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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.

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Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages

I. ELECTIONS

The 2016 OTW Board Election was held and the results have been posted! Congratulations to the new Board members, Kristina Busse and Priscilla Del Cima! They will begin their terms on November 1st. We wish them nothing but good things during their service.

Thank you to the candidates and everyone who participated, particularly those who attended the two candidate chats in their new format. Elections also wants to thank all the committees that made this possible; it was a true team effort.

Next year's election is currently planned for August, which is intended as its new permanent home.

Should the process ever see any other changes, we'll always be sure to keep you updated through the Elections website, on the OTW Elections Tumblr account, the OTW Elections Twitter account, and in this newsletter.

II. AT THE AO3

This month, Open Doors announced two new imports (The Basement, ScullySlash, and the Spooky Awards and Sinful Desire) and the project was highlighted in the OTW anniversary festivities. Much appreciation to the Communications team for organizing an interview with Versaphile (mod of several imported archives), an interview with Open Doors staffer Alison Watson, and a live chat with panelists from the three biggest academic fandom collections: University of Iowa (our partner in the Fan Culture Preservation Project), Texas A&M University, and Bowling Green University. We'd also like to thank Translation for their fast turnarounds as usual!

This was also the first month Open Doors internally recruited tag wranglers to help us with pre-import searching (to minimize duplicates for an import), and they did an amazing job searching almost 9,000 works for the Warp 5 Complex and The Hex Files archives. Many, many thanks to Tag Wrangling for continuing to help us map tags for all upcoming Open Doors imports!

Speaking of Tag Wrangling, two new guidelines were adopted as part of the team's ongoing metatag reduction project; one concerning how ambiguous canonical tags should be handled, and the second regarding character-specific tags in the Alternate Universe tree.

Due to the recent guideline updates, wranglers in many fandoms have been reexamining their existing canonical tags, and discovering that a large number are out of date. Several fandoms will be seeing tags updated to be guideline-compliant over the next few months. This will mostly involve adding disambiguations to ambiguous tags, but may also involve formatting changes to character or relationship tags, as well as reductions in metatagging in the freeforms.

III. UNDER THE HOOD AND BEHIND THE SCENES

Abuse received about 500 tickets this month! The team is currently switching to a new ticket tool, and the Abuse form has been updated.

Communications celebrated the OTW's anniversary with a public chat featuring three experts in curation and preservation of fannish history.

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed several batches of code (summarized in the Release Notes for 0.9.154 - 0.9.158 and 0.9.159 - 0.9.163), including changes to the Abuse report form, more invisible improvements and several substantial bug fixes. The team has also added some more documentation to our GitHub presence, to invite more contributions from coders outside the OTW. Accessibility, Design & Technology has been working with one such contributor on an exciting improvement for gift exchanges, which is currently being tested and should hopefully go live soon.

As for the most exciting news of all, the team has found a fantastic contractor whom they are looking to task with upgrading the Archive's version of Rails (the web development framework the AO3 is built on), which has been urgently due for an update for a while. It's a comprehensive, fiddly project, and we're glad to be able to outsource a large chunk of the work involved. Thank you to the Board, Legal, Finance, and all the OTW donors who make this possible!

Throughout September, Webs has worked to resolve and refine several visual and practical features across transformativeworks.org. They're in the midst of minimising loading times, creating a new and improved board minutes display, and other internal improvements.

Journal came out bang on time with issue No. 22 of Transformative Works and Cultures! The team also has most of the table of contents set for one of the two guest-edited issues for the first half of 2017, and contents of the other special issue are almost ready. They have a special issue call for papers out for a 2018 issue, and they hope to add another soon.

Development & Membership has been hard at work preparing for the October drive, writing posts and emails, making infographics, choosing new thank you gifts and making changes to our donation forms. The drive starts on October 13, so keep an eye out!

IV. GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL

Finance has published the 2016 budget update! More internal work is being done to make sure that the OTW's finances are running smoothly.

In September, OTW Legal partnered with our ally Public Knowledge to file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Lenz v. Universal. This continues our work on the long-running case, which concerns the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice-and-takedown system. Under that system, copyright owners can ask Internet hosts (like the Archive of Our Own) to take down works that infringe copyright. But before doing so, the copyright owners have to state their belief that the work is actually infringing—for example, that the work isn’t fair use.

Last year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that before sending a takedown notice, copyright owners need to form a belief that the work is not fair use, but they held that a “subjective good faith belief” is enough. Although this ruling was a step in the right direction, the OTW believes that the court set the standard too low. So in this brief, Legal argued that the Supreme Court should examine that standard. They argued that allowing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to stand would chill freedom of expression on the Internet and invite censorship by allowing copyright owners to send DMCA takedown notices without adequately considering or understanding the actual law of fair use.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of September 27, the OTW has 580 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below:

New Committee Staff: sveritas (Finance), Cesy (Finance), and 2 other Finance staffers, 1 Translation staffer, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting, Sandra Strauch (Communications)
New Coder Volunteers: Carlos Martín
New Translator Volunteers: Zane Valule

Departing Committee Staff: Jeniouis (Webs), billiethepoet (Strategic Planning), ashleyhasahat (Communications), 1 AO3 Documentation staffer, 1 Webs
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Kits, defe and 5 other volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Carmen, Chintan, Noura, and 3 other volunteers

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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The Quidditch Pitch

The Quidditch Pitch (TQP), an all-pairing, all-era Harry Potter archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

The Quidditch Pitch came into existence on October 31, 2005 with 30 authors and 40 members, and by 2015, had grown into a well-frequented archive with almost 500 authors, about 5,500 stories, and over 41,000 members. Unfortunately, that year the archive's hosting plan expired during a time when the mod, Annie, was not able to renew it, and the original archive was deleted by the hosting provider.

Using a backup of the archive, Open Doors will be working with Annie to import the original archive into a separate, searchable collection with its own identity. Eventually the links that directed to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can be found with their old URLs. We will begin importing works from The Quidditch Pitch to the AO3 collection after October.

What does this mean for creators who had work on The Quidditch Pitch?

This is the part where we ask for your help!

1. If you already have an AO3 account and have posted your TQP works there, please contact Open Doors with your TQP pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), so that we won't import your works. (Please include "TQP" in the subject heading.)

Please visit the Open Doors website for instructions on mass-adding works to the TQP collection on the AO3.

2. If you don't already have an AO3 account but would like one to import your works yourself, please contact Open Doors with your TQP pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "TQP" in the subject heading.)

Please visit the Open Doors website for instructions on importing works to the TQP collection on the AO3.

3. If you don't already have an AO3 account but would like one, as well as assistance importing your works, please contact Open Doors with your TQP pseud(s), and the preferred e-mail address to send the AO3 invite to. (Please include "TQP" in the subject heading.)

Once your account is set up, let us know your AO3 name, and we can transfer your works to you once imported.

4. If you would NOT like your works moved, please contact Open Doors with your TQP pseud(s) and e-mail address(es) so that we will not add them. (Please include "TQP" in the subject heading.)

If you would not mind your works being preserved but do not want your name attached to them any longer, please let us know that too--we can orphan your works instead of leaving them behind to be deleted.

All works archived on a creator's behalf will be attributed with the creator's name in the byline of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. When all works have been accounted for, the Open Doors committee will set up the URL redirects.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your TQP account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's fantastic; if not, we will work with the TQP mod to confirm your claims.)

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ page, or tutorials page. If these pages don’t offer the answers you need, you can contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we'll respond as soon as we can.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of The Quidditch Pitch on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We’re pleased to be part of preserving The Quidditch Pitch on the AO3.

- The Open Doors team

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Published:
2016-10-04 15:49:39 -0400
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We will be deploying a major improvement to the potential matching code for challenges and gift exchanges shortly, and want to give a quick overview of how this could affect any exchanges you may currently be running.

  • If you have sent assignments out, no worries! The new code will not affect you at all.
  • If you have not run matching yet, please hold off on doing so until the new code is deployed! We will be announcing the code release here on AO3 News in the next three days.
  • If you are in the middle of making assignments -- that is, you have already run matching, but have not actually sent out your assignments -- you will need to do one of two things. Either:
    • Send out assignments before we deploy the new code, or
    • Wait until the new code is deployed, then re-run matching.

Please note that if you choose to wait until the new code is deployed, you will unfortunately lose the existing assignments, including any ones you may have edited by hand. You will still be able to re-run your matching, taking full advantage of the new improvements, and then re-do any manual edits that need to be made.

If you have invested a lot of time in hand-massaging assignments and do want to send your assignments out before we deploy, please contact Support by October 8 with the name of your collection and an estimate of when you expect to send out assignments. We would like to release this code, which will significantly improve matching, as soon as possible, while also trying to give everyone who is in the middle of assignments enough time to finish the process.

The changes we have made to the code are completely on the back end and will not only eliminate the (recently implemented) limit on potential matches, but will also make matching run much faster and more smoothly going forward! Thank you in advance for your support and assistance as we prepare to release this upgrade.

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Turkfanfiction.net, a Turkish-language multi-fandom fanfiction and original fiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

For nine years, Turkfanfiction.net did its best to bring together all Turkish fanfiction writers and readers while educating and advising them on fandom culture. Now the time has come to move on to bigger and better things. Turkfanfiction.net believes that the Turkish fandom is ready to join to a more organized, strong-footed, international platform while providing more content to the AO3 archive. As Turkfanfiction.net closes, its nine-year internet history will be preserved through the Open Doors project, while encouraging new Turkish authors and readers to join the AO3 archive.

Open Doors will be working with Glenien to import Turkfanfiction.net into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. Eventually the links going to the old site will re-direct to the collection on AO3 so the works can continue to be found with their old URLs.

We will begin importing works from Turkfanfiction.net to the AO3 collection after October 2016.

What does this mean for creators who have work(s) on Turkfanfiction.net?

All works archived on the behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work. As we import works, we will e-mail notifications to the address associated with the work. Before we import, we'll do our best to check the AO3 for an existing copy. If we find one, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. 30 days after the import is complete, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors. Open Doors will then set up the URL redirects, and the site will be permanently closed.

Please contact Open Doors with your Turkfanfiction.net pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. If you have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great. If you don't, we will work with the moderator to confirm your claims.

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

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

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Turkfanfiction.net on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve Turkfanfiction.net!

- The Open Doors team

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Published:
2016-09-28 12:43:10 -0400
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Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

Are you interested in volunteering for the Organization for Transformative Works as a Media Outreach Liaison or a Translator?

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for & Abuse staff, Communications: Fanhackers staff, and Support staff!

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Communications Committee - Media Outreach Liaison - closing 5 October 2016 UTC
  • Translator volunteers - closing 5 October 2016 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.


Communications Committee - Media Outreach Liaison

Communications staffers are responsible for the distribution of information internally to OTW personnel and externally to the general public, the media, fans, and other fannish organizations. Communications is also typically the first point of contact for someone interested in or wanting help from OTW.

The Media Outreach group is responsible for various tasks and projects related to public relations and publicity. The position of media outreach staffer would be a good fit for someone with an interest in new media and a knack for networking. Experience with public relations is ideal but not required.

Applications are due 5 October 2016


Translation volunteers

If you enjoy working collaboratively, if you're fluent in a language other than English, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

Translation volunteers help make the OTW and its projects accessible to a wider global audience. We work on translating content by the OTW and its projects from English to other languages, such as site pages, news posts, AO3 FAQs and AO3 Support emails. (However, we do not translate fanworks.)

We really need volunteers who speak Arabic, Croatian, Greek, Hindi, Japanese, Kiswahili, Latvian, Norwegian, Brazilian Portuguese, Slovenian, Turkish, Vietnamese and Welsh—but help with other languages would be much appreciated.

(Please note that our Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Polish, European Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish teams are not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples as part of the selection process.

More information about us can be found on the Translation committee page.

Applications are due 5 October 2016


Apply at the volunteering page!

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Published:
2016-09-27 14:58:11 -0400
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Banner by Diane of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW', 'Elections News' and a checkmark next to 'Make your voice heard'

The Elections Committee would like to thank all of our candidates for their hard work in this year’s election. With that, we are pleased to present the results of the 2016 Election.

Kristina Busse and Priscilla Del Cima (in alphabetical order) have been officially elected to the Board of Directors. The new members of the Board will formally begin their term overlap on November 1. We wish them well with their terms.

Unfortunately, there was a typo in the ballot email. If you were affected by this typo and unable to vote in time, please email the Elections Committee address listed in your ballot email by 11:59pm UTC on September 29 for instructions.

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Published:
2016-09-24 20:24:50 -0400
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2016 OTW budget

In March this year, the OTW published its first official budget. Since then, our Finance committee has been rebuilt by volunteers who have non-profit and/or accounting backgrounds! They've been busy working with other committees to reorganize and rebuild key internal processes for bookkeeping, budgeting, tax filing, and general financial policies.

This improvement is a work in progress for us as an organization, and we've already learned a lot since March about how to forecast our expenses and income better. Because of that, we're publishing an updated version of the 2016 budget that better reflects our current financial situation (download 2016 updated budget spreadsheet).

2016 expenses

OTW expenses by program: 67.79% AO3, 14.11% fundraising, 12.27% administration, 2.74% Fanlore, 1.69% Legal Advocacy, 1.08% TWC, 0.33% Open Doors

Archive of Our Own

AO3 expenses: $73,176.82 spent so far out of $128,458.92 total this year.

  • US$73,176.82 spent so far out of US$128,458.92 total this year.
  • Most of the OTW's expenses go towards AO3 upkeep, including the bulk of our server expenses (new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance), website performance monitoring tools and systems licenses (access all program expenses).
  • The amount allotted for the original contractor for the Archive of Our Own in the March budget has been reduced due to time constraints. Both the Accessibility, Design & Technology and Systems committees plan to seek new contractors before the end of the year, and next year's budget will include more accurate forecasts for their work.

Fanlore

Fanlore expenses: $3,360.12 spent so far out of $5,187.57 total this year.

  • US$3,360.12 spent so far out of US$5,187.57 total this year.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchase, maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to licenses and domains pertaining to Fanlore directly (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

Legal Advocacy expenses: $2,196.76 spent so far out of $3,196.76 total this year.

  • US$2,196.76 spent so far out of US$3,196.76 total this year.
  • Legal's expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses for panel presentations (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures

TWC expenses: $1,736.32 spent so far out of $2,040.30 total this year.

  • US$1,736.32 spent so far out of US$2,040.30 total this year.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures' expenses are its allotment of server costs and fees associated with the journal's publishing and storage (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

Open Doors expenses: $305.89 spent so far out of $627.16 total this year.

  • US$305.89 spent so far out of US$627.16 total this year.
  • This year's expenses for Open Doors are hosting, backup and domain costs for imported archives (access all program expenses).

Fundraising

Fundraising expenses: $10,227.54 spent so far out of $26,737.54 total this year.

  • US$10,227.54 spent so far out of US$26,737.54 total this year.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for every donation, thank-you gifts purchase and shipping, and the tools used to host the OTW's membership database and track communications with donors (access all fundraising expenses).

Administration expenses

Admin expenses: $15,158.96 spent so far out of $23,254.49 total this year.

  • US$15,158.96 spent so far out of US$23,254.49 total this year.
  • The OTW's admin expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, project management, communication and accounting tools, as well as contracted services for CPA assessment and tax filing (access all admin expenses).
  • We worked with a CPA to receive an initial assessment of our financial situation and procedures earlier this year, and with an external tax preparer to file our taxes. Having completed both of these, we don't foresee needing other external financial services until next year. Finance is currently organizing our ledger and processes, and will then reassess the best setup for external services in the following years.

2016 revenue

OTW 2016 revenue: $99,727.54 from April drive donations, $130,000 from projected October drive donations, $57,519.60 from non-drive donations, $839.08 from Amazon Smile purchases

  • The OTW is entirely supported by your donations—thank you for your generosity!
  • We receive most of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together should account for 80% of our income in 2016.
  • We're aiming to raise more than our projected expenses for this year, which should help cover us until next year's April drive (including a new server!), plus increase our reserves by about US$30,000. The Finance team is currently looking into the best possible low-risk investment options for the OTW's reserves; our 2017 budget post will provide more details regarding our reserve policy, such as how many operating months we can sustain with zero donations and under what circumstances committees are allowed to request reserve funds for spending.
  • US$137,886.22 so far and US$150,200 projected until the end of the year.

2016 OTW revenue: $137,886.22 so far, $150,200 projected until the end of the year.

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the budget, contact the Finance committee. We will also be hosting an open chat a week from today to answer any questions you may have about the OTW's finances. This chat will take place in our public chatroom on Sunday, October 2 from 20:00 - 21:00 UTC (What time is that in my timezone?) Update: Here's the link to our chatroom.

This post will be updated with a chatroom link a few hours before the appointed time. Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW's updated budget for 2016 in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.

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