Friday, December 21st, 2012 12:36 am
Dear Fanlore readers, editors, and gardeners,

The 2012 OTW term has officially ended, and we wanted to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to Fanlore this year, talked about it with friends, offered encouragement, and made this site great. Fanlore has over 22,000 articles today; that's over 6,000 more than in July 2011, from when we have comparison data. You are all fantastic. Please go and take a look at all the great content our editors added this year!

Some things the Wiki committee did this year to help:
  • upgraded MediaWiki

  • fought spambots

  • created new categories, templates, and infoboxes

  • dealt with identity protection and fair use concerns

Before some of us go on holidays, a few updates on things:
  • MediaWiki upgrade: You might have noticed some changes since we had to revert back to the default skin after the upgrade to another version of MediaWiki. We hope to be able to come closer to our old design, but with term break and the holidays coming it's difficult to say when that will be. We are confident that the current design of Fanlore is good enough for now, but please tell us if you encounter any problems and we'll try to fix it.

  • Forums: We were planning to open a Fanlore forum this term – we already have the basic set-up – but the question of how, and who, to moderate it has delayed the process considerably. We will tackle this question again next term, hopefully with more success.

  • Categories: We are aware that there are several open proposals regarding categories at the moment. We are sorry that we didn't have the energy to follow up on all of them. We definitely haven't overlooked them, and these are also on next term's agenda.

  • Surveys: We don't know yet when we'll receive the results of the surveys from the Survey committee and from the Strategic Planning committee, but we will of course make them public when possible.

We are sorry to say that aethel, our Chair, will leave the committee next term. We are grateful for all her work and happy that she's staying on as a gardener and editor of Fanlore. Tiyire will take over as Chair of the committee.

As you can see, we already have several open projects to finish for next term. With the help of Volunteers & Recruiting we will also revise our recruitment process, our training for newcomers, and our internal documentation and procedures. This might take some time, but it is very important to ensure that Wiki can keep up with the work, and we hope that you will be patient with us while we sort out these internal matters. That said, we are optimistic that we will become even more efficient next term as a result.

If you're interested in helping us keep Fanlore running and expanding, please consider volunteering for Wiki next term! We will post more detailed explanations before recruiting opens again.

In short: THANK YOU for making Fanlore as fantastic as it is! <3
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 08:00 pm
During the last few days Fanlore users may have been experiencing temporary problems connecting to the site. The reason is that we have been running out of space on Fanlore's hard disk drive. In some ways this has been a good problem to have because it indicates how the site has been growing!

Our systems team did some short-term clean-up that should solve the problem for now, but they are also planning another maintenance operation on Wednesday, December 19, 6am UTC (What time is that where I live?) Fanlore will be offline for about an hour.

It's possible that between now and that next maintenance period you may still encounter some small problems. If so, please do report them to us, either on Dreamwidth or by a direct email to the Wiki staff.

We appreciate our users' patience as we experience these growing pains!
Saturday, December 8th, 2012 12:20 am
Another OTW term is ending and all of our volunteers and editors accomplished many great things this year working on Fanlore. To celebrate, the Wiki Committee is inviting you to join a Fanlore editing chat on December 16, 1300-1700 UTC in the Fanlore chat room (What time is that where I live?). Hang out and talk with other editors and volunteers while writing about your favorite new and old fandoms!

Wiki staffers will be present to answer questions about Fanlore editing and would be happy to see you there!
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 04:28 pm
We finally upgraded Fanlore's MediaWiki version! You can find more information here. Not everything went according to plan and the new skin had to be removed temporarily, but we're working on it.

The Strategic Planning committee deployed their surveys for staff members, gardeners, and editors. As of a few days ago they received feedback from more than forty people. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey! It will provide us with valuable information about how to improve Fanlore and the Wiki committee in the future.

Categories were also discussed and modified, thanks to everyone who weighed in. Fanlore relies on its users to point out which categories they need, as the Wiki committee could never do this on its own, so please always feel free to make suggestions!

Additionally the Wiki committee is still working on two fair use cases together with Legal.

We are also already preparing for the next term. This OTW term officially ends on December 14. However, we will definitely try to eliminate all major problems with the new site before we (try to) take a break. We will still respond to urgent user queries and concerns like identity protection. However, if you have a new idea about categories or other things the Wiki committee should be doing, please consider waiting until the new term begins, which is scheduled to be in the middle of January. Wiki staff members have worked very hard this year and deserve a holiday!
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 12:03 am
It was helpfully pointed out to us that the new skin has severe accessibility issues when changing the font size. We're sorry we missed it during our initial testing phase. For the moment we've reverted to the default Vector design until we get this fixed - which we hope will be soon, but could be in a few days.

Thanks to everyone who reported bugs so far! We are working hard to resolve them. Once the changes slow down or by next week we'll make a list of known bugs and some features.
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 11:06 pm
Dear Fanlore editors and readers,

Finally, after months of work, the MediaWiki upgrade is ready to go live! It is scheduled for Saturday, November 24, at 22:00 UTC. (What time is it where I am?) If everything goes according to plan, there should be no downtime, but you will not be able to edit Fanlore for a short time.

Why the upgrade?
MediaWiki is the software Fanlore and many other wikis, including Wikipedia, are built on. Until now Fanlore was using version 1.15, which is woefully out of date, so we are switching to 1.19. Upgrading will allow us to, for example, install new extensions to better fight spam on the site. For more information about different versions of MediaWiki, you can go here.

Why the new skin?
With the new mediawiki version, we decided to switch our default skin from WordPress to Vector. The WordPress skin is no longer under active development and wasn't meant for this MediaWiki version. Continuing to use it would have meant extensive fixes now and in the future, and we decided against it.

Instead, Natalie (from the OTW's Webmasters committee) and Qem (an AO3 tag wrangler) have very kindly volunteered to customize the CSS to recreate an approximation of Fanlore's old WordPress skin. You will see a few differences: the sections in the sidebar are now collapsible, wikilinks are no longer bolded by default, and the talk page link appears on the left side of the screen. Let us know if anything is broken with the new skin.

To save ourselves much effort, we are only supporting our default skin at this time. It's possible to use a different one, but the formatting might be strange.

Other Changes?
We have removed the bugtracker extension (also no longer supported) and OpenID support.

If you discover any bugs or issues, please let us know!

Many Thanks
to Emufarmers, the Systems Committee, astirya, Natalie, and Qem
Saturday, November 17th, 2012 04:16 pm
Greetings from the Strategic Planning Committee!

For those of you who are not aware, we are a committee with the Organization of Transformative Works (OTW), the parent organization of Fanlore. For more information about who we are and what we're doing, please see our update posts at the OTW website.

As part of our information-gathering process, we have put together an anonymous survey for Fanlore editors. We'd appreciate it if you could take some time over the next two weeks to fill it out and help us gain more insight into Fanlore -- both to the team as a whole and to the
individuals within it.

Read more... )

Any questions or comments about the survey should be addressed to (not to the Fanlore staff). Additionally, if you would like to read the text of the survey before you fill it out, you are welcome to request a copy of the survey as an RTF or TXT document for your personal review.

Thanks so much,
Strategic Planning Committee

Link to the survey:
DEADLINE: Please complete by December 1, 2012

[Please note that there is a separate survey for Fanlore gardeners. If you are a gardener and did not receive an email, let me know. -- aethel]
Sunday, November 4th, 2012 06:18 pm
We are close to finishing the mediawiki upgrade - no, really this time! It is scheduled for the middle of November. A more detailed explanation about the upcoming changes will be posted soon.

Our twitter account was briefly hacked to send spam messages to people. Sorry about that, and thanks to everyone who alerted us to the problem. We have taken steps to be able to react quicker in the future.

We are sad to report that Shannon and Tuulia left the Wiki committee, and we hope to one day see them on RecentChanges again.
Monday, October 15th, 2012 03:19 pm
September was a busy month for Fanlore! We started a new challenge, Stub September, and invited people to work on unfinished pages. Many thanks to our editors, who did fantastic work like they always do. As a result of discussions about the definition of a stub we created a new template, ExpandArticle, and in the process noticed that we could delete some that are no longer in use.

We held an editing chat on September 22 for editors to talk about Fanlore editing that was fun for everyone involved (we hope), and as usual we resolved to hold them more often.

An animated discussion arose around the question of how best to distinguish pages about podfic from pages about fic. While the debate was misrepresented in other places, the discussion on the Fanlore dreamwidth community was productive. We hope the solution is satisfying for everyone.

Spam-fighting, getting ready to make the forum public, and the mediawiki upgrade are among our ongoing efforts. The latter is almost ready and we hope to be done with it soon. The upgrade will come with some design changes because we are switching to a different default skin.

You can find the OTW newsletter for September here.
Monday, September 10th, 2012 03:51 pm
For those who are not subscribed to [community profile] otw_news, the OTW newsletter for August was posted here. Here is an extended and updated version about the Wiki committee's activities:

We have finally made progress in the fight against the spambots! Phoenix has been very busy banning known sources of abuse, and as a result the bot situation has improved considerably.

We are still testing the mediawiki upgrade - thanks to Emufarmers for his work on that - and working on the forums. So far we have heard positive feedback from our gardeners.

In behind-the-scenes news, Wiki has a new Board liaison who once was a committee member herself - Ira Gladkova.
Friday, August 24th, 2012 11:12 pm
Editors have reported an error message when saving edits, caused by an update Systems just rolled out for combatting spam. We have reported the issue to Systems and are assuming the problem will be easy to identify and correct. We'll keep you posted.

ETA: Problem was fixed! Let us know if you see any other issues.
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 08:09 pm
For those who are not subscribed to the [community profile] otw_news community, you can read the Fanlore section of the OTW's July newsletter here. Here is a modified and updated version of the Wiki Committee news:

This month we implemented ReCaptcha with the help of Systems to battle the spambots. Unfortunately, it didn't work as well as we hoped (details here), so we're back to looking for other options.

Wiki has two new members who volunteered to help us fight against spam and upgrade our version of mediawiki: Welcome, Emufarmers and Phoenix!

We are also happy to welcome three new Fanlore gardeners: Sparcicle, Espresso Addict, and Greenygal.

Our second big project, the forum, is still under construction and looks better every day.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 03:37 pm
Update to our latest post in here.

We know that our ReCaptcha is not working as well as we hoped at the moment and that it's difficult to solve, so we'll be looking for other options, but can't do anything immediately.

If you've been trying to register on, but can't solve ReCaptcha, please click here to send an email requesting a fanlore account (we need to know the username you want and your email address, we'll give you a temporary password, which you can change later on)

We also want to say thank you to people, who has letting us to know that ReCaptcha is hard to solve ♥

- Wiki Committee

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 04:01 pm
Systems has implemented ReCaptcha on Fanlore to prevent spambots from signing up with new accounts. ReCaptcha is an image captcha that is supposed to be more effective against spam than our old math captcha.

Anyone who already has a Fanlore account should never see ReCaptcha. Let us know if you do encounter ReCaptcha, or if you see anything weird, or if (heaven forbid) you see an uptick in spam activity.
Saturday, July 7th, 2012 08:54 pm
For those who are not subscribed to the [community profile] otw_news community, here is the Fanlore section of the OTW's June newsletter:
In the meantime Wiki has been waging its own site battle against a wave of spam. The Wiki Committee is working with Systems to research and test better spam protection options. In the meantime, this filter hides the sea of red. They also welcomed new staffer Tuulia to the committee, and proposed some more fanworks categories (check out the Dreamwidth discussion post here).

And by spam, we mean spambots who are utterly defeated by the impenetrable wall of our four-hour page-create block and the heroic warrior-gardeners standing ready with banhammers behind the barrier. Thanks, gardeners! We are testing a new captcha right now and will let you know when it is implemented.

Not really news since it's not ready yet, but we haven't forgotten the Fanlore forum and are working on setting it up. Stay tuned!
Friday, June 29th, 2012 07:41 pm
Since response to the fanwork category proposal post was positive, we have started creating the proposed fanwork subcategories. So far, we have added:

* Zine Fandom
* Podfics
* Fanfiction
* Vids

and updated the corresponding templates. Now the Fanworks category contains only 348 pages, down from over 11,000! Check out the current Fanworks category.

still to do )
Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 07:32 pm
Hello everyone, my name is Tuulia and I have joined the committee on May 2012, so guess I'm the newest addition in the team *waves*.
I just wanted to drop by, say hello and tell something about me, so here I go:

Like I already said, my name is Tuulia, I'm 27 years old woman from Finland. I took a break from fandom world in early 2010, because of my health issues and now I'm making comeback, so only fandom I'm familiar with is American Idol / Adam Lambert RPF, but I'm eager to learn about others too. I love watching Pretty Little Liars, Criminal Minds, NCIS, some reality shows like The Biggest Loser, American Idol and The Voice. Jersey Shore and that kind of reality tv is not for me, though. When it comes to music, I'm country girl by heart and I really love old country like Johnny Cash. Reba and Loretta Lynn, but also new country like Miranda Lambert, Lauren Alaina, Carrie Underwood etc. I do listen other kind of music too, but country is my main genre. 

I'm more than happy to be a part of Wiki Committee and I'm here for you guys too, if there's some problems etc, I try my best to solve them, just like other Committee members does. Right now I'm busy with testing, but I'm online almost 24/7 so feel free to say hi, if you want to (:

(I'm bad with intros.)

- Tuulia
Friday, June 15th, 2012 06:42 pm
ETA June 29: Check out the follow-up post listing categories created so far.

Every Fanlore article that documents a particular fanwork is currently listed in the Fanworks category. This category contains 11,000 articles and counting, so it's not very useful for browsing. Fanlore editors have been discussing the possibility of adding subcategories to the Fanworks category for some time now. So the Wiki Committee put together a list of some potential subcategories, some of which already exist on the wiki and can be cross-categorized under Fanworks:

Category:Fanworks (existing)
* Category:Doujinshi (existing)
* Category:Fanfiction
* Category:Vids
* Category:Zines (existing) - create a new cat called "Zine Fandom" to house non-zine pages; current usage of category is mixed
* Category:Artworks
** Category:Zine Covers
** Category:Doujinshi Covers
** Category:Manips
** Category:Icons
** Category:Banners
** ?

What do you think?

1. We don't necessarily need a category for every single type of fanwork (or the Fanworks category will be empty), but we should create categories for types of fanworks with a lot of Fanlore content. We can always add more fanwork types later.
1a. There is a lot of material about fanart on the wiki, so more art subcategories would probably be a good idea. What is the best way to group fanart?
1b. We are thinking that the proposed "Vids" category would also be a subcategory under Vidding and would not include AMVs. There is a mixed-use Anime_Music_Video category, but it still has only six pages. :(
2. Except for the fanart, moving pages from the Fanworks category to the subcategories should be relatively easy because we can add the categories to the infobox templates instead of to each individual page.
3. Most of the new categories can be cross-categorized under the relevant fan activity cat. For example, Category:Fanfiction could appear under both Category:Fanworks and Category:Fiction Writing.
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 05:12 pm
OTW: By Fans, For Fans. Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 18-25, 2012.

Fanlore is funded by fans, for fans. Your support of OTW helps Fanlore collect and preserve fannish histories in many voices. Please donate today!

(Check out the OTW's original post here.)
Monday, April 9th, 2012 09:40 pm
You are cordially invited to the second April Showers Fanlore editing chat on

Saturday, April 14 at 20:00 GMT (in your time zone)

in the Fanlore chat room.

Read more about the April Showers challenge here.