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Organization for Transformative Works: Membership Drive, 9th-11th April 2021

Now that the Organization for Transformative Works’ April membership drive has ended, we would like to thank everyone who participated. We are stunned and grateful to say that during the drive, we raised US$264,918.85 from 9110 donors in 84 countries, far exceeding our target of US$50,000. We also increased our membership to 16,842 members total. You are incredible: thank you!

We’d particularly like to offer our sincere thanks to our OTW members. During this drive, we had 4,348 donors choose OTW membership. Thank you for your donations, year after year. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to fund our projects: you really are the bedrock on which the OTW is built. To show our appreciation, we now have a membership rewards program. After three, five, and ten years of OTW membership, members will be eligible to receive exclusive gifts! And of course, it’s our OTW members who vote for our Board of Directors. More news on our upcoming elections will be forthcoming soon.

This drive wouldn’t have been possible without all of our volunteers, who worked so hard to make sure everything ran smoothly. Thank you all for your help! We’d also like to extend our gratitude to everyone who talked, tweeted, or posted about the drive. Your support made a real difference. Thank you so much!

And finally: this drive has officially ended, but you can make a donation and join the OTW year-round. You have until June 30, 2021 to become a member in time to be eligible to vote in our next election in August!

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Organization for Transformative Works: Membership Drive, 9th-11th April 2021

The Organization for Transformative Works was founded by fans for fans in 2007, with the mission of serving fandom by preserving and encouraging the creation of transformative works. Fourteen years later, our commitment remains unwavering. Whether through legal advocacy against fan-unfriendly legislation worldwide, rescuing endangered fanworks, recording fan history, providing a venue for fan studies scholarship, or hosting your fanworks old and new, the OTW is working to protect fans and the transformative works they create.

But we can't do it without your help. As we do in April and October every year, over the next three days we are asking you to consider joining the OTW and donating to support our work. If you aren't able to donate at this time, please consider sharing news of our drive with others in your fandom networks, and please know that however you show your commitment to the OTW, your participation and enthusiasm are very much appreciated.

To express our gratitude for the generosity of our donors, we have a new addition to our array of thank-you gifts. You can claim the rainbow kudos sticker set when you make a donation of US$40 or above. Yes, you can finally award kudos to your friends, pets, and household items!

Six stickers, each featuring the AO3 logo with five rainbow-colored kudos hearts in an arc above it. The logo is depicted in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Remember, if you are not able to donate at this level but would like to claim this or another thank-you gift, you can do so by choosing to donate a smaller amount on a regular basis through our recurring donations page. Just contact our Development and Membership team once you have set up your recurring donation and let them know which item you would like to save up for. They will begin counting your running total towards the thank-you gift of your choice.

Donations of US$10 or above also make the donor eligible for OTW membership. Members will receive a special digital icon, which you can use on your account on AO3 or on social media. More importantly, membership enables you to vote in the annual elections to the OTW's Board of Directors. Find out more about membership and voting here.

For OTW supporters in the United States, one easy way to add value to your donation is through employer donation matching. Many employers will make equivalent donations to charitable causes supported by their employees: why not speak to your employer to see if they offer this perk?

No matter if you’ve been around for every drive since our inception, or if this is your very first, we’re grateful for your support and involvement. Let’s work together to make this drive a success: and if you are able to do so, donate today!

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Organization for Transformative Works: 2021 Budget

During the last year, the OTW Finance team has continued its work of ensuring that the organization's bills are paid, tax returns filed, and standard accounting procedures met. Preparation for the 2020 audit of financial statements is currently ongoing!

The team has also been diligently working to meet the OTW's 2021 needs, and is proud to present to you this year's budget (access the 2021 budget spreadsheet for more detailed information):

2021 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 75.0%. Open Doors: 0.2%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 0.3%. Fanlore: 2.7%. Legal Advocacy: 0.9%. Con Outreach: 0.1%. Grant - Vidding Book: 0.1% Admin: 11.2%. Fundraising: 9.5%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$26,728.93 spent; US$389,523.46 left

  • US$26,728.93 spent so far out of US$416,252.39 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • 75.0% of the OTW's expenses go towards maintaining the AO3. This includes the bulk of our server expenses—both new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance—website performance monitoring tools, and various systems-related licenses, as well as costs highlighted below (access all program expenses).
  • This year's projected AO3 expenses also contain US$115,000.00 in contractor costs to finish up work on moving AO3 collection searching to Elasticsearch, to upgrade the Archive to Rails 6.1, and to do an external audit of the AO3 site to find any security issues that need to be fixed.
  • Additionally, AO3 expenses include a planned US$203,000.00 for an expansion of server capacity to handle expected site traffic growth through the year. It is possible that some parts of this activity will be postponed to next year depending on various circumstances; the updated budget to be released later this year will provide additional information.

Open Doors

US$128.88 spent; US$735.29 left

  • US$128.88 spent so far out of US$864.17 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • Open Doors' expenses consist of hosting, backup, and domain costs for imported fanwork archives (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures

US$339.00 spent; US$1,492.00 left

  • US$339.00 spent so far out of US$1,831.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures' expenses are the journal's website hosting, publishing, and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Fanlore

US$1,017.54 spent; US$14,234.12 left

  • US$1,017.54 spent so far out of US$15,251.66 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • Fanlore's expenses are its share of allocated server hardware, maintenance and colocation costs (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

US$0.00 spent; US$5,000.00 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$5,000.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • Legal's expenses consist of filing fees and registration fees for conferences and hearings (access all program expenses).

Con Outreach

US$0.00 spent; US$500.00 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$500.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • Budgeted expenses include US$100.00 for producing flyers for virtual cons and US$400.00 for other convention outreach activities on behalf of the OTW (access all program expenses).

Grant for F. Coppa book on the History of Fanvidding

US$0.00 spent; US$598.32 left

  • US$0.00 spent so far out of US$598.32 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • The money for this grant comes from a donation made to the OTW in 2020 for the specific purpose of covering costs related to the production of Francesca Coppa's book on the history of fanvidding. The University of Michigan will publish the book and host the fanvids, as well as make it accessible for free online for everyone to read and use.
  • Budgeted expenses are for additional proofreading and publication (access all program expenses).

Fundraising

US$5,657.33 spent; US$46,906.67 left

  • US$5,657.33 spent so far out of US$52,564.00 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for each donation, thank-you gift purchases and shipping, and the tools used to host the OTW's membership database and track communications with donors and potential donors (access fundraising expenses).

Administration

US$3,154.33 spent; US$58,757.48 left

  • US$3,154.33 spent so far out of US$61,911.81 total this year, as of February 28, 2021.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, and annual financial statement audits, as well as communication, management, and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2021 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 13.9%. October drive donations: 20.8%. Non-drive donations: 55.4%. Donations from matching programs: 9.7%. Interest income: 0.1%. Royalties: 0.1%. Other Income: <0.1%.

  • The OTW is entirely supported by your donations—thank you for your generosity!
  • We receive a significant portion of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together should account for about 35% of our income in 2021. We also receive donations via employer matching programs, royalties, Amazon Smile, and PayPal Giving Fund, which administers donations from programs like Humble Bundle and eBay for Charity. If you'd like to support us while making purchases on those websites, please select the Organization for Transformative Works as your charity of choice!
  • Thanks to your generosity in previous years, we have a healthy amount of money in our reserves, which we can use to pay for larger than usual purchases. As mentioned previously, we plan to continue to upgrade the capacity of the Archive's servers, which significantly increases server equipment and server hosting expenses. The growth of the Archive and other projects of the OTW also requires more volunteers and administrative support, further increasing expenses. The budget spreadsheet projects a withdrawal of US$195,000.00 from reserves to cover the costs that exceed the amount of revenue to be received this year. This amount may be withdrawn as needed during the year.
  • US$55,553.19 received so far (as of February 28, 2021) and US$360,575.00 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$55,553.19 donated; US$305,021.81 left

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the budget or the OTW's finances, please contact the Finance committee. We will also be hosting an open chat to answer any questions you may have. This chat will take place in our public chatroom on April 10 at 8pm UTC (what time is that in my timezone?).

Click through here to access the chatroom where the meeting will be held. Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW's 2021 budget in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

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Published:
2021-04-05 12:18:12 -0400
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Banner of a paper airplane emerging from an envelope with the words 'OTW Newsletter: Organization for Transformative Works

I. LEGAL ADVOCACY

In March, Legal has been busy working for fans! They submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opposing proposed changes to online copyright law, they submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office arguing for renewal and clarification of the vidders’ exemption to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anticircumvention provisions, and they joined allies in sending a letter to the newly-appointed U.S. Trade Representative supporting international copyright treaties that incorporate limitations and exceptions to copyright exclusivity.

Legal staffer Casey Fiesler also participated in a Town Hall for Internet Creators, where she and others discussed what the CASE Act means for Internet Creators. The CASE Act will go into effect in about a year and will create a “small claims” tribunal in the U.S. Copyright Office for allegations of copyright infringement. The U.S. Copyright Office is currently in the process of planning how the tribunal will work, and OTW Legal will have a voice in that process. Regardless of how the tribunal ends up working, users accused of copyright infringement under the CASE Act will be able to opt out of the procedure.

Legal also prepared to testify before the U.S. Copyright Office in April regarding the vidders’ exemption.

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design, & Technology reviewed, tested, and deployed some new code, and they shared some data about tag use.

Open Doors announced the upcoming imports of Thin Line, The Snape/Weasley Archive, and Yahoo Groups Gilmore Girls Adult Fic and Gilmore Girls Slash.

At the time of this writing, in March, Policy & Abuse had received about 2000 tickets, while Support had received 1000 tickets. In February, Tag Wrangling wrangled a massive volume of new tags -- over 480,000 in total, more than a thousand tags per wrangler -- while working closely with the Policy & Abuse team to deal with an influx of spam tags.

III. ELSEWHERE AT THE OTW

On March 15, Transformative Works and Cultures released No. 35, Fan Studies Pedagogies, edited by Paul Booth and Regina Yung Lee.

The OTW has been getting ready for its next Board of Directors election, which is scheduled to take place August 13-16. Elections has been finalizing the election timeline, which will be available in mid-April, and the Board of Directors held a public meeting educating fans about what the Board does; this was also the Board's first ever public meeting to take place on Discord.

Systems are working on a number of networking projects: configuring new firewalls and segmenting their internal network more so that a problem in one area is less likely to cause issues elsewhere. They also have been working on upgrading the software behind Fanlore, including migrating to a newer version of Mediawiki, migrating from SphinxSearch to ElasticSearch as a search backend, and more.

IV. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 24 February to 24 March, Volunteers & Recruiting received 137 new requests, and completed 123, leaving us with 43 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 March 2021, the OTW has 977 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Dre (Tag Wrangling)
New Committee Staff: cinnamonandtea (Translation); peaandsea (Volunteers & Recruiting) and 2 other Volunteers & Recruiting staff; AlexMartin, alsaurus, Anna Rose, Blake N, Cheyenne Bingham, kentucka, Neymat Raboobee, silverinerivers, Srosh Hassan & Taylor Brianne (all AO3 Documentation) and 4 other AO3 Documentation staff; Alex Johnson, Natalie Semczuk (both Strategic Planning) and 1 other Strategic Planning staff; Cath S, Jared, Quietborderline, Sophia Zhai, vinndetta (all Policy & Abuse) and 4 other Policy & Abuse staffers; GloriaRoies, hmweasley, Isis C (all Tag Wrangling) and 2 other Tag Wrangling Supervisors
New Translation Volunteers: Alisé, Anastasiia Malaia, Celine Lean, Eirian Llwyd, Fedorak Zhanna, Glowsval, Kockožder, Lulu, Manasi Kendurkar, Masturah, Mirissa, Nicola, Paiyan, petals_sunwards, TanMoh, tmninja and 7 other volunteers

Departing Committee Staff: 1 Tag Wrangling Supervisor & 1 Policy & Abuse Staffer
Departing Open Doors Volunteers: Rodolphe Courtier
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: cinnamonandtea, Kaelin & 1 other volunteer
Departing Translation Volunteers: smauglocki & 4 other volunteer

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


The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Screen Shot of the Original front page of the West of the Moon Archive

West of the Moon, a Lord of the Rings archive with gen and slash fan fiction, poetry, and filk, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

West of the Moon was “frozen in time” on February 18th, 2008 – almost 5 years to the day from its birth. The archive is no longer online, but its moderators and the OTW will be preserving all of these amazing works!

Open Doors will be working with Queen Mab and Shadowfax8 to import West of the Moon into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs.

We will begin importing works from West of the Moon to the AO3 after March.

What does this mean for creators who had work(s) on West of the Moon?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors. We will then permanently close down the site.

Please contact Open Doors with your West of the Moon pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. You have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your West of the Moon account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the West of the Moon mods to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, or contact the Open Doors committee.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of West of the Moon on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve West of the Moon!

- The Open Doors team, Shadowfax8, and Queen Mab

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A common feature request we have received over the years is the ability to block other users from interacting with you, or hide content by users you specify. This has been something we planned on doing for a while now, and we have been actively working on developing it for the past few months. For that reason, we wanted to give you a brief update on how this work is going:

Blocking vs. Muting

We have been working closely with the Support and the Policy & Abuse teams, who are directly in contact with our users and can help us dig into all the feedback, feature requests and suggestions coming in. This helps us determine how we can satisfy most users' wishes to make their Archive experience safer and more enjoyable without creating new problems in the process.

After some discussion, we've decided to consider the new functionality as two sets of separate features:

  • Blocking: preventing certain users from interacting with you
  • Muting: excluding content by certain users from your personal Archive experience

In this manner, we can offer our users a set of options to curate their own experiences and add a layer of protection against harassment, without making it harder for people to create and interact with content on the Archive. For example, you might want to mute a user for posting a lot of fanworks about a pairing you don't like, but you're fine with the same user leaving comments on your own works. By separating the two concepts, we'll also be able to deploy an initial, focused set of options while continuing to work on the rest of the functionality behind the scenes.

However, there is a lot to be considered before we can write up the final design document detailing how we want these features to work and how they'd interact with existing Archive functionality. Due to the scope of the change, both of these features come with their own challenges and pitfalls that need to be addressed before we can move forward.

Discussions need to address dozens of little details like, "If a list of search results includes muted content, does the number shown at the top need to be adjusted? How does this interact with the numbers in the filters?" as well as big picture considerations like, "What if a challenge has several mods, each with their own lists of blocked and muted accounts?"

Once we actually start writing the code, we might run into technical issues that hadn't been apparent during the planning stages and that require substantial changes to our plans. As such, we'll only be ready to announce these features when we're certain they're very close to done, which we understand is frustrating for those of you waiting for this functionality.

Money vs. Time

While the OTW has enough money for a contractor to potentially handle the coding (thanks to your generous donations!), to do so in an effective manner, we first need to tell them in really fine detail what we actually want, since we're more familiar with complex features like collections and challenges and have a better idea of the way people use the site and the problems they run into.

This is very often the most complex part of a project of this scope, and something we can’t easily outsource without risking a final result that will cause more issues than it solves.

Additionally, the people who need to be involved in this conversation because they have a lot of knowledge about the inner workings of the Archive and the feedback provided by users over the years, are the same people who are needed to keep the Archive running on a day to day basis, fix bugs, make sure the backend stays up to date, and keep the Support and Abuse teams running smoothly.

All of this is done by volunteers, and sometimes other commitments need to come first to keep the site up and functional. As a result, every large or even medium-sized project takes a long time from an initial idea to the rollout of a new feature.

In the meantime...

While built-in, easy-to-use blocking and muting tools are still a ways off, our Unofficial Browser Tools FAQ lists some third-party scripts that let you filter out unwanted content. We're also working on other important changes to give you more control over your Archive experience.

In the past year, we've added the ability to turn off comments or freeze specific comment threads on your works. We're also working on changes that will allow you to opt out of receiving gifts or collection invitations, the same way you can control others' ability to list you as a co-creator on works. (As with most major changes, there will be dedicated news posts with more information on these changes when they're ready to be released.)

While it has always been possible to use the Archive skin system to hide specific works from yourself, we've recently made it possible to hide all works from specific creators as well. To do this, create a site skin and use the following CSS:

  • .work-000 { display: none !important; } to hide a specific work. Replace 000 with the ID of the work you want to hide. The work ID is a series of numbers that can be found in the work's URL. The ID comes immediately after /works/, e.g. https://ao3.org/works/000/chapters/123.
  • .user-000 { display: none !important; } to hide all works by a specific user. Replace 000 with the ID of the user whose works you want to hide. A user's ID is a series of numbers that can be found on the user's profile in the "My user ID is" section. A user's ID does not change if the user changes their name.

To hide multiple items, you can separate the selectors with a comma: .work-000, .work-149319, .user-000000 { display: none !important; }

For now, this approach only applies to work listings and work search results, not bookmarks. However, we're working to extend it to bookmarks as well, and we'll have a more detailed tutorial once we're done. (Please note that if you've previously hidden works with selectors such as .blurb#work_000, it will continue to work, but it will not automatically carry over to bookmark listings and search results in the future.)

We are sorry this is taking longer than anticipated, and we hope this update could provide a little insight into the reasons for this.

Please bear with us while we sort out the details, and thank you for all your kind words here and elsewhere, especially during this past year. We can't reply to all tweets and comments, but we appreciate your support very much!

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Spotlight on Open Doors banner

Gilmore Girls Adult Fic and Gilmore Girls Slash, two Gilmore Girls fanfiction archives, are being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

From 2002 until 2016, GilmoreGirlsAdultFic strove to be a safe place for writers to write about their favorite Gilmore Girls couples without the limitations of the most prominent fic archive of the time, but also provided moderation and proper rules so that those who only wished to write misogynistic works about the Girls were not welcome. Though time has passed and Yahoo Groups no longer exists, the fandom and their ardor to see more about their characters than what broadcast television allowed has not.

From 2001 until 2016, GilmoreGirlsSlash was a mailing list which encompassed all femslash and slash couplings in Gilmore Girls, and stories from authors who saw the chemistry between Rory and Paris, along with Lorelai and her various flirtations with women. The fandom which ships these incredible and fulfilling women has not disappeared.

As the founder and moderator of GilmoreGirlsAdultFic, and the moderator of GilmoreGirlsSlash for nearly its entire existence, Nathan Schimpf is proud to see these stories have a permanent home on the Archive, and hopes that future generations will see what works this series inspired during its original run and many years in syndication and on Netflix.

Open Doors will be working with Nathan to import these archives into separate, searchable collections on the Archive of Our Own.

We will begin importing works from Gilmore Girls Adult Fic and Gilmore Girls Slash to the AO3 after March 2021.

What does this mean for creators who had work(s) on these archives?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

Please contact Open Doors with your Gilmore Girls Adult Fic or Gilmore Girls Slash pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archives
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. You have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your Gilmore Girls Adult Fic or Gilmore Girls Slash account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with Nathan to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, or contact the Open Doors committee.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Gilmore Girls Adult Fic and Gilmore Girls Slash on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve Gilmore Girls Adult Fic and Gilmore Girls Slash!

- The Open Doors team and Nathan Schimpf

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Published:
2021-03-23 10:54:25 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Acts of Tekla, who volunteers with the Open Doors Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I volunteer with the Open Doors Committee, which helps archive owners move the fanworks on their archives to the AO3 so that they stay online and accessible even if the original archive can no longer be kept up. We work with Translation and Communications, to create import announcements; Tag Wrangling, to make sure that the imported works are tagged appropriately; and Systems, to redirect old archive URLs to their new home on AO3.

We also sometimes work with Legal when there are questions about whether we can preserve something and still abide by our mandate to preserve privacy and creators’ control over their works. Sadly, the answer is sometimes that we can’t -- one reason that everyone should designate a Fandom Next of Kin!

The OTW’s position is that fanworks are inherently of value, and this means that they are also worthy of preservation. I know that a lot of people find their old works embarrassing (and there are several ways that they can opt out of imports or claim and delete or orphan works afterwards if they so choose) but I think it’s really important to save these older works. As a collection they’re an irreplaceable record of fandom history, but more importantly, they were all created from a place of love and creative passion, and it would be a real shame to just let that vanish without a fight.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

I work on Open Doors stuff two evenings a week, two or three hours at a time. I also keep up with our internal chat channel. Most of the emails we get are from people with questions about upcoming imports or who need help claiming works from a completed import. We also commonly get inquiries from archivists interested in importing their archives, or alerts from concerned users about archives that are at risk. I probably spend about a quarter of my time on basic responses, and the rest on the more complicated work of moving archives through our import pipeline. We have good procedures, but every archive is different and so something new always comes up!

What made you decide to volunteer?

I applied to volunteer in 2014 because in the 15 years I’d been in fandom, there had been sweeping changes in the community and in technology, and I’d seen countless archives and individual works vanish without a trace. Every so often I’d think of a fic I’d loved and go to reread it, or follow an old rec list, and find that the work was gone. I wanted to help preserve works that someone worked hard on, and that other people loved.

I was brought on in anticipation of the Yuletide import. I’ve directly handled around a dozen archives since then!

Is there anything you've worked on that you found challenging or memorable?

In October 2019, Verizon announced that they were deleting all Yahoo Groups content on December 14 -– barely two months notice. Since Yahoo Groups had hosted a lot of fan content in the 2000s, people understandably panicked about the possibility of losing all of that fandom history, and Open Doors got a flood of requests from moderators who needed help preserving their content. Open Doors worked with other OTW committees,the Archive Team, and others to publicize the content purge, ask for volunteers to help access and download archive data, and lobby Verizon to hold off for just a bit longer.

We were somewhat successful –- the Archive Team was able to rescue data from thousands of groups, thanks to numerous volunteers, and Verizon did hold off for a couple of extra months –- but we know that we still lost a lot, and despite promising to keep the mailing list side of Yahoo Groups open, Verizon announced in October that it would be closing completely and for good on December 15, 2020. I’ve been through several fandom purges like this, and it always hurts.

However, Open Doors has been working with individual mods to import content from their old Yahoo Groups to the AO3, and we’re very excited to be making those works available once again!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I say that I write fic, but the reality is that I mostly think about fic that I want to write, sometimes manage to write it down, and occasionally get it finished enough to post. Mostly, I like squeeing over and analyzing whatever it is that I’m into at the moment with my OTW and offline friends. I describe myself as a serial fandom monogamist -- I’m only into one thing at a time, but that one thing changes every few weeks. There are some I regularly cycle back to, though -- for example, on the first day of autumn, I always watch Over the Garden Wall, and then I’m all about that for the next 3 weeks!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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