Announcement

  • Transfomative Works and Cultures releases No. 14

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 15 September 2013 - 8:41pm
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    Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) today released general issue No. 14. The Open Access Gold 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.

    This issue will celebrate the anniversary of TWC’s founding issue in September 2008. Looking over their five years, general editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson describe how the journal has expanded in focus and responded to changes within fan cultures and fan studies alike. They describe how how the issue “indicates our own expansion to include ever-wider arenas in which fans engage even as we remain focused on the communities and activities that gave rise to this discipline and to this journal in the first place.”

    The essays in this issue range from the past to the future, from focus on specific fan engagements and fandoms to general Internet structures and linguistics. Juli J. Parrish's "Metaphors We Read By: People, Process, and Fan Fiction" and Simon Lindgren’s "Sub*culture: Exploring the Dynamics of a Networked Public" looks for useful model to describe fan communities while Craig Norris and Lori Hitchcock Morimoto look at international media reception and fan tourism. Finally, Emily Regan Wills and Kevin Veale study particular aspects of large fandoms, The X-Files and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic respectively. In all the essays, the relationships among fans, fandom, and the fannish objects are central as is the awareness of geographic and temporal differences.

    The Symposium section allows fans and academics to offer shorter ideas and readings. Here the journal offers two personal responses: Whitney Philips describes her enjoyment and investment in Troll 2 and Shannon K. Farley looks over her personal scholarly history to establish the connection between fan fiction and translation studies. Mel Stanfill and Katherine E. Morrissey address recent fannish debates, especially in the wake of the Kindle Worlds announcement, to discuss the role of artistic and communal ownership and the definitions of fan and fan works themselves.

    The issue concludes with the reviews of three important books, Accordingly, we include in this issue Melissa Click's review of Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green's Spreadable Media, Josh Johnson's review of Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi’s Reclaiming Fair Use, and Amanda Retartha's review of Anne Morey's important Twilight collection Genre, Reception, and Adaption in the Twilight Series.

    For 2014, TWC has planned two themed issues, "Fandom and/as Labor" (guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis) and "Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom" (guest edited by Bob Rehak), as well as No. 17, a general nonthemed issue slated to appear September 15, 2014.

  • AO3 Passes 200,000 User Accounts

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 - 3:49pm
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    At the start of 2013 we posted about the AO3's growth in 2012. Those numbers showed new milestones in total works, total fandoms, total collections, total Support tickets answered, and total account users.

    At the time we said, "While we still have a large body of users awaiting accounts, currently around 10,000, this is down significantly from the 30,000+ that we saw through the latter half of 2012, and we hope to decrease the wait further in 2013. It seems likely that Archive use will continue growing strongly this year, possibly even repeating 2012's feat of more than doubling its user base."

    And it has! As of yesterday the Archive passed 200,000 users. By March the wait for an account dropped to 24-48 hours and we've been averaging about 500 new users a day.

    For those who are feeling nostalgic, you may want to take a look back at a post recapping the AO3's first year in open beta.

    When we entered Open Beta on 15 November 2009 we had:

    • 347 users
    • 668 fandoms
    • 6565 works

    The site went through a 3000% increase in users that first year and an equally phenomenal jump in content. Yet today we gain more users each day than we started with in 2009.

    Visitors from Everywhere!

    While account holder statistics are good to know, there are many more people using AO3 than currently have accounts. Whether this is because they're random visitors, casual users, or don't find the benefits of an account appealing, we still have some clues that they're stopping by. For example, in the month of July the AO3 served pages to 3,663,572 unique IP addresses. So even if everyone with an account was using 5 different locations to access us, that's an awful lot of non-account visitors!

    Another clue comes from the amount of bandwidth we're using. From just over 5 terabytes served in January we used 7.9 in July. If that pace keeps up we'll have doubled our use this year.

    We've also been able to see the many countries that people are clicking in from. We've counted over 60 countries with simultaneous user activity over the past several months (including Denmark, Kenya, Jordan, Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Uruguay, just to name a few at random), and many more with at least a handful of visitors this year.

    Technology Old and New

    We also took note of browser usage among our users and have shown the top 20 in the graph below. In the month of July this ranged from 43.5 pages per minute being served to a Windows IE 8 browser to 533 per minute being served to Windows Chrome 28.

    Pie chart of browsers that accessed AO3 in July 2013

    Users Doing Stuff!

    Here's a quick look at the growth in certain actions on the site.

    The number of users we've watched grow over the years is dwarfed by the much larger amount of commenting and bookmarking activity. In the chart below the red line below barely seems to increase compared to the growth in commenting activity this year (green line).

    Graph showing growth in comments vs. user accounts

    Because the scale of growth is so different for these two actions we can also look at actual numbers taken from the graph below. Comment growth has been somewhat less than that of bookmarking (yellow line). In July there were 299,849 comments left and 438,746 bookmarks added. But both are far less than the growth of kudos (orange line) which is often used by people who don't have accounts or aren't logged in. There were 1,544,028 kudos given in July 2013 alone.

    Graph showing growth in comments vs. bookmarks vs. kudos

    We welcome all our new users, whether they use an account or not, and hope that they enjoy their time on the site! If you're hesitant to get an account because of long wait times, don't forget that our automated invites should arrive within two days of your request. If you don't see it, please check your spam folder and make sure that @archiveofourown.org is whitelisted.

    Mirrored from an original post on AO3 News. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.

  • No New SOPA for Fanworks

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 - 3:41pm
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    Banner by Diane of a magnifying glass with a justice scale inside

    Back in 2011, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that targeted "piracy" of copyrighted works. These were known as SOPA and its U.S. Senate counterpart, PIPA. The OTW has written about the issue several times. Thanks to activism on the part of Internet users and the participation of various large, well known online sites, the legislation was shelved.

    Recently concern has emerged among fan communities that the legislation is back and will result in radical changes in how fans will be able to create and share fanworks. While it's wise for fans to be vigilant in protecting their rights, it's also important to avoid misinformation.

    The current alarm seems to be in response to a paper published by the U.S. Commerce Department earlier this summer. In this paper they have asked Congress to amend the Copyright Act itself to make it a felony to reproduce or distribute at least 10 or more copies of copyrighted works with a total retail value of at least $2,500. In other words, their stated intention is to match up aspects of 20+ year-old laws to make them more consistent with each other when applied to downloading and streaming. Whether that’s a good idea or not is outside the OTW's focus on fanworks, because streaming of fanworks would still be protected under Fair Use as transformative works. To be clear, the revision proposed by the Commerce Department may have been included as part of SOPA, but nowhere in the recent Commerce Department paper did they ask Congress to bring back SOPA wholesale, with its broader provisions about blocking websites.

    Only the U.S. Congress can create legislation by writing a bill; the Commerce Department is an administrative body and it can’t make something a felony, although it can influence legislation in various ways, including through the U.S. Trade Representative's negotiations with other countries. Assuming that legislation was written and brought before congressional committees, there would be an opportunity for anti-SOPA forces to weigh in. Further, if this particular Commerce Department proposal did become law, it would have no direct impact on fanworks or transformative works because of the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act.

    To be clear, the provision proposed by the Commerce Department could have some impact on fandom activities. If it were to become law it could affect, for example, live group viewings of TV shows or films through unlicensed sites. It could also potentially affect whether certain websites implemented screening mechanisms that didn't allow for fair use, though other aspects of copyright law are likely to be much more important than a change in criminal penalties. But even if the proposed law were enacted, it wouldn't have any direct impact on transformative fanworks like those hosted by the AO3. Such works aren't, and wouldn't become, actionable infringement because “fair use [including in a transformative work] is a lawful use of copyright.”

    If you have questions about legal matters related to fanworks and fan activities, you can always send a message to the OTW's legal team (and thank you to those who alerted us to this matter!); please get in touch with us if you see statements that a certain proposal or piece of legislation would force the OTW and/or AO3 to shut down. We are advocates for and about fandom, and we will protect fans' rights to be creative and share their creativity noncommercially, and work to stop or overturn any laws that would block fans from doing so. You can also subscribe to OTW News through the platform of your choice to stay informed.

  • Looking for Tag Wranglers once again!

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 5:00pm
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    Updated: Thanks to a quick response from many readers, we are temporarily closing tag wrangling recruitment again. If you've missed your chance, keep an eye on our website, as we'll be reopening intake once we've processed the newest tag wranglers.

    We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Communications Graphics Volunteers, for which chairs are currently reviewing applications.

    Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

    • Tag Wrangling (reopening) - Applications accepted on an ongoing basis (role may be temporarily closed based on level of interest)

    We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

    All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers@transformativeworks.org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

    If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

    Tag Wrangling

    The Tag Wranglers are responsible for keeping the hundreds of thousands of tags on AO3 in some kind of order! We choose which form of a fandom title appears on the Media pages, as well as all the character, relationship, and additional tags which appear in the filters and the auto-complete, and we link tags together to make all the works and bookmarks on the archive easier to browse and search (so that users can find exactly what they're looking for, whether that's Steve/Tony with tentacles or g-rated Rose/Kanaya fluff).

    If you like organizing, bringing order to chaos, excuses to fact-check your favorite fandom canons, or you just get a kick out of seeing all the wacky and wonderful terms fans come up with, you might enjoy tag wrangling! To join our team, click through to the job description and application form.

    Please note: due to (amazing!) interest in wrangling volunteering, we're currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only. We’re currently seeking wranglers for the following fandoms and fandom types. (If you have no knowledge of or interest in wrangling any of the below, please don’t apply at this time, as there won’t be any wrangling work available for you to do. In the future we’ll open recruitment for other fandoms, as needed!)

    • Any fandoms listed on the first 3 pages of the Fandoms in need of a wrangler page
    • Any fandoms with a canon originally in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Russian. (Volunteers interested in these should preferably have some fluency in the language, due to lack of English-language references for many.)
    • Homestuck
    • Star Wars (especially the Extended Canon)
    • Finnish Music RPF
    • DCU (comics and animated canons)

    Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

  • Board President & Vice President for 2013

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 7 July 2013 - 7:18pm
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    Tags:

    The OTW Board is pleased to announce that Ira Gladkova and Cat Meier have agreed to serve as President and Vice President of the Board, respectively, for the remainder of the 2013 term. Ira was elected to the Board in 2010 and served as interim Secretary for most of 2013. Cat was appointed to the Board in 2012 and is currently the co-Chair of the Finance committee.

    The Board is grateful for the support of OTW staff, volunteers, and members over the past several weeks as we shuffled our members and officers. Now that the matter of the presidency has been squared away, we will move on to addressing questions about the seats available for the 2013 election and expect to do so well in advance of that taking place.

  • Announcing the Archive of Our Own Diversity Statement

    By Curtis Jefferson on Saturday, 29 June 2013 - 7:48pm
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    The OTW is delighted to announce the implementation of the Archive of Our Own Diversity Statement.

    The AO3 Diversity Statement is intended to codify the Archive's pre-existing commitment to open expression and inclusive participation in the Archive project. We, the staff and volunteers of the OTW, have written this statement to express our principles, and to give you, our users, friends, and fellow fans, an explicit set of standards to which to hold us as we continue to develop the Archive. We hope that going forward the Diversity Statement will form a vital part of the Archive experience.

    The Diversity Statement has been years in the making, and was spearheaded by the Internationalization & Outreach committee in collaboration with multiple other OTW committees. A big thank-you goes to those committees, especially the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee and the Archive team, and to I&O's chairs and staffers past and present who put time, thought, and energy into seeing the statement go live.

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

  • Proposed Content Policy ToS and FAQ changes

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 28 June 2013 - 6:08pm
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    In mid-March our Content Policy workgroup asked for user feedback about the following ways in which we would have to address the addition of fannish non-fiction content to the AO3. Because work type is not yet in place as part of the basic upload form, we have been working on a general policy focused on tagging. Based on internal and external feedback, we have made some changes to the initial proposal, though the basic structure remains the same.

    Continue reading on AO3 News

  • Fanlore passes 25,000 articles

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 20 June 2013 - 1:57am
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    The Fanlore celebration trivia contest has now closed and we have winners! They are:

    fuurou for Post 1
    sungabraverday for Post 2
    kylara for Post 3

    Congratulations to them and thank you to everyone who took part. We hope you had a good time hunting through Fanlore entries. If you've come across entries you'd like to expand or new ones you'd like to start, take a look at Fanlore's tutorial if you're new to editing there.

    Fanlore appears to have passed its 25,000 entry on June 18 with the Jennifer "JJ" Jareau/Emily Prentiss article created by PhoenixFalls.

    Many thanks to all the fans, gardeners, editors, and Wiki Committee staffers who have developed Fanlore over the years, and who have given the rest of us this great resource to enjoy and check. We look forward to celebrating more milestones in the future!

    Mirrored from an original post at the Fanlore community on Dreamwidth. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.

  • Translated Fandom Tags

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 17 June 2013 - 9:13pm
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    Good news for everyone in non-English-language, non-Latin-alphabet fandoms - our fandom tags will now include titles in the actual language, not just transliterations!

    Tag Wrangling policy has always been to make our fandom tags in the form "Original Language Title | Translated English Title". However, due to limitations in the Archive code for writing systems such as Chinese, Cyrillic, Hangul, and Japanese, we've used transliterated titles, rendering those languages into the Latin alphabet. This has caused problems because there are multiple transliteration systems in use. Since users have to guess which one we're using, and because in many cases the transliterated titles are never used by anyone in the fandom, the tags aren't reflective of real fannish practices.

    The Archive now has improved features for wrangling fandom tags, however, so we've changed our guidelines for wrangling them. Starting immediately, we'll be wrangling fandom tags in all languages as "Original Language Title | Translated English Title", using the original language's writing system. (For fandoms which do commonly use the transliterated titles, such as many anime and manga fandoms, the canonicals will be in the form "Original Language Title | Transliterated Title [| Translated English Title (if it exists)]"

    This is an interim solution; we hope to someday get full support for tags in all languages. This guideline is a test case to see how well such tags work for users. For now we're mostly going to stick to handling new fandoms this way, and only changing existing tags on a limited basis until we have a better idea of their usability, and as we have the resources to do so. (With several thousand non-English fandoms on the Archive, it'll take the wranglers time to review all of them!) We also won't be changing most character and relationship tags until we have better support for making those in non-Latin-alphabet languages.

    So what does this mean for you?

    1) You'll be able to search for fandom titles in either the original language or the English translated title, and find the tags in the autocomplete under either title.

    2) For fandoms which only use the original or translated titles, you'll be able to browse alphabetically in the fandoms-by-media listings by the English translated title. (We don't yet have proper support for listing tags in non-Latin-alphabet order). So the fandom ボクと魔王 | Okage: Shadow King will appear in Video Games under "O", not "B".

    We hope this change will make the Archive more inclusive and welcoming to fans of all fandoms, in all languages. Please let us know what you think of this change, and thank you for your patience as we work to improve the Archive's tags!

    Mirrored from an original post on AO3 News. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.

  • TWC Releases No. 13 (Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books)

    By Angela Nichols on Sunday, 16 June 2013 - 12:21am
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    Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) today released issue No. 13, "Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books," guest edited by Matthew J. Costello, Saint Xavier University, Chicago. Both comic books and films based on comic book properties are addressed in this issue. Following its regular format, this Open Access Gold online multimedia journal has collected scholarly essays, personal essays, book reviews, and interviews 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

    Guest editor Costello sees comic books as transitioning in a moment of change. Comics are stereotypically created and read by white boys and men, and as an art form, the genre of comics has been slow to respond to women and people of color. Yet change is undoubtedly occurring, affecting both fandom and the industry. "I see this change as marking a big transformation in comic books," Costello remarked. "One thing that is implicit in this issue, taken as a whole, is that transformation is a political act."

    Several writers contend with the fraught topic of gender. Suzanne Scott addresses the "Fangirls in Refrigerators," and Rebecca Lucy Busker revisits and revises her "Fandom and Male Privilege" meta piece seven years after its original posting. Lyndsay Brown discusses pornographic comics written by and for women. Kate Roddy, Carlen Lavigne, and Suzanne Scott interview Will Brooker, Sarah Zaidan, and Suze Shore in their efforts "Toward a Feminist Superhero," in which they discuss building a better Batgirl. Finally, both book reviews, by Drew Morton and Daniel Stein, of recent critical books about comic books and cultural history, note the comics gender divide. Nor is gender the only fraught topic addressed: Ora C. McWilliams wonders "Who Is Afraid of a Black Spider(-Man)?"

    Although the fandom for comic books dates from the early 1960s and is among the first modern fandoms, the fandoms for films based on comic books are strong and growing, particularly in the ongoing Avengers movieverse releases. Catherine Coker discusses "The Creation and Evolution of the Avengers and Captain America/Iron Man Fandom," Kayley Thomas discusses the filmic Loki on Tumblr, and Babak Zarin discusses a Steve Rogers/Tony Stark (Captain America/Iron Man) Avengers movieverse slash story by hetrez in terms of advocacy. The topic of advocacy is also addressed by Forrest Phillips, who discusses the use of the figure of Captain America as a spokesman for both the Tea Party and Occupy movements.

    Specific comics texts and artists are analyzed as well. Amanda Odom analyzes Garth Ennis's The Pro in terms of the ways the text plays with and subverts comic book conventions, and Tim Bavlnka discusses fans' attempt to organize Grant Morrison's work for DC Comics into a single sweeping continuity known as the Hypercrisis. Editor Costello's interview with comics artist Lee Weeks discusses not only Weeks's career, but also current trends in the comics industry.

    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. 14 is slated to be a general nonthemed issue and will appear September 15, 2013. The topics of the first two issues of 2014 are "Fandom and/as Labor" (guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis) and "Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom" (guest edited by Bob Rehak).

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