AO3 News

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2010-03-16 20:25:02 UTC

Welcome to Revision 2364, up from 2101. This includes a huge number of changes with some exciting new features, a lot of background improvements and bug fixes.

We welcome Ronan, Ira and amc who have their first code for the AO3 in this release. We're pleased to note that 13 of our fabulous coders contributed to bringing you these changes - that's a large, active team and one we're very proud of.

Our next deploy will be within the next two weeks and will contain the Assignments code for Challenges.


Lots of exciting stuff: code for running challenges, tag wrangling tools, better navigation and filtering for collections, navigation for news posts, improvements to category tags, improvements to series listings, easier way to edit tags on a work, and more.

  • CSS / Accessibility / Page Structure review - this will be visible in subtle ways on almost every page. A huge amount of work has gone into this and we are very grateful to lim who has shared her expertise and time to make this possible. The new site should be much more accessible for a wide range of users.
  • New HTML formatter / parser
    • This is what strips out non-allowed HTML and tidies up unclosed tags and so on. We get significant performance improvements with this change, which is very attractive - however, this update may cause some changes to the way a small number of works display. Please be patient and tell us about any problems you run into (via the Support form) and we'll polish this over time.
  • Metatags have arrived!
  • Username editing - you can now edit your username
    • Please be aware that we are not redirecting your old URLs, so if you do this, you may break offsite links (although links to individual works you have posted will not be affected, as those URLs do not contain your username).
  • One icon per pseud is now supported - Tutorial: uploading a user icon
  • Challenges - the code for sign-ups is in and available for use
    • This is a two-part piece of code; while you can now sign up for a Challenge you also need the Assignments code (coming in the next drop)
  • The default for viewing works has been changed from 'View Entire Work' to 'View Chapter By Chapter'. If you prefer to view the entire work by default, you can still set this from your Preferences page!

Known Issues

See Known Issues page.

Next Projects

We'll shortly be deploying the second half of the gift exchange code for challenges - the part that will do the matching and assigning.

We're planning some tweaks to search in the next deploy, and longer term a bigger redesign.

We're planning a new support interface on the Archive, which will make our poor overworked support team very happy!

Release Details


  • A bunch of importing bugs resolved (to do with date detection and HTML formatting), though there are still problems with importing from
  • Tag for "Rape/Non-Con" and "Rape/NonCon" merged behind the scenes (no more duplicates)
  • Fixed 'sort by' arrows not showing sort direction if sort direction is nil
  • Fixed 'jump to top' link (validated and accessible)
  • Fixed persistent 'first login' flash message (should now go away on command)
  • Fixed public bookmarks of restricted works being visible to non logged in users
  • Fixed the way lines starting with HTML lose their line breaks. Issue 1314 explains it better than I can
  • Fixed bookmarks not returning all synonymous tags
  • Fixed inaccurate link in co-author notification email
  • Fixed evil "New users are not currently being added" message that appears if you join the invitation queue and the queue is short enough to invite you on the same day.
  • Fixed "Something went wrong" problem when posting a large block of text in HTML tags
  • Fixed problem with show/hide warnings not working properly
  • Fixed problem of collection tag cloud displaying incorrect relative sizes
  • Fixed problem with <3<3<3 display
  • Fixed problem with editing multi-chapter work - 'Previous' and 'Next' links
  • Fixed problem importing older works from LiveJournal
  • Fixed problem with fandom count in collection sidebar
  • Fixed problem with import from URL page redirecting to Post New if you don't enter a URL
  • Stopped tag wranglers being able to create invalid tags
  • Stopped invite requests hanging around after an account is created + deleted

New Things

  • Added Metatag functionality! Metatags are explained in more detail in this post.
    • Tags wranglers can now comment on individual tags - discussion opportunities and record keeping!
    • Tag wranglers can be assigned to specific fandoms - unallocated fandoms easy to spot, wranglers can find own assigned fandoms!
  • Added ability to edit your username
  • Added link to 'edit default pseud and icon' to 'edit profile' page
  • Added ability to upload a user icon (one per pseud)
  • Added collection icon
  • Added '5 random works/bookmarks' option to collections
  • Added ability to edit the tags on a work without editing the whole work - you've been asking for it for a long time, and now it's here! Can also update tags without previewing.
  • Added reply links in comment notification emails, along with 'view all comments' link and originating and current thread links
  • Added filtering and sorting to main collections page
  • Added page summary to Admin Posts page
  • Added list of allowed HTML to series
  • Added series blurb to dashboard view
  • Added chapter index on works (this is still experimental!)
  • Added some help files for challenges
  • Added ability for an admin to tell when a tag was last updated and by whom
  • Improved tag search function and made it available to all users


  • HUGE amount of work on tag wrangling interface - Navigation! Dashboard! Switch from drop down menus to autocomplete
  • Streamlined works blurbs
  • Streamlined bookmarks blurbs
  • Updated Terms of Service
  • Updated Terms of Service FAQ
  • Updated Read Comment(s) link styling on Admin posts to conform with comments on works
  • Updated text on import work form from 'post new' to 'import new'
  • Changed Post New Work form in multiple ways:
    • Restyled to be prettier, more accessible and easier to use (we hope)
    • All labels are now properly associated with the appropriate fields
    • Archive Warnings are now ticky boxes
    • Category is now multi-select and ticky boxes (if you use more than one type of pairing the icon will default to 'Multi')
    • Entry fields grouped into 'Work Tags,' 'Work Preface,' 'Associations,' and 'Work Text'
    • Recipient(s) field now grouped under 'Associations'
    • 'Story' replaced with 'Work'
  • Changed series blurb, blurbs on dashboard, icons
  • Changed text of 'Search' results to clarify 1000 results
  • Changed handling of invitations if account is purged before user validates it (purge period extended to 2 weeks)
  • Changed titles of work in edit multiple works view into hyperlinks
  • Changed 'Reading History' to 'Viewing History'
  • Changed 'Inspired by' link from footer to header of work (in Notes field)
  • Changed AO3 default to 'view chapter by chapter' rather than 'view entire work'
  • Added 'Always view entire work by default' to user preferences
  • Removed the way the AO3 CCs webmasters when the AO3 sends out admin notices (spam!)
  • Removed "Import From An Existing URL Instead?" option when editing an existing work
  • Removed 'FAQ' link for collections with no FAQ
  • Upgraded from Rails 2.3.2 to Rails 2.3.5


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2010-03-16 20:10:56 UTC

You've done it - you've written your story for a challenge on the AO3! \0/ Congratulations. Now you just have to post it, and hopefully that will be easier than the writing was...

  1. The easiest way to post your work is to first go to the collection it's going to be part of. Be sure you get the right one! It's worth bearing in mind that many challenges which take place on a regular basis have subcollections for each specific challenge, in which case you need to be sure you go to the right subcollection. The fastest way to find a challenge you've signed up for is via the "My Signups" page, which is linked in the sidebar of your "My Home" page.

    A user's challenge signups page with a link to the collection and manage links

    In the example below, we're going to be posting a work to the "Awesome Exchange 2010" subcollection, which is the 2010 round of the "Awesome Annual Challenge" collection.

    Dashboard of the Awesome Exchange 2010 collection, with Profile, Post To Collection and signup managements links

  2. Clicking on the "Post To Collection" link will take you to the form for posting a new work, which you can fill out as normal. In the "Associations" section, you need to make sure that the name of the collection or subcollection you are posting to is listed in the "Post to Collections/Challenges" field. If you've come to the form by clicking the link on the collection's page, this will be added for you automatically.

    The Post to Collections or Challenges field on the Post New form, with awesomeexchange2010 filled in

    If you are participating in a gift exchange, you should enter the name of the person you've written your work for in the field immediately below that. The form will suggest possible matching names to you.

    Recipient field on the Post New form; paren has been typed in, and parenthetical is being suggested by the autocomplete

  3. Once you've finished filling out the form, you can preview and then post! \0/ Bear in mind that if the challenge is set to be anonymous or unrevealed, your work may only be fully visible to you. For example, you may see something like this:

    Author view of the blurb for an anonymous and unrevealed work; the work details are visible, and the author's name is listed in brackets after Anonymous

    If your work is currently anonymous, however, other people won't be able to see your name after Anonymous, and if it is currently unrevealed, other people will see only a "Mystery Work":

    Mystery Work blurb which is seen by other users; no details except the name of the collection are provided

    If you're nervous about whether this is really working correctly, one thing you can try is logging out and seeing how your work appears to you then - you should also then see the Mystery Work blurb or the anonymous blurb. The owner or moderator of the challenge will reveal your work when the time comes!

Hopefully this should help to ensure that the process of posting your challenge fic goes smoothly, but if you run into any problems, please contact the Support team and we'll do our best to help!


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2010-03-16 20:05:11 UTC

Here's a quick guide to walk you through signing up for a gift exchange!

  1. First you need to find the challenge. You may be linked from elsewhere, but if not, go to the Archive's main Collections page.

    The main Archive navigation, with the collections tab active

    You can find a collection using the filter and sort options on the right:

    The collections sort options and filter box, with options to filter by title, fandom, closed, moderated and gift exchange

    The collection title and fandom fields offer autocomplete suggestions when you start typing.

    Filter By Title field - the word awesome has been typed in and the autocomplete is suggesting Awesome Annual Challenge

  2. Once you've found the collection you're looking for, you will see its blurb:

    Blurb for the Awesome Annual Challenge, showing its name, owner, a short description and its status

    Clicking on the title will take you to that collection's page:

    Dashboard of the Awesome Annual Challenge collection; a sidebar contains links to a subcollection, as well as to the collection's profile, rules and random items

    The links in the sidebar on the left allow you to view the collection's profile, read its rules, and view any subcollections it may have. If the collection is a challenge, the signup form will also be linked from the sidebar.

    Sometimes, however, a challenge which is held on a regular basis will have a subcollection for each round. That's the case in our example: the Awesome Annual Challenge contains a subcollection called "Awesome Exchange 2010", the home for this year's challenge.

    Dashboard of the subcollection Awesome Exchange 2010 with Sign Up link

  3. The challenge's sidebar will contain similar links to that of the parent collection. If you want to see when signups are due to open, check the Profile; it should list the important dates for the challenge (and if you've set your timezone on your Preferences page, it will even show you the exact times for your timezone as well). Once signups are open, there should be a link to the Signup Form in the sidebar, as well as in the navigation on the right.

    Exactly what is contained on the signup form for a gift exchange will of course depend on the exact nature of the challenge! The owner of the challenge should have added more detailed instructions for your specific challenge to the signup form, but there are some basic things to look out for.

    Normally, you will need to specify what your Requests - what you would like in the work created for you - and your Offers - what you are willing to write for the user you are assigned.

    Any fields marked in red are required, while the others are optional. In the example below, for example, you are required to specify a certain number of fandoms. The numbers next to the label indicate how many you need to select - "Fandoms (1 - 5)" would mean that you must select between one and five fandoms. "Characters (0 - 2)", on the other hand, would mean that you are not required to list any characters, but you have the option of listing up to two.

    An excerpt from a signup form. The label is red and reads Fandoms (1-5); three fandoms are shown with checkboxes, with a link below to show more

    In some cases, you may be required to choose from a predefined list. In the example above, the owner of the challenge has defined a certain number of eligible fandoms. Only a few are shown by default; clicking on the "X more fandoms to choose from" link will show the entire list.

    In other cases, rather than having to select from a predefined list, you will be asked to type into a field. In the example below, this is the case for the characters you can request. To request more than one, separate them with a comma. Please note that in cases like this, the autocomplete will suggest specific forms of fandoms and character names, etc - you need to use these 'canonical' forms of the tags on signup forms so we can be sure everyone is using the same version and match people up correctly.(Note that the 'canonical' tags are those that appear in the sidebar filters when browsing the archive, and in the auto-complete.) If you try to put in something else not in the autocomplete, you will receive an error. If characters or relationships you want to select are not appearing, you will have to contact the exchange's moderator.

    An excerpt from a signup form. The label is red and reads Characters (1-2); one character has already been typed into a text field, followed by a comma, with a new character in the process of being entered and the autocomplete suggesting possible names

    You could be asked to choose from a predefined list or to type in directly any of the following kinds of information. Very few forms will include all of the options below, however!

    • Fandoms
    • Characters
    • Relationships
    • Ratings
    • Categories
    • Freeforms
    • Archive Warnings

    Other fields which could appear in the requests and/or offers sections, depending on the challenge, include:

    • Prompt URL: If you are allowed or required to provide a link of some sort, this is where you'd enter it. Exactly what kind of link is expected will depend on the challenge, but it could be a link to a letter you've written to the person who'll be writing for you, or a link to your stories in a remix-type challenge, for example.

    • Description/Details: If you are asked to provide a more detailed prompt or other information, you would enter that here.

    • Optional Tags: This would be a space for you to add additional tags - for example, for things which aren't included in a predefined list for you to select from, or which fall into a category which doesn't appear elsewhere on the form. These optional tags will be used to try to ensure the best possible match with another user in the exchange, but they may be ignored if it isn't possible to match you using them. If you enter more than one additional tag, you should separate them using a comma.

      An Optional Tags field from a signup form; the tag Plotty has been entered, with the tag Schmoop being suggested via autocomplete as a new tag is typed in

  4. Once you've finished filling in the details of your offer and request, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to sign up!

    You can view and edit your signup at any time after you've submitted it. On the sidebar of your "My Home" page, there is a "My Signups" section where you can view your signups for all challenges you're participating in.

    A small part of the sidebar on the user My Home page, with My Signups appearing below My Collections

  5. Success! Once the owner of the challenge has matched you up with a user to write for in the gift exchange, you will be notified by email.

We hope that this will help you when signing up to participate in a gift exchange, but if you run into problems, please contact the Support team and we'll do our best to help!


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2010-03-16 19:59:48 UTC

The old placeholder icon with the text 'your icon (eventually), with eventually crossed out and the word NOW! added below

"Eventually" is here at last! We're very excited to be adding icons to the Archive of Our Own. \0/ Here's a quick guide to help you get started.

What you need to know

  • You can upload one icon for each of your pseuds.
  • Icons must be 100 by 100 pixels in size; you can upload images which are smaller or larger, but be aware that they will be automatically resized to 100 by 100.
  • The images can be in png, jpeg or gif format.
  • There are a few restrictions on what content you can show on your icons. Our Terms of Service state that they "should not contain depictions of genital nudity or explicit sexual activity". Read the relevant section of the ToS.
  • Your icon(s) will show on your Dashboard and Profile pages, your Pseuds page, your blurb on the People page, and next to any comments you leave under that pseud.
  • Collections and subcollections can also have icons; owners and moderators can upload an icon for their collection when creating or editing it.
  • We have a new placeholder icon for people who choose not to upload one, now that "eventually" has arrived!

How to upload an icon

  1. Go to your dashboard (also known as your "My Home" page).
  2. Click on the placeholder icon. This will take you to the edit page for your default pseud.
  3. At the bottom of the form you can see what icon is currently in use (if you haven't already uploaded one, it will be the AO3 placeholder icon), and there is a field for you to specify the image you would like to upload. You should also specify alt text for the icon: a brief description of its purpose which is used if the image isn't showing - for example by people browsing with images turned off or visually impaired people using screenreaders.
  4. Once you've specified the image and alt text for it, click the "Update" button.
  5. Admire your shiny icon! \0/
  6. If you have more than one pseud, you can upload icons for them too. Your sidebar contains a link to your "My Pseuds" page, which lists each of the pseuds you have created, with "Edit" links to the page where you can upload icons for them.

We hope you enjoy the icons! But if you have any questions or run into any problems, please contact the AO3 Support team and we'll do our best to help.


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2010-03-16 19:54:53 UTC

We know how annoying it is when you suddenly think of the perfect username two days after you've signed up for an account, or when you belatedly realise you would have preferred to have your username start with a capital letter. Now we've made it possible for you to rename your account!

Before you rush into changing your username, though, there are a few things you should bear in mind.

  • We won't forward links from your old username. Links to your individual works won't break, because your username doesn't appear in the address. But any links you or others have posted on other sites to your dashboard, profile, user works page, series page and so on will. Please weigh that up before you change your username!
  • Your former username won't be reserved; it will be possible for another user to claim it.
  • Usernames have to be unique, so you can't change your username to one currently being used by someone else.
  • You can, however, change the capitalisation of your existing username. In other words, if you currently have the username "superfangirl10", you can rename your account to "Superfangirl10", "SuperFangirl10", or even "SuPeRfAnGiRl10" if you want.

If you're certain you want to change your username, here's how to go about it!

  1. Go to your Preferences page, which you can reach from the bottom of the sidebar on your My Home page.
  2. In the options available at the top right, there is a new link: "Change My Username". It will take you to the edit username page.
  3. To change your username, enter the new username you want in the "Desired Username" field. You'll be warned if you choose a username which has already been taken by someone else. You will also need to enter your password for security reasons.
  4. When you click "Change", your username will be changed.

We hope you'll enjoy this new feature! If you have any questions or run into any problems, please contact our Support team using the Support and Feedback form.


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2010-03-16 19:41:03 UTC

The information in this news post is out of date. It is being kept for archival purposes. The Tag Wrangling Committee is working on new documentation that represents the current state of tags. You can view our current wrangling guidelines for more accurate information.

What are metatags?

Metatags are a new form of tag that add to the ability of the Archive of Our Own to manage hierarchies and ambiguities in our tagging systems. They will let us deal with real person fiction, shared universes, and other complex tag relationships much more effectively. For example, the Spock metatag (illustrated below) contains Mirror!Spock, Spock Prime, Reboot!Spock, and Girl!Spock as subtags.

The Spock metatag

Metatags act as a "basket" for other tags, whilst remaining a usable tag themselves. They collate tags, in order to group similarities and to make browsing easier. Tags which have been grouped together become subtags. In a real world example, "fruit" could be a metatag, and "apples" and "oranges" could be subtags.


How will metatags help me browse?

Metatags will help you because they allow you to both see everything that's related and to narrow your focus.

For example, if you browse the fandom metatag for "Star Trek" you will retrieve all works which have been tagged with related fandoms - "Star Trek: The Original Series", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Star Trek (2009)", and so on. You will also retrieve works which have just been tagged with the fandom tag "Star Trek", which could conceivably be any of the aforementioned fandoms.

You will still be able to browse the works tagged with a specific tag, for example "Star Trek: The Original Series" instead, but in bringing these tags together you have more chances finding what you are interested in, since users may tag differently.

Because metatags can be used to filter very generally, it will now be easier to narrow your focus by filtering on their subtags. See the example in the following table, where you can choose to only browse stories tagged with Girl!Spock rather than the generic Spock.

Filtering by metatags and their subtags

What other changes will I see?

Because metatags are new, we're still working out some of the finer details on how to use them. We'll be running some more posts on tag wrangling and how it works in the near future.

Our intrepid team of tag wranglers need to recategorise the existing tags on the Archive in order to take advantage of the new functionality. You may notice some inconsistencies or changes while this process is going on - please bear with us! If you notice something which seems like a mistake, then you can let us know via the Archive support and feedback form, but if it's non-urgent, then please wait a few days in case the tag wranglers just haven't reached it yet!


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2010-03-16 12:14:39 UTC

A big deploy is imminent!

We'll be deploying a whole bunch of new code to the Archive of Our Own this afternoon (North American time). There are lots of shiny new features in this release:

  • New front end! (The Archive is having a facelift and will look a bit different after this deploy.)
  • New collections and challenges code!
  • New tags code!

Full release notes coming after the deploy.

We'll post to the AO3_Status Twitter before we begin the deploy, and again once it's complete. The site will be down for a (hopefully) brief period while we deploy, and will return with many shiny new things!


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2010-03-08 05:46:15 UTC

It's been a busy month, inside and outside the OTW, which is why this meeting report is *cough* a little belated. In AD&T we've been continuing to do lots of work on getting our house in order, liaising with other committees, and overseeing the CRAZY amounts of work done by our subcommittees \0/

Deploy schedule

Our deploy schedule has been shifting around due to the immense amounts of work done by our coders! However, we deployed lots and lots of new code to our Test archive on the 5th March \0/ More News about its progress to the main archive site in the next meeting report.

Cool admin stuff

An intrepid group of AD&T-ers met with Support and other interested people to talk about our process for managing our Google code issues and feature requests. This sounds dull as ditchwater, but in practice it should mean that we do a much better job of keeping track of bugs and features when they're being passed from one team to another, which means everything should run a lot faster (good news for our users). Even more excitingly, we started drafting out a plan for a more public feature requests interface, so that users can give us more input on what they want (you'll still be able to communicate privately if you prefer).


Our coders continue to do a phenomenal amount of work - although it's been a while since we dropped new code, this is because they have been engaged in massive feats of coding which affect huge swathes of the Archive and had to be bundled together. It's coming very soon - watch out for more news.

We've welcomed several new coders - Ronan, amc and Ira all committed their first new code - and we're looking at our training to see how we can make it easier for more people to get involved.

Tag wranglers

Our brilliant new tag wrangler leads, Renay and dizmo, have been working like crazy to manage their giant group of volunteers and improve the way tag wrangling works. They've also been gearing up for the exciting new tag wrangling code interface, which includes lots of things that will make for much better organisation - coming SOON to an archive near you!


Our testers have been conducting a massive regression test (where they check the whole Archive to see nothing hinky has crept in), while waiting for the new code to give them even more work to do!

Cool stuff on the way

  • Tag only edit - Everyone has been wanting this for a LONG time and it's finally becoming a reality!
  • User icons - Another thing we've been wanting for FOREVER and will finally be getting!
  • Accessible code - The big front end changes which have been made by the lovely lim involved a lot of rewriting code to make it validate. This means it will be a lot more accessible, and if you're someone who's been frustrated by some of the oddities which had crept in to our front end code, the upcoming revisions should make you happy. Users of assistive technology will be especially benefited.

It's wonderful working with this amazing, dedicated team of people - even when it seems like we're being quiet, there's always a hive of activity underneath the surface.

If there are things you'd like to do or say, please share them in comments, via the AO3 support and feedback form, by volunteering, or in whatever medium you feel comfortable with. As a trial, we're opening comments on the mirrored versions of these posts (although we may switch back if it turns out to hinder things). Everyone is welcome to this party!


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