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Published:
2017-07-09 13:37:14 -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 Rachel G., who volunteers as a graphics volunteer for the Communications Committee.

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

As a volunteer graphic designer for the Communications Committee I create graphics that are used across multiple platforms to promote OTW events and materials. I primarily work on graphics for OTW tumblr events such as the Fandom First Friday. These F3 graphics are used to announce the monthly theme of the tumblr multi-fandom discussions and posting events each month.

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

My work as a volunteer depends on the committee’s needs and/or the time of the month. Since I have a full time job as a designer at an ad agency, my OTW activities are generally constrained to the weekends. Communications has been great about giving me long lead times on projects so that my volunteer work doesn’t become overwhelming.

I spend most of my time working on the Fandom First Friday graphics. I usually spend an hour or two conceptualizing how to visually represent the F3 theme (sometimes longer for the more abstract themes) and then take a few more hours to putting together the final graphic on the weekend before each month's Fandom First Friday.

What is your favorite graphic that you've made?

I’ve enjoyed all of the F3 graphics that I’ve made over the years but there are so many that I’d be hard pressed to choose one. Instead, I'd say that my favorite graphics have to be the OTW anniversary graphics. I'm partial to the 8th anniversary graphic in particular.

(Editor's note: Rachel is also at work on content for our anniversary this year. Stay tuned for some fun announcements in September!)

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

Seeing things that I’ve created out in fandom and how people receive them has to be one of the most fun aspects. The creation process is pretty solitary for me so it is rewarding to know that my graphics are leading people to OTW events and discussions where they can interact with other fans.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I’m a huge fan of fanfiction and I’ve been engaging with fandom through it for the last 15+ years. As you can imagine I’ve been in and out of quite a few fandoms over the years (LoTR and Ronin Warriors were the start). I’ve used fanfic archives, Yahoo Groups, LiveJournal, Fanfiction.net, AO3, and tumblr among others so I know just how important what OTW does is for fandom. I’ve seen the good (even great), bad, and ugly that can from fandom and I still keep coming back for more. I can’t get enough of seeing and reading other fans' passion for the things that I love.


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:
2017-06-11 13:08:08 -0400
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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 Ely, who volunteers as a translator.

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

The mission of the OTW is to “provide access to and preserve the history of fanworks and fan cultures”; I reckon that, as a volunteer translator, my role fits primarily with the part where we “provide access”.

Even though, in the 21st Century, more and more people use English online, there are still many users who don’t feel confident enough in a language that is not their own. What we do in Translation is try to reach as broad a public as possible by translating content that otherwise would be inaccessible to many.

Knowing that, thanks to our work, people get to feel part of the wonderful community that is the OTW makes it one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever volunteered to do.

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

I am part of the Italian Team, which is one of the teams with the highest number of volunteers, and we don’t get new tasks daily since we have completed all the main ones already. Therefore, I don’t think we have a “typical” week, every day varies greatly according to the tasks we’re given. But that doesn’t mean that our week is anything but exciting!

When I am given a new document to translate, I draft a rough rendition of the translation as quickly as possible. Then, I put it away for a day or so before I get back to what I’ve written with a fresh mind and work properly on it. It usually takes me four to five days before I feel confident enough to send it back.

We have a two-beta system and I very much enjoy being the first beta. Being the first beta means that I can point out what I would change but I get to hear what other people think of my changes before anything is set in stone. I love to discuss grammar and stylistic choices with my fellow teammates –- yes, I am that nerdy. The second beta wraps up any comment and marks the doc as “Ready”.

Sometimes, the teams are given new terms whose translations they need to discuss before adding them to each team’s cheat sheet. Everybody writes what they believe would be the most accurate translation and we discuss and vote the terms that are the toughest to find a solution to. Don’t be fooled! This is a hard task that can take days if not weeks.

We also take surveys about our work as volunteers; once a year, we chat privately with our Chairs; we have regular Translation meetings on Slack (that I regularly miss due to personal schedule conflicts!); and when there is a Drive or other time sensitive posts to translate… well! That’s when things get hectic!

What sorts of OTW content have you worked on?

I have worked on all sorts of OTW content: AO3 and OTW FAQs, News posts, Election posts, Abuse and Support messages, Open Doors tutorials, Drives, Video Subtitles, Annual Reports, and the recruitment samples.

My favourite tasks to work on are the Abuse and Support emails, though, because the role of the translator is essential –- not that it usually isn’t -– and, without our mediation, the Abuse and Support volunteers wouldn’t be able to communicate with non-English-speaking users seeking practical help.

Alas! My least favourite tasks are legal documents; I am pants at translating all that technical vocabulary and, when I get one of those, it’s usually accompanied by an apology from our Translation Chairs –- who totally understand and share my grief.

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

Being a language graduate from the University of Venice, and having worked as a freelance translator and interpreter for years, one of the most fun things for me is working on the translations themselves. Some of them are a field day, some others are much more byzantine, but it is always rewarding when the document is finally ready and you know you gave all you have to do a good job. Plus, you get to know about what’s going to happen on the Archive before everyone else (when you have News posts to translate)!

Another fun aspect of my work as a volunteer is to meet other nerdy people that share my passion about fandom, and to chat with them about their fanworks and their own involvement with AO3. I am always interested to see the similarities and differences between other users’ experiences and my own, and I am often surprised to see how much I share even with people that have very different interests from my own.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I like to do all sorts of fannish things! (Who doesn’t?)

Primarily, when I have time, I love to write. I am an author (and have been one for 14 years, now) for the Harry Potter fandom (my one and only fandom), and I love to pen long, plot-driven, multi-chaptered stories about my OTP (Lily Luna Potter/Hugo Weasley). When I feel particularly inspired by a prompt, I participate in the occasional fest on LiveJournal (which usually cross-posts on AO3, nowadays).

I love to read, and I absolutely adore to leave long and detailed feedback that makes other writers and artists squeal in delight. I am also a mod for Crack Broom, a reccing community on LiveJournal, and I love to rec those stories that leave me a gooey mess.

I am artistically impaired, but I am a junkie for fanart, and I always marvel at how good other people are. I commission the occasional drawing, too, just for the pleasure of my eyes and to support those wonderful artists out there.

I take part in-fandom discussions on LiveJournal, read meta-essays, enjoy fandom stats, beta-read Italian fan-fictions, cheerlead my fellow writers when they need help, and study articles on Transformative Works and Cultures. In fact, I used one of the articles from TWC as a source to write my plagiarism essay for my university induction last year.

Fandom is such a big part of my life; the one place where I always come back. It is the beautiful fantasy world that we build all together and where I love to get lost.


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:
2017-05-14 14:15:17 -0400
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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 Rebecca Sentance, who volunteers as chair of the AO3 Documentation Committee.

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

I'm a co-chair with the AO3 Documentation committee, also known as "Docs", which handles the user-facing documentation for Archive of Our Own -- things like FAQs, tutorials and screencasts. You can find our work over on the Archive FAQ page. Our job is to make sure that there's clear and accessible documentation explaining the different functions of the Archive, which users can consult if they run into any issues.

For this we work closely with the Support Committee, making sure that our docs address the user queries that they're getting; Accessibility, Design & Technology, to take interface changes and feature updates into account; and Translation, who make our documentation available in all sorts of languages.

I also wear another hat which is as a layout editor for the Transformative Works and Cultures academic journal, where I'm responsible for HTML tagging articles for publication in each issue. I've learned a lot about the world of academic HTML in the process!

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

Every week is a little bit different. I do the bulk of my work for Docs at the weekends, so during the week I'll take care of smaller tasks like replying to and resolving comments on documents I'm betaing, checking in with the newer members of Docs that I'm mentoring in my capacity as chair, and looking over documents on "Free For All" -- that's the last internal beta stage our documents go through, where everyone in the committee goes over them with a fine-tooth comb and provides feedback.

Then every Saturday, Docs chairs will have a meeting to touch base and discuss anything that needs our attention. There are three of us, based in Australia, the UK (me!) and Canada respectively, so finding a time of day that works for all of us is a fun task! On the plus side, it means one of us is always awake and available if we're needed. We also have committee-wide meetings about once every two months.

At weekends I'll sit down to do more in-depth beta and drafting work. Drafting is the process of creating a document from scratch, after which it passes through five beta rounds which focus on different areas: Testing, Accessibility & Internationalisation, Coherency & Consistency, Readability and SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar). From there a doc moves into Free-For-All, and finally into External beta where other committees will take a look and provide feedback. My favourite beta stage is Testing, because I'm a hands-on sort of person, and I like to poke about with the Archive and find out what works and what doesn't!

What was your path to becoming chair of AO3 Docs?

Haha, to be honest, it was a path I hadn't even realised I was on at the time. Right from when I joined the committee, I was interested in training to be a chair someday, but imagined it would be a long way down the line. But I was proactive in volunteering to help with any admin tasks that needed doing, attending committee meetings (I love meetings), and offering my opinion on issues to do with the committee's direction and future. I was also keen to get involved with the wider OTW, which is a plus point for a prospective chair.

This must have caught the eye of our incumbent chairs, because eight months after I joined Docs I was approached about training to become a chair, and I delightedly said yes. That was in April of last year, so from then on I became a "chair-track trainee" (as we like to call it) and carried out hands-on training with my fellow chairs, Sammie and Claire, and in January of this year I was officially "chaired up" to the level of a full Docs co-chair. However, I still consider myself a "junior chair" and there's always more for me to learn.


2 new and 2 revised docs in 2014; 4 revised and 6 new docs in 2015; 5 revised and 1 new doc in 2016

User-facing documentation uploaded to the Archive between 2014 and 2016 by the AO3 Docs team. The Docs team is responsible for creating and editing help documentation in multiple formats, from text-based FAQs and tutorials to video tutorials, or 'screencasts'. Revised refers to existing docs that were rewritten or amalgamated, and New refers to brand new docs that were created from scratch. Statistics start midway through 2014.


What do you enjoy the most about your work?

The best thing about being a chair in an OTW committee - and about being part of the OTW as a whole - is the feeling of doing something tangible to give back to the fannish community. That was the reason I applied to join Docs in the first place, and the reason that I pour so much of my time and energy into the OTW.

Docs is also the perfect committee for me because I'm a writer and editor in my day job, and I get a lot of joy out of tinkering with language and helping to improve the way something is communicated. The Docs committee is a haven for word nerds, and we have members who love to delve into the intricacies of spelling and grammar or spend ages debating the perfect wording for a single sentence. I used to be a beta reader for fanfiction, which I got into because I love to edit and help improve the quality of someone's writing. Docs work is really similar, but with a bigger team -- and we're in the business of creating as well as editing.

Plus, I get a kick out of knowing that the documentation that we create is the same documentation that countless Archive users refer to whenever they have a problem, or want to learn about a feature. So we contribute directly to helping people use the Archive -- which is a big responsibility but also very cool.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I've been an avid reader and writer of fanfic ever since I was a teenager (well, there were also a few fanfics I wrote at a younger age before I discovered the wider online fanfic community, but we won't talk about those...), and fandom has always been a big part of how I spend my free time. I started out reading fanfic on Quizilla, which was written as a second-person narrative with occasional responses to choose from, sort of like a fanfic choose-your-own-adventure. From there I progressed to Fanfiction.net, LiveJournal and AO3. My early fannish experiences were mainly in anime fandoms and Harry Potter, but I've since dabbled in all sorts of fandoms from The Road to El Dorado to Pirates of the Caribbean, Marvel Cinematic Universe and Inception.

In the past I've written some journalistic articles about fandom and fanworks for Paper Droids, an online magazine for geeky ladies. I also love to read about fandom, and record my fannish recollections over on Fanlore.


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:
2017-04-09 13:40:38 -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 Madoc, who volunteers as a translator.

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

I’m part of Team Welsh, which is part of the Translation committee. What I do is translate any and all OTW content that is able to be translated to make it accessible to Welsh speakers. This can range from translating the website to translating Abuse and Support messages.

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

Normally I wake up, have breakfast and translate for a good few hours before lunch, normally whilst listening to Welsh or Swedish radio. Right now, Team Welsh is going through a review so that more material online can be made available in Welsh, so my mornings are often spent spell-checking and rejigging some previous Welsh translations. Outside the review, the time is normally split between translating and having my nose stuck in a dictionary.

After that, I eat, then focus on my university work, writing notes and going to lectures. My evenings are either filled with dance lessons, choir or doing fannish things like writing fanfiction or knitting a fannish craft. I also find some time to teach myself Swedish!

What sorts of OTW content have you worked on?

Since Team Welsh is a new team and consists entirely of me, not much! I’ve worked mainly on translating the main site of the OTW, but I’m also available to assist with Welsh Abuse and Support queries.

I’m hoping that once Team Welsh gets a little bigger we’ll be able to handle bigger, more time sensitive things like news posts, and also be able to finish translating the main site and expanding to other OTW projects.

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

As much as I love the feeling of contributing to the cause, the most fun thing to do is speaking to other translators. I’m a massive fan of any and all languages, and chatting to other translators is always a barrel of laughs. It also gives us an opportunity to commiserate over how weird English is as a second language -- the mishmash of different word etymologies makes English a very difficult language to learn!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I love to write fanfiction, but more than that I love to worldbuild! Making something robust out of scraps of canon is absolutely my favourite thing to do, be it creating an alien culture from scratch or adopting a minor character and fleshing them out. One of my favourite fanworks involved extending an alien conlang! (I never seem to get enough of languages, it seems!)

I also knit and make fannish toys and other crafts. Currently I’m the very proud owner of Kelas Parmak the Cardassian chameleon, two knitted Newt/Hermann dolls from Pacific Rim, Hedwig the snowy owl, and a yet-to-be finished patchwork blanket with several fannish patches already made for it.


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:
2017-03-09 12:46:42 -0500
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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 Amy Shepard, who volunteers as a staffer with our Elections Committee.

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

I volunteer with three committees, Strategic Planning (SP) as a co-chair, Elections, and Tag Wrangling, so what I do may be quite different from another staffer. For the Elections committee, I work as a team coordinator (TC). A lot of the organizing and day to day functions to get ready for the election are completed by TCs, which are like the Elections committee's personal assistants. I help write the minutes, the roadmap, organizing the to-do board, drafting newsletter updates (which I also write for Strategic Planning), and generally help where other staffers need an extra hand.

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

Elections is a committee with about 14 people spread all throughout the world. We have a short meeting on Sunday to check in and get our assignments for the week, then we can either work on them right after our meeting or on our own time if we have other obligations. During the election season, everyone is working multiple days a week on their tasks to organize the candidates' platforms, host chats, and close the election. In the off season, TCs are busy with updating the internal wiki, creating the roadmap for the next year, and organizing feedback from candidates, members, and other involved committees to improve the election for everyone.

What made you decide to volunteer for Elections?

I already volunteered with the Strategic Planning committee and a lot of their purview supports the governance and direction of the OTW. Elections felt like a natural progression from SP. I was already familiar with the OTW's structure and tools, and the position of team coordinator felt like a really good fit. It also didn't hurt that everyone in Elections is kind, supportive, and a lot of fun to work with.

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

The benefit of working in such a large organization like the OTW means that everyone is a megafan of something. We play games (like Cards Against Humanity or role playing mafia-type games we call Sarlacc games), write fics together, hold movie nights, and share fan art.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I write some fanfiction for Doctor Who, Dragon Age, Yuri!!! on Ice, and Mass Effect, but mostly enjoy reading and commenting on everyone else's works. I've also met several volunteers in real life and plan on visiting one in Malaysia this fall!


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:
2017-02-03 12:23:58 -0500
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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 Neru, who volunteers as a translator.

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

As a volunteer translator and beta reader, I translate the OTW's content from English to my native language, which is Hungarian; I also proofread my teammates' translations. I translate everything from an Open Doors import announcement to the OTW's Terms of Service. I feel that my work fits into the OTW's vision perfectly, since I'm helping fellow fannish people access content they might not be able to access due to a language barrier. I'm helping to build the bridges between communities that may not have had the opportunity to meet before. This sounds very cheesy, but that's basically what my work helps achieve, at least in my opinion.

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

My week is usually quite chill: depending on when I received a translation or beta task to do, I usually translate or beta read in my free time. I'm also on the news roster, which means that I help with news posts as well. This time of the year is pretty busy in that respect, since we have the International Fanworks Day (IFD) that we translate the posts for. This usually means an extra hour or two added to my work. Besides these two, I also help out with uploading the finished content to its destination, so to AO3 for example, or the OTW's website. This usually adds a few more hours to my workload, but it's completely manageable since the regular uploading I can spread out throughout the month, and it's good to take one last final look at the texts.

What sorts of news content have you worked on?

I have worked on everything that there was to offer! Well, not exactly, we, as in my language team's news translators, don't translate the newsletter (just yet). We do translate Open Doors announcements, International Fanworks Day posts, Drive posts, and Elections content. Last year, we translated the abbreviated version of the OTW's Strategic Plan and the OTW's budget, which were quite the tasks, since I personally am not familiar with the managerial and financial vocabulary these texts required. It was fun looking up the terms though! That's what I like the most about translating, it broadens my knowledge at every turn.

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

Well, as I have mentioned above, I love that I can learn about so many new things through translation. Legal, managerial, financial, and all sorts of other specialized vocabulary that I never thought I'd have to look for before. I also love the challenge translation poses, that I have to adapt a text that's rooted in a totally different culture than my own, and I have to make it understandable in my own cultural terms. Keeps me on my toes!

Another aspect I absolutely love about volunteering here is the community. I have got to know so many wonderful people through volunteering for the OTW that brought so many new perspectives into my life, and changed me for the better. I love the awesome community we have. We can talk about literally anything our hearts desire. We can have an hours-long debate about how often you should change your bedsheets! These debates never feel like arguments: to me, they are more like opening windows into different cultures, and getting to see how other people live. Frankly, besides the fact that I love doing what I do, I also love the place I'm at.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I'm more of a consumer than a producer. My fandom tastes vary, but I would say, currently I'm most obsessed with Yuri!!! On Ice and Captive Prince. I do like to write from time to time, though I don't think of myself as a great author or anything. Besides that, I sometimes do podfics from my friend's fanfiction, though these really are just for personal entertainment rather than for sharing with the World Wide Web.


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:
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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