Accessibility, Design & Technology Meeting – 17 September 2011

The Accessibility, Design and Technology committee oversees technology-related projects within the OTW. Currently we are responsible for designing and building the Archive of Our Own. Our regular meeting updates keep you informed about developments on the AO3!

It’s been noses to the grindstone for AD&T since our last meeting, with staffers working hard on the forthcoming deploy and on their own personal responsibilities (alas for the necessity of working for a living).

Archive downtime and performance issues

We had a period of downtime on the AO3 on September 18th between roughly 1pm-3pm UTC, and another one on September 20th between about 10am-12 noon UTC. The issues originated in two different servers. We weren’t able to identify the cause of the first problem, but after that outage our Systems team installed some tools which are helping us identify a solution for the second outage.

The outage on 18th September did cause a few other issues; most noticeably for users, it caused a temporary glitch with notification emails which resulted in some people receiving kudos notifications for other people’s works. This was a very short-term issue and should only have affected a handful of people – apologies for the confusion!

More generally, we are struggling with performance at the moment – we know that people are seeing a lot of 502 errors. We have some improvements coming in the next deploy, but there is one issue that we’re finding difficult to pin down, so we’re not sure yet whether this deploy will banish the 502s altogether! Thank you for your patience while we figure things out (and if you’re an experienced systems admin with spare time on your hands, then do consider volunteering with us!).

Don’t forget, you can get the latest status updates from our Twitter @AO3_Status, which is mirrored on Dreamwidth and Livejournal.

Beat the 1000 limit – how to browse and search on the AO3!

One of the parts of the Archive where we’d like to make some major improvements is search and browse. In particular, we’d love to come up with a solution that would allow us to remove the 1000 limit on search results, which we put in to avoid exploding the servers. We’re working on this, but it’s tricky! In the meantime, the lovely X-parrot, who serves on the Tag Wrangling Committee and is tag wrangling liaison with AD&T, has written a fantastic tutorial on Browsing & Reading on the AO3 which includes loads of brilliant tips on how to find the works you want.

Meeting highlights!

Deploy planning

We spent much of the meeting discussing issues relating to our forthcoming deploy, which we’re keen to have on the Archive as soon as possible. It will include the much-needed performance improvements and the new tag sets for challenge nominations, among a lot of other nommy stuff. We’re currently trying to ensure that we’ve tested everything thoroughly enough – we have lots of JavaScript improvements, but as different browsers react slightly differently to JavaScript we need to be extra-careful that we’ve tested thoroughly. We’re particularly in need of testers who can test in Internet Explorer – if you think you might be interested then do volunteer!

Open Video conference

Our co-chairs Elz and Amelia attended the Open Video conference in NYC, where they picked up lots of tips about tools that might be useful to us. Popcorn.js looks particularly exciting – it’s a tool for synchronizing html5 video with actions elsewhere on a webpage, with JavaScript and CSS. Full of nifty potential, even if we don’t have an immediate use for it on the Archive!

Next deploy

The next deploy is scheduled for as soon as we can complete the testing we need to do! It will include lots of exciting things, but right now we’re most excited about the performance improvements!

News from our sub-committees

  • Coders are helping out with some testing and fixing bugs which come up in the process. Coder astolat is working hard to get the new code for tag sets finished, so that it can be used for the Dark Agenda challenge, whose request inspired this feature in the first place!
  • Testers are working really hard on getting the new code ready for deploy. They are few in number but extremely awesome – thanks, testers!

News from our sister committees

  • Support EXCELLED themselves in their ticket party, dealing with ALL THE TICKETS. The number of unassigned tickets went from 99 to 0 in 24 hours! The backlog of old tickets had been delaying response times for a while now, so we’re thrilled to be all caught up and able to deal with tickets in a more timely fashion. Major kudos to the Support team!
  • Tag wranglers are currently focusing on small fandoms in need of wranglers – very small fandoms may only need a small amount of wrangling work and are easy for new volunteers to get up to speed with. Some of the small fandoms without wranglers include Bái Fà Mó Nǚ Zhuàn | Bride with White Hair (1993), Never Gonna Give You Up (Music Video), Alarm für Cobra 11, and Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving, which have just one work each on the Archive! And of course, Tag Wrangling Committee member X-Parrot wrote the fab tutorial on Browsing & Reading on the AO3 \o/.

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. Everyone is welcome to this party!

This meeting round-up by Zooey.

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

Archive of Our Own

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