Andrea Horbinski 2015 Q&A: Goals and Vision

The Manifestos tell us some of each candidates’ ambitions of what they want to achieve if elected. I’d like to see that made more specific and SMART. In other words: what’s going to be the first action you’ll undertake/the first project you’ll tackle/first thing you’ll do if elected?

As I mentioned in my initial statement, the idea that a particular director takes on specific projects of their own devising is not really how the OTW Board of Directors (or any board) works in my experience. New directors join the work of the board as it is ongoing, and they’ll contribute their insights, opinions, and efforts to what the board is currently dealing with–we work as a group. That said, it’s pretty clear that the finances require a total restructure in order to create a modern system that suits the OTW’s current size and needs and has built-in documentation, redundancies, and record-keeping, and that the Board’s work on getting those systems in place is going to last through the first few months of 2016. Beyond that immediate and very important issue, there are several issues from late 2014 that we just haven’t had the bandwidth to address so far in 2015: first among those is the Ombuds Committee, which we approved a proposal for at the 2014 retreat but which has languished since then. The Board is committed to making that happen one way or another, and I do personally think that it is very important for the organization’s overall health to have an ombuds committee available to OTW personnel. The other outstanding issue I would mention is getting position descriptions in place for the other officers and board positions, which is a requirement of the strategic plan for the Board that should have positive benefits beyond the Board itself. These examples may not sound very exciting, but they’re the kind of crucial and process-oriented issues that the Board deals with in its work of carrying out the OTW’s governance and management.

What is your five year vision for OTW? AO3?

I talked about this under the keywords of “sustainability” and “visibility” in my initial statements, but let me try to be more specific. There’s a lot of space for the OTW to have a higher public profile advocating for open culture, fandom, and fanworks in current conversations about internet freedoms and copyright reforms. We’ve certainly done great work in these areas already through the outstanding efforts of the Legal committee, and in five years I want us to be better known for our work in these areas in order to better serve our mission. In five years the OTW can and should be raising $300K or more in every membership drive–we’ll need that much to keep up with increasing server costs, I’d predict, and that’s a good thing–and as stated in the strategic plan, the Board should have completed a restructure to bring its workload and scope more in line with reasonable volunteer commitments while ensuring that the OTW’s daily operations are managed effectively. As for the Archive, AO3 is great now, and five years from now I want it to be even better. I want the current roadmap to have been accomplished: let’s be out of open beta, let’s have an API, let’s have more of the advanced features that I and other users would like. Let’s have support for multiple works types and multimedia. Let’s be able to host fan vids on the Archive! Equally importantly, let’s have a thriving community of many developers who can and do work on the archive because it’s a truly open open source project that’s easy to contribute to. In five years I want more AO3 users to know that it’s a project of the OTW, and that it’s not our only great project!

If you could change something in the OTW’s bylaws, what would it be?

At present, the provisions concerning the elections process (how many seats are elected when, etc) are somewhat ambiguous. Legal and Elections have both raised this concern with Board this year, and we’re waiting for them to come back after this election with a proposed set of revisions to lay things out clearly. I’m definitely looking forward to getting that passed so that the procedure is clearly laid out for everyone.