Tyme LaDow was forced into fandom by well-meaning friends at the age of 12. At first, she couldn’t see why anyone would feel the need to explore stories outside of the canon she loved in her favorite universes, but only a few months later, she started writing it herself and checking for new postings every day. Posting to Fanfiction.net and getting feedback from friends and strangers alike lifted the fog and she plunged deep into fandom without looking back. Her newly formed passion for fandom followed her across platforms and fandoms, and eventually led her to discovering the Archive in 2011 when her then-girlfriend invited her. Over the years she has become more of a reader than a writer, though she still enjoys writing fic in addition to everything else she does in fandom. In 2014, she was perusing the OTW website marveling at how many languages the pages had been translated into, when she stumbled upon the volunteer recruitment page, which just happened to be recruiting for Tag Wrangling. Excited at the chance to help with her favorite website, she applied and was accepted fairly quickly. Over the years, she also joined the Policy & Abuse team and made many friends through her continued service to the Archive. Tyme has had several years of experience with the complicated task of juggling volunteering, work, and university. Ever since her first dive into fandom, she has been committed to fans, fandom, and the OTW.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
When I was made aware that the elections for Board were upcoming, it came at a serendipitous time in my life. I had recently cut back on some responsibilities which gave me plenty of free time to devote to my true passion in life, fandom. I’ve been volunteering for the Archive for 5 or so years now and love everything the OTW stands for. The more I dedicate myself to the OTW, the more I find to love.
No one can ever truly say they are prepared for a big step like serving on the Board, but I do feel confident that I have skills and knowledge that will be a good contribution. Should I be elected I will do everything in my power to serve the community and represent the OTW to the very best of my ability.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
I have a fairly varied background which can help in many situations should I be elected. I have been an avid user of the Archive since 2011, and have volunteered as a Tag Wrangler since 2014. This has the opportunity to develop a mulit-faceted understanding of the site from a user perspective as well as a volunteer point of view. Having been in fandom even before joining the Archive, I have a good understanding of the history that came before the Archive, and the situations that lead to its creation.
I started volunteering with the Policy & Abuse committee in 2018. That experience has left me quite comfortable mediating disputes and handling serious situations professionally and with a level head. I also have no issue working in a highly collaborative teamwork oriented environment.
Outside of the OTW, I also have some experience with nonprofits from helping my mother with the local historical society while I was growing up. I am very capable of adapting to whatever position is needed of me at any given time and being the person who follows up with people until a solution is found to any problems that may arise, which can sometime take time when something in life has to take precedent over the volunteer work of whomever was supposed to be giving the solution.
Lastly, I studied programming and computer science at university and have helped with testing updates for the Archive multiple times over the years. It’s my hope that that experience can help me with any collaboration with our coders and systems administrators as needed.
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?
I believe my first goal would be outreach and engagement. I’ve seen first hand how fandom can foster positive online spaces and solid friendships. I’ve also seen how those spaces can fall apart over time.
I have most of my experience with the OTW through AO3, but I believe our other projects deserve some love too. I would like to try to bring more awareness to those other projects and help foster those positive spaces I’ve seen come out of online fandom. I’m not sure at this time exactly what that might look like, whether it might be news posts, or online events, or something else I haven’t thought of yet, but if I were to be elected, I would reach out to others to develop any ideas they might have and help implement any new plans.
A second goal I consider important is maintaining transparency. It’s no secret that some people dislike the things we are doing, but I feel that the true spirit of the OTW always has been, and always will be, a positive force in fandom. So I would make sure that we continue our practice of transparency and being open about what we do, so that misinformation can be easily refuted.
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.
As I’ve said before, most of my experience is with AO3 and its various committees. I also have experience working on fanlore. I have collaborated with our Translation, Legal, and Open Doors projects for various things in my time with the Policy & Abuse committee. I am excited about this chance to build upon that baseline of communication.
However, the experience that I do have makes me feel that I am capable of creating and maintaining lines of communication between the various projects within the OTW. I try my best to be someone who people can come to with any problem or concern they might have, and strive to be good at listening to all sides of an argument before making a decision or giving advice.
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?
My current workload with the two roles I currently maintain is very manageable. I have very little that needs doing on a day-to-day basis with Tag Wrangling but I can scale back even more if needed.
My work with the Policy & Abuse committee does make up the bulk of my current volunteer workload but I can easily scale my contribution down as needed, taking on fewer full cases, and doing more ancillary tasks within the committee.
In my time volunteering, I’ve taken a few hiatuses before from both of my roles, and I don’t hold any form of linchpin or chairing roles, so if my responsibilities for the Board turn out to have a much higher workload than I anticipate, transitioning into a hiatus from those roles shouldn’t be an issue so that I can give my role on the Board as much attention as it needs.