September 2010 Newsletter, Vol 42

Welcome to our September 2010 newsletter! All the OTW news that’s fit to print, just below the cut.

No report.

Since last month, AD&T celebrated the archive’s birthday and deployed release 0.8.1! We’re now coming up on 110,000 works and 10,000 users, and we had our 3,000th commit to the project. Thanks to everyone who helped with and attended the AO3 birthday party, which was awesome!

Our next big project is upgrading the archive code to Rails 3 and Ruby 1.9. It’s a pretty significant undertaking, given how much code we have, but there should be some real upsides in terms of performance and code maintainability. We’ve also welcomed Kylie as the new co-lead of the testing subcommittee, and want to offer thanks in advance to the testers, who get to test ALL the pages in the archive when we do a big upgrade like this, and are thusly worth their collective weight in gold.

The Board has been working hard to be sure that all our committees are within reach of their 2010 goals. We are continuing individually to liaise with our individual committees, and are putting procedures in place to be sure that the OTW remains sustainable and effective.

Communications has been handling the OTW’s email correspondence and queries; we are also pleased to be working with International Outreach member Helka Lantto on getting more international voices and issues on our blog.

Content Policy:
No report.

Development & Membership:
This month DevMem worked with AD&T to throw a party for the first birthday of running the Archive of Our Own on fan-owned servers! We’ve nearly recovered from the experience, finally, and it was a blast, and we’re planning to do it again for next server birthday. We’re also quickly approaching our October fund drive and preparing exciting new donation premiums (still very SEKRIT, but trust us on this — they’re going to be awesome)! We’ve worked with the Open Video Alliance to sort out the details of having OTW representatives speaking at their upcoming conference, and our social media reach continues to flourish. We’re also heading into the busiest part of our grant-writing season, so we’ve been thrilled to welcome Alexandra Edwards to our team as a grants-focused volunteer working closely with Kate Mollen, our resident grants expert. We’ve also welcomed AnnaK, previously of the Volunteers and Recruiting committee, to our team – she’s starting her work with us by focusing her energies within a cross-committee workgroup on a mission to make the inner workings of the OTW more transparent and accessible to new potential volunteers. And we’re still churning away on everything else, of course — we have big plans for supporting all of the OTW’s big plans.

Same old, same old with the sharks of FinCom; still paying the bills, still operating in the black, still worshipping Shemar Moore.

International Outreach:
IO has been deeply embroiled in the minutiae of analyzing website texts with the Webmasters to make them even more internationally inclusive and accessible. We also spent waaaay too much time partying it up at the AO3 birthday bash, and happily linked up our member Helka as Comm liaison. In translation news, we’re hoping to get a Portuguese translation team off the ground (cross your fingers for us!)

Journal released issue Number 5 of TWC on time and to much rejoicing! But not that much: we are hard at work on the next THREE issues.

The Legal Committee is excited to support the OTW’s newest initiative: the Fair Use Curriculum project. We plan to create a team of educators, students, parents, and lawyers who will develop a United States copyright law curriculum for high school students. The aim of this project is to educate and inform students about the copyright and trademark issues that impact their lives, including the principles of fair use and the concept of transformative works. The resulting curriculum will be made available at no cost to educators worldwide. Interested? Read our post to find out more.

Open Doors:
Open Doors has begun the process of brokering two more large collections of zines for the Fan Culture Preservation project: that of long-time fan Susan M. Garrett, who recently died, and that of Morgan Dawn. We have also been working with ADT to outline the complex and multi-committee procedure for importing huge archives to the AO3.

Support doesn’t have a lot to report this month! The Birthday Party definitely increased interest in the Archive, so we’ve been fielding an elevated number of tickets since then, a good chunk of which either begin or end with how much the user loves the Archive (yay!). We’re moving forward with Support Liaison positions, process documentation, FAQ, and tutorial reviews as well as the proposal for the new Support Board. Next month’s update should be huge.

Systems is happy to announce that once again nothing has ‘sploded on their watch. This month we’ve been spec’ing out the new archive servers with AD&T, improving monitoring, and struggling with 32-bit versus 64-bit issues.

Tag Wrangling:
Tag Wrangling continues to stay very busy! We have liaised with Support, International Outreach, and AD&T to make small but important changes that increase inclusiveness and welcome diverse fannish cultures. We’ve continued to work on our internal standards as well, and are planning to make our processes more transparent to users — watch for an upcoming blog post! We’ve also successfully developed our planned policies regarding wrangler absences and retirement.

Vidding is continuing to work on carrying out the OTW Vidding Roadmap, including the Dark Archive and the Torrent of Our Own. We’re sending representatives to speak at the Open Video Conference this weekend, and a representative of ADT will be attending the technical panels so that we can keep up to date on cutting-edge developments in open source video hosting technology.

Volunteers & Recruiting:
Here in VolCom we’ve implemented our on-call rotation system this month, which is going swimmingly and allowing us to focus on all of our end of term tasks. We’re putting the finishing touches on our annual willing-to-serve and still-willing-to-serve calls, and are also planning to reach out to all of our current non-staff volunteers to be sure that we know if they have interest in any of our standing committees. We’ve done some work to clean up ALL the OTW mailing lists. We’ve got bittersweet news this month, as well — longterm volcomrade AnnaK has transferred to the Development & Membership committee — she’s still helping us out, though (we’re crafty like that). She’s working on the cross-committee effort to make our work more transparent to potential volunteers, which directly benefits us (well, okay, and the entire OTW). We’ve also been talking quite a bit about how awesome VolCom is, and how cool and rewarding we think our work is, and how weirdly challenging it is to convey that to potential new volunteers. We make everything go! We help everyone! It’s pretty great, and we all exist in the happy glow of carrying out a fulfilling mission as a result. We’re working toward a better explanation of why it’s a great committee to work in than the previous sentences, but if you or anyone you know has an interest in helping people help the OTW, give us a holler and volunteer now. Then you can brag on how you twigged to our awesome before we even laid it all out! 😀

The Webmasters have been busy in the last month! We’re building a calendar for the website where we’ll be able to advertise OTW events, such as the recent AO3 birthday chat, as well as external events like fannish cons, academic conferences, and technology meetups. We hope to launch the calendar in October. We’re collaborating with VolCom and DevMem to produce new resources for volunteer recruitment so that potential volunteers will be better informed about opportunities within OTW and what the work involves. We’re working on a redesign of the website’s “Contact Us” page. We also assisted the Journal committee with layout for TWC Issue 5, and we’ve been consulting with International Outreach on some rewrites of website content.

This month the Wiki Committee has updated the administrators description and capitalization policy as well as updating the “What Fanlore is not” page. We posted the Intro to Fanlore FAQ for comment, and a follow-up revision to Question 10. We’ve continued to post bi-weekly challenges on the Dreamwidth community, this time we invited people to add material about their first fandoms. We’ve started recruiting new gardeners — let us know if you’re interested in helping us out!

We’re still working on the Image Policy FAQ, but we hope to have it available for comment soon.


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