We’re beginning our 10th anniversary celebration series about the AO3 by hearing from Francesca Coppa. Francesca is a founding member of the OTW and its longest-running board member (serving for five years). She is still with the OTW today.
Francesca was very enthusiastic about contributing to this series! Here’s what she had to say:
I have been in school nearly all my life and the OTW has been, hands down, the best school I ever went to: like they say, “everything I really needed to know I learned in the OTW!” I have such fond memories of those early days in the summer of 2007, after the call for an Archive of Our Own. The meetings lasted for hours! Naomi Novik and Michele Tepper were evaluating technological tools and drawing up user experience blueprints, and Rebecca Tushnet and Susan Gibel were working on our nonprofit paperwork and creating the legal and institutional structures governing our existence. (I think Susan is the unsung hero of the early OTW.)
Meanwhile, I was organizing our volunteers into committees. We’d asked those who were “Willing to Serve” to tell us about their skills and interests, and it was the most impressive and moving thing: we had lawyers, coders, public relations professionals, database analysts, professional fundraisers, sysadmins, journalists, management consultants, accountants, and technical writers; just so much expertise and so many kinds of expertise, and all of it offered to us out of love.
That is the thing that stays with me, and the thing I think most about now: that the OTW and the AO3 are about the collective, the network of fandom with its strong ties (“I would die for you”) and its looser ties (“Hey, we were in a fandom together once”), and then just the ties of shared identity (“you have once loved a thing as I have loved a thing!”) that make us recognize each other when we see a t-shirt, a sticker or an open tab. All of us are pulling together toward a common goal. We are what the web was meant to be: a network of people coming together to build something and keep it going.