AO3 News

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2010-04-06 17:11:39 -0400

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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2010-04-03 17:58:39 -0400

This was a bit of a gruelling meeting, because it was held immediately after our All-Org meeting (two hours of hearing about the awesome things going on in other teams \0/). Because my team are totally insane extremely dedicated, we then had an extra-long meeting. We overwork because we care, people.


  • We're currently reviewing the Archive FAQ to ensure it's clear, accessible and comprehensive. The best people to tell us whether it does its job are the people who will use it - you, the Archive users! If you'd like to help us out, check out our post on how to help review the Archive FAQ.
  • We are currently reviewing the Archive of Our Own roadmap and updating it. The roadmap maps out the main features which will be built into the Archive, and shows roughly where they fit into our plans. The version currently available to the public is a bit outdated, so once we finish revising it we'll post a shiny new copy for people to see and comment on. :D
  • Archive user punk has created a Firefox search plugin for the Archive. (Thanks, punk!) We're planning to create a new page where we can feature cool stuff created by users \0/.
  • We launched our new import from brain feature on the Archive - oh, how we wish it were real!

Recent changes

We just deployed a 'small' release of 50 issues to the main Archive - check out Release notes for Release Highlights in this release include the new plain text skin (yeay Cesy \0/) and commits from new coders Amy, queenypolita and linbot. Many thanks to all the coders and testers for the increible hard work that went into this release.

If you'd like to help check that all this new code works, please check out our post on verifying new code.

Deploy schedule

  • Sunday 4 April: We hope to deploy the next block of code for Collections and Challenges to our Test archive.
  • Saturday 10 April: All being well, we will deploy the new Collections and Challenges code to the main Archive - this will include the ability to match compatible participants in exchange 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!


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2010-04-03 12:21:49 -0400

Welcome to Revision 2452, up from 2380. This release tackles a number of front-end bugs and adds a few enhancements. We're happy to welcome first commits from new coders Amy, linbot and queenypolita.


  • New plain text skin - this replaces the icons in the works blurb with text. We'll be adding many more skins options in the near future, but for now you can enable this one via your preferences.
  • Fixed the bug which was preventing commenting in IE7.

Known Issues

Please see Known Issues.

Release Details

Bug fixes

  • Release (emergency revision before this one): fixed validation problem preventing challenge sign-ups with certain urls.
  • Fixed issue preventing commenting in IE7.
  • Fixed problem with layout of 'Add comment' on tag wrangling pages.
  • Fixed bug causing the Terms of Service to overspill their box when validation failed during account creation.
  • Fixed display issue with long titles overlapping the date on inbox comments.
  • Fixed problem with the display of blockquotes in comments.
  • Fixed problem causing multiple commas and other display issues on the works blurb in IE7.
  • Fixed display problem displacing index of admin posts (admin view).
  • Fixed problem where full comment notification was not stored in the database.
  • Updated logo on session pages.
  • Fixed display problems with end notes on work preview.
  • Fixed formatting on navigation for tag wrangling discussion.
  • Fixed display issues on bookmarks index.
  • Fixed styling inconsistencies on navigation for Collection Management.
  • Fixed styling issues on admin views of user pages.
  • Decreased size of notes field on bookmarks for better display.
  • Fixed overlap issues with stats and edit buttons on works you own.
  • Fixed display issues with admin posts in IE7.
  • Fixed problem causing missing navigation on some collections.
  • Fixed problem causing empty ul on challenge sign-up pages.
  • Fixed display issue with chapter navigation.
  • Restored the new comment form to being hidden by default.
  • Fixed problem causing 500 errors when trying to access non-existent collections.
  • Fixed problem with sorting on tag wrangling pages.
  • Added alt text for icons on tag wrangling home.
  • Added better redirect after mass wrangling tags.
  • Fixed problem where tag category menu was hidden on wrangling pages if it had no existing tags.
  • Fixed display issue where works blurb partly covered 'My Works' link in user dashboard.
  • Fixed display issues with icons in comments in user inbox.
  • Fixed problem with icon layouts on people and pseuds page.
  • Added meta information for Archive homepage.
  • Fixed problems with 'inspired by' notifications for anonymous works.
  • Fixed bug where filtering for authors and reccers was bringing up 'empty' users.
  • Added colon after 'Series' link in the work meta.


  • Updated the text in the 'first login' pop-up to reflect new warnings wording and to be more inclusive.
  • Added a preference for a plain text skin.
  • Changed Archive icons so that they are displayed by CSS image replacement. (Allowed us to introduce the plain text skin.
  • Reorganised and styled user preferences.
  • Improved behaviour of Viewing History so that rereading a work moves it back to the top of your history.
  • Added comment notifications for tag wrangling comments.
  • Added link to bookmarks from stats on work view page.
  • Added link from the home page to the full News index.
  • Added more information in notification emails for 'Inspired by' works.
  • Optimised fonts for quicker download. Custom font will no longer be shown on handheld devices (except those, like the IPhone, which ignore handheld stylesheets.
  • Added pagination at the top as well as the bottom of Collections.
  • Renamed external bookmark link, and added link to it on all bookmark pages.


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2010-04-01 06:30:21 -0400

As usual, Accessibility, Design and Technology have been working hard on developing more shiny new features for the Archive of Our Own. In upcoming weeks we'll have new code for running gift exchanges on the Archive and the first version of Archive skins, and we'll be looking for more input from users. Today we're proud to unveil a cool new feature coded by our awesome volunteer Bod.

How many times you had that wonderful story idea you didn't have time or energy to write? Are your wrists killing you? Worry no more: the Archive of Our Own now allows you to import directly from your brain, using the new neuro/USB 3.0 port technology.

In order to use this feature:

  • Go to 'Import' (linked at the top right-hand of the screen) and choose "Import from Brain".
  • Focus intently on the scenes you wish to write. It works better to limit yourself to two or three at a time.
  • Press the 'Submit' button.

Note that you need to have a neuro/USB 3.0 adapter implant and associated drivers installed to your computer to use this feature.

The new feature is still in beta, so please be aware that there might be typos, minor translation mistakes and unusual background feedback to your brain. There is also a known issue with character names defaulting to 'Adam Lambert' when a user is distracted during import. Preview your work and check carefully before posting. If you encounter any bugs or problems, please let us know via the Support and Feedback form.

One of the great things about working on the Archive is that we're able to make cool ideas a reality. We would like to thank James@dreamwidth for bringing this wonderful idea to us, and we hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!


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2010-03-27 06:28:44 -0400

Help review the Archive FAQ!

Our goal for the Archive of Our Own is that it should be as accessible and usable as possible. An important aspect of this is documentation - we want our FAQ to be clear and useful. It's a big job writing documentation for a site like the Archive, and we'd love our users' feedback. When we have completed our review of the FAQ, our wonderful translators will be translating it, making the Archive even more accessible to international users.

If you are a user of the Archive and you'd like to help, please do the following:

  1. Pick a section (or part of a section) on the Archive FAQ and read through it carefully. (It's a good idea to check the comments here to see what has already been discussed.)
  2. Think about the following:
    • Is it clear and understandable?
    • Does it tell you what you need to know about the feature it describes?
    • Is it accurate? (Some things on the Archive may have changed since it was written!)
    • Does it use exclusive language (for example, does it involve descriptions that would only work for sighted users?)
  3. Leave a comment on this post noting anything you think we need to change. Tell us:
    • The section and question(s) you're commenting on.
    • Any wording which is unclear or problematic (and suggestions for improvements if you have them).
    • Anything which is inaccurate.
    • Any questions which are not answered at all.
    • Anything else you think we should know.


Section reviewed: Importing and mass editing.

Question: 'How do I import a single work?'
- It says 'you'll see the import form' - biased to sighted users. Could say 'The import form will load'.
- It says you have to go to the 'Post New Work' form but there's also a link on the main page.

Question: 'How do I import a chaptered work?'
- This section is a bit confusing, the formatting should make it easier to see that there are different instructions for importing from and from other sites.


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2010-03-24 12:11:02 -0400

Accessibility, Design and Technology would like to wish you a happy Ada Lovelace Day!

As the committee responsible for designing and building the Archive of Our Own, one of the largest female majority open source projects on the web, we're thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate women in technology.

The first code for the Archive of Our Own was committed in January 2008. Some stats for the lifetime of the project:

  • 73669 lines of code
  • 30 different people committing code
  • 2238 code commits
  • 276 people involved with the Archive in some capacity (as coders, testers, tag wranglers, or support team members) - not all of these people are active at the same time, but we think this is still pretty impressive!

We polled our volunteers to find out a little more about them before Ada Lovelace Day, and the charts below give a picture of some of their responses:

Bar chart showing gender distribution among contribtors to the Archive of Our Own

Bar chart showing the range of roles undertaken by volunteers for the Archive of Our Own

Approximately 97% of the people contributing code to the project and 93% of all Archive volunteers identify as female - this is a dramatic difference to the majority of open source projects on the web, and we think it's well-worth celebrating! Our sense of achievement doesn't arise from the fact that we're a female-dominated organisation, however, but from the fact that we've been able to share skills and enable people to become involved in things which they might otherwise have been excluded from.

Twenty-nine percent of our volunteers describe themselves as having no experience of working on technology projects before they joined us, and forty-eight percent say they only had a small amount of experience. Among our coders, a third had NO knowledge of coding before they joined, and very few people had worked extensively in Ruby on Rails, the core framework on which the Archive is built. Contributors to the project have learnt Ruby on Rails, CSS, systems administration, documentation skills, project management, quality assurance, information management skills, and much, much more. We've been able to develop a strong female-majority team because of a culture of encouraging the new and inexperienced - this benefits women, who are less likely to have experience of working on technology projects, but we hope that it also makes our project a more welcoming one for everyone.

One of the most exciting things about seeing this project from the inside is the fact that it is truly collaborative. The work of our 30 code committers takes place in the context of a massive amount of other work: designs are worked out collaboratively, documentations people help us keep track of all the things we're working on, testers ensure that the code does what it's supposed to, tag wranglers organise the content on the Archive, and the support team work incredibly hard to make sure our users have a great experience. Whereas in some open-source projects, the work of non-coders is seen as less important, we enjoy an atmosphere of shared endeavour in which everybody's contribution is celebrated. By working closely together, we also enjoy lots of cross-pollination, and we've seen many people move from testing to coding, or coding to support, developing new skills in the process. About 41% of volunteers on the project serve in more than one role - we believe that by providing space for people who want to specialise while allowing those who like diversity to branch out, the whole project is enriched.

We're proud of our enthusiastic, skillful, supportive team of volunteers, of all genders, and we believe that Ada Lovelace is a great time to celebrate a culture which welcomes everyone. In that spirit of inclusiveness, we'd like to close this post with some comments from the people from our teams:

The sense of community, inclusive of the most occasional tester and casual reader to the most dedicated coder and systems-person, is just so wonderful.

[One thing I'm excited about learning:] Learning how to test in general & regression testing in specific, and learning how to use the issues tracker for google code. It's fun! Testing has a great mentor, Eylul, it's easy to pick up and learn, and it's really satisfying when you see a fix for a bug you've discovered or tested make its way onto the archive.

[One thing I'm excited about learning:] Acquiring new skills (which I'm still doing): Ruby on Rails. It gives me great satisfaction, especially as I am out of work.

The development of the Archive of our Own is just a phenomenal thing to see. This big undergoing with every deploy, how everyone comes together to get this new release on its way. How many people with different jobs it takes to build this software and how people step up and pitch in and help out, regardless of if it is in their "job description", is really inspiring to me.

I really love that we're all working as a team (even people I don't see or know as they're on different parts of the project) to create something that's being used by thousands of people. It adds to a part of my life that until now, I've only really been an observer in, not a participant.

I'm really excited that I managed to leap in and work with a bunch of people I'd never met before, and am having a great time doing it. And I've learnt how to use a lot of tools, like google code [coders' bug management system], campfire [the OTW's chatroom] and 16bugs [AO3 Support's bug management system] that I'd never even heard of before.

Okay, and one more thing -- even though my part in the whole is tiny, I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time an update is deployed to the archive. I'm continually delighted by the fact that there can be so very many fingers in the pie, and it still ends up being a *pie* (that's tasty and delicious!)

We're happy to be sharing our pie with fandom at large! Happy Ada Lovelace Day!


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2010-03-22 11:59:51 -0400

We skipped a meeting update on account of being very busy! However, we've been getting through lots of stuff, and you may have noticed a *cough* small deploy and its associated documentation. I took a week off to prepare for my PhD viva, but my awesome team definitely did NOT slow down in my absence *loves*

Recent changes

We deployed lots of new things in Release 0.7.3, followed by a few crucial bugfixes in Release and

Our big deploy included a lot of front-end changes which should make the Archive much more stable and accessible. As always, if you notice a problem then please let us know via the support and feedback form. We're especially keen to deal with any issues which impact on accessibility - it's hard for us to test every possible scenario, especially where assistive technology is concerned, so please don't be shy about letting us know if something isn't working for you.

We're experiencing a known issue with our new HTML parser, which tidies up your HTML for display. The last update made it much faster and less memory-intensive, but it also inadvertantly introduced a couple of bugs in display, notably a problem with it 'eating' white space (OOPS). Our fabulous coders are working hard to fix this - please bear with us in the meantime!

Deploy schedule

We're hoping to deploy the code needed for matching participants in gift exchange challenges in the next two weeks - our stalwart team of testers are standing by waiting for the wonderful Naomi to finish coding!

Cool stuff coming up

  • The new collections and challenges code which will (we hope) complete the functionality needed to run exchange-type challenges on the Archive! We're excited to be working with the mods of multi-fandom challenge Remix Redux who have bravely volunteered to be our test case for this part of the code.
  • Once the exchange challenge code is in, we'll be turning our attention to building the necessary code for other types of challenges. Users who have been following us for a while may remember us collecting scenarios for different kinds of collection and challenge - we're using these to help us develop tools which will cater to a wide variety of fannish events.
  • Skins! We've been promising them for a long while, and we finally signed off on a beautiful design for them. Now we just have to snare a couple of coders to implement them... we're hoping this will come soon!
  • Advanced search and browse! This is a big job, so it will be a while before we can actually implement it, but the wonderful Sidra is pulling together all our design and planning on this and putting together a revamped search and browse functionality. When it comes it should improve performance as well as usability, so we're pretty excited to have someone who's able to tackle it!

New tutorials for the Archive!

You may have noticed that we posted a few tutorials recently offering guidance about new features on the Archive. This is something we're hoping to do more of in future, and to make them easier to find we've created a new Tutorials section on the Archive FAQ. If there's a topic you'd particularly like a tutorial for, please let us know! Likewise, if you have written a tutorial you'd like to share, send us a link and we'll consider adding it to the site.

News from our subcommittees and sister committee

I'm so proud of the dedication and hard work of everyone involved with the Archive. <3

  • Coders are hard at work fixing bugs and beginning on the implementation of the next round of cool stuff! We're also working on improving training for new people.
  • Testers have been working hard to get all the latest code tested and onto the live Archive. They'd love some help verifying the latest code to hit the Archive - if you think you could help then please check out our post on verifying new code.
  • Tag wranglers have been running around in a very excited manner celebrating the introduction of metatags. They're now buckling down to rewrite policies taking into account the new code, and recategorising tags. \0/
  • Support (our sister committee) deserve a big shout-out for their hard work keeping users informed and speedily responding to problems - they've answered a phenomenal amount of requests in the last month. AD&T are super-grateful for their work communicating with users and letting us know about priorities for bugfixes.

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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2010-03-17 18:18:17 -0400

Welcome to Revision 2375, up from 2364. This was a mini-release dealing with a few urgent bugs.

19/03/2010 - Revised release notes including another tiny release, which brings us to revision 2380!


  • Fixes for some of the more annoying visual bugs relating to comments.
  • Performance enhancement - when you run a search, the results will no longer be limited to 1000 per page, and the grey filter boxes will no longer be displayed. The filters on this page were causing a lot of slowdowns, so performance should be improved, and as a bonus it will be easier to get to older works \0/

Known Issues

Please see Known Issues page.

Release Details


  • Fix for problem with work icons rearranging themselves and overlapping when font sizes were changed.
  • Fix for 'date edited' overlapping 'date posted' on comments.
  • Fix for comments becoming misaligned in large page sizes.
  • Fix for tag wrangling pages becoming broken when an admin commented.

Bugs fixed in Revision

  • Fixed bug which caused drafts to show up in Search.
  • Fix for question marks breaking tag links.
  • Fix for notifications of comments on tag wrangling pages breaking inbox.
  • Fix for long comment threads on tag wrangling pages causing errors.
  • Fix for incorrect links in tag wranglers' comment notification emails.


  • Filters removed from search page and search results no longer limited to 1000.


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