April 2023 Newsletter, Volume 177

I. FANLORE NEWS

Fanlore has been working on making page outlines more accessible and making guidelines and practices more visible to new editors. Accordingly, there is a new Help page, Help:Non-English Language Content, now available on Fanlore. Fans are also welcome to get assistance via the Fanlore Discord server. Fanlore held an editing chat there focused on link archiving on April 29.

II. AT THE AO3

In April, the OTW celebrated the 11 millionth fanwork being posted to AO3! Communications’ social media-only announcement of this milestone spread speedily after it dropped. Thank you to everyone who’s shown AO3 and the OTW your support this month!

Open Doors announced the import of The ARC, an archive of Primeval fanfiction, while Policy & Abuse received a little less than 2,000 tickets and Support received about 1,600 tickets in April. Meanwhile, in March, Tag Wrangling wrangled more than 440,000 tags across more than 57,000 fandoms, more than a thousand tags per active wrangler!

III. ELSEWHERE AT THE OTW

Finance posted the 2023 budget ahead of the April Drive. The Drive was coordinated by Development & Membership with support from Communications and Translation, who translated all Drive posts, including the budget, and related graphics into 32 languages. Thanks to the generosity of 7852 people from 71 countries, 6450 of whom chose to begin or renew an OTW membership, the OTW raised a total of US$252,343.98!

Elections was busy in April preparing for the 2023 Board of Directors election. The Election Timelineis now available on Elections’ website. Stay posted for more information in the coming months!

In April, Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt participated in the first of the U.S. Copyright Office listening sessions on artificial intelligence and copyright law. This listening session was a great opportunity to provide information, help frame U.S. lawmakers’ questions about future policy decisions, and learn about technology and practice so that the OTW can make its own policy decisions about how to approach questions about AI. Legal will be doing more in this area in the coming months.

The Board of Directors published the minutes for its latest meeting on March 27. They can be accessed on the Minutes page on the OTW website.

IV. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 25 March to 24 April, Volunteers & Recruiting received 109 new requests, and completed 103, leaving us with 57 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 April 2023, the OTW has 882 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New AO3 Documentation Volunteers: Kate G, Miki Mizuami, Mo & 2 other Editors
New Communications Volunteers: Szabo Dorottya (Fanhackers Lead) & 3 Fanhackers Volunteers
New Open Doors Volunteers: Charlie167, Phia, Teo and 6 other Import Assistants
New Translation Volunteers: Irina Gostraya (News Translator)
New Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers: Amy2 (Projects Volunteer)

Departing Communications Volunteers: Szabo Dorottya (Fanhackers Volunteer role only)
Departing Fanlore Volunteers: 1 Social Media & Outreach Volunteer
Departing Open Doors Volunteers: 1 Administrative Volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Rosa V, Sarah Fox, Satie, Sunshijne, Fynn, EJ Bell, nolightss, and 23 other Tag Wrangling Volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: Ana Gomes, Cinna_moon, Demeter, Harold Liu & 6 other Translators
Departing TWC Volunteers: 1 Copyeditor, 1 Symposium Editor
Departing Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers: Amy2 (Volunteer role only), Georgia (Volunteer)

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


The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

Newsletter
  1. boomer commented:

    At risk of coming out as ignorant, how are Amy2 and Szabo Dorottya simultaneously leaving and staying in their volunteer roles/committees?

  2. ArouraLeona commented:

    On the recent AI note from Betsy:

    Listen. Anyone who deals with fanart KNOWs that AI has done a number in art spaces, not in a good way. For the love of god, don’t let that rot spread here. Those of us that write here work HARD to put our work here, which is how we’ve built it into what it is. If you let nonsense generated nonsense take over, then what we end up with is a flood of nonsense that Deviant Art and Pixiv are having to deal with in the AI art realm that have already limited the value of those sites and that they are having to find ways to filter around.

    Before going all little-girl gleeful over AI, remember not all of us stand with you on that. And remember that this is a creator-owned and shared site – which is why it is donation based and not a corporate-owned. Until then, there needs to be a MUCH more broad discussion about AI before someone just goes bananas mode acting like this is the next stage of the site without further discussion.

  3. Kaoriselle commented:

    Please get rid of this ai feature ffs

  4. Daeg commented:

    The use of AI will create a MASSIVE exodus from Ao3. People are discussing removing their work from the site and I will be removing it as well if it is used in any way or capacity train AI. “Train”… As if that’s what fanfic was created for. People do this for free and with love, and they will not want to see their hard work turned into “training” for a machine that can then be used to replace writers. AO3 is supposed to be a safe haven for transformative works. Works made by fans for fans. People. If Ai becomes a thing we will have to go back to the times of mailing our friends our work, of being afraid of someone taking advantage of our time. We do not get paid for this and we do not consent to this. As an archive for artists, who have been massively opposing AI for the past months, it is shocking that this sort of behaviour was even considered by you guys. Get rid of this idea. I’ve already deleted my art from spaces I know it will be crawled over and assimilated into AI, I will do the same with my writing. And so will many, many people. AO3 is an archive. Not a training center for machines fed by the free work of millions.

    • l commented:

      THIS, none of our work on the archive is for profit or should be for profit. if there’s any training done it would be for profit and that would go against the entire point of the archive. we are here for free sharing our favorite things. we are not here to have someone else profit off of our work.

  5. quilll commented:

    Betsy talks about fanfiction in the interview as if it were some kind of addiction that we fanfiction writers *have* to follow. In truth, despite all the passion, fanfiction is creative work that involves a lot of hard work and effort. Finding readers who like our stories and appreciate that effort is the only reward we fanfiction writers can get for it. And we’re already doing that in times when we’re under attack, when a certain clientele of readers already treats us as a story machine and we’re in danger of being doxed and harassed of the worst kind for being in the wrong ship. And then along come machines that generate with two clicks what we spend many effortful hours on and for which we already don’t get the due appreciation of our creations. To believe that AI will never come close to the quality of “handmade” stories is naive at best. AI is learning. That’s its purpose. No, writing fanfiction is not an addiction. Frustrated authors who feel that fandom is trampling on them and AI is making them obsolete will stop writing! Is that the way OTW wants to go?

  6. Lycoris commented:

    AO3 has always been an archive so why the sudden AI love ??? Please read the room a little. You do understand that many will delete their writings right?? And there is an original works tag on AO3 !! NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH YOUR STANCE ON AI. It was disappointing to see it. “Training” will just blatantly enable plagiarism and what not. This is a serious issue that needs further debate, hopefully against the use of ai. Please rethink your opinions, until then like many others I too would delete my works off the site.

  7. apprepuff commented:

    Allowing artificial intelligence to ““learn”” from fanfic posted to AO3 would be one of the worst decisions the OTW could ever make. No fan in their right mind wants to let a machine steal their work and use it to make some tech corporation rich.

    The Archive is a place for fans to share their creations with other fans. Not a place for AI to be set loose and allowed to mutilate our hard work.

    We like the Archive. We don’t want to have to find a new place to host our creations, but if artificial intelligence is allowed to scrape the site, we will abandon it in order to protect our work from being plagiarized.

    Please, don’t do this to us.

  8. Fuck You commented:

    I’m taking my shit off of AO3 unless you plan to pay royalties to every single author and artist on this site everything someone runs AI or until you figure shit out. Ffs I’ll even go back to school just to relearn how to code a website. Fuck this shit.

    • Nicole commented:

      I’m confused, pay royalties how and why?? fanfic is publicly posted and can’t be copyrighted. are you arguing that we should extend ip law to fanfiction?

      • dead commented:

        Fanfic falls under Fair Use and NOT public domain. Fanfiction is definitely still copyrighted. Please educate yourself on copyright law.

  9. Lusi commented:

    If AI goes through on this site I’m pulling all my work. I’d rather nobody reads it than AI scraping it for someone else. Unless I’m getting royalties that’s MINE. Think long and hard about how many users you want to alienate.

    • Nicole commented:

      why are people talking about wanting royalties? fanfic can’t be copyrighted???

      • l commented:

        copyright of the fan work itself, not of the characters. the issue at hand isn’t that the characters or settings are being infringed, it’s the fan works themselves. please look into it a bit more and think about why other writers are saying royalties off of their own fan works before immediately jumping to say “ummm no?”

  10. Disrespectfully, You Suck commented:

    Allowing AI on this site is horrible, and also makes a mockery of everything this archive is supposed to be. I’m absolutely disgusted it would even be considered. The works published here are intended to be enjoyed by real people, not used to feed some bot so it can write the next hit coffee shop AU that would, without a doubt, be worse than anything human hands could craft. Don’t ruin one of the only spaces fandom writers actually have. This website was never intended to bring in money or stroke the dicks of big companies, it’s meant to be a safe space to post fan fiction. Or have you forgotten the days when fan fiction was largely frowned upon by big corporations and some fan fiction authors even faced legal consequences? Aren’t you supposed to be a website dedicated to archiving fics, not destroying them?

  11. unsettled commented:

    that AI scandal needs to be addressed immediately!
    readers, stand by your authors (the human ones)!

  12. Rudje commented:

    So hey have you paid any attention at all to what AI has done elsewhere or are you too busy being caught in the latest tech bro get rich quick scheme to realize that actual creatives fucking hate that shit and people will justifiably pull their work and go elsewhere if you decide to act on that pit trap you fell in because you didn’t look at the ground? Especially since AI has provably enabled plagiarism in every single instance it’s been used in.

  13. concerned commented:

    Extremely concerning that the OTW would entertain AI-scraping on the website, and even encourage it. Like others said, this will cause fans to pull their work from the site—it is against the spirit of AO3. It does not celebrate fanwork, but bastardizes the whole point/process of creating.

    Anyone can write, and anyone can participate in the archive—there is no argument for AI, and for why it should be acceptable to have our work stolen by AI. This is a shame, and the Board must make a statement clarifying their stance. AI scraping is inevitable on a public-access website, but for the OTW to encourage it, or otherwise endorse it is shameful.

  14. a human being commented:

    I relax and unwind after a busy day by writing. I have nothing to gain but my own enjoyment and the hope that someone else will stumble upon my work and enjoy it too.
    I am not a tool. A world where robots replace even our hobbies sounds like hell. Do you aim to make the human experience as miserable as possible?
    I was considering starting to post again this summer after a year of being too busy to do so. I was excited about it. Now I’m hesitant because I don’t want my passion projects to become corporate fuel.
    Using AI on ao3 goes against everything users love this site for and you will live to regret it if you go through with it. Any self respecting fan artist will run for the hills. Maybe go back to Wattpad. Do you really want to lose users to Wattpad? Pathetic.

  15. FUCKAI commented:

    FUCK YOU

  16. Laika commented:

    Do not allow AI fic/AI scraping to the site. There’s no ETHICAL WAY TO CREATE “ART” USING AI because it STEALS FROM CREATORS TO REPLICATE SOULLESS FICTION. There are countless people putting their passion for writing and fandom into the site as is, there’s no need for AI at all. All this achieves is alienating your user base, which is a frankly stupid move considering how much the archive relies on it. Do not allow plagiarism on this site. I will pull my work from it and encourage others to do the same if this blatant endorsement of theft is allowed to continue. AI IS NOT MEANT FOR ART.

  17. V commented:

    Why would you allow AI fic? What’s the deal with that? I don’t want AI fic to become a prominent thing and you’re all so lost in the teehee sauce you apparently can’t see how scared people are that AI is frankensteining their hard work. Like for fuck’s sake read the room. I don’t want my hobbies to become an AI breeding ground. Should you embrace AI I WILL delete my fics and I don’t think I’m the only one who has these sentiments. You’re going to fuck yourselves over if you continue this way. Shame on you.

  18. ofloveanddeath commented:

    Please do not allow AI to scrape and use Ao3 without permission from authors! Please make sure it doesn’t take over Ao3! Isn’t the reason for this archive to fight for artists and writers rights? HOW is allowing AI to steal and learn from others and then allow OTHER PEOPLE to upload stolen content? Not all works on Ao3 are ‘fanfiction’ either, how are you going to stop AI from stealing original works from your archive? It just seems completely against what the archive stands for to allow AI access to it. Honestly the conversation should be ‘how are we making sure that AI works are tagged appropriately? Should we allow these works in the archive at all?’ NOT whatever this is.

  19. Liveslex commented:

    I simply disagree with the concept of using ai on ao3 all together not only are you stealing and merging people’s stories and claim it as your own in the most plagiarizing possible. But are also taking away the creativity and humanity only an actual living writer could do that puts more hard work into it than a machine could do. So no I won’t ever accept ai into ao3

  20. Insanity commented:

    No one hates ai more than artists than writers, this proposal screens upper management idiocy and likely would break the no profit doctrine that lets ao3 exist as people are using bots to seek profits already