OTW Signal, June 2024

Every month in OTW Signal we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.

In the News

Would Shakespeare have an AO3 account? A recent article on JSTOR Daily takes a look at the communal framework that modern fanfiction authors share with the Bard himself.

Modern fanfiction relies on a collaborative, multifaceted universe of writing, sharing, and cross-promotion, and Finn and McCall point out that, similarly, “working within medieval and early modern patronage systems, writers were almost always writing for both specific persons and general audiences, negotiating the requests and desires of both.”

The concept of adaptations and derived works is not a novel concept, nor is the idea of becoming a fan of something, whether that is a sports team, music culture, or prose and poetry. The relationship between the fan and the work, whatever it may be, is expressed in many ways, as seen in the OTW’s own fan studies journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, and in the various avenues fans have created to collaborate with each other, such as fests, challenges, and exchanges, which were built into the Archive of Our Own (AO3)’s design.

The OTW received a request from Tamsin Boswell, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. Boswell is conducting a study into the role that fanfiction plays in the lives of fans who read fanfiction as part of their everyday lives, with a specific focus on lurkers within fanfiction communities. To take part in this study fans would be recording a diary of their fanfiction use and reasons for this usage within a discord chat. For more information about the study visit Boswell’s tumblr post.

This research has received Ethics approval and is being supervised by Dr. Kitty Nichols at the University of Sheffield. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Boswell directly. You must be 18 or older in order to participate. Questions about the study can also be directed to Dr. Kitty Nichols.

OTW Tips

Do you have questions about AO3 policy or about its Terms of Service? Usually the Support Committee is the place to go for AO3 questions, but the AO3 Policy & Abuse Committee (PAC) is the go-to for these sorts of queries. You can find their form at the bottom of every AO3 page.

What’s the difference between PAC and Support? PAC handles harassment, spam, plagiarism, and hacked accounts, which fall under Terms of Service abuse, while Support handles account questions, tag and fandom canonization, fannish next-of-kin, bug reports, and general site policy inquiries.

We want your suggestions for the next OTW Signal post! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or news story you think we should know about, send us a link. We are looking for content in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in an OTW post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

OTW Signal
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