Application: Accessibility, Design & Technology Committee – Coding Volunteer

Position Title: Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee Coding Volunteer

Committee: Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee

Reports to: AD&T Committee Chair(s), AD&T Committee Senior Volunteers

Time Requirements: Following the initial training period:

  • 4 hours of chat every month
  • 1 pull request every 2 months

Term: 1 Year

Role overview: Coding volunteers work on the otwarchive software that powers the Archive of Our Own. They develop features, fix bugs, and write tests in accordance with priorities set by AD&T senior volunteers. To keep up-to-date with these priorities, they participate in chat and review minutes from committee meetings.
Reliable coding volunteers who demonstrate a high level of commitment and wish to have more input and take on more responsibilities may be recruited as committee senior volunteers.


Skills, experience, and attributes: Coding volunteers should be self-motivated and have a genuine desire to work with the complex code that powers the Archive of Our Own. They should have previous experience in web development and be willing to learn and work with the following technologies and tools:


  • Server-side technologies
    Previous experience with a server-side coding language is a must; experience with one or more of our technologies is a bonus!

    • Ruby on Rails
    • MySQL
    • Elasticsearch
    • Redis
    • Resque
    • Memcached


  • Automated testing technologies
    We (strive to!) practice test-driven development.

    • Capybara
    • Cucumber
    • RSpec


  • Front-end technologies
    The Archive has an established set of inhouse design patterns suitable for most projects, but knowledge of our front-end technologies is extremely helpful.

    • HTML5
    • CSS
    • JavaScript and jQuery


  • Tools
    • JIRA for bug tracking
    • Vagrant, webdev, or local installations for development
    • GitHub for version control and code documentation
    • Slack and mailing lists for discussion
    • Mediawiki for internal documentation


Training: Coding volunteers will be trained in the tools and procedures for their role, through both tutorial-based self-study and one-on-one guidance in chat. New volunteers are expected to drop into the #ao3-adt Slack channel at least once a week for informal, ongoing support while they familiarize themselves with the Archive code base.

[expand title=”Code of Conduct” targclass=”highlight”]


The code of conduct outlines obligations of the Organization for Transformative Works staff and volunteers. The Code of Conduct assists with building a positive workplace culture based on our core values of collaboration, openness, respect, and empowerment.

The Code of Conduct applies to all board, staff, volunteers, and outside persons working in the OTW, and outlines guidelines for behavior within and between board, committees, subcommittees, workgroups, and volunteer pools.

Ethical conduct is not a passive process, but requires conscious choices and decisions, and the exercise of good judgement, consistent with the ethical values of the organization embodied in this code. The code is here to provide general guidelines, and cannot cover every potential situation. If you find yourself in a situation where proper conduct isn’t self-evident, please contact your Board liaison, chair, lead, or a member of the Volunteers & Recruiting Committee.

Responsibilities under the Code

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) expects all board, chairs, leads, staff, volunteers, and outside persons working in the OTW (collectively referred to as ‘personnel’) to adhere to the standards set out by the Code of Conduct.

All personnel working in the OTW must be given a copy of the Code of Conduct to read and sign on commencement of their work. Signing the Code indicates the signee agrees to abide by the Code of Conduct and the core values and principles it promotes. Chairs and leads must ensure that the personnel they supervise are aware of and understand their responsibilities under the Code.

The Board of Directors, chairs and leads have a responsibility to investigate alleged breaches of the Code promptly, and in a fair and reasonable manner. They need to assess the seriousness of any alleged breaches and depending on severity, offenders may be subject to conflict resolution, corrective action, or dismissal.

Organization for Transformative Works Core Values


We are an organization that believes in its people and is people centered.

  • Our leaders are role models for our core values and they are accountable to each other and to the larger Organization to maintain and promote those values.
  • We willingly work in teams to develop products, projects, and strategies that empower fandom.
  • Our teams are strong because we acknowledge the diversity of skills and approaches each member brings to the organization.
  • We encourage and recognize the efforts of each volunteer/staff member in the organization.


We want fandom, the larger general public, and each serving volunteer/staff member to have confidence in the OTW.

  • We foster greater confidence and cooperation through open communication and transparency about our processes.
  • Our performance is open to public scrutiny through user and personnel surveys.
  • We welcome and use feedback as a tool to do better.
  • We encourage members of the OTW, whether serving or not, to voice their ideas as well as their concerns by making it clear that speaking up is worthwhile and valued.
  • We attempt to communicate clearly and with integrity.


We believe in consideration for all personnel and their ideas.

  • We never lose sight of everyone’s right to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect.
  • We listen to OTW members, the fandom community, and each other.
  • We welcome new ideas and ways of doing things to improve our projects and our performance within individual committees, workgroups and volunteer pools.
  • Each of us is responsible for the culture of the OTW.
  • We have zero tolerance for bullying and no-one, no matter how senior, is exempt.


We want each person serving in the OTW to be able to view their work as a source of pride and personal development. To this end

  • We encourage and support local decision making and innovation.
  • We accept that with local decision making comes responsibility and accountability.
  • We make best use of resources and experience to meet community expectations.
  • While we seek direction from our leaders, we believe that everyone is empowered to make a difference in our organization.
  • As individuals, we can improve OTW culture and performance by addressing issues that hold us back.

The Code of Conduct

Work Environment

  • The OTW values custom and culture. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect and be sensitive to differences in backgrounds and approaches.
  • Treat everyone within the organization in a way that promotes collaboration and a harmonious work environment.
  • Strive to create an environment wherein each person serving in the OTW is empowered to create and develop their ideas.
  • When appropriate, attempt to resolve differences, grievances or complaints with other members directly first, then through your committee chair or Volunteers & Recruiting in accordance with OTW policies, while recognizing that other members have their own perspectives and rights.
  • The following behavior will not be tolerated, regardless of whether it is directed at fellow personnel, or a participant, donor, software user or anybody else:
    • Verbal, physical, or visual harassment. Harassment is repeated, unwelcome and unsolicited behavior that is offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening. Harassment can include anything from aggressive behaviors to subtle intimidation, from overt ridicule and threats to sabotaging someone’s work or spreading rumors with the intent to cause harm.
    • Actual or threatened violence.
    • Discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, ability, gender identity, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, status within fannish contexts or role within the OTW itself.

Organization Records and Communications

Personnel should use OTW communication tools in connection with all matters pertaining to the OTW. This helps personnel keep their OTW communications organized and accessible. Please refrain from contacting personnel through non-OTW tools or outside of official channels unless invited to do so, or with committee agreement that it is appropriate. Similarly, please use only OTW tools when communicating with users regarding official OTW matters. Please do not conduct official OTW business with users outside of the official tools, unless there is committee agreement that it is appropriate.


In the course of performing their duties, personnel may encounter private information about or provided by OTW staff members and volunteers. All OTW staff and volunteers are expected to uphold the standards of confidentiality required of them by their chosen committee, workgroup or volunteer pool. Outing another fan may result in immediate dismissal from the OTW. Avoid connecting any fannish persona, name used within the OTW, and/or legal name, without that person’s explicit permission.

Public statements about the OTW

Feel free to discuss your work in the OTW as you would any other job or hobby. Be respectful of confidential information and the ease with which miscommunication and misunderstandings can occur, especially on the internet.

  • Never share information about personnel, financial, or legal matters that have not been officially revealed by the OTW.
  • Be transparent when discussing the OTW; make it clear that you are OTW personnel, but speaking for yourself, not on behalf of the OTW. Official statements regarding OTW performance and policy will usually go through Communications and/or Legal committees.
  • Please avoid talking about others’ projects unless they are already officially announced and under public discussion.
  • If responding to a post about the OTW in someone else’s space (a blog, tumblr, twitter, etc. not your own), please be sensitive to the audience of that space, and try to avoid accidental trolling.
  • If you’re participating in OTW under your legal name and don’t want it linked to your fannish identity, please exercise caution in the ways you choose to share that information.


[expand title=”OTW One Name Policy”]

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) asks that all staffers and volunteers use the same name in all places within organization-wide tools. To avoid confusion, we also require that the name for each staffer or volunteer be unique.

You can choose to use either your fannish name or your legal name for OTW purposes, but bear in mind that the name you choose will be how you are known for your work with the OTW. Furthermore, depending on the position(s) you hold, your name may be publicly used in some places to refer to you or your work. If you are not comfortable using your legal name in public spaces online, it is best to use your fannish name for OTW work. On the other hand, if you would like to cite your OTW work on your resume or otherwise link your OTW work to your legal name, it is best to choose your legal name.

If the name you choose has already been used by a current or former staffer or volunteer, we may ask you to modify your choice to make it unique.

If you are applying to be a Tag Wrangling volunteer, your desired OTW name may be different from your AO3 account name, but please be aware that your OTW name may be linked with your AO3 name in the course of your wrangling work.


Please click the headings above to expand the Code of Conduct and OTW Name Policy and read them before answering the questions.