Can you say something positive about three of your fellow candidates?
I’m a bit biased, as I’ve worked with a majority of the candidates on either Abuse or Support. Picking just three people was not an easy task!
Atiya Hakeem is very dedicated about her work and the OTW. She is always one of the first to step up and volunteer for difficult tasks. I love that we can have serious debates about policies without it impacting our working relationship (or friendship!).
Alex Tischer is very passionate about the OTW. Alex has the rare ability to be both outspoken and a great listener. We’ve had Board members have the first ability, yet not the second, which has led to many problems. Alex though, is always willing to listen and consider other points of view.
Katarina Harju has done an amazing job in both Abuse and Translation. Working on Abuse can be a tough, thankless job, but Katarina always rises to the challenge. The ability to stay calm and focused in difficult situations will serve Katarina well on Board.
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.
During my tenure as Support chair, the Archive experienced quite a number of sudden growth spurts. While there may have been some inconveniences for users, the AO3-related committees have always risen to the occasion.
Several committees did need to completely change how their committees worked. In my case, neither Support nor Abuse were ready for the drastic upswing in the number of tickets that were sent in. We had to reevaluate our staffing needs, create new documentation, update old policies — basically rebuild the committees entirely. Both committees are now able to better handle huge influxes of new users.
In general, any potential new problems will impact each committee differently and likely need unique solutions. Most of the decisions and work would be handled at a committee level. As a Board member, it would be my responsibility to provide support and help the committee chairs as needed.
I will ensure it’s easier for all committees to get the help they need, whether it’s money for contractors, new tools, equipment, emergency tech support, more staff, etc. I’d also like to work towards improving the organization’s communication tools. Right now, in an emergency we can’t always quickly reach the people we need to talk to; most chat rooms are locked to committees only so we are forced to send out desperate emails and hope we are reaching someone. Improving our communication will go a long ways to improving response time and ensure problems are dealt with in a timely manner.
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 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
I’ve heard this argument and strongly disagree. There are almost 90,000 works in languages other than English on the Archive, and fans from all over the world use it. While it isn’t currently possible to translate the entire Archive interface, I have always supported the project and done my best to contribute in whatever small ways I can. When I first became Support chair I fought for us to change our policy regarding only answering tickets sent in English. The argument at the time was “We aren’t ready!” However,I knew we were never going to be ready if we didn’t start somewhere. Our wonderful Translation committee was willing and able to jump in; with their help, both Support and Abuse were able to start offering help for users in multiple languages.
Thankfully the “We aren’t ready!” opinion has changed since then. In my short tenure as AO3 Documentation lead, I helped oversee the coding and deploy of our new FAQ system which allows for translated FAQs. We now have FAQs translated into over a dozen different languages. This project was fully supported by everyone, and is only one of many features now available.
Where do you fall on this? What should come first?
As mentioned above, I think that this isn’t an issue for the future: it’s already happening every day, and we’re already working every day in this direction. There is still a lot of work ahead, of course, and we’re all aware of that!
If the next growth spurt is of a non-English, different fandom culture nature, how will you accommodate that?
Both Support and Abuse are on the front-lines; we are often the first contacted when users need help or resources that are not currently available. Sometimes we help with easy issues such as adding new languages, other times users’ needs are more complicated. As a Board member, it’s my job to ensure all committees are keeping abreast of what our users need and are addressing those needs.