May 2012 Newsletter, Volume 59

I. OTW OUTREACH: US AND OUR USERS

Development & Membership has been busy debriefing after the incredibly successful April membership drive: discussing what worked well and what to improve, shipping premiums to donors, and working with Finance to record donations sent via physical mail. They’re also forming small teams within the committee to work on projects such as convention outreach, merchandise research, social media strategy, and improving our external and internal documentation.

After a year of development, the I&O committee launched and supervised the OTW Community Survey, which garnered nearly 6000 responses. A survey work group has been formed to evaluate those responses and Survey Sundays have been launched to share data with users and enable their input on results they’d like to see. I&O are also starting to look at search engine optimization (SEO) for the OTW and its various projects as a way to broaden contact with currently underserved areas of fandom.

II. FANLORE and TWC

Fanlore editors are working hard to document the fannish websites that will soon be lost because FortuneCity, a website provider, has taken down its free accounts. Any help is welcome, and the sooner the better! More information can be found at the Fanlore post about FortuneCity rescue.

Exciting things have been happening over at the Journal committee. Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is about to release issue No. 10 on Transformative Works and Fan Activism, co-edited by Henry Jenkins (June 15, 2012). The issue is going through the last stages of production and thanks to its online only status and tight production schedule they’ve have been able to include up to the minute updates on such recent topics as Kony 2012. It will be the largest issue ever with fourteen peer-reviewed essays out of more than two dozen initial submissions, and expands the scope of TWC yet again as it focuses on international political and social phenomena.

Journal is in the last stages of reviewing for No. 11, a general issue. If you’re interested in contributing to Transformative Works and Cultures, the next two special issues will be on Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies and Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books. They are still accepting Symposium submissions on both, so if you have things to say about either, just drop the committee a note or submit your 1500-2500 word essay directly through the web site.

Finally, the Symposium blog team welcomes new member Nele Noppe, who had previously helped informally with our Zotero Index. The committee is excited to have her join us officially and look forward to her posts on Japan, doujinshi, Avatar, and legal and cultural differences in publishing and copyright policies. Also, if anyone would like to write Symposium pieces or have experience in writing them, we would love to hear from you!

III. HAPPENINGS AT THE AO3

The Accessibility, Design and Technology committee is preparing for a May deploy which will include new user stats pages and some new tools for Open Doors to use in managing archive imports to AO3. Dedicated members have been working on improving our testing documentation, and they’re thrilled to have a number of new coding volunteers, some of whom have jumped right in already! Monthly training sessions for coders are starting, the first of which will be on May 19th.

Several committees are also providing input into a proposed AO3 Diversity Statement, and a category change workgroup is being developed. That workgroup will review the existing media categories on the Archive of our Own in order to come up with a more inclusive approach. Tag Wrangling is also engaged in plans to update the Tag FAQs on the AO3. Support reported that their ticket count for this month is at roughly 100 tickets. Meanwhile, they’ve been hard at work redesigning the Support form and are working on a FAQ to better explain the tools used internally to register and manage bugs, feature requests, and code to make them more accessible and transparent to the users.

Open Doors committee is continuing outreach to Sentinel fan communities and mailing lists about the 852 Prospect import. Two public chats will be held in the coming week. Expect upcoming outreach for the Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP). In the meantime, take a look at the committee’s post on the MediaWestCon blog.

IV. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

Vidding has been working closely with Legal on their upcoming DMCA testimony in DC or June 4, and working with the new Grants team to try to raise funds to speed up hosting of multimedia fanworks of all kinds. Grants has been working on a large National Endowment for the Humanities grant proposal. More material has been added and the team plans to eventually put together an application to submit next year. If anyone with experience in Grants would like to contribute or join the Grants team, please let us know!

Strategic Planning has also drafted and approved an internal member and board liaison agreement during the meeting on May 12. They’re preparing the first committee-specific survey, and are drafting their first update post.

V. GOVERNANCE

Board minutes for 28th April and 12th of May are now available online. We’ve set up a new elections workgroup to revise the FAQs and prepare for next year, and Jenny Scott-Thompson has been appointed as elections officer. The OTW’s IRC channel is also live now.

Finance has been researching Paypal alternatives and are looking into which options can be integrated with our site to give people more choices when donating.

VI. OUR TECH WIZARDS

As mentioned in our April newsletter, Webmasters have now launched an internal survey to gather feedback from committees about how transformativeworks.org can better meet their needs. This feedback will be used to help us plan the redesign of the site.

Similarly, Systems has been hard at work developing several projects, including the mail, wiki and new development test system.

VII. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting has continued to work hard to engage with and process a swell of new volunteers! Some additional changes since last month:

New Staffers List: Age (Volunteers & Recruiting), Anurag (Volunteers & Recruiting), Alexis Latshaw (Open Doors), Amy Luo (Communications), arrow (Open Doors), Charlotte (Translation), Christa Shishino (Communications), Freya (Communications), little_ruby (Translation), Nele Noppe (Journal), queerlyobscure (Open Doors), Shawnda (Volunteers & Recruiting), Stiney (Open Doors), Tuulia (Wiki)

New Workgroup Members: Cathtice (AO3 Docs), Claire Oberholtzer (Strategic Planning), copracat (AO3 Docs), Jessica Steiner (Strategic Planning), Maia Bobrowicz (AO3 Docs), MollyC (AO3 Docs)

New Tag Wranglers: Amaranth, Amber, ariadne83, Avery, Cassandra Chan, dlb42694, Eccles enchantersnight, lalejandra, MarcDelani, markey, MelanieW, Naghtielus, pawheart, Shannon Black, Spockside, theleaveswant, untitled102
New Coding Volunteers: Andreja, Ariana, caithnard
New Testers: Lena
New Translators: Aliya Agaeva, Ellie, Jessica A.
Departing Staffers: Lisa Schmidt (Journal)