For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.
I. ALL THE ACTIVITIES EVERYWHERE
Welcome to the OTW’s first organization newsletter for 2013! This newsletter appears every month from February to November (omitting our term break period in December and January). Since our last check-in there have been changes to the Board, changes to the chairs and staff of various committees, new policies and procedures, and a lot of work carried over from 2012.
II. META & MORE
Without question one of the biggest changes occurred in the past week when the Board voted to allow the posting of meta on the Archive of Our Own. This promptly caused the formation of an internal discussion involving committees such as Accessibility Design & Technology, Abuse, Support, Communications, Tag Wrangling and others in order to inform what will become the first draft of proposed definitions, Terms of Service and FAQ changes, and documentation by our Content Policy workgroup. This process is expected to be ongoing for the next month, although Content Policy may provide an update on our progress before the first proposed draft appears. We will make proposed definitions etc. available for public comment before any changes are adopted.
Before the meta announcement these committees had already been quite busy since the start of the year. Our Abuse team grew by two new members, Beth H. and new Board member Cat Meier. Aside from the meta discussion, Abuse has been dealing with an influx of cases which run the gamut from issues surrounding fanmixes to plagiarism to alleged hate speech to non-fanwork illegal content.
Accessibility, Design & Technology successfully deployed v0.9.5 of the Archive while weathering some site security storms that are currently keeping the Ruby on Rails community on their toes. They’re already hard at work on the AO3’s next deploy, which will include a shiny new header and code for the 852 Prospect import, to name only a few highlights.
Together with Open Doors, they welcomed new coding volunteer Stephanie who is working specifically on a tool for handling large archive imports. New staffer tuff_ghost has been doing amazing work, some of which will be seen in the upcoming deploy’s greatly redesigned Archive emails. As our opening 2013 post demonstrated, there’s been skyrocketing use of kudos, comments, and subscriptions on the site, so automated notifications have been growing fast too. However, one set of emails that has dropped in the last month has been our AO3 invites. With our backlog of pending requests now sent, the wait time for an automated invite is under 24 hours.
Internationalization & Outreach have been talking with AD&T about putting the Diversity Policy up on the Archive, and are also involved in the meta discussion.
Support has been averaging around 100 tickets a week, though the committee currently has no unclaimed tickets and very few that haven’t had at least a first contact! Kudos also goes to the Translation Committee as there have been a few tickets recently in non-English languages, and their teams have jumped right in and helped get translations written to send to the users.
Support is hosting a live chat on February 23rd-24th, from 4pm to 4am UTC. If you have questions and haven’t sent in a ticket or just want to say hi, drop on in! They are planning on doing these every other-ish month and rotating the time – the current plan is to cover the other half of the clock for the next chat so that they can meet with users in Asia and Oceania as well as any European and American night owls.
Tag Wrangling started the new term off with a bang in the form of a much-requested feature – the Fandom lists now ignore articles like “The” when sorting alphabetically, putting to rest the qualms of many users and wranglers. Since then wranglers have been busy renaming fandom titles to add missing “The”s back (an ongoing process; with over 11,000 fandoms in use on the Archive, the task is not inconsequential!) They’ve also been busy on revised training plans for new wranglers, working out the specifics for new features to improve and simplify wrangling, and discussing the guidelines on Additional tags. And, as ever, the diligent volunteers have busily continued wrangling. The wranglers recently got the unwrangled Characters pile down below 6,000 which had climbed to nearly double this, and have done as much or more with Relationships and Freeforms – in addition to dealing with the dozen or more new Fandom tags coming in daily!
AO3 Documentation recently made minor improvements to several of the FAQs and are currently working on overhauling some of the others. Category Change is working on a proposal for internal discussion that should be distributed by month’s end.
III. ELSEWHERE IN THE ORG
Development & Membership has begun planning for the first fund drive of 2013. It will take place April 3-9 with the theme “Fandom Is Love.” Thet’re also developing Basecamp templates for convention outreach tasks, and have sent materials to OTW representatives to hand out at two upcoming cons, Escapade and YAYcon.
Journal is in production for two issues simultaneously, one to be released March 15 and one to be released June 15. Editorial personnel are attending academic conventions in the first half of the year and will advertise TWC and solicit papers. The newly renamed Fanhackers blog should go live next month thanks to help from Webmasters and Systems.
Open Doors has been cleaning house: reorganizing/updating the committee’s information on the internal wiki and the website, working with Legal on more detailed agreements with mods, and developing new materials for the Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP). They have also been speaking with more mods on manual and auto-importing plans, and continuing to shepherd zine and other donations through FCPP.
Wiki has been clarifying the committee’s responsibilities and working on procedures and documentation with their new liaison from Volunteers & Recruiting, Alison. They’ve also been talking with several committees about better cooperation and exciting projects for this year, and have a new Communications liaison, Agnieszka, who can be seen and chatted with through the fanlore_news twitter account.
IV. LEGAL AND TECHNOLOGY
In other social media news, the OTW now has a Google+ account dedicated to our legal and technology news, and Communications held a contest for submissions to the OTW Events Calendar. Work has also begun on the OTW Annual Report.
Systems worked with Communications to issue a report on their activities for 2012 as well as the technical setup on the AO3, which is a must-read for anyone who wants to know about the increasing tech demands being put on the organization.
Webmasters implemented a new Release Management process for OTW’s primary web properties and completed its first release of 2013! This included a new job board for Volunteers & Recruiting as well as several fixes for existing bugs. Over the next few months, some bugs remaining from the Drupal 7 migration will be fixed, and several new features will be introduced.
Legal filed an amicus brief in U.S. federal appeals court in the case of Fox v. DISH Networks and responded to a steady stream of legal queries from both inside and outside the org.
The Board of Directors welcomed new members Maia Bobrowicz and Cat Meier, and bid farewell to departing members Julia Beck, Francesca Coppa, Naomi Novik, and Jenny Scott-Thompson. The Board thanks them for their service.
The new Board has been making efforts to clarify its purview by clearly delineating which decisions the Board is responsible for making and which should be delegated to committees. They believe this will help to reduce confusion, improve efficiency, and make workloads more manageable. Aside from the previously discussed decision about nonfiction meta, the Board has been approving expense requests, reviewing and discussing reports from Volunteers & Recruiting and Strategic Planning, and dealing with procedural issues such as quorum and tiebreaker policies and Board members’ personal communication styles and preferences.
Strategic Planning’s Tag Wrangling report (the first team surveyed) has been released to the general public. Their report on Volunteers & Recruiting has been sent for the first round of fact-checking and will soon be ready for review by the Board. They are in the process of drafting the Open Doors and Systems reports, and are about to deploy the survey for retired Systems staff. The next report Strategic Planning begins to draft will be Wiki/Fanlore, and the next team they survey will be Translation.
VI. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS
Volunteers & Recruiting continues to be hard at work with the final stages of the project to revise the organization’s recruitment and will soon be working with chairs and leads on reopening intake. The results of the annual Still Willing to Serve (SWTS) survey were reported to Board, summarizing the staff feedback from that process. The Volunteers & Recruiting annual report is nearly complete and they are starting a project to audit access to organization-wide tools to make sure that internal records and account access for all personnel match and are up-to-date. The committee has also created interactive tutorials for org-wide tools that can be used as part of training for new staff, and have requested feedback from other committees and volunteers.
As is typical during the term transition period, a number of positions have been vacated and refilled.
*New Directors List*: Cat Meier, Maia Bobrowicz
*New Chairs List*: Sole G. (Internationalization & Outreach Co-Chair), Highlander II (Tag Wrangling Co-Chair), Curtis Jefferson (Communications Co-Chair), Sam Johnsson (Support Co-Chair), mumble (Accessibility, Design & Technology), Betsy Rosenblatt (Legal), Tiyire (Wiki), Jay Bee (Open Doors Co-Chair)
*New Workgroup Leads:* Franzeska Dickson (Vidding), Eylul Dogruel (Elections Officer), Lesann (Survey Co-Lead)
*New Staffers List*: Agnieszka (Communications), Alison Watson (Open Doors), bm1893 (Translation), briar (Tag Wrangling), Claire Oberholtzer (Translation), Natalie (Strategic Planning), Priscilla Del Cima (Internationalization & Outreach), Qem (Tag Wrangling), Lady Oscar (Accessibility, Design & Technology), tuff_ghost (Accessibility, Design & Technology), bethbethbeth (Abuse)
*New Communications volunteers*: ash48
*New Coding Volunteers*: Nick Case, Stephanie S
*Departing Directors*: Francesca Coppa, Naomi Novik, Jenny Scott-Thompson, Julia Beck
*Departing Chairs*: aethel (Wiki), Elz (Accessibility, Design & Technology), Lucy Pearson (Communications Co-Chair), Rebecca Tushnet (Legal), Alison Watson (Tag Wrangling Co-Chair)
*Departing Workgroup Leads:* Francesca Coppa (Vidding), Eylul Dogruel (Survey Co-Lead), Jenny Scott-Thompson (Elections Officer)
*Departing Staffers*: aethel (Wiki), AlexElizabeth (Support), Julia Beck (Internationalization & Outreach; Translation), Francesca Coppa (Communications; Open Doors), Franzeska Dickson (Tag Wrangling), erda (Accessibility, Design & Technology), Kylie (Accessibility, Design & Technology), Lesann (Legal), Kristen Murphy (Webmasters)
*Departing Workgroup Members*: Lucy Pearson (AO3 Documentation), Maia Bobrowicz (AO3 Documentation), Yshyn (AO3 Documentation)
*Departing Coders*: Highlander II
*Departing Testers*: Highlander II
*Departing Tag Wranglers*: lunaris1013
*Departing Open Doors Volunteers*: Hadrien Asbury
The OTW thanks all staffers and volunteers for their time and contributions to the organization.