Michelle Schroeder: Michelle has been in fandom for a little over fifteen years now. Their first fandom was Harry Potter, which led to more and more fandoms and eventually to AO3. They joined the AO3 Documentation committee in 2016, and then the Tag Wrangling and Support committees in 2017. They currently spend most of their time working at an arcade, doing committee work, or reading whatever they can get their hands on – and sometimes all three at the same time!
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
Ever since I found out about the existence of fandom, I have always been an enthusiastic participant in it, and so running for election and getting the opportunity to help give back to the community is an exciting prospect for me. When I first started volunteering with the OTW, most of my experience was with Archive of Our Own (AO3) as both a reader and a writer. I’ve learned a lot about the OTW’s projects in the year and a half I’ve been a volunteer, and I’m always eager to learn even more about everything and help out where I can.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
From my time as a volunteer, I bring a lot of familiarity with the AO3 side of the OTW, as well as a love of documentation and helping users. With my fellow AO3 Documentation staff, I help create and edit tutorials and FAQs, and as a member of the Support committee, I answer user questions more directly. Outside of the OTW, I have a degree in business and accounting, which has given me a solid foundation of knowledge in non-profits, business law, and taxation, as well as the American financial system. I also have a lot of experience in absorbing and organizing information in both an academic and a business context, which I think will be useful for day-to-day 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?
One goal I’d like to work towards is increased internal documentation. I think it’s important to create and maintain a knowledge base for each committee, especially where most of the current knowledge rests with one person. It would also be great to have discussions happening between committees to help spread information, and having documentation written down and stored somewhere accessible to other Organization members is a huge first step towards that. As a member of the AO3 Documentation committee, I think I have a good amount of experience in this area to pull from as I help the OTW work towards this goal.
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’m a huge fan of all the work Translation does, and as a fan, I also really admire the Open Doors committee and their mission. Since all three of the committees I currently volunteer with focus completely on AO3 instead of the OTW as a whole, I’d love to branch out and learn more about committees like Fanlore or Transformative Works and Cultures, neither of which I interact with very frequently as part of my day-to-day volunteering.
In regards to collaboration, I think the best way to find out how to support and strengthen committees I’m not familiar with is to let them tell me what they need and take that into account, so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with all the committees as needed.
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?
I’m running for Board in part because I feel like I have the time and energy right now to add Board responsibilities to my current volunteering roles. In addition, I’m confident I have the time management skills to be able to keep up with the increased workload without issue. If it does become necessary, I am willing to take a step back and reevaluate my commitments, which may result in taking a hiatus or retiring from one of my committees so that I can give Board work my all.