Latest from the Board: Board minutes 22 December 2011

We recently announced that from now on we will be posting minutes from Board meetings – we hope this will help people both inside and outside the organization get a flavour of what the Board gets up to and what we’re currently working on.

Each meeting generally begins with an “open session” that is open to all OTW committee chairs. The second part of the meeting is a “closed session” that is open only to the Board. Closed sessions are used for discussing confidential matters such as legal or personnel issues (in the latter case, the minutes generally do not record the names of the personnel involved), while open sessions cover a wide variety of topics. Following each meeting, minutes are drafted by the Secretary and then approved by the other Board members.

We had our first Board meeting on 22nd December. This meeting was devoted to setting things in place for the Board’s work in the new term, so we didn’t have any open session topics. We talked about policies and communication for the new term, and appointed new officers (the folk who play a specific role within the Board to keep its work running smoothly).

Congratulations to our new officers! The people appointed are:

  • President: Kristen Murphy
  • Treasurer: Nikisha Sanders
  • Secretary: Jenny Scott-Thompson
  • Vice-Secretary: Julia Beck

Read the rest of the minutes for 22nd December here.

Thanks and congratulations to all the people who worked hard to make the 2011 term a success – we’re looking forward to seeing even more great work in the new year.

OTW Board meeting minutes now available online

As part of our overall efforts to increase transparency, the OTW Board of Directors has voted to publicly post the minutes of Board meetings. You can read the Board meeting minutes here. At present only minutes from the 2011 term are available, but we’ll be adding some older minutes once we’ve had the chance to review them for confidential information.

Most of our Board meetings have two parts, which you will see reflected in the minutes. Each meeting generally begins with an “open session” that takes place in the Chairs chat room and is open to all OTW committee chairs. The second part of the meeting is a “closed session” that takes place in the Boardroom and is open only to the Board. Closed sessions are used for discussing confidential matters such as legal or personnel issues (in the latter case, the minutes generally do not record the names of the personnel involved), while open sessions cover a wide variety of topics. Following each meeting, minutes are drafted by the Secretary and then approved by the other Board members.

We recognize that increasing organizational transparency means something bigger and deeper than simply posting more stuff — and meeting minutes, in particular, can sometimes be challenging to make sense of because they are snapshots in time that lack the context of what goes on between meetings. Still, we hope that posting our minutes will offer a useful window into the work of the Board. To learn about other transparency initiatives that are currently in progress or under discussion, and to add to that discussion, please see our recent post on brainstorming for a more inclusive OTW (also on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, where there are more comments). We welcome your suggestions.

November 2011 AO3 Deploy and Reactions: an Apology from the Board

The Board would like to issue a public apology to our Support and AD&T staff and volunteers, our members, and the users of the AO3.

It is the Board’s responsibility — including the responsibility of the position I, Hele Braunstein, hold as Board liaison to both AD&T and Support — to keep an eye on any organizational issues that would affect both the quality of the product put forward to our beta install and the amount of work and responsibility of our volunteers. It is, in addition, our particular responsibility to ensure that they are not blamed and held accountable in public for what are, at their heart, organizational failings.

It was the Board’s responsibility to act on these failings, and avoid their having the impact that they, regrettably, have had.

As apologies are nothing if they are not followed by action, we can promise to take measures to avoid this happening in the future. The AD&T committee will work to figure out where we went wrong and what measures to take and guidelines to set to avoid it happening in the future. They will work with their current Board liaison, the Board as a whole, and their future Board liaison.

I especially apologize for being only able to set things in motion, as I’ll not be returning to Board next term. However, I promise to be available to the people working on it next term as well, if needed.

Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank each and every volunteer and staff member who has worked on this, both before and after the deploy. Your work was not at fault, and it’s deeply appreciated. Without you, and your efforts, OTW and its many projects would not exist.

Edited to add: This post was made in response to a number of conversations that were, and are, happening both inside and outside the OTW in reaction to the AO3 deploy; we find ourselves in the position of offering another apology as a result, as this post, in practice, proved to be opaque to the larger OTW community, which includes diverse interests in all our projects. To clarify, there were issues with the latest deploy to the AO3 — the deploy was somewhat hurried, limiting the ability of our testers, coders, support team, and other staff to do their jobs, and making the process harder than necessary, both for our volunteers as well as for our users.

As a result, many volunteers were put in a position where they felt personally liable for larger organizational or group-level errors; this is why we, as a Board, felt it was necessary to acknowledge their distress and to respect their very hard work. They addressed many of the problems and corrected them within 48 hours — we are grateful for their efforts, and wish to apologize for the necessity. (edits made 14 November 2011 5:00 UTC)