Accessibility Design and Technology Meeting – 20 February 2010

All the latest news on the Archive of Our Own behind the cut! Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

It’s been a busy month, inside and outside the OTW, which is why this meeting report is *cough* a little belated. In AD&T we’ve been continuing to do lots of work on getting our house in order, liaising with other committees, and overseeing the CRAZY amounts of work done by our subcommittees \0/

Deploy schedule

Our deploy schedule has been shifting around due to the immense amounts of work done by our coders! However, we deployed lots and lots of new code to our Test archive on the 5th March \0/ More News about its progress to the main archive site in the next meeting report.

Cool admin stuff

An intrepid group of AD&T-ers met with Support and other interested people to talk about our process for managing our Google code issues and feature requests. This sounds dull as ditchwater, but in practice it should mean that we do a much better job of keeping track of bugs and features when they’re being passed from one team to another, which means everything should run a lot faster (good news for our users). Even more excitingly, we started drafting out a plan for a more public feature requests interface, so that users can give us more input on what they want (you’ll still be able to communicate privately if you prefer).

Coders

Our coders continue to do a phenomenal amount of work – although it’s been a while since we dropped new code, this is because they have been engaged in massive feats of coding which affect huge swathes of the Archive and had to be bundled together. It’s coming very soon – watch out for more news.

We’ve welcomed several new coders – Ronan, amc and Ira all committed their first new code – and we’re looking at our training to see how we can make it easier for more people to get involved.

Tag wranglers

Our brilliant new tag wrangler leads, Renay and dizmo, have been working like crazy to manage their giant group of volunteers and improve the way tag wrangling works. They’ve also been gearing up for the exciting new tag wrangling code interface, which includes lots of things that will make for much better organisation – coming SOON to an archive near you!

Testers

Our testers have been conducting a massive regression test (where they check the whole Archive to see nothing hinky has crept in), while waiting for the new code to give them even more work to do!

Cool stuff on the way

  • Tag only edit – Everyone has been wanting this for a LONG time and it’s finally becoming a reality!
  • User icons – Another thing we’ve been wanting for FOREVER and will finally be getting!
  • Accessible code – The big front end changes which have been made by the lovely lim involved a lot of rewriting code to make it validate. This means it will be a lot more accessible, and if you’re someone who’s been frustrated by some of the oddities which had crept in to our front end code, the upcoming revisions should make you happy. Users of assistive technology will be especially benefited.

It’s wonderful working with this amazing, dedicated team of people – even when it seems like we’re being quiet, there’s always a hive of activity underneath the surface.

If there are things you’d like to do or say, please share them in comments, via the AO3 support and feedback form, by volunteering, or in whatever medium you feel comfortable with. As a trial, we’re opening comments on the mirrored versions of these posts (although we may switch back if it turns out to hinder things). Everyone is welcome to this party!

Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

February 2010 Newsletter, Vol 35

Welcome to our first newsletter of the 2010 term! We’ve re-formed our committees and completed our first month of goals. Read all about it beneath the cut!

Abuse:

Abuse is thrilled to say that our case numbers remain in the single digits — keep it up, fandom! We’re working on our communications, refining the language we use to contact users, and hoping to stay as useless as possible for the rest of the year.

ADT/Archive:

AD&T have been making plans for the Archive in 2010, developing code and processes to make it more robust for the future, and adding lots more new things! We’ve been liaising with Support, Abuse and Legal to make sure that code and policy on the Archive work together. We’re also developing a new process for design in order to get more cool stuff built faster.

  • Coders: The big jobs so far 2010 have been a revamp of the front-end code, a redesign of the tags system behind the scenes, and a lot of new collections and challenges code \0/
  • Tag wranglers: Our new wrangler leads have been improving communication and procedure, and waiting with bated breath for new tags code (METATAGS!)
  • Testers: Our testers had a relatively quiet January (no deadlines! but still lots of work) and are now in the middle of doing a big test of the whole Archive, in order to spot any bugs which sneaked on while the coders coded up a storm.

Board:

Members of the board are currently: coding the Archive code for Remix! gearing up for our March development drive! writing the OTW’s third annual report! gearing up to do our taxes! making sure we don’t get sued! and wrangling our new Archive Abuse team. We also sent out the first set of goals to the various committees and set up our first org-wide meeting.

Communications:

Communications would like to welcome Monica Jacobson onboard; look for her byline to appear on the OTW Blog soon. We are also working with committee members to create blog posts straight from their committee–so hopefully you will see more diversity on the blog and mirrors in 2010.

Content Policy:

Content Policy is digging into the nitty-gritty of importing archives into the Archive of Our Own — an major task which is really important to our principle of maximum inclusiveness and our goal of serving as a cross-fandom backup. To do this, we’re working closely with various staffers from several other OTW committees, and we’re looking forward to getting this settled!

Development:

Development & Membership have been reforming as a committee, welcoming two brand new members, and planning for our year of fundraising! We are looking at streamlining data entry, making donation by check simpler, and finding grants that will benefit the OTW and OTW projects. We’re also looking at ways to reach out at conventions and conferences, and to increase our outreach efforts in general. We’re also excited about our upcoming membership drive — kicking off on 9 March!

Documentation:

Documentation is busy with new assignments, now that the organization has geared back up. For this term, we’ll be working on tightening up the documentation infrastructure to make sure that everything everyone needs is available to them where it should be.

Finance Update:

FinCom is in full swing with all the exciting year-end stuff: financial statements, taxes (\o/), state filings, la la. We have said a sad goodbye to our old chair, Susan Gibel and welcome new board member Sheila Lane (and her unnatural and obsessive love of taxes) as our new chair.

International Outreach:

Intl Outreach (or IO) is pretty much what it says on the tin, an effort to try and reach out to, basically, non-US audiences. We IO members believe that one of the OTW’s most exciting aspects is that its projects have the potential to be truly accessible, welcoming, and useful to much broader audiences than we’re currently catering to (and drawing volunteers from). We’re in our third year now, and we believe it’s time to show fandom we mean it when we talk about inclusiveness.

This doesn’t mean we’ll rush out there and try to snare unsupecting French or Irish or Chinese fen right away, though. Rather, our first step is to take a good look at ourselves, at what the OTW has to offer to “international fans”, and we’re starting this by doing reviews of the existing OTW projects. Expect us to be pretty quiet for now as we’ll be beavering away in the background, working with other committees to improve one small step at a time.

Journal:

The Journal team will be releasing Transformative Works and Cultures No. 4, a special issue on Supernatural guest-edited by Catherine Tosenberger, on March 15. The documents are currently in production. No. 5, a general, unthemed issue, is already underway, with several essays accepted and several others pending.

Legal:

Legal continues to have success with our single goal, “don’t get sued.” \o/

Open Doors:
The Open Doors committee is currently working with the archivists from the Fan Fiction Writers archive to transfer those stories into the AO3; we are also currently talking to a major Doctor Who fan club about a substantial zine donation to the Fan Culture Preservation Project as well as brokering smaller donations. We will also be working with ADT and Content Policy to develop a procedure to help archivists who want to transfer or back up stories to the AO3.

Systems:

Systems has finished a six month effort of moving all OTW services off our old server (xen) and spreading them across our various new servers. We should now have better capacity and redundancy for all services. Many thanks to Webmasters for assisting us in the migration of drupal to its new home.

Xen will be decommissioned in an elaborate ceremony involving tequila, blood rites and an active volcano.

Support:

Support is super excited to be a full committee in the new term! We’re still working closely with AD&T, which will be deeply involved with Support’s big new project: the Support staff have been putting together a proposal for a future public support board on the Archive itself. This board will be somewhat akin to the LJ/DW systems, but customized entirely to our needs. We hope it will make our work more transparent (and less scary for potential volunteers!), and we also hope it will make it easier for us to work with other teams such as Abuse and Tag Wrangling. Current plans also include integrating a Feature Request system that all users can participate in. This proposal is currently out for comment by any/all other OTW committees and teams, and we hope to nail it down and start coding soon. With a plan for the future in place, we’re now turning to urgent matters of the present: working away on responding to users’ support requests, and passing feedback on to coders, testers, and designers.

We’re very excited to be welcoming Zhailei on board as a new staffer, who is bringing her expertise from other areas and a fresh eye to our existing structures. We also have a number of new volunteers joining the team to help us respond to the support requests coming in – yay!

Translation:

Since January, Translation waved a sad temporary goodbye to our beloved Italian member Dafne, who’ll rejoin us in the summer, and a very happy welcome to sparkly new member Tonje from Norway. We’re now a subcommittee of International Outreach and have been rallying our translation troops after the break, with the older teams focusing on updating translated tw.org content, and newer teams working away on translating it. We’ve two new language teams (Hebrew and Chinese), though they’re sadly very small yet (one hard working person each! so yes, we’re always looking for volunteers!); we’re looking forward to having enough content to switch on those languages on tw.org.

Next up is a review and tweaking of translation procedures to ensure that our translations are as up to date and as complete as possible.

Vidding History:

Francesca Coppa and Tisha Turk presented at a panel on vidding at Digital Media and Learning along with current TWC Symposium editor Alexis Lothian and former TWC staff Julie Levin Russo, among others.

Volunteers:

We’ve been busy removing departing staffers and adding new staffers for this term. We also set up two new committees: Support and International Outreach. There were also one or two (hundred) new archive volunteers to handle after Open Beta.

Right now we’re working on getting rid of the backlog and updating our documentation. Last but not least, the lovely Renay agreed to join the committee. \o/

Webmasters:

The Webmasters are excited to welcome two new committee members, were_duck and Zippit. <3 We are currently working with Open Doors to migrate their Special Collections site into Drupal (the CMS we use for the main website). We helped the Journal committee with layout for their upcoming issue, and we're preparing to support DevMem during the March fund drive. Wiki:

The Wiki Committee has had a very busy February!

We’ve asked Systems to install the Sphinx search engine, as our research has shown that it’s the best system available to us now. We are currently working on developing a test plan to test the search engine once it’s been installed.

We’ve been working on new policy as well. A draft of the Major Fandoms as Categories policy has been completed and is ready for Board for review. We’ve also drafted a policy on images posted to Fanlore (focusing particularly on the question of copyrighted images and explicit images) and this draft has been sent to Legal and the Board for approval.

We’re attempting to post regular themes or challenges on the Dreamwidth Fanlore community to encourage participation. Some of these have been more successful than others, but we’ll keep working on it, so bear with us.

Links Roundup

* Fanlore has hit 10,000 articles!!! We’re not 100 percent sure, but we think the 10,000th article was on fan Virginia Lee Smith. For Valentine’s Day, consider adding someone or something you love to Fanlore!

* Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism: A young German novelist has published a bestselling novel called Axolotl Roadkill which cites–or as the author says, remixes–chunks of various other published works without attribution. While some have called this plagiarism, others see the quotations as thematic, and the accusations have not stopped the book from being nominated for a major prize.

* NPR did a story about World’s Fair Use Day called When Fair Use Isn’t Fair: the story features interviews with Jonathan McIntosh, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn, and others.

* Last but not least, friend of the OTW Nina Paley, the animator who made Sita Sings The Blues, has been making “minute memes” for QuestionCopyright.org. Her latest work is called All Creative Work Is Derivative; that link will take you to a description of her process in making this video.