Chat Transcript – July 24, 2021

[​​Note: All questions from members and candidate responses appear in the form they were submitted and represent only the views of the individual who wrote them. Questions and responses are not endorsed by the Organization for Transformative Works.]

Sveritas
Hi everyone, and welcome to our 3rd candidate chat for 2021! Today you’ll have the opportunity to observe 2 candidates: Kari and Anna.

My name is Sveritas, and I’ll be hosting the candidate side today. On the audience/open_chat side, your host will be my fellow Elections Committee member disjointed. disjointed, can you wave so everyone can see you?

disjointed
:wave:

Sveritas
Thanks, disjointed! A transcript of the candidate side of the chat will be posted publicly on our website. The open_chat transcript will not be posted there, but its transcripts will remain visible until after the election. During the chat, you may see candidates fix their typos; this is to make Elections Volunteers’ job easier later.

As the candidates discuss each question, audience members can notify disjointed that you have questions for the candidates – either follow-ups or new questions – by raising your hand like this: o/ (for new questions), or o// (for follow-ups to the current question) disjointed will pass me the questions, and I will ask them during appropriate pauses in the conversation between the candidates. disjointed and I welcome all questions, subject to the following restrictions:
– Specify who your question is for, or if it’s for all candidates.
– Refer to everyone in the room by their username in this conversation. Don’t use other names you may know them by.
– Please keep questions reasonable and polite, as well as under 50 words (these are our expectations: https://elections.transformativeworks.org/elections-process-behavior-expectations/).
– Make sure your question is not a repeat of one already answered in the platforms (https://elections.transformativeworks.org/category/2021-en/2021-bios-and-platforms/) or the Q&A (https://elections.transformativeworks.org/category/2021-en/2021-qa/). If it’s a follow-up to one of those, please say so.

Kari Dayton
Hi, this is Kari! This is my first chat!

E. Anna Szegedi
Hello again everyone! :wave:

Sveritas
Ok. Our first question today is: What’s one non-AO3 project you wish everyone were more familiar with?

E. Anna Szegedi
Open Doors! I believe the work Open Doors is doing is amazing; and I don’t think enough people know about them. Coming from a fannish place where many smaller archives closed down, the preservation work of OD is something that has a special place in my heart :ee:

Kari Dayton
I have to agree with Anna – Open Doors (OD) is one of the coolest projects that’s also less well-known, mostly to the non-OTW audience. I see a lot of anxiety in online spaces about “losing” transformative works (due to loss of websites, rising hosting costs, etc.), so helping to increase awareness around OD as a way to help preserve at-risk fanworks is both necessary and also, really cool. 😎

(I don’t even volunteer with OD! I just think they’re neat.)

E. Anna Szegedi
Oh I also don’t volunteer for OD, I just adore them. xD

Kari Dayton
I get to help with tag mappings sometimes and I just about die of love for what they’re doing.

In case anyone doesn’t know what tag mappings are, which is probably a lot of people :sweatsmile:: when an archive is going to be imported to AO3, Tag Wrangling Supervisors get asked to help make sure that existing tags on works (for instance, characters, relationships, or themes) match up with what canonicals we’ve already got on the Archive.

That way, the new imported works get associated with canonical tags and can be found!

Sveritas
Thanks you both for your answers! Our next question is: The Board often is called in to support and coordinate in cross-committee situations, both when there’s immediate issues and for more routine all-hands tasks. How would you coordinate with various groups of people and their diverse needs, which may not always perfectly match up?

Kari Dayton
I think open communication is key here – getting everyone in the same (virtual) room so that there’s less chance of miscommunication due to a game of telephone.

I’m also a fan of having people do an analysis (I’m sure there’s a term for it, but I’m not aware of it off the top of my head) of “have to have”, “nice to have”, “would rather not have”, and “do not want” for anything where there are multiple factors and there’s a need to satisfy multiple groups.

I do similar stuff in my (paying) job and getting that frequent cross-committee communication is really key – as well as making sure that people know each other outside of a work context.

E. Anna Szegedi
As a Translation volunteer manager, I have already dealt with such situations \o/ We have to coordinate with other committees when it comes to publishing news posts on AO3, for example; we have to get the translations done on time for the scheduled publishing date, and discuss all of the specifics with the committees involved. Most of the times, these situations are pretty clear-cut, but there are cases when things don’t work out perfectly. This is when we need to assess how we can adapt the best. For Translation, this might be not translating a news post, or not translating to every language we have a team for. It is all about communicating clearly, and for that, it is important to know how much work any given committee can handle.

Sveritas
Thanks, everyone! Our next question is: How did you first learn about the OTW and what made you want to get involved?

Kari Dayton
Oh, an easy question – at least the first part: I started reading fic on AO3. Then I saw that they were recruiting wranglers, which sounded fun (admittedly, part of that was wanting to call myself a “wrangler”) and, as they say, the rest is history.

I already donate but I’ve heard a lot of nonprofits say that donating is great but volunteering is also great, which is part of what prompted me to apply

E. Anna Szegedi
I was already a user of AO3, and caught a recruitment post for translation. I had a lot of free time and decided to apply, because why not? I was also planning to get a degree in translation, and it seemed like good practice. I am incredibly happy about this sequence of events, since I learnt a lot, and got to know so many amazing people both in Translation, and in the wider OTW :ee:

Sveritas
Thanks you both for your answers! Moving on to our next question: What can the Board do to proactively address issues of fandom racism, in addition to responding to issues raised by other users?

Kari Dayton
Before we can address issues of fandom racism, we need to make sure that we define what racism means and how it appears in the OTW (probably mostly in the Archive, but it will obviously appear in other projects as well). Racism in the USA isn’t the same as racism in other countries, which is something that we would need to address, being a worldwide organization. Additionally, we cannot address all of “fandom racism”, as the OTW isn’t the entirety of fandom, nor is fandom itself a monolith, but we can look to address racism (after defining it) inside the OTW and its associated projects.

E. Anna Szegedi
We could reach out to marginalised groups to investigate how we could be of help. As a highly international organisation, we need to keep in mind that both our volunteers, and the user base of all of our projects come from highly different cultural backgrounds, therefore will have highly different needs. Therefore, there is no “one size fits all” solution here, which is not just the case for racism in fandom, but for racism (and other social issues) as well.

Kari Dayton
I agree with Anna! I also wanted to say that we need to make sure that ways to contact Board (anonymously, if desired) are well-publicized so that if/when an issue arises, it can be reported (safely) and investigated.

E. Anna Szegedi
And I agree with Kari on the part that OTW is not the entirety of fandom; it’s just a small part of a huge community.

Sveritas
Thank you for your answers! Our next question is a classic: If the OTW had the unlimited funds of the mythical Actual Money-Growing Money Tree (and similar resources from “time” and “manpower” trees), what is something you’d like to see done within the OTW?

E. Anna Szegedi
Money Tree \o/ :tree:

Kari Dayton
This isn’t a very sexy response but I’d like to see updated documentation and resources that haven’t been addressed because of lack of time and people power.

I assume that the trees only produce for a season (flashbacks to time management games), so I’d prioritize something that would stand the OTW in good stead moving forward after the trees finish their production cycle.

My background is in education, documentation, training, etc, so that’s where a lot of my focus is. :slightsmile:

E. Anna Szegedi
Well, having a Money Tree would be amazing 🙂 We could probably get Everything We Want done – including hosting media files, hiring contractors, all that jazz. Now, for the Manpower Tree, I would love to have all the languages for Translation (we do not have the allthethings emoji, but imagine it’s here xD), because as a language nerd, that would make me unbelievably happy 🙂

Kari Dayton
Unlimited time and people power? Making sure everything is optimized to within an inch of its life. Get so many servers we have ones sitting idle. Upgrading existing servers. Upgrading/purchasing/implementing anything that committees have wanted but haven’t had time or money to do.

Sveritas
Thank you both for your answers! Our next question is: What do you think makes you unique as a candidate? What do you think that you, specifically, could add to what the OTW (and the Board of Directors specifically) has to offer?

Kari Dayton
Well, in this round, I’m unique in that I’m the only Tag Wrangler, but there’s so many Wranglers that that doesn’t make me unique in general. XD

E. Anna Szegedi
Oh yeah, there’s three of us from Translation xD

Kari Dayton
More seriously, I can add my own unique work and volunteer experience to the OTW and the Board – sounds trite, but it’s true. The more unique voices and viewpoints we have, the better the Org will be overall.

E. Anna Szegedi
Well, as someone who already works in a multicultural environment in my day job, I hope that experience would help me in my Board work.

Kari Dayton
I’ve been told I’m good at ideas, and being forward-thinking, and being curious, and open to new things. So I think those are good qualities to have. 🙂

I agree with Anna, having experience with multicultural work (and volunteer) environments is a great asset to have in this type of position, given how widespread our volunteers and users are. (Do we have anyone in Antarctica yet?)

E. Anna Szegedi
One thing that could be unique about me is that I actually enjoy doing tasks that most people would not xD Maintenance things as a volunteer manager, for example ^^ These are mostly things that are not exciting or fun in any way, but I find them quite relaxing :sweatsmile:

Kari Dayton
I wish I knew you guys better, because I see more similarities than differences :heart:

E. Anna Szegedi
:heart:

Kari Dayton
(and I’m sure knowing you better would highlight even more similarities)

Sveritas
Thank you for your answers! Since we’ve touched on the fact that you two are coming from different committees, our next question is: What is one skill you’ve learned from your current committee(s) that you think would help you in your work as Board members?

Kari Dayton
One of the coolest things about being a Tag Wrangler (TW) is working with such a huge, diverse group of people, and helping them (as a TW Supervisor) work better. It harkens back to Anna’s comment about having that multicultural background to bring to the table!

Also, I’ve learned a lot about project planning and working with disparate groups of people as a result of my TW and TW Supervisor work. I also know what kind of tasks I prefer and what kind of tasks I’d prefer to delegate or do with someone else, as a team.

(I suspect that’s more “work experience” in general, though. :wink:)

E. Anna Szegedi
Managing timezones! xD Considering how many places our volunteers for Translation come from, organising trainings almost always includes cross-timezone thinking. Due to the sheer size of Translation (we are the second biggest committee after Tag Wrangling!), I am used to dealing with a large number of volunteers, which I believe to be an important skill in this case.

Kari Dayton
Oh! A very useful thing I’ve learned as part of my TW work is how to have a disagreement with someone – but then reach out to them and find a middle ground to work towards a resolution. Very useful skill :heart:

E. Anna Szegedi
And well, we do keep repeating ourselves about diverse working environments, but all that applies here, too \o/

Kari Dayton
Diverse work environments ftw! (I’m a little jealous of your ability to manage timezones – they always confound me, so I rely on external tools :sweatsmile:.)

Sveritas
Thank you both! Our next question: Time/funds/resources permitting, if the OTW were to create a new project in the future, what would you like to see and why?

Kari Dayton
That’s a difficult question, as it can be hard to imagine something new from (basically) nothing.

E. Anna Szegedi
That is a very difficult question to answer on the fly. ^^

Kari Dayton
I think media hosting – starting with audio, for things like podfics – would be a good place for us to start looking.

E. Anna Szegedi
Oooh that does sounds exciting. :eyes:

Kari Dayton
I’d like to start with audio because it’s tied closely to what we already do, and is less likely to have illegal activities associated.

If we wanted to host video/images, for example, we’d have to have them moderated in some way, unfortunately.

I’d love us to be audio hosts, for things like podcasts (Slash Report! Fansplaining!) and podfics.

E. Anna Szegedi
I think that right now, we (as in the OTW) pretty much cover the most important bits: we have the AO3 for fanfic, there’s Fanlore for collecting fannish history, and we even have TWC for an academic direction about fandom. So maybe not a new project, but an expansion of one (or more) of these would be easier to imagine, than an entirely new one.

Kari Dayton
Ooooh good response. :heart:

Sveritas
Thank you for your answers! Our next question is: What is something that you wish people understood about how the OTW and its volunteers work?

Kari Dayton
I think one of the key things to remember about how any volunteer organization works (and the OTW is almost entirely volunteers), is that … it often has requirements similar to a full-time job, that people are doing after their other full-time job (or schooling, or parenting, or any other task). We are always on a volunteer timetable, which is both incredibly humbling (the OTW gets so much done) and frustrating (but understandable) as well.

E. Anna Szegedi
As someone who is not from the US, I feel like many people tend to forget that while the OTW as an organisation is based in the US, many, many of us volunteers are from different parts of the world. This is especially true for Translation, by the very nature of our committee. All of us, from Board to committee staff to volunteers is here because we love what we do, none of us are getting paid for this. It is amazing to see this many people are willing to spend their free time wrangling tags, or translating extremely long documents about finances and legal stuff ^^

Kari Dayton
(Side note: the more I learn about other committees, the more I learn just how cool they are. The ENTIRE OTW is really, really cool. :cool:)

Sveritas
Thank you both! Now, onto our final question of the day, and also a more lighthearted one: Tell us about one of your fandoms that you’d love to see more people enjoy.

Kari Dayton
I don’t really read or participate in any “small” fandoms, so I guess this is just me wanting more fic/headcanons/friends for one of my favorite pairings? :joy:

Oh! You know what would be great? More f/f fics in general, however people make that happen. At least one of my favorite pairings is m/m in canon but several amazing authors have re-written the characters to be f/f and I :heart:.

I’d love more trans works as well – they’re becoming more and more common, and I love seeing those too.

E. Anna Szegedi
Ooooh nice question! I recently remembered that I used to looove The Song of the Lioness (Tamora Pierce), and I’ve been reading fanfic about it this week \o/ There’s not a lot, but there are some that are absolutely amazing, and I wish more people knew about the books in general, because they are amazing :heart: I would also like to see a revival of Stargate, tbh xD The fandom is still there, but with the lack of new content, it is very quiet nowadays ^^

Kari Dayton
…did you know I am also a Stargate fan? :kissing_heart:

E. Anna Szegedi
Stargate \o/

Kari Dayton
Stargate is a lot of people’s gateway fandom, I find :smile:.

…no pun intended, but also, nice.

E. Anna Szegedi
I have many small fandoms, so I am very familiar with the Rarepair Hell. Would love to experience that less, in general xD

Kari Dayton
I will definitely light a candle for fewer experiences of Rarepair Hell :candle:.

E. Anna Szegedi
:candle:

Sveritas
That’s all the questions we have for today! Thank you to our audience for being so supportive and for submitting questions! Thank you also to our lovely candidates. Thanks to disjointed, for modding the open chat. We’ll have the transcript of this room up on the website within a few days. Have a great day, everyone!

Kari Dayton
Thank you, Sveritas!

Thanks Anna! I had a great time. :heart:

E. Anna Szegedi
Thank you for leading, Sveritas (and disjointed for modding)! :heart:

Thank you, Kari! Nice chat \o/

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