Resignation of OTW Director

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) Board of Directors regrets to announce that Heather McGuire has resigned from her role as a Director. Heather was elected to her seat in 2022 and her resignation is effective as of the 21st of May 2023. Her seat will be filled in the upcoming election.

We would like to thank Heather for her service as a member of the Board and for her years as an OTW volunteer. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

  1. thosenearandfarwars commented:

    All the candidates standing for election need to provide a plan with concrete steps and a timeline for how they’re going to make good on hiring the diversity consultant and updating the TOS so users are no longer subjected to targeted racial and other harassment.

    • V commented:

      …Harassment of any kind is already not allowed according to the TOS.

      • Tatiana commented:

        The current TOS has a very weak stance on harrassment so a lot of harrassment, especially racist harrassment, on AO3 is allowed to stand, unfortunately. OTW acknowledged this in 2020 and promised to “do better,” but they haven’t followed through on those promises.

  2. A member & volunteer commented:

    Thank you for everything, Heather! Sad to see the candidate you voted for step down, especially when your vision for the OTW would have benefited the org so much! Much love, take care and I hope you have great success in your next endeavors :)

  3. Cal commented:

    This is the wrong person. I dont know Ms McGuire but I would have prefered if the pro AI person had stepped down. Thanks for the service then, Heather.

    • tina commented:

      the “pro ai person” is the chair of the legal team, she’s not even on the board

    • Darío commented:

      Even if they were to step down, you would never know because they don’t announce VOLUNTEERS leaving like that 🤣 also also, are you going to take the seat instead? No? Then shut up lmao

    • h commented:

      I’m not sure who asked

  4. hippodameia8527 commented:

    Thank you for your service.

  5. EchoEkhi commented:

    This means there will be 3 open seats in the next election, with one seat having a 2-year term instead of a full 3-year term.

    Depending on the number of candidates this year, it might turn into an unopposed election this time.

    15th of May is an interesting juncture… Does she have an announcement on the reason of her resignation?

    • Nat commented:

      Our apologies, the date was incorrect, and has now been fixed. There will be four seats open for election this year.

      • EchoEkhi commented:

        In every past instance of a director resignation announcement, “personal reasons” was always quoted as a primary reason. Is there any particular reason why you did not attribute this resignation to “personal reasons”, unlike every precedence?

  6. Pat commented:

    What was her reasoning?

  7. Human Nature Is Good And Evil commented:

    Do these protestors understand the majority of the OTW & AO3 staff are volunteers? That coding for system kernel updates that don’t break existing site functions, let alone implementation of wish-list items, takes up the majority of their time?

    Hell, they can’t even do anything about fan trolls… What are they supposed do about determined racist commenting/trolling on AO3? It’s the Internet, ffs! There ARE no 100% guaranteed safe spaces on it! If there ever were — and I don’t think there were; it was riddled with misogyny and sick porn when it was a text-only environment only government, military, research I institution, academic and National Lab users could access; what does that tell you?? — that swiftly endedv with the opening up and commercialization of the Internet, because HUMANS.

    Some humans suck and always will. Some enjoy hurting others intentionally. Others aren’t intentional about it but leave a wake of pain and destruction behind them as they move through life poorly coping with their own pain. That’s not an excuse, that is reality. And it is why we have jails and prisons.

    But police (local, regional, federal, international) also catch only a TINY percentage of those committing illegal and immoral acts… and there’s a tide of cowardly mean people with the souls of criminals on the Internet, hiding behind the anonymity that protects others.

    That anonymity and freedom is and always will be a double edged sword. Hell, our biggest law enforcement entities cannot keep up with the crime and exploitation of REAL humans IN REAL LIFE that is facilitated and traded via the Internet. What makes the “end racism” protestors think the OTW/AO3 staff — mostly volunteers, I’ll point out again — can do better with a tiny fraction of the typical law enforcement bureau budget? Seriously?? Get real, ffs.

    Maybe I’m just a fatalist, but I don’t think this “end racism” effort will do anything but have the opposite effect, deeply discouraging those on OTW/AO3 staff who truly care and causing a massive wave of people leaving the OTW/AO3 in the near future because of this.

    Because if I were in OTW/AO3 staff’s shoes, I think my response would be, “Don’t like how we do this work for all of you FOR FREE while trying to maintain RL responsibilities, day jobs, pay bills, etc? THEN YOU DO IT. It’s ALL YOURS NOW.” And OTW/AO3 will be at real risk of falling into total chaos behind the scenes and requiring rescue by tech entities with dollar signs in their eyes. Then it’ll be paywalled.

    And when that happens, I’m going to say, “I told you so.”

    Get used to the fact that there are NO 100% safe spaces for anyone on the Internet because the are no 100% safe spaces in the world, even the places you would expect — as tens if not hundreds of millions of survivors of childhood abuse by family members, babysitters, clergy, teachers, coaches, and Scout leaders can attest. Learn to protect yourself, support each other, develop a thicker skin, and stop expecting those adulting to protect you when they can’t even protect themselves.

    Everything wrong with the Internet is a reflection of everything wrong with the world, because both are made up of humans. Some are amazing and spread joy. Some are as thoughtless about others as a wasp laying it’s eggs in an ant, and/or as intentionally cruel as a mass shooter.

    And if you think you can do so much better, again, I say: let’s see the glass-house dwellers stop throwing stones and step up and try. I won’t even fault them if they fail. But I would like to see them actually try, and I don’t see THAT as any part of their utterly detached-from-reality manifesto.

    They MEAN well. I KNOW that they do. But this reeks of (privileged) unrealistic ivory tower college activism. And I can’t help thinking that those who spearheaded this campaign come from levels of class privilege, regardless of race, of which they are blissfully unaware — to the extent that they have no real clue how brutal real life (and the Internet) really is, because they’ve been protected from having to deal with that which the majority of the world poorer than them takes for granted as just part of Life.

    And good intentions paved the road to hell.

    • Pat commented:

      What does this have to do with the news post?

    • EndRacismintheOTW commented:

      If enacting policies against racism was out of their capabilities (which I do not agree it is, as other people have pointed out options, the most notable collection of suggestions being on AO3 at /works/39597093, which are easier than, say, adding a tag limit to the site) then they should not have said they would act against racism in 2020. That all being said, your comment has no relavance to the above announcement and makes some quite wild assumptions about the people who would like AO3 to follow through on its very own promises. What was the point in posting this here?

    • PrettyOdd commented:

      This is a really disappointing “preemptive” response to racism. The hiring of a DEI/Diversity consultant was a promise they had made years ago. It is incredibly disheartening to undermine OTW’s contributions and power by speaking over them. They have stated directly that they would add “blocking, muting, hire a Diversity consultant, and look over their own TOS”. They have only done two of these things. You aren’t ‘owning the SJWs’ with this one you are just laughing at the platform we both use and underestimating the things it has said were feasible. If these things are not feasible then you would think that:

      1) OTW should not have made those promises in the first place.
      2) OTW should come clean about the fact that they aren’t willing to hire the consultant and look over the TOS.

      Stating that OTW is too weak and is going to break promises is harming the team… not helping. I would also remind people that the harassment TOS exists and takes down harassment on the archive. So to be clear here. Things do in fact get taken down on the archive, and the abuse team is subjected to witness these things to make an informed decision to take the offending work down. They aren’t weak and certainly have the power to take down intentional harassment on the archive.

      What was the point of posting this here? Don’t you have a Twitter or a Tumblr for this to go on? Even a meta on AO3? Why does this have to go here? You clearly aren’t speaking to the OTW staff in posting this. This statement was targeted towards people asking about the DEI consultant, not the staff themselves.

    • pompom commented:

      opposition to racist works is glass-house wishful thinking? that ao3 will be in chaos??? trying to do something good to protect poc fanfic writers/readers is bad actually?????
      ik that muting and blocking is helping a little but it would be much better to prevent all harmful works, idc about excuse “but it’s fictional” when racists use that to cause real harm to real people, like, i’m ok with it when people explore some tropes in fiction but when fiction is made to harm people….

  8. Taenith @ AO3 commented:

    Remember, everyone: this means we have one more spot open for this year’s Board Election. Now is the time to donate the $10 required to become a member- and then RELENTLESSLY grill the candidates about their plans for or against the inclusion of AI-generated text in the Archive (we need TOS changes prohibiting it). Additionally, we can pressure them to recommend Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt’s resignation. AND we can use this opportunity to also get the candidates on the record about past inaction on the hiring of a Diversity Consultant, and what they will do to QUICKLY start the hiring process.

    • EchoEkhi commented:

      I just want to urge OTW members to please consider the reality of the world we are in: There is no realistic way to ban AI scraping, and there is no reliable way to detect AI generated works in the Archive to ban them. Changing the TOS to disallow AI LLM works will make the TOS unenforceable and will be superficial at best, and would fuel false accusations and cyberbullying at worst.

      Allowing AI LLM text protects authors from cyberbullying and abuse, as it eliminates any significance of accusations of ‘cheating’ with AI and the author can rest assured that accusations would not lead to the deletion of their work.

      Please, vote sensibly.

    • V commented:

      While I am myself very against AI fics (and have even reported them), I changed my mind against banning after a debate with others – it’s impossible to ban it as there is no one feature that unambiguously separates “AI” and “poorly written not AI” fics, so the ban would be unenforceable and would likely circle back into harassment of writers (poorer quality or less innovative works being reported as untagged AI works).

    • You suck commented:

      Excuse me? Want to remind you people that Betsy Rosenblatt is a human being, a person. She is allowed to have her opinions, as we are to disagree with them, and shouldn’t be targeted and harassed for it in the way y’all are doing in every news post. Take a chill pill, go read the interview again and notice how she doesn’t claim, once, to be a spokesperson of the OTW on that topic. If the board was to reprimand, sanction or even kick her out like many of you want, that would be morally corrupt and an actual red flag of something going terribly wrong inside the org. You don’t do that to people that work for you, invade their private lives and try to control what they say and how they act out of the workplace. She’s not racist or a terf outside the imaginary offices of the mighty OTW, she’s a lawyer with a personal opinion that does not hurt anyone involved. AI has the potential of stealing people’s /real/ jobs and careers. What’s the AI fanfic going to steal from you? Your little hits? Your silly kudos? Be for fucking real, you disgusting piece of work.

      • Callmebyyourname commented: