[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.]
Can you name a skill that you consider relevant for a board member, but that you consider a personal weakness?
I try to go above and beyond to get the maximum out of life, even though it brings unexpected changes. I noticed many people do not like making changes in real life, but I believe this will be a useful skill as a board member.
A good example is my career change after university. I secured a job that was irrelevant to what I had studied in college but was interesting to me. My family and friends were surprised that I did not follow the traditional career path. How I got the job was also something that I did not plan for: I reached out to the company at the career fair, asked for an interview, and got the job. I still work in the same industry, and it has been a fulfilling journey with no regret. I believe it is really important to reach out to new possibilities and embrace them. If I were elected to be a board member, I would not be afraid to initiate changes and try different things.
What aspect of your OTW experience so far have you found most frustrating?
The most frustrating experience so far is the communication among its volunteers. Our organization has volunteers worldwide, so it is difficult to get a speedy answer. Usually, I have to wait patiently. In most cases, I have to set reminders to follow up after one or two days, so I do not disturb my colleagues. Keeping up with everyone has been a very tedious process overall. The good part is that I learned much while working for the organization and got better at managing all the upcoming tasks.
Share the story of a negative experience you’ve had in the OTW as a volunteer and what you’ve learned from it.
The volunteers at our organization have faced hatred attacks during the past few months. I would say that is a very good example of a negative experience. I would say the hatred from people who do not like what we do is the most hurtful part.
I have always felt “not safe” since I started to participate in the fanfiction community. I was too afraid to let others know and worried about being seen as a strange person. That may be why many fanfiction writers and readers never talk about their hobby with other people they know in real life. As a writer and volunteer at the organization, I receive criticism very frequently. Sometimes, the harsh criticism turns into hatred. It was hard to absorb such negative feedback at first, but now I feel more encouraged and confident, embracing the other half of my imperfect me. These negative experiences do not discourage me as much as they once did. Now, I am sure of what I want to accomplish and what I can do.
How are the works on these platforms important to you, and how do you plan to monitor what content they contain?
These fanworks on our platforms are very important to me personally. How I started my fanfiction journey is a story that never gets old, as I have told many people around me. When I was in high school, I had a difficult time for a while moving from one country to another. My only hobby was reading and writing fanfiction. One day, I failed a big exam and became very depressed. Then, I saw this piece of work on AO3. It was about a girl writing a letter to her future self. Even to this day, I still remember vividly the power and inspiration it has given me over these years. That was probably the first moment ever for me to realize how the Organization for Transformative Works is making a difference in people’s lives.
To monitor the content, I think it is very hard to give a thorough answer in a few sentences. In general, it is more difficult than I thought it would be to monitor all the work. The debate of how to properly monitor the content on the internet might have started on day one when the internet was invented. If I were elected to this position, I would spend more time with the Policy and Abuse Committee and the Legal Committee members and help them create new policies that retain the freedom we already have and at the same time cope with the changes that have happened after the Terms of Service’s creation.
Board work often entails drafting emotionally fraught or tense e-mails, posts and messages — sometimes under pressure from a write-in campaign or a flood of heavy criticism. Do you have experience in communicating under pressure? What challenges do you foresee for yourself in a scenario like this?
During the past several years, I learned to be more patient and creative when dealing with angry or aggressive stakeholders. To answer the question, yes, I have this kind of experience. Three years ago, I volunteered as a technical support person for one organization close to my place. Our clients included underprivileged people in the local area. It was a lot of pressure for every shift. Besides performing daily tasks, our team discussed and tried possible ways to communicate better with the clients. There was a transgender woman who the local police officers abused and because of that, she had a long struggle with depression. She came to us for some technical education so she could participate in some online projects she liked. Sometimes her mental state was so unstable that she got angry at the volunteers there. More often she gave criticism. At first, I was more intimidated by this and always under pressure before her appointment, but after she told the story of her life, my feelings toward her changed. I decided to take more actions to help her out. Aside from calming her down every time she emailed or called us and giving professional instructions, I tried to follow up with her every few days and gave positive feedback on time. Whenever I felt uncomfortable or did not know how to respond, I always reached out to my teammates for suggestions. Some of the other tactics I used were to take breaks, think twice before sending a message to make sure I was not overwhelmed by my emotions, and not take it personally. I expect the upcoming challenges to be similar, but now I am more mentally prepared and know what to do.
[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.]