Transcript for Initial 2010 Candidate Chat

The following is a transcript of the OTW Board candidates’ chat, held at 2 am UTC 21 October 2010. Current Board member Rebecca Tushnet moderated the discussion; Hele Braunstein, Ira Gladkova, and Kristen Murphy attended; Francesca Coppa did not attend the chat.

To view a screenshot of the chat itself, follow this link.

Rebecca Tushnet

Does anyone have any questions they want to start with?
Okay, I’ll start! What do you most want to see the organization do in the coming three years?

Kristen Murphy

I’ll start, I guess…
I would really like to see our vidding projects, like the TO3, get up and running — because it will be AWESOME, and because it will broaden our inclusiveness and help us gain more support from within the vidding community.

Ira Gladkova

Oh yes!

Kristen Murphy

I think the things we’ve done so far with vidding have been really exciting, particularly some of the legal stuff that intersects with it
so we have good momentum there.
And I’d like for it to keep going and be really successful. 🙂

Ira Gladkova

Hear hear!

hele braunstein

yes!
the legal stuff has been awesome — at least from a non-legal person perspective

Ira Gladkova

May I pick up and ride on that?

Kristen Murphy

go for it. 🙂

Ira Gladkova

Thank you!

Ira Gladkova

I definitely echo this, Kristen — and I would so love a general expansion of multimedia interest, particularly multimedia support on the archive

Kristen Murphy

yes!

Ira Gladkova

I’m ridiculously excited about the archive’s potential to provide a home for a wide variety of fanworks, and I think wider multimedia support will also help broaden our fandom diversity

hele braunstein

that’s one of the most important aspects of it, for me
(of the multimedia support — we’re panfandom, but we could be much more so)

Ira Gladkova

Yes! This is super interesting to me — I’m really hoping we can bring in even more awesome fandoms, and even more fans from fandoms already on the archive but not as strongly represented
hele, I would love to hear more =D

hele braunstein

I would like to see all our tools/resources available in at least as many languages as we’ve translation teams, and the AO3 in particular in more languages than that (getting volunteers to translate that interface is easier than to do almost anything else). I would also like to see things like the Vidding projects acquire a more panfandom approach.
but that’s probably obvious, since I’m all about the translations >_<

Kristen Murphy

yay, translation!
I think another really important goal for the org has to be sustainability, because all these neat things we’re talking about will require server power and people power.

Ira Gladkova

Oh yes Kristen, good point

hele braunstein

indeed

Kristen Murphy

So we have to continue to be effective in getting the word out to potential supporters and volunteers, and also making our work as efficient as we can and taking good care of volunteers so they don’t burn out.

hele braunstein

perhaps here we should mention the money, given the drive in process 😛

Rebecca Tushnet

And if I can follow up on that–what are everyone’s ideas about outreach in particular? this can be an issue because there’s something of a norm of “don’t walk up to someone’s space on the internet and start pushing your agenda,” so it can be a hard line to toe.

hele braunstein

well, I think it really will depend on our volunteer base

Ira Gladkova

and the fandom cultures in question

hele braunstein

you can’t go in and offer your finished project and expect it to fit that fandom culture you were not taking into account before
we’ve a very varied volunteer base, but I’m not sure that’s impacting our structure as much as it should be — I would like to work on that, and hopefully get even more diversity in our volunteer base in the process

Ira Gladkova

That is an excellent point, hele
It’s reciprocal, a feedback loop
if we can focus on making great use of our existing volunteers to broaden the applicability of our project, we can hope to bring in more volunteers from more diverse fannish backgrounds

Kristen Murphy

yes
It would probably also help to know more about our current volunteer & supporter base.
I mean, there’s this perception that it’s largely journal-based, Western media fandom, etc., etc., but have we ever really surveyed people to know that for sure? I don’t think we have.
We need to find our unsung mailing-list denizens and harness their knowledge. 🙂

allison morris

(we tried to survey last drive, but ran out of time to do it exhaustively)

hele braunstein

well — that is an interesting idea, actually. I wonder how many of our volunteers are reaching out and bringing their own fandom culture into the org, and what’s happening in that process
like, say, tag wranglers is an excellent place to look for, since there are lots of things we vote about

Kristen Murphy

right. Word of mouth is one of our best promotional tools, and we don’t really know where all that word of mouth is reaching.

hele braunstein

I’m sure the impact of that diversity can be seen in the decisions there

Ira Gladkova

An active effort to know and welcome the diversity and backgrounds we already have would probably make volunteers from backgrounds that don’t fit the expected mold — however correct or not that perception is — feel more welcome to bring their different viewpoints into the org structure

Kristen Murphy

Yes, the tag wranglers are probably the most diverse group in the org.

hele braunstein

exactly, Ira

Kristen Murphy

yes
I think we could also try to take better advantage of that diversity in more cross-committee ways.

hele braunstein

how do you mean?

Kristen Murphy

Like, before a fund drive, we could ask all staff: who can reach out to X country? Who can reach out to mailing lists?

hele braunstein

ah, yes

Kristen Murphy

We may have contacts in communities we never even thought about.

Ira Gladkova

I’m almost certain we do

Megan Westerby

If I may be so bold — what about external outreach?

Ira Gladkova

Can you elaborate, Megan?

Kristen Murphy

external as in outside of fandom?

hele braunstein

please, be so. What do you mean by external?

Megan Westerby

heh
it sounds like we’re discussing exploring the demographics of our existing members — what about non-members?

hele braunstein

well, members and volunteers

Megan Westerby

or people who might be fannishly inclined but don’t think of themselves as ‘in fandom’
(labels make some people uncomfortable!)

Ira Gladkova

I think we were trying to think from ways to work from the inside out — but we definitely would want to reach further

hele braunstein

uhm, I think fannish people and fannish inclined people not in fandom would probably need to be reached out differently
but I think the reason we always think of our volunteers first is that there is a certain danger in coming to a community you know nothing about, with your project — it can be of no interest to them, or your approach can be all wrong (And even insulting!) and thus spoil any interest they may have
I think we’re all thinking on trying to get a sort of… insider perspective first, in each community

Ira Gladkova

Yes, I think so

hele braunstein

and besides — the project is defined by the volunteers that make it

Kristen Murphy

Yes – I think an organic approach is best for outreach within fandom.

hele braunstein

that’s why we’re by fans for fans — that holds true also for different parts of fandom or different fandoms

Kristen Murphy

For truly external outreach (outside fandom), I think our legal work and TWC are probably the best things to promote

Ira Gladkova

Yes, though even in those communities, it helps to have an inside approach

Megan Westerby

awesome! i know it’s a nebulous question — it’s a nebulous concept figuring out how to represent fandom!

Ira Gladkova

Academia is particular — to my knowledge; I admit straight off to knowing less of the legal community!

Kristen Murphy

likewise, Ira. 🙂

hele braunstein

I’m not even sure we will ever ‘represent fandom’, though we can be more inclusive of that nebulous concept 😛
and even those communities are not _one_ community
i.e. surely legal issues are different in different countries, for example

Kristen Murphy

right

Ira Gladkova

Representing: Ha, yes. And I know some people don’t want to be “represented”, either in general or by the OTW
and I think the best we can do there is make ourselves a resource
both for people working from the inside out, and for those looking from the outside in

hele braunstein

yeah, I think that’s what we are, ira — and after all, fandom as such doesn’t _need_ representation

Ira Gladkova

And backing up a bit — good point about international different in legal communities (and I assume, academic ones and other fandoms we’ve been discussing in an “external” sense)

hele braunstein

I’m really interested in the otw itself and its projects becoming more of a point of contact between the different parts or cultures in fandom

Ira Gladkova

(though again, it’s interesting to note that there is intersection, and a lot of it)
yes! hele!

hele braunstein

heeh

Rebecca Tushnet

I have a very different question, this one from my interviewing days: what is your style when dealing with a personnel issue (a volunteer who isn’t doing what she promised or has done something that needs to be corrected)?
again as an all volunteer organization that communicates almost entirely in text messages, we have special needs
and it’s hard to get right!

hele braunstein

what type of something that needs to be corrected? Like, a professional error in a translation, or a social/interpersonal issue?

Rebecca Tushnet

More the latter, though if your experience dealing with the former helps, then please talk about it.

hele braunstein

I’ve had lots of experience with the ‘not doing what she promised’ area in translation (not that my teams aren’t great, but we all have issues and volunteer work usually comes after school and family, etc)

Kristen Murphy

I think for me, it depends on whether it’s a one-time thing or a pattern of behavior. If someone is too swamped to meet a particular deadline, for example — well, that happens, especially in a volunteer org, and probably my approach would be to find help for that person so that the project still gets done, while trying not to make her feel too bad about it.
If it is a continuing pattern of failing to get things done, then I would talk with the person privately about it.

Ira Gladkova

I think one more important thing to consider, especially for social/interpersonal issue, is to check our assumptions — it might be a different way of social interaction
we’re a diverse group, and sometimes we have to learn each other that way

Kristen Murphy

yes

hele braunstein

Usually, I contact the team or member, and try to find out why it is and if it’s something I can fix — like, say, the original text is not comprehensible or has a really difficult to translate tone — and then do it. If not, then I try to get a realistic prediction on the outcome (i.e. find out if the volunteer wants to quit but hasn’t felt up to talking about it, or is just very busy at the moment)
it’s volunteer work, and we can’t force people to do it. Make them feel guilty about it is not only bad for the person, but also doesn’t work; we can only work around it

Kristen Murphy

Yes. If someone’s having trouble keeping up, I try to offer alternative ways they could stay involved with less

hele braunstein

exactly

Ira Gladkova

thirded!
and returning to your earlier point about burnout
we have to take care of each other

Kristen Murphy

yes

Ira Gladkova

We wouldn’t be in this is we didn’t have love to share, and it’s a tremendous insult to imply that that love is not enough. Learning more about our volunteers (as already discussed, if in even more dimensions) and being aware of the variety of work in the org
can help us find best fits for different skill sets, ways of interacting, and amounts of time and resources available

hele braunstein

yep — also, appreciating the work they (we!) do

Megan Westerby

::holds up an ‘i am not a number!’ sign happily::

Kristen Murphy

🙂

hele braunstein

translators for example, do an enormous amount of work, and it isn’t the kind of thing you get lots of kudos from outside — acknowledging they’re working a lot is essential, because otherwise it can really feel like it’s all kinda pointless

Ira Gladkova

which is so so so far from the truth!
oh gosh
translating!
There are a number of committees whose work is like that — volcom comes to mind

Kristen Murphy

yes!

hele braunstein

yes!
They’re awesome

Ira Gladkova

Haha, oh gosh, suddenly I want appreciation parties for all the committees
throughout the year
it’s volcom appreciation week! go tell the translation folk they are awesome; it’s their week!

Kristen Murphy

Communications used to do “spotlight” posts on the different committees and their work; perhaps it would be fun to start that up again.

hele braunstein

heeh

Ira Gladkova

Our last party was awesome; obviously I want more >.>

hele braunstein

it _was_ cool

Rebecca Tushnet

I promised an hour, so I want to make sure that no one is hesitating to ask a question–Bueller?

allison morris

(insider info! io is all over this! they are going to restart the spotlights!)

Ira Gladkova

(omg yes!)

Kristen Murphy

(yay!)

hele braunstein

that could also help with transparency, Kristen

Kristen Murphy

yes, hele, and with recruitment

hele braunstein

(cool!)

Ira Gladkova

definitely

Rebecca Tushnet

Okay, thank you so much for coming!

Ira Gladkova

Thank you for hosting!
and asking =D

Kristen Murphy

Thanks!

hele braunstein

what Ira said

OTW 2010 Board Candidates and Election News

The OTW is happy to announce that we have four highly qualified candidates who have stepped forward to fill the three seats open on the Board this year. In alphabetical order by family name, they are: Hele Braunstein, Francesca Coppa, Ira Gladkova, and Kristen Murphy. Their personal statements will be available on the OTW Elections website.

We have scheduled two one-hour chats with the candidates, open to all of our members and to the public. They will be held in the OTW public chatroom, accessible at this link: https://fanarchive.campfirenow.com/28473

The first chat will be at 2 am UTC 21 October (What time is that where I live?), and the second will be at 9 pm UTC 24 October (What time is that where I live?). If you are unable to attend but have questions for the candidates, we encourage you to submit them via our contact form to our elections officer, Rebecca Tushnet, who will present them on your behalf.

Election voting will run from noon UTC on 17 November (What time is that where I live?) to noon UTC on 19 November (What time is that where I live?). Voting is restricted to current OTW members; this includes anyone who has made a donation of US$10 or more between 1 October 2009 and 24 October 2010. To renew your membership, visit http://transformativeworks.org/how-you-can-help/support.

Further information can be found on the OTW Election website.

Election 2009 News!

And now for (some of) the news you’ve all been waiting for: the details of the OTW’s 2009 Election Season!

We have great news for you: two fabulous people are joining the OTW Board! Because only two candidates came forward, we won’t be holding a contested election this year. However, they are both awesome and eminently qualified for Board service. Without further ado, let’s introduce them!


Elizabeth Yalkut is a student at Columbia University in New York City. She has worked in development, marketing, and strategy for nonprofit legal and theater organizations, is a long-time American Civil Liberties Union volunteer, and currently works for the Educational Technology department at Barnard College. Elizabeth has been a staffer with the OTW since 2007 and has been particularly instrumental on our Content Policy committee, where she helped to research, write, and publicly workshop our complex, fan-friendly, and highly-readable AO3 Terms of Service as well as general policy documents across the OTW. She also serves as a member of our Development committee, and was asked, as someone intimately familiar with Archive policy, to chair our Abuse committee at the beginning of 2009. Food is one of her fandoms: Elizabeth blogs about food at A Very Uncommon Cook, serves as treasurer of the Columbia University Science Fiction Society, and currently enjoys the hell out of Merlin, Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Elizabeth plans to work on outreach (organizational, fannish, international), accessibility, and education during her term on the Board.

Allison Morris works in a public library as a public services supervisor and has a BA in Japanese Literature from the University of Michigan. An OTW staffer for two years, Allison currently chairs the OTW Webmasters committee, which is responsible for building and maintaining all of transformativeworks.org, including the OTW blog, donations software, Open Doors subsite, and elections subsite; this requires her to work closely with the Drupal and CiviCRM open source software communities, as well as with people involved in a broad selection of OTW projects. This year, Allison also serves as co-lead with the Tag Wranglers subcommittee and heads the cross-committee Merchandizing workgroup which organized and is carrying out the OTW’s new donation premiums. A lifelong fan, Allison is particularly interested in not only works that transform canon but also fanworks that honor the work of other fans and transform other fanworks, like remixes, podfic, recs, and meta, among other fan arts. She has been a devoted creator and advocate of podfic; she built and maintains the Audiofic archive, providing a stable, permanent home for a constantly growing collection of podfic — currently ~3700 recordings covering ~290 fandoms, including readings in five languages — and she has conducted several podfic workshops at cons. She has many theories concerning robots, clones, and John Sheppard, and has presented on those and related subjects at WisCon and Writercon, as well as informally to whomever will listen.

Allison plans to work on increasing the OTW’s profile among technical women’s organizations as well as on creating a grantwriting team.


We would like for all of you to get to experience their awesomeness yourselves (or bask in it again, if you’ve already met them) and to ask questions about the details of the experience and ambition they bring to the table. They are your Board members – come say “Hi!” To this end, we’ll be hosting a chat at 1400 UTC on 24 October 2009.

Time clock for this event is here:
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?month=10&day=24&year=2009&hour=14&min=0&sec=0&p1=0

The chat will take place in our Public Discussion room on Campfire, which can be accessed via this URL:

https://fanarchive.campfirenow.com/28473

Alas, the tea and coffee we can provide will be only virtual, but you are welcome to bring your own mug to the computer.

Although we didn’t get to hold a competitive election this year, we are delighted to have attracted two such marvelous new Board members. Welcome, Elizabeth and Allison!

If there’s anything we didn’t cover here that you’re concerned about, or if you want any more information, please respond to this with any questions, comments, or objections you may have. You can reach Elections by leaving a comment on this blog post or any of its mirrors, or by using the Elections contact form; you can reach the Board by leaving a comment on this post or its mirrors, or by using the Board contact form.

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Upcoming OTW Events: Membership Drive (October) and Election (November)

The OTW will be holding its next membership drive from October 11 to October 18, 2009. This is important for many reasons (not least of which is our continued need for your support!) but please note that should we happen to have a contested OTW Board election this November (i.e. more declared candidates than open seats), you must be a member of the OTW in good standing by October 18, 2009. That means you need to have made a membership donation of at least US$10 in the last year, or since October 19, 2008.

You can, of course, become an OTW member at any time, and we will always accept your donations! But if you’re not a member and want the option to vote in a potential election, please be sure to join the OTW before the end of our October drive.

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Election Season Begins

Election season is upon us! Two seats are opening on the Board at the end of this term, and the polls are scheduled to open November 18.

If you want to vote: You’ll need to be a paid member of the OTW by October 18, one month before the election.

If you want to run: You’ll need to have served a full term of committee service in the two terms prior to the election. Current and former staffers considering running should contact elections via our web form by September 23.

If you want to know more: Thanks to the Webmasters committee, our Elections site is live. Here you’ll find the complete Elections FAQ, information on our tabulation system, and the timelines for candidacy, campaigning, election, and Board turnover.

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