Archive of Our Own: Bookmarks and Recs–Poll

We’re not taking any more votes. Thank you for participating!

As part of the process of building the Archive, we’re not only busy adding shiny new features, we’re also working on polishing up existing ones! One of the areas we’re reviewing at the moment is Bookmarks. The core functionality is already in place, but we’re in the process of designing the next version, and there’s one issue on which we’d particularly like your feedback.

At the moment, bookmarks fall into two categories: private bookmarks and public bookmarks.

  • Private bookmarks are visible only to the user who created them.
  • Public bookmarks are visible to all and can be viewed on the bookmarks page (currently named “recs”, but soon to be renamed in response to user feedback).

We’re now considering whether it should also be possible to mark a bookmark specifically as a rec, creating a third category: recs.

  • Recs could be either public or private (although we’re assuming that users would mostly want them to be visible to other users!) and when public would show up on the bookmarks page. We would probably add an option to filter this page so that users could choose to view only recs.

We would probably add some kind of visual indication that a bookmark was a rec – see the image below for an example of a specific user’s bookmarks and how the different types might be distinguished (click on the image to go to a larger version). Please note, this is a very rough impression. Our current redesign of bookmarks will make them look much fuller and prettier than this, and this is very much a potential concept design, not a finished thing. The red text is for labelling purposes, not a part of the proposed design.

There would be some advantages to this:

  • People who feel strongly that there’s a distinction between bookmarks and recs could mark theirs accordingly.
  • People who are looking for recs would be able to easily identify them, and filter out those bookmarks not specifically marked as recs – for example those which are ‘to read’.

On the other hand, every feature comes at a cost, and we can see some disadvantages:

  • It will add another field to the bookmarks form, making another thing for people to fill in.
  • Users can already tag their bookmarks as recs (or whatever else they wish), so readers can already find things which have been specifically recced.

We know from feedback that some people feel strongly about bookmarks/recs (as mentioned above, we’re changing our terminology so that bookmarks aren’t identified as recs unless the bookmarker wants them to be). However, we don’t want to unnecessarily complicate things; if most people’s needs are met by public and private bookmarks (which is, after all, how works), there’s no point in confusing the matter.

This is where you come in! We’d like to know what you think. We should note that we’re not promising to follow the results of the poll – ultimately we have to go with what is technically feasible – but we will certainly take it into consideration. Please select the option you’d prefer, and feel free to say why in the comments, or suggest another option entirely!

We’re not taking any more votes. Thank you for participating!

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Fans on The Move

In these tumultuous times of fans having multiple journals, websites, networks and streaming sites (with slightly different versions of their handle on each!), and with Web 2.0 companies and various hosting sites folding, failing, or cutting back on their services, we’d like to remind fans that they can use Fanlore to keep track of the fans, fan sites, fan fiction, art, vids, and other fanworks they love.

Remember: Fanlore is searchable and easily updatable, so make it easy for people to find your journals, webpages, and fanworks. You can also create pages for other people or add links to their pages, so if you just re-discovered a story or a vid you thought you’d lost, put the link into Fanlore so others can find it too!

Remember, too, that GeoCities will be closing down on October 26, 2009! (So many sites, so little time, people!) If you, or someone you can get in touch with, has a site that will be lost, please contact Open Doors ASAP.

July, 2009 Newsletter, Volume 31

Welcome to OTW’s July, 2009 newsletter. Get status reports and updates on all your favorite OTW projects and committees right under the cut!


Abuse has been getting set up on our shiny new issue tracker, which we will be using to retain records of cases, and making recommendations to ADT about how to handle ambiguous feedback about content on the Archive. We’re also putting together a longer blog post all about the awesomeness of us, coming soon!


AD&T is hard at work as usual, we deployed new code to the Beta Archive over the weekend of the 4th of July, pushed various projects a little further along the path to completion and welcome an intern from Darmstadt (Germany) to the team.

We’re still working on co-location and hope to be ordering our much anticipated new hardware in the very near future.

We recently launched a new series of News posts about the Archive, which aim to keep people informed about what we do and answer some frequently asked questions. If you have questions then check out the posts so far – one, two and three – and comment to one of the posts if you have a question not answered there.


The Board have been working this month with the individual committees they chair or liaison with to move some key projects along (Legal, Vidding History, Open Doors, DevMem, ADT) and/or keep the org running (Volunteers, Financial, Webmasters).


Communications has been working closely with Open Doors on the Geocities Rescue site, and is also still developing a “for the media” page for We have also provided PR materials for Azkatraz, the O’Reilly Open Source Conference, WriterCon, and other upcoming conventions, so look for flyers and buttons!

Content Policy:

Content Policy has just released — with most of the heavy lifting done by ADT — an updated Terms of Service for the Archive. We’re now holding a two-week public comment period, which will end July 28, 2009, when the Board will vote on the changes and additions. Most of this is relatively minor tweaks, and it’s all driven by user feedback; you can see the blog post with the changes laid out at here. Let us know what you think! Content Policy committee members will be available to answer questions.


DevMem has been doing behind-the-scenes work training committee members to use CiviCRM, the database we use to keep track of members and donations. Some members have reported a new bug encountered in donating which we’re working to fix. In happier news, we’ve welcomed Ivy back from maternity leave; welcome back, Ivy!


No report.


Elections has been working with Web on the elections subsite, and are currently reviewing our new timeline and faq pages to submit to the board.


The sharks of FinCom have been continuing to fill purchase requests, paying the bills, and crunching numbers.


Issue three of the Academic journal is into the copyediting phase, and is on schedule for publication on September 15. The team is already hard at work on issues four, five and six.


The Legal Committee continues to advise and support other OTW Committees as needed. Over recent weeks, we have reviewed license terms for ADT and privacy policy for the Web team, as well as advising the Wiki team on some revisions. We have also been working with the EFF and other organizations in providing responses to Copyright Office questions on the DCMA. In addition, we continue to respond to queries from the public as they arise, and have this past month responded to some queries asking for clarification of our policies on subtitling and dubbing by fans.

Open Doors:

The Open Doors committee is pleased to finally announce the GeoCities Rescue Project for fans who want to preserve fiction or resource sites currently hosted on GeoCities. Please check out the Geocites Rescue Project Page for more info, or just contact Open Doors.

We are also pleased to announce that we have several more donations to the Fan Culture Preservation Project and are currently working with 15-20 other donors! So if you have non-digital fan artifacts that need a new home, please contact Open Doors.


Systems has been closely working with ADT to implement the Archive’s latest code deployment, as well as keeping OTW’s general systems running.


This month we are very excited to welcome new members for the French team. On the administrative side, we have been working on providing better tools for our translators, with the assistance of the Volunteers&Recruiting Committee. This move to OTW’s virtual office, Basecamp, is still ongoing.

Translators have also kept tirelessly working on the website translation, both to keep translations of it up to date, and to translate the many new pages–like that of the Fan Culture Preservation Project.

Vidding History:

Vidding History has been working with Legal to provide responses to Copyright Office questions vis a vis the DMCA petition the EFF and others made on behalf of remix artists (and vidders)! We’ve also been in quiet, behind the scenes conversations with many video streaming sites following the demise of Imeem.


Volunteers posted a job search for experienced XHTML/CSS Coders. OTW wants you! We also helped Translations setting up the first two language teams in Basecamp.


We’ve installed a new anti-spam measure, Mollom, following the recent rash of comment spam. Mollom works behind the scenes, so it shouldn’t create any hassles for legitimate visitors. We’re still hard at work on the Elections subsite, and have presented an initial draft to the Elections Committee for review.


In addition to their usual ways of growing Fanlore, Wikicomm has also joined forced with Open Doors to work on the Geocities Rescue Project. Fanlore will be helping to preserve resource sites and the look and feel of older fanfiction sites.