10 years of AO3

Ten Years of AO3: Rebecca Sentance

Rebecca Sentance is the chair for Fanlore, a staffer for Docs, and a layout editor for Transformative Works and Cultures. We’re hearing from her as the second part in our five-part series celebrating ten years since the launch of AO3. Whilst she hasn’t been at the OTW quite as long as our previous poster, Francesca Coppa, Rebecca has made a big name for herself as an OTW volunteer involved in many of our different committees. Here is what she has to say about her experiences working for us:

I first became involved with the OTW as a volunteer in 2015, but I’d wanted to volunteer for years before that. A combination of being a full-time student and always just missing the window for recruitment kept me from doing it until the summer after I’d finished my Masters degree. I’d finally decided to get serious about volunteering, and had set up an alert on the OTW Volunteering page to monitor it for any changes. The first committee that opened recruitment after I did that was the AO3 Documentation Committee (Docs for short). I applied, and the rest is history!

Being one of the people responsible for drafting and editing AO3’s help documentation (FAQs and tutorials) has given me an exciting front-row seat to some of our big coding changes over the years. My proudest moment so far as an OTW volunteer – apart from when AO3 won a Hugo Award! – is having been involved in testing the massive upgrade to AO3’s searching and filtering that was released last year, and getting my name in the release notes. I am also fond of the Unofficial Browser Tools FAQ, which I had to beta for my first task as a Docs committee member. It gave me the opportunity to download and play with a lot of fun userscripts and tools.

When I created my AO3 account in 2011, I was mainly attracted by the tags, and the way that users could create new fandoms and relationships just by tagging them. I was proud to publish one of the first fics in the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides fandom! Nowadays, I write a lot of fic for a small podcast fandom, and there’s still no greater joy than creating a tag that’s never been used before.