tiyire: (Default)
2013-02-19 10:55 pm
Entry tags:

Meta, images, and slow building

Some words about OTW Board Approves Meta Hosting on the AO3: I´m happy with the result, but not with the way it was announced. There should have been better internal preparation, especially more time for Comms/Support (*sends cake*), and I also think the announcement could have been much clearer. I would have appreciated a clearer "we want to have this one day, but please don´t start uploading all your meta right now!" and a commitment to have media tickyboxes soon so meta (fandom nonfiction) is easier to filter out. It´ll be better next time.

I was relieved that the meta discussion doesn´t directly involve Fanlore when our image policy came up again. Some of the points that were brought up in various places are exaggerated or in some cases outdated (everybody who was involved with the committee side of the 2010 discussion has left) or untrue, but I´m aware that there are problems with the lax way our image policy is often handled on Fanlore, unless somebody complains. I´d like to address this and work on better guidelines, but Wiki currently doesn´t have the resources to do this at all. I know it´s hard to hear requests for patience again and again, but there´s currently nothing we can do. I could expand on the reasons why, and once we have some time to breathe I´m looking forward to discussing how we can improve how Fanlore deals with fanart. (That´s a lie, I´m not at all looking forward to it because it will most likely be exhausting, but it´s necessary, and hopefully it will be productive.)

We have so many exciting projects planned. Some that are necessary (policies), some that we just want (forum), several that are somewhere in between. We´ll do the necessary ones first, and originally I then wanted to ask for input what we should do next, but I´m not sure if we´ll have time for that this year. The next, then :) One step after the other, and we´ll be fine.
tiyire: (Default)
2013-02-12 09:02 pm
Entry tags:

Fanlore/fannish history 4eva

Working for a fannish org has wonderful perks.

For example there´s this: The epic love story of @fanlore_news and @podfic, which is brilliant.

Today I was catching up on transcripts of other people´s meetings (as you do, to stay up to date on stuff) and suddenly I was reading a seduction scene. Highlights included roleplaying Captain Jack, sharing half-naked Derek Hale, suggestive talking about interfaces, and refreshingly honest discussions about hooking each other up with other partners. The AO3 already has OTW RPF as a fandom, that means it´s totally fine to ship my fellow chairs, right? xD
ETA: It´s been decided I´ll be in the choir during the wedding. Other topics talked about today: how the OTW could be more like Pokémon. Sometimes I love working here. (And other times I remember the work for uni I should be doing...)

I always forget to use any time-tracking tool, but I estimate that I need about 10-15 hours a week to make sure I don´t completely fall behind on everything. Which is hard during a vacation :( (Otoh, skiing!) I´d also need about 5 extra hours to read through the internal wiki that I don´t have. There´ll be a point where I´ll have lost more than 5 hours because I didn´t know that stuff. Still no time-turner *sighs*
tiyire: (Default)
2013-02-07 12:55 pm
Entry tags:

Still here, still awesome

While surfing Fanlore I came across the List of OTW 2011 Board Election links again. (Should this be a subpage? No it should not, and I should read the talk page before asking.) Whoa, these are a lot of links. No wonder I lost so much sleep trying to follow the discussion. And I wasn´t even a member of the org yet! I don´t want to know how that time was for those who were, it must have been pretty terrible.

But reading the posts again also reminded me of the good parts: the OTW is still standing! And how. The AO3 gets more shiny every month and has over half a million fanworks by now (!!), Legal and OD and Journal are doing great work that not always gets a lot of attention, so do many other committees, and have I mentioned lately that Fanlore is fantastic? Because it is.

ETA: I just found an article with the first line "Is one of fandom's biggest organizations now in jeopardy?" The future is always uncertain, but no, the OTW won´t crumble because NN and FC are gone. Especially in light of the discussions around them at the 2011 election this is funny to read.

Sure, we haven´t solved the issues that came up over a year ago yet, but from what I can see we´re definitely on the right path. A long and slow path, with some wrong turns, but we´re getting there.
Some of the biggest problems that were named in that discussion were sustainability and volunteer burnout, transparency, diversity, management. It´s hard to say much because I of course have a limited perspective, but:
- I think VolCom´s new way of recruiting will help with volunteer burnout because new people know better what to expect, committees can get the people they really need, and VolCom makes sure the committee has training resources in place
- I didn´t follow the OTW closely enough to say how much they revealed before and of course now I see it from the inside, but I think several committees have made an effort to be more transparent (e.g. SP, Wiki, Board minutes etc.)
- I don´t have much contact with I&O; in Wiki we´ve decided to return to concentrating on outreach once we´ve solved our other issues, and I´m completely okay with that
- There´s an effort to improve volunteer management led by VolCom (I´m really looking forward to their chair training project!) I can´t say much about strategic management from the Board, and it´s probably not easy for them because of the many personnel changes, but I think the current Board members are smart and have good ideas and intentions, so I´m cautiously optimistic.
- As for communication within the org, I´m not sure if it seems better to me because it got better overall or just because I know more people by now and, as chair of my committee, I have more self-confidence to talk to other people/committees and say "how about we do X." I´m hoping it´s both.

I think this discussion, as messy as it was, was healthy for the org as a whole. Otoh I didn´t see all of the consequences and fall-out, and I´d be interested to hear other perspectives. I´m very grateful to the people who got involved even though it must have been extremely stressful.

That was a long post to say that the actual page about the OTW 2011 Board Election is still a mess. I´ve been telling myself that I´ll fix it one day for a year now, and I´m not sure I´ll ever get around to it, and in the meantime some posts have been locked. If someone were interested in cleaning up a paragraph or so (small steps!), that would be great.
I could have done that instead of writing this. Procrastination and I are old friends.
tiyire: (Default)
2012-12-21 05:04 pm
Entry tags:

Plans, hopes, and I should get some new horse shoes

It´s finally official that I´ll take over as Chair of the Wiki committee next term. I knew and have been stressing about it for months now. *clings to aethel* I´m not sure if I´d want the job if I wasn´t pretty much the only candidate: there are still so many things I don´t know! I only discovered Fanlore about one and a half years ago and our documentation is very bad, so there are several things I´ve only heard rumors about. Fortunately there are people I can ask.

What I plan to do is basically 1) find out who knows and can do what, 2) delegate (I hope that´s the right word, at least, dictionary isn´t clear and I´m tired; oh, this is going to be so much fun), 3) keep track of projects and things. Projects include documentation, recruitment and training, forum, design, new server, probably dealing with survey responses, new help and policy pages, hopefully outreach, and probably some other stuff. I want to work together with other committees more closely, and I want to keep doing more frequent updates of what is happening at Wiki for our gardeners and editors. We started doing that this year and it seems to be appreciated.

Or something else might come up and everything might become even more chaotic, who knows. Wish me luck, and sleep, or coffee.
tiyire: (Default)
2012-12-07 04:20 pm
Entry tags:

It only took a year or so

I joined the Wiki committee in February. Now it´s December and I finally feel like I mostly understand how those parts of the OTW relevant for Wiki work! Yay? Emphasis on the "mostly". I might be over-confident, but there is definitely progress.

We keep discovering things we could have done better, especially in regards with the mediawiki upgrade, and it´s sometimes hard not to get defensive - okay, I get that this wasn´t ideal, but cut us some slack, the whole situation was very chaotic - but in general our users have been nice and very helpful, because they are the best. We´ll do better next time.

Some day soon (ahahaha) I´ll have the time to sit down and figure out how exactly our category system works. I understand the gist of it when I look at the color-coded diagram, but I still get confused when people talk about it.

Only a few days until the OTW term ends officially! Not that Wiki can afford to stop working during the break (please, Santa, can we not have an identity protection request around Christmas/New Year?) I want to do a "look what we did this year, we are great" post, but there´ll also be a lot of "things we planned and didn´t do, we are sorry, here are the reasons why." It doesn´t help that there´s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that we can´t really talk about or that is still unfinished, and that we unfortunately have to finish before it´s sensible to start new projects. But we will, and Fanlore will keep getting better every year.
tiyire: (Default)
2012-11-20 10:52 pm
Entry tags:

Next time I´ll start earlier in the day

I just completed the survey from the Strategic Planning committee for Wiki committee staff members. I didn´t think it would be that long even though I saw the whole survey in advance. It´s sad that the question (paraphrased) "what are some things Wiki should change internally" took me a long time to answer because I had so much to write down, "what are 3 things Wiki should prioritize internally" took long because I couldn´t choose, and "what is something Wiki does especially well that other committees should know about/adopt" took long because it was hard to think of anything. Oops.
On the plus side I have a lot of (more or less) concrete ideas for how to improve things, so that´s good.

If you occasionally edit Fanlore, it would be fantastic if you filled out the survey made by the Strategic Planning committee, more information here. I hope the survey for editors is shorter, otherwise we probably won´t get many completed surveys... Once this one is finished we´ll be waiting for the results of two different survey´s, last year´s general OTW´s and this one´s. I´m very much looking forward to all of the results.
tiyire: (Fanlore our story)
2012-08-27 01:22 pm
Entry tags:

Wiki and the org

Yesterday evening the OTW held an org-wide meeting. Afterwards I had very interesting discussions in chat with people that helped me clarify several thoughts about volunteering. Most of them not very flattering to the org, but the topic of the org-wide was constructive criticism. (After the org-wide I still don't know where best to say this. I'll just write it here and send an email with the link, I guess.)

First, some personal background. I became a member of Wiki in February 2012, after discovering Fanlore and editing in July. I was already familiar with Fanlore: I knew about the dw comm and the infrequent editing chats, I knew about the gardeners, I'd briefly talked with Doro and aethel before and knew that they were good people. When I signed up at the beginning I mostly felt confused, but that's normal, right? So many new tools, new people, new things to do. And it got better! Very, very slowly. It took me months to realize that something was wrong, that it wasn't just me missing something.

If you look at the history of the Wiki Committee on Fanlore you'll notice that last year it consisted of four people, and one of them (Doro) only joined late in autumn. Amy and Rachel both left, leaving aethel in charge of the committee. Now take a look at the current committe: we are eight people, more than Wiki had in a very long time. There were two other people who joined this year and then dropped out. Of these eight, as far as I know five (plus the two who dropped out) hadn't known of Fanlore before they joined.

Clearly this is not an ideal situation! And there were several factors that exacerbated the problem.
First, aethel had never been in a management position outside of Wiki before. The only experience she had was being a co-chair in 2011, on a small committee full of experienced people, something that is entirely different from managing and training a whole group of newbies.
Second, the existing documentation was terrible. Some of the pages on the internal wiki dated back to 2008 and hadn't been updated, most procedures weren't described at all.
Third, Wiki was planning to start several big projects, most notably a forum and a mediawiki upgrade. This of course means a lot of work and stress especially for people new to this.

What should have happened?
Most importantly, someone should have recognized the problem. All three factors were known well in advance. People who should have noticed include, but are not limited to, the Board liaisons and Volcom. (And aethel herself, but see #1.)
As a result, aethel should have received extensive training as a chair and a lot of support from both Board and Volcom. Training and support with things including training new people, establishing communication structures, a lot more help with communication with other committees, and moral support.
I don't know exactly how much support she did get, but when I asked her if there was training for chairs she said "er, not really?", which made me want to throw something against the wall, hard.

As a result, Wiki had to reinvent the wheel: find out how communication works in our and with other committees, figure out how best to train new people, how best to delegate, how to keep track of things when multiple people are involved, and at the same time try not to mess up with any of their projects. All of these things could have been avoided. It was a giant waste of time and energy, and some of the issues are still not solved. I'm not surprised anymore that two people dropped out soon and some still feel confused.
But at least we recognize the problem now! That took some time, too. Now we just have to wait until we get a break between the felt 50 emails every day and somehow figure out how to fix this. No problem. Right. Maybe someone has a magic wand.

So what do I want in the future?
1. Training and support for chairs. A lot. This is extremely necessary, and will make so many other things much easier. It should happen as soon as possible.
2. Documentation! We're working on it, and it's already better than it was.
These are the most important things that I see, but of course there are several other improvements that could be made. Some of them are already being worked on, which is good, if several years too late.

As for me, the only way I didn't lose all of my enthusiasm and energy for Wiki work was to take breaks when I needed them (i.e. exam time, vacation...) That isn't easy either, especially when you're working on something. But it worked so far, and I'm very excited about some of the things we've planned. It's getting better.