ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
As well as the candidate chats (the final one, with Eylul and I, is in approximately twelve hours), I've answered questions in several other places:

ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
As you can read in a post on the OTW blog, in light of this year's election going uncontested (three candidates for three seats), I am happy to confirm that I will be joining the Board next year along with Franzeska Dickson and Eylul Dogruel. (In a moment of parochialism, I would just like to note that Eylul and I make four total Board members, past and present, furnished by the Internationalization & Outreach committee.)

I look forward to serving, but I'm also struck again by the amount of work before us. I'd like to thank everyone for their support and patience with that process in advance - I'm quite certain we'll need it. 
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
OTw 5th anniversary: celebrate


I am incredibly proud of what the OTW has done in the past five years, and my own small part in it. It is my belief that we need to preserve and continue those accomplishments, which is why I have decided to stand as a candidate for the OTW Board in this year's election.
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
Who, as we all know from [personal profile] cleolinda's immortal prose, gives zero fucks.

I admit that the last few months of general doom and gloom posts about the state of the OTW from various quarters have generally left me non-plussed. From my vantage point on Internationalization and Outreach, I have been, and remain, cautiously optimistic for most of this term. (On the other hand, I think every single one of my friends and family members has heard me rant about the OTW at some point by now, usually with alcohol involved. I prefer to rant rather than stew.) So the "everything is terrible!" posts have often put me into a loop of silent panic that goes something like this: what don't I know that other people do? Am I just that out of touch and isolated? IS THIS A SIGN?

Having just completed something of an ad-hoc second quarter review with my committee members, though, and having found it to be fairly successful (reach, grasp, etc, but I don't need heaven anyway, I would just like a few specific features and changes, yesterday), tonight I am thinking that regardless of whether the fact that my phlegmatic perspective is a sign of I&O's isolation, my perspective is still valid.

So, yeah, these thoughts have been inspired by this post, and while I highly doubt I have any readers who would do this, let me say: please don't go over there and bother the OP, who is entitled to her thoughts. I'm curious, though, by way of the Board expansion, how not doing anything to solve a purported "much deeper and more fundamental problem" will solve said alleged problem. I would also like to say, in response to this paragraph:

I'll admit flat-out that the only part of the OTW I personally interact with / use is the AO3. Apparently this makes me a horrible person in the eyes of the OTW. But we have so many other projects! Great. Still rarely giving any shits. I wish I could! I really try to give shits about their other stuff. It sounds really cool! I think it's awesome that they have these big other projects underneath their umbrella! I just don't have as much of a use for the other ones, personally. To me, the AO3 is the most important and the most valuable. Sorry guys.

As a committee chair, no, only using the AO3 does not make you a horrible person as far as I'm concerned. I don't care if people only use the AO3. No one should feel guilty for only using the AO3. I care whether people a) know about the OTW's projects besides the AO3 and b) whether the OTW itself values its other projects besides the AO3. As for the rest, be like Loki and do what you want! 

I am beginning to have a weird perspective on the OTW's staffing issues too. To make it clear: in the past five weeks I have met a whole slew of OTW people on two continents including current Chairs, former Board members, workgroup leaders, and blog writers, and I have treasured all of those opportunities. The OTW has a lot of awesome people working for it, let me tell you. On the other hand, I have so many current friends and former colleagues whose involvement with the OTW ended immensely painfully for them, and as much as I am glad they did what they had to do I am angry that the Org could not preserve them, for its own sake and for theirs.

But you know, it's okay to not be an OTW volunteer. Being a volunteer or a staffer is a lot of work, and to be frank, I suspect it always will be a lot of work. Nor do I resent people who don't want to take that on in the first place, or who find, for whatever reason, that it's become too much. I am not trying to guilt you for either of those responses! Your guilt does nothing productive for anyone. Self-preservation should come first, and you are the best judge of that for yourself, not me or anyone else. And yes, I have spent all of my time on I&O (except for my initial forays on Translation and my recently concluded stint as a tag wrangler), and there are committees you could not pay me to serve on or chair, even if hell freezes over, the Eagles win the Super Bowl, and everything about them were changed to match exactly my own personal thoughts on how they should be run. And no, I"m not telling. 

One common response I get to my aforementioned in-person rants is "Why do you put up with this?" or "Why are you still involved?" The only answer I have is that, by whatever quirk of brain chemistry, personality, or fate, I haven't hit the bottom of my capacity to deal with crap and keep working, at least not yet. And I believe in the OTW. I believe in the OTW despite everything, despite the fact that I don't think the OTW can or should try to be all things to all parts of fandom (NB: I don't find that statement to be in conflict with the basic mission of I&O).

I am invested in the OTW, and that's me, and I could give you a whole list of reasons why but they would all boil down to a sob story seasoned with my own cussedness and the fact that I am good at what I do and I know it and also I love us and what we have done like burning and finally despite everything I still find the bargain I make with my commitment to be, personally, worthwhile. I am better placed on the inside than on the outside, and I don't see that changing any time soon. 

We can be better, and we should, but that is as much for our own sake as for anyone else's. 
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
The OTW Board has just announced that in 2012 it will amend the bylaws and expand the Board to nine seats instead of seven, and hold an election for the two new seats.

Let me say, as a committee chair and as a veteran of another majority-female volunteer organization (Girl Scouts, USA), that I welcome this change wholeheartedly.

It's been clear to me this year, interacting with my Board liaisons (first Ira Gladkova and then, when Ira was out due to health reasons, Julia Beck), that the Board has a very full plate - too full, really, for seven people, particularly in light of ongoing attendance concerns. The OTW is a large and complicated creation, particularly for an organization that has no physical office space anywhere, and I do believe that adding two people will alleviate both the Board workload and some of the potential bottlenecks that non-attendance - which, to be clear, is as far as I'm concerned certainly valid, expected, and not unreasonable, to a certain extent - can create.

The graphs on the announcement post are not as clear as they could be, at least for me (and I understood the reasoning the post lays out), but graphs aside, I would like to congratulate the Board for making what I believe to be the best decision for the long-term health of the OTW.
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
I mentioned recently that I had received a travel grant to attend AdaCamp DC, a project of the Ada Initiative, and I have just returned from that trip. Short version: too short! I had a great time in which I learned a lot, and as other attendees mentioned, it was great to be among a group of people who, by and large, get it.

I traded shamelessly on my position as a committee chair for the Organization for Transformative Works in my application, and I was really grateful that the organizers decided to take the "open culture" part of open stuff seriously - they wound up accepting not only me but several other OTW staffers, as well as a number of fans, and one of the most interesting sessions I attended (it being an unconference, all programming is user-generated) discussed how to bring fandom into the open culture movement in the minds of fans themselves, as well as of open stuff people. I don't have any silver bullets for that problem, other than talking about each side to the other, which is part of what I tried to do at AdaCamp. But I do think that the open stuff (and particularly open source) movements have a lot to teach the OTW in particular, so here's a brief stab at trying to summarize what I learned, or what AdaCamp made me think about.

"90% of open source is about communication, not about code." It's been common knowledge for about a year now that the OTW needs to move to a more sustainable, procedural organizational format. One of the things this means is writing documentation (and, for my part, acknowledging my part in the OTW's current lack of adequate documentation). Another is that, as another session reminded me, we need to…

# Destroy all silos. Open stuff is not served by people not communicating, or by people remaining in their (literal or metaphorical) bunkers and silos working solely on their own thing. That's pretty much the opposite of open stuff, and for that matter, the opposite of participatory fandom too (you're totally a part of fandom if you're a lurker!). Everything everyone contributes to a project should be viewable to the other people working on that project, who ideally should be empowered to check and make needed changes to those contributions.

Being involved in open stuff is about motivation and staying power. Or, in other words, people may have high initial motivation, but open stuff needs to be set up so that they feel like they want to stay. This ties straight back into sustainability.


This is probably old hat to people who are more familiar with open source and technology than I am (or, for that matter, more used to thinking about open culture as such than I am), but one thing's for certain: AdaCamp was a fantastic experience in a supportive environment in which I was able to meet some really awesome and wonderful people. I generally find that whenever I go out among tech people I learn a ton of things and come back with new ways of thinking about the world, and this unconference was no exception. I really hope that there are more of them in the future, and that I can go again.

Also, I got an Ada Lovelace portrait sticker, and it is now on my iPad case. Win.

ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
One of the things my committee, Internationalization & Outreach, has been working on for a while went live today: the Fan Video Diversity Showcase on the Archive of Our Own

Our original idea was to come up with a sampling of global fan video traditions to publicize the fact that the AO3 now accepts video embeds from external sites, and our in-house vid expert Natacha Guyot has put in a ton of work on this project in particular. You can read her post about the Showcase here.

Congratulations, N, it looks great! 
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
OTW: By Fans, For Fans. Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 18-25, 2012. transformativeworks.org
It's that time of year again, when the OTW goes hat in hand to fans and asks for cold hard cash to keep the lights on, the servers running, the lawyers drafting briefs for Congress to fight the DMCA and all the ways Big Content and company would seek to keep us from doing anything legally.

So, if you use the AO3 - if you edit Fanlore - if you've benefited from the DMCA exemption for DVD ripping that the OTW won in 2010 - if you support fandom having a voice to larger society that's for fans and by fans, please give what you can. Just $10 USD confers membership (and voting rights! Just think, you can vote and complain!).

I know there's been a lot of brouhaha around the OTW and the AO3 lately, during the last election in particular. As a staffer and a chair, I can honestly say that my overall impression is that change is happening, albeit slowly, and for the better. In the meantime, the servers won't pay for themselves. 
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
Stand with EFF and OTW



Read more about the 2012 exemption proceedings here.

The OTW and EFF need fans, vidders, remix artists, and others to show their support for maintaining and expanding DMCA exemptions for remix video. There are 3 ways to help:
  1. Sign the Rip.Mix.Make petition; and/or

  2. Submit comments as described in this post from EFF; and/or

  3. Help spread the word (you can cut and paste the banner code from this OTW post).

Comments are due by February 10 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

(c&p'd from [personal profile] juniperphoenix)

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Andrea J. Horbinski

May 2016

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