Five Things Jennifer D2 Said

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 Jennifer D2, who volunteers on our Support committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I have two volunteer hats at OTW! I am a Support Volunteer for AO3, and I also spend a little time as an Import Assistant for Open Doors. I’ll be talking about my Support role, because that’s where I spend most of my volunteer time.

As you probably know, AO3, or Archive of Our Own, is the fanwork Archive that OTW runs. Sometimes, when you’re using AO3, you might run into a problem! That’s where Support comes in. You can contact us using the link at the bottom of any AO3 page. No question too small! Users write in with questions about getting accounts or even just getting access to the Archive, or maybe a creator is struggling with posting their work. Or a dreaded error message comes up. We get all kinds of questions.

I love doing Support work. I mean I really love it. I get to talk to people about AO3, and hopefully I get to help people! What’s not to love? I work with a fantastic team and two really great Chairs (and one great retired Chair). I’m blown away by the professionalism, enthusiasm, and deep knowledge of the Archive that my teammates bring to their work. We do all this in our free time, so we must love it!

If you are having problems with your experience at the Archive, we want you to write in; we’d like to try to help. The flip side of that is that we are a mighty but rather small team, so if you write to us, please have patience. We will get to your ticket; it just might take a little while.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

I work 2-3 hours on Support every day (because it’s just so much fun I don’t want to take any time off!). First I catch up on our group chat, to see what issues might be happening or what new things people might have solved. Then I check out my “current claimed tickets” pile to see if anyone has responded to me. Then I alternate between taking new tickets and “beta”ing, or editing, tickets other Support volunteers have answered. That’s right—almost none of our answers go out without a second set of eyes looking them over! We want to be really sure we got it right.

My personal favorite is answering non-English tickets. We work closely with the fabulous Translation committee to craft the right answers in users’ first languages. Sometimes I also spend a little time working on some of the computer software tools we use in Support.

One thing that I have to mention, that I love, about working at OTW is how willing people are to teach each other how to do things without mocking them for not already knowing. It’s a continuation of AO3’s origins, where people taught themselves how to build an archive in response to LiveJournal’s strikethrough and other fanwork losses.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I’d been a devout reader on AO3 for years, and I had some free time, so when the call went out for Support volunteers I thought, hey, let’s see if I get in! One of the best decisions I ever made. I’m so grateful to the leaders for taking a chance on me.

What has been your biggest challenge doing work for the OTW?

It’s a technical challenge: I still don’t have the hang of challenges and prompt memes! I’m learning, but when those tickets come up, I confess I often leave them to others who are much better versed in those useful but tricky features that the Archive provides. Give me another five years, and I’ll be an expert!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I haven’t been that active in fandom since the pandemic hit. I used to go to science fiction conventions fairly often, and once I got to go to a local slash con, which was a revelation!

I play on Tumblr every day where I get to see others in my fandoms. I have, in the past, written for my fandoms, but the writing bug has eluded me for a few years. Never say never, though! I’m sure I’ll get back into writing (almost exclusively slash—does that term date me? I’m fandom old!) sooner or later.

I can’t draw worth a hoot, but I really enjoy others’ art. I’ve also been known to record a podfic here or there. And of course I read AO3 every day.

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.

Five Things, Spotlight

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