Nikisha Sanders 2015 Q&A: Other Questions, Group 2

When Elections was ordered to remove Nikisha Sanders from the 2015 Election ballot, the committee was told to erase all information about her candidacy from the website. However, Elections firmly feels that there is no situation in which candidates, whether former or current, should be silenced or erased from Election information. As in all circumstances, Elections’ policy is to only edit and/or post candidate-written information with candidate permission. Therefore, with Sanders’ permission, we have posted the Q&A responses she completed prior to her removal.

Can you say something positive about three of your fellow candidates?

Any time I’ve crossed paths with Katarina, she has been unfailingly kind and thoughtful with the people around her. Aline has a talent for asking hard questions and for investing the time to seek solutions to those problems. Atiya has a wicked sense of humor that comes out in relaxed conversations and that helps ease the stress of some of the work we’ve all done. While I find all of their manifestos and bios interesting, these are the qualities I think of first with each of them, the reasons I’ve enjoyed working alongside them, and things that I think will get them through the harder parts of serving on the Board.

A lot of the current problems seem to come back to a lack of scalability, especially with the massive growth of the Archive. A) What are your short-term plans to make this growth spurt work, B) What are your long term plans to avoid this problem in the future, when there’s another massive increase (of traffic, users, and/or fanworks etc.), a.k.a what structural changes would you strive for to make the OTW, and especially the Archive more sustainable.
In the short-term, doing a deep assessment between Board, Coders, and Systems about what the Archive will need in the next three to five years would be a priority. That is where the greatest growth has been, both in sheer need of staff and in expenses. Concurrent with the assessment, I would want to work with DevMem to build a solid fundraising plan, incorporating other revenue sources beyond the two annual drives, to make sure we can afford the infrastructure and machinery changes needed.

In the long-term, or even medium-term, I want to see us put more money behind paid contractors to take on work that can’t be accomplished by our current volunteers, with a preference for hiring from within those volunteers before outsourcing. This applies across the org, not only in reference to AO3, because some of the committees are struggling with staff recruitment and retention and heavily increased or increasing workloads.

Approving and beginning implementation of the strategic plan will address other issues of scalability across the org by improving documentation, identifying gaps in staffing and training, and laying out roadmaps for each of our significant program areas.

Whenever internationalisation is brought up in relation to fandom, I often hear the argument that it’s not needed yet, since there isn’t an “insert country/language/non-English fandom” presence in the OTW/on the Archive. Personally I feel like this is a chicken/egg situation. Is the OTW/AO3 so American/English language focussed because there isn’t enough of a non-English fandom interest, or is there no interest because there’s not enough non-American/English accommodation?

A) Where do you fall on this? What should come first?

B) If the next growth spurt is of a non-English, different fandom culture nature, how will you accommodate that?

I don’t think there’s a lack of interest in the Archive, but a lack of accessibility and awareness. My understanding is, in part, that the Archive is so English-language focused because a translation interface would take a significant investment of staff time that we’ve not had available. That’s something can be addressed and prioritized more directly, but it is ultimately up to the teams working on the Archive to determine the best way to make that happen. They know their capacities better than anyone else. They also are the best ones to determine how to accommodate any growth spurts for the Archive. I would say the same for each of our projects, that expanding their work to accommodate varying definitions of internationalization–because they seem to differ depending on the people involved–is something best decided by those committees leading the projects.