November 2010 Newsletter, Vol 44

Welcome to our November newsletter! OTW news for you, just below the cut.

We’re putting together our year-end report, which should be out December 15, and wrapping up the cases we’ve got.

This month we did ALL the things to the AO3. Or that’s what it feels like, and we’re still going strong. A major code release, including an upgrade to Rails 3! A new HTML parser and sanitizer! Continued work to improve and complete the collections and challenges code, using our big test case, Yuletide Treasure! Celebrating the anniversary of AO3 Open Beta! And another big code release!

We’re simultaneously wrapping up business for this year and girding our loins for the madness of the holiday season – coders are still working hard on refining performance, while AD&T and Systems work on the choosing and buying of the new servers we desperately need. We’re also readying ourselves for the temporary departure of one of our senior coders, who will be taking some maternity leave shortly!

Thank you to our sister committees, Tag Wrangling and Support, as well as the tireless Systems committee, for all of their work during these huge initiatives — the AO3 (and the OTW) is a huge collaborative effort, and none of us could do it on our own. <3 Board:
The Board is working hard to wrap up this term’s business and prepare for 2011! We’re looking at everything we accomplished, and at all the ways we can do even more in the future. As part of that, we worked this month to carry out the first contested OTW Board election, and we’re proud to welcome Ira Gladkova and Kristen Murphy to our ranks, taking the place of outgoing founding board members Naomi Novik and Rebecca Tushnet.

Communications continues to bring useful news and interesting information to fans through its blog and various other social network accounts — and now, with more international stories courtesy of our International Outreach committee. If you see a story we should be reporting, please drop us a line by commenting on our blog or one of its mirrors, tagging a link with “for:otw_news” on Delicious or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter.

Content Policy:
No report.

Development & Membership:
DevMem kept ourselves hopping with work on all our usual tasks, including fundraising and…planning for more fundraising. Specifically, we submitted another grant on the behalf of the TO3 project, and started groundwork on other upcoming grants. We’re also beginning to rough out some plans for the structure of our committee for next term to allow us to specialize and build teams to create membership resources and to communicate the relevance of the OTW to a diverse fannish population. We’ve also been tying up the final loose ends from the October drive, and we created a list of eligible voters for the November OTW Board election and worked with Webmasters and the Elections officer on elections tasks. We are also working with the Webmasters on populating a calendar with conventions, conferences, and other events relevant to fans all over the world. We’ve sent the second iteration of our membership expiry emails — the first truly monthly notice, so we’re still perfecting it. We also got some great social media news recently, which indicates that the OTW’s message is being heard by more people in more ways than we suspected, which is a great indicator of positive attitudes toward transformative fanworks out in the wild!

And finally, two exciting announcements! One: the premiums for international donors have arrived and are about to be shipped out! That means the arrival of premiums is imminent for everyone! Two: DevMem will be welcoming an intern in 2011. We’re very excited. VERY.

Paying bills, appreciating donors, and prepping for year-end.

International Outreach:
We’re still busy evaluating this year and tying up loose ends — it’s been our first season, so we want to make sure we’re all set for an ambitious second term! We also met with AD&T and discussed the revamping of the relationship between what we informally call ‘interpretative fanworks’ (like translations or podfics) to their respective ‘original’ work. We’re currently dissecting our notes and converting them into actual feature requests for archive coders. In the meanwhile, we hope you’ve been enjoying our international news tidbits!

On the translation front, we’re ridiculously excited to welcome Chinese as our newest language on the OTW website. A big happy thank you to our Chinese translators!

Journal is working hard to prepare copy for the special guest-edited History issue, to appear March 15, 2011.

Still not sued! Legal also continues to answer questions and provide legal information to fans who contact the OTW for help.

Open Doors:
The Open Doors committee continues to take fan collections into the Fan Culture Preservation Project. We are also investigating the possibility of collecting the entire 900 gigabyte Geocities file (currently being offered as a torrent) in order to collect historical fan activity on Geocities; stay tuned for further developments on this.

Support have been very busy this month responding to user comments, AO3 bugs, and enhancement requests. AD&T has worked incredibly hard on the huge upgrades and enhancements of this past month, and Support has in turn been kept hopping! There have been a lot of changes to the AO3, and we’re keeping up with them so that we can help make things better for today’s Archive users — and tomorrow’s! We have welcomed two new Support staffers to our team, phela and Cybel, and they are being trained right now. We’re happy to have them. We are also proud to congratulate our committee member and former chair, Ira Gladkova, on her election to the OTW Board.

No report.

Tag Wrangling:
Alert tag wrangling volunteers and staff worked this month to isolate and describe a recent bug that was causing filtering problems for new tags on the archive — thanks to the coders’ hard work coming up with a fix, all should now be well!

To help reduce the server load on the Archive during the heavy-use periods surrounding the holiday season challenges, tag wranglers are planning to shut down all non-emergency wrangling for the peak usage days. Keeping our hands off the wrangulator when people are uploading all their shiny new challenge fic with shiny new tags will be tough, but we’ll manage somehow.

The vidding team continues to work on the Vidding Resource pages (item 1 on the road map) and on preparing for the Dark Archive. We are also waiting for details on VID EMBEDS AT THE AO3 and will release details ASAP.

Volunteers & Recruiting:
VolCom has had another busy, productive month! Our biggest news is a little belated — Cesy has left the committee proper in order to carry out an ambitious training development project aimed at increasing the sustainability of all of our projects. Initially focusing on new coders, she’s working to help build a structure that we can use to help our volunteers develop their skills. We’re also assembling pools of new potential staffers and volunteers for next term. VolCom works through the end of term in order to get ready for the next year, so we’ve taken on our new 2011 staffers: via_ostiense, ElegantPi, and kinetikatrue — and we’re training them now so that they can help induct and train next year’s new staff!

Webmasters have had another busy and productive month. We now have a calendar! We’ve loaded a few events to start with and will be adding more soon. You can also submit events, so please let us know if there’s an upcoming convention, open-source meetup, academic conference, or other event that should be on our radar. The calendar is a collaborative effort by the Webmasters and the Development & Membership committee — thank you, DevMem!

We also have a new tag cloud to help you find news posts by topic. We have plans in the works to redesign our home page and make the tags more prominent; for now, you can find a link to our tags at the bottom of every page on the website.

A big part of our November was our team’s collaborative work with VolCom, DevMem, Systems, and the Board on elections-related tasks. We’re thrilled that blue_meridian and allison had a part of making the OTW’s first-ever contested election a smooth and well-documented process for everyone.

We are currently working with Systems and Vidding on the streaming technology that will be used to establish the library of vids described in point 1 of the OTW’s Vidding Roadmap.

And finally, we are proud to see our chair, Kristen Murphy, preparing to take a seat on the 2011 OTW Board. We think she’s the cat’s pajamas, and we know her drive, belief in our mission, and desire to make the OTW ever more inclusive and transparent will have a wonderful impact on our future.

We’ve added clarification and finalized our Image Policy. We’ve done some more work on re-organizing the zine categories, and started to tidy the help pages up. We’re hoping to have Fanlore out of beta by the end of the term.

  1. Cesy commented:

    Wow, so much awesome. The Geocities thing sounds brilliant, though 900 gig is a fair amount of space. If hard drive space is the main issue, I’d be happy to donate towards the cost of that. There was so much fanfic on there that’s now lost 🙁