If I had written an essay in 2006 about “the future of fandom,” I might have imagined a possible future that looked very much like AO3—except I would have considered it far out of reach. The idea that a community of people could come together to create among themselves both the infrastructure and the code for an entirely new platform is remarkable—but it is even more remarkable that this was a community of mostly women, who are traditionally underrepresented in computer science and even more so in open-source development. Another success of AO3 is that they didn’t just build a platform; they also built a batch of fan-coders because, as the founders realized at the time: “we’re going to have to grow our own”.
Fiesler, Casey. 2018. “Owning the Servers: A Design Fiction Exploring the Transformation of Fandom into ‘Our Own.’” In “The Future of Fandom,” special 10th anniversary issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 28.