May 2015 Newsletter, Volume 91

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

I. FANLORE TO BE ARCHIVED BY U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Our Wiki Committee had an exciting announcement as May wound to a close. In a post made at their Dreamwidth community, they informed Fanlore users that the United States Library of Congress approached us for permission to preserve Fanlore as a part of their American Folklife Center’s ongoing digital culture web archiving project.

“Fanlore’s inclusion in the Library of Congress project emphasizes the fact that fan history is a significant part of folklore and culture in the United States and across the world. If you are a Fanlore contributor of any kind, there is absolutely no need to be concerned about attribution of your work. Fanlore’s Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license will still be in effect, and displayed on the archived version of Fanlore available to researchers (and eventually to the public) through the Library of Congress.”

Wiki spent the month testing Trello as a possible new committee workspace tool, planning for Fanlore’s next month-long event in June, and working on outside requests.

II. START THE PRESSES

Journal received approval from the Board to create a press for monograph-length Open Access Gold works. They are brainstorming the infrastructure requirements right now, so while a timeline isn’t yet available for considering manuscripts, stay tuned for further announcements! They continued to handle manuscripts for the September 2015 issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, No. 20, and things look good for the March 2016 issue.

Legal’s advocacy mission continues going strong! They filed our submissions to the U.S. Copyright Office and ended May by attending hearings and testifying in support of the fan video exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The news so far is good: our opponents have not opposed the renewal of the exemption the OTW attained three years ago for DVDs and streaming. However, there is still work to do, since they’ve opposed our petition to expand the exemption to cover Blu-ray.

The case of Garcia v. Google, in which the OTW filed an amicus brief, has also come to a positive resolution, which made some good law for free speech and the Internet and avoided some of the problems highlighted in the brief. In theory, the case can still go up to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in practice, that is not very likely to happen.

Legal also responded to a trademark-based cease & desist request; responded to several queries from fans; and responded to press requests for interviews as well as helping many OTW committees with legal questions.

Internationalization & Outreach worked on long-term planning. Their mission to promote inclusivity and the internationalization of the OTW is being developed into a plan to more thoroughly incorporate these goals into the OTW.

Communications is creating a subgroup for media outreach efforts, and has also completed work on a personnel evaluation process which will begin in August. Janita Burgess was approved by the OTW Board as the new co-chair for Communications. With help from Translation, Communications moved forward with plans to launch a Weibo account this year to engage with Chinese fandom. They will be recruiting for a fluent Mandarin speaker as Weibo account mod in June.

Translation had a hectic month with many contributions from across the committee in order to prepare for and distribute multilanguage posts in support of our May membership drive. After the drive, Translation started rounding up internal and cross-committee feedback in order to document the lessons they’ve learned this time and improve plans for the next drive. They’ve also been focusing on developing internal structures to help foster a more collaborative task environment.

III. AT THE AO3

Abuse received over 320 tickets in May. They have been seeing an uptick in spam works again, so please report any you find in your fandom so the team can deal with them quickly!

Accessibility, Design & Technology had a few tiny deploys this month (Releases 0.9.58 – 0.9.61), and a somewhat bigger one (Release 0.9.62) which will eventually enable us to translate AO3 email templates. There’s still a long way to go to offer users a fully customized Archive experience in their own language, and Accessibility, Design & Technology want to thank them and the Translation committee for their patience and support as the AO3 team takes slow steps towards this goal.

Systems has begun this round of ordering bigger, faster servers! They are also excited to have a recruitment slot coming up. They have begun meetings with their documentation specialist to get information about the committee’s processes into the OTW’s internal wiki, and also fixed a mailing list issue that was affecting several committees.

AO3 Documentation wrapped two new FAQs this month—Invitations and Contacting the Staff—and is working on several other FAQs and tutorials. The workgroup has been officially approved to move from workgroup status to a permanent committee within the OTW.

Tag Wrangling held some training sessions on freeform tags for their new volunteers, who have hit the ground running. Wrangling staff worked with Accessibility, Design & Technology to try to track down some tag bugs. They also responded to several user questions on Twitter, and a number of Support requests. Wranglers continued their excellent work helping each other with translating the increasing numbers of non-English tags in each other’s fandoms.

Open Doors has been working on in-progress imports with assistance from Accessibility, Design & Technology and is starting another archive import that will be announced soon. They also recently recruited for new staffers.

IV. GOVERNANCE

Development & Membership‘s May drive efforts were a huge success. Thanks to our generous supporters, we topped our US$100,000 goal on the last day, and checks continue to arrive. That makes our total for May 1-6 over US$104,000. All of May thus far has brought in over US$110,000 and looks to be our second highest grossing month ever (after October 2014). Our hard-working team in Development & Membership handled over a hundred emails and messages during the drive period, and learned a lot from the process. In non-drive related news, they have begun looking at alternative payment processors, as one of the major requests emerging during the drive was for an online alternative to PayPal. They hope to have something new set up by our next drive in October.

Elections ramped up in May by recruiting new staff and preparing for a voting software test. If you’d be willing to help them with the June test by participating in mock votes, please fill out the tester volunteer form!

The Board discussed various proposals and issues with Finance, Legal, and Development & Membership, and has begun planning for the 2015 Annual Retreat. More details regarding the latter will be forthcoming. Board would also like to thank Journal, the Treasurer, and others for coming together to address concerns and work out the details to permit the new monograph press project to move forward. They also extend congratulations to all committees and personnel involved with the recent drive.

Strategic Planning is hard at work compiling internal feedback and suggestions into the third and final draft of the OTW 2016-2019 goals document. Meanwhile, they are training four new staffers who are digesting the previous draft and helping with changes.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting ran campaigns for new staff for Elections and Open Doors, and continued working on internal requests as well as training their new staff members. They also made progress on the final documentation steps of a 2014 project to recognize the service of all OTW volunteers.

New Committee Chairs: Janita Burgess (Communications)
New Workgroup Members: Jessica Steiner (AO3 Documentation)
New Communications Volunteers: SoyAlex and 4 others
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: alterangirl, Loxaris, Leslie, Paopu-Blossom, BlackParadise, penguinbell, and Pokestine
New Translator Volunteers: 1

Departing Committee Staff: Curtis Jefferson (Open Doors), 1 Systems, 3 Development & Membership, 1 Communications, and 2 Translation
Departing Workgroup Members: Scott S (AO3 Documentation)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 7
Departing Translator Volunteers: 3

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