James Beal 2016 Q&A: Group 1

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

1. What goal or mission from the other candidates do you most agree with and would you also like to see implemented?

Both Kristina and Priscilla support moving work from the Board to the Finance committee. Internally we have already seen improvements since the reforming of the committee. Appointing a CPA should definitely be a priority. Having a single person who is always required to make payments has been an issue in the past and I believe reforming the Finance committee will improve on this.

2. The OTW Board has a long history of well-meaning people becoming disconnected from the Org and its committees, and getting caught up in dramatics, which reflects badly on the Org as a whole and is counterproductive. While the Board has had the chance to start with a clean slate this year, these problems are quite typical for non-profit organisations. What is your strategy to avoid ending up with a situation like late 2015 again?

I would plan to remain on both the committees I am a member of (though with a reduced workload), this would personally help me stay connected to the org as a whole. One thing I have noticed with the new Board is that they have continued to frequent the shared communication channels that the org has, which was not the case with the previous Board. I believe this helps the new Board continue to be connected to the org.

One of the strategies would be to ask the Elections committee to devise a method for the membership to recall a director, which is covered under article 5, section 12, sentence 1 (“Any Director may be removed from office, with or without cause, by a vote of the majority of Members at a meeting duly called for that purpose at any time.)”. While there is potential for this to be abused, we need to have an established process before it is needed.

3. Both James and Kristina mention that there are several committees struggling to move forward with their goals, because they’re too busy staying afloat. What would be your strategy to identify these committees, identify their largest problem areas and get them moving forward again?

I believe that the committees know if they are under pressure and will have a good idea of where they are having problems. The Board needs to ensure that there is a culture of being willing to ask for help. There have in the past been committees that have nearly disappeared, so there needs to be some kind of check-in periodically. However, this needs to be a light touch.

One thought I do have is that this question poses the idea that the Board should be the one to help directly. While I do see that the Board is the last line of support, it seems to me that committees such as Volunteers & Recruitment and Strategic Planning have a part to play here too. We should be trying to move the board to a role where they are less involved in day to day operations and more focused on big-picture concerns and steering the organisation.

4. James was the only candidate who mentioned Internationalisation of the Archive. Why isn’t this a priority for the other candidates? While this is obviously a long term project consisting of many variables and steps, that shouldn’t mean no progress should be made. What small step forward in this process do you think achievable during your term on Board?

I must point out that Priscilla as one of the chairs of the Translation committee has helped already in the small steps we have made.

While the Board might suggest prioritising the internationalisation of AO3 and provide resources to further these priorities, how it’s implemented is up to the committees who will be doing the work (e.g. Accessibility, Design & Technology and Translation). However, as an AD&T staff member, I can tell you that translated email notifications are likely to be the first step. Some of that code has already been written, but the reviewing and testing process is currently focused on infrastructure upgrades needed to keep the Archive running.

We would hope to allow users to specify which locale ( language ) they wish to receive email in in the next year and continue to allowing the interface to be internationalised over time hopefully to be complete by the end of 2020.