Erica Dulin 2017 Q&A: Volunteer Positions

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

What are your thoughts on the OTW accepting volunteers who are under the age of 18, even if they might be over the age of legal majority in their country of origin?

I’ll preface this by saying: I’ve only worked in a committee that requires all volunteers to be eighteen years old or older because we deal with adult content. The Organization is a non-profit incorporated in the United States of America, and falls under the laws thereof, so the age cap is firmly set, no matter where the volunteers of this committee are in the world.

There are other committees with lower age caps and all of our volunteers do share some tools. I would like communication and conduct policies in place to cover our new shared spaces, and to clearly mark which are for adults only, allowing us to make open, safe space for our minors to participate in the org. I have other legal concerns about minors, but those are issues of due diligence, not related to my opinion on the matter (and honestly, we don’t officially ask anyone’s age, just whether they’re over the threshold or not, so if I’ve spoken to a minor in shared space, I would have no idea unless they told me).

Keep in mind, everyone regardless of age has to go through an application process to join any committee, and that each process is different. Therefore, it’s the individual’s merits that are being examined, not their age. If a volunteer, no matter their age, is mature enough to handle working in a professional environment, they should apply.


Assuming Legal okayed it, should non-paying volunteers who’ve been with the OTW for over X months be eligible either for voting in the elections and/or being elected for board?

To vote, we need to confirm you are you, so that each individual gets one vote. Membership donations allow us to be able to verify the individual: checks, credit cards, and PayPal donations allow us to easily match up individuals. This is why cash donations and payments in kind, like hours served, are not valid for membership.

In fandom, we can have multiple identities, and they can be as connected or unconnected as we want. If we let people have a vote based on their fandom identity, a single person could potentially have more than one vote; each identity rather than each person would get a vote. To prevent that, we would have to gather personal information for every volunteer and that profoundly goes against the culture of fandom, where we are our chosen selves.

As for all volunteers being eligible for election, there are volunteer positions that do not require any knowledge of how the organization is run and do not require any collaborative work. There are 17 committees, most of which the volunteer may have never interacted with (or realistically even heard of). If we increase internal literacy for volunteers, then it is something to consider. As it is now, I would rather have a volunteer from a committee that doesn’t interface with the administration side of OTW go through the step of becoming staff on their committee (or an internal facing committee) first so they may have clearer picture of what happens inside the org.