AO3 News

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Published:
2019-01-27 15:13:24 -0500
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To start the year right, we deployed some major improvements to the tag wrangling interface and fixed several collection and challenge bugs. Plus, editing a work will now display the proper word count upon preview!

Credits

  • Coders: Cesy, Elz, redsummernight, Sarken, Tal, ticking instant
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, cosette, james_, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Testers: antonomasia09, Arya_Sheppard, briar_pipe, Dre, Ebonwing, GoldenFalls, hhertzof, Izzy, JenS, Lady Oscar, Luin, MagnusIsMyRock, McBangle, mmmdraco, mumble, Paula, phoenixacid, PS, Qem, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant, VSSAKJ, WhitedSepu

Details

Collections

  • [AO3-5584] - We found a few issues in our collection code that made it possible to handle or delete someone else's data, e.g. works submitted to another moderated collection. We have now put more rigorous ownership checks in place.
  • [AO3-4613] - Deleting a collection that was set to anonymous and/or unrevealed would trap the works previously added to that collection in a permanent anonymous and/or unrevealed state. /o\ Deleting such a collection will now set those works freeeee.
  • [AO3-5206] - In some cases, removing a work from an anonymous collection and adding it to a non-anonymous one in the same edit would keep the work mysteriously anonymous. Now it properly adopts the settings of the collections it's actually in.
  • [AO3-5533] - When posting a new work directly to an anonymous or unrevealed collection (as in, creating a new work with the collection name filled in), the work would occasionally not be marked unrevealed and anonymous. Even though it was in the collection! We believe we have fixed this baffling bug now, so fingers crossed.
  • [AO3-5544] - Possibly relatedly, some works in a collection would sometimes remain anonymous or unrevealed even after the collection as a whole was set to reveal all works. Awkward! We have put steps in place to prevent this as well.
  • [AO3-5569] - For extra testing fun, we added tests for the owner of an anonymous or unrevealed collection removing an item from the collection items page.

Tag Wrangling

  • [AO3-5493] - Assembling all unwrangled tags per fandom (i.e. from works posted to those fandoms) and sorting them into bins for the wranglers to handle, complete with usage counts, relied on awkward code that put quite a bit of stress on the database. We are now leaning on Elasticsearch to save and manage that data, which will improve page load times and generally make for a smoother wrangling experience.
  • [AO3-2270] - Previously, new character/relationship/additional tags would only show up in the aforementioned bins if their works used canonical fandom tags (e.g. "The Musketeers (2014)"). Now, the bins will also include unwrangled tags for works tagged with a synonym (e.g. "BBC The Musketeers"). For more context, see the Tag Wrangling committee's post on the improvements.

Miscellaneous

  • [AO3-1305] - Editing a work to remove or add words would not update the word count in the preview. Now it does! \o/
  • [AO3-4310] - In our work towards an Archive interface in many languages, we prepared another email template for translation.
  • [AO3-5494] - If you use disallowed special characters in a search or otherwise upset the search engine, you will now be greeted with a helpful error page instead of a sad error 500.
  • [AO3-5580] - We made sure old drafts are properly disposed of, even if they still somehow belong to deleted series.

Infrastructure

  • [AO3-5579] - Updated Rails from 5.1.3 to 5.1.6.1, because it's the right thing to do.
  • [AO3-5600] - Fixed an issue with the gem we're using to create the graphs on the Statistics page.
  • [AO3-5581] - We improved tests using Elasticsearch so they don't delete and recreate test data unnecessarily.

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Published:
2019-01-24 21:26:28 -0500
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Outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement

AO3 is making a change to how tag wrangling works. Starting January 24, tags will be sorted differently for wranglers to interact with.

Before now, wranglers for a particular fandom were only automatically shown tags from works that were tagged with the canonical tag for their fandom. That meant, for example, that wranglers for How I Met Your Mother would only automatically be shown tags from works tagged with How I Met Your Mother.

With the new changes, however, wranglers for a particular fandom will also automatically be shown tags from works that are tagged with a synonym of their fandom's canonical tag. That means, for example, that wranglers for How I Met Your Mother will now also automatically be shown tags from works tagged with HIMYM.

This change means that more tags will get to the correct wranglers faster, which will make wrangling more efficient overall. However, it also means that, when the change kicks in, a bunch of tags that hadn't gotten to the correct wranglers before will be resorted all at once, and wranglers will have an extra-large pile of tags to deal with.

While these extra tags are being dealt with, it may take up to a month for new tags to be wrangled, rather than the usual goal of two weeks. Tag wranglers are unpaid volunteers, and there's only so much they can do at once. We'd like to ask you all for your patience as this backlog gets worked through. We'll work hard to get caught up as soon as we can.

In the meantime, you can keep creating new tags the same as always. Nothing will be changing on the user side of things. So go ahead and add as many tags as you'd like to your fanworks.

Tag Wrangling would like to thank the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee for this new feature. We're as excited to have it as you are to have the server performance improvements that come with it!

And as always, thanks to our users. Without your support, none of what we do here at AO3 would be possible.

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Published:
2019-01-20 11:20:54 -0500
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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 Solovei, who volunteers as a staffer in our Tag Wrangling Committee.

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

Tag Wrangling volunteers make sure that readers can find the works they're looking for, while also being able to tag their works however they want! We've seen just about every variation of a ship name you can think of. Usually with tagging systems, it's either a free-for-all or a strict set of allowed tags, and Ao3 has somehow managed to find a very interesting medium in between those two! I think the tagging system on Ao3 is amazing - I have yet to see something like this work anywhere else.

On top of my regular wrangling work, I am also a Tag Wrangling staffer, which means I do a lot of the administrative tasks that are required for other wranglers to do their work: everything from looking at incoming applications, scheduling and conducting training and regular check-ins, to processing hiatus and retirement requests.

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

It really varies! Tag Wrangling opens up recruitment several times a year, and those are usually busy periods for staff. The tags themselves go through phases, with fic exchanges and events usually happening around the holidays. I really enjoy my work, so sometimes I'll sit down intending to only wrangle for a little bit and then realize that several hours have passed!

What made you decide to volunteer?

The year was 2015. I had just finished my Master's in Library and Information Studies and was having trouble finding work, so I needed something to occupy my brain during the job search slog. I had gotten back into writing fanfic some months before after being too busy for it for a few years, when I saw that the OTW had opened applications for tag wrangling. I really loved cataloging and information management classes in library school, so this seemed like the perfect thing to satisfy my love for fiddly organization and make use of some obscure fandom knowledge.

What’s the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

The other volunteers! I honestly cannot imagine what my life would be like if the OTW suddenly wasn't a part of it anymore. I've met some truly wonderful people as a result of my volunteer work (both online and in person). It's also great to have a built-in community of people who are are willing to listen when I want to flail about some new fandom I've gotten into!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I primarily read and write fanfic, though these days it seems that my to-read list is just getting longer and longer... I've been writing fic since the mid 2000's, so I've been in fandom for a while! I also used to participate in roleplaying communities on LiveJournal, and I've been known to make an OTP fanmix or two. My fandoms are many and far-ranging, from obscure webcomics to very popular video games and anime. A friend had recently introduced me to Star Trek, so I'm diving into that fandom headfirst.


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.

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Published:
2019-01-18 20:12:05 -0500
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Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

On the last day of Copyright Week, the EU nations' Councils have voted on their positions on Article 13, and the majority have decided not to support it in its current form. This is good news for fans!

Article 13, as it was drafted, would have held many websites liable for user-created content, and in many cases would have required the use of filters that could have limited the availability of fanworks and other legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted material. Although the proposal would not have affected nonprofits like the OTW--that is, AO3 would not have been affected--it still could have had a significant impact on other popular fan sites.

This result is powerful. It means that you can still continue to create fanworks and share them not only on AO3, but also on sites that would have been affected by Article 13, such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.

This is not the end of the road for Article 13--its supporters can go back to the drawing board to find a "qualified majority" of nations that would support it. But we should not lose sight of what this result means. It represents victory for users' rights. It shows that a significant proportion of European governments care about Internet users. And, perhaps most importantly, it shows that public attention to copyright law can make a difference.

This decision also keeps the EU in line with other nations' copyright law. For example, in the U.S., Internet hosts are protected by the "safe harbor" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). Under the DMCA, hosts are not responsible for their users' actions as long as they take down infringing material when they are notified about it. This "notice and takedown" system provides protections for users, platforms, and copyright holders.

Although proposals like Article 13 might have prevented some infringement, they would be terrible for the Internet and for fair use/fair dealing. As a practical matter, these proposals would require hosts to use algorithmic filters to try and prevent users from uploading infringing material. Not only would such filters probably be ineffective at filtering out infringement, they'd also filter out plenty of non-infringing stuff. Because there simply aren't algorithms capable of filtering for fair use, a lot of fair uses--including a lot of fanworks--would undoubtedly get caught in such filters. We know you don't want that! OTW Legal has argued against mandatory filtering proposals, and will continue to do so.

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International Fanworks Day

It’s time to mark your calendars: the fifth annual International Fanworks Day will take place on February 15, 2019. Here at the OTW we have lots of exciting plans in store, but we also want to hear your ideas about the day.

What is International Fanworks Day?

The OTW founded International Fanworks Day in 2015. It’s a day for fans around the world to celebrate the diversity and creativity of fanwork in all its forms. Whether you enjoy reading fanfiction, creating fanart, listening to podfics or audio mixes, editing fan videos, or getting deep into meta discussions, International Fanworks Day is your opportunity to share your favorite fanworks and talk about what they mean to you. You could also use it as an opportunity to run a challenge or create some new fanworks of your own!

What do fanworks mean to you?

Next month, the OTW will announce the activities with which we plan to celebrate International Fanworks Day this year. But right now, we’d love to hear what the wider fan community will be doing to mark the day. Let us know via our social media or in the comments below.

We’d also like to invite your submissions on the topic "What fanworks mean to me." If you’d like to contribute, you can take part by:

  • Making a post with your thoughts on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook and adding the hashtag #WhatFanworksMeanToMe.
  • If you have more to say, you can submit longer essays of up to 350 words to the Communications Committee via the OTW’s contact form. You can take a look at the hashtag to see everyone’s contributions, but a selection of submissions will also be featured on the OTW blog in the run-up to International Fanworks Day 2019. If you’d like your piece to be considered, please make sure that it includes your country of residence, as well as the name under which you’d like us to list your work.

We accept submissions in every language, so there’s no reason to hold back. Let the fanworks love flow free!

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Published:
2019-01-09 15:35:36 -0500
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OTW Recruitment

Would you like to wrangle AO3 tags? Do you have experience copyediting or proofreading academic journals? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

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

  • Tag Wrangling Volunteer - closing 16 January 2019 at 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Proofreader Volunteer - closing 16 January at 23:59 UTC
  • TWC Copyeditor Volunteer - closing 16 January at 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.


Tag Wrangling Volunteer

The Tag Wranglers are responsible for helping to keep the millions of tags on AO3 in some kind of order! Wranglers follow internal guidelines to choose the tags that appear in the filters and auto-complete, which link related works together. (This makes it easier to browse and search on the archive, whether that’s Steve/Tony with tentacles or g-rated Rose/Kanaya fluff.)

If you’re an experienced AO3 user who likes organizing, working in teams, or excuses to fact-check your favorite fandoms, you might enjoy tag wrangling! To join us, click through to the job description and application form.

Please note: You must be 18+ in order to apply for this role. Additionally, we’re currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only, which will change each recruitment round. Please see the application for which fandoms are in need.

Applications are due 16 January 2019


TWC Proofreader Volunteer

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 January 2019


TWC Copyeditor Volunteer

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 January 2019


Apply at the volunteering page!

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Published:
2018-12-29 11:25:53 -0500
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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 Angel who volunteers as a co-chair for the Communications Committee.

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

I have been one of two chair-track staffers (CTS) for the Communications Committee. The CTS position is for people who are in training to lead committees. While we're learning we take on other roles in the committee, so in Communications than means helping our chair get information circulated, both within the OTW and to our followers. It could also mean posting news items for our projects, sending out the OTW newsletter, or managing its social media accounts.

What made you decide to volunteer as a chair-track staffer?

I wanted to be involved in the organisation in some fashion and felt my background as a business journalist, and now a full-time fiction writer, gave me a good mix of skills that might be of use. I have flexible time since I work for myself, so I'm able to sort of float around at odd times which can come in handy. I applied for the Chair Track Staffer because I felt it was a good place to use some of those skills -- and to learn more about the organisation and how it operates.

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

There are usually two to three meetings with Janita, our chair, and Jess our other chair-track staffer -- Janita calls Jess and I her 'mini-mes'. We respond to any questions from the public or within the organisation, prepare posts for social media, work on campaign notifications and posts with our Elections Committee, and help other committees who need our help. We keep a close eye on social media and on posts to see if we can offer any support, and if we can't answer questions that are sent to us we find out who it would be best to send them to.

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

Being involved. That sounds kind of odd, I know, but seriously how many organisations do you know where memes, fan fiction, fan art, and pop culture in general are a part of every meeting, because they're a normal part of the organisational structure? Where else do you get to fly your fan flag (say that fast five times) high and proud as part of your job?

What fannish things do you like to do?

I'm a hard core Supernatural fan -- #teamDeanbutSamcurious -- and have a growing collection of commissioned fan art and adore SPN fan fiction. I'm in the last few months of preparing my Masters thesis on the impact of fan fiction on the Supernatural source text and creators -- so a lot of my research time is spent either watching SPN or reading SPN fics. Dirty job... Last year I met John Barrowman and his husband Scott Gill which was the highlight of my year (John smelled awesome, Scott was lovely). Mostly I just embarrass my adult children by squeeing at inappropriate moments.


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.

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Published:
2018-12-28 05:41:41 -0500
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We've updated the code that powers our login system to use the Rails Devise gem and fixed several unrelated bugs. Special thanks to Riley Avron for his first code contribution!

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, Elz, james_, Lee, redsummernight, Riley Avron, Sarken, Tal, ticking instant, Wendy Randquist (Littlelines)
  • Code reviewers: james_, redsummernight, Sarken, Scott, ticking instant
  • Testers: Ariana, Enigel, GoldenFalls, Lady Oscar, MagnusIsMyRock, mumble, redsummernight, Sammie Louise, Sarken, ticking instant

Details

Authentication

  • [AO3-2839] - We are now using the Devise gem for all our authentication needs. \o/ You shouldn't notice any differences when creating an account, logging in, or navigating the site as a guest; however, we did change a few small things:
    • You can now log in using either your username or your email address.
    • If you forget your password, we will now email you a link you can use to create a new password, instead of sending you a temporary password.
    • If you change your password, you'll get logged out everywhere, e.g. both your laptop and your phone, and will need to sign in again. This can be helpful if you forgot to sign out of your account on a public computer, since you can make sure you're signed out everywhere by changing your password on whatever device you're on.
  • [AO3-5589] - Due to changes in the way passwords are sanitized, you will need to reset your password if it previously contained the < or > character. (You can continue to use < and > in your password; it just needs to be updated for our new system.)
  • [AO3-5590] - After the initial Devise update, we noticed queries to look up users by email or username became noticeably slower. We changed them to use the appropriate database indices and they are faster now.

Works & Comments

  • [AO3-5541] - We automatically delete drafts that are older than a month; however, there was an issue that led to empty ghost drafts haunting the error logs and creating problems for the tag wranglers. We rewrote the deletion process to make sure old drafts are properly disposed of.
  • [AO3-5529] - Works on the "Works in Collections" page were no longer ordered in chronological order, making one's latest unrevealed or anonymous works harder to find. We've nudged them back into the correct order now.
  • [AO3-5560] - We've ensured that comments on a hidden work can't be accessed or edited anymore, even when the link to the specific comment or comment page is known.
  • [AO3-5561] - While we were at it, we made sure the same is true for works in unrevealed collections.
  • [AO3-2378] - After fixing non-Latin word counts for new works in an earlier deploy, we've now applied the fix to all existing works as well, so word counts on Chinese and Japanese works, for example, should be much more accurate now.
  • [AO3-5571] - To prevent duplicates during an Open Doors mass import, there's a check for existing external bookmarks. However, it crashed when the archivist also had AO3 works bookmarked, so we fixed that.
  • [AO3-5559] - It was previously possible to include the class attribute when using HTML in a bookmarker's note or comment. This was unnecessary, since user-created work skins aren't applied to those areas, but could also be used for mischievous purposes to change the appearance of one's comment using our site CSS. We've now made sure that the class attribute can only be used in the body and notes of a work.
  • [AO3-5238] - We don't allow certain characters in CSS classes used for work skins, but the summary field must have missed the memo. It now checks for permissable class names when HTML is entered.

Misc. Fixes

  • [AO3-5313] - The title of the Session Expired page used to be "Auth Error Error". We changed it to have only one "Error".
  • [AO3-5438] - The email sent when one of your prompts in a Prompt Meme was claimed had a rogue "%>" after the work title; we hunted it down and removed it.

Tests & Infrastructure

  • [AO3-5530] - Before our big database upgrade to allow for 4-byte Unicode characters on the Archive 😍🤩🤭, we added an automated test to account for the possible new content.
  • [AO3-5566] - We added tests for previewing a work while adding it to a collection.
  • [AO3-5570] - We are now running Elasticsearch 6.5.2, up from 6.2.4. \o/
  • [AO3-5563] - We updated the Rack gem to 2.0.6 to keep things secure.
  • [AO3-5562] - We've started using a service that will automatically submit pull requests for gem security updates.
  • [AO3-5554] - We fixed the name and syntax of the Ruby version file in our project.
  • [AO3-5586], [AO3-5588] - We updated our deploy script to reflect the changes to our server set up.

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