The OTW Board of Directors has approved changes to the Archive of Our Own’s Terms of Service and Frequently Asked Questions. Proposed additions in bold; bracketed to be deleted.
This post marks the start of a two-week public comment period. Your comments and questions will be reviewed in order to evaluate whether further changes need to be made.
Thank you for your assistance.
E. What we will do:
1. We may collect personally identifying information when you register for a user account with the Archive, visit any of the Archive sites, or use any of the Archive services. We may use third-party services to store, process, or transmit data, or perform other technical functions related to operating the site. These services may include spam detectors, backup services, icon hosting, and e-mail services. We endeavor to use only services with comprehensive privacy policies but cannot guarantee their performance. We or the services we use may store or process your personally identifying information in data centers which may be located in the United States or other countries.
2. We will use your e-mail address internally, and if you make it public on the site, anyone can access it and use it for any purpose. We may occasionally send e-mails to you from the Archive. We reserve the right to send you notice of complaints or violations [or suspensions] of the Terms of Service, as well as to reply to any e-mail message you send to the Archive.
3. We may retain:
a. the e-mail addresses of those who communicate with us via e-mail;
b. user-specific information about what pages users access or visit;
c. the IP address of each visitor to our sites;
d. any information that a person sends to OTW or Archive e-mail addresses (i.e., any e-mail to an administrator or other official address).
V. Assorted Policies
A. Collections, Challenges, and Exchanges
Archive users may create collections and encourage other users to submit fanworks to those collections. The collection maintainer can set any constraints they want on the collection, including rules about anonymous works (see A.4 below) but must otherwise follow the content policy (e.g., if the collection content is explicit, it should be marked as “explicit” or “choose not to rate”). The collection maintainer may be able to ask users for suggestions for new fanworks (“prompts”), collect prompts, match participants with prompts (including contacting them via the contact information provided to the Archive or to the collection maintainer), and show the prompts on the Archive, following the general rules governing works on the Archive. Where collection rules allow, prompts may be anonymous or limited-visibility, as detailed in A.4 and A.5 below.
A challenge maintainer can communicate with challenge participants. The challenge maintainer may have access to participants’ email addresses for this purpose.
Assorted Specialized Policies
What do you mean by “collections”?
Collections are groups of works collected together under one heading. Collections can be fic or art fests, exchanges, ‘big bangs’ matching artists, authors, and/or podficcers, or other types of creative challenges, as well as simple collections of fanworks chosen by the collection maintainer. Learn more about collections.
What information can the collection/challenge maintainer see about participants?
The maintainer can see prompts as well as the username and email address that participants use to sign up, in case the maintainer needs to communicate with participants.
What’s the point of having separate rules for collections/challenges?
The rules are basically the same as for everything else on the Archive. This just allows another way to group fanworks by areas of interest. There is one important special rule: if the collection maintainer says in the rules that submissions are final, then you can’t withdraw your contribution from the collection, though you can always orphan it. We put this rule in place to allow gift exchanges. Ordinarily, removing a fanwork from the Archive is sad, but it’s up to you. But when you’ve added a fanwork as a gift, and possibly received a fanwork as a gift in return, we think it’s fair to say that the other participants should continue to enjoy the benefit of your contribution. In those cases, orphaning allows you to sever your connection with the fanwork while not removing it from the collection. This policy was based on prior experience with the Yuletide Rare Fandoms gift exchange.
I think my fanwork would be perfect for a collection, but the maintainer won’t add it to the collection!
Unless there’s an independent violation of the Content Policy, we won’t intervene in collection decisions, even if they are arbitrary, biased, or wrong. You may want to add tags to your fanwork that will be of interest to people who are fans of relevant collections.
How can I start a collection?
Please consult our Tutorials. Please note that participants may provide information to the maintainer for purposes of participating in a collection or challenge. Any use of this information other than to manage the collection or challenge is a violation of our Terms of Service and can result in the termination of the maintainer’s account.
Can orphaning be reversed?
Usually not. [If you orphan a work inadvertently, or wish to rewrite it and repost under your name, and you can verify your identity as the author in a way we consider reliable enough, we may be able to reverse the orphaning. But orphaning may be irreversible in some cases,] Orphaning is irreversible in most cases, so please use this option carefully.
What if what I want to post isn’t similar to one of the examples listed in the Terms of Service FAQ?
In general, you can post any non-ephemeral, transformative content that is fannish in nature. If you have doubts about any particular examples and you don’t want to risk posting it, you can always contact our [Support] Abuse team to ask, using the [Support] Abuse form.