February 2011 Newsletter, Volume 46

Welcome to our February newsletter! You can find all the latest OTW news under the cut.

Abuse: Abuse is enjoying a quiet term so far, which is just how we like it.

AD&T/Archive: The AO3 has been moved to the new servers! We’re (as ever) very grateful to Sidra and Systems for all their work. Now that everything is migrated and fine-tuning done, the archive is really humming along, which is VERY EXCITING. We’ve also been working with other committees on the contest to name the servers, and the final poll should be coming soon. In other news, we’ve relocated our code to github! The coders have all put in a lot of work learning a new version control system in a short period of time, but we’re excited about the possibilities for increased collaboration and flexibility that git offers. We’re now aiming to do a regular code release at the end of each month to make it easier for testers, support and users to keep track of when new fixes and features are coming. We’re also starting to get rolling on a number of design projects for the year, so expect to hear more about those in the coming months!

Board: This month the Board members have mainly been engaged in individual work with the committees for which we liaise. We also held an all-chairs meeting as a way of encouraging committee chairs to support each other and share best practices.

Communications: Communications is working on creating a posting schedule, to make sure we are regularly sharing information that’s useful and pertinent to our members and to the OTW’s mission. We’re also aiming to make our organization more transparent, both in relation to our projects and how they develop, and as an illustration of our inner workings, structure, and the ways in which anyone is welcome to lend a hand and help shape our future. The first of our newly-restyled spotlight posts was a taste of things to come, and we hope you find them enlightening, intriguing, and helpful.

Content Policy: No report.

Development & Membership: After hard work by our entire team, we successfully submitted the IMLS Medals grant application; in the process we also developed a strategic schedule for applications throughout the year. We’re focusing on preparing for the March 2011 Drive, in part by creating unique and transformative blog posts (to keep our existing members entertained and maybe lure in new members)! We’re aiming to spotlight new and recent accomplishments and changes, as well as OTW projects just coming over the horizon. We’re also planning some special OTW merch that will be available exclusively during the drive and, as a long-term project, a year-round store. And finally, our chair, Megan Westerby, visited Escapade to hand out buttons, answer questions about the OTW, and to co-moderate panels on the AO3 and Fanlore!

Finance: Finance is busy filing the OTW’s state tax returns and gathering data for the 2010 annual report.

International Outreach: International Outreach has been preparing a collaboration with the Vidding committee. We’ve also discussed the best way to handle non-English support requests with the Support committee. Discussing ideas for the organization’s March membership drive has also kept us busy. In addition, a member of our team has been collaborating with the Communications and Volunteers & Recruiting committees on a series of Spotlight posts, the first of which you may have seen here a week ago.

Journal: Journal is currently putting the special History issue through production. Look for it on March 15! In addition, we have a number of fabulous guest-edited issues slated. Check out our calls for papers.

Legal: Some of Legal’s intrepid members are going to work on improving the Wikipedia and Fanlore pages on legal aspects of fan fiction. In addition, we have a brand new project manager for the curriculum project, Zhailei, and we’re very excited!

Open Doors: The Open Doors committee really consists of two parts — the main committee and the Fan Culture Preservation Project. The main committee is brushing up on its AO3 skills (things like account creation, how to upload and edit stories, and how to create and maintain collections) in advance of some manual imports of smaller archives, while the FCPP has been accepting some fun donations like playbills from a fan-originated, Roddenberry-approved Star Trek play, autographed ‘tableau photography’ (kind of like fanfiction, but with posed actors; here’s a sneak preview of one of the donations) and some fairly large ‘zine collections.

Support: The Support team has been hard at work! On average, we are seeing about 25-30 new tickets submitted each week. The staff has tackled over 100 tickets so far this month, and are working on more right now. We’ve also been working with AD&T and Translations on updating the FAQ. So far, one new FAQ, Downloads, has been added and several others have been updated. Hopefully we’ll have the rest finished soon!

Systems: No report.

Tag Wrangling: Committee members are reviewing guidelines and making plans for this term. Our volunteers are hard at work, as always, wrangling their fandoms.

Translation: Translating the website is still the main job for the teams (though some have moved on to the archive FAQ), while the committee is working on projects to smooth the process. We’re also working on creating a liaison position between us and the Website Committee, for which they will train us on the software so we’ll be able to work with them more effectively — we’re pretty excited about that!

Vidding: Vidding has embarked on a radical expansion of its resource pages drafts; for instance, in addition to our comprehensive bibliography on vidding, we’re now seeking citations on related areas like machinima, fan films, amvs, trailers, and other video works. We are currently trying to figure out the structure for a subsite — we want something expandable and flexible for the future.

Volunteers & Recruiting: In VolCom, we are working on a number of projects: thanks to Systems, we have a new database for managing staffer and volunteer records, and we’re importing records from the old database to the new database. We’re wrapping up debriefs of last term’s committee chairs, and have discussed the insights from those conversations in order to figure out VolCom can do to support the committee chairs in working with their staffers and each other in order to have an effective and fulfilling term. We’re planning to hold a variety of ongoing training sessions with org tools. The first training session, an introduction to documentation wiki gardening, was held before February’s org-wide meeting, and run by blue_meridian, gardener for Webmasters committee. VolCom is also developing a Code of Conduct for the OTW, which will provide a general set of expectations for conduct by OTW staff and volunteers, and formalize grievance procedures.

Webmasters: We’ve been wrapping up our annual content review of transformativeworks.org and assisting Journal with layout for the upcoming issue of Transformative Works and Cultures. We also held a Drupal training session for our newest staffer, new_kate, who has bravely jumped right in to serving on-call rotations. \o/

Wiki: We’ve been making lists of fandom-specific newsletters and brainstorming outreach ideas, as well as drafting introductory text to make it easier for us to spread the word about Fanlore far and wide. We’ve also begun having very preliminary conversations about what might be involved in making Fanlore friendlier to fans whose primary language isn’t English.