May 2018 Newsletter, Volume 124

I. The GDPR is here!

If you visited the Archive of Our Own any time after May 25th, you ran into a pop-up requiring your consent to our updated Terms of Service (TOS). This notice was probably only one of hundreds of such requests you received from organizations worldwide over the past few weeks since the European Union’s new regulation on data protection, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. We’ve been working very hard to bring the OTW into compliance with the GDPR’s strict rules on data privacy and transparency. You can learn more about the GDPR’s impact on the OTW and how we use your data in our AO3, the GDPR and You post. Thanks to Board, Accessibility, Design & Technology, Development & Membership, Fanlore, Open Doors, Systems, Support, Tag Wrangling, Translation, TWC, Volunteers and Recruiting, and Webs for helping with this massive project! Special thanks and kudos to Board, Legal and committee chairs for preparing the updated TOS and a summary of the changes.


The Archive of Our Own reached 1.5 MILLION registered users on May 25th! Thanks so much to everyone who visits the site–you’ve helped it become what it is today. \o/

During May, Accessibility, Design & Technology was extremely busy dealing with some server issues caused by a combination of the ongoing Elasticsearch upgrade process and some GDPR-related changes, which briefly brought down AO3. Kudos to them for managing a huge month! For real-time updates on AO3, remember to follow @AO3_Status on Twitter.

AO3 Documentation added a new tutorial on importing text-based works, and updated several FAQs including Comments & Kudos, Your Account, Invitations, and Posting & Editing. These updates include information about gift works, our spam filters, what happens when you delete your account, and more.

Open Doors completed the imports of The Spooky Awards, a collection including X-Files fanfiction submitted to the Spooky Awards in
2003, 2004, and 2005, and Firefly’s Glow, a collection of fanfiction from the Firefly fandom.

Policy and Abuse received over 800 tickets this month, up slightly from 700 tickets the previous month. By contrast, Support completed a second month with 1300 tickets, down from previous months.

III. Elsewhere at the OTW

Elsewhere at the OTW in May, Systems dealt successfully with a number of hardware failures, including a server failure that briefly took down the TWC site. [log?] Systems are currently putting things back together, as well as working on some improvements to our monitoring setup to reduce the chance of a repeat occurrence.

Legal‘s advocacy work didn’t stop in the face of GDPR-related work. In preparation for submitting Comments to the Canadian Government as part of Canada’s review of its Copyright Act, Legal put out a call for Canadian stories about how fans have benefited from fanworks, fan communities, and fair dealing laws. Canadian fans responded with dozens of powerful, moving, and very helpful stories. Legal sends a huge thank you to everyone who sent in stories!

IV. 2018 Elections

The 2018 election will be held August 10-13. Some key dates coming up in June: The membership deadline to be eligible to vote is June 30, and candidates running for the Board of Directors will be announced on June 18. Check out Elections’ Twitter and Tumblr for updates throughout the election season.


As of 23 May, the OTW has 662 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below:

New Committee Chairs: briar_pipe (Elections) and Jenny McDevitt (Elections)
New Committee Staff: 1 Development & Membership staffer

Departing Committee Chairs: Araise Solace (Elections)
Departing Committee Staff: Genevieve Marshall (Development & Membership) and 1 other Development & Membership staffer, Connie Pini (Volunteers & Recruiting), Cryllia (Tag Wrangling), Sammie Louise (Translation), 1 Communications staffer, 1 Policy and Abuse staffer, 1 Tag Wrangling staffer
Departing Communications Volunteers: 1 Communications volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: aethel, CirqueDuCinq, IPutTheSassInAssassin, pearwaldorf, Perydot, plantpun, ShayBriar, Trixxster103 and 27 other Tag Wrangler volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: someplacelikebolivia and 3 other Translation volunteers

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

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

  1. Tess Manning commented:

    Archive of Our Own ACCEPT TOS link does not work on any of my devices: 3 Samsung tabs, Moto G, Lenovo Think Pad.
    Have cleared browsers. Restarted. Have viewed each legal page separately. Can’t even use “about us” @ main site to contact webadmin, as it immediately goes to TOS page.

    Thank you.

    • Janita Burgess commented:

      Hi Tess,

      Thanks for your message. The Support page itself shouldn’t have the popup, so here’s a direct link for you to use:

      If that doesn’t work, then you can use the backup Support form by selecting “AO3 Support” from the dropdown menu on this page:

      -Janita Burgess
      OTW Communications Co-Chair