Update from OTW Board Members-Elect

Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

There have been a lot of changes in the OTW in the past few days. The current Board of Directors has resigned, effective December 15. We know there has been some confusion, and we wanted to share with you the situation as it currently stands:

  • The OTW and its projects, including the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, and Transformative Works and Cultures, are operating normally. Our volunteers are still carrying out their work and will continue to do so throughout this process. Rest assured that everyone’s first priority is to keep the projects and the organization running smoothly.
  • We, Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem, new Board members elected earlier this month, will take office on December 1st. We should have access to all the tools and information available well before the 15th.
  • We have a long list of things we know need to be worked on, compiled from internal and external feedback, and our own plans for the Org. We will rely on this to prioritize and start taking action.
  • We are committed to publishing a budget for 2016 as soon as possible. An essential part of this process will be to make a draft and then seek OTW teams’ feedback on the chosen items. This may not end up happening until early 2016, depending on the status of the current draft. We’ll know more come December 1st, when we receive access to the draft.
  • We hear everyone’s questions about the next election cycle and what happens to the vacant seats on the Board. We will do our best to have information about that out as soon as we can; we can’t officially make decisions or announcements until December.

Please remember that this is a work in progress! There is a lot of information to be gathered, and a lot of work ahead. There has been a great deal of internal and external support for this fresh start and we are grateful to everyone who has reached out and offered to help. We’re currently working to organize our information and resources so we can move ahead as soon as possible.

Thanks for your support, and for the vote of confidence.

—Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar)
Board members-elect

  1. Gail-Marie Kernisan commented: Your continued commitment to your shared campaign promises of transparency is very much appreciated. I do not think anyone expects daily updates, but as often as possible would keep those of us who supported the change you represented feeling confident and secure.
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: Thanks! We'll do our best to keep everyone up to date on what's happening going forward, though it may take a while for us to have concrete information to pass on.
  2. Arrow commented: Don't forget to enjoy the holidays and get lots of rest! Sorry this is being dumped on you guys. :| Best of luck to you and all the staffers.
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: Thank you so much for your kind words! We really appreciate your support. Best, Matty and LO
  3. Jenny commented: Haven't they given you access to the draft already? It was shared internally in October. Making you wait for that is not kind.
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: We haven't seen anything yet, but we aren't actually on Board until December. Presumably we'll get more information then. Best, Matty and LO
  4. Arithanas commented: Matty and Atiya, I know you are faced to a daunting task, but I wish you all the best. Please, keep us posted!
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: Thank you for the encouragement! We will definitely do our best to keep everyone informed. Best, Matty and LO
  5. enchantedsleeper commented: You guys will be awesome! The OTW has your back :)
    • Matty and Atiya commented: Thanks for the vote of confidence! We really appreciate everyone's support. Best, LO and Matty
  6. magician commented: Whew, what a roller-coaster the last few days have been. Thank you for everything you've done so far and everything that's ahead. I'm not sure whether the resignations make what you signed up to do better or worse, but you seem to be taking it all in stride. It's good to know that you and the other incredible OTW volunteers are doing everything you can to keep things on an even keel while you effect necessary changes. Salut!
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: We're doing our best to make the transition go smoothly, and we really appreciate everyone's help and encouragement during the process. Hopefully, going forward, things will only be exciting in a good way! Best, LO and Matty
  7. Reppu commented: I watched this debacle go down live, and you two are doing a bang-up job keeping your cool and working through these issues. All the best to you, and if you need help with anything, just ask! The great thing about fandom and OTW is that people from all walks of life come together and want to help.
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: Aw, thanks! We really appreciate everyone's support, and seeing so many OTW members and volunteers concerned and wanting to help makes us optimistic about the future. Best, LO and Matty
  8. stewardess commented: I'm sorry your terms are beginning in a somewhat fraught atmosphere, but my hunch is there's not much you can do about the unfounded panic except move forward at a steady, measured pace, and wait for people to absorb what has happened. If I was in your shoes, I would be tempted to run around shouting "Everything is going to be okay!" until I was worn out. Please don't do that. :) Most fan-owned sites are small affairs, where several people leaving at once would indeed be catastrophic, so it is not surprising many AO3 users believe something extremely damaging has happened. But it's more like your high school principal leaving; everything will keep running smoothly for weeks, even months. The major, immediate tasks ahead are obvious: 1) a completed, public 2016 budget, and 2) figuring out how the empty board seats should be filled. For the first, delegate delegate delegate. For the second, I recommend rounding up a number of options and holding public chat forums about them, even if some of the options suggested are unlikely, or overly convoluted, or great short term but lousy long term. Whatever solution to the empty seats is ultimately chosen -- especially *how* it is chosen -- is going to be analyzed to bits in the years ahead. I feel it is not a good time to go only the "We shall examine our by-laws and legal counsel and get back to you" route, even though those steps are essential and must happen. Discussing the options in public chat may seem a waste of time, but it will pay dividends later, because there are two very different pressures: 1) to fill the empty seats as soon as possible, and 2) to fill them in the most transparent and fair way possible. In the current atmosphere, when people are freaked out about the OTW's future, the first approach (fill fill fill!) looks good. But the current atmosphere isn't going to last, and the second approach is, I think, the way to proceed. A public forum, where people can throw out ideas and express their concerns, could help reduce the individual worries of members and of site users, and move everyone into thinking about the long term. By discussing filling the empty board seat options in public chat, I don't mean discussing potential board candidates and their individual merits/flaws, but discussing what the organizational options are, guided by precedent, based on the experience of other non-profits, etc. -- the How, not the Who. In spite of people's immediate concerns, the solution chosen must be a sustainable one, which future OTW members can look to for guidance.
    • Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: We can’t do anything concrete until after we take office, but in the meantime, we appreciate everyone’s suggestions! Best, LO and Matty
  9. NM commented: Remember to always be upfront and transparent, and even if you make mistakes, YOU WILL BE AWESOME. Believe it, because all of us believe in you. All the best, ladies.
  10. Matty and Atiya (Lady Oscar) commented: Thank you for the vote of confidence! We promise to do our best to keep everyone informed, and hope our constituents will be patient with our mistakes. Best, LO and Matty
  11. Abbi Bazan commented: You guys are updating? So does mean it will be down?