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  • Archive Roadmap 2013

    By .Curtis Jefferson on Mercoledì, 27 March 2013 - 3:05pm
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    Preface

    The OTW Board is pleased to announce the newly updated Archive of Our Own Roadmap.

    The Roadmap is a broad outline of planned improvements and changes to the AO3. It is maintained by the Accessibility, Design, & Technology committee with input from many OTW committees including Abuse, Internationalization & Outreach, Open Doors, Support, Systems, Tag Wranglers, and Translation. While such an involved cross-committee process takes time, we are happy that it includes input from so many committees because we believe that collaboration results in a high-quality document and (hopefully!) a shared understanding of how and why we do the things we do.

    Updating the Roadmap is a huge task which involves:

    1. Talking to everyone to learn what is needed and wanted (which can be different for everyone but thankfully there is some common ground)
    2. Talking about priorities (because our wish list is way larger than our ability to grant wishes)
    3. Working out what we need to do to get from A to C (sometimes that means people get B first on the way to C even though B was low priority)

    AD&T walked the Roadmap through multiple drafts (the first rough outline was created in August 2012) and worked with multiple versions of the Board (there were five new Board members in this period) to reach a final version. The Board would like to thank everyone who worked on this task for the energy (and patience!) given to make this possible. We really appreciate all the time the staff and volunteers put into this.

    Continue reading on AO3 News

  • TWC Releases No. 12 (Transnational Boys' Love Fan Studies special issue)

    By .Curtis Jefferson on Venerdì, 15 March 2013 - 10:23pm
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    Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) today released issue No. 12, "Transnational Boys' Love Fan Studies," guest edited by Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma, both of Oita University, Oita, Japan. This issue features academic articles on the growing interest in and engagement with Boys' Love (BL) within international fan communities. Following its regular format, this open-access online multimedia journal has collected scholarly essays, personal essays, and book reviews that seek to bridge fan and academic writers and readers. TWC is published under the umbrella of the nonprofit fan advocacy group Organization for Transformative Works.

    Whereas BL fans have been studied in its original country of Japan as well as within the US American context, little has been published looking at other national responses and languages neither Japanese nor English. The editors, Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma, describe how personal encounters with transnational BL fans convinced them of “compelling necessity for BL critics to expand their own horizons” in order to acknowledge and study the “cross-cultural diversity of BL fan and community cultures that both globalization and localization propel.”

    As a result, the contributions span countries and continents, moving between official products and fan versions, addressing the monetization of fan cultures and the pirating of commercial products alike. Björn-Ole Kamm and Paul M. Malone, for example, look at BL reception in Germany, whereas Erika Junhui Yi discusses Chinese BL writers. Lucy Hannah Glasspool and Toshio Miyake focus on the way Japanese culture gets constructed within international reception and translation. The remaining pieces focus on the possibilities of new venues for BL research, including character bots (Keiko Nishimura), the relationship between Yaoi and gay culture (Akiko Hori) and the controversial reception of Fujoshi within Japan (Midori Suzuki).

    Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma are both at the Center for International Education and Research at Oita University. Nagaike has taught there since 2004 and focuses on analyzing female acts of fantasizing male-male eroticism in literature and popular culture; Suganuma joined the university in 2009 and studies the post-1945 encounter of Japanese and Western queer cultures. As such, both brought to the project an interest in the transnational elements of queer representations and male-male eroticism.

    Founded in 2007, The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), is a nonprofit established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fan works and fan culture in its myriad forms. Advocating on behalf of fans, the OTW believes that fan works are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.

    No. 13 is slated to be a special issue on "Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books," guest edited by Matthew Costello, and will appear June 15, 2013. The 14th issue of TWC will feature more general submissions and is scheduled for release on September 15, 2013.

  • Introducing Fanhackers, a directory of informative things about fans

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 1 March 2013 - 6:33pm
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    The Journal committee is proud to announce that Fanhackers, the shinier and more experimental new incarnation of the Symposium blog, is now open for business!

    Short version

    Fanhackers is a place for fans, academics, activists, and anyone else with an interest in info on fans to share and discover new ideas. It's is a group blog where you can do the following things:

    • Post, search and discuss good fannish or academic meta about fans. Tl;dr allowed. This is the old Symposium blog, but much easier to post to.
    • Post and answer requests for copies of inaccessible academic papers that you need.
    • Post and explore quotes from long, hard to find, or otherwise hard-to-read works on fans. Just the really good bits, no tl;dr allowed.
    • Post and follow links to resources on fans, tools for writing and research, and news that may be of interest to people who like info and analysis on fans.

    Read more about Fanhackers and the other functionality we're planning on the About page. You can keep track via the WordPress mirror, the Tumblr mirror, Twitter, the DW and LJ feeds, or the RSS and e-mail subscription options detailed here.

    Longer version

    Making sure reliable info on fans gets made and reaches the right people has always been a priority for the OTW. The OTW blog reports regularly on important news that fans may want to know about. Fanlore is a place for fans to preserve their own history in their own words. The legal advocacy team works tirelessly to get correct info on fans to activists and governmental organizations whose actions can have an impact on fans. The fan video and multimedia project has prepared a range of practical and educational resources for and about vidders, and so on.

    The Journal committee has been especially concerned with creating good info and getting it out there. Among other things, we made a whole new open access academic journal about fans, we helped get the vidding bibliography off the ground and are working to expand it into a broader resource on all things fan studies, and we made the Symposium blog as a place for fans and academics to share meta in a less formal setting.

    We can and need to do better than that, though. There's never been this much insightful and relevant academic, fannish and other meta on fans being created. However, a lot of the useful ideas from inside that meta never get beyond the borders of wherever they were published and don't reach the people who want or need to hear them. Academic meta on fans remains hard to access because it's often locked in expensive books and journals, or written in often needlessly complicated and inaccessible language. Fannish meta is scattered all around the internet. Activists working on topics like copyright and open culture often publish ideas that are incredibly relevant to fans, but many of those ideas never reach fannish spaces. We have so much info, and yet so much of it goes to waste.

    Fanhackers wants to experiment with new ways of making sure that info on fans reaches the people who need it - not just when they know the info exists and are actively looking for it, but also when they have no idea yet that there's something about fans that they need to know.

    We want to make sure that everyone who's looking for good info or analysis on fans can find what they need as quickly and as cheaply as possible, whether they need fannish or academic meta, a particular piece of information, or help. We want to make sure that fans and academics can cooperate and share their info, meta, publishing tools, and research tools, so that the wealth of work and experience that we already have is put to better use. We want to make sure that academic meta on fans is published in usable and useful ways, openly and in formats that make it easy to share and improve the info, so that fans can access what’s being said about them and academics can see their hard work put to use by many people. We want to make sure that anyone can discover what info on fans is already out there, so that all that work can get built upon rather than duplicated. And we want a place to talk about all the important, amusing, and informative things about fans that we stumble across.

    Fanhackers is a space for us to experiment with how we can make those things happen. We'll be changing and adding functionality as we figure out what works. Please drop by, browse around, share the info you have, and tell us how we can make this more useful and enjoyable.

  • OTW Board Announces the Resignation of Julia Beck

    By .Curtis Jefferson on Martedì, 19 February 2013 - 4:33pm
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    The Board regrets to announce the resignation of Julia Beck, effective immediately. Julia, who was elected to the Board in 2011, went on hiatus in September 2012 and had hoped to return at the beginning of this year, but personal and professional commitments outside the OTW made this impossible. An OTW staffer since 2008, Julia was the founding chair of the Internationalization & Outreach committee, and we will miss her deep commitment to and passion for that cause within the OTW, and the OTW itself. Thank you, Julia, for all your hard work and support over the past four years; you will continue to remain an inspiration to the rest of us.

    After discussion, the Board has decided not to appoint anyone to fill Julia's seat for the remainder of the 2013 term. We have clarified our policies on what to do in the (unlikely) case of a tied vote on the Board, and are concerned that appointing someone to the Board now would negatively impact the pool of potential candidates for the 2013 Board election.

    The Board remains committed to a nine-seat Board with three seats up for election each year. As part of this commitment, the Board has formally set the term of recent appointee Maia Bobrowicz to two years to match that of Cat Meier. They effectively are part of the same "cohort" of seats as Nikisha Sanders, who was elected in 2011, and their seats will be up for election in 2014. Julia's seat will count as part of the same cohort as Kristen Murphy and Ira Gladkova, who were elected in 2010 and whose seats are up for election again this year.

    Board attrition remains an issue of concern to the Board both personally and professionally. It is one of our continuing goals to do everything we can to reduce this attrition, and we are confident that these decisions will help in that effort.

  • OTW Board Approves Meta Hosting on the AO3

    By .Curtis Jefferson on Venerdì, 15 February 2013 - 7:12pm
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    After a long period of discussion, the OTW Board has voted to allow the posting of meta on the Archive of Our Own. We considered a range of issues while making this decision, including how this move would fit into the overall mission of the OTW, the technical and financial resources required, and demand from users of the Archive and members of the OTW. We determined that there is already a demand for meta on the Archive, and that this use of our resources is consonant with our purview and mission.

    We're aware that this decision has taken some time, and we sincerely apologize for the delay. We had hoped to reach a decision sooner, but the complexity of the discussion meant we needed to think carefully about the issues. As the term of some OTW Board members ended while the discussion was ongoing, we also needed time for the new Board members to get up-to-speed with all the issues involved.

    What will happen next?

    Agreeing to include meta on the Archive is just the first step in this journey. The Board will now work with all related committees to define exactly how meta will be handled. Our committees, including AD&T (which will be doing the work on the technical side), Abuse, Support, and others, will be working with our Content Policy workgroup to design a workable policy.

    One of the main tasks ahead of us is to agree on some definitions and policies. We need to agree on definitions that are usable and enforceable. While any category is inevitably fuzzy, we want to preserve the Archive as a site for fanworks (so for example, we don't want it to become a general blogging site). Once we've agreed on these definitions, our committees will have a whole range of tasks ahead of them, including:

    • Drafting revisions to our Terms of Service and FAQ. Revisions to the Archive TOS will be subject to a public review period (as detailed under Section IB of the TOS) before becoming final.
    • Determining technical plans for making meta more accessible. We are already planning changes to posting and browsing on the Archive to allow for multimedia hosting. We do not expect meta to require any additional coding to implement beyond what will be required for these changes, and allowing meta won't change the existing prioritization of these features, but we will need to factor it into our design.
    • Determining tagging policies to allow for multimedia and meta browsing.

    What will be allowed?

    Our Content Policy workgroup will be posting guidelines on what will fall under the 'meta' category and the policies which will apply to it in the next two weeks.

    What does this mean for me?

    Going forward, we hope that this will mean you can find and enjoy fannish meta more easily (and screen it out if you're not interested).

    If you currently have meta posted on the Archive, or you plan to post some in the near future, you should be aware that our policies are still being finalized. As action on existing meta posts was suspended while Board deliberated on this issue, in the coming months some users may be contacted in connection to how their posts fit the new policies. We recommend that users wait until these policies are made public before putting a lot of effort into new meta posts. However, we hope that, long term, meta writers will feel their contributions to the archive are welcome and can join other fanworks in finding an audience at the AO3.

    Thoughts?

    If you have thoughts and feedback you'd like us to consider, we ask that you comment here on the AO3 version of this post, to make it easier for the various committees involved to answer you and collate your replies.

    Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

  • OTW Weighs In on Fox v. DISH

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mercoledì, 6 February 2013 - 6:21pm
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    A lot of what the Legal Committee does is behind-the-scenes, so it's always exciting to be able to share a bit of public advocacy. On January 24, the OTW, together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Fox v. DISH Network.

    The Fox v. DISH case concerns DISH's "Hopper" DVR, which--like VCRs and DVRs before it--allows users to skip commercials on recorded television programming. In some ways, the Hopper makes commercial-skipping more convenient than other DVRs, and Fox has sued DISH, arguing that the Hopper's DVR features violate U.S. Copyright law. Fox's position directly conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Sony v. Universal ("the Betamax Case") in 1984, which held that home recording for the purpose of "time-shifting" is a lawful fair use.

    Fox asked the District Court in California to shut down DISH's Hopper Service. The District Court denied Fox's request, ruling for DISH on most issues. But one holding caught the OTW's attention: the District Court said that when DISH's engineers made "intermediate" copies of television programs to ensure that the Hopper system was functioning properly, they were infringing. The court said that DISH's intermediate copies did not have a "transformative" purpose in that they did not alter the expression, meaning, or message of the original television programs.

    The case is now on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals--and the OTW thought it was important to speak out. Although Fox has argued that its case is just about DISH, Fox's argument could be extended to the sort of "intermediate" copying that vidders must do in order to make transformative vids. Thanks to the OTW and its allies, the Copyright Office has recognized that transformative vids constitute fair use, and that high-quality intermediate copying is necessary to create such transformative uses. Among the OTW's arguments in the brief was that when copying is done for purposes of fair use--such as the creation of transformative vids--that copying itself constitutes fair use. Fox wants to extend copyright to control the way that people watch TV, and its arguments could have wide-ranging effects if accepted. Fortunately, the law is not on Fox's side. The OTW filed this brief to help keep Fox from trying to change the law.

    A PDF copy of the brief is available on our website.

  • OTW News now on Google+

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sabato, 2 February 2013 - 6:17pm
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    OTW News appears on a variety of sites to better reach our users and raise awareness about the Organization for Transformative Works. This week we are also opening a page on Google+!

    While all the OTW News sites currently receive either links to, or mirror posts of, each post made to the OTW News blog on our website, our account on Google+ will have a somewhat different focus. We plan to use this site primarily for legal and technology related posts, and those which relate to wider issues such as open access, on which we share common ground with organizations whose missions overlap with our own.

    We encourage anyone who shares those interests to add us to their circles there. If those topics happen to be the ones that brought you to the OTW, you may find it convenient to use Google+ as your primary news source for OTW content. However, if you wish to continue receiving the wider range of content that comes through the OTW News blog, please continue subscribing to us in your usual locations.

    If you have suggestions for topics that should be covered or shared at the new site, please let us know! We can't guarantee that we'll always be able to do so, but we're interested in hearing what you think.

  • 852 Prospect - Manual Import Support Chat Reminder

    By .Curtis Jefferson on Venerdì, 1 February 2013 - 6:06pm
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    As we reported early last month, due to delays in setting up the automated import for 852 Prospect, we are working to support authors who are interested in manually importing their stories into the Archive of Our Own.

    There will be two public chats, hosted by the Open Doors and Support committees, on Campfire (the online chat platform the OTW uses). The first will be on February 2 at 22:00UTC. The second will be on February 10 at 01:00UTC. (Click the links to see when the chat is being held in your timezone). You can access OTW’s public chatroom using this guest link.

    If you have questions and are unable to make it to the chat or have additional questions after, you can always contact Open Doors for further information.

    Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

  • Fandom Tags: Now with More Articles!

    By Claudia Rebaza on Domenica, 27 January 2013 - 6:42pm
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    Good news for users browsing fandoms on the AO3 -- alphabetizing titles by articles such as "the" or "das" or "los" is now a thing of the past!

    With this latest AO3 release, the Fandom names on the media pages now will sort alphabetically regardless of articles. Previously, the code that generated pages like the Theater Fandoms page sorted by the first letter of the canonical fandom tag name. Because we wanted the tags to be sorted alphabetically, we had to remove articles from the names of the fandom, unless the fandom name was only two words or otherwise was confusing without the article. Needless to say, we've been seeking a solution to this for some time, but required something internationally compatible that wouldn't strain our servers.

    This deploy gives wranglers the ability to set a "sort name" on canonical fandom tags that is separate from the "display name". So we can now have fandom names such as "The Crucible - Miller" display the article, but be sorted under "C".

    The deploy also ran an automated process on our existing fandom tags that should have automatically changed the sort name for tags starting with: a, an, the, la, les, un, une, des, die, das, il, el, las, los, der, and den. In some cases, this auto-corrected some fandom names incorrectly ("Die Hard (1998)" sorting under "H", for example).

    This still leaves a large number of tags that need to be manually adjusted, as they had an article removed to allow proper sorting under the old system. The Tag Wranglers are working through the fandom tags, restoring articles where the fandom name should have one, and fixing any incorrect changes. It will not be an instant process, given there are over 11,000 canonical fandom tags on the Archive, so we ask for your patience if it takes us a while to fix your particular fandom.

    In the meantime, if you have questions you can ask here or send a question to our Support team, who'll pass it on to the Wranglers. The Tag Wrangling Committee also has a Twitter account at ao3_wranglers for all sorts of tag-related discussion.

  • Questions about Comments

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 18 January 2013 - 12:48am
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    The OTW maintains a variety of social media outlets. Some of these are for the organization as a whole, such as our Facebook page, and the blog on the transformativeworks.org website. Others are for specific projects, such as the fanlore_news Twitter, or the Twitter account for our tag wrangling committee. You can find a listing of the various accounts on our website.

    Readership has been growing at some of our newer accounts, such as at Tumblr, and shrinking at others, such as at LiveJournal. The Communications Committee monitors activity at the various outlets to give us a better idea of where our audience is coming from.

    For example, the following shows our subscribers to each OTW News site as of last month:

    • LiveJournal 1851 Subscribers
    • Twitter 1196 Followers
    • Dreamwidth 763 Subscribers
    • Tumblr 716 Followers
    • Facebook 417 unique Likes
    • Yahoo posting board 65 Subscribers
    • Pinboard 36 subscribers
    • Insane Journal 3 subscribers (feed only)

    These numbers can be misleading, however, in indicating where people are actually reading the posts. For example, many people use RSS feeds from one of the above sites or from our organization's website blog. A lot of our Twitter readers are actually reading from Tumblr, and comparatively few of our LJ subscribers are actually reading our news at that site.

    Where people engage with us also varies. We receive comments from the majority of our sites and maintain them so that people can reach us at the fannish locations that they are already using. On occasion we have received questions about what our commenting policy is, or where we prefer to receive comments, given the variety of places where our news appears.

    Our policy for commenting at OTW outlets is as follows:

    "Comments can be made at any of our posting sites and questions can be sent to us through these outlets.

    However we ask that users do not include confidential information in these public posts (for example, questions about problems with a specific account on the AO3), but instead use email messages directed to the particular committees who can help them, such as Support for the AO3 or the Wiki Committee for Fanlore. Questions can always be sent to Communications who will redirect them to the appropriate venues.

    In some cases when the OTW is attempting to gather feedback from users on particular issues we may request that users respond only on one particular site (such as an AO3 News post, or one made to the OTW News blog). This both encourages discussion among users rather than having scattered comments across our many locations, and also facilitates responses from OTW staff, who may not have user accounts at all of our mirror locations."

    We encourage discussions at any of our sites. We also hope to make more OTW project users aware of our news outlets so that they can locate information and find a place for their questions to be answered.

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