July 26: Per an announcement, Audrey R. withdrew from the ballot.
Audrey R.: is a policy lead at a nonprofit, continuing a decade-long career in government and policy work. In her spare time, you will find her shoe shopping or listening to the newest Qveen Herby EP. Her first fandom was Harry Potter, but she didn’t discover fanfiction until taking a college course on fandom. It took two years of reading before she took the plunge into writing her first story, and she now has over seventy works published on the archive. She currently writes in the Harry Potter fandom on AO3 and is a member of the Strategic Planning committee.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
Primarily, I believe in positive change, and am excited to help the organization grow in a positive direction. I also decided to run because not enough people were stepping up to the plate, even though I did not initially believe I’d put in enough time to merit the position. However, I feel there is reason to run because I am anti-AI in fandom spaces and, after being part of the strategic planning process, I want to play a part in the plan’s implementation. I also hope to open up new lines of communication between volunteers and the board so we can effectively work together to make progress that is in line with the organization’s diverse perspectives.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
My career, including my current position, has primarily been in government and policy work. I am the policy lead for a nonprofit research institute studying the impact of social media on the cognitive and social development of children. We focus a lot on research into screen time and the types of content children consume online, which I think might overlap a bit with some of the challenges OTW (specifically AO3) faces when it comes to policy. Specifically with issues like Section 230 and age verification.
The first full-time job I had was in knowledge management. Internal documentation is something I have a lot of experience with, including: developing a style guide, a taxonomy, and content migration.
I’ve also been an AO3 user for ten years and care very deeply for the archive as both a writer and reader.
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?
It’s important to work toward improving internal documentation. It’s difficult to make org-wide improvements if we can’t clearly see where the organization is at from a policies and procedures standpoint. I believe transitioning from the Wiki into a ServiceNow-style system of issue capture, ticket resolution, and knowledge management would be helpful in lightening the load on some volunteers while increasing the efficiency and searchability of our documentation.
The second thing has arisen recently, but we need a solid conflict resolution system. I believe there should be a paid employee (we need to make a financial investment in key positions throughout the org) whose only responsibility is conflict management & resolution. If someone has a concern or complaint and does not feel comfortable going to their supervisor, there should be an independent authority of some kind. Dispute resolution is key to an organization’s success and we should invest in it to ensure the wellbeing and satisfaction of volunteers.
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.
The project I have experience with happens to be one of the biggest: the strategic plan! We work very hard to receive feedback from people throughout the organization and develop a plan that suits the needs of various stakeholders. Crafting the plan was very helpful in understanding how the organization operates because I had to learn about the structure since we touch every committee. I also acknowledge the length of time it takes to develop and then the length of time it takes to implement the goals. Right now we are on a three-year cycle for each half, which is a very long time. Six years from inception to completion of a single strategic plan. In some instances, that does little to address immediate needs. We should create an additional standardized process for addressing prescient org-wide issues that is transparent to volunteers.
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?
The strategic planning committee will be transitioning from drafting to implementation monitoring. I would have one foot in the committee and one in board, but I’ll be standing in the same pond. My chairs, elections, and the current board were gracious enough to modify the longstanding position description to allow SP members to be on the board. They also included a caveat that, if a perceived conflict should arise, the committee can ask me to step back for a time.