OTW Signal

OTW Signal, September 2020

Every month in OTW Signal we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.

In the News

In fannish history news, StarTrek.com released an interview with prominent Star Trek fans Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah. The interview covers both fans’ experiences as fanzine contributors and convention-goers during a pre-Internet time when learning about and connecting with fellow fans was more difficult. When asked how Star Trek Lives!, co-written by Lichtenberg, influenced modern fandom, she and Lorrah responded:

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OTW Signal

OTW Signal, August 2020

Welcome to the first of our new OTW Signal series posts! Every month we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.

In the News

OTW’s Legal Advocacy project has been at work in 2020 giving testimony and submitting comments to the U.S. government about copyright issues, including testifying and providing comments to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and meeting with the U.S. Copyright Office about section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which provides safe harbors for online service providers and allows sites like the AO3 to operate without being liable for user activities. In these sessions, Legal has highlighted the importance of considering user interests along with the interests of Internet Service Providers and copyright owners. Some of this work centered around a study released this Spring by the U.S. Copyright Office.

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Celebrate the End of our Three-Year Strategic Plan

Celebrate the End of our Three-Year Strategic Plan!

In January of 2017, the OTW embarked on its first-ever strategic plan. The purpose of a strategic plan is to guide the overall direction of the organization: to define what we want to achieve and how we want to pursue it. A strategic plan is a staple of nonprofits and for-profit businesses alike, and for the OTW it was especially important as we moved from being a small start-up to a growing organization with a lot of moving parts and a Hugo Award-winning project.

We have now made it three full years, working really hard to make this strategic plan a success. As we close out this plan and look forward to the future, we would like to share with you some highlights of what this strategic plan has helped the OTW accomplish.

What did the OTW’s first Strategic Plan do for the organization?

For individual committees:

All (or almost all) OTW committees now know and have documented:

  • What the committee’s role is within the organization (purview statements)
  • What the expectations are for their chair, and how to train a new chair (chair/lead position descriptions and training plans)
  • How to get and train new staff (recruitment plans)
  • How to figure out and communicate how much money they need per year (budgets)
  • What their goals are for the near future and how they intend to accomplish them (roadmaps)
  • What the regular, ongoing work of their committee is and how to accomplish it (internal wiki pages)

For the Board:

The strategic plan has supported the Board in:

  • Clarifying the duties of a Board member and Board Officer (purview and roles documentation)
  • Laying out how to introduce new Board members to the information they need (Board training plan)
  • Discussing the future of the OTW’s leadership structure, and creating some proposals for how to improve it (Research governance options and new operations model plan)

For the whole organization:

The strategic plan has supported the OTW as a whole in creating:

  • Annual budgets
  • Clear financial policies that are in line with best practices for nonprofits
  • Goals for how much money we should have in reserve, and what we want our fundraising drives to accomplish
  • A process that our projects can use to set goals for the future and document their accomplishments
  • A report on volunteer opinions on OTW-wide meetups, currently under discussion by the Board

Thank You!

OTW volunteers all worked together on these goals, and our work is made possible by the donations and support of our members and users.

A big thank you to all OTW volunteers and stakeholders!