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Published:
2022-06-27 12:32:05 UTC
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Banner of a paper airplane emerging from an envelope with the words 'OTW Newsletter: Organization for Transformative Works

An advisory note to readers: This newsletter reports on activity in April 2022, which was originally intended to be released in May 2022. Due to interruptions to our usual process as explained in the OTW Board's post last month our posting schedule has been delayed. The OTW's investigation is ongoing as the Board and Legal Committee continue working with all relevant authorities.

I. APRIL DONATION DRIVE

Development & Membership held the April Donation Drive in April, and thanks to the overwhelming support of our users (and the excitement over the card decks), we far exceeded our donation goal, with a final total of US$275,724.51 donated by 7,528 people. We are particularly pleased that 5,810 donors chose to renew or begin OTW membership. Translation worked on posts for 26 languages and we received donations from fans in 84 countries!

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed three whole releases, including an update to Rails 6 and big improvements to AO3's tag search, which have significantly improved functionality for Tag Wrangling. And because three releases just wasn't enough, AD&T started testing a fourth!

AO3 Documentation is thrilled to announce that it has uploaded an updated and slightly reworked Posting and Editing FAQ.

In March, Policy & Abuse received about 2600 tickets last month, which is a bit more than average, and Support received about 1400 tickets. Meanwhile, also in March, Tag Wrangling wrangled more than 380,000 tags across more than 49,000 fandoms--more than 900 tags per wrangler!

III. ELSEWHERE AT THE OTW

Open Doors announced two more archives to be imported: WWFSML (pro wrestling slash fic) and Pony Fiction Archive (My Little Pony fic).

Legal has continued advocacy work opposing proposed U.S. online filtering mandates and technical measures legislative proposals. Legal chair Betsy Rosenblatt participated in an online town hall with allies from the EFF to discuss these fan-unfriendly proposals; a recording is available on EFF’s YouTube channel.

It's been a long time coming, but a contractor has made a start on some email-related work that will bring Systems closer to retiring some of the oldest bits of the OTW's infrastructure. Also, Webs fiddled with the OTW website a bit more, and it now does a number of fancy automations that should reduce the number of tickies that Volunteers & Recruiting and Development & Membership in particular have to tick!

IV. GOVERNANCE

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has appointed a Diversity Consultant Research Officer to help the OTW formulate its next steps towards hiring a diversity consultant or firm. The role remains open for internal recruitment as the Board would ideally like it to be held by two people for the sake of redundancy and sharing out the workload. The Board also held its quarterly public meeting at the beginning of the month -- thanks to everyone who came and asked questions!

The Board of Directors Election Timeline is now available on Elections' website, which lets readers know what news and information will be released when during the Board election season.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 24 March to 24 April, Volunteers & Recruiting received 51 new requests, and completed 45, leaving us with 23 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 April 2022, the OTW has 948 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Policy & Abuse Volunteers: Aalictoa, ereidivh, FestiveFerret, KayMar, QED, Zoey and 6 other Volunteers
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Alecto Gaia, Allonautilus, Ally, Ara, Bard, Bee, Birdie, Bjorn, cali, catmisae, chidorinnn, Defixionesss, denjidenji, Dragonshield, Emmens, erasica, Esin, Faye, Fu, Goosey, Jiang Xinyuan, Juice, Kai Alec, Laura Anne, Leo, Luanna, MoonSally, Morgan Guenther, Nia, obliviscence, plantpun, RannieCRL, Red Wolf, Rune, sarisally, Seonaid, StableState, TBE, Tevya, therealmorticia, Thirteenthesiac, thirtysixhudson, Tyto, Wayward Wren, Wombatmist, and YunShan (all Tag Wranglers)
New Translation Volunteers: idiosincrasy (Manager)
New Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers: 1 Volunteer

Departing AO3 Documentation Volunteers: Carly & 1 other Editor
Departing Elections Volunteers: 1 Team Coordinator and 1 Public Relations Specialist
Departing Policy & Abuse Volunteers: Jen S and 2 other Volunteers
Departing Support Volunteers: KehkashanB
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Captured_in_LSpace, Clock, Courtney, Kamika, Kuh (all Wranglers) and Jen S (Supervisor) and 2 Wranglers
Departing Translation Volunteers: 3 Translators

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.


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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OTW Elections News

It's almost election time! Being a member of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) means being able to vote for its Board of Directors. This helps affect how projects such as the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, and Transformative Works and Cultures are run now and going forward. This year, our election for the Board of Directors will be held from August 12 to August 15. (Access the full Elections Timeline for 2022).

In order to vote, you need to be a member of the OTW by midnight UTC on June 30, 2022 (What time is that for me?). That means that you have to have made a donation of US$10 or more between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, AND have chosen the "membership" option. If you're unsure whether this applies to a donation you've made, please contact our Development & Membership team.

If you participate in this voter registration drive, you will receive a specially designed icon, only available during this drive. Thank you for your support of the OTW! Register to vote and donate today!

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Published:
2022-06-19 12:35:03 UTC
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Candidates Announcement

The Organization for Transformative Works is pleased to announce the following candidates for the 2022 Election (in alphabetical order by given name):

  • Heather M
  • Michelle S
  • Natalia G
  • Noémie B
  • Tiffany G

Candidates’ full legal names will not be publicly posted this year unless they are appointed or elected to the Board.

E. Anna Szegedi is stepping down from her position on the Board for personal reasons, and so there will be 3 open seats in this year's election, one of them a partial term of two years. The candidate who places third will be elected to this seat. We are grateful for Anna's service and thank her for her work and dedication.

Because we have 3 seats to be filled and 5 candidates, the 2022 election will be contested – that is, the members of the OTW will vote on which candidates fill the seats.

The Elections Committee is excited to introduce the candidates to all of the members of the OTW! Included in this post are links to short Bios and Platforms written by the candidates. This post also marks the beginning of our Q&A period, during which we invite the public to submit questions for the candidates. Additionally, we will be holding a series of live chats – dates and times for those are to be announced based on candidate availability. Information on the voting period and how to vote will also be posted shortly.

In the meantime, there is a timeline of Elections events available here for your reference. Read on to learn more about our candidates and how you can submit questions for them!

Platforms and Bios

We asked each candidate to provide us with a Bio that sums up their professional and fannish experience, as well as to write a Platform about their goals for their term on the Board by answering the following questions:

  • Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
  • What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
  • Choose one or two goals for the OTW that are important to you and that you would be interested in working on during your term. Why do you value these goals? How would you work with others to achieve them?
  • What is your experience with the OTW’s projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them? Try to include a range of projects, though feel free to emphasize particular ones you have experience with.
  • How would you balance your Board work with other roles in the OTW, or how do you plan to hand over your current roles to focus on Board work?

You can read both the candidates’ answers to these questions and their bios by following the links below.

Question & Answer (Q&A)

Candidates will also answer questions from the public. Anyone may submit questions via the Elections form. Please submit all questions by 11:59pm UTC on June 26 (what time is that where I live?). All candidates will answer each question submitted, subject to the following restrictions:

  • Questions can be a maximum of 50 words long.
  • Questions must not be repeats of questions from the Platforms. This is to allow candidates to spend their time answering new questions.
  • Similar questions will be grouped together so candidates don’t have to repeat themselves. Elections staff will decide which questions are similar enough to group.
  • If you have a follow-up to a Platform question, please specifically mention that it is a follow-up so it isn’t treated as a repeat.

The posting date for answers will be chosen depending on the number of questions received. Posts will be spread out, arranged by topic, to make it easier for voters to read all the answers.

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We're pleased to announce that, in the coming days, we'll be rolling out the first part of our blocking and muting features: the ability to block specific logged-in users from commenting on your works and replying to your comments.

Blocking and Muting: A Refresher

We'll be implementing two sets of features to help users curate their own experiences and add a layer of protection against harassment, without making it harder for people to create and interact with content on the Archive:

  • Blocking, which will prevent certain users from interacting with you.
  • Muting, which will exclude content by certain users from your personal Archive experience.

Because applying these concepts to all of the Archive's numerous and often interconnected features at once would be a massive undertaking, we're taking a gradual approach that will allow you to block and mute users in some areas while we continue to work on others.

Blocking Part 1: Comments

The Blocked Users page describes what blocking does and allows you to block additional users via a small form. It also lists users you have blocked and provides an option to unblock them.

With this first release, we're focusing on blocking comments from logged-in users. When you block a user, they will no longer be able to comment on your works or reply to comments you've left on news posts or other creators' works. They will also be unable to edit existing comments or replies they've left you.

The block will persist even if the blocked user changes their name.

You can block a user by pressing the "Block" button on their profile, dashboard, or comments. Users you've previously blocked can be unblocked from these locations as well.

You can also block a user by entering their name on the new Blocked Users page, accessible by following the "Blocked Users" link on your preferences page.

The Blocked Users page lists all of the users you've blocked. Other users will not be able to see who you've blocked -- the only people with access to your list of blocked users will be you and site admins with certain access levels.

If you suspect someone you've blocked is still commenting on your works or replying to your comments elsewhere on the Archive, contact the Policy & Abuse team.

Please note that if you block a user with whom you've co-created works, your blocked co-creator will still be able to comment on works you've co-created. However, they will not be able to reply directly to your comments on those works.

Muting: An Update

We're working on a similar interface for muting logged-in users, but in the meantime, you can mute users, works, series, or external works by creating a site skin and using the following CSS:

  • .user-000 { display: none !important; } to hide all of a user's works, series, and bookmarks from work and bookmark listings and search results, as well as any logged-in comments the user has left on works or news posts. Replace 000 with the ID of the user whose works you want to hide. A user's ID is a series of numbers that can be found on the user's profile in the "My user ID is" section. A user's ID does not change if the user changes their name.
  • .work-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific work from work and bookmark listings and search results. Replace 000 with the ID of the work you want to hide. The work ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the work URL. The ID comes immediately after /works/, e.g. https://ao3-cn.top/works/000/chapters/123.
  • .series-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific series from bookmark listings and search results, as well as users' series pages. Replace 000 with the ID of the series you want to hide. The series ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the series URL. The ID comes immediately after /series/, e.g. https://ao3-cn.top/series/000.
  • .external-work-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific external work from bookmark listings and search results. Replace 000 with the ID of the external work you want to hide. (Note that there may be multiple copies of a given external work, each with a different ID.) The external work ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the external work URL. The ID comes immediately after /external_work/, e.g. https://ao3-cn.top/external_work/000.

To hide multiple items, you can separate the selectors with a comma: .work-000, .work-149319, .user-000000 { display: none !important; }

Other Options

In addition to the upcoming blocking and muting features, there are a variety of existing ways to control your Archive experience.

Our Unofficial Browser Tools FAQ lists some third-party scripts that let you filter out unwanted content, and here are some built-in options for managing various features:

We're always working on more options like this, so be sure to check back regularly -- we announce most major changes here at AO3 News shortly before they're released. You can also follow @AO3_Status on Twitter or ao3org on Tumblr to stay up to date.

Update 20:59 UTC 10 June 2022: These changes have now been deployed.

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Since May 3rd, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) — the nonprofit behind AO3, Fanlore, and other projects — has been dealing with malicious attacks aimed at the organization and its volunteers. We wanted to share with you some of what's been happening, as well as what we're doing to contain it, and how it may affect our response times to your inquiries and our workload in general. Above all, we need to ask for your patience, because these are complicated times for all of us at the OTW.

An unknown attacker has been sending our volunteers threatening emails with illegal child sexual abuse material (CSAM), which has been reported to several law enforcement authorities.

These attacks have not affected AO3 user accounts or accounts on any other OTW projects, or OTW donor data. At this time we have no reason to believe that emails or other private user data whatsoever associated with AO3 or any of our other projects have been exposed to any external bad actors.

We've already alerted the relevant authorities, and we're seeking legal advice on how best to proceed. Protecting our volunteers and safeguarding this investigation is our top priority right now, which means we've shut down a number of internal tools necessary to do our work effectively. This was done to better protect our volunteers from further threats.

As a consequence of this, changes and announcements that had been planned for the next few weeks are likely to be delayed. You can expect delays in response times for all OTW teams. Please note:

  • AO3 Tag Wrangling's planned changes for Dream SMP fandoms will be delayed. New tags will not be wrangled until a later time.
  • AO3 Support, Open Doors, and Policy & Abuse responses are all likely to take much longer than usual. The same applies to Fanlore teams.
  • Responses to queries sent to OTW Legal, including DMCA Takedown Notices, may be delayed.
  • OTW donation gifts may be delayed.
  • OTW recruitment is suspended until further notice.
  • The OTW's social media posting schedule will be reduced for most outlets.

There have been no changes to the following:

  • The OTW election timeline will remain unchanged.
  • AO3 invitations for new users are being sent out normally.

Please be patient with us at this time. We are trying our best to keep our projects running as smoothly as possible while also keeping our volunteers — without whom none of these projects would exist — safe. Thank you so much for your understanding and support.

(One final note: we've disabled comments on all our news posts for the time being for security reasons. If you need to get in touch with us, please use the Support and Feedback form, but bear in mind that responses will likely be delayed.)

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The Organization for Transformative Works' Elections committee is pleased to announce that the timeline for the 2022 election for new members of the Board of Directors has been posted!

This year’s election will be held August 12-15. This means that the deadline for volunteers to declare their candidacy is June 17.

As usual, the election membership deadline is June 30. If you're interested in voting, please make sure your membership is active as of that date. Please note that your donation receipt will be dated in US Eastern Time, so if your donation is listed after 19:59 on June 30, 2022 on the receipt, you won't be eligible to vote. If you are unsure whether your donation was made before the deadline, please contact our Development and Membership Committee by using the contact form on our website and selecting "Is my membership current/Am I eligible to vote?".

You can find out how to become a member on the Elections website, or if you’re familiar with the process, you can donate here!

If you want to know more about the election process in general, you can check out the Elections Policies.

We’re looking forward to an active election season with ample communication between candidates and voters, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. Don’t forget to follow the Elections committee on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news!

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Elections.

Comments on this post will close 2 weeks after the end of election season, September 6th, 2022.


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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Published:
2022-04-27 17:07:08 UTC
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From mid-February through mid-April, we did a whole bunch of necessary but largely unnoticeable work like updating Rails, reducing the number of unhelpful errors in Resque, and tweaking our automated tests and GitHub workflow. We also included a few bug fixes and one (1) performance improvement, because what's an update without those?

Credits

  • Coders: bird, Elz, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant, weeklies
  • Code reviewers: Enigel, james_, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Testers: james_, Jennifer Davis, lydia-theda, Maine, Nary, Paula, Priscilla, redsummernight, Qem, Ridicully, Runt, Sammie Louise, Sarken, Taylor Clossin, Teyke

Details

0.9.314

Assorted bug fixes and improvements, February 18.

  • [AO3-5392] - When you posted a backdated work between the hours of midnight and 04:00 UTC, the work would use the actual posting date in the upper right of its blurb (as seen on your works pages, tag listings, etc.) instead of the backdated date. We already fixed this issue for newly-created works (AO3-6190). This time, we made changes so that creators of affected existing works can fix the issue themselves by setting a new backdated date.
  • [AO3-6230] - Admins who can search users can now do so by user ID.
  • [AO3-6271] - We fixed the alignment of the blurb icons and work titles in the "Is it later?" section of the homepage.
  • [AO3-4530] - In the main menu, links would become unclickable when you were already on the page in question. That's usually fine, but we changed it to have links always stay links anyway, to prevent problematic caching behavior.
  • [AO3-3852] - When you filtered a works or bookmarks page, it sometimes caused the Works or Bookmarks link in the main navigation's Browse menu to turn into plain text. We've fixed it so it will always be a link.
  • [AO3-5717] - It was previously possible to make the expected chapter count lower than actual chapter count. We now always check how many posted chapters there actually are when displaying how done an ongoing work is.
  • [AO3-6292] - We renamed the new gift preference to "Allow anyone to gift me works" and updated the related text that appears on challenge sign-up forms.
  • [AO3-6116] - For better performance, we now cache fandom, work, and bookmarked item counts for collections.
  • [AO3-5063] - The works count in a collection sidebar was wrong if a work belonged to two subcollections or to the parent collection and a subcollection. It will now only count the work once, not once for each collection it appears in.
  • [AO3-6293] - When a tag is changed, we start a background process to update the caches for works using that tag. However, this background process sometimes happens so quickly that it cannot find newly created tags in the database yet. It would cause errors cluttering up our logs and wasn't necessary anyway, because new tags have no existing works! So we skipped the background process in that case.
  • [AO3-6295] - While it is possible to reply to a comment left by a deleted account, the system shouldn't then try to send a notification to the nonexistent user, because that will only end in tears/errors. We no longer try to send emails in this case.
  • [AO3-6296] - We had intermittent errors when loading external works in our automated tests, so we switched to faking the responses from the external URLs to make our tests more robust.
  • [AO3-6287] - The code scanning service we used shut down, so we switched to GitHub Actions for running Brakeman.
  • [AO3-4488] - Many of our automated tests use VCR for caching remote websites so we don't need to fetch them afresh every time. However, a few of these were out of date and causing issues, so a refresh was in order.
  • [AO3-6299] - Our error-monitoring service was running in our automated test environment, slowing things down. We've stopped running it and sped things up.
  • [AO3-6228] - Once upon a time, automatically reconnecting to the database and retrying a command after a timeout seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a good way to end up with half-completed tasks, so we've stopped doing that.

0.9.315

Rails timezone change to UTC, February 24.

  • [AO3-6300] - We changed the timezone Rails uses from U.S. Eastern to UTC, to match the timezone used by our servers' operating system.

0.9.316

Update to Rails 6, April 3.

  • [AO3-6085], [AO3-6002] - We updated Rails from 5.2 to 6.0.
  • [AO3-6275] - We fixed the plural rules for Serbian.
  • [AO3-5819] - When we review pull requests on GitHub, we use labels to keep track of our progress (is it the coder's or the reviewer's turn to respond?) and whether the changes need special attention (is there a database migration or a one-off task we need to run if we merge this pull request?). We now use GitHub Actions to automatically add or remove some labels.
  • [AO3-5968] - When we created chapters in our automated tests, they were created as drafts unless we specified they should be posted, which was silly because we usually want to test posted chapters, not drafts. We've switched it so our test chapters are posted by default.

0.9.317

Bug fixes for pseud icons, April 12.

  • [AO3-6322] - We deleted some unused JavaScript files from our code repository. 🗑
  • [AO3-6316] - Users with invalid pseud icons (file type not allowed, alt text or comment too long) couldn't request a password reset or be suspended by an admin. This only affected a small group of users, which have received an email about the issue, so they could solve the problem on their end. From our end, the solution was to remove the invalid icon or text after the deadline given in the email.
  • [AO3-3293] - If you deleted the icon for one of your pseuds, or changed it to a different format, your existing comments would show a broken image. We've made it so your new icon (or the placeholder) will show.

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Pony Fiction Archive Banner

Pony Fiction Archive, a My Little Pony fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Pony Fiction Archive was the first dedicated My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction archive, and contains works from the very early days of the fandom that aren't available elsewhere. The PFA's goal has always been to keep these works available to future readers, but evolving web standards guarantee that at some point the PFA would not be able to stay online. Importing the PFA to the Archive of Our Own ensures this slice of fandom history will remain available indefinitely.

The purpose of the Open Doors Committee’s Online Archive Rescue Project is to assist moderators of archives to incorporate the fanworks from those archives into the Archive of Our Own. Open Doors works with moderators to import their archives when the moderators lack the funds, time, or other resources to continue to maintain their archives independently. It is extremely important to Open Doors that we work in collaboration with moderators who want to import their archives and that we fully credit creators, giving them as much control as possible over their fanworks. Open Doors will be working with RBDash47 to import the Pony Fiction Archive into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanfiction currently in the Pony Fiction Archive will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. Eventually, links to the old site will redirect to the collection on AO3, which can be searched and filtered in order to locate individual imported works.

We will begin importing works from the Pony Fiction Archive to the AO3 after April.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on the Pony Fiction Archive?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors. We will then permanently close down the site.

Please contact Open Doors with your Pony Fiction Archive pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive.
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. You have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Pony Fiction Archive account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the Pony Fiction Archive mod to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on:

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, or contact the Open Doors committee.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Pony Fiction Archive on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve the Pony Fiction Archive!

- The Open Doors team and RBDash47

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