Antonius Melisse is a person from the Netherlands who strongly believes that one should never stop learning new things. He has gotten certifications, at university and otherwise, in English Language & Literature, Journalism, two methods of software testing (ISTQB and TMAP Next) and PHP development. At the moment he is working as a Symfony back-end developer.
As for past management experience, he has been a board member for a musical-theatre group he was part of (singing as a bass), and has had a management job where he was in charge of students searching for jobs for the summer.
He got introduced to fandom by some long-time friends he made while playing World of Warcraft. Together they wrote fics and original stories on the forums for their guild. When one of the friends mentioned they’d been translating for the OTW for a while and there was an opening in the Dutch language team, he jumped on the opportunity and has been a part of the Translation committee since February 2016. In the past he has also volunteered for the Policy & Abuse Committee.
Currently, he does a bit of podfic every so often, usually for The Witcher, but he appreciates most fantasy and sci-fi fandoms.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
Ever since I joined the Translation Committee, I feel like I’ve met many new people in and around the Organization, and they form a varied and interesting group. This community is very much worth fostering. Since I have the time and the energy to contribute back in a meaningful way to this community of wonderful and diverse people, that is my first reason for running.
Besides that, there are ever-growing numbers of people with accounts and works hosted on the Archive, so it is vital that we continue offering a place where people can do this, and where works can be preserved. For that reason, the things we do, as an organization, are worth doing, and where possible, improving upon. Considering those factors and the skills and experiences I’ve acquired so far in life, I believe running for Board is the best way I can help contribute to the future of our projects and to our mission.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
As someone working with software on a regular basis, I have to be very analytical and detail-oriented. I tend to be a solution-oriented thinker, and I do not give up easily when I start working on something. I am very used to working to deadlines, so I definitely don’t regard a bit of time pressure as a bad thing.
I also have worked in management, being in charge of students taking summer jobs, requiring me to communicate clearly and be patient. Furthermore, I know how important it is to listen to everyone who has something to contribute in a discussion and to make decisions taking multiple points of view into consideration, something I believe to be essential to anyone looking to work with a diverse group of people and opinions.
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 more important goals for the OTW, internally, is improving inter-committee collaboration. Currently, even though all committees are working towards the OTW’s mission, they often don’t know much about other teams’ day to day work or the context for their decisions — essential information that, when absent, can get in the way of collaboration. What’s unclear internally has huge external impact: we can’t adequately share info about the OTW to fans if our discussions and structures are disorganised. It’s hard to get everyone on the same page when we can rarely agree on what the page says—let alone share that with fans. Therefore, I would try to use my time on the Board to foster more collaboration between committees. In my opinion, this is best achieved by a clearer understanding of one another’s workflow, and by establishing more lines of communication among the various groups.
This will also allow us to be more efficient when responding to fans’ concerns. Having a better-informed and better integrated volunteer body will make us more capable of dealing with potentially complicated issues in a faster and more professional manner, avoiding misunderstandings and other pitfalls that come from not having properly considered all the possible points of views on an issue. This way, we will be able to be more open in how we communicate with fandom at large, allowing us to foster a better understanding of our work and limitations.
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.
Like most people, I have more experience with the Archive of Our Own, our biggest project. As a non-native English speaker, I hope that we can continue working together with the Accessibility, Design & Technology Committee and the Translation Committee to get closer to one day having the interface available in multiple languages. As a board member, I would like to work with our development team to further increase and strengthen our capacity to utilize contractors to aid in coding to work on matters like the translation of the interface and other improvements to the site, as well as the necessary background tasks that keep the site running on a day to day basis.
I have also worked together with Open Doors in the past on getting their import announcements translated. The work Open Doors does to preserve fandom archives that would otherwise be lost forever is very important in my eyes. If I’m chosen to become a Board member, I want to enable them to continue doing this, by making sure they are given the tools and resources to carry on their work in the best possible conditions.
I personally have less experience with our other projects, but am very much looking forward to working together with them. They all do incredibly impressive work. I greatly admire Legal’s advocacy work; fandom would be a much different place right now without them. TWC is one of the most important publications for fan academics and Fanlore has become a collective record of fandom history of huge importance to our communities, and it’s a joy to see it growing every day. I hope to learn more about their needs and how we as Board members can support this, should I be elected.
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?
I intend to keep my current position in the Translation Committee. It is a lovely way to connect with our translators and keep track of how everything is going with a significant number of OTW teams. Juggling both positions shouldn’t be a problem, because time management as a volunteer manager for the Translation Committee is fully in our own hands: we make our own schedule, taking on different types of tasks as our schedule allows. Others before me have managed these two roles at the same time without issues, and I believe I can do the same. If things do get overly busy, I can always discuss taking a hiatus with the committee chairs.