Archive of Our Own

Archive of Our Own

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Updated Aug 04, 2023 at 07:12PM EDT by Mateus.

Added Aug 20, 2019 at 11:48AM EDT by Sophie.

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Archive of Our Own or AO3 is a popular nonprofit open source database for fanfiction and other fanworks contributed by users created by the Organization for Transformative Works in 2008. The site is known as one of the most popular fan fiction repositories due to its elaborate tagging system, overall organization and administrative involvement by fan fiction writers and readers.


In 2008, Archive of Our Own was founded in part by Naomi Novik who responded to FanLib's[5] "lack of interest in fostering a fannish community and called for the creation of 'An Archive of One's Own"[…] inspired by the essay 'A Room of One's Own' by Virginia Woolf."[2] Co-founders Francesca Coppa, Naomi Novik and Rebecca Tushnet worked with the Organization for Transformative Works creating creating the archive in October 2008 and establishing the site as an open beta on November 14, 2009.


The AO3 archive features an array of tags, content warnings and categories as well as the ability to perform an advanced search on all submitted works. Kudos are akin to "likes" and are awarded to authors by members of the AO3 community.


On May 1st 2013, Time Magazine[9] named Archive of Our Own as on of the 50 best websites of 2013 calling the site "the most carefully curated, sanely organized, easily browsable and searchable nonprofit collection of fan fiction on the Web."

On July 15, 2013, The Daily Dot[3] reported on One Tumblr user, DestinationToast,[8] who had been gathering statistics regarding the site. Some charts were created regarding top categories and content warnings (shown below).

Fanfic ratings on AO3 Teen and up audiences General audiences 15.9% Explicit 31% Mature Not rated 18.1 % 29.4% Fanfic warnings on AO3 No Archive Warnings Apply Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings Major Character Death Graphic Depictions 30.6% 57.1% Of Violence Underage R---/Non-Con

On June 18th, 2015, Katharine Trendacosta on Gizmodo reported on a similar research project by Tumblr user Touka-Tokyo[4] used the site’s “kudos” system to find that the most popular piece on AO3 was “I Am Groot” by sherlocksmyth.[7]

Hugo Award

On August 18th, 2019, Archive of Our Own[6] announced that they won the 2019 Hugo Award in the category of Best Related Work. Naomi Novik's acceptance speech was published on AO3 that same day:

"All fanwork, from fanfic to vids to fanart to podfic, centers the idea that art happens not in isolation but in community. And that is true of the AO3 itself. We’re up here accepting, but only on behalf of literally thousands of volunteers and millions of users, all of whom have come together and built this thriving home for fandom, a nonprofit and non-commercial community space built entirely by volunteer labor and user donations, on the principle that we needed a place of our own that was not out to exploit its users but to serve them.

Even if I listed every founder, every builder, every tireless support staff member and translator and tag wrangler, if I named every last donor, all our hard work and contributions would mean nothing without the work of the fan creators who share their work freely with other fans, and the fans who read their stories and view their art and comment and share bookmarks and give kudos to encourage them and nourish the community in their turn.

This Hugo will be joining the traveling exhibition that goes to each Worldcon, because it belongs to all of us. I would like to ask that we raise the lights and for all of you who feel a part of our community stand up for a moment and share in this with us."

Resignation of OTW Directors

As of July 27th, 2023, 3 out of 5 of the current OTW Board of Directors (who run Archive of Our Own) have resigned[10]. The specific details surrounding the resignations of former directors Antonius Melisse, Natalia Gruber and Alex Tischer are unclear at the moment, but the news worried people that utilize the website to create or read fanwork content. For example, on July 27th, Twitter[11] user @topgallantry explained how the resignations would impact the website "The OTW will be fine even if the board is completely overhauled, as it was once before, in 2015." The tweet (shown below) garnered over 208 likes and 80 retweets in a week.

X For anyone worried about AO3, don't be; the OTW will be fine even if the board is completely overhauled, as it was once before, in 2015. Also most of the board has been largely AWOL for months from what i can tell, yet the org committees & sites kept trucking along without them. gendertotenlieder @topgallantry Follow Transformative Works @OTW_News Antonius Melisse, Natalia Gruber and Alex Tischer have resigned from the #OTW Board of Directors. Because the number of Board vacancies is now the same as the number of candidates, this year's OTW Board election will be uncontested. Read more at X 7:16 PM Jul 27, 2023 208 OTWO ANNOUNCEMENT Reply 1 Share O

On July 28th, 2023, Redditor[12] u/EchoEkhi gave a full summary of the events, which included past allegedly racist comments from former board member Alex Tischer. The post (shown below) garnered over 60 upvotes in a week.

A03 Ⓒ Unir-se Enviado por EchoEkhi - há 8 dias reddit Why 3 out of 5 OTW Directors Resigned Yesterday Brief Summary of Events As of the 27th of July, 3 out of 5 of the current OTW Board of Directors have resigned. Antonius Melisse and Natalia Gruber resigned first, and Alex Tischer followed shortly afterwards. The specific details surrounding the resignations are unclear at the moment, but it is likely that the resignations of Antonius Melisse and Natalia Gruber are separate from Alex Tischer's departure, and they should be considered more or less separate incidents. To quote a comment on fail_fandomanon (FFA): "Natalia and Antonius had both been on hiatus for over a month due to both being overwhelmed with RL issues. Per Michelle, they had both already begun the process of resigning prior to the incident with Alex yesterday (but hadn't made an official announcement because they were still getting all their ducks in a row)." This would explain why their resignations were announced before Alex Tischer's on OTW's news website. The FFA forum has historically been a dependable (but perhaps not reliable) source of information, due to its popularity with OTW volunteers, so for the purposes of this post i will consider them as facts unless there are conflicting information. Alex Tischer's case is different from the other two. Recently she has come under fire both inside and outside the Org for confirming and restating her past allegedly racist comments, and there are calls for her resignation from the Board. The other two ex-Board members are not implicated in this. Although Alex's comments (1. You shouldn't prioritise volunteering OTW over your own personal safety; 2. Let's agree everyone should speak English in the Org so we can understand each other.) aren't inherently racist in and of itself, it is important to recognise the context this statement was made under. I do not have access to OTW's Slack channels, so I will not comment on it because I don't know the full context, but the pushback from other volunteers should be seen as a sign that this was not an appropriate thing to say. Internal pushbacks include volunteers asking Antonius Melisse and Natalia Gruber to come back from hiatus to vote Alex Tischer out. Some 11 out of 18 committees of the OTW have signed a joint statement demanding her resignation. External demands are mainly comprised of (possibly former?) OTW volunteer Dhobi Ki Kutti's public letter as well as EndOTWRacism's support for it. As a result, Alex Tischer has announced her resignation. What Happens To The Election? Despite the three resignations, two of their terms (Alex Tischer, 3-year term starting in 2020, and Antonius Melisse, 2-year partial term starting in 2021) were already ending this year anyways, so only one new seat has opened up. Combined with the two election candidates withdrawing (Audrey R and Emyn a), there are now 5 candidates for 5 seats, making this an uncontested election. However, two of the seats have a partial term of two years as compared to a full 3-year term, so a vote will still take place to determine who gets the full term and who gets the partial term. Upcoming Q&As and Candidate Chats are unaffected. There is a possibility that the 5 candidates could be invited to join the board early by the remaining 2 Board members before the scheduled date to begin their induction and help out with Board duties, but the election should still take place. Main Article: 62 upvotes Comentar Copiar link


On February 15, 2014, AO3[1] announced that they had just reached over one million works on the site and over 14,300 fandoms. As of August 2019, Archive of Our Own boasts over five billion works, two million users and 33,000 fandoms.

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in reply to TARINunit9

That'll probably depend on whether or not the people who run that site can resist the temptation of inviting investors to the site. After all, as George Washington would put it,
"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder".

If you have the means, you may wanna start saving stuff to external drives. AO3 does give you the ability to download stories


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