June 2011 Newsletter, Volume 50

Welcome to the 50th issue of the OTW newsletter!

Fandom in the news

Lev Grossman of Time magazine is writing a feature article about the cultural and legal issues surrounding fanfiction. See this post for details: Fanfiction Writers! Want To Be Interviewed for Time? Thank you to the many fans who have taken the time to talk with Mr. Grossman about their experiences.

Board member Francesca Coppa was recently interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered for a segment on Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s new website, in which she talks about how “more” is central to the fannish ethos.

Archive of Our Own

The Accessibility, Design, and Technology committee (AD&T) is hard at work preparing for the next AO3 code deploy, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of July 2. Check out the recent AD&T update post for highlights of the upcoming deploy and lots more AO3 news. AD&T is thrilled to welcome some wonderful new and returning coders and testers who are jumping in and starting to contribute. (Ever wondered what’s involved in making code contributions? Check out Enigel’s post on a day in the life of a coder.)

Systems has upgraded the webdev server, which was running out of memory. Webdev is where the coders work on individual instances of the AO3 software before merging their changes into the master code repository — since coders don’t have to set up and maintain the full site on their own machines, it allows more people to get involved more easily.

The Tag Wrangling committee has finished the FAQ revisions and sent them on to Support to be included in the Archive’s updated documentation. They also clarified the wrangling policy for original characters, discussed holding open houses for the public to make wrangling more transparent for non-volunteers, and also discussed instituting office hours for staff to be more available to our wrangling volunteer base.

Fanlore

The Wiki committee has been collecting feedback about Fanlore’s category structure, and recently posted a revised category proposal incorporating public input.

Fanlore is currently holding a What’s Hot Now challenge to encourage the chronicling of recent fanworks. Check out the challenge tag on the Fanlore Dreamwidth community to see all the past challenge prompts.

TWC and Symposium

The Journal committee continues its one-two punch of prepping copy for Transformative Works and Cultures (next issue out September 15!) and blogging regularly at the Symposium Blog. Symposium recently welcomed a new contributor, Andrea Horbinski, who is a manga and anime fan and a historian. Andrea’s intro post is here.

Vidding

The Vidding committee has drafted a number of new web pages in preparation for reorganizing fan video resources on the OTW website; we also expect to go live with a number of additional resource pages as part of that reorganization. Many of the Vidding staff are also continuing to work on the Fan/Remix Video issue of TWC, whose submission deadlines have now passed. Vidding chair Francesca Coppa was also recently on a plenary panel at the International Communication Association with Berkman Center fellow Jonathan Zittrain and Critical Commons’ Steve Anderson to talk about the OTW, our DMCA exemption, and the continuing need for stable fair-use video hosting for fan video; we are currently still in conversation with Critical Commons about what services they may be able to offer transformative video remix artists.

Volunteers and Recruiting

Volunteers and Recruiting (VolCom) welcomes its newest staffer, Helka Lantto!

VolCom is conducting a mid-term staff check-in with all committee chairs to ensure that the staff roster and records are up to date. They’re also planning how to conduct staff evaluations; getting staff feedback was previously done as part of the Still Willing To Serve process, and the goal of the evaluations is to make it easier for staff to submit information. The evaluations will be kept confidential to VolCom and would keep VolCom up to date on staffers’ strengths, weaknesses, and potential for serving as chairs in the future. VolCom is also testing a message board/forum that will serve as an asynchronous social and brainstorming space for OTW volunteers and staffers.

VolCom is continuing to induct new staffers and volunteers as needed, and has recently worked with AD&T and Tag Wrangling to streamline the induction processes for those committees. They also brainstormed ideas for recruiting more Support staffers and ways to reach invested AO3 users and encourage them to volunteer with the OTW.

Finally, VolCom is continuing to work with other committees to offer monthly training sessions in the hour before org-wide meetings. Last month, aethel, Wiki co-chair, led a session on Fanlore that received so much interest that popular demand brought her back to lead another session this month. The transcript of the first session is available here.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to contact us anytime with questions or suggestions.