Archive of Our Own: Collections and Challenges. It’s Design Time! Please Help!

Greetings and Salutations! Calling all challenge mods, archivists, and people with vivid fannish imaginations! If you’ve run a fannish challenge or exchange, moderated a challenge community, edited a zine, or put together a themed rec list, we want to talk to you. If you’ve participated in a fannish challenge and/or have ever thought in detail about how to run a challenge, please also help us out! We’re in the process of developing the design for two essential pieces of functionality on the Archive of Our Own Roadmap, Version 0.7: Collections and Challenges.

As part of that design work we need to know how it’s going to be used and understand what different people want from it.

To make this easier we’re writing up a series of different scenarios describing how a person might use Collections or Challenges and we ask you to contribute. We want short stories describing ideal scenarios and we want them from the perspective of different people – moderators, writers, readers. Go wild!

Examples under the cut. Please leave a comment below; members of ADT (Accessibility, Design, & Technology; the Archive team) will be watching and collecting scenarios. (Please don’t worry if your idea contradicts someone else’s way of doing things! The AO3 needs to be able to work in multiple ways! And feel free to build on or respond to each other’s ideas.)


Samvara is a keen fan of the Supernatural fandom and is particularly stuck on stories where Sam Winchester grows wings, she has an account on the AO3 and creates a Collection called SamOnHigh. She writes the blurb for the Collection giving guidelines on joining the Collection explaining she loves, loves loves Sam with wings but is willing to accept stories where any other Winchester has wings so long as Sam does too. Samvara messages every author on the AO3 with a winged Sam story that she can find, inviting them to join the Collection and promotes it shamelessly on the interwebs. One day someone tries to add a story where Sam grows tentacles but Samvara removes it from the Collection and messages the author explaining that even if he can fly, it’s still not really WINGS now is it. They never speak again 🙁 Eventually Samvara gets a debilitating disease and decides to put her energies into something else and makes one of her co-moderators of the community do all the work as she vanishes off to learn rock polishing in the desert.


Before Samvara gets all diseased she also decides to run a wingfic writing challenge and publishes a manifesto encouraging all writers to consider this magnificent idea, submit story ideas (prompts) and sign up to write. The prompts are visible to everyone and some have to be removed because they didn’t understand it was a SPN wingfic writing challenge and keep trying to insert Legolas – this spurs some heated emails and several other wingfic challenges get launched. Eventually Samvara reaches her goal of 50 prompts and 50 sign-ups and randomly allocates the prompts to writers. The due date for the stories is in 3 months and she writes the odd encouraging message reminding people of the deadline. She also has to change some of the prompts and match them up with new writers who didn’t like their initial prompt or were unable to continue writing.

People start posting their stories about a month in and Samvara gloats over them lovingly until the due date is reached (which she had to extend by 10 days) and then she makes the new additions to the Collection visible but keeps the authors anonymous for another 14 days.

OTW Represents Vidders And Other Remix Artists at DMCA Anticircumvention Hearings

OTW board members Rebecca Tushnet (chair of Legal) and Francesca Coppa (chair of Communications and Vidding History) and TWC review editor Tisha Turk went down to Washington DC on May 7, 2009 to testify at the DMCA Hearings on Noncommercial Remix. Rule 1201 of Copyright Law prevents the circumvention of copyright protection systems (e.g. makes it illegal to rip DVDs or to hack your cellphone) but also requires the copyright office to hold hearings every three years to find out of this prohibition is adversely affecting anyone. In 2006, the copyright office granted an exemption to film studies professors, because the case was made that these professors need to rip DVDs to make high quality clip compilations to teach their classes. This year, there were a number of new proposed exemptions, including: educators beyond film studies professors (including K-12 teachers), documentary filmmakers, and vidders and other noncommercial remix artists.

The OTW previously submitted a reply comment in support of the EFF’s proposed exemption for vidders and other remix artists. Tushnet, Coppa, and Turk went down to support this comment with live testimony. As you might have seen across the internet, the other side–MPAA, studios, the people who make encryption technology, etc–suggested that instead of ripping, professors, remixers, documentary filmmakers and others make clips by filming a flat screen with a camcorder.

For more information:

* Audio files/podcasts of the hearings are available at the U.S. Copyright Office’s website and mirrored by the EFF on iDisk. (Our statements are part 2, the Q&A is part 3.)

* Rebecca Tushnet liveblogged the hearings: read the part about noncommercial remix.

* Wendy Selzer of posted about the hearings and also livetweeted them.

* Patricia Aufderheide of the Center for Social Media at American University also blogged the hearings.

* Fred von Lohmann of the EFF has made a YouTube video summarizing the issues and focusing on the OTW and Rebecca Tushnet (“She’s Awesome”). He also blogged his legal analysis.

* Rashmi Rangnath weighs in at

Attention Fanlore Contributors (and Future Contributors)!

The Wiki committee of the OTW is pleased to announce the formation of a Fanlore community on Dreamwidth. We needed a place for people interested in the Fanlore wiki to congregate, talk about pages (cool ones, ones with issues and concerns, plus general “how do I…” type stuff), and just keep in touch with what is happening on the site. We’ve been looking at various options for a place to gather, and Dreamwidth’s open ID option makes it attractive; you don’t have to be a member, but can comment using a free open ID account. (Note: if you do want to be a member of Dreamwidth, some folks in the community have been donating invite codes.) The community is also syndicated on LJ, so you can also keep in touch with what’s going on here.

Please spread the word about the community, and about Fanlore itself. While some areas of fandom (and some individual fandoms) are well covered in the wiki, others are badly under-represented. We will be doing outreach to some of these under-represented areas, trying to get help and expertise, but please help us spread the word. If you know people who have been nervous about Fanlore or afraid they were “doin’ it rong” (offhand assurance: you really can’t do it wrong), please tell them that there’s a place they can go to ask questions, either technical or content-based. Membership is open; everyone is welcome!