Aline Carrão 2015 Q&A: Other Questions, Group 2

Can you say something positive about three of your fellow candidates?

Of course!

Alex is straightforward, efficient, hilarious, great at getting things done, and is really capable of managing a lot of things at the same time without letting anything slip through the cracks.

Atiya’’s ability to power through anything that needs to be done with unfailing competence and discipline is amazing. She is always available to answer questions and beta your work for you.

Matty has taken on committees in very bad shape and made them amazingly productive and functional, while gaining the trust and respect of everyone working under her lead. I’ve seen the changes she built both in terms of procedures and in atmosphere, and it’s brilliant.

I have also worked with Kati for a long time and there are a lot of things I could say about her, but sadly, the question only asked about three. 😀

A lot of the current problems seem to come back to a lack of scalability, especially with the massive growth of the Archive. A) What are your short-term plans to make this growth spurt work, B) What are your long term plans to avoid this problem in the future, when there’s another massive increase (of traffic, users, and/or fanworks etc.), a.k.a what structural changes would you strive for to make the OTW, and especially the Archive more sustainable.

In the short term, the most important thing is to collaborate closely with people who are getting the work done so that we can define and prioritize goals together. The board alone can’t know what will help each corner of the OTW scale better; it simply doesn’t have that kind of knowledge. Instead, it has to have a supporting and advisory role, defining a high-level goal and helping to ensure that different parts of the organization have what they need to move towards that direction. That may include, for example, creating venues for chairs of different parts of the OTW who have learned how to manage their teams better with regards to scaling and growth to make connections and help each other.

The OTW and the Archive have growth spurts from time to time, and that’s just part of how we roll at this point. There will always be big recruitment rounds (tag wranglers and translators, for example) and there will always be sudden user or work influxes for any number of reasons. We need to focus on being solid, on having well-established procedures, a good and healthy working environment, plenty of failsafes, better communication throughout the organization and a more integrated leadership.

Whenever internationalisation is brought up in relation to fandom, I often hear the argument that it’s not needed yet, since there isn’t an “insert country/language/non-English fandom” presence in the OTW/on the Archive. Personally I feel like this is a chicken/egg situation. Is the OTW/AO3 so American/English language focussed because there isn’t enough of a non-English fandom interest, or is there no interest because there’s not enough non-American/English accommodation?

A) Where do you fall on this? What should come first?

B) If the next growth spurt is of a non-English, different fandom culture nature, how will you accommodate that?

I have seen comments like this before, but I never heard this approach internally, at least not in any parts of OTW I have worked with. If something in this area hasn’t been done (and yes, there is a lot that still needs improving!) it’s due solely to the lack of resources — be it volunteers or various technical needs — and not because there is not enough demand or internal wish to get it done. We had, for example, Arabic translations of AO3 help pages before there was any Arabic fic in the AO3, and the full setup in place to answer tickets for AO3 Abuse and Support in languages we have yet to receive emails in. No one is waiting for a hypothetical future influx of non-English fandom to start addressing its needs; there are thousands of us already here, and we are already doing our best.

Of course we would certainly have more non-English speaking users if we had the translated interface available. But I disagree that the reason we don’t have it is a lack of interest. There have been multiple attempts to create it—I myself have tested a couple of attempts. It’s not easy for a lot of reasons; it’s a huge project that demands senior coders, and implementing it can’t take priority over critical maintenance that ensures the Archive stays up and running. When the translated interface happens, we will see how the OTW (and Translation in particular) changes to accommodate that.