AO3 News

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Organization for Transformative Works: 2020 Budget

Throughout 2019, the OTW Finance team worked in the background to make sure that all of the organization's bills were paid, taxes were filed, and standard accounting procedures were met. Preparations for the 2019 financial statements and audit are currently underway!

In the meantime, the team has also been diligently working to meet the OTW's 2020 needs, and are proud to present to you this year's budget (access the 2020 budget spreadsheet for more detailed information):

2020 Expenses

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 79.7%. Open Doors: 0.1%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 0.3%. Fanlore: 1.1%. Legal Advocacy: 0.8%. Con Outreach: 0.1%. Admin: 8.5%. Fundraising: 9.4%.

Archive of Our Own (AO3)

US$11,326.91 spent; US$492,087.24 left

  • US$11,326.91 spent so far out of US$503,414.15 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 79.7% 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 contains US$100,000.00 in contractor costs for work on moving AO3 collection searching to Elasticsearch and upgrading to Rails 6.
  • Additionally, AO3 expenses tentatively include a planned significant server upgrade and expansion of roughly US$255,000.00. New database servers will expand the ability of the Archive to serve pages and search results to users with fewer connection issues. The old servers will be repurposed as storage for the new servers. It is possible this activity will be deferred to next year depending on various circumstances; the updated budget to be released later this year will provide additional information.
  • Other budgeted costs include US$33,000.00 for a Systems contractor, who will do some work for various OTW projects, including the Archive.


US$533.83 spent; US$6,484.45 left

  • US$533.83 spent so far out of US$7,018.28 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchases, maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to Fanlore's web domain renewals (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures

US$331.00 spent; US$1,500.00 left

  • US$331.00 spent so far out of US$1,831.00 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures' expenses are the journal's website hosting, and publishing and storage fees (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

US$139.66 spent; US$732.17 left

  • US$139.66 spent so far out of US$871.83 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • Open Doors' expenses consist of hosting, backup, and domain costs for imported fanwork archives (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 29, 2020.
  • Legal's expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses 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 29, 2020.
  • Budgeted expenses include US$100.00 for printing flyers and US$400.00 for other convention outreach activities on behalf of the OTW (access all program expenses).


US$2,891.28 spent; US$56,295.90 left

  • US$2,891.28 spent so far out of US$59,187.18 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • 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).


US$6,777.87 spent; US$46,879.38 left

  • US$6,777.87 spent so far out of US$53,657.25 total this year, as of February 29, 2020.
  • The OTW’s administrative expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, tax filing, and annual financial statement audits, as well as communication and accounting tools (access all admin expenses).

2020 Revenue

OTW revenue: April drive donations: 25.0%. October drive donations: 32.6%. Non-drive donations: 34.6%. Donations from matching programs: 7.7%. 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 most of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together should account for about 58% of our income in 2020. 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!
  • Given your generosity in previous years, we have a healthy amount in reserves, which we plan to keep in store for a rainy day. Thanks to this, we can explore alternative revenue sources to supplement your donations. The Finance team has made progress in its search for a suitable investment method for a small non-profit organization like the OTW and aims to fully set up a low-risk, conservative investment portfolio by the end of 2020.
  • The reserves also help bolster us in years when we’re planning larger than usual purchases. As mentioned previously, we have plans to upgrade the capacity of the Archive's servers, which significantly increase our expenses for this year. Some of the forecasted expenses outlined in this budget may not take place before the end of the year, due to various constraints. To account for this uncertainty, even though all expenses we anticipate are described in the budget spreadsheet, we have projected a withdrawal of US$111,000.00 from our reserves to cover the amount corresponding to the less likely expenses. This additional amount may be withdrawn from reserves on an as-needed basis during the year. Our budget update, which will be published in October, will contain more precise information about which expenses will take place in 2020.
  • US$49,079.71 received so far (as of February 29, 2020) and US$520,900.00 projected to be received by the end of the year.

US$49,079.71 donated; US$471,820.29 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 25 at 8pm UTC (what time is that in my timezone?).

Here is the link to the chat transcript. Thank you for participating!

To download the OTW's 2020 budget in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.


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2020-04-19 20:12:14 -0400

Several weeks ago, we took emergency measures to help the Archive handle an influx of traffic. These measures successfully reduced our database load, but left us unable to add any hits from logged out users to works' hit counts. We'll be able to resume counting these hits in the next few days, although there will be some changes to hit count behavior -- and one frequently requested feature we've been able to add thanks to these changes.

How hit counts will work going forward

Previously, a work's hit count only increased if:

  • you were not logged in as one of the work's creators, and
  • you visited a single-chapter work, a multi-chapter work in entire work mode, or the first chapter of a multi-chapter work in chapter-by-chapter mode, and
  • your IP address did not match that of the visitor right before you.

This meant hits weren't counted if you followed a direct link to a later chapter, e.g. from a subscription email, or if you were a work's sole dedicated follower who returned to it day after day.

The revised code will increase the work's hit count if:

  • you are not logged in as one of the work's creators, and
  • you visit a single-chapter work, a multi-chapter work in entire work mode, or any chapter of a multi-chapter work in chapter-by-chapter mode, and
  • your IP address has not visited the work in the last 24 hours.

This means a work's hit count will still only increase by one regardless of whether you visit one chapter or fifty, but it will no longer matter if you start on the first chapter or the tenth, or if someone else accessed the work between your daily visits.

As always, hit counts are updated approximately every half an hour to avoid placing unnecessary strain on our servers, although caching means it may take an hour for the new total to appear for logged out users.


We don't want to hold on to your data any longer than absolutely necessary, so IP addresses used to calculate hits will be removed from our system within 48 hours of being collected.

However, the new code is JavaScript based, so you can disable JavaScript in your browser settings or by using a browser extension if you have any privacy concerns. (As always, our Privacy Policy has more information on what data we collect and how we use it.)

Hit count preferences

The preferences allowing logged in users to control the display of hit counts have been buggy or non-functional for years now, and the problem has only gotten worse as we've increased the amount of caching we do.

Therefore, we'll be removing the following preferences when the new hit count code is deployed:

  • Don't show me any hit counts
  • Don't show me hits on my works
  • Don't show other people hits on my works

If you'd prefer to avoid seeing hit counts after these preferences are removed, you can hide them with a site skin.

If you're not already using a site skin:

  1. Log in.
  2. Go to the Public Site Skins page.
  3. Choose "Create Site Skin" to go to the Create Site Skin page.
  4. Fill in the "Title" field with a unique title, e.g. "[Your username's] skin for hiding hits."
  5. In the large "CSS" field, enter the following: .stats .hits, .statistics .hits { display: none; }
  6. Press "Submit" to save your skin.
  7. Press "Use" to apply the skin.

If you're already using a public site skin like Reversi:

  1. Follow steps 1-5 from the instructions above.
  2. Press the "Advanced" section's "Show ↓" button to reveal more options.
  3. Press "Add parent skin" to add two new fields to the form, directly over the button. One field will be filled in with the number "1" and the other field will be blank.
  4. In the blank field, enter the name of the public site skin you are currently using. The autocomplete will help you find it.
  5. Press "Submit" to save your skin.
  6. Press "Use" to apply the skin.

If you're using a site skin that isn't public, you can try adding the code from these instructions directly to the skin, but it may need some adjustments depending on the other styles in your skin.

Latest chapter links

Now that going directly to any chapter of a work will increase its hit count, we've updated work blurbs to include a link that will take you from any work listing directly to the work's most recently posted chapter.

A work blurb showing the first 2 in Chapters: 2/2 is now the latest chapter link.

On multi-chapter works, the first number in the "Chapters" information at the bottom of the blurb will now be a link to that chapter, making it that much easier to get to the latest installment of your favorite work in progress.

We expect to roll out these changes in the next few days, once we've completed testing and coordinated our volunteers' schedules. We'll give a heads up on the @AO3_Status Twitter account shortly before we begin and add an update to this post once the changes are live.

Updated 08:30 UTC April 22: The changes in this post have now been deployed.


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2020-04-19 12:34:24 -0400

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 Alex Xanthoudakis, who volunteers as a Fanhackers project staffer on the Communications Committee.

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

I’m a Fanhackers volunteer, so I help run all the Fanhackers accounts! Our mission is to help make fan studies scholarship more accessible to people, which feeds into the OTW’s larger mission of providing access to and preserving the history of fan culture in its myriad forms, and providing the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans. A lot of this stuff—-recorded histories, really cool analyses, various legitimizing works—-is found in books and articles that are very often behind a paywall or university firewall. My job as a Fanhackers volunteer requires me to read things, pull out what I think is important or interesting, and share the educational wealth, so to speak!

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

Reading, reading, reading! I read fan studies scholarship and then post about it, whether that be a quote, a quote and explanatory text, or just something I found interesting about an article. I work with two really amazing other volunteers; we’ve staggered our posting schedule throughout the week, so I’ll usually read over the weekend and draft my post in time to post for Monday afternoon/evening. Right now, I’m also in charge of monitoring the Fanhackers Tumblr, so any questions directed to that platform will probably be answered by me!

What made you decide to volunteer?

The OTW has been instrumental to my fan experience, primarily through AO3, but also through Fanhackers and a lot of the outreach they do. Because of this, I really wanted to help keep the Organization up and running in any small way I could.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

Meeting new people! It’s been so fun to get to work with other like-minded fans—-and the fact I’m part of a group trying to make scholarship more accessible is also pretty rad!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I’m a huge fan of fic and am a fic writer; I started about 13 years ago and haven’t looked back since! I’ve also tried my hand at fanart (it was a disaster, but incredibly fun), and when the mood strikes, like making gifs. On the visual side of things, though, my favourite thing has to be organizing and designing zines. I’ve been lucky enough to work on two and seeing participants’ creativity, as well as being able to hold a physical copy of all that hard work, is extremely inspiring and satisfying!

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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2020-04-14 15:39:56 -0400

In recent releases, we wrapped up changes to the kudos table and began caching works for logged out users. We've also made improvements to subscriptions, spam-checking, the Statistics page, and addressed issues with the Terms of Service prompt.

A special thank you to our first-time contributor teyla!


  • Coders: bird, james_, redsummernight, Sarken, Tal Hayon, teyla, ticking instant, Z
  • Code reviewers: james_, redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Testers: bingeling, coaldustcanary, GoldenFalls, Irina, james_, Lady Oscar, lydia-theda, MagnusIsMyRock, nimadge, Paula, Ranowa, Rebecca Sentance, redsummernight, Sammie Louise, Sarken, teyla



  • [AO3-5162] - The site used to remember the name and email address that guests entered on the comment form, making it so they didn't have to reenter the information every time they left a comment. Unfortunately, we had to remove this code so we could begin caching work pages.
  • [AO3-5906] - As a side effect of our new caching measures, logged out users were being shown the adult content warning on every work rated Mature, Explicit, or Not Rated -- and when navigating between chapters of those works to boot. We've changed how we're setting the cookie that remembers you've already pressed the "Proceed" button on the warning and made a few tweaks to nginx, and now visitors should only see the adult content warning once per browser session.


  • [AO3-5040] - You'll now get subscription emails for any anonymous works you've subscribed to. (But you won't get an email if a creator you've subscribed to posts an anonymous work -- that would ruin their anonymity.)
  • [AO3-5708] - A long time ago, we added some code to cancel the delivery of emails in certain situations, e.g. if you were subscribed to a creator who added their brand new work to an anonymous collection after posting, but before the subscription email went out. Rails 5 lets us handle situations like that without extra code, so we've gotten rid of it.


  • [AO3-5497] - To comply with the GDPR, we present visitors with a prompt asking them to agree to the Terms of Service before using the site. When they agree to them, we set a cookie in their browser that is supposed to keep the prompt from reappearing for them. This wasn't working for some visitors, though, so we've decided to see if it works better if we switch to JavaScript's local storage feature.
  • [AO3-5915] - Our new approach to remembering whether visitors agreed to the Terms of Service didn't work in private mode in a few older browsers. So now we're checking if a visitor's browser supports local storage properly, and if not, using a cookie to remember whether we should show them the Terms of Service prompt.
  • [AO3-5917] - Some browsers didn't like our new approach to writing cookies or local storage items, particularly if you were in private mode, so we found yet another way to hide the TOS prompt once you've agreed to it.


  • [AO3-5859] - Kudos used to belong to pseuds, but we're updating them so they belong to users instead. As part of this process, we've updated the kudos list on works to always list kudos-givers by their usernames, instead of sometimes displaying "pseud (username)".
  • [AO3-5887] - We've gotten rid of the column that stored pseud IDs in the kudos table and removed any code or tests related to it. We are so glad to be done with this migration!


  • [AO3-5193] - Wranglers used to be able to turn a canonical tag into a synonym in one fell swoop just by entering the new canonical tag in the "Synonym of" field on the tag edit page. Because it was too easy to do this accidentally, we've made it so only admins have access to that field on canonical tags' edit pages.
  • [AO3-5821] - We've made a couple tweaks to the graph on users' Statistics pages: the vertical axis will never start at a number other than zero, and now the bars on the graph are a slightly faded Archive red rather than bright Google blue.
  • [AO3-5908] - Visiting a multi-chapter work on the insecure site would redirect you to the secure site, which was terribly inconvenient if you were using the insecure site because you can't access the secure site. (It's the only reason you should use it.) We've made it so you'll stay on the insecure site.
  • [AO3-4539] - Our spam blocker occasionally prevents legitimate support tickets and abuse reports from being submitted. Because reports and tickets from logged in users are generally not created by spam bots, we've stopped running the spam check for them.

Behind-the-scenes miscellany

  • [AO3-5895] - Our friendly gem-updating bot updated our JSON gem to version 2.3.0.
  • [AO3-5898] - There was a possible security issue with the way Rails handles some JavaScript code, which would normally be something we could resolve with a quick gem update. However, we're on Rails 5.1, and fixing it with a gem update was only an option for sites on Rails 5.2 or 6. Instead, we've added a monkey patch to hold us over until we update Rails. 🐒
  • [AO3-5893] - Every time our automated tests run, the tool we use to create PDF downloads gets downloaded and installed on our testing environment, allowing us to test downloads. The source for the tool moved to a new location, so we updated the test setup to reflect that.
  • [AO3-5896] - Because we run our tests a lot, we would occasionally get rate limited by GitHub and be unable to download our PDF generation software. We've moved it to our own servers so we won't have that problem.
  • [AO3-5892] - The randomly-generated text in our email tests sometimes includes characters that are not in the US-ASCII character set, such as ç. Whenever that happened, our email tests would fail because they were looking at the encoded email text. We've told the tests to check the decoded text from now on so they'll pass no matter what characters they contain.
  • [AO3-5911] - We've updated our automated tests to use version 6.8.8 of Elasticsearch so we can make sure everything works with it before we actually update the version running on our servers.
  • [AO3-5904] - Some of our automated tests related to orphaning would occasionally fail because that's a fun thing tests do sometimes if they're run too quickly. We added slight delays to them so they'll stop doing that.
  • [AO3-5900] - Our automated tests were actually submitting things to our spam checker, and since we do this repeatedly and frequently, the spam checker thought they were spam. This caused our tests to fail. We've started stubbing the results of the spam check so that doesn't happen.
  • [AO3-5899], [AO3-5902], [AO3-5914], [AO3-5916] - We've kept our deploy script up-to-date: removing two servers we've converted into firewalls, then three decommissioned servers, and adding a second front end server to our staging environment so our caching set up there more closely resembles our set up on production.


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Spotlight on Open Doors

Open Doors is pleased to announce the completion of 4 archive import projects in 2019, a total of 1750 works! We hope that you will find old and new favorites in the collections listed below.

Born For War

Completed: May 2019

Born For War was an archive for several fandoms and fanworks (chiefly het fanfiction), opened by Delenn in May 2000. Originally it housed only Xena/Ares (Xena: Warrior Princess) works, but later expanded to include Max/Alec (Dark Angel), Angel(us)/Darla (Angel: the Series), and Spike/Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) works. For a brief period, it also housed works focused on Drusilla (BtVS/AtS), which were later absorbed into the respective show sections.

Find works at the Born For War collection. For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the Born For War announcement post. To learn about the history of the archive or share some stories of your own, check out the Born For War Fanlore page.

a little piece of gundam wing

Completed: August 2019

A little piece of gundam wing, a Gundam Wing archive, was opened in the summer of 2001 (along with its sister archive, soul circuit) due to the archivist's desire to collect the works of her favorite Gundam Wing fanfiction authors in one place. For 16 years, the archive housed the fanfiction of 100 authors, as well as numerous pieces of fanart.

Find works at the a little piece of gundam wing collection. For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the a little piece of gundam wing announcement post. To learn about the history of the archive or share some stories of your own, check out the a little piece of gundam wing Fanlore page.

soul circuit

Completed: August 2019

Soul circuit (along with its sister archive, a little piece of gundam wing) was opened in the summer of 2001 due to the archivist's desire to collect the works of her favorite Koko Wa Greenwood fanfiction authors in one place. The archive housed numerous works of fanfiction for 16 years.

Find works at the soul circuit collection. For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the soul circuit announcement post. To learn about the history of the archive or share some stories of your own, check out the soul circuit Fanlore page.


Completed: August 2019

Underground was an archive dedicated to the 1986 film Labyrinth, with almost 200 works.

Find works at the Underground collection. For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the Underground announcement post. To learn about the history of the archive or share some stories of your own, check out the Underground Fanlore page.

In October 2019, Yahoo announced that they were closing Yahoo Groups and would be deleting all previously posted material that December. Open Doors worked extensively with other OTW committees and outside groups to publicize the closure, request a delay, and save as much fannish material as possible. Hundreds of fandom groups were preserved as a result of this work, and we have started working with Yahoo Groups moderators to import their archives of fanfic, fanart, meta, and other materials to AO3.

We want to give a huge THANK YOU to all of the archivists and volunteers who made these imports possible, as well as all the creators who have transferred or claimed their works! We look forward to importing more archives in 2020.


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Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages


Accessibility, Design, & Technology (AD&T) deployed releases that made changes to user accounts, admin accounts, our testing environment, and more. Notable in these releases were changes to how kudos are recorded and stored, in order to ensure that we don’t run out of room for the Archive’s 640 million and rising kudos. A side effect of this work was the removal of duplicate kudos from works, but as AD&T explained, the only kudos removed were duplicates from the same user: no unique kudos from unique users were removed.

The Archive of Our Own saw some bumpy traffic this month, with AD&T reporting a drop in page views at the beginning of the month, shortly after users in China became unable to access the site. This was followed by a rise near the end of the month to levels not seen since our usual “busy” January period, with 279 million page views the week of March 17 to March 22.


AD&T wasn’t the only committee that noticed an effect from the AO3 outage in China. Legal helped users and committees respond to related queries, and Communications staffers were busy this month due to a rapid number of interview requests. As a result, Communications has added a number of OTW mentions to our Press Room. Special shoutout to our two Weibo account moderators, who have done an amazing job wading through tens of thousands of messages and serving as an invaluable interface for the OTW with Chinese fans.

The Board of Directors kept busy with an open house on March 8 that invited users to ask questions about who Board is and what they do. With help from committee chairs and from Communications, Board also released a news post detailing how volunteers and their work for the OTW may be affected by COVID-19, and encouraging fans to explore the OTW’s projects, keep creating, and stay safe.

TWC’s guest-edited issue No. 32, “Fandom and Politics,” came out on time on March 15. TWC and Communications also released an interview, Five Things Kristina Busse Said, that received a great response from fans who learned more about aca-fandom.

Systems had to get our vendor to replace some CPUs in our new servers (they’d delivered the wrong ones), which delayed things somewhat. They’ve also been working on some new firewall infrastructure and improving their monitoring.


In February, Tag Wrangling wrangled approximately 250,000 tags in 36,100 fandoms, and Support received about 1,850 tickets—twice the number of tickets Support received in February 2019. A third of these tickets were taken care of with the help of Translation. Meanwhile, Policy & Abuse had received about 1,300 tickets so far in March at the time of this writing.


From 22 February to 22 March, Volunteers & Recruiting received 91 new requests, and completed 95, leaving us with 9 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 22 March the OTW has 829 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Marion McGowan and Emma Lloyd (both Elections)
New Committee Staff: 1 AO3 Documentation staff, Rivka (Webs)
New Communications Volunteers: Amelie N and 1 other volunteer
New Translation Volunteers: Ayati, bel_thorne, chimyatta, Julija, Link, Lora, Melmëyen, Nira, V. T. Holmes, Yohanna, Zala and 3 other volunteers

Departing Committee Chairs: Michelle Dong (Open Doors)
Departing Committee Staff: buckwicks (Communications), HelmetParty (Development & Membership), 1 Policy & Abuse staffer, Michelle Dong (Open Doors and Volunteers & Recruiting)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: HazelDomain, Kaylie and 1 other volunteer
Departing Translation Volunteers: soumyaa and 1 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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2020-04-01 12:30:16 -0400

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

Would you like to help your fellow fans use the AO3? Would you like to help translate OTW/AO3 news posts? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

We're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Support Staff - closing 08 April 2020 at 23:59 UTC
  • Translation News Volunteer - closing 08 April 2020 at 23:59 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist our email address in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Support Staff

If you've spent time figuring out how to make the Archive dance (or are willing to press the button to see what happens), are patient in the face of strange questions, can self-motivate, and are interested in helping your fellow fans, we would love to hear from you! The Support team is responsible for handling the feedback and requests for assistance we receive from users of the Archive. We answer users’ questions, help to resolve problems they’re experiencing, and pass on information to and from coders, testers, tag wranglers and other teams involved with the Archive. We are especially looking for volunteers who are fluent in Chinese and English, helping to provide support to our growing overseas userbase!

Applications are due 08 April 2020

Translation News Volunteer

Would you like to help translate OTW/AO3 news posts? We are looking for volunteers of native or near-native fluency in their target languages, who can translate or beta news posts within five-day deadlines. If you enjoy working collaboratively, if you're fluent in a language other than English, if you're passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

We particularly need people for Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Filipino, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Marathi, Persian, Portuguese-PT, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Welsh—but help with other languages would be much appreciated.

(Please note that our Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Swedish teams are not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples and will be invited to a chatroom interview as part of the selection process. More information about us can be found on the Translation committee page.

Applications are due 08 April 2020

Apply at the volunteering page!

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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The Archive has seen a marked uptick in traffic during March, with weekly page views increasing from 262 million to 298 million in just two weeks. We expect this trend to continue, and in order to keep the site running, we need to take emergency measures. The quickest, most helpful change we can make is caching the works we serve to logged out users. Unfortunately, this means that starting immediately, logged out users may experience a delay in work updates, and hits from logged out users will no longer be included in works' hit counts.

Why is this happening?

The increased traffic is putting a strain on our database servers, which receive dozens of requests every time someone loads a work. (We plan to order new hardware to help with this strain, but first we need to finish some ongoing server maintenance and determine which hardware to order. Delivery and installation of servers ordinarily takes a few months, and there may be unexpected delays due to the pandemic.)

Serving cached copies of works to logged out users will drastically reduce the number of database requests we make. Caching means we don't have to ask the database for the latest information every time someone visits a certain page in a given period of time. Instead, one of our front end servers gives everyone the exact same copy of that page. After about an hour, that copy is updated.

What changes will I notice?

Starting immediately, you may notice the following changes:

  1. When a new chapter is posted, logged out users will only be able to access it by direct link until the cache updates, which will happen about once every 60 minutes. Other changes to the work (e.g., edits made by the creator or new comments or kudos that have been left) may also not be visible to logged out users until the cache is updated.
  2. Because work pages need to be identical for all logged out users, we've had to stop automatically filling in guests' names and emails on the comment form. (You can request an invitation and create an account if you'd like the form to remember you!)
  3. Logged out users will see the adult content warning on every work rated either Mature, Explicit, or Not Rated. This is temporary and will be fixed as soon as possible.
  4. New hits from logged out users will not be added to works' hit counts. (Existing hits will not be lost.) The code that increases hit counts lives on our application servers, so it will not run when the front end servers hand out cached copies of works.

(This section was updated at 00:25 UTC April 1.)

Will hit counts be fixed?

We are exploring options that will allow us to resume counting hits from logged out users, but it may take some time to find and implement a viable long term solution. We'll work as quickly as we can, but we ask for your patience -- our volunteers may need to prioritize additional performance improvements or their own wellbeing in these stressful times.

We will keep you updated on any significant progress or setbacks here on AO3 News and on our @AO3_Status Twitter feed.

Updated 11:00 UTC April 24: We have deployed new code that allowed us to resume counting hits from logged out users, along with some general changes to how hits are being measured.


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