July 2023 Newsletter, Volume 180

I. DOWNS AND UPS

Systems was hard at work getting the Archive back online after a large DDoS attack. After a period of downtime, the Archive was back up behind Cloudflare, and the committee has been spending some time fine tuning things to reduce the impact to good traffic, while still taking care of the bad stuff.

Huge kudos to Cloudflare for working to get us back up and running & continuing to help us refine things, to our datacenter for helping us work through the initial attacks & the move to Cloudflare, and to everyone who sent messages of support as our volunteers worked around the clock to get the site back online. It was certainly a stressful time, but your messages helped keep us going, and we appreciate it! <3

II. AT THE AO3

Despite the DDoS attempt to take AO3 offline, Accessibility, Design and Technology worked on new features and bug fixes to continue improvements to readability, stability and security.

Policy and Abuse received 1916 tickets in June. In July, they were forced to take their reporting form offline temporarily because of the DDoS attack that struck the Archive, which coincided with an influx of spam.

Support also took their form offline for a couple of days in July due to the DDoS attack and as a preventative measure in view of Policy & Abuse’s spam situation. Their form was working again on July 13 and they have been catching up, as well as dealing with new issues that have cropped up for some users since Cloudflare’s implementation.

In July, Tag Wrangling volunteers started the second level of the new tag wrangling training platform, marking another milestone in their work to completely overhaul and consolidate training procedures. They have also been holding a discussion, which should be drawing to a close soon, regarding updating the formatting for some of AO3’s Alternate Universe tags. In June, more than 450,000 tags were wrangled across more than 59,000 fandoms – that’s more than 1,050 tags per active wrangler!

Open Doors‘ import assistants have been busy compiling spreadsheets and importing works for three archives and helping with various tasks related to the AO3 Fanzine Scan Hosting Project.

III. ACROSS COMMITTEES

Fanlore‘s themed month for July, Fandom in Color, was in full swing across its social channels, with highlighted pages on its Tumblr. The Fandom in Color editing chat in their Discord server was a big success.

The DDoS attack caused a surge in subscribers to the OTW’s social media accounts and Communications received a number of news media contacts as well. In the meantime, our Fanhackers team has been busy, and we urge everyone to check out their fan studies discussions.

Legal submitted the OTW’s request that the U.S. Copyright Office renew the vidding exemption to the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, and joined allies including the ACLU in opposing U.S. legislative proposals that would seek to silence LGBTQ+ voices online. Legal is closely watching a number of overlapping pending proposals with such aims to oppose them in the most effective way.

In addition, Legal committee members connected with allies and monitored legislative developments announced at San Diego Comic Con. They also responded to several queries from users and worked with other OTW committees to address the DDoS attack and interact with law enforcement.

IV. GOVERNANCE

Strategic Planning released the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, which was approved during the last public Board meeting. The plan’s implementation officially began on the 24th of July.

Last weekend, Elections held all four Candidate Chats — thank you to our candidates and all those who participated over on Discord! Transcripts have been posted to the Elections site.

Elections also announced the withdrawal of another one of our candidates, Audrey R. We wish her all the best.

Important info for the election:
The election will take place from 11-14 August. As there are now 5 open seats and 5 candidates, the election will be uncontested. However, your vote still counts — we will be voting to elect 3 candidates to serve full-term (3 years) and 2 candidates to serve partial terms (2 years).

Voting instructions have been emailed to all eligible members. If you have not received your voting instructions by email, or if you have a different query, you can contact the Elections Committee through our website. Reminder to all voters: Anyone who seeks to raise awareness of our election should not attempt to directly contact or harass candidates, their families, or employers. Elections has issued a statement on our stance.

Board met with various committees, including Systems and Legal, about the DDoS attack. In addition, three Board Directors have stepped down from their Board roles — Antonius Melisse, Natalia Gruber and Alex Tischer. We thank them for all their work, and wish them the best in their future endeavours. Board has been working on updating some of their internal documentation in preparation for this month’s election.

Development and Membership is working hard on the leadup to the October Drive, with many new graphic designs for stickers, donation gifts and the member icon. They are also collaborating with the Elections team as Board Elections approach and doing setup for tables at two conventions in August.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting has been making progress on the Human Resources Outsourcing project, having compiled a list of potential companies to interview.

From 24 June to 24 July, Volunteers & Recruiting received 133 new requests, and completed 122, leaving us with 52 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 July 2023, the OTW has 930 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Communications Volunteers: Abby (Site Moderator), Eskici (Chair Assistant), Harley G. (Chair Track Volunteer), Meilinda Lopez (Site Moderator), scrivea (Media Outreach Volunteer), 1 other Chair Track Volunteer, 1 Event Coordinator, 1 Posting Specialist, and 1 Site Moderator-Weibo
New Development & Membership Volunteers: rachaelly and slakemoth
New Open Doors Volunteers: A.Heidi ­(Import Assistant), Pips (Import Assistant), Scrivener (Technical Volunteer), SonoSvegliato (Import Assistant), Runekaster (Import Assistant), Zoë Elisabeth (Import Assistant) and 1 other Import Assistant
New Translation Volunteers: 1 Translation Volunteer Manager, InsertSthMeaningful, and 3 other News Translators
New VolCom Volunteers: sam_sational & Slumber

Departing Committee Chairs: Eskici (Communications)
Departing Communications Volunteers: 1 Graphics Volunteer
Departing Elections Volunteers: 1 Election Candidate Liaison
Departing Fanlore Volunteers: 1 Fanlore Graphic Designer
Departing Open Doors Volunteers: StableState and 2 other Import Assistants
Departing Policy & Abuse Volunteers: Ranowa
Departing Support Volunteers: Sammie Louise and 1 other Volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Dessie, trashchancellor, Kaylyn, and 7 other Tag Wranglers
Departing Translation Volunteers: Ilona van der Vegt, solrosan, Katerina Valsamaki, and 3 other Translators

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

Newsletter
  1. Divya commented:

    Hello fam, ao3 and OTW has saved me. 💞 I want to give back. I’d love to join you as a volunteer. I’m just starting out as a software engineer and if you’re ever in need of one, I’d be honored if you considered me. Do let me know.
    Love, Divya 🖤

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hello Divya — That’s great to hear! Please message us through our contact form (https://www.transformativeworks.org/contact_us/) and include a link to your resume. Thanks! — Claudia Rebaza, OTW Communications

  2. Angry commented:

    So you’re going to do something about the rampant racism and queerphobia, right? You’re going to do something about the actual harassment experienced by users daily, right?

  3. spicy commented:

    I wish there was a way for us to vote to eject bad actors from the org as a whole. (coughAlexcough)