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Thought it might be worth copy/pasting a brief writeup about Ao3 using stuff I said on discord for anyone else worried about Ao3 dying forever.
TLDR: AO3 IS FINE.
Compare their Feb 03 tweet to their Jan 27 code changes news.
Note the mention of database upgrades echoing the mention of databases in their tweet.
The outages are not some caprice of the gods, it's definitely whatever they changed having trouble in production (meaning on the live website) with load balancing, user volume, bottlenecking, whatever. It was fine when they tested it, but it’s fucking up now because of scaling (meaning being exposed to just a fuckton of users).
It’s all just growing pains. I'm sure Ao3 will literally be better and more reliable once they sort out what the issue is. (Until the next major code change, at least. Haha)
This is just what making code changes is like.
The news post lists their programmers and testers. It's a team of volunteers, a bunch of whom probably never even touched the DB changes so the ones who have dedicated knowledge is likely smaller than that list. As opposed to the teams of 40 paid hours + paid overtime employees who usually get sites back up and running when something breaks. I'm sure these guys are losing sleep and putting in extra hours to fix this anyway, but whatever changes they made, there's clearly a lot of bottlenecking at regular intervals and the downtimes will just keep happening - not because things are getting worse, but because these emails and database queries simply happen regularly. That’s why there’s regularity in the downtimes. Especially since it appears to mostly be going down during peak leisure hours when the largest number of people are on the site (but I haven't been tracking so maybe I'm off on that, I’m just going off of when I see people talk about it on discord).
They'll figure out their database configurations and smooth things out inevitably, have no fear!
I wonder if they're considering rolling back changes in the meantime to stabilize the site, but it might not be possible because of the DB upgrades. It might literally just be that they have no way out except the way forward, which is to fix their configs.
They probably would have rolled everything back by now if they could. I'd be biting my nails to stumps by now if I were them. 😂 How many days of this so far? That's so much pressure.
"Why can't the freaks on AO3 just go and make a site for all the gross stuff and leave AO3 alone."
Because AO3 is that site. Because AO3 was that site long before you decided AO3 was better than the sites you bullied us off of before, and I can promise you if someone somehow comes up with a fanfic site you like better specifically for the 'gross stuff' you'll try to bully us off that too so you can benefit from it.
AO3's specific core purpose is to preserve fanfiction, yes, but it was also instigated as a host site for the fanfiction that kept getting yeeted off other platforms like Wattpad. Its designed to preserve all fanfiction, not just the fanfiction you, personally, think is 'allowed' to be written.
AO3 is the site for all the gross stuff the freaks make. We've been there just as long as you. We've been funding it just as long as you have. AO3 has specifically said you have a place here. The timeline was literally:
Wattpad/FF.net/LiveJournal purge fanfics > AO3 is born > The people who's fics got purged moved over to AO3 > AO3 gains popularity as the best functioning site > The people who pushed for the fics to be purged off Wattpad move to AO3 > The same people try to push for AO3 to purge fics.
AO3's source coding is open-access. You go make a polished, strict, rigid site where nothing 'icky' is allowed. You go make a site where you can control what is hosted. We already have our space.
“Just this once, everybody lives” Chapter 4 sneak peaks!
As an apology for how long chapter 4 is taking to come out, I’ve decided to give you all a handful of sneak peaks! This chapter is a long one, as there’s a lot to cover! Enjoy! (Small note, some things in these sneak peaks might not make it to the final version)
Fanfiction Authors: HEADS UP
(Non-authors, please RB to signal boost to your author friends!)
An astute reader informed me this morning that one of my fics (Children of the Future Age) had been pirated and was being sold as a novel on Amazon:
(And they weren't even creative with their cover design. If you're going to pirate something that I spent a full year of my life writing, at least give me a pretty screenshot to brag about later. Seriously.)
I promptly filed a DMCA complaint to have it removed, but I checked out the company that put it up -- Plush Books -- and it looks like A LOT of their books are pirated fic. They are by no means the only ones doing this, either -- the fact that """publishers""" can download stories from AO3 in ebook format and then reupload them to Amazon in just a few clicks makes fic piracy a common problem. There are a whole host of reasons why letting this continue is bad -- including actual legal risk to fanfiction archives -- but basically:
IF YOU ARE A FANFIC AUTHOR WITH LONG AND/OR POPULAR WORKS, PLEASE CHECK AMAZON TO SEE IF YOUR STORIES HAVE BEEN PIRATED.
You can search for your fics by title, or by text from the description (which is often just copied wholesale from AO3 as well). If you find that someone has stolen your work and is selling it as their own, you can lodge a DMCA complaint (Amazon.com/USA site; other countries have different systems). If you haven't done this before, it's easy! Here's a tutorial:
HOW TO FILE A COPYRIGHT COMPLAINT FOR STOLEN WORK ON AMAZON.COM:
First, go to this form. You'll need to be signed into your Amazon account.
Select the radio buttons/dropdown options (shown below) to indicate that you are the legal Rights Owner, you have a copyright concern, and it is about a pirated product.
Enter the name of your story in the Name of Brand field.
In the Link to the Copyrighted Work box, enter a link to the story on AO3 or whatever site your work is posted on.
In the Additional Information box, explain that you are the author of the work and it is being sold without your permission. That's all you really need. If you want, you can include additional information that might be helpful in establishing the validity of your claim, but you don't have to go into great detail. You can simply write something like this:
I am the author of this work, which is being sold by [publisher] without my permission. I originally published this story in [date/year] on [name of site], and have provided a link to the original above. On request, I can provide documentation proving that I am the owner of the account that originally posted this story.
In the ASIN/ISBN-10 field, copy and paste the ID number from the pirated copy's URL. You'll find this ten-digit number in the Amazon URL after the word "product," as in the screenshot below. (If the URL extends beyond this number, you can ignore everything from the question mark on.) Once this number has been added, Amazon will pull the product information automatically and add it to the complaint form, so you can check the listing title and make sure it's correct.
Finally, add your contact information to the relevant fields, check the "I have read and accept the statements" box, and then click Submit. You should receive an email confirmation that Amazon has received the form.
Please share this information with your writer friends, keep an eye out for/report pirated works, and help us keep fanfiction free and legally protected!
NOTE: All of the above also applies to Amazon products featuring stolen artwork, etc., so fan artists should check too!