AO3 News

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Published:
2010-05-17 18:05:32 -0400
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A busy meeting - we stayed on an extra 45 minutes to get through as much as possible. The whole team has been working really hard lately - they are awesome. <3

Highlights

  • We talked some more about multimedia on the Archive, and started figuring out ways of improving posting and browsing for non-text-based works. Actually hosting things other than text on the Archive is some way off, but in the meantime, we think we can make a much more inclusive interface!
  • We started discussing requirements for server upgrades in a bit more depth - we're talking to a few people for expert advice. The Archive is hungry!
  • We discussed strategies for improving accessibility and diversity on the Archive - see below more more info!

Forthcoming changes

We're currently testing a new release, which we hope to deploy to the Beta Archive this coming weekend. It includes some exciting stuff:

  • The first version of our new Advanced Search! We're super-excited about this - it's something we've wanted for a long time, and with the combined efforts of Sidra and Cesy it's finally in sight! This will be version 0.1 - there are more enhancements planned - but it's already an awesome improvement on our existing search facility.
  • A new HTML parser, which we hope will be faster and more efficient. The parser processes the text of the works you post to make sure that it displays properly - it's a very tricky piece of coding, but with the help of an existing code library and the ingenuity of the wonderful Elz, we think we're getting there!

Accessibility and Diversity

We've been thinking about accessibility and diversity, and ways of keeping these at the forefront of our development. We've been talking to the developers at Dreamwidth about their experience in this area, as we think this is something they do well - thanks very much to Denise for her awesome advice!

We're integrating a few new things into our testing process to make it easier for us to catch any issues which might have an impact on accessibility. We're improving our automated testing, which will help us check that things on the Archive are basically functioning, freeing up our testers to do more work on more nuanced things. One area which we could use more help with is in testing how the Archive works with assistive technology - if you are a user of assistive tech and you'd like to join our testing team, you'd be warmly welcomed!

This is an area that's really important to us, and we welcome feedback from users. We're currently working on an accessibility and diversity policy which will state our core ethos; the most important message we'd like to get out is that we are willing to listen! If there's an area you think we could improve on, then please let us know via the Support and Feedback form - we always do our best to learn from user feedback.

News from our sub-committees and sister committees

  • Coders have been working hard on projects big and small. We've seen some great contributions from newer coders as well as some big projects from our senior coders - they are all fab!
  • Testers are currently working their way through all the new code on our Test Archive. They're reading lots of works in order to spot any weirdnesses with our new HTML parser and working through the list of new code to see it's all working well.
  • Tag wranglers have decided on a new tag format for book fandoms, based on popular demand from users. From now on, the canonical tags (the ones we show on the fandoms page) for specific series will take the format 'Poirot - Agatha Christie', while the metatag (which covers all works by a single author) will have the format 'CHRISTIE Agatha - Works'. This should make things easier to find in the fandoms list and filters - you can still enter whatever you like on your own works and it will be connected up to the canonical tags.
  • Support have been doing a phenomenal amount of work - there are currently just 21 open support issues, only 3 of which have not yet been worked on!

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:
2010-05-04 18:20:39 -0400
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This was another endurance meeting, with the all-org meeting coming immediately afterwards, but we worked valiantly through our list of old business!

Highlights

  • We talked about the next steps for fanart on the Archive, and started looking into server capacity. In the coming weeks we'll be breaking tasks down into 'stuff we can do now' and 'long term plans'.
  • We got very excited about the new Vidding Roadmap and started talking about some initial plans for embedding vids on the Archive.
  • We reviewed some proposed improvements to the way chapters are managed and the way works are marked as 'in progress' or 'complete'. Coming soon - ways of marking sections in your work as prologues, epilogues, interludes, etc!

Upcoming cool stuff

  • We're currently working on more improvements to our HTML parser (that helps control the way your work looks in the Archive) - we've deployed a new version to our Test Archive and are testing it extensively to work out any bugs.
  • We have a team working hard on developing a new Advanced Search interface, and we're hoping to have the first part of that soon!

Vidding fundraiser!

Over on Dreamwidth, Collswan and a group of other vidding enthusiasts have launched the AO3 for vidders fundraiser. They're raising money for the OTW to help support our goal of establishing a home for fanvids! \0/ (Money raised will not be specifically dedicated to one project - OTW finances are managed as a whole - but additional money in our pot makes it a lot easier for us to move forward with confidence on resource-heavy projects like hosting vidding). We're really excited and pleased that people out there want to support our projects like this - drop by and check them out!

News from our sub-committees and sister committees

  • Coders are taking advantage of a period without any urgent deadlines to work on some bigger projects, including the Advanced Search and new HTML parser. They're also working through lots of smaller bugs.
  • Testers are reading lots of works on our Test Archive in order to spot anything weird the new HTML parser is doing. It's a hard job, reading awesome fic, but someone has to do it.
  • Tag wranglers are working on a new policy for the names of book fandoms in response to user feedback. Our current system uses the author's family name and the series name, e.g. 'Rowling - Harry Potter'. Lots of users have told us they want to see the whole author name, and now we have longer tag limits this is possible, so we're contemplating a switch. A debate is currently raging about the merits of Family Name, Given Name vs Given Name, Family Name, and other format details! Stay tuned for more news.
  • Support have been working incredibly hard on a reduced team, as illness and real life pressures have taken a few people out of action. Our skeleton staff have consistently managed to keep the number of open bugs below 100 (this includes bugs which they have responded to but which need more work) - we think that's pretty impressive!

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:
2010-04-23 19:49:43 -0400
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Our lovely Systems team are in the process of transferring the domain name for the Archive to a new registrar. This should be an invisible process to users, but there is a small possibility that it might cause a brief network outage. If you notice the Archive go down within the next 5 days, don't panic! It's not broken, and it will return speedily!

We're hoping that there will be no interruption at all, but as we have no way of predicting exactly when the transfer will occur we thought that people would appreciate a heads-up.

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Published:
2010-04-23 18:40:05 -0400
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Welcome to Revision 2596, up from 2500 (we also deployed a release in between with a few selected fixes for critical bugs!). This deploy comes only ten days after the last one – our teams have been busy! If you'd like to join in all this exciting development, we welcome volunteers – no experience necessary.

Highlights

We now have a bookmarklet, if you like to bookmark external fic using your AO3 account. We've added a new translations feature, so you can now link your translation of someone's story to the original version. We've also started a "light style" option, which is the first step towards allowing more styling options for works!

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page.

Release details

Light style

We've introduced a new feature: "Switch to light style". You can choose to view in light style on individual works, or set it as a preference for the whole site via your preferences. At the moment, this doesn't do very much, but it's the first step towards allowing lots more styling options for works – light style will strip out styling such as font colours so that users who don't want to see heavily styled text can have a nice plain version.

You can add ?style=light to the URL on any page, and it will have the same effect, so you can use it on things like collection FAQs if you need to. Light style also skips our special font, Fertigo, so should be faster to load on things like the iPhone that like to pretend they're not mobile phones and don't use our mobile version.

You can also add some extra formatting to your stories now. The following will all work:

  • <span class='font-red'>This text will be red.</span>
  • <span class='dropcap'>This text will have drop capitals.</span>
  • <span class='flashback'>This text will be formatted in italic and should look good for a flashback in your story.</span>
  • <span class='font-serif'>This text will be in a serif font instead of sans-serif.</span>
  • <span class='font-big'>This text will be bigger than usual, but still accessible to readers with different font sizes.</span>
  • <span class='font-small'>This text will be smaller than usual, but also still accessible.</span>

External works bookmarklet

To make it easier to use our bookmarks system to bookmark works hosted outside the Archive, we've introduced a javascript bookmarklet. You can find this on the External Works page – just right-click the link on this page and save as a bookmark, or drag it to your bookmarks bar to 'install'.

Once you've added the bookmarklet to your browser, then clicking on it will open a pop-up containing the form for creating a new external work, with the url of the page you were on already filled in. Just fill in the other details and click create! You'll need to close the pop-up window when you're done.

Features

  • Added Javascript bookmarklet for creating AO3 bookmarks for external works.
  • Added ability to specifically indicate that a work is a translation of another work.
  • Added option to not get admin notices emailed to you.
  • Added ability for admins to get comments on their posts mailed to them.
  • Limited the number of tags in the tag cloud to a slightly more reasonable number. It shows the most popular freeform tags by default and has an option to generate a cloud of random freeform tags.
  • Added the beginnings of a light style feature, which allows you to turn off more adventurous user styles (font colors, sizes, experimental formatting, etc.), which is also a lead-in to the archive allowing more adventurous user styles.

Fixes

  • Improved the message you get on the invite queue page if you check on an email that isn't in the system.
  • Tweaked background colors to make comment threading easier to follow.
  • Better error pages. They mostly look the same, but they'll be much easier to maintain now.
  • Better collection filtering (you can now search on any part of the title), and fixes for errors.
  • Made the series edit page a little spiffier.
  • Improved the work header display when previewing: it should say "Chapters: 1/1" now instead of "0/1" and should list your series titles.
  • Made filters work on language-specific pages.
  • Fixed the formatting on the main languages page.
  • The edit tags page should now tell you which work you're editing.
  • The inbox will now remember what filters you're using while you mark things read/unread/etc.
  • Added actual collection icons to collection blurbs.
  • Fixed duplication of works if you'd listed more than one of your pseuds as the author of the same work.
  • Fixed search and login buttons on the front page - they should no longer change shape or color when you hover over them.
  • Added some clarifying text to the search results page.
  • Fixed gremlin error causing random 500 errors around the site.
  • Fixed issue with importer creating invalid tags when importing from LJ/DW. (Specifically, if your tag names began with "fandom: ", "character: " or "pairing: ".)
  • Fixed malformed import link on user pages.
  • Fixed pre tag formatting.
  • Stripped images from series summaries on index pages. (They'll still appear on single-series pages.)
  • Removed a stray dash from the archive footer.
  • Made sure comments on restricted works don't appear on the latest comments page for logged-out users.
  • Fixed the symbol key pop-ups that you get when you click on the rating/warning/category/etc. symbol icons.
  • Made sorting link options easier for screenreaders to register.
  • Fixed the placement of the icon on the edit pseud page.
  • Added padding to work blurbs.
  • Made it so your works don't all have a grey background on your own user pages.
  • Fixed edit buttons on blurbs (there was some overlap/misalignment in places).
  • Fixed overlapping dates on edited comments.
  • Fixed IE blurb bugs: placement of the symbol block for external bookmarks and margins between the symbols.
  • Fixed the style of headings in admin posts so that they're not the same as the main post heading.
  • Tag wrangler stuff:
    • synonyms and associations should now carry over to new canonical synonym.
    • fixed bug causing characters to be listed as the parents of fandoms.
    • fixed bug causing links to error for tags with semicolons and other symbols in their names.
    • improved sorting on the tag wrangling pages.
    • improved filtering on the tag wrangler assignment page.
    • added more information about unwrangled tags to wrangler homepages.
    • improved wording on some of the wrangling pages.
    • wrangling pairings by character should now remember what fandom you're wrangling between updates.
    • added metatag column to wrangling table for canonical tags.
    • cleaned up the database to get rid of unused columns and data.

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Published:
2010-04-18 19:18:16 -0400
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My family claimed my attention this week (apparently there is a limit to how many times chairing a meeting can be used as a reason to be missing from Family Events) so the most awesome Enigel stepped up to chair in my stead. <3 Quite a few other people were claimed by Real Life, so it was a quiet meeting for once!

Highlights

  • Bingeling did a heroic job of collating all the feedback about fanart on the Archive and we starting discussing what we'll need to do to make these dreams a reality. There's a lot of work that needs to be done first, but we're really excited to be moving forward on this.
  • We talked about ways of making it easier to browse for works in a particular language - there are currently thirteen different languages represented on the Archive, but it's not too obvious how to find them (also, at the moment the languages page is a bit broken! We'll be fixing the layout in the next deploy). We'll be adding some more options for this soon.

Recent changes

We deployed Release 0.7.3.7. to the Archive with a couple of critical fixes - the option to hide warnings and tags by default should now be working properly (it was getting stuck in our cache) and you should be able to add other users as co-authors. Hurrah for Elz who coded and deployed these fixes.

Deploy schedule

  • April 18th: We deployed a bunch more code to our Test Archive for our testers to bang on.
  • May 2nd: If all goes well, we'll be deploying the new code to the Beta Archive in two weeks time! If our testers are feeling active and they don't discover any hideous bugs, it may even make it sooner.

Cool stuff coming up

There are loads of small enhancements in the new code we're testing now:

  • A way of marking a work as a translation, and linking to the original work.
  • A way of turning off admin messages so that people who aren't interested in getting our release notes can be left in peace.
  • Comment notifications for admin posts (this is only really exciting to me, but I am VERY EXCITED).
  • A basic bookmarklet for posting bookmarks of works not hosted on the Archive.
  • A fix for a bug which makes the sort criteria on index pages invisible to screen-readers.

Public service announcement - problems importing from Fanfiction.net

We're experiencing an ongoing issue with importing works from Fanfiction.net. Unfortunately, the request from our server is getting 'stuck' on the way to theirs, which means that imports hang for a long time and then time out. We're looking into solutions, but because this is caused by a server routing issue and not by our code there's not much we can do. We're very sorry about the inconvenience! For more information on this and other bugs you can always check out our Known Issues page.

News from our sub- and sister committees

Everyone continues to work incredibly hard and to contribute in many awesome ways. Go team!

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:
2010-04-15 17:56:14 -0400
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This was a shorter meeting than usual, because we moved some meetings about to allow for the holiday weekend without messing up our schedule for the rest of the month. However, this team is so keen that we overran our planned hour!

Highlights

  • We're currently soliciting feedback from fanartists about what features they'd like to see on the Archive. If this is an issue you care about, please come and tell us about your dream Archive.
  • We had a long and impassioned discussion about which things should be bookmarkable on the Archive, and decided that it should be possible to bookmark users and collections as well as works. (In the future, we'll also be introducing ways to subscribe to different things on the Archive, but we think there is still a use for bookmarks.)
  • We looked at a preliminary design for a 'Light' style on the Archive, which will let users strip out styling on other users works. When we get this working right we'll be able to expand the styling options on the Archive, so people will be able to have their bright pink fonts without forcing them on other people.

Recent changes

We deployed Releases 0.7.3.5 and 0.7.3.6 on Sunday 11th April - check out the Release Notes for these. They included quite a few exciting things:

  • First commits from coder Kendappa, who recently rejoined the project after a break.
  • Lots more code for challenges - it's now possible to match up participants in a gift exchange challenge and have the Archive send out their assignments automatically! Anyone who has run a big challenge should be getting excited right about now! Remix Redux are trying out this code RIGHT NOW, and we'll soon be posting a tutorial to help other people use this awesome new feature.
  • The ability to list a work not hosted on the Archive as an inspiration.

Deploy schedule

We are anticipating another deploy today or tomorrow to fix a couple of bugs: there are currently known issues with adding co-authors (it doesn't work!) and hiding/showing warnings (our caching is interfering with this feature).

We haven't set a date for our next real deploy to Beta, but we expect it to be within a few weeks, as our coders have been very busy! People who don't like getting email messages about our new releases will be happy to learn that one of the changes waiting to be tested is the ability to turn off admin messages - so you'll be able to enjoy regular batches of new code without us spamming you.

News from our subcommittees and sister committees!

  • Coders have been crazily active - after a couple of weeks in commit freeze (where we limited new code to things that were urgently needed for the upcoming deploy) they are back in force! We're especially happy to be welcoming lots of new coders, who are already getting stuck in and tackling a few bugs.
  • Testers put in some amazing work testing the massive amounts of new code relating to challenges. New testers Kylie and Tai pitched in to do lots of work on this, with the help of some awesome folk form other teams. Many fake challenges have been created, and many cracktastic assignments issued.
  • Tag wranglers are still working on updating their policies, and working to keep up with the constant flow of new tags on the Archive. They are quiet but awesome!
  • Support have been doing a great job responding to user problems and suggestions. They respond to all feedback submitted via our Support and Feedback form as quickly as possible. If you don't hear back from us within a few weeks, it probably means that something has gone astray - if you're concerned, please do contact us again.
  • Systems do lots of work with a tiny amount of people! The lovely Sidra (who usually keeps the Archive running smoothly) couldn't make the last deploy, so Arrow stepped in to help out - thanks, Arrow!

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:
2010-04-12 01:33:14 -0400
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Welcome to Revision 2500, up from 2452. We kind of like how nice, round and even this revision number is. We also welcome kendappa back after a long absence. \o/

ETA: Release 0.7.3.6 was deployed 24 hours later with a critical fix for assignments (you can view them now!) and some Opera fixes because we had them ready to go :)

Highlights

  • Matching code for Challenges!

Known Issues

Please see Known Issues.

Release Details

Bug fixes

  • Fixed comma problem for tag wrangling - mass wrangle.
  • Fixed Challenge signups being visible to other users via URL.
  • Fixed link in Challenge Assignment email.
  • Fixed overlapping series blurb icons.
  • Fixed deleting signups causing matching to crash.
  • Fixed extra comma appearing when creating parent Collection.
  • Fixed problem stopping users from editing multiple works.
  • Fixed bug with 'Fulfil assignments' link.
  • Fixed related works causing errors when the parent or the work is deleted.
  • Fixed adding an Inspired by work creating two related works for the same work.
  • Fixed sign-up edits going to wrong collection.

Enhancements

  • Added ability to cite an external work as a remix inspiration.
  • Added 'after' task for updating existing gifts.
  • Added redirect for bots with no referrer (to homepage).
  • Added 'Download' option for Challenge mods to export an excel file of challenge information.
  • Added pagination to Challenge matching page.
  • Added alert reminder to regenerate matches after editing.
  • Added ability to abort match generating for a Challenge.
  • Added more styling for navigation links/buttons in tables, to make them more compact

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Published:
2010-04-06 17:11:39 -0400
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The Archive of Our Own entered Open Beta in November 2009; in the six months since we've had 18 code releases and have seen 5929 users, 5031 fandoms and 64347 new works added to the Archive. \0/ We've had a bunch of new features, big and small, and have made big improvements in performance, cross-browser compatibility and accessibility. We still have some big features to roll out, but now the first rush is over, we're planning further ahead. One of the key things we're thinking about for our longer-term planning is opening up the Archive to fanart and other media, and we're looking for ideas from artists!

Fanartists - what features would you like in your ideal archive? We want to know:

  • If we were to replace the story box with an upload tool, would that do most of what you want, or are there other things you need?
  • What sites would you like to be able to import from automatically, and how should a multi-upload tool work?
  • What types of art would you want to host on the Archive? What special requirements would these have?
  • What things about the existing interface would work well for you, and what would you need to see changed / added?
  • What are your DREAMS? Whether you've seen a cool feature on another Archive, or it's something you're not even sure is possible, we want to hear from you.

Hosting fanart and (eventually) fanvids has always been an important part of the plan for the Archive, but up until now we've focused on building the text-based aspects of the site because, well, we had to learn to walk before we could run! Hosting other media represents a much bigger technical challenge, as well as additional legal complexity, and actually hosting fanart on the Archive itself is still some way off (we need to learn a LOT more about performance). In the meantime, though, it's really important to us to make the Archive a more welcoming place for the whole fannish community, and we want to make sure that our design and development is working towards a truly inclusive site. So - tell us your dreams! We'll work to make them a reality (and if you'd like to help in that work, we always welcome volunteers).

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