OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

The OTW is Recruiting Report Writers, Fanlore Gardeners, and Tag Wranglers!

Do you have skills in report writing or copyediting? Or do you love Fanlore and fan history? Or, would you like to help wrangle tags on the AO3? The OTW is now recruiting for Communications Report Writers, Fanlore Gardeners, and Tag Wranglers!

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Communications Graphics Volunteers, Finance Committee Staff, Development & Membership Committee Staff, Support Committee Staff, and News Translation Volunteers.

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

  • Communications Staff: Report Writers – Closing 19 July 23:59 UTC
  • Fanlore Gardeners – Closing 19 July 23:59 UTC
  • Tag Wranglers – Closing 19 July 23:59 UTC or after 50 applications

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 -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- 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.

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Nicole Saylor

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Nicole Saylor is the head of the American Folklife Center, part of the U.S. Library of Congress. Back in 2015, the OTW announced that its Fanlore project had been chosen for inclusion in their Digital Culture Web Archive. Today, Nicole talks about why that happened and what their work is like.

How did Fanlore get chosen for inclusion in the digital culture web archive?

When we were defining the Web Cultures collection, fan fiction and other kinds of fan works were identified as significant because fandom enacts so many of the key elements of folklore and vernacular culture. As a result, there are a range of fandom-focused sites that were selected for the collection. We were also interested in harvesting sites where communities had worked to synthesize, organize and collect examples of practice.

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Spotlight on Wiki

Fanlore Software Update

The Wiki Committee has an important announcement!

The OTW will be upgrading Fanlore’s MediaWiki software in the evening UTC hours on Tuesday, April 26th. If everything goes according to plan, there should be no downtime, but you will not be able to edit Fanlore for a few hours.

Why the upgrade?

MediaWiki is the software Fanlore and many other wikis, including Wikipedia, are built on.

Fanlore is currently using MediaWiki version 1.19.3, which was released way back in 2012. This version is no longer supported by MediaWiki, which means that we will miss out on security and other critical updates.

We believe that it is important for Fanlore to be upgraded to the latest stable version of the MediaWiki software, version 1.26.2.

What will change?

Sadly, one longtime feature on the site will be going away. The newest version of MediaWiki will remove page hit counters, including those found at the end of each article (“This page has been accessed X times.”), the Special:PopularPages link, and the “Most Viewed Pages” section of Special:Statistics.

There is an extension we could add to preserve the hit counters, but unfortunately Fanlore’s hit counters are not accurate, and the new extension wouldn’t fix them. This is because our server is behind a reverse proxy, which caches pages in their processed form and serves them to visitors. This means that MediaWiki never actually sees most requests, so the total hit count we do see is inaccurate and misleading. Therefore, we will not be adding the extension.

However, in addition to bug fixes and performance and security improvements, MediaWiki 1.26 will provide Fanlore with several new tools and features which the Wiki Committee would like your feedback on! You can find more details at Fanlore’s Dreamwidth community.