OTW Celebrates

Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2017

You may be wondering, “Who is this Ada Lovelace, and what can I do to have such a badass name?” And we’re glad you are because this woman is way too underrated for our taste.

Let’s put it this way: if the AO3 you know and love was like a church, Ada Lovelace would be one of our patron saints. Daughter of Lord Byron (yes, THAT Lord Byron), she was a prolific mathematician thanks to her mother who, afraid she would be a little crazy like her father, always pushed her toward a more logical way of thinking. However, being her father’s daughter, she was also a writer and that mix of logic and creativity allowed her to create the first machine algorithm in history.

This day is very important to us at the Organization for Transformative Works. It is the day we celebrate all our female (and male!) coding volunteers and all their work in the last 10 years. The Archive Of Our Own is one of the most substantial open source projects composed majorly by women, since, unfortunately, it is still a man’s world in the tech industry. But we are giving our best in trying to make it a more even working field. As one of our founders, Naomi Novik, said last month: “I love coding, I think it’s enormously fun, just building and coding something. I love that, that’s the best.”

To all those female coders, past and present, that have spent their time coding and debugging and helping us all reach our dreams since those early days, we’re incredibly proud of you and what we achieved together. And we also celebrate all of our volunteers — of all gender identities — because this project wouldn’t be the same without your efforts, dedication and collaboration.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day from the Organization for Transformative Works!

OTW Fannews: Doing it New School

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  • DNAInfo reported on workshops that use Sci-Fi, Fan Fiction to Teach Girls STEM and Writing Skills. “‘A lot of the series that are popular today, like ‘Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent,’ feature white characters…We think it’s really important to expose girls to visions of the future that have girls that look like them in leading roles doing the changing.’ The project’s namesake, author Octavia E. Butler, inspired the founders to use science fiction as a way to talk about broader issues in social activism, gender, class and race. ‘She looked at society through a real critical lens and didn’t sugarcoat anything…It blew me away because I never saw how sci-fi could be used to make me think of history and my own role.’”
  • Olin College professor Allen Downey had some of his students post a Bayesian Survival Analysis in A Song of Ice and Fire on his blog. “Using data from A Wiki of Ice and Fire, we created a dataset of all 916 characters that appeared in the books so far. For every character, we know what chapter and book they first appeared, if they are male or female, if they are part of the nobility or not, what major house they are loyal to, and, if applicable, the chapter and book of their death. We used this data to predict which characters will survive the next couple books.”
  • MediaCommons is an academic site that hosts discussion on both courses, research and discussion surrounding reading, writing, and literature. Among the topics is fan fiction, such as this post by Charles Dunbar about learning to write outside one’s comfort zone. “I had found the old notebook in which all those stories Colleen had been written into were hastily stuffed, and after reading them over, decided I had done a grave disservice to the character. Yes she was a fan-fiction creation, but she was also part of my writer’s experience, and as such I felt she deserved something more than the role of hostage-girlfriend…So I picked up a pen and began to write. But before I did, I decided to make one little change: rather than approach Colleen as the main character’s girlfriend…I made her the main character.”

Where have you seen appearances of fanworks in academia? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

OTW Fannews: Profiles in Marketing

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  • An increasing number of companies are marketing toward girls and women in tech, but not every attempt to capitalise on the trend is well-executed. NPR covered widespread criticism of Mattel’s Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer. “‘It starts so promising; Barbie is designing a game to show kids how computers work,’ said Ribon. […] Brian and Steven take over — and, at the end of the day, Barbie takes credit for the boys’ work.” OTW Legal staffer Casey Fiesler, whose feminist remix went viral and was featured in the NPR story, took to her own blog to explain why non-commercial remix is allowed under US copyright law. “It is so amazing how many people care about representation of women in computing, and I’m thrilled and humbled that something I created helped to expand this conversation. I wrote a piece for Slate about the process and the ideas behind Barbie, Remixed, but something I wanted to discuss in more detail was the act of remix itself rather than the critique behind it.”
  • TribLIVE reported on a new TV network focused on fandom. “When Pop, a cable network most people probably refer to as TVGN, launches Jan. 14, it will do so with programs that celebrate the continuing ability of such, well, institutions, as New Kids On the Block and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ to cut a swath through popular culture.”
  • UK site YouGov researches audiences to determine the characteristics of people with particular interests or fandoms. By using their profiler you could discover that Good Omens fans are more likely to be 40-59 year old males who work in IT, are left leading when it comes to politics, and also are fans of John Barrowman, Stephen Fry, James May, Nathan Fillion and Patrick Moore.
  • The publishing industry is among those wanting to target fans, and a recent conference on the children’s book trade included a panel on fanfiction. Meanwhile Wikia is declaring itself “the ultimate source for powerful and relevant pop culture, entertainment and game expertise” and is producing a video series on fandom in 2014 along with Disney’s Maker Studios. The idea is to create amateur/professional partnerships. “The partnership has already resulted in some quirky combinations, including one pairing of a devotee of the AMC period drama Mad Men with the creator of the Drinks Made Easy YouTube channel. ‘We hope to continue to define projects that allow for creators and super fans to come together and be in the spotlight.'”

What marketing efforts utilizing fans have you spotted? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.