October 2010 Newsletter, Vol 43

Our October was jam-packed, and our newsletter is a little late as a result — we think it was worth the wait. Find news from all our committees behind the cut!

Abuse:
No report.

AD&T/Archive:
AD&T have been working really hard upgrading the Archive to run on Rails 3. Coders have rewritten ALL the code, and our wonderful testing team have been working like crazy to ensure that all these changes haven’t broken anything (thanks so much to the volunteers from the Yuletide community who stepped up to provide additional testing help).

Most of the changes made for Rails 3 will be invisible to the user, but we hope that they will bring a significant increase in performance. Our coders have also sneaked in some new code, including more new challenges features and new options for sanitising user code (which will mean a lot more freedom styling your works).

The new release also launches VIDEO EMBEDS! HAPPY END OF OTW TERM, FANDOM!

Because we’re making such big changes, the Archive will be down for a day when we deploy this new code. We’ll send a message to all registered users before we take the site down.

After this release, AD&T won’t be standing down – we have one last crazy burst of work to ensure that everything is running smoothly for the annual endurance test party which is the Yuletide Treasure challenge. This is currently the biggest challenge run on the Archive, and it’s one that we use as a test case for new features, so the end of our term is very busy!

Board:
The Board has been working with ALL the committees this month — it’s an especially busy time, as projects are beginning, growing, and coming into their own across the OTW. We are also preparing for our own end-of-term, and for the OTW’s first ever competitive election process; we’re thrilled to have four such amazing, hard-working, and eminently qualified candidates. We are continuing individually to liaise with our individual committees, and are continuing to develop and encourage sustainable and effective procedures across the organization.

Communications:
Salut! Guten Tag! Buon giorno! We hope you’ve noticed a more international flavor on the blog last month – we will try to bring you more global coverage of issues that are important to fans and fandom. Communications has also been doing more behind the scenes communicating, not only continuing to answer the org’s email but also serving as the first point of contact for collaborative projects with other nonprofit and fan-related organizations.

Content Policy:
We are working on some FAQ additions, including a better explanation of how to use freeform tags to indicate interactions between characters. We are just becoming wise to the ways of freeform tags ourselves!

Development & Membership:
Thanks to our members, donors, and supporters, DevMem held a very successful donation & membership drive! We’re gathering the last of the mailed checks from the post office, and once that’s done, we’ll be posting all the details and a big giant grateful thank you! Because that really can’t be said enough: the OTW is fan-created, fan-supported, and fan-directed, and fans keep our mission and all of our projects strong. We’re also working with the Webmasters on a calendar project we think you’ll find exciting, gearing up to apply for even more grants, and looking for more opportunities for outreach.

Finance:
No report.

International Outreach:
We’re busy tying up loose ends for this year, reviewing what we did this term and following up issues with other committees. We’re pleased our collaboration with Communications is going swimmingly and have more news posts in the pipeline. Following user feedback we received in September, we’re preparing to meet with AD&T and other interested parties to review the current “translation relationship” (linking translations to original versions etc.) on the Archive — we and the Translation committee are pretty excited about this.
In the meanwhile, translators have worked on election materials as well as translating OTW news posts for the blog.

Journal:
Journal continues its quiet behind-the-scenes timely awesomeness: even before the fabulous September 15 issue was released, the Journal team was working behind the scenes on the next few issues. Next up: the special March issue, a guest-edited volume on the topic of history. Visit TWC’s Web site for a full slate of upcoming issues, both themed and nonthemed: http://journal.transformativeworks.org

Legal:
We continue to be blessedly inactive. We anticipate a few nonprofit housekeeping-type issues in the next few months.

Open Doors:
In addition to continuing to field donations to the Fan Culture Preservation Project, Open Doors is eagerly awaiting ADT’s deployment of the code that will make large scale importation of archives to the AO3 possible. (Yuletide will be the test case.) Once this is possible, we will be able to launch projects to back up large, deteriorating archives within the AO3!

Support:
Support have been working super-hard developing better working models as well as keeping up with support requests. We’ve been working with Content, Abuse and AD&T on better FAQs and documentation to ensure our users have the information they need. We’re currently gearing up for the end of year rush of support requests which will come with the new Archive release and with Yuletide treasure and other holiday challenges – we expect to be very busy, so please bear with us if we take a little longer than usual to get back to you.

Systems:
No report.

Tag Wrangling:
It’s Yuletide time! The Tag Wrangling Committee and wrangling volunteers have been working closely on the upcoming Yuletide project to ensure that it runs smoothly, updating tags and organizing behind the scenes to make sure everything is in good shape. We’re learning a lot about how to make the tagging system work well for challenges going forward.

Vidding:
EMBEDS ARE COMING! Yes, you soon will be able to embed video hosted elsewhere on the Archive of Our Own, which will allow vidders to have a stable home (URL and comment base) even as various streaming sites go up and down. We are continuing to work on the Vidding Resource pages and hope to have a good clear set of instructions about how to host your own video available soon. Also, vidding Chair Francesca Coppa and ADT member Amelia Ryan attended the Open Source Video conference to investigate what systems are being developed for actually hosting video. We are currently testing a couple of drupal-based open software packages we learned about at the conference for the Dark Archive. So please stay tuned!

Volunteers & Recruiting:
VolCom wants YOU! We’ve been busy collecting responses to our recruiting post, and in the next week or so we’ll start conversations with the volunteers who said they would be interested in joining the best committee of all, VolCom! Most other committees will be taking on their new staff in January, and VolCom needs to be in place to make that happen. We’re also starting the work of closing down the 2010 OTW term and laying groundwork for the next — we know it seems early, but we like to be thorough, and November is the month we’re busiest with that part of the job.

Webmasters:
We’ve launched the revamped Contact Us page and are putting the finishing touches on the new events calendar (coming soon). We’ve also been working on applying more meaningful tags to news posts. We’re currently investigating a problem with our Dreamwidth layout in IE7 as well as some bugs with our translation software.

Wiki:
The Wiki Committee has posted another draft of the Image Policy for comment and rolled out a set of image templates to make uploading images easier. Based on feedback, we revised the draft policy and hope to produce a final version shortly. We also approved a new floating category for tropes & genres. Finally, we continue to post bi-weekly challenges on the Dreamwidth community; the current one is a thousand ships.