Announcement

  • Boys in Chains/AO3 Consensual Bondage

    By Kiri Van Santen on Friday, 31 October 2014 - 4:08pm
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    logo with the words 'Boys in Chains' and 'the slave!fic archive'

    Boys in Chains, a multi-fandom archive for both fiction and art, with a focus on stories about emotional bonds between people of different ranks or status, is moving in with the Archive of Our Own (AO3). And to reflect its openness to femslash, het, and gen, its name will be changing to Chains: The Powerfic Archive.

    In this post:

    Background explanation

    Boys in Chains opened in 2000 as a m/m slash slavefic archive. It later expanded its content to become an archive for works representing power imbalances, including slavefic, prisonfic, hookerfic and fic with BDSM themes. It welcomed fan fiction and original fiction in the categories of m/m slash, f/f slash, gen, and het as well as yaoi, yuri, and gay/lesbian fiction. As well as fiction, it also had a gallery of fan art depicting similar themes.

    On the AO3, Chains: The Powerfic Archive will be a separate, searchable collection with its own identity for all of the fanworks that were housed on the original archive. We will begin importing works from Boys in Chains to the AO3 collection in December 2014.

    What does this mean for creators who had work on Boys in Chains?

    This is the part where we ask for your help!

    1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your Boys in Chains works there, please contact Open Doors with your Boys in Chains pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won’t import your works. (You can mass add works to the new collection on the AO3.)

    2. If you don’t already have an AO3 account but would like one to upload your works yourself, please contact Open Doors with your Boys in Chains pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to.

    3. If you would NOT like your works imported, please contact Open Doors with your Boys in Chains pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (If you would not mind them being preserved but do not want your name attached to them any longer, please let us know that too—we can orphan your works so that present and future fans can still enjoy them.)

    All works imported on a creator’s behalf will be attributed with their name in the summary of the work, and will include a note about how to claim the work in the future. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with 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 3 months, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

    If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Boys in Chains works, 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 Chains archive mod to confirm your claims.)

    If you still have questions...

    If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ page, contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we'll respond as soon as we can.

    - The Open Doors team

    Share your memories of Boys in Chains on Fanlore and keep its story going for future generations--contributions are welcome from all fans! (New to wiki editing? No worries, just visit this page.)

  • Elections 2014 Q&A and Chats

    By Janita Burgess on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 - 10:28pm
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    OTW 2014 Elections Banner

    Now that everyone has had some time to acquaint themselves with our Board candidates through their bios and manifestos, we have more in-depth knowledge for you. This post has the candidates' answers to your questions and the link we will be using for the public chats.

    Chats

    There will be three public chats, each attended by two candidates and lasting 90 minutes. They will take place in our public chatroom.

    They are scheduled for:

    During these chats, OTW members and volunteers will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions not already covered in their manifestos, bios, and Q&A, as well as to ask individual questions of specific candidates. If anyone isn't able to ask all their questions by the end of a given chat, you'll have an hour to submit your questions via the Elections form.

    We hope that you can join us for one or all of these chats!

    Q&A

    When we posted the Board candidates' bios and manifestos, we asked the public to submit additional questions for them. Now we have their answers for you!

    The questions are listed below with links to each candidate's answers. We have done our best to avoid repeat questions, so keep in mind that your question may have been combined with another.

    Part 1

    1) Being an OTW Board member is a time-consuming job. What do you think should be an average day in the life on an OTW Board member? How much time do you think you can dedicate to OTW Board work each day? Describe a handful of standard activities you believe you should do on a daily basis.

    2) What does the org's expectation of Board members' respect for confidentiality mean to you? Where would you draw the line when talking about internal org matters with friends and acquaintances via IM, email, locked DW/Twitter/etc, anon memes, or in person?

    3) Since 2011, there have been no contested elections for OTW Board. The fact that an OTW Board position has at this point essentially become a "you want it, you got it" position undermines OTW's legitimacy externally, and more importantly, Board's legitimacy internally.
    a) In light of this statistic, and the known fact of high director turnover, do you feel that the recent decision to expand OTW Board to 9 members is a good decision? If so, why?
    b) How do you address concerns about the fact that Board is currently the ruling body of the OTW and is supposed to represent the Board as an entirety, considering the lack of a democratic voting process? Do you think this undermines your position?

    Part 2

    4) What do you believe the Board's role should be in the area of fundraising in particular? What kinds of concrete acts should or shouldn't Board members do with regards to fundraising planning and execution?

    5) What kind of challenges, in your opinion, does the OTW face in the financial area? What do you think are our most pressing needs and flaws in that realm?

    6) Would you be able to lay out your vision for OTW’s financial future? How do you intend to balance the committees’ different needs?

    7) We're currently projected to be operating at a financial loss this year. Do you have any concrete plans for how you'll address issues of financial sustainability going forward?

    8) AO3's continued survival currently depends on a small handful of volunteers doing massive amounts of unpaid work. If those people became unavailable, what would your plan be to keep the archive from going under? Do you have a sense of how much it would cost to hire external contractors to do that work?

    Part 3

    9) All candidates' manifestos mention the rapid growth of the OTW, and therefore the need to grow a better internal infrastructure. What kind of infrastructure are you aiming for? In addition to that, what do you think should be the future role of the OTW Board? Advisory? Executive? Something else?

    10) If it were up to you alone, what steps and structural changes would you suggest to transition the Board out of doing day-to-day work?

    11) If you could make one concrete change in the OTW tomorrow, what would you do?

    Part 4

    12) There has been a lot of discussion and confusion both within and outside the OTW related to the concept of 'transparency' and what that means in relation to the work of the Board and the work of the organization as a whole. How would you define transparency in these contexts and what steps would you take both to ensure everyone is clear on what transparency means and to hold the Board and the organization accountable to that definition?

    13) The OTW has had issues with regards to clashing perceptions of authority and hierarchy between the Board and committees. Staffers and volunteers vocally resist both steps that are perceived as attempts to verticalize the org's structure and any Board decisions that are understood as top-down orders. What is your perspective on this issue?

    14) How do you see your role on the Board in relation to OTW staffers and volunteers and OTW members? How do you plan to reconcile different staffers' visions for the org? How do you think a Board member should act when staffers disagree with decisions that are under Board purview?

    15) What do you think are the unique challenges in interacting with a staff comprised entirely of volunteers as opposed to paid staff? How do you plan to navigate this?

    Part 5

    16) How would you respond if you saw a fellow director speaking harshly to a volunteer in a public chat?

    17) It's been shared by past Directors that Board work is both incredibly time-consuming and stressful and this can sometimes bring out "the worst" in people and can lead to negative interactions within the organization that have a lasting impact. From your outside observations so far, what difficulties have you noticed? Do you have any ideas for how to combat this issue that you will try to implement either for yourself or others during your Board service and how might you encourage self-care for yourself, your fellow Directors, and OTW personnel at-large?

    18) How do you plan to avoid burnout as a director?

  • Board Candidate Manifestos, Q&A, and Chats

    By Kiri Van Santen on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 - 4:42pm
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    Banner by Lisa inspired by Diane's of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW' and'Elections News' and including the year

    Last Thursday, we announced the Board candidates for 2014. Over the next few weeks, we'll be offering 3 ways to get to know them.

    Manifestos 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 manifesto about their goals for their term on the Board by answering the following questions:

    1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
    2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
    3. What goals would you like to achieve during your term?
    4. What is your experience of the OTW’s projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them? Please include AO3, TWC, Fanlore, our Legal Advocacy work and Open Doors, though feel free to emphasize particular areas you’re interested in.
    5. Choose two topics/issues that you think should be high priority for the OTW, both internally and externally. What do these topics mean to you and why do you value them? How will you make them a part of your service?
    6. What do you think the key responsibilities of a/the Board are? Are you familiar with the legal requirements for a US-based nonprofit board of directors?
    7. 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 clicking 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 23:59 UTC on October 19th. (What time is that where I live?) All three candidates will answer each question submitted, subject to the following restrictions:

    • Questions must not be repeats of questions from the manifestos. 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 manifesto question, please specifically mention that it is a follow-up so it isn't treated as a repeat.

    Answers will be posted on October 28th.

    Chats

    There will be three public chats, each attended by two candidates and lasting 90 minutes. They are scheduled for:

    During these chats, OTW members and volunteers will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions not already covered in their manifestos, bios, and Q&A, as well as to ask individual questions of specific candidates. If anyone isn't able to ask all their questions by the end of a given chat, you'll have an hour to submit your questions via the Elections form.

    We will announce the link to the chatroom when we post the Q&A responses. We hope that you can join us for one or all of these chats!

  • Candidates Announcement

    By Janita Burgess on Thursday, 9 October 2014 - 3:56pm
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    OTW 2014 Elections Banner

    The OTW is pleased to announce the following candidates for the 2014 Election (in alphabetical order by given name):

    • Jessica Suzanne Steiner
    • Margaret MacRae
    • Soledad Griffin

    Because we have 3 seats to be filled and 3 candidates, the 2014 election will be uncontested--that is, there will be no vote.

    The Elections Committee is excited to begin the process of introducing the candidates to all of the members of the OTW! Within the next few weeks, we will post short bios and manifestos written by the candidates. This will be followed by a Q&A period, during which we will invite the public to submit questions for the candidates. Finally, we will hold a series of live chats, with dates and times to be announced based on candidate availability.

    You can read more about these processes and how they work on our intro post.

  • Come to the Fanlore Editing Chat!

    By Kiri Van Santen on Wednesday, 8 October 2014 - 4:57pm
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    Banner by caitie with 'otw chat' at its center and emoticons and other symbols in word bubbles surrounding it.

    Are you new to creating entries on Fanlore? Have you been editing for a while but would like to talk to other people working on Fanlore?

    Whatever your connection to Fanlore, you are cordially invited to an editing chat for questions, discussions, or just to talk about Fanlore editing. The chat will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30pm UTC (what time is that in my timezone?), in the Fanlore chat room on Campfire.

    Come join Wiki staffers, gardeners and fellow editors and find out more about how you can help develop the entries on Fanlore!

  • Calling all fan video makers! Tell us about your work!

    By Janita Burgess on Tuesday, 7 October 2014 - 5:17pm
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    OTW Announcement Banner by Diane

    The OTW's Fan Video & Multimedia Committee and Legal Committee are once again working to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.).

    This year, we'll not only be pushing to renew the exemptions we've already won in the last two rounds of DMCA rulemaking, but also pushing to add Blu-Ray and streaming services.

    And we need your help to do it! If you make or watch vids, AMVs, or other forms of fan video, we need you to tell us:

    1. Why making fan videos is a transformative and creative act;
    2. Why video makers need high-quality source;
    3. Why video makers need to be able to manipulate source (change speed and color, add effects, etc.);
    4. Why video makers need fast access to source (such as using iTunes downloads rather than waiting for DVDs);
    5. Why video makers need to be able to use Blu-Ray;
    6. Why video makers need to be able to use streaming sources; and
    7. Anything else you think we should keep in mind as we work on the exemption proposal.

    We're also looking for vids that we should add to the Fair Use Test Suite, and we'd love to have your suggestions.

    If you have thoughts about any or all of these topics, please send them by e-mail to the Legal Committee at legal at transformativeworks dot org or the Fan Video & Multimedia Committee at fanvideo-chair at transformativeworks dot org. You don't have to use your real name; we can use your name or pseudonym or describe you anonymously as "a vidder" or "a fan video artist."

    The DMCA is U.S. copyright law and only directly affects U.S. vidders, but it does potentially have ripple effects outside the U.S.: Strong DMCA exemptions help send the message that fan creativity should be protected everywhere. With that in mind, please feel free to send your thoughts even if you don't live in the U.S.

    Also, please help us signal-boost! This info is being posted to all the OTW and AO3 News sites; if you can think of other places the OTW should post, please let us know—and if you can spread the word in your own networks, on streaming sites, etc., please do.

  • Candidacy Deadline Extended

    By Kiri Van Santen on Monday, 29 September 2014 - 5:01pm
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    Banner by Diane of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW', 'Elections News' and a checkmark next to 'Make your voice heard'

    Elections Committee is happy to report that 3 candidates have so far come forward to declare candidacy for the Board of Directors.

    However, since that means we have the same number of candidates as open seats on the Board, we have extended the deadline by one week. The new deadline for declaring candidacy is October 3, 2014.

    We will be announcing the names of all candidates once this extended deadline is past. If, by the end of October 3, no new candidates have come forward, the election will not be contested.

  • Transformative Works and Cultures releases No. 17

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 - 4:57pm
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    Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine.

    TWC has released No. 17, a general (unthemed) issue comprising seven full-length critical essays, six Symposium essays, two interviews, and three book reviews. The works loosely gather into themes of form and content—the title of Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson's editorial. The issue showcases a variety of investigations into a myriad of platforms. The issue features several essays that switch the focus from content to form and illustrate the importance of a range of different fan engagements. Fan fiction, fan films, fannish infrastructure, fan subs, and fan archives are all addressed in this issue.

    Several peer-reviewed essays look at the way fan fiction engages with its source texts as well as its surrounding fannish cultures.

    * Ann McClellan's "Redefining Genderswap Fan Fiction: A Sherlock Case Study" uses a transgender theory framework to look at genderswap fiction and the way it addresses issues of gender and identity.

    * Vera Cuntz-Leng's "Twinship, Incest, and Twincest in the Harry Potter Universe" looks at an individual fandom and its fan creations to investigate how the doubling motif gets repeated.

    * John Wei looks at Chinese Iron Man fan fiction in "Iron Man in Chinese Boys' Love Fandom: A Story Untold."

    * Douglas Schules's "How to Do Things with Fan Subs: Media Engagement as Subcultural Capital in Anime Fan Subbing" reads the practice of fan subbing as part of a complex system of subcultural capital.

    * Shannon Fay Johnson looks at fannish infrastructures in "Fan Fiction Metadata Creation and Utilization within Fan Fiction Archives: Three Primary Models."

    * Joshua Wille's "Fan Edits and the Legacy of The Phantom Edit" looks at fan remixes of one particular film—and one influential fan edit—to illustrate the artistic and creative importance of digital remixing.

    * Burcu S. Bakioglu's "Bull in a China Shop: Alternate Reality Games and Transgressive Fan Play in Social Media" analyzes how the video blogs of Lonelygirl15 constructed a narrative to invite maximum fan engagement.

    Two interviews appear in this issue. In their conversation with Sleepy Hollow's actor Orlando Jones, Lucy Bennett and Bertha Chin discuss his past year of "Exploring Fandom, Social Media, and Producer/Fan Interactions." TWC's book review editor, Louisa Stein, hosts a roundtable of various media scholars (including TWC coeditor Kristina Busse) reviewing Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green (NYU Press, 2013). Parts of this roundtable were originally published in Cinema Journal; TWC prints the extended, unabridged version.

    The three book reviews demonstrate the increased importance of fan studies. Anne Gilbert reviews Fanged Fan Fiction: Variations on Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, by Maria Lindgren Leavenworth and Malin Isaksson (McFarland, 2013); Nicolle Lamerichs discusses Manga's Cultural Crossroads, edited by Jaqueline Berndt and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer (Routledge, 2013); and Lucy Bennett assesses Popular Music Fandom: Identities, Roles, and Practices, edited by Mark Duffett (Routledge, 2014).

    The next two issues of TWC, Nos. 18 and 19, will appear in the first half of 2015 as guest-edited special issues: Paul Booth and Lucy Bennett coedit a special issue on performance and performativity, and Anne Kustritz's special issue focuses on European fandom. Both these issues are closed to submissions.

    A future issue, guest edited by Ika Wills, on the Classical Canon and/as Transformational Work remains open for submissions. TWC No. 20 will be an open, unthemed issue, and we welcome general submissions. (Close date for the CFP is March 1, 2015).We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. We encourage all potential authors to read the submission guidelines. The close date for receipt of copy for No. 20 is March 15, 2015.


    Transformative Works and Cultures is part of the Organization for Transformative Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We exist entirely on the generosity of our donors. If you would like our work to continue, please consider donating today.

  • Welcome to OTW Elections Season!

    By Kiri Van Santen on Saturday, 13 September 2014 - 4:16pm
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    Banner by Diane of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW', 'Elections News' and a checkmark next to 'Make your voice heard'

    We’re very excited to announce the beginning of elections season and would like to issue you a warm welcome! The members of the OTW are entrusted with electing 3 new Board members yearly. In order to become a member, you can simply donate $10 or more to the OTW. This post will provide you with a basic overview of what the elections process will look like this year.

    What Potential Candidates Need to Know

    The Board handles strategic planning and decision making for OTW’s mission, budget, projects, and priorities. They monitor progress toward strategic goals and maintain OTW’s long-term focus. The Board also takes responsibility for organizational actions and ensures the organization’s legal compliance.

    Board terms are three years long. There are nine Board seats, three of which are up for election every year. If there are three candidates or less, all candidates will be elected automatically. If four or more candidates step forward, the election will be contested, and members will be able to vote on who will take the open positions. In case of a contested election this year, voting will be held November 14-16, 2014.

    Eligibility and Candidacy

    In order to be eligible to run for Board, a candidate must:

    • be a paid member of the OTW by 8 weeks prior to the election,
    • be at least 18 years old by the time of the election,
    • run under their legal name,
    • be a current staffer on a standing committee in the OTW,
    • not be a member of the Elections Committee during the year of candidacy (for 2014 elections, Jan 1, 2014 onward),
    • have served as a staffer for a total of 9 months (excluding hiatus) as of November 1 of that election year.

    The Elections Committee is now accepting candidacy declarations for 2014. Candidates must be a paid member by September 19, 2014, and they must declare their candidacy by September 26, 2014.

    Getting to Know the Candidates

    Candidates will provide a short biography summarizing their background in both their fandom and professional lives, aiming to show voters why they are suitable candidates for the Board. Candidates will also present a manifesto in the form of answers to a standard set of questions provided with the intent of expanding on what their relevant skills and experience are, as well as their vision for the OTW.

    We will also be hosting a number of open chats, of which every candidate is required to attend at least one. These will be a chance for everyone to ask questions that may not have been answered in the bios or manifestos, as well as follow-up questions. The chats also allow voters to see how the candidates interact, both with each other and with the public. Transcripts of the chats will be posted for the benefit of those who could not make it.

    Additionally, there will be a Q&A period. This will provide an opportunity for voters to follow up on questions from the manifestos or ask new questions that were not previously discussed, as well as allow the candidates to express their opinions in a situation that is not as immediate and high pressure as chats. Questions will be sent in over a set period of time and reviewed by the Elections Committee for repeats and similarities. The questions will be split into small batches of 3-5 questions, and each candidate can request a batch when they are sure they have the time to return the batch within 24 hours. The candidates will be given a certain amount of time to complete all the batches of questions, the length of which depends on the total number of questions.

    We will be posting more information regarding eligibility to vote and the deadlines for the election period in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can direct any questions you might have to the Elections Committee. We are looking forward to a great elections season, and we hope that you are, too!

  • OTW Legal Opposes Australian Copyright Proposal

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 7 September 2014 - 5:36pm
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    Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

    OTW Legal, jointly with Creative Commons Australia, contributed a Submission to the Australian Government’s Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper (available as a PDF) recommending against a proposal by the Australian government expanding the definition of "authorisation" liability for internet service providers. This would mean that, even if they couldn't stop individual infringements by individual users, they could have to change how their services operated, such as by shutting off internet access for accused infringers or by filtering users' activity.

    As our submission states, "The Australian Government’s proposal poses significant risks to creativity, free expression, and the flow of information, knowledge, and culture. In practical terms, ISPs and other online intermediaries are not in a good position to monitor and enforce copyright infringement. Copyright law is complex, and many of the decisions intermediaries are being asked to make require difficult evaluations of fact and law. In particular, private intermediaries should not be tasked with identifying whether a given use is validly licensed or legitimately used under one of the limitations to copyright, including fair dealing."

    Our submission emphasised the complexities in takedown requests, citing multiple examples of improper takedowns under US DMCA regulation, including an instance in which "a frequent submitter of DMCA notices submitted a DMCA notice seeking removal of a screenshot of an online discussion criticizing him for submitting overreaching DMCA notices."

    The Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance, although at first supporting the government's proposal, later withdrew their support. "The MEAA represents a broad range of the creative industry including journalists, actors, dancers, photographers, and people in film and TV," but "the union said in a statement that it did not intend to have its support for the government's proposal to be intepreted as support for an internet filter."

    Dangers to innovation

    The OTW's position is that the Australian government's proposal creates a chilling effect. "Notices that incorrectly allege infringement for legitimate expression" are likely to frighten "ordinary creators and users of copyright expression" into self-censorship. "Educational institutions in particular are likely to be extremely risk-averse, despite the importance of critical commentary and engagement with existing knowledge and cultural works to education."

    By putting an undue burden on individual users, "ordinary speakers who lack access to traditional publishing venues" are unlikely to have "legal training or resources to defend themselves. Thus they are likely to go unchallenged, and the relevant speech permanently suppressed. The problem is especially acute for marginalized speakers, such as women and people of colour, who already face cultural pressures against speaking out and are less likely to contest takedown notices."


    OTW's Legal Advocacy project is part of the Organization for Transformative Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We exist entirely on the generosity of our donors. If you would like our work to continue, please consider donating today.

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