Claire P. Baker 2017 Q&A: OTW Changes

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

What do you believe are the 2 most important tasks the OTW has accomplished in the past two years? Why?

The accomplished change that has affected me the most over the past two years is the migration to our new communications platform. It is now far easier to keep track of what is happening across the majority of our committees, which is a great boon especially to the Board and the various groups working together to keep AO3 running. The new chat platform has also allowed for easier casual conversation between volunteers. Whereas before there was only one space for non-committee-related chat, now we have dozens for different fandoms, hobbies, and just general chatter, letting us meet like-minded people from all over the OTW. The connections made through these channels are easily as valuable as the communication that happens in the more work-focussed areas.

The reinstatement of our Finance Committee is another huge and important accomplishment. We currently have over 7,000 members, all of whom have contributed to the OTW over the past calendar year. We have a responsibility to them to ensure that their money is used wisely, and to our over 600 volunteers to ensure that it’s being used to support the maintenance and growth of our projects. Being able to post an open budget is also a huge step towards transparency; I applaud the Finance committee for doing such, keeping our members and users informed.

Honourable mention goes to all the work the Board has done to improve overall transparency and communication with each committee. I am excited to contribute to these efforts myself, if elected.

Name one way that you think the OTW needs to change in the next few years. Why is this change important for the organization?

The OTW needs to continue working on its infrastructure, particularly in the name of long-term security. There are a few individuals without whom our projects would be in trouble, including one who on more than one occasion has been woken in the middle of the night because AO3 crashed. I am so grateful for the work and dedication of these people, but also worry that, should anything happen to them, we would suffer major setbacks. To combat this, we need to increase redundancy within our personnel and make sure there are at least two people who have the knowledge and capabilities to do any one role.

Part of this is ensuring proper training and succession planning for all roles; this is currently part of the OTW’s strategic plan, and will hopefully be completed over the next few years. Another part is ensuring that we have the right people in place to ensure that redundancy. This has come in useful for the AO3 Documentation Committee: with three geographically separated chairs, we have at least one person available at any point in time, and enough manpower that we can seamlessly continue operations should someone need to take a week or two off.

In short, while the OTW needs to continue evolving, we need to make it as future-proof as possible so that all the time, money, and hard work we’ve invested does not go to waste.