The OTW’s Commitment to Safety: Responding to Recent Concerns About AO3

This post hopes to address some claims made yesterday by Rahaeli on Twitter and her site, Dreamwidth, for purposes of clarification. After the illegal attack on OTW volunteers in May, 2022, the OTW took numerous steps to protect volunteers, including hiring an outside law firm with expertise in cybersecurity, working with contractors and firms that investigate and handle security incidents, and comprehensively revising our internal volunteer practices and updating our technological tools, including email systems, as well as making all necessary reports to NCMEC and others.

These actions, revisions and updates are ongoing. We also communicated with volunteers, both through personal and organization-wide communications, providing advice on actions to take if they had been sent CSEM, information regarding safety precautions they could take regarding personal information we believed could have been compromised, and identification of further resources that they could use.

The Legal Committee has always worked closely and cooperatively with the Policy & Abuse Committee, and continues to do so. This work includes organization-wide policy and technological measures to reduce stress and strain on our Policy & Abuse volunteers, and these measures are ongoing and continuing. We, and everyone else at the OTW, have always taken CSEM very seriously and the OTW reports (and has always reported) as required to NCMEC and others. Our Abuse processes are not limited to what appears in the Archive code, as we have internal measures in place (including some which are intentionally confidential), and we are always seeking to improve them. People who try to abuse the Archive are, unfortunately, flexible and evolving — therefore, we are too.

We are confident that we are compliant with the laws, including U.S. and EU laws regarding privacy, data protection, and data retention, that apply to the AO3. (It is relevant to the legal analysis that the AO3 does not host images other than 100×100 pixel user icons, which cannot be “orphaned” within our system). As Rahaeli noted at the end of her thread, these laws do not include COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, as it does not apply to nonprofits like the OTW, but as a matter of policy we do not allow children under 13 to make accounts, as noted in our Terms of Service.

Rahaeli is an expert in running an important social media/content hosting site, but not necessarily an expert about the facts in this instance, or about the OTW. We respect and have often listened to her expertise in the past; had she contacted us directly, we could have addressed her questions and concerns. We did not ignore her advice in 2022 and would not do so now.

Announcement, Archive of Our Own
  1. RattyManiac commented:

    This is a huge relief, thank you so much for the clarification!

  2. azarias commented:

    Hi! How does the Legal Committee retaliating against me for criticism of the OTW by falsely accusing me of approximately 900 felonies fit into the OTW’s safety plan? Interested to hear! https://fail-fandomanon.dreamwidth.org/596934.html?thread=3656005574#cmt365

    • K commented:

      Does it really count as retaliation/defamation when YOU were the first one to bring up the theory that you were suspended during the CSEM attack for being a suspect (Dreamwidth 2023-05-24)?

      Which then got linked by others in a Carrd in order to make a point about how OTW users and volunteers are being “abused” by the Organisation (https://ao3-volunteer-abuse.carrd.co/) (giving that link because it has more sources than I can provide here) which lead to some people demanding Answers of the OTW Very Loudly.
      (Personally, I don’t think being told something is not csem when YOU didn’t even believe it was CSEM [“Probably it was from regular porn” to quote you. Which goes for… most porn with young adults?], and later being lied to about not being a suspect of those email attacks – when you so very obviously were a suspect – count as abuse. You shouldn’t be allowed to report things as csem that aren’t that, and, while lying isn’t nice, suspects should not be told that they are suspects. The carrd isn’t on you, but it’s absolutely shit-stirring on a “no decent person would believe this guy would beat his wife” level, where I don’t know any of the people but I’m supposed to pick a side. But the guy sounds a bit sus going by what his defenders are like.

      I still do not get what you are supposed to have blown the whistle ON, btw? Legal porn not getting banned? In-transparency when it comes to communication with crime suspects? Unpaid volunteers not getting mental health care provided from their fellow unpaid volunteers? The legal team being referred to and being the authority when it comes to the questions on what content is legal and therefore allowed? What big secrets did you leak that I have missed that they are supposedly so mad at you about that they’d retaliate by… confirming what you already publicly suspected getting suspended for, and giving more info on that?

      Like, I don’t know if you were behind those attacks. I don’t know that you weren’t, either. But if you want to hold anyone accountable for framing you as a suspect, that should be you, first. Did you think non of the Dreamwidth anons would contact the OTW and ask for clarification, or spread rumours that would force the OTW to clarify that they did not just kick you out to get rid of an annoyance?

      • Impertinence commented:

        1. Azarias blew the whistle on volunteers not being provided with the support in policy, process, or tooling that they need to deal with reports of CSAM. “Legal porn” is not the problem here, “porn distributed in a way that makes it impossible to confirm legality” is. “Volunteers asked to try and find out if the porn is legal rather than requiring users to prove it” is. And BTW, the OTW disagrees with you on this, because after azarias left they changed their policy. 2. If azarias was genuinely a suspect in a federal investigation (protip: she wasn’t) then, actually, kicking her out of the org in this way would be interference with a federal investigation, and they shouldn’t have done it. If the feds had told them to do that, then that would be another story. But they didn’t. They’ve already admitted as much. 3. Trust & Safety departments the world over do not rely on legal teams to determine their policies. They rely on legal teams to tell them if their (T&S) interpretation of policies is legal according to the TOS. There is a very good reason for that: lawyers are not experts in running a website, and their policy recommendations are unlikely to be based in the decades of best practice that Trust & Safety professionals have established. Legal’s advice in this area is professionally inappropriate and, given that they are IP lawyers who do not specialize in the relevant law, unethical. This is handily demonstrated on this post, where they state their legal analysis indicates they are compliant, relying upon the false statement that they do not host images other than user icons. 4. There is no version of events and no interpretation of Legal’s expertise or domain that justifies smearing azarias internally to 900 volunteers, defaming her by implication, with communications that stress strange “coincidences” that imply they think she was the culprit even as they allowed her back into the org. That behavior alone demonstrates that Legal and the Board are inappropriate stewards of the organization.

        • K commented:

          1. That goes for a lot of online porn of young adults you come across (esp as you get older…). You rarely 100% know they AREN’T <18. But if you volunteer to do CSEM tickets, and you agree someone in a reported porn gif looks like a child, that's good enough to say the gif should be passed on to the authorities. But apparently that didn't happen, cause she said she wasn't sure and let someone else make that call, and didn't like their decision. Where can I find that policy change, btw? You can still embed visual materials and I see no exceptions for any tag or type of content.
          2. You make it sound like the OTW went against any advice from the authorities during an investigation of a suspect, when the whole thing sounds like there wasn't enough evidence to make anyone an official suspect. The feds aren't going to bring in anyone for possibly having enough personal info about others to do the email attack (cause azarias is by all accounts very social).
          3. Makes no sense. The OTW's content policy is based on "everything fannish, fictional, and LEGAL". 'Does the Underage tag make this CSEM when it doesn't clearly look like a child to me?' is a question for legal. 'Is this obscenity or defensible?' is a question for legal, cause they are the ones who'd have to defend it.
          4. People keep asking the OTW for transparency in their decisions. So, they made clear their reasoning for, let's say ostracising, their volunteer for a bit w/o coming right out and saying they suspect(ed) her of anything. Which you can argue is a dick move, but they still only did that after azarias herself posed the theory that she'd been a suspect. In a forum that had – according to some comments I've seen – several former and current volunteers. Might as well make a statement before the rumour mill gets going.

          • K commented:

            Let’s try this one more time. 1. That goes for a lot of online porn of young adults you come across (esp as you get older…). You rarely 100% know they AREN’T younger than 18. But if you volunteer to do CSEM tickets, and you agree someone in a reported porn gif looks like a CHILD, that’s good enough to say the gif should be passed on to the authorities, and then do that and suspend the account. But apparently that didn’t happen, cause she said she wasn’t sure and let someone else make that call/do her job, and didn’t like their decision. Where can I find that policy change, btw? You can still embed visual materials and I see no exceptions for any tag or type of content.
            2. You make it sound like the OTW went against any advice from the authorities during an investigation of a suspect, when the whole thing sounds like there wasn’t enough evidence to make anyone an official suspect. The feds aren’t going to bring in anyone for maybe having enough personal info about others to do the email attack (cause azarias is by all accounts very social, and people will talk about themselves to nice people). There apparently was just enough weirdness for suspicions, and I have no reason to (dis-)believe either side, here. YOU say it’s a smear campaign, I say they are just confirming that there *were* suspicions after people asked. (see 4.)
            3. Makes no sense. The OTW’s content policy is based on “everything fannish, fictional, and LEGAL”. ‘Is this a child?’ is NOT a question for legal. ‘Does the Underage tag make this CSEM when it doesn’t clearly look like a child to me?’ is a question for legal. ‘Is this obscenity or defensible?’ is a question for legal, cause they are the ones who’d have to defend it.
            4. People keep asking the OTW for transparency in their decisions. So, they made clear their reasoning for, let’s say ostracising, a volunteer for a bit w/o coming right out and saying they suspect(ed) her of anything. Which you can argue is a dick move, but they still only did that after azarias herself posed the theory that she’d been a suspect. In a forum that had – according to some comments I’ve seen – several former and current volunteers. Might as well make a statement before the rumour mill gets going.

        • K commented:

          Oh, cool, I didn’t lose the comment. Let’s try this again. 1. That goes for a lot of online porn of young adults you come across (esp as you get older…). You rarely 100% know they AREN’T <18. But if you volunteer to do CSEM tickets, and you agree someone in a reported porn gif looks like a child, that's good enough to say the gif should be passed on to the authorities, and then do that and suspend the account. But apparently that didn't happen, cause she said she wasn't sure and let someone else make that call/do her job, and didn't like their decision. Where can I find that policy change, btw? You can still embed visual materials and I see no exceptions for any tag or type of content.
          2. You make it sound like the OTW went against any advice from the authorities during an investigation of a suspect, when the whole thing sounds like there wasn't enough evidence to make anyone an official suspect. The feds aren't going to bring in anyone for possibly having enough personal info about others to do the email attack (cause azarias is by all accounts very social, and people will talk about themselves to nice people). There apparently was just enough weirdness for suspicions, and I have no reason to (dis-)believe either side, here. YOU say it's a smear campaign, I say they are just confirmung that there *were* suspicions. (see 4.)
          3. Makes no sense. The OTW's content policy is based on "everything fannish, fictional, and LEGAL". 'Is this a child?' is NOT a question for legal. 'Does the Underage tag make this CSEM when it doesn't clearly look like a child to me?' is a question for legal. 'Is this obscenity or defensible?' is a question for legal, cause they are the ones who'd have to defend it.
          4. People keep asking the OTW for transparency in their decisions. So, they made clear their reasoning for, let's say ostracising, their volunteer for a bit w/o coming right out and saying they suspect(ed) her of anything. Which you can argue is a dick move, but they still only did that after azarias herself posed the theory that she'd been a suspect. In a forum that had – according to some comments I've seen – several former and current volunteers. Might as well make a statement before the rumour mill gets going.

          • K commented:

            Goddammit, what?

        • K commented:

          They do not host images, apart from icons. Images/gifs/vids are data-heavy and their servers couldn’t take that. They let you embed images that are being hosted somewhere else. They also let you post links to somewhere else. Both of these functions can be used to distribute illegal material, yes, but show me a website with any user-generated content that doesn’t let you do that.

          • surskitty commented:

            They do host images, actually. Anytime you hit the Download button on a work that contains an image embed, the ebook maker downloads the image to embed it directly in the ebook. It is being hosted as part of that pdf etc. They don’t host images larger than icons long-term, but I don’t think the law cares if you’re only intending to host it for a few hours until it’s deleted from cache.

          • Satsuma commented:

            To build off what you’re saying a bit–the law cares in that evidence of CSAM images (which includes the images themselves, and any associated metadata which may help identify the poster or or producer) is required to be saved for ninety days to give NCMEC time to investigate (reporting said images to NCMEC is also mandatory)–hosting CSAM “only for a couple hours in cache” before deleting all of the evidence is actually part of the problem

          • surskitty commented:

            Thank you; realized a while after posting I was ambiguous. “We only hosted it for a few hours” is not something that will work as a defense. AO3 very much does host unscreened images, not just embeds, and does not save that data in a way that permits complying with the law. The existence of backups does not change that fact, as a backup taken every week does not include anything about a pdf created five days ago and scrubbed four days ago.

          • K commented:

            Any report to NCMEC would include the embed link to the hosting site, so the evidence would be there. There’s no good reason for every site an illegal pic was embedded into saving the pic on their server. Info of which IP embedded it and how often and by whom it was downloaded using on-site tools, sure, that would be relevant info that websites need to keep. But there’s no reason why they should keep the material itself anymore than a person stumbling over CSEM – or being sent it – and then having it in their cache should then preserve that on their PC.

      • Azarias commented:

        test

      • azarias commented:

        “Does it really count as retaliation/defamation” Yes. “”Probably it was from regular porn” to quote you.” You have successfully identified what I told myself so I could sleep at night. I had no training or tools with which to make this determination. That is the substance of my complaint in this specific example. There are correct ways to approach these situations, and then there’s what I was stuck doing.

        • K commented:

          The problem, as you described it, wasn’t the gif though, it was it being in the Underage tag. Big dicks and hairless pussies are abundant in porn, and I doubt there’s training to age-date genitals by sight. If you wouldn’t have thought that was a child sans tag, the *gif* itself isn’t actionable as CSEM until a victim comes forward. It was Your job to identify that (whether that’s a child or not). The question was: Is the gif an illustration for the *fanfiction* (to whom the tag refers), or does the tag go for the gif seperately as a descriptor of what’s shown in the gif? In that second case, it wouldn’t matter how old the performers looked or if you tag it Fiction, cause the Underage (or non-con) tag would trump that if they were seen as describing non-fiction (the live-action sex gif). Which is not how tags should work. There’s enough people thinking they are endorsements or porn genres already.

          • Nonny commented:

            “Big dicks and hairless pussies” is truly charming language to use in the context of child sexual abuse.

          • K commented:

            Pardon the crassness. I was using the same words as the above commenter was using in another forum when describing the material they were evaluating, and I was coming from a place of someone who had seen far too many people claim that smooth genitals or size differences in adults are, and I quote, “catering to pedophiles” or that porn featuring those are “basically cp”. My point was that a content tag should not matter when you are tasked to evaluate potential CSEM gifs *by sight* (well, unless a sexual gif is tagged Underage and Non-Fiction).

      • azarias commented:

        “Unpaid volunteers not getting mental health care provided from their fellow unpaid volunteers?” Unpaid volunteers who are exposed to traumatic attacks as a consequence of, but outside the expected scope of, their unpaid work do in fact deserve appropriate healthcare. That the org chose not to provide any such care is a massive ethical failure at the least. Doing so as a one-time emergency response would not constitute providing employee benefits or reclassifying volunteers or whatever excuse OTW leadership used not to do it, and would not be overstrain the org’s financial resources. A voucher for 2-3 online counseling sessions in order to debrief, or bringing in a contractor to offer group seminars on over Zoom, would not be treating volunteers as employees. There are actual rules and tests you can apply to volunteer classification; you don’t just have to go on vibes.

        • K commented:

          That’s not their job. That’s none of the volunteers’ job. Which doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been done, but unless anyone had piped up at the time to say “Hey, I’m gonna start a donation drive for us to pay for therapists” and the Board forbade it, I’m not sure why you think they are responsible for it not getting done.You could have done it. Any of the other traumatised volunteers could have done it. Any outsider could have done it. Preemtively, or after the first time or that second time ir right now. But the Board isn’t responsible for budgeting for terrorist attacks. (And I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure them paying for therapy vouchers would mean that the volunteers were being PAID. Out of donations not meant for that purpose. Which strikes me as illegal.)

          • I see commented:

            “That’s not their job. That’s none of the volunteers’ job. […] I’m not sure why you think they [=the Board] are responsible for it not getting done. […] But the Board isn’t responsible for budgeting for terrorist attacks.” Hum, I thought it would be too obvious to miss, but this (among other things) is EXACTLY WHAT PEOPLE ARE CRITICISING on this topic? Now, I admit I’m pretty new to the internal OTW structure, but from what I picked up there is a hierarchical structure that’s something like People in Committees answer to -> Committee Chairs answer to -> the Board (or Legal?) (And Fanlore also states “The OTW is run by an elected board”). All of them volunteers, but still at different points in the hierarchy. So when a “terrorist attack”, as you called it, against a massive part of the volunteer workforce happens, shouldn’t the Board as the highest up in the hierarchy (who, again, run the OTW) take care of the mental health of the people working under them? Maybe it is the case that the people on the Board don’t or can’t, not having the rights to make executive functions like that? Well, that would speak to the organizational dysfunction people are complaining about. Or maybe there is someone who could make such decisions but they said, “Nah, mental health care for the volunteers after this event is not necessary”? Well, that would speak to the organizational dysfunction people are complaining about. I don’t know anything about legality of paying for therapy vouchers that you bring up, so I can’t comment on that, but the ethical failure mentioned above is right there.

      • azarias commented:

        PAC’s work is complex, but there are tools that PAC could be given access to to make these decisions easier.

        • azarias commented:

          Legal are not experts on all applicable laws affecting AO3 and the OTW. I apologize for the disjointedness of these replies; the commenting software is giving me fits.

      • azarias commented:

        “What big secrets did you leak that I have missed that they are supposedly so mad at you about that they’d retaliate” Everything I’ve said is in public. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  3. Azarias commented:

    The first such attack on OTW volunteers was actually in October 2021! PAC as a whole and I personally warned the Org that further attacks and escalations were expected. Can you explain why the Org took zero steps to protect volunteers the FIRST time this happened, and instead waited until the attacker gained greater access and was able to threaten more volunteers more severely?

  4. turtle commented:

    So you’re not going to address her claim that she *did* contact AO3 directly through a website contact form, and that Rebecca Tushnet *did* set up a phonecall with her and, instead of listening to her recommendations, pressured her to delete her twitter thread and said AO3 would not advise your volunteers of the steps to take against further threats because somehow the danger of marginalized people contacting the police for their anti-SWATting procedures was somehow more dangerous than what would happen if those exact same marginalized people got SWATtted?
    Is that what counts as protecting volunteers?
    (Among other things you haven’t addressed! Azarias has already brought up her issue above, and I’m sure there are others)

    For anyone who wants the full account, Rahaeli/Denise wrote up the whole thing at synecdochic at dreamwidth dot org.
    Note: I don’t know her personally and have never interacted with her so far as I know.

    • turtle commented:

      My mistake, it’s synecdochic.dreamwidth.org, not “at”

  5. tremontaine commented:

    had she contacted us directly, we could have addressed her questions and concerns. We did not ignore her advice in 2022 and would not do so now.

    According to rahaeli, not only did you in fact ignore her advice but a longstanding member of the OTW’s Legal Committee rang her up to demand she retract it/remove public posts intended to provide volunteers with advice and resources which the OTW was not giving them. Will that allegation be addressed at any point?

  6. gloss commented:

    Couple questions!

    So did Rebecca Tushnet ask Denise to remove her thread of advice in the wake of the attack or not?

    The Legal Committee has always worked closely and cooperatively with the Policy & Abuse Committee, and continues to do so.>/i>
    That’s part of the problem, though! Why does Legal feel emboldened to hamstring PAC decision-making to the extent that it does?

    This work includes organization-wide policy and technological measures to reduce stress and strain on our Policy & Abuse volunteers, and these measures are ongoing and continuing.
    In what possible way are legal academics who specialize in IP at all equipped to do such work? Why do you on the committee feel entitled and qualified to do so?

    • gloss commented:

      Argh, apologies for the mess of formatting.

    • Hex commented:

      (I’d say it’s shocking that the OTW comment section doesn’t have basic input validation to close tags, but…)

      And if Tushnet did contact Rahaeli and attempt to pressure her into removing the Twitter thread (which I have no reason to disbelieve), who else has been asked to delete discussion, comments or criticism of OTW and/or AO3? It this standard Legal procedure?

  7. surskitty commented:

    Aren’t Legal IP lawyers? Why are they working with PAC in the first place? That sounds far outside of their specialties.

    • tacky_tramp commented:

      +1

    • aimmyarrowshigh commented:

      +1 (re: PAC being outside the specialization of IP lawyers in the first place)

  8. Azarias commented:

    Closing tag.

    • gloss commented:

      Thank you. I made a mess, but I had no idea it would propagate past my comment.

      • Muccamukk commented:

        What the hell is this code!? I’m laughing so hard right now. What a gong show.

  9. moljn commented:

    I think it would be useful for people to be able to read the claims you’re addressing. I’m confident Rahaeli does not mind being linked to: https://twitter.com/rahaeli/status/1669350441971494914

  10. EchoEkhi commented:

    I have to say that releasing this statement is not the correct thing to do, nor is it the right time to do it. “It is an axiom of practical politics never to believe anything until it has been officially denied.” By swiftly and immediately denying these accusations, you’re actually showing that you’re worried about the effects of the accusations, leading people to think they might actually be true. The Org should have waited until a question about this comes up on the public meeting on 2nd of July, then the statement will be less abrupt. So I have to ask you this: was there a particular reason Comms decided that this was urgent enough to release an immediate statement, provided that the accusations are false?

    • tacky_tramp commented:

      Strongly disagree. I’m glad they at least addressed the legal-compliance issue immediately.

      • EchoEkhi commented:

        There was never any question about OTW’s legal compliance. Systems made it clear that database backups were stored for a year.

        • tacky_tramp commented:

          Where did they make that clear?

          • PrettyOdd commented:

            Systems did a driveby post on the AO3 mirror(previous post) in response to a thread where we were talking about it. Again I cannot stress enough that this is pretty easily hidden and shoved on the end of the 3rd page of pretty heated responses. I wholeheartedly don’t even think that Systems wanted to respond since it seemed like a panicked off-the-cuff reaction from the person who was sending it (No offense to them, they seemed to be trying their best with what they were given).

            I frankly don’t like the fact that the OTW purposefully hides and tries and cower from genuine discussions like this. This is also the only post that isn’t mirrored on AO3 publically. And it’s to save face for the donors 1000%. They don’t want the majority of AO3 users who would run from this if they heard about it to know about these allegations. It’s also why (IMO) they didn’t name the EndOTWRacism protest in their last post nor title the anti-racism post on AO3 and here anything relevant. Because let’s be honest… OTW knows that if the majority of the userbase heard of this instability, they wouldn’t donate.

          • EchoEkhi commented:

            It is mirrored on AO3 publically. https://archiveofourown.org/comments/661154842 I appreciate Systems’ transparency.

          • Impertinence commented:

            It also very much should not be System’s random configuration that decides how long this data is stored. I know they are doing their best, but they’re inadvertently exposing that what we suspect is true: there are people in the org making decisions about mission critical legal compliance issues that absolutely shouldn’t be, because their only legal advice is coming from people who are unqualified to advise in this domain and unethical enough to advise anyway, and there is no policy from the Board that prevents this status quo from continuing.

          • EchoEkhi commented:

            Sorry, here’s the source: https://archiveofourown.org/comments/661154842

          • rahaeli commented:

            Server backups are not a reasonable solution for legal retention and preservation requirements in the slightest. Server backups are for data loss or machine failure, not for the legal requirement to preserve and retain records about a single specific account: from that setup James describes, for the organization to meet its legal obligations in the event of “a report of CSAM was sent to NCMEC and we have now gotten the subpoena from law enforcement for the information about the account we were legally required to preserve as of the instant we hit ‘submit’ on the report” would take James, conservatively, probably a minimum of 100 hours and the use of a spare very large machine (that the OTW probably doesn’t just have lying around) that could be entirely bypassed by either a) making a code change to make all content by a suspended user invisible and prevent them from editing, changing, or deleting anything in their account or b) maintaining a subpoena compliance snapshot script that dumps a snapshot of the individual account’s contents and its metadata at the instant the “submit” button was pushed on the NCMEC report and created the affirmative obligation to preserve those contents.

          • EchoEkhi commented:

            > “would take James, conservatively, probably a minimum of 100 hours and the use of a spare very large machine (that the OTW probably doesn’t just have lying around)” I don’t know where you got the idea that it takes 100 hours to restore a backup. By your estimate, the restore rate would be 1.67 MB/s. They could use their staging machine to restore the data.

  11. TuttleDuttle commented:

    Thank you for the clarification. Denise’s statement has created a rather large shit show

  12. Silverfish commented:

    Why has PAC not been using industry-standard best practices to reduce the exposure of volunteers to potential CSEM up through now? Has it now researched these best practices, and is it planning to implement them in a reasonable time frame to prevent further trauma and distress to volunteers? Does OTW have a response to Denise/Rahaeli’s allegations that she has, in fact, directly contacted the OTW multiple times, and the only response she has received was a phone call from Rebecca Tushnet strongly pressuring her to remove advice for volunteers who were victims of the CSEM attack? Will the OTW retract its defamatory internal letter implying that the volunteer Azarias was behind the CSEM attacks (despite the fact that they reinstated her)? Will any Legal members who authored or approved that letter be removed for their unethical behavior towards a volunteer? Given the internal letter by the Board, is it addressing the concerning fact that Legal unilaterally decided to suspend a volunteer without even notifying the Board?

  13. Kutti commented:

    Hi Legal,
    I am a current volunteer with the OTW and I am posting this here because I have been waiting more than 3 weeks for Board to answer my questions regarding the May 2022 situation and its aftermath, and have received no response.

    My questions (asked on 28th May 2023) were:
    1) Who is in charge (board or legal or volcom) of creating the documentation for defining what an emergency is and what is authorised in it
    2) What timeframe can we expect for this documentation to be drafted

    I would also like to let you know that I received only 2 all-org emails after the May CSEM attacks, and the advice in them was limited to:

    “If someone outside the U.S. received CSEM, they may also want to also report to NCMEC, since what they received came via U.S. servers. They should use their own judgment about reporting it to their own local, national, or regional authorities. Anyone who receives CSEM should delete it from their e-mail and hard drive. If you think you may have been a target of this malicious activity, do NOT open any unknown e-mail to investigate or find out what it contains.” (dated 5 May 2022)

    “We strongly recommend not opening any messages from unknown senders claiming to be from the OTW, particularly if they contain attachments. Delete them immediately. […] We encourage you to choose a password that you haven’t used before and cannot be easily guessed, and we strongly recommend that you enable 2-factor authentication. […]
    “there is a possibility that any personal information you included in your Slack profile may have been compromised.
    We recommend that you take steps to protect yourself in the event this does occur. You may want to make changes such as:
    reviewing and removing information on your Slack profile, such as social media accounts;
    if your Slack profile has links to social media, removing location information and other identifying data from those accounts;
    changing your login data from those social media accounts, changing their protection level, or deleting them entirely.”

    You did not share any information about what to do if we were SWATTED, what to do if we were doxxed, or how to deal with the trauma if we were exposed to CSEM material. You did not offer any psychological assistance, and over a year later, according to the latest information, there are still no resources available for volunteers should we be attacked again.

    You did not even, as rahaeli’s thread did, provide us the peer-reviewed citation to play Tetris.

    • Impertinence commented:

      Thank you for continuing to press them on this.

    • msilverstar commented:

      Thank you for presenting your experience — that’s significantly alarming.

    • tacky_tramp commented:

      Thank you for confirming that Rahaeli’s thread of advice was indeed stuff OTW hadn’t discussed with volunteers.

    • Former Volunteer & Victim of the 2022 Attack commented:

      As one of the volunteers who was sent CSEM in the attack last year, thank you for speaking up about this. I am no longer a volunteer due to this incident, and likely will not attempt to resume volunteering if there is another opportunity to do so, especially since it seems that nothing has changed in a full year.

      While I did receive support, I remember it coming primarily from other volunteers higher up the chain than I was. Most of the immediate aftermath is a blur now, but here’s what I remember:
      – I can’t say for sure whether legal directly posted anything concerning this incident in the channel(s) I was part of, but regardless, a LOT of the heavy lifting was done by volunteers higher up the chain than I was. There was a lot of language like, “This was the advice given to us by legal and/or the board.”
      – I’m not going to go too deeply into detail about the email I was sent in the attack, but in addition to the CSEM, there was an angry rant that made references and included specific details about conversations that had taken place in Slack (some of them in channels I was part of), as well as threats of violence and/or extortion against the volunteers (each of them named in the diatribe). The sender had also left several email addresses (presumably of other volunteers) in the recipient list, which I provided to the volunteer who helped me through the immediate aftermath.
      – I don’t remember there being much confirmation one way or another which platforms had been compromised. The platforms I used for my volunteering work were locked down immediately, but I was afraid to post anything in Slack. This was a concern I saw echoed by other volunteers, but eventually conversation picked back up without any confirmation provided one way or the other that it would be safe to do so.
      – I don’t remember who it was that helped me through the immediate aftermath, but I remember their advice lining up almost word-for-word with what azarias has posted recently, about the support she personally provided to volunteers that had been sent CSEM (specifically the really practical stuff about how to lock your stuff down, clean your hard drive, etc). In fact, it was so close that that post had me wondering if maybe it WAS azarias that helped me back then (and if it was, and you happen to be reading this, thank you so much!)

      The thing is, even if there HAD been more support provided for mental health purposes, I’m not sure I would have taken it at the time. Not from any OTW volunteer, no matter where they were in the hierarchy. I remember feeling terrified to even check my email or open Slack, because I had no idea what had been compromised and I didn’t want to take any chances. I sure as hell didn’t want to tie any part of my irl identity to my fandom identity, which I was worried would happen if I asked for any more support than what I received.

      I really don’t know what kind of support I would have been most receptive to back then, but to the volunteers who helped me in the immediate aftermath, I can’t thank you enough. Thank you so much for being so kind and patient with me during such a scary and tumultuous period, and walking me through that crisis. Thank you for continued work in addressing this and protecting volunteers from such incidents in the future, even at risk of retaliation.

  14. InsanityPrelude commented:

    Can you address Denise’s statement that Rebecca Tushnet contacted her to demand she take down her thread about the 2022 attack? Because wow that is not a good look for the OTW.

  15. Muccamukk commented:

    Your post here is being refuted by multiple volunteers in this thread! Saying “we were using best practices!” does not make it true.

    You also have not addressed libeling one of your former volunteers to all of your current volunteers. Whoever is responsible for that needs to resign. Now.

  16. fioment commented:

    This is such blatant ass-covering in lieu of actually doing something to fix the problem. Legal’s overreach is obvious and poisonous. You need to clean house badly before you hurt even more of your volunteers.

  17. Airspaniel commented:

    Stating that you have no legal liability in this situation is a cop out of the highest order. Yes, you may technically not be violating any laws, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing the right thing or behaving responsibly towards your volunteers and people raising reasonable concerns which this statement completely fails to address.

    • uh oh commented:

      Except they DO have legal liability because they’re still hosting CSEM through embedded images AND not preserving relevant evidence for the legally required 90-day period when reporting CSAM. Jesus.

  18. Madame Hardy commented:

    I admit that I’m feeling cranky, but I’d like a clarification here.
    We respect and have often listened to her expertise in the past; had she contacted us directly, we could have addressed her questions and concerns.

    Does this imply that you don’t intend to address her questions and concerns now? Her points about the protection of volunteers, and about supporting volunteers emotionally, and not just legally, still stand. For instance, the use of the program that inverts and blurs possible CSAM when a volunteer may be confronted with it.

  19. Morncrown commented:

    All I can do is laugh. If you are not going to engage in good faith with the allegations, you’d be better off saying nothing on the org’s behalf at all.

    I also question OTW’s motives in choosing not to comment until only Rahaeli specifically made public comments about the ongoing discussion, rather than responding to the multiple serious, specific detailed allegations already put forth by multiple other people. Frankly, this smacks of “someone with a fandom-related grudge against Rahaeli just couldn’t let her have the last word.”

  20. fall commented:

    I’m a bit baffled by the clarification that images aren’t hosted on the AO3 servers – we all know this, but you have to realize that allowing links to CSEM, even if not hosted, still counts as distribution, right? I understand that this clarification may be for legal purposes, but without addressing the way CSEM could still be distributed without requiring server hosting via AO3, it reads like a very poor excuse to not acknowledge other ways the OTW can be complicit in allowing access to CSEM. This is an oddly defensive post that makes me even more wary of the org.

    • tacky_tramp commented:

      That bit concerned me, too. Either the person writing this doesn’t understand that hosting is irrelevant here, or they understand that but wanted to muddy the waters.

      • Impertinence commented:

        It’s also quite literally not true. They create & distribute work downloads with images embedded. The implication that distribution doesn’t count is wrong but their statement around hosting is also flat-out provably false.

        • fall commented:

          I didn’t even think about this, but you’re right. That makes their entire argument that images can’t be hosted on AO3 – however technical we want to get – entirely moot. Yikes.

          • Impertinence commented:

            It really does not inspire confidence that they are in fact compliant or telling the truth!

          • Azarias commented:

            I have personal knowledge of at least one image of a real, identifiable minor’s head that was photoshopped onto a pornographic image, embedded in a work on AO3, and allowed to remain there for years after being reported by a concerned user. If that does in fact constitute CSAM – I thought it did not since we could tell it was manipulated, but people with greater expertise than me have said it does – then AO3 has certainly not been compliant. I hope they are going forward!

  21. Disappointed ao3 user commented:

    The otw is slow to respond to issues of racism (even to moderate racist comments on news posts), or to address volunteer Azarias’s valid requests, and yet somehow immediately finds time to put out a statement like this one, to reply to someone that raises some very valid, very real concerns. It sounds like you’re being defensive, and time and time again you keep proving that your only goal is to cover the otw’s arse and make sure you don’t look bad. Fans of colour and the safety of volunteers sound like an afterthought for you. I stand with volunteer azarias. I agree with rahaeli. I hope that all volunteers keep themselves safe. Strike if you must. Quit if you must. I stand with you all, and I sincerely believe I’m not the only one. In fact, if a user strike happens, it will have my full support. But mostly I stand in solidarity with volunteers and with my fellow fans of colour.

  22. impertinence commented:

    Why did Rebecca Tushnet contact Denise in 2022 to pressure her to take down her thread about volunteer safety? Why didn’t the OTW immediately move to a centralized mail server for volunteers after PAC was attacked in 2021 via publicly available information? Why have you not addressed Legal’s retaliation against a former volunteer in the form of defamation by implication? Why are PAC volunteers in the comments on an AO3 news post confirming azarias’s allegations that PAC had no guidance on industry best practice and *legally required* steps for appropriate preservation of reported CSEM and associated account information? Why are you conflating hosting CSEM with CSEM distribution? And why is Comms continuing to cover for Legal on these vitally important issues? Stand up!

  23. the_wanlorn commented:

    Hi! Not to be that person quibbling over terminology, but just to be clear, are we talking about CSEM or CSAM here, given they’re not the same thing? Thank you!

    • Anon commented:

      Based on azarias’ descriptions, they are talking about both, though they almost certainly do not know or care to differentiate between the two.

    • welp commented:

      Pretty sure it’s both, but the legal terminology lumps all visual materials under “child p*rnography” last I checked (i am not a lawyer)

  24. Another AO3 user dismayed at your foul treatment of volunteers commented:

    What a frankly pathetic reply, a big ol’ nothing sandwich. Respond to the accusations of Rebecca Tushnet acting in a unprofessional and insulting manner (and better yet get rid of her!!), among the other actual claims made. And for god’s sake clean house with legal. This is ridiculous. Volunteer safety and health is paramount, and I’m very glad I never volunteered or made to apply for positions within the organisation. There are volunteers in this comment section rightly dunking you.

    I rate this reply from Claudia R. a solid 0/10. I cannot overstate my disappointment with the OTW and specifically legal.

  25. Jingiebellz commented:

    …??? This responded to barely anything serious in the actual claims. go back and write a second draft of this response ffs. as a grader if I received this as a response it’d be a big ol’ fail and “please come see me”. saddened by your treatment of volunteers. Fix IT.

  26. Do You Not Use Your Own Platform? commented:

    As a regular user of Ao3, this PR statement already includes some glaring inaccuracies. Ao3 not only allows for images larger than 100 x 100 pixels (which I really don’t see what pixel size has to do with anything) but also allows for audio files, thus creating an environment where CSAM material can be posted.

    This also means works can be orphaned. I’m also beginning to wonder if there’s a system in place for moderating these things that prioritizes the mental health of moderators.

    Additionally, an organization as large as OTW should ABSOLUTELY be using organization emails. That this isn’t in place already for volunteers is abhorrent. It not only puts the volunteers at risk, but also makes it more difficult on any IT personnel who are trying to manage these types of things. You do have IT people, right?

    Perhaps instead of refuting threads made by experts, OTW should listen to them. For the safety of volunteers at the very least.

    • Impertinence commented:

      AO3 allows embedding but not hosting of image and audio files. Where they are wrong is thinking this means they’re completely in the clear, because attempting to distribute externally hosted CSAM is also a crime, and by virtue of embedding images in work downloads, the platform also has the capability to reproduce the material (by which I mean: they are potentially hosting and distributing it themselves).

      • Do You Not Use Your Own Platform? commented:

        Thank you for the clarification!

        I admittedly have never added images to the fic, so presumed they were hosted, and not embedded.

        But like you said, Ao3 is still hosting the embed link, and it can still be distributed in formats like PDFs.

        This amount of trying to find reasons to wiggle out of liability when it comes to creating a safe platform by Ao3’s legal team is honestly disgusting

        • Impertinence commented:

          Agreed 100%, the negligence on display is appalling.

      • . commented:

        One thing that is important to mention here, is that AO3 caches downloads too. Which means they have a file on their servers somewhere with the embedded images for a time. So they definitely would have it being “hosted”. Especially since there even is a lag between when a work is deleted or even made unrevealed and when the cached downloads link stops working sometimes.

  27. PrettyOdd commented:

    You know that it’s bad when current volunteers in the comments are sending out messages to legal begging them to respond. And frankly, I don’t think this looks good for OTW right now. Between this and the admission from Dhobi ki Kutti that they have been attacked internally from other volunteers on Slack (and receiving anon hate from volunteers on their own dreamwidth) for speaking out against racism. It’s… rotten clearly.

  28. slybrarian commented:

    “The Legal Committee has always worked closely and cooperatively with the Policy & Abuse Committee, and continues to do so.”

    This right here seems to be the problem. OTW has IP lawyers making decisions – where they should just be advising anyways – when what you need is experts in criminal law and Trust & Safety. The fact that this statement elides the attempt by Rebecca Tushnet to make Denise retract her posts makes me wonder if the Board and/or other committees are being lied to about what happened. Certainly the deflection about “image hosting” when the issue comes from embedded image link suggests that you are being misled about what the criticism is by whoever helped write this.

  29. Thank you commented:

    Thank you guys for speaking out about this. Your response was well stated.

  30. fall commented:

    Whoever’s in charge of the code/WordPress theme, you know you can put closing HTML tags at the end of the script for each comment so it applies to every comment and will auto-close any open HTML tags, instead of getting rid of all italics in the comments, right? You can modify the comments.php and implement it at the end, in the formatting foreach comment.

  31. pearwaldorf commented:

    You need to stop attempting to rebut credible claims from external subject matter experts, former volunteers, and random people on the internet who are not lawyers but can connect dots.

    While the things you say about contacting volunteers regarding the CSEM attacks are technically true, I do not believe they would hold up under closer scrutiny (but again, I am not a lawyer).

    We are confident that we are compliant with the laws, including U.S. and EU laws regarding privacy, data protection, and data retention, that apply to the AO3.

    I am genuinely unsure if I want this statement to come back to haunt you, given what has been revealed in these past few weeks about the level of dysfunction in both Legal and the Board.

    [H]ad [Raheli] contacted us directly, we could have addressed her questions and concerns. We did not ignore her advice in 2022 and would not do so now.

    You do realize there is written evidence that rebuts this statement right? I can’t tell if this is a poorly vetted post or somebody inside the org is trying to shoot it in the foot.

    I was thinking about posting advice about what I think should happen, but there’s no point because you wouldn’t listen to me anyways. You certainly haven’t listened to people with much more subject matter expertise, your own volunteers, or pretty much anybody outside of your echo chamber. Every step of the way, you have been warned against doing the things you have done, and it will only be your fault if something happens to the OTW.

    • Exesandohs commented:

      What credible sources? All we have is anecdotal evidence, which OTW denies. I don’t totally believe their version of events, but I don’t totally believe azalias either. And I don’t especially like how theyre trying to piggyback on End OTW Racism either. It’s he said/she said. We haven’t seen any real evidence provided by either party.

  32. test commented:

    i test b test u test em test

  33. Impertinence commented:

    I left this in a reply but I thought it would be worth pointing out here too, you guys are dead wrong when you say “(It is relevant to the legal analysis that the AO3 does not host images other than 100×100 pixel user icons, which cannot be “orphaned” within our system).” You host and distribute images by way of embedding them in PDFs (and likely other formats, but I tested PDFs). The material is there, in the PDF. How can users be confident that you are competent to address this, both in terms of staying legally compliant as an organization and in terms of ensuring volunteer safety and legal compliance, if you get such basic facts wrong?

    Again, we are talking about real images of real children really being abused, and real volunteers who are being given real trauma by having to deal with this shit without so much as a whisper of meaningful support. Please, take this seriously.

  34. A horrified OT3 user commented:

    I note that many of the responses to this post appear to come from volunteers who strongly disagree with your assessment.

    WHY does Legal work with PAC; Trust & Safety and IP law are not remotely the same. Given the lack of support your volunteers are reporting, as well as abuse they’re experiencing from within OTW, Legal seems to either have their collective head up their collective ass or don’t give a single fying fluck about your PAC volunteers.

  35. Tavas commented:

    This does everything but actually engage with the points Azarias and Rahaeli have talked about and made. OTW leadership does not care about its volunteers, Legal absolutely seems out of depth when it comes to anything other than IP law, and the organization seems struck by a severe malaise in doing anything about any of its problems. Legal seems to make its policy decisions for AO3 based on what they want fandom to be like and not what the law says should be happening: the absolutely bugfuck insane policy decrees from Legal that Azarias recounts are the sort of shit that would INSTANTLY result in an absolute nightmare if politicians anywhere on the planet found out about it. Worse, AO3 seems to be an active distribution ground for CSAM and CSEM that PAC has struggled to deal with, all because Legal seems ideologically opposed to moderation and refuses to allow any form of assistance to PAC, even if it results in active, regular trauma for PAC volunteers.

    It is infuriating to know that this has been happening for years while OTW leadership’s response to every problem has been to panhandle for more money and rely on people white-knighting their organization. I would say ‘do better’ but I do not believe that OTW can do better in its current form–not with the ossified leadership structure, not with those like Tushnet in legal, not with its hostile attitude towards any form of criticism. So I hope everyone in PAC is able to get out and receive help. I hope OTW leadership is ousted. I hope Legal is burned to the ground and replaced by people who actually know what they’re doing. I especially hope people stop donating to OTW and stop defending it until it figures out how not to be abusive to its volunteers and rancid abouts its attitudes towards CSAM and CSEM, because fandom doesn’t just deserve better, it needs to demand better.

  36. Aida commented:

    Legal’s overreach and outright malice will be the death of the org. If a repeat of 2015 must happen, then it must.

  37. verhalen commented:

    Oh lord. I never comment on these things but this is… yikes. So much yikes.

    PAC needs to use best practices and Legal needs to stop tying their hands. Also, I agree with other commenters that this post did not engage with the points made by Azarias, Kutti and Denise and also, AO3 might not store images but y’all allow them to be embedded from other servers and that sure as hell counts as allowing CSAM/CSEM to be distributed so I’m just sayin’.

  38. Stop covering Rebecca Tushnet’s ass, she’s probably lying to all of you commented:

    You aren’t committed to safety. You’re committed to covering Rebecca Tushnet’s ass.

    People I think who should replace the entire current Legal team, as a paid position by the OTW, need these qualifications:
    1. Used to dealing with and cleaning up messes in objectively dysfunctional nonprofits
    2. Not affiliated with the OTW or with anyone in Legal
    3a. Not AO3 users
    3b. Not currently or ever in any form of fandom
    4. Experts on US internet law and how to make the OTW comply with said US internet law
    5. There have to be some paid Trust & Safety people on there too
    6. Someone needs to implement INDUSTRY STANDARD TOOLS and therapy for volunteers to deal with CSEM and CSAM without being traumatized

    Fun fact: I didn’t know CSEM and CSAM weren’t the same thing until now. I thought they were the same thing and had different acronyms depending on the person who used them.

    • Impertinence commented:

      Various organizations conflate the terms sometimes and it’s hard to google because there’s just one vowel of difference but “CSEM” covers stuff like children being photographed or filmed in a way that is meant to be sexually provocative and that is distributed alongside abuse material (what is commonly called “child pornography”) and “CSAM” is the stuff where children are being actively sexually abused in the image. The distinction is useful for stuff like YouTube’s CSEM problem (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/charliewarzel/youtube-is-addressing-its-massive-child-exploitation-problem).

      • Stop covering Rebecca Tushnet’s lying ass commented:

        Oh, that makes sense. Thank you for clearing this up for me. CSEM is when the photo or video is provocative but there’s no assault, and CSAM is when there’s assault, and I’m scared and horrified just typing that because Actual Children irl don’t deserve this. Actual Children should not be exploited, and that has no place on AO3, what the fuck is wrong with the people who put gifs and photomanips of Actual Children in there? This is appalling.

        • Impertinence commented:

          Yeah it’s horrifying and distressing and the fact that the OTW board and legal don’t even care enough to get their facts correct in a post where they breezily state they’re compliant with federal reporting law is borh depressing and appalling. I’m running out of adjectives, really.

  39. Liss commented:

    I’m glad you are in communication with NCMEC, but they are a non-profit NGO, correct? What law enforcement agencies have you communicated with and is anyone at AO3 specifically assigned the responsibility of continuing to follow up with law enforcement regarding the status of finding and prosecuting those responsible for sending the material to the volunteers? After over a year, there should be some kind of update.

    • tacky tramp commented:

      If the case is ongoing, it would be inadvisable for them to speak on it publicly. I guess we’d hear something if an arrest were made.

      • Liss commented:

        I respectfully disagree. It would be entirely normal and appropriate for them to say “the incident was reported to [the US FBI or similar etc. etc.] who [opened/did not open] an investigation. The investigation [is ongoing/has been closed.]” and then if it was still open they could say that “we continue to update [organization] on a [monthly/yearly] basis and request updates from them. This task [has/has not] been assigned to a specific person.” That would not compromise an investigation if there is in fact, an investigation, which is not something that can just be assumed evidently.

    • someone who works on a service with user-generated content commented:

      NCMEC is admittedly who they’re supposed to be reporting to because they’re an official government partner, but I’m curious whether they have in fact updated the holding time for works suspended for child exploitation or abuse reasons since like two days ago or if they’re still getting deleted after 72 hours (they are supposed to be held for 90 days, as they’re evidence in a crime)

      • tacky_tramp commented:

        Their claim in this post is that they’re fulfilling the 90-day requirement in another, unspecified way.

        • welp commented:

          I read somewhere that database backups are held for a year but I’m not sure if that’s at all relevant, even if accurate

  40. tacky_tramp commented:

    Are you going to take Rahaeli’s advice and stop requiring volunteers to go through a user’s entire posting history to check for more CSAM? Scrambling to preserve the works of someone who USED YOUR SITE TO COMMIT A FELONY is truly unnecessary.

    Are you going to take Rahaeli’s advice and preserve EVERYTHING about a user caught spreading CSAM on the site for 90 days, not just a PDF attached to a ticket?

    Are you going to address Rebecca Tushnet’s alleged attempt to get Rahaeli to delete her helpful thread of resources for the volunteers who received CSAM in their email?

    Are you going to remove Legal from the moderation process as a matter of course?

    Would you consider creating two different roles for legal experts within the organization — one for copyright experts involved in advocacy and amicus briefs, and another for experts in the laws around running a UGC website?

  41. Anon commented:

    This situation is appalling on so many levels and reveals a dangerous degree of dysfunction within otw. We need a reorganization that centers communication within and outside of governance. More frequent newsletters, maybe additional newsletters with certain focuses, an on-call representative whose job it is to reply swiftly to inquiries and concerns. An ombudsman to assure accountability. A board that includes voting representatives from the various committees and sectors—ESPECIALLY a representative of the volunteers. I would also like to see the volunteers organized into a block of some sort so they can be more empowered in whatever ways they need. Hired staff to provide continuity and additional professionalism, as well as to prevent taking advantage of volunteers holding too much. This doesn’t even touch on the dei needs (it sounds like a hostile environment actually) and the archive’s racism problem.

    It is possible to be better than this. How do we get that going?

    • EchoEkhi commented:

      These are actually very good and constructive suggestions! You could become an OTW member and vote for the candidate that supports these reforms in the upcoming Summer Election. The deadline to become a member to vote is June 30th.

      • you’re silly commented:

        the solution is to give these people more money so they can pretend to listen and care about what we have to say? maybe they should be concerned regardless because they have a responsibility to their users and to their volunteers?

        • EchoEkhi commented:

          No? The solution is to participate in democracy. Elections are how democracies hold leaders accountable. You have to see that, right?

          • Nope commented:

            “Elections are how democracies hold leaders accountable.”

            This is a naive and simplistic view of democracy and elections. In contemporary democracies, elected leaders are held accountable by a system of independent checks and balances, also composed of elected officials (preferable directly). This only works if 1) this system exists and works well. Recent and current history shows that in many democracies, it is flawed (can be circumvented, doesn’t apply in some cases, etc.) 2) The system is truly independent. Again recent and current history shows that people in these institutions are often complicit, corrupt, etc.

            Also the OTW isn’t a democratic government and doesn’t work like one. It’s a nonprofit relying on donations where paying members can vote for its board of directors. Making or stopping donations is the most direct and effective way of showing this type of org support or discontent.

          • EchoEkhi commented:

            “Making or stopping donations is the most direct and effective way of showing this type of org support or discontent.” This is the way to protest against a profit-making firm. How this works is that shareholders see profits dropping, and then fire their CEO and change their business practices. This mechanism clearly does not apply to the OTW, and therefore would not work.

          • AO3 user commented:

            They don’t need profits, but they do need money to run. I guarantee you that if donations stop, they’ll pay attention.

          • EchoEkhi commented:

            No, you aren’t getting my point: you would need consistent leadership to see profits declining and then act upon it. In a corporation, consistent leadership is shareholders. In OTW, this is members. By becoming a member, you’re being the leadership itself and you can effect change upon the Org directly.

  42. lucymonster commented:

    Adding my voice to the chorus calling for a response to 1) the allegations of volunteer mistreatment now made against you by multiple affected individuals, 2) the blatantly defamatory email about Azarias that you allowed to be sent out to your whole volunteer base, and 3) the outrageous conduct of Rebecca Tushnet documented by Rahaeli in the thread in question. Low-effort bluster like this post is not going to deceive anyone who’s paying attention, and your continued refusal to engage with the issues raised in good faith is destroying any shred of faith I once held that the OTW is capable of fixing its problems barring anything short of a full Legal and Board turnover.

  43. another former volunteer commented:

    If even half the things former and current PAC volunteers are saying are true, then the AO3 needs to immediately be subject to OUTSIDE audit, hire a paid trust and safety officer and follow their recommendations to better protect your PAC team, and issue a formal apology to all PAC volunteers.

    • another former volunteer commented:

      and I have good reason to believe that more than half of them are. I left that part out.

      • Azarias commented:

        Out of curiosity, which member of the Legal Committee wrote this post? I see it’s tagged as belonging to them, and it does discuss policies within their purview. Was it Rebecca herself, who after all previously attempted to silence Rahaeli’s attempts to merely aid volunteers, without even criticizing the OTW? Was it Betsy? Heidi? A group effort? Would the Board care to comment on the allegations of misconduct by one of the committees it oversees?

        • Azarias commented:

          Threadfail! This was supposed to be a top level comment.

  44. rahaeli commented:

    I will repeat the crux of my response from Twitter: it is an absolute fucking disgrace that you can apparently turn around a public post calling me a liar to millions of your users in 24 hours when it has been two years and counting of zero movement to address the institutional racism you are subjecting your volunteers of color to and the racist harassment experienced by the users of your flagship product you are incapable of addressing.

    • rahaeli commented:

      Or perhaps a better comparison, actually:

      It took you three days to answer the repeated demands of the AO3 userbase for someone to get off their asses and moderate the racist garbage comments all over the AO3 news post of 5/12 — a news post which a drunken elderly lemur with its head trapped in a pair of cheap scratchy boxer shorts could have predicted would attract a plethora of racist garbage and require vigorous moderation.

      It took you 24 hours to produce this post that somehow manages to be completely substance-free *and* full of nasty insinuations at the same time.

      I have the list of Trust and Safety policy expert consultants for you to choose from and the external legal counsel I would recommend handle the rewrite of the abominable Terms of Service document and the audit of the Archive code to *correctly* verify that you are meeting your legal obligations if and when the Legal committee does the decent thing for the organization and resigns before you finish destroying the organization. If whoever is elected in the next Board election decides to do the correct thing and remove every member of the Legal committee from holding any role in the organization again, as it is clear you are going to have to because they are incapable of performing risk assessment and resigning, I will be happy to provide them to you.

      And apologize to Azarias already. I suggest having anyone other than Heidi compose it unless she has leveled up her actual apologizing skills.

      • I still consider myself a LiveJournal refugee commented:

        For what it’s worth, although I’ve long been dormant on DW, I remember when it was started, and as someone who was around for the whole fiasco with LiveJournal I’m happy to vouch that I remember you as an honest and forthright person who prioritized communication.

        OTW’s response here not only reeks of CYA, it just doesn’t jive with what I know of you as a person, and I suspect they’re relying quite a bit on you being a Fandom Old(tm) and thus, younger users taking their word that you’re Just Not A Good Person.

        So let the record show: what’s been said here about rahaeli is bullshit.

        • Morncrown commented:

          +1 In my many years in fandom seeing Rahaeli’s interactions with the community, her work at LJ and DW etc, she has proven to be a generally trustworthy, knowledgeable and invaluable presence. I trust her expertise more than anyone else in this discussion. The first step to salvaging this mess is listening to both her and the many volunteers who have spoken up to share their experience with you.

  45. guin commented:

    Guys? Stop digging and put down the shovel. Seriously.

  46. A.non commented:

    This whole response is a disgrace

  47. ao3 user commented:

    Why is OTW trying to justify or ignoring not following basic Trust and Safety protocol? Why can OTW immediately post a response like this, but takectears to address racist abuse rife within the organisation? Why is OTW brushing off the issues raised by volunteers and an expert while instead writing a letter that reads retaliatory and defensive? This is incredibly disappointing.

  48. JJ commented:

    The fact this was directed at Rahaeli’s thread, rather than a more general response to criticisms and concerns really feels like a spiteful defensive move on the OTW’s part. Not only does this news report not actually cover most of the concerns raised, it really comes across as the org trying to cover it’s ass and save face. I’m a neutral party, I only use the archive, but just from the sidelines this kind of unprofessionalism is very concerning. This post reads as an attempt to discredit Rahaeli and brushing over concerns. If this is the OTW’s response to criticism and concerns raised by people outside outside of the archive or in a manner that they don’t like, it’s very worrying. You should not be trying to discredit people, you should be demonstrating the strategies in place for the protection of your staff, volunteers and in how CSAM is dealt with on the platform.

    • I still consider myself a LiveJournal refugee commented:

      It’s even worse than it looks. Rahaeli is one of the founding members of Dreamwidth, and the same cluster of events that led to the OTW’s creation led to Dreamwidth’s. So this is them attacking someone who damn well knows *exactly* what the laws are, because she went on to help found a site designed to stay within them without pulling LJ’s bullshit. It’s like a pathologist shooting a virologist and then claiming it’s because the virologist didn’t know anything.

  49. FRV commented:

    this is appalling and clearly spiteful. it took a day for this response to come out, yet we’ve seen zero movement on the racism issue for YEARS. stop covering the asses of a select few precious fen and start actually caring about a) your user base, b) your volunteers, and c) the legal fucking ramifications of not complying with CSEM reporting procedures, holy cripes.

  50. m. commented:

    There’s nobody to replace Legal if they resign; they’re basically the only people who are fannish and have any legal expertise at all. Therefore I agree with the person above who said that you need to hire a non-fannish legal advisor (or multiple ones) and give up on having in-house advocacy. I know that screws a lot of stuff up in terms of org goals and plans, but since Legal can’t behave properly, that stuff has to go. Unfortunate, but you can’t go on like this. Maybe partner with the EFF for the advocacy front. They seem to be able to actually function.

    There’s also nobody to replace the Board if they resign (there are never enough people running in a normal election anyway) but clean up the thing that’s actively on fire first.

    • azarias commented:

      I do agree that having non-fannish and non-volunteer legal counsel would be a good idea, but this part is incorrect, “There’s nobody to replace Legal if they resign; they’re basically the only people who are fannish and have any legal expertise at all.” There are many fannish lawyers! Furry fandom has a particularly high concentration of them, but more general fanfic fandom has many as well. The reason I think that non-fannish, paid counsel would be good for the org is that they would in theory be a disinterested third party who could provide advice on governance and legal requirements without having an opinion on how the org should be run or what AO3 should be like. But if the org absolutely must have fannish attorneys, there are many to choose from.

    • Nope commented:

      There are plenty of experienced lawyers with fandom experience, who may work pro bono even, or for reduced costs….who are not legal academics who mostly write briefs on IP cases and clearly have no idea how to deal with the actual legal problems AO3 has and is going to have if nothing changes. Betsy and Rebecca and whoever else are leaving the AO3 in an incredibly vulnerable position and need to resign or be removed immediately.

  51. Another AO3 User commented:

    This is appalling. It is genuinely shocking to me that you have dropped the ball so spectacularly on addressing any of the things Rahaeli and Azarias have brought up, and it is shocking to me that you care much more about insinuating to stating people who criticize you are incompetent or felons than you do protecting your volunteers in any capacity.

  52. Curious commented:

    Do you plan to post this on the AO3 mirror, where more people will actually see it? Or just leave it here?

    The comments on the last mirrored AO3 post turned into a shitshow, but that’s not a reason for you to not mirror the post, it’s a reason for good moderation.

  53. anon commented:

    some of y’all in these replies genuinely divorced from the real world and need to log off, touch grass, etc. etc.

    • another anon commented:

      What is this contributing?

    • Morncrown commented:

      How so? If you have specific criticisms, I think it would be very useful to voice them as part of the ongoing discussion.

  54. Stop covering Rebecca Tushnet's lying ass commented:

    In response to earlier replies: I do not want the OTW to have fannish attorneys. They could be the best attorneys in the world, but they’d still have an ideological motivation involved with what they wanted the OTW and AO3 to be. I would like them to pay Trust & Safety experts and get those experts the INDUSTRY STANDARD TOOLS they and PAC need in order to do their job. I want them to pay lawyers versed in internet law and in making sure nonprofits are compliant with said law. The OTW needs to stop being so insular and applying a siege mentality to this situation. I’m not a volunteer. I believe the people who say that it’s Bad and volunteers are Suffering. I believe the people who say there’s a Systematic Culture of Racist Harassment towards volunteers of color. There’s a systematic culture of racism in the OTW’s flagship product, so it doesn’t surprise me at all. From my perspective, it looks like they view Legal as their Most Important Committee and everything else doesn’t matter to the OTW. If they view Legal as their Most Important Committee, they need to act like it by firing the incompetent fools they call a Legal Committee and hiring competent PAID lawyers that are used to dealing with dysfunctional nonprofits and dragging them out of messes like this one! The OTW should ask rahaeli for the names of the experts she has for them. Immediately. And take their advice. Immediately. They also need to be subject to an outside audit. And possibly a complete nonprofit restructure.

  55. Gray Cardinal commented:

    TO EVERYONE READING HERE:

    This post prompted me to go back and take a second look at the OTW’s Bylaws (I had read through them a week or so back, not long after falling down this ever-deepening rabbit hole). Believe it or not, I think there may be a constructive way forward from the present chaos.

    It will require the Board’s support, but if I read the tea leaves correctly, that may not be as unlikely as many of you may think, because it seems to me that most of the true dysfunction in OTW is at the committee level. Here’s the outline:

    Right now, there are FIVE (count them FIVE) Board members, overseeing EIGHTEEN committees/workgroups. This is, frankly, nuts; it means that the Board individually and as a group is almost certainly overworked and swamped.

    However. The Board has the power under the Bylaws to expand itself to as many as TWELVE members…and it has a history of appointing non-winning Elections candidates to fill vacancies.

    So, think about this. If the Board were to announce that the new Elections cycle would immediately expand said Board to its full twelve-member capacity, and if the very many folks interested in implementing organizational reform were to organize a thoughtful and well-spoken group of candidates to fill the newly created open seats…

    …it would seem virtually certain that the post-Election Board would have an instant majority of reform-minded members.

    I strongly suspect that the present Board is probably just as alarmed as most of us here at the emerging degree of organizational cruft we’re discovering here, but that its members feel hamstrung because most of what they “know” about these things is coming from committee leadership. And, per above, that being overworked already, they aren’t able to devote the time or spoons needed to wade into the chaos directly.

    So, again, here’s the strategy:
    1. Persuade the Board to expand itself to full 12-member capacity ASAP.
    (They should really be doing this anyway. This entity *needs* a bigger Board than it has.)
    2. Recruit strong reform-minded candidates to fill the vacancies during the coming Election cycle.
    3. Keep the rhetoric focused on constructive reforms.
    (A lot of folks have every right to be angry, but anger doesn’t often win enough votes.)
    4. Probable result: Larger, more functional Board with a reform-minded majority.

    • EchoEkhi commented:

      I think this is a really good idea. Don’t forget to become a member and vote in August!

    • nonprof experience commented:

      They can’t get people to run for board to fill vacancies now half the time. How are they going to find seven more, and be able to replace them on schedule? People don’t volunteer for heavy stuff like board membership, not in the numbers you would need. People barely volunteer for smaller jobs like tag wrangling. This is a good idea but not workable just based on human behaviour.

      • Gray Cardinal commented:

        Ah, but the current volunteer recruiting problems – at both Board and committee levels – almost certainly stem in very large part from the current state of the organization, and activist reformers will be coming in with the explicit goal of changing the existing dysfunctional processes and structures. And in any case, the candidates we need just now are not candidates the presently seated Board would ordinarily seek out for recruitment. (Indeed, if the scenario I’ve laid out were successfully implemented, one outcome might well be that the entire previously seated Board would resign en masse, thereby allowing the new reformist majority to appoint like-minded successors. I won’t say that’s a likely prospect, but I’d consider it a legitimate possibility; I’ve seen similar things happen locally with respect to certain publicly elected school boards.)

        In fact, I’d submit that this very comment stream probably has at least two viable reform candidates in it….

        • nonprof experience commented:

          I assume you’re referring to Impertinence and Pearwaldorf, since they’re the people commenting most under their fannish pseuds. Neither of them has ever expressed any interest in running for Board. And they don’t have to in order to make critiques – critique without an interest in taking part is 100% valid and good. More broadly, across nonprofits as a whole, people do not volunteer for hard work. Not in the numbers needed. They just don’t. That’s what I meant by human behaviour being the problem.

          • pearwaldorf commented:

            Not going to speak for Imp, but you are indeed correct about me having absolutely negative desire to get involved with any of this. I’m flattered and I appreciate the vote of confidence (no pun intended), but no. Just no.

            Not just because I’m dealing with things outside this dumpster fire that I need to devote bandwidth to, but I’m past the point in my life where I have the energy and patience to bang my head against brick walls.

            I am happy to continue commenting from the sidelines and doing what I can to summarize and provide context for this mess (because it is complicated). But as a fan of color who has been around since before the OTW’s founding, I cannot and will not participate directly in work for an organization where it is clear my interests and welfare, if they were ever considered to begin with, were at best an afterthought.

          • Gray Cardinal commented:

            [Opening parenthetical: How in heck does one accomplish proper paragraphing in this interface????]

            Now, then. To be clear: I did not intend my comment to call out anyone individually as a potential Board candidate – not least because I don’t consider myself sufficiently acquainted with anyone else here to make such a suggestion on their behalf. I simply meant to suggest that with as many folks posting here as there are, there should mathematically be one or two who are sufficiently motivated to consider serving on the Board.

            The plain fact is (and those of you/us with significant experience in more traditional nonprofits should recognize this) that almost any major operational change in a given organization necessarily requires at least some degree of cooperation from the people running it – which is to say, the Board, or, occasionally, the paid chief administrator.

            It also takes time, often a lot of it, to fully execute a major course correction. I’ve referred elsewhere to SFWA as an example; that group needed 15-20 years and multiple reform-friendly Presidents to fully reinvent itself, but it’s done so successfully, and it succeeded in doing so because its constituency recognized that “change must come from within” is more than just a truism.

    • sylvaine commented:

      I am not convinced this will fix the problem. It seems to me like the problem isn’t the Board, the problem is Legal, and what’s more I recognise the names of various Legal personal (negatively) from the last time I paid attention to OTW drama… in 2011. It doesn’t inspire confidence that the same problem people are still causing problems more than 10 years later.

      • Gray Cardinal commented:

        Your formulation is entirely valid. Which is why it’s necessary to acquire a reform-minded Board, because the Board is the entity with the power to actually dissolve and reconstitute the Legal Committee.

        A point worth noting here is that the OTW Bylaws, almost certainly by design, give members almost no actual power to influence the organization’s operation save by electing Board members sympathetic to their views. Members don’t even have a means of calling a meeting of the membership – which would need a majority of members and/or proxies therefrom, currently amounting to 6,000-odd individuals, in order to conduct business.

        For many nonprofits, this isn’t an unreasonable operating model – particularly in the context of entities (say, public TV stations or pure charity groups) where “member” is solely equivalent to “donor of $$”. For a group like OTW running services like AO3 and Fanlore, a case can be made that the Bylaws should give members a bit more of a role in organizational governance.

        I’m also inclined, where OTW in particular is concerned, to think that membership should also be extended *at least* to active volunteers, and perhaps to at least a subset of AO3 users, independent of financial contributions. (On the AO3 side, that might in fact be a means of better enforcing good behavior on the part of AO3 users, in that adherence to a code of conduct could be made a condition of membership.)

  56. HIGHLY concerned member and supporter commented:

    I’m a voting member and longtime supporter of OTW. I deeply value this organization and the work that it does. I value all of the joy that the existence of the Archive has brought to my life. I WANT this organization to succeed, and to continue bringing me and thousands of other people joy through the Archive and OTW’s other valuable work for fans. I became a voting member because I wanted to help work to make the organization better even though I’m unable to volunteer.

    HOWEVER, I am deeply concerned that OTW in its current form represents an existential threat to its own continued existence. Disregarding potentially severe flaws in compliance with federal law in a blase “we are meeting bare minimum legal requirements” attitude towards serious crimes is highly concerning, and potentially opens the organization up to legal action once someone in law enforcement decides that your “bare minimum” approach isn’t good enough. Moreover, abuse and/or lack of communication of your own volunteers who either vocally disagree with you in this thread, or demonstrate a disconnect with org policy is quite possibly a bigger threat, as the organization cannot exist without volunteers willing to run it. Why should volunteers sign up in this environment?

    I understand that some practices have to remain confidential in order to avoid being exploited by bad actors, but at MINIMUM, you absolutely must take rahaeli’s advice about changing the suspended accounts policy to immediately freeze the entire account of a user suspended for CSAM violations and eliminate their ability to orphan work. You should also hire outside counsel with experience in user-generated content site policy to ensure that OTW is in compliance with federal law. These things do not conflict with OTW’s stated mission. Legal is being INCREDIBLY reckless with the future of the organization and leaving OTW and the Archive in an incredibly vulnerable position. Moreover, immediately releasing a targeted and aggressive statement that is dismissing people who are trying to HELP SAVE YOU FROM DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES SPAWNED BY IRRESPONSIBLE POLICY DECISIONS is irresponsible, childish, and does not do anything to alleviate concerns.

    If you value your organization’s continued existence, you need to immediately make changes, starting with industry-standard best practices for dealing with illegal content (which you can DEFINITELY do without compromising the organization’s permissive fictional content policies). I’m literally posting a fic as we SPEAK, I do not want to see this organization or the Archive brought down by its own incompetence and reckless policies.

    I am begging you as a longtime user and as someone who will be devastated should anything happen to this organization/the Archive to please do better. Apologize to the volunteers that you have harmed, and fix the vulnerabilities in your website which represents a threat to anyone who values the Archive’s continued existence.

    • alessandriana commented:

      Thanks for writing up this comment so I didn’t have to.

      I’ve been an AO3 user since literally the day it opened its doors. I donate regularly. I /want/ the Archive to succeed!!! But the way the OTW has been responding to credible allegations has been extremely concerning to me! I want the OTW show it can actually grow and change in response to problems- hunkering down and ignoring they exist is not the way to long-term success.

  57. shinelikethunder (tenlittlebullets) commented:

    I’ve had an AO3 account since early 2010 and I wholeheartedly support OTW’s mission and principles. If anyone within the org is tempted to write off the current storm of criticism as some “us vs them” outsider attack aimed at destroying or censoring the Archive, know that I’m about as “us” as it’s possible to get, as are most of the long-familiar usernames raising the loudest outcry about this in your comment sections. It’s *because* of shared principles and longtime investment in the org that we’re so shocked, appalled, and betrayed by what’s come to light about the depths of OTW’s organizational dysfunction and unconscionable treatment of its volunteers. I’ve donated triple-digit amounts to OTW for many years running. A few days after the most damning revelations about your response to CSAM incidents, I donated precisely $10 to be SURE I will have a vote in the upcoming board election, should anyone be brave enough to risk retaliation by running on a platform of serious organizational reform. And $10 once a year is all you will ever get from me again until: 1. The entire current Legal committee is sacked with no possibility of reinstatement; 2. OTW issues an official retraction and apology to Azarias; 3. OTW buys one (1) fucking clue about Trust & Safety industry best practices and actually uses it; 4. PAC gets meaningful autonomy, flexibility, and authority over policy decisions without micromanagement from Legal; 5. OTW institutes some kind of grievance process, independent of the rest of the org’s power structures, to handle allegations of misconduct by volunteers *including chairs and board members*. This is the bare minimum for me to hope–not trust, merely hope–that I am not paying you to do grievous harm to real people. And it’s a demonstration of how damn-fool badly I want OTW to succeed in its mission that I’m willing to invest in a protest vote until then.

    • Hokuto commented:

      + 1000

  58. hopefully_unique commented:

    “(It is relevant to the legal analysis that the AO3 does not host images other than 100×100 pixel user icons, which cannot be “orphaned” within our system).”

    I have been told otherwise by Julie from Open Doors in reference to imported archives being allowed to import, and thus directly embed, fanart. This was a public interaction under AO3’s announcement post for importing Slashknot, and can be found here https://archiveofourown.org/comments/594075447

    • alessandriana commented:

      I can confirm this- they hosted fanart for my import a few months ago. (That said, these images were reviewed manually so there’s little risk of importing CSEM that way.)

  59. CutheBS commented:

    You’re lying. Why? I mean what do you hope to get from this? I’m serious. It’s like reading Elon Musk’s tweets. Is that really the way you wanna do things? I suggest someone who has the power to make people stop making these kind of posts get off their lovely buttocks and do something. I didn’t have a lot of trust in the OTW in the first place following several mismanagement incidents, which is why I stopped donating years ago. I now have zero trust on the OTW and I’m just a simple reader. What kind of effects do you think your PR BS is gonna have on everybody else? Are you trying to drive people away? Kill the org? You need to clean house, apologize to all relevant people and start being transparent about all the things you did wrong and all the things that are planned but haven’t been done. Stop being defensive. This is ridiculous.

  60. s commented:

    I find it pretty incredible you could whip up a response this quickly after the original thread was posted while it took you mUCH longer to address EndOTWRacism with what was a wishy-washy response that basically said nothing besides empty promises. In this case, it’s clear you care more about OTW’s image than actually making meaningful change. I will NEVER DONATE TO AO3. EVER. Not unless you completely change your ways.

  61. N. commented:

    Legal needs to be disbanded asap and replaced by actual professional lawyers that wouldn’t be treating the organisation as their private property but as a client. Legal is clearly completely corrupt in their thirst for power and authoritarian rule to the point they’re threatening the existence of the organisation.

  62. A disgusted AO3 user commented:

    Along with Denise’s excellent point above that it took 3 days to shut down racist lunatics in the comment section of the June 12th news post when all news posts that even slightly allude to any form of moderation have been flooded with them like clockwork for years, yet it took less than 24 hours to turn this defensive hogwash out: the fact that this is the fifth public statement by the organization that fails to even allude to Azarias since the May 30th internal email to all volunteers that heavily implies she committed the 2022 attacks speaks volumes. Denise’s thread came about from her reaction to Azarias’s whistleblowing and links to her testimony repeatedly, yet this response is framed as if Denise started making unwarranted comments entirely out of the blue. This cannot be an oversight; anyone who has read the thread would have seen the sources. The Organization for Transformative Works appears to believe that after pressuring volunteers to hideously traumatize themselves and libeling them for talking about it, they can just pretend they don’t exist until they go away.

  63. Horrified OTW voting member commented:

    OTW’s refusal to take the issues of compliance with federal law re: CSAM, volunteer welfare, and systemic racism seriously is a threat to its continued existence as an organization. I am horrified that OTW is still more interested in circling the wagons and finding scapegoats than addressing these issues.

    I deeply value AO3 as an archive and fandom space and many other good things OTW has done for fandom, and these revelations (and OTW’s repeated refusal to take responsibility) absolutely break my heart.

  64. uh oh commented:

    “had she contacted us directly, we could have addressed her questions and concerns.” Cool! They’ve become many users’ and volunteers’ concerns now, though! And we’re directly contacting you about it! Are you… Like… Gonna address them????

  65. bluesasread commented:

    If this post is the kind of advice the OTW is getting from legal, it’s clear the legal team needs to go. Rahaeli and Azarias have raised important points that are echoed tenfold by others in these comments, and at this stage it would be a much better look for the OTW to take them seriously, apologize to Azarias, and commit to change than to issue defensive, factually inaccurate responses like this one.

  66. P. commented:

    As a former OTW volunteer, it absolutely does not surprise me that this pile of shit you call a “clarification” only took 24 hours to put out, while it took the better part of 3 days to moderate the racist trolling on a recent news post. Getting the people in charge to do ANYTHING has always been an exercise in pulling teeth.

  67. CallingDirectorsOut commented:

    Kari Dayton, Natalia Gruber, Antonius Melisse and Michelle Schroeder: now would be the time to make a direct statement as directors of this org. Nobody cares about which committee does what and who’s responsible for communications. This is a crisis. You have to speak up.

    • huh commented:

      What about Alex Tischer?

      • CallingDirectorsOut commented:

        As secretary, I don’t know what kind of role they have. In my country, secretaries and treasurers of non-profit orgs don’t actively participate in making decisions.

        • Are you joking lmao commented:

          Alex Tischer is an ELECTED official, they’re not a “secretary”. Secretary is a role you get AFTER you’re elected, they’re a Board member first. They’re the WORST of them all, a literal fucking sinophobe and yet you’re not calling them out. Gtfoh 🤡🤡

          • teachable moments, not shaming commented:

            It sounds like they didn’t know any of that, so maybe chill?

  68. Impertinence commented:

    “a person who volunteered to deal with CP tickets was too insecure/incompetent to actually do their job and identify someone as a minor or adult by sight and had to ask legal, and is now accusing the same legal team of overreach and conspiracy”

    This is a shockingly cruel thing to say and you should be ashamed of having posted it.

    • gloss commented:

      +1 Incredibly cruel victim-blaming! I’m (not) appalled the OTW has let such viciousness on its behalf stand.

  69. PrettyOdd commented:

    Not only did EOTWR not ask for algorithmic changes whatsoever (many members have in fact argued against such changes), they asked about changes in TOS and internal enforcement. We constantly advocated for human PAC members to continue to do their work safely. You are needlessly cruel towards current and former PAC members. So who are you protecting if you are not willing to advocate for better spaces for the current volunteers of OTW? OTW is not a person, the volunteers are.

    It is not an insane ask for a team of PAC to do their job to enforce a space that cracks down on harassment properly, and it is also not too large of an ask for said members to be treated within the industry standard.

  70. 😒 commented:

    Absolutely disgusting take. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  71. what commented:

    all of you are deranged