beatrice_otter: Luna Lovegood, Hermione Granger, Cho Chang (Girls of Potter)
I read Harry Potter fic, even though I'm pretty sure I've never managed to read any of the novels all the way through, or watch any of the movies start to finish.  Whatever, that's fandom.

Anyway, I periodically go through looking for new fic on AO3, and the best way (imo) to do this is to click on the Harry Potter works tag, sort by date, and then put "kudos>100" (or whatever other kudos threshhold you choose, today I picked 1000 because it's such a huge fandom) so you only get stuff a lot of people have liked.  (If you just go "sort by hits" or "sort by kudos" in a fandom as old as Harry Potter, you only get the oldy-goldies, which I've mostly read already or know I won't like.)

I also have AO3 Savior, a greasmonkey script added on to my browser that allows me to blacklist tags and such.  Items tagged with stuff I don't want to see show up in Works lists as blocked, with reason for blocking.

I went looking for Harry Potter fic today.  Apparently, a VERY high percentage of popular fic right now has either character bashing or Voldemort sexytimes.  Also!  I have "*/Tom Riddle" and "Tom Riddle/* both blacklisted (the asterisk tells it to block anything there, so I don't have to go through and list alllll the possible Tom Riddle pairings).  But apparently, if I want to block threesomes with Riddle, I have to ALSO blacklist "*/Tom Riddle/*"

Why do so many people want to write and read about Voldie sexytimes?!?  I do not get it!  I'm not judging, you do you, but gah.

(The bashing is, alas, a Harry Potter trend of longstanding.  Thank you to everyone who a) realizes that that is what you are doing and b) tags it properly.)
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
[ profile] Jenrose has two great pieces of meta/guides for AO3 use. One is a primer for posting Google Docs fic to AO3 and how to avoid the pitfalls thereof.

The other is about the differences between chapters, stories, series, and collections, and why you should choose carefully which you use for different fics.

I am not affiliated with the Archive in any formal way, and never have been, even as a volunteer, but I do use the archive A LOT both for posting my own stories and reading other peoples', so take my opinion for what it's worth.  Here's my take on stories/series et al on AO3:

To decide how to categorize your writing on AO3, you should take into account both what feels good for you as a writer, and what works for your readers, as well. You want people to be able to find what they're looking for easily (so they won't throw their hands up in disgust), you want everything related to be together, you want them to be encouraged to comment/kudos. And some people (like me) who are fandom veterans and download copies of every fic they like for personal archival purposes (I've seen too many beloved fics disappear), and it takes very little effort for us to be happy, too.

A story/work is the basic unit. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. It may be long or short, and it may or may not contain internal subdivisions (chapters). You should be able to read it on its own with no problems, and nothing other than a few sentences explaining the previous works if it's part of a series. It can be a work in progress, but other than that, it should be complete in itself.  This is what most people think of when they think of a story.

A story/work should not be a dumping ground for short unrelated pieces.
  • If someone likes one of them and then gets excited that "oh, wow, there's 30k words of this story!" they are going to be VERY disappointed when they find out otherwise.
  • If someone is looking for one particular trope (say, wing!fic, or curtain!fic, or "Howard Stark's A+ Parenting," or any particular trope) and you tag the story as that because one piece has it, they will read the first section, maybe the second section, and probably give up in disgust because what they've read has nothing to do with whatever they're looking for. By putting short unrelated pieces together, you prevent people from finding (and hence READING) the stories of yours that they actually want to read.  Lots of people simply are not willing to wade through all of the different tidbits to find the one tidbit that they want.
  • It clogs up the tags, especially if you put pieces of different fandoms in the same "story." Say you have a work/story with three Harry Potter ficlets, two Naruto ficlets, and one Rivers of London ficlet. You tag it with all of those fandoms; it appears in the works list for all of those fandoms. Then you add two more Harry Potter ficlets and a Once Upon a Time ficlet. Every time you do that, it goes to the top of the tag for every fandom it is tagged in. This is especially annoying for the small fandoms, where they don't get much new fic, and they get excited because yay, new fic! only to be disappointed that it is not, in fact, a new fic in their small fandom. They will probably be very annoyed with you and less likely to read your fic in the future because it feels like you are using bait-and-switch tactics. (Yes, I have heard more than one person in more than one small fandom complain about this.)
  • You will get fewer readers. Most people choose to read a story based on the summary. They may use tags to find stories they might like, but a large part of the decision on whether or not to read this particular story is the summary. If you have a lot of unrelated short pieces together, you can't really write a summary that has stuff about them all, and hence you are DRAMATICALLY reducing the number of people who will read any of it.
  • Sometimes people are looking for a long fic, and will click on a tag (fandom, character, pairing, other tag) of stories they'd like to read and sort by length. Your collection of unrelated ficbits now looks like a long story of the type they want to read! Except it's false advertising, because it's not 50k words of what they want, it's 783 words of what they want with 49k words of other stuff they don't care about. Chances are, they will be very annoyed, and more annoyed if they don't figure out what the deal is right away.
  • You will get fewer kudos. If each ficlet is its own thing, and someone reads two of them and likes them, they can kudos both of them. If they are part of the same story/work, they can only make ONE kudos for everything altogether.
  • If someone does read all of it, and likes one ficlet but not any of the rest, and they make a habit of downloading their favorite fics to read while commuting or for personal archival purposes, they won't be able to do so.
  • There are two exceptions to this.  One is for drabbles (true drabbles that are exactly 100 words) and other ultra-short things.  Even if you put 50 drabbles together, that's still only 500 words total, and the very smallness mitigates against many of the problems.
  • The second exception to this is if you have a series of longfics, and also some really short scenes and gapfillers and outtakes and whatnot.  Then you can put them in one story with a summary that tells what it is--"short stories and outtakes from my [whatever] series"--and people won't mind.  Everything is there in one place, easy to find (if they like that series) or avoid (if they don't).  Everything is clearly labelled and easy to find.  It's not clogging up the tags.  Even so, if there's something that stands on its own as a story within the series, I would recommend making it its own work, rather than just a chapter in a jumble of scenes.

It is better to have a single work marked as a WIP than to have each chapter of your story posted as a separate work.
  A chapter is a short piece that does not stand on its own but must be read in order with the other parts of the story.
  • Someone looking for a complete work will be very disappointed.  They thought they were getting a complete story, and all they're getting is one chapter in a WIP.  There are some people who don't read WIPs, only complete fic.  If each chapter is a separate work, they can't tell if it's complete or not ... so they won't read it.
  • The default at AO3 is to view a fic chapter-by-chapter, but you can also set it to view an entire work all at once.  If you post each chapter as its own work, nobody can do this.  Those readers who prefer to read a whole work in one page will be annoyed or disappointed.
  • Those who download fics to read offline or for archival purposes will find it much more difficult.  Instead of downloading one story, they'll have to download a lot and figure out how to get them in the right order on their device.
  • It's false advertising.  People know what a story is, and they know what a chapter is, and if you give them what is basically a chapter and tell them it is a whole work they will be annoyed.  Annoying your readers is counterproductive.
  • You clog up the tags.  This is especially annoying if you're posting frequently in a medium/small fandom.  Someone clicks on that fandom and they get a whole slew of "works" that are, in fact, just different chapters of ONE story.  It drowns out other stories and thus annoys other authors and any potential reader who wants to find more than just your fic.
So what do you do if you have more than one story (complete works that stand on their own) that goes together?  How do you handle that?  On AO3, you make them into series or collections.

A series is a group of related works/stories in the same plot arc set in a particular order, be it chronological or otherwise. When you put things in a series, you are telling your reader a couple of things. First, that all of these stories belong together quite closely (more closely than a collection) and that they should be read in a particular order.

A collection is a group of works or stories that you believe belong together for whatever reason.  Maybe it's "all the fic I've written about Bitty cooking."  Or maybe it's "all the fics I've written in any fandom with kidfic."  Or maybe it's "all of my favorites."  Or maybe it's "all of my tumblr meta ficlets."

Note: I don't think there's much point in creating collections or series with all of your works in a particular fandom in them; it's super-easy for a reader to find them without you doing anything. They click on your username, and get taken to your dashboard with a list of the fandoms you've written in right up there top center. Clicking on the one they want will take them to all of the works you have written in that fandom. On the other hand, it's not like there's any problem with it, or any inconvenience it causes your readers, so it's purely a matter of personal preference.
beatrice_otter: (Falcon)
So!  I am in the mood for some Lois Lane, Awesome Girl Reporter.  I take me to AO3, and find the Lois Lane tag, and sort it by kudos.  What do I find?

Pages and pages of Clark Kent/Lex Luthor slash (Smallville era) and Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne slash (current movies), with the occasional welcome break for Kara Danvers/Cat Grant femmeslash (Supergirl TV show).  In all of these, Lois is a minor background character who either a) gets our heroes together, b) is the obstacle to them getting together, or c) is off on the casefic aspect of the fic while the main focus is on our heroes getting together.

Now, it's nice to have the occasional femslash thing in there, so it isn't all "Lois Lane Pushed Aside for Whitecock," but still.  I'm not looking for Lois Lane, Minor Supporting Character (and shoved into a one-dimensional box to facilitate someone else's love story).  I want Lois Lane, Awesome Girl Reporter!

Going for the Clark Kent/Lois Lane tag does get me stories where Lois is actually a main character, although also a lot of stories where she's just there to be shoved out of the way for the whitecock pairing.  But while I love CK/Lois Lane fics, it's frustrating that either I'm limited to that or slogging through ENDLESS PAGES OF OTHER STUFF to get to what I really want, which is Lois Lane doing her job and being AWESOME at it.

This is also my problem whenever I'm in the mood for Sam Wilson fics.  In a very high percentage of fics, he is there to facilitate the Steve/Bucky angst.

And here's the thing: if AO3's character tags were broken up into "main character" and "supporting character," when I want stories focusing on Lois Lane or Sam Wilson or any of the host of interesting characters who get shoved aside in favor of the Major Pairing, I could easily find fics where they are the focus!
beatrice_otter: Aim high--you may still miss the target, but at least you won't shoot your foot off. (Aim High)
Further news about the Organization for Transformative Works Board.  (The OTW is, among other things, the parent organization for AO3.)  You may recall that the two new Board members we just elected were taking office December 1, and the rest of the Board was resigning December 15?  Today is December 19!  And we have had an announcement of what they are going to do to fill the empty slots.

They're going to appoint the three candidates from the last election with the most votes to fill all the slots but one, and then fill three slots instead of two in next year's election.  This is about what I predicted they'd do--we just had an election, it wasn't like they were going to get a whole new crop of people volunteering to run who hadn't run in the last election, and anyway, most of the candidates had pretty good resumes and experience.

So for those of you who might have been tempted to run around thinking the sky was falling, the board is continuing to chug along and is actually in a pretty good spot right now to clean up the messes left by the previous board and all their predecessors.  Nothing has changed for the archive, except it now has a good chance of getting a board that's actually helpful.
beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
As I was surfing through all the discussion around the OTW board issues, I stumbled upon someone analyzing Naomi Novik (BNF-turned-pro-author, founder of both Yuletide and AO3, incredibly divisive person in fandom because some idolize her and some demonize her).

It was really interesting and good! You should go read it. It's insightful, and a reminder that different people have different strengths and just because someone is good in one area doesn't mean they're good at others ... and that just because you like someone on a personal level doesn't mean they're right for a particular job. (Context: somebody on FFA started saying we should bring Naomi Novik back to get things going right like they did back in the Good Old Days.)
What Naomi seems to be good at is creating and initially running smaller projects that can effectively serve a larger audience with just one or two people making all the decisions/creating all the necessary structure. Whenever things grow beyond that we see her flaws as a leader emerge

She gets stuff done, yes. Because she is always the one getting stuff done, and if the situation actively calls for delegation beyond her circle, stuff goes haywire. That sort of tight control doesn't work here and yet the org has persisted in having the Board try to employ it since its founding days.
All right, my current thoughts re: Naomi Novik as someone who runs/ran the OTW

Other interesting stuff: a former board member who was on the Finance committee gives a bit of historical background and perspective on recent events that I thought was very helpful.

The board members-elect wrote an official post on what their priorities are going forward, and what they're going to try to do to get things on a better footing.

Failfandomanonwiki has an excellent post on the whole election-and-finances issue, as does Fanlore.  Both had points and events that I had missed.  And here's another good summary from plaidadder.

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
So, you will all remember that OTW, the parent organization for AO3, has had numerous organizational problems both in the past and continuing today (rampant cronyism, sockpuppetry, and trolling, plus fiscal irresponsibility of trying to run a 6-figure-a-year organization without a budget, lots of other things) that resulted in heatedly contested elections in 2011 and again this year.

And, yay, the two spots that were up for election this year, we got two very great candidates (new blood not swept up in the disfunctionality! with experience in nonprofits!).

What we were not told was that there were more than two slots open on the board. And so you know what the board did? Before the new members took office? They filled one of the other open spots by appointing one of their dear friends, Andrea H., whose time on the board was just up, who was up for reelection, and came in last place out of six. It was unanimous (including Andrea's own vote)--there was one abstention (but zie wasn't against, zie said with a smiley face!).

This all took place in an open board meeting, an online chat with non-board-members watching. When several of them vocally protested this move, for numerous reasons including the obvious conflict of interest of Andrea voting for zirself, and also asking why zie was appointed instead of the people who came in third and fourth on the vote, they were shut down.

Now, they board certainly had the right to appoint someone to fill a vacancy in their midst. However, for various reasons, it was a very shitty thing to do--it was such obvious cronyism that it boggles the mind. The Board's powers to appoint replacement board members is in place so that if someone resigns halfway through their term you don't have to hold a special election just to fill that seat. But holding an election to fill open slots, not filling all of them on purpose, and then appointing your friend who stood for election and lost to one of the slots you purposefully did not fill ... wow. It's such a breathtaking abuse of the bylaws that I can't remember having seen it's like.

Quoth M. J. MacRae (who is, by the way, the one who trolled the chats): "We appreciate that you have questions, however, if we can't deal with our business in open because of people speaking out of turn then we will have to move to closed. As we said, please hold questions to the end... I will start a queue [for questions] if we have time." (Translation: We're fine doing our business in the open as long as nobody speaks up, but if you don't like anything we do that gives us an excuse to shut everyone out and go behind closed doors so nobody will see our shenanigans.)

When people refused to be shut up, MacRae then declared that they were moving to a closed session because people were being inappropriate (hah!) and got up on zir high horse about how the observers in chat didn't understand the ethics of the situation. (Excuse me while I fall over laughing about MacRae, who sockpuppeted and trolled the elections process, lecturing anyone about ethics. For any reason.)

All in all, they took my (already low) expectations and went way under them. Like, this is lower than I thought they could go! Wow!

Screencaps of the travesty are available here.

Reactions: Someone started putting together a google group to keep an eye on the board and discuss what could be done about them. Someone else formally requested the board hold a vote of no confidence (i.e. a vote of all members to ask if they wanted to remove anyone from the board). Various other people got mad on tumblr about it.

But, there was a good result in the end!

Andrea Horbinski, Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae tendered their resignations from the Board effective 15 December 2015. This is the ENTIRE board besides the two newly-elected people, Atiya Hakeem and Matty Bowers, whose terms begin December 1.

Guys, this is a really good thing. Because the committees and the rest of the organization--i.e. the functional, sane part of it--is still there. The archive and all its volunteers? Still there. The people doing legal advocacy? Still there. Fanlore and all its volunteers? Still there. The only thing that's gone are the people up top who were so incompetent at running a non-profit that they couldn't even come up with a budget, and so defensive and cronyist about it that they trolled their own elections process. Atiya and Matty both have actual experience at running non-profits, they're both committed to changing the responsiveness of the board and getting things done according to best-practices, and now they have a clean slate to work with instead of being two people out of eight, with the other six committed more to covering their own asses than doing what's best for the organization. They can actually focus on getting stuff done, instead of having to battle the existing board.

Were it me, I would see what the procedure is for getting the rest of the people who were running (except Andrea, obvs.) to fill some of the remaining slots. They were all good, enthusiastic, experienced people.

I'll be watching, closely, but I've got more hope now than I think I've ever had that things will be done right.

AO3 Meme

Nov. 6th, 2015 11:32 pm
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Stolen from [personal profile] anghraine 

Account Created: December 4 2009
Link to AO3: [ profile] Beatrice_Otter 
Total Works: 154--but one of those is just all the crossover drabbles I wrote for [ profile] tth100 strung together.

Total Wordcount: 575,102
Average Wordcount: 3,734
Longest Story: Consequences, a 46k word SG-1 AU I wrote in 2005 because I was annoyed at all the Broca-AUs and thought I could do it better.  Turns out, this is not the greatest reason to write a story, and by the end of it I hated it.  And the sequel shows it, because it ends WAY too abruptly and I still occasionally get people wanting to know if I'm going to actually FINISH it and my response is, I know this is a crappy ending, but it's the best you're getting.  (For those of you too young to know SG-1 or who were never in the fandom, The Broca Divide was like the third ep of the first season, and the SGC gets a virus that turns people into cave-men and Sam tries to seduce Jack before she gets carted off to the infirmary.  There were a lot of really bad fics that used this as a jumping point for really OOC floof.)
Shortest Story: Well, I have a lot of drabbles as mentioned earlier, but AO3 thinks they're all part of one story because that's how I posted them.  The two monofannish drabbles are posted each as their own story, so those are what AO3 thinks are the shortest.  "In Another Life" and "Blood Will Tell."  And when I say "drabble," I mean a REAL drabble, 100 words exactly.  None of this newfangled "any really short story" nonsense, goldern kids get off my lawn ...

Total Kudos: 4,397
Average Kudos: 28
Story With the Most Kudos: Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, with 405.

Total Comment Threads: 634
Average Comment Threads: 4
Story With the Most Comment Threads: Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, with 73.

Total Author Subscriptions: 54
Total Story Subscriptions: 35
Story With the Most Subscriptions: Darcy's Surprise (the sequel to Lieutenant Bennet's Visit) with 5.

Total Bookmarks: 776.
Story With the Most Bookmarks: Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, with 87.

Stories With No Comments or Kudos:  All of them at least have kudos, but holy crap I had no idea I had so many with no comments at all (or at least, none here).  Most of them are from the pre-AO3 days, so they at least had comments other places, but still.  'Tis a little disheartening to see it all laid out like that.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
It never fails.  Every time we get a peek behind the curtain of the OTW board, it turns out to be a new and exciting picture of a screwed-up organization.  The latest installment: current board members trolling the OTW elections chats.  (Official transcriptFFA thread on itTumblr post about it.)

The screwed-up-ness of the board is, by the way, almost certainly why they keep bleating about confidentiality in ways that prove they either don't actually know how it applies to the OTW or know but are lying to cover their asses.  See, the thing about non-profits is that they are supposed to be transparent.  Public financial records and minutes.  The only things things that should be confidential are hiring/firing/promotion/other personnel issues.  The default for a non-profit is that EVERYTHING is a public record unless it falls into one of a few very narrow categories (like personnel records).  For the OTW, I would imagine that certain aspects of ongoing legal cases might also be confidential for the duration of the case, but that's specifically the legal/advocacy committee, not the work of the board itself.  But as long as they can keep things in-house--as long as they can keep people from seeing, for example, board meeting minutes and chat transcripts--they can do whatever they dang well please without having to worry about being professional or getting called on petty bullshit maneuverings.

I am pleased with the quality of candidates for the current election.  Given what we know of the OTW board's inner workings, here's what I'm looking for in a candidate:
1) Never been on the board before (because even board members who started out with good intentions have, by this point, gotten sucked into the dysfunctional system).
2) Experience with other non-profits (because dear God, do they need it).
3) Experience taking a dysfunctional part of the OTW system and getting it working (because they'll need the experience).

Most of the candidates meet all three of those, yay!  Lots of good choice.  We get two people like that on the board, they've got a chance of getting things turned around.

But that's not a guarantee that they can.  I've talked about this before, but the thing is, any organization or group that operates for a while settles into a system.  A pattern of behavior.  It may be a great system, it may be a terrible system, but the point is that everyone participates in it.  Everyone has their place.  When someone leaves the system and someone new comes in, everyone in the system generally works to try and fit the new person in to the system and shove them into the spot left behind even if they don't like the system.  I mean, even the people working to maintain the system may think it's a horrible system and they hate it, and they will still find all sorts of justifications to try and keep it from changing.  Why?  Because it's comfortable, and they know their place.  Change is hard and scary and uncertain.  People will often choose a bad system that they hate over the possibility of changing to a better system, because they value predictability.  (When psychologists and sociologists study this, it's usually on a family level, which is why it's called "family systems theory" but it also applies to other sorts of groups-churches, businesses, non-profits of all kinds, etc.)

This is why the last kerfluffle over OTW board elections, in 2011, didn't change much--one or two new people on the board isn't going to magically change the system.  And if the rest of the board is really determined to keep things going the way they have been, well, they can.  Even now, we get two awesome new people with lots of talent, drive, and skills elected ... and it's quite possible for the rest of the board to stonewall them and generally make their lives very unpleasant until they either give up, go away, or get sucked into the madness themselves.

So how do we change things?  Electing good people is a start, but not the end.  We have to make sure that the board is accountable and STAYS accountable.  This means OTW members (anyone who donates $10 or more in a year is a member) have to keep the pressure up.  Keep asking questions.  Keep wanting to see the financials.  Keep asking about what's going on inside the organization.  Make sure they know that we are watching, and that we want things run responsibly and according to the best practices of non-profit organizations.

And the next time seats are up for elections, we need to AGAIN make sure that we are electing people with experience in non-profits who are willing to work towards openness, accountability, and best practices.

It's going to take a while, but it's possible.  IF we don't do what we did back in 2011 and assume that getting someone elected means we won and everything will magically be fine now.
beatrice_otter: WWII soldier holding a mug with the caption "How about a nice cup of RESEARCH?" (Research)
First, there are rumors going around that if the current fundraiser doesn't make enough money, the archive will fold. This is not true. The fundraising letter could have been more clearly worded, but the OTW is going strong and so is the fundraiser, and even if this fundraiser fell short (which it won't, given the speed at which money is coming in right now and the history of strong fannish response to OTW fundraising), all that would happen would be a few things pushed further into the future.

But what has happened, courtesy of this combined with the board elections, is that it is causing people to look deeper at OTW and the way it handles its money.

And what they found is scary. Apparently, the OTW hasn't ever had a budget. There's been no planning, no forecasting, no "let's figure out what reasonable costs are and stick to them," just pay bills whenever they come in. [ profile] madecunningly did the research to pull this together:
The new treasurer, MJ MacRae, decided that 2015’s budget was somewhat a moot point, coming in as she did so late into 2015, and is currently focusing on finalizing a budget for 2016. This is fine, and makes total sense, as MacRae and the Board are waiting to see the final numbers from the October 2015 drive. MacRae went on to tell me that when she has a finalized budget, a public version will be shared on the OTW’s website, and announced on the @OTW_news twitter. Excellent, I thought, exactly the kind of announcements that the OTW_news twitter is for.

Except, it’s odd that they wouldn’t have a period of time for members to bring questions/concerns about a proposed budget. Why present a finalized version? It’s a pretty normal move, in my experience with non-profits, to present a proposed budget to your members and take questions/concerns about where funds are being allocated for the upcoming year. While I asked about this, I never received a response.

The problem I have is that this is revealing a lot of instability and lack of process around the OTW’s finances. Neither has the OTW acknowledged this kind of on-going issue or announced changes in how they plan to manage their finances. You don’t have to have a budget to be a non-profit–but you do have to be able to prove exactly where your money went on demand, and part of accepted best practices for that is a budget. It’s also not very good stewardship; how can the Board make plans and predictions for the next year if they don’t know how much money they have committed, how much isn’t committed, etc.? I don’t have faith, based on this information, that the OTW will effectively use my money for the purpose for which I donated it, or, honestly, for any purpose at all. This doesn’t scream “fraudulent!” to me, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea either.
--Clarification on the OTW's Budgeting Process for Would-Be Donors
[ profile] madecunningly does an excellent job of pointing out why that's a problem in the rest of the post.

The threat to AO3′s existence is not–and never has been!–financial.  Fans are REALLY REALLY GENEROUS PEOPLE, overall.  Both with volunteer time and money.  Sure, not everyone can or wants to, but there are MORE than enough to cover the costs and volunteer needs.

The problem is managerial.  It’s how to organize what they have.  And this is something the OTW has always struggled with.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the OTW’s 2011 election and the arguments over that.  (Fanlore is a good place to start.)  The bone of contention in that election was that there were serious flaws in the internal structure of the OTW and its daughter organizations such as AO3.  Everything from communications to coding to volunteer management to cronyism.  And this was resulting in volunteer burnout, a climate of fear, and coding problems.  (Not being a programmer myself, I don’t know much about this, but I know that a lot of people who are programmers were mildly horrified by the workflow and underlying structure of how coding was done at the time.)

There haven’t been any major problems that made it outside the organization since 2011, but that doesn’t mean that there’s been a major shift in how things run, only that there hasn’t been a crisis big enough to rock a boat this big hard enough to be seen from the outside.  And there still isn’t a major crisis!

Problem is, crises come eventually.  And you can get by on bad/no planning, inefficient practices, poor communication, and general bad management most of the time.  It won’t work as well as it could, but it’ll work.  In a crisis, however, all of that will come back to bite you in the ass and that’s when the AO3 could really be in trouble.  Not because of money, but because of bad management.

And that’s what needs to be fixed now.  Before it turns into a crisis.

So please, please, please, if you are eligible to vote in the OTW election (if you donated $10+ prior to October 6th), be thoughtful in your voting choices.  If you're a volunteer or board member, take the time to study best practices for non-profits and try to implement them.

ETA: Thoughts on the OTW and its current fundraising by [personal profile] kalloway 

AO3 Stats

May. 7th, 2015 09:07 am
beatrice_otter: Aim high--you may still miss the target, but at least you won't shoot your foot off. (Aim High)
Last time I did this was apparently in April 2013.  Let's see what's changed!  I think we'll do overall and specifically 2014.

Overall stats )

Now for 2014 specifically.  I only wrote nine stories, so they're all in the top 10!  Hah, that's one way to do it, I suppose ....
By hits, they order up this way:
2014 Fic Stats )

Three of those are Yuletide fic, which means that aside from Yuletide I averaged one fic every two months.  Ugh.  These are all short things, I hope to do better this year.  Lots of WIPs I'm slowly plunking away at.
beatrice_otter: Emma and Henry reading the book of fairy tales (Once Upon a Time)
You know what I wish AO3 had?  A way to exclude tags from search results and the latest works page.  For example, I love Once Upon A Time!  But there are certain characters that fandom (and the writers) seem to love, who I wish would die in a fire ::cough::Killian|Hook::cough::  If I could just go to AO3 looking for new OUaT fic and never have to see anything with him in it, that would be awesome.  (I feel much the same way about Rose Tyler in Doctor Who.  I don't mind her in the episodes she's in, but I get very annoyed at the way a large part of fandom writes her as if SHE IS EVERYTHING AND A FIC WITHOUT HER IS MEANINGLESS JUST LIKE THE DOCTOR IS MEANINGLESS WITHOUT HER.)
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Want to have some say in the great copyright battle? OTW is asking for help again.

Your help is needed again! The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) are seeking public comments on copyright policy issues, including the legal framework for the creation of remixes. The window for these submissions is short -- they must be in by October 14, so we need to act now.

The Legal Committee is thus looking for stories of how fandom has helped fans in day-to-day life. We need you to share your individual stories with concrete examples. For example, perhaps being in fandom has helped you to learn a language, helped you in school, or helped you improve skills that you use elsewhere — skills such as writing, video editing, coding websites, audio editing, or anything else. We don't need personal information from you, but the more specific the story, the better.

Our attorneys will use your stories to explain to these agencies, which are likely to propose new legislation about copyright, why any change in copyright law should favor freedom to make transformative works. We succeeded before with the DMCA remix exemptions, but only because we were able to share specific stories from vidders. Now we need stories of all kinds.
We also need them soon! Please provide us with your stories by October 10, as our team needs time to work with them before the submission deadline of the 14th.

To submit your story, please use the Legal Committee's contact form.
beatrice_otter: Uhura fights like a girl (Fight like a Girl)
You know what is pissing me off right now?  People tagging fic as "Women Being Awesome" on AO3 when, in fact, the women are secondary characters and their moments of "awesome" are mostly about getting Teh Slashy Guys together.


beatrice_otter: Giles says "The subtext is rapidly becoming ... text" (Subtext)
Top Tens )

So, oddly enough, it's the list ordered by # of bookmarks that gets closest to what my top ten list of my own fics would be.  As everyone has noted, Yuletide skews everything.

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)

Yuletide only allows you to nominate three fandoms, but you can request four.  Once the nomination form is accepted, it cannot be changed.  And it doesn't tell you if something has already been accepted before you submit.  So if you have four different fandoms you would like to request fic in, and nobody else nominates one of them, you are SOL.  Or if you, like me, want three desperately and have one or two others that would be really cool, you ask for the three you most desperately want and hope someone else nominates one of the others--unless you know that someone else has or will request one of your three top fandoms, leaving you with a slot to request one of your second tier fandoms.

On the spreadsheet run by volunteers based on what people report has been accepted, Batman Beyond hadn't been accepted yet.  So I put it as one of my three nomination fandoms (along with Donovan's Reef and Temeraire).  It's already been accepted, all but one character I nominated, so obviously someone else nominated it.  If I'd known that, I would have nominated either Bride and Prejudice or The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

I mean, come on, I get that generating a constantly updating list of everything that has been requested so far would be way to server-intensive, and therefore impractical.  But how much server load would it take to have an asterisk or pop up or something when you enter in a fandom or character that has already been added to the Yuletide tag set?

If anyone has any spare noms, please nominate one or both of those fandoms!  You can nominate without needing to participate in Yuletide itself!  All you need is an AO3 account.  (And, by the way, if you are waiting for an AO3 account, you will automatically get one now if you want to participate in Yuletide.)  Nomination FormTutorial.

Bride and Prejudice
1. Lalita
2. Darcy
3. Balraj
4. Jaya

Heinlein--The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
1. Mike
2. Manny
3. Wyoh
4. ________________ (if you're not familiar with the canon, Professor de la Paz would probably be a good fourth person to nominate)
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Hey, guys, if you use AO3 you should really be checking out their blog regularly.  (There is a DW feed, if that helps.)  They have been talking a lot lately about what they are doing to fix the performance issues (caching some pages, recoding some things to make them less of a drag on resources, buying more servers, temporarily turning off a few bells and whistles to make things run more smoothly while they recode them and get more servers, etc.)

I don't know what the internal culture is like since the election, but they do seem to be a little more focused on letting us know what's going on than they used to.

beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
Out of curiosity, I checked my stats at AO3, and looked at my top ten hit-counts for fic. Well, first I mistakenly told it so sort by word count and got really confused, but then I hit the right button and it made more sense. I am not counting my "fic" which is just a collection of TTH drabbles.

Top Ten Beatrice Otter fics by word count )Huh. Some things jump out at me.

4 fics from 2010, 5 from 2011, 1 from 2009. Is this because my recent stuff is better, because more people read on AO3 now than they used to, what?

4 fics are crossovers, and only two (Wanky Wormhole, Reflections in Moving Water) are in large fandoms, though several are in good-sized fandoms where lots of people know the source material even if they don't generally write much. (Pride and Prejudice, Disney Princesses, Mary Poppins, probably even Temeraire and Vorkosigan Saga fit here.) This is probably because I love crossovers, and since SG-1 ended I have been fannish in general but not consumed by any one fandom, certainly not any one large fandom.

4 are Yuletide fics, and all but one are from a ficathon of some sort--and that one is a sequel to one of the others.  I'm not sure if that says more about the fact that most of my writing (well, posted writing) this last couple of years is ficathon-based, or that ficathons tend to have a built-in audience.

I wish AO3 had something like's statistics page, because it's fascinating to see things like when the hits come, and where they come from.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
OTW is the group that runs (among other things) AO3 and Fanlore, and it has serious problems.  Over the last few weeks of election campaigns, a lot of dirty laundry has come out.  If OTW and its projects are to be sustainable, there needs to be serious changes made in the way it handles internal conflict, mentors its volunteers, and implements code.

If Naomi Novik (i.e. one of the founders, who got the ball rolling but also was a major influence in setting up the screwy system they've got now) is re-elected, I do not believe such major changes will be made, and in that case I do not believe the OTW and its projects will last very long at the rate they're burning out volunteers.  PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR NAOMI NOVIK.

Example of shenanigans within OTW: "The chair of the board has been told by someone/s to stop working on a strategic plan for the organisation because she doesn't have the authority to do so. "  And the president's post on OTW.

A helpful collection of links if you haven't been following things.

I will be voting for the following:

1. Jenny Scott-Thompson
2. Julia Beck
3. Betsy Rosenblatt
4. Nikisha Sanders

beatrice_otter: OMGWTFBBQ!  Hector dies in book 22!  Spoilers! (Spoilers)
OTW (the Organization for Transformative Works) is the organization that, among other things, runs AO3, runs Fanlore wiki, and is (or at least would like to be) the central advocate for fandom culturally and legally.  So, as fans, it's something we should pay attention to, yes?

I love AO3 and Fanlore.  I wish the OTW as a whole would be more transparent, communicative, and responsive to fandom.  There is an election, next month, for the board of OTW (they have 4 slots open).  Anyone who has donated in the last year can vote (although I think the deadline for donating/joining prior to this election has already passed).  Voting is important.  OTW is important.

And, so we can all know what the heck we're voting about, here is a links roundup of OTW election posts by [personal profile] troisroyaumes 

(Personally, I won't be voting for Naomi Novik; she started the whole shebang, which I love her for, but I don't think she should be in charge constantly and long-term.  Besides the whole term-limits thing, she has a bit of a "let them eat cake" mentality when people ask about transparency.  Aside from that ... there are several people who bring good skill-sets and ideas that I think would be good board members.)

AO3 Hits

Apr. 21st, 2011 08:59 am
beatrice_otter: This looks like a good day for World Domination (World Domination)
My top ten most-read stories on AO3 are:

AO3 Hits )

If I were going to say what my top ten favorite stories of my own I've written are, they would be (in no particular order):
Personal Favorites (at the moment) )What's interesting to me is how many of the stories I picked just now as personal favorites weren't marked as such when I added them to my master list.


beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

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