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Published:
2016-10-09 13:03:32 -0400
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Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with James Baxter, who volunteers as a Co-Chair for our Webs Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I work as the co-chair of the Webs Committee, which is in charge of creating and maintaining the OTW websites: transformativeworks.org, opendoors.transformativeworks.org, and elections.transformativeworks.org.

These sites are part of the underlying infrastructure that allows the OTW to keep functioning. If we're doing our job right as a committee, we provide a platform to lift up the voices and works of everyone else in the organization.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

We have meetings every two weeks, and because our committee is spread across a lot of different time zones, not everyone can attend each meeting. So, my week usually starts with a meeting, and then I try to touch base with each of the volunteers who couldn't make it.

Every person on my team, including myself, works on tickets as they come in, so I spend some time working on my weekly task.

I also spend time talking to my co-chair, Alex, about what our upcoming goals are, and who needs to do what in order to get them done. We draft and send replies to emails that need our attention.

Finally, I stop by our internal chat channels every day. Most of the OTW uses the same system, so it's one of our best communication tools. I try to respond to any feedback we get there as quickly as possible. We get comments about the sites, as well as feature requests and questions.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

There's a lot! The absolute best thing is getting to meet and work with such a committed, smart, and diverse group of people. I'm constantly learning about how to be a better leader, and how to build things that (hopefully) work for people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. And it's such a pleasure to get to see the direct impact of my work (our work) on the broader fannish community.

Recently, I've also enjoyed getting to train our new recruits! We've got a great team of very smart people and I'm really excited to see what they're going to do in their time with us.

Are there things you want to see happen with OTW's website?

There are SO many things I want to see happen with the OTW websites! We made a transition earlier this year from Drupal to Wordpress, and we did it fairly quickly. So, while the new sites work, and look pretty good, we definitely have room for improvement.

And, with our new staff members, hopefully you're going to be be seeing some big changes in the near future!

The top three items on my personal wish list are:

  1. Move our language switcher to the top, and set it to a drop down menu instead of a list.
  2. Create a home page for transformativeworks.org (currently it shows our most recent news items)
  3. Work on making the site more accessible.

What fannish things do you like to do?

...my OTW work? Can I say that?

I mean, that's not entirely accurate, but being a part of the OTW has definitely been the largest ongoing commitment that I've made to fandom over the years.

Otherwise, I do read a lot of fan fiction, and I spend a lot of time on tumblr and twitter. I also ran a fic and fanworks challenge for Leverage last summer, called the Leverage Thing-a-thon, which was a great experience.

In real life, I'm an illustrator and designer, so sometimes I post fanart -- mostly for Fraction's Hawkeye comics, the Captain America movie fandom, and Leverage.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.