5 thoughts to “Second 2010 Candidate Chat Transcript Now Available”

  1. Q: how you see the role of Board liaison for in-org committees, and more generally how Board might support staffers.

    A: I’ve been the liaison for several committees, and the experience has been very different each time. The job can be very simple: bringing particular sub-projects to the board, getting approval for funds, etc. Being a sounding board (pardon the pun) or sometimes being a committee’s link to other parts of the org–giving advice on who a committee chair might consult elsewhere in the org (sometimes a particular committee should check with legal, say, or content policy, or give a heads-up to DevMem, etc.)

    Where the job can sometimes get tricky is when–ok, see, the thing you get on the Board is an all-org-wide perspective. And while we try to give individual chairs and projects a lot of autonomy, sometimes the job is to pull projects back to center: for example, back to continuity with other projects, or to the OTW’s general goals. And that can be frustrating for committees sometimes, because this mostly happens after the fact–like, after the committee has already done a lot of work, and then the Board asks for changes or revisions. But its a side-effect of giving people freedom, and I think that a board member does have to keep an eye on the OTW’s general principles like fair use, fanwork preservation, etc. (PS-this can be hard, btw, when members are unhappy with a particular policy! But we still have to be in favor of fair use, preservation, etc.)

    The thing we need more and more to support our staff is communication, and that can be hard: it’s also just easier to communicate with staffers who are online a lot, just practically speaking, which is kind of inherently unfair. But we have a lot of ways to communicate within the OTW – meetings, chatrooms, mailing lists, an “open online office” with open files and message systems, writeboards, scheduled org-wide chats, the newsletter – and we’re always thinking about other, better ways to keep information flowing.

  2. Q: re: managing either paid or unpaid staff and what they consider the key aspects of good communication between office and non-office holding volunteers (i.e. boards, committees and other volunteers)

    A: I actually do have some corporate managerial experience from back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (early ’90s) and as a college professor, I have chaired several academic committees. But my most obvious experience is as a current OTW board member. I won’t lie: communication was easier for me before I had my son, as I was online a lot more (like, all the time; don’t judge me). I now have to be more on an email timetable than an instant-message timetable. But I feel like people know they can get help from me and that I’ll respond as fast as I can. The other key aspect for me is to try to set up situations where OTHER people can contribute as much as they can whenever they can – so I for instance do a TON of my OTW work through our collaborative writeboard system, which allows me to tag other OTW members for input (I work with non-staff vidding volunteers through googledocs.) These structures let us work together asynchronously, which helps when people are trying to fit this work in around their other work and the rest of their lives.

  3. Q: I’d like to know about their interest in or commitment to non-technical professional development for board and staffers

    A: I am SO INCREDIBLY COMMITTED to this. I have written many letters of recommendation for people in the org, emphasizing non-technical skills like chairing committees or writing blog posts or dealing with other kinds of communications. There are so many kinds of work in OTW that are REAL JOBS that you could use on a resume! As the liaison for TWC, I have also encouraged people to get involved with the journal and to polish their meta or academic work for publication, and we have encouraged people around the org to act as spokespeople for the org at fannish, academic, legal, and other kinds of conferences. I have recently actually also been talking to arts organizations about grants for vidders as visual artists, so we’ll see how that goes.

  4. Q: fanlore has a bit of an image problem in some circles of fandom, and is plagued by controversy and bad word of mouth… does anyone have any thoughts on fanlore in general? 🙁

    A: I love Fanlore, but yeah, Fanlore is tricky! Part of it is that many parts of fandom right now are coming from a “LJ” place, where the virtues of it are “This is my house and I can say whatever I want!” A lot of OTW projects are much more communal than than that – like, even the AO3, while it is a host for your stories and you can edit or delete them–is not as under your own control as something like LJ–it’s about the public good rather than personal customizability. (Is that a word?) Anyway, with Fanlore it’s even worse, because there is this way in which you have to work with people to make a wiki and your own take on things might be changed or overwritten, which can be upsetting. It’s like the opposite of an LJ post. There’s also the issue of whether people are comfortable coming in and saying, “This is how I saw it”–a lot of people are uncomfortable making assertions about that, even though the Wikicomm and the Board have said over and over that we want multiple, plural points of view. (And of course, contributors who are comfortable being assertive – raises hand guiltily; resembles that remark – might also scare away the kind of fans who aren’t! So you get a dominant group that, by definition, is kind of pushy!) Add to that that you have different areas of fandom bringing different fannish norms to the table and you know, people are going have issues. I have to say that I do think that progress there will happen through a) clearer policies that b) are repeated over and over and after a while will become more normative and c) will hopefully spread through fandom that plurality really is needed. But I don’t think it’s going to be overnight, and at first anyway, there are going to be people who find the tone or the norms sufficiently different that they’re going to back away. I also think that probably different fandoms are going to have to come to Fanlore in groups, en masse, and I think we could be doing more to be inviting people to come in groups – I did some work there inviting the Due South review communities to post the results of some of their work to Fanlore, but we could do more specific invitations to particular subcommunities. And the challenge idea on the DW is a good one, I think! We could also think about things like contests or something–something like a meta-version of McShep match, or maybe a kind of 30 tasks in 30 days kind of communal group editing project.

  5. Q: i had a question specifically for Francesca. can i paste it here for her to answer when she has time (as previously)?

    A: priusplural – or anyone else – please feel free to email me or to reply here! I haven’t got the question yet but am happy to answer!! fcoppa at transformativeworks dot org. Thank you for being interested!!!!

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