Elections 2014 Q&A and Chats

OTW 2014 Elections Banner

Now that everyone has had some time to acquaint themselves with our Board candidates through their bios and manifestos, we have more in-depth knowledge for you. This post has the candidates’ answers to your questions and the link we will be using for the public chats.

Chats

There will be three public chats, each attended by two candidates and lasting 90 minutes. They will take place in our public chatroom.

They are scheduled for:

During these chats, OTW members and volunteers will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions not already covered in their manifestos, bios, and Q&A, as well as to ask individual questions of specific candidates. If anyone isn’t able to ask all their questions by the end of a given chat, you’ll have an hour to submit your questions via the Elections form.

We hope that you can join us for one or all of these chats!

Q&A

When we posted the Board candidates’ bios and manifestos, we asked the public to submit additional questions for them. Now we have their answers for you!

The questions are listed below with links to each candidate’s answers. We have done our best to avoid repeat questions, so keep in mind that your question may have been combined with another.

Part 1

1) Being an OTW Board member is a time-consuming job. What do you think should be an average day in the life on an OTW Board member? How much time do you think you can dedicate to OTW Board work each day? Describe a handful of standard activities you believe you should do on a daily basis.

2) What does the org’s expectation of Board members’ respect for confidentiality mean to you? Where would you draw the line when talking about internal org matters with friends and acquaintances via IM, email, locked DW/Twitter/etc, anon memes, or in person?

3) Since 2011, there have been no contested elections for OTW Board. The fact that an OTW Board position has at this point essentially become a “you want it, you got it” position undermines OTW’s legitimacy externally, and more importantly, Board’s legitimacy internally.
a) In light of this statistic, and the known fact of high director turnover, do you feel that the recent decision to expand OTW Board to 9 members is a good decision? If so, why?
b) How do you address concerns about the fact that Board is currently the ruling body of the OTW and is supposed to represent the Board as an entirety, considering the lack of a democratic voting process? Do you think this undermines your position?

Part 2

4) What do you believe the Board’s role should be in the area of fundraising in particular? What kinds of concrete acts should or shouldn’t Board members do with regards to fundraising planning and execution?

5) What kind of challenges, in your opinion, does the OTW face in the financial area? What do you think are our most pressing needs and flaws in that realm?

6) Would you be able to lay out your vision for OTW’s financial future? How do you intend to balance the committees’ different needs?

7) We’re currently projected to be operating at a financial loss this year. Do you have any concrete plans for how you’ll address issues of financial sustainability going forward?

8) AO3’s continued survival currently depends on a small handful of volunteers doing massive amounts of unpaid work. If those people became unavailable, what would your plan be to keep the archive from going under? Do you have a sense of how much it would cost to hire external contractors to do that work?

Part 3

9) All candidates’ manifestos mention the rapid growth of the OTW, and therefore the need to grow a better internal infrastructure. What kind of infrastructure are you aiming for? In addition to that, what do you think should be the future role of the OTW Board? Advisory? Executive? Something else?

10) If it were up to you alone, what steps and structural changes would you suggest to transition the Board out of doing day-to-day work?

11) If you could make one concrete change in the OTW tomorrow, what would you do?

Part 4

12) There has been a lot of discussion and confusion both within and outside the OTW related to the concept of ‘transparency’ and what that means in relation to the work of the Board and the work of the organization as a whole. How would you define transparency in these contexts and what steps would you take both to ensure everyone is clear on what transparency means and to hold the Board and the organization accountable to that definition?

13) The OTW has had issues with regards to clashing perceptions of authority and hierarchy between the Board and committees. Staffers and volunteers vocally resist both steps that are perceived as attempts to verticalize the org’s structure and any Board decisions that are understood as top-down orders. What is your perspective on this issue?

14) How do you see your role on the Board in relation to OTW staffers and volunteers and OTW members? How do you plan to reconcile different staffers’ visions for the org? How do you think a Board member should act when staffers disagree with decisions that are under Board purview?

15) What do you think are the unique challenges in interacting with a staff comprised entirely of volunteers as opposed to paid staff? How do you plan to navigate this?

Part 5

16) How would you respond if you saw a fellow director speaking harshly to a volunteer in a public chat?

17) It’s been shared by past Directors that Board work is both incredibly time-consuming and stressful and this can sometimes bring out “the worst” in people and can lead to negative interactions within the organization that have a lasting impact. From your outside observations so far, what difficulties have you noticed? Do you have any ideas for how to combat this issue that you will try to implement either for yourself or others during your Board service and how might you encourage self-care for yourself, your fellow Directors, and OTW personnel at-large?

18) How do you plan to avoid burnout as a director?