March 2012 Newsletter, Volume 57
I. EVENTS AND PUBLICATIONS
April Showers Promotion
Here at the Organization for Transformative Works, preserving fannish history is a central part of our mission, and we’re proud to be able to offer fans both a place to host their works on Archive of Our Own, and a way to tell their own fannish histories on Fanlore. However, we know that there are many, many wonderful fanworks out in the world which haven’t found their way to the Archive of our Own. There are even more fannish stories left untold on Fanlore – for example, we’d love to see the fannish activity over The Hunger Games documented as it unfolds. Last year, we welcomed more Fanlore edits and AO3 works with our April Showers promotion. This year, we’re hoping to do the same!
We’ll be highlighting (but not requiring!) a different fandom for each day of the month on our Twitter @ao3org. When uploading to the AO3, tag your uploaded works ‘April Showers Challenge 2012’ – at the end of the month we’ll round up all the works with this tag and post stats on how many were uploaded for each fandom. To help you out, we’ll also be hosting an importing party on AO3. From Saturday 14th April, 17.00 UTC to Sunday 15th April, 02.00 UTC (see the time in your timezone), we invite you to join us in a live chat where our staff will answer questions about creating accounts, uploading, tags and more, provide a few invitations for those who need them, and celebrate as new works are uploaded! Stay tuned for more details.
You should also keep your eyes peeled for news on Fanlore editing parties, where Fanlore staff will walk you through the process of creating and editing pages.
Accessibility, Design & Technology, Internationalization & Outreach, and the Tag Wranglers have been working throughout March to prepare for April Showers 2012. They look forward to a successful and exciting event.
Development and Membership is preparing for the upcoming membership drive, which will be held April 18-25. They’ve also been brainstorming about convention outreach and ways to celebrate the OTW’s fifth anniversary in September.
The Journal, in conjunction with the Vidding committee, just released one of two exciting special guest-edited issues this year: issue No. 9 on Fan/Remix Video was released March 15, 2012 (layout markup and video hosting contributed by the Webmasters) for the latest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures. Issue No. 10 on Transformative Works and Fan Activism will be released in June.
We’re also working through submissions for No. 11, a general issue. If you’re interested in contributing to Transformative Works and Cultures, our next two special issues will be on Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies (close date for Symposium: May 1, 2012) and Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books (close date for Symposium: May 1, 2012).
Speaking of Vidding…
Natacha Guyot is working with the Internationalization & Outreach committee to put together a diverse showcase of video on the Archive of Our Own. I&O will be recruiting global fan vidders for the showcase. If you haven’t heard from OTW yet, you just might soon!
II. BETTER SHARING WITH YOU
Smallville Slash Archive
AD&T started the month with a bang: the mass import of the Smallville Slash Archive to preserve its contents and ensure future maintainability. This was their test case for any imports of that scale and they’ve been working with Support and Open Doors to ensure an even smoother process and prompt technical support for affected authors in the future.
Communicating with Each Other, and With You
The Communications committee is still working on building the committee up and getting all regular tasks assigned.
We’re pioneering a new newsletter format you see before you: Julia A and Nistasha (that’s us!) have stepped up and welcome any feedback.
Jintian is working with Francesca to produce the Annual Report for the org (you can see previous annual reports to get a sense of what they’re like).
Camden and Amanda have been working on our minutes and beta-ing. Communications is looking forward to working more with other committees when we’re all settled in!
The Outside World
This month, the Tag Wrangling committee has been training up their brand new wranglers and working on some improvements to their in-house documentation and guidelines. The group also met with AD&T to talk about their wishlist for the wrangling interface and to discuss AD&T’s suggestions for improvements to the interface.
This month meant ALL the trainings! The Translation committee assigned liaisons for its nine translator teams (Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Swedish) and hope everyone will get back into the swing of things soon (they’re still toiling away at the OTW website!).
Our intrepid new Translation staffers have now also been introduced to the wondrous intersection between code and grammar that is the Archive interface translation prototype. They’re currently polishing up their call for more testers, so watch out for more news on that front soon. (Sparkle hamsters go go go!)
III. THE BOARD AND NEW OTW WORKGROUPS
Our Glorious Board
Board Minutes are online for 18th Feb, 25th Feb, 3rd March and 10th March. Sadly this is one of those months where most of what the Board has done is confidential stuff or in progress and not ready to be announced publicly, but we hope to be able to tell you more soon.
The Board also agreed to open up the first half of Board meetings to all staff in the org (it was previously open to committee chairs only), which will allow more people to see how the Board works.
The Board is also working on uploading some older minutes from 2007, so you can now see more of the history of the org.
Archive of Our Own Documents Workgroup
The Board has approved the creation of an AO3 Documentation workgroup. This workgroup will be responsible for a number of things, including managing the AO3 FAQs. If you’re interested in technical writing, or like explaining how to do things, AO3 would be glad to have you join the team! Just get in touch with the Volunteer and Recruitment committee.
This workgroup came about through the tireless efforts of the Support committee, with help from AD&T. Congratulations and good luck to the Docs Workgroup!
Speaking of Workgroups…
The Board has also approved the creation of a Strategic Planning workgroup. This workgroup is first responsible for creating a “plan for the plan”, explaining how OTW will go about the process of writing the strategic plan. The workgroup will then be helping to implement it. If you’d like to know more, or you have thoughts on the direction of the org, do share them with the Board!
IV. DEATH AND TAXES
The Legal committee is working on an amicus brief in a US case about the right of publicity and its application to noncommercial speech.
Francesca Coppa and Tisha Turk are also working with Legal to set up DMCA testimony for the end of May or the beginning of June.
Terms of Service
Our Content Policy committee has been preparing for the review and update of the OTW terms of service with input. They’ve enjoyed collaborating with the Support, AD&T and Abuse committees on this task.
The Finance committee had its first meeting of the term and completed the Delaware state filing. The committee is renewing OTW’s insurance, looking forward to the federal tax return, and training up new staff.
The Grants team has completed a proposal to become its own committee, which will be presented to the Board soon. Grants is starting research for the first two grants of the year — two NEH grants due in May — and are starting on getting the grant application part of the wiki organized and user-friendly.
What are the Webmasters doing?
The first-year staffers are wrapping up their basic training in Drupal (the open-source content management system we use on several of our websites), and the Webmasters are about to embark on the research phase of the transformativeworks.org redesign project.
blue_meridian has stepped down as chair of the committee and is being succeeded by 2011 chair Kristen Murphy. We’re grateful for Blue’s service as chair, and very happy that she’ll be staying on as a staff member.
What about the Systems Monkeys?
Our Systems Monkeys closed 50+ tickets this month, and mainly focused on cleaning up the vault, where our committees store confidential information, such as passwords.
In addition, Systems migrated the media directory on Buddha to qnap to free up disk space on the drupal server. They also set up a new error reporting system for the Archive, called Errbit. This logs errors and lets the AO3 coders spot problem bits of code
On the Systems docket: expanding diskspace on Tao and working on the new righthaven server.
The OTW Wiki
Another new member joined the Wiki committee: welcome, Shannon!
The Wiki committee is currently planning and working on several projects, including forums and a mediawiki upgrade to fight spam.
Last weekend, the committee held two informal chats for our new members and gardeners, which we hope to turn into a regular event for anyone interested.
On Fanlore, editors have been very busy adding vids to several new categories, for example Supernatural vids, Battlestar Galactica vids, Buffy the Vampire Slayer vids, Angel vids, and Firefly vids. Other new categories with many pages already are Vidding Awards and The Professionals Fanfiction.
Behind the curtain, AD&T has been preparing for a full email redesign to accommodate text and HTML versions, and finished the alpha version of a frequently requested work stats page (detailed post forthcoming). The next deploy, including character and relationship feeds as well as a host of frontend fixes, is just around the corner.
VI. HELLOS AND GOODBYES
Shout-outs: Volunteers & Recruiting!
The Volunteers & Recruiting committee has bid a sad farewell to chair via_ostiense, and we all welcome a new chair, Renay. Thank you to via for all her hard work. After some tidying up after the beginning of term, V&R is moving on to focus on its main 2012 project: documentation, with help of some new staffers: Charlotte, Marta, bell, and Alison.
Internally, they’ve been discussing a better way to handle forms that potential volunteers fill out when they want to offer their time and skills, in order to make it more clear what to expect from us and to improve the transparency of the project.
They’ve also been conducting chair debriefs with the 2011 chairs to discover ways they can improve the experience for all our current and future committee leaders.
Hi, New Staffers!: Eiress (Abuse), Charlotte Toolan (Financial, Volunteers & Recruiting), Lee (Financial), bell (Volunteers & Recruiting), Marta (Volunteers & Recruiting), Alison (Volunteers & Recruiting)
Hey, NewFront-end coding volunteer!: Sam Johnsson
Welcome, Tag Wrangling volunteers!: Ricky, nullityCoder, Scarabaes, fleurofthecourt, Erin Ptah, manaie
Goodbye, Dear Departing Staffer: via_ostiense (Volunteers & Recruiting)