[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.]
What are a couple of major issues that you know the OTW Board struggles or has struggled with, and how would you personally act to avoid them if elected?
Indeed, the Board has a lot of challenges right now. One of them is communications. Since OTW’s members are everywhere in the world, communications can be very hard. When we want to address something promptly, we always have to wait for a day or two for others at a different timezone to see it. Also, everyone is working as a volunteer, we cannot expect people to be online 24 hours per day. In this case, I would typically reach out as soon as possible to allow extra time. I will also ensure I follow up on the discussion on any subject.
Another big challenge is security issues associated with the hacking incident earlier this year. If I were elected to the position, I will work with the chairs and other Board members to better protect the safety and well-being of our volunteers.
What do you feel is the area where the OTW is currently most lacking, and what plans or ideas do you have for improvement in that area?
I feel like OTW is lacking some support for its volunteers. For example, during and after the attack, volunteers have been having a lot of hardships coping with what has happened. If there is mental support provided to the volunteers, that would help us overcome the mental hardships it has caused. If I were elected, I would create a group that aims to provide mental support to our volunteers. In addition to that, extra security measures might also want to be considered. For example, VPN may be a good idea to avoid being hacked by malicious hackers.
The Board’s lack of executive control over all aspects of OTW operations has always severely limited its internal power. How do you think the Board should act if there are strong disagreements with a committee chair’s vision for a task or project?
I believe that the chairs are more experienced in specific matters. Communication is the key here. The Board needs to consider the opinions of the chairs, and we are mutually respectful to each other. I would want to be on good terms with the parties, so I can prepare beforehand for the best way to talk to them. I will also discuss with other Board members to make sure something effective takes place when strong disagreements occur. We will figure out whether we should take the opinion of the chairs or persuade the chairs otherwise, as it is going to be different for every situation.
The board appears to be reverting back to 2015 and is once again pushing out volunteers and chairs that they don’t agree with and/or get along with. How would you support fairness and impartiality in handling personnel issues if you noticed fellow board members being neither fair nor impartial.
I am sure the situation is not going back to being like what has happened before. Before 2015, it looked like people were unsure of what to expect as board members. Thus, what happened just happened. Now, we have volunteers and board members that are more mature and experienced. Fairness should be protected. To answer this question, if I ever notice this situation happening again, I will try my best to facilitate communication between the parties and figure out the best next steps. Please also let us know how board members violate the policies for not being fair. Finally, I wanted to mention that the board members are elected to the positions on a three-year term. We have to respect the rules and this is also part of fairness.
Earlier this year the OTW’s volunteers got targeted in a malicious attack. What do you think should be changed to keep something like this from happening in the future?
The first thing we can do is to update the progress every couple of days to volunteers. As a volunteer myself, I was unsure of what happened until later. So I wanted to be updated on what has happened and what we have done to fix the issue. In addition, as mentioned in the last answer, VPN is a good idea. Also, security measures like multi-factor authentication when logging into ticketing tool are helpful. I do not think what we have right now is enough for everyone who works here. If we want to take one step further, we can hire an information security officer that gives us security advice. However, I am sure that we will have to discuss the details together.
Do you think OTW needs to improve external transparency? For instance I’ve seen people who think the recent appointment of a volunteer to find a Diversity Consultant means there was no work done on the subject before that appointment, which as an internal volunteer I know isn’t true.
Yes, we should improve external transparency. I think it is a good idea to listen to internal volunteers’ opinions and voices every once in a while, so we do not miss any important social events and changes. Then, we can discuss the best next steps. We will also discuss with the Communications committee to see the best way to let the public know the progress.
Do you think moving towards hiring employees is a key structural priority for the OTW? If not, why not? If so, what do you think is a major obstacle keeping this from happening?
I think it is an important part of the next steps for OTW. Currently, we are at our maximum capacity for development. There are a lot of potential new features that we cannot do. To provide our users with a better product and experience, we will need to get more help from professional developers. In other areas, it is also a good idea to hire professionals as we grow.
The major obstacle to getting this might be due to legal restrictions. It is hard to get a contract ready in the country where a potential candidate is residing. Also, additional labor and time are needed to prepare these documents, arrange accounting details, give interviews, and so on.
[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.]