AO3 News

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2010-03-16 15:41:03 -0400

The information in this news post is out of date. It is being kept for archival purposes. The Tag Wrangling Committee is working on new documentation that represents the current state of tags. You can view our current wrangling guidelines for more accurate information.

What are metatags?

Metatags are a new form of tag that add to the ability of the Archive of Our Own to manage hierarchies and ambiguities in our tagging systems. They will let us deal with real person fiction, shared universes, and other complex tag relationships much more effectively. For example, the Spock metatag (illustrated below) contains Mirror!Spock, Spock Prime, Reboot!Spock, and Girl!Spock as subtags.

The Spock metatag

Metatags act as a "basket" for other tags, whilst remaining a usable tag themselves. They collate tags, in order to group similarities and to make browsing easier. Tags which have been grouped together become subtags. In a real world example, "fruit" could be a metatag, and "apples" and "oranges" could be subtags.


How will metatags help me browse?

Metatags will help you because they allow you to both see everything that's related and to narrow your focus.

For example, if you browse the fandom metatag for "Star Trek" you will retrieve all works which have been tagged with related fandoms - "Star Trek: The Original Series", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Star Trek (2009)", and so on. You will also retrieve works which have just been tagged with the fandom tag "Star Trek", which could conceivably be any of the aforementioned fandoms.

You will still be able to browse the works tagged with a specific tag, for example "Star Trek: The Original Series" instead, but in bringing these tags together you have more chances finding what you are interested in, since users may tag differently.

Because metatags can be used to filter very generally, it will now be easier to narrow your focus by filtering on their subtags. See the example in the following table, where you can choose to only browse stories tagged with Girl!Spock rather than the generic Spock.

Filtering by metatags and their subtags

What other changes will I see?

Because metatags are new, we're still working out some of the finer details on how to use them. We'll be running some more posts on tag wrangling and how it works in the near future.

Our intrepid team of tag wranglers need to recategorise the existing tags on the Archive in order to take advantage of the new functionality. You may notice some inconsistencies or changes while this process is going on - please bear with us! If you notice something which seems like a mistake, then you can let us know via the Archive support and feedback form, but if it's non-urgent, then please wait a few days in case the tag wranglers just haven't reached it yet!


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2010-03-16 08:14:39 -0400

A big deploy is imminent!

We'll be deploying a whole bunch of new code to the Archive of Our Own this afternoon (North American time). There are lots of shiny new features in this release:

  • New front end! (The Archive is having a facelift and will look a bit different after this deploy.)
  • New collections and challenges code!
  • New tags code!

Full release notes coming after the deploy.

We'll post to the AO3_Status Twitter before we begin the deploy, and again once it's complete. The site will be down for a (hopefully) brief period while we deploy, and will return with many shiny new things!


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2010-03-08 00:46:15 -0500

It's been a busy month, inside and outside the OTW, which is why this meeting report is *cough* a little belated. In AD&T we've been continuing to do lots of work on getting our house in order, liaising with other committees, and overseeing the CRAZY amounts of work done by our subcommittees \0/

Deploy schedule

Our deploy schedule has been shifting around due to the immense amounts of work done by our coders! However, we deployed lots and lots of new code to our Test archive on the 5th March \0/ More News about its progress to the main archive site in the next meeting report.

Cool admin stuff

An intrepid group of AD&T-ers met with Support and other interested people to talk about our process for managing our Google code issues and feature requests. This sounds dull as ditchwater, but in practice it should mean that we do a much better job of keeping track of bugs and features when they're being passed from one team to another, which means everything should run a lot faster (good news for our users). Even more excitingly, we started drafting out a plan for a more public feature requests interface, so that users can give us more input on what they want (you'll still be able to communicate privately if you prefer).


Our coders continue to do a phenomenal amount of work - although it's been a while since we dropped new code, this is because they have been engaged in massive feats of coding which affect huge swathes of the Archive and had to be bundled together. It's coming very soon - watch out for more news.

We've welcomed several new coders - Ronan, amc and Ira all committed their first new code - and we're looking at our training to see how we can make it easier for more people to get involved.

Tag wranglers

Our brilliant new tag wrangler leads, Renay and dizmo, have been working like crazy to manage their giant group of volunteers and improve the way tag wrangling works. They've also been gearing up for the exciting new tag wrangling code interface, which includes lots of things that will make for much better organisation - coming SOON to an archive near you!


Our testers have been conducting a massive regression test (where they check the whole Archive to see nothing hinky has crept in), while waiting for the new code to give them even more work to do!

Cool stuff on the way

  • Tag only edit - Everyone has been wanting this for a LONG time and it's finally becoming a reality!
  • User icons - Another thing we've been wanting for FOREVER and will finally be getting!
  • Accessible code - The big front end changes which have been made by the lovely lim involved a lot of rewriting code to make it validate. This means it will be a lot more accessible, and if you're someone who's been frustrated by some of the oddities which had crept in to our front end code, the upcoming revisions should make you happy. Users of assistive technology will be especially benefited.

It's wonderful working with this amazing, dedicated team of people - even when it seems like we're being quiet, there's always a hive of activity underneath the surface.

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. As a trial, we're opening comments on the mirrored versions of these posts (although we may switch back if it turns out to hinder things). Everyone is welcome to this party!


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2010-02-14 15:11:37 -0500

First fully-fledged AD&T meeting of the year! This week we got stuck into some of the issues carried over from last year, and started thinking about our major plans for next year.

Deploy schedule

Over the last few months, we've had a LOT of new code pushed to the site (you may have noticed *g*). We have two more big things in the pipeline (our front end review and a big enhancement for tags) and before those go live, we're taking the time to do a full regression test. This means that our testers will go through the whole site and check that everything is behaving as it should. Depending on how well this testing goes, we're planning:

  • 14 February: deploy to Test - tags and front end code!
  • 26 February: a second deploy to Test - more Collections code and a few more front-end tweaks
  • 5 March: deploy to Beta

Planning for 2010

We've been brainstorming about all the things we'd like to do this year. This is a process we're continuing over the next week or so, but the number of things on out list is already reaching scary proportions. We'll be doing a dedicated post on this once we finish our list, but stuff we're definitely planning to do this year includes:

  • More Collections and Challenges stuff: we have a lot more code to go in and are planning another couple of test cases to check it's all working out.
  • Performance and efficiency: we know our code can get a lot faster, sleeker and more manageable, and we'll be doing some behind the scenes work on this.
  • Search and browse: we REALLY want to improve our search and browse functions.
  • Skins and viewing options: we've been promising them for a while, but we will get there!


If you'd like to see a few statistics on the Archive, check out our post on AO3 statistics: January/February 2010.


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. As a trial, we're opening comments on the mirrored versions of these posts (although we may switch back if it turns out to hinder things). Everyone is welcome to this party!


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2010-02-14 14:59:44 -0500

A few statistics on the works in the AO3, for the curious!

As of today, 14th February 2010, we have:

  • 5404 users
  • 5340 fandoms
  • 57128 works

The fandom with the most works posted is Harry Potter (3727 works), closely followed by Stargate Atlantis (3262) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2885). This isn't too surprising, but we'd love to see other fandoms give them a run for their money. Whether you're a fan of movies, anime, gaming, obscure 1950s audio plays, or pretty much anything else, you're welcome here!

A few lovely pie charts courtesy of our awesome 2009 chair Maia, showing the number of works in different categories:

AO3 Works by Wordcount, 22 January 2010

AO3 Works by Category, 22 January 2010


AO3 Works by Rating, 22 January 2010


AO3 Works by Warning, 22 January 2010


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2010-02-01 12:45:50 -0500

First Accessibility, Design and Technology meeting of the year! For those of you who are new to this party, AD&T is responsible for designing and overseeing software projects for the OTW, which at present means we are responsible for the Archive of Our Own. We had a great (and very busy) year in 2009, and we're looking forward to more great stuff in 2010. \0/

Our brilliant 2009 chair, Maia, has passed her shiny AD&T crown to me, Zooey Glass (so the meeting posts for 2010 will be from me). It's quite intimidating taking over from such a great chair, but she's sticking about and will be acting as our Release Manager (organising the release of new code onto the Archive), so she'll be helping to make sure her legacy is continued *grabs on tight*

This week's meeting was mostly to welcome the fab new committee. I'm happy to have lured back most of last year's members (one or two have stepped down to focus on other commitments), as well as four new people! Our introductions revealed a wide range of experience - fannish and real life - and a lot of enthusiasm. I feel privileged to be working with such a great team.

In order to reduce the pressure on committee members, we're having less regular meetings this year, so you'll be seeing meeting reports every other week instead of every week (we originally stepped up to weekly meetings when getting ready for Open Beta and, er, forgot to switch back). However, this doesn't mean we'll be doing less work - we'll be beavering away on our subcommittees and discussing things via email.

Even though we've technically been on break, it is hard to get AD&T and its subcommittees to rest! There's been some exciting coding work going on over the last months: lim has been conducting a massive review of our front-end code, bringing order where there was chaos and making sure it all validates. In the back-end, Elz has been working on some major changes for tag wrangling - faster! better! with metatags! It's not quite ready to go live yet, but we'll post more details when it is done.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be working out our priorities for 2010 and getting rolling with a new wave of work. AO3 2010: even more shiny to come!

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. As a trial, we're opening comments on the mirrored versions of these posts (although we may switch back if it turns out to hinder things). Everyone is welcome to this party!


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2010-01-09 06:15:06 -0500

Welcome to Release or Revision 2101, up from 2050. This is a bug-fixing release and as such is mostly composed of minor changes.

Our next deploy will probably be late January.


Collections & Challenges!

  • You can now reveal works one item at a time
  • Navigation links added to fandoms from the collections home page and the index


  • We've done some maintenance on the filters so that if your works weren't being filtered properly before, they should be now. Please let us know if you encounter any problems.
  • If you have a work marked as No Fandom you may wish to update it

Known Issues

See Known Issues page

Release Details


  • Fixed autocomplete on bookmark external works
  • Fixed remix not showing on preview if added on edit
  • Fixed redirects for admin-only pages
  • Fixed problem editing bookmark of a deleted item
  • Fixed Collection home pages not displaying both fandom and work counts
  • Fixed Collection displaying tags for unapproved works
  • Fixed author in browser page title displaying on anonymous series
  • Fixed problem with overlapping Login block and tabs resulting from fixed-font browser preferences
  • Fixed problem with Help Links displaying illegibly in a browser that is using font and background preferences

New Things

  • Added ability to translate login dialogue into multiple languages
  • Added redirect to login page for when people try to create bookmarks when not logged in


  • Hid 'bookmark this user' link when you're logged in and looking at yourself
  • Improved the way anonymity/unrevealed state of items in a Collection is handled
  • Upgraded search plugin thinking sphinx to resolve problem with finding extraneous works
  • Changed redirect on deleting a chapter to point to work view
  • Changed error message: fandoms page for non-existent media should trigger 404 instead of 500
  • Changed Collections link in Site map to reflect it now existing :)
  • Refactored comment code to make it faster

Love, AD&T


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2010-01-08 12:25:54 -0500

Hi everybody! Just a heads up that we're deploying new code and doing some database maintenance tomorrow morning (Saturday, US eastern time), so the Archive Of Our Own will be down for a few hours.

Stay tuned to our Twitter account, AO3_Status for more information. (Archive status information is also embedded on the front page of the OTW site.)


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