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OTW Election: Voting yeay!
OTW: Fireworks
This will have to be a super-hasty post, because RL work has been NON STOP and I haven't slept in what seems like forever, but voting is now open for the OTW elections! \0/ I am very sorry not to still be a candidate, but given the way work has been kicking my ass in the past couple of weeks I feel like I made the right call in stepping down, because there's no way I could manage to do all the things I'd want to do on the Board while doing this amount of work (and it's not looking like it will calm down any time soon).

ANYWAY! This post not actually about me, but a last-minute yeay for two particularly awesome people! I'm sure whoever winds up on the Board will do some great work, but there are two candidates who I have direct experience of who I would like to give a shout-out to!

Julia Beck is a smart, thoughtful, and sensible person with great people skills. I really respect and value the specific mission she brings to the org in terms of outreach and diversity: I think she is spot-on when she says a large part of this is about recognising where there are barriers for people who want to come in rather than about stomping into other communities and proselytising about how they should want to come in! I've really valued the times she's pointed out specific things I can do better, like including a range of different fandoms when I give examples in docs or communications posts - a simple but effective way of ensuring it doesn't look like the OTW is all about specific fandoms (this is especially important given I handle a lot of the public posts, so if we just went with personal fannish pleasures that would be pretty limited!).

I haven't always agreed with Julia - in fact, more than once we've wound up on opposite sides of a debate. Or, more specifically, I've started out on the opposite side, but one of Julia's great gifts is to convey her passion and belief while also keeping a debate calm and productive. The result is that even when things are getting heated (as fannish debates are wont to do!) Julia reaches out to the other people involved, shows she respects their opinions, and presents her view clearly and usefully. I've almost always wound up sharing common ground with Julia even when at the start we seem to be polarised, and she's been good at finding a new way forward in situations when it was clear that a consensus was unlikely, and that's a direct result of her skill for productive discussion and disagreement. I think this is a really, really valuable skill to bring to Board. I think a vote for Julia will be well spent.

Naomi Novik has been really important to my work in the OTW - and clearly important to the org as a whole! She is a great mentor and spent unbelievable amounts of time and energy in the first couple of years of the org building the coding team. I came in as a newbie with zero coding experience, and Naomi's dedication to helping, supporting and encouraging me was absolutely astounding. Having been on the other side of the equation (albeit I will NEVER have the skill Naomi has) I can say it can be very challenging to support someone through the initial baby steps of coding, because they need a lot of feedback right away and you don't want to spoil their momentum by having to back away at a crucial moment! I can truly say that Naomi's mentoring not only gave me coding skills, it transformed my whole idea of myself: if you had told me in 2008 that by 2010 I would be chair of AD&T I would have been astounded! I think some people who joined more recently haven't seen Naomi's mentoring skills in action quite so much, partly because she's been busy with minor things like having a baby, and partly because she did a great job and some of the people she mentored are now doing that task (or have even passed it on another level). That's a huge success!

I really respect Naomi's ability to combine getting stuff done (and boy, does she get stuff done) with a willingness to hand things on - she was chair of AD&T for just two years, including the startup year, 2007, and then passed it on to the awesome awesome Maia who moved the project on in the ways it needed to be moved on (Maia passed it to me, and I passed it on again to the current chairs Elz and Amelia <3). She was really supportive of me when I was AD&T chair even though it would have been really easy for her to take over on some things (since her technical knowledge far outstrips mine), so I know she is good at bringing her expertise where it is needed while being sensitive to other skills and roles. As a member of AD&T, I do feel like right now it would be really really valuable to have someone with high-level technical expertise on the Board, because so much of the work of the OTW is built on a tech foundation (not just the AO3, but also Fanlore, the website, some of the work of Open Doors - even Journal needs tech backup). As a member of AD&T, I've definitely felt like the lines of communication between the Board and AD&T were not always that clear this year (though I LOVE our liaison hele and think she has done a great job) - it would be helpful to have at least one Board member who could bring the technical perspective.

I could ramble on a lot because I've worked with Naomi extensively so I know all the things she brings, but I fear i may be descending into incoherence as my lack of sleep kicks in! So I'll just end by saying I think she is great and will bring a lot to the Board. :D

The other candidates all bring something valuable, but I wanted to give this rather belated yeay for Julia and Naomi specifically because I have direct experience of how great they are, and because I think they would make for a great balance on the Board - they have differing concerns but a similar great ethos, and that kind of productive difference on the Board is very very important.

Now going to pass out because the sleep! It has not been a feature of my life! Offline for the next several days so I will not be about in chat (OTW folks) or probably answering comments.

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