April, 2009 Newsletter, Vol 27

Welcome to our next newsletter; get progress reports from all your favorite committees and stay on top of your favorite OTW projects–right under the cut!

No report.

AD&T are trialling a new way of navigating through pseuds on the Test Archive right now. We plan to make it possible to manage your different identities better. We’ve also rebuilt the way the inbox works and are in the process of splitting out the ‘Warning’ tags from general tags when viewing story summaries.

We’re researching co-location facilities and ongoing hardware costs. We need a good idea of how much it will cost us to move to hardware with enough grunt to support a lot more users. synecdochic talked about why having the right hardware and architecture is important if you’re interested in knowing more.

All the excitement emanating from our team on Ada Lovelace Day seems to have proved inspirational, and we’re happy to be welcoming some new coders on board. We’re also sprucing up our training documentation and working to improve support and training for new coders, as part of our committment to fostering the tech heroines of the future.

The Board continues to work with Systems on co-location for the AOOO; with Financial on writing the Annual Report and making budgets; with Volunteers on various personnel issues; with Open Doors to get the Fan Culture Preservation project up and running; with Legal to support the EFF’s DMCA exemption; with Webmasters and Elections on election software and installation; & with Abuse on privacy issues. Board chair Naomi Novik also took out some time to go on NPR to speak against DRM technology on audiobooks.

The Communications team helped to promote the latest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, on gaming, and we’re pleased at the response across the blogosphere; we got slashdotted and we’re hoping to develop additional articles in the print press. Meanwhile, we also continue to support the OTW’s presence at various cons and conferences. We’re also particularly proud of our Ada Lovelace Day post. Breaking news: we now also have a mirror site on Dreamwidth, a new fan-friendly social networking site.

Content Policy:
No report.

Big report on the March, 2009 drive coming soon!

The Documentation Committee is pleased to announce our newest addition, tree! tree brings our committee up to seven members, and we are delighted to have someone else to assign work to.

Documentation has also started our first big internal documentation push—developing “What Is It?” primer pages for each committee. These pages will help new staff and volunteers get a better feel for what the committees do, and how they operate.

Committee chairs should expect to hear from their assigned Documentation person soon, if you have not already; your Documentation person will help figure out what kind of information your “What Is It?” page should have and how to organize it. Once the skeleton of the page is there, committee members are encouraged to add information to it. (Don’t worry about organizing it—info dumps are OK!)

Staff and volunteers are also encouraged to check out the internal FAQ. It’s a work-in-progress, and we welcome any contributions.

No report.

Finance Update:
Finance is working on our Annual Report, coming soon!

Issue number two of the academic journal TWC, a special number about Games, is out! The communications team has made a big push to advertise it heavily to the gaming world, and we have been tracking links. We are very pleased by the response, as we’ve been featured on Slashdot and other prominent sites. The editorial team is embarking on a spree of solicitation for No. 3 (a general, unthemed issue), and for No.4 (a special issue on Supernatural). http://journal.transformativeworks.org We will also be represented at events such as Muskrat Jamboree, where a Journal member will sit on a panel about OTW.

Legal is collaborating with Vidding History to support the OTW’s reply comment in support of the EFF’s DMCA exemption; see “Vidding History” below for more info.

Open Doors:
Open Doors will soon announce its new Fan Culture Preservation Project with a press release and a webpage; currently, we have finalized the legal arrangement with our university partner and are now actively working on establishing a collection/saving some zines. Stay tuned!

No report.

We continue to welcome our new fabulous volunteers, which now include a Danish translation team. For now work on the OTW website goes forward as the main focus of our efforts.

Vidding History:
OTW Goes To Washington! Board members Francesca Coppa and Rebecca Tushnet, as well as TWC Review Editor Tisha Turk are going to DC in early May to testify at the Copyright Office in favor of the EFF’s proposed exemption to DMCA prohibitions on DVD ripping for makers of fair use user-generated content. Tushnet and Coppa will also be presented on vidding at the Columbia Symposium on Gender and the Law on April 10th; Turk will be presenting on vidding later that month at the IP/Gender conference at American University School of Law.

The Volunteers committee welcomes our newest member, avaloste! We continue to bring new staffers and volunteers into the Org, and have recently made some changes to our internal process that should not only make it easier to do, but easier for future Volunteers committee members to learn.

The Webmasters are currently working to upgrade CiviCRM, the software we use to support DevMem’s fundraising efforts. We are also working closely with Translation to resolve a lingering site bug, and will work soon with the Elections committee to create a home for Elections-related content.

Wiki recently announced its new chatroom for fanlore participants; they also ran a “Fanlore Live” panel at Escapade.

  1. Swan Swan commented:

    It’s amazing to see how it’s all coming together! I’m bowled over every time by the work that you’re all doing. Amazing. Best of luck for the Washington trip!

    • fcoppa commented:

      Thank you! I’m screwing up my courage and putting my tin panties on!

  2. Medicine Melancholy commented:

    As you may or may not know, there is very little Swedish fan-fiction. However, I have come across an individual who told me that she is very much interested in trying to kick-start a fan-fiction community. However, she does not know how to do so. Perhaps the OTW can help her start some kind of fan-fiction community offering advice? Her name is Anna Troberg, and you can e-mail her at [email protected] and she usually does reply to her e-mails. (Swedish people can usually speak English very well, so no knowledge of Swedish language is required.) I myself am able to offer some advice on how to start a fan-fiction community and how to promote it, but I think that the advice that I can give is limited. Therefore, all help from the people behind OTW is appreciated.

    • Medicine commented:

      By the way, the above was me, in case you people don’t reply to “not verified” comments.

    • fcoppa commented:

      Let me have a bit of a think about this. One thing we could do, when the Archive Of Our Own is open, is invite Anna to create a Swedish community within the archive by means of tags. If we got a swedish volunteer on our translation team, we could then translate the archive interface into Swedish (its being translated into other languages already) and that might at least provide an inviting HOME for people who wanted to post.

      • Medicine commented:

        No, I do not mean to help her start an entire fan-fiction website. I mean, just offer her some advice on how to just generate some interest in fan-fiction, and give out information about fan-fiction. It does not have to go any further than that. She is a writer, and she also has a website (as I have already pointed out), and she is interested in giving out information about fan-fiction, and getting people interested in fan-fiction. Here is a question that she asked me, direct quote: “I think it would be very nice if we could have more Swedish fan-fiction and I would find it interesting to help spreading information about it. How do I best go about it?”

        To this question, I have answered:
        “One way to do so is… by writing Swedish-language fan-fiction yourself, and posting it on your website. Alongside this fan-fiction, you can tell people fan-fiction in general.

        “Perhaps you can host a list of links to interesting fan-fiction that you find, or something. Perhaps offer to link to people who post their own fan-fiction on their own website in case anyone becomes interested in writing fan-fiction.”

        I have thought up of those two things so far. Perhaps you people behind OTW are able to offer her some more advice?

        • Kass commented:

          If you’re looking for some good articles about fanfiction, here are two I thought were reasonably well-done: Fan Fiction: Sometimes the End is Just the Beginning by Jessica Bridges in Southwest Airlines’ Spirit magazine, and Fan fiction can expand story lines of popular characters by Vanessa Jones, Boston Globe.

          But articles can only go so far, and they’re inevitably written with one agenda or another in mind. Fanfiction makes the most sense, and is the most enjoyable, in the context of the community of fans for whom it was written. If your friend knows people who she thinks might be a good fit for her corner of fandom, she can feel them out — start a conversation, see whether they seem interested, perhaps share some of her favorite stories with them. As a corollary, I would encourage your friend to become active in her fandoms of choice: post her own work, leave comments on stories she enjoys, join mailing lists or livejournal communities around the fandoms which interest her. The more at-home she feels in her corners of fandom, the easier it will be for her to encourage other friends to join her.