September 2013 Newsletter, Volume 73

For more information about the purviews of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.

I. FINDING AO3 CONTENT

Several workgroups have been focused on improving aspects of the Archive of Our Own. To that end, Category Change offered a proposal affecting the way fandoms are organized on the site, and asked for feedback from users. The comment period closed on October 1, and the workgroup will now begin evaluating the proposal in light of user comments.

The Content Policy workgroup underwent a similar process a few months ago regarding the addition of fannish non-fiction content to the AO3. The Board has now approved the Terms of Service revision but asked for changes to the FAQ. The ToS revision will be going to the coders for posting shortly while representatives from Support, Abuse, and Tag Wrangling review the FAQ.

II. KEEPING THINGS MOVING FORWARD

Development & Membership has kicked off the OTW’s membership drive, and is hard at work answering questions and processing contributions!

Journal came out bang on time with issue 14 which marked their 5-year anniversary. Kudos to the production team members and all volunteers to the committee, past and present!

Speaking of anniversaries, the OTW celebrated its sixth year on September 5, and Communications posted a spotlight on the OTW’s Internationalization & Outreach committee.

Legal’s had another busy month, responding to queries from both inside and outside the org. Outside the org, they’ve helped a few fans with legal questions and requests for assistance, and helped Support and Abuse respond to fan queries with legal implications. Inside the org, they’ve responded to queries from VolCom, DevMem, and the Board, and worked with Communications to draft posts about U.S. legal and legislative news relating to fandom and fanworks.

As part of our legal advocacy mission, they have also been collaborating with other organizations on preparing (still confidential) friend-of-the-court briefs in support of pending cases relating to fandom and fanworks. When that work becomes public, we’ll post more about it. As part of this advocacy work, they issued a call for stories relating to DMCA take-downs of fanworks, and how fans have dealt with ‘right of publicity’ questions. The deadline for sending them this information is October 11, so if you can help, please contact them.

Open Doors welcomed two new staffers, with whose fanpower they’re helping the mod of The Good Omens Library manually import the archive’s stories into the AO3. They are also preparing to help two other archives advertise and manually import their works.

Systems has moved the virtual server hosting the MySQL backup servers and a number of test machines onto new hardware, and has been developing their training plan.

III. ELSEWHERE AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design and Technology successfully deployed Release 0.9.9 to the AO3, and is currently working on the next release, slated for the start of October. A few more deploys should occur before the end of the year, all relatively small to keep the work load manageable.

AD&T staffer Scott has been working on FAQ backend improvements, and is now adding translation capabilities in cooperation with the Translation committee. They have also launched the first of two new series of posts. AO3 Mailbag discussed why apps will not be coming to the site anytime soon, while two posts offered users ways to filter out certain tags, or generate a list of works that are either one rating or another.

While unseen to AO3 visitors, a huge effort has resulted in the AD&T internal wikispace having nearly half of its 350 pages archived, making it easier for the committee to organize and update pertinent documentation and training materials. They have just begun recruiting coders who have experience in Ruby on Rails, JavaScript/jQuery, MySQL databases, elasticsearch, Redis, Resque, Memcached, or Squid, among others.

Abuse has seen nearly triple the ticket numbers this year compared to last year’s totals (2012: ~400 / 2013: ~1150). As a result, Abuse is getting ready to recruit! If you’re interested in serving on the Abuse committee, keep an eye out for their post in a few weeks.

Tag Wrangling staff have been organizing their own final recruitment of the year, focusing on finding wranglers for a few specific fandoms. Meanwhile, its other 200 volunteers work tirelessly to keep the new incoming tags in line across all our fandoms (over 13,000 now with new ones every day!)

Last but never least, Support has added two more people to keep up with the ever-increasing tide of user assistance requests. They received 397 unique tickets in August, a slight decrease from July, but on par with the year-to-date average.

IV. GOVERNANCE

The Board has been hard at work on Project Document All the Things. Each draft will go through several rounds of review: one by the Board, one by VolCom and Legal, and a final round in which all staffers and volunteers may offer feedback. In addition, several documents also have a round of review by chairs before the final org-wide review period. So far one document, the position description for directors, has progressed to the chairs stage of feedback, and many other documents are scheduled to move on to the VolCom/Legal stage during the first week of October.

Strategic Planning has finished surveying the Support Committee staff, Survey Workgroup volunteers and Grant Workgroup volunteers. They have prepared surveys for all other workgroups, both active and inactive, and hope to finish deploying those surveys in the upcoming month. Their reports on Wiki Committee/Fanlore and Systems are currently under review by the respective committees. They have also written the initial draft of a report for Survey Workgroup and plan to begin drafting the report for Support.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting processed 6 roles for recruitment and answered over 60 inquiries from chairs, staff, and volunteers which, along with documentation work, kept them quite busy!

As always, we welcome our new volunteers and thank our departing ones for their time and contributions.

New Committee Chairs: Matty Lynne (Abuse)
New Committee Staff: Bonnie Eisenman (Web Strategy, Design & Development), Caitlin M. (Web Strategy, Design & Development), Dorothy Stachowiak (Open Doors), Megan Cummings (Open Doors), Ina (Communications), Stephanie Chrystal (Communications), Allie C. (Support) and 1 Support staffer.
Departing Committee Chairs: Sherry Nehmer (Abuse)
Departing Committee Staff: Cat Meier (Abuse), Jay Bee (Systems), 1 AD&T Staffer, 1 Translation staffer, 2 Support staffers, 1 Communications staffer, 1 Volunteers & Recruiting staffer, 1 Tag Wrangling Staffer.
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 3
Departing Tester Volunteers: Jay Bee