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International Fanworks Day

The sixth annual International Fanworks Day will take place on February 15, 2020 and the OTW has many activities planned to mark the occasion, including some exciting new events as well as a few old favorites. Whoever you are and wherever you’re logging in from, the OTW cordially invites you to celebrate IFD with us!

Check out the post below to find out what we have on the menu for the days leading up to February 15.

1. IFDrabble: A few weeks ago, we put out a call for drabbles, drawbles and other short fanworks based on the prompt: “characters react to discovering fanworks they are in.” What if Aang and the gaang picked up some fanworks and started comparing who has more fans? Or what if Bucky Barnes got onto AO3 and learned of Steve Rogers’s plan to go back in time without bringing him along?

There is still time to create and post your response to the challenge, using the AO3 tag ‘International Fanworks Day 2020’ so that we can find your works. Vidders, artists, writers, podficcers, and all other creators are invited to contribute. On social media, use the #IFDrabble tag and who knows? We might signal boost your work. We will be reblogging, retweeting and reccing a selection of IFDrabbles from now until IFD.

2. Favorite Fanworks Tropes: This event is for fanworks creators and consumers and your response can be as long or short as you prefer. Here’s what to do: go onto social media or leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite fanworks tropes. Do you love fix-it fics? Soulmarks? Omegaverse or ABO? Maybe you can’t stop reading time-travel plots. Whatever the trope, tell us what it is and why you love it!

If you’re on social media, remember to tag your post with #IFD2020 and OTW social media moderators could signal boost your post on the official accounts.

But that’s not all. Maybe you have a particular fanwork that took this trope and made you fall in love with it. If so, bookmark it now and take a look at the next event below.

3. Feedback Fest: This one’s for the fanworks consumers! Feedback Fest is a chance to show your favorite fanworks some love, and to get some great recommendations from others. We will publish a Feedback Fest post on February 13th, explaining how you can participate and share your recs with others. In the meantime, keep an eye out for your favorite fanworks by bookmarking and saving URLs.

4. Fanlore Challenge: Fanlore is participating in IFD, too! Every day from February 10-16, Fanlore will post different challenges on their Tumblr, their Twitter, their Dreamwidth, and on Fanlore itself for all editors to participate in. How well do you know your fandom? It’s time to show off your knowledge and contribute to the Fanlore wiki!

5. Games and Fan Chat: On the big day itself, February 15th, the OTW will be hosting a chat in a Public Discussion chat room. Join us between 23:00 UTC February 14th (What time is that where I live?) and 04:00 UTC February 16th (What time is that where I live?) for word games, creation challenges, trivia, and the ever-present stream of chat with other fans! Places in the chat room are limited and last year, demand was high, but if you don’t get in the first time then please try again later! The chat room will be moderated in English by OTW volunteers. We will post a detailed games and activities schedule before the day itself.


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2019-11-25 09:11:58 -0500

Fanlore: 50,000 pages

Fanlore, the collaborative fandom wiki from the Organization for Transformative Works that anyone can edit, is celebrating a huge milestone: 50,000 pages! Would you like to come celebrate with us?

If you haven’t heard of Fanlore, it’s a multi-fandom, free and open wiki that was designed to be a living, evolving record of fandom’s past and present: created by fans, and maintained by fans. Like AO3, Fanlore was launched in 2008, and since then, fans have made more than 900,000 edits across more than 50,000 pages to record tropes, communities, meta, memes, fanworks, fannish perspectives and much more.

Fanlore is open for anyone to edit – all you need to do is create an account. Any edits, big or small, are welcome! You don’t need to be an expert, or have been in fandom for a long time, to contribute. The wiki wouldn’t have gotten to where it is without the dedication, perseverance and experiences of thousands of fans over the years who have added to and edited Fanlore.

Recently, Fanlore editors have been working to document hundreds of fannish Yahoo! Groups before they’re deleted in December, and last year fans took to Fanlore to document the history of fandom on Tumblr in the midst of the Tumblr NSFW Content Purge. But it isn’t just about big historical events or fandom migrations – every corner of fandom, from the Hanahaki Disease trope to A/B/O, massive fan archives to tiny niche ships, has a place on Fanlore. Try searching for your favorite character or ship! You could add something of your own to those pages.

If you’d like to edit Fanlore but aren’t sure where to start, our New Visitor Portal has a bunch of tips and links to get you started. We also have a how-to on editing pages, and a tutorial for creating new pages if you’d like to help us start down the road to 100,000 pages! Every single edit helps Fanlore preserve more of fandom’s history and experiences, and helps ensure that the amazing creativity and passion of fandoms old and new is recorded and remembered.

The Fanlore team have set our sights on one million edits next – we hope you’ll join us!

To learn more about what Fanlore’s volunteers do behind the scenes, check out our previous spotlight posts:


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2019-06-23 11:18:59 -0400

Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Kate Flanagan, who volunteers on the Fanlore Committee.

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

Fanlore is a wiki about fanworks and fan communities that anyone can edit. As a project of the OTW, Fanlore helps to fulfill our mission to preserve fannish history –- while also ensuring that as fans, we play an active role in the documentation of our own communities and creative activities.

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

Fanlore is a big project supported by a small (but growing!) team of dedicated editors and committee members. This means that our work really varies from week to week, and we all get to pitch in on a wide range of tasks. We respond to inquiries from Fanlore users, address issues and feedback on the wiki itself, review potential violations of our editing policies, manage our social media channels, work on our user-facing help pages, and plan promotional events and challenges to engage new editors on Fanlore. We have staff meetings weekly, and I'm usually lurking on the OTW's internal chat platform throughout the week as things come up.

Fanlore is perpetually a work-in-progress –- that's kind of the point of a wiki! -- so there's always something new to address. One constant in our work is the need to be responsive to the users, editors, and volunteers who engage with and support Fanlore.

Balancing my OTW work with my other commitments is an ongoing juggling act. I typically commute to work by ferry/train/hiking in the woods, so I often find myself catching up on things while I'm on the go. While my committee work is rarely the same from week to week, I do try to always make time to edit Fanlore, or to at least check in on other editors' recent changes. It can be difficult to stay motivated when there's so much to balance, and when so much of your work is self-directed. I've found that the best way to stay engaged with and excited about my committee work is to make sure that I'm actively contributing to Fanlore as an editor. So that's a big part of my week, too!

What made you decide to volunteer?

As fans, I think we all have stories of moving from passively appreciating a text or project to actively participating in its continued life. That's definitely the story of my own involvement with Fanlore.

I'd been casually using Fanlore as a resource for years, and I would often come across pages that I knew were missing something cool or important about our histories and our creative practices. But for some reason, I never felt equipped to contribute. I've talked to a lot of other fans who have also felt daunted about editing Fanlore; I think that we often discount the value of our own knowledge as fans, and it can also be overwhelming to start editing a wiki without any prior experience. Once I started editing, though, I found that I really loved it -- and it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be!

While I wasn't an active editor when I joined the committee, I came to Fanlore with a deep interest in fandom history, and more specifically, in communal forms of preservation and archive-making within fan communities. As a fan and a researcher, I'm so glad to live in a world where Fanlore exists – and I was really excited at the opportunity to help sustain it as a member of the Fanlore Committee.

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

There's a lot to love about volunteering for the OTW! It's really exciting to work in community with other fans, and to hear about their fannish interests and the work they're undertaking on their respective committees. The sense of community is something I wasn't necessarily expecting when I first started volunteering, and that's brought a lot of joy to my life over the last year.

Editing Fanlore is often a very fun (and funny) experience –- fans have wicked senses of humor, and you'll stumble across some real gems on the wiki.

I've also really come to enjoy sharing the OTW's mission and my own experiences as a volunteer with "non-fans" out in the world. The OTW is such a unique organization for so many reasons, and I've had great conversations with folks who aren't at all familiar with fanworks and fan culture, but who are really interested to hear about what we do and how we do it. That's definitely been another unexpectedly fun aspect of my experience as a volunteer.

What fannish things do you like to do?

Over the years, I've written meta and fic, organized fanworks challenges, recorded podfic, and beta read for other fans. But at this point, my main fannish activity is actually wiki editing! Ultimately, I'm a fan of fandom, and I really enjoy both the technical and creative aspects of wiki editing. In my experience, wiki editing is a type of fan labor that isn't often considered in conjunction with other fannish practices, like writing fanfiction and meta, drawing fanart, making fanvids, beta reading, and so on. I definitely think about fannish wiki editing as a practice of transformative fanwork, and it's become one of my favorite fannish things to do.

Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.


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Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

The OTW released a video in April that provides an overview of our work and gives non-fans an introduction to fannish works. Our translation volunteers have now produced captions for the video in the following languages: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

To enable subtitles in your language of choice on the video below, click on the "CC" button next to the volume and HD options.

All these subtitles are also available on the video we have hosted on YouTube. Just click on the rectangular Captions/CC button in the lower right hand corner of the video and select the language.

If you wish to download a copy of the video with your preferred subtitles, use the links below:

Special thanks to all the volunteer translators who worked on this project!

Our Translation team would also love to have this video narrated in as many languages as possible! Can you help? If you're fluent in a language (or more!) other than English and are willing to help record the voiceover track, please contact us. We'd be thrilled to work with you!


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Stepping Stones: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9


Have you visited Fanlore lately? If you have, then you probably know it’s a living, evolving history of fandom, created and maintained by fans. Launched in 2008, Fanlore is a collaborative wiki in which fans are invited to record their experiences and memories of fandoms, fanworks, events, and everything fannish. It's open for fans just like you to join the community in shaping how everyone perceives and remembers fandom.

Fanlore celebrated a major milestone on February 15 when it reached 500,000 page edits! And it's still growing: more than 4,000 additional edits have been made since then. These numbers reflect the passion of Fanlore's many volunteers and contributors, who have helped build and preserve a wide-ranging, ever-changing record of fandom communities.

Some other highlights of Fanlore's history include:

  • The GeoCities Rescue Project led by OTW's Open Doors committee, which included a push to create Fanlore articles documenting fannish websites hosted on GeoCities before GeoCities closed down in October 2009.
  • Coming out of beta in December 2010.
  • Participating with other OTW projects in the January 2012 protest against SOPA/PIPA — a piece of proposed US legislation that threatened fans’ freedoms and rights.

Fanlore welcomes contributions from anyone — check out the New Visitor Portal for tips on how to get started. Each edit helps us preserve more of fandom's history, and takes Fanlore one step closer to ensuring that the staggering creativity, positivity and discussions that grow in and around fandoms old and new are not forgotten. The Fanlore team has their sights set on 600,000 edits next, and, as always, on bringing in new voices to this story of fandom.

Please help Fanlore keep growing: head over to Fanlore, add your stories, and donate today!