Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Aline Carrão, who volunteers as a member of OTW’s Board
How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?
As a board member my job is to take a big picture look at the OTW, keeping in mind our mission and goals, and make sure we are moving in the right direction and using our resources the best way we can.
This means focusing our work on possible failure points and areas that need a new structure, as well as keeping in touch with our volunteer base the best we can, and keeping up a steady flow of conversation with the committee chairs. In this way we can work with them to find solutions to the problems that arise and get a better picture of the committees’ goals, their progress and possible issues.
What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?
It will certainly involve answering a lot of emails, and scheduling and attending meetings. What those emails and meetings will be about on the other hand changes a lot. Some weeks we will be completely focused on one big thing that requires most of our attention. In other weeks we will have a lot of small requests from committees to approve new projects, tools, resources and staff.
It’s our job to oversee the OTW’s expenses, to make sure all the parts of the organization are running smoothly, and to follow up with anyone that might be having trouble. So our typical week can vary between meeting with a committee chair to brainstorm a issue, to writing a news post about some change to the OTW’s structure, to discussing what we believe is the best way to implement something.
Board members have to have volunteered in the OTW for some time before they can serve on the board. What are some of the things you’ve worked on before in the OTW?
Before joining the board I was on the Support and Translation committees. I still hold both positions, even though I have dialed back on how much time I dedicate to them.
For Support I helped answer AO3 users’ requests and questions, alongside the rest of the team. In Translation I started as a translator for Brazilian Portuguese, helping to translate the OTW’s website, news posts, and AO3 help FAQs to make them available to a wider audience. Later on, I also joined the staff that coordinates the work and keeps track of deadlines and who is working on what document for all the languages we have translators for.
What’s the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?
For me, the best part is the community. The OTW volunteers are an amazing and welcoming group, and it’s really fun to work alongside them. We have people from all over the world and from a lot of different parts of fandom, so you can always find someone to share a moment (or ten) about your latest fandom obsession. Joining the OTW made me realize how much has to happen behind the scenes and how many people are involved in keeping the sites up and our projects growing. The feeling of accomplishment from keeping everything running despite all our challenges is even more special because we get to share it with really cool people.
What fannish things do you like to do?
I’m mostly a reader. I always loved stories and books, so reading fic and sharing recommendations was a natural extension of that, and it’s still my favorite way to interact with fandom. I also enjoy good meta, vids, and art, and I will try my hand at writing from time to time. These days I can also be found yelling about hockey games or singing Hamilton out of tune.
Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments.