AO3 News

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Published:
2010-04-03 12:21:49 -0400
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Welcome to Revision 2452, up from 2380. This release tackles a number of front-end bugs and adds a few enhancements. We're happy to welcome first commits from new coders Amy, linbot and queenypolita.

Highlights

  • New plain text skin - this replaces the icons in the works blurb with text. We'll be adding many more skins options in the near future, but for now you can enable this one via your preferences.
  • Fixed the bug which was preventing commenting in IE7.

Known Issues

Please see Known Issues.

Release Details

Bug fixes

  • Release 0.7.3.3 (emergency revision before this one): fixed validation problem preventing challenge sign-ups with certain urls.
  • Fixed issue preventing commenting in IE7.
  • Fixed problem with layout of 'Add comment' on tag wrangling pages.
  • Fixed bug causing the Terms of Service to overspill their box when validation failed during account creation.
  • Fixed display issue with long titles overlapping the date on inbox comments.
  • Fixed problem with the display of blockquotes in comments.
  • Fixed problem causing multiple commas and other display issues on the works blurb in IE7.
  • Fixed display problem displacing index of admin posts (admin view).
  • Fixed problem where full comment notification was not stored in the database.
  • Updated logo on session pages.
  • Fixed display problems with end notes on work preview.
  • Fixed formatting on navigation for tag wrangling discussion.
  • Fixed display issues on bookmarks index.
  • Fixed styling inconsistencies on navigation for Collection Management.
  • Fixed styling issues on admin views of user pages.
  • Decreased size of notes field on bookmarks for better display.
  • Fixed overlap issues with stats and edit buttons on works you own.
  • Fixed display issues with admin posts in IE7.
  • Fixed problem causing missing navigation on some collections.
  • Fixed problem causing empty ul on challenge sign-up pages.
  • Fixed display issue with chapter navigation.
  • Restored the new comment form to being hidden by default.
  • Fixed problem causing 500 errors when trying to access non-existent collections.
  • Fixed problem with sorting on tag wrangling pages.
  • Added alt text for icons on tag wrangling home.
  • Added better redirect after mass wrangling tags.
  • Fixed problem where tag category menu was hidden on wrangling pages if it had no existing tags.
  • Fixed display issue where works blurb partly covered 'My Works' link in user dashboard.
  • Fixed display issues with icons in comments in user inbox.
  • Fixed problem with icon layouts on people and pseuds page.
  • Added meta information for Archive homepage.
  • Fixed problems with 'inspired by' notifications for anonymous works.
  • Fixed bug where filtering for authors and reccers was bringing up 'empty' users.
  • Added colon after 'Series' link in the work meta.

Enhancements

  • Updated the text in the 'first login' pop-up to reflect new warnings wording and to be more inclusive.
  • Added a preference for a plain text skin.
  • Changed Archive icons so that they are displayed by CSS image replacement. (Allowed us to introduce the plain text skin.
  • Reorganised and styled user preferences.
  • Improved behaviour of Viewing History so that rereading a work moves it back to the top of your history.
  • Added comment notifications for tag wrangling comments.
  • Added link to bookmarks from stats on work view page.
  • Added link from the home page to the full News index.
  • Added more information in notification emails for 'Inspired by' works.
  • Optimised fonts for quicker download. Custom font will no longer be shown on handheld devices (except those, like the IPhone, which ignore handheld stylesheets.
  • Added pagination at the top as well as the bottom of Collections.
  • Renamed external bookmark link, and added link to it on all bookmark pages.

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Published:
2010-04-01 06:30:21 -0400
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As usual, Accessibility, Design and Technology have been working hard on developing more shiny new features for the Archive of Our Own. In upcoming weeks we'll have new code for running gift exchanges on the Archive and the first version of Archive skins, and we'll be looking for more input from users. Today we're proud to unveil a cool new feature coded by our awesome volunteer Bod.

How many times you had that wonderful story idea you didn't have time or energy to write? Are your wrists killing you? Worry no more: the Archive of Our Own now allows you to import directly from your brain, using the new neuro/USB 3.0 port technology.

In order to use this feature:

  • Go to 'Import' (linked at the top right-hand of the screen) and choose "Import from Brain".
  • Focus intently on the scenes you wish to write. It works better to limit yourself to two or three at a time.
  • Press the 'Submit' button.

Note that you need to have a neuro/USB 3.0 adapter implant and associated drivers installed to your computer to use this feature.

The new feature is still in beta, so please be aware that there might be typos, minor translation mistakes and unusual background feedback to your brain. There is also a known issue with character names defaulting to 'Adam Lambert' when a user is distracted during import. Preview your work and check carefully before posting. If you encounter any bugs or problems, please let us know via the Support and Feedback form.

One of the great things about working on the Archive is that we're able to make cool ideas a reality. We would like to thank James@dreamwidth for bringing this wonderful idea to us, and we hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!

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Published:
2010-03-27 06:28:44 -0400
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Help review the Archive FAQ!

Our goal for the Archive of Our Own is that it should be as accessible and usable as possible. An important aspect of this is documentation - we want our FAQ to be clear and useful. It's a big job writing documentation for a site like the Archive, and we'd love our users' feedback. When we have completed our review of the FAQ, our wonderful translators will be translating it, making the Archive even more accessible to international users.

If you are a user of the Archive and you'd like to help, please do the following:

  1. Pick a section (or part of a section) on the Archive FAQ and read through it carefully. (It's a good idea to check the comments here to see what has already been discussed.)
  2. Think about the following:
    • Is it clear and understandable?
    • Does it tell you what you need to know about the feature it describes?
    • Is it accurate? (Some things on the Archive may have changed since it was written!)
    • Does it use exclusive language (for example, does it involve descriptions that would only work for sighted users?)
  3. Leave a comment on this post noting anything you think we need to change. Tell us:
    • The section and question(s) you're commenting on.
    • Any wording which is unclear or problematic (and suggestions for improvements if you have them).
    • Anything which is inaccurate.
    • Any questions which are not answered at all.
    • Anything else you think we should know.

Example:

Section reviewed: Importing and mass editing.

Question: 'How do I import a single work?'
- It says 'you'll see the import form' - biased to sighted users. Could say 'The import form will load'.
- It says you have to go to the 'Post New Work' form but there's also a link on the main page.

Question: 'How do I import a chaptered work?'
- This section is a bit confusing, the formatting should make it easier to see that there are different instructions for importing from FF.net and from other sites.

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Published:
2010-03-24 12:11:02 -0400
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Accessibility, Design and Technology would like to wish you a happy Ada Lovelace Day!

As the committee responsible for designing and building the Archive of Our Own, one of the largest female majority open source projects on the web, we're thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate women in technology.

The first code for the Archive of Our Own was committed in January 2008. Some stats for the lifetime of the project:

  • 73669 lines of code
  • 30 different people committing code
  • 2238 code commits
  • 276 people involved with the Archive in some capacity (as coders, testers, tag wranglers, or support team members) - not all of these people are active at the same time, but we think this is still pretty impressive!

We polled our volunteers to find out a little more about them before Ada Lovelace Day, and the charts below give a picture of some of their responses:

Bar chart showing gender distribution among contribtors to the Archive of Our Own

Bar chart showing the range of roles undertaken by volunteers for the Archive of Our Own

Approximately 97% of the people contributing code to the project and 93% of all Archive volunteers identify as female - this is a dramatic difference to the majority of open source projects on the web, and we think it's well-worth celebrating! Our sense of achievement doesn't arise from the fact that we're a female-dominated organisation, however, but from the fact that we've been able to share skills and enable people to become involved in things which they might otherwise have been excluded from.

Twenty-nine percent of our volunteers describe themselves as having no experience of working on technology projects before they joined us, and forty-eight percent say they only had a small amount of experience. Among our coders, a third had NO knowledge of coding before they joined, and very few people had worked extensively in Ruby on Rails, the core framework on which the Archive is built. Contributors to the project have learnt Ruby on Rails, CSS, systems administration, documentation skills, project management, quality assurance, information management skills, and much, much more. We've been able to develop a strong female-majority team because of a culture of encouraging the new and inexperienced - this benefits women, who are less likely to have experience of working on technology projects, but we hope that it also makes our project a more welcoming one for everyone.

One of the most exciting things about seeing this project from the inside is the fact that it is truly collaborative. The work of our 30 code committers takes place in the context of a massive amount of other work: designs are worked out collaboratively, documentations people help us keep track of all the things we're working on, testers ensure that the code does what it's supposed to, tag wranglers organise the content on the Archive, and the support team work incredibly hard to make sure our users have a great experience. Whereas in some open-source projects, the work of non-coders is seen as less important, we enjoy an atmosphere of shared endeavour in which everybody's contribution is celebrated. By working closely together, we also enjoy lots of cross-pollination, and we've seen many people move from testing to coding, or coding to support, developing new skills in the process. About 41% of volunteers on the project serve in more than one role - we believe that by providing space for people who want to specialise while allowing those who like diversity to branch out, the whole project is enriched.

We're proud of our enthusiastic, skillful, supportive team of volunteers, of all genders, and we believe that Ada Lovelace is a great time to celebrate a culture which welcomes everyone. In that spirit of inclusiveness, we'd like to close this post with some comments from the people from our teams:

The sense of community, inclusive of the most occasional tester and casual reader to the most dedicated coder and systems-person, is just so wonderful.

[One thing I'm excited about learning:] Learning how to test in general & regression testing in specific, and learning how to use the issues tracker for google code. It's fun! Testing has a great mentor, Eylul, it's easy to pick up and learn, and it's really satisfying when you see a fix for a bug you've discovered or tested make its way onto the archive.

[One thing I'm excited about learning:] Acquiring new skills (which I'm still doing): Ruby on Rails. It gives me great satisfaction, especially as I am out of work.

The development of the Archive of our Own is just a phenomenal thing to see. This big undergoing with every deploy, how everyone comes together to get this new release on its way. How many people with different jobs it takes to build this software and how people step up and pitch in and help out, regardless of if it is in their "job description", is really inspiring to me.

I really love that we're all working as a team (even people I don't see or know as they're on different parts of the project) to create something that's being used by thousands of people. It adds to a part of my life that until now, I've only really been an observer in, not a participant.

I'm really excited that I managed to leap in and work with a bunch of people I'd never met before, and am having a great time doing it. And I've learnt how to use a lot of tools, like google code [coders' bug management system], campfire [the OTW's chatroom] and 16bugs [AO3 Support's bug management system] that I'd never even heard of before.

Okay, and one more thing -- even though my part in the whole is tiny, I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time an update is deployed to the archive. I'm continually delighted by the fact that there can be so very many fingers in the pie, and it still ends up being a *pie* (that's tasty and delicious!)

We're happy to be sharing our pie with fandom at large! Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

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Published:
2010-03-22 11:59:51 -0400
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We skipped a meeting update on account of being very busy! However, we've been getting through lots of stuff, and you may have noticed a *cough* small deploy and its associated documentation. I took a week off to prepare for my PhD viva, but my awesome team definitely did NOT slow down in my absence *loves*

Recent changes

We deployed lots of new things in Release 0.7.3, followed by a few crucial bugfixes in Release 0.7.3.1 and 0.7.3.2.

Our big deploy included a lot of front-end changes which should make the Archive much more stable and accessible. As always, if you notice a problem then please let us know via the support and feedback form. We're especially keen to deal with any issues which impact on accessibility - it's hard for us to test every possible scenario, especially where assistive technology is concerned, so please don't be shy about letting us know if something isn't working for you.

We're experiencing a known issue with our new HTML parser, which tidies up your HTML for display. The last update made it much faster and less memory-intensive, but it also inadvertantly introduced a couple of bugs in display, notably a problem with it 'eating' white space (OOPS). Our fabulous coders are working hard to fix this - please bear with us in the meantime!

Deploy schedule

We're hoping to deploy the code needed for matching participants in gift exchange challenges in the next two weeks - our stalwart team of testers are standing by waiting for the wonderful Naomi to finish coding!

Cool stuff coming up

  • The new collections and challenges code which will (we hope) complete the functionality needed to run exchange-type challenges on the Archive! We're excited to be working with the mods of multi-fandom challenge Remix Redux who have bravely volunteered to be our test case for this part of the code.
  • Once the exchange challenge code is in, we'll be turning our attention to building the necessary code for other types of challenges. Users who have been following us for a while may remember us collecting scenarios for different kinds of collection and challenge - we're using these to help us develop tools which will cater to a wide variety of fannish events.
  • Skins! We've been promising them for a long while, and we finally signed off on a beautiful design for them. Now we just have to snare a couple of coders to implement them... we're hoping this will come soon!
  • Advanced search and browse! This is a big job, so it will be a while before we can actually implement it, but the wonderful Sidra is pulling together all our design and planning on this and putting together a revamped search and browse functionality. When it comes it should improve performance as well as usability, so we're pretty excited to have someone who's able to tackle it!

New tutorials for the Archive!

You may have noticed that we posted a few tutorials recently offering guidance about new features on the Archive. This is something we're hoping to do more of in future, and to make them easier to find we've created a new Tutorials section on the Archive FAQ. If there's a topic you'd particularly like a tutorial for, please let us know! Likewise, if you have written a tutorial you'd like to share, send us a link and we'll consider adding it to the site.

News from our subcommittees and sister committee

I'm so proud of the dedication and hard work of everyone involved with the Archive. <3

  • Coders are hard at work fixing bugs and beginning on the implementation of the next round of cool stuff! We're also working on improving training for new people.
  • Testers have been working hard to get all the latest code tested and onto the live Archive. They'd love some help verifying the latest code to hit the Archive - if you think you could help then please check out our post on verifying new code.
  • Tag wranglers have been running around in a very excited manner celebrating the introduction of metatags. They're now buckling down to rewrite policies taking into account the new code, and recategorising tags. \0/
  • Support (our sister committee) deserve a big shout-out for their hard work keeping users informed and speedily responding to problems - they've answered a phenomenal amount of requests in the last month. AD&T are super-grateful for their work communicating with users and letting us know about priorities for bugfixes.

If there are things you'd like to do or say, please share them in comments, via the AO3 support and feedback form, by volunteering, or in whatever medium you feel comfortable with. Everyone is welcome to this party!

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Published:
2010-03-17 18:18:17 -0400
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Welcome to Revision 2375, up from 2364. This was a mini-release dealing with a few urgent bugs.

19/03/2010 - Revised release notes including another tiny release, which brings us to revision 2380!

Highlights

  • Fixes for some of the more annoying visual bugs relating to comments.
  • Performance enhancement - when you run a search, the results will no longer be limited to 1000 per page, and the grey filter boxes will no longer be displayed. The filters on this page were causing a lot of slowdowns, so performance should be improved, and as a bonus it will be easier to get to older works \0/

Known Issues

Please see Known Issues page.

Release Details

Bugs

  • Fix for problem with work icons rearranging themselves and overlapping when font sizes were changed.
  • Fix for 'date edited' overlapping 'date posted' on comments.
  • Fix for comments becoming misaligned in large page sizes.
  • Fix for tag wrangling pages becoming broken when an admin commented.

Bugs fixed in Revision 0.7.3.2

  • Fixed bug which caused drafts to show up in Search.
  • Fix for question marks breaking tag links.
  • Fix for notifications of comments on tag wrangling pages breaking inbox.
  • Fix for long comment threads on tag wrangling pages causing errors.
  • Fix for incorrect links in tag wranglers' comment notification emails.

Enhancements

  • Filters removed from search page and search results no longer limited to 1000.

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Published:
2010-03-16 17:10:10 -0400
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It may have seemed a bit quiet in Archive terms for a while, but that is because our designers, coders and testers have been beavering away behind the scenes on some big projects. We're happy to report that the HUGE amount of new code produced over the past few months has now been deployed to the Archive - we're very excited about the new features being introduced, and we think that you will be too!

Highlights

There are lots and lots of new things in this deploy: check out the Release Notes for release 0.7.3 to see a full list. Here are a few highlights:

New front end

One reason we have not deployed new code for a while is that we've been undergoing a site-wide review of our front end code. Our fantastic front-end coder lim has reviewed everything for validity and accessibility, while the lovely Ira remodelled our 'post new' form. You'll notice lots of small changes everywhere, highlights include:

  • The 'works blurb' (the description you see when you browse a list of works) - we've streamlined it and removed the labels so it's easier to see lots of information at once. We'd love feedback on the new design!
  • The 'post new' form: We've made it possible to select more than one category, changed the way you select warnings, and generally made things simpler.

We welcome your feedback on the new design, but we ask that for the first week, you focus on telling us if you have found any bugs! This will make it easier for our wonderful Support team to work through your feedback and pass it to coders. We'll collate more general feedback separately and use it to tweak the design (remember that we are also planning skins to customise the look of the Archive, so there will be more options in the future).

Metatags

For those of you who have been frustrated that our tag interface didn't give quite the control you might like over RPF fandoms and fandoms with a shared universe / in different media, etc, we have good news! A massive amount of work on the part of our AMAZING coder Elz has gone into changing the way tags work behind the scenes to include metatags, which will help us deal with these problems. For more information, check out Metatags: a user perspective. The changes in tags won't be immediate - our wranglers will need time to finish overhauling their policies and make the changes - but our mighty team regularly moves mountains, so you should see improvements pretty quickly.

Collection and challenges - gift exchanges!

This release sees the next set of code for challenges. It's now possible to have people sign up for your gift exchange challenge and give their prompts on the Archive itself. More amazing feats of coding from Naomi, who has been working with the mods of the multifandom challenge Remix Redux to develop the new functionality, and there are even more features still to come.

Please note: We have not yet written the code which will match up challenge participants and send out their assignments, so if you want to run a challenge on the new code, bear in mind you will have to wait a few weeks for us to roll out the other half of the functionality!

User rename

After many, many support requests forlornly informing us of usernames that wound up being not quite as you wanted them, we have implemented a rename option. Please note that changing your username will break links which included your old username! For more information check out our tutorial on editing your username.

User icons (eventually right now!)

User icons YAY! Another treat from the lovely Elz. Check out our tutorial on user icons for all the details on how to upload! We're especially excited about this because icons are our first chance to see how hosting fanart might work on the Archive (watch this space for more on this very soon).

Major performance upgrade

This one hopefully should be invisible, but awesome new coder Ronan has completely rewritten our back-end HTML formatter so that it is about twice as fast! If you notice stories not displaying as they used to, please let us know.

This is just a small selection of all the amazing work that appears in this deploy - don't forget to check out the Release Notes for release 0.7.3 for the full list.

Yeay team \0/

Thirteen different coders contributed to this code, including new members amc, Ronan and Ira. \0/ It also represents the hard work of many, many other people: our support team passed on your feedback to our designers, our designers worked hard to improve things based on your feedback, our coders implemented the design, and our testers moved mountains in order to get everything checked out so that we could be sure that everything was in working order. Now the new code is in place, the whole process starts again, with our tag wranglers and support team handling things on the front line and everyone else working to build the next release. We're incredibly grateful for and proud of the energy and dedication that goes into this project.

Get involved!

If you'd like to be part of all this activity, there are lots of ways you can be involved!

  • New initiative! We would love your help in verifying that all the new code on the Archive really is doing its job – if you'd like to browse the Archive for fun and (karmic) profit please check out our post on verifying Archive code.
  • Give us your feedback via the Archive support and feedback form. If you spot a bug, let us know! If you have a request for a new feature or an enhancement, we also want to hear from you! We also enjoy and appreciate praise *g*. The fabulous Archive Support team answer all feedback, but bear in mind that new code and the the arrival of two more big challenges may mean they are slower than usual at getting back to you.
  • If you'd like to be even more directly involved, then volunteer. We always need more coders, testers, tag wranglers, designers, and support team members (especially support!). We aim to be a warm, welcoming and diverse community.
  • On the heels of our recent membership drive, we'd also like to remind you that we appreciate your financial support! In order for us to keep growing and provide a long-term, stable home for fandom, we need money to pay for our servers! If you can, please do donate to the OTW - now with even more shiny thank-you gifts! Every little bit helps.

Remember, if you like something, hate something, or love what we have but want even more shiny things, we want to know! The Archive of Our Own is for all fans and we want to cater for fandom in all its delicious diversity.

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Published:
2010-03-16 16:48:51 -0400
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Do you like playing around the AO3 and finding issues to report back? Do you want to help out with the project but you're not sure how? If you answered yes to any of the questions above this post is for you.

Whenever we have a new release of code, we need to verify on the main (Beta) Archive that fixes are actually working before labeling a bug fixed. We have a lot of these after this release and we could use your help verifying them.

These bugs live in our issue list at our Google Code project.

What can you do to help:

You can find list of things that needs verifying at our list of deployed to beta issues.

  1. Sign in using the link on top left corner. Any google account will work (gmail, gchat etc). Your comment will display the name associated with that account, so be sure it's one you're happy to display publicly.
  2. Pick an issue that you would like to read more about and click on it.
  3. Read through the comments.
  4. Test to see if the issue is fixed or not, or if the new feature is working as expected.
  5. Use the comment field at the bottom to leave feedback.

Testing tips

Try to play around with the issue or feature reported.

  1. Does it work when things are done correctly?
  2. Does it handle things correctly when done in a different way? (e.g. what if you put in optional tags, or don't put them?)
  3. How does it handle errors (for example if you are testing the form for posting a new story, what happens when you forget to put a title in? Does it allow you to still post when it shouldn't?)

Try to keep track of what you did step by step.

Writing your feedback comment

Whether you found out that the problem is fixed or is still persisting, please write down step by step what you did. Browser information will also help us. Below is an example report which would be written after testing the bookmark feature.

Testing on Firefox 3.5.

  1. I click the add bookmark link
  2. Fill out tags
  3. Press submit
  4. It works

I also tried adding a comment. No problem there either. The form now works as expected.

What if I run into an unrelated problem while testing?

If you run into something unrelated while testing, or would like to give us additional feedback or suggestions, please do not do so in Google Code, but use the support and feedback form on the Archive. This will allow us to avoid duplicate issue creation and keep things in the right place.

If you enjoyed doing this and would like to assist testing regularly, apply to be a volunteer and mention you would like to join the testing team. We can always use more people.

Please feel free to comment under this post with any questions. Thanks for your time and effort :)

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