January 2015 Newsletter, Volume 87

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

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

I. SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM

Accessibility, Design and Technology has been busy! They’ve been working closely with Abuse, Support, and Systems to handle ongoing problems with spammers and download bots. (Thanks to Translation for the quick turnaround on that post!) They’re currently testing code for release 0.9.45, which, in light of the spam issues, will focus on providing some much-needed tools for the Abuse committee.

Release 0.9.45 will be the eighth deploy since the November newsletter was posted: 0.9.35, 0.9.36, and 0.9.37 – 0.9.39 in December, along with 0.9.40 and 0.9.41 in January.

II. INTERNATIONAL FANWORKS DAY

Communications has been working on plans for International Fanworks Day, which will take place on February 15. Events include a short fanworks challenge and a fic/pro author panel chat, which will take place in the OTW’s Public Discussion room between 17:00–19:00 UTC on February 8 (What time is that in my timezone?). More announcements will be rolling out up until the event day, but the OTW wants to know what fans and their communities will be doing to celebrate. Let us know here in comments!

Communications is also continuing the OTW Guest Post series, with posts released in January and February. If anyone has suggestions for participants, please contact Communications.

III. AT THE AO3

Support handled almost 6000 tickets from January 1 to December 31, 2014. To set the bar even higher for 2015, they have, as of January 21, already received over 550 tickets. Support is also planning to do open chats again this year. If you’d like to see them cover something in specific, they are open to suggestions, so leave a comment here!

Abuse has been very busy as well. In addition to dealing with ongoing spam issues, they received roughly 260 tickets in December and 360 in January. Their final total for 2014 was 2750 tickets, which is a considerable jump from 2013, when they had 1900 tickets come in. Please do be patient with Abuse staff if it takes a while for them to respond; our volunteers are working through tickets as fast as they can, but they don’t want to rush their investigation and miss any crucial information. Abuse hopes to recruit soon, so if you’re interested in helping them out, watch OTW or AO3 News for recruiting information!

Abuse also thanks Accessibility, Design and Technology, Support, Systems, Tag Wrangling and Translation for all their help with the spam cases Abuse has been dealing with.

The Tag Wrangling Committee started 2015 with a successful recruitment drive, and is welcoming all their new trainees. Congratulations to the October class of recruits, who are all making fantastic progress towards training graduation. Tag Wrangling also consulted on quite a few tag-related Support tickets and answered wrangling questions from their Twitter account (@ao3_wranglers). Finally, they launched a virtual wrangling merit badge program, for fun and encouragement.

Also on the social media front, the AO3_Status Twitter is quickly approaching the 25,000-follower milestone, while the ao3org Tumblr has recently passed the 3,000-follower mark.

AO3 Documentation started preparing for recruiting new members by revamping their selection and training process, and they’re looking forward to seeing their team grow.

Together with Open Doors, Content Policy prepared tweaks to the Open Doors Terms of Service to reflect greater experience with the process. Meanwhile, Open Doors announced the import of The Henneth Annûn Story Archive, an archive dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien fan fiction, into AO3.

IV. PROJECT NEWS

Journal has issues 18 and 19 going through production right now. Copyeditors and layout editors are busy, and soon Journal’s proofreaders will get a last look at each essay. Both 18 and 19 are special issues with guest editors (Lucy Bennett and Paul Booth for Performance and Performativity, and Anne Kustritz for European Fans and European Fan Objects), who are writing their editorials right now. Meanwhile, January 1, 2015 was the official suggested submission deadline for the general September issue, and the essays received are going through peer review and author revisions at the moment. Journal’s Symposium editor and Review editor are both handling their sections, soliciting and reviewing submissions. Finally, the 2016 special issue The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work, guest edited by Ika Willis, is still soliciting (deadline: March 1, 2015). For more information, see the March Call for Papers.

Legal is busily preparing to file the OTW’s comment in support of the petitions filed in November 2014 as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s Rulemaking Process. This comment, which will be filed in early February, will contain Legal’s arguments and evidence in support of renewing the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that we helped win in 2009 and 2012, which makes it legal for fan video makers to rip DVDs and online sources in order to make noncommercial fan videos.

In December and January, Legal also continued our participation in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s DMCA Multistakeholder Forum process and answered several queries from fans seeking legal information.

Wiki has been dealing with some technical issues, including a problem with making new accounts. The Fanlore site went through a server move, which occurred with minimal disruption, and they now have plenty of space! A dispute over the use of fandom artwork on Fanlore is still ongoing, as are other outside requests. The OTW also welcomed a new moderator for the fanlore_news Twitter account, Pip Janssen.

V. PROVIDING SUPPORT

These last couple of months have been good to the Elections Committee. They saw the finalization of their 2014 internal feedback request and review as well as the completion of their upcoming 2015 Roadmap. With 2014 in the rearview mirror, they have focused on internal reorganization; a move to Trello; the beginnings of an overhaul to the Elections website; and updates to all their Position Descriptions as they’ve moved to permanent committee status. Elections also completed basic experiments and planned more extensive reviews of their intended software for the 2015 Election.

Elections had to say goodbye to three staffers who are focusing on other OTW tasks, but took on a new Team Coordinator trainee and is getting ready to open recruitment in February.

Translation‘s been hard at work juggling many news posts in several languages for the past few weeks. They have also compiled a report of an internal survey with translators, detailing volunteers’ thoughts and suggestions regarding the committee, their tools and procedures. With two new Danish translators joining their ranks this month, the Translation committee has now grown to an incredible 20 volunteer language teams.

Development & Membership is still working on sending premium gifts to donors and is researching new CiviCRM hosts. They recently recruited and are interviewing potential new staffers.

VI. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting has been largely focused on revising and updating internal procedures and documentation, the committee’s Annual Report, and managing the first two recruiting rounds of the year.

December personnel changes

New Directors: Jessica Steiner, M. J. MacRae and Soledad Griffin
New Committee Staff: Araise Solace (Elections)
New Strategic Planning Volunteers: Jessica Steiner and 1 other

Departing Committee Chairs: Hana Lee (Strategic Planning) and Eylul Dogruel (Elections)
Departing Committee Staff: Eylul Dogruel (Elections), Hana Lee (Strategic Planning), Jessica Steiner (Strategic Planning), 1 other Strategic Planning staffer, 1 Abuse staffer, 1 Wiki staffer, 1 Communications staffer, 1 Support staffer, 1 Internationalization & Outreach staffer
Departing Workgroup Members: Trey C
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Abbie and 4 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Tired21, Ana Carolina Nonato and 5 others

January personnel changes

New Committee Chairs: kiki-eng (Internationalization & Outreach) and Elliot Oberholtzer (Strategic Planning)
New Committee Staff: 1 Development & Membership staffer
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: blotthis, sabinelagrande, fenn, wanderedpen, AlexandriaTheGreat, VictoriaWrites, Lira, Amayakumiko, 10pm, thedevilchicken, quackingfish, jstorming, Sumi, ClockworkCourier, Marie_L, cricri, Debris, starfield, Taine, Lily Aydan, bladesin, doughtier, Minkster, Maggie, arccie, dianajoy, Mysterie, elmyra, alamerysl, Chaos, VeraSilva, Jasmine Farahani, Fia, Cara, flipflop_diva, Louise Mitchell and 1 other
New Translator Volunteers: Purple Emilie and 2 others

Departing Directors: Nikisha Sanders
Departing Committee Chairs: Niko Thompson (Strategic Planning)
Departing Committee Staff: 1 Elections staffer, 1 Development and Membership staffer, 1 Strategic Planning staffer, 1 Communications staffer, Dai-kun (Translation)
Departing Workgroup Members: Dash (AO3 Documentation)
Departing Translator Volunteers: jerakeen, Dai-kun and 2 others

2 thoughts to “January 2015 Newsletter, Volume 87”

  1. Dear Ao3 administration.

    I am a fan concerned withe the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership and what it will mean for this site as well as my future as a fan. I have recently found out that the TPP now has a clause that makes the copyright time limit of works 100 plus years. As I am a person of little consequence, money and connections I would like to know whether or not I am being a criminal by coming to AO3 and enjoying the stories presented here. I do not wish to put my family or myself in jeopardy and will completely cut myself off from Fandom if it means that I will go to jail for doing so.

    Please answer this question: Am I Putting Myself in Legal Danger by Being Here?

    99% of the population have no idea what the TPP is. Is there any way for the AO3 to spread relevant information around? I am simply frightened for my family as they have nothing to do with fandom and I do not want to put them in a terrible situation because of myself. Please help spread the word. People deserve to know what is going to happen to us in the future.

    Sincerly, Frightened Fan

    1. Thanks for your comment. The OTW is aware of the TPP and has posted about it before: https://transformativeworks.org/news/trans-pacific-partnership-and-copyright

      The legal constraints fans are under are affected by their countries of residence and, possibly, local legislation, as well as what activities they take part in and where. So there is no general answer to what risks any individual fan runs by taking part in fandom.

      Our Legal Advocacy project engages in various activities related to copyright reform: https://transformativeworks.org/projects/legal

      While we post regularly on these topics (see the following tag: https://pinboard.in/u:otw_news/t:Legal-Advocacy) and certainly encourage fans to follow our news service, one of the best ways fans can be informed is to share trusted information sources with other fans. The OTW has several ally organizations with whom it works regularly including eff.org and publicknowledge.org. You may also want to share https://globalchokepoints.org/ with fans internationally as a source of information for copyright censorship around the world.

      We’re glad that you’re concerned for the AO3’s future as we’re certainly committed to preserving it and the works it hosts. There is, unfortunately, no shortage of copyright and internet-freedom related legislation being created, which makes it difficult for fans to stay current. But there are many organizations that fight on their behalf that could use their financial support and which provide opportunities for fans to contact legislators pressing for consumer rights. We hope you’ll support them and respond to their calls for action when they’re made.

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