number of kudos

  • Added notifications for kudos (unless you turned off comment notifications under Preferences)

  • Added a fix that will prevent users from adding kudos to their own works

  • Made unposted chapters in a chaptered work more noticable

  • Enabled comment management for admins (mark as spam, delete)

  • Better system for admin post translations (different versions of an admin post don't have to be manually linked anymore)


Bugs



  • Fix for updating all unposted stories in a challenge as defaulters

  • Fixed a bug causing some users to be without default pseuds; if you found that you got multiple 500 errors when logged in (couldn't view profile, works, or sign up for challenges) then this should have fixed your problem

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Published:
2010-12-15 23:01:21 -0500
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Welcome to revision 3435, up from revision 3403! We have a bunch of fun things in this revision along with some much-needed performance enhancements! Thanks to all the wonderful coders and testers who contributed to this release, and a special thanks to mumble, who put the release notes together!

Highlights

RSS feed for admin posts

If you want to keep track of what we post about the site, you can now follow our admin posts via an RSS feed: add http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts.rss to an RSS reader of your choice.

CSS styling for works!!!!

For a long time our users have been asking for better ways to style their works on the AO3. We really wanted to give users greater control over their font choices, positioning, typography, etc, but accessibility is also a major concern for us, and we wanted to make sure that it would be easy for users to override more complex styling if they wanted or needed to. We’re thrilled to announce that we have now introduced ‘work skins’, which allow us to have our elaborately iced, twelve-tier cake with sparkles on and eat it too! For information on the new feature and how it works, check out our Tutorial on styling works (coming soon!).

Kudos

Lots of people have asked us for a quick way to leave love or appreciation for a work, and we were very happy to oblige! You can now leave ‘kudos’ at the click of a button – works with kudos will display this happy little AO3 dude: Kudos: Mini AO3 icon with an arc of hearts over its head along with names and numbers of folk who left kudos. We think this will be a great way for people to spread the love during the holiday season, when finding time to read fic in between family commitments can make it hard to leave long comments.

BABY

Finally, we couldn’t let this release go by without welcoming the newest addition to the AO3 family! After a month of producing amazing amounts of code, our senior coder Astolat went one better and also produced a beautiful baby girl! Baby Hypatia was born on the 7th December, weighing 7lbs 4oz. Astolat was coding right up until her waters broke, and sending emails about our new servers while she was in labour! (Our staff are crazy dedicated, OMG.) Mommy and baby are doing well – KUDOS ASTOLAT! Kudos: Mini AO3 icon with an arc of hearts over its head

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page.

Release details

Features

  • Added the ability to post works without previewing them first (especially handy for editing!)
  • Added the option to leave ‘kudos’ on works.
  • Made ‘leave comment’ box visible by default.
  • Added new styling option for works via ‘work skins’:
    • Renamed “Light Style” to “Hide/Show Creator’s Style”
    • Renamed “Disable User Generated Styles” to “Always hide custom styles”
    • Created public “Basic Formatting” work skin
  • Made comment form show by default
  • Added additional caching to works and chapters for better performance
  • Comments now display user’s local time instead of server time
  • Entering a wrong collection name in the Post New form now yields an error message
  • More improvements and bugfixes for automated tests
  • added RSS feed for admin posts (http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts.rss)
  • Tweaks to the “share” option to spiff it up a bit!

Bugs

  • Fixed a bug causing 500 errors for some people when posting to fulfil challenge assignments.
  • Unbroke OpenID login
  • The share box is now disabled for users without javascript so that it doesn’t hog screen real estate.
  • Fixed issue causing 500 errors when downloading fics with related works
  • Fixed some overlapping issues in the comments section
  • Fixed some mangled text on the sign-up page

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Published:
2010-12-11 14:51:28 -0500
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Es ist wieder jene Zeit des Jahres, in der Fans sich am Geschichtenwichteln beteiligen, Glühwein trinken und das Eigene Archiv verfluchen, weil es wieder mal so verdammt langsam ist. Denn nach einem anstrengenden Tag in der Innenstadt, in der man sich durch Menschenmassen drängeln und an der Kasse ewig warten musste, gibt es nichts Nervigeres als mit der Fehlermeldung Error 502: Page did not respond in a timely fashion konfrontiert zu werden, wenn man zum Entspannen auf seine liebste Fanfiction klickt.

Bitte glaubt uns: Wir wissen, wie das ist. Wir sind auch Fans und benutzen das Eigene Archiv, und nach einem Tag voller Schlangestehen oder dem Programmieren einer neuen Funktion stört uns auch nichts mehr als ein Fehler 502, wenn wir zum Entspannen auf unsere liebste Geschichte klicken.

Deshalb möchten wir euch wissen lassen, dass wir etwas dagegen tun. Wir arbeiten gerade an einem neuen Systemaufbau (dank eurer Unterstützung mitsamt schicker neuer Server) der die Leistung deutlich verbessern wird.

Wir haben eine Menge Vermutungen angestellt, bevor wir die letzte große Aktualisierung durchgeführt haben. Ein wichtiger Teil dieses Updates war die Einführung von Rails 3, das die Grundlage für die Umgestaltung des Systemaufbaus bildet. Sowohl währenddessen als auch kurz danach haben wir schon einige Leistungsverbesserungen auf den Weg gebracht, aber letztendlich gibt es leider keinen Ersatz für die Erkenntnisse, die wir aus den tatsächlichen Nutzungsdaten des Archivs gewinnen.

Wir haben nun 11.000 Nutzer und Nutzerinnen und 120.000 Werke und sind damit wesentlich schneller gewachsen, als wir uns jemals erträumt haben.

Was genau wird sich durch den neuen Aufbau verändern?

Derzeit läuft das Archiv auf zwei Servern – einer für die Datenbank, der andere für die Rails-Anwendungen.

Die neue Systemarchitektur wird in etwa so aussehen:

Diagram der Servertopologie

Zum Vergrößern auf die Grafik klicken

Kurz gesagt werden wir auf einen Systemaufbau umsteigen, der es uns erlaubt, in der Zukunft leicht zusätzliche Hardware zur Leistungsverbesserung anzuschließen.

Wir kaufen gerade die neuen Server für diesen Aufbau, aber im Moment der Zeitpunkt für eine so drastische Veränderung ungünstig. Der Umstieg auf einen neuen Systemaufbau ist keine triviale Sache, und wir verschieben ihn deshalb lieber aufs neue Jahr, wenn wir mehr Zeit für Ausfälle haben und nicht mehr so viel los ist. Im Eigenen Archiv herrscht derzeit reger Betrieb (nicht nur durch Yuletide, auch wegen anderer Wichtelaktionen) und wir wollen nicht riskieren, dass uns das alles um die Ohren fliegt.

Daneben ist Yuletide, unser erster und größter Testfall, in diesem Fall Teil einer langfristigen Lösung. Tausende Nutzer und Nutzerinnen, die alle zur selben Zeit auf dieselben Teile des Archivs zugreifen wollen, werden unsere Systeme bis zum Anschlag belasten und uns helfen herauszufinden, wo die größten Engpässe liegen. Das wiederum zeigt uns, welche Prioritäten wir beim Kauf der Hardware setzen müssen.

Das heißt aber auch, dass im Moment alles etwas langsam läuft. Das tut uns sehr leid. Auch aus diesem Grund ist das AO3 immer noch in der Betaphase. Wir werden das “Beta”-Schild auch nicht herunternehmen, solange wir nicht einigermaßen sicher sind, dass das System mit möglicherweise Millionen von Nutzern und Nutzerinnen und Geschichten umgehen kann, ohne dass uns alles um die Ohren fliegt oder nur im Schneckentempo läuft. Und soweit sind wir noch nicht.

Wir müssen euch also um Geduld bitten. Yuletide und andere Geschichten-Tauschaktionen – und die daraus resultierende intensive Nutzung – sind für das AO3 und diejenigen, die es programmieren und verwalten, auf lange Sicht sehr wertvoll. Es ist alles Teil des Betaprozesses – habt also bitte Verständnis dafür, dass solche Hänger nötig sind, um das Eigene Archiv langfristig voranzubringen.

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Published:
2010-12-11 14:51:22 -0500
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Esta es la época del año cuando los fans participan en en intercambios de fics, beben sidra fermentada y maldicen a Un Archivo Propio por ser tan @#$!% lento. Porque después de un día de lidiar con multitudes o esperar en las cajas de las tiendas departamentales, nada te frustra más que ver un Error 502: Page did not respond in a timely fashion en tu fic favorito para confortarte.

¡Creénos, lo sabemos! También somos fans y usamos el AO3, y después de un largo día luchando contra las multitudes festivas o programando, nada nos frustra más que nos salga un Error 502 en nuestro fic favorito de confort, tampoco.

¡Queremos que sepas que estamos haciendo trabajando en esto! Actualmente estamos en el proceso de armar una nueva arquitectura de sistema — incluyendo la inminente adquisición de nuevos y brillantes servidores, gracias a tu ayuda — la que ayudará a mejorar nuestro desempeño de forma considerable.

Podemos (y lo hemos hecho) hacer montones de presunciones al realizar nuestro último lanzamiento, el cual incluyó la actualización a Rails 3 que era necesaria antes de proceder con la remodelación de los sistemas, y dimos lo mejor para mejorar el desempeño tanto en el proceso como inmediatamente después del lanzamiento. Pero al final, no hay substituto a observar resultados en el uso real cotidiano del sistema.

En este momento contamos con 11.000 usuarios y 120.000 trabajos hospedados: ¡estamos creciendo más rápido de lo que nunca habíamos soñado!

¿Qué es lo que va a suceder con este nuevo diseño?

Actualmente estamos trabajando con dos servidores — un servidor para una base de datos individual y otro servidor para la aplicación Rails.

La nueva arquitectura se verá más o menos así:

diagram of server topology

Haz click en la imagen para ampliar

Básicamente, estamos moviéndonos a un diseño donde podríamos, en un futuro, fácilmente conectar máquinas adicionales cuando se requieran, para mejorar el desempeño.

En este momento estamos comprando los nuevos servidores para implementar esta nueva arquitectura, pero no creemos que sea una buena idea implementar un cambio de sistema tan grande como este en este preciso momento. La implementación de esta nueva arquitectura no es trivial y planeamos hacerla en una forma más controlada y con mucho más espacio para tiempo fuera de línea cuando las cosas se calmen entrando el año. Están sucediendo muchas cosas en el AO3 – no sólo Yuletide, sino montones de otros intercambios festivos de fic – y realmente no queremos que todo nos explote.

Pero también, en este proceso, Yuletide – nuestro principal y más grande caso de prueba – es parte de una solución a largo plazo. Tener miles de usuarios, todos golpeando a las mismas secciones del archivo al mismo tiempo y estirando nuestros sistemas al límite, nos ayudará a identificar donde están los cuellos de botella más grandes y eso nos dirá cuales deberán ser nuestras prioridades al comprar el nuevo hardware.

Esto significa que las cosas están lentas ahora. Y estamos muy apenados por eso. Es parte de las razones por las que AO3 aún está en proceso de prueba o beta. No quitaremos el aviso de “Beta” hasta que no estemos razonablemente confiados de que el sistema puede manejar millones de usuarios e historias, sin caerse, explotar o tener grandes estancamientos. ¡Aún no llegamos a eso!

Así que les pedimos paciencia. Yuletide y otros intercambios – y el resultante uso intenso – son tremendamente útiles a largo plazo para AO3 y sus diseñadores y administradores de sistema. Es parte del proceso de prueba – ¡por favor entiendan que todo esto es necesario para que nosotros llevemos a AO3 a donde necesita estar!

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Published:
2010-12-11 14:27:47 -0500
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This post is also available in Deutsch and Español.

This is the time of year when fans participate in fic exchanges and drink mulled cider and curse out the Archive of Our Own for being so @#$!% slow. Because after a day of fighting holiday crowds or waiting on lines in department stores, nothing bums you out like getting Error 502: Page did not respond in a timely fashion on your favorite comfort fic.

Believe us: we know!  We're fans too, and we use the AO3, and after a long day fighting holiday crowds or coding a new feature, nothing bums us out like getting Error 502 on our favorite comfort fic, either.

We want you to know we're doing something about it! We're currently in the process of putting together a new systems architecture -- including the imminent purchase of several very shiny new servers thanks to your support -- that will boost performance substantially.

We could (and did) make lots of guesses going in to our latest big deploy, which included the Rails 3 upgrade we needed to make before we proceeded with the systems revamp, and we did our best to put in performance improvements both on the way and immediately after the deploy. But there is no substitute in the end for looking at actual results from real-world usage.

We're now at 11,000 users and 120,000 works: we've grown much faster than any of us ever dreamed!

So what exactly is going to happen with this new design?

We currently are running on two servers -- a single database server and a single Rails app server.

The new architecture will look something like this:

diagram of server topology

Click image to see larger

Basically, we are moving to a design where we can easily in future plug in additional machines as needed for performance improvements.

We are currently buying the new servers to implement this architecture, but we don't think it's a really good idea to implement a major system change like this right now. Implementing this new architecture isn't trivial, and we plan to do it in a more controlled way and with a little more leeway for downtime once things slow down in the new year. There's a lot going on at the AO3 - not just Yuletide, but loads of other holiday fic exchanges - and we don't really want the whole thing to go boom.

But also, in this process, Yuletide, our first and biggest test case, is part of the long-term solution. Having thousands of users all banging on the same parts of the archive all at once and stressing our system to the limits helps us identify where the biggest bottlenecks are, and that in turn tells us what our priorities need to be when we buy our hardware.

That means things are slow now. And we're very sorry about that. It's part of why the AO3 is still in beta. We won't be taking the "beta" sign off until we have reasonable confidence that the system can handle potentially millions of users and stories, without falling down and going boom or having major slowdowns. But we are not there yet!

So we need to ask for your patience. Yuletide and other exchanges - and the resulting intense usage - are tremendously useful in the long run for the AO3 and its designers and sysadmins. It is all part of the beta process - so please understand it is all necessary for us to get the AO3 to where it needs to be!

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Published:
2010-11-29 15:34:01 -0500
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Welcome to Revision 3403, up from 3295. Since our last set of release notes we've had a bunch of small bugfix releases and added enough extra bits of code to warrant another round-up - we've rounded up the key changes here. These release notes put together for you by new tester mumble - thanks, mumble!

A note on Archive performance

Anyone who has accessed the Archive recently will have noticed that it is very slow. This is due to a combination of different factors - our servers are at more-or-less full capacity (we're getting new ones soon!), some of the changes in our Rails 3 upgrade unexpectedly slowed down code or required some Systems readjustment, and we're experiencing a high level of demand due to holiday challenges including Yuletide.

If you repeatedly receive a 502 error on the same page, but other pages on the Archive seem to be loading fast(ish), it's possible that your browser has cached the error page. Try clearing your browser cache if this is happening to you. (However, unfortunately quite a lot of the 502 errors are real ones.)

We know it's super-frustrating for everyone when the site is slow, and our coders and Systems team are working like crazy (seriously, eighteen-hour days in some cases) to make performance improvements. Please bear with us - we're doing our best!

Highlights


"Share" a work

This was already introduced in the last big release, but got lost in the barrage of new features and fixes. Works now come with a "Share" button above the header, which enables you to quickly paste all relevant information about the fic (title, author, fandom, pairings, word count etc. etc.) into a Livejournal post or similar, to either link to your own work or to a story you want to recommend. The same button can be found on all works you've added to your AO3 bookmarks. No more fiddly copy-pasting or formatting, it's already been done for you!

Challenge improvements

Yuletide proved to be a good test case for creating a challenge with several thousand users and fandoms. Most of the major problems could be solved during the sign-up phase, other bits and pieces are still being worked on. The sign-up form was streamlined to lessen the load on our servers, and the summary page (for an overview of offered and requested fandoms) was rewritten to deal with a large number of sign-ups and an equally large number of people continuously hitting refresh in excitement. Several smaller issues regarding secrecy and fandom stats were fixed as well. This release also added a "See Open Challenges" button to the collections page, which lets you do just that. The list is based on the "Signup open?" ticky box under Challenge Settings, which a moderator has to check or uncheck manually, so if they forget to do this, the challenge might show up even if the dates say it's closed. You can see the current list here.

Spam protection on the Support form

We were getting hit with spam through the Support form, so we installed Akismet to weed out the p3n1s-related messages. This shouldn't affect regular support requests and feedback, but if you run into any problems, please let us know in the comments to this post.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page.

Release details

Features

  • Option to share a work through preformatted header information for easy copy-pasting (since 0.8.2)
  • List of all challenges which are currently open
  • More improvements to automated tests
  • Made the HTML parser behave more consistently
    • the <del> tag works now
    • <br /> tags will be added to all linebreaks, so if you've pasted a work from an email message or similiar, you'll have to strip out any unwanted carriage returns first
    • Formatting tags such as <em> or <strong> that span across several paragraphs will be closed by the parser at the end of one paragraph and re-opened in the next
    • Fixed an issue with <hr /> tags (which should go on their own line with no surrounding text to allow the parser to do its thing)
  • Added an email link to assignments that only the challenge owner can see

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a tag wrangling bug regarding the introduction of new fandoms
  • Fixed an issue with auto-complete in the fandom field when posting a work
  • Fixed several issues regarding collections and challenges
    • You can now post works to a collection before fulfilling your main assignment
    • If you've posted a work to a secret exchange, this work's fandom won't show up on your user page before reveal
    • If a challenge has more than x sign-ups, the summary page will only be generated hourly to make it less of a resource hog (currently x = 20)
  • Added an error message when auto-complete can't find characters or relationships for the fandom you entered (or when you forgot to enter a fandom)
  • Fixed a bug where the Rich Text Editor wouldn't work after preview
  • Fixed a bug where you couldn't dedicate more than one gift to the same user
  • Unbroke the tag clouds (which now actually show the most popular and some random tags, respectively)
  • Fixed a bug that would delete characters from titles in epub and mobi files

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Published:
2010-11-15 17:47:23 -0500
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Today, November 15th, is the first anniversary of the Open Beta launch of the Archive of Our Own! We're totally thrilled to reach this milestone!

Open Beta was the launch of our beautiful Archive into the fannish world at large, and came after two years of intense coding, testing, fundraising, writing of docs, development of policy, and other amazing work. Everyone working on the Archive was super-excited to be able to share the fruits of this work with the rest of fandom, after a year of testing with just a small group of volunteers in Closed Beta.

The results since we launched suggest that fandom loved our shiny work as much as we did! We have expanded faster than we ever dreamed.

When we entered Open Beta on 15 November 2009 we had:

  • 347 users

  • 668 fandoms

  • 6565 works

At the time of writing we have reached:

  • 10649 users

  • 7757 fandoms

  • 116888 works

We're looking forward to seeing our userbase grow and diversify even more - our International Outreach committee have been working hard on the mission of improving the experience for multinational fans. We already have 22 languages represented on the Archive, but we want to see more! (Let Support know if you want to post in a language not represented on that list!)

All this fannish activity filled up our servers quick-smart, so after only one year we're investing in new, much more powerful ones - an investment made possible by the generous support of fandom at large.

We've still got much, much more work to do - Open Beta is, well, beta, and it's been a year of immense change and growth for us. We've learnt a lot about what makes our users happy and we look forward to improving based on all the feedback we've had from fandom. But we're also VERY proud of how much we've achieved so far. Here are a few reflections from staffers on what reaching the first anniversary of Open Beta means to them - do add your thoughts in comments!

Zooey Glass, AD&T Chair

I'm totally amazed and proud of how much work and dedication has gone into this project. I was around last year for Open Beta, and I remember how crazily hard everyone involved was working (I think I still feel exhausted by it). Just this week, I've watched my team sit up all night to test and deploy new code - and then to bugfix when unexpected problems cropped up - and it makes me feel awed and proud. There's so much passion and so much hard work invested in this project.

For me personally, the year since Open Beta has also been about learning - about what kind of features users want, how to communicate with people inside the org and out, how to balance what we want and what we need, and HUGE amounts about servers and code and technical stuff I never dreamed I could understand (I was an English major!). My personal journey also reflects the journey the Archive has taken, and I know everything we have learnt this year will go to make the next year even better. I choke up when I see the feedback we get from users - fandom has supported us not only financially but also by taking the time to say thanks when they see things they enjoy. We're so glad we make you happy, and we really appreciate it when you tell us!

On a practical note, I also LOVE reading on the Archive - so much nommy fic to enjoy!

Helka Lantto, International Outreach member and Finnish translator

My involvement with AO3 has been mostly as a user – as a reader, to be exact. I began reading fic on the Archive after the Open Beta launch, and with time passing, I've come to prefer it to any other archive. True, the code is still in beta, but the Archive shows so much promise that I can't help but love it. In the future, my involvement with the Archive will grow when we get to translate the interface. It'll be a huge undertaking, especially for a small team like Finnish (hint! hint!), but it'll be worth it. It warmed my heart to see that we already have a few fics in Finnish there. Let's hope that with the translation of the interface, we'll get more of them.

Sidra, Systems Co-Chair and AD&T coder

The past two years have been a tremendous learning experience. Those of us in Systems had little to no experience with web applications that receive (during busy times) more than sixty thousand hits per hour, or databases that average two hundred requests per second. And those numbers will just keep climbing. Keeping the servers up and running has been a challenge but the rewards have been huge. Every time I look at the Archive I think, "I helped make this happen". And every time I see something I wish were different (which is, unfortunately, quite often), I know that I can work on making it better.

Enigel, AD&T coder, honorary tester, tag wrangler

I remember the flurry of activity before we launched Open Beta - coding, testing, bug-hunting, performance-testing - and the worries about the best number of invites to hand out per day. There were around 300 users back then, and I can now, when we're at over 10 000, confess that I had some doubts about the worrying itself. I was thinking to myself that it was kind of presumptuous to imagine the hordes of people knocking on our door before we were sure they were indeed going to be that eager, you know? ;)

It was amazing, over the next days, to see people asking for invites, people posting their works, people actually using this thing I had helped build. Every message with praise was a sign we did something good, every message with criticism was a sign that people cared enough to let us know what could be improved, and was a step towards making the Archive better.

10 000 users and 100K works later, I still have that awe and joy at seeing people use the Archive. If you notice something you think could be better, remember: your next support request might become my next coding project! :)

Kristen Murphy, Webmasters chair and tag wrangler

We made this. Once upon a time someone asked, "Can't we do this?" and fandom answered, "YES." That can-do, DIY spirit is one of my favorite things about the Archive. Every time I visit it, whether it's to browse for new works, post a story of my own, or wrangle tags, I think: this is here because a whole lot of fans cared enough to make it happen. The Archive truly is a labor of love. And it isn't only the staff and volunteers who have made it happen, although their efforts have been superheroic — this has been and continues to be a community-wide endeavor. Everyone who offered feedback on the early drafts of the TOS, everyone who's ever submitted a bug report or suggestion, everyone who's donated, everyone who's helped spread the word by posting a story to the Archive and inviting their friends to come and read it — all of these people have made the Archive possible and are helping to make it better, day by day. Thank you.

Rebecca Tushnet, Content Policy chair

I'm pretty sure there are monkeys that know more code than I do, but I'm so pleased to be able to participate in building the Archive by working on policy language that is, we hope, understandable, flexible, and inclusive. What the AO3 means to me is an archive that tries to do things that fans want done in a way that is sustainable in the long term. I have particularly enjoyed seeing tags used in new and exciting ways, combining folksonomy with structured organization. I really admire all the fans who've coded, wrangled, and kept the site up and running, and I look forward to the shiny new servers to make things even better.

Megan Westerby, Archive Support Chair and Development Officer

Stepping into the Support Committee recently I was struck by not only the Archive's fast growth but with how diverse that growth has been. When the Archive went into Open Beta there were 668 fandoms represented -- to have 7757 fandoms just one year later, on servers we own, on a system we built, on an Archive we've invested in -- it's boggling to think where we might be in a year, after video embeds, tagging structure and bookmarking start to make an impact. It's boggling and encouraging. We're building a home and a future and we built it from the foundation up.

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Published:
2010-11-13 12:34:00 -0500
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Yuletide Treasure, an annual fic exchange challenge hosted by Astolat and Elynross, is running on on the Archive of Our Own again this year. This is a big fannish event which has a big impact on the Archive: this post aims to give a bit more information about the relationship between Yuletide and the AO3 and to give Archive users an idea of what to expect while the challenge is running — roughly from now until the first week of January.

Yuletide is not an OTW project; rather, it's a private project created and moderated by two fans who make decisions about how it will be run. The timeline and parameters of the Yuletide challenge are set by the Yuletide moderators, and the Archive team expends significant time and effort to accommodate those needs for two compelling reasons: first, because it is part of the OTW's mission to support at-risk fannish endeavors such as Yuletide; and second, because Yuletide provides a valuable test case for the Archive, providing us with the opportunity to develop and refine our code in realistic conditions while the site is still in beta. Because of the size of the Yuletide challenge, it provides us with a level of use which would be exceedingly difficult to replicate under testing conditions. In addition, because one of the Yuletide mods is also a staffer with the OTW, we have the ability to work closely with them and get the feedback we need.

Yuletide is a very large challenge with thousands of participants, and it involves periods of heavy server traffic — particularly around the time of sign-ups, the story-uploading deadline, and the day stories are revealed to readers. Although our volunteers have been working hard to improve system performance, we know that this heavy traffic will cause the Archive to be slow, and we fully expect that some things will break. Please understand that this is the nature of beta testing. We know it's no fun to encounter a slow or buggy website when you're trying to view or post works, but by testing the Archive under the intense conditions of Yuletide now, we can learn where the problems are and how best to correct them while the code is still in beta. This is particularly important for us this year, as we're on the brink of investing lots of money in new, shiny servers, and understanding where the points of stress are in the existing servers will help us evaluate our needs going forward.

The Archive staff wish to express our gratitude to everyone who is assisting with this massive effort, including the coders, testers, tag wranglers, Support and Systems staff, Astolat and Elynross, and the many Yuletide participants who have pitched in to help with testing and tag checking. We would also like to ask all Archive beta users, including those who are not participating in Yuletide, for their patience and understanding during the next several weeks. We cannot promise that everything will run smoothly, but we can promise that this experience will help us make the Archive stronger, more resilient, and generally shinier in the future. If you'd like to participate more directly in making the Archive better, we welcome feedback and volunteers!

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