October 2017 Newsletter, Volume 118


The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) recently held its October 2017 membership drive, run by the Development & Membership committee with help from Communications, Translation, Webs, and more. During this drive, we beat our goal of US$115,000, raising over US$137,000 from over 5,500 individual donations representing more than 70 countries. To break that down a little more: 2,733 donations were from first-time donors, 1,243 new members are eligible to vote in next year’s OTW Board election, and we will be shipping out 110 thank-you gifts in the next month!

Thank you to everyone who donated and signal boosted. Your support means so much to us. And if you missed the drive, don’t worry, we accept donations at any time, and thank you gifts are always available.


Accessibility, Design & Technology had a busy October. First, AO3 switched to default to secure browsing (HTTPS), but then experienced some issues with server load during peak times, so the default was set back to HTTP. It’s still possible to browse AO3 in HTTPS when following secure links or using a browser add-on, if you prefer that.

When the new front-end servers (coming soon!) are installed, HTTPS will be the default protocol for good. Users who use audio or video players in their works (to post podfics or fanvids) are encouraged to read up on multimedia embeds and secure browsing to learn how this change will affect them.

Another issue that Accessibility, Design & Technology tackled in October is spammers who were creating bogus works and collections on AO3 to link to their fare. They’ve become highly adept at using Archive features, and they’ve been flooding the invitation queue with throwaway email addresses to create new accounts. As a short-term measure, the invitation queue was turned off to relieve some of the burden on the Abuse committee, and to allow for time to discuss and implement a solution to prevent the worst spam attacks.

The Open Doors committee was also busy in October, completing imports of The Collators’ Den and the fanfiction section of Unknowable Room. Import announcements were also made for West Wing Fanfiction Central, MTAC, and Firefly’s Glow.

In other Archive-related news, AO3 Documentation updated the Skins and Archive Interface FAQ, for those who prefer customizing the look of AO3 and of their works.

Lastly, Support received roughly 1600 tickets in October, and Abuse received over 1000 tickets.


Great news from the Legal committee! In response to the OTW’s petition, the U.S. Copyright Office has renewed the “vidder’s exemption” that permits vidders and other makers of noncommercial remix video to decrypt clips from DVDs, Blu-Rays, and online sources to make fair use of them without violating the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Legal also filed petitions to clarify and broaden the existing exemptions for remix video and multimedia e-books, and will continue working on supporting those. Stay tuned—not only will there be progress updates in the months to come, but there will also be a request for your stories to help make arguments in favor of those clarifications and expansions!

TWC is also requesting your input. There are two new calls for papers out for upcoming issues of Transformative Works and Cultures. One is for an issue on Fan Studies Methodologies, and the other is for an issue on Fanfiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures. Submission guidelines and due dates are available at the links.


OTW’s Board welcomed three new board members, who officially started October 1, and said goodbye to Alex, Aline and Katarina, whose terms have now finished. Thank you to the departing Directors for your service.

Finance issued an update on the OTW’s 2017 budget this month. Thanks to everyone who attended the open chat on October 15th to ask questions. Meanwhile, preparations also continue for the first audit of the OTW’s financial statements, which we expect to see happen annually from now on.


As of the 27th of October, the OTW has 714 volunteers. \o/

Recent personnel movements completed by Volunteers & Recruiting are listed below:

New Committee Staff: Jess Hindes (Communications), 2 Communications staffers, 1 Translation staffer, ironysupplement (Systems), 1 other Systems staffer, AliceandJane (Abuse), guro (Abuse), 1 other Abuse staffer
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: li-sus, batgirlSwrite, and Kyubey Kotone
New Translator Volunteers: alive, nyxmidnight
Departing Directors: Alex Tischer, Aline Carrão, Katarina Harju
Departing Committee Chairs: Mahewa (Elections)
Departing Committee Staff: Minx (AO3 Documentation), JessicaLovesSocks2658 (Abuse and AO3 Documentation), Supergreak (Tag Wrangling), Morgan (Tag Wrangling) & 2 other Tag Wrangling staffers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 4 Tag Wrangling volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: HLITH, Chiralivity, and Jessica Park

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


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