There are a lot of reasons why each of us decided to take on the workload this organization needs, and we want to discuss them. To that end, we've declared it to be 'Why I Joined OTW' week! Your faithful Community Relations committee gave notice to our members and hopefully, you'll be hearing from a good number of them during the week. (Alas, not everyone's schedules have permitted them to participate.) We'll maintain a 'master list' here of everyone who posts. Not all of us have blogs/livejournals, so sometimes you'll see a link to a site or comment thread on this post. In addition, we figure this will help people get to know a tiny bit about some of the people on our committees and our board, and why we're interested in this project and invested in making it work.
We would also like to invite anyone interested to post why they have decided to support OTW, and come link us to it. We'd love to have a post overflowing with everyone's reasons!
Our first postings are from kbusse on the Journal committee here and ignazwisdom on the Content committee, here.
Board, Committees and Supporters!
- Post by kbusse, Journal committee | Context always matters, but rarely as much as it does in fan fiction, created within and meant for a specific community.
- Post by ignazwisdom, Content committee | "Legitimate" doesn't have to mean "proper." To me, being a part of a "legitimate creative activity" doesn't mean giving up the things that make fandom unique and subversive, a little bit sexy and a little bit geeky; if anything, it means *highlighting* those aspects of it and saying, "this is us, these are great qualities, these are things that make us creative and interesting and valuable."
- Post by kassrachel, Development & Membership committee | One of the poems I have taped up over my desk is this one by Thomas Lux, which includes the lines "You make the thing because you love the thing / and you love the thing because someone else loved it / enough to make you love it." We make stuff together, with and for each other. That's what fandom is, for me. And that's what the OTW is: us, making stuff with and for each other.
- Post by Alice Toulmin, Accessibility, Design & Technology committee | There is no hive mind here - within our small committee there are sometimes as many ideas on how to do things as there are people, and sometimes more! I think that we have all had our assumptions challenged and been shown wildly different perspectives on searching for, reading and posting fic. The others have had to put up with my appalling sense of humour into the bargain. I know that together we are building something great.
- Post by vonknibble, Volunteers & Recruiting committee | At that time, I couldn't even begin to imagine the scope of what was to come. The sheer potential of the Organisation revealed itself to me in fits and starts, and there are times when I'm still the proverbial Christmas Morning child, tearing wrapping off left and right and grinning like a crazy fool at the contents.
- Post by the_shoshanna, Accessibility, Design & Technology committee | But why am I, myself, involved? I mean, it's not as though I don't have plenty of other stuff to do. And a new fan-run fiction archive sounds lovely, but I haven't written anything myself since uh [checks website] 1998, and I already get more good fanfiction than I can read through the existing venues. What's in it for *me*?
- Post by astolat, Board | I want these things because it drives me nuts how ephemeral fandom infrastructure is. When I want to take out a book from the library, in disappointing cases the book might be out or worse yet missing, but at least I don't have to spend three days finding out where the library's address is this week, what it's been renamed, what the secret password for access is today.
- Post and Follow-up by watersword, Content committee | OTW is not trying to tell you what your fandom is; fandom is a many-headed beast, we all have our own unique "fandom" experience. There is no way that OTW could dictate anyone's individual experience of such a decentralized culture or make your understanding of fandom more or less valid for yourself, and I thought for a *second* that they would try, mine would be the loudest voice raised against them.
- Post by khellekson (also here), Journal committee | A journal... most importantly, that takes as a given the notion that fans provide something valuable to our culture that ought to be analyzed.
- Post by fairestcat, Finance committee | It is long past time for us as fans to become proactive in protecting and preserving our culture and defending our community.
- Post by shrift, Community Relations committee | For all its flaws, fandom really is amazing. Fandom is a triumph of the goddamn human spirit. Fandom is a vast, renewable resource. Fandom has so much potential, whether we have skills to bring or a dollar to donate, or stand on the sidelines cheering everyone else on. We are making this organization a reality. We are building this archive. We are making a space of our own. We are standing up.
- Post by cesperanza | Because I want us to own the goddamned servers, ok? Because I want a place where we can't be TOSed and where no one can turn the lights off or try to dictate to us what kind of stories we can tell each other.
- Post by femmequixotic (also here), Community Relations committee | And the more fandom is noticed--and we can't stop that now--the more opportunities like Strikethrough and Boldthrough are going to arise. Because people outside fandom don't understand fandom. It's up to us to defend ourselves; it's up to us to explain what our community is to them; it's up to us to provide a safe place for our fanworks.
- Post by cordelia_v, Elections committee | That's why I'm donating my own time and energy. Because our stories, our art, our meta are waaaaaay too cool and shiny to create and then abandon to the whims of those who own the servers, or even a single archive owner. What we've created? Needs to be preserved. That's why I support the OTW.
- Post by svmadelyn, Community Relations committee | My position on this committee changed that; I had to change in order to do my job properly. I read every post I could find discussing OTW - what we were doing right, what we were doing wrong, and I came out thinking that somehow, by just really liking to have structure to things, I wound up helping along a *cause* that I honestly believed in.
- Post by dafnagreer, Public Relations committee | I'm tired of journalists getting everything about fandom wrong. I don't just mean the simple stuff, like what slash is, or that we're not all 12 (or 45, or whatever the narrative is that week), I mean the whole context of fandom. You have journalists writing about mash-ups as if vidding never existed and about user-generated content as if it was something invented 2 years ago. It's just embarrassing. Not as a fan, mind you. It's embarrassing as a journalist.
- Post by ciderpress, Community Relations committee | Fandom spun me stories about Dan and Casey, Justin and Lance and John and Rodney that made me happy in ways I can't describe but I know, if you're reading this, you'll understand. And while they did all that, they never once asked for my credit card, they did not ask me to sign a release form, they didn't mine my web browsing habits and they didn't make me sit through an ad they were paid money to show to get to content.
- Post by jadelennox, Systems committee | I want women to become sysadmins. I want the opportunity to be open for women who love systems administration as much as I do, and I want systems administration to be enriched by the presence of women. There's a bootstrapping problem, right now. Too few women in the field contributes to the fact that the field is hostile to women.
- Post by devildoll, Volunteers & Recruiting committee | See, I've always loved those "kids have their own adventures" stories. When I was a kid, there was Narnia, there was Trixie Belden, there was Nancy Drew. Later, there was Harry Potter. I always wanted to have one of those really cool adventures--just me and my friends, going off on our own to solve a mystery, or find some treasure. Preferably something that involved secret codes and periscopes.
- Post by mirabile_dictu, Community Relations committee | I want those opportunities available to everyone possible: to girls of thirteen and women in their eighties, and I don't want them to have to pay for it except with time and energy and love. The world needs safe places for freaks, and fandom can -- no, fandom should! -- be one.
- Post by bethbethbeth, Community Relations committee | And then I discovered Fandom. Oh, I'd been on the periphery of fandom for most of my life, making one of my sisters perform ST:TOS scenarios in the back yard, passing notes to friends using Tolkien-esque Dwarf runes in junior high, attending (i.e., sneaking into) Minicon in 1975, joining the Darkover Society (briefly) in the late seventies, etc., but I'd never been involved in fandom in any organized way until 1995 when one of the IT guys at my school spent an hour explaining to me that, yes, I really would find a use for my university email account and oh, by the way, did I want to take a look at the newsreader that would let me participate in newsgroups.
- Post by sanj, Volunteers & Recruiting committee | I introduced two friends to fandom -- and they’re the same women who scooped me up off the floor and took me in to see a doctor about the aliens in my telephone. The people I’ve taken in, fed, cried with, supported, hugged, sent pretty icons, given fashion advice, worked with? -- that’s my LJ friends list. And how did I meet all these people? How did I get so many of my college and community (“RL”) friends to join in and play, too? It’s because of the stories.
- Post by rivkat, Board | I support the OTW because fandom is so big and varied that attempts to control it through legal threats tend to strike like a bolt of lightning out of a clear sky. It is terrifying, and it doesn't happen to fandom; it happens to specific fans. The risk is low, but that is small consolation to the recipient of a cease and desist letter – and too many people are afraid to play outside because of the low risk.
- Post by slodwick, Financial committee | But the truth is, despite all my best optimistic tendencies, I'm not willing to simply sit on my hands and hope for the best on this one. I want to know that I was part of something that at least tried to make things better for (at least part of) fandom -- even if we eventually fail, or fandom as we know it eventually bites the dust anyway. I feel like risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risks of trying.
- Post by ainsley, Content committee | But in the end, I’m in OTW for the people. I’m in it to preserve the heritage of Kandy Fong and those original Kirk/Spock slashers. I’m in it for the fans of today, to offer them services they may not want and are under no obligation to use. I’m in it for the fans of tomorrow, so they have access to the fannish gift economy I value. I support OTW’s aims, but in the end, they’re not enough to pull me away from my porn. Each minute I spend reading and discussing and editing the ToS is one fewer minute I can watch the Petrellis fly off in the moonlight, one fewer minute in which I can read about John and Rodney’s bi-galactic love, one fewer minute in which I can write Benton Fraser being chivalrous to all.
- Post by melinafandom, Wiki committee | We just need a place of our own, that's all. A space that fans -- but no one individual -- control. Where we decide what goes and what doesn't, that isn't going to disappear because of corporate stupidity or personal apathy. A place that embraces enormous fandoms and fandoms of 10 or less. And a place where we put our own face out to the world, rather than letting other people do it for us.
- Post by xenacryst, Systems committee | I think the OTW is something that's done by this fandom community, for this fandom community. And it's just starting down this journey.
- Post by cupidsbow, Board | The variety of opinions fills me with wonder and happiness: from fanservice to anti-corporate ownership of our own servers, creation of shareware to preservation of fanfiction and history, community-building to education and training, legal assistance to journalistic resources, and on and more...
- Post by mecurtin, Dead Fiction committee | Dudes, do you *know* me?!? Of course I support it! I would have started it myself, five years ago, if I had as much energy, organizational skill, & vision in my whole body as astolat has in her pinkie!
- Post by celli, Finance committee | As long as I've been in fandom (since 1994, for the record), I've seen this understanding that our fic, our vids, our 'zines, everything creative we do in fandom is allowed by the benevolent ignorance of the copyright holder. But the second part of that is, then, if the copyright holder ever stops ignoring you, you have no ground to stand on.
- Post by angstslashhope, Wiki committee | And here’s the kicker, why *I* wanted to get involved in the organisation: nonprofit organisations rely on people working within them to exist, yes, but these people aren’t the organisation themselves so much as cogs in the organisational machine.
- Post by wickedwords, Wiki committee | I think most of us know that we have to do something before some commercial entity comes in and homesteads our territory, relegating us a tiny piece of our land as long as we pony up content and eyeballs that can be sold to some advertiser.
- Post by jeddy83, Elections committee | People are still discovering and enjoying older fandoms like Due South, inspired in part by the fiction held in old but still existing archives. It would be a shame if people weren’t able to do the same for Supernatural because the current collections of fanworks weren’t available for inspiration.
- Post by par_avion, Elections committee | Because Lawrence Lessig changed my life.
- Post by franzeska, Content committee | But I also joined because there are going to be a lot of us who are too shy or too busy or too scared to volunteer or who don't have quite the right skills to help out right now.
- Post by ithiliana, OTW Supporter | A friend was just told, in regard to another collection of essays on a tv show, that no dialogue from the show could be quoted: it all had to be paraphrased. None.
- Post by amireal, OTW Supporter | The idea of OTW as an incorporated/not for profit entity was brought up within hours of the idea of An Archive of Our Own. In fact, it was brought up to SUPPORT the archive. It was brought up as the only viable way an archive such as this (the open source, the staying power, etc) could subsist in the internet we know and not immediately fold like a house of cards if one of the things I mentioned above attempted to happen to an author or even the archive as a whole.
- Post by hafital, OTW Supporter | It's like buying your house, instead of renting. It's owning the land! Own the land Katie Scarlet, own the land!
- Post by nestra, OTW Supporter | And if you are reading this and thinking, "How come they don't have an archive yet? It's been months!", you have obviously never been involved in any aspect of software development, let alone any kind of incorporation or non-profit formation process. So stuff it.
- Post by cereta, OTW Supporter | I want to know that one person deciding she/he has had enough doesn't mean the whole thing goes away.
- Post by goldjadeocean, OTW Supporter | I am a meta-lover, I'd be an acafan if studying English in an academic setting even hit my top 5 of "big projects for the next decade", and I am female and a feminist. And even thought it doesn't represent me in some respects, if I join it and make my voice heard then maybe they'll start.
- Post by thingswithwings, OTW Supporter | We build worlds all the time, fandom, you and me; we build worlds offhandedly, in IM conversations and emails, and we build worlds slowly and deliberately and painstakingly, word by word. We build utopias and dystopias and sometimes we build sandcastles just so that we can knock them down, but the thing is, the thing is, we've been doing this for decades. And it's about time we built a world for ourselves.
- Post by maygra, OTW Supporter | Our strength is not in numbers or demographics, it is in the very diversity of who we are as individuals from professionals and academics to the barrista in Starbuck's and the librarian at your local [...] We have drives and dark sides and still believe in fairy dust and happy endings. We are no different than the millions of other people who watch and hear and buy and enjoy the same things we do.Except in this one area -- we are creators as much as consumers and that makes us rare and fine and worthy of preservation and protection and even encouragement.
- Post by elynross, OTW Supporter | We're not anonymous, we're no longer underground. We're not just in academic studies, we're in major social and entertainment publications; we're interacting with the creators of our fandoms, and vice-versa. Some of us are the creators of some of our fandoms. And people are starting to try and figure out how to tap into what's already here to their own financial benefit. We don't really have to do anything to draw attention to ourselves anymore; we haven't been truly underground since we ended up in search engines, if we truly were before that.
- Post by phantomas, OTW Supporter | The proverbial cat is out of the bag already, if that is what worries you, and being well prepared doesn't mean going out and attack waving flags. It only means being well prepared for any occurrence.
- Post by taraljc, OTW Supporter | I support the OTW because some of them are my friends, some of them are strangers, but all of them understand that storytelling is in our blood and in our souls as human beings, and that will never change. Nor will the desire to share the stories we tell with others simply for the joy of the making and the sharing.
- Post by resonant8, OTW Supporter | Desire is commodified, but we remake it and make it new for each other. Why should we do any of that for FanLib? Why should we do it for anybody but each other?
- Post (also on IJ, GF) by elke_tanzer, OTW Supporter | Fandom is infinite and varied. There is strength in our diversity and our community, our samenesses and our differences. Fandom is my village, my home, and myself. And OTW has the potential to be a great community resource.
- Post by rdphantom, OTW Supporter | I LOVE the idea of an archive that will accept fiction, videos and art for all fandoms, and that will have so many features for searching and finding exactly what I want when I want it. I can't tell you how much that excites me, because I want to spend my time reading and watching instead of searching post after post on a hundred different websites to find what I want. And after all that searching you might find a dead link or a down site and not get what you were looking for after all.
We hope you'll see some things you personally identify with, get some clarification on our thought processes, and enjoy reading!
ETA: Just to prevent any confusion! I'm using the term 'members' in this post to refer to people who are currently working in the organization. At this point, in the FAQ, 'members' is used to refer to people who pay the membership fee and can vote. (I suppose you could mentally replace the former with 'staffers' if you'd like. *g*)
--femmequixotic, bethbethbeth, ciderpress, mirabile_dictu, shrift, svmadelyn
Community Relations Committee