Board Meeting Minutes: November 26, 2011


November 26, 2011, 18:00 UTC

PRESENT: Hele Braunstein, Francesca Coppa, Ira Gladkova, Allison Morris, Kristen Murphy
ABSENT: Rachel Barenblat, Sheila Lane
GUESTS: Board members-elect Julia Beck, Naomi Novik, Nikisha Sanders, and Jenny Scott-Thompson attended both parts of the meeting as part of their orientation to the Board.


  1. Kristen reported that Legal has okayed the use of SurveyMonkey for the external survey, and the Board voted to authorize the opening of a paid SurveyMonkey Select account.
  2. The Systems committee reported that Wiki asked them to investigate site slowness reported by Fanlore users, and that installing Squid might help alleviate the problem. They estimate that upgrading zen from a 768 linode to a 1024 linode (like buddha and tao) would enable them to install Squid without overloading the server. The upgrade would cost an additional $10/month. The Board voted to approve this request.


  1. Hele reported on recent discontent on the tag wrangler mailing list; she said the Tag Wrangling committee is handling the situation and that the Board should not intervene at this time.
  2. Allison described to the Board members-elect the details of the rollover period. New Board members will take office on December 9; the end of term is December 15. We talked about access to Board tools, the structure of meetings, officer positions, and the process of appointing chairs and approving staff, and asked the incoming members to draft personal bios for the website.
  3. We each shared some of our goals for next term, as follows:
    1. Jenny: Finalize the proposed code of conduct (Allison reported that VolCom is working on a full revision of this) and move forward with the strategic planning process.
    2. Julia: Improve internal and external communication.
    3. Naomi: Build a more robust coding team, one that can handle departures more easily and has the capacity to work on some internal projects (e.g. developing more automated staff/volunteer intake processes). Discuss the possibility of holding an OTW con sometime in the future. Marshal our user base more effectively for fundraising and volunteer recruiting.
    4. Sanders: Short term goals: develop a budgeting process (the Financial committee will bring a proposal for this early in the new term); improve internal and external communications, including a fully functional Communications committee with a detailed communications plan; and move forward with the strategic planning process. Long-term goal: work on reconciling our identity as a fan project with our other identity as a nonprofit, and get us up to minimum nonprofit best practices at the very least.
    5. Francesca: Work on archive importing to preserve endangered archives via Open Doors; develop the vidding Dark Archive to prevent works from being lost; work with other Board members to repair the Board culture.
    6. Hele: Hele encouraged the incoming Board to focus on internal communication, including communication within the Board.
    7. Ira: Pin down the role of board liaison — concretize it a bit, define duties and expectations, etc. Also, in addition to Sanders’ idea about our identity as a nonprofit, Ira would like us to consider the org’s identities as a legal project, as a wiki project, and as an IT project in general and an OSS one in particular; she suggests talking with other organizations such as EFF and Dreamwidth about best practices. Ira also expressed support for many of the goals already stated by others, including the conduct policy, strategic plan, budgeting, and internal/external communications.
    8. Kristen: Redesign The Webmasters have drafted a roadmap for this project which they will be bringing to Board soon. This will impact several of the other goals we’ve discussed since the website is one of our primary vehicles for communications and volunteer recruitment. Kristen also expressed support for many of the goals that had already been stated, including the communications plan, better internal communication, and budgeting.
    9. Hele reported that she has been talking with the AD&T chairs about ways to improve the organization of AO3 code deploys; we had a brief discussion of this and agreed to revisit it in the future.
  4. We discussed the format of and possible discussion questions for December’s org-wide meeting.


  1. Discussion of the strategic planning process. We began by talking about the general concept of strategic planning. Sanders explained that a strategic plan is a plan laying out short- and long-term goals for an organization, typically designed to cover three to five years. It includes the mission statement of the org, an evaluation of how the org is doing in meeting that mission statement, and a list of goals to get the org closer to/keep it in line with that mission. To get the evaluation and the goals, and the objectives to meet those goals, the organization needs input from all of its stakeholders.So far, Sanders and Jenny have been looking at strategic planning websites and talking about who could be in a workgroup that would develop and present to the Board a roadmap for how the OTW could carry out a strategic planning process. Volunteers & Recruiting has brainstormed a short list of candidates for the workgroup, but they have not yet been approached to join the project. (There was also an earlier open call for workgroup members, which resulted in Sanders and Jenny’s participation.)

    Since by this point in the meeting there was no longer a quorum of current Board members in attendance, we identified the questions to be voted on regarding the strategic plan and Kristen volunteered to send them out via e-mail to be voted upon once everyone has had a chance to review the meeting transcript.

The meeting was adjourned at 20:55 UTC.

Minutes approved by the Board on December 8, 2011.

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