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January 2017 Newsletter, Volume 109

I. LEGAL AND COPYRIGHT WEEK

A big thank you from Legal to all of the fans who responded to Legal’s Copyright Week survey about fans’ knowledge and attitudes about copyright law! They received over 1,000 responses, and will be using those responses to further the OTW’s legal advocacy and education missions. Legal hopes to publish some preliminary results in February for Fair Use Week.

Also in January, they joined several allies to file an amicus brief in the case of Cross v. Facebook. The brief makes two arguments against overreaching right of publicity laws. The first argument is that people shouldn’t be able to use right of publicity laws to prevent noncommercial social media communications about them. The second is that Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, which provides a “safe harbor” for sites that host user content (like fan sites and social media sites), protects such sites from liability for user content that violates rights of publicity.

In December, Legal created an educational and advocacy post about two fan-unfriendly lawmaking developments in the EU and UK, along with what fans can do to oppose them. It’s not too late to take action! Also, throughout December and January, Legal responded to queries from users about law and fanworks.

II. AT THE AO3

Abuse has received about 300 tickets in January, down from about 400 in December. Notably for this month, they are currently working with Translation to streamline how they handle non-English tickets.

Accessibility, Design & Technology took some time in December to refine their recruitment and training processes before welcoming a dozen new coding volunteers, who are currently working through set-up and training. Meanwhile, three coders from their November inductions have completed their training and made their first code contributions—thank you, cosette, cresenne, and potatoesque! They look forward to seeing even more new names in their release notes soon.

And speaking of releases, Accessibility, Design & Technology has been hard at work fixing bugs and improving their automated tests—they’re very proud to say that the AO3’s test coverage has already been increased from 74% to 84% of the codebase! The committee is currently collaborating with a contractor on upgrading to a new version of the Rails framework, and these tests are a vital part of making sure the upgrade goes smoothly. They look forward to finishing these important behind-the-scenes changes so they can once again focus on enhancements to our users’ and fellow volunteers’ Archive experience.

This month, Tag Wrangling staff finally completed their migration to a new database for coordinating volunteer management, which will allow them to organize their workload much more efficiently. Wranglers also responded to several questions from Support, mostly regarding works that were missing from tag listings. If you notice that a specific tag that has been renamed is missing some of the works it originally had, please contact AO3 Support so they can let the wranglers know!

As part of Tag Wrangling’s ongoing project to reduce tree tag depths, they’ve eliminated several unnecessary metatags and will continue to do so over the next few months. This change has two effects: improving server performance, which means less Archive downtime and faster page load times, and easier searching for users, who will no longer need to search through many layers of tags to get the works they want.

Another change on the AO3 front is that the AO3 Documentation team has a brand new co-chair, Rebecca Sentance.

III. UPCOMING EVENTS AND TWC ISSUES

Communications is preparing for International Fanworks Day on February 15. How will you be celebrating?

Development & Membership welcomed TCD as their new co-chair and is beginning preparations for the April Drive.

Transformative Works and Cultures has undergone a committee name change! The TWC (formerly Journal) committee has put the first two issues of 2017 into production. They are now recruiting a new proofreader. Additionally, thanks to great work by the Systems committee, the TWC Press infrastructure is ready to be put into place.

IV. GOVERNANCE

This has been a busy two months for Board and other governance-related committees. Following the election of a new Board last year, the OTW has been working on a number of long-term plans, as well as ensuring that our budget and documentation are ready to go.

In December, the Strategic Plan was finalized and announced by Strategic Planning, along with the implementation support plan. It began January 1, 2017, and will continue for 3 years. During this time, the team will be there to help all committees reach the OTW’s goals! They also gained a new co-chair, Amy Shepard.

The Board of Directors has started working on internal documentation of Board procedures in order to help better train new Board members, as well as purview statements for Strategic Planning. They also approved a policy that addresses how the OTW should handle requests for signal boosting fundraisers or for-profit promotion, as well as fundraising partnerships.

Meanwhile, Elections began to work on a new plugin for their website. In January, they’ve been working on finalizing the dates for this year’s election and updating their internal documentation.

Finance has been making progress in organizing the OTW’s financial records. They are also working on the 2017 OTW budget.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting:

In December and January, Volunteers & Recruiting worked on disbanding the Fan Video & Multimedia committee, renamed the Journal committee to the TWC committee, and opened recruiting for three roles (Open Doors staff, TWC volunteer proofreaders, and Translation volunteers).

As of the 27th of January 2017, the OTW has 592 volunteers! Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: deedidoo (Tag Wrangling), stellal (Tag Wrangling), 1 other Tag Wrangling, 1 Development & Membership, 1 Communications, 1 AO3 Documentation
New Coder Volunteers: sentrazeal, Mary Alice Wuerz, Nana, redsummernight, olive, Meepu, dense.lancer, Jennifer Warrender, MaxwellsDaemon, tweath and 2 others
New Fanlore Volunteers: Cesy, MPH, Francesca Coppa, and 8 others
New Translator Volunteers: Sayali Marathe

Departing Committee Chairs: Priscilla Del Cima (Translation), Curtis Jefferson (Volunteers & Recruiting), Tisha Turk (Fan Video & Multimedia)
Departing Committee Staff: Solovei (AO3 Documentation), 2 Translation, 1 Development & Membership, 1 Finance, 1 Abuse, 2 Support, 1 Open Doors
Departing Communications Volunteers: Swimmies
Departing Fanlore Volunteers: Bobdog54
Departing Journal Volunteers: Carmen Montopoli
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: lilacsigil, and 3 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Apollonie, Luin, Sara Serralvo, Katri Koivuranta, Marianne, and 3 others

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.