April 2017 Newsletter, Volume 112

I. Membership Drive Success and April Showers

Thank you to everyone who helped make our recent OTW Membership Drive a rousing success! We raised US$146,595.80 from 5,660 donors in 73 countries. Whether you donated or helped spread the word about the drive, your support means the world to us. You can see how your donations will be put to use in our budget post.

Thanks to Development & Membership, Communications, Translation, and everyone else who worked hard on this drive.

Fanlore was also busy hosting the month-long April Showers celebration. The event was to encourage people to contribute their own stories and experiences to Fanlore, especially those from smaller fandoms. Kudos to everyone who created or expanded an article this month. You can learn more about April Showers at Fanlore’s Dreamwidth community or new Tumblr account.

II. At the AO3

The Archive of Our Own hit a major milestone in April: 3 million fanworks! To celebrate, we’re asking to hear from you, our users. It’s the people who make AO3 what it is, so tell us your #myAO3 story about what the Archive means to you and help spread the squee.

Also during April, Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed three batches of fixes, which were summed up in the most recent Release Notes. They also had some extra fun when the database that holds everyone’s AO3 History ran out of numbers.

While the aim is always to fix urgent bugs and take care of performance issues that make AO3 unstable, the focus has been on backend upgrades for several months now, and progress has been made. The first step towards running the latest version of Ruby on Rails was completed (converting all our code to work with strong parameters, for the curious). \o/ Also, the contractor started the actual Rails upgrade process, which will happen in several steps to get us from Rails 3.2 to Rails 5.

Tag Wrangling made minor updates to the wrangling guidelines. These updates included changes to when (Character) is used as a disambiguation, as well as a project to un-subtag show-specific RPF fandoms from the RPF fandoms for specific countries. Since many actors work in shows from many different places, it was leading to confusion, so show-specific RPF fandoms are now subtagged directly to Actor RPF.

The implementation of some earlier guideline updates was also completed to standardize the treatment of fusion settings in the Alternate Universe tag tree, which involved the removal of a few character-specific tags that didn’t really belong in the Alternate Universe tree.

Lastly, Support received over 770 tickets, and Abuse received roughly 600.

III. Legal Advocacy and Scholarly Fandom

In the tail-end of March, Legal filed a comment with the U.S. Copyright Office, responding to a Copyright Office inquiry asking whether the U.S. should adopt additional “moral rights” laws requiring that authors be identified in connection with their works (known as a right of “attribution”) and requiring an author’s permission to make changes to copyrighted works (known as a right of “integrity”). In their comment, they argued that a right of integrity would harm free expression, and that while in general attribution norms are often beneficial and common within fan communities, they should not be given the force of law.

In April, together with our allies in the Re:Create Coalition, Legal sent letters to the U.S. House, Senate, and Executive Branch advocating for balanced copyright laws. The letter laid out a set of key values to help guide copyright policy, including the value of free expression. “We support the Constitutional promise that all people should be able to express themselves freely and believe that such expression includes fair use of works created by others, as protected by the Copyright Act and the courts. Overly-burdensome copyright laws stifle free speech, expression and the diffusion of knowledge in society.”

Are you interested in meta about fanfiction? Transformative Works and Cultures staffer Francesca Coppa recently published a new book, The Fanfiction Reader, and all royalties are being donated to the OTW! So if you’d like to read some fanworks and writing about those fanworks, check out the link or let interested friends know it’s available.


Elections announced the 2017 election timeline this month. This year’s election will be held August 11-14. The membership deadline for being eligible to vote is June 30. Candidates running for the Board of Directors will be announced on June 21. Check out Elections’ Twitter and Tumblr for updates throughout the election season.


As of the 30th of April, the OTW has 604 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: pyrrhical (Fanlore), 1 Fanlore Staff, capitola (Tag Wrangling), Stephanie Godden (Elections), JessicaLovesSocks2658 (Abuse), Jonny H. (Abuse), 8 Abuse staff, adustyspectacle (Tag Wrangling), Solovei (Tag Wrangling), rachelisce (Tag Wrangling), 1 Translation, 1 Tag Wrangling
New Fanlore Gardener Volunteers: SavannahM, 1 other
New Translator Volunteers: Silarona

Departing Committee Staff: Cat Goodfellow (Communications), Patrycja Zarzecka (Elections), Sofia (Abuse), Aline Carrão (Translation), 1 Tag Wrangling, 3 Abuse
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: alicefung & 1 Other
Departing Communications Volunteers: doughtier
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Cadkitten and 5 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: XxArt, Chloë C, Quincette, 1 other

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


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