Willing to Serve, 2011 term

It’s that time again! As the end of the OTW’s third term approaches, we are in search of people who are willing to serve on our committees. We have accomplished amazing things during this term, and we have big plans on the horizon for the next one! Many of our current committee members will be returning, and we are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join them.

We’ve provided descriptions of the committees and their jobs below. Please note that while we’re taking information now, we will be forming the committees when we come back from our break in mid-January.

If you are interested in joining us, please use our contact form to send us the following information:

  • The name you feel comfortable using;
  • Any committees you are interested in serving with;
  • Any relevant experience and whatever else you would like us to know about you.



Abuse is dedicated to fielding any complaints that come in about content uploaded to the Archive of Our Own. We determine if complaints are about legitimate violations of the Terms of Service, and what to do about them if they are; our major goals are to adhere to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case completely confidential. A good Abuse staffer will be able to regularly attend meetings, be patient in rephrasing explanations, translate from fan-speak to English, make and document decisions, cooperate within and outside of their team, and ask for help when it’s needed.

Accessibility, Design, & Technology

AD&T designs and creates software and interfaces for OTW projects (currently focusing on the Archive of Our Own), with emphasis on accessibility to the widest possible group of users. You don’t need to be a programmer, testing expert, or graphic designer, though any skills like that are useful. We’ll train you to understand all our systems, so you just need to be willing to learn. Desired qualities include a good sense of organization, some technical knowledge, familiarity with software design, an understanding of software testing needs, communication skills, and enthusiasm — we also take varied combinations of the above and can teach anything except the enthusiasm. 😉


Communications is responsible for press releases, newsletters, blog posts, media contacts, interviews, and other tasks related to promoting our various projects. We are particularly looking for people with media experience, public relations, and spokesperson skills. Also, if you are interested in promoting a particular OTW project (the AO3, TWC, Fanlore, FCPP) consider Communications.

Content Policy

Content Policy designs and implements the Terms of Service and other policies for the Archive of Our Own. Ability to synthesize multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities is a positive trait, as is a good understanding of expectations about fannish behavior. Ability to meet deadlines is a plus.

Development & Membership

DevMem is in charge of fundraising and membership-building for the organization. We brainstorm fundraising ideas and then implement them; it’s our job to raise the funds that support all of the OTW’s various projects, and to show the world why those projects are worth supporting. We’re always looking for people with experience in fundraising tasks like donor-courting and grant writing, but we also welcome those who are new to the world of development. If you are interested in promoting the OTW in a particular corner of fandom — within a fannish community, at conventions and conferences, or on social networks, come join us in DevMem!


The Financial committee keeps track of spending, writes checks, maintains financial records, and develops a budget for the organization.

International Outreach

IO are the OTW’s in-house cultural and linguistic consultants. We are invested in taking diverse perspectives and opinions into account and making them heard. We are always looking for ways to hear those perspectives within our team, so if you can’t sign up permanently, but would be willing to advise in a stand-by capacity, we still want your number! Specifically, we’re looking for people who are from non-European language backgrounds and/or not originally from (Western/Northern) Europe or the USA, and for “crossover” fans who participate both in their native language fandom and English-language fandom.

It helps if you’re articulate and opinionated, but if you’re passionate about international accessibility? We’re your team.

Journal committee

This committee administers Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), an international peer-reviewed twice-yearly academic online journal in the field of media studies. This involves soliciting and considering submissions, and working with authors and content as necessary. We also shepherd documents through the manuscript-tracking software (OJS) for peer or editorial review, revision, copyedit, and layout. Due to publication schedules that make the committee’s term run on a slightly different schedule from the rest of the OTW, Journal is not actively seeking new committee members at this time.


This committee advises the Board and various committees on legal matters and liaises with outside legal counsel, and primarily consists of legal professionals. The time commitment is usually minimal, but sometimes we have very tight deadlines. This year we are working on a project designing a pro-fair use curriculum for students that could use substantial attention over a long period. This would not have the same deadlines but would be a more substantial commitment overall. Anyone interested in this project specifically, but not in doing general legal work, is encouraged to contact us. Non-lawyer volunteers, including teachers, students, and librarians. are specifically welcome for this.

Open Doors

Open Doors works to preserve at-risk fanworks of all kinds, and is responsible for helping extant archives and other large projects back up or integrate with the Archive of Our Own. We also continue our efforts to preserve other kinds of fannish projects, either through Special Collections (for multimedia digital works we can’t currently host in the AO3) or the Fan Culture Preservation Project (for non-digital fanworks). If you’re interested in working with us, please indicate Open Doors as an interest!


Systems manages the servers and infrastructure for the organization and its projects. It also acts as a technical resource for other committees. All our servers run Debian, but if you are otherwise competent with Unix, knowing Debian specifically isn’t a requirement. The software packages we administer include: Apache2, Drupal, Mailman, Mediawiki, mySQL, Nagios, Postfix, and Ruby on Rails. Experience installing, configuring, and troubleshooting at least some of these is necessary but you need not know them all.

Tag Wrangling

The Tag Wrangling committee organizes and advocates for our army of Tag Wrangler volunteers, who work behind the scenes of the Archive of Our Own to organize the tags used on works. Wranglers oversee a curated folksonomy system which preserves fannish diversity while making the tags consistently usable for readers across fandoms. We prize that fannish diversity highly, and also keep other forms of diversity in mind; our aim is to create and implement guidelines for tag interrelation which is descriptive of fannish behaviors rather than prescriptive, and which can be sustained as the AO3 continues to grow. Committee staff work closely with AD&T and Support, and should have a good knowledge of the AO3.


The Support Team are responsible for responding to user questions and problems on the Archive of Our Own. Support will respond to queries filed through the support form on the Archive, and liaise with members of other teams to resolve bugs and provide users with accurate information. We need clear and effective communicators; no technical knowledge required. If you are interested in joining Archive Support, please let us know!

Volunteers & Recruiting

The Volunteers & Recruiting committee is the Human Resources department of the OTW. We recruit and manage volunteers and staffers for all committees and projects, equip them with all the tools they need, and track their service. Being on the Volunteers committee puts members directly in the heart of the OTW. We create training materials, help people find ways to develop their skills, and keep our projects strong. It’s a fascinating and fulfilling place to be, and we would love to have you join us!


The Webmasters committee manages the OTW’s informational websites and assists other committees with various web-oriented tasks. At any given time we’re working on several different projects, ranging from simple maintenance to long-term feature development to building brand new sites. Our main website uses Drupal and CiviCRM open-source software, but previous experience with these systems is not required — we are happy to teach you what we know, and are constantly learning new things ourselves. The only things we absolutely require are reliability and eagerness to learn! Intermediate XHTML skills and at least a passing familiarity with CSS are desirable, and familiarity with usability/accessibility standards, PHP, Drupal, CiviCRM, Open Journal Systems, or WordPress are a plus, but not required. Our work involves experimenting with the capabilities of open-source software that often has minimal documentation, so a tolerance for trial and error (and a sense of humor) are very useful.

We meet weekly in chat for about an hour, and take turns serving “on call,” which takes about 15 minutes a day and involves responding to e-mail and monitoring the website for problems. Beyond that, your time commitment depends on the projects you choose to work on and fluctuates throughout the year.


The Wiki committee continues to build on the policies, guidelines, and help documents that we’ve created to support Fanlore wiki editors, as well as working to establish a flexible infrastructure to define and organize the wiki’s content. The Wiki committee is responsible for monitoring how the policies, guidelines and infrastructure of Fanlore are used. This includes watching recent changes and keeping abreast of discussions that are underway; examining how the existing guidelines work, and how they might be improved; supporting our Wiki Gardeners — making sure they are trained to assist editors, answering any queries; designing and creating structural or formatting enhancements; and responding to user queries in a timely manner. We also are working to develop outreach campaigns to increase use and fannish diversity, considering expansion of wiki scope to include content such as practical guides for fan activities, and on developing multilingual spaces.


The Vidding committee is overseeing the OTW Vidding Roadmap, including building the Dark Archive and the Torrent of Our Own. We are also currently putting together a resource site for vidders which contains legal and technical information. If you are interested in working on any of these areas — technical, historical, etc — please join us!

Most committees have a chat meeting once a week and conduct business between meetings via mailing lists, on our wiki, and within our project management software, Basecamp. The number of hours a committee position involves can vary greatly by committee, project, and time of year.

In this post, we are recruiting committee staff — but we also have many opportunities to help out at a lower level of involvement, including Tag Wranglers, Coders, AO3 Testers, and Translators. Let us know if you think one (or more!) of those roles would be a good fit for you.

Please contact us if you are interested in being part of the OTW! Even after the official recruiting period for our fourth term is over, we would love to help you find a way to join us, so feel free to contact us any time!


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