October donations drive!

Call for funds

Last month the OTW launched Fanlore, our wiki, which is being populated with new articles as we speak. The first issue of our journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, launched in mid-September. We have recently launched our new website, which means all OTW members can now access our news service via an RSS feed from our own blog. And the Archive of Our Own has entered limited public beta, and is filling up with stories even now! Four of our big projects have gone from dream to reality. We are so psyched about all of this, we hardly have words to express our squee!

So welcome to our October donations drive! From October 13 to October 20, we invite you to make a donation to the Organization for Transformative Works. Every little bit counts, and whether you’re able to donate $10 or $500, your support means the world to us…and enables us to do the things we do.

We accept donations all the time, but we especially hope you’ll donate this week during our October drive. Donate now to help support the work we’re already doing—and the work we’re going to do in the months to come!

One of the new features on our spiffy new website is the ability to sign up for recurring monthly giving. So you can make a onetime donation now, and/or sign up to make a sustaining donation each month automatically! These recurring donations are tax-deductible, and will automatically be charged to you via our payment processor without you having to remember to do a thing. The choice is yours.

And as an added bonus, since the OTW just received 501(c)3 (federally-recognized nonprofit) status in the United States, donations to the OTW made by US fans are now tax-deductible! (Fans in other parts of the world will need to consult a local expert to find out how to deduct international donations.)

Please note: if you donate online, you’ll receive a receipt from our payment processor immediately; but you won’t hear from us directly until the donation has actually appeared in our coffers. Thanks for your patience!

Call for talent

The coming OTW elections will mark our transition into Year 2. In our first year, the org has grown by leaps and bounds; more than one hundred fans now work together to make our dreams a reality. And we’d love to have you on board!

Do you have skills in coding, website design, nonprofit management, public relations, building membership, financial accounting, law, copyediting, managing volunteers, and/or speaking languages other than English? Do you want to be an OTW staffer for Year 2? We’re always looking for a few good fans, and we’d love to have you on board as we enter our second year of operation. If you’re interested in being a part of the OTW in this way, click on over to the Willing to Serve post that our Volunteers committee just posted, and let us know who you are and how to find you!

You’re the reason we’re here, doing the work that we do. Thank you for being a part of the OTW!

10/13/2008, 22:55 EST: edited to delete references to annual donations, which we don’t currently have the capacity for; Development & Membership apologizes for the error. — EY

Willing to Serve

It’s that time again! As the end of the OTW’s first term nears, we will soon begin putting together the next round of committees for our second term, which means we are once again in search of people who are willing to serve.

We did an amazing amount of work during our first term, and we have a lot of things planned for the next, both internally (more comprehensive documentation!) and externally (more features for the archive!) Many of our current committee members will be returning for a second term, and we are looking for enthusiastic, dedicated people to join them.

In general, most committees have a chat meeting once a week (an hour or two in length), and conduct business between meetings via mailing lists and our project management software, Basecamp. (Online chat meetings are held on Campfire; the account is paid for by the OTW, and all staffers have access to it.) The number of hours a committee position demands on a weekly basis will vary greatly by committee, and also by time of year. Elections, for instance, does a great deal of work between September and November, our election season.

We’ve provided descriptions of the committees and their jobs below. In some instances, a committee is looking for volunteers for specific jobs, in which case they’ve included that information in their committee description.

If you are willing to serve, use our contact form to send us the following information:

  • Name: (fannish or real life, whichever you feel comfortable using):
  • Up to three committees you would be willing to serve on or specific position you wish to volunteer for:
  • Relevant experience, fannish and/or real life:

While our official recruiting period for our second term is over, we happily accept volunteers for any and all committees and projects at any time. Please send us your information if you are interested in being part of the OTW!


Handles the design and creation of software and interfaces for most projects of the organization, with emphasis on accessibility to the widest group of users.

For our second term, we are combining the current Public Relations and Community Relations committees into one Communications team. These committee members will be responsible for press releases, newsletters, blog posts, media contacts, and other tasks related to promoting our various projects. Additionally, they will play a major role in promoting communication within the OTW itself, keeping information flowing between the various committees.

The Development & Membership committee is in charge of fundraising and membership-building for the organization. This committee brainstorms fundraising ideas and then implements them; it’s our job to raise the funds that support all of the OTW’s various projects, both the visible ones (the archive needs servers!) and the invisible ones (from software to paperclips to domain registration fees.) DevMem also maintains our secure database of member and donor information, and works with Elections each year to ensure that each member is able to vote in org elections.

A good DevMem committee member can make it to our weekly chat meetings, is flexible and focused, has a sense of humor, and won’t be alarmed by occasional forays into extreme silliness. We’re always looking for folks with experience in fundraising tasks like donor-courting and grant writing, but we also welcome folks who are new to the world of development: what you don’t know, we’ll happily teach you! DevMem becomes a high-pressure job twice a year when we run our membership and donations drives, but even at high-stress times, we have a lot of fun, and we’re psyched to be the committee tasked with supporting the work of the OTW. Join us!

Develops policies and systems for the annual Board elections, works with Volunteers & Recruiting to recruit candidates, works with candidates to get platform information and provides this to the membership.

The Financial committee keeps track of spending, writes checks, maintains financial records, and develops a budget for the organization.

This committee advises the Board and various committees on legal matters and liaises with outside legal counsel. Mostly comprised of legal professionals.

Systems manages servers and infrastructure for the organization and its projects, which involves specific skills. We are currently using Debian, but if you are otherwise competent with Unix, knowing Debian specifically isn’t a requirement. The software packages we administer are: Mailman, Apache2, Mongrel, Rails, Drupal, Mediawiki, Postfix, mySQL, Awstats, Nagios, Request Tracker, rsnapshot, S3Sync and Logwatch. Experience installing, configuring and troubleshooting any of these would be good-you need not know them all. Apache would be a huge bonus.

We are also looking for a systems architect. If you have experience in this area, please contact us!

The Volunteers & Recruiting committee is the Human Resources of the OTW. This committee recruits and manages volunteers and staffers for all committees and projects, sets them up in the Org, and tracks their service. Volunteers also maintains a large database of volunteer records, posts job notices on the OTW website, and manages the end-of-term committee staffing drives and change-overs.

A good Volunteers committee member is online a lot, can work well under pressure, is extremely accurate in their work, can follow detailed written instructions, and is comfortable with short deadlines. Being on the Volunteers committee is a demanding job, but also a very interesting and fulfilling one that puts members directly in the heart of the Org. And it’s the perfect place for people who have a bit of micro-manager in them!

Designs and implements the terms of service and other content policies for the Archive of Our Own.

In its first term, the Wiki Committee developed a set of policies, guidelines and help documents to support Fanlore wiki editors, as well as establishing a flexible infrastructure to define and organise the wiki’s content.

Now that the wiki is live, the Wiki committee is responsible for monitoring how the policies, guidelines and infrastructure are used in practice. This includes:

  • Watching the recent changes on the wiki and keeping abreast of major changes/discussions that are underway
  • Participating in discussion (both on and off the wiki) with other editors with regards to how the existing guidelines work, and how they might be improved
  • Working on any necessary improvement on the guidelines in a timely manner, through both discussion within the Wiki committee as well as implementation on the wiki.
  • Supporting and managing wiki Gardeners – making sure they are trained up enough to assist editors, answering any queries
  • Making major structural or formatting decisions and subsequent edits on the wiki – designing and creating new templates/infoboxes, expanding the sitemap, etc.
  • Responding to queries made directly to the committee (that Gardeners can’t handle) in a timely manner

As part of the Wiki committee you will also be responsible for deciding on and developing future activities around and major plans for the wiki. This may include:

  • Outreach campaigns and procedures to invite and encourage other fan communities to contribute
  • Expanding the scope of the wiki to include content such as practical guides for fan activities
  • Developing and providing multilingual spaces on the wiki

Open Door works to preserve at-risk fanworks of all kinds.

The Webmasters Committee puts the words and files of the organization on the OTW website. We recently re-launched the website using the open-source CMS Drupal. We are now writing documentation so that future committee members will have a knowledgebase to work from. On an ongoing basis, we keep the website running smoothly and help committees get their FAQs, blog posts, and Web pages out into the wider world. To this end, we serve weeklong on-call rotations, checking website status and responding to requests daily. Rotations are scheduled in advance, and should fall approximately every six weeks.

Team membership requires two sets of skills: comfort using and supporting open source software, and willingness to communicate.

If you’re happy to read FAQs and manuals when they’re available, or just play with the settings on a piece of software when they’re not, then you’re the sort of computer user we’re looking for. HTML skills are a necessary prerequisite to Webmasters membership. It’s a bonus if you’re already familiar with Drupal software or PHP programming language, but we also welcome people willing to learn.

Our committee works by rapid consensus, looking at possibilities, researching the options, and then discussing alternatives via e-mail or during weekly chat-based meetings. You should be willing to speak up with an opinion and able to listen to conflicting opinions. The committee as a whole is flexible in what we do and how we do it, and we need every member to make his or her voice heard.

The Translation Committee coordinates the Translation volunteers (translators) and liaises with other committees. Translators help other committees by making their projects and documents available to an international audience, and may also provide feedback on a range of related issues, like testing translation interfaces. The OTW website, Elections material and Membership drives are examples of such projects, or, as our next big thing, the Archive of Our Own. We are currently seeking both Translation committee members, and Translation volunteers.

A Translation volunteer can either be a main translator or help out as a beta reader, depending on their experience and time. Translation volunteers should be able to work in small teams, set up and work towards finishing assignments within a given timeframe, and should be detail-oriented.

The language teams can vary in size and consist of volunteers who are either native speakers, or fluent in a language other than English.

If you feel more comfortable joining an already existing team, our active teams are:

  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Or you can be a pioneer for a language not yet represented — welcome! We’re looking forward to working with you.

This committee administers Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), an international peer-reviewed twice-yearly academic online journal in the field of media studies. This involves maintaining TWC’s open-source journal software (OJS), considering submissions, and working with authors and content as necessary. We also shepherd documents through OJS for peer review, revision, copyedit, and layout.

In addition to full committee members, we are currently looking for volunteers for the following jobs:

We currently need two HTML layout coders. Layout is provided an .rtf file that they must tag to XML, using a template, in an HTML editor. Work comes in twice a year: approximately the third and fourth weeks of February, and the third and fourth weeks of August. The amount of work is variable and we will divide work up according to schedule, but layout artists will probably not tag more than 5 or 8 documents per issue. Knowledge of HTML and ability to work directly in an HTML editor are required. Before applying, please visit the journal’s Web site and view the code of any article to get an idea of the complexity of the coding required, keeping in mind that a template is provided for the basic structure. Report to Karen Hellekson, TWC production editor.

We are currently in need of one proofreader. Proofreaders are provided access to articles after they have been copyedited and laid out, and they are read for style, consistency, and correctness. (Specific requirements are provided on a checklist.) The proofreader must be able to use an HTML editor to enter the corrections, so basic knowledge of HTML is required, as is an HTML editor. Work comes in twice a year: approximately the first week of March, and the first week of September. Time commitment will vary according to the size of the issue, but it will probably not be more than 12 hours during the week of compressed work. Before applying, please visit the journal’s Web site and view the code of any article to get an idea of the complexity of the coding, which the proofreader will be required to edit to insert corrections. Report to Karen Hellekson, TWC production editor.

Interview Team
We are searching for three members for our new Interview team. Acafans and journalists are particularly encouraged to apply. Members of the team, with feedback with the other editorial staff members, will solicit interviews with various subjects of interest to TWC’s audience, including academics, writers, artists, gamers, and fans. Both interviewers and interviewees will be sought, so the Interview team members must match up people in appropriate disciplines. Interviews will be done via e-mail. Interview team members will edit, revise, and prepare the copy. Interviews will be actively solicited, so persistence, follow-through, and networking are all required. Weekly time commitment is variable and flexible, although deadlines for receipt of copy are hard. Report to Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson, editors, TWC.

If you have questions regarding serving on a committee, you can contact Volunteers & Recruiting via our contact form.

Edited October 13th 2008 to expand Wiki committee description.
Edited November 4th 2008 to remove deadline information.

October 2008 Newsletter, vol. 19

Welcome to the first October issue of the OTW Newsletter! We’re constantly on the lookout for ways to keep fandom up-to-date and informed about what’s going on behind the scenes here at OTW, so twice a month, Community Relations compiles updates about what the various committees are working on and we share them here.

All issues of the newsletter will be tagged accordingly, so you can follow our progress chronologically.

Academic Journal Update from mafaldastasi

No. 1 of Transformative Works and Cultures, the academic journal, which came out on September 15, 2008, is being extremely well received. Here are some links where TWC gets mentioned:

– http://www.ohindustry.com/2008/09/alotr-in-journal-of-transformative.html

– Jonathan Gray’s Extratextuals Blog, September 17, 2008:

– Henry Jenkins’s blog, September 19, 2008:

– Nancy Baym’s blog, September 25, 2008:

No. 2, which will be released on March 15, 2009, released its call for papers. This special issue will focus on Games. The TWC editorial team is actively looking for submissions.

Accessibility, Design, and Technology Update from black_samvra

AD&T are working on Tag Wrangling right now: the tags like ‘Fandom,’ ‘Character,’ and ‘Pairing’ that rename themselves, merge and move around – that’s our Beta tag wranglers hard at work! We’re also planning the next wave of new functionality and working through the awesome feedback you gave us.

We’re planning on putting out updates to the archive software on a weekly basis, so look for bugfixes and new features to roll out in a batch. Our first one will most likely be this Friday.

Board Update from kellyannbessa

The Board continues to focus on the newly launched projects, and also the rapidly approaching election.

Community Relations Update from femmequixotic

Community Relations continues to help Elections with the upcoming elections process, as well as get the word out about the beta version of the archive and the soft launches of both the website and Fanlore.

Content Policy Update from ainsley

Content Policy continues to do what it does best: writing policy with which we hope people will be content–more of which will be unveiled very soon!

Development and Membership Update from ignazwisdom

We’re gearing up for our big donations drive, which is starting very, VERY soon! You can donate to the OTW at any time, but next week we’re going to making a push for contributions, including new memberships. As a reminder, if you want to participate in the OTW Board election next month, you must have paid your annual membership dues of US $10 by October 19.

Elections Update from eponis

The first deadline for candidacy for the Board came and went, and two members declared their candidacy, as many as the number of seats opening up on the Board. As detailed in our FAQ, this means that the deadline was extended a further two weeks, and this week is the final opportunity to declare candidacy. Once we have a final count, we look forward to announcing the candidates and, if necessary, gearing up for an election. Even if we don’t end up holding a contested election, we will still publicize details about the candidates and hold a public chat with them, so our membership can get to know the new Board members!

Financials from sandersyager

Due to the failing economy, FinCom is placing our campaign of shark references on hold for this newsletter. What we have instead is a brand spanking new volunteer, Sanacrow who has come on board as our official OTW accountant, taking over duties previously shared between the wonderful Susan and Celli. Sanacrow has joined us just in time to continue work on the 2009 budget and take part in last round of triumphant FinCom “dancing” over having official 501(c)3 status for OTW. By dancing we, of course, mean studying spreadsheets and discussing the season premieres, reaffirming that one can be a shark *and* a fangirl.

Legal Update from killalla

Recently, the Legal Committee has been discussing and advising on licensing options for the archive software, while continuing to support other committees with diverse matters. And as always, we try to respond promptly to queries from members of the public as they arise.

Open Doors Update from Francesca Coppa

Open Doors is continuing to work with ADT on an “import”/”hoover” feature for older stories and is also researching libraries to house fannish artifacts of various kinds.

Public Relations Update from jacquez

After prepping like mad in case the press noticed our soft launches, the Public Relations Committee took a short break. Next, we’ll be back to working on our strategic direction for the upcoming year!


No update at this time.

Translations Update from logovo

We’re celebrating seeing all our hard work up on the OTW page! Plus, additional languages are still pending beta and upload.

On the Elections front, we’ve finished up and uploaded Spanish and German translations of the Elections FAQ and timeline, and we’re shooting for having other languages done this week, as volunteer time allows.

Also, other committees have work heading our way (*waves to Elections*) so we’re looking forward to getting our hands on the next project.

Volunteers and Recruiting from kellyannbessa

Volunteers is doing a lot of work in preparation for the organization’s upcoming second term.

Webmasters Update from juniperphoenix

The new website officially launched on October 1! (See our welcome post for details.) Thank you to everyone who has sent us feedback; it is greatly appreciated.

At the moment we’re getting settled into our new maintenance rotation and continuing to document technical info and procedures. Since so many OTW projects have launched recently and information about them is changing quickly, we are also reaching out to our fellow committees to encourage them to check their website content and make any necessary updates.

Wiki Update from angstslashhope

The Wiki Committee is proud to announce the soft launch of the Fanlore wiki: since last week the wiki is open for a its beta phase, which means we’re still testing how everything works in practice as well as responding to queries, suggestions and general feedback. In the process, Fanlore is growing rapidly as contributors add content and their practices are formed, while we alter and develop structures and supporting material as needed. It’s an exciting time and we’ve been thoroughly swept off our feet!

To give you an idea, here are a few fun numbers. Since the soft launch last Monday, we have seen
– About 100 new articles per day;
– Approaching 10,000 edits altogether;
– By over 300 registered editors.

Discussion pages are lively, as editors get their hands dirty on the tricky issues that come hand-in-hand with the early days of a project such as this, and the Wiki Committee is all hands on deck as we keep up with it all. We’ve also set up a Fanlore chat room to talk with contributors who seek assistance, inspiration or just company in real time. The room is open whenever any member of the Committee is available, and a notice on the front page of the wiki indicates whether it’s open or closed at any given time. Don’t hesitate to come in if you see the light!

Now let’s look forward: we are compiling, prioritizing and gradually tackling issues and bugs as they occur, but obviously, there’s only so much a little committee can do! So, following our grand plan, we will in the near future gather together a team of gardeners to help us keep track of all the edits and assist with wiki basics, and we will set them loose upon Fanlore to roam and help you. If you’re interested in becoming a gardener, you can leave your name on the Gardeners page: we might not answer right away but we take every name under consideration, of course. In the meantime, gardener-in-waiting or not, do not hesitate to jump in and start contributing! We look forward to seeing you there.

What details would you like to know? Please give ComRel a helping hand and let us know! Email us at comrel @ transformativeworks.org.

–femmequixotic, bethbethbeth, ciderpress, mirabile_dictu, shrift, svmadelyn
Community Relations Committee

Edited Financial blurb at committee’s request to correct the accountant’s name.