Committee Descriptions for 2012
If you'd like to volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form.
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. We rarely hold meetings, but it is vital that you be able to respond to e-mail promptly. We are seeking people who can keep in close contact, 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. Our internal deliberations are all in English, but we will also handle complaints made in other languages when possible. Familiarity with multiple languages and with underrepresented fan cultures is welcome.
Accessibility, Design, and Technology (AD&T)
Coordinates software design and development on behalf of the Organization for Transformative Works. The main project currently occupying the Committee is the creation of an open-source software package, OTW-Archive, to build and support the Archive of Our Own. AD&T designs, codes and tests the AO3 software, advises the rest of the OTW on accessibility and technology issues, and supports Systems in ensuring the the AO3 site stays running smoothly. AD&T protects and preserves access to fanworks on the AO3. AD&T collaborates with many other committees, and works with Support for managing known issues, fixing bugs and considering feature requests from users; with Tag Wrangling for anything tag-related; with Internationalization & Outreach and Translation for preparing to translate the Archive, and for translating FAQs and news posts; and with Communications for news posts, admin messages, banner messages, and the AO3 Twitter accounts (AO3_Status, ao3org). AD&T prefers all committee members to have experience as volunteers and recruits new members from the volunteer pools. AD&T is currently seeking volunteers for accessibility, coding, design, documentation, testing, and usability work. The Archive of Our Own is coded in Ruby, and we welcome volunteers of every level of experience. No technical experience is required for testing. To learn more about coding and testing, check out Behind the scenes at the AO3: A day in the life of a coder, the transcript from our Intro to Testing Chat, and the transcript of our Intro to Coding Chat. To learn more about the AD&T committee, check out AD&T Meeting Notes, Oct. 22.
Communications is responsible for press releases, newsletters, link roundups, blog posts, media contacts, interviews, and other tasks related to promoting our various projects. We receive e-mail inquiries from the general public and respond to them or forward them to the appropriate committees. We liaise with the media to help arrange things like the LJ community where Lev Grossman interviewed fans for his TIME article on fanfiction. We prepare the non-financial portions of the OTW annual report.
Content Policy designs and implements the Terms of Service and other policies for the Archive of Our Own. Familiarity with the Archive is helpful. Ability to synthesize multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities is a positive trait, as is a good understanding of expectations about fannish behavior (and the variety of those expectations). Much of our communication is asynchronous, though we do have occasional meetings. Work is sporadic, so nothing may happen for long stretches, but when we do make changes we often have vigorous debates. Content Policy could be a good second committee for someone looking for greater involvement in the policy side of the organization without a substantially increased time commitment. Ability to stay in contact and to meet deadlines is a plus.
Development and 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! In 2012, our project areas will include
- Events: Calendaring events on the OTW website, reaching out to fan cons and conventions about an OTW presence, and sending packets of info, stickers & pins for in-person recruitment
- Premiums: cross-checking orders & delivery, including tracking international fulfillment, designing and pricing out new merchandise, etc.
- Memberships drives: coordinating the March and October Membership Drives, organizing themes and guest posts, liaising with other committees to see what they want to say to the OTW and the public during high visibility times
- Grants: writing grants, coordinating the grant-writing process with committees that would be eligible for funding opportunities, and building a system to organize all the grant applications into their component pieces so that we can re-use parts of applications we've submitted before
- Social Media Outreach: monitoring the social media accounts for the OTW, coordinating appropriate responses to any questions or comments made on the social media platforms, signal boosting blog posts, and documenting best practice guidelines for social media accounts for all OTW projects.
We are currently seeking people for all of the above projects and we look for people who can communicate clearly and hold to a deadline. For the Grants project, we are specifically looking for:
- People who are well organized and have finely honed nagging abilities. These folks are responsible for finding the right people inside the OTW to write the grant ,and then keep on top of them about it; for researching funding opportunities and reading the grant instructions, highlighting any potential problems early on; and for nagging everyone, including grants committee members, to ensure we can tweak applications and make them fundable!
- A documents manager to organize all the grant applications we’ve done so far into their component pieces and have an organizational system so we can re-use parts of applications we’ve submitted before. We want our grant applications to be public, accessible, and organized so that the Grants team can easily find what they're looking for. Library experience is a bonus!
- A grant writer!
- A budget specialist to work with the Grants project lead, the Finance committee, and the grant writers to formulate the budget and organize the information in the budget justification.
For an example of DevMem's work, check out the announcement for the October Membership Drive.
Fan Video & Multimedia Committee
The Fan Video & Multimedia committee is overseeing the OTW's Fan Video and Multimedia projects, including those outlined in the Fan Video Roadmap. (Upcoming projects include collaborating with AD&T on a revised works blurb for fan video embeds and setting up the Dark Archive.) Vidding also works in collaboration with Legal to effect positive change in the legal climate for vidders and other video remix artists; we are currently working on the renewal of the DMCA Exemption for Noncommercial Remixers.
The Finance Committee keeps track of spending, writes checks, maintains financial records, and develops a budget for the organization. The expected level of participation is flexible. We do expect staff to attend all meetings (one hour once a week from January to May, then one hour every one to two weeks for the remainder of the year depending on committee needs). Individual workload is also flexible, and we try to fit projects to committee members’ availability. Small amounts of work, such as creating a meeting agenda, take place over email intermittently. Our meetings are structured so there’s a brief staff check-in/update on our week, then the agenda is generally a check-in on progress on ongoing projects followed by any news from other committees, and announcement of any new work with discussion to assign tasks. We try to keep the meetings moving quickly, start on time, and finish within an hour. Prior experience with non-profit financial management and/or accounting is preferred; familiarity with Quickbooks, CivicRM, PayPal, and budgeting, along with experience with non-profit financial management are helpful but not required. We will train staff and volunteers for specific tasks to match their interests, and we need people who are comfortable with any of the following: setting up automated payments; monitoring PayPal transactions; drafting proposals, reports and policies and procedures related to OTW finances; writing newsletter posts; researching payment processors; liaising with Development and Membership to prepare for membership drives; assisting in filing federal and state taxes; and/or Googling for shark-related puns. We have a combination of work styles on the committee and will work to accommodate anyone interested in joining us. We tend to attempt to work in pairs so no one person is left without support on a task, and in order to pair someone who has experience in the given area with someone seeking to learn more about the particular task. What we need more than any particular work style are people who can be patient with a group prone to the occasional silliness and tangent, and who are largely dry-witted. Previous work in the organization is not required. Historically, we have taken on those interested in serving in a financial capacity directly as staff rather than as volunteers to guarantee access to staff tools and because of concerns about confidentiality. We would prefer to continue taking on staff, but can accommodate those wishing to remain volunteers.
Grants is responsible for working with committees that may need additional funding to support a project. If a committee doesn’t have a specific grant in mind, we do the research to find grants that match the committee’s needs. We also work with the committee to develop a very detailed understanding of the project so that we can write the grant application. Once a grant application is approved, Grants and Finance both play a role in ensuring the money is spent the way we promised it would be. We welcome volunteers who can help with research and support. Volunteers for grant writing are also welcome, though experience in grant or professional writing (internal or external communications, technical writing, marketing, public relations, overnment communications, etc.) or related coursework is preferred.
Internationalization and Outreach
Internationalization & Outreach are the OTW's in-house diversity consultants and lobby group. We are dedicated to enriching the cultural, linguistic and fannish diversity of the organization and its projects by contributing opinions and advice to other committees, and by amplifying and supporting concerns relayed to us. In 2012, we will also start planning (and possibly conducting) outreach campaigns to underrepresented fannish communities with the help of ambassadors from those communities. We are looking for members from diverse fannish and cultural backgrounds. If you can't sign up permanently, but would be willing to help as a stand-by advisor, we would also love to hear from you! Specifically, we're looking for:
- people passionate about international and fannish accessibility who are highly opinionated and collaborative (and ideally, although not a requirement: diplomatic)
- ideally from non-European language and cultural backgrounds and/or not originally from (Western/Northern) Europe or the USA
- and/or part of non-Western fandoms
- and/or "crossover" fans who participate both in their native language fandom and English-language fandom
What you can expect:
- please be aware that the work may at times be sensitive, confidential and highly political.
- a close-knit and caring team to make up for it :)
- a 2 hour weekly meeting conducted by chat (if you can't make those, we can hash out an alternative, but the meetings are the nexus of I&O work.)
- only as much work during the week as you are willing and able to take on — we strive to be very flexible.
To learn more about Internationalization & Outreach, check out Internationalization & Outreach: Behind the Scenes, Spotlight on International Outreach, and First, Know Thyself.
This committee administers Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), an international peer-reviewed twice-yearly academic online journal in the field of media studies, as well as the Symposium Blog. Working on Journal involves soliciting and considering submissions, and working with authors and content as necessary. SympBlog team members write posts and solicit guest posts. TWC team members shepherd documents through the manuscript-tracking software (Open Journal Systems) for peer or editorial review, revision, copyedit, and layout. We are always looking for volunteer production personnel (copyediting, proofreading). Journal actively reviews expressions of interest two or three times a year to fill various editorial and volunteer production positions. Journal looks for independent self-starters who are task-doers. We have a process, a goal, and set-in-stone deadlines; thus we need people who can work within the framework of academic publishing. We welcome people who want to learn new skills, but the skills Journal requires are the same ones taught in grad school: ability to hit deadlines, ability to critically read, ability to write. We seek plugged-in networkers, curious thinkers, wide readers, and easily amused Internet trollers. We prefer acafans who have or are studying for MA/PhD degrees in fields that could be related to fan studies, such as media studies, cultural studies (e.g. American studies), literature, history, etc. Working on Journal is a particularly good opportunity for people interested in working in academic publishing. Journal does not meet regularly as a committee, although the individual teams are encouraged to meet via chat as desired. The hours are intermittent and flexible to a point (we like to respond to authors within 4 weeks), with ~6-8 hours of work a week.
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. Prior experience with the law is necessary. We welcome non-US lawyers. We do take on law students, and legal internship credit may be available under appropriate circumstances.
Open Doors is dedicated to preserving fannish projects that might otherwise be at risk of disappearing. We assist fan creators and archivists in preserving a wide range of historical and contemporary fanworks, from mimeographed zines to multimedia projects to entire archives. In addition to its work documenting and backing up at-risk fanworks in AO3, Fanlore, or as special collections on the Open Doors website, Open Doors oversees the Fan Culture Preservation Project, which works to preserve fanzines, etc. in partnership with the University of Iowa libraries. The Open Doors project supports the OTW's mission of "preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture." Open Doors looks for people who are familiar with the AO3 and Fanlore or who are willing to become familiar with them, and who also possess good organization and communication skills. This work potentially involves lots of communication with fans who want assistance in preserving their fanworks; many of these fans have roots in older fannish traditions or modes of interaction. Ability to communicate with AD&T about current and desired AO3 features would be helpful, since Open Doors makes use of the Archive importer, which is still under development. Open Doors meets regularly as a committee, but the workload is intermittent, since it is mainly based on special projects and archives/sites that request upload support. To learn more about the Fan Culture Preservation Project, check out A Fannish Field Trip - Spotlight on the FCPP, Part of Open Doors
The Strategic Planning Committee is the OTW’s team dedicated to helping define the OTW’s direction through a process of information gathering and synthesis. The Strategic Planning Committee uses a variety of strategic planning techniques to write reports for each OTW team, as well as the OTW’s strategic plan for the next 1 – 3 years. This includes strategizing for/around and revisiting the OTW’s vision, mission, values, and goals. Members of this committee actively work to understand the issues each team within the Org faces, as well as the bigger picture of the organization. Open to anyone, but particularly good for volunteers who have experience with writing and analyzing surveys, strategy, strategic planning (either nonprofit or for-profit), and people management. The committee meets 2 – 3 hours once per week and usually requires an additional 5 – 10 hours of work from its staff members each week.
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! For more information about Support work, check out the Spotlight on Support and Behind the scenes at the AO3: A day in the life of a Support staffer.
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, Nginx, Postfix, and Ruby on Rails. Experience installing, configuring, and troubleshooting at least some of these is necessary but you need not know them all. We are particularly seeking sysadmins and database people with experience in performance tuning and scalability.
The Tag Wrangling Committee and their team of volunteer “Tag Wranglers” maintain and administer the tags on the Archive of Our Own, curating the folksonomy system that links related tags together for better filtering and searching, while allowing users to tag their works however they prefer. The Tag Wrangling Committee induct, advise and assist tag wrangler volunteers in handling new and existing issues, compose and maintain the written guidelines and tutorials to coordinate tag wrangler activity, communicate with other OTW committees on matters related to tagging, and serve as liaisons for moderators of challenges and ficathons hosted at the Archive with respect to tagging. Since knowledge of wrangling guidelines and the archive tools is needed to address volunteer questions, the Tag Wrangling Committee draws its staff members from existing tag wrangling volunteers, or those with past wrangling experience who have also served in other staff positions for the OTW. The expected level of participation for Tag Wrangling staff is at least ten hours a week. This time includes moderating discussions and answering questions and support requests through the mailing lists; attending fortnightly meetings in Campfire; writing and distributing of minutes and newsletters to wrangling volunteers using the internal Wiki and Writeboards; maintaining guidelines on the Wiki; taking part in org-wide meetings and events; holding weekly "office hours" in Campfire; hosting open houses and other outreach activities representing Tag Wranglers, the Archive, or the OTW; communicating with other committees as needed; and performing wrangling tasks requiring staff level permissions on the archive. Staff members qualities sought are an interest in wrangling, a willingness to learn, disagree and compromise, and lots of patience! Tag Wrangling Staff need to be able to both work as a team, and understand the wider picture of the Archive as a whole. Being an independent worker is helpful but those who prefer clear tasks to perform are also welcome. An ability to adapt to new organization tools used by staff across committees is also necessary. Tag Wrangling volunteers sort and organize tags in their claimed fandoms according to the Archive’s Tag Wrangling guidelines, researching source canon and other sources to unravel tag conflicts when required. They discuss and help solve sticky organization puzzles with other wranglers in chat or on the email discussion list. Volunteer time varies depending on how many fandoms are signed up for and how busy they are, although it is expected that wranglers will check for new activity at least once a week for quiet fandoms. (Check out the list of fandoms in need of a wrangler—this list changes frequently). Tag wrangling volunteers do not require any previous knowledge of wrangling or the archive, and can volunteer at any time of year. Requirements do include a commitment to diversity in the archive, a willingness to learn and review established guidelines, and monitoring the tag wrangling mailing list for announcements and discussions. Right now, we are feverishly working on end of the year projects, and we like to be able to provide training and help to new wranglers, so if you volunteer now, we'll get you started with wrangling in January when the new term begins. You're welcome to sign up now, but please be patient as we wind up 2011.
The Translation committee coordinates volunteer translators and liaises with other committees to make their projects and documents available in as many languages as possible. The committee does not actually translate things, so you don't need to be a translator — ideally, you're a project/volunteer/organisation management type with an interest in languages. We meet bi-weekly for about 2 hours and are very supportive of each other, but the main bulk of the work is independent: lots of emails checking in with your language teams. While it is rewarding to work so closely with volunteers, it needs a fair share of self-motivation to keep up close and regular contact. To learn more about Translation committee, check out this Spotlight on Translation. To learn more about translator volunteers, check out this Spotlight on Translation Volunteers.
Volunteers & Recruiting
Volunteers & Recruiting works with all the other committees to 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 organize training sessions and Open House chats, help people find ways to develop their skills, and keep our projects strong. Our projects include the annual Still Willing To Serve drive and the annual Willing To Serve recruitment drive, and in 2012, we are planning to develop the internship program. VolCom meets once a week for 1.25 hours in Campfire (chat program) and the workload varies according to the time of year, with November-December being busier than the rest of the year. Weekly workload is ~5 hours/week during busy weeks, and we look for detail-oriented volunteers who possess the willingness, time, and tenacity to learn new skills; the initiative to take on projects; the ability to listen to staff and volunteer grievances and the discretion to maintain confidentiality. We ask that volunteers have the ability to be neutral, fair and equitable when approaching conflicts, and willingness to recuse oneself when that is not possible. VolCom is a fascinating and fulfilling place to be, and we would love to have you join us!
The Webmasters design, build, and maintain websites for the OTW. We support the OTW's mission by making information about the organization and all its projects available on the Web, maintaining the software that accepts and records monetary donations, and maintaining the voting software used in Board elections. The sites we work on include:
- Organization for Transformative Works (the main OTW website)
- CiviCRM (the software used by DevMem to collect and manage donations; integrated with the main website)
- OTW Elections
- Open Doors
- Transformative Works and Cultures (we administer the software and serve as layout staff for the journal)
- Symposium Blog (we maintain the WordPress installation)
- Media Hosting Subdomain (an internal resource used, e.g., to host videos being featured in Transformative Works and Cultures)
- various social media accounts (e.g., Dreamwidth and LiveJournal) for which we design custom styles
The Webmasters look for proactive volunteers who possess initiative and the willingness, time, and tenacity to learn new skills. Desired skills include Drupal, CiviCRM, XHTML, CSS, PHP, Open Journal Systems, WordPress, graphic design, and familiarity with usability/accessibility standards. It is not necessary for any one person to possess all of these skills; while the committee currently leans toward generalists, there could be opportunities to specialize based on interest and skills. Most of our work is done in Drupal; we've created our own Drupal training regimen and can teach people from scratch. We currently do not have the capacity to provide XHTML or CSS training (although we hope to develop this in the future) so we have a great need for people who already possess those skills. The committee meets weekly, and the average workload is around 3 hours of work per week (one hour of meeting, two hours of independent work). Our workload varies depending on projects and time of year; however, in 2012 we'll be more consistently busy because of a large project. We're committed to flexibility in terms of how much time people are able to put in, as long as they communicate with the group about their availability.
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. For 2012, we are looking for someone with CSS knowledge who can help with the overhaul of the wiki's skins. We are also interested in anyone who has ideas for doing outreach, or in anyone who is passionate about wanting the wiki to flourish. To learn more about Wiki committee, check out Fanlore Wants You!