AO3 News

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Published:
2020-11-29 15:03:50 -0500
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We're excited to announce that the AO3 Documentation committee is replacing the current Collections & Challenges FAQ with a suite of FAQs and tutorials. 🎉

The Collections FAQ will answer several common questions about how to put together and maintain a collection, and the Gift Exchange FAQ and Prompt Meme FAQ are full of information you'll need if running or participating in a challenge on AO3.

Making a collection for the first time, or just unsure of the process? Try starting with our Tutorial: Creating a Collection for step-by-step instructions. You'll be able to group your own works according to themes or collect your favorites as neatly curated bookmarks in no time!

Want to encourage fellow fans to create more works for your favorite ship or trope? Check out our tutorials on Running a Gift Exchange on AO3 or Running a Prompt Meme on AO3 for guidance on setting up and running a challenge!

And if your heart just beats for a well-organized help section, there's a lot more in our collection of AO3 FAQs, which aim to cover all the tools and features available to you on the site. You might be interested in Formatting Content on AO3, which will guide you through using HTML to format your works, comments, notes, and summaries. Or you could check out the Unofficial Browser Tools FAQ, which lists several useful userscripts and browser plugins for commonly requested features we can't provide at the AO3 at this time.

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The AO3 Reaches Three Million Registered Users!

The Organization of Transformative Works is pleased to announce that Archive of Our Own has now passed 3 million registered users!

After opening to members of the public on November 14th, 2009, AO3 has seen rapid growth. We hit 1 million registered users four years ago on October 31, 2016 and 2 million registered users just over a year ago on July 17, 2019. We could not be more thrilled to have hit this new record.

We absolutely could not have done this without all of you, our users, both registered and unregistered alike, and we cannot thank you enough for helping us to achieve this mind-blowing milestone.

Thank you for all your contributions – your fanworks, your comments, your collection curation and moderation. We hope that this milestone is just one of many more to come, and that you will grow with us as we move forward.

While we’re incredibly grateful for all of AO3’s users, there are benefits to registering an account! Firstly, you’ll be able to access restricted works. Some works are posted so that they can only be accessed by logged-in account holders.

Secondly, registered users have access to AO3 skins that can change their reading experience and can make AO3 more accessible. The Reversi skin is AO3’s version of dark mode, and is only one of several options available.

Thirdly, you can get updates on your favorite works or creators by subscribing to them. You won’t have to manually refresh the page to see if that fic you’re reading updated: you can get a notification right to your inbox. Of course, these are just three reasons, there are many more!

There are lots of ways to become a registered user. You can always request an invitation from AO3. (You can check out the wait time on the Invitation Request Status page.) If you’re feeling particularly impatient, you can ask your friends for one of their invitations! Many registered users have a number of invitations they can give away – if you don’t want to join the waiting list, that’s the way to go.

As a thank you for all of your support throughout the years, we have created a phone screen and desktop wallpaper for you to download. Download them to your devices and join the celebration!

AO3 phone wallpaper
(select image to enlarge)

AO3 computer wallpaper
(select image to enlarge)

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Spotlight Open Doors header

Rawhide-fic, a Rawhide fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The fandom for Rawhide, a show from 1959 about a cattle drive, is small but enduring. This collection of stories dates back to the year 2003 when the rawhide-fic group was created on Yahoo Groups for members of the fandom to share and talk about the stories they created around this never-ending cattle drive. When Yahoo Groups announced that it was closing down, the group began looking for a new trailhead.

Open Doors will be working with Grey Lupous to import Rawhide-fic into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own.

We will begin importing works from Rawhide-fic to the AO3 after November.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on Rawhide-fic?

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 Rawhide-fic 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 Rawhide-fic 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 Rawhide-fic mod 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 Rawhide-fic 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 Rawhide-fic!

- The Open Doors team and Grey Lupous

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During last October's membership drive, we announced we were working on a new way to celebrate the OTW's most loyal supporters. We're now happy to share with you the new exclusive gifts we have designed to commemorate three, five, and ten years of consecutive membership!

Everyone who has been a member for at least the past 3 years by the end of 2020 is now eligible to receive a brand new OTW bookmark designed specially for the occasion:

Bookmark with the inscription "3-year member" and the OTW logo.
(select image to enlarge)

For our five-year members, we have prepared a lovely sticker that can go on a range of surfaces, from water bottles to laptops. If you have been a member for five years, you are eligible to receive both the sticker and the bookmark!

Sticker with the inscription "5-year member of the Organization for Transformative Works" and the OTW logo in the center.
(select image to enlarge)

And lastly, to mark ten years of membership, we have a magnet perfect for your fridge or any metal cabinet. Of course, anyone who's been a member this long can receive all three new gifts at once!

Magnet with the inscription "Member of the Organization for Transformative Works for 10 years" and the OTW logo.
(select image to enlarge)

We will start shipping these gifts to everyone who was eligible at the end of 2020 at the beginning of next year, and then once a year after that. To receive your gifts, all you have to do is confirm your address! Whenever you're eligible for a gift, we'll send you an email asking you to confirm your mailing information, so please keep an eye on your inbox! (Note that if you have opted out from receiving emails from the OTW, you might not receive this email and your gift. Please contact Development and Membership if you have any questions.)

The OTW's work is made possible by your donations, and we deeply appreciate all of our members, no matter if you donated one single time, or have been supporting us since the beginning. If you would like to become a member, all you have to do is select the membership option when you make a donation of USD$10 or more. Besides celebratory gifts to show our appreciation, OTW membership also makes you eligible to vote on elections for the OTW Board of Directors! If you aren't sure how long you've been a member or have any other questions, please contact Development and Membership.

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Published:
2020-11-16 10:58:41 -0500
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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 Paula, who volunteers as a staffer in AO3's Support Committee.

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

I’m Support Staff and a tag wrangler. As a Tag Wrangler, I wrangle tags. I make sure you can find your MPREG and Fluff. We’ve had plenty of awesome tag wranglers explain it better than I ever could so, I’ll skip to my other role. As Support staff, I help people who use the site to…well...use the site LOL. When you contact Support about not being able to get your account set up, that’s me. When your work doesn’t post with the correct date or is acting otherwise wonky? I’m your girl.

We also do quite a bit of bug hunting. When someone reports a weird site behavior we’re on the job. We help our Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee figure out if it’s a problem with the site, a browser issue, or just a one-time gremlin we can’t track down. We also look for trends in what’s being reported so that we can let the people who need to know that there’s a problem, know that, well, there’s a problem.

I’ve volunteered with the Support Committee for two years now. It’s fascinating to see the issues and feedback ebb and flow over time. What was once an immediate "in your face" issue two years ago isn’t anymore, and new issues pop up that we never could have dreamed of then. We also work with the Translation Committee to translate incoming tickets and translate our response. They’ve often been able to add a cultural context to a ticket that helps immensely in answering the question or figuring out what’s going on. (Love my translation peeps!)

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

The nice thing about Support is that while it is a decent chunk of work, it’s the kind of work you can do in between other things. I usually wake up in the morning and briefly browse the mobile app for the ticket tracking program we use. (Rather than, you know, rolling out of bed to get ready for work… this is more fun.) Sometimes I’ll claim tickets right there, especially if it’s something for which I can tell right away what the issue is.

When I have time at work or grad school, I’ll check again and see what’s coming in (or maybe tag wrangle a bit on my phone). The Support staff also works quite collaboratively on tickets. Sometimes I’ll assist another Support staffer to troubleshoot a quirky issue. I’ll also "beta" a few tickets during the day as well. (That’s exactly what it sounds like -- proofreading and double-checking the solutions on another staffer’s tickets).

Later in the evening, or even the next day, I’ll go through the tickets I’ve assigned myself and write responses. I’ll send tickets to the Translation Committee to check for meaning, or translate an answer into a user's language. I’ll talk to the appropriate committee to get the information I need to solve a problem. Sometimes I’ll edit our internal documentation to account for things like Gmail updating their interface or a new iOS upgrade. That way we can make sure we’re giving people the correct instructions to fix things like caching issues or email being sent to spam.

There are days when real life is just too busy, so at most I can help other Staffers with solutions or check in with another committee.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I see volunteering for the OTW as my contribution to fandom. I’ve never been much of a writer. I’m more a voracious fic reader and fandom nerd. I used to roleplay on Livejournal and Dreamwidth back in the day. I started as a Tag Wrangler. I don’t know why that role appealed to me but it just seemed like FUN.

Later, as I got to know the people involved and just what happens behind the scenes, I realized I’d really like Support. I’ve always been a tech nerd. I work at a computer lab for my day job. Even before I was Support, I found myself helping other volunteers with their tech issues. I liked the people involved and it seemed like a natural fit.

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

There are two things I really love about volunteering for the OTW. The first is the community. This is an amazing group of people. I’ve made real-life friends and had meetups with volunteers offline. I took an international study trip for grad school and there were OTW people half a world away to meet with! We joke that you can go anywhere in the world and find a person from the OTW that you’d be able to have coffee with (if not crash on their floor).

Because we’re so international I’ve learned so much about other cultures and countries just by hanging around and squeeing about Robert Downey Jr. or Assassins Creed or even sharing pictures of our cats because cats are liquid and adorable and bleps and mlems!!! The support the OTW volunteer community gives each other through thick and thin is nothing short of amazing...especially lately.

The other thing is the feeling you get from being a part of something bigger than yourself. I’m continually amazed that we do what we do. It’s incredible to see something you’ve worked so hard on flourish. To see that fix for a bug you discovered, and helped test, go live. To know that your work (even when it drives you absolutely insane) is helping fannish communities all over the world…it’s a bit of a rush.

What fannish things do you like to do?

This is where I confess I’m a huge Robert Downey Jr. fangirl. So, stare lovingly into his eyes? Read Endgame fix-it fics?

Ok, I’m mostly joking there. As I’m not much of a writer I read a ton of fic. I joined fandom way back in the day on Usenet! I’ll skim Tumblr or go to my favorite fic finder community and see if I like something. Why a fic finding community? My theory on that is, if it was good enough to stick in someone’s mind so that they want to read it again? Chances are it’s a good fic!

Lately, my fandom has mostly been existing with other fans! Doing meetups or talking meta...once conventions resume I’m looking forward to getting into that aspect of fandom!


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 although, if it's a question about AO3 you need help with, please use the Support form so that our volunteers can work together in addressing your problem. 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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The Tag Wrangling Committee is pleased to announce that we have reached the milestone of 40,000 fandoms on Archive of Our Own!

Over the years, we've reached several fandom milestones:

  • 5,000 fandoms around New Year's Day 2010
  • 10,000 fandoms in September 2012
  • 15,000 fandoms in April 2014
  • 20,000 fandoms in December 2015
  • 25,000 fandoms in June 2017
  • 30,000 fandoms in October 2018
  • 35,000 fandoms in December 2019

This time, we’ve chosen to celebrate with this post, which explains more about the ways that our Tag Wranglers organize the tags that make AO3 easy to navigate even as it grows. We’ve also included some tips to help you tag your own works in ways that will benefit both you and the other people using the AO3 filters.

What is a Fandom, anyway?

We’re glad you asked! In regards to tagging on AO3, a fandom is defined as the source media where your characters, relationships or other concepts originate. For example, you may be in a fandom for the pairing Hán Wénqīng/Yè Xiū, but wranglers would consider this part of the 全职高手 - 蝴蝶蓝 | Quánzhí Gāoshǒu - Húdié Lán fandom, since that’s where those two characters originally come from.

Fandoms on AO3 include things you might expect like television shows, books, podcasts, video games, movies and bands, but thanks to our wonderfully creative users, we also have fandoms for things like commercials, anthropomorphism, tabletop games, theme park rides and plenty more.

Sharing 40,000 Fandoms with over 2.5 Million People

Even though there is tremendous variety in the types of fandoms on the Archive, all these fandoms have a surprising number of things in common when it comes to the names of characters, events and concepts. On AO3, characters, events and concepts are all represented with tags! With such a large community of fans and more joining us daily, we felt that this was a good time to explain what this growth means as we work to make all these fandoms easier for users to navigate.

Tags on AO3 are shared. On their own, they don't have any context or relationship to any other tag. For example, if you enter the tag Chester in the character field, tag wranglers may not be able add it to the filters for Chester the Dog (Stranger Things) or Chester Campbell, even if they determine that's who you mean. There's only one "Chester" tag, no matter how many times it's used or the number of works it's used on. Any user could tag their work with Chester when they mean Chester the Dog, but they might end up sharing that tag with another user who has already used the Chester tag to refer to Chester Campbell.

Tag Wranglers cannot separate works using the exact same tag—that’s the main reason why wranglers try to make filterable (or ‘canonical’) tags as specific as possible. Unambiguous, fandom-specific canonical tags help everyone find works about the fandoms, characters, relationships and additional concepts they want in the filters where they expect to see them.

If you discover your work is listed in a different filter than what you expect, you can try editing the tag on your work to be clearer. For example, Penny Parker is a character on the TV show MacGyver, and also a common fan name for female Peter Parker (better known as Spider-Man). Tagging your work about female Peter Parker with just “Penny Parker” in the character field will land it in the filters for the MacGyver character, because Tag Wranglers can’t separate uses on plain “Penny Parker” for the MacGyver character from uses for female Peter Parker. Not ideal for MacGyver fans or fans of female Peter Parker!

To make sure your work about female Peter Parker ends up in Peter Parker’s filters, where other Spider-Man fans can enjoy it, consider using a modified character tag like “Penny Parker (girl!Peter)” instead. You could also add a Female Peter Parker tag to the additional tags on your work to help other users find it.

If it’s your first time posting with a tag, why not check out what other works are in its filter? You might discover that another fandom has a different meaning for a tag from a fandom you know and love.

How To Make the Most of Tagging

In 2019, Tag Wranglers collectively wrangled approximately 2.7 million tags. Tag Wranglers work very hard to connect your tags and help make your works findable so other users can enjoy them as much as you enjoyed creating them.

To that end, we have a few tips and tricks that may help wranglers get your works or bookmarks into the filters where you want them to appear. (Please don't comment on works to ask other users to do this - this is for your own works only!)

Enter your tags in the correct tag categories when posting your works. That is, fandom names go in the Fandoms field, relationships listed in the Relationships field, and character names in the Characters field. For anything that doesn't fit well into those categories, use Additional Tags.

Add minor roles in the Additional Tags field. If a fandom, character, or relationship is only a passing reference in your work, you can put that in the "Additional Tags". This includes tags like Ru Pauls drag race references, Yagi Toshinori Is Mentioned, and Small Mention of Flynn/Yuri.That way, other users know your work isn’t primarily about Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Yagi Toshinori or Yuri Lowell/Flynn Scifo (which they might think if you put these tags in the fandom, character, or relationship fields instead).

Ensure your tags are correctly separated. When you enter a number of tags, they can be separated by commas or you can use "Enter" on your keyboard. Since commas separate tags in the database, you won’t be able to create a tag that has a comma in it (it will be split into two tags at the comma instead). (Please note: Chinese and Japanese commas may not work as separators.)

Ensure each tag contains just one concept (one fandom, one character, one relationship, one trope, etc.)

Ensure tags can stand alone (that is, no additional context is required to understand what the tag refers to). Try using the full name for characters in your works, and if they don’t have a surname, consider adding the fandom name to distinguish them from any other characters with the same given name, like this: Undyne (Undertale).

Use the Additional Tags field to include any themes, genres, tropes, squicks, triggers etc. that you think a user might want to know when deciding whether to access your work or not.

Spell-check and double-check your tags before posting.

For tips on tagging Real Person Fiction (RPF) and platonic or non-romantic relationships, check out the advice on our last celebration post or consult the Tags FAQ.

Please note that these tagging suggestions aren’t meant to deter you from tagging creatively for various topics! Tag Wranglers love clever tags, and sometimes we can even canonize the concepts. Erik Lehnsherr's Terrible Fashion Sense is just one of many enjoyable tags that makes us giggle.

If you have any questions about wrangling, please consult the Tags FAQ. If that doesn't answer your question, the FAQ also explains how to contact Tag Wranglers directly.

Please don't leave comments on this post with questions or requests about specific tags. They won't be answered, since Tag Wranglers can't easily track requests from here. Instead, please use the options listed above to contact us. Thanks!

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

I. PAST AND UPCOMING EVENTS

The OTW's October Membership Drive, "Growing Together", was a success! This Drive was unique in that it did not focus on a monetary goal but instead encouraged donors to become members of the OTW or renew their OTW memberships, which will allow them to vote in the next OTW Board of Directors election in August. Thanks to the Drive, 2660 new members across 69 countries were registered, raising a total of US$89,688.51 for the OTW. Thanks so much to everyone who donated and signal boosted! The Drive was coordinated by Development & Membership and advertised as news posts with help from Communications, while Translation made Drive posts accessible in 30 languages.

Fanlore's social media presence in October featured an unofficial anime theme, with posts discussing anime topics and including related graphics, and received a great response! The Fanlore Committee is now gearing up to celebrate its next milestone--1 million edits--within the next couple of months.

Communications is preparing for several upcoming events as well, including International Volunteer Day in December, International Fanworks Day in February, and an AO3 milestone of 3 million registered users within the next several months. Stay tuned for more on these celebrations!

II. AT THE AO3

Open Doors announced the upcoming import of DoyleCordy, an Angel: the Series archive. Whether you're a creator from this Yahoo Group or just an Angel: the Series reader, check out the import announcement for more information about the move, and keep an eye on the new AO3 collection where imported works will be listed!

Policy & Abuse had received 1200 tickets in October at the time of this writing, and Support received 1200 tickets in September, a full 10% of which involved translation of non-English tickets by the Translation committee. In September, Tag Wrangling handled more than 351,000 tags across more than 39,400 fandoms.

III. ELSEWHERE IN THE OTW

In addition to their recent celebrations, Fanlore has also just finished a major overhaul of and update to their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)! This handy page can answer any burning question you might have about Fanlore, from the best way to get started as an editor to what kind of content can be put on Fanlore and more.

At the very end of September, Legal submitted comments to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in connection with a hearing on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. These comments followed up and supported earlier conversations and testimony that the OTW has provided to the House and Senate in connection with legislative review of the history and effectiveness of the DMCA. In October, Legal joined allies in sending letters to Congress opposing U.S. legislative proposals that would have harmed online free expression and fan interests.

Systems is in the process of ordering another rack in one of their data centers, which will let them continue to expand our server capacity and give them better failure tolerance.

IV. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 24 September to 24 October, Volunteers & Recruiting received 174 new requests, and completed 170, leaving us with 23 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 October, the OTW has 894 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: 1 Communications staffer, Vinita Eggers (Finance) and 3 other Finance staffers, Tei and Eliette (Policy & Abuse) and 1 other Policy & Abuse staffer, Sam L (Fanlore) and 7 other Fanlore staffers
New Open Doors Volunteers: karatam, Paul Helling, and 2 other Open Doors volunteers
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Antinomy Citron, Ashlet, Aster, byecroft, Ceme, centreoftheselights, Char Lee, chronoshift, Colercw, Dan L, Eliza Hunt, Erin M, hanna_yuki, Harold Liu, HimC, itsmyusualweeb, jdsummers, jochi, Kandy, Kuh, ladra, ladymarianor, Laixi, Lia S, Loxaris, lyssy_marie, Mags, MickyRC, Moony, nivosity, Nyx, Petunia, pickledragon, raining_kittens, Roissy, Roland, snberry, Sofia, sub_etheric, timetravelingkayak, trashchancellor, Varsha, Yuan and 1 other volunteer
Departing Directors: Claire P. Baker, Danielle Strong, Jessie Casiulis
Departing Committee Chairs: Amy Shepard (Strategic Planning)
Departing Committee Staff: 1 AO3 Documentation staffer, Amy Shepard (Strategic Planning), doughtier (Tag Wrangling)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Fricklefracklefandomackles and 17 other volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: Beyza G., Ciezuru, Fransiska Andita, Gwen Ngo, Hala Yosef, LaStellaBianca, Maryia Ambrazhey, Natasa Maric, Paralelsky, prada, Spencer, Winchester1989 and 2 other volunteers

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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Published:
2020-10-26 11:22:20 -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 Laure, who volunteers in the Translation Committee.

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

I'm one of the volunteers managing the Translation Committee, and I'm also a French translator! So I get to participate in the organisational and administrative side of things, and I still translate or proofread documents sometimes.

Although many people think that Translation works on fanfic, we don’t translate them (it would be nice but there are so. many. of them!). What we work on is a lot of the information and news content that’s produced by the OTW and its projects — like the FAQs, news posts, and some of the homepages. We’re trying to make it all as accessible as possible to fans who don’t speak English!

At the moment there are more than 250 translators for 45 languages, and it’s been amazing to get to work and chat with people from so many different cultures.

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

It really depends on the week, it can vary a lot! We have plenty of different types of tasks, some can be done individually, some require group work, and some are even cross-committee efforts. Most of the time we each decide what we work on, it’s quite flexible, but it also requires a lot of self-determination. That part is difficult for me, so teaming up with colleagues and having their support has helped a lot.

For example, I can have a quiet week where I attend our monthly committee meeting, take minutes for it if it’s my turn to do so, and then change our internal documentation if decisions have been taken. Or I can have a very busy week, with several new documents to prepare for translation; discussing with my colleagues to decide which teams we need to recruit for; taking notes for the annual interviews we hold with almost all our translators; and then beta an urgent translation. And that's to cite only a few things that can happen!

We also have the on-call week, which all the Translation managers do on rotation. It means that every two months or so, I’m the one in charge of replying to emails; assigning documents to translate or beta; helping translators if they have any issues; or other kinds of tasks. I love this part of my role because it’s when I get to interact with other volunteers the most.

It can all get very busy when we have special events going on, like the membership drive, the elections, recruitments or when we organise individual check-ins with the translators -- which I also enjoy a lot. I’m not here only for the chatting I promise!

What made you decide to volunteer?

It happened a bit by chance, to be honest. I'd been reading fics on AO3 for years, but I never really had the time and energy to check what happened behind the scenes. Then last year I saw on the homepage that French translators were needed, and I happened to have time at that moment, so I applied!

I thought it was a good opportunity to give back to AO3 for all the time I spent on the site. I also wanted to translate again. I studied translation but it didn’t become my day job, so it’s really nice to use this skill in a fandom context.

Then another Frenchie encouraged me to apply for the manager role, and the more I learn about how the OTW works, the more I want to discover. It’s a far bigger machine than I imagined, it’s really interesting to see how complex it is.

What has been your biggest challenge doing work for the OTW?

The biggest challenge has been letting go of my bad reflexes from previous jobs. I’ve worked in companies that relied a lot on punishing and guilting employees for mistakes, and it really leaves a lasting impression. It’s also really bad management in my opinion! Guilt doesn’t work as a lasting motivation (and is also bad for your health, don’t do this at home).

So when I arrived in the Translation Committee and I found kind management I was very wary, and it took me some time to de-stress and trust that I wouldn’t be punished for the smallest mistake. It’s human to make mistakes, and when that happens we try to see what went wrong in the process, and how we can help so that it doesn’t happen again. And now that I’m also a volunteer manager, I’m striving to keep that up.

What fannish things do you like to do?

Mostly reading! The amount of reading material on AO3 always blows my mind. I could spend all my time reading (I wish) and never run out of good stories to discover. I’m amazed and very grateful for writers who share their works. And the same for fanart and any fanworks actually, I’m not shutting any enjoyable doors.

Also about that, lately I've had the motivation to start writing again. I haven’t in ages so it’s tough to get it rolling again. I’m going to participate in a mini bang soon to get some motivation!

I also started translating a fanfic from English into French, as I’m hoping to get more French friends to read it. It’s easy to forget that everyone doesn’t read and/or speak English when we’re so often chatting in this language. Translation is still a great and necessary accessibility tool, especially if it’s for accessing Transformers fanfics!


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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