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 Dae, who volunteers as a member of the Fanlore Policy & Admin team and the Elections committee.
How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?
I have been… accumulating hats. In the Fanlore committee, I’m a Policy & Admin team member, so my work with Fanlore is mainly focused on handling user queries via our contact form and writing/updating Help pages and policy information as the wiki grows and evolves. I am currently also a team coordinator for Fanlore P&A, which means I’m responsible for monitoring incoming emails and other tasks, assigning them to team members, and following up to make sure things happen in a timely manner (for email responses), or maintain forward motion (for larger projects).
I am also on the Elections committee in a Candidate Liaison role, which means my focus in the “off-season” (Octoberish-Mayish) is on finding people who may be willing to run for the OTW Board in the next year, then helping them with answers to questions and resources to prepare for the election process. During the election season (Mayish-Septemberish), things get much busier; I interact directly with candidates to answer questions and support them as they jump through the hoops of being candidates, including platform posts and the public candidate chats on Discord.
What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?
With Fanlore, I keep an eye on the email inbox, write and post meeting minutes if we’ve recently had a full committee meeting, and work on my longer-term projects like updating Help pages or page categories or drafting policy documents as I can. I also usually jump in when we do themed editing events (such as Stub September or Podtober) as a badge awarder for a day or two.
With Elections, it depends heavily on where we are in the year – in the “off season,” everything is on a pretty long timeline, so I’ll participate periodically in discussions about the next election and help update documentation where appropriate. In the election season, it’s very different; I monitor channels with candidates very closely and help coordinate posting candidate bios or Q&As and moderate the live chats, depending on where we are in the election schedule.
What made you decide to volunteer?
I’ve been an AO3 user since 2012, and I’m very invested in fandom culture as embodied by the OTW, so I had a general desire to help out if I could. Fanlore Policy & Admin very much played to my strengths and experience, so I was excited to apply when I saw that applications were open in early 2022.
What has been your biggest challenge doing work for the OTW?
*pictures of various committees falling out of pockets* Not biting off more than I can proverbially chew, really. Fanlore was a very fitting entry point for me because as I said above, it was a match for my skillset and interests, and also was compatible with my general schedule when I applied. When the team coordinator position was created, I had just joined Elections (and the election season was about to start!), but the other Fanlore P&A people had too much else going on to pick it up. So I decided to volunteer after chewing on it a bit, and that has been going well. I am now also in training for the AO3 Policy & Abuse committee.
OTW work is the majority of my non-day-job time these days, and I’m very okay with that. I love working with my colleagues on various committees and sub-committees, but in order to be as effective a volunteer as I can be, I’m aware that I need to keep a lid on my tendency to just want to do more and more and more. I need to stick to my strengths so that I can put my all into those.
And, you know. Still have time to read/write fanfic and play video games.
What fannish things do you like to do?
I write fic and meta, I read fic (sometimes literally in the ~45 seconds walking from my apartment door to my car door), I beta read fic, I play a LOT of video games, I attend cons, I cosplay, and of course, I volunteer for the OTW. My main fandoms from the last several years are The Sandman (TV and comics), Hannibal (TV, though I’ve read the books), Baldur’s Gate (mostly 3 but I did play 1 and 2 back in the 90’s/00’s), and Pillars of Eternity.
I’m eternally in love with Tumblr’s general BS, so basically, Goncharov was the best thing on the internet that happened in 2022, as far as I’m concerned. I’m still active in that fandom, such as it is.
And I love, love, love, specifically the Yuletide annual fic exchange for small fandoms. I’ve gotten to write some very fun things for it, and gotten gift fics better than I’d ever have imagined.
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 the comments. Or if you’d like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.