Wrangling Guidelines > Wrangling Guidelines - Work Description

Who are the Archive's Tag Wranglers?

The Tag Wranglers are responsible for organizing the millions of tags generated by users on AO3! Wranglers follow a set of internal guidelines to determine the tags that appear in the auto-complete drop down and search filters. This makes it easier to browse and search for specific tropes or topics on the archive, ranging from Victor/Yuuri with tentacles to g-rated Rose/Kanaya fluff.

What do the tag wrangling volunteers do?

Tag Wranglers sort and organize tags in various fandoms according to the Archive’s Tag Wrangling guidelines. For example, if a user enters “Juvia Lockser/Lucy Heartfilia” as a relationship tag, a Tag Wrangler for the fandom Fairy Tail will connect that tag to the existing “Lucy Heartfilia/Juvia Lockser” so that works tagged with either version will appear in the same filter for browsing users.

When a tag is used for the first time on the Archive, it appears in the wrangling interface for the Wrangler(s) of whatever fandom(s) the user added to that work. A Wrangler’s primary job is sorting these new tags, which means identifying what a tag means and determining if another tag already exists for that meaning. Most tags only needs to be sorted once; future uses won’t change how the tag is wrangled. So for example, if a second user tags with "Juvia Lockser/Lucy Heartfilia” as a relationship, that tag will already be connected to “Lucy Heartfilia/Juvia Lockser" and won’t need to be connected again.

Sometimes users add tags that Wranglers can’t immediately identify - for example, characters who are only mentioned briefly in canon. Tag wrangling sometimes involves researching or revisiting source canon and other sources to identify such tags. (It's a great excuse to rewatch an episode of your favorite TV show!)

Tag Wranglers also participate in discussions about tricky organization puzzles, such as how to distinguish between Hurricanes (the natural disaster and the hockey team), or whether "Wolf Steve" and "Dog Steve" are sufficiently similar not to need separate tags.

How much time does it take?

Volunteer time depends on several factors. For example, Wranglers who deal with tags from high traffic fandoms such as Marvel Cinematic Universe may find themselves dedicating more time to wrangling than Wranglers who deal with tags from literary classics. For new volunteers, we ask that they have a minimum of five hours per week available for training.

I'd like to join as a Tag Wrangler - how can I do that?

Tag Wrangling usually runs three to four recruitment rounds every year. You can see if the tag wrangling role, along with other committee volunteer roles, is currently available by going to the OTW's volunteer page.

When filling in the application, please be aware that there are two parts to it. Part 1 is the section visible on the signup form. A link to Part 2 will be sent to you automatically via email once you submit Part 1. Because the Tag Wrangling team accepts so many new wranglers each recruitment cycle, we do not conduct interviews; instead, we rely on your responses to both parts of the application to give us a good understanding of who you are and how you might work with the team.

To increase your chances of being accepted, you should:

  • Fill out both parts. We cannot accept anyone who skips Part 2. (If you don't receive an email with the link within one hour of submitting Part 1, please contact the Volunteers & Recruiting Committee and ask for it to be re-sent.)
  • On Part 1, carefully check that you are only listing eligible fandoms.
  • On Part 1, give a description of your fannish experiences and interest in wrangling that tells us something about you as a person. Who are you? What motivates/interests you? How might your presence help the Tag Wrangling team? Your answer doesn't need to be a 10 paragraph novel, but it shouldn't be a single sentence.
  • On Part 2, explain your reasoning for each of the wrangling questions. The reasoning is the most important part.

Note: If you are not yet a legal adult (legally responsible for yourself in a court of law), please don't apply. Please demonstrate your maturity by waiting until you're a legal adult.

If I applied before and wasn't accepted, can I apply again?

Yes, you can reapply. Each application stands on its own, even if you've applied before. For this reason, please make sure your application is complete, including Part 2, and that you follow all the steps listed in the section above to produce a strong application.

Sometimes Tag Wrangling staff want to accept an applicant but don't have a slot available, or the applicant technically doesn't qualify this time due to fandoms offered, age of their AO3 account, current language skills, or for some other temporary reason. When that happens, the email sent out will clarify what the reason was and will invite the applicant to reapply later. These reapplication requests are genuine. If you receive one, please do reapply later if you have interest and are able to change the situation affecting the original application.

What fandoms could I wrangle?

Fandoms currently in need of Wranglers are listed on the unassigned fandoms page, though this list changes frequently. Wranglers also frequently advertise within the wrangling team for help with larger fandoms.

Links about wrangling