This Week in Fandom banner by vertexcat

This Week in Fandom, Volume 103

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, the the 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced. What are your predictions for who will win?


It’s been over a month since the Tumblr Purge, and the long-term effects are starting become apparent. The Mary Sue published an article examining the effects the purge has had on fandom specifically. The article states that there appears to have been a decrease in activity on the site.

What’s clear is that there’s been a fractious exit from Tumblr, with those who have left scattering to distant corners and no one clear alternate platform able to replace what Tumblr had been.

Tumblr isn’t totally dead, of course. Many people have remained, but from my perspective, there’s been a noticeable slowdown in activity.

(more…)

Banner by James Baxter with a calendar icon and the text This Week in Fandom on a white background

This Week in Fandom, Volume 100

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, a huge thank you to everyone for helping this series reach 100 volumes. When TWIF was started, we had no idea whether we’d get this far. It’s been awesome to see the series grow and read all the comments from people who enjoy it. Here’s to many more volumes to come!


The big story in fandom continues to be the Tumblr Purge. Tumblr’s new community guidelines went into effect yesterday, banning all sexually explicit image and video content, including fan art. After all the backlash against these guidelines when they were first announced, Tumblr’s staff account posted an update to clarify some aspects of the changes. Warning: This post contains image examples of what Tumblr now considers acceptable depictions of nudity, which are probably NSFW. In an incredibly ironic turn of events, the post was then apparently flagged as a violation of the new community guidelines. So it would seem that things have a ways to go before they’re running smoothly again. (more…)

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

Tumblr’s TOS Changes, AO3, and You

Recently, Tumblr announced that it would be changing its terms of service to exclude adult content. OTW Legal has gotten some questions about that change, and we’re here to help answer them!

Will Tumblr’s change in TOS change anything about the Archive Of Our Own?

No–neither the AO3 nor the OTW (the nonprofit that operates the AO3) has any relationship at all with Tumblr. Tumblr made this decision on its own, not because of any particular change in the law that would have any impact on the AO3. The AO3 was founded on principles of “maximum inclusiveness” and those principles remain true.

Can we stop Tumblr from doing this? What about free speech?

When users sign up, they agree that Tumblr can make changes to its terms of service, and because Tumblr is a private company, it doesn’t have any obligation to protect free speech. So Tumblr is legally allowed to make this change, and there is nothing that OTW Legal can do about it. As for what users can do to stop Tumblr from changing its terms of service, the unfortunate answer is probably not much. The OTW’s This Week In Fandom post from December 4 discusses some user plans that may send a message to Tumblr. That said, Tumblr surely knows it will lose many users, and it has undoubtedly made a cost-benefit calculation that the lost users won’t be too harmful to its bottom line. (more…)