5 Things a Volunteer Said

Five Things Rebecca Sentance Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Rebecca Sentance, who volunteers as chair of the AO3 Documentation Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I’m a co-chair with the AO3 Documentation committee, also known as “Docs”, which handles the user-facing documentation for Archive of Our Own — things like FAQs, tutorials and screencasts. You can find our work over on the Archive FAQ page. Our job is to make sure that there’s clear and accessible documentation explaining the different functions of the Archive, which users can consult if they run into any issues.

For this we work closely with the Support Committee, making sure that our docs address the user queries that they’re getting; Accessibility, Design & Technology, to take interface changes and feature updates into account; and Translation, who make our documentation available in all sorts of languages.

I also wear another hat which is as a layout editor for the Transformative Works and Cultures academic journal, where I’m responsible for HTML tagging articles for publication in each issue. I’ve learned a lot about the world of academic HTML in the process!

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OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

The OTW is Recruiting for AO3 Coders, Documentation Staffers, and Tag Wranglers!

Can you code, write documentation or organize things? The Organization for Transformative Works is looking for AO3 Documentation staff, AD&T Coding volunteers, and Tag Wrangling volunteers!

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Translation volunteers and Communications staff. Today, we’re excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • AO3 Documentation Staff – closing 2 November 2016
  • AD&T Coding Volunteers – closing 2 November 2016
  • Tag Wrangling volunteers – closing 2 November 2016

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, please check back in 2017 for our next openings.

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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June 2015 Newsletter, Volume 92

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

I. OTW LEGAL IS EVERYWHERE IN JUNE

At the tail end of May, Rebecca Tushnet, Tisha Turk, and Francesca Coppa, together with partners from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and New Media Rights, presented our case at the U.S. Copyright Office’s hearings on renewal and expansion of the fan video exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions. They asked the Copyright Office to expand the current exemption by permitting non-commercial fan video makers to rip Blu-Ray discs. Following the hearing, the groups submitted a written response to the Copyright Office’s follow-up questions.

Also, as part of Legal’s advocacy and education missions, the OTW has teamed with the Harry Potter Alliance’s Fanworks Are Fair Use project. This project brings together fans, creators, and fanwork appreciators to focus on U.S. copyright law and public perception of fanworks. Its aims are very much in line with the OTW’s mission to protect fanworks from legal challenge and support fans and fanworks. You can find out more about the project at FanworksAreFairUse.org.

Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt and staffer Heidi Tandy will be presenting at a San Diego Comic Con panel entitled “Fandom is Our Fandom,” talking about the evolution of fanworks’ relationship with law and public consciousness. The panel will be Thursday, July 9 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in Room 14A. Heidi will also be moderating the Harry Potter/Wizarding World Fandom panel on Sunday, July 12 and you can find out more about the Fanworks Are Fair Use project at both. For those who will be at San Diego Comic Con, we hope to see you there!

Legal also worked with fan group Whedonopolis to keep the term “Fandom” in the public domain, following Whedonopolis’s application to register the term “Fandom Charities Inc.” as a U.S. trademark. Whedonopolis agreed not to try to claim any exclusivity over the term “Fandom.” That’s a result all fans can be happy about.

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology had one small release in June and has been hard at work upgrading the Archive’s programming language from Ruby 1.9.3 to Ruby 2.0 — a process which involves the awesome Quality Assurance & Testing subcommittee manually testing each of the Archive’s many features.

Open Doors recruited in June and is extremely excited to welcome 4 new staffers. With help from Accessibility, Design & Technology, they’ve been wrapping up the import of the Henneth Annûn Story Archive, and will be working on helping other mods progress more quickly using their new import process.

Systems ordered the first of this year’s new servers, to be installed soon to give the Archive a bit of breathing room. They are also looking forward to interviewing some prospective new Systems personnel from the recent recruitment opening.

AO3 Documentation is now a committee. The team continues to work steadily through their list of FAQs, with the extra-long Posting and Editing FAQ almost ready for uploading after a long review period. They’ve also been focused on recruitment and are looking forward to working with new additions to the group.

In Tag Wrangling news, wranglers helped each other by holding several chat sessions to share tech tips, giving some wranglers advanced training, and continuing to translate the ever-growing number of non-English tags on the AO3. On the technical side, the committee worked on testing the wrangulator for the upcoming upgrade of Ruby on Rails and turned the wrangulator off temporarily to wrangle some large, particularly server-intensive tags. Staff clarified the workflow for wranglers by adding a flowchart for wrangling original characters, and a wrangler created a very useful client-side browser script to make it easier for busy wranglers to see where they need to focus their efforts. Tag Wrangling also worked to make tagging information more public: Staff were interviewed by a journalist for an article on tagging, assisted the AO3 Documentation committee with suggestions for the tagging portion of the Posting and Editing FAQ, and responded to user queries via Support and the ao3_wranglers twitter account.

III. GET IN TOUCH WITH US!

Journal‘s 19th issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, a guest-edited issue on European fans and fandoms, came out right on time, and they are working on the next two issues right now. They recently asked fans to help with their requests for content, and they are also looking for suggestions about how to celebrate the release of their 20th issue in September!

Wiki held June Bloom, an event to encourage fans to start the pages they always wanted to see on Fanlore. To help new posters, they held an editing party on June 13th. June Bloom led to the creation of many new Fanlore accounts and pages, though the majority of changes continue to be made by a few core contributors. The Wiki team has moved their primary task tracking to Trello, and is continuing to trial a system of having two staff members on call to respond to new issues more quickly.

Communications wrapped work on the OTW’s 2014 Annual Report, which was distributed on June 25. Communications is looking for fannish accounts to follow on social media, particularly on Twitter and Tumblr. If you know of a great account that shares fannish content, especially about non-English fandoms, leave a comment here or let us know through the Communications contact form.

Communications also worked with Translation to create a Spotlight on Translation post, which led to some great emails from fans to the committee. Translation is working with Accessibility, Design & Technology, Support, and Abuse on splitting the ‘Portuguese’ language listing for AO3 works into ‘Brazilian Portuguese’ and ‘European Portuguese,’ after several user requests to that effect. They’ve also started working on translating static content for the Elections website.

IV. GOVERNANCE

Due to various outside commitments by Board members at this time of year, Board has had to reschedule several meetings recently, and is in the process of working out its schedule for this quarter. Plans for the OTW 2015 Retreat are moving ahead. This year it will be held from October 2nd to October 4th in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to the Treasurer, Board has invited several committees to send two members each: Legal, Volunteers & Recruiting, Strategic Planning, Development & Membership, and Internationalization & Outreach. The focus of this year’s retreat will be on making progress with implementation of the Strategic Plan, and improving the OTW’s financial health, including setting the 2016 budget.

Strategic Planning is nearly finished with the third and final draft of the OTW 2016-2019 strategic plan. Their main focus has been on its structure and finalizing the timeline so large-scale goals don’t overlap one another. They are also working with the Board to determine an implementation date to best fit their needs.

Development & Membership is gearing up for the OTW’s next membership drive. The fundraising goal will be US$175,000, which is US$5,000 more than the OTW made last October. They also met with Elections to discuss the dates of the drive and the elections and they how they will mesh.

Elections saw their committee size double with six new recruits who are currently completing their training. The newbies jumped right in during an important month where Elections ran a mock election to determine the viability of a potential software. It went splendidly, and the committee thanks all who participated, and offers a hearty handshake to those who sent them feedback! Translation also guided Elections staffers through making its website more international-user-friendly.

Internationalization & Outreach prepared a tentative plan for internal review to more thoroughly promote inclusivity and the internationalization of the OTW. They will be soliciting feedback from OTW volunteers soon as well as recruiting new ones for the committee.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting has continued to train their awesome new staffers, and are very close to implementing a new ticket tracking system to better streamline their workflow. They also wrapped up inductions from the last round of recruiting, and announced recruitment dates for the coming quarter.

New Committee Chairs: Janita Burgess (Communications), Amy Lowell (Development & Membership)
New Committee Staff: Amalia Blondet (AO3 Documentation & Translation), Claire P. Baker (AO3 Documentation), Jocelin Potash (AO3 Documentation), ltfoxyee (AO3 Documentation), Sammie Jarrett (AO3 Documentation), l1n (Elections), kaytrea (Elections), Noah Feeman (Open Doors), Kathleen Lietzau (Open Doors), Libby Camp (Open Doors), 6 other AO3 Documentation, 4 other Elections and 1 other Open Doors

Departing Committee Chairs: Claudia Rebaza (Communications)
Departing Committee Staff: Sparrow Rubin (Support), Cheyenne Bingham (Support), 1 other Translation
Departing Tester Volunteers: erialeduab
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Pslasher, Marie_L, Firefly_Ca, Animem and 3 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 1


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