[Note: There will be 3 Q&A posts total, covering all the topics brought up during the user-submitted Q&A period. Candidates were limited to 300 words per answer.]
Follow up question regarding OTW projects: What kinds of projects would you support allocating budget towards? How would you propose allocating & using the OTW budget?
I have touched on this during the first set of Q&As, which you can read here.
I believe that the OTW should use its budget for more servers, low-risk investments, and paying for services needed for Org committees to do their work. The low-risk investments will help in developing sustainable sources of income for the OTW, which will be necessary to have paid staff in the future. The work to develop the framework to hire personnel to support our volunteers is underway, but it is likely to be many years before we are in a position to hire anyone. Before we do, we must have room in our budget to pay them adequately. In the meantime, I think the OTW should continue hiring contractors as needed, after a scope of work is firmly established by the committees the contractor(s) will be working with.
Would you support a rule that once a user is suspended for a TOS violation they cannot later be suspended for a violation occurring previously? With sometimes hundreds of fictions, a user cannot always catch previous violations. If a user is currently behaving is it fair to punish them?
This question firmly falls into the Policy & Abuse Committee’s (PAC) territory and thus I would defer to them. PAC has the most experience in matters such as these, and its staff are trained to handle this question and related situations.
Unlike many other organizations/companies, the OTW’s Board was not created to develop rules that its committees (like PAC) then have to follow. Instead, Board is here to help guide discussion, interface between committees if needed, and sign documents. Board can give opinions or guidance but will not make decisions on behalf of committees – decisions and direction are left to the individual committees and their chairs. In general, if needed, Board can host a discussion, but in this case, this is clearly a PAC decision, and Board should not intervene. Additionally, as a Board candidate, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this case without knowing the full context.
Do you intend on finding a solution to the problem of smut written about real children being hosted on Ao3?
This is not against the Archive’s Terms of Service (“TOS”), which I (and all other registered users) agree to abide by. (You can review the TOS here.) “Smut written about real children” is not against the TOS as the TOS specifically refers to “images of real children” and not to fiction written about them; fiction written about real children is not against the TOS. Additionally, this content is legal under United States law, which is the legal system that AO3 follows.
The OTW’s vision states that: We envision a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal … We are proactive and innovative in protecting and defending our work from … legal challenge. We … provid[e] the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans.
I understand that there is content on the Archive that can be triggering or upsetting to some users, but the Archive and the Organization is committed to maintaining maximum inclusiveness of content, and I am committed to upholding the OTW’s values.
Are you familiar with the history of AO3 and are you committed to protecting the freedoms it provides even if you personally find specific content on the site triggering or immoral?
I believe in the freedom of speech and in the power and validity of transformative works, even ones I may personally find “icky” (Gaiman). I believe that we, the OTW, must defend all freedom of speech (or freedom of creation, in the Org’s case) to make sure that we are also protecting any material that could potentially be objectionable to others. I am heartened to know that I stand with others who believe the same, such as author Neil Gaiman (read his lengthy post about this very topic here, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF).
The OTW follows the laws of the United States, which includes the First Amendment/Freedom of Speech. On this subject, Gaiman says, “With all its faults, the US has Freedom of Speech. The First Amendment states that you … can … write what you like, and know that the remedy to someone … writing or showing something that offends you is not to read it…”
Returning to the Archive specifically, I believe that the only content that should be investigated to be potentially removed from the Archive is material that violates the TOS, such as plagiarized material. I absolutely stand with the OTW against anything that could cause another situation where fannish creators are ousted from their online homes due to someone else finding their content “icky”. (You may also like to review my answer to the previous question.) The Archive and the OTW are committed to making sure that this does not happen again, as am I.
[Note: All questions from members and candidate responses appear in the form they were submitted and represent only the views of the individual who wrote them. Questions and responses are not endorsed by the Organization for Transformative Works.]