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2020-09-05 16:58:54 -0400

Celebrate the OTW 13th Anniversary

The OTW is finally a teenager! Or to put it another way, we’re old enough to have an AO3 account of our own. We’re glad to celebrate this birthday with all of you.

Thirteen years ago today, the OTW was launched with the mission to provide access to and preserve the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. Since then, we have advocated for fans in legal and government settings; have imported numerous archives at risk of being lost to platform stagnation and deletion; have developed a fan-generated wiki in which fans have contributed over 50,000 articles; have published 33 issues of our fan studies journal; and we now provide access to nearly 6.5 million fanworks.

Of course, there is always more work to do. The OTW exists for and because of our members and we look forward to hearing from (and working with) more of you as we continue to preserve and advocate for fanworks and their creators. You can keep track of changes to the AO3 via our news posts and can find updates on our other projects on our project websites and social media channels.

With that in mind, we would like to take this anniversary as an opportunity to thank the fans and volunteers whose creativity and support have kept the OTW alive, even through the unprecedented times in which we have found ourselves in this, our thirteenth year. We have an anniversary graphic to commemorate our birthday and we hope that you’ll join us in celebrating the milestone amongst your own social circles and fandom communities.


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The OTW’s April fundraising drive is over, and we are humbled by your incredible generosity. Your donations far surpassed our initial goal of US$130,000, bringing our total to US$458,501 donated by 14,905 people from 96 countries. We are beyond grateful, and as committed as ever to this community that we’re all building together, every single day. We cannot thank you enough for helping our mission and for ensuring that our projects will grow even more in the future.

The OTW is a nonprofit, which means that every single dollar you donate goes towards our work, protecting fanworks and fan culture for everyone. This year, you've supported the Open Doors committee as they worked to mitigate the impact of the Yahoo Groups closure, collaborating with group members and moderators to import content onto Archive of Our Own. You have helped to fund the purchase of new servers for the AO3, which will facilitate greater stability as our user base continues to grow. And you have supported our Legal committee as they argued against fan-unfriendly legislation around the world. (You can find a lot more detail about how our funds are spent in our most recent budget post.)

With your help, we're able to continue actively supporting fanworks and serving the evolving needs of the fannish community year after year. So thank you, once again; we are truly overwhelmed by your support and generosity. And don't worry: if you want to donate outside of the drive period, the OTW accepts donations all year round!

(Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it is possible that delivery of some donation gifts may be delayed. You will find the most up-to-date information about this on our donations page.)


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The Organization for Transformative Works is a non-profit, staffed by volunteers from around the world. Everything we raise goes to support our projects. But we can't do that alone. That's why today, as we do every April, we are launching our bi-annual membership drive, and asking our users to donate to support our work.

Of course, this April is in many respects unlike the ones before it. The current global circumstances are unprecedented, and we understand that many of the people who would usually donate to the OTW may not be in a position to do so at present. We want to reassure you that thanks to your previous generosity and the tireless labor of our Finance committee, we are here for the long term for all of our users, regardless of how much money we are able to raise this time around. Your donations now will help us to sustain our work even further into the future, and support us in planning how we can grow in the years to come.

Donations represent an investment in the OTW that is more than just financial. Any donation of US$10 or more will make you eligible to become an OTW member for the next year, or to renew your membership if you've donated in the past. Members can vote in our August elections, determining the makeup of the Board of Directors who manage the OTW’s strategic development and guide our future planning.

As always, but especially now, we want you to know that every contribution you make to our community is valued and important. Whether you create fanworks to entertain and uplift us all, engage with creators through kudos and comments, contribute to recording fan history and culture, enlighten us with academic papers on fannish topics, volunteer your time to help us, or offer financial support to all of our projects, we are grateful that you are a part of what we do!

Please consider donating if you can, and help us do the best we can to support this community today, tomorrow, and always. We may have spent the past weeks and months in isolation, but thanks to your engagement we are never truly alone.


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2020-02-19 11:46:19 -0500

As you all know by now, February 15, 2020 was the sixth annual International Fanworks Day, which the OTW marked with a series of challenges and activities for fanworks consumers and creators in the preceding week and on the day itself. We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody who participated through our social media channels, on our websites or in any other way, and to pick out some highlights of the celebrations. We saw many returning participants and plenty of newcomers to our IFD 2020 activities, and we are grateful and humbled by the growing response this celebration continues to receive.

So, what did we get up to?

Last month, we issued an #IFDrabble challenge with the prompt, ‘characters discovering fanworks about themselves’. We reblogged selected responses across our social media from February 8 - 15, but you can find many more at the tag we created for IFD 2020 on AO3.

Meanwhile, Fanlore celebrated IFD with their third annual Fanlore Challenge, posting daily editing challenges throughout the week leading up to February 15. Visit Fanlore’s IFD 2020 Challenge page to find out more about what they did, and stay up-to-date with Fanlore on their main page if you'd like to contribute to their ongoing editing work.

Next up, we held a Feedback Fest. Posting shortly before IFD, we asked fans to show some love for their favorite fanworks and creators by posting recs, leaving kudos, and droppings comments online. We also asked fans to respond to the question: ‘What’s your favourite fanwork trope?’ You can find the answers, along with a ton of exciting fanworks recs, in the #IFD2020 tag on Twitter and the #IFD2020 tag on Tumblr, too.

And finally, the OTW hosted our now-traditional chatroom games session round-the-clock on February 15. The live 29-hour party saw two new games introduced this year, Circle Stories and Don’t Get Me Started, to join our many existing favorites (find the rules to all of them in our ‘It’s IFD!’ post). Also new this year, AO3 International Fanworks Day is now its very own fandom! Thanks to our moderator Eliot from Policy & Abuse and Tag Wrangling, we have the content created by participants during the Games and Fan Chat available to be viewed under the pseud MODEliot on AO3. We’ve picked out two of the highlights to share with you guys below, and would like to say one final thank you to everybody who returned to hang out with us this year, as well as welcoming those of you who dropped in for the first time. The moderators had a blast and we can’t wait to be back again next year!

Chatroom highlights

From Poetry Round Robin, hosted by Izzy:

The library never really burned down
because all of the works were digitized
Instead the librarian went to town
Where her presence was by all greatly prized

She taught the villagers both small and large
To take their words and make them flower
Do what you please when you’re in charge
Because personal stories have the most power

The people took up keyboards, notebooks, pens
To spread the words of adventure
They shared their stories with their family and friends
And their stories no person could censure

So the digital library filled with poems and prose
With an ending that left readers on their toes.

From Circle Stories, hosted by C. Ryan Smith (find the end of the story on AO3)

That house is haunted, but not for the reason you probably think. Yes, it is haunted by what we call 'teenagers.' But these are not your average teenagers, no sir, they all have special abilities, they mostly use them to mess around though… Special abilities, to be able to transcend into the "spiritual" plane - we did say the house was haunted, didn't we?

These super powered teenagers also liked to help little old ladies cross the street, but invisible so no one knows it's them. They usually interacted with the spirits of little children and animals who left the mortal world too early. Giving them a place in their home, just to 'adopt' them in the end.

Each dia de los muertos there’s a huge line outside so they end up throwing a house party that invites the townspeople to come see their deceased relatives and pets.


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2020-02-14 18:08:41 -0500

As you all know by now, February 15 is International Fanworks Day! This year, the OTW will be celebrating with our now-traditional chatroom games marathon. You can find details of all today's activities below, but be sure to check out our previous post for more information on the rest of our #IFD2020 celebrations.

About the IFD games session

The OTW’s Public Discussion chatroom and games is a 29-hour party from 23:30 UTC on 14 February that will go through until 04:00 UTC 16 February. The times listed below are all in UTC, but you can click the link to see the time in your own timezone. OTW staffers will be moderating the room and hosting a series of fandom-themed games for you to participate in! Check out the game descriptions below and click through to our public chatroom to join in the fun. Please note that these chatrooms will all be moderated in English

February 14th

23:30 – Circle Stories — Eliot (Abuse and Tag Wrangling)

February 15th

01:00 – Trivial Pursuit — Kirsten Korona (Board and Communications)

02:45 – That’s Life — Kirsten Korona (Board and Communications)

04:00 – Lyrics Round Robin — Pam Haas (Communications)

05:15 – Don’t Get Me Started — Pam Haas (Communications)

07:00 – Poetry Round Robin — Pokestine (Tag Wrangling)

08:15 – Trivial Pursuit — Pokestine (Tag Wrangling)

10:00 – That’s Life — C. Ryan Smith (Development & Membership)

11:30 – Circle Stories — C. Ryan Smith (Development & Membership)

13:00 – Don’t Get Me Started — Anhaita (Translation)

14:45 – 5 Things — Anhaita (Translation)

16:00 – Trivial Pursuit — Jess Hindes (Communications)

17:15 – That’s Life — Adi (Translation)

19:00 – Don’t Get Me Started — Chrome  (Tag Wrangling)

20:15 – 5 Things — Chrome  (Tag Wrangling)

22:00 – Poetry Round Robin — Izzy (Tag Wrangling and Policy & Abuse)

23:15 – Lyrics Round Robin — Izzy (Tag Wrangling and Policy & Abuse)

February 16th

01:00 — Circle Stories — Haley (Tag Wrangling)

03:00 — Countdown — Pam Haas (Communications)

You can join the chatroom here. To keep things manageable, the max capacity is capped at 50 people at any one time, so if you’re unable to get in for one event, do try another.

Details About the Games

5 Things

How to Play : During this game the host will name a topic and players in the room will call out examples from their favorite fandoms. This will repeat for at least 5 rounds. Be prepared to explain why your answer counts (maybe you’ll recruit someone new to your fandom!)

Don’t Get Me Started

How to Play : Prompts are posted by the moderator, and participants in the chat will type up responses as if they are going off on a rant about the given topic. There are no winners or losers, just ranting in solidarity with fellow fans (but remember to keep it PG!)


How to Play : The host has a list of 7 clues. After they type each clue into the chat room, anyone can guess what the answer is. If no one guesses, the host offers the next clue. The game will continue until someone has guessed the person, place or thing BUT the sooner someone guesses the answer, the more points they will get! After 3 rounds, the person with the most points wins.

Circle Stories

How to Play: The moderator posts a sentence or two to begin the story, and from there, participants take over. The first person to write another sentence or two to follow the last accepted response continues the story. It will be left up to the discretion of the moderator to choose which response to keep if there are multiple responses posted very close together. All the while, the moderator keeps track of the story as it progresses and periodically reposts the whole story for reference. Each responder must wait until at least two responses have been posted and accepted to take a new turn. The circle story goes as long as it needs to.

Lyrics Round Robin

How to Play : During this game, we’ll collectively write FANDOM lyrics to replace those of a familiar song. The host will choose the song and type out an alternate first two lines. Then those in the room will write the next lines until the song is finished.

Poetry Round Robin

How to Play : During this game, we’ll write a FANDOM poem. The host will choose a style (limerick, haiku, sonnet, or ghazal) and post the first line. Then those in the room will write the next lines until the poem is finished.

That’s Life

How to Play :  Participants will first name a character that they know well for each round. Every round will consist of two random questions posted by the moderator. You will then share how the character you chose for that round would answer the questions as if answering from their point of view. For each round, you will name a different character to answer the new questions. There will be roughly 5 minutes for you to come up with answers to each set of questions.

Trivial Pursuit

How to Play : Like most trivia games, the host will ask a question and the first person to answer correctly wins that round. Because we’re online and you’re free to do searches we’re going to add another factor, which is time — you must answer within 3 minutes. But you can call out your answer as soon as you think you know. If you have the correct answer, the host will type your name and award you a point. At the end of the game, whoever has gotten the most points will be named the winner!

We also want to hear from you about other celebrations taking place today. Leave us a comment here to tell us about what your fandom communities are hosting!


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International Fanworks Day

The sixth annual International Fanworks Day will take place on February 15, 2020 and the OTW has many activities planned to mark the occasion, including some exciting new events as well as a few old favorites. Whoever you are and wherever you’re logging in from, the OTW cordially invites you to celebrate IFD with us!

Check out the post below to find out what we have on the menu for the days leading up to February 15.

1. IFDrabble: A few weeks ago, we put out a call for drabbles, drawbles and other short fanworks based on the prompt: “characters react to discovering fanworks they are in.” What if Aang and the gaang picked up some fanworks and started comparing who has more fans? Or what if Bucky Barnes got onto AO3 and learned of Steve Rogers’s plan to go back in time without bringing him along?

There is still time to create and post your response to the challenge, using the AO3 tag ‘International Fanworks Day 2020’ so that we can find your works. Vidders, artists, writers, podficcers, and all other creators are invited to contribute. On social media, use the #IFDrabble tag and who knows? We might signal boost your work. We will be reblogging, retweeting and reccing a selection of IFDrabbles from now until IFD.

2. Favorite Fanworks Tropes: This event is for fanworks creators and consumers and your response can be as long or short as you prefer. Here’s what to do: go onto social media or leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite fanworks tropes. Do you love fix-it fics? Soulmarks? Omegaverse or ABO? Maybe you can’t stop reading time-travel plots. Whatever the trope, tell us what it is and why you love it!

If you’re on social media, remember to tag your post with #IFD2020 and OTW social media moderators could signal boost your post on the official accounts.

But that’s not all. Maybe you have a particular fanwork that took this trope and made you fall in love with it. If so, bookmark it now and take a look at the next event below.

3. Feedback Fest: This one’s for the fanworks consumers! Feedback Fest is a chance to show your favorite fanworks some love, and to get some great recommendations from others. We will publish a Feedback Fest post on February 13th, explaining how you can participate and share your recs with others. In the meantime, keep an eye out for your favorite fanworks by bookmarking and saving URLs.

4. Fanlore Challenge: Fanlore is participating in IFD, too! Every day from February 10-16, Fanlore will post different challenges on their Tumblr, their Twitter, their Dreamwidth, and on Fanlore itself for all editors to participate in. How well do you know your fandom? It’s time to show off your knowledge and contribute to the Fanlore wiki!

5. Games and Fan Chat: On the big day itself, February 15th, the OTW will be hosting a chat in a Public Discussion chat room. Join us between 23:00 UTC February 14th (What time is that where I live?) and 04:00 UTC February 16th (What time is that where I live?) for word games, creation challenges, trivia, and the ever-present stream of chat with other fans! Places in the chat room are limited and last year, demand was high, but if you don’t get in the first time then please try again later! The chat room will be moderated in English by OTW volunteers. We will post a detailed games and activities schedule before the day itself.


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International Fanworks Day

It’s getting to be that time of year again: International Fanworks Day is right around the corner! We celebrate IFD on the 15th of February, which this year will fall on a Saturday. 2020 marks our sixth annual celebration, and we are very excited to keep the tradition alive!

So what is International Fanworks Day, anyway?

International Fanworks Day is an opportunity to celebrate the fan-created content that the OTW was established to spotlight, share, and protect. We are fortunate to be part of an incredible fandom community from around the world, and we hope that many of you will participate in the events we have planned for IFD itself as well as the days leading up to it. During this time, we will seek involvement from fan creators and consumers to create new fanworks and to recognize some of the fanfiction, fanart, podfic and fanvids that you’ve enjoyed over the past 12 months. Wherever you are and whatever language you speak, we want to hear from you!

Fanworks Challenge: how would your characters react?

In anticipation of #IFD2020, we’re issuing a challenge to fan creators. We’d love to see you use this prompt as inspiration for an IFDrabble, IFDrawble, or other short or speedy fanwork in whatever medium suits you best. Work on them now and post them online in February, tagging #IFDrabble on social media or ‘International Fanworks Day 2020’ on AO3. We’ll be reblogging some of our (SFW!) favorites on our social media channels from the 8th - 15th February. What’s the prompt for this year? It’s time to get meta! We’d love to see characters discovering fanworks about themselves. What if Crowley got hold of some Good Omens fanart and showed it to Aziraphale? Or Voldemort began sorting through Harry Potter fanfic in search of strategies to win the wizarding war? We can only imagine the chaos that might ensue; but luckily for us, we only have to imagine it. Making it happen is your job! So, get working on your creations now and start posting them online any time from February 1st. (Remember to use the tags!) Our next IFD blog post will appear on the 8th of February, kicking off our fanworks challenge reposts and inviting you to participate in some further events. We look forward to checking in with you then!


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2019-11-25 09:11:58 -0500

Fanlore: 50,000 pages

Fanlore, the collaborative fandom wiki from the Organization for Transformative Works that anyone can edit, is celebrating a huge milestone: 50,000 pages! Would you like to come celebrate with us?

If you haven’t heard of Fanlore, it’s a multi-fandom, free and open wiki that was designed to be a living, evolving record of fandom’s past and present: created by fans, and maintained by fans. Like AO3, Fanlore was launched in 2008, and since then, fans have made more than 900,000 edits across more than 50,000 pages to record tropes, communities, meta, memes, fanworks, fannish perspectives and much more.

Fanlore is open for anyone to edit – all you need to do is create an account. Any edits, big or small, are welcome! You don’t need to be an expert, or have been in fandom for a long time, to contribute. The wiki wouldn’t have gotten to where it is without the dedication, perseverance and experiences of thousands of fans over the years who have added to and edited Fanlore.

Recently, Fanlore editors have been working to document hundreds of fannish Yahoo! Groups before they’re deleted in December, and last year fans took to Fanlore to document the history of fandom on Tumblr in the midst of the Tumblr NSFW Content Purge. But it isn’t just about big historical events or fandom migrations – every corner of fandom, from the Hanahaki Disease trope to A/B/O, massive fan archives to tiny niche ships, has a place on Fanlore. Try searching for your favorite character or ship! You could add something of your own to those pages.

If you’d like to edit Fanlore but aren’t sure where to start, our New Visitor Portal has a bunch of tips and links to get you started. We also have a how-to on editing pages, and a tutorial for creating new pages if you’d like to help us start down the road to 100,000 pages! Every single edit helps Fanlore preserve more of fandom’s history and experiences, and helps ensure that the amazing creativity and passion of fandoms old and new is recorded and remembered.

The Fanlore team have set our sights on one million edits next – we hope you’ll join us!

To learn more about what Fanlore’s volunteers do behind the scenes, check out our previous spotlight posts:


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