Chat Transcript – July 29 1:00 UTC

[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.]


Hi everyone, and welcome to our 1st candidate chat for 2023!

Today you’ll have the opportunity to observe 3 candidates: Anh P., Kathryn S. and Zixin Z.

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?




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)

A moderator will post the questions in the #questions channel. Please vote on questions you’d most like to see answered by reacting to them in the #questions channel with the ⬆️ emoji. I will ask them during appropriate pauses in the conversation between the candidates. We 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:

Please note that we will not accept questions that require candidates to read and respond to any linked posts;

– Make sure your question is not a repeat of one already answered in the platforms ( or the Q&A ( If it’s a follow-up to one of those, please say so.

Now, I’d like to welcome our candidates and invite them to say hello.

Kathryn S

Hello everyone! Thank you for being here!

Zixin Z 

o/ Hi everyone!

Anh P

Hello everyone!


Thank you!

First up, we have questions submitted in the open Q&A question submission period for specific candidates:

For Zixin, in the past you’ve quit work channels mid-discussion because you disagreed with people. You have shared screenshots of Weibo user conversations in the Chinese chat for advice. Do you believe you would engage in this type of behavior again in the future?

For Anh, how do you expect to enforce an AI ban considering PAC is already overloaded? Would you be willing to consider a mandatory AI content warning instead of a full ban on AI, to ease the burden on the Abuse team and spare innocent users from false reports?

Zixin Z 

Thank you for your question! I think there may be some misunderstandings regarding the events you described in your question, and I hope my explanation can alleviate your concerns:

You’ve quit work channels mid-discussion because you disagreed with people.

I don’t remember quitting more than one work channel mid-discussion, and the only occasion I recall took place in a locked channel consisting of only Board Directors, Committee Chairs, Weibo moderators, and a few other relevant volunteers, so I assumed that any proceedings in that channel would be confidential and therefore not shared with other volunteers or the general public according to the Code of Conduct. But since the question is likely raised by a Board Director/Committee Chair who does not feel asking this in public violates OTW’s confidentiality policy, I can try to briefly explain it from my perspective without getting into details of the event. My apologies in advance if my answer causes any volunteers to feel uncomfortable about internal information being shared with the public! This is most certainly not my intention.

At the time of the incident in question, the other Weibo moderator and I had been working under great pressure for almost a week, while facing discriminatory comments in the channel. When yet another request of mine was turned down, I felt that the prejudice and hostility in that channel made it impossible for me to keep working with dignity, so I apologised to the person who turned down my request and left the channel. To be honest, remembering that hostility and discrimination still upsets me even now as I compose this answer and share it here. In the years since the incident, I have had to force myself to gather the courage to open that channel every time I need to discuss relevant OTW business with org leadership. My experience during that week is also the very incentive that prompted me to run for Board election: if the Board fails to respect minority volunteers and protect them against internal racist attacks, then I will stand up as a Board member when this happens again. I don’t want any other volunteer to feel the pain and humiliation that I went through.

A few days after the incident, another chair very kindly added me back to the work channel, and upon returning I also communicated with the first volunteer in private and expressed my regrets to them again personally. I am very sorry if it’s still negatively affecting you or anyone else emotionally. Please feel free to reach me via DM at any time.

You have shared screenshots of Weibo user conversations in the Chinese chat for advice.

Anh P

I don’t favour an AI ban, so that’s all moot. But in a situation where I thought the archive should be enforcing restrictions on content that don’t currently exist, like new warnings or restrictions on embedded media content, I would first want to review the PAC procedures, with consultation from PAC chairs and additional research on instructions regarding how to address the new rules; I would also consider the feasibility of recruiting more volunteers for PAC before the new policies go into effect.

Furthermore, I want to reaffirm that all Major Archive Warnings are enforceable by PAC, so a mandatory AI content warning would be counterproductive to PAC being overloaded. Please read my Q&A: Content Policy for additional details and reasons.

Zixin Z

Before I clarify my past behaviour, to provide context for non-OTW volunteers, there are various social channels for volunteers to interact outside work channels on our communication software. One of these channels is created by Chinese-speaking volunteers to chat in our mother language, hence it’s being referred to in the question as the Chinese chat. I have double checked with Elections Committee volunteers to ensure that this piece of information can be shared with the public.

Yes, I have shared screenshots I took of the Weibo app with the Chinese chat channel in the past, but from what I recall, the screenshots I shared with the Chinese chat relevant to the OTW Weibo account were comments and reposts under OTW News updates that we posted to the account. While there are no individual links to Weibo comments or reposts (which is why I usually share them by screenshots since it’s more convenient than pointing to a post and describing the comment), these comments can be viewed by anyone visiting the link to the post, with or without a Weibo account. I still don’t think sharing those public comments infringed on the privacy of the Weibo users who made those comments, if that is what your concern is about. I don’t know (and don’t want to assume) if you are the same person who brought this matter to the former Communications Committee Chairs a few years ago, but our ex-Chairs did seriously talk to my co-mod and me about the importance of not sharing private information about users in social channels after it was brought up to them by another volunteer. I have since deleted all files that contained public comments or reposts related to the OTW Weibo account in the Chinese chat, and I have not shared similar screenshots of comments since then. If you still have any concerns about the way I discuss my work in Communications or other committees with other volunteers in Chinese chat or other channels, you are more than welcome to contact me or my Committee Chair(s) at any time!

Having explained the incidents in the question, I’m coming back to the initial question: whether I believe I would engage in this type of behaviour in the future. If I were given the chance to time travel back to the conversation again, I think I would temporarily mute the channel or the chat software in order to disengage and cool down, rather than leaving a locked channel that I could not re-enter on my own. I would also be more cautious about sharing information about users with other volunteers, even if that information is publicly available. I’m sorry for the long response, but I hope this answers your question.


Thank you both for your answer!

Now this question is for all candidates: what’s something you’ve done in the org that you’re proud of?

Zixin Z 

I joined the OTW first as a part of the Chinese Tag Wrangling class, then as a Chinese-speaking volunteer in Policy and Abuse Committee. I am happy that my work in these two committees as well as in moderating the OTW Weibo account helps Chinese-speaking users better curate their experience on the Archive, and expand their understanding on OTW projects!

Kathryn S

Some of you may recall the Yahoo Groups shut-down in 2019. Open Doors worked with several other fannish and/or archiving groups to preserve as much content as possible, and Open Doors has imported or is in the process of importing fanworks from several Yahoo Groups (with moderator participation and permission of course).

One of my main roles in this effort was writing the news posts about the topic. I was really proud of my writing, and how we were able to effectively organize fans and share information about the importance of Internet preservation.

Yahoo Groups Closure – What You Can Do –

Yahoo Groups Closure – What You Can Do 2 –

Open Letter to Verizon –

Yahoo Groups In Memoriam –

Anh P

Since I’m quite new to OTW, there are not many great things that I’ve accomplished yet. However, I’m quite proud of the effort and research, as well as the knowledge that I’ve got, from all the hours and conversations that I’ve been doing in the several weeks since this year election started.

It makes me very happy to see my hardwork and preparation for all the Q&A acknowledged. The other day even one of my Viet friends outside of the Organisation sent me recommendation post about me and my candidacy. I’m also very happy that my proactive communication on the OTW internal chat tool has started several new friendships with my fellow volunteers.

On the other hand, I’m very happy to see results from my decision to contact SLWalker and Squidgie when I was researching about otw-archive (AO3 software), and how feasible/accessible it is to make the process of deploying the otw-archive for other Fanfic archives. I’ve said this several times in my previous Q&A, but I want to reaffirm that decentralisation in fandom is good and we should promote that. I’m very glad to see more discussions in fannish space about how we can achieve it.


Thank you for your answers! The next question is also for all candidates: crisis communication seems to be a major pain point right now, with transparency being on many of your ballots. Do you feel adequately prepared for this style of communication?

Zixin Z

Yes, I am willing to improve crisis communication both within the OTW and between the OTW and the public. I understand that having to be swift in responding to crisis situation can be stressful. But having modded a social media account with more than 290k followers for 3.5 years, I have developed the ability to adjust to pressure within a short timeframe and try my best to be responsive and transparent to users, which I think would be helpful should similar situations occurs during my Board work.

I also think it would be useful to set up clearer internal guidelines on crisis resolution (including communication policy), and make it accessible to all volunteers and shared with them as a part of the induction process, so that volunteers can be better prepared when a crisis arise.

Anh P

I’d say that I’m adequately prepared for this style of communication. This is the major topic in several discussions that I’ve been having with my fellow volunteers. I also mentioned some aspects of how to achieve that in my Board Work II:

I would be more comfortable if the OTW can achieve more transparency in communication, both internally and externally. I believe that the OTW started switching to our current internal chat tool around 2015, and I think that after 8 years — with various updates in technology and changes in workplace culture — we can start researching newer ways of improving internal communication.

I hope that we can further improve our choice(s) of internal communication, at least to put less burden on volunteers to connect with each other — as the fact that OTW is completely remote is normalised after the pandemic.

I also hope that the fans outside of OTW can learn more about us as an Organisation, and learn about different ways they can contribute to the project outside of donation and volunteering.

Kathryn S 

In general, I think that responding quickly is more important than responding perfectly. While it may take 24-36 hours to have everyone relevant give input and approve a response, the Internet can move a lot faster than that. However, there are ways to prepare for this.

In the immediate term (within the next couple of weeks), we need to agree whether we’re waking folks up or posting without their input. In the short term (within the next 3 months), we need to start preparing in advance when there is a reasonably foreseeable chance of something happening. In the medium term (within the next 6 months), we need org-wide crisis communications standards and templates. In the long term (within the next year), we should have researched crisis communications consultants and, if it’s decided we need them, have started the hiring process.


Thank you all for your thoughtful answers!

We have questions related to each of your experiences within the OTW next:

Question for Kathryn S: You’ve been at the OTW for nearly a decade now, volunteering through many events that some of us only learned about from Fanlore pages. How does this shape your perspective?

Question for Zixin Z: You have years of experience on four different committees, including working as a mod of the OTW Weibo account and as a PAC volunteer. What unique insights does this depth and breadth of volunteering allow you to bring to the Board?

Question for Anh P: You’re a volunteer for Fanlore and Open Doors, which are projects that are less well known to some OTW members. What kind of outlook do you bring to the table as a result of your experience?

Kathryn S

I’ve also been in fandom for nearly 25 years, so I’m very much a Fandom Old by Tumblr standards!

I think that it means that I have seen a lot happen, so I am both calmer in crises and better able to see one brewing. It also means that I know a lot of Org history and fandom history, so I can help answer questions about why things are the way they are.

One of the reasons that I’m excited about Anh and Jennifer joining the board as newer volunteers is that they can see things that I have gotten used to, and question why something is still the way it is. While it may have started that way for a good reason, if the way it is causes problems, then we should look into changing it in a way that fulfills the original intent while responding to new needs.

Anh P

Since I’m actively working to promote Fanlore on social media as a volunteer of our Social & Media Outreach team, I think that speaks for itself regarding how much I love Fanlore. I’ve seen other volunteers joke about Fanlore committee being true neutral in OTW, especially during controversies. I believe that it shows Fanlore’s mission of fannish history preservation.

Open Doors is another project focusing on fannish preservation, especially fanworks. I think as a Fanlore/Open Doors Board member, I can bring back the focus that OTW is an Organisation to serve fandom as a whole, not just this one Archive and this one wiki. For example, amongst this year candidates, I was the first one speaking about decentralisation in fandom and fanfic archives.

I hope that by being on the Board of Directors, I can promote for this aspect to fellow OTW volunteers and to fans outside of the Organisation.

Zixin Z 

I think my volunteering experience allows me to interact with many committees, which is beneficial to working on Board because it’s the Board Directors’ duty to support each committee’s work. Different committees, which will be needed in Board work because when issues affect multiple committees, it will be important for me to balance everyone’s various workflows and priorities.

My work in PAC and Comms interacts with users directly, so it gives me the opportunity to understand what users’ concerns are and their expectations for the org. My work in the 2 AO3 committees (tag wrangling and PAC) allows me to learn how the Archive – one of our biggest project – is run by the volunteers behind the scenes, so I can help the Archive going forward both from a user’s perspective and from volunteer’s perspective. My past work in Open Doors also allows me to better understand workflows in different committees, which would be beneficial to Board work as well.


Thank you for your answers!

The next question is for all candidates:

How would you improve disciplinary practices to ensure they are working to prevent discrimination not reinforce it?

Zixin Z 

I think it is important to set up a clear standard for disciplinary practices across committees within the OTW, so that volunteers have the same expectation for behavioral standard even if they are from different committees (aside from special committee requirement, e.g. PAC has a stricter rule regarding confidentiality compared with other committees I have worked in).

It’s also important to ensure that the party issuing the disciplinary action is neutral in judging individual cases, to avoid potentialities of retaliation. I think we can consult the external HR service regarding how to best reflect this in our policy.

Last but not least, when a volunteer feels that the disciplinary practice they received is biased, there should be an accessible venue (made widely known to all volunteers) for relevant complaints or appeal, which should be resolved in a timely manner.

Kathryn S

I spoke about this a bit in the Q&A on Recent Discussions, but can elaborate more:

I hope that the DEI and HR consultants will be able to provide input into best practices in this regard. Based on my own knowledge and experience, CCAP will need to be substantially reworked, or possibly wholly replaced.

Chairs are not well-trained on the CCAP process, and there are no org-wide standards for when it should be implemented. Additionally, it is time-consuming for Chairs to engage in. These factors have led to the current state where it is only used in extremely serious situations and is seen as a significant black mark.

Disciplining volunteers for misconduct or for not fulfilling their duties should be routine, and should be seen as a way to improve. It should also be used fairly and equitably. In order to do this, we need:

Org-wide standards that are clear and easy to understand

Management training for Chairs

Better avenues of communication and more ways to raise issues about specific volunteers

To explore the possibility of moving the CCAP process to Volunteers & Recruitment Committee

Regular audits of completed CCAPs to ensure that they are being used correctly and catch bias/inconsistencies

To explore the possibility of collecting volunteer demographic data so that we can audit the disciplinary process on those terms as well, though it should be fairly clear regardless whether the volunteer being disciplined is “out” about being a POC or other minority

A way for volunteers to appeal the CCAP

Anh P 

I also mentioned something similar in my Board Work II Q&A, and to quote it again:

I want the OTW to have a clear process for reviewing Codes of Conduct violations, so context can be cited and clarifications can be made.

I think disciplinary practices in the OTW is still lacking right now, as it’s also related to the lack of conflict management within the Organisation. I want the Organisation to have a standardised process of disciplinary practices in various committee, with cited context and clarification for both the volunteers and the superiors that uphold the disciplinary practices.

It’s also another issue that overlaps with the lack of transparency in our internal communication, and the lack of our current documentations. I want both the process and the procedures related to disciplinary practices to be widely available and accessible for volunteers.

I want volunteers to know that the Organisation takes their wellbeing seriously, and I want a neutral party, such as VolCom, to be available and accessible resource for volunteers to express additional concerns about disciplinary practices, especially during the cases of discrimination.


Thank you for your answers!

We again have a question for all of you here:

There is a perennial problem with volunteer burnout, retention, and recruitment across many committees of the OTW. What steps, if any, do you think board can take to aid committees with ensuring that volunteers are supported appropriately?

Kathryn S

I think that the best way to address volunteer burnout and retention is to ensure that all volunteers feel like they can speak up when they need help, that their voices will be heard, and that their needs will be responded to. I addressed this partially in my Q&A on improving internal communication:

Org-wide, I think that we need to implement standard 1-on-1 check-ins with new volunteers at a couple of key points and exit interviews with resigning volunteers. In the long term, I would like there to be 1-on-1 check-ins with all volunteers 2-4 times throughout the year. Open Doors implemented these some time ago, inspired by another committee (I believe it was Translation, but can’t remember for sure), and it has been extremely helpful!

In the long run, I think we also need to explore ways that training can be managed more efficiently and/or effectively as well as year-round open recruitment for at least some committees. Currently, we have a cyclical problem where the solution to volunteer overwork and burnout is more recruitment, but recruiting and training new volunteers takes time and energy, which adds to the burden of current volunteers and especially volunteer leadership.

Anh P

I also mentioned this several times in my previous Q&A, but I’m happy to elaborate more:

I talked with various PAC volunteers, as their committee is one of the most affected by burnout and lack of recruitment right now. As a Board member, I hope Board can start proactively communicating with committees’ chairs and listen to their concerns. I hope that Board can facilitate purchases of off-the-shelf solutions, such as software and services, to support our volunteers more, especially in cases of emergency as the OTW doesn’t have enough personnel resource to immediately react.

I also think that improving internal communication and making Board a more available resource to all the volunteers will be beneficial in the long-term.

That being said, Board members are also fellow volunteers who may suffer from burnout, I want OTW to have better HR management and workflow distribution in every committees, and for Board of Directors too. I hope that the HR outsourcing project will offer us insight and recommendations, as well as necessary tools to facilitate this.

This is also one of the major goals in our Strategic Planning for 2023-2026, and we welcome volunteers as well as users to contact us about the progress:

Zixin Z

I think Board could proactively reach out to committees and volunteers, to listen to their needs and what support they would like to have (e.g. improve work tools, expanding committee size, etc.). Board could also set up venues for volunteer feedback on how Board could aid them in their volunteering experience, so that it would be easier for voices to be heard, and therefore hopefully mitigate some of the causes of burnout.

Via this type of communication, Board members can also be more familiar with the daily work of committees we ourselves are not in, and thus be more empathetic with volunteers and support them when needed.


Thank you all!

(Sorry, clicky keyboard)

The next question is for all candidates:

Right now, there’s no time or task tracking in most committees, and because of that, it’s hard to figure out how much work it takes to run the OTW. How would you approach getting useful info about hours spent on various projects/committees?

Kathryn S

I am hopeful that the HR consultant will be able to assist with this endeavor. However, there are work-arounds to get estimates without having to ask all volunteers to fill out time-sheets!

We could probably get information from our internal messaging software about how much active time there is in work channels.

We can gather information from Org position descriptions, which typically include an estimate for the amount of time volunteers are expected to spend on tasks.

We could ask volunteer leadership to estimate their backlog and how many more volunteers they would need to get through it, assuming that new volunteers have the same average task-completion as current volunteers once trained.

We can also look at now much time is spent on working meetings (for example, Open Doors Administrative Volunteers have 4 hours of working meetings/week)

We could also survey current volunteers, or ask a sample of current volunteers to fill out time sheets for 2-4 weeks.

Zixin Z 

I agree that it’s important to have a more accurate understanding of volunteers’ time commitments in order to allow our projects to develop sustainably! While the OTW does not require volunteers to track the number of hours they spend on volunteering, most (if not all) positions have a suggested number of hours per week in their position description (available when the position is open to recruitment) as an indicator of the amount of time a volunteer is expected to be devoted to.

Anh P

First I want to clarify: in Fanlore committee, specifically for Social & Media Outreach volunteers and our Graphic Designers, we do have in-house process for task tracking, and I’m aware that several other committees, such as AD&T, Tag Wrangling, Communication and Translation, etc. also have tools for task tracking, so I disagree with the statement that there are currently no task tracking in most committees.

Actually this question is one of my concerns, and I’ve discussed it previously with the project leader of our HR outsourcing project, and I am happy to share what I’ve learnt from our conversations. I believe that for OTW — as we are completely remote since 2008 — we should look at these issues in terms of human resources.

For example, how many people it takes one committee to finish one task, and if said people are junior or senior volunteers, those are more interesting metrics to HR professionals. I also want to share that it is already very challenging for onsite companies to track the time their employees are working, and it’s not practical for a remote, volunteer-based Organisation like us.

Zixin Z 

I think it would be useful if during the documentation review and update process, the suggested hour section can also be reviewed to reflect the position’s actual workload recently. Besides, some committees do have different ways of tracking volunteer works instead of number of hours, and it would be in the interest of the committee to adopt whichever methods they found most useful. Of course, I think Board should include this as a part of our inquiry with the external HR as well!


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!

Kathryn S 

Thank you to everyone for coming and for having such great questions!

Zixin Z 

Thanks everyone! See you in 12 hours : )

Anh P 

thank you Elections team and fellow volunteers + candidates. We have several thought-provocative questions and answers today. See you soon in my second candidate chat.