AO3 News

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2019-09-13 12:34:07 -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

We’re as excited as you are about the AO3’s Hugo win, and we are shouting it to the rafters! We are grateful to the World Science Fiction Society for recognizing the AO3 with the award, as well as to the many OTW volunteers who build and maintain the site, and all of the amazing fans who post and enjoy works on it.

The World Science Fiction Society has asked us to help them get the word out about what the award represented—specifically, they want to make sure people know that the Hugo was awarded to the AO3, and not to any particular work(s) hosted on it. Therefore, while we can all be proud of the AO3’s Hugo win and we can all be proud of what we contributed to making it possible, the award does not make any individual fanwork or creator “Hugo winners”—the WSFS awarded that distinction to the AO3 as a whole. In particular, the WSFS asked us to convey this reminder so that no one mistakenly describes themselves as having personally won a Hugo Award.

Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm, and consider yourselves reminded! We appreciate every one of your contributions.


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2019-09-08 11:35:38 -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 Frost the Fox, who volunteers with the Volunteers & Recruiting Committee.

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

I am a volunteer for the Volunteers & Recruiting committee within the OTW. The OTW is a non-profit organization, relying fully on its volunteers to achieve its goals. Volunteers need to have access to the tools required for their position, as well as training and support for these tools as required. My work with Volunteers & Recruiting helps with exactly that -- we setup our new volunteers with accounts on our organization wide tools and maintain the documentation regarding them in order to prevent confusion on how a particular tool functions, or how to do specific things within that tool.

In addition, whenever other committees require additional volunteers and request recruitment, we facilitate the setup of application forms on the OTW website and we manage the recruitment campaign throughout its duration. This includes organizing applications and sending them to committee chairs after the closing date. These activities help provide the infrastructure for the rest of the organization and is why I consider Volunteers & Recruiting one of the core pieces of how the OTW functions.

I also volunteer for the AO3 Policy & Abuse committee, which fields reports of Terms of Service violations on the Archive. Volunteering for both internal and external positions in the OTW is unique because it provides me with insight into how we are interfacing with each other inside the OTW, as well as how the OTW interfaces with users of its projects.

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

I typically start off my daily work with the OTW's internal chat platform, which allows me to effortlessly check up on things I missed overnight and see what others are up to, as well as comment on anything needing feedback within our committee or other committees. From there, I move on to our ticket queue, where I check for any new cases. From here is where things vary throughout the week as we have many different types of requests. Some examples are volunteering queries, induction of new personnel, and other tasks such as name changes.

After working on tickets, I move on to any other committee work, which also varies depending on the time of the year. Sometimes I might be facilitating a recruitment campaign, while other times I might be contributing to various committee projects such as implementation of new OTW-wide tools or auditing tool accesses. One thing I learned since joining the OTW is that no day is the same -- one day could be quiet, and the next could be full of different cases.

What made you decide to volunteer?

My first encounter with fanfiction was a number of years ago when I stumbled across a fic about a YouTuber I watched at the time. I only remember it vaguely, and I since have not been able to find it, but I remember at the time thinking it was surprisingly well written for some random story I stumbled across on the internet. It didn’t lead to anything at the time, but I like to think it planted a seed in my mind for later.

A few years after that, I stumbled across some fanfiction again on Reddit. The particular post linked to a fic on AO3. From there, I began surfing other stories on the site. I got hooked and haven’t stopped reading fanfiction since. Eventually, having read on the Archive for at least a couple months, I began to wonder, who runs this “Archive”? That was when I discovered the OTW, read more about it and its history, and fell in love. I’m a little bit of a workaholic by choice, and love contributing my free time supporting things I enjoy. So naturally, I applied for the first position that was available, and here I am!

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

The people! There is always socializing going on in the internal OTW chat, and it’s not hard to find a channel or group of people to discuss a common interest. Although I haven’t been a volunteer for as long as some, I feel very welcome everywhere, and my fellow volunteers are polite and helpful. I have never felt like I couldn’t ask someone a question. Everyone is passionate in what they do and I have only the utmost respect for everyone for being able to keep things light, and at the same time get things done.

What fannish things do you like to do?

Moderating Discord communities, attending (and more recently, staffing) conventions, and reading/writing are some of the fannish things I do. I love reading, both normal books and fanfiction, but have trouble finding the time to do it. In the realm of writing, I’ve written a decent amount of fanfiction which is lying in my Google Drive not doing much. I mostly work on it when I’m bored with nothing else to do, and perhaps some day I’ll have something worth releasing into the wild. Most of the time when I write, it’s in the form of documentation or a technical setting, but I still enjoy doing it a lot. There’s something rewarding about finding those perfect words to explain something.

At the end of the day, I have to say the most fannish thing I like to do is, of course, my OTW work. In my opinion, nothing is greater than my work for the OTW and the Archive. I’m proud to volunteer and I am happy to have had the chance to do so.

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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To cut down on abuse, we have just rolled out some changes to co-creating works, chapters, and series on the Archive. Until now, it was possible for any user to list you as a co-creator without your approval. We've added creator invitations to ensure you won't be listed as a co-creator until you accept the invitation. Additionally, we've added a preference that requires you to opt in before other users can invite you to become a co-creator.

Nothing will change about existing co-created items: all creators will still be able to edit the work, chapter, or series even if they do not enable the preference. Before you can be invited as a new co-creator, however, you will need to enable the "Allow others to invite me to be a co-creator" option on your Preferences page. (Where can I find my Preferences?)

Turning the preference off will not remove you from any co-created items, nor will it prevent any of the item's existing co-creators from making changes. You can turn the preference on and off as many times as you like. Turning the preference off will not delete any co-creator invitations -- you'll still be able to find them by following the "Creator Invitations" link on your Dashboard when you turn the preference back on.

If you need to add a co-creator who does not have the preference enabled and who you are unable to contact, you can use the Notes field to provide proper credit.

We're sorry we weren't able to announce this change ahead of time like we usually do, but adding co-creators who did not wish to be associated with a work was becoming an increasingly common abuse and spam tactic, and we didn't want to cause a spike in these incidents by publicizing it before this fix was live. We hope the changes provide relief for users who have been targeted and help everyone feel more in control of their experience on the Archive.


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2019-09-07 03:30:43 -0400

The new creator invitation system and related preference are the main changes in this release, but because they required a significant overhaul of the creator code, we also fixed a number of related bugs in the process!


  • Coders: james_, Nerine Luna Cyran, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Code reviewers: redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Testers: Ania, Ariana, bingeling, doughtier, james_, memorizingthedigitsofpi, Matty, mumble, Nary, redsummernight, Sammie Louise, Sarken, Stephanie Godden, ticking instant


Adding creators and co-creators

  • [AO3-5658] - We overhauled the way co-creating functions by adding an invitation system and requiring users to opt-in before they can be invited. For more details, please check out our post, "Important changes to adding work, chapter, and series co-creators."
  • [AO3-4998] - If two or more users had the pseud Mary Sue, it wasn't possible to add either of them as a chapter co-creator unless you just happened to write their name in a very specific format. We've made it so it'll work without knowing that format. Specifically, if you enter a pseud that belongs to multiple users, you will get an error asking you to choose the proper user from a dropdown menu.
  • [AO3-5606] - We fixed the same issue with series, too!
  • [AO3-5662] - If you were trying to add both a co-creator and a series to a work at the same time, but there was an error adding the co-creator due to that whole "two Mary Sues" scenario we described above, the series would vanish and not get added to the work once you clarified the co-creator situation. We did a little work to make sure the series gets added now, too.
  • [AO3-5061] - If you pressed "Preview" when making changes to your work's or chapter's creators, the proper creators weren't listed on the preview page. Now they are! (This does not apply to creators who are only invited -- they won't show up on the preview.)
  • [AO3-5620] - It used to be that adding a co-creator to a chapter wouldn't add that co-creator to any series the work was in. Now it does!
  • [AO3-5663] - Previously, if you had a series and added a co-created work to that series, the other user(s) on the work would not get listed as co-creators of the series. Now they will.
  • [AO3-5261] - When someone added you as a co-creator, the email used to only say, "You've been added as a co-creator." Now we tell you exactly who added (or invited) you, which can be helpful if there's more than one other person on the work or series.
  • [AO3-3915] - Using the form for editing multiple works to add a co-creator to multi-chapter works didn't add the person to all of the works' chapters. Now it does!

Removing creators

  • [AO3-5334] - The option to remove yourself as a work or series co-creator previous said "Remove Me As Author," which makes certain assumptions about what you're editing. We've changed it to say "Co-Creator" instead. (We also tweaked the resultant error or success message to refer to creators rather than authors.)
  • [AO3-5083] - While using the newly renamed "Remove Me As Co-Creator" button on a series correctly removed you as one of the series' creators, preventing you from making future edits, it incorrectly left your name on the series. Now your name will vanish along with your editing privileges.
  • [AO3-5692] - On the form for editing multiple works, there was an option for removing co-creators. This option didn't work and wasn't actually something we wanted to provide, so we removed it.


  • [AO3-5475] - The mass edit form used to give a rather unhelpful 500 error if one of your changes was invalid (e.g. you were trying to add a tag containing a banned character like * or ^). Now it will take you back to the form with an error message that tells you what the problem is and provides you with an opportunity to fix said problem.
  • [AO3-5625] - Thanks to a bug we believe was generally caused by changing a work's creators using the mass edit form, it was occasionally impossible to edit a work you'd created. (Basically, while transferring the work, the bit in the database responsible for saying, "This user owns this chapter of this work," would go missing.) We've made it so the bug shouldn't happen anymore and so any works already affected by the bug should be editable now.
  • [AO3-5659] - Once upon a time, we planned to make a /browse page for every user, and we had some code relating to it in place. This was so long ago that we'd kind of forgotten why we'd ever wanted that page, though, so we deleted the code.
  • [AO3-5751] - Admins were previously only able to see draft works if they were one chapter and if they were given a direct link, which made it difficult to provide support for draft-related issues. Now admins can see drafts with multiple chapters and draft chapters on posted works. They can also access a user's Drafts page in case the user doesn't provide a direct link.
  • [AO3-5753] - The character limit for comments was previously set to 4,300 characters -- a nod to the limit on LiveJournal, where many AO3 coders and users came from in the early days. But that was a long time ago, and some people like to leave much longer comments, so we've increased the limit to 10,000 characters.


  • [AO3-5729] - We upgraded to a more recent version of the nokogiri gem.


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2019-09-05 13:14:31 -0400

OTW Celebrates

It's the Organization for Transformative Works' 12th anniversary!

Way back in 2007, there was an idea. An idea of fannish inclusiveness and independence. An idea of a home for all fans, fanworks, and fannish histories. And from that idea, the OTW was born.

From the beginning, we've always kept our beliefs in mind. Every time we defend the legality of fanworks or import an at-risk fanworks archive, we do it with the belief that fandom matters. Every time we publish academic works about fandom or collect stories about fandom, we do it as fans and for fans.

We wouldn't be here if it weren't for fans. Thank you for your contributions and support, whether you're an OTW member, an AO3 or Fanlore user, or someone who's sent in a nice note. After a dozen years, you've made more of an impact than you can imagine.

As part of our 12th anniversary celebration, we're sharing some new genre-themed graphics we've created for fans who want to show support for the OTW and its projects. Do you love horror? Sci-fi? Now you can show your OTW pride in a way that matches your ~aesthetic~!

We're also sharing some updated flyers which provide all the basics about the OTW. These can be printed to hand out at conventions or other fan gatherings, even the ones that take place in your living room.

Going forward, our Translation Committee will be adding additional language versions for both the flyers and graphics.

We hope you enjoy using these new resources to celebrate with us!


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2019-08-28 13:23:46 -0400

OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

Are you fluent in a Chinese dialect? Do you want to help people use the AO3? Or would you like to wrangle AO3 tags? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

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

  • Communications Staff: Weibo Site Moderator - closing 04 September 2019 at 23:59 UTC
  • Support Staff - closing 04 September 2019 at 23:59 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling Volunteers - closing 04 September 2019 at 23:59 UTC or until 80 applications have been received.
  • Tag Wrangling Volunteers (Chinese) - closing 04 September 2019 at 23:59 UTC or until 30 applications have been received.

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.

Communications Staff: Weibo Site Moderator

The Communications committee is recruiting a Weibo Site Moderator to manage the OTW's presence on Weibo, the Chinese social networking site.

For this position, we require someone fluent in both English and a Chinese dialect who can read and write in Simplified Chinese. Being Weibo site moderator involves posting regularly on Weibo about topics related to the work of the OTW. It also involves interacting with Weibo users to help them find answers to their questions about the OTW's projects. Additionally, it involves being the link between the OTW and the Weibo community, providing updates on trends and events within Chinese fan communities.

Communications is the main information distribution team for the OTW. We distribute information both internally to OTW personnel and externally to the general public, media, and fans. We also serve as the general first point of contact for those contacting the OTW.

The position of Weibo Site Moderator would be a good fit for someone who is an experienced social media moderator, is familiar with Weibo and the OTW, and has roughly 4-5 hours of available time throughout the week. If you're interested in doing outreach to Chinese-language fandom communities, this is the position for you!

Applications are due 04 September 2019

Support Staff

If you've spent time figuring out how to make the Archive dance (or are willing to press the button to see what happens), are patient in the face of strange questions, can self-motivate, and are interested in helping your fellow fans, we would love to hear from you! The Support team is responsible for handling the feedback and requests for assistance we receive from users of the Archive. We answer users’ questions, help to resolve problems they’re experiencing, and pass on information to and from coders, testers, tag wranglers and other teams involved with the Archive.

Applications are due 04 September 2019

Tag Wrangling Volunteers

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 Shěn Wēi/Zhào Yúnlán with ABO Dynamics, Pepper Potts/Tony Stark with angst, g-rated Rose Lalonde/Kanaya Maryam fluff, or Jeon Jungkook & Kim Taehyung | V Are Childhood Friends.)

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.

While all wranglers need to be fluent in English, we welcome applicants who are also fluent in other languages, especially Chinese (中文), Russian (Русский), Spanish (Español), Italian (Italiano), Polish (Polski), Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), Brazilian Portugese (Português Brasileiro), Korean (한국어), Thai (ไทย) and Hindi (हिन्दी).

Applications are due 04 September 2019 or until 80 applications have been received.

Tag Wrangling Volunteers (Chinese)

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 Shěn Wēi/Zhào Yúnlán with ABO Dynamics, Pepper Potts/Tony Stark with angst, g-rated Rose Lalonde/Kanaya Maryam fluff, or Jeon Jungkook & Kim Taehyung | V Are Childhood Friends.)

If you're a fluent Chinese speaker 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. We’re currently looking for applicants who are fluent in both English and Chinese (Traditional and Simplified both welcome). The work will involve both regular Tag Wrangling work and translating tags from Chinese into English.

Applications are due 04 September 2019 or until 30 applications have been received.

Apply at the volunteering page!


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OTW Elections 2019: are you ready?

Now that the 2019 election is over, we're happy to share with you our voter turnout statistics!

For the 2019 Election, we had 9939 total eligible voters. Of those, 2234 voters cast a ballot, which represents 22.5% of the potential voters. We're proud to say that our voter turnout is higher than that of last year, which had a turnout of 14.6%. We also saw an increase in the number of ballots cast, from 827 to 2234, which represents a 270% increase and gives us the highest turnout we've ever had!

Elections is committed to continuing to reach out to our eligible members to encourage them to vote in elections. Whoever is elected to the Board of Directors can have an important influence on the long-term health of the OTW's projects, and we want our members to have a say in that.

For those who might be interested in the number of votes each candidate received, please note that our election process is designed to elect an equal cohort of Board members in order to allow them to work well together, so we do not release that information. As a general rule, we also won’t disclose which of our unsuccessful candidates received the fewest votes, since we don’t want to discourage them from running again in the future when circumstances and member interest might be different. However, as there were only 3 candidates this year, revealing that information is unavoidable.

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who participated at every stage of the election! We hope to see you at the virtual polls again next year.


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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

The Organization for Transformative Works is excited to announce that the Archive of Our Own has won the 2019 Hugo Award in the category of Best Related Work! This is the first time an OTW project has won — or been a finalist for — a Hugo Award!

The award was given on August 18, 2019, as part of Dublin 2019: an Irish Worldcon, the 77th World Science Fiction Convention. You can check out detailed results for all award categories on the Worldcon website.

Naomi Novik, one of AO3’s founders, gave a speech as she and other OTW personnel accepted the award, and she gave everyone in the AO3 community a well deserved thank you:

All fanwork, from fanfic to vids to fanart to podfic, centers the idea that art happens not in isolation but in community. And that is true of the AO3 itself. We’re up here accepting, but only on behalf of literally thousands of volunteers and millions of users, all of whom have come together and built this thriving home for fandom, a nonprofit and non-commercial community space built entirely by volunteer labor and user donations, on the principle that we needed a place of our own that was not out to exploit its users but to serve them.

Even if I listed every founder, every builder, every tireless support staff member and translator and tag wrangler, if I named every last donor, all our hard work and contributions would mean nothing without the work of the fan creators who share their work freely with other fans, and the fans who read their stories and view their art and comment and share bookmarks and give kudos to encourage them and nourish the community in their turn.

This Hugo will be joining the traveling exhibition that goes to each Worldcon, because it belongs to all of us. I would like to ask that we raise the lights and for all of you who feel a part of our community stand up for a moment and share in this with us.

We were proud and excited to see how many Worldcon attendees stood up to represent AO3 and accept our Hugo Award — and this award belongs to you, too! The AO3 is founded on the love and work of all of our users, and we at the OTW are delighted to share this award with you. Thank you!


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