February 2012 Newsletter, Volume 56
Welcome to our first newsletter of the 2012 term! We're excited to be welcoming a whole host of new people for staff and volunteer positions: big BIG thanks go to our Volunteers and Recruitment Committee, who have worked tirelessly to induct all these shiny new people (see their update for the grand list of staff joining, leaving, or changing roles).
As we've been welcoming so many new folk, a number of committees are still getting rolling and are still to have their first meeting of the term. However, you can see what folk have been up to - and what they're planning for the new term - below!
Abuse has expanded our staff. As always, we regularly see cases involving mislabeled works or questions about the ToS and occasionally about more serious matters. If you're curious about what goes on behind the scenes, you will be pleased to know we're working on a summary of last year's cases (with all identifying details removed). We continue to handle Fannish Next of Kin arrangements: please let us know if you would like to designate someone.
We were busy over the break - one of our big challenges was battling performance issues on the Archive of Our Own. AD&T worked with Systems on stabilizing and improving AO3’s performance – we’re grateful to them for all of their help!
We deployed fixes to our HTML parser and new fandom feeds in January, and we’re putting the finishing touches on our February code push, which includes a number of delicious bugfixes.
We’re planning to do our first Open Doors archive import on March 4th - we're so excited to be welcoming the SSA to the AO3!
We’ve been brainstorming with Support about ways to improve our internal and external documentation this term, so people can find all the information they need. We’ve also been touching base with several other committees about ongoing projects and plans for the new term and continuing to code away on new features and improvements!
We have had several more meetings since our last update - minutes are available for 16th, 21st and 28th Jan, 4th Feb and 11th Feb. We have now chosen all our committee chairs for the new term, approved lists of potential new staff, and chosen board liaisons to every committee, as well as continuing our broader discussions. We have approved proposals for SOPA/PIPA protests, a new spam management setup for Systems, an amicus brief for Legal, an IRC channel as well as a chat bot for Coders, and forums for Fanlore, among other things.
Communications has welcomed six new members: Amanda, Camden, Jintian, Julia A.H., Nistasha and Rose, and has new co-chairs Claudia R. and Lucy P. We're really excited about having a bunch of new faces, and we're also jazzed to be welcoming back former chair Francesca. All these new folks are currently working their way through orientation and Comms expects to hold its first meeting in the next week or so.
Since we have lots of new people on the committee this year, it's an excellent time to work on improving and formalizing our internal processes so that the committee can work in the best possible way. We want to make sure that committees across the org have the help they need to get important news out in the world. We're working on various things behind the scenes, including ways of keeping track of external communication, better documentation for internal use, and clearer organization of posted content. Once we get rolling properly we'll also be evaluating the future use of the OTW's varied contact points (Twitter! LJ! Tumblr! Facebook! We has ALL the social media).
Content Policy is planning some changes this year. Now that the committee has completed its core work - establishing the Terms of Service on the Archive of Own - a fully staffed committee is no longer needed. So, we hope to undergo a reorganization to become a working group with Abuse, AD&T, Legal, and Support contributing from time to time to review and update the Terms of Service.
Development & Membership:
Development & Membership has split into two teams, each with its own staff and projects, and have welcomed new staff members for both. The Grants team will focus exclusively on grant administration, while the DevMem team tackles more general fundraising projects such as fund drives and convention outreach. The first big project for the DevMem team will be the first of our two annual fund drives, coming soon. Grants has just had its first meeting where they will be finishing up their proposal to make grants its own committee and they plan to send it to the board as their first order of business.
Finance are still getting rolling under new chair Nikisha Sanders. They're expecting a busy year as the org continues to expand and develop!
Internationalization & Outreach:
I&O has just held its first meeting where they welcomed three new members this term, Meep, Sole, and Eylul, creating a committee of seven members with which to take on new projects.
Our first step will be identifying top priorities for the 2012 term and deciding how best to address them, as well as setting up liaisons with their sister committees. I&O is really looking forward to working with everyone, and hopes to cross some older goals off their list in 2012.
Journal is hard at work on two exciting special guest-edited issues: issue No. 9 on Fan/Remix Culture and issue No. 10 on Transformative Works and Fan Activism. We're also working through submissions for No. 11, a general issue. If you're interested in contributing something to Transformative Works and Cultures, our next two special issues will be on Transnational Boys' Love Fan Studies (close date: March 1, 2012) and Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books (close date: April 1, 2012).
Legal welcomed some new members and is gearing up for more work on the DMCA exemption process for vidders (stay tuned for more on this soon!). Rachael Vaughn is our hero for taking the laboring oar on the work of preparing our comment (and our example vid).
Open Doors is settling in as a committee with a couple of new members, and will be assisting the fabulously diligent AD&T committee to import the Smallville Slash Archive into AO3. Those looking for more information can find it at the AO3 site.
Support has been hard at work throughout the hiatus. In January we saw almost 330 tickets sent in; so far in February we’ve seen 172. At the moment we only have 12 tickets open. \o/ We're really proud of how well our team are keeping up with the work.
We welcomed one new staffer this term, MelanieW.
The turn of the year is always busy for your Systems Monkeys, what with archiving mailing lists and making changes for outgoing/incoming staffers. Speaking of which, we have two brand-spanking new monkeys of our own to announce: Astirya and JayBee have joined us and are already stabbing at the typewriters. Since the last ORG-wide Systems has resolved over 80 tickets. In addition to the usual, we've worked up a quickie SOPA response with Webmasters, diminished spam issues on Fanlore, ameliorated email bounce issues, are developing a major upgrade for Fanlore, resolved CPU issues on zen & otw2, worked with ADT on db slicing and increasing performance (and once again getting rid of those pesky 502s), and fine-tuned squid for the Archive. In the works are upgrades, upgrades, more partitioning work and new servers. But what else is new? :)
Tag Wranglers are off to a big start this term, with their largest staff ever of 10, allowing them to average one staff member for every 11 wrangling volunteers! This has come in particularly handy with the four different training sessions held for groups of new inductees in February. New volunteers learned about the tools available to them and how to start off wrangling tags, which has previously been a steep learning curve for some volunteers. They got help with tricky problems with their fandoms, and were more able to find someone in the tag wrangling chat room during other hours to help with questions.
The new Translation team has not had a chance to meet yet, so a report will wait until the next org next newsletter, but we are looking forward to the new term.
Vidding is collaborating with legal on the DMCA exemption renewal process for vidders and other commercial remix artists; vidding chair Francesca Coppa and co-editor Julie Levin Russo are also working with the Journal editorial team to put the final touches on next month's "Fan/Remix Video" issue of Transformative Works and Cultures: look for it March 15, 2012!
Volunteers & Recruiting:
At the beginning of the term, VolCom gets the biggest update - and a massive round of applause!
VolCom has been busy getting staffing in place for the new term – and aside from hammering out a few org tools-related issues and tracking down a few potential staffers gone AWOL, things are now pretty much in place. Though we would absolutely love to hear from any committees who find themselves in need of anything particular in the way of staffing. And new staffers should always feel free to email VolCom at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have questions!
VolCom has lots of plans for the new term, as well, though! One of our major foci is going to be on documenting ALL THE THINGS, particularly our processes! We are also planning to work on the intake process, develop the organization’s internship program, refine our mediation process and try and make all our work appropriately transparent! Really, every time we turn around we find another thing we want to improve! And we’re always interested in hearing from all of you!
*EXITING STAFFERS LIST*: VolCom bids an understanding, but only partial, farewell to those staffers who have chosen to leave their old committees, but not the org: Eylul (AD&T), hele braunstein (Board member, Internationalization & Outreach staff, Translation chair), Rachel Barenblat (Board member, Wiki), Claudia Rebaza (Tag Wrangling), Hadrien_Asbury (Vidding), Shannon (Vidding)
And we will greatly miss all of those who have chosen to leave us entirely: thecatwasnot (AD&T), Margarita Gakis (AD&T), allison morris (Board member, Communications, Development & Membership, VolCom, Webmasters), Sheila Lane (Board member, Financial chair), Kitsunegari (Communications), Megan Westerby (Communications, Development & Membership chair, Support), Candra K. Gill (Development & Membership), Fox (Development & Membership), jjtaylor (Development & Membership), minervacat (Development & Membership), Queue (Development & Membership), Zhailei (Fair Use Curriculum, Vidding), Patricia Nelson (Journal), Steven Hennig (Legal), Anna L. Rueden (Support), arithilim (Support), Cybel (Support), Oaktree89 (Support), Juliet Kemp (Systems), prk (Systems), Amy Wilson (Wiki), Tonje Anderson (Translation), Anne Jonas (Vidding, VolCom), new_kate (Webmasters), were_duck (Webmasters).
*NEW STAFFERS LIST*: But we take equal joy in welcoming a veritable bevy of staff to the org: jackiekjono (Abuse, Financial), LunaMoth116 (Abuse, Wiki), Moth (Abuse, Legal), Sera Tran (Abuse), Maia Bobrowicz (AD&T, returning staffer), Jenn Calaelen (AD&T, Tag Wrangling), sarken (AD&T front-end lead), Amanda G. Michaels (Communications), Camden (Communications), Jintian (Communications), Julia A (Communications), Nistasha Perez (Communications), Rose Little-Wolf (Communications), Aja (Development & Membership), LizWeishaar (Development & Membership), Margot Horney (Development & Membership), bm1893 (Development & Membership - Grants Team), Evelyn Browne (Development & Membership - Grants Team), Laura Drescher (Development & Membership - Grants Team), Night (Development & Membership - Grants Team), soleta (Development & Membership - Grants Team), Tara Keezer (Development & Membership - Grants Team), Meep (Internationalization & Outreach), Sole (Internationalization & Outreach, Tag Wrangling), Rynne (Legal), Jay Bee (Open Doors, Systems), Rose (Open Doors), MelanieW (Support, Translation), Highlander II (Tag Wrangling), Kath Gee (Translation), Marta (Translation), Lena (Webmasters), Matt Lewis (Webmasters), nc (Webmasters), sunusn (Webmasters), coian (Wiki), lab (Wiki), Tiyire (Wiki)
As well as a whole herd of new Tag Wranglers: ar, bm1893, briar_pipe, cher, eight_demands, Elanya, Eliza Wallace, ermigoa, false_alexis, frannie, hagar, Hsifeng, imaginarycircus, Jessica, Kymericl, Lee, meaplet, Mutecornett, Qem, Snowynight, Starrrz, Steelstar, Stephany Qiouyi Lu, tamara, Tina Rafols, whichy
And a couple of new Translators: Calvin (Swedish), Nicolle Lamerichs (Dutch)
And we just can't help but be excited to see an assortment of staffers choose to expand their horizons within the org by joining new committees: Lesann (Development & Membership), Hadrien_Asbury (Development & Membership - Grants Team), megan sumerell (Development & Membership - Grants Team), Eylul (Internationalization & Outreach), Rachel Barenblat (Open Doors), Ira Gladkova (Tag Wrangling), Sam Johnsson (Tag Wrangling) and Shannon (Wiki).
Web have big plans for this year - we've started work on a massive overhaul of transformativeworks.org, which will be shinier and more useful! Hurray!
The Wiki Committee is slowly getting back together for the new term. With two people returning and four new committee members, we are still getting to know each other and are very happy to welcome coian, lab, LunaMoth116 and Tiyire! We have great plans for this term, including a forum, so wish us luck.
Systems continues to work on our spam problem and has more anti-spam weapons in its arsenal. Currently, users may notice that there is a temporary block on creating pages for the first four hours after they register an account. Meanwhile, the gardeners are fighting the good fight and have blocked more than 1,000 spam accounts in the last 2 1/2 months. That means the RecentChanges page can look a bit like a blood-drenched battle field, but you can hide the carnage with this filter.
In Fanlore news, editors have been busy adding information on lots of different topics. Editors who want to document fanfic writers' websites can now use a new template and category for Author Pages. Several editors have been holding Merlin editing parties on the weekends, and almost all fanwork pages and images have been added to the date categories--if you want to get an idea of what (mostly media) fandom looked like 30 years ago, check out 1982. More fandoms welcome!
If you have any suggestions on how the improve the newsletter, or would like to direct messages to any of the committees, please comment and let us know!