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For the past several weeks, the Archive of Our Own has been dealing with an unusually high volume of spam works created to advertise live streams of sporting events. We've taken a number of steps to deal with these spam works, and in the next few days, we'll take one more: automatically hiding works that our spam detection service believes are spam.

We've been using this spam detector behind the scenes for a while now, and it has a 99.3% accuracy rate when it comes to identifying spam works and comments on the Archive. This means there is a small chance some non-spam works will be incorrectly marked as spam.

If your work is marked as spam, we'll send you an email to let you know. Our Abuse team will review your work as soon as possible and unhide it if it isn't a spam advertisement. Works will not be reviewed for other Terms of Service violations while in the spam queue.

We apologize to any users whose works are incorrectly marked as spam and to everyone who is currently waiting for us to review and fulfill their invitation request. We realize this situation is frustrating, but these steps are necessary to help us deliver a spam-free experience to all our users.

Thank you for bearing with us, and if you see any spam that has escaped our net, please report it to Abuse!

Update on November 24, 00:40 UTC: Automatic hiding of spam works is now enabled.

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Published:
2016-04-18 16:47:20 -0400
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We’re adding a new functionality to the Archive! To date, only work creators have been able to add their works to collections. With an upcoming code release, collection owners and maintainers will also be able to invite works to collections!

For Collection Owners & Maintainers

The new code will allow collection owners and maintainers to add works to their collections by visiting the work, selecting the 'Add To Collections' button at the bottom, and entering the name of the collection.

The Add To Collections button at the bottom of a work.

If the work's creator has chosen to automatically allow their works to be included in collections, then the work is added to the collection -- no further action needed!

A work with a blue flash message at the top indicating the work has been successfully added to a collection.

If the creator hasn't chosen to automatically allow their works to be included in collections, a request will be sent asking them to approve or deny the addition of their work to the collection.

After inviting a work to a collection, maintainers will be able to see its status in the collection's 'Manage Items' page. While the request is pending approval, the work will show under 'Invited'; once approved, the item will move to the 'Approved' section. If the item is rejected, it will show under 'Rejected'.

The Manage Items page of a collection. The Invited button is selected, showing that works listed are awaiting creator approval before inclusion.

For Work Creators

Work creators can fully control how to interact with this new feature. Checking the 'Automatically agree to your work being collected by others in the Archive' option in Preferences will allow works to be added to collections directly without approval. A notification will let you know when your work(s) have been added to collections.

The Collections, Challenges and Gifts user preferences.

If that preference is not checked, you will receive an email asking you to approve or deny the invitation.

An invitation email informing a work creator that a collection maintainer wants to include the work in their collection.

Please be aware that these approval request emails fully respect the 'Turn off emails from collections' setting. If collection emails are turned off, but you don't allow your works to be automatically added to collections, you will not receive approval request emails and will need to periodically check your 'Manage Collected Works' page to approve the addition of your works to collections. Similarly, if you have collection emails turned off and do allow your works to be automatically added to collections, you will not receive an email when one of your works is added to a collection.

Creators can review and respond to invitations through the 'Manage Collected Works' page. This page is linked in the approval request email, and is also available in the 'Collections' section of the Dashboard sidebar. From there, you can approve or reject invitations, and review previously approved or rejected invitations.

A user's Manage Collected Works page.

As always, if you have any questions or experience any problems, please contact our Support volunteers, who will be glad to help!

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When we redesigned the Archive in 2011, most people were accessing the site on desktop devices, so we designed the layout and skin system with larger screens in mind. A lot has changed in the last four years, and the majority of our traffic now comes from small-screen devices like tablets and phones, so we're making some changes to our layout and skin system to reflect this new reality.

Currently, the Archive determines which layout you see based on how many pixels wide your browser window is. If you're browsing in a window that's 640 pixels or narrower, you see a single-column version of the layout. Otherwise, you see the default layout. However, our default layout was designed for larger screens, so if your browser width is between 640 and 1024 pixels, Dashboard pages with filters might not look their best:

A user's works page with the Dashboard, works, and filters arranged in three columns. The filters partially cut off due to screen size.

Soon we will be adding a new breakpoint to help anyone who has been seeing a slightly squished version of the Archive. The resulting layout will be a halfway point between the default and mobile layouts: the Dashboard will appear at the top of the main content, just below the main navigation, but the filters will still be on the right side of the page.

A user's works page with the Dashboard on the top and the main content and filters arranged in two columns.

We will also stop using pixels to define these breakpoints and instead switch to a relative unit known as ems. Em units are based on font size, and using them to set our breakpoints means the Archive layout will work better for anyone who has changed the default font size in their browser. For example, setting the font size to Very Large in Google Chrome cuts off the text in the filters and makes the work blurbs very narrow and long, even if you are looking at the Archive in a window that is 1024 pixels wide:

A user's works page with the browser font size set to Very Large and the Dashboard, main content, and filters arranged in three columns. The filters are almost completely hidden.

Once we add the new breakpoint, the Dashboard will appear at the top of the page, giving the filters and blurbs more room and making the page easier to browse:

A user's works page with the browser font size set to Very Large. The Dashbaord is now at the top of the page and the main content and filters are in two columns.

The new breakpoints of 42em and 62em will be available for use in skins, and any skins using the existing 640px breakpoint will automatically be converted to the new 42em setting.

These breakpoints don't correspond to the dimensions of any particular device -- there are too many devices for that to be a practical approach -- but are instead based on the point at which the Archive's default layout begins experiencing problems. We realize that's not ideal for skin makers who have chosen to remake the layout entirely, but it should be a positive change for the majority of skin users, and we're looking into adding customizable breakpoints in the future to allow you to target any and all devices you use to browse the Archive.

As always, if you have any questions or experience any problems, please contact our Support volunteers, who will be glad to help!

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Published:
2015-07-26 17:40:27 -0400
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Until recently, if you were browsing or posting works in Brazilian Portuguese or European Portuguese, your only option was a generic "Portuguese" language. Answering several user requests, and after consultation with OTW Translation's Brazilian and European Portuguese teams, we have decided to change this setup.

The "Portuguese" language has been split into two languages for posting to the AO3:

  • European Portuguese, labelled "Português europeu"
  • Brazilian Portuguese, labelled "Português brasileiro"

To minimize the tidying-up work, both Translation teams have done their best to identify existing works in the previous "Portuguese" tag that belong to either language. During the migration, Accessibility, Design & Technology coders moved works according to this classification. If you have previously posted a work in Portuguese, please double-check that it's properly classified. You can change your work's language by selecting the "Edit" button at the top of the work page and choosing the correct language in the "Choose a language" dropdown menu.

We hope this will increase the site's usability for our Portuguese-speaking users. Our translation teams are also hard at work on the Brazilian Portuguese AO3 FAQs and the European Portuguese AO3 FAQs. Feel free to submit Support and Abuse tickets in either language, or just drop us a line saying hi!

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Credits

  • Coders: Elz, james_, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Elz, Enigel, James
  • Testers: Camilla M, helebr, Lady Oscar, Mei, mumble, Priscilla, Ridicully

Extra special thanks to Scott for helming this project through sunshine and rain! ♥

Details

This code update includes many improvements to the Archive FAQ, our help section for new and experienced users alike. This part of the site grows and changes with the Archive, and will see even more improvements in future updates. For now, we offer these new features for your enjoyment:

  • You can now browse our FAQs in languages other than English! Since both the FAQs and their translations are a work in progress, only a few categories have translations right now. We'll be adding more during the coming months, and will update outdated information across all sections.
  • As soon as at least one FAQ category (e.g. Pseuds, Bookmarks, Comments, etc.) is available in a language, that language will show up in the dropdown menu at the top right of the main FAQ index. Only translated categories will be listed, so if you can't find the information you're looking for, please refer back to the English index. (Work in progress!)
  • There are now buttons on the main index to show all available questions ("Expand Categories") and to hide them all again ("Collapse Categories"), so you can skim the page or search for exactly the information you're interested in.
  • At the top of each category, you'll find a list of available questions, so you can quickly jump to just the answer you need.
  • The system now allows for direct links to each question/answer pair on a page (e.g. How do I subscribe to a work?), which wasn't fully supported before.
  • The new FAQs have "pretty" URLs, which means they don't just contain the id of the FAQ category (as in, /archive_faqs/17), but rather the title of the page (as in, /faq/orphaning).
  • Contrary to expectations in our original announcement, there will be no broken links. Old links (e.g. archiveofourown.org/archive_faqs/7) will automatically redirect to the new pages (e.g. Pseuds).
  • Our public wrangling guidelines, which were previously (and somewhat awkwardly) part of the FAQ section, have gotten their own home! You can consult these pages when in doubt about how to best format a new tag, or if you're wondering about specific wrangling concepts and policies.

Extra Credits

Our AO3 Documentation volunteers are working very hard to update the old, sometimes very outdated FAQs, and our many translators are working on translating them: either the new and improved documentation or, in some cases (when we have the volunteer power), some old documentation that might still be helpful, while waiting for it to be updated.

  • Documentation writers: AnneVictoire, C-chan, DekuDani, ltfoxyee, MadameHardy, Sammie, trickybonmot and 12 AO3 Documentation volunteers
  • Translators: Agnieszka Górniok, Amalia Blondet, ambersnake, Ana Carolina Nonato, Ana Solis, Aneta Sikora, Ania Kopertowska, Anne-Katrin Koch, Arithanas, Artmetica, balistener, birggitt, Blacktablet, Charlotte, ChristyCorr, Daniela Kreimerman, DeeCharlotte, Eilean, Eimry, Ely_Baby, Elysandra, Fatma Bahr, fluffygreenpillow, Gloria Monika (Rizu), Hayyu A (Alinka), headinthecloudsgirl, Jocelin Potash, John (rcmero), Karagodina Elena, Kaysa (Sarah K.), Konomon Freezlight, LilyC, Liselot, Luisa, M.Rios, Meep, MrBalkanophile, Nana, Nerine Luna, regenorakel, Ridicully, rocksound, soniclipstick (veriscence), SunnyB, Tatanka, tamat9, White Hawk, Yenelie, and 76 translators

Known Issues

When you pick a language from the dropdown menu to access available FAQs in your language, for example Spanish, the language information will be included in the URL, like faq/about?language_id=es. When you leave the FAQ section, e.g. by selecting the All Fandoms link in the header menu, this language information will follow you to that page. Since so far only the FAQ section is translated, however, there will be no other effect. When you continue browsing, the next page you visit will have the normal URL again.

See our Known Issues page for other current issues.

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Published:
2014-07-09 07:12:01 -0400
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Our upcoming code deploy will include a change to the default setting for Archive Warnings when posting a new work. Warnings are added to a work by selecting the relevant checkboxes in the "Archive Warnings" section of the form, either when creating or editing a work.

It is mandatory to choose at least one of the options, even if it's just to indicate that you do not wish to warn. Currently, the checkbox "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" is checked by default, allowing users who do not want to use warnings to skip straight to subsequent sections of the form. Unfortunately, this means that users who want to add warnings (or indicate that no warnings apply) must also remember to de-select "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings." Because this isn't entirely obvious, a lot of works were unintentionally set to both "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" and "No Archive Warnings Apply".

After our code update, however, "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" will no longer be checked by default, requiring users to actively select it (or another option) in order to proceed. We hope this change will encourage creators to interact more meaningfully with the Archive warnings field, and ensure "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" is only ever applied to a fanwork deliberately.

Please note that other combinations that are seemingly contradictory are actually allowed by our Terms of Service. For example, you can tick both "Underage" and "Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings" if you want to warn for situations involving characters under 18, but not for other aspects of the work. You are always free to include more details about the content of your work in the Additional Tags, or in your Notes.

For more information about our Archive Warnings, please check the Warnings and Archive Warnings section of the ToS.

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In one of our next code updates, we're going to be rolling out some changes to the FAQ section of the Archive. Here's a little information on what improvements the new FAQ will include, and what this change means for you.

Improvements

As one of the main improvements, it will enable easy translation of questions and answers. Our volunteer translators will be able to submit their work to the FAQ and link it to the corresponding English text. The new interface for users will introduce a simple drop-down box for filtering the FAQ by language.

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[Work-in-progress screenshot of the new FAQs, here depicting the list of available topics in Portuguese]

The new FAQ interface will benefit from a cleaner, easier-to-edit structure that makes adding questions to categories more straightforward. Browsing the FAQ will also be a lot easier: we'll improve our index page, so that you can see at a glance a full list of questions without having to read through the entire page.

Screenshot 2
[Work-in-progress screenshot of the new FAQs, here depicting the list of all available questions for one topic in Spanish]

Expected Issues

We had to make significant changes to the existing code to enable these new features. In addition, our AO3 Docs team has been working on a new and improved FAQ structure, as well as updates to the existing sections. New content will be added as work on these updates progresses.

As a result, old links to the FAQ might stop working or will link to an unexpected section of the new FAQ. For example, the link to the Bookmarks FAQ might suddenly lead you to the FAQ about Downloads. Please bear this in mind if you have linked to the FAQ on another site, as these links will likely need updating. FAQ links included previously within AO3's official communication (for instance on AO3 News or in previous Support replies) will also be affected, although we will do our best to update our own resources.

Finally, there's a chance that internal links from one section of the FAQ to another will also break temporarily as we wire the new FAQ together. There's a small possibility that following the code deploy, the FAQ section will be empty as we work on re-adding all existing content.

Looking Forward

We're excited about these latest updates: we hope that they'll not only improve our documentation and make it easier for you to find answers to your questions, but will also be a big step forward in beginning to make the Archive accessible in different languages for fans around the world. Many thanks to our teams of translators, documentation volunteers, coders and testers for all of their work on this project! We hope you find these changes helpful, and we look forward to your feedback.

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