Announcing Open Beta!

The Archive of Our Own Open Beta launch: Saturday 14th November (see the world clock for the launch time in your timezone).

We’re thrilled to announce that the Archive Of Our Own will enter Open Beta on Saturday! *\0/*

Now that we’re in Open Beta, we’re ready to start expanding our user numbers so that fandom can use the Archive for real!

Open Beta – your questions answered!

How do I get an invitation for the Archive?
You can get an invitation in two ways:

  • You can add your email address to the invitation queue (opens Saturday 14th November see world clock for the launch time in your timezone) (ETA Invitation queue now open here!). We’ll send out invitations to addresses on the queue on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on how many new accounts we can support at a given time. This way, you won’t have to know someone who already has an account in order to have a chance of getting one.
  • Users who have an account on the Archive will be given a certain number of invitations to hand out to their friends. We know that people like to share the fannish glee and to build their networks on new sites, and we want to give people a chance to do that. Extra invitation codes will be issued to users periodically depending on how many new users the site can manage.

When will the invitation queue open?
The invitation queue will open on Saturday 14th November – world clock for the launch time in your timezone. Our launch post will let you know the link for the queue, and we’ll begin issuing accounts to addresses in the queue right away! (ETA Invitation queue now open here!)

We know that many of you in North America will still be asleep when the queue opens – since fandom is international, it was inevitable that this would be the case for someone. We’ve timed it this way so that as many of our staffers as possible can be around to provide support. We also anticipate that there will be more users from North America, so we wanted to give folks from elsewhere a chance to get on board before the queue gets out of control.

If you are unable to join the queue because of the timing, a friend can add your email address to the queue for you.

How long will it take for me to get an account?
If you’ve requested an invitation code, you can check where you are in the queue. Just enter your email address on the invitations page, and you’ll receive an estimate of when you will receive your invitation, based on the rate at which we’re sending out invitations and the number you are in the queue. Exactly how many invitations we can send out per day will depend on how well the site responds to the extra users.

I already have an account. How do I give an invitation to someone else?
On your user homepage (which you can get to by clicking ‘My Home’ when you’re logged in), you’ll see a new tab called ‘Invitations’. You can manage all your invitations here, and if you’ve run out then you can request some more.

To send an invitation to someone, just enter their email address and select the invitation you’d like to use. They’ll be sent an automated email. You’ll be able to keep track of which invitations have been used on your ‘Manage Invitations’ page.

What can I do if I have questions or need help?
If you have questions about the general process, feel free to leave a comment on this post and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. (So that everyone can share in the same discussion and see one another’s questions, we’re disabling comments everywhere except the main OTW blog. Please hop over there to comment!)

If you have questions about the Archive, then you might find the answer in our Frequently Asked Questions. You can also check out Known Issues to see if you’ve hit a bug we’re already working on.

If your question isn’t answered in the FAQ then please submit a support request and our support team will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Finally, during the first few days of Open Beta, we’ll be offering live support through our Support Chatroom. We’ll keep this staffed as much as possible – OTW staffers can be identified by the OTW on the end of their names. Of course, non staffers should also feel free to help one another out – if you can answer someone else’s question, then don’t feel shy!

I have Opinions about the Archive. What should I do?
The Archive is by fans, for fans and we love to hear your feedback! Open Beta is still a work in progress, and we’ll be adding new features, fixing bugs and making enhancements in response to your feedback. Send us your comments via the Support and Feedback form.

If you’d like to be more involved, we always welcome volunteers. No previous experience required!

The Archive of Our Own is for all fans – please spread the word in your fandoms near and far, and come and join the party!

AD&T Weekly Meeting – 7 November 2009

All the latest news about the Archive of Our Own can be found under the cut.

This post may also be found on the Archive of Our Own which is commentable by anyone with or without an AO3 account. We are disabling comments elsewhere as we would like people to be able to share any discussion with each other.

11pm to 1:10 am for me but I was pretty wired so getting tired certainly wasn’t an issue. We’re all pretty wired, this weekend was the Open Beta deploy. The code is in and it hasn’t broken anything (yet) so this was our last Open Beta planning session. We care a lot and it was reflected in the passionate discussion about timing (when do we launch, when do we tell people things – see below), scale up (how many people can we take and how fast – we don’t know but we’re going to find out… cautiously!) and method of distributing invitations (invitation queue signup versus giving invite codes to existing users – we favour the invitation queue signup because it is democratic). *grins* We’ve actually been having variations on this discussion since May but it’s taken on a whole new dimension of urgency.

  • Deploy Schedule: the AO3 has been updated to revision 1692 (Release 0.7.1) and is looking pretty fine. Release Notes are up if you want the details and the next deploy is in two weeks.
    • Collections & Challenges: [info - personal] astolat has been working on phase one which is core stuff to enable us to import works and authors into a ‘Collections’ skeleton for Yuletide.
    • Deleting chapters with comments: Right now if you do this you lose the comments, we’re putting something together that will give you the choice of moving the comments to a different chapter or deleting them.
  • Open Beta: ‘Mid November’ = Next weekend. OMG! It’s been creeping up on us for a while and we think we’re finally ready. What this means is we’ll be poking the AO3 during the week and if we don’t see anything alarming (we totally reserve the right to pull the plug if we hit a nasty surprise) we’ll do a number of things:
    • Communicate: We’ll put up a post with exact details one day before we launch so people know when we’re turning the invitation queue on.
      • We are conscious the timing may disadvantage some people and we’ve tried to pick a time that is as fair as possible. I understand we can’t possibly meet everyone’s needs, and for that I am sorry. I do want to assure you the people who made this decision are from a variety of places in the world and this isn’t a decision we take lightly.
      • The post will go to all the OTW mirrors at the same time (Web, DW, LJ etc.), so no need to mercilessly refresh the AO3 😉
      • If you are unable to join the queue because of the timing, a friend can add your email address to the queue for you.
    • Launch: We’ll turn on the invitation queue and make an announcement on all mirrors. This will make a link on the front page visible; it will read ‘SIGN UP NOW’ and it takes you to a page where you can enter an email address.
      • Invitation codes: we will issue a small number of invitation codes to Closed Beta users in recognition of the constant feedback, the helpful suggestions, and the patience with funky code and constant redesign.
      • Invitation queue: we will make the invitation queue location available to members of the OTW (past and present) for 24 hours prior to publishing it publicly in recognition of the people who may not have been able to give their time, but supported the organisation as a whole to make this day possible. We do not expect this to clog the queue.
    • Add users: We’ll monitor performance as a result of the first round of invitations being taken up and we’ll make decisions about how many to add and how fast to add them based on what we see.
    • Hyperventilate: (that’s one of my tasks)
  • Stuff coming up: Open Beta!

If there are things you want to do/say – feel free to share either in comments, or by volunteering, or whatever medium you’re comfortable with. You are invited to this party 🙂

This post may also be found on the Archive of Our Own which is commentable by anyone with or without an AO3 account.

Links of Potential Interest to Vidders

From the business section of the Guardian this week: Google seeks to turn a profit from YouTube copyright clashes. The article’s subtitle gives you the gist: “Group is working to persuade music and video companies to cash in rather than clamp down when their content is uploaded.” In short, Google wants to use their content fingerprinting system to report uses–even transformed uses–to copyright holders and then to offer them the chance to put ads on user-generated content. There’s lots wrong with that, but perhaps the wrongest is the idea that the companies have the right to take things down because “because the use does not fit the original’s values.” C’mon, Google! Don’t be evil!

In brighter news, UK Will Urge EC To Legalise Mashups, Format-Shifting, Content Sharing. This “could include legalising more outright copying, the creation of sound/image mashups, format-shifting and sharing material with family and friends.”

Relatedly, folks seem to be figuring out that the DVR isn’t actually the death of commercial television and that so-called “music pirates” actually buy more music. While we’ve heard this song before, optimistically copyright holders will eventually figure out that they shouldn’t be afraid of new technologies.