Gimena Calixto Q&A: Communication and Outreach

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

How would you approach improving org-related literacy of non-staff volunteers, staff, and members for all committees?

Although our current communication tools allow for conversation in casual, informal contexts —as well as for more fluid communication in work-related areas—, this isn’t something that happens across committees organically, either because established work groups get used to interacting within their same groups due to familiarity, or because people are simply shy, or any number of reasons. This is something that I can see leading towards people feeling a certain disconnect with other committees and the work they do, and thus translating into them having certain gaps in their knowledge.

One way I would try to approach this is by creating opportunities to encourage the members of our different committees to mingle both in formal and informal contexts, with activities such as work parties like the ones that the Tag Wrangling committee already hosts, where wranglers gather to work on their respective tasks together.

Another proposal that I think could be helpful would be implementing (if possible) something like what Strategic Planning already does: ‘open office hours’. During these they share their progress on what they’re currently working on while also encouraging people in other committees to come and ask them all kinds of questions they might have in relation to the work they do and how they fit in the organization. People are, of course, always welcome to do this, but this is an opportunity that allows people to do so in a more relaxed environment, which can prove incredibly advantageous for those who might find approaching another committee intimidating.

What is one way that you think the OTW can improve with regards to how information about its work reaches fans?

I don’t feel like I have much to say about this in particular, in all honesty. My first instinct would be to say something like ‘increase visibility’, or ‘try to make information as accessible as possible’, but both are things that I feel are being addressed and worked on currently through the use of social media and things such as the ‘5 things an OTW volunteer said’ posts (which I already mentioned in the past).

What do you see as priorities for improving communication – both between the Board and individual committees, and between the OTW as a whole and fandom communities?

First, I would like to note that I have had the privilege of having a pretty pleasant experience volunteering at the OTW, and that I know that I owe this in great part to the not insignificant efforts both the Board and every single committee have made to improve in the areas that hadn’t been working at their finest before, one of them being communication.

I don’t think there’s anything I would like to see immediately changed about the way we communicate internally other than the points I’ve already raised through these Q&As.

Regarding communications between the OTW as a whole and fandom communities, one thing I would like would be for us to work towards being more inclusive. Our newsletters and the events we hold tend to be very US-centric, which is understandable, but definitely something that I think we could revise and perhaps improve upon.

Can you elaborate on how you want to improve relationships between AO3 and non-English fandom spaces? What would the role of a “liaison” between the two communities look like?

I’d like to disclaim the fact that any wishes I express are not promises. I know some things I envision might not be feasible and might be based on wishful thinking. There may be limitations I don’t yet know of that could restrict what is and isn’t presently possible (or possible at all). I understand that.

That said, something that I would like to work towards is a more prominent OTW presence at international conventions. Development & Membership already currently provides information, flyers, and giveaways for people who are going to be at cons, including some outside the US. I would like to see this taken advantage of, taking into account the fact that our volunteers are based all over the world.

And a liaison, as I thought about the role when I wrote my manifesto would be a chair of sorts, for lack of a better term. Someone overseeing the communications between the OTW and a set community that they either already belong to or have a background that can help them easily become a part of, in order for things to be more fluid.

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