Michelle Schroeder 2018 Q&A: Group 3

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

9. What is something nice that you can say about your colleagues that you’re running with/against?

I am super excited about all of the candidates I’m running with!

I really appreciate Lex’s passion for the OTW and its mission, and his willingness to take on any task that needs doing.

I also really like Natalia’s platform, especially her goals of making the OTW’s projects more accessible to non-English speakers and protecting all transformative fanworks.

Additionally, I’m a big fan of Ryan’s experience with different committees, which gives him a better big-picture view of the OTW than I have, and gives him a lot of valuable information about the administrative side of things.

In short, I think all my fellow candidates are wonderful! I’d be glad to see any of them win the election, and proud to work alongside any of them should I be elected as well.

10. A frequent complaint in today’s fandom is that AO3 should be more restrictive with regards to its content, or offer users more ways to avoid content they don’t want to see. What do you think the OTW board’s role should be regarding this?

In my experience, AO3 already offers plenty of ways to avoid content they don’t want to see, and the recent changes to the filtering system have made it even easier to hide unwanted content. Even so, I don’t think the Board’s role should be overstated here. The decision would be up to the AO3-based committees, who would be able to say what is and isn’t possible within the Archive’s limitations, communicate to users about how content is tagged, and continue making new canonical tags as needed.

As for the first part of this question, I definitely don’t see a need to make the Archive more restrictive in terms of content. AO3 was designed to be an Archive for all non-commercial, non-ephemeral fannish works, regardless of quality, content, or number of spelling errors.

11. If elected, would you consider making suicide an official archive warning, since this can be massively triggering for many, many people?

Like the previous question, I feel that this is not something that’s strictly a Board decision—it would be up to the AO3-based committees to discuss necessity and implementation. While I understand and sympathize with the users who find suicide to be triggering, the four core archive warnings were never meant to be an all-encompassing list, and at this time I don’t believe there are plans to add to them.

Suicide is a canonical freeform tag on the Archive, and can be filtered out of any searches with the Search Within Results field as long as users continue to tag their works appropriately. Filtering out the core archive warnings of Graphic Depictions of Violence and Major Character Death would also likely help, since they should cover many works containing suicide.

Of course, if users would like more help in filtering out offensive content, they’re always welcome to contact the Support committee, where I and the other volunteers on the committee will do our best to help them.

12. Considering the on-going problems with the archive, how will you ensure that the OTW’s resources are directed to a comprehensive and sustainable solution for the archive?

While the Archive is the most visible of the OTW’s projects, I think it’s important to remember that there are other projects under the OTW umbrella, and that we can’t devote all of our resources to AO3. On the other hand, we do need to maintain the Archive, which is growing exponentially each year. I’d love to help with sustaining its growth however I can, whether that’s helping to test issues that are waiting to be deployed, trying to help work with different committees to find ways to spread the load among the existing servers, or approving the purchase of new hardware or services to help stabilize the Archive.

However, as noted in our May Downtime Report, most of the problems were due to the Archive not running on full strength at the time. Now that the Elasticsearch upgrade is complete, ideally everything will stabilize. If not, again, I’d be happy to talk to the committees involved to see what they’d need from Board to help.