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Archive of Our Own comes back online after DDOS attacks

Staff urges caution for those looking to donate

Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

After an outage caused by distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, Archive of Our Own (AO3) is back online. AO3 is a leading repository of fanfiction, with categories for both the type of fiction and the fandom the work belongs in. The site went down on Monday, and the staff of AO3 has been working since to restore the site.

AO3 continued to keep fans and readers updated using the site’s official Tumblr and Twitter accounts. While the site is back, and readers can get back to enjoying juicy fanfic, there still the staff said users may encounter some stability problems in the coming days while the remaining issues are ironed out.

“We may need to do some work to optimize our shiny new Cloudflare setup — we’ll keep you updated on any issues or downtime,” the update post on both Twitter and Tumblr reads.

AO3 is an open-source website that hosts millions of fan works across more than 57,000 fandoms. The site has earned literary acclaim, including the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

The outage — and the work of AO3 staff to restore the site as soon as possible — has incentivized some readers to donate to the site (or, at the very least, tweet a few words of appreciation.)

Unfortunately, some bad actors are taking advantage of this generosity. A tweet from the AO3 account reads: “Heads up! Someone using the name AO3__Status (note the second underscore) is impersonating this account and attempting to scam AO3 users out of money.”

AO3 will continue to update users on the site’s status; it’s possible that it could go down again. For now, fans can resume their enjoyment of saucy fanfiction, or upload their own works, but they should exercise caution if they choose to donate.

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