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2021-04-19 13:09:03 -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 Kate Sanders, who volunteers as a staffer for the Strategic Planning Committee.

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

I have volunteered for several years with the Strategic Planning Committee. Our work has been to synthesize the needs of the OTW as best possible into the first strategic plan to guide some internal improvements, then to help implement the goals from that plan by working with committees across the OTW, and now to draft a second strategic plan to continue setting goals for the OTW to aspire to and achieve collectively.

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

As a volunteer, I will have a to-do (or a few) assigned during the week to accomplish and our meeting each Saturday. These to-dos could be simple updates to wiki pages or drafting goals or somewhere in-between.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I have been an avid reader of fanfic since college, and several years back, I found myself between school and jobs, needing an outlet for my time and wanting to give back to the fanfic community I lurked in. I applied for the Strategic Planning Committee and found both people and a mission that I have enjoyed supporting since.

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

Perhaps a challenge for me has been remembering that everyone volunteers differently: people have different amounts of time to contribute, varied interests and commitments, different ways of participating especially in a chat-based medium, etc. It is wonderful that so much is accomplished with everyone contributing in different ways.

What fannish things do you like to do?

While I enjoy perusing Transformative Works and Cultures, my first and deepest love is burying my nose in a wide swath of fanfics on AO3. I read whatever appeals to me and the well never runs dry. I truly appreciate all the wonderful authors out there!

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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Lotrfanfiction archive banner. View of the Shire at twilight, overlaid text reads 'Lord of the Rings fanfiction'.

Lord of the Rings Fanfiction, a Lord of the Rings fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The wonderful stories of once again belong to the Tolkien fan community!

Open Doors will be working with Queen Mab to import Lord of the Rings Fanfiction into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanfic currently in the Lord of the Rings Fanfiction will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. 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 Lord of the Rings Fanfiction to the AO3 after April.

What does this mean for creators who had work(s) on Lord of the Rings Fanfiction?

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 Lord of the Rings Fanfiction 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 Lord of the Rings Fanfiction 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 Lord of the Rings Fanfiction 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 Lord of the Rings Fanfiction 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 Lord of the Rings Fanfiction!

- The Open Doors team and Queen Mab


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Organization for Transformative Works: Elections News

The OTW Elections committee is pleased to announce that the timeline for the 2021 election for new members of the Board of Directors has been posted!

This year's election will be held on August 13-16. This means that the deadline for staff to declare their candidacy is June 18.

As usual, the election membership deadline is June 30. If you're interested in voting, please make sure your membership is active as of that date. Please note that your donation receipt will be dated in US Eastern Time, so if your donation is listed after 19:59 on June 30, 2021 on the receipt, you won't be eligible to vote. If you are unsure whether your donation was made before the deadline, please contact our Development and Membership Committee by using the contact form on our website and selecting "Is my membership current/Am I eligible to vote?".

You can find out how to become a member on the Elections website, or if you're familiar with the process, you can donate here!

If you want to know more about the election process in general, you can check out the Elections Policies.

We're looking forward to an active election season with ample communication between candidates and voters, and we hope you'll be a part of it. Don't forget to follow the Elections committee on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news!

If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact Elections.

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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2021-04-14 12:21:30 -0400

OTW recruitment banner by Blair

Do you love meta and research on fans? Or 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:

  • Communications Fanhackers Staff - closing 21 April 2021 at 23:59 UTC
  • Translation News Volunteers - closing 21 April 2021 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.

Communications Fanhackers Staff

Do you love meta and research on fans? Are you familiar with Transformative Works and Cultures and other fan studies research? Are you interested in volunteering for the OTW? Great! Fanhackers is a project and blog that aims to make fan studies research accessible to fans. The Fanhackers team is currently looking for someone who can spare a few hours a week to help us collate, curate, compile, and manage academic work on fans and fannish meta. We would love someone with a good knowledge of fan studies (both historical and current) who is interested in communicating complex research to a more general audience.

Communications staffers are responsible for the distribution of information internally to OTW personnel and externally to the general public, the media, fans, and other fannish organizations. Communications is also typically the first point of contact for someone interested in or wanting help from OTW.

Applications are due 21 April 2021

Translation News Volunteers

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, Dutch, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Kyrgyz, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, Turkish and Welsh —but help with other languages would be much appreciated.

(Please note that our Catalan, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese-BR, Portuguese-PT, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese 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 21 April 2021

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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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).


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).


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).


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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2021-04-05 12:18:12 -0400

Banner of a paper airplane emerging from an envelope with the words 'OTW Newsletter: Organization for Transformative Works


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.


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.


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.


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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