OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Catherine Coker

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Cait Coker is a genre historian with a background in fan history, women’s writing and publishing, and print history. Her essays have appeared in The Journal of Fandom Studies and The Seventeenth Century, among others. Today, Catherine talks about the issues raised in her Transformative Works and Cultures article titled “The margins of print? Fan fiction as book history.”

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

I was a teenager back in the 1990s when the Internet was becoming more widely available, and I came across a book on sale at Walmart (I was a kid in a small town, what can I say?) called Net Trek, which was a guide to Star Trek sites and listservs online….with a whole chapter dedicated to fan fiction (and even a little bit about K/S slash!). A few months later I got my first computer (and the Internet) and immediately started looking for fan fiction for all of my favorite shows, and soon after started writing stories myself. It was all downhill from there!

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Five Things and OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things Raquel E. Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Raquel E. who volunteers as a translator.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I’m a beta reader and translator for the OTW European Portuguese team. The Translation Committee focuses on making content accessible to non-English speaking fans; that’s our main goal and includes working on news posts and notices. We also collaborate on work that committees do, such as with AO3 Abuse, Tag Wrangling and Support. We’re a multitasking bunch. I also volunteer for the Support roster and evaluate samples from people who apply to volunteer with the European Portuguese team.

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5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things SoyAlex Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with SoyAlex, who volunteers as a staffer at Fanlore.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

Part of OTW’s mission is to “preserve the history of fanworks and fan cultures”, which is exactly what Fanlore tries to do. Documenting what fan history I know, and helping other fans do the same, is something that really appeals to me, which is why I ended up volunteering.

Fandom is huge and multilayered, complex and incredibly rich. It’s also forever changing and unfortunately fleeting. One of the saddest things for me, when it comes to contemporary fandom, is that it shines bright, burns hot, and quickly forgets. Those fans who remember don’t always want to share their experiences, because they either don’t consider themselves “experts”, or they don’t think their personal experiences aren’t representative of the rest of their fandom.

I suspect they simply don’t realize that no side of fandom is too small to put on Fanlore, no personal experience too minor to document. You could say that my personal mission, to go along with the OTW’s and Fanlore’s, is to try and convince every fan I come across that they have something to contribute to Fanlore. I’m happy to report no restraining orders have been filed against me. Yet.

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