Cesperanza (cesperanza) wrote in otw_news,

Part II: willingness to serve

NOTE: these posts are by astolat; I can't post right now due to LJ technical difficulties, so cesperanza is putting them up for me. I have the first post thumbtacked, so will see any comments made there.

I will be putting together a small initial board to take us through the incorporation of the nonprofit. This initial appointed board will be responsible for establishing the organization and its basic character, and setting up the standing committees. Once the nonprofit has been incorporated and we have applied for tax exempt status, we can begin taking donations for membership.

The first elections (for one-third of the board) will be held in about one year and continue annually thereafter (so the whole board will be elected by the membership within three years).

Being on the board in general will require:
  • enough stability in your RL and enough interest in the goals of the organization that you can commit to a three year term.
  • attending a mandatory annual meeting (by conference call or chat most likely)
  • attending regular monthly meetings (ditto)
  • serving on at least one standing committee
  • regular communication with the rest of the board
  • helping to raise funds
  • lots of patience and calm and generosity and flexibility
  • enormous enthusiasm for this project
  • independent work -- taking a job and running with it, starting from scratch
Being on the initial board will also involve:
  • recruiting committee chairs, committee members, and members
  • the heavy lifting of this initial organizational period
The roles of treasurer and secretary also have specific requirements.

  • keeping the books, writing checks, making deposits
  • dealing with outside accountants on taxes
  • familiarity with or willingness to learn basic accounting software
  • familiarity with or willingness to learn standard accounting procedure
  • taking minutes of official board meetings
  • coordinating communication among committees

And, here is the rough part:

Board members should not be those whose personal lives or careers would be ruined by a public connection of their real name and their fannish identity. The real names of the board members will be public, and exposing the fannish pseuds of board members will be a natural plan of attack for those who are hostile to the organization.

This organization is going forward on the principle that fanfic is fair use. If we get a C&D or a DMCA takedown notice for a piece of fanfic, we will not be pulling the fanfic down, nor will we be shunting the responsibility off onto the individual fan author. We are not going to go actively looking for a legal fight, and I hope we won't have one. But if one comes to us on these grounds, we will not be running, and board members should be prepared to deal with that.

One reason to incorporate is exactly so we can face this possibility as a group, behind the corporate shield, and in a better position to raise money and get legal help. We will structure the organization so board members should be able to avoid personal liability in a legal fight, and we will have liability insurance both for the group and the board members. Having the organization sued out of existence would still be painful, but we should in any case build all our projects in such a way that they can easily be widely preserved.

But while a lawsuit would therefore not be the end of the world, it would still be tedious and unpleasant and stressful. Lawsuits drag on for a long time, and the board would have to work extra hard to keep the organization moving forward and raising money while dealing with the inevitable headaches.

I know this will discourage many people who would be terrific board members. But I would rather no one went in with their eyes closed.

All that said, please note: you DO NOT have to be a board member to make a substantial contribution or have a big say in this project.

We will be starting with a very small board, probably five to seven people, to keep things streamlined, and also to ensure that the board *can't* do all the work on its own. Committees are where most of the work will take place, and the people who show up and do the work will inevitably make most of the decisions. You will be able to serve on committees under a pseud, and also they will not be as exposed/public.

Being on a committee will require:
  • At least a few months' commitment -- ideally longer.
  • Monthly meeting (online)
  • Regular communication with other committee members
  • Fulfilling specific tasks (eg, putting together a draft of a policy, keeping notes, designing a piece of software, etc)
  • Reporting progress/issues to the board
  • Recruiting volunteers
Finally, if you aren't up for taking on a committee position but would still like to pitch in, there will also be a lot of smaller volunteer tasks coming down the pike like the ones that have already been posted; many more once we are past these early stages and can actually get down to work.

We will be constantly seeking help and soliciting input from the broader community here, so even just hanging out on this community is both a help to us, and gives you a voice in the project. The community has an automatic RSS feed, and you can subscribe by email even if you don't have an LJ account.

What I need right now are statements of willingness to serve, either on the initial board, and/or on the standing committees.

This wording is deliberate. If you agree with the goals outlined here, if you are in a personal and professional place where you can stand the heat and do the work, please stand up. Not if this work would be unpleasant; fandom should be fun. But if you can, please do. And please encourage others to submit these also if you know someone you think would make a great board or committee member.

Please E-MAIL ME (astolat at livejournal dot com if the link doesn't work for you) with the following information (comments will be disabled on this post):

  • who you are

  • a little bit about your fannish history; pointers to LJs or websites helpful if you have one

  • whether you are willing to serve on the board or just on committees

  • if on the board, whether you would be willing to serve as treasurer or secretary

  • list the committees you would be willing to serve on

  • list the committees you would be excited about

  • describe your relevant experience, fannish or RL

  • what proposal for the organization most excites you

  • what proposal for the organization you most dislike

  • whatever else you think I should know, people you think we should recruit, etc.

Please include all of this even if I personally already know you -- it will be a resource for other board members, not just me, and also I have already discovered from the working group that I didn't know half the cool things that other fans do in their real lives, even if I thought I did.

ETA: taverymate had some good questions answered in this thread.


  • OTW Signal, March 2021

    OTW Signal talks the sale of Wattpad to Naver + tips for you on backdating older works you import to AO3. Read more at…

  • Five Things Koteneko Said

    In Five Things, Koteneko discusses why she's relieved that Translation uses a two-beta system, plus how she ended up becoming the whole Ukranian…

  • OTW Guest Post: Jennifer Duggan

    This month's guest, Jennifer Duggan, researched the demographics of Harry Potter fandom by searching through AO3 profiles and author's notes. The…

Comments for this post were disabled by the author