Jessie Camboulives graduated from the Sorbonne Law School, and is currently working towards an LL.M. in Digital Law. She discovered fandom in 2007 with Harry Potter fanfiction, but since then she has become a fandom hoarder, with a current passion for Overwatch and Yuri!!! On Ice. Jessie joined the OTW as a French translation volunteer in 2015, after stumbling on one of Legal’s news posts. She is now serving as a tag wrangler and Support staff, where she works to ensure that AO3 users have the best possible experience on the site.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
My current situation, both in my work life and personal life, is at a point where I can dedicate more time to the OTW. After discussing their work with the current Board members, I realized that I have skills that could help them overcome both the issues they’re currently facing, and the ones they are prepared to tackle moving forwards.
Over the past two years, our environment has improved tremendously, but there is still work to be done, and I wish to help the Board’s continued efforts. I believe that the work I’ve done in the organization so far has given me an interesting perspective on our issues, and that I can make a meaningful contribution to their solutions, especially as far as documentation and team cohesion are concerned.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
I have been working freelance for publishing houses for a few years, which has allowed me to learn how to deal with often punishing deadlines, and strict project requirements. My studies have also taught me how to write comprehensive documentation, and approach problems in a thorough and creative manner, which is an important part of Board work.
As for my experience in the OTW, I have been lucky enough to work in several committees, and to interact with most of the others through collaborative work. This has given me a broad understanding of the organization’s internal workings and goals, both from a volunteer’s and a staffer’s points of view. During my stay in Translation, I learned how to manage team expectations, and how to work efficiently with other members of the OTW despite any cultural differences. I’m also constantly in touch with AO3 users through Support work—it’s given me a window into the issues they face, and taught me to consider and address their feedback. These experiences should be valuable, as dealing with criticism and answering concerns is a major part of Board work.
3. Choose one or two goals for the OTW that are important to you and that you would be interested in working on during your term. Why do you value these goals? How would you work with others to achieve them?
- Creating a solid structure for knowledge retention. Currently, our institutional memory mostly exists in the minds of people who have been working with the OTW for several years. This means that our structure relies on linchpins, many of whom will leave the organization at one point or another, or simply may not be in a position to communicate their knowledge to the relevant people. We need to work on knowledge transfer, to ensure that information is easily and readily accessible. I believe that Board needs to identify and work with key members to create a reliable knowledge base, and ensure that we keep moving forward instead of repeating the same mistakes.
- Working out processes for volunteer and staffer supervision, and removal in case of inactivity. The online nature of the OTW means that many committees struggle with unresponsive volunteers and staffers. At some point, some of them had more inactive members than actual working people, which seriously compromised their ability to function, and overworked existing members. Currently, the processes to supervise and remove volunteers, if needed, are very inconsistent. A few committees, like Translation, have figured out some ways to mitigate the issue, but most of our structure is still vulnerable. Considering the growth of the organization and of its projects, it’s becoming increasingly important to iron out a way to keep an eye on the actual numbers of working personnel, and remove unresponsive people. Board should work with chairs to help them create a structure to monitor their personnel, and ensure that we don’t end up with another ghost committee.
4. What is your experience with the OTW’s projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them? Try to include a range of projects, though feel free to emphasize particular ones you have experience with.
I discovered the OTW through the work of our Legal Advocacy project, which is something I am still dearly invested in as a Digital Law student. The committee in charge does a fantastic job at managing itself, and I believe that the best thing Board can do for them is listening to their requests, and allowing them to move forward independently. In much the same way, TWC is rather self-reliant. I confess that I haven’t looked at every article they have published, but the ones I read are a testament to the quality of the work they produce, which is why I believe that Board should simply focus on giving them the tools they need to work autonomously.
AO3 and Open Doors are the projects that I’ve worked with, and used the most. As a wrangler and Support staffer, I access AO3 pretty much every day, but I also do spend a lot of time on the website simply enjoying the works published there, or rescued by our archivists. Many committees are involved in keeping AO3 up and running, and its well-being depends on a wide variety of jobs. To support these projects, Board needs to understand the diversity in our committees’ culture and needs, and be willing to provide an individualized care to each of them, while keeping the big picture in mind.
5. How would you balance your Board work with other roles in the OTW, or how do you plan to hand over your current roles to focus on Board work?
My schedule has cleared up recently, which is why I considered running in the first place. I don’t believe that Board work will interfere with my current roles in the OTW; on the contrary, I think that Board members can always benefit from keeping in touch with the organization’s daily routine. That being said, if it becomes necessary, I can step down from my current roles without putting too much strain on my teammates, and co-wranglers.