Willing To Serve

It’s that time again! As the end of the OTW’s second term nears, we will soon begin putting together the next round of committees for our third term, which means we are once again in search of people who are willing to serve. We did an amazing amount of work during our second term, and we have a lot of things planned for the next. Many of our current committee members will be returning for a third term, and we are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join them.

In general, most committees have a chat meeting once a week (an hour or two in length), and conduct business between meetings via mailing lists and our project management software, Basecamp. (Online chat meetings are held on Campfire; the account is paid for by the OTW, and all staffers have access to it.) The number of hours a committee position demands on a weekly basis will vary greatly by committee, and also by time of year. Development, for instance, does a great deal of work gearing up for their annual drives; the Journal committee puts out two issues of TWC a year, etc.

We’ve provided descriptions of the committees and their jobs below. In some instances, a committee is looking for volunteers for specific jobs, in which case they’ve included that information in their committee description. Please note that, while we’re taking volunteers now, we won’t begin staffing the committees (except for a few exceptions like Volunteers & Recruiting) until we come back from our break in January.

If you are willing to serve, use our contact form to send us the following information:

Name: (fannish or real life, whichever you feel comfortable using):

Up to three committees you would be willing to serve on or specific position(s) you wish to volunteer for:

Relevant experience, fannish and/or real life:

Even after the official recruiting period for our third term is over, we happily accept volunteers for any and all committees and projects at any time. Please send us your information if you are interested in being part of the OTW!


Dedicated to fielding the 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 completely to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case that we work with 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, and ask for help when it’s needed, be it from the committee, Legal, or Content Policy.

Handles the design and creation of software and interfaces for most projects of the organization, with emphasis on accessibility to the widest possible group of users. Composed of the AD&T committee itself and several sub-committees including Coders, Testers, and Tag Wranglers.

While technical knowledge is an advantage, it is something we will cheerfully support you acquiring over time. Desired qualities include being organised (we do a lot of mini-projects), technical knowledge (we write code and interact with hardware), software design (we work out what the coders will build), software testing (we confirm if our stuff works), documentation (we document designs, projects, and decisions), communication (we talk to a lot of people), and enthusiasm — we also take varied combinations of the above and can teach anything except the enthusiasm ;)

We oversee the following subcommittees, which recruit on a rolling basis throughout the year:

  • Coders: Coders do the actual technical work of building the Archive. We work in Ruby on Rails, XHTML/CSS and Javascript, and we’re always interested in recruiting more coders or people interested in learning to code — no experience necessary!
  • Support: The Support Team will be 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. Support is not an OTW committee, but a volunteer team that’s part of the Archive of Our Own project. We need clear and effective communicators; no technical knowledge required. If you are interested in joining Archive Support, please let us know!
  • Tag Wranglers: Tag Wranglers work behind the scenes of the Archive of Our Own to organise the tags and make them more usable. To read more about our work, see our News post on tags.
  • Testers: Testers bang on the Archive to check whether it is working as it should. No particular technical knowledge is required, just a willingness to hunt out bugs!

Communications members are responsible for press releases, newsletters, blog posts, media contacts, interviews, and other tasks related to promoting our various projects.

Designs and implements the Terms of Service and other content policies for the Archive of Our Own.

The Development & Membership committee is in charge of fundraising and membership-building for the organisation. This committee brainstorms fundraising ideas and then implements them; it’s our job to raise the funds that support all of the OTW’s various projects, both the visible ones (this is how we bought our first servers!) and the invisible ones (from software to paperclips to domain registration fees). We undertake the stewardship of donors and members and keep ourselves informed about fundraising issues that affect the organisation’s activity.

A good DevMem committee member can make it to our weekly chat meetings, is flexible and focused, and has a sense of humour. 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. In the coming year we may be looking to add some folks with tech skills, and also some committed grantwriters. DevMem becomes a high-pressure job twice a year when we run our membership and donations drives, but even at high-stress times, we’re psyched to be the committee tasked with supporting the work of the OTW. Join us!

The Documentation committee works with the organisation at large and the individual committees to keep information organised and available on an internal wiki, so that as the organisation’s staff changes, things keep moving smoothly ahead. Docs committee members are the sort of people who can’t help organising things, and who can see how information fits together in different ways. We’re not actively recruiting at the moment, but if grouping things by subject makes as much sense to you as putting them in alphabetical order, and if cross-indexing makes you happy, you may be a good fit for us in the future.

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

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 maintaining TWC’s open-source journal software (OJS), considering submissions, and working with authors and content as necessary. We also shepherd documents through OJS for peer review, revision, copyedit, and layout.

The committee is currently not recruiting staffers, but we’d love to find volunteers for the following positions:

  • Layout editor: We currently need two HTML layout editors. They will need to transfer Word documents into an HTML template and upload them via the journal software, OJS. Time commitment is 8-10 hours a week leading up to publication (September 15 and March 15). This adds up to two weeks of work per year in total. The amount of work is variable and we will divide work up according to schedule, but layout artists will probably not tag more than 5 or 8 documents per issue. Working knowledge of HTML/XML and ability to work with code directly in an HTML editor are required. Sensitivity to deadlines and ability to follow up are crucial. [edit 7 Nov. 2009: this position has been filled]
  • Production editor: The production editor will take over production after the peer review and revision phases, assigning copyeditors, layout editors, and proofreaders and in general shepherding the documents through production. The production editor will consult with the OTW Webmasters on journal software-related tasks, reporting bugs and helping to review and confirm fixes. Time commitment is several hours a week, with extra time needed during the publication push in the month before September 15 and the month before March 15 (the publication dates of the journal). Length of commitment is 1 year. Working knowledge of HTML/XML and prior knowledge or willingness to learn the journal software OJS required. Experience with the publication process or a background in publishing is preferred. Sensitivity to deadlines and ability to follow up are crucial. [edit 11 Nov. 2009: this description has been amended]

This committee advises the Board and various committees on legal matters and liaises with outside legal counsel. Mostly consists of legal professionals.

Open Doors works to preserve at-risk fanworks of all kinds. We will be expanding radically next year once the Archive of Our Own is open for beta: we will be responsible for helping extant archives and other large projects back up or integrate. We will also continue to try to preserve other kinds of projects, either through Special Collections (for online works we can’t currently integrate) or the Fan Culture Preservation Project (for non-digital fanworks.) If you’re interested in working with us next year, please indicate Open Doors as an interest!

Systems manages servers and infrastructure for the organization and its projects, which involves specific skills. We are currently using Debian, but if you are otherwise competent with Unix, knowing Debian specifically isn’t a requirement. The software packages we administer are: Mailman, Apache2, Mongrel, Rails, Drupal, Mediawiki, Postfix, mySQL, Awstats, Nagios, Request Tracker, rsnapshot, S3Sync, and Logwatch. Experience installing, configuring, and troubleshooting any of these would be good-you need not know them all. Apache would be a huge bonus.

We are also looking for a systems architect. If you have experience in this area, please contact us!

We are currently seeking both Translation committee members and translation volunteers.

The Translation committee coordinates the translation volunteers (translators) and liaises with other committees. Translators help other committees by making their projects and documents available to an international audience, and may also provide feedback on a range of related issues, like testing translation interfaces. The OTW website, Elections material, and Membership drives are examples of such projects, or, as our next big thing, the interface of the Archive of Our Own.

A translation volunteer can either be a main translator or help out as a beta reader, depending on their experience and time. Translation volunteers should be able to work in small teams, be able to set up and work towards finishing assignments within a given timeframe, and be detail-oriented.

The language teams can vary in size and consist of volunteers who are either native speakers of, or fluent in, a language other than English.

Our specific needs at the moment are:

  • for translators, we are looking for a Japanese beta and/or translator, Italian, Czech, Dutch and Portuguese speakers.
  • for committee members, we’d be especially grateful for someone who is from a non-European language background, since all current committee members speak European-based languages.

If you feel more comfortable joining an already existing team, our active teams are:

  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • Danish
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

Or you can be a pioneer for a language not yet represented — welcome! We’re looking forward to working with you.

The Volunteers & Recruiting committee is the Human Resources of the OTW. This committee recruits and manages volunteers and staffers for all committees and projects, sets them up in the Org, and tracks their service. Volunteers also maintains a large database of volunteer records, posts job notices on the OTW website, and manages the end-of-term committee staffing drives and change-overs.

A good Volunteers committee member is online a lot, can work well under pressure, is extremely accurate in their work, can follow detailed written instructions, and is comfortable with short deadlines. Being on the Volunteers committee is a demanding job, but also a very interesting and fulfilling one that puts members directly in the heart of the Org. And it’s the perfect place for people who have a bit of micro-manager in them!

Volunteers will be adding people immediately, as our work requires that our new members be up and running before the new term begins.

The Webmasters committee manages the OTW’s informational websites, transformativeworks.org and elections.transformativeworks.org, as well as assisting with web-oriented tasks for various OTW projects. We’re busily active year-round, and we rotate “on call” responsibilities weekly. We also work on a variety of long-term projects to enhance usability and to add features to the organization’s web presence. We meet weekly in chat, have ongoing conversations via e-mail, and work closely with committees throughout the organization.

Our website uses Drupal, an open-source content management system, and CiviCRM, an open-source constituent management system. Previous experience with these systems is not required — we are happy to teach you what we know, and are constantly learning new things about these evolving systems ourselves. We do ask that you have XHTML skills and at least some exposure to CSS. A little PHP would also be useful, but isn’t required.

In its second term, the Wiki committee built on the policies, guidelines and help documents that were created to support Fanlore wiki editors, as well as working to establish a flexible infrastructure to define and organise the wiki’s content.

The Wiki committee is responsible for monitoring how the policies, guidelines and infrastructure of Fanlore are used. This includes:

  • Watching the recent changes on the wiki and keeping abreast of major changes/discussions that are underway;
  • Participating in discussions (both on and off the wiki) with other editors with regard to how the existing guidelines work, and how they might be improved;
  • Working on improvements to the guidelines in a timely manner, through both discussions within the Wiki committee and implementation on the wiki;
  • Supporting and managing wiki Gardeners — making sure they are trained to assist editors, answering any queries;
  • Making major structural or formatting decisions and subsequent edits on the wiki — designing and creating new templates/infoboxes, expanding the sitemap, etc; and
  • Responding to queries made directly to the committee (that Gardeners can’t handle) in a timely manner.

As part of the Wiki committee you will also be responsible for deciding on and developing future activities around major plans for the wiki. This may include:

  • Outreach campaigns and procedures to invite and encourage other fan communities to contribute;
  • Expanding the scope of the wiki to include content such as practical guides for fan activities; and
  • Developing and providing multilingual spaces on the wiki.

We are specifically looking for a documentation specialist and/or an archival historian.

Vidding History has thus far been only a chair and a group of ad hoc volunteers; however, the board may decide to constitute Vidding History more formally as a committee next year to begin working on a Vidding Archive of Our Own. We would also like to build a resource site for vidders which contains legal and technical information, as well as to continue documenting vidding history through projects like the Oral History. If you are interested in working on any of these areas — technical, historical, etc — please list Vidding History as a potential interest in your WTS.

If you have questions regarding serving on a committee, you can contact Volunteers & Recruiting via our contact form.

[7 November 2009: edited to mark Journal – Layout editor job as filled; 11 November 2009: edited to update Journal – Production editor job description]


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