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2018-02-23 11:49:40 -0500

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 Cosette, who volunteers as a coder for the Accessibility, Design, and Technology (AD&T) Committee.

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

As an AD&T coding volunteer, I work with the open-source code that powers AO3. Coders are recruited to fix bugs, write tests, and develop features. We also work side by side with testing volunteers, to ensure the changes we've made to the code won't cause anything to catch fire.

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

AD&T uses a project management tool to track issues (bugs, improvements, new features, tests, etc). So it typically goes like this:

  • Check the planning board for issues I think I can solve
  • Try to solve them
  • Sometimes: cry and dramatically shut my laptop
  • Most times: submit the solution

Other responsibilities include:

  • Creating issues for newly discovered bugs (things that aren't working as intended), improvements (things that could work better), new features (things that don't exist yet but will in the future), tests (automated tests that ensure the website behaves as intended), and so on.

  • Communicating with other members of the AD&T committee about my progress, and keeping up to date with their progress and plans as well.
  • Whenever questions come up, AD&T staff is always helpful in answering them! Also, there's usually some off-topic conversation in the chat room, which is fun.

    Do you have other roles in the OTW besides being a coder?

    Yeah, I also volunteer for Webs, which is the committee that maintains the OTW's website as well as the Elections and Open Doors websites. This mainly consists of fighting WordPress. Since I’m a liaison to Communications, I must also keep them up to date with any problems or changes to the website, and provide answers when they have questions or need a bit of help. Additionally, Webs offers technical assistance to other committees wherever they may need it.

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

    The community. There's a lot of socialising that goes on in the OTW and you can always find someone with a common interest. I've never been a part of a working community that was entirely comprised of fans. In theory, you'd think that would be awesome, and in practice, it is.

    What fannish things do you like to do?

    Writing fanfiction!! Translating manga. And browsing fan art. Encouragement is everything so, when I see something I like, I tell the creator how much I love it. Also, brainstorming headcanons and AUs with friends. The existence of fandom is a pillar in my life and I want to do my part in protecting it and contributing to it; that's why I volunteer for the OTW.

    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.

    The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.