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Published:
2017-01-12 12:46:42 -0500
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5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

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 ChelseaIBelieve, who volunteers as a staffer for the Tag Wrangling Committee

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

As a tag wrangler, I take all the tags people use on their works and make sure they’re sorted properly and link them together wherever possible. Wranglers assign themselves to fandoms that they have a good knowledge of the canon. For myself, I mostly work with Bandom fandoms and Sports fandoms.

I’m also a member of the tag wrangling staff. This means that in addition to my normal tag wrangling duties, I also work to help oversee the training and tracking of all of our wranglers along with taking care of some of the more difficult tasks we come across. We help guide the new wranglers and check-in on their progress often in their first few months to make sure everything is going smoothly with them. Once they get past training, staff members still check in on each wrangler regularly and work to answer any questions or concerns that come up. Staff members work on different projects depending on what we’re working on at that time, which can include putting together newsletters, keeping minutes from our staff meetings, and sorting through new wrangling applications.

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

I like to spend Sunday nights with my laptop and Netflix, wrangling while I watch some TV. I open up my wrangling page and sort through all the tags from the week. If it’s a particularly busy week, like during Christmas, I might do this more than one night a week. The rest of the week, I usually fit in some staff tasks around my classes and job as a journalist when I can. This includes being involved in wrangling and staff chats, answering e-mails, and anything our chairs might request help on.

What made you decide to volunteer?

As a college student with free time but not a lot of free money, I wanted to do something to give back to the website that I spent so much time being entertained by. I always wanted to give donations, but could rarely afford it. I saw the volunteer page and kept an eye on it for something I could do, when tag wrangling came up one day. I thought it could be a fun thing to give back a little of my time to help out, so I applied. A few years later, I was having so much fun that I wanted to get even more involved, and I went through the interview process to be a staff member.

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

I’m probably supposed to answer helping out and being involved, and those are definitely my favorite parts overall, but if I’m being honest about the most fun thing: checklists and spreadsheets. I am one of those crazy list makers that makes a list for everything, so I made a list of all of my fandoms and I check each one off as I clean the tags each week. I also made spreadsheets to track tags because I love spreadsheets. Being a staff member is filled with to-do lists to check off for each task to make sure everything gets done properly, and it’s incredibly fun for me to get to check each thing off as I do it and then mark the whole project “Done” after completing the list. It's such a great feeling of accomplishment.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I’m a writer for Hockey RPF and a former writer for Glee. Hockey is my biggest fandom, both in an RPF/RPS manner and in a more conventional sports fan way (I’m a season-ticket holder for my local NHL team and a sports journalist). I like to go out to practices and have met some other awesome fans from AO3 or Tumblr there. In addition to writing and sports-watching, I read a lot of fics in a wide variety of fandoms I’ve picked up over the years (Harry Potter, Star Trek, Marvel, Bandom, etc). I’ve extended my fandoms to both my knitting and my baking, including knitting creatures from fandoms to decorate my living room with, and cooking an entire Christmas dinner using World of Warcraft recipes. I also used to be on Tumblr a lot, but now I just pop in on occasion, preferring the one-on-one interactions (mostly via texting) that I have with good fandom friends I’ve made through both Tumblr and AO3.


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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Published:
2016-12-15 12:16:52 -0500
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5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

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 Nele Noppe, who volunteers as a staffer in the Communications Committee and runs the OTW's Fanhackers blog.

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

I work to make fan studies more accessible for fans (and fan studies researchers) mainly by posting quotes from fan studies articles on the Fanhackers site (which has a Tumblr mirror). There’s a ton of fan studies research happening on every topic, and much of that research contains important, new, or just plain interesting ideas that should find their way back to fans. However, it’s not always easy for people to find their way to fan studies work. That’s where we try to make a small difference.

Take the many articles published every year in our academic journal Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC). TWC is an open access journal, meaning that the articles in it are open and free to read for everyone on the internet. However, it’s not because something is free to read that people will also find their way to it. They may not hear about the article at all, because it’s not linked to in the spaces where they hang out. They may not have time to read a full-size academic article, which is pretty damn long. The article may be a bit inaccessible in other ways, for example because it uses a lot of obscure terminology (although many fan studies researchers are very good at not overusing jargon, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that they’re often fans themselves).

Publishing bite-sized quotes from these articles in fannish spaces like Tumblr is a way to draw eyeballs to them, and make it more easy for fans to discover important ideas from fan studies research.

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

Pretty calm. I keep track of new fan studies research, and pick up interesting quotes from it to put on our Tumblr. The TWC editors also keep a list of useful quotes from new articles, and sometimes people send interesting things my way. We’re still experimenting with what sort of quotes get a lot of reaction on Tumblr. Quotes from fan studies articles about, say, the AO3 are almost guaranteed to get a ton of notes, but it’s important to keep an eye on variety and also post snippets from articles on less popular or well-known topics.

What brought you into the area of fan studies?

As a young Japanese Studies student, I asked a professor for permission to write a term paper on yaoi, my favorite kind of manga at the time. He needed the concept explained to him, and was so mortified that he said “yes” just to make me go away faster. Note that this was in the early 2000s, when there weren’t that many pop culture fans in Japanese Studies. Professors were much more easily shocked by fannish topics then.

I discovered that researching fan culture was as fun as taking part in it, and went on to do an MA thesis on yaoi/BL and a PhD on dojinshi (Japanese fanzines).

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

Feeling like I’m making a positive difference. I do only one small thing, but there are hundreds of people like me in the OTW, and together we somehow manage to do very big things.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I make art and fic, these days mostly for Dragon Age, and also lurk in Yuri!!! on Ice and Attack on Titan fandom on Tumblr and Twitter.


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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Published:
2016-11-17 12:50:17 -0500
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5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

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 Rrain Prior, who volunteers as a staffer with our Journal Committee.

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

As the production editor for Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) I shepherd OTW's academic journal from accepted submissions to finished product, including organising copyediting, proofreading and layout, and troubleshooting anything that comes up along the way.

The journal is one of the main projects that the OTW undertakes, providing an established and respected venue for fan studies. It's also a pioneer in terms of online-only and open access academic journals, which I think really exemplifies the values and goals of OTW as a whole.

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

I'm not sure there's any such thing as a typical week for me! The journal publishes two to three times a year, with each issue about a two-month process on the production end of things. During a production window, in any given week I might be:

  • collecting copyright releases from authors
  • running down source locations (online items are notoriously migratory)
  • entering proofreading corrections
  • confirming names and figures for articles
  • finding alternate sources for YouTube videos
  • tweaking layout code to make elements in articles appear properly
  • corresponding with copyediting, proofreading or layout volunteers to wrangle scheduling

All of this is done with the ultimate goal of making sure every issue of TWC is published on time. And so far, with 22 issues under our belts, we've been on time with every single one.

One thing is consistent, no matter what I might be tackling: there is always a lot of email! In between issues, my week might involve correcting links in previous articles, corresponding with authors about corrections, or diving into one of our ongoing projects such as ensuring that every image has correct alt text. Sometimes, once in a while, I might even have a week off.

Is there a favorite issue of Transformative Works and Cultures that you've worked on?

Favourites are so hard to choose, especially since I've worked on every issue! As a fannish butterfly, every issue has something that I've been really excited about. I think, though, that my favourite would have to be what was also the most technologically challenging issue: our "Fan/Remix Video" issue from 2012, guest edited by Francesca Coppa and Julie Levin Russo.

Nearly every article in the issue incorporated video clips in some way, which really highlighted the flexibility of an online-only journal. Working with videos is sometimes the hardest part of laying out an issue of TWC, but it was really worth it to make this happen.

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

The best thing is the people I work with, hands down. Karen and Kristina (editors of TWC) are amazing to work with and have taught me so much, and all of our volunteers are both incredibly hardworking and really a pleasure to work with. But I have to admit there are other perks to doing what I do, too. Getting to be the first person to read some of these articles? Yes, please! I'm also the kind of person who quite enjoys both wrangling the big picture and digging into the small details of things, which probably means I'm in exactly the right job.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I'm a fanfic writer from way back. Way, way back. Not quite to zine-only era, but definitely back to usenet era. That's always been my joy and my primary fannish activity, through several fandoms. I've also been an RPer (both pen-and-paper and later online) since I was a teenager. Comic-book fan, voracious reader, gamer, and all-around pan-media consumer and transformer. It would not be a stretch to say that most of my life is fannish in some way.


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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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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Published:
2016-09-11 12:11:25 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

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 Alison Watson, who volunteers as a staffer for the Open Doors Committee

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

The OTW's mission is to provide access to and preserve the history of fanworks and fan culture, and the Open Doors committee is really central to that! In fact, our committee's own mission is specifically to protect and preserve at-risk fanworks of all kinds. We have two divisions -- the Fanculture Preservation Project (FCPP), which is all about preserving physical fanworks through our partnership with the University of Iowa Library, and the Online Archive Rescue Project, which is what I focus on.

The Online Archive Rescue Project is about preserving fanwork archives which are in danger of being lost because the archive's owner can't maintain them any longer. Sometimes this is because they don't have the resources to keep their website up any longer, sometimes it's because their archive software has degraded over time and it's no longer functional. More rarely it's because the mod has left fandom or passed away. Whatever the reason, we try to help, because we want people to be able to enjoy the works for as long as possible. I also think it's important to have a record of what fans have created, for ourselves as a community.

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

It varies from week to week, depending on where we are on different stages of archive imports, and how much assistance we're providing the moderators. We're mostly facilitators, so lots of emailing and drafting things like documentation and announcement posts! Each Open Doors staffer takes point on one (or more) archive import projects, though as we work as a team we're able to answer queries if the on-point staffer isn't available.

So my week usually includes:

  • Discussing our process with moderators who want to move their archive
  • Emailing other committees to ask them for help with things like mapping tags from an archive to AO3 canonical tags, or translating announcements
  • replying to inquiries from people who have works on an archive that's being imported
  • drafting announcements and other posts so that people can find out about our imports
  • creating AO3 archivist accounts and collections
  • searching the AO3 to make sure that we don't import duplicate works
  • importing works on behalf of archivists
  • creating and updating Fanlore pages to preserve as much as we can about the original archives

What made you decide to volunteer?

I started in the OTW in 2009 as a Tag Wrangler, because a fandom friend was talking about it and it sounded fun -- I'm a librarian, so organisation is one of my things! My work as a wrangler led me to the AD&T Committee, and then when Tag Wrangling became an official committee, I was an inaugural member, and later a co-chair. After my experiences on the volunteer management side of things, I joined the Volunteers & Recruiting Committee, where I currently co-chair.

I studied preservation & digital preservation as part of my library degree and it wasn't hard to relate that to my fannish life. It horrifies me, how much of the internet, of our fandom history and our fanworks, we're losing. So when I found myself with some more time, I joined Open Doors to help prevent this as much as I could.

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

I've made some great friends through the OTW -- I definitely find working with other volunteers motivating, even if sometimes the work itself is less fun! I've met a couple of people offline and I hope to get the opportunity to meet more people in future <3

Specifically about Open Doors, I enjoy importing works, even when it's something really different from what I'd read personally (or view, or otherwise access -- we're not limited to fanfiction in our imports) . I like knowing that someone out there is going to get the opportunity to love it, and often we get some great comments from people discovering older works. Seeing kudos emails on works we've preserved is great!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I tend to consider myself mainly a consumer of fannish products, because like most of us, I read a lot of fanfiction! On the creation side, years ago I made a couple of vids, but these days my output is more likely to be fancrafts (knitting and crocheting) than anything else. Although it's also work, I do consider volunteering for the OTW a fannish activity. Similarly, I co-run a small slash-focused con. A group of local fen meet up regularly and it's great to just sit around and chat about whatever with other fans!


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. And don't forget that as part of our Open Doors celebration on Sunday, September 18th from 17:00-19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone) we'll be doing a live chat to which you are all invited!

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Published:
2016-08-18 11:57:08 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

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 Sumeria, who volunteers as a staffer in the Tag Wrangling Committee

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

As a member of the Tag Wrangling Staff, I help to manage the very large volunteer pool that form the AO3's Tag Wranglers, but what I do principally is to help sort and categorize the vast inflow of tags the users of the AO3 generate on their fanworks. Tag wrangling is what makes the AO3, in my opinion, the most useful platform on which to search for fanworks that there is. For most platforms, either you are limited to only using those tags that the platform has pre-seeded (which is inflexible, and means that the concepts you can tag for are, of necessity, limited), or there is no way to search for a unified concept at all. A system like, for example, tumblr, allows users to tag for anything they like, any way they like. This is great for avoiding the limiting factor of a pre-seeded tag set, but it means that if one set of users tag for a relationship as "Tony/Steve", another set as "Steve/Tony" and a third set as "Stark Spangled", you can only search for one concept at a time. (And I assure you: Marvel fandom has way more names for that relationship than just those three examples.)

Tag wrangling means that tags are seen by a human who is generally familiar with the fandom, and who will know that "Pepperony" in the relationships field is a synonym for Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, and who can thus tell the search index to bring up both sets of results when a user searches for one of them. Conversely, Tag Wranglers are also the ones who notice that Sam Wilson, Marvel Superhero codenamed: Falcon is not actually the same individual as Sam Wilson, MD, best friend of Gregory House, and make sure that the canonical tags for these two gentlemen are disambiguated, so that users have the option to look for works about the specific Sam Wilson they are seeking. (EDIT: Whoops! Sam is actually not House's best friend but the wife of his best friend, James. But don't worry, House wranglers know the difference!) This not only makes searching maximally useful, but it also enables us to preserve the rich diversity of fandom language and usages, and give users maximum freedom to express themselves in how they identify their works.

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

All tag wranglers assign themselves to a number of fandoms, depending on their own interests, the amount of time they want to commit, and where additional help is needed. When a user creates a new, never-before-used tag, it shows up in what we call the "unwrangled bins" of every wrangler assigned to the fandoms tagged on the work. What wranglers such as myself do is look at those incoming tags, and determine, based on the Wrangling Guidelines, if the tag should be marked as canonical (the form of that concept that will show in the drop down menus and autocompletes), made a synonym of any existing canonical, or left unfilterable as a tag that is too unique as of yet to be useful for filtering. As a general rule, any character who exists in canon, and any relationship that involves at least one canonical character, will be canonized on the first usage. More general concepts (such as "Alternate Universe" or "Angst") will generally need to be used by multiple users before being canonized. (Obviously, those two particular concepts hit the usage threshold basically as soon as the Archive opened, but you get the gist.)

I myself help to wrangle a healthy chunk of Marvel comics, X-Men movies, and a few smaller anime and manga fandoms, so in any given week I usually spend quite a bit of time looking through the bins at new tags, and figuring out what the proper form of their canonicals should be. Since Marvel, in particular, is a vast sprawling web of fandoms that generates a truly unbelievable number of tags, I also spend some time talking to the other Marvel wranglers, helping to determine if, for example, a new character from Agents of SHIELD is based on an existing comics character or not, or discussing how best to disambiguate the several different Marvel characters named Valeria.

As a Staff Member of the Wrangling team, I also spend time discussing with the rest of the Wrangling Staff responses to communications from other committees; answers to questions that wrangling volunteers bring us about difficult or unusual situations; ways to improve the wrangling guidelines; and other general administrative things. I manage to keep myself pretty busy. ^_^

What made you decide to volunteer?

A combination of things. I consume a great many fanworks in my day to day life, but I don't really create that many. Tag wrangling is a way that I can feel as though I give something back to the community that has brought me so much joy. Additionally, I'm the type of boring individual who likes sorting and organizing things -- being able to spend an hour here or there working on wrangling is soothing. Also, you sometimes find the most delightful tags and/or new fanworks that way.

Also, I got to canonize Magneto's Terrible Fashion Sense, which made me grin for most of a day.

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

Spending time chatting with the rest of the tag wranglers while we sort through our various bins is actually kind of a delight; someone is guaranteed to have discovered some new thing that I personally would never have imagined anyone tagging for pretty much every day. I'm usually a lurker by nature on the internet, but wrangling is a surprisingly good social outlet. I've met a number of amazing people while wrangling.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I read a truly astonishing amount of fanfic, and then I bookmark and obsessively tag my favorites on my Pinboard page, because that is the kind of person I am. In retrospect, the fact that I ended up a tag wrangler may have been somewhat predictable.

I do fanart a lot more than I write, though. I'm currently embroiled on a project of trying to do portraits of the entire cast of the Silmarillion which is...ambitious of me, perhaps, but what is life without flinging yourself into ridiculous projects, right?


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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Published:
2016-07-09 12:53:21 -0400
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'5 Things an OTW volunteer said' title banner by Kat

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 Ryan Smith, who volunteers as a staffer with OTW's Development & Membership Committee

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

As a member of the Development & Membership Committee, my primary responsibility is coordinating the twice-a-year fund drives which is how we obtain roughly 90% of our funding for the year. This is one of most integral tasks that any particular group within the organization carries out, as it allows us to continue our overall mission. Often times, this can bring us into contact with a multitude of different bodies within the organization, though a few definitely stand out to me.

Our closest working partner in the fund drives is easily the Translation Committee as we are striving to ensure a standard international accessibility within our drive materials. As almost all of us within the committee are native English speakers in the United States, it isn't apparent to us when wording choices aren't easily understood by international audiences. While all of our drive materials in the past have gone through an editing process, we are transitioning to a more thorough model in order to better broadcast the need for our fund raising to audiences that we might have previously not been able to reach, or have disenfranchised. Beyond the Translation Committee, we also regularly coordinate with other organization bodies during the drive periods -- the Board of Directors, to ensure that our drive goals are matching with our overall yearly plan; and the Communications Committee, who coordinate the actual posting and dissemination of our drive materials.

Outside of our work on the fund drives, it largely depends on the particular person and the needs of the committee as to what we do. Our data membership specialists remain hard at work maintaining the donation and membership database which, you might be able to tell from the name, holds our donation and membership records. Some might work on analyzing data gathered from the previous drive in order to make improvements to future drives. Others still will begin the process of restocking our donation premiums in case we begin to run low. Some will work on evaluating and updating our internal documentation. One group might work on a special project in order to develop new revenue generating sources for the organization. The possibilities are endless during this lull between the drives, and really, the sky is the limit on the sort of things that you can work on.

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

For me, it largely depends on the time of year! As mentioned above, our work varies depending on whether we're working during a drive period or in between them. I'll quickly cover both in order to give any readers a good idea of my work.

During the drives, I am writing some aspect of the materials that will go out for the drive -- whether that be an email to AO3 users, or one of the posts, or something else. Simultaneously, I am coordinating with my fellow committee members, by commenting on their own drive materials, answering questions, scheduling meetings, or more, to keep the work on the drive moving ahead as necessary. During this, I'm also monitoring our incoming email queue for any intra-organization communication that needs to be responded to, or for questions coming in from the general public. While our email queue is mostly easy to manage during the time between drives, during drives it will sky rocket with incoming questions. We also have to be aware of comments coming into the news posts and respond to them promptly.

When we aren't running around like chickens with our heads cut off during the drives, we work independently on projects and coordinate with each other as necessary. We also attend our weekly meetings in order to stay on top of any work that another committee member might be doing (which is particularly helpful, because you never know when someone else might be interested in the work you might be doing). One of my big projects has been to update our internal documentation where necessary, which has been pretty fun! As part of this, we've implemented a new meeting minutes procedure and developed a method of easily tracking our out of date documentation (which should hopefully make this type of work easier for our future committee members)! One project that we've been working on following the April 2016 fund drive is selecting a ticket management solution. This will better track our email and ensure that nothing slips between the cracks.

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

For me, I have to say it would be getting exposure to and interacting with other members of fandom. I'm definitely part of fandom on places like Tumblr, and have been on other things like fandom message boards. But in situations like that it is incredibly easy for me to either fade into the background noise or not really take part (lurking for the win).

Being a volunteer within the OTW though, depending on what committee you serve with, you have varying levels of interaction with others. This is great for a wide range of people, because even the shyest of wall-flowers can find a way to help. Even with our most interaction-heavy committees, there are generally ways for you to stick to the background by performing a less communication-intensive role within the group. For me specifically though, I've come to know so many people and have made so many friends from my time within the organization. There are also those crazy, serendipitous moments where you find odd connections between volunteers that leave you going, "Whoa!" For instance, another volunteer and I discovered that she lived in my tiny Louisiana hometown for quite a while!

What did you learn from other roles you've had in the OTW?

Oh gosh, how did I know you'd ask this question? So as a bit of back story, I first served within the OTW in 2013 as a Tag Wrangler and then a Communications staffer. After a car accident, I had to take some time away to regroup in my personal and professional life, but came back in 2015. This time I served as a staffer for both Volunteers & Recruiting, and Development & Membership. While mine definitely isn't the longest record of service, it is probably up there among those with the most variety!

In my time on the different committees, probably the lesson that resonates with me the most is that you have to be responsive to your own needs and take care of them. You have to be aware of when you need to take time for yourself or just plain need a break from the OTW. After my car accident, I was being forced to work more and more hours to pay for bills, which impacted my overall energy and ability to serve within the OTW. I felt obligated to continue serving and so inadequate, because I thought I might be letting down my fellow committee members should I step back for a time. This culminated in me "vanishing" from the OTW because, for me, I was more ashamed of admitting that I needed help than simply running away.

I've also learned a great variety of skills that I can apply to everyday life. Time management, organization, and technical writing are some things that I feel have definitely been improved on my by time within the OTW. I've also gained a fairly solid foundation within the subject matter of the committees I've served on.

What fannish things do you like to do?

Well, mostly I'm a consumer of fannish things, though I do have some pet projects I work on. What I tinker with rarely sees the light of day, because it rarely moves beyond the confines of my brain! I love reading fanfic on the Archive, seeing fanart on Tumblr, and recently being a bit more involved in the fan game community. I am a huge Pokémon fan, and some of the biggest projects for Pokémon fans out there are fan games. Recently I joined up with the Pokémon Phoenix Rising team as a writer. We hope to have our first release out before the end of summer, so here's hoping! In the past, I've been more involved in the fannish community overall on forums and such, but in recent years that has faded.


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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