Results of Server Naming Contest!

Drumroll, please… it’s time to announce the winners of the server name poll which we conducted a while back! In this post you’ll find the winning names — and also some metadiscussion about why it’s taken us so long to announce the winners of the poll.

First, we want to thank everyone who worked on orchestrating the process, collecting name nominations, and creating the slate of names on which fans voted — and especially everyone who cast a vote in the poll and let us know which names please you most.

Here are the names which won the vote:

* DB: Ada Lovelace
* Rails: Sherlock Holmes & John Watson
* Storage: TARDIS
* O1: Spock
* O2: James T. Kirk
* Switch: Nyota Uhura

Hooray for these names and for our awesome servers of our very own!

And now for the promised metadiscussion.

The reason it’s taken us so long to announce the winners is that once the voting was already underway, some folks within the OTW raised concerns that the results might not fully reflect the fannish diversity which we want to promote and celebrate. There was concern that the relatively narrow scope of the winners – plus the absence of beloved character names from any non-Western fandoms or genres like gaming – might make some fans feel alienated.

Our intention was always to celebrate fandoms that we love — but never to make fans who don’t share these fandoms feel unwelcome. Once that possibility was raised, we entered into a period of intense discussion.

Here’s where we’ve arrived: first, we do want to celebrate these names and the fans who voted for them! And we also want to move forward with a continuing commitment to fannish diversity, and to make future choices in a way which will make all fans feel welcome taking advantage of org projects.

We’ve had some great conversations already about how to do more diversity work in the future. For instance, next time we run a poll for new server names (because someday we will need even more machines!) we might choose to design the poll in such a way that one machine gets a name drawn from anime fandoms, and another machine gets a name drawn from gaming fandoms, and so on. And/or: next time we have machines to name, we might draw from the pool of names which were runners-up in this election — runners-up included Zelda, Dick Grayson, Sailors Uranus and Neptune, and Izumi Curtis.

Those are two ideas; we’re hoping that you guys have more. We welcome your suggestions about how best to make, and keep, the OTW and the OTW’s projects (the AO3, Fanlore, Open Doors, etc.) open and welcoming to fans from a diverse range of fannish backgrounds. Please feel free to offer suggestions here, or to contact us anytime.