Laure D. 2021 Q&A: OTW Projects

[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?

Most of the budget goes to maintaining the AO3, and especially the servers where it’s hosted, and I think it should stay this way for now.

I also think budget allocating should adapt to the needs of each committee and project, which are extensively discussed by the Board each year.

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?

I can see the appeal of such a rule. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would be feasible. As it’s stated in the question itself, it’s virtually impossible to catch all the violations in the middle of hundreds (or more) of fics for us as well.

It’s also not something that we do: we don’t filter works as they arrive on AO3 (that would be literally impossible, and also counter our archiving mission), and we don’t hunt for violations. Our Policy & Abuse committee intervenes only when a work is reported by a user to check what actions are needed.

Do you intend on finding a solution to the problem of smut written about real children being hosted on Ao3?

I think a previous Board candidate already wrote what’s my stance on such questions: “A cornerstone of the AO3 is to be inclusive of all legal content, as defined by US law, no matter how offensive or upsetting I personally might find it. The OTW is at its most basic level an anti-censorship organisation. As long as a fan abides by the AO3 Terms of Service and the work is legal in the USA, doesn’t constitute harassment and is properly tagged, they will receive the same protection as anyone else. I might hate any given work, but regardless, the Archive was created for exactly that reason.”

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’ve learned a lot about AO3’s history since joining the OTW, and it’s been amazing to discover how it was founded and how it evolved over the years.
As stated in the previous answer, keeping AO3 as open and inclusive as possible is important to me. But protecting users thanks to notably the tag system, comment regulating features and a solid TOS is also in focus, and I’d like to see us continue improving on this.

[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.]

At the request of the candidate, this post has been edited to remove personally identifiable information.