Chat Transcript – July 21, 2018

briar_pipe
Hi everyone, and welcome to our Candidate Chat for 2019!

Today you’ll have the opportunity to observe all 3 Candidates: Kirsten Wright, Morgan Schroeder, and Rebecca Sentance.

My name is briar_pipe, and I’ll be hosting the candidate side today. On the audience/open_chat side, your host will be my fellow Elections Committee member disjointed.

disjointed, can you wave so everyone can see you?

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Rebecca Sentance 2019 Q&A: Group 3

If you as a Board member could change one committee policy/procedure, what would it be?

I definitely don’t think that it’s within the purview of the OTW Board of Directors to make changes to individual committee policies or procedures, and neither should it be. Individual committee policies and procedures are the purview of that committee and that committee alone; if they impact on other committees, they might be devised in collaboration with the committee(s) in question, but this would still not make them the Board’s purview to change or determine. Committees and their chairs are the ones who know best what policies and procedures to enact, and how to go about doing so.

As with making changes to AO3’s Terms of Service, Board interference with committee-level procedures and policies would be a serious breach of trust – and moreover, would go against what the Board exists for, which is to oversee and ensure the smooth functioning of the OTW at a big-picture level, not to micro-manage committees.

At the very most, I imagine that while serving on the Board of Directors, I might be called upon to give advice or discuss issues with committee chairs that impact on procedures or policy, but even then, this would purely be a discussion aimed at helping the committee to find the best solution – not a change made by the Board.

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Rebecca Sentance 2019 Q&A: Group 2

Is there anything about the AO3’s Terms of Service or how they’re currently applied that you think should be modified?

The Archive of Our Own has a well-thought-out, comprehensive, and accessible set of Terms of Service that are designed to uphold AO3’s core values: maximum inclusivity, transparency, the defense of fanworks in all their forms, and non-commercialism. I agree wholeheartedly with these values and do not wish to change them or interfere with how they are upheld.

Furthermore, I don’t believe it falls within the purview of the Board of Directors – let alone a single member of the Board – to unilaterally decide that the Terms of Service for AO3, or how they are applied, should be modified. AO3’s Terms of Service are a legally binding document that was carefully crafted by the OTW’s Legal team, and their enforcement on the site is determined and enacted by the Policy & Abuse committee. They should only undergo changes or additions in very rare circumstances, such as the updates that were made last year to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, and while the Board would help to implement and oversee the changes, they would only be carried out after extensive and close consultation with Legal, Policy & Abuse, and other key parties such as the Accessibility, Design & Technology team.

If members of the Board were to make changes to AO3’s Terms of Service due to some personal issue with how the site is run, and without consulting the aforementioned committees, it would seriously undermine our users’ trust in the Archive and its values, as well as making it actively difficult for committees like Policy & Abuse to ensure the smooth running of the Archive. In short, I don’t think it would be appropriate, productive or right for me as a prospective Board member to advocate making changes to AO3’s Terms of Service, and neither would I want to see them altered.

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Rebecca Sentance 2019 Q&A: Group 1

What is your strategy to raise awareness of OTW’s projects, aims and goals in future?

In large part, my strategy would be to support and continue the excellent work already being carried out by our Communications committee, and outreach projects like Fanhackers, to raise awareness of the Organization for Transformative Works’ mission and goals. In recent years, the OTW has had increasing amounts of attention and coverage from various media outlets as mainstream awareness of fandom, and our part in it, grows, and Communications does a brilliant job of fielding those requests, responding to them and putting the right people forward to represent the OTW.

When it comes to raising awareness of individual projects like Fanlore, Transformative Works and Cultures, Open Doors, and our Legal advocacy, I intend to work with each committee to generate ideas about how to promote what they do. These committees will know best who they want to reach and what kind of message they want to put out there, so as a member of the Board, mine would be a support role: providing them with the resources that they need, and helping them to achieve their goals with regard to outreach.

One other thing I would like to do to raise broader awareness of the OTW is to facilitate in-person outreach at conventions and fan events that our volunteers are attending. In my experience, being an OTW volunteer at a fan event and talking about what I do can lead to some incredibly valuable conversations. It’s one of the best ways to convey what we do day-to-day – and show that we are ordinary fans pouring our time and energy into fandom. I would support having an official presence at more events where feasible, but also arm OTW volunteers with the resources they need to engage in informal conversations about the OTW, if they feel comfortable doing so.

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Rebecca Sentance’s Bio & Platform

Bio

Rebecca Sentance: Rebecca Sentance has been in fandom for around fifteen years, starting on Quizilla where she would read second-person fanfics in fandoms like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Inuyasha, Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragonball Z. However, her first ever fanwork was an Enid Blyton fanfiction that she wrote at the age of five – long before she ever dreamed there might be whole communities of people publishing and reading these works online.

She discovered AO3 in 2011 and slowly began to learn about the organisation behind it and its many other projects, which led to her delving into fandom history and fan academia, and learning about the vital importance of preserving and defending fanworks of all kinds. While she was eager to be a part of the OTW, she didn’t manage to catch an open recruitment round until mid-2015, shortly after finishing her postgrad studies, when she saw a posting for AO3 Documentation staff – the perfect fit for someone who loves all things to do with words.

She later found her way onto the Transformative Works and Culture and Fanlore committees, and now devotes a significant portion of her time to being part of this amazing community of fans. When not volunteering with the OTW, she can be found lurking in various parts of Marvel fandom and procrastinating on her latest fic.

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