Anh P.’s Bio & Platform


Anh P. started drawing fanart of the manga Crest of the Royal Family when they were in primary school, although it would take them several years to stumble into their first time reading a doujinshi or a fanfic. Anh is a Vietnamese fan who often has their interests piqued by their favourite characters in DC, their beloved and niche video games, or Asian media such as Japanese manga and Chinese web-novels.

English is Anh’s second language. They also learnt some Cantonese Chinese from their family over the years, enough to start reading Chinese fanfic years before they started using AO3 in 2013. Prior to joining the OTW in 2022 as a volunteer for the Fanlore Social & Media Outreach team, they also considered positions in Team Vietnamese of the Translation Committee or Chinese language track of the Tag Wrangling Committee. Now besides their current role in the Fanlore Committee, they are also an Open Doors Import Assistant.

Outside of the OTW, they studied Digital and Visual Art, and they are a freelance artist. In addition, they work as a part-time chef at a local restaurant.

1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?

AO3 is not the first fannish space that I considered home, but after a decade of using the Archive, it will always hold a special place in my heart. I thought about standing as a candidate in this year’s election, after the initial wave of criticism regarding the Organization’s stance on AI and AI generated content. I have had second and third thoughts on my decision to run for election to the Board, after countless voices of involved parties sparked multiple discussions amongst various fannish spaces in the month of May alone. Although some voices in these discussions are critical of the OTW, as a volunteer, the Organization still treats me better than half of my old jobs. It doesn’t mean the OTW is above criticism, but I still want to offer my help, however little, to improve the Organization.

I do not think the first Board of Directors of OTW would have ever predicted the sheer size of the Organization after 15 years of growing. I understand that I am quite new to the Organization compared to several previous candidates, but I think it’s time to bring new perspectives to the Board of Directors, especially from Asian fans.

2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?

I personally work in one of the fields that is significantly affected by the technology behind AI generated content, I can offer advice and context to the Board, as well as fellow OTW volunteers and wider fandom in general. The technology behind AI generated content has a diverse effect on several fields of creativity, although AO3 is primarily text and not images, I think it’s important for fan artists to be aware that the OTW cares about us, and it’s essential to discuss the issue in an open and honest way. Speaking as someone whose job is directly affected by AI technology, I believe that I can offer unique perspectives to the discussion.

I volunteered as moderator for a Vietnamese forum focused on Anime & Manga for years until its overnight shutdown in 2014. Since then, I have been an internet archivist working on various projects to preserve fannish resources, be it fanfic and original fiction from the forum for backup, or fanfic and fanart lost due to censorship. I am aware that my experiences and stories are not unique, but the skills I acquired and developed along the way, such as teamwork, critical thinking during crises and time management during emergency situations, will be invaluable tools for my Board work.

3. 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?

One of the issues I consider most essential to the Organization’s success is making it more approachable to interested bystanders, especially to English as an Additional Language fans or potential volunteers. It’s been 15 years since the OTW was founded; the demographic of AO3 users in particular is very different to what it used to be. While AO3 is still predominantly used by Anglophone fans, the number of fanworks written in languages other than English is increasing every year. However, instead of treating this as a profound advantage to connect and unite fans from different cultures around the world, we are letting the language barriers, minimal outreach, and the lack of transparency–conscious or not–hinder our collective effort to build a true Archive of Our Own.

The approach I’m most passionate about as a necessary next step for the OTW is moving beyond translation of individual posts into different languages, to adapting the various projects into different linguistic and cultural contexts. One great place to start would be Fanlore, which recently has a new help page for non-English fans on how to contribute to Fanlore. My ultimate vision for Fanlore is as a fannish wiki, not just for the Anglosphere, but with articles and language teams to record fannish history all over the world–as Wikipedia exists beyond the English language.

Because both Fanlore and TWC projects are not blocked behind China’s Great Firewall, another good start would be working with Translation to expand the reach of TWC-related projects. Working with Open Doors to expand their outreach into non-English archives, a few of which they’re working to rescue already, is another area where I would like to expand on existing work.

I would like to work with many committees, especially ones like Translation and AD&T, to understand how we can make AO3 welcoming to other languages and cultures.

4. 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.

Before I started as a volunteer for Fanlore, I had this misconception that the Translation committee was the only place where I could help and contribute to the Organization. After nearly a year of working with my fellow volunteers in the Fanlore committee, I see much wider opportunities! However, I’ve also learned that the misconception, that the Translation committee is the only way EAL fans could join and help the Organization, is quite a common issue. Over time, I’ve realised that the lack of communication and transparency is a direct symptom of the fact that the current structure of OTW human resource management is not yet equipped to handle a group of more than 900 volunteers coming from various backgrounds, such as different countries with their respective cultures and geopolitical situations.

I understand that I do not have as much experience of being a volunteer for the Organization as previous Board members or other election candidates. I’m still learning about OTW culture and policies from my work in both the Fanlore committee and Open Doors committee. However, I also think that it could be considered an advantage, as I can offer the Board supplemental input with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Furthermore, I realise that I am less worn out by the frustration at the OTW> that is piling up over the years, and I rarely make assumptions about how things need to be done in a certain way.

5. 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?

At the moment, my workload in Fanlore and Open Doors is quite manageable. I wouldn’t be running for the election if I didn’t think that I could balance Board work with my weekly responsibilities. However, I am aware that the first three months of Board training are the most demanding time, so I’m not ruling out the option to take a short hiatus from one or both of my volunteer roles to accommodate my training and duty to the Board.