November 22nd, 2015



So I'm offline for an afternoon, and all hell breaks loose. Wow.

The short version is that the entire OTW Board of Directors resigned today, effective mid-December. The long version is very long, covering years of cronyism and unprofessional behavior by the Board, and I am neither qualified nor able to tell the whole thing. If anyone has a link to a good summary, feel free to share? Anyway, the precipitating event was the decision by the Board of Directors to appoint an outgoing Board member to a different empty seat, even though she came in last in the most recent election. Note that the foregoing is an official communication from the OTW Elections Committee, so how the Board thought they were going to get away with such a blatant abuse of power is beyond me. The tone of their letter strikes me as a classic fandom flounce rather than a serious attempt to make restitution for a mistake, but even if they resigned for the wrong reasons, it's what had to happen, and I'm glad they went quickly.

The last time I wrote about the OTW, back in November 2010, I expressed hope that the very public discussions of the organization's problems would lead to good internal conversations and real change. I think it's pretty safe to say that it didn't happen then. So the golden opportunity is NOW. Both the incoming board and the OTW as a whole need to take a long, hard look at their processes, their communications, and their culture. It's long past time that this organization stop thinking of themselves as a fandom project and start running like a professional non-profit organization. The OTW is not just a place to post fic -- they do important work in academia and defending the legal rights of fans to create and post fanwork. We need them, and I hope they survive. But if that's going to happen, serious changes need to happen. Installing a new board is, I believe, an important and necessary step, but it's not the end of the process. It's the beginning.

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