owlmoose: (otw)
KJ ([personal profile] owlmoose) wrote2015-11-22 11:55 pm


So I'm offline for an afternoon, and all hell breaks loose. Wow.

The short version is that the entire OTW Board of Directors resigned today, effective mid-December. The long version is very long, covering years of cronyism and unprofessional behavior by the Board, and I am neither qualified nor able to tell the whole thing. If anyone has a link to a good summary, feel free to share? Anyway, the precipitating event was the decision by the Board of Directors to appoint an outgoing Board member to a different empty seat, even though she came in last in the most recent election. Note that the foregoing is an official communication from the OTW Elections Committee, so how the Board thought they were going to get away with such a blatant abuse of power is beyond me. The tone of their letter strikes me as a classic fandom flounce rather than a serious attempt to make restitution for a mistake, but even if they resigned for the wrong reasons, it's what had to happen, and I'm glad they went quickly.

The last time I wrote about the OTW, back in November 2010, I expressed hope that the very public discussions of the organization's problems would lead to good internal conversations and real change. I think it's pretty safe to say that it didn't happen then. So the golden opportunity is NOW. Both the incoming board and the OTW as a whole need to take a long, hard look at their processes, their communications, and their culture. It's long past time that this organization stop thinking of themselves as a fandom project and start running like a professional non-profit organization. The OTW is not just a place to post fic -- they do important work in academia and defending the legal rights of fans to create and post fanwork. We need them, and I hope they survive. But if that's going to happen, serious changes need to happen. Installing a new board is, I believe, an important and necessary step, but it's not the end of the process. It's the beginning.
sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2015-11-23 08:22 am (UTC)(link)
All I know about the current blow up is this (http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/133770235534/an-unfolding-situation-at-ao3)

and various things posted here https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/otwrevolution such as this (http://pearwaldorf.tumblr.com/post/133759533877/the-otw-and-financial-transparency) although I cannot speak to the veracity and roundedness of any of it.

That said, my feelings about the OTW have always been "keep at arms length."

Hopefully this blowup is resolved for the better and nothing happens to threaten their nonprofit status and financial situation. although I won't shed a tear if the whole thing comes tumbling down.
sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2015-11-24 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
Despite my personal distance to all of this (mostly stemming from my desire for other kinds of systems that host fanfic because AO3 has never been what I wanted), this ongoing OTW saga over the years leading up to the most recent events make me feel terribly sad for all of the many ppl in fandom who have donated time & energy (sometimes very significant amounts) to make OTW sponsored sites content rich, solidily organized archives. It isn't fair to them that the OTW has serious problems at the tippy top, which ends up shining a bad light on fandom all because of how OTW has positioned itself. Hopefully matters can be resolved and more responsible & responsive leadership can be brought in.

lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)

[personal profile] lea_hazel 2015-11-23 11:08 am (UTC)(link)
I have to admit, I was kind of blindsided by how deep the mismanagement problems of the OTW were. Which is part of the problem, I suppose, since I am someone who uses and benefits from their services but am not particularly up-to-date on their inner workings.
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)

[personal profile] lea_hazel 2015-11-25 07:18 am (UTC)(link)
I'm withholding judgment, for now. I want to wait and see more of what the new board will do. I had been planning to join and become more active but given how little I know of the organization's workings, not to mention the people in question... I'm really glad transparency seems to be high on the agenda.
violacea: (gerard says fuck you!)

[personal profile] violacea 2015-11-23 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree, re: the tone of the resignations. And there's a small part of me that sympathizes with them - a very small part, but still. I imagine that they feel like they've been doing a lot of work, that the membership at large doesn't understand how anything has worked behind the scenes, and that everyone is ungrateful.

... the problem is, they made this bed. We don't understand how things have worked because they've deliberately chosen not to tell us, even when we've asked. These questions have been around for several years. I know one of the outgoing board members on a fannish level - at least, I did, in a couple of previous fandoms. I don't think for a second that she, or any of her fellow board members, were unaware of the displeased rumblings in fandom. I think they just chose to ignore it, or to put off the inevitable reckoning until, in their minds, they had better answers.

As for the new board, I think the best case scenario right now is that they invite the other two(?) candidates who participated in the election to join them - but I also think they need to tell the membership BEFORE they do so, and allow people to voice any objections they might have. (And listen to them, that's an important part of the equation!) I don't think there would be a large number of objections - other than the one outgoing board member, no one I saw had any particular problems with the candidates, and they've already done their homework on what the board is and what they'd like to focus on if they became board members.

But if this whole thing has done one thing, it's made me want to take a bigger role in all of this. I'm not sure I'm ready to volunteer yet, but I intend to pay a lot more attention to the running of the OTW from now on.

[personal profile] phdfan 2015-11-23 10:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Holy moley, I had no idea of the shenanigans that were going on. I hope along with you that this will lead to an improvement.