Transcript for Third 2012 Candidate Chat

The following is a transcript of the OTW Board candidates’ chat held at 1500 UTC 6 October 2012. Elections officer Jenny Scott-Thompson moderated the discussion; candidates Eylul Dogruel and Andrea Horbinski attended.

Eylul has entered the room

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hele has entered the room

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Andrea H. has entered the room

hele

hihi

Andrea H.

hey

hele

like they say over here, I saw light and came in

Kristen M.

hi!

hele

but can’t find what it’s actually being held over here <_<

Jenny S-T

We’ll start officially in about 5 minutes

Jenny S-T changed the room’s topic to Election chat now! For Org-Wide meetings and more

hele

isn’t it too early for election chat? I’m probably reading BC all wrong

Andrea H.

the light was my cell phone getting me out of bed early

Nele N.

Hey all

hele

actually, nm, just located the little hour that is on my time as per BC calculus

Nele N.

It’s midnight here so I hope this will be very interesting

Eylul

*waves*

Ira G. has entered the room

hele

that sounds ominous, Nele

Eylul

*is totally trying to get some blog post answers in*

hele

it sounded like it had an ‘or else’ appended at the end πŸ˜›

Andrea H.

how’s the weather in Kyoto, Nele?

Nele N.

I have very little power to make any “or else” happen

for now >:)

Finally cooling off!

Congratulations on the A’s

Andrea H.

うらやましいだよ。戻りたいよね

it was pretty awesome! no one booed our side πŸ™‚

Nele N.

遊びに来て!3月末までいるよ

Andrea H.

分かっている

Nele N.

sounds like a roaring success

Jenny S-T

Let’s get started

Hello, and welcome to our third and final elections chat. I’m the OTW Elections Officer and board secretary.

We have a couple of questions left over from last time, and then we’ll open up to the floor. Raise a hand if you’ve got something to ask.

If we run out of time, you can ask more questions on the blog posts – there have already been questions answered there. And that’s true year-round – the board have a contact form on the OTW website, and Communications check for comments on all the blog posts and pass them on to the right team to answer.

Sam’s original question (last chat) was:

“One of the biggest impediments to the Org, from both an internal and an external perspective, is that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and neither are really aware of the existence of the left foot, let alone its actions. Having documentation scattered across the forums, wiki, dreamwidth (for one committee in particular), campfire, mailing lists, and basecamp makes it nigh impossible to find anything. What are your thoughts for opening and encouraging inter-committee communication to functional levels?”

His follow-up is:

“Regarding Basecamp: that solution would work well for committees composed entirely of staff, but what of Tags, Translations, Coders, or Testers, who are composed of volunteers, or Fanlore, composed of all-and-sundry? Would an actual, working forum with organized subsections (such as a phpBB or similar board system) be a solution?”

Andrea, Eylul, go for it whenever you’re ready

Eylul

okay long question with a lot of good points but I’ll take a shot at it πŸ™‚

I do agree with the all org comment a while back that forums would be a great replacement to mailing list. Easier to follow different threads, old records easy to see for newcoming members. Sections can be locked in to staffers, to volunteers or individual communities. The only thing I cannot solve in my brain is how you would do cross committee discussions that currently happens over multiple emails but I am sure there is a solution to that.

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Andrea H.

I think people who’ve proposed OTW Forums aren’t necessarily thinking of using it as yet another platform for internal volunteer communications – although I have seen people raise the notion of some kind of spot where organizational FAQ are listed with answers, which is a notion borrowed from support forums. But there’s no reason an OTW forum couldn’t be used in that way, certainly, if certain committees wanted to do so. The point about Basecamp from last time was, on a larger level, that knowing where to go can be half the battle. And on the point of Fanlore, it seems to make sense that Wiki does what it needs to do in light of its project purpose.

Eylul

phpBB as far as I know as a system is not very accessible (I think the main concern is that it uses tables, which is not very screenreader friendly). However I know we are testing other forum software, so I am sure there is a solution out there.

Andrea H.

if that makes sense? it’s 08:00 here

I don’t think that last sentence made sense. Let me try again: not every committee may have the same solution. /done

Eylul

About wiki/basecamp however, that one is trickier… I think that at some point one size doesn’t fit all, and the best solution is to have a centralized place to indicate which committee keeps which documents where, and to be organized.

/done

Jenny S-T

thank you, both

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Jenny S-T

the other question emailed in advance was from Ira – Ira, do you want to go ahead, or shall I paste from your email?

Ira G.

could you paste?

Jenny S-T

“What do you think are the org’s biggest issues in terms of distribution of resources? This can be about either the resources themselves (e.g. Project X needs more of Y) or about how resources are allocated/the process by which we determine where resources go and how to get them there. Are there specific resources — money, personnel, general attention — that you feel are particularly well or poorly distributed? What would you do to address this?”

While Andrea and Eylul are typing responses, for those who’ve just joined and can’t see scrollback, welcome. I’m the OTW Elections Officer and board secretary, and host for this chat. Raise a hand if you’ve got something to ask, and I’ll call on people in order. If we run out of time, you can ask more questions on the blog posts – there have already been questions answered there. And that’s true year-round – the board have a contact form on the OTW website, and Communications check for comments on all the blog posts and pass them on to the right team to answer.

Eylul

I think everyone knows in part what I think about this question (http://eylul.dreamwidth.org/353.html)

essentially I think one of our biggest inequalities is the amount of training and support (mentoring and physical) that is available for AO3 project vs other projects the organization has.

hele

(0/ for follow up question)

Eylul

Basically we have this issue right now that our technical volunteer management is fused with AO3 project management and that is causing a lot of inefficiencies of addressing of technical needs (in case of cases like Fanlore or Journal), or in prioritization of features even related to AO3 sometimes (translation, OD, tag wrangling etc). I think that is the biggest inequality issue we have.

pluck has entered the room

Eylul

Basically for that I propose splitting of project management from technical volunteer management. /done

Andrea H.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve been thinking more in terms of personnel and attention when I’ve said ‘resources’ in these chats. I do think that there are some committees and projects that seem to draw more of the OTW’s attention than others. I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem that we have one project that’s umpteen times more popular than the others (AO3), but I do think it’s a problem that that one project get the lion’s share of internal focus, too. We do a lot of awesome things! The question about personnel is trickier, because of course we’re not a company where we can just assign paid employees, but I do think making sure that every committee has effective leadership is part of this, and in making sure that volunteers and Chairs are effectively trained across the Org. Which Volcom has been working on, and which as a process needs to continue.

On that note, I’m very interested in Eylul’s proposals in that post, too, so that’s a specific thing.

As for process, I think this unequal distribution is in some ways a relic from the OTW’s early years, so I’m not sure there even has been a process that got us here per se.

/done

Jenny S-T

Ira, any follow-up, or does that mostly answer it?

Ira G.

thank you both

would it be okay if hele went while I think?

Eylul

(OD -> Open Doors btw)

Ira G.

since she raised hand for followup

hele

(if you’re asking me, I’ve no problem)

Jenny S-T

yep, go for it, Hele

hele

ok, Eylul, you said ‘inequalities is the amount of training and support (mentoring and physical) that is available for AO3 project vs other projects’

to what do you think that’s due?

i.e. is it down to actions from the board, specific process, only a structural thing, what the volunteers want to do…?

and, if it’s both the last things (which partly my experience, partly what I understood of your post — which may be misunderstanding, of course), how do you think we should allocate volunteer interest?

/done

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hele

(I can clarify if I expressed myself in a non understandable manner!)

Eylul

I think that it is a structural thing. AD&T from what I see was intended to become technical volunteer management committee, and has the structure and resources for that. Vs Fanlore and Journal or other committees are more structured on management of these projects in non technical aspects and they are clients of AD&T, so to speak. However as AO3 management fused with AD&T AO3 took priority which left other committees to either try to find a way to request help in a way that nobody has specified the how to of, or to hire technical staff themselves who often work alone or small teams. From what I know right now webs and systems are the ones

who do the helping, and especially in systems’ case it is already making a committee that already has a lot to do doing a job that is not their responsability (even through I do hear only good things about systems about this so awesome job there)

I think that it is less about allocating volunteer interest. We do get people interested in building the wiki the same way they want to build ao3, but they don’t get training, mentoring, webdevs, they often work in a vacuum. These things will affect people’s drop out rates and their willingness to come and work in a project. It is important to realize that there is a lot of OSS enthousiasts out there

who would want to work in OTW projects, any of them. We have a culture of building skill rather than expecting it, a safe environment (which is rare in tech circles)

hele

So we both have interested trainers and trainees but the resources like webdevs aren’t being allocated?

Eylul

visibility. All of these are important.

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hele

(I ask because that hasn’t been my experience in translation. Most or a lot of the translators really only _wanted_ to work on the Archive, back when I knew about it.)

Eylul

Hele I think that there is a lot of thought process going into what AO3 coders need, but designers and testers, as well as technical volunteers working on other projects don’t get same level of focus and energy on thought to make their lives and tasks easier.

Ah. I do think that preference is a symptom of the fact that we don’t put emphasis on those projects. I do think that those who wants to work on AO3 should still work on it, but that if the other projects gets the same attention, perks etc, there will be people interested in working in these projects.

hele

Idk, fanlore doesn’t have a good structure for pages in other languages, for example, nor would it be, in my opinion, good to, say, move all argentinian fanzines to a college in USA, if that were even possible

Andrea H.

To stick my oar in, the thought process about what coders need clearly doesn’t always consider what the rest of the OTW needs out of the Archive, either.

hele

so the other projects don’t cater to the international fans the same way

Eylul

I think there is also other solutions if the problem still persists like building a culture of community and taking projects (less wanted and more wanted) as a team to encourage people to work on it but… /done because I feel like I hogged the chat and want to let Andrea speak.

hele

thanks!

Andrea H.

I need more caffeine.

I’m not sure I have much to add on this subject right at the moment – see above re: caffeine – although I do want to note that I take your point about the international appeal of other projects, Hele, and it’s something to think about, for sure.

Eylul

*thinks on what hele says* (actually hele I would like to discuss with you more on translations and the issues you guys run into, when you or other staffers have time.)

hele

I’m not a translation staffer!

anymore, that is

I actually am only sure about our chair, and that’s Aga

the staffers have been fluctuating, so ask there

Eylul

ah my bad. *embarrassed* all the same, and I want to hear more about what you just said about the international appeal of the projects as well.

hele

sure! whenever you want

Jenny S-T

Ira, or anyone else with a question?

Andrea H.

A question about how to talk about certain aspects of Japanese fan cultures came up in reference to Fanlore earlier this year, for example, and the point about not sending Argentinean fanzines to Iowa is valid, too – although at the same time, it’s fairly normal for archives holding a lot of really diverse materials to be located in seemingly strange spots. (For instance, I need to put together funding to go read a bunch of Taisho/early Meiji manga that’s out in Ohio at some point this year.) So, just to say that the internationalization is something we need to keep thinking about, and working on, because I don’t think in principle that any project is less international than the others. I hope not, anyway! /done

Ira G.

I’m done — rather let other questions/topics in =)

Andrea H.

Wait!

hele

(it strikes me as a sort of cultural theft, though I guess them being preserved _somewhere_ is still good.)

Jenn Calaelen

\o

Andrea H.

I should follow that up by saying that I don’t have a secret agenda for the OTW to become the single monolithic organization for all of fandom everywhere. πŸ™‚

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hele

heeh, and I didn’t mean _from the OTW_ really

Andrea H.

(yeah, some people do say that, and it’s definitely a concern! with archives the choice is often between preservation and destruction, but that’s another chat.) /done

Jenny S-T

Go for it, Jenn

Jenn Calaelen

How much of a say in the directions of projects (etc) should users get?

(as in not volunteers, staffers, etc)

Andrea H.

can you be more specific?

Jenn Calaelen

archive features and the like?

Eylul

I think that they should be able to point out problems, or suggest features, and comment on how they use things. Occasionally it is alright to offer a solution but I think that it goes through the process of participation into development of the software project(design, coding and QA). I think right now our processes for participating into software development is a still bit too rigid to allow that so that is a drawback. (there is work on that done)

Jenn Calaelen

mostly around Yuletide areas I’ve been hearing a lot of why hasn’t x been fixed yet? why ins’t the Yuletide old archive import happening soon etc…

Andrea H.

Well, archive importing as a whole isn’t ready yet, so it’s not just Yuletide shuffling its heels, for sure!

Eylul

Now, what I think is not okay, is polling. I do think input allows inclusivity, but blindly just going after most popular issues and such sometimes means not catering to smaller communities that are in minority, or not active in feedback yet. So it is a balancing act.\

/done

addendum: I mean yes from a software design point of view yes we should prioritize largest user base but we are also a non-profit with principles, so we cannot just do that /really done

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Andrea H.

There is a mechanism currently by which users are able to suggest features – somewhat counterintuitively – putting in a Support ticket, and I know that the tickets are an important source of user feedback and suggestions. Obviously though those tend to be on the reactive rather than the proactive side, and probably aren’t as well-known as they could be.

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Andrea H.

I agree with Eylul that the AO3 can’t just follow the crowd – or the vision of single developers – because of the fact that we do have principles that we have to do our best to uphold, as an Org. But yes, users definitely should have a say, but it’s important to recognize that our users aren’t monolithic. /done

Jenny S-T

thank you, both

Does anyone else have any questions? We have about 15 minutes left

hele

(Andrea, don’t want to interrupt, but can I get you two seconds on crosscom or here, after this?)

Andrea H.

(sure!)

Jenny S-T

If not, I’ll pull one from the latest blog post, but do feel free to interrupt if you have anything

Eylul

*looks both at staffers AND guests*

Jenny S-T

Okay, a question from Que on the blog: “And lastly, one of the problems that seem to have been plaguing the OTW board is low attendance of board members. What are your thoughts on this situation, possible solutions or affects to the Org and the productivity of the board?”

Andrea H.

I was just about to post this as an answer to the blog

let me c&P

It’s definitely a problem when Board members have high rates of absence at Board meetings, particularly with a six-person Board – I’m hopeful that increasing the seats to nine will mean that more meetings have a quorum of attendees in 2013, and definitely the more meetings there are without a quorum, the less productive Board is. I said this in a blog post, but I don’t actually expect that every Board member will be able to show up to meetings 100% of the time – we have lives, other commitments, and since Board doesn’t get a salary, we have to do something to keep a roof over our head in our spare time, too. πŸ™‚ And, because Board does a lot of its communication over email and Basecamp, missing the occasional meeting doesn’t mean you’re automatically completely out of the loop. I also think it’s important for Board members to acknowledge when life is such that they won’t be able to fulfill their responsibilities, as Jenny S-T has done by deciding to resign at the end of this term πŸ™ (we’ll miss you, Jenny!) and Julia Beck has done by going on hiatus until 2013, and as Ira Gladkova did earlier this year for medical reasons. So, in the end, open communication is hugely important for Board too.

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Eylul

I know there was a solution in part to make the meetings rotate to accommodate more timezones. Beyond that however I think is defining an attendance rule that is reasonable and holding board members accountable for it. I think the big issue as Jenny mentioned in her second post on the topic was not that the board members was missing the meetings but that the asynchronous conversation over emails and tasks as being a liaison was also suffering. The solution I think, again, is to set up expectations, to make these expectations clear to incoming members, then hold board members accountable in it. I do also think that there is however things that can be done to gradually lower the time expectation from board members which is frankly huge.

Board has to do a lot of mentoring and decision making that again is appropriate for a newly founded small non-profit, and not appropriate for our current scale. The whole issue of building new structures that is suited to a larger and more mature org ties to this too. (I think the board has been discussing this and beginning to work on solutions over past year)

/done

Andrea H.

Agreed. /done

Eylul

*also agrees with andrea’s points*

Jenny S-T

thank you, both

Any other questions in our last couple of minutes?

pluck has left the room

hele

(since this is quiet, Andrea, I’m going to jump to crosscommin parallel and leave you my message there)

Jenny S-T

If not, thank you all for coming. We will be posting transcript shortly, and you are welcome to ask further questions there.

hele

the meme already has it

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hele

I’m only sad the real mrsscribe is not in the room

I was about to ask for an autograph

Ira G.

Thank you for hosting, Jenny, and thank you Andrea and Eylul!

Andrea H.

thanks everyone! have a good weekend. πŸ™‚ Ira, like half an hour from now?

Eylul

thank you everyone for coming and for thoughtful questions, and thank you Jenny for organizing this!

Nele N.

Thank you all

hele

yes, thanks candidates/future board for coming and answering!

Kristen M.

thanks, Andrea, Eylul, and Jenny!

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hele

and Jenny for organizing and doing being an excellent moderator

Transcript for Second 2012 Candidate Chat

The following is a transcript of the OTW Board candidates’ chat held at 0500 UTC 3 October 2012. Elections officer Jenny Scott-Thompson moderated the discussion; candidates Franzeska Dickson and Andrea Horbinski attended.

Jenny S-T has entered the room

Andrea H. has entered the room

Jenny S-T

Hi πŸ™‚

Andrea H.

hey!

Lady Oscar has entered the room

Jenny S-T

We’re a little short of people this morning πŸ™‚

Lady Oscar

Forgot it was 10!

Jenny S-T

Welcome to the 2nd election chat! I’m the OTW Elections Officer and Board Secretary, as you already know ;). Transcript of the previous chat is available at http://elections.transformativeworks.org/transcript-initial-2012-candidate-chat if you’re interested.

Franzi should be joining us any moment

Franzeska D. has entered the room

Jenny S-T

So, last time Franzi and Eylul introduced themselves. All the bios (http://elections.transformativeworks.org/otw-election-candidates-2012) are now live – Andrea, do you want to give any extra introduction?

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Andrea H.

um, I’m not sure – I can talk more about any part of the bio people have questions on, of course, but I think the main point is I’m an academic and a fan and I like anime πŸ™‚

Jenny S-T

Cool πŸ™‚

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Jenny S-T

Lady Oscar, Sam, do you have any questions you want to ask of the candidates? If not, I also have a couple from Sanders in email.

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Jenny S-T

A question from Sanders that we ran out of time for last time: What experience do you have with nonprofits other than OTW?

Franzeska D.

Zilch

Andrea H.

I’ve been a Girl Scout since the age of five – which, obviously, as a Daisy I didn’t get much organizational perspective πŸ™‚ 1/2

but, as a Girl Scout in high school, I did observe and participate in the Council decision-making process, and I also attended the national convention as an alternate delegate in 2002

I’m trying to think if there’s anything else…

Anna G.

I have a follow up question to this, if that’s okay?

Jenny S-T

ok, Anna. I’ve got one more from Sanders first, then I’ll call on you.

Anna G.

thanks πŸ™‚

Andrea H.

FWIW, I’m currently the chair of the History Graduate Association here at Berkeley, and I was one of its coordinators last year

I also, as might be expected, ran and participated in a number of student organizations in undergrad

I think that’s it

stretching the definition somewhat, admittedly

Jenny S-T

Feel free to drop extra stuff in later if you think of it

And another one from Sanders: What do you think is the most significant accomplishment of the current board and how do you intend to support or build on that?

Sam J.

(Jenny: o/ )

Andrea H.

I was really glad to see the strategic planning work group get off the ground

and that it’s been continuing its work. i was also pleased to see Grants get a bigger role again.

As for how to support or build on that…I think one of the most important things the 2013 Board will do is receive Strategic Planning’s reports and recommendations, and I think it’s vital that we hear what they tell us, take it to heart, and craft a realistic strategic plan based on that. So, that’s what I intend to do, for certaion.

Franzeska D.

Agreed. It seems like the board has started to take a much more serious look at long term planning. I’d like to continue to take a very user-oriented, evidence-based approach to decisions. In other words, things like surveys and observing current fan behavior on and off of AO3 are more useful than the board members’ prior opinions most of the time. Fandom is sufficiently diverse and user behavior on any site sufficiently surprising to site designers, that you really have to keep collecting data and observing.

Andrea H.

Agreed.

That was part of why I&O wanted to do the survey, definitely.

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Jenny S-T

Thanks, both

Okay, Anna, go ahead with your question

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Anna G.

I’m wondering if, since there’s no practical nonprofit experience, either of you plan to research/investigate nonprofits (both online and off) and bring any of that knowledge to how the OTW is run?

(sorry for the clumsy structure of that question.)

Franzeska D.

No, it’s a good question. I’ve been reading articles people have sent around. I haven’t done any in-depth research yet. It will depend on my job situation next year. (I’m applying to business school. If I get in, what I’m studying there will be relevant. If I don’t, I’ll do more reading on my own.)

Also, while nonprofits do have some distinct features, I feel like quite a lot of my current job is relevant. (It’s a small company going through growing pains.)

/done (unless anyone wants elaboration)

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Jenny S-T

Andrea? (Everyone else, if you want to ask a question, let me know and I’ll add you to the queue)

Andrea H.

I certainly think the OTW can benefit from the experience of other nonprofits with things like Founder’s Syndrome, etc, which are recognized developmental issues that most nonprofits have – and in a perfect world I’d love to dive into doing in-depth research on those questions. I’ve also been looking into resources that people like Jenny have recommended, but I also think that the current issues facing the OTW are pretty clear, and I don’t want to lose sight of them in a focus on “generic non-profits.”

Anna G.

(o/ x2)

Jenny S-T

Sam, you’re up next

Andrea H.

I’d also add that, like Franzi says, while non-profits do have some distinct features, I certainly don’t think that I’m totally without experience in the type of discussions that are the Board’s bread and butter. But yeah, I’d like to learn more if I can, certainly.

/done

Lady Oscar

o/

Jenny S-T

whoops, sorry, too early

go for it, Sam

Sam J.

One of the biggest impediments to the Org, from both an internal and an external perspective, is that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and neither are really aware of the existence of the left foot, let alone its actions. Having documentation scattered across the forums, wiki, dreamwidth (for one committee in particular), campfire, mailing lists, and basecamp makes it nigh impossible to find anything. What are your thoughts for opening and encouraging inter-committee communication to functional levels?

/done

Ira G.

(thank you, Sam!)

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Franzeska D.

Hmm… Well, the sort of committee-committee liaising some committees already do is helpful.

I would like to see more committees make heavier use of Basecamp because it’s easy for staff to browse all the different sections, but that’s complicated by the fact that non-staff volunteers don’t have access.

Andrea H.

*sigh* Yeah, that’s a big one. I think one of the things I’ve struggled with this year, for sure, is just making it policy to actually put policies, minutes, whatnot up on centrally accessible platforms like the wiki – I think, if we could get all committees to do that regularly (and admittedly, I can only speak for I&O on this being difficult), that would be a big step in the right direction. I also think that we collectively need to get into the habit of looking at the other platforms proactively, if necessary – and again, I will hold up myself as an example of this being a hard habit to get into. Maybe it’s time to look into creating some kind of standardized policies for which platform to use when and by whom? The other thing, of course, is that communication is a two-way street, and so committees have to be looking to each other for info on what they’re doing, not just doing their own thing. I do think the changed format of the all-org meetings, including the internal newsletter, helps with this, and has helped a lot so far.

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Andrea H.

Ditto on using Basecamp more heavily – I know a lot of people find it intimdating, as well, and I know it’s only this year that I”ve really felt comfortable with it. But it can be a pretty powerful tool.

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Sam J.

(follow-up?)

Franzeska D.

The primary issue I see is that some of our tools have a steep learning curve for some or all of our staff. The wiki isn’t going to be something people find easy to browse and to use unless they find wikis in general easy to use. Few people have experience with Basecamp prior to OTW. It would be helpful not to have to make everyone learn so many different skills at once.

/done

Andrea H.

/done

Jenny S-T

Anna, you’re next, then Sam’s follow-up, then LO, then Anna’s second question, and that will probably take us up to the end of time, but everyone else, email me questions and we can start with them next chat.

Anna G.

My question is a followup to my last question, & is for Andrea: you mention that you think the issues facing the OTW are pretty clear. Can you talk about what you think those issues are? (I ask this because it’s become apparent to me in the last several months that the issues people think of when they think of the OTW are actually wildly varied.)

(er, full disclosure: I’m the chair of the Strategic Planning committee, so I have an unfair advantage in knowing what some people are thinking re this.)

Andrea H.

Well, let me turn the question around on Franzi, too, and ask what she thinks the issues are πŸ™‚

Franzeska D.

ha ha

sanders

I’d like to hear both of your answers, actually, but Andrea, if you wouldn’t mind answering first since Anna addressed the question to you, that would be great.

Sam J.

(Jenny: bump my follow-up to email)

Ira G.

I have a question to put in line after this =)

Lady Oscar

(Anna asked what I was going to)

Andrea H.

I think the issues remain largely the same as they were last year, with the proviso that I also think that everything I’ve seen this term has left me with cautious optimism about the Org’s direction. In one sentence, I think making the OTW a long-term sustainable proposition is the single key issue, which is easy to say but hides the fact that it is basically an octopus in terms of concrete issues.

and yes, i have a follow-up, give me a second πŸ™‚ Franzi?

Franzeska D.

I think our biggest issue is confusion: people not knowing what they’re supposed to be doing or not knowing which committee is in charge of something they need to ask about. Estimated dates for things not being clear or not being accurate.

(From the user side, that would be the endless tumblr posts going “Is it the end of july yet? HUH? HUH?”)

Andrea H.

yeah, definitely

Franzeska D.

/done

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Andrea H.

I think the most concrete example of this is committees not being evenly resourced – not only in terms of staff, but in terms of management and paying attention to the rest of the Org’s wants and needs. I think the changes to the Board liaison system that were made this year have helped with that unevenness, but it definitely remains.

And I think, fwiw, that every question we’ve had so far has played into different aspects of that single overarching issue. So yeah, definitely, it’s not like I’m the only one who’s aware of the problems! /done

Jenny S-T

Okay, with Sam moving to email and LO already answered, it’s Anna’s second question, then Ira. Go ahead, Anna.

Andrea H.

Oh, wait!

What I forgot to say is that transparency plays a big part in this, which is basically the other side of Sam’s question. So, how to be both internally and externally transparent is definitely an ongoing issue. /done

Anna G.

This one is about management — you’ve both talked about it. Franzeska, in the last chat, you mentioned that you’re concerned about management within the OTW, that managers are not getting to manage, etc. What are [both of] your thoughts on how to change this? Do [either/both of] you have [people] management experience that you plan to draw from?

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Franzeska D.

Not a lot. More of my experience is from observing managers, both good and horrendous, at my job. The biggest obvious, easy(ish) to fix thing is to have board members avoid also being on committees. I realize this is not realistic for some people depending on their skill sets, but I am not a coder/lawyer/etc., so I will not be serving on a committee while on the board.

Andrea H.

Fwiw, the OTW is definitely an outlier among non-profits in that almost 100% of its business is conducted entirely online, which definitely makes managing people, i.e. volunteers, a lot more challenging than when it’s done face to face, in an office, for example. The OTW also has problems relative to other non-profits like soup kitchens or thrift stores, for example, in that we don’t really have “drop in” work that people can do very easily, with a very qualified exception of coding.

Franzeska D.

Doing things online, you really need to proactively check in with people a lot.

You can’t wander by and tell by facial expression and posture that something’s up and you need to pull the person aside and ask what’s wrong.

Andrea H.

So, there’s that kind of non-profit management, and there’s also the more specialized kind of project management, which, for example, is something that they actually offer Masters of Science in – my dad just earned his this spring, and I actually have been planning to sit down and read his PM books over the holidays when I’m back in Jersey. Getting people who can do project management for open source software projects is even more difficult than that sort of general non-profit management, and they’re not quite the same, either.

Franzeska D.

/done

Andrea H.

I’ve recently gotten involved with the Ada Initiative, and I do think that the OTW could definitely benefit from looking into other open source projects like Dreamwidth for comparative open source management strategies, practices, etc. So that’s something I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind as a potentiality – I wrote a couple of blog posts on that theme after I attended AdaCamp DC this summer.

I also agree with Franzi about not doubling up responsibilities, and I definitely plan to give up Chairing I&O πŸ™ as soon as possible, as much as I’ve enjoyed it.

In the long term, I agree about the ideal of Board members hesitating to serve on committees outright, but I’m not sure how feasible that is in the short to medium term. Um, I think I had a point there somewhere. I hope. /done

Jenny S-T

We’re just about out of time, so Ira’s question is moved to email/comments. Everyone, feel free to send me follow-up questions via email, and we’ll continue in the comments of the last transcript blog post as well as next chat.

Thank you all for coming

Anna G.

Thanks for the thoughtful answers!

Jenny S-T

http://transformativeworks.org/next-candidate-chat-and-transcript for comments, or http://otw-news.livejournal.com/219155.html or http://otw-news.dreamwidth.org/167797.html

Ira G.

Awesome! Thank you for hosting, for questions, for answers, and for coming!

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FishieMishie

thanks Jenny, and Franzi and Andrea!

Transcript for Initial 2012 Candidate Chat

The following is a transcript of the OTW Board candidates’ chat held at 1800 UTC 29 September 2012. Elections officer Jenny Scott-Thompson moderated the discussion; candidates Franzeska Dickson and Eylul Dogruel attended.

Claudia R. has entered the room

Eylul has entered the room

Lady Oscar has entered the room

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Franzeska D.

Hi

Eylul

hey πŸ™‚

Jenny S-T

Hi!

Lady Oscar has entered the room

Jenny S-T

As a reminder, transcript of this chat will be posted publicly. If you’d like us to exclude your name or a particular comment, please let me know.

We’ll start officially in about 5 minutes

Franzeska D.

No, no, anything off color, foolish, or off the wall I say should be preserved for posterity, clearly.

Eylul

actually Jenny, question. if that is the case. can we link our fannish info and real info here without worrying about google?

Franzeska D.

Hi Lady Oscar

Jenny S-T

yes, just make it clear which bits you want me to exclude

and remember that the full transcript will be visible to everyone in the org

Eylul

fannish side, if it happens.

Lady Oscar

Hi!

Eylul

I just don’t want it tied in google and public internet if it comes up. I think most of the people in org who know me knows my DW anyway πŸ˜‰

Tuulia has entered the room

Franzeska D.

There are actually people here! Yesss!

Eylul

hee

Jenny S-T

So, welcome! I’m the OTW elections officer and Secretary of the Board. We’ll be using our usual in-org convention here of asking people to let me know if they have a question, I’ll let people know when to go so we can follow conversation easily, and please type /done at the end of any comment that spans multiple lines. We’ll have some more free-form chat at the end.

foxinthestars has entered the room

Jenny S-T

Does anyone have particular questions that they’ve brought? I’m aware the bios and manifestos aren’t yet up, so there will be more information when those are posted next week, but we’re open to questions in the meantime.

Either about the elections process or for our new Board members

Lady Oscar

o/

Jenny S-T

As a reminder, transcript of this chat will be posted publicly. If you’d like us to exclude your name or a particular comment, please let me know.

hele has entered the room

Jenny S-T

Franzi and Eylul, do you want to each give a quick introduction of yourselves as people arrive?

Eylul

sure πŸ™‚ *typing*

Jenny S-T

and Lady Oscar, go ahead with your question when you’re ready

Lady Oscar

I just wanted to make sure that I understand correctly–there won’t actually be an election, in the sense of any vote being held, right?

/done

Jenny S-T

correct, yes

we have the same number of candidates as seats, so it’s uncontested this year

Eylul

Hi, I am Eylul Dogruel. I am an artist and a grad student from Istanbul, Turkey. I have joined the org about 3 years ago. I worked in AD&T and now currently am an I&O staffer and and work with 2 workgroups, as co-chair of Survey, and a staffer of Category Change. Looking forward to answering questions here, or feel free to poke at me later. πŸ™‚

/done

Franzeska D.

Sure. I got into fandom on Usenet in the 90s. (Specifically alt.tv.x-files during the end of the first season, so that would have been early 1994.) In high school, I did a lot of reading in stuff like Highlander, but I wasn’t on mailing lists or active in those sorts of fandoms. At the same time, I got heavily into anime, and I was on a billion and one yahoo groups for every possible combination of gundam wing characters. (*sigh*) I was also in Harry Potter around that time, and while I moved onto LJ in 2002-2003, I really missed the big archive era and the kinds of megafandoms that have multiple archives like HP does (did? I have no clue these days). More recently, I’ve gotten into oldschool zine fandoms and vidding. I go by my real name online and always have. If you find a ‘franzeska’ blathering about fandom, that’s almost certainly me. (And I use my name as my username most places if I can get it.)

In OTW, I was on Content and then Abuse. (And Webmasters, but let us not speak of that dark time. Drupal: my nemesis!) I work in finance right now, but I’m hoping to go back to school.

Eylul

(AD&T -> Accesibility Design and Technology committee, that is responsible for AO3 development, and I&O -> Internationalization and Outreach Committee)

Franzeska D.

And the Tag Wrangling Committee (oh god, where is my brain). Yay, AO3 tags.

Eylul

*grins at Franzi*

Franzeska D.

…and the Category Change workgroup…

foxinthestars

::raises hand::

Jenny S-T

Franzi, you done for the moment or anything else to add?

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Franzeska D.

When talking about me, there’s always something else to… err… yes, I’m done unless anyone has a biographical question?

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Jenny S-T

Foxinthestars, go ahead, then πŸ™‚

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foxinthestars

Thanks. Since you’re both on the Category Change workgroup, could you talk about the problems you see there and what your priorities are in addressing it? /done

hele

:raises hand for after:

Lady Oscar

:question after hele:

Eylul

request for clarification about the question. foxinthestars are you asking about problems of the AO3 categories, or the workgroup or both?

/done

foxinthestars

The problems of the categories, but anything you want to say about the matter would be good. /done

Franzeska D.

Oh my. Well, let’s not beat around the bush: anime & manga is what we’re really talking about here.

Eylul

*lets Franzi finish speaking first*

Franzeska D.

The workgroup has mostly done setup stuff so far. We have not gotten into the meaty part of getting feedback or discussing our own views, but it looks to me like there is some support for tweaking things like what goes in ‘Other Media’, making one single RPF category, and so on. I doubt any of that will be hugely controversial, but the workgroup will be looking at lots of opinions, not just our own, so hopefully, we’ll be able to come up with something that pleases most people.

Anime & Manga on the other hand are a pain in the butt because we have groups who strongly prefer opposite solutions there. (If that weren’t the case, the Tag Wrangling Committee would have taken care of this a million years ago when the wranglers first discussed it.)

I think everyone, inside and outside of the workgroup, is pretty well aware by now that our one-tier system is an extremely poor way of capturing the fandom categorizations people use in fandoms of East Asian media. (Tokusatsu and kdramas and things also come up when discussing anime/manga fandom, naturally.)

That problem extends to other areas of fandom, but it’s extremely pronounced there. I really cannot say what we’ll ultimately decide on for the Anime & Manga category. It will depend on technical concerns too.

Personally, I think it would make the most sense to have a Sequential Art category and to have BD, anime/manga, manhua, komiks, Marvel, etc. under that.

If anyone wants my personal views on comics/sequential art and categorization, I have an endless ranty post in my DW from a couple of years ago I can dig out the link to. But I really have no idea where the workgroup will end up on this issue, and I may well leave it next year.

(Currently, the workgroup has representatives from various committees. Since I am planning to leave all committees to focus on board work, that would make me an awkward fit for the workgroup unless it’s decided that it will be a consistent team of people from now on rather than committee representatives. That’s not up to me though.)

done

Jenny S-T

thanks, Franzi

Eylul

I think that Franzi explained the summarized the situation. I do also personally think that Sequential Art category would be a good candidate as a final solution to this part of the problem.

Another reason I like this solution is because it can be generalized to the other categories that has issues. Basically my point of view on this topic as someone who focuses a lot on the diversity of the organization and its projects is that an ideal solution shouldn’t just firefight but find community-neutral and region neutral solution that will keep working.

What I am trying to mean here is that we shouldn’t just be US-centric and western media centric until causes noise enough to become bad PR. πŸ™‚

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Eylul

Putting my category change staffer hat this is what I plan to push, but putting on future board member hat, I think that it is not the place of the board to just express opinions over a workgroup, so what I will do in that capacity is to support that workgroup as well as all other projects.

/done πŸ™‚

Jenny S-T

thank you, Eylul

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Enigel

q

foxinthestars

Thank you!

Enigel

(after people who’ve already registered to ask questions)

Jenny S-T

foxinthestars, does that answer it, or do you have any particular clarifications you want to ask for?

sanders

o/ after enigel

foxinthestars

No, that’s good. Thank you both!

Jenny S-T

okay, hele next

hele

ok! Self interest here as a staffer, but: what do you see as your role as board liaison for committees, and are there particular things you plan to change on that capacity?

/done

Eylul

I think it depends a lot on the committee

some committees are well established and has chairs who are experienced as staffers. With them I think the board liaison’s main job is to support the chair by being a sounding board, giving advice if asked, be also available to the rest of the staffers if they wish to discuss a concern or have questions, to be a resource. I think that a liaison’s job is also to be the link between the board and the committee, as obvious as that sounds.

If the committee is struggling through, especially a chair who needs more mentoring or needs help, board liaison can do that as well. (hopefully with the chair training the volunteer committee works on, it will be less necessary). I am not sure how to answer the part about changing because it seems so far different board members have different approaches to this. This would be my approach as a board member.

/done

Franzeska D.

I have found the liaison role less than ideal in the past because it’s all too easy for that board member to get overloaded or to be ill or away when they’re needed. I would like to see more of a split between general mentoring activities and the flow of information/requests (and maybe this is already happening elsewhere, but it’s not what I’ve done/seen as a committee member or chair). The current way of liaising is good for building social ties and for some kinds of mentoring. I would prefer to see more instances of committees sending a representative (not always the chair–more like whoever’s available/in the right time zone) to the open part of board meetings.

Or contacting the whole board directly if it’s really urgent.

(I’ve seen too many cases of urgent things falling into a black hole.)

As for what I personally will do, I think leaving all committees during my time on the board will give me the time to be a liaison.

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Franzeska D.

It’s more time-consuming than people think. A lot more!

/done

hele

thanks both! (and yes!)

Jenny S-T

hele, does that answer it, or any follow-on questions?

hele

(and I don’t have any follow up questions)

Jenny S-T

LO, you’re up next. Enigel and Sanders, if we run out of time, drop me your questions in email and they’ll go first next time

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Lady Oscar

That leads into my question (which I think Franzi’s mostly answered)–Since Board is obviously a huge time commitment, what are your plans for dealing with this with respect to your current Org responsibilities?

/done

Franzeska D.

I’ve already handed off Abuse. I plan to leave the Tag Wrangling Committee at the end of the year. I’ll probably continue to wrangle since that is quite flexible. And I don’t know about the Category Change Workgroup. I’ll *probably* end up leaving that, but we’ll see.

Eylul

*waits for franzi to be done*

Franzeska D.

oops

sorry

/done

Eylul

heh

I am currently an I&O staffer which in itself is manageable with board. The 2 workgroups I am part of: the category change is not a huge time commitment. My concern there currently is, as I mentioned above, is to not be influencing the group in a board member role. Survey… I am exploring solutions to drop it. It is a bit tricky because I took it over with my co-chair Aja in August, and we didn’t have a lot of time to think on successors yet. So work in progress? πŸ™‚ /done

Jenny S-T

LO, does that cover it, or anything else you want to add?

Lady Oscar

I think that covers it, thanks.

/done

Jenny S-T

Enigel, you’re up πŸ™‚

Enigel

for both candidates who are present: what are your top two priorities for the Org, that you will push for as board members? (top one is too restrictive, but top three is too wide πŸ˜‰ I know it’s early so it’s fair to say that you want to think more about it, or that it will be in the manifestos)

/done

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Franzeska D.

Ha ha ha. I am less technical than Eylul, so I am not a good person to give details in live chat, but I think the suggestions about AD&T and the general structure/workflow/management of improving AO3 and coding new features and such is worth looking at. That was a good post. My top priority is management in general. We are bad at it as an org (like most young orgs), and we spend too much time with our managers doing the work instead of managing. No finger pointing: it’s been everyone the whole time pretty much, as is normal. /done

Eylul

Yes it will also be in my manifesto but I see no harm in writing here a bit πŸ™‚ 1) Seeing the organization transition from an organizational equivalent of a start-up to one that is a larger organization. I think that we outgrew our structure and that it is causing a lot of symptoms, everything from some of the transparency issues to volunteer burnout.

I know some of you know the blog post I wrote few weeks back, that franzi also mentioned above. πŸ™‚

that is part of that thought process.

Enigel

follow-up question

Eylul

2) Diversity. As a middle eastern, I do sometimes notice how US-centric and western media centric the org comes across, even when not intending to. My goal is that diversity doesn’t become some thing that is just

something we add after we get the US-centric default done, but instead that we stay at equal distances to many cultures and communities as possible. I am aware it is a tall order but we need to start somewhere right? πŸ™‚ /done

Jenny S-T

We’re just about at our time limit

Enigel

thank you! πŸ™‚

Jenny S-T

Sanders, can you mail me your question for next time, please?

Franzeska D.

WE CAN TYPE FAST

Jenny S-T

Enigel, do you want to drop your follow-up in here?

Franzeska D.

;P

Enigel

I’ll pack my follow up q in an email then

hele

heeh

Eylul

yes we can πŸ™‚

sanders

i can, yeah.

Enigel

or ok

how do you plan on making this startup-to-big-org transition?

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Enigel

using existing – tutorials, i guess, or devising a process specific to this org?

to account for the fact that it’s still volunteer run, even if the size is larger

/done

Eylul

Enigel, I think some of that change is happening already. Several committees are going through documentation and revision of their processes. I do think that we do need to look at our committees and identify bottlenecks and find solutions. My blog post on AD&T (which concerns AD&T and web directly, as well as any other project that uses technical resources) was identifying a bottleneck and proposing a solution. This is less about people working more “professionally”, it is about setting in structures so that more detailed and fleshed out processes don’t depend on individual processes. I am not sure if that helps answering or confusing more /done

Franzeska D.

The first step is managing rather than doing. (Which is why I’m entirely leaving committee work.) I am definitely thinking more tutorials (or the published literature) than just making up something org-specific. We are different for being 100% volunteer, but we’re not *that* different. These issues come up with every organization in very similar ways. /done

Eylul

don’t depend on individual processes -> don’t depend on individuals.

Jenny S-T

thank you both

we’re at our time limit, but the transcript will soon be posted publicly

and in the meantime, you are welcome to continue discussing in the comments to the OTW election posts, on either the OTW site, DW or LJ – Comms will try and notify us of comments there so we can respond

or email me any questions for next chat – my contact form is on the OTW website

thank you all for coming!

Transcript for Initial 2010 Candidate Chat

The following is a transcript of the OTW Board candidates’ chat, held at 2 am UTC 21 October 2010. Current Board member Rebecca Tushnet moderated the discussion; Hele Braunstein, Ira Gladkova, and Kristen Murphy attended; Francesca Coppa did not attend the chat.

To view a screenshot of the chat itself, follow this link.

Rebecca Tushnet

Does anyone have any questions they want to start with?
Okay, I’ll start! What do you most want to see the organization do in the coming three years?

Kristen Murphy

I’ll start, I guess…
I would really like to see our vidding projects, like the TO3, get up and running — because it will be AWESOME, and because it will broaden our inclusiveness and help us gain more support from within the vidding community.

Ira Gladkova

Oh yes!

Kristen Murphy

I think the things we’ve done so far with vidding have been really exciting, particularly some of the legal stuff that intersects with it
so we have good momentum there.
And I’d like for it to keep going and be really successful. πŸ™‚

Ira Gladkova

Hear hear!

hele braunstein

yes!
the legal stuff has been awesome — at least from a non-legal person perspective

Ira Gladkova

May I pick up and ride on that?

Kristen Murphy

go for it. πŸ™‚

Ira Gladkova

Thank you!

Ira Gladkova

I definitely echo this, Kristen — and I would so love a general expansion of multimedia interest, particularly multimedia support on the archive

Kristen Murphy

yes!

Ira Gladkova

I’m ridiculously excited about the archive’s potential to provide a home for a wide variety of fanworks, and I think wider multimedia support will also help broaden our fandom diversity

hele braunstein

that’s one of the most important aspects of it, for me
(of the multimedia support — we’re panfandom, but we could be much more so)

Ira Gladkova

Yes! This is super interesting to me — I’m really hoping we can bring in even more awesome fandoms, and even more fans from fandoms already on the archive but not as strongly represented
hele, I would love to hear more =D

hele braunstein

I would like to see all our tools/resources available in at least as many languages as we’ve translation teams, and the AO3 in particular in more languages than that (getting volunteers to translate that interface is easier than to do almost anything else). I would also like to see things like the Vidding projects acquire a more panfandom approach.
but that’s probably obvious, since I’m all about the translations >_<

Kristen Murphy

yay, translation!
I think another really important goal for the org has to be sustainability, because all these neat things we’re talking about will require server power and people power.

Ira Gladkova

Oh yes Kristen, good point

hele braunstein

indeed

Kristen Murphy

So we have to continue to be effective in getting the word out to potential supporters and volunteers, and also making our work as efficient as we can and taking good care of volunteers so they don’t burn out.

hele braunstein

perhaps here we should mention the money, given the drive in process πŸ˜›

Rebecca Tushnet

And if I can follow up on that–what are everyone’s ideas about outreach in particular? this can be an issue because there’s something of a norm of “don’t walk up to someone’s space on the internet and start pushing your agenda,” so it can be a hard line to toe.

hele braunstein

well, I think it really will depend on our volunteer base

Ira Gladkova

and the fandom cultures in question

hele braunstein

you can’t go in and offer your finished project and expect it to fit that fandom culture you were not taking into account before
we’ve a very varied volunteer base, but I’m not sure that’s impacting our structure as much as it should be — I would like to work on that, and hopefully get even more diversity in our volunteer base in the process

Ira Gladkova

That is an excellent point, hele
It’s reciprocal, a feedback loop
if we can focus on making great use of our existing volunteers to broaden the applicability of our project, we can hope to bring in more volunteers from more diverse fannish backgrounds

Kristen Murphy

yes
It would probably also help to know more about our current volunteer & supporter base.
I mean, there’s this perception that it’s largely journal-based, Western media fandom, etc., etc., but have we ever really surveyed people to know that for sure? I don’t think we have.
We need to find our unsung mailing-list denizens and harness their knowledge. πŸ™‚

allison morris

(we tried to survey last drive, but ran out of time to do it exhaustively)

hele braunstein

well — that is an interesting idea, actually. I wonder how many of our volunteers are reaching out and bringing their own fandom culture into the org, and what’s happening in that process
like, say, tag wranglers is an excellent place to look for, since there are lots of things we vote about

Kristen Murphy

right. Word of mouth is one of our best promotional tools, and we don’t really know where all that word of mouth is reaching.

hele braunstein

I’m sure the impact of that diversity can be seen in the decisions there

Ira Gladkova

An active effort to know and welcome the diversity and backgrounds we already have would probably make volunteers from backgrounds that don’t fit the expected mold — however correct or not that perception is — feel more welcome to bring their different viewpoints into the org structure

Kristen Murphy

Yes, the tag wranglers are probably the most diverse group in the org.

hele braunstein

exactly, Ira

Kristen Murphy

yes
I think we could also try to take better advantage of that diversity in more cross-committee ways.

hele braunstein

how do you mean?

Kristen Murphy

Like, before a fund drive, we could ask all staff: who can reach out to X country? Who can reach out to mailing lists?

hele braunstein

ah, yes

Kristen Murphy

We may have contacts in communities we never even thought about.

Ira Gladkova

I’m almost certain we do

Megan Westerby

If I may be so bold — what about external outreach?

Ira Gladkova

Can you elaborate, Megan?

Kristen Murphy

external as in outside of fandom?

hele braunstein

please, be so. What do you mean by external?

Megan Westerby

heh
it sounds like we’re discussing exploring the demographics of our existing members — what about non-members?

hele braunstein

well, members and volunteers

Megan Westerby

or people who might be fannishly inclined but don’t think of themselves as ‘in fandom’
(labels make some people uncomfortable!)

Ira Gladkova

I think we were trying to think from ways to work from the inside out — but we definitely would want to reach further

hele braunstein

uhm, I think fannish people and fannish inclined people not in fandom would probably need to be reached out differently
but I think the reason we always think of our volunteers first is that there is a certain danger in coming to a community you know nothing about, with your project — it can be of no interest to them, or your approach can be all wrong (And even insulting!) and thus spoil any interest they may have
I think we’re all thinking on trying to get a sort of… insider perspective first, in each community

Ira Gladkova

Yes, I think so

hele braunstein

and besides — the project is defined by the volunteers that make it

Kristen Murphy

Yes – I think an organic approach is best for outreach within fandom.

hele braunstein

that’s why we’re by fans for fans — that holds true also for different parts of fandom or different fandoms

Kristen Murphy

For truly external outreach (outside fandom), I think our legal work and TWC are probably the best things to promote

Ira Gladkova

Yes, though even in those communities, it helps to have an inside approach

Megan Westerby

awesome! i know it’s a nebulous question — it’s a nebulous concept figuring out how to represent fandom!

Ira Gladkova

Academia is particular — to my knowledge; I admit straight off to knowing less of the legal community!

Kristen Murphy

likewise, Ira. πŸ™‚

hele braunstein

I’m not even sure we will ever ‘represent fandom’, though we can be more inclusive of that nebulous concept πŸ˜›
and even those communities are not _one_ community
i.e. surely legal issues are different in different countries, for example

Kristen Murphy

right

Ira Gladkova

Representing: Ha, yes. And I know some people don’t want to be “represented”, either in general or by the OTW
and I think the best we can do there is make ourselves a resource
both for people working from the inside out, and for those looking from the outside in

hele braunstein

yeah, I think that’s what we are, ira — and after all, fandom as such doesn’t _need_ representation

Ira Gladkova

And backing up a bit — good point about international different in legal communities (and I assume, academic ones and other fandoms we’ve been discussing in an “external” sense)

hele braunstein

I’m really interested in the otw itself and its projects becoming more of a point of contact between the different parts or cultures in fandom

Ira Gladkova

(though again, it’s interesting to note that there is intersection, and a lot of it)
yes! hele!

hele braunstein

heeh

Rebecca Tushnet

I have a very different question, this one from my interviewing days: what is your style when dealing with a personnel issue (a volunteer who isn’t doing what she promised or has done something that needs to be corrected)?
again as an all volunteer organization that communicates almost entirely in text messages, we have special needs
and it’s hard to get right!

hele braunstein

what type of something that needs to be corrected? Like, a professional error in a translation, or a social/interpersonal issue?

Rebecca Tushnet

More the latter, though if your experience dealing with the former helps, then please talk about it.

hele braunstein

I’ve had lots of experience with the ‘not doing what she promised’ area in translation (not that my teams aren’t great, but we all have issues and volunteer work usually comes after school and family, etc)

Kristen Murphy

I think for me, it depends on whether it’s a one-time thing or a pattern of behavior. If someone is too swamped to meet a particular deadline, for example — well, that happens, especially in a volunteer org, and probably my approach would be to find help for that person so that the project still gets done, while trying not to make her feel too bad about it.
If it is a continuing pattern of failing to get things done, then I would talk with the person privately about it.

Ira Gladkova

I think one more important thing to consider, especially for social/interpersonal issue, is to check our assumptions — it might be a different way of social interaction
we’re a diverse group, and sometimes we have to learn each other that way

Kristen Murphy

yes

hele braunstein

Usually, I contact the team or member, and try to find out why it is and if it’s something I can fix — like, say, the original text is not comprehensible or has a really difficult to translate tone — and then do it. If not, then I try to get a realistic prediction on the outcome (i.e. find out if the volunteer wants to quit but hasn’t felt up to talking about it, or is just very busy at the moment)
it’s volunteer work, and we can’t force people to do it. Make them feel guilty about it is not only bad for the person, but also doesn’t work; we can only work around it

Kristen Murphy

Yes. If someone’s having trouble keeping up, I try to offer alternative ways they could stay involved with less

hele braunstein

exactly

Ira Gladkova

thirded!
and returning to your earlier point about burnout
we have to take care of each other

Kristen Murphy

yes

Ira Gladkova

We wouldn’t be in this is we didn’t have love to share, and it’s a tremendous insult to imply that that love is not enough. Learning more about our volunteers (as already discussed, if in even more dimensions) and being aware of the variety of work in the org
can help us find best fits for different skill sets, ways of interacting, and amounts of time and resources available

hele braunstein

yep — also, appreciating the work they (we!) do

Megan Westerby

::holds up an ‘i am not a number!’ sign happily::

Kristen Murphy

πŸ™‚

hele braunstein

translators for example, do an enormous amount of work, and it isn’t the kind of thing you get lots of kudos from outside — acknowledging they’re working a lot is essential, because otherwise it can really feel like it’s all kinda pointless

Ira Gladkova

which is so so so far from the truth!
oh gosh
translating!
There are a number of committees whose work is like that — volcom comes to mind

Kristen Murphy

yes!

hele braunstein

yes!
They’re awesome

Ira Gladkova

Haha, oh gosh, suddenly I want appreciation parties for all the committees
throughout the year
it’s volcom appreciation week! go tell the translation folk they are awesome; it’s their week!

Kristen Murphy

Communications used to do “spotlight” posts on the different committees and their work; perhaps it would be fun to start that up again.

hele braunstein

heeh

Ira Gladkova

Our last party was awesome; obviously I want more >.>

hele braunstein

it _was_ cool

Rebecca Tushnet

I promised an hour, so I want to make sure that no one is hesitating to ask a question–Bueller?

allison morris

(insider info! io is all over this! they are going to restart the spotlights!)

Ira Gladkova

(omg yes!)

Kristen Murphy

(yay!)

hele braunstein

that could also help with transparency, Kristen

Kristen Murphy

yes, hele, and with recruitment

hele braunstein

(cool!)

Ira Gladkova

definitely

Rebecca Tushnet

Okay, thank you so much for coming!

Ira Gladkova

Thank you for hosting!
and asking =D

Kristen Murphy

Thanks!

hele braunstein

what Ira said

OTW 2010 Board Candidates and Election News

The OTW is happy to announce that we have four highly qualified candidates who have stepped forward to fill the three seats open on the Board this year. In alphabetical order by family name, they are: Hele Braunstein, Francesca Coppa, Ira Gladkova, and Kristen Murphy. Their personal statements will be available on the OTW Elections website.

We have scheduled two one-hour chats with the candidates, open to all of our members and to the public. They will be held in the OTW public chatroom, accessible at this link: https://fanarchive.campfirenow.com/28473

The first chat will be at 2 am UTC 21 October (What time is that where I live?), and the second will be at 9 pm UTC 24 October (What time is that where I live?). If you are unable to attend but have questions for the candidates, we encourage you to submit them via our contact form to our elections officer, Rebecca Tushnet, who will present them on your behalf.

Election voting will run from noon UTC on 17 November (What time is that where I live?) to noon UTC on 19 November (What time is that where I live?). Voting is restricted to current OTW members; this includes anyone who has made a donation of US$10 or more between 1 October 2009 and 24 October 2010. To renew your membership, visit http://transformativeworks.org/how-you-can-help/support.

Further information can be found on the OTW Election website.