Celebrating OTW's 10 Years of History

25 Things to Know About the OTW

Many of you may be new to the OTW while a few of you have been following our progress since we launched in 2007. Either way, we hope there are things you’ve been discovering about us this month. As our next big anniversary won’t be for a while though, here are 25 things about our organization you can find out right now!

  1. Our Legal Advocacy team was the first OTW project to launch as they worked on incorporating us as a non-profit in 2007. The OTW’s website went live and the first OTW newsletter was posted on December 11, 2007.
  2. One of the OTW’s first donations came in August 2007 from Cory Doctorow, who wrote that December: “This is such a good idea. When Naomi [Novik, OTW co-founder] described it at the WorldCon at a panel that we were on together, I wrote her a check on the spot for $500 to fund the org. I hope she cashes it now that they’ve formally announced.”
  3. Our volunteer records go back to 2007. We have 6 volunteers who have been working with the OTW since then.
  4. Our first membership drive was held from March 1-18, 2008. We raised $11,142 from 396 donations. The drive was announced with LOLcats.
  5. The first code for AO3 was completed on March 25, 2008.
  6. An early bit of press coverage for the OTW in August 2008 focused on the history of vidding.
  7. The Legal Advocacy team’s longest running project has been a continual effort to maintain exemptions for fan video makers to break copy protection on visual content they use. They first submitted documents for this in December 2008, and have continued petitioning for these exemptions every three years, achieving decisions in our favor in 2009, 2012, and 2015. They are currently preparing for the next round in 2018. (Here’s a way that you can tell the U.S. Congress to make these decisions permanent!)
  8. Most of the oldest pages on Fanlore are about individual fans. The oldest fandom page is Die Hard, which was created on August 4, 2008.
  9. OTW’s projects launched within 9 months of one another: Transformative Works and Cultures on September 15, 2008, Fanlore on September 29, 2008, the Archive of Our Own (in limited beta) on October 3, 2008, and the Vidding History Project on February 16, 2009. Open Doors announced its Fan Culture Preservation Project on June 18, 2009 with a donated collection of over 3,000 fanzines.
  10. The OTW’s first Board election was in October 2009.
  11. This was the first look at the AO3’s servers a few months before the public beta in November 2009.
  12. Many of our volunteers have served in at least two different positions, either concurrently or in succession. Some volunteers really like variety! 8 of them have served in 5 committees or more since they began volunteering.
  13. The average donation the OTW received during our last membership drive was $25.90. The $25 average has remained consistent since our first drive.
  14. Archive of Our Own has had several front page redesigns. The first was on November 7, 2009. The last was on February 25, 2015 when the Favorite Tags feature was added.
  15. Open Doors got its website on May 16, 2011 and began archive imports to AO3 when its import tool was ready on February 26, 2012. The first archive they worked on is the Smallville Slash Archive.
  16. The average page on Fanlore has been edited 5.34 times. The most revised entry was the Proposed Zines link. Fourth on the list is the Blanket Permission to Podfic, which is also the longest page on Fanlore.
  17. Our Legal Committee offers advice for fans, usually one-on-one, but also publicly about broader concerns. Their earliest post of this kind concerned a contest being held at San Diego Comic Con and other fan events in July 2012.
  18. Some people know that the February 15th date for International Fanworks Day is tied to the date AO3 passed 1 million fanworks. What may not be known is that it was also the day that Fanlore passed 500,000 edits and the same month that the first OTW-supported book was published by the Transformative Works and Cultures editors, making February 2014 one of our most significant dates.
  19. Besides the many milestones for user accounts, fandoms, and fanworks, the AO3 marked another one in April 2015 when its servers moved into their own rack at the server facility.
  20. We get donations from over 70 countries during most membership drives. In April 2017, the top 10 countries that donors have come from were the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, and Finland.
  21. In the month of July 2017 we had over 11 million different IP addresses accessing the Archive, and we showed them around 17,000 pages a minute. But each day the AO3 sends over half a million emails, or nearly 16 million emails per month to its over 1 million registered users.
  22. The OTW’s “About Fandom” Playlist includes interviews of and presentations made by OTW personnel. These make for handy explainers to friends and fellow fans!
  23. AO3 tag wranglers sometimes hold chat parties to entertain each other while they work. In July 2017, they wrangled around 610,000 tags in a single month.
  24. The OTW organizes its work through committees and these have changed many times over the years. Our Volunteers & Recruiting Committee reports that our largest committee is Tag Wrangling, with 304 people, and our smallest committee is Systems, with only 7 people. Overall we have over 600 volunteers in 22 timezones.
  25. Transformative Works and Cultures has had 10 general issues and 15 special topic issues, and their articles have been cited hundreds of times over the past decade. They just published their 25th issue this month.
OTW 10th Anniversary Chat

Transcript for OTW 10th Anniversary Chat with Seanan McGuire & Martha Wells

If you missed any of our posts or events celebrating our 10th anniversary, or want to attend future events, check out our announcement post. Below is the transcript for the chat held on September 17th.

The transcript has been edited for arrivals and departures in the room and greetings from the audience.


Sarah L.
Hello and welcome! As advertised, the Organization for Transformative Works is running a series of chats during the month of September in celebration of our 10th anniversary. Today’s chat focuses on Fantasy & Fandom! A transcript will be made public later today.

I’m your moderator, Sarah Loch, and I’m a staffer with the OTW’s Communications committee. We have some prepared questions for guests and then we’ll be opening the floor to audience questions.

Ok, so let’s get started! (more…)

OTW 10th Anniversary Chat

Transcript for 10th Anniversary Chat with Christina Lauren and Catherine Roach

If you missed any of our posts or events celebrating our 10th anniversary, or want to attend future events, check out our announcement post . Below is the transcript for the chat held on September 16th.

The transcript has been edited for arrivals and departures in the room as well as greetings and side discussions in the audience.


Claudia R.
Hello and welcome! As advertised, the Organization for Transformative Works is running a series of chats during the month of September in celebration of our 10th anniversary. Today’s chat focuses on the Romance genre. A transcript will be made public later today. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check out last week’s chat with Lev Grossman!)

I’m your moderator, Claudia Rebaza, and I’m a staffer with the OTW’s Communications committee. We have some prepared questions for guests and then later we’ll be opening the floor to audience questions.

Today our guests are authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who write as Christina Lauren, and author and professor Catherine Roach. You can check out their bios by following the links on our announcement post.

*Catherine R.
Hi–my pleasure to be here! I’m in my office on campus at the University of Alabama, in Tuscallosa. It’s a “Game Day”–the football team plays later this afternoon. Out my window, the Quad is covered with crazed Crimson Tide Football fans. It’s fun to be looking at them and chatting about romance fandom!

*Christina L.
Catherine, I always wanted an alternative path where I went to a big football school and got to enjoy that energy.

Claudia R.
As Christina and Lauren share writing tasks and a name generally, they asked to just be identified in the singular here today to avoid duplicate answers. But we had a little trouble with them sharing the account so Lauren appears here as Christina L. and Christina appears as *christina.

Everyone ready?

(more…)