Announcement

  • Share the OTW video!

    By Jennifer Radecki on Thursday, 10 April 2014 - 4:32pm
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    The OTW's April membership drive has officially ended, and we'd like to thank everyone who came out to support it. Your generosity and efforts in spreading the word have made this our most successful drive ever! Since April 3 we've received more than 2,800 individual donations totaling over US$63,000. We've also raised the OTW's membership to at least 4,869 people!

    Thank you to all our members, donors, and to everyone who helped spread the word to make this drive such a spectacular success. We’re very grateful for your support! We’d also like to thank all the OTW staffers and volunteers who supported the drive by creating, translating and posting content, responding to donor inquiries, designing graphics, sending e-mail blasts, monitoring donation receipts, and myriad other tasks. Thank you for making the drive possible.

    Although this drive is over, we gratefully accept donations throughout the year. This year we also have a very special project to share with you, that you may want to use when telling others why you support the OTW.

    Thanks to the amazing vidding skills of Ash48, and the fanwork contributions of dozens of fans, we are proud to present a video introduction to the OTW.

    The OTW video explains to people unfamiliar with fandoms and fanworks what it is that the OTW does. It defines transformative works, and provides an overview of our projects as well as an insight into what fans create.

    We hope that you'll share the video with fans and non-fans alike. You can find it on YouTube, Vimeo, and Critical Commons, as well as on the OTW website.

    The OTW's volunteer translators are currently working on subtitles for Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. As each translation is completed, we will be sending out tweets and tumblr posts promoting it.

    We would also love to have this video narrated in as many languages as possible! Can you help? If you're fluent in a language (or more!) other than English and are willing to help record the voiceover track, please contact us. We'd be thrilled to work with you!

    The participation and collaboration of fans everywhere is what keeps the OTW and all its projects going. Thank you for being a part of it!

     

  • Yuletide is Coming!

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 - 4:54pm
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    The Yuletide Archive for 2003-2008 will be moving to the AO3 early very very late :P in 2010 by early 2012, dammit! *kof* in May 2014! (Yes, really.)

    In this post:

    Background explanation

    Yuletide is a popular annual gift exchange, and importing the Yuletide Archive to the Archive Of Our Own has been planned for a number of years. While the challenge has been operating on the AO3 since 2009, it’s not until now that we’ve been able to actually move the original archive.

    What will happen?

    In early May, our senior coders will import the Yuletide Archive, in a similar way that the Smallville Slash Archive and 852 Prospect archives were imported. All works will be imported, and anyone accessing the original work on yuletidetreasure.org will be redirected to the work on the AO3.

    Will tags, comments and gift notifications be imported?
    The original Yuletide archive only includes ratings and fandom names; Yuletide fandoms will be automatically converted to AO3 Canonical tags upon import. You will be able to change fandom tags and add other tags to your work once you have claimed it.

    Edited to say: After some investigation it looks like we might be able to import comments as well. These comments would be imported as anonymous comments on the imported work. If a commenter would like their comment removed after the import, please contact Open Doors with a link to the work, the content of the comment, and a brief explanation. Please note that if a comment is deleted, we will provide the creator with a copy of the comment for their reference.

    As our merge tool is still in development, we cannot delete imported duplicates without deleting the imported comments. For creators that have already uploaded a copy of their work to the AO3, we recommend including a link to the preferred copy in the work Notes to redirect viewers while waiting for the merge tool. For creators that would still like to delete the imported duplicate, we can provide an HTML copy of the Yuletide comments page for their work.

    As of April 2, we are still discussing the issue of manually copying and pasting comments onto an imported work, but will update this post when the decision has been made.

    Works will contain a message "for Name". Once you’ve claimed your work, you’ll be able to assign it to the recipient, if they have an AO3 account. (Note that their Yuletide name and their AO3 name might be different; we advise against assigning it unless you’re sure of their AO3 account name.)

    How will I be notified about my work being imported?
    If the email address you used on yuletidetreasure.org still works, you should receive an email from the Archive inviting you to claim your works. :D

    If you’ve lost access to the email address you used on yuletidetreasure.org, use this contact form to let us know and after the import happens, we can resend the claim email. If you've posted the stories elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the Yuletide Mods to confirm your claims.)

    How will I claim my works?

    The email will include a link to the claim page, where you can add your work to your AO3 account. If you don’t have an account, you’ll be able to create one at that time. Once you’ve claimed your work, you’ll be able to edit the work and add additional AO3 tags.

    I’ve already added my work to the AO3!
    Excellent! Please add it to the appropriate Yuletide Collection. If you've used the AO3's Import tool to import your work from the Yuletide website, it will not be imported again. However, if you uploaded it manually, a duplicate will be produced. Once the import is completed, please let Open Doors know the URL of the work you would like the Yuletide link to redirect to and the URL of the duplicate we should delete.

    I don’t want my work on the AO3!
    After you receive the claim email, you can choose to delete or orphan your work.

    The Yuletide Archive mods would much prefer you "orphan" your stories (i.e., remove all identifying information) rather than delete them. Orphaning of your works on the AO3 does not mean they expect you to orphan them everywhere, however. You are of course, as always, welcome to post your Yuletide stories anywhere else you want to, with whatever attribution you prefer.

    Deletion of your work from the Yuletide Collection will leave you ineligible for participation in future years. If you have any questions about future eligibility, please direct them to the Yuletide mods at yuletideadmin [at] gmail.com

    I have other questions!

    If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ page, contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

    We’re also planning to hold two public chats on Campfire (the online chat platform the OTW uses): April 26, 4pm UTC, and May 4, 1am UTC (click the links to see when the chats are held in your timezone). We'll provide a link to the OTW's public discussion chatroom in a reminder post on or before the dates of the chats.

    Anyone who has questions about the process is welcome to join the Open Doors team at those chats, and we’ll do our best to answer you.

    We’re delighted to finally welcome Yuletide entirely to the Archive of Our Own!

    - The Open Doors team

    Are you a Yuletide participant or otherwise enjoy the challenge? Share your memories on Fanlore and keep its story going for future generations—contributions are welcome from all fans! (New to wiki editing? No worries, just visit this page.)

  • Transformative Works and Cultures releases No. 15

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 15 March 2014 - 7:30pm
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    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'

    Planning to see the new Veronica Mars movie? You may also want to check out the new issue of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)!

    TWC has released No. 15, Fandom and/as Labor, guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, both of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The issue's seven articles, two Symposium pieces, roundtable, and three book reviews all relate to topics such as fan labor, gift culture, community, and work. A variety of fandoms get a turn in the spotlight.

    In a roundtable, scholars and an industry insider, Bertha Chin, Bethan Jones, Myles McNutt, and Luke Pebler, discuss the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign and its relationship to fans. TWC’s Symposium section features shorter, often personal essays that address particularly fannish connections. In the two essays that comprise this section, Tisha Turk argues that fandom’s gift economy should be understood as involving a wide variety of gifts, a complex system of reciprocation, and the use of gifts as a sign of their reception; and Joly MacFie remembers his time creating badges and zines during the punk era in the UK.

    Several peer-reviewed essays discuss specific media properties in relationship to fans and labor.

    • Bethan Jones discusses Fifty Shades of Grey, noting that pulling a piece of fan fiction off the Internet to publish it professionally means that the fan labor performed as the text was created and disseminated remains unacknowledged.
    • Christina Savage analyzes the TV show Chuck’s “save our show” campaign, placing it in the context of other such campaigns to show how fan labor is used strategically, in this case by ensuring the visibility of their campaign by engaging with sponsors and using hash tags.
    • Rose Helens-Hart, in an analysis of Tosh.0, analyzes how the show’s Web site encourages fans to use personal networks to spread the brand.
    • Matthias Stork analyzes the Glee fan-insider divide as fans were recruited to do work and promised access, only to later have this denied by the producers.
    • Bertha Chin’s analysis also deals with Web sites, fan-created ones; she analyzes Sherlockology and Galactica.tv in terms of gifting versus exploitation.
    • Giacomo Poderi and David James Hakken analyze modding a video game, using online posts made by users to illustrate how fan labor works.
    • Robert Moses Peaslee, Jessica El-Khoury, and Ashley Liles move out of the realm of the virtual and into the physical, as they analyze the motivations and work of fan volunteers at media festivals.

    Three reviews appear in this issue. Stephanie Anne Brown reviews Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory, edited by Trebor Scholz (Routledge, 2013); Simone D. Becque reviews Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labor, edited by Michael A. Peters and Ergin Bulut (Peter Lang, 2011); and Anne Kustritz reviews Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal, by J. Jack Halberstam (Beacon, 2012).

    The next issue of TWC, No. 16, will appear in June 2014. Bob Rehak will present a guest-edited issue on the topic of Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom. TWC No. 17 (September 2014) will be an open, unthemed issue. Although it is too late to submit to that particular issue, we always welcome general submissions; in addition, two other special issues (European Fans and European Fan Objects and The Classical Canon and/as Transformational Work) are in the works and are still open for submissions. We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. Read the submission guidelines for details!

  • OTW Produces Fan Fiction Studies Reader

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 - 9:39pm
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    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'

    The OTW is proud to announce the release of The Fan Fiction Studies Reader. The brainchild of Transformative Works and Cultures editors Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse, the reader is a reprint collection of many key works in the field of fan studies. The Reader is intended for classroom use, but it will also be of interest to people in the field of fan studies.

    All royalties for The Fan Fiction Studies Reader will go to the OTW. The OTW supported the project by paying fees for the essays' reprint rights. (In the case of many such anthologies, these payments are provided by the academic institutions that employ the editors.) Karen and Kristina have written a general introduction as well as brief overviews for each of the book's four sections. Because of their interest in open access publishing, Karen and Kristina have placed their introduction and the headnotes in the public domain, effective in 10 years' time.

    The essays, which are organized into four thematic sections, address fan-created works as literary artifacts; the relationship between fandom, identity, and feminism; fandom and affect; and the role of creativity and performance in fan activities. Fan works, considered as literary artifacts, pose important questions about the nature of authorship, the meaning of originality, and modes of transmission.

    The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is part of the University of Iowa's newly launched fan studies line. Their university libraries' special collections department also works with the OTW's Fan Culture Preservation Project, which preserves fanzines and other nondigital forms of fan culture.

  • Announcing International Fanworks Day

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 - 8:20pm
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    AO3 logo wearing a party hat amidst confetti with text of '1 Million Celebration'

    Now that our milestone weekend has ended, we're thinking of plans for 2015. Specifically, next February 15th, we'd like to hold an International Fanworks Day.

    Why do we need a special day?

    Because fanworks are awesome! That's why fans, the AO3, and many other archives around the web have ended up with hard drives full of fanworks and thousands to millions of users. Lots of people want to create them and even more want to access and save them. And like other communities that celebrate their special traditions, a specific date for celebrating fanworks speaks to their importance in our lives.

    Because fanworks are international

    Every part of the world creates fanworks, both about their own stories and those which have crossed national and language borders. Fanworks belong to everyone, and a fanworks day would be a great time to have them shared with someone new.

    Because fanworks don't all look the same

    Text, audio, multimedia, physical or digital, fanworks exist in all sorts of formats. Whatever time period they were created in, all of them should be discovered by someone who will love them.

    Because someone is looking for them

    Maybe someone's new to a fandom and wants to know where the goodies are. Maybe someone's never seen a fanwork before and wants to learn more about them. Maybe someone's been away from fandom for a while and wants to know where to go to get caught up. International Fanworks Day is a great opportunity to rec your favorite works to someone new, and to celebrate the reccers and rec communities for the work they do year-round.

    Because fanworks are valuable and ought to be preserved

    A sad moment for any fan is trying to access a fanwork they've enjoyed only to discover it's suffered a takedown, has gone offline, or has otherwise become unavailable. The OTW wants to put the issue of fanwork preservation out into public discussion, whether it's to remedy the legal problems fans may suffer when they try to share their work, or by creating safe spaces where fanworks can be housed when they're at-risk.

    So how do we celebrate it?

    Any way you want. Fans are the most creative people around and everyone enjoys fanworks for their own reasons. For example:

  • Fan 1 may make it a day of activism, reaching out to legislators or taking part in an organization's campaign for the public's right to remix
  • Fan 2 may make it a day of renewal, dusting off a WIP that was put aside when things got busy
  • Fan 3 may make it a day of reflection, writing meta about what fanworks mean to them
  • Fan 4 may make it a day of sharing, posting recs to their favorite works for others
  • Fan 5 may make it a day of traditions, organizing a Fanworks Day challenge
  • So tell us how you'll plan to celebrate!

  • AO3 Reaches 1 Million Fanworks

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 1:51pm
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    AO3 logo wearing a party hat amidst confetti with text of '1 Million Celebration'

    Today the Archive of Our Own passed the 1 million fanworks mark!

    On November 14, 2009, the AO3 entered open beta. Two days into the launch, AO3 News shared the following statistics:

    "Total invitations issued: 1410
    Number of accounts before Open Beta: 347
    Number of accounts at present: 1076
    Number of works before Open Beta: 6598
    Number of works at present: 9506
    Number of fandoms represented before Open Beta: 674
    Number of fandoms represented at present: 886"

    And now, just four years and two months later, AO3 has over 1 million works representing 14,353 fandoms! The site has over 270,000 registered users (with at least 1 million unregistered users visiting each day) and is still growing. AO3 currently issues 750 invitations a day, so if you’re not already registered, now is a great time to join the Archive.

    What does this mean?

    AO3’s rapid growth shows the ever-increasing number of fans creating and sharing fanworks online. This site is still relatively young, joining a long line of fanwork archives, from those created to host a single fan’s work to the many dedicated to individual fandoms, characters and relationships; particular topics or genres; specific languages or countries; or formats and connected fandoms. We want to honor and celebrate the millions of fanworks that have come before those found at AO3 as well.

    The sheer number of visitors to AO3 also represents the importance of fanworks to the everyday life of millions of people internationally. Whether fans are creating, commenting, sharing or viewing, they engage in fannish activities every single day — something that’s never more clear than when the Archive can’t be accessed! We will continue to work hard to keep your fanworks available for a long time to come.

    Finally, the Archive is one of a very small number of open-source projects founded and largely staffed by women, another contribution fans have made to the internet as a whole. Many women who were not previously involved in technology have learned new skills in the name of fannish activities, and the AO3 is proud to stand as a shining example of this growth.

    Help us celebrate!

    As part of our celebration today, what could be more fitting than more fanworks? If you’d like to create a fanwork today and connect it to our milestone, tag it with “AO3 1 Million”.

    Even if you’re not posting a new work, you can still join in by sharing your favorite works. If you have a Twitter or Tumblr account, you can use the “Share” button on your favorite works and tag your posts or tweets “ao3million”. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could get this important milestone to trend?)

    And if you aren't already following us, don't forget to join us on Twitter at ao3org or Tumblr at AO3 News! One of our volunteers, Rachel G., has made the following graphics for you to snag and repost to let everyone know that you are an AO3 user who is celebrating today.


    The future of the Archive

    So what does the future hold? Well, that’s entirely up to you! The Archive would be empty without the fans who post their works or interact with the works of others, and it wouldn’t exist without the hard work of fans who volunteer to develop features, organize tags, respond to users, and keep an eye on performance. We all owe those volunteers, past and present, enormous thanks for giving us this site to use.

    We would also like to thank our fellow fans who have contributed financially to AO3’s parent organization, the Organization for Transformative Works, in order to fund its development and keep the treats flowing to fans around the world.

    If you value the AO3 and are able to help support it, please bring a gift to today's virtual party celebrating this milestone. And if you can't, we hope you'll spread the word to those who can.

    Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach this exciting day! We couldn’t have done it without you.

  • OTW Files Amicus Brief in DISH v. ABC

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 - 7:16pm
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    Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

    On January 24, 2014, the OTW filed an amicus brief on behalf of DISH Network in the case of DISH v. ABC. This case, currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, concerns DISH's "Hopper" DVR, which allows DISH subscribers to temporarily record primetime TV shows and then watch them, commercial free, for eight days. Although the U.S. Supreme Court declared more than 30 years ago that recording television for the purpose of "time-shifting" constitutes copyright fair use, ABC is attempting to shut down the Hopper by accusing both DISH and its users of copyright infringement.

    The OTW's brief, filed jointly with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge , argues among other things that copying for the purpose of fair use itself constitutes fair use, and that therefore when users instruct the Hopper to record television for the purpose of time-shifting, no one is infringing.

    Although this case seems to be only about time-shifting, it has broader implications. Fans rely on people and companies who make the tools they use to create fanworks, which the OTW sees as fair use. For example, vidders must copy and process original material in order to make transformative vids. The OTW thus defends the rights of those who make those tools as well as fanwork creators. An important safeguard when considering fair use is the requirement that copyright infringement can't happen without a "volitional act." This requirement appropriately focuses the analysis on the maker of the copy. The focus on the fan creator thus allows for consideration of whether the copying constitutes fair use.

  • Free Sherlock! Implications of Summary Judgment in Sherlock Holmes Case

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 28 December 2013 - 4:19am
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    On December 26, 2013, a U.S. Federal Court issued a ruling about copyright protection in Sherlock Holmes and the Sherlock Holmes stories. The court held that all elements of the Holmes canon that were first introduced before 1923 -- including the characters of Holmes and Watson -- are in the public domain.

    As background: In most of the world, copyright protection has expired in all of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes canon. This means that in most of the world, Sherlock Holmes, and all of Conan Doyle's stories, are in the public domain and anyone can use them without getting permission. But in the United States, thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, the last ten Sherlock Holmes stories -- those that were first published after 1923 -- are still protected by copyright. Those copyrights are owned by a company called The Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. (the "CDE.") The CDE has licensed that copyright to a number of creators who have made recent adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, including Warner Brothers (for the Downey films), CBS-TV (for Elementary), and WGBH (the U.S. distributor of BBC Sherlock). It has also sent "cease and desist" letters to others who have sought to make commercial adaptations of the Canon -- and those letters haven't necessarily distinguished between adaptations of the works still in copyright and those on whom copyright has expired.

    One of those "cease and desist" letters went to Leslie Klinger, a Holmes expert and the author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, who together with author Laurie R. King was preparing to publish an anthology of stories inspired by the Holmes Canon. Klinger fired back, bringing a lawsuit against the CDE, seeking declaratory judgment and claiming the copyright had expired on all of the story elements that Klinger and King wanted to include in the anthology.

    Now, the court has issued a ruling in Klinger's case. The Court’s ruling states, in brief, that all characters and story elements first introduced before 1923 -- including the characters of Holmes and Watson -- are in the public domain, and creators are free to use them without licensing them from the Conan Doyle Estate. The Court cautioned that copyright law still protects elements that appear exclusively in the ten post-1922 stories by Conan Doyle (those that remain in copyright). The CDE has stated that it's considering appealing the ruling, so it's possible that the ruling isn't the final judicial word on this matter.

    In the meantime, what does this ruling mean for U.S. fans of Sherlock Holmes? The case is a victory for Klinger and great news for those who want to commercialize Holmes adaptations, but its impact on fans is, largely, an indirect one. Fans have always relied on fair use principles to support the creation of fanworks. That's still true for most fanworks related to Holmes--copyright not only still protects the post-1923 works, but also (obviously) the sources for many Holmes fandoms, such as the Warner Brothers Holmes, Elementary, and BBC Sherlock. But the fact that the original-recipe Holmes and Watson are in the public domain is still good for fandom: Since most of the traits of Holmes and Watson, and most of the stories, were introduced before 1923, fan creators will seldom have to wonder whether their Doyle Canon fanworks are fair use. And beyond that, it means that the CDE will have a harder time trying to charge licensing fees to commercial adapters of Holmes and Watson. This makes it easier for commercial adaptations to flourish, so in the future, that may mean more Holmes fandoms to draw from!

    The case also has broader implications for U.S. copyright in serialized works. Many now-famous characters were introduced in series that started in the early 20th century, but continued for decades or more after then. This ruling establishes the principle that all of those characters have the public domain more quickly than some had originally thought: once copyright protection expires in the works where those characters were thoroughly introduced, those characters enter the public domain--even if some works featuring those characters (and any new facts about them introduced in the new works) remain protected. This is true not only for Holmes, but also a number of other characters introduced early in the 20th century, such as G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, and Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot...and, notably, Disney's Mickey Mouse.

    For more on this case, and to get a copy of the court's full ruling, see http://free-sherlock.com/.

  • Board of Directors Nominee for Appointment: Anna Genoese

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 7 December 2013 - 12:42am
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    The OTW Board is pleased to introduce Anna Genoese as a nominee to the board. The final vote to decide Anna's appointment will happen by December 21, allowing the nominee, if the vote passes, to take office at the beginning of the term in 2014. If you'd like to ask Anna questions, just leave them here on this post.

    Anna Genoese is a lifelong fan and professional editor/author who currently works full time for an international nonprofit focused on youth development. While working as a professional editor, Anna published the original fiction of several fanfic writers. Using a pseudonym, Anna has written fanfic and performed podfic in a number of fandoms, which can be found at the AO3. Anna has worked with the Strategic Planning Committee of the OTW since January 2012, and has been the chair of the committee since August 2012. Anna is also a volunteer tag wrangler.

    Q&A with the nominee

    Why did you decide to accept nomination to the Board?

    I truly believe my skills and talents will lend themselves to helping the OTW improve, grow, and strengthen.

    Can you list for your prior experience in the OTW and in Non-Profit work?

    • 2003 - 2004 - Demos (public policy org) - Freelancer (website design, editing)
    • 1/2012 - 8/2012 - OTW, Strategic Planning Workgroup/Committee staffer (participated in the identification of stakeholders, gathering information)
    • 9/2012 - current - OTW, Strategic Planning Committee chair (led staff through the process of identifying stakeholders, gathering information from them, and creating a strategic plan)
    • 4/2012 - current - OTW, Tag Wrangling volunteer (metadata)
    • 2013 - current, 4-H - Development Coordinator (organizing data, working with fundraisers)

    What other skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?

    I have a tremendous amount of experience in leadership and people management, in mentoring, and in working with teams toward a complex, complicated goal. (For example, at my last job I managed a department of 8-10 people; from 2001-2007 I worked for a publishing company where, amongst other things, I published my own imprint and also ran the internship program.)

    What is your vision for the direction of the organization over the next year and how do you see working with your fellow board members to accomplish it?

    My big vision for the OTW is very focused on internal changes. My goal for my tenure on Board would be to bring together the staff and help make the inner workings of the organization more smooth and inclusive. After working with the Strategic Planning Committee for so long, I have a great amount of insight into the internal troubles of the OTW, and I would love to be able to use that knowledge to focus on helping to heal the cracks in the organization from the inside out. This is something that absolutely requires the entire Board to work together and be on the same page. I know that a healthy, whole organization is something the whole Board wants, but someone has to be the point person to organize everything and bring everyone together, synthesize the information, come up with plans, and make sure those plans get implemented. As someone with a huge amount of energy and dedication to the OTW, I feel that I can be that person.

    What is your experience of the OTW's projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them?

    I would love to be able to use my experiences in Strategic Planning to help the org become more matrixed -- that is, to help the org chart of the organization become less silo'd so that all the teams can work together more easily. So many of the teams replicate each other's work because they aren't communicating (through no fault of their own!), so I would hope to work with Board and chairs to put a structure into place that allows teams to have an easier flow of information. For example, bringing back a Grants Committee and allowing for grants to be written to bring in more money that could help DevMem's needs for more/different merchandise, Systems' need for more databases, the AO3's need for full-time coders, etc. Allowing the organization's staff to have a better understanding of the inner workings of other committees is really one of the keys of having a healthier organization.

    From a different perspective, I think so many of the OTW teams are incredibly talented and would love to see them given more of an ability to work together in order to provide each other with more support. Fanlore working with the AO3, Open Doors working with DevMem; the field is wide open for collaboration to create amazing opportunities!

    What does transparency mean to you personally, both inside the organization and between projects and between the organization and fandom? How do you value it and how would you make it a part of your service?

    This is a huge question! I value transparency tremendously because it's through transparency that accountability for commitments is created. The OTW needs transparency on every level. This doesn't mean breaking confidentiality -- in fact, the opposite. Transparency and accountability allow for confidentiality and allow for an environment where people can and do feel comfortable because the organization has espoused and is seen to follow a code of ethics and a code of conduct. Appropriate ethics that are aligned with the goals of the organization create an environment where people can be more productive.

    For myself, transparency means being open and honest about my successes and failures. As chair of the Strategic Planning Committee - as in all things I do - I strive to create a culture for my staff where we are open with each other, and where critique comes from a place of compassion and a desire to enhance a coworker's performance. When we're honest about our motivations and adhere to the code of ethics we've set for ourselves, our environment becomes a place where people aren't afraid to make mistakes and therefore aren't afraid to make suggestions, to be creative, to reach out and learn and do new things.

    For the organization as a whole, I actually think we need to do more to educate people about what transparency truly is, so that when people demand transparency and accountability from us, they really know what they're saying. For example, there's a big difference between a closed-door meeting and not telling people anything about what your team is working on; there are easy ways to construct minutes for a closed-door meeting that gets across what you've done without breaking any confidentiality. That is something I train my staff to do so that Strategic Planning's meeting minutes are always comprehensive for people who want to know what's going on with us. In the last few years, the OTW has been so much better about transparency as a whole; the problem is that the stakeholders (both internal and external) have been almost traumatized by the lack of transparency of the first few years of this organization's life. It's not just that the org now needs to continue with its efforts in transparency and accountability both, it's also a matter of overcoming that bad press and getting people on board. This is difficult work!

    What does inclusiveness mean to you personally, both inside the organization and between projects and between the organization and fandom? How do you value it and how would you make it a part of your service?

    Organizationally, to me inclusivity refers mostly to the idea of "cultural competency" (a common phrase used in nonprofits); it's the understanding that diversity makes organizations stronger. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I believe in this. A diverse community that can come together to create something has a much better perspective, and that leads to a better chance of sustainability as well as more creativity in pursuits and a better chance of serving the entire population, rather than just a select group.

    Personally, inclusivity means much the same thing, but includes a level of sensitivity to the cultures and norms of others that needs to be respected. However, respect is a thing the entire organization needs. When people respect each other (it can't just go one way!), then there can be collaboration and compassionate professionalism.

    I have brought this with me to my service with the OTW to date; it's incredibly important to me to embrace the diversity fandom brings, and also to note the places where there aren't voices, and try to bring those voices into the organization. This includes types of fanwork and diverse fan populations as well as cultural and ability diversity.

    What do you think the key responsibilities of a/the board are? Are you familiar with the legal requirements for a US-based nonprofit board of directors?

    In general, it is the job of a board of directors for a nonprofit to create the mission and purpose for the organization, guide, excite, and support the organization's members, staff, and volunteers, make sure the organization is financially stable and secure, handle both long-term and short-term planning, serve as monitors of the organization's programs, and be strong role models for the entire org's ethics.

    While the legal requirements for a US-based nonprofit board of directors vary, in general I understand that legally a director is held to the responsibilities of obedience to a charitable purpose, due care, and loyalty.

    How would you balance your Board work with other roles in the org, or how do you plan to hand over your current roles to focus on Board work?

    I plan to step down from the Strategic Planning Committee, but I will continue to volunteer as a tag wrangler. Since I don't hold any other org positions, I'll be able to fully focus on Board work.

  • Ways to support the OTW this December

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 11:52pm
    Message type:

    2013 is almost over, and all of us at the OTW are grateful for the tremendous support shown by our members and donors this year. If you've been thinking about donating to the OTW but haven't done so yet, you may want to take a look at your finances and see whether it would be to your benefit to do so before December 31. Donations to the OTW are tax deductible in the United States. And if you're employed, please find out if your employer offers matching donations! Every dollar you give could be worth two dollars to the OTW.

    Cover of the book 'Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World'

    Another way to support the OTW this month is through our ongoing promotion with Smart Pop Books, publisher of Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World. Edited by Anne Jamison and featuring contributions from several current and former OTW staff members, this book would make a great holiday gift for a fellow fan! From now through December 31, if you order the book from Amazon through this referral link, Smart Pop will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the OTW. They have generously offered to double Amazon's usual affiliate rate, which ranges from 6-8% depending on sale volume, so the OTW will receive 12-16% per book. This promotion applies to both the paperback and Kindle editions.

    We'd like to thank everyone who's already participated in the book promotion — your purchases since October 30 have raised more than US$180 for the OTW! And thank you to all of you who have donated to the OTW throughout the year — we are very grateful for your support.