elz: (otw)

One thing we periodically toss around is the idea of having an OTW con where people could actually meet up in person - we've had a lot of small, unofficial staff meetups over the years, but nothing org-wide or formally planned. I think it would be pretty awesome, and what it mostly needs at this point is someone to pick a city and date when at least some number of people could make it, and get the ball rolling. I know absolutely nothing about event planning or how to book a venue, but Lady Oscar actually does and was encouraging my flights of fancy, and therefore, a poll! Highly speculative and unofficial:

Poll #11240 OTWCon Planning
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 19

Could/would you come to an OTW-related con next March in Washington, DC?

7 (36.8%)

9 (47.4%)

3 (15.8%)

Assume the cost to be around whatever a fan-run con usually costs and attendance to be open to any staff, volunteers or fans who would like to come. Obviously you could have this event anywhere in the world at any time of the year, but what the heck - DC's a big city, easy to fly into, cheaper than NY (unless anybody has venue tips for NY) and about as central as anywhere, given that we're scattered all over the world. Though I myself would not be averse to going to Europe. There could theoretically be regional meetups on the same weekend for people who couldn't travel quite as far, with some sort of video hookup, maybe? Google hangouts? Cross-chatting? Something, anyway. We could have brainstorming and hackathoning and vid watching and teamly bonding and general shenanigans! Field trip to a Caps game! Multicolored alcohol! Just think of the possibilities. :D

Ideas, suggestions, alternate times or places? If there's interest, we should totally make a Party Planning Workgroup and get a bunch of people together to hammer something out (all meetings to involve party hats and sparkly balloons).

And please link around to anyone who might be interested!
elz: ao3 logo with pirate hat and sword (ao3 yarr!)
You may or may not know this, but in addition to founding OTW, Naomi Novik is also one of the most prolific coders behind the Archive of Our Own - she's been responsible for (among other things) the importing code, which allows you to migrate works over from other sites, the downloading code (omnomnom, delicious mobi files!), and the collections and gift exchange features, she's helped speed up the performance of the site by integrating new technologies, and over the last few months, she's put an enormous amount of time into a new tag set and nominations system, which should improve our internal processes by taking a lot of burdens off our tag wrangling team and which will also offer challenge runners a wider array of options. She's currently working with one of our front-end coders to revamp the site structure and appearance to make it more flexible and more accessible (this is coming soon!).

I've been working with Naomi for almost four years now, and she's been incredibly dedicated to the organization, especially given her other responsibilities - she checked into the coders' chatroom from the hospital while IN LABOR. She has a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm for fandom, and she's extremely effective at getting things done. She's also been on the OTW board previously, from 2007 to 2010, before taking a year off after having a baby, so she's familiar with the challenges and the workload - a lot of new board members get burned out, so having a couple of veterans in the mix is definitely a good thing. We currently have one board member who's been on since the beginning, two who started this year, and four open slots; five of the six candidates would be new to the board, and three of the six have experience as OTW committee chairs (Julia, Lucy and Naomi).

On a more personal note, I think that there were a lot of challenges this year that came out of not having any of our senior technical staff on the board: you're left with a game of telephone between board members and the organization's biggest project, which leaves a lot of room for miscommunication. And even when communication is flowing smoothly, I think it's as useful to have someone on the board who can speak authoritatively about the technical options and challenges associated with hosting/preserving fanworks and video as it is to have board members with legal and financial expertise. I also value the fact that she'll tell me when bad code or a bad idea could be better - that's not always an enviable task, but it's essential when we're trying to make the best tools for users. And she's been incredibly encouraging to me, as someone who didn't know anyone when I initially volunteered and who has come a long way with coding.

Basically, Naomi gets a lot done, I really enjoy working with her, and without her, none of the rest of us would be here. So that's my first recommendation. :)
elz: (otw)
Three reasons to donate to OTW during its current membership drive:

1) We've had two separate offers from people willing to match donations, one of which is in memory of Sandy Herrold. It would be wonderful to max those out! You can also make your own donation in honor or in memory of Sandy or other friends/family members/fellow fans.

2) Next month is (I think?) only our second contested board election, where 6 lovely candidates are running for 4 open seats. To be eligible to vote, you need to have donated at least $10 US within the last year, by October 17th. The OTW board meets quite often (as boards go) and can have a significant impact on the mission, morale and effectiveness of the organization, so if you're interested in AO3 and other OTW projects, it's worth paying some attention to.

3) AO3 server space! Traffic has increased a LUDICROUS amount over the last year, and donation funds pay the hosting costs and fund future upgrades. $$$ = servers = fic/art/vids! And we have some exciting projects in the pipeline for the next year!

Massive thanks to everyone who's donated in the past or who has already donated this year!


In more frivolous news: eeeeee, Avengers trailer! I am kind of stupidly excited - I think fandom's free-floating enthusiasm for the movie is contagious.
elz: (otw: evil mush)
Signs that you spend too much time doing OTW work: LJ goes down for a few days and you're mildly inconvenienced. Campfire goes down for half an hour and you go into massive withdrawal.

(We use that as an internal chat tool - we have an IRC backup somewhere, but I've forgotten where. And it's down because 37signals had a critical database failure: http://status.37signals.com/)
elz: (Default)
I volunteered with OTW as a coder at the beginning of 2008, and since then I've become a senior coder on the archive project, a member of the AD&T committee, and now the AD&T co-chair. (AD&T = Accessibility, Design and Technology, the committee responsible for archive design and development.) I've put an enormous amount of time and energy into my work, and I spend a lot of time hanging out in the OTW chatrooms. I've been lucky enough to meet some of my OTW cohorts offline as well!

Ira, one of our board members, has a post up about The OTW Server Poll and Fannish Diversity, and I just wanted to post some of my thoughts on the OTW and this particular issue, from an equally personal and unofficial perspective. Also check out Helka Lantto's post from the POV of someone involved in our International Outreach work.

cut for length )

Plug: we're always eager to get new volunteers to help with almost anything, but our AO3 support and testing teams are particularly short-staffed right now. No technical expertise required! Contact our Volunteers Committee if you're interested.
elz: (otw)
So I'm the co-chair of the OTW Accessibility, Design and Technology Committee this year, which I keep meaning to post about, and which I keep being distracted from posting about by ever-increasing amounts of AD&T work. (AD&T is the committee responsible for design, coding and testing for the Archive of Our Own.)

In that capacity, and in honor of the current OTW drive, and a bit in honor of the Fandom Appreciation Challenge, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to our beta users for being so patient with us. Thank you to the OTW donors who fund the hosting costs. Thank you to everyone who's created an account and posted a work. Thank you to everyone who leaves comments and kudos and makes authors' days a little brighter. Thank you to everyone who's started a collection or run a challenge. Thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who sends in support requests alerting us to problems and suggesting new features.

In short, thank you to everyone who keeps making work for us, and thank you to fandom for continuing to inspire us to keep making things better. We've got a really amazing team of volunteers this year, and there will be some great features and improvements rolling over the next few months - some within the next week! We'd love to hear from you about what else you'd like to see, and our doors are always open to new volunteers, whether you're an artist, a designer, a coder, a good organizer or communicator, or just someone with a lot of enthusiasm. AO3 is a community project, build, funded, maintained and used by fandom, and we all make it happen together.

...okay, back to work. *g*
elz: ao3 logo with pirate hat and sword (ao3 yarr!)
OTW is having its March membership/fundraising drive!

Transform OTW (Autobots edition)

Optimus Prime is counting on you.

Disclaimer: Optimus Prime did not personally approve this message. But I'd like to think he would.
elz: ao3 logo with pirate hat and sword (ao3 yarr!)
OTW has a poll open to name our new servers, and voting ends tomorrow! There are a lot of fan favorites on there, and I'm one of the people who has to use these names to remember which server to log in to for what, so this is of more than academic interest to me. :D

Also, after having a bit of a wait during the fall and winter, AO3 is back to the point where anyone who requests an invite should receive one within about 2 days. All fans (authors, artists, newbies, readers, lurkers) are welcome, and we have some great improvements planned for this year!
elz: (otw)
So, last week, the Second Circuit reversed the injunction against 60 Years Later Coming Through the Rye, which is a sequel of sorts to The Catcher in the Rye, in which, from what I can tell, a 76-year-old man named "Mr. C" becomes aware that he's a fictional character and eventually meets up with his creator, a thinly-veiled version of Salinger, who regrets having created him and is thinking of killing him off. I gather that's as far as the author goes in filing off the serial numbers, so to speak, and it was marketed as a sequel to Catcher in the Rye.

The OTW had filed an amicus brief in the case, so I was kind of curious to see what the court had said.

in which I read the whole ruling, and it was not as tough slogging as I'd have expected )

(Warning: layperson's interpretations.)
elz: (incognito)
I missed One Night Fandoms: A Tribute to Yuletide by [personal profile] eruthros and [personal profile] thingswithwings when it was first posted, but, oh man, how awesome is this vid? CARE BEARS OMG. And I'm so impressed that not only does it have a clever concept and clips from a zillion different sources, but it's actually a good vid that flows really well from clip to clip and section to section. I can't even imagine how long it must take to find the right footage from so many different sources.

The upshot of this, of course, is that "Angel of the Morning" is now the Yuletide theme song in my head, and I have the urge to start humming it whenever anybody says "Yuletide". And people say "Yuletide" quite a lot this time of year.


In other news, the OTW is having a donation drive, and now you get gifts for donating $50 or $100 or more. The dancing lemurs compel you. Donations make a lot of awesome things possible, and the travel mug looks pretty cool.


elz: (Default)

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