Banner of a paper airplane emerging from an envelope with the words 'OTW Newsletter: Organization for Transformative Works'

January 2021 Newsletter, Volume 153

I. INTERNATIONAL FANWORKS DAY

Communications has been busy making preparations for International Fanworks Day, which is coming up on February 15! So far, they have released a public post inviting users to share or create fanworks for their favorite lesser known fandoms, characters, or ships. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s festivities in a couple of days!

Fanlore will be taking part in the celebrations as well by running their annual IFD Fanlore Challenge over the week (Monday to Sunday) of International Fanworks Day. This year, Fanlore will have some fun 80s-themed badges as prizes for completing the challenge.

II. FANLORE CELEBRATES

Elsewhere on the Fanlore Committee, Fanlore reached an important milestone in January: they passed one million edits and marked the occasion with a celebratory scavenger hunt held on their Dreamwidth! The event had a grand prize of a Citrus Scale sticker set, generously donated by Development & Membership, that was given to the first user to submit all correct answers to the challenge questions.

On Fanlore’s Twitter and Tumblr accounts, Fanlore has been running a ‘Featured Article Face-off’ event where people vote for their favorite Featured Article of 2020, which has been a lot of fun and had some great engagement! Finally, Fanlore is also planning a month of femslash-themed posts in February in honour of Femslash February.

III. AT THE AO3

At the very end of 2020, the AO3 reached a major new milestone: 7 million fanworks posted! Communications released a news post commemorating the event.

Accessibility, Design & Technology started the new year off with a bang: one release with fixes for 26 issues! (And this is right on the heels of release 0.9.296 in December, which had 20 issues!) The highlights of this jumbo-sized January release include an adjustment to make images in works display better on small screens, tweaks to some text margins for right-to-left languages, and an update so audio files previously embedded using Dewplayer will continue to play now that Flash has been retired.

Open Doors has continued to release announcements of upcoming archive imports, including Octaves of the Heart: Sublime Archives and the I Will Remember You Marathon Archive (2005-2009), 春日泽 (SpringFen), The Croft Codex, and a memorial archive in honor of the works of Frodo Baggins of Bag End. They also released a post, Yahoo! Groups In Memoriam, recognizing the final closure of Yahoo Groups and the measures that Open Doors and others have taken to preserve their contents, as well as a roundup post celebrating the four archive imports that took place in 2020.

Systems recently expanded to a third rack in their main data centre. You can see some pictures of their shiny new servers on the AO3 News Tumblr.

Policy & Abuse ended the year with around 2,100 tickets in December. They had around 19,000 tickets come in throughout 2020 — a roughly 25% increase in comparison to the previous year. At the time of this writing, they were at around 1,400 tickets already for January, with no signs of slowing down.

In December, Tag Wrangling wrangled more than 430,000 tags – that’s more than a thousand tags per wrangler. In 2020, Tag Wrangling volunteers wrangled more than 4.1 million tags, a significant increase over the 2.7 million handled in 2019! Tag Wrangling also added over 5,000 canonical fandoms to the archive during 2020.

IV. ELSEWHERE AT THE OTW

The end of 2020 was busy for Legal! The U.S. Congress passed some copyright provisions as part of year-end legislation, including passing a law known as the CASE act that creates a “small-claims” copyright tribunal. While these won’t have immediate impact on fans, they are significant. Legal will be involved with consultations on how they should be implemented, and they will keep fans informed about what they mean and what their implementation will look like. They also posted about some fan-unfriendly proposals in the U.S. Senate, and will keep working to make sure fan interests are heard as Senators consider copyright questions going forward.

In January, Legal continued our copyright policy work in a meeting with the U.S. Copyright Office to discuss how copyright policy can incorporate fan interests as part of the Copyright Office’s “listening tour” meetings with copyright stakeholders. They also discussed U.S. copyright questions in response to press queries and responded to a number of fan queries.

Meanwhile, Communications has been tracking usage of the OTW’s social media and was astounded by the growth of our Weibo account! In 2020, Weibo went from having about 21,000 followers at this time last year to over 271,000 this year — a nearly 1300% increase! In 2020 the Weibo mods made 168 posts and received 1.08 million reactions (repost + comment + like) and 150 million views, making it the OTW’s most followed account by over 120,000 followers.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 25 November to 24 January, Volunteers & Recruiting received 112 new requests, and completed 120, leaving us with 20 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 January 2021, the OTW has 905 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: 1 Systems staffer, Akima Ras (Webs), Prerna A. Popat (Translation), Stephanie Godden (Volunteers & Recruiting), 1 Translation staffer
New Fanlore Volunteers: 2 volunteers
New Open Doors Volunteers: 1 volunteer

Departing Committee Staff: IndyKitty (Elections), mmmdraco (Tag Wrangling), 1 Fanlore Policy & Admin staffer, 1 Fanlore Social Media & Outreach staffer, 1 Elections staffer, 2 Open Doors staffers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Felicia W., Goose, HS , mimi, mmmdraco, Océanna & ravelqueen and 15 other volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: Juliette, Julija, nõiaelu & 2 other volunteers

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