AO3 News

Post Header

2010-09-12 19:12:20 -0400

Skins are here at long last! You can now choose how the Archive displays fonts and colours when you're logged in to your account. So, if you'd like a larger font, or you want lower contrast, or you just really love the colour green, you can tweak the Archive to look how you want it to look.

Please note that the skin you choose only affects how you see the Archive, not how your works display to other people.

What is a skin?

A skin is a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) file that changes how a webpage displays in your browser. Skins change font size, font face, and display colours for each user, providing a reading experience customized to your wants and needs.

Who creates skins?

The Archive coders have a few site skins ready-made for you. You can also create skins for yourself (more details follow), and use skins created by users which have been publicly shared.

How do I change my skin?

You must be a logged-in user to use skins. There are two ways to change the skin you use for the Archive:

  • Go to 'My Preferences' under your user home. Under the 'Site Display' section there is a drop-down menu where you can choose from all approved and publicly available skins, as well as your own skins. Simply select the skin you want and select 'Update'.

  • Go to the Public Skins page where you can view all publicly available skins. Select the skin you want by clicking the "Use" button. The page will reload using the selected skin.

How do I create a skin?

Skins are created using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). If you've never used CSS before, fear not - it's easy to pick up the basics. We also have a Skins Wizard to help people who are unfamiliar with CSS - this is still in beta, and we'll be adding more options to this in the future.

Creating a skin using Custom CSS

  • Go to 'My Skins' under your user home and select 'Create New Skin'. By default, you'll be taken to the page for entering Custom CSS.

  • You can use a limited range of CSS properties and values. The full range of allowed CSS is listed under the Archive Interface section of our FAQ, or you can select CSS help (accessible via the blue question mark) to access the list of allowed properties and values directly on the page. You can also use the Allowed Value Autocomplete to check whether a particular value is allowed - just start typing the value and see whether our autocomplete recognizes it. For example, typing 'lemon' will bring up the value 'lemonchiffon', one of our allowed colour values.

  • Your skin title is a short descriptor that lets you remember what this skin is like. You can enter more detail in the Description field. Then you input the CSS you want. You can also add a preview image - this is entirely optional for private skins, but you must include a preview if you want to submit the skin for public use.

  • If you check the 'public skin' box, it will submit your skin to be added to the site skins available to everyone. Our volunteers will check it over to make sure it is appropriate, and then add it to the public skins. Please note: Once a skin submitted as public has been officially approved, you will no longer be able to edit or delete it. Please be sure you are happy with this before submitting a public skin! Please also note that not all skins will be approved.

  • When you've filled in all your choices, select 'Create' to save your skin.

  • Once you have saved your skin, it will appear as an option in the drop-down menu on your preferences, and will show up under 'My Skins'.

  • Select your new skin as described under 'How do I change my skin?'

  • If your skin is not public, only you will see it in the drop-down menu in 'My Preferences', and only you can access it.

If you need help writing custom CSS you can browse the code of existing skins under Public Skins to see examples of the kind of code you can use. There are lots of great general resources for CSS online - we recommend the W3 Schools CSS tutorials as a great place to start. There's also an unofficial AO3 skins community on Dreamwidth - check out [community profile] ao3_skins for other shareable skins and help and advice from other fans.

Creating a skin using the Skins Wizard

Please note: This feature is in extreme beta and lots more spiffy user-friendly features will be added in the future.

  • Go to 'My Skins' under your user home and select 'Create New Skin'. By default, you'll be taken to the page for entering Custom CSS - select 'Use Wizard Instead?'

  • There is a list of basic options which you can fill in to suit your preferences:

    • Skin title: A short descriptor that lets you remember what this skin is like.

    • Description: this is where you can put more detail about the skin.

    • Width of margins: This will set the width of the margins on works pages (i.e. when you are viewing a story). The default is 3 - using a bigger number will give you bigger margins, and a smaller number will make the margins smaller!

    • Font, with comma-separated fallbacks: This will set the font used for all body text (e.g. works, summaries, etc but not titles or headings). Just input the name of the font you would like to use. If that font is not installed on the computer you are using, then the Archive will 'fall back' to your next favourite font - either the next font in your list, or the Archive's own default fonts. For example, if you put 'Papyrus, Comic Sans' then the Archive will display in Papyrus if you have it, but if it doesn't find Papyrus on your machine it will display in Comic Sans instead.

    • Background colour: This will set the main background colour for the Archive, i.e. the main page colour. You can specify the name of the colour you want, or for more control use the hex colour code - the W3 Schools list of colour codes lists the most common of these.

    • Foreground colour: This will set the font colour for the Archive. You can specify the name of the colour you want, or for more control use the hex colour code - the W3 Schools list of colour codes lists the most common of these.

    • Relative font size: This will set the size of your font. The default is 100 - if you pick a number bigger than this, the font will enlarge. If you pick a number smaller than 100, the font size will decrease!

  • When you've filled in all your choices, select 'Create' to save your skin.

  • Once you have saved your skin, it will appear as an option in the drop-down menu on your preferences, and will show up under 'My Skins'.

  • Select your new skin as described under 'How do I change my skin?'

  • Skins created via the Skins Wizard cannot be submitted as public, so only you will see you skin in the drop-down menu in 'My Preferences' and only you can access it.

  • How do I add a preview image for my skin?

    Create a screenshot of how the Archive looks while using your skin and save it in PNG, JPEG or GIF format. Edit the skin and use the Browse (or Choose, in some browsers) button to navigate to your image. Click Update. The image will appear as a clickable thumbnail, leading to the original image.

    What happens when I submit a skin as public?

    1. The skin will be added to a list for review by Archive admins, and will appear as 'Pending approval' on your Skins page.

    2. An Archive admin will review the skin for security, accessibility, and innovation and decide whether or not it should be added to our range of Public Skins. Please note that skins will not be reviewed immediately, and not all skins will be accepted.

    3. The admin will decide whether to approve or reject your skin:

    • If they accept the skin, it will be marked 'Approved' on your Skins page and added to the range of available Public Skins. You will no longer be able to edit this skin. The admin may add a short comment which will also be visible on your Skins page - this will not be visible to other users.

    • If they reject the Skin, it will be marked 'Rejected' on your Skins page. The admin will usually add a short note explaining their decision.

    What if I want a particular skin?

    If you want a particular design for the Archive, you can create it yourself! If you don't have the skills, you can browse Public Skins to see if someone else has created something you like. You can also try asking at the unofficial [community profile] ao3_skins community for help.

    If you have particular accessibility needs which you think might be met by a skin, then get in touch with our Support team for help. (We can't create custom skins for individual users, but we are keen to develop skins that will address issues for groups of users, particularly where accessibility is a factor.)

    As always, if you have questions about how skins work or hit a problem, our Support team will be happy to help. Go forth and customise your Archive!


    Post Header

    2010-09-10 09:02:27 -0400

    The Archive Of Our Own is in a celebratory mood! We have a lot to celebrate, including a full year of running on our own servers, and the 100,000th work posted to the AO3 (lunarknightz' Only Makes You Stronger was lucky number 100k!)

    So we're going to mark the occasion with a Birthday Party, and everyone is invited! \o/

    The festivities will be held Monday 13 September from midnight to midnight UTC.
    (What is the starting time where I live? and What is the ending time where I live?)

    We'll be holding the party in the OTW's public discussion chatroom. Just head for this URL and type in the name you'd like to represent you, and you'll be in:

    Like any good first birthday party this one will involve gifts, decorations, and games.

    Gifts: We'll be offering commemorative graphics, and attendees can also win secret awesome surprise presents! And! We'll be celebrating the launch of an eagerly anticipated new feature or three.
    Decorations: The Archive logo will temporarily look a little...festive. \o/
    Games: We'll hold an uploading challenge, a few mini-recs festivals, an AO3 anthropomorphic chatfic challenge, a few instant polls, and more!

    Of course, the continuing growth and success of the AO3 as a permanent, stable, noncommercial, and nonprofit archive for transformative fanworks that is completely free to use for fans around the world needs your support! We'll need new servers, and more servers, and we'll also need more fans ready to help by learning to code, wrangle tags, answer support tickets, teach new volunteers, and...raise money and recruit new staff by writing posts like this one! Please consider making a donation or getting involved!


    *We don't plan to kick anyone out at midnight! Far from it, we tend to keep on celebrating -- but when we hit the end of our birthday day, we pass from structured fun into debauchery and dissolution unstructured fun!

    Also posted on the OTW blog at


    Post Header

    2010-09-09 18:57:32 -0400

    In a crazy break from tradition we held out meeting on Sunday this time, to allow me (AD&T's dedicated chair) to regather my brains after a week spent travelling and mostly offline.

    Server birthday - party plans!

    Last meeting we were looking forward to our plans for buying new servers. This time we were looking back - to the moment one year ago when we bought the first Servers of Our Own! Yes, the Archive's servers will celebrate their birthday on Monday 13th September! We're incredibly proud of everyone in the OTW and of fandom at large for making it possible for fandom to own the goddamn servers!

    We'll be holding a party to celebrate all this fannish awesome - watch out for more details shortly! We hope that lots of you will show up to celebrate the wonderful things that you have made possible.\0/

    We've got some extra special Archive tweaks planned to celebrate our servers' birthday - we decided to hold on the (VERY SHINY) new code we've been working on to make some final polishes so that we can deploy a really special release as our birthday gift to fandom.

    Next deploy - PARTY GIFTS

    As we reported in our last AD&T update, our next release will be chock full of delicious features! After many user requests and much anticipation, we'll finally be rolling out Skins and Mobile Exports! We know we're going to make lots of people happy with this release - not least us!

    In order to spiff up the new code and make it extra shiny, we've held onto it and put some additional polish. We're currently putting the finishing touches and testing to within an inch of its life, ready to deploy the new code just in time for the beginning of the 13th of September (somewhere in the world *g*).

    AO3 Search Plugin

    A while ago, our fabulous user Punk created a search plugin for Archive users. She's updated it to give better results - download it from the AO3 page at the Mycroft Project. If you were using the old plugin, you'll need to uninstall that before installing the new one. Thanks, Punk!

    Terminology change - pairings to relationships

    We're changing the name of the field currently known as 'Pairings' to 'Relationships' to reflect its purpose more clearly. If you're interested in reading more about how and why we made this decision, check out our post on the Anatomy of a Change.

    News from our sub-committees and sister committees

    • Coders have been working hard to get our last-minute improvements in before the birthday celebrations.

    • Testers have welcomed a new team co-lead, Kylie, and have been working to ensure that all our last-minute code is truly as shiny as it should be.

    • Tag wranglers were super-active as usual, and in addition to their regular business were responsible for spearheading the change from 'pairings' to 'relationships'.

    • Support welcomed a new commitee chair, Megan Westerby, and worked on some policy and long-term planning, while keeping up with their great work supporting our users on a day-to-day basis.

    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!


    Post Header

    2010-09-09 18:52:22 -0400

    Our upcoming release includes a small change in the terminology we use in work headers. We'll be changing from referring to 'Pairings' to using 'Relationships'. If you're posting new works, you'll see this change on the work form. If you're browsing the Archive, you'll see it on individual work headers.

    We've made this change in order to better reflect the diversity of romantic configurations (threesomes! moresomes! polyamorous relationships!), and to make it clearer that this field can also be used for friendships.

    Friendship tags work the same as pairing tags have worked in the past and, once the wranglers have wrangled them, take the canonical form "Sha Gojyo & Cho Hakkai" - this is what your friendship tags will look like in filters!

    We chose the term 'Pairings' originally because many fandoms use this in headers as a generic term for all relationships. However, in view of the fact that this does not apply across all fandoms, we think the new terminology is both clearer and more inclusive.

    Like many of the decisions made about the Archive, this small change involved consultation with lots of people. We thought our users might appreciate a little glimpse of how different committees work together to develop the Archive:

    1. Our volunteer tag wranglers, always looking for ways to increase fannish inclusiveness, pointed out that 'Pairings' is not a universal fannish term. They also raised the matter that while friendship tags were already in use within the AO3, most users didn't realise that the 'Pairings' field was the place we intended to hold those as well. They discussed the issue on the tag wrangling mailing list and recommended that a change to the name of the field to 'Relationships' would make its use clearer.

    2. The Tag Wrangling Committee (who manage the volunteer wranglers) examined the recommendation and discussed it with Support and International Outreach to get their feedback on the proposed change.

    3. Support agreed that the change would increase clarity for users, and pointed out that 'Relationships' is a more inclusive term which helps to avoid privileging a certain type of relationship over others, giving equal value to different configurations of romantic relationships and to non-romantic and non-sexual relationships.

    4. International Outreach discussed the issue and agreed that 'Relationships' would be more neutral and easier to translate more directly into the many different languages we hope to introduce to the archive.

    5. The Tag Wrangling committee summarised this discussion for the Accessibility, Design and Technology Committee and presented the proposed change.

    6. AD&T discussed the proposal with reference to the technical issues involved. Even though this is a very small change from the user's point of view, it involved changes to more than 70 different files in the project - the kind of tricksy change that can easily lead to an error creeping in. However, AD&T agreed that the change was worth making and passed the issue to the team of volunteer coders to implement.

    7. Senior coder Sidra made the change for the whole site. \0/

    This change ended up involving lots of our teams - the majority of Archive development only involves one or two committees and is correspondingly faster. We think this is an excellent demonstration of the value we place on our ability to discuss issues from diverse points of view, allowing us to draw on a variety of experience and expertise. Our diversity is our strength, and it reflects the diversity of our users and supporters. We wouldn't have it any other way.

    We believe that paying attention to issues like this, that seem small but have numerous implications, helps us to make the Archive accessible, inclusive, and welcoming to everyone. We welcome user feedback on all aspects of the Archive - just drop us a line via our Support and Feedback form.


    Post Header

    2010-08-26 17:28:24 -0400

    This meeting was small but perfectly formed, with quite a few of our members off on other business or pleasure.

    Plans afoot - new servers!

    The most exciting thing on AD&T's agenda this month was our meeting with our fantastic Systems committee to talk about upgrading the servers for the Archive! Although we bought our existing servers less than a year ago (their birthday is on the 10th September!) the Archive is already growing beyond their capacity - we now have more than 8000 users, who create more than a thousand new works each week! In this month's meeting we discussed what kind of setup we want to move to and set the process of getting quotes in motion - so exciting! The new servers will remove one of the main obstacles in the way of hosting fanart on the Archive, so we're extra excited about having this in sight. \0/

    Next deploy - shiny new features!

    Our work testing the new code on our Test archive is continuing, and we hope to deploy these new features to the real Archive by the end of August. This is going to be an awesome release with some hotly anticipated features!

    Mobile Exports

    Yes, you read that right, the forthcoming release will introduce the option to download works to enjoy offline on a variety of mobile devices! You'll be able to export works in mobi, epub and pdf formats! Lots and lots of users have asked for this feature, and with mobile devices like the Kindle getting ever more affordable we think this feature will be useful to lots of fans! A very special thank you to the lovely Meri_Oddities and Melina, who gave a little inducement to our coders to move forward on the plans for this feature in the form of a generous donation to the OTW and invaluable technical assistance. Their support made us very happy, and we know the results will make our users happy too!


    Yes, we've been babbling about these for some time now, and they are really on their way! We're jazzed about them both because we know fans love pretty customisation, and because they make it MUCH easier to cater for people with specific viewing requirements such as low contrast or large fonts. Accessibility is really important to us and we're happy to be able to introduce this feature.

    Invitations on the Archive!

    We'd like to remind everyone that the Archive is very much an open party! We're still invitation only, as we need to monitor the number of new users in case of unexpected problems, but everyone who joins our invitations queue wll receive an invitation, usually within a few days. In addition you can share the love by going to the Invitations tab under your user home and requesting some invitations to give out to your friends. If you want to run a challenge or move a larger community to the Archive, feel free to make a request for a larger number of invitations - just let us know what you want them for. We'd love to see a more diverse range of fandoms on the Archive - there are now over 5000, but some are definitely better represented than others!

    News from our sub-committees and sister committees

    • Coders are fixing bugs in the new code as our testers find them, writing automated tests, and trying to sneak other new features in under the nose of their chair *g*. They've also welcomed several new coders and run some fabulous training to help other coders develop,

    • Testers are working on our new set of code on the Archive, and thinking about the epic tasks ahead when we do our big upgrade to Rails 3.

    • Tag wranglers have been putting together new policies on terminology (there'll be a couple of changes in upcoming releases), talking about better handling for tags in challenges, and generally being busy.

    • Support have been busy busy bees as usual keeping up with a host of user queries, from problems with sign-ins to help on running challenges.

    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!


    Post Header

    2010-08-12 16:21:12 -0400

    Creating and editing a collection

    So, you've decided to run a gift exchange challenge. Awesome. Here's a guide to help you get started.

    1. Go to the Collections tab and click New Collection.

    A gift exchange is run within a Collection.

    New collection button, black text on white. To the left are Title, Date and Size buttons.

    2. You should see this screen:

    Screen headed New Collection, with suggestion text and a series of text boxes used to set up a new challenge.

    • Select owner pseudonym(s): Which pseudonym you'd like to be shown as the owner of the collection.

    • Icon: The icon (if any) you'd like to represent the challenge.

    • Parent collection: If this is a sub-set of another collection (for example, one year of a challenge that has been run for multiple years), enter the parent collection here.

    • Collection name: the name of the collection. For example, Annual_Example_Challenge_2010. This will define the URL (web address) of your challenge so there can be no spaces.

    • Display Title: For example, Annual Example Challenge 2010. There can be spaces here.

    • Email: If you've got a separate email address for running the challenge enter it here. If you haven't, by default email messages will go to the challenge owners.

    • URL for custom header: If you'd like to have a custom header for your challenge, enter the URL where the image can be found on either your own webspace, or that of a photo sharing site.

    • Brief description: A brief description of your challenge, which will show on the Collections main page and the Profile page.

    Series of tick-boxes with options for seting up a new challenge.

    • Is this collection moderated?: Tick this if you would like your collection to be moderated. If a collection is moderated any registered user can post to it, but all works must be approved by a moderator or owner.

    • Is this collection closed?: Tick this if your collection is Closed. If a collection is closed, no one can post to it. Remember to open it when asking people to post their works.

    • Is this collection currently unrevealed?: Tick when you would like to hide your challenge entries, untick when you would like to reveal them.

    • Is this collection currently anonymous?: Tick if you would like your challenge's works to be anonymous. Untick to reveal the authors of the works.

    • Would you like to show random stories on the front page instead of the most recent: Tick this if you'd like to show random works on the home page of the collection instead of the most recent.

    • If this collection is for a challenge, please choose the type: Select gift exchange from this drop down menu.

    The next three optional fields are where your Introduction, FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and Rules can be entered. These will appear on the Profile page. However, the Rules and FAQ become their own menu entries on the left-hand side once entered so they can be easily found by your participants.

    Menu with Dashboard at the top in white on black text, followed by menu items, Profile, FAQ, Rules and Parent Collection below.

    Note: If you are creating a sub-collection these will be inherited from the parent collection by default, but anything you enter in this sub-collection will take precedence.

    Gift Notification Message: In this field you can create a custom message that will appear in the emails when works are revealed and participants are notified of their gift. This is optional.

    To alter these at any time go to the Settings menu item, or select the Settings button at the bottom of the Profile screen.

    Black on white row of buttons. Signups button to the left, with Challenge Settings, Settings, Delete and Delete Challenge to the right.


    Depending on what sort of challenge you're running and its size, you may want to assign moderators and tightly control who can post to the collection. This is done on the Membership screen.

    To go there click the 'Membership' button on the challenge's dashboard or Profile page.

    Black on white row of buttons, Profile, Membership and Manage Items, from left to right.

    By default you will appear as an owner of the challenge. You can have multiple owners if there is someone or a few someones helping you run the challenge. Everyone you assign a role to must have an AO3 account. When you enter a name the site will search for AO3 user names.

    The roles it is possible to assign are:

    • Member: This person can post works to the challenge without prior approval.
    • Moderator: This person can approve/reject works, and add members.
    • Owner: The owner can approve works, assign pinch-hitters, and alter the sign-up form and FAQ and Rules fields. You can have multiple owners.

    • Invited: This functionality has yet to be rolled out.

    Note: By default, all registered users can post to a challenge, being a member of a challenge just means that they can post to a moderated challenge, and their work will be accepted without moderator approval.

    Sign-Up Form Settings

    To set up the challenge sign-up form go to Challenge Settings, this is near the bottom of the left-hand side menu.

    Menu with Dashboard at the top in white on black text, followed by menu items Profile, Parent Collection, Your Signup, Signups, Matching, Fandoms, Works, Bookmarks, Random Items, People, Tags, Challenge Settings which is highihgted in red with white text, and Settings.

    You should see this page:

    Sign up form headed 'Setting up the 2010 Example Challenge Gift Exchange. Below that is paragraphs of suggestion text and then a Schedule heading with a series of drop down menus with times.


    To set up the timings of your challenge, use the Schedule.

    Close-up of Schedule drop down menus with a sign-up open tick box at the top which is not selected.

    These times are only for information and will not automatically open sign-ups, close sign-ups or reveal works. This will all need to be done manually.

    The times will appear on the Profile page of the challenge.

    Sign Ups Open?

    The Sign Up open tick-box is where you open or close sign-ups. Leave this box unticked until you have your sign-up form ready.

    tickbox with sign up open? written beside it. it is not selected.

    Requests and offers

    Request and Offers sets the number of requests and offers you'd like the participants to use. You can set a required number (how many they need to have) and an allowed number (what is the maximum number they can have).

    Two rows of two text boxes with Required 1 and Allowed 1 on the top row, and Required 1, Allowed 2 on the second.

    In the example above, participants must be make at least one request and offer, but can make two separate offers if they chose.

    Then, you have to set the tag settings for the requests,

    A series of text boxes listing field names with a field beside each one for Required and Allowed numbers.

    and offers.

    Another series of text boxes listing field names with a field beside each one for Required and Allowed numbers.

    These will define what a participant's requests and offers can contain.

    • Optional tags: Click this if you would like to allow optional tags. These are tags that participants can add which will be matched on if possible, and allows your participants a little more flexibility with their requests and offers.
    • Details/Description: Tick Required if your challenge needs to include more details than just a relationship or fandom, and Allowed if you would like to give participants the choice to include more details.
    • URL : Tick Required if your challenge needs a URL (for example, where the participants works are archived) or Allowed if you would like to give participants the option of including one (for example, a link to a Yuletide letter).

    You can leave both of these blank if you like and select neither box.

    Now, you can define how many fandoms, relationships, or ratings participants are allowed to chose.

    To do this enter numbers into the required and allowed boxes. You do not have to fill in all of these, and if you are using automatic matching it will take a longer time to match them if you fill in too many.

    If you are running a challenge that is specifically for a given fandom or relationship or character, just leave that set of tag options set to no tags required or allowed -- don't put in that one tag as the only choice. Tag options should only be used where you want participants to have a choice.

    Next you can define what tags people can chose from when making their requests and offers.

    Seven text fields. Character, Relationship, Freefrom, Category, Rating and Warning are all blank, but Fandom has a series of fandoms listed in in separated by commas.

    In the example above, participants can choose from any of the fandoms listed in the fandoms field. Anything entered in these fields should be comma-separated and will auto-fill.

    Close up of Character text field. Buff is typed with auto-filled fields showing below listing, Buffy Summers, Buffybot, Pheobe Buffay ...

    Note: In all of the fields, you will only be able to choose canonical tags that are already in the AO3 system. If you wish to include a fandom, relationship, character or additional tag (freeform) which is not already in the system, please contact the Tag Wrangling Committee through the Support and Feedback form or via the Tag Wrangler's twitter account, @ao3_wranglers. When possible, the committee asks that these requests be lodged at least one month before opening a challenge, to give tag wranglers time to review and add necessary tags. The Committee can also add additional tags (freeforms) for members to add to their posted works as required.


    The next set of drop-downs determined the minimum level of matching that must occur in each field. That is, how many characters or fandoms must match between the participants to consider them a match. The simplest option is to chose to match them on Requests, meaning anyone with a Request matches another person with a Request, but this may not work for more complicated challenge with a variety of different tags in use.

    Image:List of drop down menus with numbers for minuimum number of matches to make. List includes Requests, Fandoms, Characters, Relationships, Freeforms, Categories, Ratings, Warnings.

    If you leave a 0 in the drop down it will not match on this field.

    Note: the most options that are chosen here the longer matching may take, and the harder it will be for matches to be found.

    Optional tags: If you chose to use optional tags above, you can choose what field(s) they are used to match on if possible.

    Next are three fields which define the challenge-specific instructions that will go with the sign-up form.

    You can also change the labels for the URL and Description fields if you are using them.

    Three large text boxes, and four smaller text boxes for changing labels in Sign-up form.

    For example, as seen above, if you are running a challenge where participants need to provide a link to where their fic is archived, you could call the field, 'My fic is located at:.'

    Remember: check the Sign-Up Form to make sure it's working how you'd like before opening it up for people to sign-up for the challenge.

    Now you're ready to open the sign-ups!

    To do this go to the Settings menu and tick the 'Signups open?' tickbox.

    Checking the Sign-Ups

    You can check the sign-ups as they come in by going to the sign-ups menu item on the challenge side-bar.

    Two rows of light pink boxes in a table with a summary of a sign up going horizontally.

    Here you can see what participants have chosen.

    To make the list easier to navigate (especially if you have multiple requests and offers) you can hide the descriptions using the Hide Descriptions button on the top of the screen. To bring them back click Show Descriptions.

    If you need to contact a participant for any reason you can click the envelope icon next to their username.

    Close up of a particpants name called aworldinside with Edit and Delete links to the left and red envelope icon to the right.

    If for any reason you wish to edit or delete a sign-up use the edit and delete links on the left hand side.

    You can also download an Excel spreadsheet of the sign-ups. To do this click the Download (Excel) button at the top of the screen.

    Close Sign-Ups

    Since the dates on the Schedule are provided only for information, you must close sign-ups manually.

    To do this go back to the Challenge Settings menu and untick the Signups Open tickbox.

    tickbox with sign up open? written beside it

    Sign ups are now closed.

    Generate potential matches

    Now you have closed sign-ups, let's do some matching for your gift exchange.

    Depending on the choices you made when you set up the Sign-Up Form this may not be necessary, or you may chose to manage the assignments manually. If so skip through to Adjusting Assignments

    To generate matches go to the Matching menu.

    There will only be information here once you have closed sign-ups.

    Matching menu item selected to the left, with a matching screen to the right. Headings for Pseud, Giving Gift to, Assigned Giver, Potential Gifver, and Write in Pinch Hitters. There are nothing below them.

    Click Generate Potential Matches.

    If your challenge settings mean that you don't require automatic matching, you will get a warning that the automatically generated matches will be at random. Click OK if you wish to continue.

    Grey warning box with Blue circle with a white question mark to the left.

    Matching can take a while depending on how big your challenge is and the criteria you have set.

    You will receive an email when the matching is complete.

    The matching screen should look something like this:

    Pink table with partipants names to the left, with names under Giving Gift To, drop down menus under Assigned Giver and a link titled Show 13 under Potential Givers. A field titled Write in Pinch Hitter is on the right.

    Adjust assignments

    You can adjust the assignments in two ways:

    1. Automatically

    To automatically adjust the assignments click 'Regenerate assignments' and the matching process will be run again.

    White button with black text titled Regenerate Assignments

    Note: Depending on your matching settings, this might not make a lot of changes to your assignments. If you alter something on the Challenge Settings Page then this may make more of a difference.

    2. Manually

    To adjust the assignments use the drop down menus.

    Image:Pink table with Assigned Giver drop down expanded.

    Note: If you adjust the assignments, they will not readjust automatically so that each participant has another writing for them. You will need to check them manually (or regenerate assignments).

    To see all the potential givers for any one participant use the links under the Potential Givers column.

    Image: Pink table with two row showing. One has Show 13 link expanded to show a list of participant names.

    Clicking on a potential users name brings up their sign-up.

    Image: Series of black text summarising a participants sign-up.

    Once you have finished click 'Update Assignments'

    White button with black text titled Update Assignments

    If you have any participants who don't have an assignment, it it will show up under 'Missing recipients'

    Assignments screen with extra box at the top under Missing Recipients. Drop down menu with a participant highlighted in blue under Pinch Recepient.

    Use the drop down menu to select the recipient and click 'Update assignments' and they will return to the main table.

    You can also chose to write in a pinch-hitter in the right-hand field. Pinch hitters do not have to be signed-up for the challenge, but must already have an AO3 account.

    Send assignments

    Once you are happy with the assignments, to send them to participants click 'Send Assignments.'

    White button with black text titled Send Assignments.

    All of the challenge maintainers will receive an email when the assignments have been sent to all participants.

    Managing Posted Works

    Once the assignments have been sent out you should now see this screen when you click Assignments (which has replaced Matching in the side menu).

    Light pink table with list of participants on the right, red envelope icons, and then list of who they are writing for. Work info says not posted for all participants. Tick boxes with Default on all rows. Not eelected.

    As participants post works this will be shown in this table.


    If you are running a moderated challenge, each work will have to be approved by an owner or moderator before it can be added to the collection.

    This is managed through Manage Items, which can be found on the profile page of the collection.

    White buttons with black text. From left to right: Profile, Membership, Manage Items.

    Use the drop-down menu under Collection Approved to either accept or reject the work.

    Pink table with a series of entries called 'awesome chalenge agan.' Creator column says aworldinside, Member column is Y, Creator approved column says approved. Collection approved drop down says approved, Unrevealed tick box is selected. On far right are two links, Manage and Delete.

    You also have to option to Remove a work, using the option on the right-hand side and to keep a work unrevealed from the rest of the collection using the Unrevealed tickbox.

    Works, once they are accepted, will be added to the collection (but will remain hidden until you reveal them) as well as any by users who are Members of the challenge and have therefore been pre-approved to post to it.

    If you are not running a moderated challenge, the works will be added to the collection automatically.

    Managing Defaulters

    If a participant has defaulted, use the tick box beside their name.

    Once they have been marked as a defaulter this will appear:

    Pink table with three rows under Defaulted Assignements. A pinch hitter field is shown blank. Three rows under Assignments appear below.

    To assign a pinch-hitter:

    Enter the pinch-hitter's archive username in the pinch-hitter field (again remembering they don't have to be already signed up for the challenge but do have to have an AO3 account). The field will auto-complete to check that the user has an AO3 account and this may take a second.

    Once you have done this click 'Assign' and an email with their assignment will be sent to them.

    Once a pinch-hitter has been assigned they will not appear on the main table on the Assignments screen, but will rather remain at the top of the screen in the separate pinch-hitters table. By default covered pinch-hits are hidden, and uncovered ones are shown, but to unhide covered ones click 'Show Covered Defaults.'

    Note: You can also default all participants who have not posted to the challenge by using the 'Default All Unposted' button at the top of the screen.

    White button with black text titled Default All Unposted.

    Close Challenge

    To close the challenge so no more gifts can be added, go to 'Challenge Settings' and tick the box beside 'Is this collection closed?'

    Tickbox with 'Is this collection closed selected. Is this collection currently unrevealed tickbox is unselected.

    You can of course chose to leave this open if you'd prefer. :)

    Reveal works

    It's time to reveal the works!

    To do this go to the Settings page for your challenge and untick the box that says 'Is this collection currently unrevealed? '

    You can leave the collection closed if you don't wish participants to add any more works.

    Tickbox with 'Is this collection closed selected. Is this collection currently unrevealed tickbox is unselected.

    You've successfully set up and run a gift exchange challenge on AO3. Congratulations! :)


    Post Header

    2010-08-09 17:27:19 -0400

    This isn't so much a meeting update as a general round-up of news from AD&T, since the writing up of reports, er... got away from me a little. But that means it is an extra tasty update!

    Recent updates

    We deployed new code to the Archive at the end of May - see the exciting list of new features in the Release 0.7.5. This release includes our new advanced search and a revamp to the HTML parser - this stuff was tricky to test and we're proud that the small amount of support requests suggests our testers did a great job of catching all the bugs!

    Coming soon - Skins!

    We're currently testing some awesome code on our Test archive. All being well, the next deploy will include the long-promised Archive Skins feature - you'll be able to choose from a range of lovely skins created by Archive staff, and create your own custom CSS. We know that lots of people have been looking forward to the opportunity to make the Archive look exactly the way that they want, and this will soon be possible! We're looking forward to seeing the beautiful designs people come up with. So exciting!

    Rails upgrade - Faster! Better! More sparkles!

    Our next big code project is to upgrade Rails, the application framework the Archive is built on. The latest version of Rails, v. 3.0, has lots of neat new features which will enable us to write much cleaner, faster code. In preparation for this change we have been writing lots and lots of automated tests, which will help us ensure we haven't broken anything in the move.

    Refactoring - Code makeover

    As we develop more automated tests and get ready to upgrade our version of Rails, we are also refactoring our code. Refactoring involves rewriting the code to make it much neater, more efficient and more beautiful. It's something which is necessary in all programming, but it's particularly important in a big project like ours with lots of contributors: by refactoring the code to make it more elegant, we make it easier for other people to work on it and smooth out any of the lumps and bumps which may have sprung up. Refactoring also improves the performance of code, and it's an important foundation for the next wave of development on the Archive.

    Internationalisation on the Archive

    We had a very exciting and productive conversation with the International Outreach Committee about the features the Archive needs in order to serve the fannish community internationally. All the work we have been doing on writing automated tests and refactoring will help a lot with developing our international features - we had to retire our old interface for translating the Archive because it caused some major performance issues, so we want to be sure that the new one we are planning will work smoothly. In addition to translations, we've also been discussing ways of improving our system for indicating the language of a work, browsing for works in particular languages, and setting useful defaults for language options. We're very lucky to have a brilliant International Outreach team who help us to see all the angles for our international membership - it's something we try to consider at all times, but it's very helpful having a team who are dedicated to this aspect of our work.

    Introducing the new Tag Wranglers committee!

    As most users know, the tags are the Archive are managed and organised by our behind-the-scenes team of dedicated and awesome tag wranglers. Until recently, tag wranglers were a subcommittee of AD&T, but there are now 133 volunteer wranglers working around the world to organise more than 99,666 tags, so it was high time for them to take on a more formal committee role. AD&T are very proud to see new committee chair Renay and her awesome team step out on their own: we'll be working closely with the new committee and we know that this change will help to ensure that Archive users continue to get a great experience.

    News from our sub-committees and sister committees

    • Coders are working hard on writing automated tests, refactoring, and getting ready for the Rails 3 upgrade.

    • Testers are working on our new set of code on the Archive, and giving the new Skins option a workout!

    • Tag wranglers have been adjusting to their new identity as a committee in their own right, figuring out some new policies, and generally being awesome.

    • Support continue to do awesome work, answering most requests within a couple of days. They are a small but dedicated team and we value their hard work! (Don't forget that if you need a response from Support, you must leave a contact email address.)

    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!


    Post Header

    2010-07-16 05:09:37 -0400

    Предлагаем вашему вниманию версию 2846 архива, которая приходит на смену версии 2732. Над этим релизом работали сразу девять человек! \0/ Нам особенно приятно отметить, что некоторые из наших новых программистов уже чувствуют себя достаточно уверенно для того, чтобы браться за все более сложные задачи! Мы также с огромным удовольствием приветствуем новых членов нашей команды бета-тестеров. :D

    Ключевые моменты

    Переработка кода и улучшение производительности

    Наши ведущие программисты по-прежнему упорно трудятся над переработкой некоторых ключевых фрагментов кода архива с целью улучшения его производительности. Этот процесс включает в себя редактирование программного кода для того, чтобы сделать его более простым, более понятным и более эффективным. В целом это можно сравнить с вдумчивой, очень тщательной вычиткой текста. Обновленный код должен обеспечить заметные улучшения в плане скорости работы сайта. Это текущий проект, так что работы над улучшением кода будут продолжены.

    Автоматическое тестирование

    Наряду со внесением изменений в программный код, мы также работали и над улучшением автоматических тестов, в чью задачу входит проверка корректности работы нашего кода. Они упрощают процесс переработки (очень удобно иметь под рукой быстрый способ проверить, не был ли код испорчен в процессе редактирования) и помогают удостовериться в том, что внесенные изменения не вызывают проблем. В этом отношении нам очень помогли наши новые программисты. Мы используем систему под названием Cucumber, которая дает возможность писать автоматические тесты в более дружелюбном интерфейсе, и мы ради видеть, что ее возможности привлекают все больше новичков.

    История просмотров

    Мы добавили несколько новых опций в историю просмотров - одну из наших самых замечательных функций, которая позволяет отследить, что именно вы читали в Архиве, чтобы вы могли легко найти тот рассказ с наручниками, который вы читали на прошлой неделе. (Видеть историю можете только вы; в любом случае эту функцию можно полностью отключить в настройках аккаунта.) Теперь появилась возможность полностью очистить вашу историю просмотров. Также был добавлен счетчик, который позволяет вам узнать, сколько раз вы просматривали любую из работ. Если вы все еще не используете историю просмотров, то сейчас самое время начать - в будущем мы планируем существенно расширить эту функцию.

    Известные проблемы

    Со списком известных проблем вы по-прежнему можете ознакомиться в соответствующем разделе сайта.


    Pages Navigation