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StephenT [userpic]

More OTW/AO3 stuff

14th November 2009 (14:45)

I've just finished uploading my 2009 fic to the Archive Of Our Own. Now I'm puzzling over the important questions, like is it better to abbreviate that as AO3, AO³ or as AooO! The last has a wonderfully werewolfy kind of vibe to it, but the first is perhaps more sensible.

I've seen at least one person puzzling over what this is all about, so maybe a brief explanation.

If you were around in 2007, you may remember the Fanlib controversy. That was a company that set itself up as an online archive for fanfic that would come out of the shadows and treat it as a legitimate artform, with competitions and deals with publishers and everything. However, it immediately ran into trouble because of a crass and tacky advertising campaign (which also seemed to assume that men, not women, were the main readers and writers of fanfic). Then concerns were raised that Fanlib was a for-profit company - which meant, in effect, that fic writers were being invited to provide free-of-charge content for their website so that Fanlib could profit from its sales of advertising space on the back of that content.

At about the same time, there were also the strikethrough and boldthrough controversies on LJ, when a large number of fan writers and fan artists found their accounts being closed because someone had objected to the nature of their work. Bloggers and professional writers joined the bandwagon with several articles claiming that fanfic was in breach of copyright, immoral and wrong. The general effect was therefore to create a feeling that fandom was on the defensive and vulnerable.

In answer to this, a group of fans on LJ (who included several published authors and academics among their number) came up with the idea of starting a fic archive run by fans for fans. It would be committed to the idea that fanworks are legitimate under Fair Use principles, so it wouldn't give way to pressure from copyright owners to ban things. It would be not-for-profit, supported by volunteers, donations and possibly memberships. Its Terms of Service would be written by people who actually understood fannish concerns - so, for example, the section in the rules on fic involving underage characters in sexual situations would specifically deal with the issue "what about immortal aliens, or vampires who are 200 years old but have the body of a 12-year-old"?

As a result, the OTW (Organisation for Transformative Works) was set up and registered as a non-profit company. In 2008 they made around $20,000 in donations and memberships, which was used to finance setting up servers to host the Archive. (Plus legal and accounting fees and so forth). They are involved in other projects as well as AO³, incuding a peer-reviewed academic journal and a wiki.

The Archive Of Our Own - a name chosen in honour of Virginia Woolf - has been coded and developed as an Open Source project to include features which would be most useful to fans and writers, rather than using off-the-shelf packaged software. It's been in closed beta for about a year, and has just today been opened up to general users as an open beta. (Which obviously means there are still going to be flaws that will need sorting out.)

My initial impressions are:

Uploading my existing fic is as easy as pasting in the URL of the LJ page into a text box and pressing a button. You can even batch up to ten fics at once. \o/ Well, I then have to edit it to delete the introductory blurb that appeared above the LJ cut in my journal originally, but that only takes a minute.

The tagging system works like a dream. Start typing in 'B' 'u' into the 'fandom' box and it autocompletes 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' with an option to click on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movie)' or 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer (RPF)' instead. Entering the characters and pairings works the same way. Once you've posted, click on a tag and it brings up a page showing every fic about that character, which you can sort by writer, date, rating, or whatever.

There are a few glitches when you try to edit fics, but nothing that makes it unusable.

There are features for bookmarking and reccing fics and leaving comments; I'm not sure if these are active yet. (I've seen a few bookmarked fics, but the menu option seems to be disabled - presumably the feature's still being tested).

So far the most popular fandoms, after one day in open beta, are:

Stargate Atlantis - 632 stories.
Harry Potter - 428 stories.
Supernatural - 362 stories
Buffy - 353 stories.
Due South - 328 stories.

Comments

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 14:57 (UTC)

I'll have to check out AO3.

But oh, wow, strikethrough and Fanlib and all that was only back in '07? It feels like forever ago when all that happened.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 15:04 (UTC)

I had to check myself, but yeah, that's when it happened.

On the other hand, OTW was started in 2007 and they've only just launched AO3, so from that point of view, I can't believe how long it's been...

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 19:10 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 19:50 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:25 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 21:35 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 02:12 (UTC)

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 11:06 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 21:56 (UTC)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:26 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 21:36 (UTC)

Posted by: The Anti-OTP (snowpuppies)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 15:05 (UTC)

Just fyi, but the comment & bookmarking features worked during closed beta, so I don't know why they wouldn't still. :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:26 (UTC)

Hmm. Maybe I was thinking of something else? There were definitely some features that weren't working yet.

Posted by: The Anti-OTP (snowpuppies)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:44 (UTC)

Posted by: Ruuger (ruuger)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:44 (UTC)

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 16:29 (UTC)

My initial impression is BUGGY AS HELL, as I've yet to successfully save a story. :P

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 19:18 (UTC)

OK, problem solved. Still not sure what caused it to begin with, but oh well...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:28 (UTC)

Posted by: the singing-woman from the wood's edge (ungemmed)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 00:52 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 02:16 (UTC)

Posted by: the singing-woman from the wood's edge (ungemmed)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 02:33 (UTC)

Posted by: the singing-woman from the wood's edge (ungemmed)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 23:49 (UTC)

Hi! Sorry to randomly pop in, I'm here from Gabs's journal.

Would you mind telling me a little about the bugs you got while you were trying to save your story? I can't see anything from you (about that, anyway) in our support/feedback system, and since we're still very much in beta we loooove bug reports.

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 23:58 (UTC)

Posted by: the singing-woman from the wood's edge (ungemmed)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 00:40 (UTC)

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 00:43 (UTC)

Posted by: the singing-woman from the wood's edge (ungemmed)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 00:49 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 11:39 (UTC)

Posted by: the singing-woman from the wood's edge (ungemmed)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 23:47 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 16th November 2009 00:35 (UTC)

Posted by: Cesy (cesy)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 23:53 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 16:44 (UTC)

Now I'm puzzling over the important questions, like is it better to abbreviate that as AO3, AO³ or as AooO! The last has a wonderfully werewolfy kind of vibe to it

Indeed! Thanks for the giggle.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 17:08 (UTC)

Now I'm puzzling over the important questions, like is it better to abbreviate that as AO3, AO³ or as AooO!

I vote for a James Brown-esque "Aooo!" :-)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 19:53 (UTC)

Oooh, thanks for the explanation! I was about to run over to someone's journal and beg for an explanation as to why something called Archive of Our Own was abbreviated OTW, so this was nice.

(I also totally missed Fanlib/strikethrough/etc., so it was nice to read about that, too. I friggging missed like everything that happened in fandom. Sigh.)

I applied for an invite and should get one in a week-ish, and it's nice to hear that it's easy to use! And woooo for Buffy being popular! We can totally beat HP if we work for it.

Totally would NOT have picked out Stargate as most popular, though. O.O

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:32 (UTC)

Totally would NOT have picked out Stargate as most popular, though.

Me neither, although I'm guessing there's an element of self-selection going on at the moment. Since only relative handful of people were in the closed beta tests, it could just be that a bunch of Stargate fans all got involved together.

Posted by: Franzi (franzeska)
Posted at: 16th November 2009 06:46 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 17th November 2009 00:33 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th November 2009 02:11 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 20:54 (UTC)

Okay. So I got the hook up with this newfangled thing. And you know, it's somewhat nifty.

Although...multi-chaptered editing is pretty damn clunky. I ended up pushing buttons randomly, hoping to get my edits to save for any particular chapter. And then I'm still not sure if they went through.

Still, it's nice to have an archive that is on board with what fandom needs, as insiders.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 02:14 (UTC)

I ended up pushing buttons randomly

PLEASE TELL ME YOU DIDN'T PUSH THE BIG RED ONE MARKED "DO NOT PRESS"!!!??

Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 13:33 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th November 2009 17:53 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 14th November 2009 21:22 (UTC)

Thanks for the history lesson! (And I also somehow missed how easy it was to upload so I'll go ahead and be smart now.)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 20th March 2011 11:36 (UTC)

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