[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]
Can you share some ways that you’ve dealt with stressful communication situations (e.g., handling difficult emails, phone calls or meetings)?
As I mentioned on my platform, I’m staff on the Abuse committee. This often requires me to handle delicate situations that have the potential to become stressful due to the sensitive nature of the issues that can be brought to us by distraught users, such as plagiarism or harassment to name a few. I would say that my personal aim when handling such situations lies in communicating things as clearly as possible, first and foremost.
Other than that, in any situation that’s stressful or could turn so —be them emails, phone calls, meetings— I try to conduct myself in the same way: trying to be as clear as I can about what I want or need, what I think, what I believe needs to be done. I try to rephrase myself if necessary, if I feel I might’ve said something in such a way that’s likely to be misconstrued, or if I wasn’t clear the first time around. I strive to be open to consider the fact that I could be in the wrong, and not be afraid to admit this and apologize if needed. Another thing I try is to be aware of my own feelings during these situations: am I getting worked up? Would it be better to disengage for the moment? Would the state I’m currently in make me more likely to act in a way I would disapprove of later, after I’ve calmed down and can see things in a more objective light?
I can’t say I always live up to my own expectations here, because as every other person, I’m fallible. But these are the things I always strive to do and keep in mind when dealing with these types of situations.
What is a skill that you consider relevant for a board member, but that you consider a personal weakness?
One thing I think is a personal weakness of mine at the moment that is undoubtedly a skill I consider extremely relevant for a Board member is definitely my organization-related literacy. I’m relatively new to the OTW (might be the newest one in this batch of candidates, in all honesty), and even though I am as active as I can be in the committees I belong to and attempt to keep up with the other committees’ work and to show an active interest in them and ask questions when there are things I’m not a hundred percent clear on to be as informed as I can be, I know I’m not as educated in all OTW-areas as I would want to be.
Another skill that I lack at the time is experience as a leader inside the OTW.
I do think, however, that I will acquire both things with time, if elected. I’m certainly motivated to work on improving upon these weaknesses.
[Parts of the following question were lengthy statements, rather than questions, and were removed by the Elections Committee.]
How do we keep fandom non-profit, and also fair to other fans who want their work to be seen and shared on a level platform? Is it enough that fans are trying to circumvent AO3’s non-profit stance by linking to their twitter / tumblr but still advertising donations and patreon pages there? Do the candidates see this as a pertinent issue, and if so, what do they plan to do about it?
As noted in the OTW FAQs (under Legal, “Does the OTW support the commercialization of fanfic?”) and the AO3’s Terms Of Service (section IV.B), the organization’s stance on the issue is pretty clear. I personally understand the concerns this question raises, and as a member of the Abuse team, I can assure you that we take reports about commercial promotion on works hosted on the Archive very seriously and every effort is made to uphold the ToS in this regard to keep the Archive a non-profit, non-commercial space.
Other than that, however, I’m worried there isn’t much that can realistically be done. The Terms of Service themselves express that linking to personal pages, even if these do include advertisements of some form somewhere, isn’t a violation as long as solicitation isn’t taking place on the Archive itself (i.e. as long as what’s linked isn’t a commercial site or a site with a primary goal of monetization —Ko-fi, Patreon, etc.— , or a post for commissions, or anything of the sort, and the text itself doesn’t imply or suggest commercial activities). I feel, personally, that trying to do anything more than that would be attempting to police fans’ behavior and activities outside of the context of the AO3 —and the OTW—, which I’m not sure we could do, even if we wanted to.