Danielle Strong began their foray into the world of fandom in the 90s with Gundam Wing slash fiction and fanart. Nearly two decades and a plethora of fandoms later, they’ve made their home on the Archive in the Supernatural and Marvel Cinematic Universe fandoms, amongst others. When recruitment was opened for the Abuse team in early 2014 they knew their skills in hospital patient liaison services, handling complaints and service-user queries would be a good fit for the team, and after joining they never looked back. As an Abuse staffer, Danielle has handled cases from accidental mis-tagging of works to plagiarism and harassment, and can probably quote most of the AO3 Terms of Service by memory by now! They bring a wealth of knowledge in mediation and problem-solving to the team, and is completely dedicated to the OTW and the work it does.
Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
I was initially planning to run next year, but I strongly believe it’s important to have a contested election, so I decided to run this year, as there were more seats that needed to be filled and therefore more candidates needed for a fully contested election.
Having been staff for some time now, I believe my skills and experience dealing with the Archive as part of the Abuse team will complement those of the Board, and I hope to bring a fresh perspective as someone relatively new to modern fandom community. I believe very strongly in the importance of the work the OTW does and I feel the best way to contribute to it in a greater capacity is on Board.
What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
As an Abuse staff member, I handle sensitive issues on a daily basis, many of which are very time-sensitive and/or labour intensive. Thanks to this I am used to working under pressure and keeping a calm head when dealing with difficult scenarios. Due to the nature of our work we often have to discuss matters as a team, and so being able to confidently express my view even if it is an unpopular one is a skill I believe will be important for Board work, as well as the ability to accept the majority ruling even if it does not align with my opinion. In my professional life I have worked in clinical environments and with many high-stakes clients including CEOs of multinational corporations, so I have plenty of experience with handling delicate situations and meeting explicit deadlines.
When I joined the Abuse team in early 2014—when the team was still small and trying to cope with a large backlog—it was vital for all of us to utilise our time in the most productive way in order to both keep up with new tickets as they came in, and to clear the build up of tickets from when there were only three or four active staff members on the team. These time management skills will certainly be beneficial in a Board position as well.
Choose one or two goals for the OTW that are important to you and that you would be interested in working on during your term. Why do you value these goals? How would you work with others to achieve them?
I would very much like to assist the Strategic Planning committee with their work on improving the Org’s infrastructure, both by offering my perspective as a staff member and a (possibly) incoming Board member, and by actively helping them in any way that would be best achieved with a Board member’s input, which I would determine by asking what they need from Board. This is a valuable goal, in my opinion, because by improving the general infrastructure of the Org we will be better able to service the needs of our users.
What is your experience with the OTW’s projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them? Try to include a range of projects, though feel free to emphasize particular ones you have experience with.
I’ve worked primarily with the Abuse committee, which also involves some work with other AO3 committees, and I recently took over the Translation liaison position, as well as a brief sojourn with the Support committee. Outside of my staff role(s) and in addition to the Archive, I have also used the Fanlore wiki and very much enjoy reading TWC, which I am grateful the OTW publishes for fans worldwide.
As a Board member I would seek the input of other committee members on what would be the most valuable assistance Board could provide them, rather than imposing what I feel would be best for them, as I believe those who work within the committees will know best what we can do for them. I am very much of the opinion that the greatest strength must come from within the committees themselves in order to be sustainable.
How would you balance your Board work with other roles in the OTW, or how do you plan to hand over your current roles to focus on Board work?
As the current Abuse team has recently taken on a new batch of recruits, who are almost completely finished with their training period, I am confident that I will be able to balance my Abuse committee work with Board work.