ORGANIZATION FOR TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS
ANNUAL REPORT 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Annual Report from the Board
- 2011 Year in Review: Rising to the Challenges of Growth
- Bigger and Better: Goals for 2012
- Statement of Financial Position
- Statement of Activities
- Statement of Functional Expenses
- Notes to Financial Statements
- About the OTW
- Who We Are
- Board of Directors
- Emerita Board Members
- OTW Committees
ANNUAL REPORT FROM THE BOARD
Welcome to the fifth annual report of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW). 2011 was our strongest growth year yet, with significant expansions in our membership, userbase, donations, projects, and infrastructure. As we negotiate the challenges presented by our progression from a smaller organization to a larger one, we remain committed to our goals: fan advocacy work, international outreach, and the preservation and celebration of fanworks and fannish history. Through the generosity of our members, we have also maintained our financial security, providing stability for our continued evolution.
We have made substantial upgrades to the server setup for our flagship project, the Archive of Our Own (AO3), which continues to grow rapidly: we have more than tripled our registered users (13,603 at the publication of last year’s annual report; more than 57,000 now) and the number of works we host (145,000 at the publication of last year’s annual report; more than 408,000 now). The OTW has also published another year’s worth of our academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures. The Open Doors project has saved tens of thousands of analog fanworks. Our wiki, Fanlore, now contains over 20,000 articles. At the end of 2011, we conducted the second contested Board election of our existence.
Lastly, we are proud to continue in our efforts to maintain a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption for noncommercial remixers—like fan vidders—from the U.S. Library of Congress. We have also monitored and raised awareness about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and its counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), in the Senate. Our goal is to create a positive climate for the creation of fanworks and an understanding of their value both as speech and as art.
On the following pages you will find more information about our work over 2011, as well as a copy of our financial statements for 2011. A big thank you to all our members, staff, donors, and volunteers!
Jenny Scott-Thompson, Secretary
Julia Beck, Vice-Secretary
Nikisha Sanders, Treasurer
2011 Year in Review / Rising To the Challenges of Growth
All the organizational goals outlined in last year’s annual report were designed to make our projects better, stronger, and more sustainable, and we are pleased to report that we have already met most of them. We are also continually looking to the future of the organization, and have taken steps to address the particular challenges of our rapid growth.
In January 2011 the AO3 received three new servers, a storage server, and a switch, and also increased its bandwidth. These upgrades—all of which were paid for by donations from fans—allow the AO3 greater speed and capacity to implement new features and host more fanworks. In November we redesigned the AO3’s front end, including a new site scheme to improve user accessibility, and greater flexibility with skins. Other additions through the year included the launch of the Subscriptions feature, allowing users to subscribe to creators, works, fandoms, and tags; new prompt memes functionality; and new embed options for fan videos. In addition, the implementation of tag sets greatly facilitated our third hosting of the annual Yuletide fan fiction exchange (a rare fandoms exchange that draws almost 2,000 participants) as well as 65 smaller challenges and 779 collections during the year. We also enhanced our custom archive importer (most recently used in the first successful import of a large at-risk fan archive under our Open Doors project: the Smallville Slash Archive in March 2012).
Prior to the import, Open Doors launched a substantial redesign and expansion of its website. The OTW published another three new issues of Transformative Works and Cultures, and is planning forthcoming issues on such topics as Transformative Works and Fan Activism, Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies, and Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books. Fanlore, after coming out of beta at the end of 2010, ran multiple challenges and open house chats throughout 2011 to promote the addition of new content and to recruit volunteer editors, and also completed updates to its image and editorial procedures policies with the help of fan input.
We also held two membership drives and raised in excess of $24,000 over the course of the year. Our membership rose from 618 paying members as of January 1, 2011 to 728 as of December 31, 2011 (and has since doubled to 1,855 as of May 11, 2012). In addition to hosting drives, our development team has been identifying and applying for grants and other sources of funding. This is something we wish to continue and expand this year, and we have established a Grants committee to focus on these goals.
In November the OTW held the second contested election of our history for our Board of Directors. Three new members—Julia Beck, Nikisha Sanders, and Jenny Scott-Thompson—were elected to the Board, and founding member Naomi Novik was elected after a term away.
Challenges and Changes
Our progress during 2011 also highlighted several growth challenges. Following certain events, we listened to feedback from our members, staff, and volunteers, as well as fans at large, with a view to better serving our community and achieving our goals.
Early in the year, a significant controversy arose in relation to a poll to name the AO3’s new servers when the final results for the poll did not reflect the diversity of the initial suggestions. The results and the ensuing discussion highlighted some structural inequalities in the way the OTW related to its audience and led to heightened awareness of these issues within the OTW. During the year, the committees for Accessibility, Design, & Technology (AD&T), Translation, and International Outreach (now Internationalization & Outreach) worked together to gather feedback about the way work translations are listed on the AO3. Also during the year, Fanlore collected feedback about its category structure, and posted a revised category proposal incorporating public input. In addition, Transformative Works and Cultures is working to broaden its international focus with projects such as the Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies edition, which is focused on anime and manga in particular. Internationalization & Outreach is also working on a public survey to gather feedback on our projects and gather preliminary data to help with outreach.
AD&T released eight major code deploys for the AO3 in 2011. The November release which redesigned the AO3’s front end resulted in user complaints about accessibility and functionality of the site, which highlighted organizational issues relating to code releases.
During the year, AD&T worked to improve its testing of new code on a wider variety of devices and screen sizes, to make releases more regular and frequent, and to reduce the dependencies that new features have on one another. In addition, AD&T and the Support committee collaborated on the formation of an AO3 Documentation workgroup open to staffers and volunteers from across the OTW. AD&T also updated its existing coding and testing documentation and worked to set up a process for collecting more detailed user feedback about new and existing AO3 features and integrating that into the development cycle.
AO3 traffic grew enormously during 2011: by the end of the year, the site was receiving more than a million page views per day. In addition to installing the new servers, over the course of the year AD&T added more caching, handled more tasks asynchronously, and incorporated more NoSQL solutions to shift some of the load away from the main database, as well as a variety of smaller improvements.
Finally, as an initial step toward greater overall transparency, we made our Board minutes publicly available on our website in December.
The OTW restaffs and launches its fifth year! The AO3 receives three new servers, a storage server, and a switch, and also increases its bandwidth.
OTW conducts a server naming festival, inviting all fans to nominate and vote on names for the AO3’s six servers and switch. AD&T begins hosting code on Github to make participation, collaboration, and code review easier.
OTW launches its first membership drive of 2011, soliciting guest blog entries from fans about the OTW. The drive raises over $3,600. Transformative Works and Cultures releases Issue 6, a special issue on the intersection of history and fandom guest-edited by Nancy Reagin and Anne Rubenstein. AD&T begins planning for future hosting of fanart at the AO3.
The AO3 launches the Subscriptions feature, allowing readers to subscribe to creators and be notified by email whenever they post a new work or chapter, with a view to eventually allowing subscriptions to fandoms and tags as well. Nearly 10,000 subscriptions are created in the first month. Fanlore creates new categories in order to aid navigation.
Open Doors launches a redesign and expansion of its website. Fanlore hosts an introductory open house editors chat.
OTW members including board member Francesca Coppa are interviewed for a segment of NPR’s All Things Considered on the launch of J.K. Rowling’s website Pottermore. Communications and Legal committee staff speak to Lev Grossman for his feature article on fanfiction in Time, and set up a LiveJournal community to facilitate Grossman’s contact with other fans. Fanlore reorganizes categories following feedback from and discussion with the fan community.
The AO3 deploys new code which, among other things, includes new prompt memes functionality and new embed options to include embeds from CriticalCommons.org and Vidders.net. The OTW works with Australian fans and lawyers to submit comments to the Australian Law Reform Commission protesting plans to censor the Internet.
The OTW is listed as a company on professional social networking site LinkedIn.
As part of the Fan Video Roadmap project, the OTW launches a number of Fan Video and Multimedia pages as resources for fan video makers. Transformative Works and Cultures releases Issue 7. Duke University academic journal Camera Obscura features a special section on vidding consisting of essays written by both current and former OTW staffers, including Kristina Busse, Francesca Coppa, Alexis Lothian, and Rebecca Tushnet.
OTW launches its second membership drive of the year, which nets an unprecedented amount of over $21,000. Fanlore proposes updates to its pages on image policy, identity protection and editorial procedures. Tag Wrangling holds an open house for AO3 users who want to learn about tag wrangling.
The AO3 deploys code which includes a new site scheme and more flexible skins functionality. The OTW holds its second contested Board election and welcomes Julia Beck, Naomi Novik, Nikisha Sanders, and Jenny Scott-Thompson to the Board. Transformative Works and Cultures releases Issue 8, a special guest-edited double issue comprising Race and Ethnicity in Fandom (edited by Robin Anne Reid and Sarah N. Gatson) and Textual Echoes (edited by Cyber Echoes, a collective comprising Berit Åström, Katarina Gregersdotter, Malin Isaksson, Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, and Maria Helena Svensson). The Volunteers & Recruiting committee launches the Willing to Serve recruitment drive. Fanlore upgrades its servers.
OTW’s Board of Directors votes to publicly post the minutes of Board meetings online. Legal and Vidding committee members Rebecca Tushnet, Rachael Vaughn, and Francesca Coppa collaborate with the Electronic Frontier Foundation on a proposal to the U.S. Library of Congress to renew and extend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption for noncommercial remixers. We end the year by successfully hosting the Yuletide rare fandom fanfic exchange on the AO3 for the third time: 1,880 people participate and produce 2,958 stories.
Bigger and Better: Goals for 2012
We’re not done yet! Our goals for 2012 include:
- Further promoting diversity, inclusiveness and transparency
- Continuing to identify and apply for resource grants and outside funding
- Creation of Strategic Planning workgroup and roadmap
- OTW Community survey to be conducted from April 18 through May 2
- Continuing translation of the OTW’s main web site while developing additional international outreach
- Continuing to stabilize the AO3’s systems to handle traffic at the site
- Creation of a cross-committee workgroup to re-evaluate the fandom categories on the AO3
- Creation of a translation interface for the AO3’s front end
- Preparation and planning for hosting of fanart on the AO3
- Laying the groundwork for the Dark Archive and the Torrent of Our Own
- Facilitating imports of at-risk fan archives through the Open Doors project
- Releasing three more issues of our academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures
- Working on the next stage of DMCA exemptions
Finances / Statement of Financial Position
All currency amounts are presented in USD.
Organization for Transformative Works
STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
For the Year Ended December 31, 2011
Total Bank Accounts53207.7756817.39
|As of Dec 31, 2010||As of Dec 31, 2011|
|Total Accounts Receivable||0.00||0.00|
|Total Current Assets||53207.77||56817.39|
|Machinery & Equipment||4640.87||18982.83|
|Total Machinery & Equipment||8209.51||22774.51|
|Total Fixed Assets||8209.51||22774.51|
|Other Long-Term Assets||10060.05||10067.57|
|Total Other Assets||10060.05||10067.57|
|LIABILITIES AND EQUITY|
|TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY||71477.33||89659.47|
Finances / Statement of Activities
All currency amounts are presented in USD.
Organization for Transformative Works
STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES
January – December 2011
|Contributions and Membership Dues||46,101.68||0||46,101.68|
|Commissions & Fees||244.00||0||244.00|
|Dues & Subscriptions||729.00||0||729.00|
|Office/General Administrative Expenses||1,397.10||0||1,397.10|
|Other Miscellaneous Service Cost||365.00||0||365.00|
|Taxes & Licenses||25.00||0||25.00|
|Net Operating Income||18,174.62||0||18,174.62|
|Net Other Income— Interest Earned||7.52||0||7.52|
|Net Assets, beginning of the year||71,477.33||0||71,477.33|
|Net Assets, end of year||89,659.47||0||89,659.47|
|Change in Net Assets||18,182.14||0||18,182.14|
Finances / Statement of Functional Expenses
All currency amounts are presented in USD.
Organization for Transformative Works
STATEMENT OF FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES
For the Year Ended December 31, 2011
|Commissions & Fees||244.00||244.00|
|Dues & Subscriptions||729.00||729.00|
|Office/General Administrative Expenses||79.95||1,317.15||1,397.10|
|Other Miscellaneous Service Cost||24.00||341.00||365.00|
|Taxes & Licenses||25.00||25.00|
Finances / Notes to Financial Statements
Organization for Transformative Works
NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
December 31, 2011
1. Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Organization: The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware. The OTW was established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. The OTW is a collaborative effort initiated and driven by fans for fans.
Basis of Presentation: The accompanying financial statements are presented using the cash method of accounting.
Financial Statement Presentation: Information regarding the financial position and activities are classified into the applicable classes of net assets: unrestricted net assets, temporarily restricted net assets, and permanently restricted net assets. Currently, all assets are categorized as unrestricted. Furthermore, expenses are classified into program service expenses (currently, the creation of the fanworks archive, maintenance of the organization’s Web site, publication of the on-line journal Transformative Works and Cultures, and maintenance of the organization’s wiki, Fanlore) and support expenses. Support expenses are administrative and general, and fundraising expenses.
Cash and cash equivalents: The OTW maintains cash balances within federally insured limits. No cash equivalents are held by the organization.
Use of Estimates: The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Contributions: The OTW recognizes all unconditional contributions received as income in the period received. Contributions received are recorded as unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted support depending on the existence and/or nature of any donor restrictions. All contributions are considered to be available for unrestricted use unless specifically restricted by the donor.
Donated Services: The OTW does not assign a value to volunteer activities in the statement of activities. The in-kind donations included here included the payment of program and support costs.
Membership Dues — Membership dues are recognized as revenue based on the membership period covered by the member dues.
Functional Allocation of Expenses — The costs of providing the various programs and other activities of the organization have been summarized on a functional basis in the statement of activities. Accordingly, certain costs may have been allocated among the programs and supporting services benefited.
Income Taxes — The OTW is a 501(c)(3) organization exempt from Federal income and State franchise taxes under provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and Section 1902(b)(6), Title 30 of the Delaware State Taxation Code respectively. As such, no provision for income taxes has been provided in these financial statements.
Concentration of Credit Risk — The OTW maintains its cash balances at one bank. Accounts at the bank are insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000.
About the OTW / Mission
The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.
The OTW represents a practice of transformative fanwork historically rooted in a primarily female culture. The OTW will preserve the record of that history as we pursue our mission while encouraging new and non-mainstream expressions of cultural identity within fandom.
Having established the OTW as an IRS-recognized nonprofit and created a sustainable infrastructure through board, committees, volunteers, and membership, we are now invested in strengthening and sustaining our core products. First and foremost, we continue to build the Archive of Our Own. While we have currently achieved open beta, many additional features in the roadmap have yet to be built. We must also continue to build Fanlore, our wiki of fannish culture, by growing and supporting its editorial community. We are immensely proud of the editors of our journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, who have put out eight peer-reviewed issues on schedule, an achievement we must sustain. Last, we will continue our passionate advocacy as fans for fans, and to reach out to fans who make and enjoy fanworks all around the world.
About the OTW / Who We Are
The Organization for Transformative Works is run for fans by fans. The directors of OTW’s Board are all active in fandom, as are the more than 90 other people serving on our committees.
Board of Directors
KRISTEN MURPHY (President) is on the staff of the Individualized Major Program at Indiana University and is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. She co-organized the first U.S. conference on individualized major programs, which has become an annual event. She has worked on a professional Web development team and as a writer and editor for print and online media. Murphy joined online fandom in 1996 and is an avid writer, beta reader, and podficcer.
JENNY SCOTT-THOMPSON MA (Cantab) (Secretary) is an IT and management consultant for a major international firm and has several years of experience in systems implementation and technology projects. She studied maths at the University of Cambridge and lives in the UK. She is a lifelong fan and open-source developer. She volunteered for Dreamwidth before and during Open Beta, during which time she acquired first-hand awareness of diversity and accessibility issues.
JULIA BECK (Vice Secretary) is a student of media and communication studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany) and works as a communications and quality supervisor in customer support. She is a founding member of OTW’s Translation and Internationalization & Outreach committees. She identifies as a hardcore gamer, mainly of Western and JRPGs, but is a fan of fandom rather than any particular source.
NIKISHA SANDERS (Treasurer) holds a BA in sociology and anthropology from Earlham College, where she authored a senior thesis on gender representation among queer women. She has worked as an activist for AIDS awareness and education, lobbied for LGBT rights at the local and state level as staff for the Fairness Campaign, and served as member of the board of the Kentucky coalition of Jobs with Justice. She brings experience in non-profit management and accounting to the board, and has a personal interest in outreach to fannish communities of color. She joined online fandom in 2000.
FRANCESCA COPPA, PhD, is director of film studies and associate professor of English at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches courses in dramatic literature, popular fiction, and mass media storytelling. Her writings on media fandom have been included in Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet and presented at MIT’s Media in Transition conference. Coppa has been attending conventions and buying zines since the early 1980s and has been involved in online fandom since the mid-1990s as a writer, list administrator, vidder, archivist, and community moderator.
IRA GLADKOVA is a Web designer and developer who focuses on user interfaces, usability, accessibility, and Web standards. A community moderator and staff of two fandom newsletters, her work in an annual multi-fandom exchange involves co-moderation, the design and front-end coding of signup forms, and crafting guidelines that use inclusive language and welcome diversity across media, kinks, and gender preferences. Gladkova has created stories, art, comics, and graphics in over fifty fandoms, is an active reccer and beta reader, and hopes to finish her first vids soon.
NAOMI NOVIK is the New York Times-bestselling author of the award-winning Temeraire historical fantasy series. Previously, she also worked on the hit computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide and helped start up Juno Online Services. Novik has been active in online fandom since 1994, publishing stories and vids in more than fifty fandoms and founding several fan-run institutions: a multiuser online role-playing game begun in 1995, a vidding convention begun in 2002, and an annual cross-fandom story exchange begun in 2003. She created the open-source Automated Archive software used by many fanfic archives and helped to found the OTW in 2007, chairing the Board from its inception through the first three-year term.
About the OTW / Who We Are
Emerita Board Members
CATHY CUPITT, DCA (2007-2008) teaches writing and Shakespeare at the University of Western Australia and has a doctorate in creative arts from Curtin University of Technology. Her fiction has appeared in Australian magazines such as Westerly and Borderlands, and in 1997 she won the US$20,000 first prize in Hyundai’s 20th Anniversary World-wide Essay Contest. Since discovering fandom in 1988, Cupitt has written in nine fandoms, and she runs an active recommendations site. She has served on numerous fannish committees, including Australia’s 2001 national SF convention, for which she was a co-convenor.
MICHELLE TEPPER, PhD (2007-2008) is an interaction designer and usability expert who helps companies create memorable and successful software, web sites, and digital devices. She has published influential essays about online community and social software, and she is the former web producer for Lingua Franca magazine. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. Tepper was one of the creators and designers of buffistas.org, a fan-built, fan-maintained site centered on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The site has more than a thousand members and has been active for five years.
KELLYANN BESSA (2007-2009) has a BS in Management from Cardinal Stritch University, and currently works as a human resources consultant for an investment firm. She has been in fandom for nearly ten years as a writer, mailing list owner, community moderator, and webmaster. In addition to running several archives, she hosts and maintains websites for a number of fanfiction writers. She also works several hours a week at her local comic book store, and participates in the online feminist comic fan community.
SUSAN GIBEL, JD (2007-2009) is a senior manager with the nonprofit Center for Effective Public Policy, Inc., where she focuses on national training and technical assistance initiatives related to domestic violence and offender reentry. She has worked with antiviolence organizations on issues of domestic violence and queer rights and holds a law degree from the University of Minnesota. Gibel has been involved in fandom since the mid-1970s, and currently writes in a handful of fandoms, primarily Due South.
REBECCA TUSHNET, JD (2007-2010) is a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. A graduate of Yale Law School, she clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia and Associate Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court. She practiced intellectual property law at Debevoise & Plimpton before joining the NYU faculty, then moving to Georgetown. She has advised and represented several fanfiction sites in disputes with copyright and trademark owners and maintains a blog on intellectual property law at tushnet.blogspot.com. Tushnet has been active in online fandom since 1996.
ELIZABETH YALKUT (2010) is a student at Columbia University. She has worked in development, marketing, and strategy for nonprofit legal and theatre organizations, is a long-time ACLU volunteer, and currently works for the Educational Technology department at Barnard College. She also serves as the treasurer of the Columbia University Science Fiction Society.
RACHEL BARENBLAT (2009-2011) is co-founder of Inkberry, a literary arts nonprofit organization whose mission was to help every writer find her or his own voice. She has also served on the boards of two other nonprofit organizations. The six years she spent running Inkberry gave her expertise in nonprofit management, grantwriting, and building membership. A poet who blogs about issues of faith as “The Velveteen Rabbi” as well as an enthusiastic participant in online fandom since 1999, Barenblat has a long commitment both to transformative works and to writing as a mode of personal transformation.
HELE BRAUNSTEIN (2011) is a student at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, where she studies biological sciences and has worked in environmental research. A latinoamerican, Spanish-as-mother-tongue fan, Braunstein is active in diverse online platforms and fannish cultures. An advocate for international and panfandom accessibility, her focus is on non-English-speaking fans and those who use English as a fannish lingua franca. She has mentored fellow fans on basic writing skills and has served as part of a website moderating team. Braunstein volunteers in various capacities with Perfect Imagination, the Jane Austen Fanfiction Index, and the Regency Encyclopedia.
SHEILA LANE (2009-2011) has a master’s degree in business management and is a licensed certified public accountant. She works as a corporate accountant for a worldwide brokerage company and has expertise in both individual and small business taxation. Lane previously worked for the U.S. Senate, serving as a liaison between constituents and government agencies, particularly the Social Security Administration and the IRS. She blogs about money matters on LiveJournal under the name “sheila_cpa.” Lane has been involved in online fandom since 1994, going from a telnet BBS and ‘zines to mailing lists and LiveJournal. She has written in more than thirty fandoms, from Alias to Witchblade, serves as a frequent beta, and has moderated multiple mailing lists, communities, and challenges.
ALLISON MORRIS (2010-2011) has a BA in Japanese Literature from the University of Michigan and currently works in a public library as a public services supervisor. A lifelong fan, Morris is particularly interested in fanworks that honor the work of other fans and transform other fanworks, including remixes, podfic, recs, and other fan arts. She is a prolific creator and advocate of podfic; she built and maintains the Audiofic archive, providing a stable, permanent home for a constantly growing collection of podfic, and has conducted several podfic workshops.
Accessibility, Design, & Technology
Development & Membership
Internationalization & Outreach
Volunteers & Recruiting