For many of us, the answer to that question is love — love of a favorite TV show, video game, or band; love of fannish communities and the friends we make there; or love of the creative process involved in transforming canon to create something new. Fans put in long hours making and consuming fanworks, traveling to conventions, moderating communities, and chatting about their latest fannish passions — not out of obligation, not for pay, but because it brings us joy.
Like so many other fannish endeavors, the Organization for Transformative Works is a labor of love. We’re a nonprofit organization run entirely by fans, for fans, which relies on the generous support of donors and volunteers. During our membership drive from now through April 9, we invite you to become an OTW member by making a donation of US$10 or more. Your donation will help to sustain Fanlore, the Archive of Our Own, Transformative Works and Cultures, Open Doors, and our legal advocacy work. If you donate US$50 or more, you can opt to receive a thank-you gift to proudly show off your support.
Here at the OTW, preserving fannish history is a central part of our mission! We're proud to be able to offer fans a place to archive their works on the Archive of Our Own, and tell their own fannish histories on Fanlore. As of March 29, 2013, Fanlore has 24,423 articles which have undergone 439,529 edits, while the Archive of Our Own recently passed 143,000 users, and more than 640,100 works have been posted on the AO3, across over 11,600 fandoms!
In April of last year, the Volunteers & Recruiting committee closed active recruiting of volunteers for the OTW and all of its projects. We did not make this decision lightly; we know the organization is entirely reliant on volunteers' generosity with their time. As we are now at a point where we hope to reopen recruiting in the near future, we wanted to take some time to explain the reasons for closing and the work that has been undertaken to improve our volunteer program in the interim in more detail.
Going into 2012, the organization had a system for recruiting that had worked very well in the past. Prospective volunteers completed a form that indicated their willingness to serve and areas of the organization that piqued their interest. The Volunteers & Recruiting committee would then work with committee chairs in an attempt to match those interests up with open places in the organization. As the organization grew in size and scope, so did the number of interested volunteers; the existing recruiting method became time consuming for Volunteers & Recruiting staff and chairs, and resulted in several instances of individuals volunteering for roles that were not accepting new volunteers at the time. These issues became increasingly apparent during the membership drive last April, when we saw a major influx of volunteer interest and had had to turn away skilled and interested potential volunteers due to a lack of available positions.
Volunteers & Recruiting closed external recruiting at that point, with a plan to revise the committee's internal procedures and then investigate and develop a new system of recruiting. Our goal in completing these tasks is to ensure the committee's procedures are up-to-date for each role while putting in place a recruiting system that provides more support to new volunteers while also ensuring chairs and leads can easily recruit for positions they need.
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:
Talking to everyone to learn what is needed and wanted (which can be different for everyone but thankfully there is some common ground)
Talking about priorities (because our wish list is way larger than our ability to grant wishes)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.