Board Meeting Minutes: June 1, 2011


June 1, 2011, 1:00 UTC

PRESENT: Rachel Barenblat, Hele Braunstein, Francesca Coppa, Ira Gladkova, Kristen Murphy
ABSENT: Sheila Lane, Allison Morris


  1. Since our last meeting, we’ve reassigned two Board liaison positions: Hele is now the liaison with AD&T, and Sheila is the liaison with Content. We also voted via e-mail to approve a new staff member for Journal.
  2. Francesca reported that Vidding is working with Critical Commons on offering hosting to vidders and other transformative fan video artists. This does not replace our own TO3 project, but is rather an alternative that we could offer sooner in conjunction with a push to encourage video embedding at AO3.
  3. Francesca and Kristen discussed reorganizing the vidding-related content on; Francesca has started a writeboard that Kristen will share with the Webmasters.
  4. Hele reported that her liaising relationship with AD&T is off to a good start, and that she’s started to discuss with them the possibility of clarifying the workflow/procedure for AD&T projects.
  5. Rachel reported that Wiki has hosted some great conversations about Fanlore’s structure and categories in the Fanlore Dreamwidth community, and the committee is drafting a revised category proposal. They are keeping IO in the loop and are doing their best to ensure that the concerns of all fans are taken into account.
  6. The minutes from May 11 were approved by all present (and by Sheila via e-mail).


We had a wide-ranging discussion of possible diversity and transparency initiatives and of the need to hold and promote realistic expectations of ourselves individually and as an organization. The main points were:

  1. We reiterated the suggestion made at the last meeting that we publicly post a version of the diversity action items writeboard in the interests of transparency, demonstrating that we’re making an effort, and soliciting additional suggestions. We also discussed circulating the list in-house in order to encourage staffers to adopt projects from the list.
  2. We discussed the possibility of holding public “office hours” in the Public Discussion chat room as a means of increasing transparency. Interested committees or staffers could take turns hosting these chats, and each chat could be preceded by a blog post inviting users to post questions in comments. Hele expressed willingness to coordinate such a project.
  3. We discussed the possibility of having monthly posts geared toward specific fandoms or fannish communities (perhaps hosted by a member of the group in question) to collect suggestions about the kinds of features that would most appeal to that fandom or community.
  4. “I think we need to find a way of talking that names problems rather than offers solutions, because what I think happens is, sometimes the solution–the particular solution–isn’t workable and I think what people hear then is ‘I don’t care about your problem,’ which I actually think is NOT the case. I think if the problem could be articulated AS a problem, then people would want to collaborate on the solution.”
  5. We need to recognize that we are all volunteers and that our working capacities are not unlimited. There needs to be more appreciation of the hard work everyone is doing; the Board should be lavish with its praise toward staff and volunteers.
  6. How might increased transparency promote (or not promote) realistic expectations of the OTW among the fannish public? Publicly discussing the early stages of projects that then don’t come to fruition for a long time may lead to disappointment. On the other hand, part of transparency is being clear about the realities of our work; actually showing people the pace we can sustain may help them to develop more realistic expectations. We discussed Dreamwidth’s transparency practices; fans who use Dreamwidth may have come to expect a level of transparency that is not realistic for the OTW because we are staffed by volunteers who all have other commitments. It’s hard to say “we are awesome and doing this for free!” without sounding like martyrs; how can we honestly and authentically communicate this stuff to a broader userbase?

The meeting was adjourned at 2:35 UTC.

Minutes approved by the Board on June 21, 2011.

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