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!

Abuse:
No report.

ADT/Archive:
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.

Board:
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.

Communications:
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.

Development:
Big report on the March, 2009 drive coming soon!

Documentation:
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.

Elections:
No report.

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

Journal:
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:
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!

Systems:
No report.

Translation:
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.

Volunteers:
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.

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

March 2009 Newsletter, Vol 26

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!

Abuse:

The Abuse Committee has hit the ground running, and we’ve begun creating a tracking system that adheres to OTW confidentiality requirements. Over the next few months, we’ll be working to develop a set of Abuse policies and procedures that will balance transparency and confidentiality.

ADT/Archive:

AD&T spent most of the last two weeks on our recent deploy of new code to the Archive of Our Own. We’re now on revision 1110!

Our coder group is working on a upgrade of Rails (the software the Archive is built on) which should give us the ability to do a lot of cool new stuff. This is very pleasing to all of us as the new version is more efficient and works better internally.

Translations 1.0 is now available to our Translators and we are developing the design for Translations 2.0. Tag Wrangling has now been active for 2 weeks, we have wrangled 4,204 tags and have another 2,292 to go. We’re still working hard on this! The Archive now boasts 528 different Fandom tags and 2,300 Character tags.

Tag Wrangling marked off Version 0.5 on the public roadmap which is an important milestone. We’re over half way there people! The design for Version 0.6 Browsing is almost ready for the first round of review (we already built Searching) and we’re starting the design for Version 0.8 Community and Challenges. We are delaying Version 0.7 Subscriptions in order to work on 0.8 as we now see it as more important.

We also have a number of smaller projects running including improvements to how Pseuds handle and the way Warnings are displayed on stories.

Board:

The Board has been setting org-wide goals for March, and has also been working hard to support the March Membership drive. Board members Francesca Coppa and Rebecca Tushnet are currently off speaking at the Mashup/Remix 2009 conference at the Moritz College of Law.

Communications:

The Communications team, with the help of some of our volunteer graphic designers, has made some new OTW flyers; we also premiered the launch of a new OTW lapel button at Escapade. We have also been expanding the OTW’s presence on various social networking systems; in addition to Livejournal & InsaneJournal, look for us on Facebook, MySpace, as a “studio” on AnimeMusicVideos.org, on iMeem, YouTube, and Deviantart. We’ve also renewed our Twitter and Delicious accounts.

Content Policy:

Content Policy is working on tidying up the TOS, clarifying questions that have arisen, and making sure the actual policy dovetails with the Archive code. Additionally, we’re working to balance the TOS requirements with the needs of extant archives coming in through Open Doors, and creating a coherent policy that applies to all works in the Archive.

Development:

We’ve been working on getting a new system in place for our second annual membership drive, which is going on right now. You can read about the drive at the OTW blog. If you’ve donated before, you’ll probably notice that the setup is very different now, and hopefully easier on everyone. We hope you’ll choose to contribute again (or for the first time!) during the week-long drive.

Documentation:

Our brand-spanking new Documentation committee has been getting organized and recruiting members under the awesome leadership of the lovely Margie. So far we’ve added Amy, Cinco, and carpet diemon to the committee, and also worked out a deal with Communications to share Laura JV.

This new committee runs our internal wiki (not the Fanlore wiki), which is a resource for storing and sharing the pages and pages (and pages!) of documentation and reference materials our committees generate.

If you’ve got some free time, a knack for organizing information, and a willingness to learn how to edit a wiki (or even better–experience editing a wiki, though this is not required), we’d like to talk to you about being on Documentation! Get in touch with the Volunteers & Recruiting committee via the contact form.

Elections:

Elections is looking ahead to the election season, and thinking about new ways to document our policies and processes.

Finance Update:

FinCom has just filed the state required annual finance report with the state of Delaware, in which OTW is incorporated. We’ve also been working with DevMem in preparation for the upcoming membership drive, and drafting the formal annual report for OTW.

Journal:

The academic journal team is proud to present its second issue, a special number on gaming, which goes live on March 15th! Find us at: http://journal.transformativeworks.org.

As you may know, every other TWC issue is dedicated to specific topics: as a reminder, our Spring 2010 issue will focus on _Supernatural_ and our submission deadline of May 1, 2009 is drawing near! See the call for papers here: http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/announcement/view/5

Our next special number is scheduled for Spring 2011: “Fan Works and Fan Communities in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, which will focus on the rich history of fans and their engagement with a variety of objects of fandom. We just issued our formal call for papers, which you can find here: http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/announcement/view/6

Legal:

In May, the United States Copyright Office will hold hearings on proposed exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, including an Electronic Frontier Foundation proposal that will assist vidders. The Legal Committee has filed comments in support of the exemption, and is planning to send a representative to testify at the hearings.

Open Doors:

The Open Doors committee is putting its final touches on our zomg amazing Zine Preservation Project – stay tuned!

Systems:

The Systems committee has been working closely with OTW’s DevMem and Webmasters to get, install, and test the new software for the drive.

Translations:

We’ve welcomed new volunteers to our language teams (yay!) and have begun translating the interface and tools of the Archive. We’ve also worked on translating texts for Development and over at the OTW page we’ve been busy with the 2007 report and the Vidding History pages.

Vidding History:

Hey, we were on NPR! OTW Board members and a number of prominent vidders were featured on Vidders Talk Back To Their Pop-Culture Muses, which aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Board members Rebecca Tushnet and Francesca Coppa are also speaking this weekend at Mashup/Remix 2009 at the Moritz College of Law.

Volunteers:

We’ve added two new committee members, Sandi Campbell and Anne Jonas. Welcome! Since the beginning of the new term, we’ve been very busy adding all our new staffers and volunteers to the Org, and we’re also pecking away at our documentation.

Website:

The Webmasters have been working closely with Development & Membership to prepare for the membership drive.

Wiki:

A ‘Fanlore Live’ panel at Escapade has allowed us to make a headstart on gathering oral histories (thank you for all the volunteers who helped us with their typing skills!); a permanently open Fanlore chatroom has been approved and should soon welcome you to come hang out with other wiki fans at any time, night or day; we’re continuing to rewrite, clarify and generally clean up and adapt our policies and documents; and of course, our outreach efforts are also ongoing.

February, 2009 Newsletter, Vol 25

Welcome to the first newsletter of the new year! All the OTW committees have re-formed, and we’ve got a couple of new ones, too. Find out what the various committees have been working on. Get an update on the archive! (Find it all under the fold!)

ADT/Archive Development: AD&T hit the ground running this year. Black_samvara took over from Naomi as Chair. We welcomed new Members to the Committee, new volunteers and formed a new team. We also gained an Archivist who is working with us on our documentation. Our big news is that we are releasing new code this weekend and we are very excited. The Archive of Our Own is currently on revision 953 and the Test Archive is on revision 1077 which represents a massive amount of coding work. We have a huge list of bug fixes and 2 brand new pieces of functionality.

The Archive’s translations interface has been built and we are delighted to be able to finally offer this to the Translation team who have patiently worked with us to build it.

Tag Wrangling is coming! We heard your feedback about tags and we have a very cool solution. After a lot of discussion, some nifty coding, hard work and the promise of vast chocolate bribes we are proud to launch the Wrangler interface. Tag Wrangling is a role that any Archive user can volunteer for. Wranglers can manipulate tags and create relationships between them so we can now fix all those niggling tag issues. We love this because it spreads the work out across many hands and means the tags can be updated as a fandom grows and be changed by members of the fandom itself. Please don’t feedback about tag related problems until April, we need to give our new Tag Wrangling Team a chance to do their thing!

We have been reading all your wonderful feedback and are working on compiling a Known Issues list. As a result of this feedback we are also working on a re-build of the ‘work’s and ‘fandoms’ pages into a coherent ‘browse’ design.

Board: The Board welcomes its two new members–Sheila Lane and Rachel Barenblat–and spent most of December and January putting together our fabulous new 2009 committees! We also held a live telephone/Skype/online training session for Chairs on Thursday, January 29th and recorded the audio and video for posterity. We are planning to have OTW-wide meetings during the last weekend of every month, and are working to help the individual committees set goals for 2009. Goals already discussed include: the upcoming DevMem drive, a move to colocated servers, the Zine Preservation Project, the 2008 Annual Report & deploying the next revision of the Archive.

Communications: The OTW is proud to announce the formation of a new Communications Team which combines the roles of the old “Community Relations” and “PR” teams. We’re trying to run a little bit more like a newsroom, and the various team members have been assigned to “cover” various OTW committees and projects in terms of handling their internal and external communications, generating press materials, and otherwise helping to promote the work they do.

Development/Membership: We’ve been gearing up for our March Membership drive (March 9-16), which includes exploring new software to streamline the process of donating to or joining the OTW (or renewing an existing membership). We’re excited about unveiling this new process, and we’re very grateful to our webmasters for being so helpful and patient. As always, we’re looking out for ways to reach out to new fan communities and people who may not have heard of us; to that end, the OTW will have a presence at both Escapade in March and Muskratjamboree in April. We also recently added some new people to our committee: welcome, Shoshanna and Monica!

Elections:This is the slow season for Elections, and we are taking full advantage of it for the moment, taking care of housekeeping and letting our new members get up to speed on last year’s policy and implementation decisions.

Financial: The Financial Committee is currently working on drafting the 2008 annual report, contacting committees to set the 2009 budget, and setting goals for the remainder of the year.

Journal: Issue two of Transformative Works and Cultures has gone through copyediting and final layout as planned, and is on schedule to be published on March 15. The team is already hard at work on issues three and four. We are also proud to announce two new team members, Tisha Turk and Lorraine Dubuisson: Welcome Tisha and Lorraine! Our current editorial line-up is now including an Interview team, to better follow this successful rubric.

Legal: Over the winter break, the Legal Committee was pleased to be able to prepare and submit a Reply Comment in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s DMCA exemption proposal for noncommercial videos that do not infringe copyright. We hope that this will lay groundwork for future developments in this area. Otherwise, we continue to provide advice and support to other Committees as needed, having recently advised DevMem on acceptance of donations, and the Webmasters on licensing terms of relevant software. And as ever, we attempt to respond promptly to queries from the public as they arise.

Open Doors: Open Doors is close to announcing the very exciting terms of a Zine Preservation project: a partnership between OTW and a major university library. Stay tuned for details!

Translation: We’ve began the translation of the new and very cool content on the OTW site concerning vidding and vidding history. Older site content is being updated by our different language teams, as we go over each page following the cool graphs created by our fearless leader, lian.

Vidding History: Vidding History is proud to announce the Vidding History Project page, which features links to a Test Suite of Fair Use Vids, the documentary videos about Vidding OTW produced for MIT’s New Media Literacy project, a link to the ongoing Oral History project, and links to other press and resources. We’d also like to thank our awesome Webmasters for their help in putting these pages together!

Webmasters: The Webmasters are working closely with Development & Membership to prepare for the upcoming membership drive. We recently worked with Vidding History to set up their new project pages, and we’ve been going through the site with a fine-toothed comb to make sure our content is up to date for 2009.

What details would you like to know? You can contact the OTW Communications team using our template at: https://transformativeworks.org/contact/communications.