September 2016 Newsletter, Volume 106


The 2016 OTW Board Election was held and the results have been posted! Congratulations to the new Board members, Kristina Busse and Priscilla Del Cima! They will begin their terms on November 1st. We wish them nothing but good things during their service.

Thank you to the candidates and everyone who participated, particularly those who attended the two candidate chats in their new format. Elections also wants to thank all the committees that made this possible; it was a true team effort.

Next year’s election is currently planned for August, which is intended as its new permanent home.

Should the process ever see any other changes, we’ll always be sure to keep you updated through the Elections website, on the OTW Elections Tumblr account, the OTW Elections Twitter account, and in this newsletter.


This month, Open Doors announced two new imports (The Basement, ScullySlash, and the Spooky Awards and Sinful Desire) and the project was highlighted in the OTW anniversary festivities. Much appreciation to the Communications team for organizing an interview with Versaphile (mod of several imported archives), an interview with Open Doors staffer Alison Watson, and a live chat with panelists from the three biggest academic fandom collections: University of Iowa (our partner in the Fan Culture Preservation Project), Texas A&M University, and Bowling Green University. We’d also like to thank Translation for their fast turnarounds as usual!

This was also the first month Open Doors internally recruited tag wranglers to help us with pre-import searching (to minimize duplicates for an import), and they did an amazing job searching almost 9,000 works for the Warp 5 Complex and The Hex Files archives. Many, many thanks to Tag Wrangling for continuing to help us map tags for all upcoming Open Doors imports!

Speaking of Tag Wrangling, two new guidelines were adopted as part of the team’s ongoing metatag reduction project; one concerning how ambiguous canonical tags should be handled, and the second regarding character-specific tags in the Alternate Universe tree.

Due to the recent guideline updates, wranglers in many fandoms have been reexamining their existing canonical tags, and discovering that a large number are out of date. Several fandoms will be seeing tags updated to be guideline-compliant over the next few months. This will mostly involve adding disambiguations to ambiguous tags, but may also involve formatting changes to character or relationship tags, as well as reductions in metatagging in the freeforms.


Abuse received about 500 tickets this month! The team is currently switching to a new ticket tool, and the Abuse form has been updated.

Communications celebrated the OTW’s anniversary with a public chat featuring three experts in curation and preservation of fannish history.

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed several batches of code (summarized in the Release Notes for 0.9.154 – 0.9.158 and 0.9.159 – 0.9.163), including changes to the Abuse report form, more invisible improvements and several substantial bug fixes. The team has also added some more documentation to our GitHub presence, to invite more contributions from coders outside the OTW. Accessibility, Design & Technology has been working with one such contributor on an exciting improvement for gift exchanges, which is currently being tested and should hopefully go live soon.

As for the most exciting news of all, the team has found a fantastic contractor whom they are looking to task with upgrading the Archive’s version of Rails (the web development framework the AO3 is built on), which has been urgently due for an update for a while. It’s a comprehensive, fiddly project, and we’re glad to be able to outsource a large chunk of the work involved. Thank you to the Board, Legal, Finance, and all the OTW donors who make this possible!

Throughout September, Webs has worked to resolve and refine several visual and practical features across They’re in the midst of minimising loading times, creating a new and improved board minutes display, and other internal improvements.

Journal came out bang on time with issue No. 22 of Transformative Works and Cultures! The team also has most of the table of contents set for one of the two guest-edited issues for the first half of 2017, and contents of the other special issue are almost ready. They have a special issue call for papers out for a 2018 issue, and they hope to add another soon.

Development & Membership has been hard at work preparing for the October drive, writing posts and emails, making infographics, choosing new thank you gifts and making changes to our donation forms. The drive starts on October 13, so keep an eye out!


Finance has published the 2016 budget update! More internal work is being done to make sure that the OTW’s finances are running smoothly.

In September, OTW Legal partnered with our ally Public Knowledge to file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Lenz v. Universal. This continues our work on the long-running case, which concerns the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice-and-takedown system. Under that system, copyright owners can ask Internet hosts (like the Archive of Our Own) to take down works that infringe copyright. But before doing so, the copyright owners have to state their belief that the work is actually infringing—for example, that the work isn’t fair use.

Last year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that before sending a takedown notice, copyright owners need to form a belief that the work is not fair use, but they held that a “subjective good faith belief” is enough. Although this ruling was a step in the right direction, the OTW believes that the court set the standard too low. So in this brief, Legal argued that the Supreme Court should examine that standard. They argued that allowing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to stand would chill freedom of expression on the Internet and invite censorship by allowing copyright owners to send DMCA takedown notices without adequately considering or understanding the actual law of fair use.


As of September 27, the OTW has 580 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below:

New Committee Staff: sveritas (Finance), Cesy (Finance), and 2 other Finance staffers, 1 Translation staffer, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting, Sandra Strauch (Communications)
New Coder Volunteers: Carlos Martín
New Translator Volunteers: Zane Valule

Departing Committee Staff: Jeniouis (Webs), billiethepoet (Strategic Planning), ashleyhasahat (Communications), 1 AO3 Documentation staffer, 1 Webs
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Kits, defe and 5 other volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Carmen, Chintan, Noura, and 3 other volunteers

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.


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