Board Meeting Minutes: July 14, 2012


July 14th, 2012, 14:00 UTC

PRESENT: Nikisha Sanders, Ira Gladkova, Julia Beck, Jenny Scott-Thompson, Kristen Murphy.

GUESTS: Alison Watson, Claudia Rebaza, Elz, Eylul, Sam Johnson, Jenn Calaelen, Rebecca Tushnet, Tuulia, Doro, Tiyire, FishieMishie, hele, Franzeska Dickson, Enigel.

ABSENT: Naomi Novik, Francesca Coppa.


  1. We’ve already agreed some guidelines for the elections officer, around not endorsing candidates, appearing neutral and ensuring that personal views don’t affect their behaviour or treatment of candidates. The rest of the workgroup will not be privy to any extra information or influence, apart from the two Webmasters who will assist in the election. The same rules about not endorsing candidates either in public or private, and not commenting publicly on the direction of the OTW or hot topics, will apply to the two Webmasters staff involved in counting votes. These staff members will also not be named outside of Webmasters committee, the Elections workgroup and the standing Board, so that they cannot be put under external pressure to falsify results.
  2. We discussed proposals for the Emerita Board and Advisory Board.
  3. We discussed a request from several chairs about clarifying the policy for meta on the AO3, and agreed to discuss this with all interested staff in Open Session. This was announced on the chairs list.


  1. Systems is coordinating the AO3 RAM upgrade – there will be a post about that when it’s coming, since it will involve some site downtime.
  2. We were reminded that Campfire constitues a semi-public place, so do not connect fan and legal names in this space. When someone does so accidentally, the entire chat transcript needs to be deleted wholesale – it is not possible to just delete the outing. We’ve had a couple incidents like this recently, so we agreed to relay this back to our committees.
  3. We discussed the topic of meta on the AO3, which is currently in a grey area of the Terms of Service:
    • “meta” as a search produces 1010 works; the tag redirects to metafiction but that’s clearly wrong for some. There is clearly user demand for it and some there already.
    • It’s a pain to police boundaries.
    • There is an AO3 killfile script:
    • Abuse started out with mainly cases of people reporting popular metafandom-y essays–the kind of thing they felt probably ought to be considered a “fanwork” and/or hosted on AO3. Just recently, they’ve gotten a number of reports of things they feel are more on the blogging-about-my-cat end of the spectrum. And there’s an increase in people using other meta on the archive as evidence/excuse for theirs. From an enforcement perspective, they’d need to either allow a pretty broad range of personal reaction pieces, liveblogging of episode viewings, etc. or they’d need to have a very clear definition of what we mean by “meta”.
    • Comparing the list of multifandom archives on Fanlore: About 1/3 have meta or nonfiction essay sections, about 1/3 don’t appear to allow meta, and about 1/3 have extensive blogging or forums or very different types of content included.
    • Support-wise, some people already assume the AO3 allows meta, simply because the FAQs and ToS don’t say anything explicitly about it, and some fans assume fanworks include it.
    • The founders’ original thinking was that they wanted to focus OTW’s resources on things that particularly needed our involvement and protection as a non-profit with a legal committee. Meta doesn’t generally have the same sort of fair use/copyright issues or takedown threats, so is it something OTW in particular should be involved in hosting? And where is the line between meta and the kind of general fan discussion that you see on a social network. That could be a slippery slope that could potentially generate a lot more content than the OTW necessarily want to (or are able to) play permanent host to. The difference between an essay, a meta post, and a random thoughtdump is pretty subjective.
    • The AO3 doesn’t screen out fanfic of Shakespeare etc. that doesn’t need legal defense, so we are already allowing some in. The question is how much we can tolerate and what kinds of distinctions we can make.
    • Whatever we decide needs to be consistently enforced and clear in the FAQ.
    • The question is not whether meta is a fanwork but if it’s a type of fanwork the archive should currently host. There are several types of fanworks that currently aren’t hosted.
    • Abuse needs a policy for right now. The board voted and agreed to stop kicking meta off when it’s reported and tell people the issue is under review for now.
  4. A public post about election seats is drafted and awaiting comment from Board members. The remaining board members agree to review it by tomorrow night.


  1. We discussed a confidential personnel matter.
  2. We discussed possible candidates for board next year, and agreed to approach a couple of people to discuss it, and also shared notes on who has already said no and so should not be bothered again.
  3. We raised the issue of board members’ workloads, particularly from liaising, but postponed discussion due to short time from open session.

The meeting was adjourned at 16:20 UTC.

Minutes approved by the board on 19th July.

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