AO3 News

Post Header

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

I. Membership Drive Success!

This April, 4,799 donors from 80 countries contributed to the OTW’s April Membership Drive. The final total of US$130,084.00 in donations exceeded our goal by over US$30,000. Kudos to Development & Membership for running the drive, and thanks to Communications, Translation, and everyone else in the OTW who worked hard to ensure everything went smoothly. Thank you also to everyone who donated, signal boosted, or otherwise helped out! Your support helps the OTW carry out its mission of preserving and promoting fanworks and fannish culture.

If you'd like to learn more about how the donations will be used, Finance released the OTW's 2018 Budget in early April. They also hosted an open chat on April 21 where members of the public could ask questions. Thanks to everyone who attended that and made it a success!


Legal secured an important victory for AO3 in April. The World Intellectual Property Office ruled in favour of the OTW's petition against a phishing site imitating the Archive of Our Own. The WIPO voided the infringer's domain name registration and transferred it to the OTW, and soon it will redirect to

This serves an an important reminder for all AO3 users: Before you log into AO3, be sure to confirm that you are on the correct site by checking that the URL is If you suspect that your AO3 account has been compromised, you should change your password.

Accessibility, Design & Technology made a major announcement this month about the Archive of Our Own. Upgrades are coming to Elasticsearch, AO3's search engine. These upgrades bring Elasticsearch from version 0.90 to version 6.2. Accessibility, Design & Technology is currently testing the new engine, and they plan to start switching users over to it in batches once everything's ready. For real-time updates on AO3, follow @AO3_Status on Twitter.

Open Doors completed the import of Unknowable Room, a Harry Potter fanfiction and fan art archive. They would like to thank their special project volunteers for their hard work this month, as well as Tag Wrangling for helping with multiple tag mappings, and Systems for setting up redirects to imported works from several archives.

Both Policy & Abuse and Support received fewer tickets in April than in March. Policy & Abuse received over 700 tickets, down from 900 tickets the previous month. Support received roughly 1,300 tickets, down from March’s count of 1,600.

III. April Showers Bring Fandom Flowers!

Fanlore’s annual month-long April Showers event was also a success, growing not flowers, but fannish histories, as fans expanded and edited Fanlore to earn special badges. You can learn more about the event and Fanlore itself on its homepage, its Dreamwidth community, or its Tumblr account.

IV. Legal Advocacy

In April, Legal worked with Communications to issue a news post that responded to fan questions and concerns about recent U.S. legislation known as FOSTA/SESTA. In short, the law as it currently exists does not apply to fiction and only applies to commercial endeavours, therefore it should have no impact on the Archive of Our Own.

In other legal advocacy news, Legal chair Betsy Rosenblatt and Legal staffer Heidi Tandy, joined by vidder (and OTW Legal staffer) Tisha Turk and other allies, testified to the U.S. Copyright Office in support of their petition to streamline and expand exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention rules. This petition is part of Legal's fight for fans’ rights to gain access to and use DVDs, Blu-Rays, and online content that they already own for Fair Use purposes. Thanks to all of the fans whose information and stories contributed to their testimony!

Also in April, Legal finalized and filed a comment to the Canadian Radio-Television and Communications Authority opposing a proposal that would allow Canadian telecom providers to block access to websites without a court order.


As of April 26, the OTW has 662 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: Megan Diane (Policy & Abuse), Bella Irvine (Policy & Abuse), waywardtrekkie (Policy & Abuse), Nile (Policy & Abuse), Astrid Clemons (Policy & Abuse), and 1 other Policy & Abuse staff
Development & Membership: Amy2 and 1 other volunteer
New Translator Volunteers: buse_sivri and 1 other volunteer
New TWC Volunteers: 1 volunteer

Departing Committee Staff: Boheme (Policy & Abuse), cyrilcee (AO3 Documentation)
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Fanlore Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Charlottec1, Cyn, and 4 other volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: 2 volunteers

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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.


Post Header

2018-05-09 16:40:08 -0400

Outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement

The Legal committee of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW, the AO3's parent organization) worked with the Archive of Our Own team to update AO3's Terms of Service (ToS). This update is focused on data privacy, and on explaining in more detail how we process the data you give us while you use AO3. Below, you can read a summary of the changes. There's also a full version of the updated ToS available for your review (HTML, PDF, Word).

Data collection

We only collect the information we need to offer certain features (such as kudos, which require us to log IP addresses for guests), and to share the content you provide in your works, comments, and profile pages.

We will never sell your personal information to third parties. The OTW does not run ads on AO3, and will never use your information to market third-party content to you. To learn more about what we can and cannot do with the data you provide, please read the Privacy Policy section in the proposed ToS text. Although we've added quite a bit to clarify the policy, the ToS represent current and longstanding OTW and AO3 practice.

Age policy

We've also made some changes to the minimum age at which you can create an AO3 account, in accordance with the European Union's new data privacy regulations (GDPR). While the general minimum age remains at 13 years old, there are specific requirements for those who reside in the EU. We’re very sorry to inconvenience current users who may be in this age range; you are very welcome to rejoin AO3 once you're old enough to do so!

If you are under 16 years old and live in the European Union, please check your country's current age of consent for data processing. You must be of age in your country of residence to give us consent to use your data in order to use the Archive, or else we can't legally, for example, store your kudos or comments (even as a guest!). This is very, very important: If you live in the European Union, please check whether you are of age to use the Archive without us having to ask your legal guardian and/or parent(s) for their written consent.

Once these ToS changes have gone into effect, everyone who visits the Archive will be asked to confirm that they agree with the new ToS, which includes stating that they are of age to use AO3.

We are legally required to remove accounts belonging to age-barred users. Now is a good time to review your profile and works for any outdated information about your age!

Summary of changes

The proposed Terms of Service contain some minor language changes (such as capitalization and punctuation) for clarification, and the following significant additions and changes:

  • We added an item to the 'What We Believe' section stating that we do not sell data, and clarifying that different OTW websites have their own ToSs, adding links to them.
  • We clarified that future changes to the AO3 Terms of Service should be published on AO3. (They always were anyway, but we figured we should make it explicit.)
  • We added the new AO3 age policy (as described above) in compliance with the GDPR for EU users between the ages of 13 and 16, and added references to hiding/deleting accounts and content submitted by age-barred users.
  • We defined data processing in the context of AO3 and explained that by using the Archive, you are giving us your consent to process the data you submit in order to maintain the site. This includes things like displaying your works and comments to others. Please remember that any information you choose to share publicly (for example, in your open works, profile or comments) will be available to everyone.
  • We explained in which contexts we collect your IP address, e-mail address and other user-specific information such as Favorite Tags and any errors you may encounter while browsing, and what we use this information for.

This ToS update essentially underscores a commitment we have always made: the Archive is not here to profit from fans, or to collect data about your fanwork browsing habits and sell them. We have never done that; we will never do that.

It is part of our mission and values to respect your privacy, and to collect and store as little data as we can. That being said, we know that our community routinely shares information about personal relationships, religious beliefs, political affiliations, and sexual orientation in profiles, work notes, bookmarks, tags, comments and works. Since these are "special categories of personal data" under the GDPR, we needed to add that information explicitly to the ToS.

If you've ever made a donation to the OTW, our parent organization, rest assured that we don't match up any data about the Archive's users and the OTW's donors. We take our commitment to preserving your fannish identities very seriously.

Please read the proposed changes to our ToS (HTML, PDF, Word) and leave your comments on this post with any questions, suggestions or feedback you might have about the proposed text. All comments must be received by May 23, 2018. After that, the OTW Board will vote on the final text of the Terms of Service.


Post Header

2018-05-09 12:06:22 -0400

OTW recruitment

Would you like to assist AO3 users by resolving complaints? Are you fluent in a language other than English? Are you good at working on a deadline? Do you have experience copyediting or proofreading academic journals? Do you have graphic design skills and enjoy creating social media content? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

We're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Policy & Abuse Staffers - closing 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC
  • Translation News Volunteers - closing 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Committee Volunteer: Copyeditor - closing 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Committee Volunteer: Proofreader - closing 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC
  • Fanlore Graphic Designer Volunteers - closing 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist our email address in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Policy & Abuse Staffers

The Policy & Abuse Committee is dedicated to helping users deal with the various situations that may arise. We also handle any complaints that come in about content uploaded to the Archive of Our Own. The team determines if complaints are about legitimate violations of the Terms of Service, and what to do about them if they are; our major goals are to adhere to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case completely confidential. We work closely with other AO3 related committees such as Support and Content.

We are seeking people who can keep in close contact, be patient in rephrasing explanations, make and document decisions, cooperate within and outside of their team, and ask for help when it's needed. Staffers need to be able to handle complex and sometimes-disturbing content, and must be able to commit a sufficient amount of time to the team on a regular basis.

Policy & Abuse staffers are required to spend at least five hours a week handling committee work, though it often tends to be more. Please be sure you can handle the workload before applying.

Applications are due 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC

Translation News Volunteers

Would you like to help translate OTW/AO3 news posts? We are looking for volunteers who can translate or beta news posts within five-day deadlines. If you enjoy working collaboratively, if you're fluent in a language other than English, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

We particularly need people for Arabic, Bengali, Catalan, Croatian, Filipino, Hebrew, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Malay, Marathi, Serbian, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Welsh—but help with other languages would be much appreciated.

(Please note that our Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish teams are not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples and will be invited to a chatroom interview as part of the selection process. More information about us can be found on the Translation committee page.

Applications are due 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC

TWC Committee Volunteer: Copyeditor

Transformative Works and Cultures is an international peer-reviewed Gold Open Access online publication about fan-related topics, promoting dialogue between the academic community and fan communities.

Copyeditors professionally copyedit submissions for Transformative Works and Cultures according to Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) 17, Merriam-Webster online, and the TWC style guide. Applicants may be given a brief test.

Applications are due 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC

TWC Committee Volunteer: Proofreader

Do you have a high attention to detail and a knowledge of American English spelling and typographic conventions? TWC is looking for Proofreaders!

Transformative Works and Cultures is an international peer-reviewed Gold Open Access online publication about fan-related topics, promoting dialogue between the academic community and fan communities.

Proofreader carefully proofreads final online HTML-tagged manuscripts for online publication, using Chicago Manual of Style 17 (CMOS), Merriam-Webster online, and TWC's style sheet. Applicants may be given a brief test.

Applications are due 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC

Fanlore Graphics Designer Volunteers

Would you like to help Fanlore reach more fans and get new editors? Do you have graphic design skills and enjoy creating social media content? If so, we need your help! The Fanlore team needs designers to create graphics and banners for Tumblr posts, tweets, and other Fanlore announcements, to help us reach more fans and potential editors. We have a lot of amazing fan history content, but we need your help to help others find out about it. If you think you might enjoy that, come and join us!

Applications are due 16 May 2018 23:59 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


Post Header

OTW election banner

The OTW Elections committee is pleased to announce that the timeline for the 2018 election for new members of the Board of Directors has been posted!

This year's election will be held August 10-13. This means that the deadline for staff to declare their candidacy is June 15.

As usual, the election membership deadline is June 30. If you're interested in voting, please make sure your membership is active as of that date.

You can find out how to become a member on the Elections website, or if you're familiar with the process, you can donate here!

If you want to know more about the election process in general, you can check out the Elections Policies.

We’re looking forward to an active election season with ample communication between candidates and voters, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. Don’t forget to follow the Elections committee on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news!

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Elections.


Post Header

2018-04-30 16:49:41 -0400

We recently received reports about one or more Tumblr accounts posing as "AO3 consultants" and contacting other users about their works on the Archive. In those messages, users are asked to take down their works "due to reports of abuse" or else have their works deleted by AO3 admins.

These messages are in no way sanctioned by the AO3 Policy & Abuse committee, who will never contact users via social media. All messages you receive from our Support and Abuse teams will be signed by the volunteer contacting you, and will reference specific abuse reports, requests for technical support, or other matters pertaining to your account.

Please keep your email address up to date, as this is our only way of getting in touch with you. To check, follow these instructions for changing the email address associated with your account. (If you go to that page and don't see a place to enter your password, that's a known issue, sorry! You can work around it by following these steps to change your password.)


Post Header

2018-04-28 11:17:20 -0400

Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Rachel Bussert, who volunteers as a staffer in our Volunteers & Recruitment Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

The mission of any organization is driven by the people who dedicate their time and resources to it. Volunteers & Recruiting (VolCom) is very central to that for OTW. Throughout the year, we handle recruitment for all the positions needed, which readers may see regularly in our announcement posts. Below is a chart of OTW’s volunteer numbers over time. As you can see, the number of folks involved in the organization have increased over time to accommodate the work of each committee, and Volunteers & Recruiting is the first step in making sure those staffing needs are being met.

Our work doesn’t stop with recruitment. Volunteers & Recruiting keeps track of the service of each volunteer in the organization, such as the number of years they've been with us and which roles they've held. We coordinate all of the account permissions and tool access that people need to do their work and interact with other volunteers. We also process the turnover as people depart the OTW or as they move into different positions. We report all these changes each month in the OTW newsletter.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

There tends to be an ebb and flow of work throughout the year, so there’s not necessarily a single answer to that. A given week might include any or all of the following:

  • Discussing committee needs for personnel with their chairs and reviewing role requirements
  • Processing applications for various recruitment campaigns
  • Induction or retirement of volunteers
  • Updating information on volunteers going on or coming off of hiatus
  • Editing tools and resources when a volunteer’s name or email changes
  • Updating organization wide tools and training
  • Work on various internal projects

Did anything take you by surprise when you began volunteering for the OTW or your committee?

Two things, though I think both of them speak more to OTW as an organization rather than just VolCom. The first thing was how well organized everything is overall. Most of the non-profits I’ve had experience partnering with tend to be a little bit haphazard for a variety of reasons, so I was pleasantly surprised by how clear onboarding and training was, and how much effort various committees put into working together for a common goal.

The other thing was just the sheer enthusiasm there is all the way around. Every time we recruit for a role, I’m floored by how many people apply because they want to get involved. That’s not to mention within the organization. There are a lot of really amazing people who put their heart and soul into this.

What's the most rewarding thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

Fandom has given me so much. I was kind of a lonely kid, and getting into writing fanfiction was the first time I really found people who felt like my people. A couple of my closest friends are folks I met because they commented on my writing, or because we happened to be in the same fandom chat, and so fandom in general is really special to me. I also gravitate pretty strongly towards non-profits in general, so OTW is just this really natural fit.

I think what is most rewarding for me is that with VolCom, I’ve had the opportunity to take some of the skills I’ve developed in my day job, and turn them towards supporting a cause I have so much love for.

What fannish things do you like to do?

All of them? In all seriousness though, I have a lot of fannish interests. In terms of content creation, I write a lot. I’ve been teaching myself art via photomanipulation as well and having a great time with it. I’m mostly in the Captain America fandom these days, but I dip back into Doctor Who and Fullmetal Alchemist now and again. I also cosplay competitively sometimes and get really absurdly excited about documentation and screen accuracy.

I’m pretty serious about giving back to the community that’s given so much to me, so I also tend to get really involved behind the scenes. In addition to OTW, I am on the team that runs two of the writing/art events in my current fandom, I run one of my city’s cosplay meetup groups, and I’m the co-chair for the cosplay masquerade at a local convention.

Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.


Post Header

2018-04-27 15:29:58 -0400

For a while now, our Support team has been receiving reports from users who have been logged out of their accounts and are unable to log back in. While our coders have been unable to determine the exact cause of this issue, Support has found a workaround that should allow you to log in.

If you have been redirected to the Forced Logout page -- also known as the Lost Cookie page -- and are unable to log in using the Log In option at the top of the page, please go directly to the Log In page at From there, you should be able to access your account.

We're very sorry if you've run into this issue! We have added this information to our Known Issues page and will be adding it to the Forced Logout page while our coders continue to look for a fix.


Post Header

2018-04-26 13:24:00 -0400

Outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement

A few months ago, we learned that someone had registered the domain name and copied the front page of Archive Of Our Own at that url; they even included a login screen that mimicked the AO3 login.

We immediately went to GoDaddy--the registrar of the domain name--and asked them to remove the website, because it violated their bar on phishing (that is, tricking someone into giving away login or other personal information). GoDaddy's Terms state that they will not allow a site to impersonate "a legitimate, trustworthy site" by tricking "visitors into providing them sensitive information like logins." However, GoDaddy never responded and did not take the site down.

Therefore, in January, the OTW Legal Committee initiated a proceeding with the World Intellectual Property Office with the goal of stripping the domain name from the infringers. In April, after the infringers had failed to respond, the WIPO Panel ruled in our favor. The panel held that Bradley Binkley of Chicago, who had registered the domain name, had "in all likelihood... registered the disputed domain name with the aim of exploiting and profiting from the Complainant’s mark, through the impersonation of the Complainant in furtherance of a fraudulent phishing scheme." As a result, the panel voided Binkley's registration of the name, and the OTW is currently in the process of setting up the domain name to point to the main Archive of Our Own page.

One important takeaway from this situation is that you should never enter in your AO3 login information unless you are completely sure that you are on the real site. While we also own the domain names and they redirect you to, and that is the only site where you should enter your AO3 login information. And if you go to any site and find yourself needing to login when you thought you were already logged in, it's possible that you're on a phishing site rather than a genuine site--double check the URL to make sure!

If you visited and entered your login information there, you should change your password on AO3, as well as any other sites where you use the same username/password combination, and run a virus-checker on your computer. We attempted to review the code from the phishing site to see if there was anything malicious; we didn't see anything obvious but it's better to be safe than sorry.

If you have more questions about the work done by the all-volunteer Legal Committee at the OTW, you can visit the Legal Advocacy page on our website.


Pages Navigation