Archive of Our Own Server Naming Festival!

ETA: Nominations are now closed. Thanks for your suggestions! Watch this space for the opportunity to vote on the final picks!

ETA – deadline for nominations extended to 12 February

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of fandom, we’re upgrading the servers for the AO3! Our original two servers are being joined by four more, bringing more storage space, more power and more speed, all paid for through fannish donations to the OTW. We think this calls for a celebration!

The Rails Twins: cartoon style image of servers

The Archive will have some downtime while we swap over to the new servers. We know that this will leave some of you twiddling your thumbs – we’d love it if you could harness some of your unused fannish energy to help us name the servers! We’re looking for fitting fannish names which will celebrate the wonderful fannish community and creativity the servers will host.

Names, names, names

Meet the OTW 7! Cartoon-style pictures of our six servers and their trusty switch

We need names for our six servers and their trusty switch: check out Meet the Machines to find out more about them!

We want names which suit the machines and which reflect the fannish community they belong to: powerful, international, and brilliant! We’d like it if their names reflected the percentage of awesome women in fandom (although we think they have a whole variety of gender identities, just like fans).

How it will work

We’ll have three periods of downtime while we install the servers – we’ll be taking nominations for names during the first two, and we’ll open voting during the third.

Nominations stage: 6 February from 18.00 UTC – 12 February 21.00 UTC

We invite all fans to submit the suggested names during this period! You can suggest just one name, or you can submit a full set of seven names (maybe with a theme!). Optionally, you can give a short explanation of why the name[s] would fit / where they come from. This would be particularly appreciated if the name is drawn from a less well-known source, particularly if it is a source not in English (we would LOVE some names from sources not in English and our nominations panel will be international, but sources in languages other than English are harder to research).

There are seven machines to be named- please let us know which machine you would like the name to go to. You can see their full details in Meet the Machines – in your entry please use the short names below:

  • DB
  • Rails1
  • Rails2
  • Original1
  • Original2
  • Storage
  • Switch

You can submit names in the following ways:

Nomination format

Nominations should be in the following format:

Name – Machine – Other optional comments / source

For example:

Elsie – DB – She was the best sister in ‘What Katy Did’, and the cleverest!

Shortlisting stage

A shortlisting panel made up of committee members from International Outreach, Accessibility, Design & Technology, Communications & DevMem will review the nominations and make up a shortlist. The shortlist will be based on the most-nominated names, but we will also give consideration to names which reflect under-represented areas of fandom.

Voting stage: 14 February from 9.00 UTC

We’ll post the list of shortlisted names on the OTW blog at and ask people to vote for their favourites. The seven names with the most votes will be our winners!


The winning names will be announced by 26 February.


The servers belong to fandom as a whole, and we hope that lots of people will join us in finding the right names for these fantastic machines. They are fandom’s servers, and we think it’s only right that fandom should name them.

The servers are the big prize, but we like giving out presents! We can’t give goodies to everyone (alas), but every entry will be entered into a prize draw for lovely OTW goodies! Winners will be contacted through the same venue they submitted their entries, and will need to provide a valid postal name and address in order to claim their goodies.

Go forth and name!

We can’t wait to see what names fandom comes up with! And once the servers have names of their own, it will be that much easier to create fanworks about them…

Archive of Our Own
  1. Angela commented:

    Those links to the Meet the Servers page don’t seem to work. Or is it just me?

    • Zooey Glass commented:

      Not just you – the links were broken.

      Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Mre commented:

    (Un)fortunately(?) for the AO3, I am kind of comics obsessed right now, and ‘the Seven’ made me think of DCU/Justice League immediately.

    DB – Fortress – because Superman’s got killer tech in the Fortress of Solitude
    Rails1 – Flash (or Wally) – Come on! You said it yourselves: “Speedy”
    Rails2 – Lantern (or preferred GL name) – he’s a rock of reliability; definitely “Strong”
    Original1 – Batman – because he’s a DCU veteran who is used to carrying a huge load
    Original2 – Superman – ditto; JL founder, carrying huge loads…
    Storage – Batcave – because Batman squirrels everything away in the Cave somewhere
    Switch – Jonzz (is Martian Manhunter too long? JonnJonzz?) – I assume the ‘ can’t be used, but he relays communications for everyone when needed.

    I hate that Diana isn’t in this somewhere.

    But because I am equal opportunity, I decided to give you a Marvel alternate (pardon my blendered realities):

    DB – JARVIS (or JOCASTA) – the AI Tony Stark developed/adapted to run stuff
    Rails1 – Quicksilver (or Pietro) (or Aurora) – speedy =)
    Rails2 – ScarletWitch (or Wanda) (or Northstar) – twin! =)
    Original1 – Wolverine (or Logan) – works alone or in groups as needed, reliable and keeps on going!
    Original2 – Cap (or Steve?) – who is more veteran and reliable than Captain America?
    Storage – Helicarrier – SHIELD wouldn’t be able to function without the logistics supplied by the Carrier.
    Switch – Extremis (or Cerebro) – this thing connects Tony Stark (or Prof X) to everything (everyone).

    I wonder what others are suggesting?

    • Alexandra Edwards commented:

      I love both of these.

  3. facetofcathy commented:

    * Wonder Woman – DB – a fictional character
    * Mary Shelley – Rails1 – author of Frankenstein
    * Minotaur – Rails2 – a fan
    * Valentina Tereshkova – Original1 – first woman in space
    * Nyota Uhura – Original2 – Star Trek character
    * Hypatia – Storage – Greek scholar from Alexandria
    * Ada Lovelace – Switch – the first programmer

    • Nathan Davies commented:

      Oh, man. Seconded. Especially Ada.

  4. thecookieomma commented:

    * DB — Jack. Several characters in some of my favorite fandoms are named Jack. Harkness and O’Neill particularly.
    * Rails1 — Sam. Also another common name. For me, it’s Carter and Winchester, and Quantum Leap’s Sam, too.
    * Rails2 — John. One of the most common names ever, but it’s good. John (GL), and Sheppard come to mind immediately.
    * Original1 — Alien. In honor of the trope of the odd guy in the team. Teal’c, Spock, Chewie, Jean (martian man hunter, however it’s spelled), etc.
    * Original2 — Doc (or Doctor). Named for our favorite Time Lord, but also other doctors in different fandoms. Ducky, Janet, Bones…
    * Storage — Kawaii… Just for a change, for the anime fans. It means “Aww, cute.” Kind of.
    * Switch — Slash — cuz you know we all read it. :D

  5. Ivy Blossom commented:

    You’ve got seven servers, so naturally I have to recommend:

    The 7 virtues:

    Chastity (uh…yeah)

    Or, if you’re feeling cheeky, the 7 deadly sins:

    Greed (or Avarice)
    Envy (or Vainglory)

    Key qualities that make our characters so much fun to write! :D

  6. AwayLaughing commented:

    * DB — Batman/Bruce Wayne, I’m also on a comic kick.
    * Rails1 — Fred, see ‘George’ for explanation
    * Rails2 — George, their being twins and our being a fanfiction community makes it only proper we’d at least suggest some of the most popular twins in recent times.
    * Original1 — Hercules, being one of the original heroes after all.
    * Original2 — Richard Grayson/Robin, DB’s slave/sidekick and an original, all wrapped up in one.
    * Storage — TARDIS because really, it must be referenced.
    * Switch — EDI, Mass Effect 2’s awesome AI in charge of communications and defences.

  7. Shachaai commented:

    Ringo – DB – ‘One Ring to rule them all…’

    Babs – Switch – for the biblical tower and infamous Babel fish of Hitchiker’s fame, farting translations into your ear canals across the universe.

  8. klinche commented:

    In honour of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, I suggest we name the servers after the Endless–I realize not everyone has read the comic, but the names are pretty badass in themselves, aren’t they?

    * Dream (DB, because Dream is, well, Dream: the main character, the coolest guy in the whole series, etc.)
    * Desire (Rails1)
    * Despair (Rails2, because Desire and Despair are twins in the comic)
    * Destiny (Original1, because Destiny came first)
    * Death (Original2, because Death came second)
    * Destruction (Storage, because Destruction turns out to be the most reliable sibling)
    * Delirium (Switch, because Delirium is a shared responsibility)

    • aurys commented:

      I second these!

    • Damaduende commented:

      I really like those!

  9. Ivy Blossom commented:

    Oh…let me do this properly then:


    DB — Diligence
    Rails1 — Chastity
    Rails2 — Charity
    Original1 — Patience
    Original2 — Kindness
    Storage — Temperance
    Switch — Prudence


    DB — Lust
    Rails1 — Avarice
    Rails2 — Sloth
    Original1 — Wrath
    Original2 — Pride
    Storage — Gluttony
    Switch — Vainglory

  10. winkingstar commented:

    DB – Xena
    Original1 – Teyla – diplomatic yet also totally badass, perfect for the front end!
    Original2 – Gabrielle
    Lirael – Storage – storage ought to be a librarian and Lirael (from the book of the same name by Garth Nix) worked in the most badass library I’ve ever read about
    Uhura – Switch – communications officer extraordinaire!

    • pslasher commented:

      I second Uhura for communications!

  11. Ira Gladkova commented:

    I thought it might be neat to submit sets of all ladies, from gaming, anime/manga, and book fandoms. I ended up throwing in a guy here and there to represent a few cult classics or underappreciated gems, since those are also a minority. Hope it’s not too spammy!

    Except for having fun thinking of matched sets for the four twins, I’ve actually been having ridiculous trouble mapping the characters to any specific machines, or paring down to sets of seven. So um. Yeah. Sometimes there will be multiple options (mostly for sets of twins).

    Feel free to mix and match from any of the sets, or within the sets even! I am basically terrible at the matching part >.>

    DB – The Boss | The Joy – Metal Gear
    mentor of Big Boss (the big bad of the first two games and a major player in other titles), a mother in many senses, and widely acknowledged as the most badass character in the series. think about that one for a moment.
    DB – Agrias Oaks – Final Fantasy Tactics
    lady knight and a main character in one of the most unique and complex entries in the series.
    DB – Jade – Beyond Good and Evil
    action-stealthy photojournalist for the resistance. yes.
    DB – Chel – Portal
    did you need to retrieve some data super fast? now you’re thinking with portals.
    DB – The Nameless One – Planescape: Torment
    undying lead character of one of the great cult classic RPGs (with bonus D&D setting, yay representation), and besides getting a kick out of the name, wouldn’t it be nice to have a machine that couldn’t die?

    Rails1 – Ico – ICO
    Rails2 – Yorda – ICO
    from one of the most beautiful games ever created with a lasting influence on many more modern, complex, and well-known games, these two will always stick together and solve every puzzle on the way.

    Rails1 – Aerith Gainsborough – Final Fantasy VII
    Rails2 – Tifa Lockhart – Final Fantasy VII
    two of the most famed women in gaming; one is almost never brought up without the other.

    Original1 – Samus Aran – Metroid
    one of the first female action protagonists and a major kicker of the asses to this day.
    Original2 – Chun-Li – Street Fighter
    first female playable character in a fighting game, interpol agent, action mom, strongest woman in the world, and quite fast.

    Original1 – Rydia – Final Fantasy IV
    Original2 – Rosa Farrell – Final Fantasy IV
    Two of the oldest and most iconic female characters in the series. respectively: black mage, raised by monsters, total nuker; mage, archer, eventual action mom.

    Original1 – Terra Branford – Final Fantasy VI
    the first female lead in the series, and part of one of its most classic and beloved entries. small, slight, and searching for identity, and a fighter in every sense.
    Original2 – Celes Chere – Final Fantasy VI
    the other iconic lady of an iconic game, a battle-hardened general, and Terra’s foil; their parallel development forms one of the pillars of the story.

    Original1 – Zelda – Legend of Zelda
    one of the oldest and most iconic women in video gaming, with increasingly awesome portrayals as monarch, pirate, ninja, and actual participant in her own legend.
    Original2 – Paula Polestar – Mother 2 | Earthbound
    the only female party member of one of the most acclaimed video games ever created; a psychic who fights with frying pans and will kick your butt.

    Storage – GLadOS – Portal
    we can trust our files to GLadOS. Right?
    Storage – Alexandra Radovas – Eternal Darkness
    protagonist of a cult classic Lovecraftian game, studying abstract math and number theory, and will banish your cosmic horrors for you. many stories come together to culminate in hers as she is the holder of the Tome of Eternal Darkness.
    Storage – Garrett – Thief
    from the pioneer game of the FP stealth genre and still some of the most critically acclaimed games to date, Garrett’s so fast and sneaky and reliably good at his job, you won’t even see him at work

    Switch – Mei Ling – Metal Gear
    you know that (in)famous codec thing from the series, where Snake’s talking to some other person or support team member? she invented it. tech genius, and a member of Snake’s support team.
    Switch – Lucca – Chrono Trigger
    clever, intelligent, and a brilliant inventor
    Switch – Manny Calavera – Grim Fandango
    who better to get all our data whre it needs to go than a travel agent… with the Department of Death?
    Switch – Razputin – Psychonauts
    from one of the most critically acclaimed and least appreciated games of the last decade, Raz will be perfectly capable of Psycho-Portaling his way into the minds of all our other machines

    Thanks goodness I used up all my tl;dr on video games, as I apparently have almost none left for anime and manga. I have pretty obvious shounen and seinen leanings — someone sprinkle in some variety, please! =D

    Anime and Manga!
    DB – Faye Valentine – Cowboy Bebop
    DB – Olivier Milla Armstrong – Fullmetal Alchemis
    major general in the military and a complete badass normal
    DB – Izumi Curtis – Fullmetal Alchemist
    one of the fiercest and most badass characters in the series, mentor to the two heroes and adamantly a housewife

    Rails1 – Meryl Stryfe – Trigun
    Rails2 – Milly Thompson – Trigun

    Rails1 – Ayanami Rei – Neon Genesis Evangelion
    Rails2 – Asuka Langley Soryu – Neon Genesis Evangelion

    Rails1 – Riza Hawkeye – Fullmetal Alchemist
    Rails2 – Mine Fujiko – Lupin III
    two firearms experts of completely different stripes, each extremely competent

    Original1 – Bulma – Dragonball
    Original2 – Chi-Chi – Dragonball

    Original1 – Tsukino Usagi – Sailor Moon
    Original2 – Tendo Akane – Ranma 1/2

    Storage – Nico Robin – One Piece
    knowledge repository of awesome proportions, being a historian

    Switch – Relena Peacecraft – Gundam Wing
    Switch – Ed – Cowboy Bebop
    computer whiz/hacker extraordinaire

    and finally!

    DB – Karrin Murphy – Dresden Files
    lady cop and complete badass normal holding her own among incredibly powerful magic users
    DB – Alanna of Trebond – Song of the Lioness
    DB – Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games
    DB – Sabriel – Old Kingdom
    who doesn’t want a heroic necromancer?

    Rails1 – Irene Adler – Sherlock Holmes
    Rails2 – Alexia Tarabotti – Parasol Protectorate
    our two clever period ladies can handle anything that comes their way

    Original1 – Galadriel – Lord of the Rings
    Original2 – Eowyn – Lord of the Rings

    Storage – Lirael – Old Kingdom
    give it up for the badass librarians! librarian of the most terrifying and awesome library in the world.
    Storage – Hermione Granger – Harry Potter
    and the badass bookworms!

    Switch – Cordelia Naismith – Vorkosigan Saga
    uncannily effective at communication. also ended two wars nearly single-handedly.

    And just for totally random fun:
    DB – Xena
    DB – Wonder Woman
    DB – Leeloo

    Original1 – Ada Lovelace
    Original2 – Gabrielle

    Storage – Hypatia

    Switch – Uhura

    • lian commented:

      !! I thought of nominating The Boss too, but as it is, we already have Lucca (Chrono Trigger) and Alanna in common with our nominations :DD YEAH. (I also suggested a bunch of anime and game women.)

      (I also thought of Annah from Planescape:Torment, but as much as I love that game, a it too underground?)

  12. Please leave a name commented:

    It seems that every fandom has a character with at least one of these names. Pretty much everyone will be able to go, “Oh hey, that server’s named after that guy/girl in one of my favorite fandoms.” :)

    * DB – John
    * Rails1 – Sam
    * Rails2 – Jack
    * Original1 – Daniel
    * Original2 – Mary
    * Storage – Elizabeth
    * Switch – William

  13. Annabel commented:

    DB- Mycroft: Not only the smarter, more powerful Holmes from days past and present, but also the revolutionary mastermind computer from Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. Bonus points: has a female alter named Michelle; fluid gender identity FTW!

    • Please leave a name commented:

      Oooooh I second this!

  14. Elizabeth commented:

    Rails1 and Rails2: The Ashvins

    The strong, swift divine horseman twins from the Rg Veda; separate names sometimes given as Nasatya and Dasra.

  15. Sib commented:

    namely, my suggestion would be:

    DB server — NSEA Protector (Galaxy Quest)*
    because the movie plays with reality, being a fan and how fiction and reality can merge to form something kick-ass (By Grapthar’s Hammer!)

    Rails1 — Millenium Falcon (Star Wars)
    Rails2 — Serenity (Firefly/Serenity)
    because they’re both speedy and strong!

    Original #1 — Enterprise (Star Trek)
    because, no matter the letters after the name or the universe, it’s always the Enterprise

    Original #2 — Galactica (Battlestar Galactica)
    #2 because there are two Galacticas – the 1978 and the 2003 one

    Storage — Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker’s Guide)
    because fandom absolutely has that heart of gold, and because it is ripe with infinite probabilities (which is kind of close to the drive system of the Heart of Gold, if slightly different…)

    Switch — TARDIS (Doctor Who)
    not technically a spaceship, I know, but it makes switching between places and times possible, so…

    * I was going to suggest Nostromo (from Alien) for the DB server, but after having read up on the origin and meaning of the name, uh, maybe not so much
    because its main computer is called MU/TH/UR (mother) and because

    • Sib commented:

      argh, and where is that edit button when you need it?
      Please ignore the last line, that’s a bit of c/p gone awry… .

    • Sib commented:

      aaand I realized I posted this answer in reply to a post we’re not supposed to nominate names on – I am also mailing them to you guys. Sorry for spamming – would delete if I could.